Week in Review: February 28th - March 4th

Several stories this week provide a sobering glimpse at the impact of the American way of life on human health and the environment.

Several stories this week provide a sobering glimpse at the impact of the American way of life on human health and the environment. On Thursday, Fish and Wildlife announced new protections for beluga sturgeon (of caviar fame), and the government proposed the listing of two species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Get the details at Government Sets Conditions for Importing Beluga Caviar, Proposes Coral Protections.Real estate agents espouse the importance of location, and indeed it seems that the dream of living by the ocean has been realized by more than half of the U.S. population. Coastal Zone Growth Places Millions in Hazard Areas explains how this "location" of choice has given rise to some complex environmental and safety issues. And more evidence that mercury can be hazardous to fetal health emerged early in the week, with the release of a study examining the costly impact of high mercury levels on IQ. Read the story at Mercury Damage to Babies Costs Billions, Study Says.

In climate-related news, the Kyoto Protocol has created a new market in greenhouse gases, and this week, traders convened in the Netherlands for the first-ever meeting on pollution permits. Get the whole story at Traders Gather for Conference on the World's Newest Trading Commodity: Pollution. Elsewhere, evidence emerged that strong polar winds contribute to ozone depletion, raising new questions about the processes that take place at the ozone layer: Winds Trapping Pollutants, Solar Storms Blamed for Arctic Ozone Loss. But not everyone is convinced that a hole will appear over the Arctic this winter as widely feared. In the articleResearcher Downplays Ozone Hole Risk, Donal Murtagh, a Swedish professor of global environmental measurements, explains what his research reveals.

There are fewer "mysteries of the deep" this week, with the discovery of new life in the Atlantic Ocean (Unusual Life Forms Found at New Hydrothermal Vents in Atlantic) and the capture of images of a never-before-photographed, six-foot squid by an experimental camera (Mystery Squid Helps Prove Ocean Research).

In terrestrial wildlife news, a precipitous butterfly population decline in Mexico raised concerns about logging and pesticide impacts: Biologists Fret as Mexico Butterfly Numbers Dive; activists in New York used graphic tactics to draw attention to the allegedly cruel practices used by some exporters of fur from China: US Animal Rights Activists Protest China Fur; and coyotes continued their march on Washington, causing a host of problems for the area's less wily residents: Washington Wary as New Predator Creeps Closer.

An update to the tragic story of Dorothy Stang, the American nun and dedicated environmentalist killed in Brazil last month: The Brazilian government has given a 22,239-acre patch of the Amazon rainforest to Stang's sustainable development project. Read more at Brazil Awards Disputed Area to Slain Nun's Project.

Going once, going twice.... If you've ever hoped for the opportunity to name a primate after your great-uncle Manfred, be warned that the privilege doesn't come cheap. With a $650,000 bid placed in an online auction, an anonymous individual secured his or her naming rights to a new species of monkey, outbidding comedian Ellen DeGeneres. (See Right to Name New Monkey Sells for $650G.) According to the web site that facilitated the transaction, the funds will go toward protection of the monkey's Bolivian habitat.

As always, ENN is the place to go to keep abreast of the environmental news and information of the day.

Source: ENN