Nature

The struggle to find silence in the ancient monastic world – and now

In our contemporary world, noise pollution has reached dangerous levels. The World Health Organization has argued that “excessive noise” is a serious threat to human health. Kim Haines-Eitzen The Conversation Studies have shown that excessive exposure to noise not only causes hearing loss but also leads to heart disease, poor sleep and hypertension. In some parts of the world, a mysterious “droning sound,” similar to a “a diesel engine idling nearby,” has been described as “torture” for the small percent ... Read More »

Meet the drain sock — a simple pollution solution taking the world by storm

Cities across the globe are looking to Australia for a simple pollution solution to stop rubbish from spoiling creeks and river systems. By Gian De Poloni ABC The City of Kwinana, south of Perth, has generated international interest for its drain socks. In March 2018, nets were fitted to the mouths of two local stormwater drains to trap litter and debris that washed into the system after a rain storm. Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said more than 25 million people ... Read More »

Everest through the eyes of a Sherpa: ‘Climbers need to wake up’

At least 11 people have died trying to climb Mount Everest this year. Kami Rita Sherpa, who’s been to the world’s highest summit more times than anyone else, tells the BBC too many climbers… By Pradeep Bashyal BBC Nepali, Kathmandu On 13 May, exhausted and struggling to breathe, Yunfei Wang, a Chinese climber in her early 30s, staggered into Camp 3. At 7,162m (23,500ft) it was higher than she had ever climbed before. But the expedition was not going to ... Read More »

Russia fines ‘whale jail’ company White Whale

A Russian company that runs a so-called “whale jail” in the east of the country has been fined 28.1 million rubles ($433,000; £430,000). BBC White Whale is one of four firms holding killer and beluga whales in small enclosures on the Sea of Japan, which they say is legal. But a Vladivostok court on Friday ruled the company broke fishing rules. Cases against the other three companies are expected before the courts in the next week. Although Russia allows the ... Read More »

‘Why replace dolphins with oil drilling?’: the battle for Greece’s marine life

From sperm whales to dolphins, marine mammals in the eastern Mediterranean face a lethal threat from oil and gas exploration Helena Smith The Guardian Before the giants of oil and gas joined the litany of threats facing Greek sperm whales, the plight of the world’s largest-toothed animal was little known. Like the Hellenic trench, which was discovered only two decades ago and is the habitat most associated with the species, the mammals were once the preserve of dedicated oceanographers. Now ... Read More »

Many plant species at risk of extinction – and we’re blind to danger this poses to life on Earth

Up to a million species may go extinct due to human activity according to a recent report, some within decades. Authors: The Conversation We all know the mammals in trouble – polar bears, giant pandas and snow leopards – but how many of us could name an endangered plant? A 2019 report assessed 28,000 plant species and concluded that about half of them were threatened with extinction. This failure to notice and appreciate plants has been termed “plant blindness”, and ... Read More »

World Environment Day: How we can reduce air pollution

This year the theme for World Environment Day, June 5, is #BeatAirPollution. Air pollution not only impacts our health – about 6.5 million people worldwide die prematurely from air pollution every year – but also causes global warming. Mudgee Guardian The UN estimates that if we reduce emissions from air pollutants, we could slow global warming by up to 0.5 degrees celcius over the next few decades. According to UN Environment, over half of the world’s population live in urban ... Read More »

Canada’s UN submission will (eventually) draw the last lines on the map

In May 2019, Canada made a partial submission to the United Nations to recognize an extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean. This means that Canada will soon have the last lines drawn on the… Andrea Charron The Conversation Canada’s submission was made to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) under Article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). There was surprisingly little fanfare over this ... Read More »

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions up for four years in a row

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 rose for a fourth year in a row, an increase at odds with the country’s Paris climate pledge, according to a government submission to the… Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald The National Inventory Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change showed emissions last year were 537 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (which include… That tally, which includes changes to land-use and forestry, was up 0.4 per cent from 2017’s 534.7 million tonnes ... Read More »

Traffic jams are just one of the problems facing climbers on Everest

As the last teams leave the mountain, alpinists and pundits argue about how and why things went awry; exclusive new photos Photograph by Mark Fisher/Fisher Creative, National Geographic By Freddie Wilkinson Kathmandu, NepalOn Monday, Christopher Kulish, a 62-year-old attorney from Boulder, Colorado, died at Camp 4, located on the South Col at 26,000 feet, after returning from the summit of Mount Everest. According to Kulish’s brother, an initial assessment indicates Kulish died of cardiac arrest, not altitude sickness. His death ... Read More »

Malaysia to send plastic waste back to Australia and other developed nations

Malaysia will send back some 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as Australia, the US, the UK and Canada to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations. ABC Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and many developing countries had become new targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year, disrupting the flow of more than 7 million tonnes of plastic scrap a… Last week, the Philippines announced it would ship back dozens of ... Read More »

‘Death blow’: Corals, algae don’t acclimatise to more acidic seas

Coral and algae species subjected to more acidic seawater showed no acclimatisation to the new conditions for over a year, a new study has found, suggesting that vulnerable reefs may not be able adapt fast enough to cope with… Peter Hannam WAtoday With oceans absorbing about 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a day, seas have already become about 30 per cent more acidic over the past two centuries. Shell-forming creatures from oysters to types of plankton are ... Read More »

‘I’m not Tony Abbott’: Albanese offers to work with Morrison on climate, Uluru Statement

Anthony Albanese has offered to work with the Coalition government on the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians and a bipartisan approach to climate change in his first major outing as incoming federal Labor leader. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times The offer came as Mr Albanese’s incoming deputy, Richard Marles, made a mea culpa over his role in tarnishing Labor’s brand in coal-rich Queensland through “tone deaf” remarks welcoming the demise of the coal industry. Mr Albanese vowed to hold the re-elected Coalition ... Read More »

Coast Guard wages battle against illegal fishing boats

Out at sea, this border battle is fought in boats HARLINGEN — In the sun-blasted, wind-riven waters between the South Padre Island jetties and the mouth of the Rio Grande, a different kind of border crossing crisis is playing out. Rick Kelley Valley Morning Star Source: U.S. Coast Guard One side has spotter aircraft, radar and fully crewed patrol craft loaded with the latest technology. The other employs simple 20- to 30-foot boats with outboard motors, capitalizing on speed and ... Read More »

Logging ravaging the Solomon Islands’ forests

The Solomon Islands is the biggest exporter, after Papua New Guinea, of round logs to China, where they are processed and sold as tropical hardwood products around the world. By Louise Hunt, Honiara Asia Times To sate this demand, logging companies are clearing Solomon Islands forests at nearly 20 times the sustainable rate, according to an investigation by watchdog NGO Global Witness, published last October. The Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Finance has also suggested its commercially viable natural forest will be exhausted ... Read More »

2040: hope and action in the climate crisis

It was framed as “the climate election”, but last week Australia returned a government with climate policies that make the task of building a zero-emissions, safe climate Australia even harder. John Wiseman The Conversation This result comes at a time when international studies are raising the real and imminent spectre of a mass extinction crisis and many communities are already struggling with the consequences of the climate emergency now unfolding around us. Amid the growing strength of movements like Extinction ... Read More »