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Kenya: Facing COVID-19 and climate threats, Nairobi ramps up green efforts
14 August 2020 - A government effort to better protect and restore parks in the city -- particularly along the Nairobi River -- is now having a significant payoff, not just in jobs but in green spaces to beat the heat and cope with virus restrictions, backers say. The effort is part of a broader push to expand green infrastructure in Kenya's capital, including ensuring widened road corridors have good sidewalks and drainage to prevent flooding, as well as more trees. (more)

Tech helps cashmere herders, hazelnut farmers fight soil erosion in Asia
14 August 2020 - With the use of mobile-based technology, farmers in Mongolia and Bhutan are restoring degraded land. When her husband suddenly passed away, Nakimo set up a small shop in Bhutan's southern Chukha district to provide for her family of seven, then began growing hazelnut trees, which not only boosted her income, but also helped preserve the soil on her land. (more)

US: Citrus flavoring is weaponized against insect-borne diseases
13 August 2020 - Adding a new weapon to the fight against insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and malaria, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday [10 August] approved a new chemical that both repels and kills ticks and mosquitoes. The E.P.A. has approved nootkatone, which is found in cedars and grapefruit. It repels ticks, mosquitoes, and other dangerous bugs for hours, but is safe enough to eat. (more)

US: First new insect repellent approved in 11 years smells like grapefruit
13 August 2020 - A new type of insect repellent will be making its way to drugstore shelves -- and it smells like grapefruit. On Monday [10 August], the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had approved a new ingredient, called nootkatone, that repels and kills mosquitoes and ticks. The naturally occurring ingredient -- which is responsible for the characteristic scent of grapefruit -- was discovered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and developed into an insecticide. It's also found in Alaska yellow cedar trees ... (more)

Mexico to phase out use of herbicide glyphosate
12 August 2020 - Mexico will gradually phase out use of the herbicide glyphosate by the time the current administration ends in late 2024, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday [12 August], following a ministerial spat over the product. ... Lopez Obrador said the government would immediately stop using glyphosate on its own projects. (more)

'People told me my plans for a skincare firm were crazy'
12 August 2020 - Tata Harper's mission to create a natural skincare range began when her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. ... But the more she thought about it, the more she realizWith the aim of setting up the skincare business, she started by doing a lot of research, into natural sciences, herbal medicines and biotechnology.ed that there was a gap in the market for a luxury, all-natural skincare company. (more)

Cameroon cancels logging plan that threatened rare apes
12 August 2020 - Cameroon has backtracked on a decision to allow industrial logging in one of the region's least exploited rainforests, home to rare gorillas, tool-wielding chimpanzees, and giant frogs. Conservationists, researchers and local groups have repeatedly urged the Cameroonian government to suspend plans for the two long-term logging concessions in Ebo, which is also the ancestral home of more than 40 local communities. (more)

20,000 paper birds help fund COVID-19 units at Belgium hospital
11 August 2020 - A flock of 20,000 multicoloured origami birds has been installed in a cathedral in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a fundraising artwork that has paid for two COVID-19 units at a local hospital. Each bird was matched by a donation from companies including French energy firm Engie, raising 101,625 euros ($119,744) for two units for COVID-19 patients at the Erasmus hospital in Brussels. (more)

Meet the medical professionals playing classical music together online
11 August 2020 - When cases of the coronavirus spiked in March, doctors and nurses across the [United States] found themselves overwhelmed with work. The shutdown also took away an important creative outlet for a special breed of medical professional: classical musicians. That's why John Masko, a symphony conductor in Boston, founded the National Virtual Medical Orchestra, giving those in the medical field a chance to perform and connect with each other. (more)

In New Zealand, life is ordinary again after 101 days with no community spread
10 August 2020 - New Zealand has now gone 101 days without any community transmission of the coronavirus, and life in the country has largely returned to normal -- an experience far different from the havoc that the virus is causing elsewhere in the world. On Monday [10 August], Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, called New Zealand 'a global exemplar.' (more)

Dementia on the retreat in the U.S. and Europe
10 August 2020 - Despite the lack of effective treatments or preventive strategies, the dementia epidemic is on the wane in the United States and Europe, scientists reported on Monday [3 August]. The risk for a person to develop dementia over a lifetime is now 13 percent lower than it was in 2010. Incidence rates at every age have steadily declined over the past quarter-century. (more)

England's first wild beavers for 400 years allowed to live on River Otter
9 August 2020 - The first beavers to live wild in England for centuries are to be allowed to remain in their new home on the River Otter in east Devon after a five-year reintroduction trial. The government gave permission on Thursday [6 August] for the reestablished colony to remain in the area, the first wild breeding of beavers in 400 years and the first legally sanctioned reintroduction of an extinct native mammal to England. (more)

New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals
9 August 2020 - ies showing 'no sign of levelNew Guinea is home to more than 13,500 species of plant, two-thirds of which are endemic, according to a new study that suggests it has the greatest plant diversity of any island in the world -- 19 percent more than Madagascar, which previously held the record. Large swathes of the island remain unexplored and some historical collections have yet to be looked at. Researchers estimate that 4,000 more plant species could be found in the next 50 years, with discoveries showing 'no sign of levelling off', according to the paper published in Nature. (more)

Thousands of baby turtles get first taste of the sea
8 August 2020 - More than 10,000 baby turtles were released into the sea off the Indonesian island of Bali on Friday [7 August], as part of conservationists' attempts to boost the population of a vulnerable species and promote environmental protection. (more)

Investors launch climate plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050
8 August 2020 - An investor group managing more than $16 trillion on Wednesday [5 August] launched the world's first step-by-step plan to help pension funds and others align their portfolios with the Paris Agreement on climate change. (more)

The coronavirus is new, but your immune system might still recognize it
8 August 2020 - Eight months ago, the new coronavirus was unknown. But to some of our immune cells, the virus was already something of a familiar foe. A flurry of recent studies has revealed that a large proportion of the population -- 20 to 50 percent of people in some places -- might harbor immunity assassins called T cells that recognize the new coronavirus despite having never encountered it before. (more)

After 400 years, beavers allowed back in the wild in England for good
7 August 2020 - The first beavers to live naturally in the wild in England for over 400 years have been given the green light to stay after a five-year trial showed their dam-building activities were good for wildlife and people. Beavers, semi-aquatic vegetarian mammals, were hunted to extinction in Britain more than four centuries ago. But in 2013 a family of beavers was found to be living on the River Otter in Devon, a rural county in southwest England. (more)

How 'lockdown birdwatching' is helping Australia's bushfire recovery (BBC video)
7 August 2020 - Birdwatching has boomed during the Covid-19 lockdown in Australia, and it's having an unexpected benefit. Scientists have been using an increase in data on bird identification apps to help with conservation efforts after Australia's devastating bushfires. (more)

This fruit attracts birds with an unusual way of making itself metallic blue
6 August 2020 - Researchers reporting August 6 in the journal Current Biology show that the fruits use nanostructures made of lipids in their cell walls, a previously unknown mechanism of structural color, to get their striking blue -- which may also double as a signal to birds that the fruits are full of nutritious fats. (more)

Massive ancient temple complex may lurk beneath famous Northern Ireland fort
6 August 2020 - The remains of 'monumental temples' dating to the Iron Age and medieval buildings may be hidden underground at Navan Fort, an archaeological site in Northern Ireland, a new study finds. Navan Fort, which sits just outside of Armagh city, was the capital of the ancient province of Ulster (known in Irish as Ulaid) in pre-Christian Ireland, according to medieval texts. It's also the backdrop of various Irish myths and historical texts, which refer to it as 'Emain Macha.' (more)

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, 'Got milk?' ads return
5 August 2020 - The US dairy industry has a familiar question for you: 'Got milk?' Six years after the popular tagline was retired, 'Got milk?' ads are back. U.S. milk sales have been in freefall for decades as choices grew and consumers turned to soda, juices and plant-based alternatives like soy milk. [Milk producers have been filing for bankruptcy protection]. But then came the coronavirus pandemic, and milk sales saw a sharp rise. (more)

Exploding stars created the calcium in our bones and teeth, study says
5 August 2020 - The calcium in our bones and teeth likely came from stars exploding in supernovas and scattering this mineral across the universe in massive quantities, according to a new study. In fact, half of the calcium in the universe likely came from calcium-rich supernovae. But these explosions have turned out to be incredibly rare events that scientists have had difficulty observing and analyzing, so they weren't sure how the calcium was created. (more)

Credit Suisse earmarks more than $300 billion for sustainable finance
4 August 2020 - Credit Suisse plans to provide at least 300 billion Swiss francs ($328.41 billion) in sustainable financing over the next decade in areas such as renewable energy and Green Bonds. The move is the latest in a string of announcements by banks looking to display their green credentials and capture demand for cash from companies to help a shift to a low-carbon economy. (more)

Denmark: How a long-forgotten word rallied a nation
4 August 2020 - A word buried in the history books helped Danes mobilize during the pandemic, flattening the curve and lifting community spirit. Hygge -- which roughly translates to 'a quality of coziness' -- may be the most appropriated Danish word of the past decade, but it's samfundssind that's really come to define the nation in the era of Covid-19. If hygge is something you practice with people you know, samfundssind is more of a behaviour towards those you might not know. Rarely used until just a few months ago, it's now entered the Danish vernacular in an explosive way. (more)

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