Latest Bird Flu News

Controversial weedkiller could spell big trouble for monarch butterflies: Report
Thursday March 01st 2018, 9:39 PM

By 2019, a weed killing chemical—designed to be used in tandem with genetically modified cotton and soybean seeds—is projected to be sprayed on more than 60 million acres of monarch butterfly U.S. migratory habitat, according to a report

released today by the Center for Biological Diversity


Citing this potential devastation to monarch populations, which have already decreased an estimated 80 percent over the past two decades, the report calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to renew the registration of the weed killer, called dicamba, when it expires at the end of this year.

The concern is the chemical could cause more habitat loss and decreased milkweed, which is the only food plant used by monarch caterpillars. Monarchs winter in Mexico and some warm areas of Southern California and they return to areas throughout the U.S. in the spring.

“America’s monarchs are already in serious trouble, and this will push them into absolute crisis,” said report author Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center, in a statement.

Donley and colleagues looked at monarch habitat in the U.S. and estimated how much dicamba will be sprayed. In addition to the estimated 60 million acres to be sprayed, an additional 9 million acres could be threatened by the chemical drifting.

The weed killer gained notoriety this year as farmers planted more than 25 million acres with new soybean and cotton seeds genetically modified to be resistant to dicamba. Monsanto, BASF SE and DowDuPont all make dicamba-based herbicides.

In many areas the weed killer drifted onto nearby fields and killed crops, spurring lawsuits in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. Arkansas banned dicamba; North Dakota, Missouri and Minnesota put restrictions in place.

“In 2017 there were reports of at least 3.6 million acres of off-target, herbicide-induced damage to agricultural crops and an unknown amount of damage to native plants and habitats, including forests,” according to the Center’s report.

Dicamba is a threat to monarchs because it can destroy flowering plants that provide nectar for adult butterflies as they travel south for the winter and by harming milkweed, which is the “only food source of the monarch caterpillar” and “provides an essential resource for reproduction,” stated the report.

“When dicamba’s use on [genetically engineered] cotton and soybeans comes up for reapproval later this year, the only responsible thing for the EPA to do is allow that approval to expire,” Donley said.

We’ve reached out to Monsanto to comment on the report.

[News Source]

Awaiting Day Zero: Cape Town faces an uncertain water future
Thursday March 01st 2018, 6:20 PM

South Africa’s second-largest city has pushed back the day when its taps are expected to run dry. But with its population growing and the climate warming, Cape Town, like many cities in semi-arid regions, must take decisive measures to meet its future water needs.

[News Source]

Improving children’s access to nature starts with addressing inequality
Thursday March 01st 2018, 12:58 PM

Barriers to outside play particularly affect children from low income and BAME households. Can education help?

[News Source]

Where there’s smoke, there’s toxic fire
Thursday March 01st 2018, 12:24 PM

Richmond’s Sims Metal fire and the response to it spark demands for change.

[News Source]

World’s first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket
Thursday March 01st 2018, 12:19 PM

Campaigners hail progress as Amsterdam store offers dedicated aisle of more than 700 products, with plans for a national roll-out

[News Source]

Wisconsin wildlife studies trying to measure climate and policy change
Thursday March 01st 2018, 12:19 PM

Local scientists are making inroads with new research about the overall health of ecosystems in Wisconsin that takes into account the changing climate.

[News Source]

‘We need to act’: Scientists urge prioritization of intact forests
Thursday March 01st 2018, 12:15 PM

A new study in Nature describes how intact forests are critically important for mitigating climate change, maintaining water supplies, safeguarding biodiversity and even protecting human health.

[News Source]

Mustafa Ali: Los Angeles’ 710 expansion project compromises the health of our most vulnerable communities
Thursday March 01st 2018, 10:59 AM

Communities like Long Beach, Huntington Park, Compton and Commerce along freeway 710′s route are primarily people of color.

[News Source]

Will Washington become the first state to tax greenhouse gases?
Thursday March 01st 2018, 10:56 AM

With just over a week before the Washington Legislature adjourns for the year, the question recurs: Will legislators make Washington the first state in the nation to tax greenhouse-gas emissions to fight climate change?

[News Source]

The forest wars: loggers v greenies in Victoria, NSW
Thursday March 01st 2018, 10:53 AM

Deep in East Gippsland’s Kuark forest, ancient trees tower overhead, the scent of sassafras wafts on the breeze and birdsong fills the air. Old-growth trees such as these provide a rare example of a landscape undisturbed by human harvest. But Kuark is under threat of logging.

[News Source]

C-sections and gut bacteria may contribute to overweight kids
Thursday March 01st 2018, 10:44 AM

Overweight mothers are more likely to have overweight babies, and the gut bacteria the babies inherit may in part be to blame.

[News Source]

Is Bitcoin a waste of electricity, or something worse?
Thursday March 01st 2018, 10:39 AM

America has a productivity problem. One explanation may be the growing use of real resources to make virtual products.

[News Source]