Archive | June 2018

“Gorilla Refuge, Rainforest May Be Opened to Oil Search in Congo”

The Democratic Republic of Congo is considering whether to open up swathes of two world-famous national parks to oil exploration.

A decision to allow a search for crude may threaten Virunga National Park, home to many of the about 1,000 mountain gorillas still alive, and Salonga National Park, the world’s second-biggest tropical rainforest reserve. A committee is being established to debate the proposal as Congo plans to increase crude output from the 25,000 barrels per day it produces from aging oil blocks along the Atlantic Ocean coast.

“Pet food is an environmental disaster – are vegan dogs the answer?”

Can eco-conscious cats and dogs survive on a vegan diet?

A quarter of the impact of meat production comes from the pet-food industry. Has the time come to change what we feed our dogs and cats?

“Is promoting vegetarianism a form of colonialism?”

Yes, raising cattle on desert scrubland makes more sense than growing vegetables in the desert. But it's more complex than that. Cattle standing in a field.

In places where there’s limited land and a surplus of water, it makes a lot of sense to optimize for land. So there, grow & eat crops.

And in places where there’s a lot of land and limited water, it makes sense to optimize for water. So there, grow & eat ruminants.

“China’s plastic waste ban will leave 111 million tons of trash with nowhere to go”

China’s recent crackdown on the import of plastic waste will result in millions of tons of displaced plastic trash, according to new research. The ban will force countries like the US to find new ways to deal with their own trash.

“90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from 8 Asian rivers”

By analyzing the waste found in the rivers and surrounding landscape, researchers were able to estimate that just 10 river systems carry 90% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean.

Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger.

“The axolotl—nature’s miracle healer—is on the brink of extinction”

epa01204239 The Axolotl ('Ambystoma mexicanum') is the best-known of the Mexican neotenic mole salamanders belonging to the Tiger Salamander complex, at the Friedrich-Schiller-Univerity of Jena, Germany, 18 December 2007. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled, which is the reason the scientists breed them. So they can examin the development of cells from the early embryo phase. The Axolotl also have the ability to let lost extremities grow again.

The axolotl, or Ambystoma mexicanum, is the ultimate survivalist: When an axolotl loses a leg, tail, or a bit of its heart, the body part regrows and nary a scar remains. But the hardy creature is on the brink of extinction.

“McDonald’s to ditch plastic straws”

cups with paper straws

McDonald’s will replace plastic straws with paper ones in all its UK and Ireland restaurants, starting from September.

“New Zealand scientists are breeding sheep to fart and burp less”

Three sheep and two lambs stand in the sunshine in a lush paddock.

Scientists at Invermay Agricultural Centre in Mosgiel, about 360km south-west of Christchurch, have bred climate-friendly sheep that produce 10 per cent less methane than their gassy counterparts.

“Africa’s most famous trees are dying, and scientists suspect a changing climate”

The research, by Adrian Patrut of Babes-Bolyai University in Romania and an international group of colleagues, finds that in the past 12 years, “9 of the 13 oldest and 5 of the 6 largest individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died.”

“Chris Packham warns of ‘ecological apocalypse’ in Britain”

Chris Packham

According to Packham, British people have normalised a “national catastrophe” and only see a wealth of wildlife in nature reserves, with the wider countryside bereft of life.