Conifers threatened globally
July 8, 2013 10:36 AM - Population Matters
A third of the world's conifers, the biggest and longest-lived organisms on the planet, are at risk of extinction, with logging and disease the main threats, scientists said. The study of more than 600 types of conifers — trees and shrubs including cedars, cypresses and firs — updates a "Red List" on which almost 21,000 of 70,000 species of animals and plants assessed in recent years are under threat.
European Air Pollution still an issue
July 5, 2013 06:45 AM - EurActiv
The health effects of air pollution have been underestimated and Europe should revisit its laws to tackle the problem, UN scientists have concluded after a major review of new evidence. Sixty international scientists, commissioned by the World Health Organization, analysed eight years of studies to see how minute specks of soot, gases such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and other pollutants from road and rail traffic, industry and indoor fires harm human health. In addition to premature deaths from respiratory and heart diseases, they found links to new conditions such as diabetes and still births and adverse effects on the cognitive development of children born to mothers exposed to even small levels of air pollution.
US Initiative to Combat Elephant and Rhino Poaching in Africa
July 4, 2013 08:35 AM - Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian , MONGABAY.COM
Barack Obama launched a new initiative against wildlife trafficking on Monday, using his executive authority to take action against an illegal trade that is fueling rebel wars and now threatens the survival of elephants and rhinoceroses. The initiative, announced as the president visited Tanzania on the final stop of his African tour, was the second time in a week Obama has used an executive order to advance environmental policy, after announcing a sweeping new climate change plan.
Ocean bacteria found greatly impacted by CO2 in the atmosphere
July 3, 2013 06:26 AM -
Climate change may be weeding out the bacteria that form the base of the ocean's food chain, selecting certain strains for survival, according to a new study. In climate change, as in everything, there are winners and losers. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperature rise globally, scientists increasingly want to know which organisms will thrive and which will perish in the environment of tomorrow. The answer to this question for nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis, or "blue-green algae") turns out to have implications for every living thing in the ocean. Nitrogen-fixing is when certain special organisms like cyanobacteria convert inert -- and therefore unusable -- nitrogen gas from the air into a reactive form that the majority of other living beings need to survive. Without nitrogen fixers, life in the ocean could not survive for long.
IUCN Red List reports decline in world’s oldest and largest species
July 2, 2013 08:49 AM - Kathryn Pintus, ARKive.org
The latest update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species highlights a worrying decline in many economically and medicinally valuable species, from small freshwater shrimps and cone snails to gargantuan conifers, some of the world's oldest and largest organisms. An impressive 4,807 species have been added to the IUCN Red List this year, bringing the total number of assessed species to 70,294, of which 20,934 are threatened with extinction.
Texas A&M University plans huge solar project
July 2, 2013 05:58 AM - DailyTech, Justmeans
The proposed "Center for Solar Energy" at Texas A&M University's Central Texas branch will make the school the world's first all-solar university. The university has come up with this innovative project to save power costs and reduce its carbon footprint. It will utilize nearby unused land for the world's biggest solar test farm. The solar farm will be developed exclusively for solar prototyping and R&D, and not as a commercial farm. As a test farm, it will host hundreds of solar cell designs from various manufacturers. The university hopes to have more than a hundred solar technology manufacturers and other players on board for the project. The project is expected to draw in very large investments in solar technology research and development over the next five to six years.
Croatian fishermen worry about EU rules
July 1, 2013 05:53 AM - EurActiv
An English-language sign at the fishermen's pier in the Croatian town of Umag reads: "This fishing port was rebuilt with the support of the European Union". But most of the 3,700 fishermen who ply their trade in Croatia's eastern Adriatic fear that the country's accession to the EU on 1 July, and strict new laws and regulations that come with it, may be the end of their jobs. "I'm afraid we're in for a lot of unpleasant surprises," said Danilo Latin, whose family have been fishermen for four generations.
Humans pushing Sumatran Tigers to extinction
June 30, 2013 07:33 AM - Population Matters
A subspecies of tigers called the Sumatran Tiger is nearly extinct due to human involvement in its habitat, according to a new research paper. These tigers are found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and only 400 of them live today. According to researchers from Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of existing Sumatran tigers is much lower than the current estimate. Their study showed that a high level of human activity in this region has led to a decline in the tiger population. The WWF says that deforestation and poaching is pushing the rare Sumatran tigers towards extinction, just like its cousins, Javan and Balinese tigers that are now extinct.
Giraffe need conservation help too!
June 29, 2013 07:44 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Just two year's before his assassination, Julius Caesar brought to Rome one of the world's most astonishing living creatures: a giraffe. The animal was among Caesar's spoils from his campaign in Egypt and according to the Roman writer, Dio, the giraffe, which was arguably the first to ever touch European soil, was paraded in the Circus for all to see. Today, over two thousand years later, the giraffe has become one of the world's most recognizable animals: after all nothing looks quite like it with its spotted coat, tufted horns, and, most importantly, that impossibly long neck. But less commonly known is that the giraffe is in trouble with some subspecies down to just a few hundred individuals. "Two giraffe (sub)species have been classified on the IUCN Red List as 'Endangered'—the West African giraffe (<300 individuals) and the Rothschild’s giraffe (<700 individuals). However, sadly, there may be other populations threatened—if not all of them, as we are only starting to get a good feel on numbers and range. As an example, the Nubian giraffe in Ethiopia and maybe South Sudan would number less than the Rothschild's giraffe," explains Julian Fennessy, a conservation scientist and co-founder with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), in a recent interview with mongabay.com.
The new green in Las Vegas is not the felt on the gaming tables!
June 28, 2013 05:09 PM - Sangeeta Haindl, Justmeans
The Las Vegas Strip is known for its opulence, glamour and glitz, for being an adult playground, home to the world's best known casinos, but now it becoming known for being green and where not being wasteful is a key part of the City's business model. Sin City has been reinventing itself and is has become a model town of sustainability. Las Vegas is struggling to meet the water and energy demands of its 500,000 plus residents, which excludes the 40 million tourists who visit every year. Nevada is one of seven states that is dependent on the over-stretched Colorado River for its water supply, which is one of the most heavily plumbed and litigated river systems in the world. It is a critical reservoir for tens of millions of agricultural and municipal users from Wyoming to the Mexican border. The river is now in a very serious condition and the death of the river system will have huge implications for every resident, visitor and business in Las Vegas.