• Little action apparent on toxic tailings six months after Hungary red mud disaster

    Kolontár, Hungary: Six months after being deluged by a tide of toxic red sludge, towns downstream of the failed alumina tailings dam near Ajka, Hungary remain ruined and largely deserted, with residents and former residents still waiting for authorities to deliver on much of the promised assistance. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Former East/West Germany Barrier Now a Nature Reserve

    After the second world war, Germany was divided into east and west. Between the two, the communist masters of East Germany erected an imposing barrier along the 870 border to keep people both in and out. But rather being a single fence or wall, the barrier was also a wide strip outfitted with minefields, bunkers, watch towers, and sand pits. Now that Germany has been reunited, this strip of land running 870 miles along the old border is a long, continuous, undeveloped property. In the end, the Soviets had not built a barrier, but a nature preserve. >> Read the Full Article
  • 2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar

    What choice will consumers make? After attending the 2011 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California (April 4-7, 2011), this is what I walked away thinking. In all respects, Americans are already asking themselves questions like this about the life they live. With regard to the cars we drive it is time to think hard about the way we drive and what we drive. Presenters at the seminar addressed, and in many cases provided the current findings about fuel cells, hydrogen, electricity, the electric grid and electric cars. Economic forces, geopolitical forces and the DOE directed Future Transportation Fuels Study were explored in detail. The choices for a greener driving future are proliferating and each has its advantage and disadvantage. The economic costs to our society in moving toward a greener driving future were reviewed in exploring the many mobility choices we must make as a society and as consumers. Again this year I loved being behind the wheel of the almost to market (Spring 2012?) Plug-in Hybrid Prius and with the announcement during the Seminar of the sale of the one-millionth Prius in the U.S., it’s easy to see that Toyota understands what the hybrid consumer is looking for. Now a more focused approach to the spending of scarcer infrastructure/development dollars is warranted and the key to that approach will be all of us discussing what type of car we as consumers will pay a bit more for and how much it matters to us to be free to ‘put the pedal to the metal’. It’s like turning out the lights when you leave the room, we all know we should do it but don’t always stop to think. >> Read the Full Article
  • UPS, Verizon, PepsiCo Among Charter Members of Obama’s Clean Fleets Partnership

    April 4, 2011 - UPS, Verizon, PepsiCo, AT&T and FedEx, are the charter members of the National Clean Fleets Partnership announced by President Obama on Friday. The public-private partnership aims to assist large companies in reducing diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations. >> Read the Full Article
  • World Bank proposes to limit funding to coal plants

    Following years of criticism from environmentalists and some governments the World Bank has proposed new rules regarding carbon-intensive coal plants, reports the Guardian. The new rules would allow lending for coal-fired plants only to the world's poorest nations and would only lend after other alternatives, such as renewable energy, had been ruled out. >> Read the Full Article
  • 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