Environment

Parasitic Flatworm Could Be Major Threat to Coral Reefs, Scientists Say

Yale Environment 360 - April 11, 2014
A coral-eating flatworm with a unique camouflaging strategy could be a major threat to the world's coral reefs, according to researchers in the U.K. The parasite, called Amakusaplana acroporae, infects a type of staghorn coral known as acropora, a major component Amakusaplana acroporae, a parasitic coral flatworm of reefs, and can destroy its coral host very quickly. The parasite has been detected at the Great Barrier Reef, and because it has no known natural predators, researchers are concerned it could spread quickly and decimate reefs worldwide. A novel camouflaging strategy makes the flatworm difficult to detect and monitor, the researchers say. When eating the coral tissue, the worm also ingests the coral's symbiotic algae. Instead of digesting the algae completely, the worm keeps a fraction of them alive and distributes them, along with the fluorescent pigments that give coral its characteristic hue, throughout its gut so that it perfectly mimics the appearance of the coral. The parasite has been identified in numerous aquarium-based corals, and biologists worry that it could spread rapidly if aquarium-raised coral, fish, or seaweed are introduced to natural reef environments.
Categories: Environment, Health

Overpopulation Must Remain a Key Issue for Environmentalists

The EnvironmentaList - April 11, 2014
A second take on Alan Weisman’s Countdown
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Why US Fracking Companies are Licking their Lips Over Ukraine

The EnvironmentaList - April 10, 2014
From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine, writes Naomi Klein
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Mapping Program Helps Cities See Money Saved by Planting Trees

Yale Environment 360 - April 10, 2014
New open-source software is helping cities better understand the benefits trees provide by calculating the value of the trees' ecosystem services, such as air quality improvements and CO2 storage. More than a dozen

Click to Enlarge

San Diego's mapped trees cities have undertaken tree inventory initiatives, thanks to the OpenTreeMap software, and residents have helped map more than 1.1 million trees worldwide. In addition to plotting a tree's location, users record its size, species, and other parameters that allow the software to calculate the tree's ecological value in terms of dollars saved through such benefits as cleaner air. San Diego's more than 340,000 mapped trees, for example, are estimated to provide the city more than $7 million in benefits each year, including $4 million in air quality benefits and $2 million in reduced energy costs. In the coming months, the software will allow city managers to decide where to plant trees for maximum environmental benefit.
Categories: Environment, Health

Will Increased Food Production Devour Tropical Forest Lands?

Yale Environment 360 - April 10, 2014
As global population soars, efforts to boost food production will inevitably be focused on the world’s tropical regions. Can this agricultural transformation be achieved without destroying the remaining tropical forests of Africa, South America, and Asia? BY WILLIAM LAURANCE
Categories: Environment, Health

Addressing Food Security in Cape Town, One Garden at a Time

The EnvironmentaList - April 10, 2014
Home gardens in crime-ravaged community prove the power of resourcefulness in the face of adversity
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

California’s San Joaquin tops list of America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers

The EnvironmentaList - April 09, 2014
This isn’t a list of the worst rivers, but of rivers at crossroads, says American Rivers
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

On Far-Flung Wrangel Island, A Scientist Sizes up Muskoxen

Yale Environment 360 - April 09, 2014
As a field biologist for the University of Montana and the Wildlife Conservation Society, Joel Berger has been to his share of end-of-the-earth places. But few have

Muskoxen on Wrangel Island rivaled Wrangel Island, the rugged, frozen outpost located 300 miles above the Arctic Circle in Russia’s extreme Far East. In the first of three reports for Yale e360, Berger describes the arduous trip to Wrangel and the scientific work that has taken him there — research with Russian colleagues on the island’s 900 muskoxen, a shaggy beast that is a relic from the Pleistocene era. In subsequent reports, Berger will describe the motley assortment of wildlife that has colonized Wrangel and the contrasting impacts of climate change on eastern Siberia and Arctic Alaska.
Read more.
Categories: Environment, Health

Call climate change what it is: violence

The EnvironmentaList - April 08, 2014
Social unrest and famine, superstorms and droughts. Places, species and human beings – none will be spared. Welcome to Occupy Earth
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

'Living Fences' Have Dramatically Cut Livestock and Lion Killings in Tanzania

Yale Environment 360 - April 08, 2014
A novel, low-tech idea is helping Tanzania's lion population rebound: So-called "living fences" — which enclose livestock and are constructed of actively growing trees and chain-link fencing — have cut lion A Masai villager installs a living fence. attacks and retaliatory killings by more than 85 percent in the areas they've been installed, the Guardian reports. Traditionally, the Masai have built livestock enclosures out of thorny acacia trees, but those fences are relatively fragile. Chain-link fencing alone is more durable, but leopards and small lions can scale the fences, and hyenas can tunnel in below. By interweaving actively growing African myrrh trees with the chain link fencing, the Masai have created a barrier that lions can't climb over, and their root systems prevent predators from digging under the fence. Because livestock predation has been cut, communities that had been killing six or seven lions annually now kill, on average, less than one, leading to a rebound in lion populations.
Categories: Environment, Health

A Personal Note on Peter Matthiessen, Who Wrote Eloquently of the Natural World

Yale Environment 360 - April 08, 2014
For an editor, the prospect of working with Peter Matthiessen was intimidating. He was one of our finest writers, and he wrote with such poetic precision and lyrical grace that at first it felt presumptuous to propose Peter Matthiessen any changes to his writing at all. That feeling was heightened by his strong physical presence — an odd mix of Manhattan patrician, rugged outdoorsman, and Zen priest (all of which he was). And yet when I worked as his editor on several magazine articles in the 1990s, it was an immensely satisfying experience. He listened Zen-like, carefully considering all my editing suggestions (with him, they were suggestions only), and to my delight, accepted almost all of them. Matthiessen died on April 5 at the age of 86, near the Long Island waters he so loved to fish. Read more of e360 editor Roger Cohn’s appreciation of Matthiessen.
Categories: Environment, Health

A Note on Peter Matthiessen, Who Wrote Elegantly of the Natural World

Yale Environment 360 - April 08, 2014
For an editor, the prospect of working with Peter Matthiessen was intimidating. He was one of our finest writers, and he wrote with such poetic precision and lyrical grace that at first it felt presumptuous to propose Peter Matthiessen any changes to his writing at all. That feeling was heightened by his strong physical presence — an odd mix of Manhattan patrician, rugged outdoorsman, and Zen priest (all of which he was). And yet when I worked as his editor on several magazine articles in the 1990s, it was an immensely satisfying experience. He listened Zen-like, carefully considering all my editing suggestions (with him, they were suggestions only), and to my delight, accepted almost all of them. Matthiessen died last Saturday at the age of 86, near the Long Island waters he so loved to fish. Read more of e360 editor Roger Cohn’s appreciation of Matthiessen.
Categories: Environment, Health

Spring Cleaning: Dusting Toxins Off Couches

The EnvironmentaList - April 08, 2014
Proposed California bill aims to inform consumers and reduce use of toxic flame retardants
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

OpUSA Staff Profile: Meet Mary Dolan

Operation USA - April 07, 2014

Meet the faces of our organization! Our new Staff Profile blog series will introduce you to the people behind Operation USA. Check back every few weeks for new updates. This week, get to know our Director of Social Media & Media Outreach, Mary.


Mary (second from left) with her brothers and sister, summer 2013.

NAME: Mary

HOMETOWN: Worcester, MA (45 minutes outside Boston)

WORKING AT OPUSA SINCE: 2012 (full time since 2013)

TITLE: Director, Social Media and Media Outreach

PRIMARY JOB FUNCTIONS: Managing OpUSA’s social media accounts, developing communication strategies, e-mail marketing, website management, event planning and public/media relations.

BEFORE OPUSA I WAS: Working in the marketing department at a beauty company that operated a network of “how to” sites for women.

WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT OPUSA: Working with such passionate people to make a real, lasting difference in communities affected by disaster and poverty.

CAUSES I CARE ABOUT: Creating opportunities for women, food security, and generating access to educational resources for kids around the world.

MY BEST OPUSA MEMORY: My first week as a full time staffer, seeing how quickly people mobilized and came together to help in Oklahoma following devastating tornadoes.

IF I COULD SIT DOWN FOR DINNER WITH ANYONE IT WOULD BE: Hrmm.. it’s hard to choose! But I’d probably say Sheryl Sandberg.
BECAUSE: She’s a savvy and successful businesswoman, and is an inspirational leader for women not only in business but also in the tech industry, which is predominantly male. Before becoming COO of Facebook, she helped launch the philanthropic arm of Google, so I bet she’d have a lot of practical advice for the nonprofit sector.

THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME:
1. I went to an arts magnet middle/high school and studied theatre for six years
2. I’m addicted to HGTV
3. I can recite the “Peter Piper” tongue twister perfectly in one breath
4. I can’t whistle
5. I spend at least an hour a day Google-ing random facts

ON WEEKENDS YOU CAN FIND ME: Hanging out with friends, reading a good book, or outside riding my bike or playing tennis.

FAVORITE QUOTE: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln

CONNECT WITH ME:
Twitter: @doleface

Categories: Environment

Newfound Atmospheric `Hole' Threatens Polar Ozone Layer, Scientists Say

Yale Environment 360 - April 07, 2014
Researchers have discovered a large opening in the Earth's atmosphere that is enabling pollutants to rise Pacific atmosphere hole an elevator to the stratosphere into the stratosphere and destroy ozone. The hole, which is in a part of the lower atmosphere called the "OH shield," is several thousand kilometers long and is centered over the tropical west Pacific Ocean. It's relatively close to Southeast Asia, a region with a booming population and rapidly increasing air pollution. The hole is a major concern because the OH shield usually scrubs air of chemical compounds emitted near the ground before they can reach the stratosphere, where those compounds can persist for long periods of time, reacting with and destroying ozone, say researchers at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute who identified the hole. The newly discovered phenomenon acts as a sort of elevator, researchers say, drawing chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur dioxide, and other contaminants straight up to the stratosphere and bypassing the OH shield scrub.
Categories: Environment, Health

E360 Announces Contest for Best Environmental Videos

Yale Environment 360 - April 07, 2014
Yale Environment 360 is holding a contest to honor the best environmental videos. Entries must be videos that focus on an environmental issue or theme, have not been widely viewed online, and are a maximum of 15 minutes in length. The first-place winner will receive $2,000, and two runners-up will each receive $500. The winning entries will be posted on Yale Environment 360. The deadline for entries is June 6, 2014. Read further contest information.
Categories: Environment, Health

On Fracking Front, A Push To Reduce Leaks of Methane

Yale Environment 360 - April 07, 2014
Scientists, engineers, and government regulators are increasingly turning their attention to solving one of the chief environmental problems associated with fracking for natural gas and oil – significant leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. BY ROGER REAL DROUIN
Categories: Environment, Health

ABC Bakers’ Girl Scout Cookies Still Contain Unsustainable Palm Oil

The EnvironmentaList - April 07, 2014
With other companies making progress on palm oil, there’s no excuse for Girl Scouts’ inaction
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Operation USA Again Receives Four Star Ranking from Charity Navigator

Operation USA - April 04, 2014

Operation USA is pleased to announce that is has once again received a four star ranking from Charity Navigator–the highest recognition an organization can receive.

Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator. They help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing in-depth, objective ratings and analysis of the financial health and accountability & transparency of America’s largest charities. Charity Navigator awarded Operation USA four out of a possible four stars. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that Operation USA adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

In 2008, Charity Navigator ranked Operation USA the “#1 Exclusively Privately-Funded Charity.” Previously, Operation USA maintained a four star ranking from Charity Navigator from 2001-2010.

Click here to learn more about Operation USA’s ranking.

Categories: Environment
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