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Moscow, capital of oil-rich Russia, targets electric car growth
22 July 2021 - Moscow, capital of one of the world's biggest hydrocarbon exporters, plans to boost the use of electric cars by rolling out a raft of charging infrastructure in the coming years, the city's top transport official told Reuters. The use of electric cars in oil and gas giant Russia lags far behind other European capitals. But Moscow plans to install 200 electric charging stations annually starting this year, said Maxim Liksutov, head of the city's transport department. (more)

'They're baaaaack': Two dozen goats eat their way through New York park
21 July 2021 - Two dozen goats from a farm in a bucolic part of New York state are on a city outing -- let loose in Manhattan's Riverside Park on Wednesday [14 July] to munch on invasive weeds. Using the goats to remove invasive species at Riverside Park is an environmentally friendly win-win -- the goats get to feast on overgrown brush and Riverside Park Conservancy doesn't have to use chemicals to remove the weeds. (more)

City children have better mental health and cognition if they live near woodlands
21 July 2021 - City children who have daily exposure to woodland have better cognitive development and a lower risk of emotional and behavioral problems, according to a new UK study published in Nature Sustainability. Researchers studied 3,568 adolescents aged 9 to 15 at 31 schools across London over four years to examine the associations between natural environments and cognitive development, mental health, and overall well-being. (more)

UK: Leicester is turning all of its bus stops into green roof pollinator gardens for bees
20 July 2021 - As the world's population of bees continues to decline at alarming rates, many are looking for solutions as to how to protect these vital creatures. The UK city of Leicester has a plan of its own in the works. They have begun to replace their traditional bus stops with what they're calling Living Roof bus shelters -- fondly nicknamed 'Bee Bus Stops.' Their green roofs will be solar-powered and topped with pollinator gardens to attract bees and other pollinating insects. (more)

Canadian country music star spurs unlikely coalition against coal
19 July 2021 - Canadian country rocker Corb Lund might not be an obvious choice as a campaigner against fossil fuel expansion. But the music star has taken on an unexpected new role, as a leader of efforts to stop new open pit coal mines in western Canada's iconic Rocky Mountains. ... Lund has helped pull together an unlikely coalition of opponents including ranchers, rural landowners, indigenous groups, urban environmentalists, and some oil industry workers. (more)

Technology boosts efforts to curb tree loss in Amazon
18 July 2021 - Technology can help indigenous communities to significantly curb deforestation, according to a new study. Indigenous people living in the Peruvian Amazon were equipped by conservation groups with satellite data and smartphones. They were able to reduce tree losses by half in the first year of the project. (more)

Edinburgh Airport to build solar farm next to runway
17 July 2021 - Edinburgh Airport is [planning] to build an 11-acre solar farm next to its runway. The array of solar panels will be the first of its kind in the UK and could provide 26 percent of the airport's energy needs. (more)

US: Louisiana looks for best birding spots
17 July 2021 - The state of Louisiana is asking residents for the best places to go birdwatching. The nominations are part of an effort to update and possibly expand the trails and develop the state's eco-tourism. Louisiana and its coastal wetlands are an important location for migrating birds. (more)

US: The farmers' market on wheels tackling one of America's worst food deserts
17 July 2021 - A mobile market is helping to get healthy food into neighborhoods otherwise full of 'fringe' food stores like liquor shops. Matinah Muhammad knows fresh food would be nowhere near her neighborhood if it was not for the bright green truck that brings this seasonal market here every two weeks, organized by a local non-profit, the Arcadia Center. (more)

Irish musicians saving oral history by recording elders singing old campfire songs
15 July 2021 - A small collective of intrepid and inquisitive young Irish musicians have taken it upon themselves to rescue a tradition of song when perhaps no-one else was willing to listen. With an emphasis on the Irish, Scottish, and English traveler communities, their project aims to put the elders of a nearly-past generation in front of a microphone, to enshrine their songs and stories for musicians and folklorists to hear and study for all time. (more)

Dementia cases have declined by 13 percent in US and Europe every decade since 1988, researchers found
15 July 2021 - Over the past 30 years, the incidence of dementia has declined an average of 13 percent every decade in people of European ancestry living in the U.S. or Europe. Using this trend, researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimate that 15 million fewer people could develop dementia by 2040 in high-income countries than if the incidence of the disease remained steady. (more)

Europe aims to kill gasoline and diesel cars by 2035
14 July 2021 - The European Union has announced plans to end the sale of polluting vehicles by 2035, an ambitious goal that would put hybrid cars on the endangered species list and usher in a rapid and dramatic shift to fully electric models. (more)

Spain to invest $5.1 bln in electric vehicle production
13 July 2021 - Spain will invest 4.3 billion euros ($5.1 billion) to kick-start the production of electric vehicles and batteries as part of a major national spending programme financed mostly by European Union recovery funds, the government said on Monday [12 July]. ... After Germany, Spain is Europe's second-largest auto producer and the world's eighth biggest. (more)

Sheep are grazing below Minnesota solar panels that invite pollinators to thrive
12 July 2021 - Fox sedge grasses wave in the prairie breeze, monarchs bob on swaying milkweed, while sheep graze on wild Canadian rye and the sun's warming rays kiss the solar panels above. ...The grasses and flowers don't only help the pollinators and monarch butterflies, but their dark colors and shade keep the ground temperature lower than if it were bare grey stones or sand, which in turn helps keep the solar panels cooler, increasing their electricity generation. (more)

Philippine billionaire Ramon Ang's San Miguel ramps up solar investments, drops coal-based power projects
11 July 2021 - San Miguel -- controlled by billionaire Ramon Ang -- is ramping up its investments in solar farms and other renewable energy sources as it drops coal projects from its expansion plans to help the Philippines reduce its carbon footprint. (more)

Shade from solar panels increases abundance of flowers, benefiting pollinators
11 July 2021 - A new study [by Oregon State University] has found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community. The study, believed to be the first that looked at the impact of solar panels on flowering plants and insects, has important implications for solar developers who manage the land under solar panels, as well as agriculture and pollinator health advocates who are seeking land for pollinator habitat restoration. (more)

US: Pollinator-friendly landscape takes root beneath solar panels in Minnesota
11 July 2021 - Sheep graze through the tall prairie grass, their bleats breaking the quiet as butterflies and insects flit through the native flowers. The pastoral setting is not a restored prairie. It's a solar installation in rural Chisago County -- one of the 16 in Minnesota run by Enel Green Power, a global renewable energy company based in Rome that supplies Xcel Energy. (more)

1st African American to win the National Spelling Bee also holds 3 basketball world records
10 July 2021 - For the first time in the Scripps National Spelling Bee's 96-year history, an African American has taken home the top prize. Zaila Avant-garde, 14, an eighth-grader from Harvey, Louisiana, won the prestigious competition -- and $50,000. She is the competition's second Black champion. (more)

China says giant pandas are no longer endangered
10 July 2021 - Chinese conservation officials have announced that they no longer consider giant pandas in China an endangered species. ...There are now 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, a number that officials credit to the country's devotion to maintaining nature reserves and other conservation initiatives in recent years. As a result, other species have also flourished: Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, and crested ibises have all seen a gradual increase in population numbers, according China's state-run news agency Xinhua. (more)

African American spelling bee champ makes history with flair
9 July 2021 - The nation's first African American winner has breezed to victory at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Zaila Avant-garde understood the significance of what she was doing as she stood on the Scripps National Spelling Bee stage ... Zaila knew she would be the first African American winner of the bee. Many of top Scripps spellers start competing as young as kindergarten. Zaila only started a few years ago, after her father, Jawara Spacetime, watched the bee on TV and realized his daughter's affinity for doing complicated math in her head could translate well to spelling. (more)

Louisiana teen becomes the first African American contestant to win National Spelling Bee
9 July 2021 - Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from New Orleans, Louisiana, won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday [8 July], becoming the first African American contestant to win in 93 editions of the competition. The only Black winner before was Jody-Anne Maxwell, representing Jamaica in 1998. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was on hand to cheer on the competitors at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. (more)

Botswana diamonds: second huge stone unearthed in a month
8 July 2021 - An exceptionally large and white 1,174-carat diamond stone has been unearthed in Botswana, trumping another huge precious stone that was found in the African country in June. Botswana leads the world for the largest precious stones, accounting for six in the top 10 list. The country is Africa's leading diamond producer. (more)

In the Colombian Andes, a forest corridor staves off species extinction
8 July 2021 - In 2006, the world's leading hummingbird photographer, Luis Mazariegos, visited La Mesenia, an isolated village in Colombia's western Andes. He had no idea that besides taking a picture of the recently rediscovered glittering starfrontlet (Coeligena orina), he would find a place that hosts overwhelming biodiversity. The forests here, spanning altitudes from 1,700 to 3,170 meters (5,600 to 10,400 feet), are permanently covered in clouds due to high humidity and are home to 374 known species of birds, 183 mammals, more than 600 plants and 5,000 insects, and other invertebrates. (more)

Scotland: Glasgow to plant 18m trees as city readies for Cop26 climate summit
8 July 2021 - Councils in the Glasgow area have pledged to plant 18m trees --- equivalent to 10 trees for every resident as the city prepares to host a global climate summit later this year. ... Max Hislop, CCF's [Clyde Climate Forest] incoming director, said its goals included greatly increasing tree cover in some of Glasgow's poorest peripheral estates, such as Easterhouse and Castlemilk, and former coal-mining sites, as well as planting trees in city streets, parks, and squares to help cooling during heatwaves. (more)

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