• Brazil Forms "Crisis Counsel" in Response to Dramatic Increase in Amazon Deforestation

    Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil has risen six-fold, according to recent satellite images from the National Institute for Space Research. Comparing data from March-April 2010 to the same period this year shows deforestation has increased from 103 square kilometers in 2010 to 593 square kilometers just one year later. Most of that deforestation is in the state of Mato Grasso, a center of agribusiness and the largest producer of soybeans in Brazil, contributing 27 percent of the country's last soybean harvest. According to Brazil's Agriculture Ministry, soy output will increase 7.2 percent to 73.7 million tons. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wind in 2011

    Some people like the concept of wind/renewable power. There are some who do not. Nevertheless society needs energy to run its desired lifestyle. So how are we in 2011 so far? The AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) indicated that the first quarter of 2011 saw over 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed -- more than double the capacity installed in the first quarter of 2010. The U.S. wind industry had 40,181 MW of wind power capacity installed at the end of 2010, with 5,116 MW installed in 2010 alone. The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity over the past 4 years, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power. Today, the U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing. Over 400 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fuel Economy Labels by EPA

    What car is better at least in terms of fuel use, costs and environmental benefits. The decision will never be simple. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released new fuel economy labels that will help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards achieved under the Obama Administration. The new labels, which are the most dramatic overhaul to fuel economy labels since the program began more than 30 years ago, will provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including estimated annual fuel costs, savings, as well as information on each vehicle’s environmental impact. These improvements will give consumers better, more complete information to consider when purchasing new vehicles that are covered by the increased fuel economy standards. Starting with model year 2013, the improved fuel economy labels will be required to be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks – both conventional gasoline powered and “next generation” cars, such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles >> Read the Full Article
  • On the edge of extinction, Philippine eagles being picked off one-by-one

    Down to a few hundred individuals, every Philippine eagle is important if the species is to survive. However, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has recently announced that people continue to illegally trap and keep eagles captive. Since December the organization has taken in four confiscated Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi), according to The Philippine Star. One died of a fungal infection after confiscation, while two others have suffered serious injuries. >> Read the Full Article
  • Waste Heat Recovery: The Next Wave of Clean Tech

    The terms renewable energy and clean technology conjure up images of photovoltaic panels baking in the desert sun, wind turbines rotating lazily in the wind, and large dams generating hydro-power. However, there is another important and growing clean energy technology that the average consumer hasn't heard of yet: waste heat recovery. Waste heat recovery employs a process that has been around since the 1960s called the organic Rankine cycle (ORC), which easily integrates into existing manufacturing infrastructures. ORC units capture heat that is currently being released into the atmosphere and converts it into useable CO2-free electricity. This technology has a small footprint, approximately the size of a tractor trailer flatbed and interest in systems that use this energy generating skid is on the rise as companies look to maximize the efficiency of existing investments and infrastructures. The market for waste heat recovery is virtually limitless. According to researchers at University California Berkley, the U.S. currently consumes about 100 quadrillion BTUs of energy per year. However, between 55 and 60 quadrillion BTUs are currently vented into the atmosphere as waste heat. With ORC technology these emissions are harnessed on-site to generate useable CO2-free electricity that is fed directly back into a manufacturing process. Pulp and paper, lumber, refinery, cement and power plant operations are especially well-suited for waste heat recovery systems since they consume large amounts of electricity and maintain consistent waste heat streams with temperatures between 400° and 800°F. >> Read the Full Article
  • Namibia Wildlife Conservation

    Namibia is a country in southern Africa which borders the Atlantic Ocean, just north of the nation of South Africa. The nation was a German Imperial protectorate from 1884 to the end of World War I, when the League of Nations gave South Africa the ruling authority. After a long struggle, Namibia achieved independence in 1990. This is a typical story for many south African nations, but what sets Namibia apart is its outstanding wildlife conservation programs. Using a community-based system, it has maintained a healthy native ecosystem which has seen sharp increases in its key wildlife populations. >> Read the Full Article
  • The best Job in the World? Filming in the Jungle, new from BBC Earth

    Often the attraction of working in natural history is the thrill of the wild. The untamed, the undomesticated, the possibility of discovering the unknown! However even as a dedicated natural history program maker, there are certain hostile and remote locations where it is essential to have your super-human senses switched on. As a cameraman, crouching down to get that perfect shot on the dark and damp forest floor. It is your ears you need to rely on above all else, as often the only proof of the vast amounts of animal life around you…is what you hear! The high humidity of this environment creates ideal conditions for the strangest animals to live, breed and sing! Through the cacophony of rival mating calls, warning cries, sharing the location of a known food source and social interaction; the sounds of the wilderness could leave you overwhelmed. But it is a specific sound you are listening out for… As an enthusiastic drummer of the jungle, the chimpanzee has worked out a less stressful way of communicating with each other than exhaustive calls...which transpires is also a highly enjoyable one! While scouring the forest in search of their next meal, the troops will use buttress roots and hollow trunks to sound out! Drumming as they pass, the chimpanzee’s will make distinctive bass sounds (some even repeatedly on their favorite trees!) using their hands and feet to make clear - who is where, and how successful each party has been with their search. >> Read the Full Article
  • Egypt faces 'environmental crisis' following ousting of Mubarak

    The political future of the Arab world's largest country could look brighter following the recent uprising in Tahrir Square and beyond. But the country faces an ecological catastrophe - much of it tourism related - reports Joseph Mayton from Cairo. >> Read the Full Article
  • Feral Camels Plague Australian Outback

    More than 1 million feral camels are thrashing the remote Australian desert, destroying water supplies and disturbing Aboriginal communities to the tune of 10 million Australian dollars a year. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: British butterflies bounce back

    Some of Britain's most threatened butterflies are showing promising signs of recovery after decades of decline, according to a new study. The new data comes from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, which has been monitoring changes in butterfly populations across the United Kingdom since 1976. The biggest winner of 2010 was the wood white, which has suffered a 96% decline since the 1970s, but whose population increased six-fold last year. >> Read the Full Article