Tag Archives | Environment

‘Honey Laundering: An International Scandal”

Picture: Jacopo Werther (CC)

Via Mother Nature Network

Food experts have found that much of the honey sold in the U.S. is a concoction of corn or rice syrup, malt sweeteners and a small amount of genuine honey.

There might be something funny in your honey.

Food-safety experts have found that much of the honey sold in the United States isn’t actually honey, but a concoction of corn or rice syrup, malt sweeteners or “jiggery” (cheap, unrefined sugar), plus a small amount of genuine honey, according to Wired UK.

Worse, some honey — much of which is imported from Asia — has been found to contain toxins like lead and other heavy metals, as well as drugs like chloramphenicol, an antibiotic, according to a Department of Justice news release.

And because cheap honey from China was being dumped on the U.S. market at artificially low prices, Chinese honey is now subject to additional import duties.

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Rainforests Adapting to Global Warming

Man is doing his best to destroy the Earth’s resources, but nature has a way of adapting and resisting. James Fleure reports for Science Recorder:

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has discovered more evidence of rainforest resilience to global warming. Their findings reveal that tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass due to global warming than climatologists previously thought. According to the BIOMASS Energy Centre, biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms.

Researchers undertook the most comprehensive study yet of the risk of tropical forest dieback due to global warming. They contend that their results have significant implications for the role of tropical rainforests in the global climate system and carbon cycle.

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Researchers utilized computer simulations with 22 climate models to examine the response of the tropical forests in the Americas, Africa and Asia to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change.

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Earth Goes From Coldest Decade To Hottest In Just One Century

Cavell Glacier with Crevices and Annual RingsNever mind what’s causing it, it’s gettin’ hot up in here! From CNN:

Global warming has propelled Earth’s climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest — in just one century.

A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.

“If any period in time had a sustained temperature change similar to what we have today, we would have certainly seen that in our record,” he said. It is a good indicator of just how fast man-made climate change has progressed.

A century is a very short period of time for such a spike.

It’s supposed to be cold
The Earth was very cold at the turn of the 20th century. The decade from 1900 to 1909 was colder than 95% of the last 11,300 years, the study found.

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Swarm Of 30 Million Locusts Consumes Egypt

This certainly looks like the end of the world. The last time a swarm of a similar magnitude occurred was 2004, causing massive crop damage across the country. The prevalence of locust mega-outbreaks is expected to increase with global warming:

In Cairo, residents burned tires to create a black fog to keep the locusts from settling in the city. Swarms were also reported to have reached Egypt’s Red Sea city of Zafarana, some 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Cairo. The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture issued a statement saying it had set up task forces to deal with the locust plague.

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Green Fatigue: Who Cares About Global Warming?

Dry river bed in CaliforniaApparently people are fed up with the challenges of stopping or at least slowing the global warming trend. Sam Masters reports that worldwide concerns about climate change have dropped dramatically since 2009, in the Independent:

Public concern about environmental issues including climate change has slumped to a 20-year low since the financial crisis, a global study reveals.

Fewer people now consider issues such as CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, animal species loss, and water shortages to be “very serious” than at any time in the last two decades, according to the poll of 22,812 people in 22 countries including Britain and the US.

Despite years of studies showing the impact of global warming on the planet, only 49 per cent of people now consider climate change a very serious issue – far fewer than at the beginning of the worldwide financial crisis in 2009.

Worries about climate change first dropped in industrialised nations but they have now also fallen in developing economies including Brazil and China, according to the survey by GlobeScan Radar.

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Study Suggests Psychiatric Drugs In Water Supply Are Altering Fish Behavior

Anxiety medications flushed down toilets in our pee causing heightened appetite and boldness in fish. Soon the global water supply will be a giant soup of antidepressants. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Pharmaceuticals may be affecting the behavior of wild fish as [the drugs] filters out of our bodies, through our toilets and into treated wastewater that is released into natural water sources, according to a new study.

The findings, which examined the effect of trace levels of the anti-anxiety medication oxazepam on wild European perch, have implications for the survival rates of fish and the delicate food web in aquatic ecosystems.

Scientists have known for years that such “micropollutants” end up in natural waterways like streams and rivers after being flushed through human systems into wastewater. But current research hasn’t really looked at whether psychotherapeutic drugs can affect the behavior of aquatic creatures.

The researchers’ findings could well reflect reality in waters worldwide: Their low concentrations in the lab were roughly equivalent to levels found in wild fish in the River Fyris in Sweden.

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The Principles Of Uncivilisation

From the writers and activists network Dark Mountain Project, the manifesto of Uncivilisation, a response to the alleged coming unraveling of modern society:

We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.

We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.

We will reassert the role of storytelling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.

Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble.

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Selling Fresh Air In Cans

The smog in China is now so bad that an entrepreneur is successfully selling cans of fresh air. He says he’s not doing it to make a profit, but just wait until he’s created an insatiable demand. For those of you who thing it’s ridiculous, what would your grandparents have thought about your regularly buying small bottles of water for $5? Maureen Chowdhury reports for NPR:

In response to the growing concern over China’s air pollution, a theatrical Chinese entrepreneur is selling cans of fresh air.

Chen Guangbiao, a multimillionaire, philanthropist and environmentalist, is selling each can for 5 yuan (80 cents) according to…

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Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Are Dropping Faster Than Atmospheric Carbon Levels Are Rising

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c7/Earth6391.jpg/128px-Earth6391.jpgForget rising temperatures and bigger storms, this is the big problem that neither side of the mainstream debate over environmental destruction is talking about.  Peter Tatchell reported for the Guardian back in 2008:

The rise in carbon dioxide emissions is big news. It is prompting action to reverse global warming. But little or no attention is being paid to the long-term fall in oxygen concentrations and its knock-on effects.

Compared to prehistoric times, the level of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere has declined by over a third and in polluted cities the decline may be more than 50%. This change in the makeup of the air we breathe has potentially serious implications for our health. Indeed, it could ultimately threaten the survival of human life on earth, according to Roddy Newman, who is drafting a new book, The Oxygen Crisis.

I am not a scientist, but this seems a reasonable concern.

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Don’t Panic, But The Shoreline Is Moving Inland

For the first time in 6,000 years sea level is rising, causing the shoreline to move inland. The move will continue for at least 1,000 years. Unless we change the trend of the planet’s heat balance the pace of this movement will accelerate, with disastrous results. We are totally unprepared for this situation.

A week before superstorm Sandy hit New York City my new book High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis was released. In the book, I describe exactly such a storm hitting that location. The point of my description was to examine the factors that made New York City and the surrounding area particularly vulnerable.

With Sandy there were four things that combined to increase the impact. First there was incredible size of the storm with the unusual track of southeast to northwest. Second, it came at lunar high tide, which is about a foot higher than average;  third, sea level has risen about a foot in height over the last century;  fourth, the underwater topography off New York harbor amplified the storm surge.… Read the rest

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