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Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012

Our Earth

Our Earth – Eco News Roundup: November 18, 2012

The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.


Suit Filed Against Wyoming’s Kill-at-Will Wolf Policy

BOZEMAN, Mont. (November 13, 2012) –  Conservation groups filed suit today challenging the federal government’s elimination of Endangered Species Act protections for Wyoming wolves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management in Wyoming over to state officials this fall even though the state’s wolf-management policies promote unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extends throughout most of the state and provides inadequate protection for wolves even where killing is regulated. The state policies will result in wolf deaths that undermine the recovery of the species. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

U.S. Moves to Protect Western Lands from Oil Shale Exploration

WASHINGTON (November 9, 2012) — The Interior Department today moved to protect millions of acres of sensitive Western lands from oil shale and tar sands exploration, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

“By significantly reducing the acreage of wilderness potentially available for leasing, Secretary Salazar is laying out a creative, thoughtful and more responsible approach in managing some of our most precious resources,” said Bobby McEnaney, senior lands analyst at NRDC.

Two groups to appeal approval of forest drilling

Two environmental groups have filed notice they will appeal a September federal court ruling that said the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t have the authority to delay oil and gas drilling in the Allegheny National Forest until an environmental impact study is done.

The Big Apple’s Mayor Makes A Very Scary Video

The mayor of New York City wants you to see what an hour’s, a day’s, a year’s worth of NYC’s carbon dioxide emissions would look like — if you could see them. The gas is normally invisible. So he’s made a video, and it ain’t pretty. Why would the mayor do this? What’s it look like? See for yourself

USA’s ancient hurricane belt and the US-Canada equator

The recent storms that have battered settlements on the east coast of America may have been much more frequent in the region 450 million years ago, according to scientists. New research pinpointing the positions of the Equator and the landmasses of the USA, Canada and Greenland, during the Ordovician Period 450 million years ago, indicates that the equator ran down the western side of North America with a hurricane belt to the east.

Ingredient in diarrhea medicine leads to sustainable new farm fertilizer

he search for a sustainable slow-release fertilizer — a key to sustaining global food production at a time of burgeoning population growth — has led scientists to an ingredient used in some diarrhea medicines. They describe use of the substance, attapulgite, as a “carrier” for plant nutrients in a report in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Boli Ni and colleagues explain that about half of the 150 million tons of fertilizer used worldwide every year goes to waste. That’s because most fertilizers release nutrients too fast for the crops to use. The rest can run off farm fields and create water pollution problems. Existing slow-release fertilizers have drawbacks. So Ni’s team turned to the environmentally friendly substance attapulgite, an inexpensive, nutrient-rich clay used for decades to treat diarrhea and for other applications. It once was an ingredient in the Kaopectate marketed in the United States. They also included guar gum, used in cosmetics and to thicken foods, and humic acid from decayed plant material.

New dating of sea-level records reveals rapid response between ice volume and polar temperature

A new study has revealed a rapid response between global temperature and ice volume/sea-level, which could lead to sea-levels rising by over one metre. During the last few million years, global ice-volume variability has been one of the main feedback mechanisms in climate change, because of the strong reflective properties of large ice sheets. Ice volume changes in ancient times can be reconstructed from sea-level records. However, detailed assessment of the role of ice volume in climate change is hindered by inadequacies in sea-level records and/or their timescales.

Climate change increases stress, need for restoration on grazed public lands

Eight researchers in a new report have suggested that climate change is causing additional stress to many western rangelands, and as a result land managers should consider a significant reduction, or in some places elimination of livestock and other large animals from public lands. A growing degradation of grazing lands could be mitigated if large areas of Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service lands became free of use by livestock and “feral ungulates” such as wild horses and burros, and high populations of deer and elk were reduced, the group of scientists said.

What lies beneath? New survey technique offers detailed picture of our changing landscape

A new surveying technique developed at The University of Nottingham is giving geologists their first detailed picture of how ground movement associated with historical mining is changing the face of our landscape. The new development by engineers at the University has revealed a more complete map of subsidence and uplift caused by the settlement of old mines in the East Midlands and other areas of the country and has shown that small movements in the landscape are bound by natural fault lines and mining blocks.

It appears to support concerns that movement associated with historical mining is continuing far longer than previously anticipated.

Streams show signs of degradation at earliest stages of urban development

The loss of sensitive species in streams begins to occur at the initial stages of urban development, according to a new study by the USGS. The study found that streams are more sensitive to development than previously understood. “We tend not to think of waterways as fragile organisms, and yet that is exactly what the results of this scientific investigation appear to be telling us,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Streams are more than water, but rather communities of interdependent aquatic life, the most sensitive of which are easily disrupted by urbanization.”

Himalayan glaciers will shrink even if temperatures hold steady

Come rain or shine, or even snow, some glaciers of the Himalayas will continue shrinking for many years to come. The forecast by Brigham Young University geology professor Summer Rupper comes after her research on Bhutan, a region in the bull’s-eye of the monsoonal Himalayas. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, Rupper’s most conservative findings indicate that even if climate remained steady, almost 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers would vanish within the next few decades. What’s more, the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent.


Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
Climate Change News Digest
Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”


At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

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