• New from BBC Earth: Migrating with Mom

    Any great journey starts out with a little trepidation, think back to your first day of school, walking out into the big wide world (or playground) and then looking back to see your guardian eagerly watching and willing you to keep going. These first steps are always the hardest, and as one of the the largest mammals on the earth there's no exception. Scientifically classified as one of the "big-winged" (Megaptera) species, the Humpback Whale make their annual move north from the warm Hawaiian Island waters from March onwards. Seeking fresh food and cooler temperatures, these magnificent giants will travel through currents so challenging that only perseverance will see them through. And as a newborn, the first ocean crossing will be something to remember. After approximately four months of not eating and living off her own blubber, it's not just the cow's instinct which is telling her that it’s time to move on. With calf in tow, she sets off. From the low-latitude breeding grounds, they will travel at 3-9 mph (5-15kph) or as fast as the calf can swim. Sometimes this can take up to three months, but at 1,000miles per month, at this stage they can’t afford to waste a moment of their time. >> Read the Full Article
  • BP oil spill offers clues on air pollution

    The BP oil spill that sent 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico last year also created air pollution, and studying this pollution gave scientists clues into how these contaminants get into the atmosphere. BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and spewing oil from the underwater well that rose to the surface. It also created a plume of air pollution downwind of the spill, researchers reported in the journal Science. The lightest chemicals in the oil evaporated within hours, as scientists expected them to do. What they didn't expect was that heavier compounds -- the ones with more carbon atoms per molecule -- in the oil took longer to evaporate, spread out much more widely and contributed most to the formation of air pollution particles. >> Read the Full Article
  • Eco-farming can double food output in developing world

    Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday. Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh's use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050. "Agriculture is at a crossroads," according to the study by Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a drive to depress record food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming. "Agroecology" could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels that the report said was already making fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation. >> Read the Full Article
  • Countries agree to manage fishing in Northeast Pacific

    Countries bordering the North Pacific Ocean have struck a deal that environmentalists said on Monday will help protect 16.1 million square miles (41.7 million sq km) of ocean floor from a destructive technique called bottom trawl fishing. The agreement calls for the creation of an organization to manage sea bottom fisheries in the North Pacific, and puts an immediate cap on expansion of bottom trawl fishing in international waters stretching from Hawaii to Alaska. The deal was reached last week in Vancouver by the United States, Japan, Canada, China, South Korea, Russia and Taiwan after nearly five years of negotiations. Environmentalists have long complained about the damage done to sensitive ecosystems and marine life on the ocean floor by boats that use weighted nets and other fishing gear that drag along the seabed. Drag fishing can damage to seamounts, or undersea mountain ranges, that attract fish and are home to cold-water corals, deep-sea sponges and a wide range of other marine life, the United Nations warned in 2006 report. >> Read the Full Article
  • Canada: Lead and asbestos in homes need tighter control

    The health risks from toxins such as lead in old paint or asbestos in walls are too often overlooked when homes are upgraded, according to a study on Sunday calling on governments to set tougher pollution rules. The report, by Canadian experts, said that retrofits of old buildings, such as insulation meant to save energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions, often released poisons that can be especially damaging to children. "Without sufficient care, retrofits...can increase the health risks," Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), told Reuters as she outlined a CELA project to limit health risks. >> Read the Full Article
  • Iraq's Mesopotamian Marshlands recovering

    The Iraqi Marshlands, which were pushed to the brink of extinction under the Saddam era, are slowly being restored to their former glory For over 7,000 years the Iraqi Marshland- also known as the Mesopotamian Marshlands- played an important role in global ecosystems by supporting rare wildlife and rich biodiversity. Located in south Iraq, the marshlands stretched to over 6,000 square miles and are believed by many to be the location of the Garden of Eden. In the 1980's, however, Saddam drained the marshland to punish the Marsh Arabs who rebelled against him and turned their green lush wetlands into dusty deserts. Following the 2003 war in Iraq which had its own destructive impact on the environment, a unique opportunity emerged to restore the marshlands in what has since been dubbed as "the largest habitat restoration project in the world". At its peak the Iraqi Marshlands were considered to be the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East but after the devastating draining projects under Saddam, the Marshland shrunk to just 10 percent of its original size. The Marsh Arab population dropped from around quarter of a million to just a few thousand. >> Read the Full Article
  • Humans vs animals – The hottest race of the year - New from BBC Earth

    Imagine a landscape in front of you as barren and endless as your eye can see. And then imagine that your task is to cross it, on foot, through eye stinging dust storms, unbearable heat and a body willing you to stop with every step. Welcome to the Sahara! Welcome to your "marathon of the sands". Aptly named the Sahara meaning "The Great Desert," it is a land-mass almost as large as Europe or the United States! Making it the largest hot desert in the world, second only to Antarctica, which although not commonly thought of as a desert because of its cold climate, is classified as such when the amount of rainfall is measured. The cheetah may be the fastest sprinter on the planet – reaching from 0 to 60mph in less than 3 seconds! But what about over long distances? In this incredible video from Life of Mammals, we see how different animals respond to the challenges of survival that require the use of their fitness and strength. >> Read the Full Article
  • Brazilian Belo Monte Dam Halted on Judge's Orders

    In another twist of the Belo Monte Dam saga, a Brazilian judge has ordered that work be suspended on the massive construction project. About one month ago, construction of the dam had been approved by the Brazilian environmental agency, IBAMA. The federal judge, Ronaldo Desterro, said that IBAMA had granted approval for the Belo Monte project under pressure from Norte Energia (a.k.a. NESA), the dam's contractor. The judge also cited concerns over the dam's impact on indigenous tribes and the environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • Risk Management Rules and Farms

    Farms do not have highly hazardous chemicals? It is not just factories that use such chemicals but so do farms. ADI Agronomy, Inc., which owns a group of farm supply facilities in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, has agreed to pay a $54,922 civil penalty to the United States for chemical Risk Management Program violations at its Ag Distributors retail facility at Kennett, Mo., which sells liquid fertilizer made with anhydrous ammonia. EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to the Kennett facility in July 2010, after an inspection noted eight violations of the chemical Risk Management Program regulations contained in the federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, Ag Distributors failed to establish and implement maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing integrity of its anhydrous ammonia process equipment, and failed to document that the equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, among other violations. >> Read the Full Article
  • Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Mexico

    Over the last few years, there has been a large decrease in the crude oil production in Mexico. To counter the effects of it, the Mexican government has started to look for new venues for energy that would create less of a dependence on fossil fuels. >> Read the Full Article