Environmental Policy

Lucky to Find a New Dragon Tree Species
October 17, 2013 01:25 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

The Dracaena kaweesakii, thought to bring luck to the Thai people who have them in their households, has recently been identified as a new species within the group Dracaena. These beautiful trees are often associated with Buddhist temples. Researchers led by Paul Wilken, of Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and Piyakaset Suksathan have identified the morphologically distinct element of the plant group from Thailand and Burma. An undifferentiated leaf sheath, the lack of a leaf blade central costa, free tepals and thickened filaments, characterizes the newly identified species.

Greece Considers Sacrificing Environment to Save Economy
October 17, 2013 10:37 AM - KATERINA BATZAKI, Worldwatch Institute

In crisis-hit Greece, government decisions taken in haste and despair to save the country from default, risk having a serious impact on the environment. A new bill seeks to relax restrictions on construction of public and private forestland even for those areas, which are considered protected.

Freshwater biodiversity
October 17, 2013 06:16 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The biodiversity of our rivers, lakes, and ponds has gone largely un-addressed in our efforts to predict the impacts of land development. Planners look at increased runoff and the potential for downstream flooding, and on pollutant discharges and contamination issues. The biodiversity of freshwater bodies is also impacted buy development and agricultural activities, but until now, there was no good way to predict what the impacts might be of land use changes. A team of UW-Madison researchers is hoping to help change that narrative and add a little ecology to economic decision making by forecasting how future policies regarding urban development and agricultural cultivation may impact aquatic ecosystems, which harbor astounding amounts of biodiversity and provide humans with vital goods and services. "The idea is to see what future land use changes may look like under different policies, and think about where potential threats to freshwater would be most severe," says Sebastián Martinuzzi, a post-doctoral researcher. "We are not trying to predict the 'true' future, but rather to visualize potential economic trends and their environmental consequences."

Dire warning about the health of the world's oceans
October 16, 2013 03:01 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The world's oceans are vast, containing massive amounts of water. Oceanic water is thought by some to be so vast that it can't be seriously impacted by man or by climate change. But a new study looking at the impacts of climate change on the world’s ocean systems concludes that by the year 2100, about 98 percent of the oceans will be affected by acidification, warming temperatures, low oxygen, or lack of biological productivity — and most areas will be stricken by a multitude of these stressors. These biogeochemical changes triggered by human-generated greenhouse gas emissions will not only affect marine habitats and organisms, the researchers say, but will often co-occur in areas that are heavily used by humans.

France Upholds Nationwide Ban on Fracking
October 16, 2013 08:39 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

France's landmark ban on fracking has survived constitutional challenges lobbed by U.S.-company, Schuepbach Energy. On Friday, the nation's Constitutional Council decided that the ban did not violate France's constitution. Passed in 2011 under then President Nicolas Sarkozy, the ban has since been upheld by current President Francios Hollande. "This law has been contested several times," Hollande said on Friday as reported by the New York Times. "It is now beyond dispute." The ban was passed over concerns that fracking for shale gas could lead to polluted freshwater supplies, greenhouses gases, and even mini-earthquakes.

Air quality still not good in European cities
October 16, 2013 06:24 AM - EurActiv

More than 90% of Europeans living in cities are exposed to unsafe levels one of the most health damaging air pollutants, with Bulgaria having the dirtiest air among EU countries, says a new study by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Despite falling emission levels and reductions of some air pollutant concentrations over the past decades, EU air pollution is still far from being solved, according to the report, 'Air quality in Europe — 2013'.

Breaking Urban Ground for Community Gardens
October 15, 2013 05:15 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Community Gardens bring people together, builds relationships, improves quality of life and activates communities through its bounty, exercise, therapy, education, family budget augmentation, social interaction and neighborhood beautification. A community garden can be used for food, ornamental gardening, urban forestry, preservation and management of open space, memorial gardening and any other types of gardening that a community collectively values. But much goes into creating one especially if it's an urban garden.

"Collegiate Corner", COMING SOON!
October 15, 2013 11:12 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

ENN is launching a new section called the "Collegiate Corner" for college and university students at ALL levels (undergrad, grad and PhD) to submit original work for publication. We are looking for environmental writing and scientific studies. This is an opportunity for students to become recognized in their field utilizing their own writing and work. Items considered appropriate include research papers, posters, or studies to include any of the following subjects: toxicology, land use, biology, regulatory, social, economic, health, etc. Preferred works include those that are either global in appeal or their lessons can be applied globally.

Meeting Sustainable Business Goals
October 15, 2013 10:31 AM - Mike Hower, Triple Pundit

More than two thirds of CEOs (67 percent) believe that business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges, while the same percentage report that the private sector is not making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges, according to a survey by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture.

A challenge in assessing the impacts of climate change on the oceans
October 15, 2013 06:20 AM - ScienceDaily

Assessing the effect of climate change on upwelling ecosystems is essential to be able to predict the future of marine resources. The zones concerned by this upwelling of cold deep water, which is very rich in nutrients, provide up to 20 % of global production of fish. Since the 1990s, the theory adopted by the majority of the scientific community affirmed that these phenomena were intensifying. The rising temperatures of the air masses above the continents were expected to quicken the trade winds, which would in turn increase the upwellings, thereby cooling the surface water. But this theory has been contradicted by the recent work of researchers from the IRD and its partners.

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