Mexico closes 80 schools after chemical leak

Agence France-Presse: Authorities in Mexico said Monday they have closed about 80 schools after sulfuric acid leaked from a copper mine in the country's northwest and contaminated the Sonora River. "About 5,000 students from around 80 schools will not have classes this week because of a lack of water and in some locations their proximity to the river," said the director of the Sonora state civil protection agency, Jesus Arias. On August 6, some 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid used to...

One Year After Calif. Rim Fire, Debate Simmers Over Forest Recovery

National Public Radio: Eric Knapp breaks apart a burnt pine cone, looking for seeds - in his line of work this is considered a clue. "Going into an area after a fire, you almost feel like CSI, you know, sleuthing," Knapp says. He is standing in a part of the Stanislaus National Forest that was severely burned by the Rim Fire. Knapp, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, is studying how forests recover. "It's completely dead," he says. "These trees won't be coming back to life." A lot of the forest was charred...

As risk of drought rises, Australian farmers struggle to invest

Reuters: When a scorching drought struck eastern Australia in 2006, cattle farmers Robyn and Paul Kendal had to slaughter nearly all their livestock and spend around a year of their normal turnover on feed to keep the remainder alive. With a recurrence of El Nino, the weather pattern behind the drought, looming and dry conditions already affecting an area larger than South Africa, another major drought could be one struggle too many for farmers such as the Kendals. "In 2006, we saw the lowest amount of...

United Kingdom: Anti-fracking group stages day of action

Guardian: Anti-fracking protesters caused peaceful disruption at several locations on Monday, gluing themselves to the doors of a government department, occupying a building used by an energy firm and blockading access to a test drilling site. Activists dressed in toxic hazard suits staged a protest outside the London offices of Political Planning Services (PPS), a PR firm that represents the oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla. The stunts were part of a day of direct action declared by Reclaim...

Change in critical grasslands diminishing cattle production

ASU: Half of the Earth’s land mass is made up of rangelands, which include grasslands and savannas, yet they are being transformed at an alarming rate. Woody plants, such as trees and shrubs are taking over, leading to a loss of critical habitat and causing a drastic change in the ability of ecosystems to produce food – specifically meat. Half of the Earth's land mass is made up of rangelands, which include grasslands and savannas, yet they are being transformed at an alarming rate. Woody plants, such...

Fracking’s Impact on Animals Still Largely Unknown

Nature World: Fracking's impact on animals is still largely unknown, which scientists see as a real problem given that business is booming. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no signs of stopping. Between 2005 and 2013, some 82,000 fracking wells were drilled into the shale deposits beneath 17 states, according to the environmental advocacy group Environment America. But scientists are concerned about this method of accessing oil and gas beneath the soil - which involves injecting chemicals into the...

Recent Glacier Losses Are Mostly Driven by Human Activity, Study Says

Yale Environment 360: Roughly one-quarter of the global glacier mass loss between the years 1851 and 2010 can be attributed to human activities, and that fraction increased to more than two-thirds between 1991 and 2010, according to research published in the journal Science. The study is the first to document the extent of human contribution to glacier mass loss, which is driven by both naturally caused climate factors, such as fluctuations in solar radiation, and anthropogenic influences. “In the 19th and first half...

Half of world could face extreme water scarcity by 2095

Blue and Green: Without climate change mitigation policies, half of the world could face extreme water scarcity before the end of the century, a study has found. However, researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) also warned that poorly planned policies could exacerbate the crisis. The study, which was carried out with the help of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, is comprehensive and used unique modelling technology. The model linked economic, energy, land-use and climate systems...

United Kingdom: Activists launch national protests against fracking

Blue and Green: Activists have superglued themselves to the doors at the entrance of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) building in London, in a protest against fracking. The action was timed to coincide with a number of protests across the country, including the occupation of fracking firm Cuadrilla’s northern headquarters near Blackpool. Campaigners have hung a banner from a bridge at Salford Media City, while others have staged a "die-in" protest at the Blackpool branch of HSBC,...

Fracking the Arctic

Yale Environment 360: Among the dozens of rivers that flow unfettered through the Canadian North, the Natla and the Keele may be the most picturesque and culturally important. They are especially significant to the Dene people of the Sahtu region, which straddles the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. Both of the rivers flow crystal clear out of the Mackenzie Mountains along the Yukon/Northwest Territories border before coming together in their final course to the Mackenzie River. For hundreds--if not thousands--of...