Environmental Policy

COLLEGIATE CORNER: State boundaries based on watersheds
December 6, 2013 02:56 PM - Catherine Manner, University of Delaware, class of 2015

In 1872, John Wesley Powell led an expedition down the Colorado River to explore unknown canyons. In his report he spoke about potential for water resources development and stated that irrigation would be the key factor to settlement of the western U.S. He promoted the idea that the western state boundaries should be made around watersheds, preventing interstate water arguments.

Primal rights: Justice for Tommy the chimp
December 6, 2013 12:45 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Plaintiff Tommy the chimp of Johnstown, New York has made legal history. Attorney Steve Wise on December 2, 2013 presented a case on behalf of the chimp for his legal right to bodily liberty. Wise who represents the Nonhuman Rights Project, asserts that 26-year-old Tommy, who has been kept alone in a cage in a local warehouse, is a person, possessing a legal right to bodily liberty previously reserved for humans and has a right to not be owned or imprisoned against his will.

EU considering fisheries link with Morocco
December 6, 2013 08:07 AM - Erik Hagen, The Ecologist

On 10 December, the European Parliament will vote over a huge fisheries partnership agreement with Morocco. If the agreement is approved the environment, human rights, peace and international law will all suffer. Erik Hagen reports. For Europe's Parliamentarians to retain a shred of honour, they must firmly repudiate this ghastly agreement. As the EU cultivates its 'good neighbour' relations with Morocco it is is turning a blind eye to those things it would rather not see.

Rutgers study looks at the Jersey Shore and climate change
December 5, 2013 04:30 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented damage along large areas of the Jersey Shore. Many areas were flooded, not by the ocean, but by rising waters in the bays behind the barrier islands. These waters inundated towns causing damage that is still being repaired. Was this severe storm an anomaly, or can we expect more in the future? Geoscientists at Rutgers and Tufts universities estimate that the New Jersey shore will likely experience a sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet by 2050 and of about 3.5 feet by 2100 – 11 to 15 inches higher than the average for sea-level rise globally over the century. That would mean, the scientists say, that by the middle of the century, the one-in-10 year flood level at Atlantic City would exceed any flood known there from the observational record, including Superstorm Sandy.

White House Highlights Importance of Reauthorizing Farm Bill
December 5, 2013 11:57 AM - Sophie Wenzlau, Worldwatch Institute

Last month, the White House Rural Council released a report highlighting the economic importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, the United States' primary food and agriculture policy tool. The bill—which impacts food prices, environmental conservation programs, international trade, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs, and the well-being of rural communities—has been stalled in congress for over a year, in part due to disagreement over reductions to the food stamp program. House Republicans aim to cut $40 billion in food stamp funds over the next 10 years, while Senate Democrats aim to cut only $4 billion.

Triple insulated windows: Baby, it's cold outside!
December 4, 2013 11:20 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Boasting a savings of 12% whole house energy consumption savings it is tempting to immediately order new highly insulated windows for the whole house. But before you do, consider the payback. Sure, you will be snug as a bug inside the house but according to the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), it takes two decades or more for these highly insulated windows to provide a utility bill return on investment.

A whale of a tale in the North Pacific
December 4, 2013 10:00 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Five distinct humpback whale populations have been identified in the North Pacific clearing the way for these great mammals to be designated as distinct populations segment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study is an internationally collaborative effort including United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala under the byline SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks).

Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
December 4, 2013 09:15 AM - Federica Di Leonardo, MONGABAY.COM

The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.

Orangutan as fashionista
December 3, 2013 09:36 AM - Nicole Rycroft, The Ecologist

"Do you have these pants in black?" a question generally heard from the changing rooms of clothing retailers. However over the coming months more of the queries that you'll hear echoing in boutiques and malls will be, "Is this shirt made from Orangutan or Caribou habitat?" Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world's forests, species and climate recently launched a campaign to ensure endangered forests do not end up in clothing. Rayon, viscose and modal fabrics are made from pulped trees. Canopy is raising awareness that much of today's fast fashion and haute couture comes at a cost to the forests we love.

Pollution-Free Boating
December 3, 2013 06:48 AM - Andy Wallace, Clean Techies

The Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Ford C-Max Energi are the top three electric vehicles on the roadways, but what about our waterways? Electric cars aren’t the only vehicles transforming sustainable and economical transportation. Electric boats are also traversing historic waterways and canals that have been polluted with oil and noise. Electric boats may be the only watercraft permitted on municipal waters by 2020, and New Electric is already influencing the electric vehicles industry as an electric-conversion business dedicated to battery-powered boats. About 700 million gallons of oil pollute oceans every year, according to Clean Technica. Engine-exhaust from conventional boats and ships only worsens the harmful environmental effects. Not only is the ocean and air polluted, marine animals suffer from intense noise pollution. Watercraft are actually detrimental to sea life, such as orcas and dolphins, because of their sensitivity to loud sounds. Electric-converted watercraft are quieter and produce no air pollution.

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