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US: Southern resident orca pod in best condition in decade
9 May 2021 - On this Mother's Day [9 May], there is some cause for cautious optimism for some of the most famous mothers in our region, on whom the future of this fragile population of orcas depends. 'There are signs for optimism; in general over the last several years J pod is in better condition than in much of the last decade,' John Durban, professor at Oregon State University told The Seattle Times. ... Orca society is one of the few animal communities on Earth, in addition to humans, in which mothers persist decades into their post-reproductive years. Mothers and grandmothers are the hope of the endangered southern resident killer whales, caring for their young lifelong. (more)

Vegetarians have healthier levels of disease markers than meat-eaters
9 May 2021 - Vegetarians appear to have a healthier biomarker profile than meat-eaters, and this applies to adults of any age and weight, and is also unaffected by smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a new study in over 166,000 UK adults, being presented at this week's European Congress on Obesity (ECO), held online this year. (more)

Farms in UK saved this Beautiful Duke of Burgundy butterfly from extinction
8 May 2021 - The United Kingdom loves its butterflies: Its Butterfly Conservation is the world's largest insect-focused conservation organization, and it's just helped yet another species recover from dangerously low numbers. Ten years ago the Duke of Burgundy butterfly was found only in the southern Lake District and the North York Moors. At that point it was Britain's rarest butterfly. Now its population, of which the newly emerged adults will be preparing to take flight on May winds, has grown 25 percent between 2010 and 2020. (more)

Wildlife-friendly UK farms help Duke of Burgundy butterfly numbers take flight
7 May 2021 - This is the time of year when the Duke of Burgundy, a small jewel of a butterfly named after an unknown aristocrat, takes to the wing. Ten years ago, it was Britain's rarest butterfly, living in tiny colonies on scrubby chalk or limestone grassland. Now it has bounced back, its population surging by 25 percent over the decade. (more)

Germany aims for 65 percent CO2 emissions reduction by 2030 - sources
6 May 2021 - Germany plans to raise its target for carbon emissions reduction by 2030 to 65 percent from 55 percent, two government sources told Reuters on Wednesday [5 May]. Under the new targets, reported by Der Spiegel earlier, Germany would aim for net zero emissions by 2045, five years earlier than initially planned. (more)

Turn the lights out. Here come the birds.
6 May 2021 - Buildings, landmarks, and monuments in America are turning off lights to prevent fatal impacts as birds set off on spring migration. Since late last year, at least six U.S. cities have joined forces with the 35 other places where the society, local organizations, ornithology experts and some of the nation's largest companies have been helping birds navigate in urban centers. The efforts are gaining ground in cities including Chicago, Houston, and New York City. (more)

Nigerian farmers urged to embrace organic agriculture
5 May 2021 - Nigerian farmers have been urged to consider the practice of organic agriculture because of the numerous benefits that are abound in it. Making the plea was the National Coordinator, Knowledge Centre for Oragnic Agriculture (KCOA), Dr Jude Obi. 'If we want to live healthy, if we want to have good life, if wnat to enjoy good taste in our food, if we want to have food products that does not deteriorate fast after harvest then we must go organic,' [Obi said]. (more)

The long shot that saved Belize's coral
5 May 2021 - When Hurricane Iris hit southern Belize in 2001, the country's magnificent corals were destroyed. But within 10 years, a radical restoration project brought the reef back to life. (more)

EU sets plan to promote rapid green transition of key industries
4 May 2021 - The European Union aims to help industries slash greenhouse gas emissions by promoting a rapid expansion of investment in low-carbon technologies, partly through schemes with easier state aid rules, according to a draft policy plan seen by Reuters. ... The EU is considering ways to support and speed up the rollout of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), where member states can pool resources for strategic technologies, the draft said. (more)

Food giants respond to worries over packaging
4 May 2021 - Since 2000, the plastics industry has manufactured as much plastic as all the preceding years combined, a World Wildlife Fund report in 2019 found. 'The production of virgin plastic has increased 200-fold since 1950, and has grown at a rate of 4 percent a year since 2000,' the report says. This has spurred companies to replace single-use plastic with biodegradable and compostable packaging designed to dramatically reduce the toxic footprint plastics leave behind. (more)

US: Electric buses will soon be powered on Charlotte streets through pilot program
4 May 2021 - The Charlotte Area Transit System plans to buy 18 electric buses and charging equipment for almost $23 million by the end of the year, launching a critical initial investment as the city aims to transition to an entirely electric fleet over the coming decade. (more)

Swap and go: electric trucks to run between Sydney and Brisbane using exchangeable batteries
3 May 2021 - An Australian company is planning to trial electric trucks with swappable batteries allowing almost non-stop travel for heavy vehicles between Sydney and Brisbane. Developed by Janus Electric, the batteries can be swapped in three minutes, removing the need for trucks to plug in and charge for up to 12 hours. (more)

U.S. approves massive solar project in California desert
3 May 2021 - The Biden administration on Monday [3 May] said it has approved a major solar energy project in the California desert that will be capable of powering nearly 90,000 homes. (more)

Ride-hailing giant Gojek to shift to electric vehicles by 2030
2 May 2021 - Indonesian ride-hailing startup Gojek plans to make every car and motorcycle on its platform an electric vehicle (EV) by 2030 through partnerships with manufacturers and favourable leasing arrangements, co-Chief Executive Kevin Aluwi told Reuters. ... The Jakarta-based firm is in talks to support development of Indonesia's EV industry, including how to build infrastructure such as battery swap and charging stations, he said. (more)

Sustainable fund inflows hit record high in Q1 - Morningstar
2 May 2021 - Record demand to invest in sustainable investment funds saw the sector's total assets rise 19 percent to a fresh high of nearly $2 trillion in the first quarter, data from industry tracker Morningstar showed. The surge in interest marked the fourth quarter in a row that the sector's assets have hit a record high, amid growing interest from investors for funds focused on environmental, social, and governance-related issues. (more)

Nuts about agroforestry in the U.S. Midwest: Can hazelnuts transform farming?
1 May 2021 - Monocultures of corn and soybeans carpet 75 percent of the U.S. Midwest, leading to soil erosion, water pollution, and massive greenhouse gas emissions. However, a new wave of farmers is breaking the monocrop monotony by growing these annuals between long rows of perennial shrubs like American hazelnuts, which keep soils intact while harboring beneficial bugs and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere. (more)

Singapore gets creative with solar in clean energy push
1 May 2021 - Singapore is betting on floating solar farms and vertical panels to increase its clean-energy supplies and cut carbon emissions, a model that could work in other densely populated cities, urban experts said. The clean-energy push is part of Singapore's Green Plan, unveiled last month, that also includes measures such as planting more trees, adding electric vehicle charge points, and ceasing new registrations of diesel cars and taxis from 2025. (more)

Germany to return Benin Bronzes looted during colonial era
30 April 2021 - Germany is returning hundreds of artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes that were mostly looted from West Africa by a British colonial expedition and subsequently sold to collections around the world, including German museums, authorities said Friday [30 April]. (more)

Global electric car sales surged by 40 percent in 2020 despite pandemic, says IEA
29 April 2021 - Global electric car sales surged by 40 per cent in 2020 despite the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a new analysis finds. A record three million new electric cars were registered in 2020 -- a 41 per cent increase on the number in 2019, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The uptick in electric vehicles came even as total car sales plunged by 16 per cent from 2019 to 2020. (more)

US: Largest private land donation in state history protects vast mountains in North Carolina's Roan Highlands
29 April 2021 - On April 22 the Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy announced it received a letter of intent to accept this 'globally significant' property in what it believes is the largest private conservation land donation in the history of North Carolina. ...'This project is a conservationist's dream come true,' said SAHC Roan stewardship director Marquette Crockett. (more)

US: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy signs letter to accept donation of 7,500 acres in the Roan Highlands
29 April 2021 - Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) announced today [22 April] that they have signed a letter of intent to accept the donation of approximately 7,500 acres of land in the Roan Highlands landscape from a conservation philanthropist. The tract lies within the southern end of the planning boundary of the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, a special conservation area designated by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2008 to protect the exceptional natural features found there. The donation ... supports numerous threatened and endangered plant and animal species and features some of the most extraordinary scenery in the eastern U.S. (more)

Green Lane NGO monetizes organic farming for women agronomists
28 April 2021 - When Green Lane Agricultural Assistance (Green Lane) NGO launched in 2004 by agronomist Dr. Nune Sarukhanyan, 'green' farming was a new concept in Armenia. Now, after having pioneered participatory approaches to rural development with over 100 completed projects, 'green' farming is practiced by mostly women farmers, and has become a common practice across the three-million populated country that borders Iran, Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. (more)

US: Goats get to work along Shenango River in Sharon, Pennsylvania
28 April 2021 - The goats have officially reported for duty in Sharon! It's all part of a project to rid the banks of the Shenango River of poison ivy. Allegheny GoatScape Executive Director Gavin Deming says this is a resourceful way to take care of the problem, and the goats love it. 'This is an alternative to pesticides and herbicides. We aren't using any chemicals, and the goats just eat. They eat around the clock, so they will be here 24 hours a day until they are done,' Deming said. (more)

US: 'For our children's sake': Miami Dade schools commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2030
27 April 2021 - Miami-Dade County, the fourth-largest school district in the nation, became the first Southern school district to commit to an ambitious goal: switching to 'clean energy' entirely by 2030. The resolution didn't define clean energy, but traditionally that means switching away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, like switching to electric buses and more schools powered by solar energy. (more)

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