Environment and Climate Change

Genoa bridge collapse: maintaining these structures is a constant battle against traffic and decay

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As rescue workers look for survivors in the concrete rubble that used to be part of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italian authorities are starting their investigation into the possible causes behind this… Marios Chryssanthopoulos The Conversation It is too early to determine what may have caused the catastrophic collapse of more than 100 metres of the multi-span, cable-stayed suspension bridge, completed just over 50 years ago. But it’s important to understand that bridge engineering does not end when construction ... Read More »

Rubbish to energy as Sweden wages war on waste with incinerators

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Sweden has become the darling of the press when it comes to waste management. Articles claim Sweden “recycles nearly all of its waste” and in doing so “generates electricity and heating”. Foreign Correspondent – By Craig Reucassel ABC As I’ve made a bit of a habit of going around looking in people’s bins, I’m constantly being told we should be more like Sweden and make our waste useful. And when Australia was struck by the so-called China recycling crisis recently, it ... Read More »

Jury finds Monsanto liable in the first Roundup cancer trial – here’s what could happen next

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In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and… Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens The Conversation The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due ... Read More »

Can military-style tactics help save the African rhino?

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These magnificent beasts are facing annihilation from ruthless poachers, but environmentalists hope that military-style operations to move the animals across borders may help save the species. Todd Pitock The Age As the sun drifts down on the rolling hills in the heartland of South Africa, Manie Van Niekerk sits with his fingers clasped in his lap. At 52, he wears his hair cropped, which along with a solid physique gives the impression of a man who cannot be easily shaken. ... Read More »

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial

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Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer. BBC In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It’s the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer. Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. “The jury got it ... Read More »

Meet the researchers designing the death of plastic

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Urbana, Illinois: Adam Feinberg had no sooner made a bright yellow thin sheet of plastic than he had to shred it into little pieces. He chose an “I”-shaped mould. Then, he filled it with the plastic bits and stuck it in a hot oven. Xiaozhi Lim The Sydney Morning Herald New York Times “I opened up the mould and there was this beautiful yellow ‘I,'” he recalled. His new plastic passed the first test — it was moldable with heat like ... Read More »

Trees are made of human breath

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Outside my office window, two skilled workers complete a hard and dirty job. They’re cutting the felled trunk of a tree into small enough pieces to be thrown into the back of a truck with the rest of the chipped remains. Cris Brack The Conversation I know that this act was ultimately for my own safety. I, like tens of thousands of others over the past 50 years, regularly walked beneath the canopy of that tree. But recently it was ... Read More »

The devastating reality of Australia’s crippling drought: Shocking maps show just how parched the country has become as desperate farmers continue to pray for rain – but experts say it’s only going to get WORSE

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Australia has been suffering one of the most intense droughts of the past century, and meteorologists believe that it is only going to get worse. Laura Hedges DailyMail These maps from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show how the country has been getting increasingly dry since 2010. The latest – and most shocking – map from BoM shows next to no average rainfall across the majority of the country from 1 April to 6 August this year. It has ... Read More »

Parts of Spain and Portugal are more than 46℃ – here’s what is going on

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Wildfires, drought and extreme heat have been the talk of the town and country across Europe this summer. Glenn McGregor The Conversation Attention has now turned to Portugal and Spain, where temperatures at the weekend reached more than 46℃ in some parts of both countries – close to the all-time European record of 48℃, set in Greece in 1977. Records aside, the obvious question is what is causing the current Iberian heatwave and whether this might be a harbinger of ... Read More »

We Are All Climate Refugees Now

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This summer’s fires, droughts, and record-high temperatures should serve as a wake-up call. The longer a narrow and ignorant elite condemns Americans and the rest of humanity to wander aimlessly in the political desert, the more likely it is that we will all end up in a wasteland. Jeffrey D. Sachs Project Syndicate NEW YORK – Modern humans, born into one climate era, called the Holocene, have crossed the border into another, the Anthropocene. But instead of a Moses guiding ... Read More »

Coles caves and will give away free plastic bags indefinitely

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Coles has hoisted a white flag in the face of angry shoppers aggrieved by having to bring their own bags or pay 15¢ for a “reusable” one, and has promised to give plastic bags away for free indefinitely. Patrick Hatch The Sydney Morning Herald The supermarket chain’s decision has raised the ire of environmental campaigners who say it is a return to the “bad old days” where plastic bags were used once and then discarded. Coles and its rival Woolworths removed thin ... Read More »

The Laos disaster reminds us that local people are too often victims of dam development

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On July 22, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam under construction in Laos’ Attapeu Province collapsed. Authors: The Conversation Flash flooding inundated eight villages, killing at least 29 people and leaving 131 officially reported missing. The final number of casualties could be much higher. Disaster response activities are ongoing. The deputy secretary of the province claimed that more than 1,100 people were still unaccounted for, as of July 27. Laotian authorities are investigating whether the collapse was caused by heavy ... Read More »

The ozone hole is both an environmental success story and an enduring global threat

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The headlines in recent months read like an international eco-thriller. At Mauna Loa Observatory, perched high on a Hawaiian volcano, researchers measure unusual levels of CFC-11 in the atmosphere. Authors: The Conversation The measurements baffle the scientific community: CFC-11, a potent ozone-depleting gas, has been carefully monitored since it was banned under the 1987 Montreal Protocol. But the measurements are soon confirmed by observing stations in Greenland, American Samoa and Antarctica. The evidence points to illegal production of the banned ... Read More »

Grieving whale mother carries her dead calf for days as orcas become more endangered

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A mother killer whale’s grief has left her carrying her dead calf for four days and separated from the rest of her pod. Simon Rushton iNews The calf – born to a Southern Resident orca called J35 – was alive for just a few hours before it became another grim sign of how endangered this whale species is. A research team for the Center for Whale Research sailed to the pair, off the Victoria shoreline in British Columbia, Canada, but ... Read More »

NASA spots huge green ‘whirlpools’ on the ocean (and the reason is alarming)

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NASA satellites have spotted what looks like a huge, green ‘whirlpool’ on the surface of the ocean – and it’s evidence of a dangerous trend. Rob Waugh Yahoo News UK Every summer, phytoplankton spread across the northern basins of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, with blooms spanning hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. Blooms this summer off of Scandinavia seem to be particularly intense – and could be ‘strangling’ the ocean beneath. On July 18, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) ... Read More »

Deal to Protect Waters Around ‘Jurassic Park Island’ Falls Through

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Costa Rica’s government failed to execute a commitment to protect 4,000 square miles around Cocos Island National Park, a critical shark habitat. Stephen Leahy National Geographic A commitment to create a marine protected area around Cocos Island fell through, though the country’s new government may take another look. Two years ago, former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís made international news by committing to a 4,000-square-mile expansion of the marine protected area around the extraordinarily biodiverse waters of Cocos Island ... Read More »