Giant Galapagos Tortoises Are Making a Strong Comeback, Researchers Say

Yale Environment 360 - October 31, 2014
Giant Galapagos tortoises have made a remarkable comeback over the last five decades, and their

Giant Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis) population on the Galapagos island of Española is now secure, according to researchers from the U.S. and Ecuador. Although their global population was down to 15 individuals in the 1960s, after 40 years of captive breeding and reintroduction efforts, the species now numbers roughly 1,000, the study found. About half of the tortoises released on the island since 1975 were still alive in 2007, and they’re now reproducing on their own in the environment. Ecologically, though, the tortoises face some challenges, the study notes. A critical source of food is a native cactus species that was nearly wiped out by feral goats. This likely limits the tortoises' current range, but the reptiles are also aiding the return of the cactus, the scientists say, because they help to spread its seeds.
Categories: Environment, Health

Now’s the Time to Get National Forest Planning Right

The EnvironmentaList - October 31, 2014
The US Forest Service’s decision on how three California national forests will be managed could have far-reaching implications
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Happy Founder's Day Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts of America - October 31, 2014
Juliette Gordon Low's Birthday, or Founder's Day, October 31, marks the 1860 birth of Girl Scouts of the USA founder Juliette Low in Savannah, Georgia. Juliette started the organization in 1912. Test your knowledge of the Girl Scouts' founder with our interactive quiz.
Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Categories: Environment


Costa Salvaje - October 31, 2014
Categories: Environment

China Is Top Developing Nation for Clean Energy Investment, Analysis Finds

Yale Environment 360 - October 30, 2014
China is the most attractive among developing nations for low-carbon investment and deployment, according to an analysis by the Climatescope project, a partnership among various international development agencies and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. China received top marks because it is the largest manufacturer of wind and solar equipment in the world, has the largest demand market for wind and solar energy, and has taken major strides to improve its domestic policy framework score, the analysis said. Brazil ranked second, largely due to the country's aggressive approach to clean energy development and the availability of low-cost capital through its national bank, the report said. South Africa ranked third, and the analysis noted the nation had attracted $10 billion in clean energy investments in 2012 through 2013. The project ranked 55 developing countries on their past, present, and future ability to attract investment for clean energy companies and projects.
Categories: Environment, Health

A Conservationist Sees Signs of Hope for the World’s Rainforests

Yale Environment 360 - October 30, 2014
After decades of sobering news, a prominent conservationist says he is finally finding reason to be optimistic about the future of tropical forests. Consumer pressure on international corporations and new monitoring technology, he says, are helping turn the tide in efforts to save forests from Brazil to Indonesia. BY RHETT BUTLER
Categories: Environment, Health

Costa Rica Still a Hotspot for Birders

The EnvironmentaList - October 30, 2014
Travelers flock to the Central American nation with high hopes of seeing rare and beautiful birds
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Weather and Climate Key in Weights of Antarctic Penguin Chicks, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - October 29, 2014
Local weather and large-scale climate trends have the largest impact on the weights of Adélie penguin chicks

An adult Adélie penguin feeds its chick. — not food availability — according to researchers at the University of Delaware. Adélie penguins are native to the West Antarctic Peninsula, and their habitat is warming faster than most other parts of the planet. Looking at records dating back to 1987, scientists found that year-to-year changes in local weather — including wind speed, temperature, rain, and humidity — could cause chicks’ weights at the time they leave their nests to fluctuate by up to 7 ounces. That’s often the difference between a surviving and non-surviving chick, the researchers say. Biologists previously thought that food sources and parenting played the largest role in chicks’ health, but these findings suggest that exposure to elements is more important. The study "calls into question what happens to an ecosystem when you change climate quickly," principal investigator Matthew Oliver said.
Categories: Environment, Health

Resisting for the River

The EnvironmentaList - October 29, 2014
Communities in southeastern Nepal are fighting against a proposed big dam project
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

BP Oil Spill Left Rhode Island-Sized ‘Bathtub Ring’ on Ocean Floor

The EnvironmentaList - October 28, 2014
Study finds 10 million gallons of oil settled and coagulated on the floor of the Gulf near the Deepwater Horizon rig
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Scientists Find Seafloor Fallout Plume of Oil from Deepwater Horizon Spill

Yale Environment 360 - October 28, 2014
Researchers say they have found a large fallout plume of oil on the seafloor from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon oil at the surface of the ocean disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a portion of the 2 million barrels of oil thought to be trapped in the deep sea after the spill appears to have settled across a 1,250-square-mile patch of the seafloor centered around the Macondo Well, which discharged an estimated 5 million barrels of oil in the nearly three months between its blowout in April and eventual capping in July. The oil is concentrated in the top half-inch of the seafloor, and mostly distributed in patchy deposits to the southwest of the well, the study found. These deposits account for between 4 and 31 percent of the Macondo oil sequestered in the deep ocean, researchers estimate. The rest has likely been deposited outside this area, they say, but has evaded detection so far because of its patchiness.
Categories: Environment, Health

New Research Affirms Girls' Interest in Public Service, Illustrates Immense Barriers

Girl Scouts of America - October 28, 2014
Girl Scouts of the USA today released findings from a new ”pulse poll” showing that while the majority of today’s teen and tween girls are interested in politics (67 percent), and most are engaged in political, civic, or leadership activities (93 percent), only a minority (37 percent) are interested in pursuing a career in politics. The pulse poll was conducted in September by the Girl Scout Research Institute with a national sample of more than 1,000 girls in the U.S. between the ages of 11 and 17, with demographics matched to the U.S. Census distribution of girls in this age range.According to Running for a Change: Girls and Politics(Girl Scout Research Institute, 2014), while the vast majority of girls (83 percent) have already participated in civic activities such as a cause or campaign, or engaged with an organization they believe in, they stop short of envisioning political careers for themselves, seeing politics as a man’s world, partially attributable to a media lens that favors men. Even in their teens and tweens, girls are already leaning away from the political arena, citing running for student government as an activity with little appeal for them.
“Girls today want to make a difference in the world,” says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “They are just looking for the best path to do it. We know girls want to be leaders and to make a positive impact on the world, which makes them excellent candidates for future politicians making decisions to benefit society. If girls aren’t seeing a political career as an option, then it’s time to look at the messages we are sending them—and to change those messages.
The discrepancy between girls’ desire to engage in the political world and their actual involvement in it is troubling. While, according to the poll, 78 percent of girls want to make a difference in the world and 76 percent want to help people, 92 percent of those girls believe there are other ways than politics to make a difference in the world—and 61 percent would rather be a movie star than president of the United States.
Interestingly, the fact that girls by and large don’t want to enter politics does not point to a lack of faith in their own abilities. Eighty-four percent of girls say “I am smart enough to have a career in politics.” What they are calling for is more support and encouragement from society, the media, and adults, to pursue a career in politics. Sixty-five percent of girls feel more mentoring from current politicians and positive stories in the press would encourage them to pursue political careers.  
"This new research shows real promise when it comes to girls’ political aspirations—but we need to give girls more support and opportunities to experience and get excited about politics,” says Senior Researcher Kamla Modi, Ph.D., of the Girl Scout Research Institute. “As the adults in their lives, we need to establish a culture that lifts up women in politics rather than pushes them down, so that girls—and all of us—can know a world where men and women are seen as equally qualified decision makers and ambassadors for change."
The pulse poll provides additional insights, including:
  • Girls see male and female politicians as equally capable but notice how the media depicts female politicians very negatively, portraying them as more motivated by their emotions, less competent, and less honest/trustworthy than their male counterparts.
  • The majority of girls believe that men are more likely than woman to be encouraged to pursue a career in politics and run for office, win an election, and be taken seriously as politicians.
  • Only 32 percent of girls believe that society encourages women to pursue careers as politicians, and 74 percent agree that if they went into politics, they’d have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously.
Read the full results of the pulse poll.
Categories: Environment

Deep Undercover: Police Officer in UK Fathered a Child with an Activist as Part of an Investigation

The EnvironmentaList - October 28, 2014
Court settlement raises new questions about ethics of police infiltration
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Anna Krauss Gives a Voice for Those Who Can’t Listen

Girl Scouts of America - October 27, 2014
Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and 2014 National Young Woman of Distinction Anna Krauss from Girl Scouts of Suffolk County lobbied to change the auditory test requirements for deaf students in the New York State Education System.  As a result, the state revised the Test Access Accommodations Guidelines for Students with Disabilities document so it would offer hearing impaired students the ability to use written text during the listening section of the state examination. Check out the below video to hear from Anna about her project!

This year, GSUSA received a record-breaking number of submissions from Girl Scouts across the nation, their Take Action projects tackling a broad spectrum of important issues, from green energy to gender-balanced leadership to sex trafficking. These young women had the courage to dream big and the persistence to make their dreams a reality.
Categories: Environment

Mature Forests Protect Waterways From Nitrogen Pollution, Researchers Find

Yale Environment 360 - October 27, 2014
Forest top soils capture and stabilize nitrogen pollution very quickly but release it slowly, according to new research published in the journal Ecology. The findings indicate that mature forests may be providing an under-appreciated service by storing excess nitrogen, which can lead to algal blooms and oxygen-depleted dead zones if too much is released into lakes and waterways. Older forests store nitrogen more efficiently than young forests recovering from clear-cuts, the researchers found, because they have accumulated more top soil and organic matter within the forest floor. Previously, it had been unclear how mature forests continued to capture and store nutrients such as nitrogen after they stopped adding tree biomass. The new research indicates it’s likely due to the delay between nitrogen uptake, which happens within days, and nitrogen release, which unfolds over years and decades.
Categories: Environment, Health

Innovations in Energy Storage Provide Boost for Renewables

Yale Environment 360 - October 27, 2014
Because utilities can't control when the sun shines or the wind blows, it has been difficult to fully incorporate solar and wind power into the electricity grid. But new technologies designed to store the energy produced by these clean power sources could soon be changing that. BY DAVE LEVITAN
Categories: Environment, Health

Indigenous Communities Challenge Big Oil in Belize

The EnvironmentaList - October 27, 2014
Groups push to keep US Capital Energy out of Sarstoon Temash National Park
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

New Mapping Tool Shows Geothermal Power Plants and Potential in U.S.

Yale Environment 360 - October 24, 2014
A new mapping tool from the U.S. Department of Energy lets users see how geothermal power plants


Geothermal power plants and heat flow potential across the country are taking advantage of the heat stored within the earth’s crust. Most of the nation’s 154 operational and planned geothermal plants are clustered in western states, where geothermal heat potential is especially high (red areas). Notably, the map identifies two areas that appear ripe for new geothermal development: one in the Great Plains and another at the border of Virginia and West Virginia. The bulk of the facilities are conventional geothermal plants, which generate power using fluid found naturally deep below earth's surface. Steam captured at the surface spins a turbine, which then powers an electric generator. A newer type of technology, called enhanced geothermal, forces cold water from the surface down into the hot crust. Both types are generally considered clean sources of energy.
Categories: Environment, Health

Washington Completes the First Fully Electrified Scenic Loop Drive

The EnvironmentaList - October 24, 2014
Travelers can now take 440-mile zero-emissions ride through the Cascades’ glacier-clad peaks and evergreen forests
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Drones Can Help Map Spread of Infectious Diseases, Researchers Say

Yale Environment 360 - October 23, 2014
Aerial drones can help track changes in the environment that may accelerate the spread of

Researchers in Malaysia program a drone infectious diseases, an international team of researchers writes in the journal Trends in Parasitology. Land use alterations, such as deforestation or agricultural changes, can affect the movement and distribution of people, animals, and insects that carry disease, the authors explain. One drone project, for example, tracked changes in mosquito and monkey habitats in Malaysia and the Philippines. By combining land-use information collected by drones with public health data, researchers there are hoping to better understand how changes in the environment affect the frequency of contact between people and disease vectors like mosquitoes and macaques, both of which can harbor the malaria parasite.
Categories: Environment, Health
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