The first wolf sighting in Belgium for over 100 years

The first wolf sighting in Belgium for over 100 years

A sighting of a wild wolf on Belgian soil has been recorded for the first time in at least 100 years. Naya, who will turn two in May, was given a collar with a tracking device when she was six months old by the Technical University of Dresden, but it was only in October last year that she left her parental pack in rural Lübtheener Heide, between Hamburg and Berlin, to push the boundaries for wolf-kind and strike out across…

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Trees: the latest technology in agriculture

Trees: the latest technology in agriculture

There are a lot of exciting new technologies that are changing how we view agriculture: farming in silico, drone farmers, self-driving tractors. But not every innovation is quite so flashy and futuristic. The latest trend reshaping rural environments is pretty down to Earth: agroforestry, the art of planting trees. A big problem faced by farmers across the world is wind erosion of the topsoil. This soft layer of soil, into which crops are planted, is vulnerable to being carried away by high winds….

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Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity

Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity

After years of opposition from anti-captivity campaigners, the Vancouver Aquarium has finally announced that it will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity. For years the Vancouver Aquarium fended off pressure from animal right activists, local government and residents, arguing instead that whales and dolphins were central to its mission. But this week the tourist attraction gave in to public pressure, and announced that it would end the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity. “It had become a local…

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115 new species of animal found in the Greater Mekong

115 new species of animal found in the Greater Mekong

A crocodile lizard, a snail-eating turtle and a horseshoe bat are among the 115 new species discovered by scientists in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River region in 2016, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced. Scientists from several research institutes discovered the new species, including 11 amphibians, two fish, 11 reptiles, 88 plants and three mammals in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. They include an extremely rare crocodile lizard, two species of mole living among a network of streams and rivers,…

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The World Bank will stop financing oil and gas extraction from 2019

The World Bank will stop financing oil and gas extraction from 2019

One of the world’s most important financial and development institutions, the World Bank Group, will end its financial support for oil and gas exploration in the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change. In a statement that delighted campaigners opposed to fossil fuels, the Bank used a conference in Paris to announce that it “will no longer finance upstream oil and gas” after 2019. This came as the Bank signed a $1.15bn loan with…

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Climate conscious post-industrial cities create the Urban Transitions Alliance

Climate conscious post-industrial cities create the Urban Transitions Alliance

Once the steel and coal centre of Germany, Essen’s economic success in the early 20th century was evident in the dust blanketing the city and sulphur filling the air with the constant stench of rotten eggs. By one resident’s account, coal miners permanently wore black smudges across their faces, earning them the nickname waschbar, or “raccoons.” In many ways, Essen is now the envy of cities trying to move past their industrial days. By the 1980s, globalization halted much of Essen’s production,…

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Easter Island: A sustainable society falsely blamed for its own demise

Easter Island: A sustainable society falsely blamed for its own demise

Few stone monuments are as recognisable as the maoi of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), and few cautionary tales are as widely repeated as the sorry fate of the Polynesian society that crafted the monumental stone sentinels. The drive to create these enigmatic and enormous monuments resulted in widespread deforestation, the story goes, which in turn led to systematic warfare over increasingly scarce resources and, ultimately, complete societal and economic collapse before the arrival of the first Europeans in 1722 – what some have called “ecocide”. But now the most common…

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Avani Eco: a start-up with a plastic-free product line

Avani Eco: a start-up with a plastic-free product line

Kevin Kumala was on a sabbatical from studying in the United States when he decided to visit his native Indonesia and clear his head with surfing and the country’s beaches. But on his return, Kumala no longer saw the white sandy beaches and calming turquoise waters he had grown up with in Kuta, Indonesia. Instead the whole landscape was covered in plastic waste. “It was so dramatic,” Kumala said. “It was no longer the Kuta that I know.” According to…

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A plastic bottle return scheme could save English council’s £35m a year

A plastic bottle return scheme could save English council’s £35m a year

Over eight million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year, with 80% coming from land. Plastic bottles are a major contributor; a million plastic bottles are made every minute and the rate is rising quickly, with annual consumption forecast to top half a trillion by 2021. At least a dozen nations already have a Deposit Return Scheme (“DRS”), in which a small deposit is paid when purchasing the bottle, which is then returned when the empty bottle is brought…

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Hurricane Irma: a natural disaster encouraged by a man made denial

Hurricane Irma: a natural disaster encouraged by a man made denial

We are halfway through the hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey’s destruction stretches along the Texas coast, and Hurricane Irma has laid a trail of devastation from the Cape Verde Islands to Georgia. Hurricane Jose is swirling in the Atlantic, while a third Atlantic hurricane, Katia, struck Mexico’s eastern coast late on 8 September. As global temperatures continue to rise, climate scientists have said this is what we should expect – more huge storms, with drastic impacts. However, during these shocking events,…

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