Environment

Politics and Education Affect When People Search for Climate Information, Study Finds

Yale Environment 360 - July 16, 2014
People across the United States search the Internet for information on climate change when they experience unusual or severe weather events, but the timing of their searches differs based on political ideology and education levels, according to research published in the journal Climatic Change. An analysis of Google searches and weather patterns between 2004 and 2013 found that Democratic-leaning regions and those with higher education levels were more likely to seek information about climate change when average summer temperatures were above normal, whereas those in Republican and less educated areas sought climate change information when they experienced extreme heat. Searches peaked during weather consistent with climate change as well as during cold snaps, the study found. This could indicate that people who observe unusual extreme weather conditions are genuinely interested in learning more about climate change, or that climate deniers, when experiencing unusually cool weather, go online to confirm their skeptical views, the researcher speculated.
Categories: Environment, Health

Your Tax Dollars Fund Climate Change Denial

The EnvironmentaList - July 16, 2014
US still spending billions a year on fossil fuel subsidies
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

California Agriculture Relying Too Heavily on Groundwater Reserves in Drought

Yale Environment 360 - July 15, 2014
California's agriculture industry is relying too heavily on groundwater to irrigate drought-stricken farmlands — a trend that will not be sustainable long-term, according

Central Valley orchard to a study by the University of California, Davis. The drought, which is the third most severe on record, is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third, the study found. Groundwater pumping will likely replace most river water losses, and some areas have more than doubled their pumping rate over the previous year. If the drought continues for two more years, the report says, groundwater reserves will continue to be depleted to replace surface water losses and pumping ability will slowly decrease, which could affect crop production. So far in the current drought, 428,000 acres of cropland — roughly 5 percent — has been made fallow across the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California.
Categories: Environment, Health

Five Questions for Jeffrey Sachs On Decarbonizing the Economy

Yale Environment 360 - July 15, 2014
Thirty scientific institutions from 15 countries last week released a report for the United Nations outlining how Jeffrey Sachs
the world’s major carbon dioxide-emitting nations can slash those emissions by mid-century. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the initiative aims to provide leaders with a plan of action in advance of a UN summit in September and climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015. Yale Environment 360 asked Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a key player in the decarbonization project, five questions about the initiative and the prospects for global action on the climate front.
Read more.
Categories: Environment, Health

Let’s Have a Marshall Plan for Clean Energy in the Caribbean

The EnvironmentaList - July 15, 2014
The vulnerable islands are a perfect laboratory to test out renewable energy solutions to our climate crisis
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Human Activity Has Caused Long-term Drought in Australia, Model Shows

Yale Environment 360 - July 14, 2014
A new high-resolution climate model shows that southwestern Australia's long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall, which began around 1970 and has increased over the last four decades, is caused by

Click to Enlarge

Projected rainfall trends in Australia increases in man-made greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research published in Nature Geoscience. Simulating both natural and man-made climate effects, scientists showed that the decline in rainfall is primarily driven by human activity. Rises in greenhouse gas emissions and thinning of the ozone hole have led to changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, including a poleward movement of the westerly winds and increasing atmospheric surface pressure over parts of southern Australia. This has led to decreased rainfall, the study said. The drying is most severe over southwest Australia, where the model forecasts a 40 percent decline in average rainfall by the late 21st century, with significant implications for regional water resources.
Categories: Environment, Health

$30,000 to the First Person Who Can Prove Man-Made Climate Change Isn’t Real

The EnvironmentaList - July 14, 2014
Physicist Christopher Keating’s challenge to climate skeptics goes viral
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Helsinki Aims to Slash Car Use With New Apps and Transit Services

Yale Environment 360 - July 11, 2014
The Finnish capital is developing a new “mobility on demand” transport network that it hopes will sharply reduce personal car use and ownership by 2025, the Guardian reports. Helsinki officials say they will transform the existing public transportation system by using smartphone apps and new transit services that will provide convenient, relatively inexpensive, and often personalized transportation options. Central to their plan is a smartphone app that will enable users to specify a destination and then get there via a new minibus system, bike share services, ferries, trams, ride sharing, and, eventually, driverless cars. Officials say the app will serve both as a journey planner and a universal payment platform. Helsinki will expand an innovative new minibus system called Kutsuplus that lets riders specify a desired pick-up point and destinations via their smartphone; these requests are aggregated and the app calculates an optimal route that most closely satisfies the various requests.
Categories: Environment, Health

Blog: Celebrating Operation USA’s 35th Anniversary

Operation USA - July 11, 2014

Thirty-five years ago today, on July 12, 1979, Operation USA, then known as “Operation California,” launched its first-ever relief effort–aiding 44,000 Vietnamese “Boat People” refugees suffering on Pulau Bidong (a waterless and treeless rock island) in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaysia.


Richard Walden visits with Cambodian refugees in Thailand, 1982.

Only 29 days earlier a friend and I had dreamed up the idea for a relief airlift while sitting on the beach in Venice, California. We never dreamed that what was to be a one-time effort would continue on to a second flight carrying supplies to Cambodian and Lao refugees in camps in Thailand, and then a relief flight directly into genocide and famine-ravaged Cambodia, which had been cut off from the world for more than three years under Khmer Rouge rule. As 1979 turned into 1980 we sent aid to Somalia, and a year later to Central America, followed by the delivery of aid to victims of civil unrest in Poland and Lebanon in 1982… and so it has gone.

Now, 35 years later–having sent disaster aid and/or having created development projects in 100 countries–I look back in wonder, and with profound gratitude to all those who have taken part in this adventure.


Richard Walden with founding board member Julie Andrews, 1983.

From the construction of schools in China to the delivery of medical supplies and equipment in Africa to long-term disaster recovery in Haiti and the United States, Operation USA has successfully developed programs around the world. We continue to offer material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, education, health services, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people–with more programs being developed with each passing year.

Still, there is far more to be done by our organization (which I’m proud to say is 100% privately-funded)–and by the larger and growing nongovernmental and governmental sectors–but I rejoice at the challenges we face and the possibility to attract new and “fresh eyes” to our work in the months and years ahead.


Richard Walden visits school children in China, 2014.

We truly are “the little ship that gets in the harbor where the big ships cannot go” (so says Julie Andrews, a founding board member), and I could not be more proud of how far Operation USA has come since that first relief flight 35 years ago today. I look forward to all we are able to accomplish–with your continued support–in the future.

To learn more about Operation USA’s full history, click here.

To make a donation in support of our work, click here.

Categories: Environment

A Ramble Through the Woods Can Help Beat Stress-Related Health Issues

The EnvironmentaList - July 11, 2014
The Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”, is now supported by a growing body of research
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

El Faro No. 13 - Gaceta Trimestral de Comunidades Costeras

Costa Salvaje - July 11, 2014
El Faro No. 13 - Gaceta Trimestral de Comunidades Costeras
Categories: Environment

Are You Coming to the Ultimate Girls’ Weekend?!

Girl Scouts of America - July 10, 2014
Register now—early bird registration and savings end July 15!
Girl Scout conventions only happen every three years. This year we will be celebrating at Girl Scouts’ 53rd national convention in the spectacular Salt Lake City, Utah, October 16–19, 2014. This is your year to reunite with friends, deepen and share your knowledge of Girl Scouts, and help invigorate a global movement of girls, women, and men around the theme "Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World."

We’re delighted that so many incredible speakers and entertainers—news makers, leaders, and policy makers from across the country and around the world—are joining us to celebrate and advocate on behalf of girls. You also won’t want to miss out on the many stimulating and entertaining activities, from theme dinners and parties to the Hall of Experiences to conversations on issues important to girls and society. You can make it even more amazing by adding in some attractions and adventures unique to Utah.
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). Then registerby July 15 to save big—$70 on our four-day alumna and visitor packagesinvite your friends and get ready to celebrate all the great things Girl Scouts do. Let’s convention!
Categories: Environment

A Possible Advance in Fight To Combat a Deadly Amphibian Fungus

Yale Environment 360 - July 10, 2014
Scientists have discovered that a certain kind of toad can acquire immunity to the deadly chytrid fungus, which has caused widespread mortality among amphibians worldwide. Reporting in Nature, the scientists say they have conferred immunity in oak toads to the chytrid fungus after repeatedly exposing them to the organism that causes the disease. The lead author of the study, Jason Rohr of the University of South Florida, said the discovery means it might be possible to confer immunity on entire communities of amphibians in the wild by lacing local water sources with dead versions of the fungus that could be absorbed by the amphibians. But Rohr said many questions remain, including how long immunity lasts, what concentration of released antigen would confer immunity, and whether such releases would harm other organisms. The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, attacks the skin of amphibians, thickening it and preventing the animals from absorbing water and vital salts.
Categories: Environment, Health

Loss of Snowpack and Glaciers In Rockies Poses Water Threat

Yale Environment 360 - July 10, 2014
From the Columbia River basin in the U.S. to the Prairie Provinces of Canada, scientists and policy makers are confronting a future in which the loss of snow and ice in the Rocky Mountains could imperil water supplies for agriculture, cities and towns, and hydropower production. BY ED STRUZIK
Categories: Environment, Health

From Personalized Climate to Trash Trackers, Researchers Explore Radical Redesign of Cities

The EnvironmentaList - July 10, 2014
MIT's Senseable Cities Lab advocates using social media to build “open source,” sustainable urban spaces
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Blog: The #OperationGirl Challenge

Operation USA - July 09, 2014

Starting July 9th, John Legend, RYOT and the Burkle Global Impact Initiative are teaming up to launch the #OperationGirl Charity Challenge, a fundraising campaign for charities focused on women and girls.

Among the painful lessons that Operation USA has learned in 35 years in the field is that women and children are disproportionately victimized by natural disasters, warfare, violence and poverty. They are the hardest hit, the least prepared and, invariably, those who experience the greatest difficulties in recovering from disaster and devastating traumas. That’s why Operation USA supports programs designed to help women and their children pull themselves out of the prisons of gender discrimination, physical brutality and generational poverty.

The funds we raise during this Challenge will support programs aiding women and girls both abroad and here in the United States. In the US, funding will be directed to partners in the South providing skill-building, leadership training, emotional support and much more for at-risk young girls affected by poverty and displacement from disaster; and to Native American partners in the Midwest providing skill building and career training for teenage girls living on reservations. Internationally, funding will be directed to partners in Cambodia and Vietnam providing micro-loans, livelihood training, and health and mental health programs to women and children living in rural areas.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OPERATION USA NOW!

The best part of participating in the #OperationGirl Challenge is the opportunity to win up to $50,000 in bonus challenge prizes! The team that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $50,000 donation. Second place gets $20,000, third gets $10,000, and, there will be weekly Bonus Challenges for charities to win up to another $20,000. Every donation to Operation USA’s fundraiser–large or small–brings us one step closer to thousands of dollars in funding for women and girls around the world.

Will you help us get there? Give today.

Categories: Environment

One-third of German Power Came from Renewables in First Half of 2014

Yale Environment 360 - July 09, 2014
Thanks to abundant sunshine and wind, renewable energy generated 31 percent of Germany’s electricity in the first six months of this year, according to a new report. The report, released by the Fraunhofer Insititute, said that 27 percent of the country’s electricity production came from wind and solar, and four percent from hydropower. Solar power generation grew by 28 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the first six months of 2013, and wind power grew by 19 percent over the same period. On a couple of particularly windy and sunny days in May and June, renewable energy accounted for 50 to 75 percent of Germany’s electricity production, the report said. The Fraunhofer Institute said that as Germany continues to phase out its nuclear power plants, it remains reliant on highly polluting “brown coal” to produce electricity. A substantial portion of German coal-generated electricity is being exported, the report said.
Categories: Environment, Health

A Simple Measure is Dramatically Reducing Albatross Deaths in South African Waters

The EnvironmentaList - July 09, 2014
15 of the world’s 22 albatross species are at risk of extinction, but they can be saved
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Protection of Parrotfish Could Slow Decline of Caribbean Reefs

Yale Environment 360 - July 08, 2014
The steady loss of coral reefs in the Caribbean could be partially reversed by taking a number of relatively simple steps, including stronger measures to protect the region’s parrotfish, according to a new study. In a review of trends in Caribbean coral reefs from 1970 to 2012, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network said that live coral only makes up about 17 percent of the region’s reef surfaces today. If present trends continue, the study said, coral reefs in the Caribbean will “virtually disappear within a few decades” because of foreign pathogens, algae invasions, pollution from tourism development, over-fishing, and warming waters. A key step in halting the decline is protecting parrotfish, which eat the algae that have been smothering coral reefs. The study said conservation measures, such as banning fish traps, have helped parrotfish populations rebound in some parts of the Caribbean, including Belize and the Bahamas.
Categories: Environment, Health
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