Environmental Issues

Kondoru

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Yes, me too.

Was at the tea and talk at Kresen Kernow today, -about our new Spaceport.

Of course the naysayers were there, saying we dont need more satelites doing enviromental monitoring, since it is a static system and we already have enough data...

(Okayyy...)

They were a bit confrontational, and had brand new T shirts for the occaision.

(More okay...)

I think the world is in safe hands....
 

ramonmercado

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Doresn't look good.

Concern is growing in Mexico about an environmental activist and expert on the monarch butterfly who has been missing for more than a week.

Homero Gómez manages a butterfly sanctuary in western Michoacán state, a region which is notorious for its violent criminal gangs. Rights groups fear illegal loggers may have targeted Mr Gómez for his activism to conserve the local forest which is the home of the monarch butterfly. He was last seen on 13 January.

Sixty thousand people have disappeared in Mexico since 2006.

Many of them have fallen victim to criminal gangs which control large areas of Mexico and kill anyone who could interfere with their illegal activities, which range from drug and human trafficking to extortion, logging and mining.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51189909

He's dead as is a colleague of his.

Homero Gómez was one of best-known guardians of the monarch butterfly in Mexico. His body was found in a well last month. Three days later, another guide at a monarch butterfly reserve was also found dead.

Mr Gómez's colleagues and family, who believe he was murdered for his work protecting the threatened species from illegal loggers, are living in fear. They spoke to the BBC's Will Grant in Michoacán. Since Homero Gómez's body was found down a well, the atmosphere among the guides at El Rosario is one of grief and fear.

"We had many years of working together," said Mr Miranda as he wept at the side of the trail, tourists passing by oblivious to his tears. "We can't let what Homero taught us collapse. We have to keep the sanctuary going without him."

The drug cartels that rule Michoacán are involved in a range of different criminal enterprises, including illegal logging of protected tropical hardwoods, firs and pines.

One theory in the community is that Homero Gómez was murdered for hindering the cartels' activities. He organised a large-scale reforestation programme and set up teams of guides to patrol the reserve day and night. Pushed on whether he thought his friend's activism had got him killed, Mr Miranda did not want to say, partly out of fear of reprisals against others at the sanctuary.

But the Gómez family have few no qualms about speaking out. "The whole family believes it was murder," explains his 19-year-old son, also called Homero, whom I met inside the reserve.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51488262
 

Frideswide

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One of those "liking" but not liking responses :(
 

GNC

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There will be nobody left in Mexico by the end of the decade at this rate. Not joking.
 

ramonmercado

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Dark Waters: Taking on a multi-national company isn't easy especially if that company is DuPont and they have effectively captured State and Federal agencies which are supposed to protect the Environment. Not just under Republicans, mysteriously the EPA failed to act under both Clinton and Obama. When a company is making a $1 billion a year profit from just one of it's products then it will have deep pockets to defend itself. In 1998 Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) was a corporate lawyer who had been just made a partner in firm which specialised in defending chemical companies. Then a farmer neighbour of his grandmother called with a strange tale of dead and diseased cattle. Thus began a journey for Bilott both physical, moral, psychological and professional. It would consume his life for years, cost him money and almost his marriage. After the case moved on to the mass poisoning of people through water pollution, DuPont tried to bury him in paperwork and suborned the west Virginia State Government to change water Safety Standards.

The narrative of this film is best explained through observing what happened to Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp) the farmer, His cows were developing tumours and dying, he was suffering from mysterious ailments. As the case progressed his house was burgled, records stolen, DuPont helicopters circled his house constantly. Becoming crazed he threatened them with a shotgun. Great performance from camp as he has to shoot a crazed cow which charges him. The personal cost to Sarah Bilott (Anne Hathaway, Robert's wife,) is vividly portrayed, she had given up her career as an lawyer to raise their children. She has to deal with his obsessions and to remind him that he isn't the only one making sacrifices. Se comes to comprehend the nature of the battle they both face.

The film unfolds like a thriller holding your attention as new facts are revealed and more obstacles crop up. Directed by Todd Haynes from a screenplay by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. 9/10.
 

Tribble

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Scientists have discovered a new species of marine animal in the deepest trench on Earth—a find which might normally be cause for celebration. However, the researchers also identified plastics in its body, highlighting the scale of the global pollution crisis.
A team from Newcastle University in the U.K. found the creature—a type of crustacean known as an amphipod (colloquially referred to as "hoppers")—in the Mariana Trench at a depth of around 20,000 feet, according to research published in the journal Zootaxa.
The 1,580 mile-long trench located in the western Pacific Ocean has a maximum depth of around 36,000 feet. But even animals living in these extreme and seemingly remote environments don't appear to be exempt from the impacts of plastic pollution.

The researchers found tiny pieces of plastic debris known as microplastics in the body of the previously unknown amphipod. The material they identified is polyethylene terephthalate (PET)—a common plastic which is widely used in food and drink packaging.
As a result of this find, the Newcastle team decided to name the new species Eurythenes plasticus in order to highlight the fact that immediate action needs to be taken to "stop the deluge of plastic waste into our oceans," Alan Jamieson, marine ecologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement. The animal is now one of 240 known species to have been recorded ingesting plastic.



https://www.newsweek.com/new-specie...-body-scientists-eurythenes-plasticus-1490911
 

hunck

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A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process.

The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle.

When broken down it can release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals which would kill most bacteria, but the newly discovered strain is able to survive. While the research has identified the bug and some of its key characteristics, much work remains to be done before it can be used to treat large amounts of waste plastic.

“These findings represent an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle polyurethane products,” said Hermann Heipieper, at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig, Germany, who is one of the research team. He said it might be 10 years before the bacterium could be used at a large scale and that in the meantime it was vital to reduce the use of plastic that is hard to recycle and to cut the amount of plastic in the environment.

The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, identified a new strain of Pseudomonas bacteria, a family known for its ability to withstand harsh conditions, such as high temperatures and acidic environments.

The researchers fed it key chemical components of polyurethane in the laboratory. “We found the bacteria can use these compounds as a sole source of carbon, nitrogen and energy,” Heipieper said.

Scientists revealed in 2018 that they had accidentally created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles, which are made of PET, potentially enabling the complete recycling of bottles for the first time. One of the team behind this advance, Prof John McGeehan, the director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth, England, praised the new work.

“The breakdown of certain polyurethanes can release toxic additives, which need to be handled carefully. This research group has discovered a strain that can tackle some of these chemicals,” he said. “While there is still much work to be done, this is exciting and necessary research that demonstrates the power of looking to nature to find valuable biocatalysts. Understanding and harnessing such natural processes will open the door for innovative recycling solutions.”
 

ChasFink

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A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process.

The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle.

Clearly no one who's enthusiastic about this has any respect for the lessons of 1970s British TV science fiction or the novelizations thereof.

Doomwatch: The Plastic Eaters

Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters
 

GNC

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Didn't The Andromeda Strain eat plastic too? Haven't seen it in a while.
 

EnolaGaia

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Didn't The Andromeda Strain eat plastic too? Haven't seen it in a while.

Yes - it attacked synthetic rubber and some other plastic materials.
 

ChasFink

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EnolaGaia

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I don't remember that at all. I just remember blood turning to powder.

It's in one of the opening scenes in the movie. A fighter pilot's oxygen mask disintegrates as the Andromeda strain attacks him. The powdered blood refers to the way the strain killed humans - by solidifying blood into a granular mass.
 

tuco

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Yes - it attacked synthetic rubber and some other plastic materials.
Watched it just the over day, it only started disolving plastic once it had mutated. A really good film, well worth watching again.
 

ramonmercado

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It's in one of the opening scenes in the movie. A fighter pilot's oxygen mask disintegrates as the Andromeda strain attacks him. The powdered blood refers to the way the strain killed humans - by solidifying blood into a granular mass.

Just watched it, the 2008 mini-series, certainly more twists than the 1971 film. I liked it, 7/10.
 

AlchoPwn

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g returns.png
 

Mythopoeika

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GNC

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Or removed because it was the truth?

If there's one thing big business doesn't care about, it's the environment. If there's one thing it does care about, it's copyright. Draw your own conclusions.
 

ramonmercado

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I think this fits here. Perhaps tigers could be reintroduced as a temporary measure to deal with the disagreeable farmers.

A forest near Loch Lomond has been identified as a "paradise" for lynx by a group hoping to reintroduce the animals to Scotland.

The Lynx UK Trust is launching a public consultation on plans to release some of the big cats in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near Aberfoyle. It says it would be perfect for the Eurasian lynx which eats deer.

But Forestry and Land Scotland has said there are no plans to reintroduce lynx to Scotland.

Farmers' leaders have described the plans as "wholly unacceptable".

Lynx were wiped out in the UK by fur hunting and loss of habitat about 1,300 years ago.

A previous application to release lynx in the Kielder Forest in Northumberland was turned down. in 2018.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-53801923
 

ramonmercado

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Learning from the past. Muddy thinking results in a flood of new plans.

BIG SPRING RUN IN PENNSYLVANIA—Centuries ago, parts of the eastern United States were drowned in mud. Now, Robert Walter was dancing in it. The geochemist stood calf deep in this small stream 100 kilometers west of Philadelphia, thick curlicues of chocolate sediment flowing around his legs. Walter did a little jig as his colleague and spouse, geomorphologist Dorothy Merritts, watched. More mud stirred, heading downstream.

Brown water might not hold much interest for many researchers. But a dozen years ago, it catapulted Merritts and Walter to scientific prominence. The pair, professors at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M), showed that Big Spring Run and many other meandering, high-banked streams in the eastern United States look nothing like the low-banked, marshy waterways that existed when European explorers first arrived nearly 500 years ago. The original streams, Merritts and Walter argued in an influential 2008 paper published in Science, are now buried beneath millions of tons of “legacy sediment” that was released by colonial-era farming and logging, and then trapped behind countless dams built to power flour, timber, and textile mills. “We realized,” Walter says, “that the [streams] had been completely manufactured and altered.”

The finding challenged decades of conventional scientific wisdom and sparked pushback from researchers who said the pair had overstated its case. It called into question expensive efforts to restore rivers by using heavy equipment to resculpt them into what practitioners believed had been their natural shapes. And the work raised concerns that a massive, multibillion-dollar effort to clean up the nearby Chesapeake Bay would fail if planners didn’t figure out how to prevent massive slugs of legacy sediment, which also carries harmful nutrients, from sloshing down the bay’s many tributaries. “It was uncomfortable,” Merritts says, “because I knew that my colleagues had other ideas.” ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/202...old-mud-revealed-new-way-save-polluted-rivers
 

ramonmercado

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Affecting not just the physical environment but local ecosystems as well.

Wolf attacks on beavers are altering the very landscape of a national park
By Ben GoldfarbNov. 13, 2020 , 2:00 PM

The alpha male of the Cranberry Bay wolf pack, dubbed V083 by researchers, is a canine with a singular specialty: killing beavers. V083 roams Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota, and in the spring and summer, he and his packmates prey heavily on busy rodents, ambushing them along foraging trails and waterways. This year alone, V083 devoured 36 beavers, the equivalent of seven colonies.

Such kills have an outsize impact, according to a new study. By influencing where beavers live and build dams, the wolves shape Voyageurs’s vast wetlands—an ecological chain reaction that alters the contours of the land itself. “Looking at it over time,” says Tom Gable, a biologist at the Voyageurs Wolf Project and lead author of the study published today in Science Advances, “you start to see how interconnected wolves are to wetland creation.”

The research will likely add fuel to a years long scientific debate over the role that wolves and other predators play in shaping ecosystems. In Yellowstone National Park, years of fieldwork suggested wolves reintroduced there in 1995 thinned herds of elk, in turn reducing grazing on streamside plants and helping stabilize eroding creek banks. But subsequent studies have suggested the story is more complicated, and that wolves aren’t the sole agents of change. ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/202...ers-are-altering-very-landscape-national-park
 

hunck

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Underwater museum: how 'Paolo the fisherman' made the Med's strangest sight

In a bid to stop illegal trawling, an Italian fisherman persuaded sculptors to create huge marble artworks – then dropped them in the Mediterranean

As a child, Paolo Fanciulli was fascinated by underwater shipwrecks, particularly the fish and algae that lived in them. He became a fisherman in the Tuscan village of Talamone at 13 and still plies the waters at the age of 60 in his small boat, the Sirena. But in the past decade, his job has become harder, as trawling near the coast has been destroying the marine ecosystem.

The impact is devastating. “The nets are weighed down with heavy chains to be dragged on the sea bottom, so they uproot all the posidonia, the seagrass that is key to the Mediterranean ecosystem because sea bream, lobsters and red gurnards lay their eggs there,” he says.

In 2006, a desperate Tuscan government dropped concrete blocks into the sea in an effort to disrupt the trawlers. Fanciulli says they didn’t work, however, as they were too far apart and the nets simply dragged between them.

He got permission from Arpa, the agency for environmental protection, to drop an additional 80 blocks at his own expense. Still, however, he wasn’t satisfied, and his thoughts turned to the shipwrecks he’d loved as a boy. “I didn’t just want concrete,” he says. “I was fascinated with beautiful antiquities underwater.”

He began to wonder: what if, instead of dropping concrete blocks into the water, he dropped art?

He asked a quarry in nearby Carrara if they could donate two marble blocks that he could use to make sculptures. “They donated 100 instead.”

Via word of mouth, contributions from tourists and online crowdfunding, Fanciulli persuaded artists including Giorgio Butini, Massimo Lippi, Beverly Pepper and Emily Young to carve sculptures from the marble. Then he took them out to sea and lowered them in.

The underwater sculptures create both a physical barrier for nets and a unique underwater museum. The sculptures are placed in a circle, 4m apart, with an obelix at the centre carved by the Italian artist Massimo Catalani. Emily Young provided four sculptures, each weighing 12 tons, she calls “guardians”; nearby lies a mermaid by the young artist Aurora Vantaggiato. Lippi has contributed 17 sculptures representing Siena’s contrade, or medieval districts.

Marine life of all kinds appears to be returning. Algae covers the statues, and lobsters have taken up residence nearby. Talamone is a turtle recovery centre – part of the Tartalife project – and more turtles have been seen, as have dolphins. “In the past it was unusual to see dolphins near the coast,” Faniculli says. “They normally stay offshore, but as industrial fishing destroyed the seabed, they moved close to the statues because, due the repopulation, there is food.”

The museum is Fanciulli’s version of the shipwrecks he loved as a boy, and he hopes to build on its success. “We put in the first statues in 2007 but our goal is to reach 100,” he says, sensing an opportunity. “We’d like someone to help our battle in defence of the sea. Do you know if any soccer player or influencer is available?”

1605620642168.png
 

Kondoru

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This is a great idea.

And a good use for modern art.
 

ramonmercado

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Another murder.

An environmental activist has been shot dead by masked gunmen in Honduras.

Félix Vásquez, a member of the Lenca indigenous community and an advocate for rural workers' rights, was killed in front of his family. It is not yet clear why Vásquez was attacked. He had recently said he would run for the left-wing Libre party in next year's parliamentary election. The killing comes four years after an award-winning environmentalist from the same indigenous group was murdered.

Honduran police said a number masked gunmen stormed into Mr Vásquez's home in Santiago de Puringla. Local media spoke of four assailants but there has been no official confirmation of that number. Police said they had made no arrests so far and were still investigating the possible motive behind the attack. ...


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55466089
 

ramonmercado

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In Columbia even children get death threars.

An 11-year-old boy who received death threats after calling for better access to education during the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised by the UN for his activism.

Francisco Vera is well-known in his native Colombia for his environmental campaigns and defence of children's rights. On 15 January he received a death threat from an anonymous Twitter account after posting a video urging the government to improve internet connectivity for children studying online.

Now the UN has hand-delivered a letter to Francisco, congratulating him for his pioneering work in the South American country where it is not uncommon for environmental activists to be killed. ...

According to the UN, 53 human rights defenders were murdered in Colombia last year and an additional 80 murders of community leaders are still being investigated.

Global Witness, an international human rights group, has said that 64 environmentalists were killed in Colombia in 2019, making it the most dangerous country for environmental activists that year.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-55803205
 
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