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Report: Radiation levels around Fukushima drop significantly in some areas, still exceed target.

Environmental Health News - April 19, 2014 - 07:00
Radiation levels in some localities around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have dropped to well under the government standard of 20 millisieverts per year, according to the latest survey findings.
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French utility says not responsible for China water contamination.

Environmental Health News - April 19, 2014 - 07:00
A French utility blamed by China for failing to maintain water quality standards said on Friday it is not responsible for polluting tap water with a cancer-causing chemical.
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China: Building the dream.

Environmental Health News - April 19, 2014 - 07:00
After more than a decade of spectacular growth in China, much of it in double digits, doubts are setting in both at home and abroad about the sustainability of the "Chinese model." By 2030 Chinese cities will be home to about 1 billion people. Getting urban China to work properly is vital to the country’s economic and political future.
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Bangladesh: The game of the river.

Environmental Health News - April 19, 2014 - 07:00
The mighty Brahmaputra river draws from a heavily-populated basin, home to hundreds of millions of people. Over the centuries they have learned to live with its shifting course, and with its immense flow. But that flow can be terribly destructive. Now a relatively simple solution is being tried to protect millions who live near the river.
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Hope on reducing air pollution in South East Asia

Smoke from land clearing fires in Indonesia causes hazardous haze pollution in South East Asia every year. Record high levels of air pollution caused by haze were reached in June 2013 in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In response to regional pressure after the latest haze crisis, Indonesia has finally agreed to adopt the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution from 2002. However, given the pact's weak compliance provisions, will the ratification really be a game-changer in South East Asia’s struggle with haze? In June 2013 South East Asia was suffocating in a cloud of record-breaking haze pollution. The haze, toxic smog caused by fires to clear land for agriculture in Sumatra, Indonesia, exceeded almost three times the hazardous limit for air quality. For a week the most affected areas of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia resembled a post-apocalyptic scene — people only dared go out with face masks, schools were closed, the economy took a hit as businesses suspended work, events were cancelled, tourists stayed clear of the area and hospitals faced a surge of respiratory illnesses. The fires also impact climate change because they produce large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of carbon-rich peatland and forests. To illustrate the magnitude of the problem: the land-clearing fires which cause transboundary haze are also the biggest contributor to Indonesia's overall GHG emissions. 2013 may have been the worst haze crisis in the region's recorded history, but similar occurrences are the norm during 'haze season' every year since the 1980s.

VIDEO: Water voles fighting back in Sussex

BBC News - Science & Nature - April 19, 2014 - 00:49
The number of water voles has declined by a fifth in the UK since 2011, recent figures suggest. But in one small part of Sussex, the water vole is surviving as Roger Finn reports.
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Chlorine: From toxic chemical to household cleaner

BBC News - Science & Nature - April 18, 2014 - 16:26
The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine
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350.org Leads Climate Awareness Parade Tomorrow

Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire - April 18, 2014 - 13:55

San Francisco’s green community kicks off Earth Day Weekend with a special parade down Market Street to raise awareness about the climate crisis (www.350bayarea.org/earthday-sf), culminating with speeches from the main stage at the Earth Day San Francisco Fesival (www.earthdaysf.org) highlighted by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben at about 1:30 PM.   Marchers will gather at Justin Herman Plaza at 11:00 AM and start down Market at about 11:30 AM.

“The time has come to put citizen action back into Earth Day,” says 350 Bay Area’s Rand Wrobel, the parade’s main organizer.  “This  ‘Earth Day Action Parade” is a good way to put our feet in the street to declare that the earth and its climate needs our action now - as the recent IPCC report warns (see links below).”

Besides 350.Org, there are several influential Bay Area Environmental organizations participating in the parade: 350 Bay Area & 350 San Francisco, the Sierra Club’s SF Bay Chapter, CREDO Action, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Marin, AFSCME Council 57, Greenaction, Ecology Center, Citizens Climate Lobby, Amazon Watch, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition,  OccupySF Environmental Justice, 350 Silicon Valley and others.

 "There will be marchers of all sorts,” Wrobel expains.  “We have a large youth group participating, and another group of bicyclists, some electric vehicles, and even a brass band.  We’re getting a lot of interest from people representing communities threatened by crude oil ‘bomb’ trains and air pollution, as well as folks fighting the Keystone XL pipeline and those supporting the Air District's plan for the Bay Area to lead the nation in an 80% reduction in carbon pollution by 2050."

After McKibben and other speakers address the crowd, the event’s main music stage features a mini-Jam Band festival (http://www.earthdaysf.org/line-up.html), including local favorites New Monsoon and The Earth Day SF All Starts (Rat Dog’s Mark Karran, Hot Butter Rum’s Nat Keefe, Further’s Sunshine Becker and others. 

There are two other multi-cultural stages offering a wide variety of performances and presentations, highlighted by the special Planet Dance Electronic Music Show featuring the Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and six of the area’s top DJs.  There are also many onsite lectures, DIY workshops on subjects varying from raw foods to greening your home, 80+ eco-friendly exhibits, Eco-Chic Fashion Shows, Clean Energy Zone featuring electric cars (sponsored the Chevrolet Volt and the All Electric Smart Car), Green Kids Zone, Green Tech Pavilion, natural food sampling, live music and the Organic Food & Beer Court. Key sponsors are Rogers Family Coffee, KTVU TV 2, Alice 97.3 FM, KCBS 740 AM, KALW and The Park Trust Alliance.  For more information go to www.earthdaysf.org, or call 415-272-8889.

About Earth Day San Francisco:

First conceived by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day has become a major international holiday, and nowhere is that more evident than San Francisco.  Local organizer Douglas Kolberg and his steering committee of influential activists and green businesses are in their fourth year producing San Francisco’s Official Earth Day celebration at San Francisco Civic Center’s United Nations Plaza on Saturday, April 19, from 10 AM to 6 PM.  The event is expected to draw over 10,000 attendees.

Recent IPCC Report Background Info:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/13/ipcc-report-touts-clean-energy/7593073/)

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/apr/14/ipcc-report-scientists-world-seize-opportunity-roadmap

http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/04/ipcc-mitigating-climate-change-more-challenging-ever

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Weird and Mysterious: Scientists Find New Shark Species

A long snout with teeth jutting from the sides? Check. Catfish-like barbels dangling from its chin? Got them. Gills on the side of its body? It has those, too. These are characteristics of a bizarre group of sharks known as sawsharks (family Pristiophoriforidae). And until recently, only seven species were recognized. However, following examination of specimens caught in the western North Pacific, researchers discovered that the number of species should be raised one more.

The Atlantic Cup looks to raise awareness on Rhode Island’s increasingly polluted shorelines

The 2014 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing, now entering its fourth year as the United States premiere class 40 yacht race, continues to lead the way in clean sailing and increasing ecologically awareness in the sailing community. In 2012, the Atlantic Cup became the first carbon-neutral sailing race in the country by offsetting an estimated 23,030 pounds (10.45 metric tons) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Last year, in partnership with 11th Hour Racing and Green Mountain Energy Company, the Atlantic Cup was chosen as the first event to meet all the requirements to earn Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta Platinum Level Status. The Atlantic Cup will once again maintain its commitment to being the most environmentally responsible sailing race in the U.S. by using biodiesel hydro generators, solar panels and fuel cells to limit the use of fuel during competition, recycling waste, and becoming a plastic water bottle free event.

Climate Change Reshaping Urban Tree Populations

Despite protecting us from the impacts of a changing climate, our region's trees are also threatened by wetter and warmer weather. The urban forests of today will look much different by the end of the century. By the end of this century, scientists predict southern New England's seas will rise some 3 feet, and without major cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they say summers here will soon resemble Georgia's dog days.

US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Slightly Decreased in 2012

Climate change is making the news for a number of reasons, including Showtime’s new series called "Years of Living Dangerously." The rise in greenhouse gas emissions is responsible for climate change, and the majority of scientists agree that most of the increase is caused by human activity. That said, there is a bit of good news when it comes to U.S. GHG emissions. The Los Angeles Times reports that greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. decreased by 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2012. The report is based on the EPA's recently released inventory, which cites "multiple factors" for the decrease in emissions — including reduced emissions from electricity generation, fuel efficiency in vehicles, a decrease in the price of natural gas and reductions in miles traveled.

Greenland was green

Greenland the second largest body of ice on Earth was actually green at one point in history. Researchers, including a scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have unearthed cryogenically frozen ancient dirt previously buried under nearly two miles of ice.

Green-N-Fit

Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire - April 18, 2014 - 07:55

On April 26, 2014, 1,000 volunteers will repair and renovate more than 20 homes on Pendleton Avenue and Pickett Place, in Springfield's Old Hill Neighborhood.

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Breaking News: Keystone decision to be delayed.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
The Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the Keystone XL pipeline, perhaps pushing back a final decision on the disputed project until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections.
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China seeks solution to providing clean drinking water supplies.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
Large colonies of micro-organisms - some capable of causing serious disease - have been discovered inside pipelines carrying drinking water to homes in most major mainland cities.
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Studies: Links between fracking and smog pollution stronger than state claims.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
New research suggests that pollution from fracking contributes a much larger share of Dallas-Fort Worth's smog problem than state officials have said.
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As opposition grows, China defends plans for petrochemical plants.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
China has launched an intense media campaign to defend the safety of producing a chemical used to make polyester fiber, as public opposition to new petrochemical plants threatens to disrupt expansion plans by state energy giants such as Sinopec Corp.
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Triclosan aids nasal invasions by staph.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
Sneezing out antimicrobial snot may sound like a superpower, but it actually could be a handicap. Microbiologist Blaise Boles and colleagues swabbed the noses of 90 adults and found that having triclosan-containing snot could double a person’s likelihood of carrying staph. The microbes may have adapted to triclosan.
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Gene increases meat-eaters' cancer risk.

Environmental Health News - April 18, 2014 - 07:00
One in three people carry a gene that significantly raises the risk of developing bowel cancer from eating processed meat, new research shows.
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