Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Can Seaweed Save The World? - Tim Flannery

Professor Tim Flannery (right) investigates how seaweed is helping to save the world - from growing the foods of the future, helping save the reef and even combating climate change.

Watch Tim Flannery on the ABC’s Catalyst - “Can Seaweed Save The World?

Tributes pour in to Marshallese “climate hero” Tony de Brum

Marshall Islands climate ambassador Tony de Brum died aged 72 on Tuesday at his home in Majuro, surrounded by family.
Tony de Brum at the 2015 Paris climate summit.
As former foreign minister, he led negotiations for a tough 1.5C global warming limit at the 2015 Paris climate summit. This was crucial to give his low-lying island home a chance of survival amid rising sea levels, he argued.

Having witnessed the harm wreaked by US nuclear bomb tests on Bikini atoll as a child, de Brum was also a lifelong campaigner for reparations and disarmament.

The country’s president Hilda Heine announced his death “with great sadness and a very heavy heart”.

Read Megan Darby’s ClimateHome story - “Tributes pour in to Marshallese “climate hero” Tony de Brum.”

Climate Change and Habitat Conversion Combine to Homogenize Nature

Orange-chinned parakeets eat mangoes
 from a farmer’s tree in Costa Rica. It can
thrive in drier habitats.
Climate change and habitat conversion to agriculture are working together to homogenize nature, indicates a study in the journal Global Change Biology led by the University of California, Davis.

In other words, the more things change, the more they are the same.

While the individual impacts of climate change and habitat conversion on wildlife are well-recognized, little is known about how species respond to both stressors at once.

In northwest Costa Rica, the study’s authors surveyed birds and plants at 120 sites that included rainforests, dry forests and farmland to determine how habitat conversion and climate-change-induced droughts affect tropical wildlife. They found that different bird species thrive in drier versus wetter areas of forests. In farmlands however, birds associated with dry sites were found everywhere, even in the wettest sites.

Read the Science and Technology Research News story - “Climate Change and Habitat Conversion Combine to Homogenize Nature.”

White supremacy produces disproportionate environmental pollution

Environmental racism describes the idea that non-white people are disproportionately exposed to toxic waste, agricultural chemicals, air pollution and drinking water contamination. Environmental racism is well-documented. Most of the time, though, instances of environmental racism are described as reckless individual acts of pollution or poisoning, instead of symptoms of a structural problem directly linked to white supremacy.
Jibril Kyser discusses
environmental racism.

White supremacy, unlike the term “white privilege,” destabilizes the innocence of whiteness. It reminds us of the violent domination of Black and brown bodies through genocide and enslavement, which were both necessary in granting today’s white people their unearned rights, privileges and resources. White supremacy is much deeper than the Ku Klux Klan, Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan and Rudyard Kipling’s musings in “The White Man’s Burden.” It is embedded in the consciousness of a large majority of the world’s population, influences the beauty standards and even informs whose lives matter. Most importantly though, white supremacy facilitates the premature death of Black and brown bodies by devaluing their existence.

Read Jibril Kyser’s story in The Daily Californian - “White supremacy produces disproportionate environmental pollution."

NSW EPA critical of conflicts of interest, complexity of native forestry bill

A draft bill to revamp regulations for native forestry in NSW was slammed as "overly complex" and inequitable, and it failed to address "an inherent conflict of interest" in the oversight of state-owned Forestry Corp.

Logging in state forests may be back in the spotlight. 
Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show the NSW Environment Protection Authority found the government's draft native forestry bill unfairly favoured Forestry Corp by remove licensing requirements for the corporation while maintaining them for landholders or industry seeking private native forestry. 

It would also leave the corporation with powers unmatched for a state agency, including its protection from third-party challenges such as from environmental groups. 

"The inherent conflict of interest for a corporation in having a concurrency role for negotiating, revoking or changing the terms of their licence ... and the removal of third party legal rights, exists nowhere else in NSW legislation or regulation," the EPA's leaked assessment made last December shows.

Read Peter Hannam’s story in The Sydney Morning Herald - “NSW EPA critical of conflicts of interest, complexity of native forestry bill.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bushfire threat 'not worth our lives', Sunshine Coast residents say, vowing to move

After bushfires on Queensland's Sunshine Coast over the weekend, residents in newly developed housing estates say they fear they could one day be trapped by flames.

Burnt trees in the aftermath of the Caloundra bushfire.
A bushfire in the Caloundra area escalated quickly on Friday night, sparking an emergency situation where locals were told to evacuate.

The blazes continued to burn on Saturday, before being brought under control on Sunday.
In the danger zone were people in the Aura and Bellvista housing estates, and residents in the suburb of Little Mountain.

Norway embarks on mission improbable

The stench of tons of compressed waste is something you get used to. High above the warehouse floor, tightly packed bales of British rubbish are stacked and waiting to be burned, across the North Sea from the homes in Bristol and Birmingham that produced them.

Within five years the UK may look to Norway to
store industrial carbon emissions under the North. 
In a modern plant wedged between pine and granite on the edge of Oslo, Nordic power company Fortum is using British rubbish to generate electricity and warmth for a nearby district-heating project. This energy- from-waste plant alone incinerates 45 tons of rubbish at 850 degrees Celsius every hour.

“It’s the smell of money,” laughs Pal Mikkelsen, the plant’s director.

Read the story by Jillian Ambrose on The Telegraph - “Norway embarks on mission improbable.”