ENVIRONMENT 

Cyclone Yaas is Another Reminder of The Urgent Need for Coming Together to Face Difficult Times

Bharat Dogra

Countercurrents | May 27, 2021

One cyclone coming soon after another and that too in pandemic times need not and should not lead to a sense of helplessness. The country has  the capacity to overcome bigger challenges, and this has been revealed several times in the middle of great difficulties. In a more specific context,  frontline coastal states like Odisha and West Bengal have shown significant improvements in cyclone related preparations and rescue efforts. At the  level of its wide coastal region, the nation has improved the warning systems.

However we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. As there are definite and proven signs that  the threat from disasters in general and cyclones in particular in times of climate change is increasing, we need to improve our disaster-preparedness much more.Read More »

BIRDS

There are 50 billion wild birds on Earth – but four species dominate

Adam Vaughan

New Scientist | May 17, 2021

starlings
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are one of the world’s most common birds
Arndt Sven-Erik/Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Earth is home to around 50 billion wild birds according to a new global estimate, but most species are very rare and only a handful number in the billions.

Just four undomesticated species are in the club of those with a billion-plus individuals, with house sparrows (Passer domesticus) the most abundant, followed by European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) and barn swallows (Hirundo rustica). By contrast, 1180 species number fewer than 5000 birds each.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

What happened when the oceans went quiet during the pandemic? Scientists set to find out

Preetha Banerjee

Down To Earth | April 09, 2021

What happened when the oceans went quiet? Scientists set to find out

The reduced noise pollution during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic made the birds and the bees and other terrestrial creatures merry. In the underwater world, too, anthrophony (human-made sounds) reduced substantially for long months last year.

Scientists have now come together to understand the impact of these quiet months on the marine ecosystem.  The International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) has identified a network of over 200 non-military hydrophones (underwater microphones) in oceans across the world.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT AND LIFE

Using green transport can prevent over 38,000 deaths in Africa’s Accra: WHO

Down To Earth | April 02, 2021

Using green transport can save over 38,000 lives in Africa's Accra: WHO. Photo: World Health Organization

Switching to sustainable modes of transportation can prevent around 5,500 premature deaths in Africa’s Accra by reducing air pollution, according to a new report by World Health Organization.

This can be achieved by increasing share of electronic mass transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and thus, reducing the overall use of cars, taxis and other motorcycles that cause air pollution, the report suggested.Read More »

CARBON FOOTPRINT 

J carbon footprint

A Journal of People report

As oil prices rallied and investor confidence in excessively punished oil stocks returned, the world’s oil billionaires became richer in the first quarter of 2021, adding a combined net worth of $51 billion in the first quarter. The energy tycoons from the U.S. to Russia and India boosted their fortunes at the fastest rate of any group in the Bloomberg index.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people, U.S. oil tycoon Harold Hamm saw his net worth jump by $3.3 billion year to date to stand at $8.4 billion as of April 2.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

Humpback whales may have bounced back from near-extinction, but it’s too soon to declare them safe

Olaf Meynecke

The Conversation | April 01, 2021

A pod of humpback whales lunge feeding.
The resurgence of humpback whales is one of conservation’s greatest success stories. Shutterstock

The resurgence in humpback whale populations over the past five decades is hailed as one of the great success stories of global conservation. And right now, the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is considering removing the species from Australia’s threatened list.

But humpback whales face new and emerging threats, including climate change. Surveying whales is notoriously hard, and the government has not announced monitoring plans to ensure humpback populations remain strong after delisting. We need a plan to keep them safe.Read More »

ECOLOGY 

Protect fish to produce more food and reduce greenhouse gas

Tim Radford

Climate New Network | March 25 2021

Menhaden catch, destined for use as fertilizer and pet food. (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists have identified a sure way towards more profitable fishing: don’t do it. Protect fish and leave as much of the seas as possible untouched.

To convert the right stretches of the blue planet into marine sanctuaries would actually deliver bigger hauls than any uncontrolled harvests could promise. It could also protect marine wildlife and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

The financialization of environment protection

Riccardo De Cristano

Climate and Capitalism | March 11, 2021

“Business as usual is killing us” [1]

Recent years have seen the rise and expansion of new financial instruments aimed to create a positive impact on society. One peculiar instrument, green bonds, is facing enormous growth, and we can notice how it is becoming a popular type of investment.[2] Through its mechanisms, even if a universal definition of what a green bond does not exist, investors can raise profits and provide positive outcomes for the environment.Read More »

CANNABIS 

Colorado’s legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines

Krista Charles

New Scientist | March 08, 2021

Cannabis plant
Cannabis is often grown indoors
Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

Legal cannabis production in Colorado emits more greenhouse gases than the state’s coal mining industry, researchers analysing the sector’s energy use have found.

The production and use of cannabis for medical or recreational reasons is now legal in several US states, which has led to a booming industry.

Hailey Summers and her colleagues at Colorado State University have quantified and analysed the greenhouse gas emissions produced by cannabis growers.

They found that emissions varied widely by state, from 2.3 to 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilogram of dried flower produced.

Read More »

ENVIRONMENT

Think all your plastic is being recycled? New research shows it can end up in the ocean

Monique Retamal, Elsa Dominish, Nick Florin and Rachael Wakefield-Rann

The Conversation | March 03, 2020

Man puts items in binsResearch shows plastic meant for recycling often ends up elsewhere. Shutterstock

We all know it’s wrong to toss your rubbish into the ocean or another natural place. But it might surprise you to learn some plastic waste ends up in the environment, even when we thought it was being recycled.

Our study, published today, investigated how the global plastic waste trade contributes to marine pollution.

We found plastic waste most commonly leaks into the environment at the country to which it’s shipped. Plastics which are of low value to recyclers, such as lids and polystyrene foam containers, are most likely to end up polluting the environment.Read More »