Tag Archives | Environment

At site of world’s worst nuclear disaster, the animals have returned

This photograph shows wild boar in a former village near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

This photograph shows wild boar in a former village near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Cell Press via EurekAlert:

In 1986, after a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released radioactive particles into the air, thousands of people left the area, never to return. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 5 have found that the Chernobyl site looks less like a disaster zone and more like a nature preserve, teeming with elk, roe deer, red deer, wild boar, and wolves.

The findings are a reminder of the resilience of wildlife. They may also hold important lessons for understanding the potential long-term impact of the more recent Fukushima disaster in Japan.

“It’s very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are much higher than they were before the accident,” says Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth in the UK. “This doesn’t mean radiation is good for wildlife, just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming, and forestry, are a lot worse.”

Earlier studies in the 4,200 km2 Chernobyl Exclusion Zone showed major radiation effects and pronounced reductions in wildlife populations.

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Air France Executives Attacked as Carrier Cuts 2,900 Jobs

Airbus | A380-861 | Air France | F-HPJJ | Hong Kong | HKG | VHHH
Mathieu Rosemain via Bloomberg:

Air France executives were forced to flee with their clothes in tatters after workers stormed a meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport in protest at 2,900 planned job cuts.

Human resources chief Xavier Broseta and Pierre Plissonnier, head of long-haul flights, scaled an eight-foot fence to escape, aided by security guards. Broseta emerged shirtless and Plissonnier had his suit ripped to shreds.

Violence erupted Monday as Air France told its works council that 300 pilots, 900 flight attendants and 1,700 ground staff might have to go after failed productivity talks with flight crew. The protest, in which agitators chanted “naked, naked,” is just the latest to turn physical in France, where managers at Michelin & Cie. and Sony Corp. have been held hostage over firings, irate farmers have blocked city streets with tractors and manure and more than 100 Uber Technologies Inc. taxis have been smashed up by rival drivers.

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Earning a Profit from Global Warming


Pete Dolack writes at CounterPunch:

As evidence mounts that a warming world is hurtling toward the point of no return, the plan of the world’s governments is to make adjustments to the ability of corporations to profit from polluting. Short-term profits continue to be elevated above the long-term health of the environment.

There does seem to be a new sense of governmental urgency ahead of the Paris climate summit scheduled for December, with several governments announcing new proposed reductions in future greenhouse-gas emissions. But is it already too late? Two scientific studies issued this year suggest that so much carbon dioxide already has been thrown in the air that humanity may have already committed itself to a six-meter rise in sea level. A separate 2015 study, prepared by 18 scientists, found that the Earth is crossing several “planetary boundaries” that together will render the planet much less hospitable.

The Paris climate summit, officially known as the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 21, has set itself the goal of “achiev[ing] a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.” Representatives of the world’s governments will meet with an intention of setting goals for combatting global warming.

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Record Cold ‘Blob’ in North Atlantic: Sign of Future Climate Woes?

Open Ocean
Some scientists are saying that a record-setting area of cold water in the North Atlantic, revealed by recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, could be a sign that climate change is causing the ocean current to weaken.

This trend could have dramatic consequences, including the alteration of temperatures on the European and North American continents.

Washington Post reporter Chris Mooney highlighted the thesis on Thursday, pointing out a cold blob in the ocean south of Greenland and Iceland. While NOAA’s findings that 2015 has so far seen the hottest eight month stretch in recorded history were widely publicized, the North Atlantic cold spot is lesser known. It is seen below in the dark hue denoting “record coldest” temperatures.

January–August 2015 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles. (NOAA)

January–August 2015 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles. (NOAA)

Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, confirmed to Mooney that the cold temperatures are not a fluke, stating: “For the grid boxes in darkest blue, they had their coldest Jan-Aug on record, and in order for a grid box to be ‘eligible’ for that map, it needs at least 80 years of Jan-Aug values on the record.”

Prior studies have predicted such a trend.… Read the rest

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Exposure to toxic chemicals threatening human reproduction and health

Farmall Tractor Pull 2015

University of California, San Francisco via ScienceDaily:

Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades are threatening human reproduction and health, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the first global reproductive health organization to take a stand on human exposure to toxic chemicals.

The opinion was written by obstetrician-gynecologists and scientists from the major global, US, UK and Canadian reproductive health professional societies, the World Health Organization and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

FIGO, which represents obstetricians from 125 countries and territories, published the opinion in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics on Oct. 1, 2015, just prior to its Oct. 4 to 9, 2015, world congress in Vancouver, BC, where more than 7,000 clinicians and scientists will explore global trends in women’s health issues.

“We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals, and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern,” said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, MD, PhD, Honorary Secretary of FIGO and lead author of the FIGO opinion.

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If Women Ruled the World – Is a Matriarchal Society the Solution?

woman to woman
Steve Taylor, Ph.D, via Waking Times:

Is a matriarchal society the solution to our problems?

I’ve just returned from Crete, where I visited the ancient palace of Knossos, and the archaeological museum in Heraklion, where thousands of the artifacts and artworks of ancient Crete are displayed.

The most striking thing about the culture of ancient Crete (or Minoan culture, as it is often called) is how prominent women are. They are everywhere in Minoan artwork, on pottery, frescoes and figurines (small stone statues). They are shown as priestesses, goddesses, dancing and talking at social occasions, in beautiful dresses with their breasts on show. There is a striking fresco of a beautifully dressed woman surrounded by a group of half-naked dancing men.

It is clear that – as many archaeologists have agreed – this was a society in which women had very high status; at least as high as men.

Some archaeologists believe that the Minoans worshiped a goddess, and that women were the main religious leaders.

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Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up

A new report by InsideClimate News reveals how oil giant ExxonMobil’s own research confirmed the role of fossil fuels in global warming decades ago. By 1977, Exxon’s own senior experts had begun to warn the burning of fossil fuels could pose a threat to humanity. At first, Exxon launched an ambitious research program, outfitting a supertanker with instruments to study carbon dioxide in the air and ocean. But toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon changed course and shifted to the forefront of climate change denial. Since the 1990s, it has spent millions of dollars funding efforts to reject the science its own experts knew of decades ago.

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Time Travel & The Multiverse – Many Worlds: Many Timelines


Marie D. Jones & Larry Flaxman – New Dawn via Waking Times:

Time travel has enchanted and intrigued us since the earliest days of fiction, when authors such as H.G. Wells, Samuel Madden, Charles Dickens and Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau stretched and challenged our imaginations with images and tales of men and women who invented amazing machines and devices that could take them back in time, or forward into the future. Because of the restrictions of light speed, and the paradoxes of going back to the past without damaging the future timeline, and a host of other obstacles and challenges, we, in fact, have remained stuck in the present.

Our scientific knowledge and technological achievement has yet to catch up to the limitless dreams of our imaginations. But perhaps just because we have yet to achieve time travel in our universe, in our particular point along the cosmic arrow of time, doesn’t mean it isn’t achievable… and maybe the key is the universe itself.

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Destroy the World… and Feel Good About It

Derrick Jensen identifies the world’s environmental extremists (spoiler: they’re capitalists) at Fair Observer:

I have been sometimes labeled an environmental extremist, primarily because I believe the real world is more important than the economy, and because I believe we should do whatever is necessary to stop this extractive culture from killing the planet that is our only home.

FPL Power Plant Smokestack Explosion

Labeling someone an extremist is a standard rhetorical device to demonize the “extremist” and dismiss the person’s perspective. It’s kind of the loco-motion of the rhetoric world in that everybody’s doing it. The Nazis said the Jews were extremists. Slavers said abolitionists were extremists. The Founding Fathers of the United States complained of how poorly the Indians were treating them as they stole the Indians’ land.

Today, the US bombs extremists all over the world, oftentimes using as their reasoning the fact that extremists want to bomb the Americans, whom they label as extremists.

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