Breaking Waves: Ocean News

10/30/2020 - 10:44
New modelling says just 356 remain – down from 409 last year The 70 breeding females could disappear in 10-20 years Humans are killing the endangered North Atlantic right whale far faster than previously thought, and experts say the window to act is quickly closing. According to new modelling from the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, only 356 of the whales remain in the world — a significant decline from the 409 logged last year. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 10:18
Scientists find several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during expedition Scientists have found an elusive chameleon species that was last spotted in Madagascar 100 years ago. Researchers from Madagascar and Germany said on Friday they had discovered several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during an expedition to the north-west of the African island nation. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 08:57
Device makes it inexpensive to monitor sites previously too hazardous or difficult for volunteers to enter after dark The secret lives of the UK’s rarest bats could be revealed thanks to a new sensor that can record ultrasonic calls in dense woodland areas that have previously been difficult to reach. For decades, acoustic monitoring has been done by bat detectors carried by experts reluctant to stray into woodland thickets during night-time walks. Now a new £60 sensor that can be left in woodlands for up to a fortnight, called AudioMoth, is giving researchers a richer insight into the lives of these elusive mammals after a successful pilot study. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 07:30
Guardian readers look back to simpler times in lockdown when they escaped to local hidden gems As many UK cities become subject to strict lockdown measures, because of rising cases of coronavirus, Guardian readers tell us about their favourite urban open spaces that have helped lift spirits during the pandemic. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 05:00
Two major fires are consuming the forests in the Rocky mountains, killing at least two people and causing an estimated $195m in damages By 23 October, a blustery Friday toward the end of a depressingly short autumn, the two largest wildfires in Colorado’s recent history were descending on Rocky Mountain national park, reaching toward each other with a mere 10 miles of bone-dry forest between them. The Cameron Peak fire had arrived from the north and had already scorched through wilderness for 71 days. The East Troublesome fire was approaching from the west, sending flames over the Continental Divide and forcing the evacuation of the nearby town of Estes Park. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 02:30
Sheep grazing has dominated the Howgill Fells for over a century, but with shifting agricultural subsidies and urgent calls to address biodiversity loss, change is coming For William Wordsworth the Howgill Fells was a romantic landscape, for rewilders they could be home to wolves, and for farmer John Pratt, these hills are home. “I was hoping this day would never come. I shan’t say it will break my heart, but it will,” says Pratt, who is selling his sheep and retiring after 55 years of uplands farming. “I’ve had a flock of sheep since I was 14, so I’m ready for a break,” he adds. The 69-year-old tenant farmer works seven days a week and takes six days of holiday a year. Since 1966 he has been renting Kilnmire Farm (with no heating in the house) on the edge of Ravenstonedale village in Cumbria with his wife, Hazel. He doesn’t drink alcohol (he’s Methodist) and doesn’t have a mobile phone because he “wouldn’t know how to use it”. He tried an olive for the first time in 2017. It’s a lifestyle none of his three children is willing to take on. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 02:09
Former fire chiefs call for ‘no new coal or gas’ after royal commission found climate change fuelled the black summer bushfires Australia’s summer bushfires were fuelled by climate change and governments must respond to the royal commission into the disaster with tougher policies to reduce emissions, including “no new coal or gas”, former fire chiefs have said. Craig Lapsley, a former Victorian emergency management commissioner, said the $10bn cost of the bushfire disaster laid out in the report was “staggering”. Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 01:20
Trump has brought public health and environment rollbacks at an EPA already in trouble – and staffers worry it isn’t equipped to keep Americans safe Donald Trump’s environment agency “actually seems to have a war on the environment”, has been “utterly untenable”, and has brought about “deeply, deeply troubling times”, according to three administrators appointed under past presidents. Reflecting on Trump’s dozens of attacks on core environmental protections, a fourth put it another way: “[I’m] really god damned pissed off – and that’s being kind.” Continue reading...
10/30/2020 - 01:00
Gas discovery at centre of Turkey-Greece dispute will ‘make world even less safe’ The giant gas reserves at the heart of a bitter political standoff between Greece and Turkey could lead to the same carbon emissions as the whole of France and Spain combined every year, according to a report that has called for the proposed gas pipeline project to be scrapped. The gas discovery has inflamed regional tensions in the eastern Mediterranean as Greece and Turkey vie for control of new fossil fuel reserves in disputed waters and, according to Global Witness, the climate cost will outweigh its value in Europe’s carbon neutral future. Continue reading...
10/29/2020 - 19:01
UK millionaire Dale Vince says lab-grown gems will be ‘world’s first zero-impact’ diamonds A British multi-millionaire and environmentalist has set out plans to create thousands of carats of carbon-negative, laboratory-grown diamonds every year “made entirely from the sky”. Dale Vince, the founder of green energy supplier Ecotricity, claims to have developed the world’s only diamonds to be made from carbon, water and energy sourced directly from the elements at a “sky mining facility” in Stroud. Continue reading...