Ecosystems

Study: Contaminant Levels High in Parks
February 29, 2008 09:00 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

BILLINGS, Mont. -- Pesticides, heavy metals and other airborne contaminants are raining down on national parks across the West and Alaska, turning up at sometimes dangerously high levels in lakes, plants and fish. A sweeping, six-year federal study released Tuesday found evidence of 70 contaminants in 20 national parks and monuments - from Denali in Alaska and Glacier in Montana, to Big Bend in Texas and Yosemite in California.

Indonesia's Koba Tin faces 2nd illegal mining probe
February 29, 2008 06:07 AM - Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's second-largest tin producer, PT Koba Tin, should stop using sub-contractors to mine tin as the company faces its second investigation into alleged illegal mining, a senior government official said on Friday. Indonesia is the world's No. 2 tin producer after China. A government crackdown on illegal tin mining in the Bangka-Belitung islands since late 2006 has led to the closure of several small smelters.

Antarctic boulders may point to sea level rise
February 29, 2008 12:20 AM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - Boulders as big as soccer balls show that a thinning of West Antarctic glaciers has become 20 times faster in recent decades and may hold clues to future sea level rise, scientists said on Friday. Rocks trapped in glacier ice start to react like clockwork when exposed to the air because of a bombardment of cosmic rays. Scientists studied boulders by three glaciers to find how long they have been out of the ice and so judge the pace of thinning.

Has the mystery of the Antarctic ice sheet been solved?
February 28, 2008 09:43 AM - ENN

A team of scientists from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales travelled to Africa to find new evidence of climate change which helps explain some of the mystery surrounding the appearance of the Antarctic ice sheet. Ice sheet formation in the Antarctic is one of the most important climatic shifts in Earth’s history. However, previous temperature records show no evidence of the oceans cooling at this time, but instead suggest they actually warmed, presenting a confusing picture of the climate system which has long been a mystery in palaeoclimatology.

WITNESS: A whale of a time in the Indian Ocean
February 28, 2008 07:16 AM - Reuters

Ed Harris has been reporting for Reuters in East Africa since May 2004, filing from Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, and the Indian Ocean region. A British citizen, he has been sending text, photos, and video from Mauritius for 18 months. In the following story, he recounts a chance and very rare meeting with a pod of sperm whales just off the coast of Mauritius.

Climate change and urban sprawl alter Iditarod race
February 28, 2008 07:03 AM - Reuters

WASILLA, Alaska (Reuters) - Urban sprawl and dwindling snow have forced organizers of the world's most famous sled-dog race to bypass Wasilla, a fast-growing Alaskan city that calls itself "Home of the Iditarod." The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has formally moved the start of the race's timed competition to Willow, a hamlet 40 miles north of Wasilla.

China cracks down on water polluters with new law
February 28, 2008 06:32 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China heightened pressure on polluters on Thursday, passing legislation that allows for stiff fines against heads of companies that foul its scarce water resources. The Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law which was passed ahead of the annual full session of China's parliament, or National People's Congress, which opens next week, will take effect on June 1, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Field Dispatch: Natural Habitat Antarctica Final Dispatch
February 27, 2008 09:54 AM - Sybille Klenzendorf,William Penhallegon, WWF

How can I discuss the profound experience of visiting Antarctica in a way that hasn’t already been done? Libraries are filled with books that describe travels to the continent, but most seem to describe it as a place to be conquered, or at least survived. Practically a whole subgenre of literature concerns the incredible survival stories from the early and not-so-early explorers; names like Scott, Mawson, Byrd, Ross, Amundsen, and of course, Shackleton, are embedded in our collective consciousness as men who challenged the continent – and who sometimes paid the ultimate price. Fortunately, however, Antarctica is being seen more recently as something greater than just a savage world to be survived.

How to Save the Rainforests
February 27, 2008 09:50 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

While we have fixated on our little local worries over the past week, the biggest news story of the year passed unnoticed in the night. The Brazilian government was forced to admit that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has returned to ecocidal levels. An area the size of Belgium, taking thousands of years to evolve, was destroyed in the past year alone. Some 20 per cent of the forest has now been trashed, with a further 40 per cent set to be slashed in my lifetime. This is steadily happening to all the rainforests on earth.

Pulp and palm oil the villains in Sumatra's global climate impact
February 27, 2008 09:27 AM - WWF

Pekanbaru, Sumatra: Turning just one Sumatran province's forests and peat swamps into pulpwood and palm oil plantations is generating more annual greenhouse gas emissions than the Netherlands and rapidly driving the province's elephants into extinction, a new study by WWF and partners has found.

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