• Hundreds of whales face slaughter as Norway's killing season resumes

    [April 1] is the official start of the whaling season in Norway. Norway is one of just three countries defying the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling. This moratorium on whaling was implemented by a qualifying majority of member states of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in attempt to put a stop to a hunting practice which was leading to the near extinction of several whale species. >> Read the Full Article
  • Court Gives Endangered Status Back to West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel, Rules That Recovery Plans Must Be Followed

    WASHINGTON— A federal judge reinstated endangered status for the West Virginia northern flying squirrel late Friday, holding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had violated the Endangered Species Act by not following its own recovery plan for the species in its decision to remove protection for the rare animal. The ruling — made in response to a 2009 lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Blackwater, the Wilderness Society, Heartwood, the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition and WildSouth — has broad implications for all threatened and endangered species. >> Read the Full Article
  • Maine Town Passes Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance Becomes First in US to Declare Food Sovereignty

    The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance. In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation. >> Read the Full Article
  • Spring has Sprung: New from BBC Earth!

    "If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring" (from the musical Pickwick, by Leslie Bricusse/Cyril Ornadel) The time has come! As the earth turns and the sun shines it's life giving light directly on the equator, something very special happens. It's called the Vernal Equinox, or the first day of spring! (At least for those in the North Temperate Zone!) This astronomical event that happens twice a year, marks the point at which the length of day and night are almost equal in all parts of the world. Note the use of almost because for places farther from the equator, days are naturally longer and the sun takes longer to rise and set. Making their day lengths almost, but not absolutely, equal. In any case, the March equinox is celebrated across many cultures as a time of rebirth, renewal and a time to rejoice! A number of religious holidays and festivals take place around this time of year, and in some parts of the world it even marks the coming of an entirely New Year; such as the astronomical Persian calendar in Tehran. >> Read the Full Article
  • Small but mighty, new from BBC Earth

    Sometimes the smallest of things can have the greatest of impacts. We've all woken up to find we’ve no milk in the fridge and got to wondering how we ever did without it! Well, as strange as it may sound the Pacific Herring is a little like that. Commonly referred to as "the silver of the sea", these oily little fish have proved to be the most commercially important part of the fishing industry. Being a staple part of the human diet since at least 3000 B.C. Although, it's not just humans who have developed a taste for these delicate bait bits. With a list of predators as long as your arm, it's not surprising that they have developed a way of breeding which ensures their survival. Ecological biomass is a term used to describe how living biological organisms group together to defend their species against the many predators they face, there is after all power in numbers! This isn't an uncommon technique, and we see similarities in the breeding habits of many animals, particularly those who live in herds. >> Read the Full Article
  • Expanding Forests in the Northern Latitudes

    According to a recent United Nations report, forested areas in Europe, North America, the Caucasus, and Central Asia have grown steadily over the past two decades. While tropical areas have steadily lost their forests to excessive logging and increased agriculture, northern areas have seen increases caused by conservation efforts. However, the long-term health and stability of northern forest lands may be imperiled by the effects of climate change. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA and Boilers

    On March 16, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed long-anticipated limits on power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants (“HAPs”) under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”). Along with recent emissions standards for industrial and commercial boilers and a new proposal for power plant GHG controls due out in July, EPA is undertaking a series of major CAA rule makings. EPA’s latest rule would establish the first nationwide standards for power plant emissions of mercury, arsenic and other HAPs, with numeric limits based upon maximum available control technology as required under the 1990 CAA Amendments. EPA’s new proposal would reduce mercury from approximately 525 coal and oil-fired power plants by 91 percent once fully implemented, and it covers a range of other pollutants that were not regulated under the Bush-era mercury rule. >> Read the Full Article
  • "Hydro-diplomacy" needed to avert Arab water wars

    (Reuters) - The United Nations should promote "hydro-diplomacy" to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said Sunday. They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to the Nile, that are likely to come under pressure from a rising world population and climate change. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Spread of Lionfish in the Atlantic

    Normally, the abundance of a wild species is hailed as a sign of a healthy ecosystem. However, that is not the case for the lionfish, an invasive species which is rapidly multiplying in the waters of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the US Eastern Seaboard. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), it is the first documented case of an invasive species establishing a self-sustaining population in the region. Once confined to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, lionfish are now spreading throughout the West Atlantic. >> Read the Full Article
  • Serengeti road project opposed by 'powerful' tour company lobby

    Government plans to build a road through Serengeti National Park came up against more opposition this week as the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators (Tato) came out against the project, reports The Citizen. Tato, described as powerful local lobby group by the Tanzanian media, stated that the road would hurt tourism and urged the government to select a proposed alternative route that would by-pass the park. Tato's opposition may signal a shift to more local criticism of the road as opposition against the project has come mostly from international environmentalists, scientists, and governments. >> Read the Full Article