World moves into the ecological red
October 6, 2007 06:25 PM - Jeremy Lovell, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - The world moved into "ecological overdraft" on Saturday, the point at which human consumption exceeds the ability of the earth to sustain it in any year and goes into the red, the New Economics Foundation think-tank said.
Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. NEF said the date had moved steadily backwards every year since humanity began living beyond its environmental means in the 1980s.
"As the world creeps closer to irreversible global warming and goes deeper into ecological debt, why on earth, say, would the UK export 20 tonnes of mineral water to Australia and then re-import 21 tonnes," said NEF director Andrew Simms.
U.S. court imprisons Afghan drug lord for 15 years
October 6, 2007 06:22 PM -
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Afghan heroin kingpin was sentenced on Friday to more than 15 years in prison for heading a drug trafficking ring, U.S. officials said.
Baz Mohammad was the first person to be extradited to the United States from Afghanistan, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia and Karen Tandy, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement.
He pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court in July to heading an international heroin trafficking ring that manufactured and distributed millions of dollars worth of the drug in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sam's Club recalls Cargill-made hamburgers in U.S.
October 6, 2007 06:18 PM -
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Sam's Club is pulling frozen hamburgers made by agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. from its stores shelves across the United States as Minnesota health officials investigate four cases of E. coli associated with the burgers.
In a statement dated Friday, Sam's Club owner Wal-Mart Stores Inc said the warehouse club is removing the American Chef's Selection Angus Beef patties from U.S. locations and giving refunds to customers who already purchased the burgers.
All four cases of E. coli being investigated occurred in children, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement. The cases are associated with eating ground beef patties purchased from Sam's Club stores in late August and September.
Sam's Club customers should return or destroy any American Chef's Selection Angus Beef purchased from Sam's Club since August 26, the department of health said.
Blind people: Hybrid Cars Pose Hazard
October 5, 2007 04:55 PM - AP, Ben Nuckols
BALTIMORE - Gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for the environmentally conscientious, are coming under attack from a constituency that doesn't drive: the blind. Because hybrids make virtually no noise at slower speeds when they run solely on electric power, blind people say they pose a hazard to those who rely on their ears to determine whether it's safe to cross the street or walk through a parking lot.
Saving the World One Handbag at a Time
October 5, 2007 04:49 PM -
Los Angeles - With concern for the environment reaching a fever pitch worldwide, celebrities who are at the forefront of the green living movement are moving beyond endorsing hybrid cars to embracing eco-fashion. New York’s recent Fashion Week featured “green” fabrics as well as vintage and recycled clothing, and it’s no surprised that Hollywood celebrities are now toting environmentally friendly handbags. Eva Longoria, Heidi Klum, America Ferrara, Kate Walsh and Serena Williams own Half the Sky Design’s “Rebagz™”; stylish and vibrant bags in a variety of shapes and sizes made from recycled juice pouches and nylon rice bags.
Affordable Solar Power On The Horizon
October 5, 2007 08:10 AM - University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK - Environmentally friendly solar panels may be an affordable alternative to conventional power sources within the next ten years, as a result of a new initiative launched this week.
The project, funded by the Carbon Trust, will be led by the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in collaboration with The Technology Partnership.
Currently solar panels are made from silicon, which makes them expensive to manufacture and therefore cost prohibitive for many. However, new technology being researched at Cambridge uses plastic to create solar cells, a much more cost effective and energy efficient method.
Eye on United Arab Emirates: Fostering Sustainability
October 5, 2007 08:07 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
In early November, a group of Japanese business leaders and government advisers will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a tiny oil-rich country on the Persian Gulf, to present their vision of a "Sustainable City." The group, known as the Sustainable Urban Development Consortium for Japan and Gulf States Partnership, plans to propose a city that would reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent using technology that has been tested in Japan. "The initiative is certainly welcome,” says Worldwatch Institute researcher Zoe Chafe. “The question is whether the ideas and technologies presented will be implemented soon with government support."
Diet For Small Planet May be Most Efficient if it Includes Dairy and a Little Meat, Cornell Researchers Report
October 5, 2007 08:04 AM - Cornell Chronicle, Susan Lang
A low-fat vegetarian diet is very efficient in terms of how much land is needed to support it. But adding some dairy products and a limited amount of meat may actually increase this efficiency, Cornell researchers suggest. This deduction stems from the findings of their new study, which concludes that if everyone in New York state followed a low-fat vegetarian diet, the state could directly support almost 50 percent more people, or about 32 percent of its population, agriculturally. With today's high-meat, high-dairy diet, the state is able to support directly only 22 percent of its population, say the researchers.
Climate Campaigners Tipped for Nobel Peace Prize
October 5, 2007 07:23 AM - Reuters
OSLO - Former Vice President Al Gore and other campaigners against climate change lead experts' choices for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, an award once reserved for statesmen, peacemakers and human rights activists. If a campaigner against global warming carries off the high world accolade later this month, it will accentuate a shift to reward work outside traditional peacekeeping and reinforce the link between peace and the environment. The winner, who will take $1.5 million in prize money, will be announced in the Norwegian capital on October 12 from a field of 181 nominees.
Bird Flu Virus Mutating into Human-Unfriendly Form
October 4, 2007 08:37 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain, researchers said on Thursday.
The changes are worrying, said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"We have identified a specific change that could make bird flu grow in the upper respiratory tract of humans," said Kawaoka, who led the study.
"The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus," Kawaoka said.