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Thames Barrier Protects City from London Flood Surge
December 11, 2013 09:07 AM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist
The closure of the Thames and Hull Barriers last week saved 800,000 homes and businesses from flooding in what was the highest sea surge since 1953. However thousands of homes along the UK's east coast were flooded following a combination of high tides and powerful onshore gales. A similar surge in 1953 caused widespread devastation, killing 307 people and leaving 40,000 homeless.
Driving Declines in US Urban Areas, Public Transit and Biking on the Rise
December 10, 2013 10:20 AM - ENN Staff
A new report by the U.S.PIRG Education Fund details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in America's most populous urbanized areas. The study also finds a greater use of public transit and biking in most cities. The report, "Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities," is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America's largest cities and lists results for each.
Conventional satellite imagery may underestimate forest clearing for subsistence agriculture
December 10, 2013 09:02 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Analysis of forest cover using medium-scale satellite imagery may miss deforestation for small-scale subsistence agriculture, finds a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, which involved researchers from the University of Maryland, the State University of New York and Woods Hole Research Center, is based on change in forest cover in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which accounts for the bulk of the world's second largest tropical rainforest.
Scientists record primates regularly using caves for the first time
December 9, 2013 12:15 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
After playing, feeding, and socializing in trees all day, some ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) take their nightly respite in caves, according to a new study in Madagascar Conservation and Development. The findings are important because this is the first time scientists have ever recorded primates regularly using caves. "The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis," said the lead author, Michelle Sauther, with the University of Colorado Boulder.
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.
Study reveals 2011 tsunami was caused by unusually thin, slippery geological fault
December 6, 2013 12:52 PM - ENN Staff
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Pacific coast of Tohoku, Japan ranks among the most powerful and destructive naturally occurring events in recent years. In an effort to better understand what caused this devastating tsunami, a team of scientists has published a set of studies that shed light on what triggered the dramatic displacement of the seafloor off the northeastern coast of Japan. The findings also suggest that other zones in the northwest Pacific may be at risk of similar huge earthquakes.
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.
Meat Consumption on the Rise
December 6, 2013 09:20 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has measured the "trophic level" of human beings for the first time. Falling between 1 and 5.5, trophic levels refer to where species fit on the food chain. Apex predators like tigers and sharks are given a 5.5 on trophic scale since they survive almost entirely on consuming meat, while plants and phytoplankton, which make their own food, are at the bottom of the scale. Humans, according to the new paper, currently fall in the middle: 2.21. However, rising meat-eating in countries like China, India, and Brazil is pushing our trophic level higher with massive environmental impacts.
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.
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.