Thailand fails to clean lead-poisoned creek despite court order: HRW

Reuters: Hundreds of families in western Thailand are suffering from lead poisoning near a polluted creek that the government has failed to clean up despite a court order two years ago, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. In 1998, Lead Concentrates (Thailand) closed a mine in Klity Creek in Kanchanaburi province, but the 400 or so ethnic Karen subsistence farmers living in a nearby village struggle with health problems and continue to fight for a cleanup, the watchdog group said in a report. In what activists...

Belo Monte, Brazil: The tribes living in the shadow of megadam

Guardian: By the Great Bend of the Xingu river in the depths of Amazonia, the Juruna tribe is being drowned by what seems at first sight to be a flood of TV game-show prizes. There’s a shiny new motorboat moored by the old canoe, the latest four-wheel drive parked beside a chicken coop, satellite dishes outside every home and wide-screen plasma TVs inside. But these are not the spoils of victory. They are the consolations for defeat in an existential battle against Brazil’s biggest engineering project, the...

Trees are fed up with our carbon, refuse to grow faster

Grist: tists have long expected extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to boost tree growth - the climate-changing waste product of our fuel-burning ways is plant food, after all. But a new study suggests that trees in tropical rainforests around the world are not in fact growing any faster, even as CO2 levels in the air shoot past 400 parts per million. This conclusion isn`t just bad news for trees, though. All species threatened by climate change - that`s you, humans - should be worried. You see,...

China’s Great Green Wall is Holding the Desert Back

Nature World: China's arid north is slowly being invaded by its own desert, which is the source of growing dust storms and nearly useless land. To fight it, they are planting whole forests - a living wall of hearty trees to keep the desert at bay... and it's working. That's at least according to a study recently published in the journal Land Use Policy, which details how China's "Great Green Wall" has helped shelter the country from dust storms while simultaneously helping to reintroduce vegetation into the...

Greenland’s ‘Supraglacial’ Lakes Could Trigger Future Ice Loss

Nature World: Previous predictions of Greenland ice loss may have been greatly underestimated, as new research shows the region's "supraglacial" lakes could trigger faster ice melt in the future. Supraglacial lakes are bodies of water that form on the ice sheet surface from melted snow and ice. According to the new study, these lakes will migrate farther inland over the next 50 years, potentially causing drastic changes in Greenland's ice sheet flow and contributing to rising sea levels. "When you pour pancake...

Coal Ash in the Spotlight as EPA Deadline Approaches

EcoWatch: Coal ash is back in the spotlight. CBS just aired this blockbuster piece on 60 Minutes investigating the fallout from the coal ash spill into North Carolina’s Dan River, and this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is due to release the first-ever national safeguards for disposal of this toxic industrial sludge, to meet a court-ordered deadline of Dec. 19.

We could see more and more ‘hot droughts’ like California’s

FiveThirtyEight: Last week, California’s dry spell got a temporary reprieve thanks to an onslaught of Pacific storms. But the storms won’t be enough to turn back the state’s drought - one that, researchers say, is the region’s worst in the last 1,200 years. California’s drought began in late 2011 and rapidly intensified. Reservoirs stand empty, and as of this month, the U.S. Drought Monitor has classified conditions in 79.7 percent of the state as being in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. To compare the...

Why America Should Invest in Renewables, Not Fracking

EcoWatch: Callie Roberts is a senior, studying cancer biology and environmental policy, at Duke University. She has been awarded the Teens for Planet Earth Award, Ashoka Youth Venture Award, President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award, and President’s Environmental Youth Award for her work with biofuels and environmental health. She is currently a student in Dr. Rebecca Vidra’s environmental science & policy class. We have all heard about America’s energy crisis, “peak oil,” and anthropogenic climate change....

Surreal Aerial Photos Show Impact From Fracking

EcoWatch: Sometimes it takes a bird’s eye view to get a sense of the full scope of what’s being done to our land in pursuit of profit. A few weeks ago we ran some photos by artist Mishka Henner who creates projects that make people think about how we interact with our environment. Those photos showed industrial-scale feed lots, factory farms where thousands of animals are raised, taken from the air. He discovered them while flying over the country working on another project: aerial photos of oil drilling...

Life On Earth Could Face Mass Extinction 100 Years

Business Times: What if someone told you that in a hundred years, life on earth would cease to exist? Imagine a mass extinction to rival that of the dinosaurs being wiped from the planet! That is the future awaiting us all, according to a recent scientific report. The alarming rate at which animal species are dying may only increase with time. The Nature magazine recently published an article that delivered a grim warning for all its readers. The scientific journal carried out an in depth analysis of all the...