Archive for the ‘ENVIRONMENT’ Category

Filipina With Upside-down Feet Walks For 1st Time

July 9, 2008

A Filipino teenager who came to New York so doctors could perform surgery to untwist her severely clubbed feet took her first unaided steps Wednesday in pink-and-white sneakers _ the first shoes she’s ever worn.

“I’m very happy,” Jingle Luis said with a smile. “It was exciting.”

The 15-year-old girl arrived at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx in May with her mother for surgery and follow-up treatment.

She had never been able to walk on her own because she was born with feet so clubbed they twisted backward and upside down, forcing her to hobble on the tops of her feet with the help of crutches.

On Wednesday, doctors took off her post-surgical casts and replaced them with special support braces. (more…)

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Colorful insects help search for anti-cancer drugs

July 8, 2008

Brightly-colored beetles or caterpillars feeding on a tropical plant may signal the presence of chemical compounds active against cancer and parasitic diseases, report researchers writing in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The discovery could help speed drug discovery.

Scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and other organizations collected beetles and caterpillars on plants that produce compounds with and without activity against various cancers and parasites. They found that insects showing warning coloration — bright colors and bold patterns — were significantly more common on plants that contained anti-cancer and anti-parasite compounds. There was no difference in abundance of plain-colored insects between plants with and without bioactivity. (more…)

Organic Herb and Vegetable Program Takes-Off at Rocket Farms

July 6, 2008

SALINAS, CA – Rocket Farms announced the launch of a comprehensive organic herb and vegetable program on June 19. The program is wide-ranging and also focuses upon sustainability. Rocket has received 100% certified organic status from the USDA for 40 acres (of its 5.3 million square feet of growing space) for the new program, which grows organic culinary herbs, vegetables and organic heirloom tomato plants.

“Customers are becoming more discerning and prefer to buy agriculture that is grown without pesticides and any other toxins,” said Marc Clark, EVP of Rocket Farms. “We have a strong ethic at Rocket to provide the healthiest plants which are free from any chemical toxicity.” The organic herbs and tomatoes are grown on benches without pesticides. (more…)

Baby Otters Safe After Excursion, Stop at Pub

July 3, 2008

PETALUMA, CA – Two baby river otters are safely in the care of a wildlife rescue group after a weekend excursion that took them through several Petaluma neighborhoods, including a stop at a local pub.

Residents began calling the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue hotline Friday night, reporting sightings of the pair slinking across porches and diving under fences.

The first otter was caught Saturday morning after a homeowner caught the animal sleeping between a garbage can and a flower pot. The second one, however, kept moving through town and was spotted by a man outside Mario & John’s Tavern that night. (more…)

A Low Water Year is a Boon to Safflower Farmers

July 2, 2008

WOODLAND, CA – Having to make due with less water, California farmers are reassessing their planting of tomatoes, cotton, corn and other water-intensive crops.

A popular replacement this year — safflower. The thistlelike plant is perfectly suited for the state’s Mediterranean climate and does not require much water.

It can send a tap root 8 to 10 feet into the soil, sucking up water and nutrients that are out of reach of other annual crops. The plants are blooming across California’s Central Valley, pushing out bright, yellow and orange flowers packed with dozens of seeds that will be turned into salad and cooking oil. (more…)

Solar Water Heaters Now Mandatory In Hawaii

July 2, 2008

Hawaii has become the first state to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill was signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle. It requires the energy-saving systems in homes starting in 2010. It prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Hawaii relies on imported fossil fuels more than any other state, with about 90 percent of its energy sources coming from foreign countries, according to state data.

The new law prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Some exceptions will be allowed, such as forested areas where there are low amounts of sunshine.

State Sen. Gary Hooser, vice chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee, first introduced the measure five years ago when he said a barrel of oil cost just $40. Since then, the cost of oil has more than tripled.

“It’s abundantly clear that we need to take some serious action to protect Hawaii because we’re so dependent on oil,” Hooser said. “I’m very pleased the governor is recognizing the importance of this bill and the huge public benefits that come out of it.”

From awwwww.org

Exciting – and green – ways to get around

July 2, 2008

Whether you’re aiming to reduce your carbon footprint, save some money on petrol or just beat the traffic blues, there are some cheap, green and exciting ways of getting around that can replace your motor car.

Most journeys are only a few kilometres long and often with no passengers, so it makes sense to look beyond the car as the smartest way to cross the city. Of course there’s the bicycle, or even public transport, but other options are worth considering. (more…)

Cheers as endangered turtle sets off on 20-year journey

July 2, 2008

A 68kg sea turtle raised by humans returned to freedom this week after nine years of captivity, swimming away after the veterinarians who cared for her helped steer her toward the ocean.

Humans have raised the turtle, named Dylan, since she was found in August 1998 as a hatchling straggler on Jekyll Island’s beach, left behind by her nest mates. She spent years at two nature centres before moving to the Georgia Aquarium, and later, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center at Jekyll Island.

The caretakers took the turtle to within 3m of the water and she scooted right in as about 300 people watched from the beach. She took an immediate right turn, swimming parallel to the beach. Terry Norton, head veterinarian at the Sea Turtle Center, helped turn her back out to sea. (more…)

Tree From 2,000-Year-Old Seed is Doing Well

July 1, 2008

Just over three years old and about four-feet tall, Methuselah is growing well. ”It’s lovely,” Dr. Sarah Sallon said of the date palm, whose parents may have provided food for the besieged Jews at Masada some 2,000 years ago.

The little tree was sprouted in 2005 from a seed recovered from Masada, where rebelling Jews committed suicide rather than surrender to Roman attackers.

Radiocarbon dating of seed fragments clinging to its root, as well as other seeds found with it that didn’t sprout, indicate they were about 2,000 years old — the oldest seed known to have been sprouted and grown. (more…)

Coral Reef Alliance

June 30, 2008

“Working Together to Keep Coral Reefs Alive” – Nature has long challenged the hardiness of our reef communities but has never quite managed to completely snuff out the entire life force. The ancestors of today’s reef-building corals go back as far as 200 million years and have even survived the catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs. Continents may have shifted, sea levels may have risen and fallen but these stalwart reef survivors always managed to regroup and form new communities. At least until now.

In modern times, humans are collectively the coral colonies most effective predators. Holiday makers break bits off as souvenirs, shops sell them as treasures, swimmers stand on them for respite, divers crush them with flippers and boat operators drag anchors across the top of them. On a larger scale, the use of ‘rock-hopping’ nets and bottom-trawling fishing equipment, the grounding of boats, the use of cyanide or dynamite to fish and sediment run-off due to deforestation, are all taking their toll on the well-being of this living eco-system. (more…)

Tidal Turbines the Way Forward

June 30, 2008

Renewable energy enthusiasts across the world were recently focused on Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough, for the installation of the first ever commercial tidal turbine system. Pioneering developer Marine Current Turbines, are behind the SeaGen system, backed by investments from ethical specialists, Triodos Bank and its clean energy investment fund, Triodos Renewables.

The UK has a massive potential for marine energy, which could provide a fifth of the country’s electricity – the proportion nuclear currently provides. The idea of generating power from the sea is moving from the drawing boards and becoming a reality but it is not without its challenges. (more…)

Indonesians told to plant trees before marrying

June 27, 2008

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Prospective newlyweds in an Indonesian province are being given one more promise to honor: planting trees to help slow the rapid deterioration of the country’s forests.

As Indonesia marks World Environment Day on Thursday, husbands-and brides-to-be in Gorontalo, a rugged mountainous province on Sulawesi island, are being required to plant 10 seedlings supplied by the local government, said Hasyim Alidrus, head of the religious affairs office.

It is part of a nationwide “re-greening” initiative launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Bali Conference in Bali last November when million of trees were planted across the vast archipelago.

The program, critics say, is largely symbolic in a nation that is losing its forests at one of the fastest rates in the world due to illegal logging, mining, new oil palm plantations and slash-and-burn land clearing.

Conservationists say deforestation on Borneo island has claimed an area the size of some European countries and continues virtually unabated.

That has hardly dampened the enthusiasm of 27-year-old Khairul Baso and his fiancee, Andini, who received two 6-month-old teak trees along with palm, fruit and flower seedlings ahead of their wedding this weekend.

The couple is just one of nearly 900 that this year received trees from Gorontalo’s religious affairs office, where they are required to register their marriage documents. Couples are required to plant the trees to receive their legal paperwork, Alidrus said, although it was unclear how the rule would be enforced.

Originally posted on Yahoo! Philippines News

The Big Green Bus

June 26, 2008

Worcestershire, UK – The Big Green Idea is a new charity set up to show people that sustainable living can be really easy, great fun, healthy and inexpensive. The charity’s founder Brigit Strawbridge, believes that if people had access to hands-on information and an opportunity to talk to ‘real people’ living ‘real but low impact lives’ they may be more likely to give it a go themselves.

With the help of some very dedicated volunteers, The Big Green Idea has raised enough money to purchase an old double decker bus, which is currently being re-fitted as a one-stop-eco-information-shop. It will be run on bio-diesel, made from waste vegetable oil.

Driving into towns, cities and rural communities across the UK, the bus will park up for a few days at a time in each location. Visitors will be able to jump on board and source valuable information about local soil conditions, conservation projects, veg box schemes, beekeepers, allotment groups and local growers.

(more…)

Cars of Tomorrow May Help Us Kick Oil Habit

June 17, 2008

Three Competing Technolgies That May Someday End Big Oil’s Grip on Consumers
Honda Motors Co. has started production of a car that runs on hydrogen fuel rather than oil, marking the first time a commercial vehicle will produce zero emissions.

The FCX Clarity, which was introduced two years ago as a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, runs on electricity made from an onboard hydrogen-powered fuel cell battery. It will be available in July as part of limited lease program offered in California.

The three dealerships participating in the program are Power Honda Costa Mesa, Honda of Santa Monica, and Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance.

Actor Jamie-Lee Curtis and her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest will be one of the first owners to take the new car technology out for a spin.

The announcement is one of the many signs that the latest price spike has pushed automakers to rev up the pace in bringing them to the market.

Just last week, Toyota announced that it would roll out plug-in hybrids with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in 2010. The electric, eco-friendly vehicles offer substantial savings over gas-powered cars.

(more…)

The Longest Walk: A Sacred Cross-Country Journey

June 16, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On February 11 more than two hundred participants began the Longest Walk 2, a five month cross-country journey on foot to spread their message that all life is sacred. The walkers have come together from many Native American nations and other communities in order to raise awareness about the environment, to visit and promote the protection of sacred Native sites, and to help clean up our Mother Earth.

People have come from as far away as England, Poland, and Australia to participate and support this historic spiritual walk. A group of Japanese Buddhist monks have joined the walk for its entire journey. The walkers are currently traveling along two separate routes on their way to Washington, DC, which they plan to reach in July.

“We’re asking all peoples, of all colors, of all religions, to join us,” said Wounded Knee, a 65-year-old California Mewuk. “We believe all life is sacred. So, we walk for world peace and justice and the environment, to heal Mother Earth.” Those on the southern route are traveling through southwestern and southern states. Those on the northern route are walking across the center of the US, visiting Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, among other states, before arriving in Washington. The northern route is the same route taken by the first Longest Walk, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

(more…)