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How creating wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears - and even crabs
27 January 2021 - This week, Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen 'renoducts' (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings and allow reindeer herds to reach grazing more easily. It is hoped the crossings will allow herders to find fresh grazing lands and alleviate traffic jams, and also help moose and lynx to move around the landscape. Sweden's announcement is the latest in global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads. (more)

Officials hail 'encouraging' number of north Atlantic right whale births
27 January 2021 - Wildlife officials in Florida have reported an 'encouraging' number of sightings of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales off the south-eastern US, including at least 14 new calves, three born to first-time mothers. ... With the 11 other recorded newborns, the numbers represent what the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife says is the 'most encouraging calving season in years'. (more)

Mysterious 'kick' just after the Big Bang may have created dark matter
26 January 2021 - One of the lingering mysteries of the universe is why anything exists at all. That's because, in the universe today, matter and its antimatter counterpart should form in equal amounts, and then these two oppositely charged types of matter would annihilate each other on contact. So all the matter in the universe should have disappeared as soon as it formed, canceling itself out on contact with its antimatter counterpart. (more)

Zimbabwe: Solar usage becoming the 'in-thing'
26 January 2021 - Zimbabwe has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of households resorting to using solar energy ... Since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year which has forced many people to work from home as part of measures to decongest the workplace, these workers now need uninterrupted power supply hence many have turned to solar. (more)

Carmakers accelerate to electric future
25 January 2021 - The world's biggest diesel engine factory in Tremery, eastern France, is undergoing a radical overhaul -- it's switching to make electric motors. The shift is testament to a car industry in flux. ... The transition from diesel is particularly marked in Europe, where sales of diesel vehicles made up at least 50 percent of the total as recently as 2015, according to data from research group JATO Dynamics, far higher than in both North America and Asia. ... (R)esearchers IHS Markit says 2021 will be 'an unprecedented year' in the shift away from diesel. (more)

History made: Renewable energy surpassed fossil fuels for European electricity in 2020
25 January 2021 - Europeans got more of their electricity from renewable sources than fossil fuels for the first time last year, according to an annual report from Ember and Agora Energiewende. The report, which has been tracking EU's power sector since 2015, found that renewables delivered 38 percent of electricity last year, compared to 37 percent delivered by fossil fuels. (more)

US: Executives from Jeff Bezos to Ford Motor Co.'s Bill Ford tell Joe Biden: Fighting climate change means job creation
25 January 2021 - More than 150 world leaders, including Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford, signed an open letter to President Joe Biden to pledge their support to the new administration's goals to combat climate change. In particular, the open letter, released Sunday [24 January], underscored the potential job growth new climate change mitigation technology will provide. (more)

U.S. rejoins fight against climate change at high level summit
24 January 2021 - The United States will mark its return to the global fight against climate change on Monday [25 January] by joining high level talks on ways to better protect people and economies from the effects of global warming already taking place. This online event, hosted by the Netherlands, aims to set out practical solutions and plans for dealing with climate change in the period until 2030. ... No binding commitments will be made at the summit, but leaders will try to set an action agenda, charting plans and proposals to create a climate resilient planet by the end of the decade. (more)

How whales help cool the Earth
23 January 2021 - The world's largest animals are unusually good at taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Whales, particularly baleen and sperm whales, are among the largest creatures on Earth. Their bodies are enormous stores of carbon, and their presence in the ocean shapes the ecosystems around them. From the depths of the ocean, these creatures are also helping to determine the temperature of the planet -- and it's something that we've only recently started to appreciate. (more)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired its first full-time Native American curator
22 January 2021 - For the first time in its 150-year history, the the Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired a full-time Native American curator. Patricia Marroquin Norby has been named Associate Curator of Native American Art at The Met. ... Norby will work on collection development and exhibition programming that focuses on Native arts and is 'in dialogue with culturally diverse production.' She is also tasked with overseeing the formation of partnerships with Indigenous American communities, scholars, artists and audiences. (more)

Viral Twitter thread shows 40 wild animals adorably interrupting wildlife photographers
21 January 2021 - As many wildlife photographers share, creatures large and small want to see what these folks are doing with their cameras. In a now-viral Twitter thread, Joaquim Campa compiled an extensive list of animals interrupting wildlife photographers. If you're wondering about how many images of this sort there could possibly be, the answer is a lot. (more)

Pink seesaw installed on U.S.-Mexico border wall wins 'Best Design' award
21 January 2021 - In 2019, a set of seesaws were installed on the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border as an unlikely act of unification. The project, called Teetertotter Wall, featured slender beams clad in highlighter pink slid through the slats of the metal divider. People on both sides of the wall could enjoy the teeter-totters while also coming face-to-face with someone in a different country. The temporary creation . . . recently made headlines again by winning the London's Design Museum award for the best design of 2020. (more)

4 major Asian nations cancel 80 percent of planned coal power projects after fossil fuel market crashes in 2020
20 January 2021 - Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have canceled nearly 45 gigawatts of proposed coal power projects, a figure equal to more than one-quarter of the total installed capacity of Germany. These are four critical emerging markets that were targeted for growth by the struggling coal industry, but a mixture of pandemic and financing-related problems caused them to pivot toward considering more cost-effective and environmentally-sound alternatives. (more)

Amanda Gorman reads poem 'The Hill We Climb' at Biden inauguration
20 January 2021 - Los Angeles poet Amanda Gorman delivered a stirring poem at the inauguration Wednesday titled 'The Hill We Climb,' a piece she said she wrote with the intention of representing as many Americans as possible. In doing so, Gorman, 22, became the youngest inaugural poet and nearly stole the show, drawing immediate praise on social media for her poise and lyricism. ... Gorman, who graduated from Harvard in 2020, was reportedly recommended to the inaugural team by new First Lady Jill Biden. One would never guess that a few years ago, Gorman was struggling with a speech impediment. (more)

Epic bike trail stretching coast to coast across USA, as cycling popularity soars during pandemic
20 January 2021 - The Great American Rail-Trail will eventually run from Washington, D.C. to Washington state's coast and connect more than 145 existing paths. More than 1,988 miles have already been completed. Once the trail project, which is led by Rail-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), is completed, it will serve a huge number of Americans, as 50 million live within 80km of the trail. Rail trails, paths built on disused railway tracks, and other recreational routes have proved invaluable respites for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing alternative commuting routes and space for people to exercise, often near built-up urban areas. (more)

See Paris's long overdue upgrade to iconic Champs-Elysees Boulevard with an 'extraordinary garden'
20 January 2021 - Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has agreed to a nearly $300 million restoration project for the tired-looking Champs-Elysees, the famous boulevard at the heart of the City of Light. The green light comes more than a year after architects, community leaders, and businesses unveiled plans to turn the 1.2-mile stretch of road into an 'extraordinary garden.' (more)

Pink seesaws across US-Mexico border named Design of the Year 2020
19 January 2021 - A collection of bright pink seesaws that allowed people to interact over the US-Mexico border has won the prestigious Design of the Year award, with its creators saying they hoped the work encourages people to build bridges between communities. (more)

India win over Australia at the Gabba is one of the greatest ever says Mohammad Kaif
19 January 2021 - India's series-clinching victory over Australia at the Gabba [the Brisbane Cricket Ground] is one of their 'greatest wins ever', according to former batsman Mohammad Kaif. ... 'It was truly remarkable. A total team performance.' ... 'India's inexperienced bowling unit showed so much character,' said Kaif. 'They had just over 10 wickets between them, compared to Australian bowling unit's collective haul of more than 1,000 Test wickets.' (more)

Rishabh Pant guides India to historic, series-clinching win at Gabba
19 January 2021 - Cheteshwar Pujara took the hits and Rishabh Pant counterpunched as India chased down a record to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy with three wickets in hand and three overs to spare against Australia. With the series tied 1-1 ahead of the fourth test, India needed only a draw to retain the trophy. But the injury-depleted India squad had a bigger target in mind and played with no fear to post the highest successful fourth-innings chase in a test at the Gabba, ending Australia's unbeaten streak dating to 1988 at the Brisbane venue. ... The India squad did a victory lap of the Gabba -- a rare sight for a visiting team -- to acknowledge their supporters in the stadium. (more)

US: Demand for organic milk in Vermont has gone up during the pandemic
19 January 2021 - Demand for organic milk in Vermont has gone up during the pandemic, welcome news for organic farmers, particularly after a three-year period without growth in consumption. Cooperatives such as Organic Valley, the largest farmer-owned organic cooperative in the United States ... says demand for organic milk has gone up across the country by 11.3 percent in the past 52 weeks ... looking back from November 29 [2020]. (more)

US: Wisconsin organic farmers see increased demand during COVID-19 pandemic
19 January 2021 - While the COVID-19 pandemic has strained businesses to the breaking point ... some officials in Wisconsin's organic industry have been reporting some of their best gains in years. In the early months of the pandemic, stores struggled to stock their shelves, making local producers more attractive. In addition, some customers may have shifted to more organic products as widespread restaurant closures forced them to prepare more home-cooked meals. (more)

Shift to renewable energy eases key environmental burdens, EU says
18 January 2021 - Europe's shift from fossil fuel-based electricity to renewable sources has reduced environmental problems while also cutting the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said on Monday [18 January]. ... The EU's switch from fossil fuel-based power production to sources like wind and solar since 2005 has 'significantly decreased' emissions, while also yielding 'clear improvements' in key environmental problems, the EEA -- an EU agency -- said in a study. (more)

Total speeds up renewables push with $2.5 billion investment in Indian solar power
18 January 2021 - Total is paying $2.5 billion for a share in Indian renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) and a portfolio of solar power assets, marking the latest step in the French energy company's drive to reduce its dependence on oil. ... Total has embarked on a strategy of shifting towards electricity and renewable energy. It aims to have 35 gigawatts (GW) of gross renewable energy generation capacity by 2025 from around 9 GW now. (more)

US: How empty stadiums proved useful during the Covid-19 pandemic for testing, food banks, graduations, and voting
18 January 2021 - On March 11, sports in the United States came to terms with the arrival of the coronavirus. Amid the turmoil, sports teams and cities opened their empty facilities for assistance efforts. Because of their day-to-day experiences with traffic flow, crowd control, and project management, arenas and stadiums proved practical as Covid-19 testing sites and food banks. During the 2020 election season, some became early voting and Election Day centers, allowing Americans easier access to voting while maintaining social distancing guidelines. (more)

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