Back in 2012, William Finnegan of The New Yorker traveled to Madagascar with the Turtle Conservancy to document the plight of the Critically Endangered Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora). These beautiful animals have been pushed to the brink of extinction due to the illegal wildlife trade. newyorker 

World Water Monitoring Day: a reading list

In recognition of World Water Monitoring Day, we have put together a reading list of articles that cover all aspects of water monitoring, from environmental impact to policy to distribution.

These articles are free for you to read online for a limited time.

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How A Population Went From Millions To Nothing In Less Than 40 Years

Everybody wants to write the same story. I get calls from reporters about twenty times a year. Journalists, beekeepers, honors students. They all ask the same question. Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the bees gone? That is not the question. The question is, Where have all the commercial beekeepers gone?
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MIDWAY, a Message from the Gyre is a short film. It is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. 

This is so astonishing, heartbreaking and eye-opening, and I recommend you guys watch this, and share it with your friends and family. Stop using plastics already!! Face the reality, and change your lifestyle for the better and for the sake of our planet.

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Your Microbial Fingerprint on the Move

Researchers studying the microbial communities that colonize people, places and pets have determined that such microbiota differ greatly from household to household. By characterizing the bacteria in our unique environments, they are starting to map out how interactions between people and the bacteria that surround them might affect human health. When people pack up their belongings and move houses, they also move their unique microbiological “auras”, Simon Lax and colleagues report in this study.

Read more about this research from the 29 August issue of Science here.

[Video © Argonne National Laboratory. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.


Sharks in ocean water acidified (due too much carbon dioxide) alter their behavior, swimming in longer spurts than sharks in typical ocean water, particularly during their nighttime wanderings.

Effects of acidification have been reported in sharks, some species lose their olfactory ability in acid environments

The new findings are troubling, given that one effect of the human consumption of fossil fuels is to make ocean water more acidic. If fossil fuel burning continues as is, sharks may face even more challenges than they do today — when a quarter of species are already at risk of extinction.

Supreme Court rejects Burnaby’s injunction to stop Kinder Morgan

Under a cloudy, grey sky on top of Burnaby Mountain, a crowd of around 25 rolled out a banner that read “Stop Kinder Morgan!” in bold red letters and prepared to hear the news from the B.C. Supreme Court.

They had gathered from all around Metro Vancouver to hear Justice Brenda Brown’s decision on whether to grant the City of Burnaby an injunction to stop Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

There were big stakes for those gathered at the rally, organized by BROKE (Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion), a citizen’s group started by homeowners after Kinder Morgan’s 2007 bitumen spill in Burnaby.

The expansion, if approved, will allow Kinder Morgan to twin the existing pipeline and increase the flow of diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby from the current 300,000 barrels to 890,000 barrels a day.

The $5.8 billion project is expected to create 90 new jobs and transport Canadian bitumen to markets in Asia and the U.S.

As Justice Brown announced her decision, the crowd gathered around Alan Dutton, a BROKE member who was on the phone with the group’s lawyer. Looks of dismay overcame the crowd as Dutton explained that Justice Brown has rejected the injunction.

“This is disturbing,” said BROKE spokesperson Karl Perrin. “This means City bylaws don’t really have much force, if any. What’s the point of even having laws if we can’t enforce them?”

Continue Reading.

“One thing you need to keep in mind,” Barry told me when I called him, “is that ninety-​nine percent of the so-​called beekeepers are hobby beekeepers. In North Carolina there are thousands of hobby beekeepers. And there are less than ten commercial beekeepers. There’s a public misconception that a beekeeper’s a beekeeper’s a beekeeper. But the difference between a hobby beekeeper and a commercial beekeeper is like the difference between someone with an aquarium in his living room and somebody that owns three oceangoing deep-​sea vessels.” I had reached him in his truck. Earlier that morning, Jill had recommended I try him between three and five in the afternoon, when Barry would be on the road. When he’s not on the road, she said, he’s working, and he can’t talk then.

“Those universes are so separate,” Barry continued, “that you could go to a hobby bee-​keeping meeting and mention commercial bee-​keeping, and they’ll say, well, we just don’t have any commercial bee-​keeping in North Carolina. They don’t even know those guys exist. They’re completely different worlds.” He paused. Then he added, “And they hate each other.”

Barry spoke in formidable gusts, so I had a hard time intervening with a question. He explained that there are three ways a commercial beekeeper can do business: pollination, honey production, or the sale of bees and equipment. Silver Spoon Apiaries mostly sells honey, though about a quarter of its revenue comes from selling to hobbyists.

“I have increasingly mixed emotions about selling bees to hobby beekeepers,” he announced wistfully. “I feel like I’m tossing an eight-​year-​old kid in Thailand when I watch the bees leave down the driveway, ’cause I know what’s gonna happen. I am increasingly of the opinion that if bees had hooves and fur, hobby beekeepers would be in prison. I mean, it’s just atrocious how bad their bees fare. And of course they blame it on Colony Collapse Disorder and this and that and the other, but mainly it’s just they don’t know what in the world they’re doing.” He sighed. “A lot of it is, it used to be the people who entered hobby bee-​keeping were older people, who had some rural life experience. Now it’s a lot of young yuppies coming into it, and they think they know about nature, but they really don’t know anything about nature.” For one thing, he said, hobbyists don’t bother to control pests or mites. “The bottom line is, if you control those factors and make sure the bees have proper nutrition, everything’ll be okay. But they just are in complete denial about that. It used to be that before 1984, when the first mites got here, you could take a hive of bees, stick them in your backyard, and despite your best efforts they’d live. Go rob some honey from them, and talk about what a great beekeeper you were. It’s not that way anymore. You gotta know what you’re doing.”

Will the University of Sydney give these guys the flick?

Whitehaven Coal’s operations might seem far away to the University of Sydney management – but for the community at Maules Creek, the destruction of endangered forest, Indigenous heritage sites and prime farmland couldn’t be closer to home.

Tell university management it’s well and truly time to pull Sydney Uni money out of Whitehaven Coal »

This isn’t about a brand new movement — it’s about all of our movements coming together," explains Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” Click here to watch her 3-part extended interview on Democracy Now! today.