ENN Weekly: March 28th - April 1st

Monday's earthquake off the coast of Indonesia set the wheels in motion for a renewed focus on the unstable geography of the region and its impact on people and the environment.

Monday's earthquake off the coast of Indonesia set the wheels in motion for a renewed focus on the unstable geography of the region and its impact on people and the environment. Apparently, the latest quake caught seismologists off guard; read about why scientists expected a longer period of inactivity before the earth moved again at Latest Earthquakes Surprise Seismologists. The quake raised some interesting questions about how we characterize tectonic events. Get the full article here: Scientists Debate Quake Vs. Aftershock. Revisiting the issue of tsunami warning systems in the Asia Pacific region, participants in a U.N.-sponsored conference on Monday emphasized the importance of disaster-response education. Follow this link to more: Asia Needs Tsunami Warning System, Disaster Education, Experts Say.

The coral damage wrought by the December 26 tsunami continues to make the news, with the environment ministry of India tackling the challenge of assessing and addressing the situation. Read the article at Damage to Coral Reefs on Indian Government's Radar. And closer to home, the tsunami has many people giving more thought than ever to their own vulnerabilityin a similar situation. Before you spring for that coveted beach house, check out Multiple Dangers Loom in Coastal Regions.

With increasingly sunnier days bringing the promise of spring to the northern hemisphere, a couple of nice articles on solar energy. Fifty homes in a portion of the Navajo Nation will be receiving power for the first time -- solar and wind power -- thanks to Albuquerque-based Sacred Power Corp. Read more about Sacred Power' project at Solar and Wind Units Bring Energy to Navajos. A solar-power community planned to be built in Alberta, Canada will be the first of its kind. This article provides a short description of the project, funded jointly by the Canadian government and private sector: Wintry Canada to Use Solar Power to Heat Homes

The week saw the release of several new studies with wide-ranging environmental implications. Long considered an embarrassing inconvenience, dandruff now appears to be an environmental menace, too! Find out how that flaky white stuff affects the atmosphere at Dandruff, Fur, Pollen Affect Atmosphere, Study Reveals. More evidence that the human population on Earth is taking a toll on ecosystems. A four-year study released by the U.N. this week warns of dire short-term consequences unless new policies are enacted worldwide. More at Earth's Health is Deteriorating as Growing Human Demands for Food, Water Strain Ecosystems, U.N. Study Finds. From the EPA, word that it's rethinking the assumptions guiding its 1986 categorization of substances as carcinogens. The new cancer guidelines take into consideration children's greater vulnerability rather than treating all ages as equally at risk. Get the whole story at EPA Says Children May Be Vulnerable than Adults to Carcinogens.

Big cats got the lion's share of the wildlife-related headlines on ENN this week, with pandas claiming second place. Here's the rundown:
Colorado Pushes Lynx Habitat Rule Changes
Indiana Man Photographs Endangered Bobcats
Tiger Future Not Burning Bright in India
Bamboo Shortage Threatens Pandas in China
Chinese Park Scrambles to Feed Hungry Pandas
Activists Gear up to Fight Seal and Elephant Culls
Chronic Wasting Disease Found in One New York Deer
Monterey Aquarium Releases White Shark
Shell to Reroute Pipelines in Russian Far East Oil Project over Gray Whale Fears
Salmon From Farms Breed Sea Lice, Study Says
Scientists Mystified by Herring Decline
Study Finds High Toxins in Wash. Fish

Finally, a couple of noteworthy personality-driven stories. A postscript to the saga of murdered environmentalist/nun Dorothy Stang in February: Declaring his innocence, the Brazilian rancher suspected in Stang's murder surrendered to authorities on Sunday. You can find the whole story at Man Suspected in Nun's Death Surrenders. And outspoken environmentalist and Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai will chair a new, 18-member commission on social and environmental policies, the African Union announced on Tuesday. According to the AU, the council "is a vehicle for building a strong partnership between governments and all segments of African civil society and for achieving the goal of a people-centered African community." Read more at African Union Appoints Nobel Laureate to Key Advisory Position.