Thursday, 2 April 2020

Bush-fire smoke linked to hundreds of deaths

nature
Bushfire smoke shrouds the Blue Mountains,
as seen from Sydney Harbour Bridge,
Dec.,2019. Photo by Sardaka.
The first study to estimate health effects from Australia’s extreme fires suggests that several thousand extra people were admitted to hospital. Story here.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Record number of fires rage around Amazon farms that supply the world's biggest butchers

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
The summer’s Amazon fires were three times more common in the areas supplying cattle to abattoirs than elsewhere in the rainforest. Details here.

Coronavirus latest: pandemic could have killed 40 million without any action

nature
Updates on the respiratory illness that has infected hundreds of thousands of people and killed several thousand. Story here.

Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?

The Guardian
Scientists are tracing the path of Sars-CoV-2 from a wild animal host – but we need to look at the part played in the outbreak by industrial food production. Story here.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Cambodia halts Mekong dams

SCIENCE MAGAZINE - BIODIVERSITY
Edited by Jeffrey Brainard
In a victory for conservation, the Cambodian government announced on 18 March that it is suspending for 10 years plans to build two hydropower dams on the Mekong River. The move helps preserve a freshwater ecosystem that, after the Amazon, is the world’s most biologically diverse. It also supports a vast fishing industry. Cambodia now relies on hydropower for nearly 50% of its electricity, but will turn to coal, natural gas, and solar energy to meet its future power needs. The Mekong begins on the Tibetan Plateau and flows through several countries, including Cambodia and Vietnam, before emptying into the South China Sea. It has been under increasing pressure from development, pollution, and climate change; drought and upstream dams in China have exacerbated recent low water levels in the lower Mekong. Adding to the river system’s woes, Laos opened two hydropower dams on the Mekong’s main branch in the past 6 months, and Cambodia said it may yet build dams on Mekong tributaries. Still, conservationists praised Cambodia’s decision. Maintaining the free flow of the lower Mekong is “the best decision for both people and nature,” Teak Seng, Cambodia country director for the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement.