Unconventional swine: how invasive pigs are helping preserve biodiversity in the Pantanal
May 6, 2013 12:38 PM - Erica Santana , MONGABAY.COM
Ordinarily, invasive and exotic species are a grave threat to native wildlife: outcompeting local species, introducing parasites and disease, and disturbing local ecological regimes. A unique case in the Brazilian Pantanal, however, has turned the tables; here, an introduced mammal has actually aided the conservation of native wildlife. The impact of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) is a serious threat to biodiversity in many ecosystems around the globe. Their destructive rooting behavior and voracious appetite are often severely damaging to populations of plants and small animals, not to mention they serve as a reservoir for a host of zoonotic diseases. In the Pantanal, however, introduced feral pigs have had a positive impact on wildlife communities and the local culture. The Pantanal region of South America, which extends beyond Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay, is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the planet and boasts a diversity of unique wildlife- but this hasn't always been the case.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles May Get Protected Habitat
May 4, 2013 07:33 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
Endangered loggerhead sea turtles won a federal commitment to protect critical nesting-beach and ocean habitat in a legal settlement filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court between conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana and Turtle Island Restoration Network and the U.S. government. By July 1, 2013, the government must identify and propose protection of loggerhead sea turtle feeding, breeding and migratory habitat in ocean waters in the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico. Final critical habitat protection for marine habitat and nesting beaches must be completed by July 1, 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed critical habitat protection for loggerhead nesting beaches along Atlantic and Gulf coasts and will accept public comment until May 24. Protecting critical habitat for loggerheads is essential for their recovery. Studies show that endangered and threatened species with protected habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without.
The New Normal
May 3, 2013 02:47 PM - Guest Contributor Nancy Schneider, Sustainability Consulting
While Webster’s Dictionary has not yet caught up to the term the "new normal", it is more than a television program on NBC. The new normal may refer to the economy, health, or lifestyles, but for government, the new normal primarily refers to how our lives will routinely be affected by the impacts of climate change. The new normal was addressed throughout the day at the recent PlanSmart NJ 2013 Regional Planning Summit, "Investing in the New Normal" held in Trenton, New Jersey, forty miles west of the coastline destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. PlanSmart NJ is an independent, non-profit planning, education, and research organization committed to improving the quality of community life through the advancement of sound land use planning and regional cooperation.
Climate Change is Already Affecting the Amazon
May 1, 2013 06:21 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Tribal groups in Earth's largest rainforest are already being affected by shifts wrought by climate change, reports a paper published last week in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The paper, which is based on a collection of interviews conducted with indigenous leaders in the Brazilian Amazon, says that native populations are reporting shifts in precipitation patterns, humidity, river levels, temperature, and fire and agricultural cycles. These shifts, measured against celestial timing used by indigenous groups, are affecting traditional ways of life that date back thousands of years.
The shady business of online wildlife trade
April 30, 2013 06:15 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, MONGABAY.COM
The internet is certainly the cornerstone of modern technology and a boon for so much innovation. However, along with all its advantages, there are some serious drawbacks and one of the latest is online smuggling of wildlife. The Indian Express recently reported that India's wildlife police have discovered illegal websites selling live endangered animals, parts and rare plants.
Extended Range Electric & Hybrid Cars that Reduce Environmental Impacts
April 30, 2013 06:10 AM - Maria Ortega, Global Warming is Real
According to National Geographic, more than half the air pollution in the United States is caused by mobile devices, primarily by automobiles. These greenhouse gases that vehicles emit, such as carbon dioxide, are wreaking havoc on the ozone layer as well as polluting the soil and surface water in many cases. Bottom line— while cars are an everyday necessity and convenience, they're not doing the environment any favors. That's part of the reason why the federal government is offering tax incentives to those who purchase hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as challenging automakers to develop vehicles by 2025 that are able to achieve 55 mpg on the highway. It’s a bold goal but, as you can see from how much cars are responsible for pollution, it’s a necessary one that’s becoming more important.
EV's will help balance the electric grid
April 29, 2013 06:19 AM - EurActiv
A technology developed with the University of Delaware has sold power from electric vehicles to the power grid for the first time, the power company NRG Energy Inc said on Friday (26 April). In a joint statement, the university and NRG said that they began work on the so-called eV2g program in September 2011 to provide a two-way interface between electric vehicles and the power grid, enabling vehicle-owners to sell electricity back to the grid while they are charging their cars. NRG said the project became an official participant in the PJM frequency regulation market on February 27. The system, which is still in development, is not yet commercially-available.
Which emits more CO2, corn fields or home lawns?
April 28, 2013 08:46 AM - ScienceDaily
More carbon dioxide is released from residential lawns than corn fields according to a new study. And much of the difference can likely be attributed to soil temperature. The data, from researchers at Elizabethtown College, suggest that urban heat islands may be working at smaller scales than previously thought. These findings provide a better understanding of the changes that occur when agricultural lands undergo development and urbanization to support growing urban populations.
What to do with Radioactive Waste
April 26, 2013 01:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Nuclear power plants do have a waste management problem because radioactivity takes a long time to dissipate and turn the radioactive waste into just a non-hazardous waste. Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine. A new draft nuclear waste management bill released today by four U.S. senators focuses on establishing interim and permanent waste repositories but fails to address current unsafe waste management practices at nuclear power plants across the country, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The senators—Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)—based their draft on President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
UK Leads the World on Using Tax To Tackle Carbon and Climate Change
April 26, 2013 10:12 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen
The UK is the leading nation in the world to use tax as a tool to combat carbon and tackle climate change, according to a new report by KPMG International.