ENN Weekly: May 21st - 25th

ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news May 21st - 25th: GE sees green, dismantling old ships, environmental education, Indian tigers, and much more.

Top Ten Articles of the Week
In the news May 21st - 25th: GE sees green, dismantling old ships, environmental education, Indian tigers, and much more.

1. Dozens of European Mammal Species Face Extinction, Conservation Group Says
Dozens of European mammals, including the Iberian lynx, the elusive Saiga antelope and the Mediterranean monk seal, face extinction unless immediate measures are taken to protect them, a conservation group said Tuesday. A total of 35 of the continent's 231 mammal species -- about 15 percent -- fall into the threatened category, according to a report on the state of Europe's mammals published by the World Conservation Union.

2. Billions in Forest Damage Caused by Campers Transporting Insect-Infested Firewood
As millions of Americans pack for their first camping trips of the season this weekend, foresters hope they will leave one thing behind: firewood. The U.S. Forest Service and state forestry agencies around the country say transporting firewood lets tree-killing insects hitch a ride into the woods, contributing to billions of dollars in damage and needless work each year.

3. GE CEO Sees Green Unit Growing Faster
General Electric Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said his "green" ecomagination unit is on track to "blow away" its 2010 sales target of $20 billion as demand for environmental products and services surges. After two years in operation, ecomagination has a backlog of orders worth $50 billion for products like wind turbines, aircraft engines and energy conservation technology. Last year, it had sales of $12 billion.

4. EU Proposes Ways To Make Dismantling Old Ships Safer for Humans, Environment
The European Union should play a more active role in halting the scrapping of old ships in dangerous and polluting conditions in Asia, a practice likely to worsen as single-hull tankers are phased out in favor of safer double-hulled vessels, the top EU environment official said Wednesday. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the bloc should lead efforts, including drafting international ship recycling laws, as one-third of the world's merchant ships fly EU-member flags and even more are owned by European companies.

5. Forest Service Aims To Close Nature-Deficit Gap by Getting Kids out into the Woods
Students from New York to Alaska will be exploring forests and wetlands this year as part of an effort by the U.S. Forest Service to get kids out of the classroom and into the woods. The $1.5 million "Kids in the Woods" program is aimed at a growing problem among American school children: a lack of direct experience with nature that experts say can contribute to childhood obesity, diabetes and even attention deficit disorder.

6. India Tiger Numbers Far Lower Than Thought, Experts Say
Early results from a tiger census in India indicate the population of the endangered big cats is drastically lower than previously assumed, wildlife experts and conservationists said on Wednesday. Experts from the government-run Wildlife Institute of India (WII) presented initial results of a new count of tigers in 16 of India's 28 tiger reserves and their surrounding areas.

7. Remote Florida Site Eyed for New Green Town for the Environmentally Aware
Homes here could be heated or cooled using the Earth's natural underground temperature. Appliances would be run by solar-powered batteries. Houses would be oriented to avoid the summer sun. And everyone could grow some of their own food in the garden each house will have or in community orchards. If all goes as planned, the 600 families in this proposed Florida Panhandle town will lessen the carbon they spew into the atmosphere by walking just about everywhere they go, except maybe work or school.

8. Costa Rica Aims To Win Carbon Neutral Nation Race
Green trail-blazer Costa Rica is drawing up plans to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero before 2030, the government said Thursday, and aims to be the first nation to offset all its carbon. Environment Minister Roberto Dobles said the tiny, jungle-cloaked Central American nation would clean up its fossil fuel-fired power plants, promote hybrid vehicles and increase tree planting to balance its emissions.

9. Congress Considers Changing U.S. Water Pollution Law
U.S. House Democrats said Tuesday they want to change a major water pollution law to answer a recent Supreme Court decision and make clear the law applies to all of the country's water. The Clean Water Restoration Act would drop the word "navigable" from the 1972 Clean Water Act, and define waters of the United States as anything from prairie potholes to ocean tides.

10. Cool Hand Nuke: Paul Newman Endorses New York Nuclear Power Plant
Call him Cool Hand Nuke. Paul Newman weighed in Wednesday on the Indian Point nuclear power facility in the New York suburbs, pronouncing it safer than military bases he had visited. The actor and food industry entrepreneur visited the Buchanan, N.Y., facility on Monday, according to Jim Steets, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear, the company that owns Indian Point.

Photo: A Gorilla in an enclosure at Mefou National Park. The park is run by Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund to protect primates that are under threat from poaching and deforestation. Credit: Greenpeace/Kate Davison.

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