Environment

Half of the Planet's Animals Lost Since 1970, Report Says

Yale Environment 360 - 3 hours 44 min ago
The number of animals on the planet has fallen 52 percent in the last 40 years, according to an analysis by

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Animal population trend since 1970 the conservation organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The group's Living Planet Index, which tracked the populations of more than 10,000 vertebrate species from 1970 to 2010, revealed major declines in key populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The situation is most dire in developing countries, the report said, where wildlife populations have fallen on average by 58 percent. Latin America saw the biggest declines, with more than 80 percent of the region's animals lost since 1970. Globally, freshwater populations have plummeted 76 percent. This year's numbers are worse than those calculated in the last report in 2012, which found declines of 30 percent since 1970. The organization attributed this to new statistical weighting, which it said better represents each region's biodiversity, though other researchers have been critical of the new methodology. Habitat loss and degradation, driven by what WWF calls unsustainable human consumption, were cited as the primary causes of biodiversity loss.
Categories: Environment, Health

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Paige Young

Girl Scouts of America - 6 hours 24 min ago
The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the Girl Scout Blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 national convention in Salt Lake City this October.
Paige Young: Hope for HaitiAge: 17Hometown: Overland Park, KansasYears of Girl Scouting: 13
Inspiration:
Three summers ago, Paige decided to do something different than most of her friends for summer vacation and joined the Global Orphan Project, an international orphan care organization, on a mission trip to Haiti. She was surprised to see how joyful these children could be in the face of such great poverty (Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere). She was inspired to help. After doing a little extra research about the needs of the people and country, Paige took action.
How Paige is Changing the World:
With the help of the Global Orphan Project, Paige designed “Hope for Haiti,” a program targeting several areas of Haitian life in need of improvement, including education and the environment. Hope for Haiti began at Paige’s home, where she made 80 backpacks out of hospital blue sterile wrap saved from a nearby landfill. Partnering with the CEO of a nearby medical center, Paige ensured the wrap could be continually provided. Then, she hosted four sewing days before filling the resulting backpacks with supplies and delivering them to Haiti.
To take her project a step further, Paige traveled again to Haiti herself. In order to teach locals how to make and distribute the backpacks themselves, Paige set up a sewing center. The center was a major success. Since she left, the women have continued to open the center every Monday. And after a year, the program merged into the Pathways program, providing older orphans with vocational education.
Paige realized that helping people means working with them, not for them. Paige did exactly that, helping people develop skills on their own, and at the same time, improving her own. Her success so far with Hope for Haiti has proved that it has the potential to be a powerful international movement.
Next Steps:
Paige is attending the University of Missouri this fall, studying International Peace and Conflicts studies. She is hoping to join the Peace Corps following college. Girl Scouts will honor Paige and her fellow National Young Women of Distinction on Sunday, October 19 at our 2014 Girl Scout Convention.
Categories: Environment

System of Rice Intensification Brings Hope to Global Rice Production

The EnvironmentaList - 7 hours 52 min ago
SRI methods generate higher rice yields using less water
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Inexpensive Solar Cell Makes Hydrogen Fuel from Sunlight

Yale Environment 360 - September 29, 2014
Researchers have developed a device that can store solar energy by inexpensively converting it to hydrogen — Electrodes split water to hydrogen and oxygen. an important step toward making solar power available around the clock. The technology, which which was recently described in the journal Science, is a type of "water splitter," a device that can efficiently divide water into its constituent parts: hydrogen and oxygen. The concept is important for solar energy storage because hydrogen gas can be used directly as fuel and is relatively easy to store, the researchers say. The device can convert 12.3 percent of the energy in sunlight to hydrogen, according to the report; conventional solar cells, in comparison, convert roughly 16 percent of energy from sunlight to electricity, but a significant portion of that energy is lost when converting it to a form that is easily stored. The design of this water splitter is an improvement over previous iterations, the researchers say, but the device's longevity and reliability will need to improve before it becomes a practical, large-scale solar energy storage option.
Categories: Environment, Health

Beyond Treaties: A New Way of Framing Global Climate Action

Yale Environment 360 - September 29, 2014
As negotiators look to next year’s UN climate conference in Paris, there is increasing discussion of a new way forward that does not depend on sweeping international agreements. Some analysts are pointing to Plan B — recasting the climate issue as one of national self-interest rather than global treaties. BY FRED PEARCE
Categories: Environment, Health

Stalked from the Skies

The EnvironmentaList - September 29, 2014
Do drones have a place in hunting?
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Aral Sea Basin Dry for First Time in Modern History, Satellite Images Show

Yale Environment 360 - September 26, 2014
For the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has gone completely dry, as this

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Drying of Aral Sea NASA satellite image captured in late August shows. The Aral Sea is an inland body of water lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. It was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, but it has been shrinking markedly and dividing into smaller lobes since the 1960s, after the government of the former Soviet Union diverted the region's two major rivers to irrigate farmland. One Aral Sea researcher suggested that it has likely been at least 600 years since the eastern basin entirely disappeared. Decreasing precipitation and snowpack in its watershed led to the drying this year, and huge withdrawals for irrigation exacerbated the problem. Water levels are expected to continue to show major year-to-year variations depending on precipitation and snowpack levels, the researcher said.
Categories: Environment, Health

Five Ways Ban Ki-moon’s Summit Has Changed International Climate Politics Forever

The EnvironmentaList - September 26, 2014
The UN climate summit in New York decided nothing – but it has helped put climate change back on the agenda
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

In Review: Mission Blue

The EnvironmentaList - September 26, 2014
Diving into the life of renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Let's Convention! Time is Running Out on Advance Registration

Girl Scouts of America - September 25, 2014
Take action! Advance registration for 2014's Girl Scout Convention ends October 2.
That’s right—it’s not too late to register for the 2014 Girl Scout Convention—and girls can still register for the Girl Scout Leadership Institute! So there is still time to get in on the fun and invite friends and family members to join in too. And don’t forget the great learning opportunities that begin before the full kick off of convention, including Girl Scout History Conference 2014 and Girl Scout University.
Those who are already registered can add activities before October 2 by going to the registration site, clicking on “modify an existing registration,” and signing in.
Don’t delay—Advance registration will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 2.

This year, Girl Scouts of Utah is the host of the Girl Scouts’ 53rd national convention in the spectacular Salt Lake City, Utah, October 16–19, 2014. Learn more about attending, including discounted travel arrangements and special gatherings that start a few days before convention's official kickoff (including Girl Scout History Conference 2014 and several learning opportunities).  Register Now!
Categories: Environment

World's Largest Coal Company Plans Billion-Dollar Solar Project in India

Yale Environment 360 - September 25, 2014
Continuing its push to increase investment in renewable energy, India’s energy ministry is working with the Gevra mine, operated by Coal India Limited state-controlled coal mining company Coal India Limited — the largest coal mining operation in the world — to install solar power projects worth $1.2 billion. The company is in the process of selecting sites for solar plants, which are expected to have a combined total energy-generating capacity of 1,000 megawatts, the Times of India reports. India currently has roughly 2,200 megawatts of grid-connected solar power capacity, so Coal India Limited's contribution would be a substantial increase. When prime minister Narendra Modi took office earlier this year, he pledged to bring electricity to the homes of the nation's entire population of 1.2 billion — 400 million of whom lack any access to electricity — within the next five years, largely through solar projects.
Categories: Environment, Health

Cashes Ledge: New England's Rich Underwater Laboratory

Yale Environment 360 - September 25, 2014


A little over 70 miles off the coast of New England, an unusual undersea mountain range, known as Cashes Ledge, rises from the seabed. Regulators are contemplating lifting a 12-year-old ban on commercial groundfishing in some parts of this area, sparking a roiling debate. What's not in question, however, is that the highest peak in the range, Ammen Rock, teems with kelp forests, sea sponges, and a wide variety of fish and mollusks — much of it captured by ocean photographer Brian Skerry during dives made earlier this year.
View the gallery.
Categories: Environment, Health

Effective Public Comment

The EnvironmentaList - September 25, 2014
How to make your voice heard in the environmental review process
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Volunteer Spotlight: Leslie Vernon-Blake, Like Mother, Like Daughters, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

Girl Scouts of America - September 24, 2014
With recruitment in full-swing, we are continuing our series that will share stories about some of our amazing volunteers with the entire Girl Scouts community.  There are 30,000 girls waiting for the chance to be a Girl Scout, so the time is now to build our volunteer force!  These exceptional people prove that anyone can be a Girl Scout volunteer:  they are young professionals, senior citizens, men, and so much more.  And 88% of Girl Scout volunteers believe their lives are better because they volunteer. So what are you waiting for? Volunteer today!
Like many parents, Leslie Blake wanted to pass on the things she loved as a child to her three daughters. But none stood out more than her favorite childhood activity: Girl Scouts.
“In Mount Vernon, New York, I had a Girl Scout leader named Ms. Johnson,” recalled Leslie. “I was always encouraged to try new things…like doing plays, crafting, and travelling to Mexico. She was the kindest and most encouraging leader I could have hoped for. I’m sure it’s what motivated me to want my daughters to experience [Girl Scouts] in their own lives.”
“In addition, my mother, Ruth Vernon, inspired me greatly. As a high school counselor and administrator at an inner city school, she motivated so many young women to achieve great things, which I got to see.”
As a troop leader for her youngest daughter, Ajaya (AJ), and her goddaughter, Zenah, Leslie has been leading the same group of 12 girls, many of them since they were Daisies (kindergarteners and first graders). While this is most likely the last troop she’ll lead, she plans to continue volunteering with Girl Scouts in a different capacity. “I’ve led troops for all three of my daughters, and for a period of six years or so I had three troops concurrently. But most of them have grown up and bridged to adults, so this is the last of the bunch.”             Judging by the current whereabouts of her daughters, it seems Girl Scouts instilled a spirit of service and togetherness that persists to this day. Leslie’s oldest daughter, Aisha, graduated college and is doing a year of service in Detroit; and her middle daughter, Jamila, a junior at the University of Delaware, was selected as a National Young Woman of Distinction in 2013.
“It [Jamila’s Gold Award project] was clearly done from her heart, emerging from seeds planted in middle school,” Leslie said. “Her project, Roots for Peace, ended up being such a collaborative effort between Jamila and her sisters and troop as well as the community. Aisha exposed her in middle school to these issues, and then AJ worked hand-in-hand with troop members and other peers on Jamila’s ‘executive committee’ as she called it.”
The unity shown by her daughters, as well as her troop, exemplifies the effect that Girl Scouts has on girls of all ages. But Leslie will accept none of the credit when asked about keeping the girls interested for so long. “It wasn’t me,” she said, “they kept each other together. They set their own course for what they wanted to do. I’d suggest things so they could be exposed to certain aspects, but they’ve incorporated [these things] into activities that are relevant to their lives.”        For example, they worked on resumes while having a pizza party, as most of the girls were evaluating where they wanted to go to college. “They’re more creative than I could ever be,” said Leslie, deflecting all praise to her troop.
But ultimately, Leslie leads by example. She always wants young people to join her as a troop leader, and to carry a torch to lead the next generation. “Just try to create an environment you might have enjoyed as a young person,” Leslie advised. “Try to foster a sisterhood among them where it’s always safe to be who you are and to try new things.”
She remembered one shy girl who blossomed into a confident young woman. “I watched her go from a girl who was uncomfortable talking around her peers, to being onstage with a theater troupe and dancing solo at different events. Years later she let me know that her experience in Girl Scouts helped her test the boundaries of what she could do.” That girl is just one example out of many who have been positively impacted by Girl Scouts. She absolutely will not be the last.
Categories: Environment

Nations and Corporations Pledge to End Forest Loss by 2030 at UN Summit

Yale Environment 360 - September 24, 2014
The U.S., Canada, and the European Union agreed at yesterday's UN climate summit to cut global Deforestation for palm oil in Malaysian Borneo deforestation in half by the end of the decade and eliminate net forest losses entirely by 2030, marking the first time such a deadline has been set. If the goal is met, it will cut carbon emissions by an amount equal to taking 1 billion vehicles — every car on the planet — off the road, the UN said. Notably missing from the list of committed countries was Brazil, which has been a key player in Amazon deforestation, because of concerns that the pledge would clash with national laws permitting managed deforestation. Critics say ending deforestation is nearly impossible without Brazil's cooperation. In addition to the 32 national governments that signed onto the declaration, 35 corporations, including Kellogg's, L'Oreal, and Nestle, pledged to support sustainable forest practices in their supply chains.
Categories: Environment, Health

The Overview: Alberta Tar Sands

Yale Environment 360 - September 24, 2014


These satellite images, taken from July 1984 through May 2011, reveal the development of the Athabasca oil sands, commonly called "tar sands," which lie at the heart of Alberta’s oil deposits. Tar sands mining, which has become a significant issue for environmentalists, has been rapid and extensive, growing to cover nearly 260 square miles of the Canadian province by 2011. Nearly 2 million barrels of oil are produced every day, according to the Alberta government, with production expected to grow to nearly 4 million barrels per day over the next decade.
View the images.
Categories: Environment, Health

On Shaky Ground

The EnvironmentaList - September 24, 2014
Longwall coal mining is sinking farmland in Illinois
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Happy National Women's Health and Fitness Day!

Girl Scouts of America - September 23, 2014
It's that time of year again! 
The start of fall marks the return of pumpkin spice lattes, your favorite warm comfort foods, and pies... lots and lots of pies. And while sweet treats are a part of what makes the start of a new season so enjoyable (in moderation, of course), it's important to sprinkle a helping of physical activity onto your plate, no matter how full it may be.


In honor of National Women's Health and Fitness Day, we're encouraging YOU to get out, get active, and stay healthy! Whether you're participating in some of your favorite fall sports like football or cheerleading, or testing out the recipes for healthy alternatives to your favorite fall dishes, you owe it to yourself to live your best life! 


Since 1912, we've been committed to helping girls develop healthy habits—so much so that we've developed an entire program devoted entirely to keeping girls healthy and fit. And it doesn't stop there: we recently partnered with Nestlé to encourage girls to adopt a healthy lifestyle through the GirlSports program. Through GirlSports, girls everywhere are setting an example for the rest of the world by breaking a sweat in the name of fitness. You can see some of their skills in our recent GirlSports photo challenge
So how are you staying healthy today?
Categories: Environment

Food Security Issues Often Neglected After Extreme Weather Events

Yale Environment 360 - September 23, 2014
Extreme weather events — the sort likely to arise with increasing frequency as the planet warms — took a heavy toll on Russia and East Africa in 2010 and 2011, in large part because governments and authorities were ill-equipped to address resulting food shortages and other fallout, according to researchers at the University of Oxford. Russia experienced a heat wave that led to food hoarding and price-fixing of staple crops by speculators, according to the report, which was commissioned by Oxfam. A drought in East Africa in 2010 through 2011 was tied to an uptick in armed conflicts in the region, which interrupted international and domestic aid for six months. Crop prices reached record levels in several markets, including wheat in Ethiopia, maize in Kenya, and red sorghum grain in Somalia, the report notes. Investing in additional health facilities, establishing pre-positioned food supplies, and other tactics aimed at mitigating the effects of future heat waves, droughts, and floods, could help to blunt the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable populations, the researchers say.
Categories: Environment, Health

Oil Companies Quietly Prepare For a Future of Carbon Pricing

Yale Environment 360 - September 23, 2014
The major oil companies in the U.S. have not had to pay a price for the contribution their products make to climate change. But internal accounting by the companies, along with a host of other signs, suggest that may soon change — though the implications of a price on carbon are far from clear. BY MARK SCHAPIRO AND JASON SCORSE
Categories: Environment, Health
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