• White House Rejects EPA Proposal to Strengthen Smog Standards

    On Friday, September 2, 2011, the White House directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw and reconsider a proposal to strengthen National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the primary ingredient in smog. The announcement marked the first time that the Obama Administration formally returned one of its own agencies proposals, and it could indicate heightened executive scrutiny of forthcoming rules economic impacts. The heart of the Clean Air Act, NAAQS set maximum levels for six “criteria” pollutants at levels necessary to protect public health and welfare, implemented through State Implementation Plans covering a broad range of sources. The ozone NAAQS were last revised in 2008, when the Bush Administration set a primary standard of .075 parts-per-million (“ppm”) – more lenient than the .06-.07 ppm range recommended by EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. >> Read the Full Article
  • Title: Deadliest States of the USA / 5 ways to keep safe in the USA

    Taking a risk by going on an adventure and exploring a new environment, is an essential part of understanding the natural world within which we live. But sometimes accidents occur. Usually completely unaware, humans put themselves at risk of being attacked or even worse - being eaten. But how do you ascertain what is a potential threat and what is not? Know your enemy. This fantastic rough guide to the nature you do not want to come face-to-face with (without an experienced leader of course) aims to provide you with some inside knowledge. Know your enemy The United States' huge size and vast biodiversity, make it one of a small group of countries that hold the impressive title of being megadiverse. Harboring more than 91,000 insect, 500 reptile and amphibian, 750 bird and 400 mammal species, it is no surprise that the 3.6 million square miles (9.2 million km2) of land that make it the third largest country on the planet, is the site of some less than pleasant human-animal encounters. Let's take a look at some of the toughest specimens the United States' animal kingdom has to offer. 1. Texas - Rattlesnake By both population and landmass, Texas is the second largest state in the USA. And it is because of this immense size of 261,797 square miles (696,200 km2), and wide-ranging terrain that this particular territory has grown an infamous reputation as the toughest, wildest and most dangerous of all 50 states - whether that's because of cowboys or rattlesnakes remains uncertain. With a range of different climate types, from the sub-tropical swamps of the east to the desert-like conditions of the west. It is easy to understand how Texas has become such a challenge when it comes to regional classification, and why it's population of potentially dangerous creatures it so vast. One of the most feared creatures of Texas is the rattlesnake. In particular the Western Diamondback whose bark is definitely as bad as its bite. The snake's advanced venom delivery system allows it to control the amount of venom discharged. Once the prey has been killed venom also plays a role in its digestion. This western outlaw is definitely one to run rather than just hide from. >> Read the Full Article
  • 2 tons of elephant ivory seized in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong customs officers have seized a large shipment of African ivory hidden in a container that arrived by sea from Malaysia. Hong Kong government officials said Tuesday that officers found 794 pieces of ivory tusks estimated to be worth $1.6 million. >> Read the Full Article
  • Controversial Tar Sands Pipeline Moving Forward Despite Heavy Protest

    The massive international pipeline, known as the Keystone XL pipeline, would connect Alberta, Canada's booming tar sands to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast. It would be the longest pipeline outside of Russia and China, and would carry North America's largest oil deposit to the market. The project has sparked protests from environmental groups because large areas of boreal forests would be destroyed and sensitive habitats would be affected. Also, protesters oppose the pipeline for reasons relating to global climate change and breaking our addiction to oil. The Keystone project has just passed a key hurdle by getting the go-ahead from the US State Department. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is Gibson Guitars Unfairily Bullied or Have They Really Screwed Up... Again?

    Last week, for the second time in two years, federal agents raided the facilities of Gibson Guitars, probably the most well-known guitar maker around the world. Although the two raids are the result of different cases, the accusations then and now are similar – violations of the Lacey Act, a law requiring that all wood products and plants imported into the U.S. come from legal sources. On November 2009, federal agents seized guitars and fingerboard blanks that were suspected to be produced from illegally harvested Madagascan rosewood and ebony. Last week the agents seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. From a Reuters report the latest raid is related to a shipment of sawn ebony logs from India that was imported by Gibson illegally, violating the Lacey Act. >> Read the Full Article
  • Europe REACH

    REACH is a European Union Regulation of December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. Its 849 pages took seven years to pass, and it has been described as the most complex legislation in the Union's history and the most important in 20 years. It is the strictest law to date regulating chemical substances and will affect industries throughout the world. REACH entered into force in June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next decade. Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers. It's a potential can of worms, according to EU officials. From the moment it was tabled until its eventual adoption in 2006, the REACH regulation gave rise to one of the most epic lobbying battles in the EU's history, pitting green campaigners against the chemicals industry. >> Read the Full Article
  • The strangest creatures on Earth

    When Steve Backshall and his Deadly team began their expedition to find 60 of the world's deadliest animals, little did they know that it wouldn't just be the dangerous animals that would send a shiver up their spines! When the Deadly team travelled to Madagascar they discovered that it was definitely home to the weird and wonderful. It’s not only Madagascar that boasts the bizarre. During Deadly 60 Steve has encountered his fair share of freaky creatures around the world, here’s a few of his favourites. 1. Wolf eel - British Columbia: The strange monstrous looking wolf-eel, with its football sized head, spiky chisel like front teeth and crunching molars means it can devour sea urchins with ease. 2. Solifuge - Mozambique: Described by Steve as the creepiest creature he’s ever seen, it’s also the fastest invertebrate on the planet with the biggest jaws relative to body size of any animal on earth. Legend has it that they chase after people and eat them alive. 3. Wrinkle lipped bats - Borneo: with its peculiar thick wrinkly lips, heavy jowls and horny big ears it certainly looks odd. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists call for better management of the deep sea

    The deep sea is in trouble. A recent study has found that it's being damaged by human activities, and that this is only likely to get worse. Scientists are now calling for better management and conservation of entire deep-sea ecosystems. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hybrid Midsize Sedan?

    There seem to be a lot of people looking for a quality, affordable, and safe midsize sedan, but a hybrid midsize sedan? Mingling with everyone at the Toyota 2012 Camry event at Paramount Studios Hollywood yesterday I’d have to say, the mainstream car world just isn’t that concerned about how green their drive is at this point. The economy isn't helping, nor is the way most people are experiencing the modern electronic world as a bad case of button overload; and general interest in iconic brands like a Prius Hybrid or a Chevy Volt is limited. In the last two years my automotive interest has been focused on hybrids and electric vehicles. Yesterday in Hollywood I drove both the hybrid 2012 Camry and the non-hybrid 2012 Camry and I got to look more closely at the interface between the car most people are looking for and the dream of a greener driving world. The comparison was great fun. I admit I'm still more excited about the Plug-in Prius, which is now looking like it will be available starting around spring 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability is planned to open up to all other states in 2013. Much of the innovation in the development of the Prius appears to be showing up in the 2012 Camry Hybrid >> Read the Full Article
  • Madagascar may authorize exports of illegally-logged rosewood

    A meeting scheduled for August 25th between rosewood traders, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, and other government officials may determine the fate of tens of millions of dollars' worth of rosewood illegally logged from Madagascar's rainforests parks. >> Read the Full Article