Environment and Climate Change

What the grieving mother orca tells us about how animals experience death

For many weeks, news of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea captured the attention of many around the world. Jessica Pierce The Conversation Keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, named Tahlequah, also known as J35 by scientists, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf. This has been one of the most protracted displays of marine mammal grieving. Among scientists, however, there remains a prejudice ... Read More »

‘Tokatu’ makes first visit

The country’s largest deepwater fishing vessel, Tokatu, made its maiden call to Dunedin yesterday, and will be a semi-regular visitor to the city’s upper harbour. Simon Hartley Otago Daily Times Sealord took possession of the $70 million, 81.7m-long Norwegian-built vessel in mid-June, after a six-week delivery via the Panama Canal to its home port, Nelson. Sealord fleet manager Bill Healey said the ship was still in its commissioning stages and working towards full capacity, which was to catch, process and ... Read More »

Egypt joins with EU to protect water security

CAIRO — Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Mohamed Abdel Aty announced in a July 24 press release that an agreement had been reached with the European Union (EU) to finance an irrigation-development project and improve the… Ayah Aman Al-Monitor The Egyptian government has been seeking to expand cooperation with international partners to address the threats to Egyptian water security. Egypt suffers from water scarcity, with a water deficit of 20 billion cubic meters (16.2 million acre feet) a year. The government has… Egypt joins ... Read More »

Is China worsening the developing world’s environmental crisis?

The developing world is in the midst of an environmental crisis. Simply breathing the air is a leading cause of death. Jonas Gamso The Conversation One recent study found that pollution is to blame for a fifth of sub-Saharan Africa’s infant deaths. Another showed that exposure to toxins or other dangerous substances in the air killed over 9 million people in 2015 alone, with 92 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries – this is more people than were ... Read More »

Rising seas will displace millions of people – and Australia must be ready

Sea-level rise is already threatening some communities around the world, particularly small island states, as it exacerbates disasters resulting from storm surges and flooding. Authors: The Conversation If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, by 2100 the world could see sea-level rise of a metre – or even more if there is a larger contribution from the Antarctic ice sheet, as some recent findings suggest. Even without a larger Antarctic response, the rate of rise at the end of the 21st ... Read More »

Modern myths about cancer – from ‘chemicals’ in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration – but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Naomi Elster The Guardian Cancer is not up there with the most likely explanations for what caused the mass extinction 66m years ago of the T rex and the triceratops. That said, at least one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours – and a 1.7m-year-old toe with bone cancerwas discovered in 2016 at a South African world heritage site. Cancer ... Read More »

Who owns the moon? A space lawyer answers

Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. Frans von der Dunk The Conversation For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a national flag in another part of the world still amounted to claiming that territory for the fatherland. Did the Stars and Stripes on the moon ... Read More »

Rohingya refugees remain a heavy burden on Bangladesh

The Rohingya people of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The Myanmar government doesn’t consider them as citizens and deprives them of basic rights such as… Mehdi Chowdhury The Conversation To avoid persecution, waves of Rohingya people have taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh in recent decades, with particular flash points in 1978, 1992 and 2012. The latest and largest mass exodus to Bangladesh took place in late August 2017. Within a month, around half a ... Read More »

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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 »