Canadian government threatens bird watchers for writing concerned letter about bee die-off


Dave writes, "A birdwatching group sent a letter to two federal cabinet ministers citing concerns over the effects of certain chemicals on the life of bees. Shortly thereafter, they received a threatening letter from Revenue Canada telling them to stop with the political actions."

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Pakistan's scorpion hunters

In Pakistan, a black scorpion weighing 60 grams sells for around $50,000 to medical researchers. Al Jazeera's Maham Javaid investigates the country's scorpion trade and its possible harm to the country's ecosystem. From Al Jazeera:

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Shahid and Sohail, two friends who grew up together in a housing colony in Sindh province's Thatta district, have never been scared of the scorpion's venomous sting.

"As teenagers, we caught and killed scorpions as a game," Sohail told Al Jazeera. "Last year we found out that if we caught a live one, we could be instant millionaires."

On the hottest nights of the year, these hunters search for the nocturnal creatures in the 200-hectare dry forest behind their colony. Scorpions hibernate in cold weather, so Sohail says it is easier to catch them when it's hot.

Their broker, Faraz, is constantly in contact with other brokers who can sell the scorpion to foreign companies for thousands of dollars.

"I spend all my spare time connecting scorpion buyers with sellers," Faraz, who also works at Karachi Port Trust, told Al Jazeera. "When a big deal goes through, it will be like winning the lottery."

"The scorpion hunters of Pakistan

20 meaningful things you can do about climate change


Michael sez, "As a volunteer climate change campaigner, over the years I've seen a number of lists of things people can do about climate change. They're often unconvincing."

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Kickstarting a DIY back-yard Tar Sands Kit


Jeff sez, "Turn pristine ecosystems into high-octane fuel in your own home -- all ages!" Public Lab'skit helps you understand the devastation and health risks from tar sands extraction by letting you boil your own back yard for oil.

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US Forestry Service wages war on photography in national forests


The new, stupid ban on "professional" photography violates the First Amendment, the Service admits that there's no actual need for it, and it will undermine the visibility of the national forests at a time when they are under unprecedented threat from developers, the energy sector, and mining.

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Urban living and carbon footprints


Patrick Nielsen Hayden uses an exceptionally silly Guardian op-ed about New York City as a "dangerous, intoxicating fantasy of freedom from nature" to extol big cities' environmental virtues: places where no one need own a car; where energy and resource reclamation and recirculation are common; where, in short, we all need to be.

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California's incipient dustbowl: photos of a drought


If the before-and-after drought pics of Getty's Justin Sullivan don't make you gasp aloud, you're made of sterner stuff than I; above, Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville (now); below, 2011.

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Great stuff to see before it's obliterated by climate change


There's at least 33 things you should do, see and eat before climate change turns them into sad memories, from Kennedy Spaceport to Las Vegas to the Sydney Opera House.

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Canadian government caught secretly smearing scientist who published research on tar-sands


The Harper petro-Tory government's money comes from the people who got rich from the tar-sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, and they've done everything they could to suppress science critical of Alberta crude; finally a scientist who wasn't under their thumb published his work and they started maneuvering behind the scenes to discredit him.

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Is it OK to pee in the ocean?

Yes.

Canadian government orders scientists not to disclose extent of polar melting


Stephen Harper's petro-Tories have a well-earned reputation for suppressing inconvenient environmental science, but they attained new Stalinist lows when their ministers prohibited Canadian Ice Services from disclosing their government-funded research on the rapid loss of Arctic ice.

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An American in Yemen: unlikely and wonderful tourism


Polish-American software developer Maciej Cegłowski decided to take a holiday in Yemen's capital city of Sana'a, home to breathtaking, 600-year-old skyscrapers that look like gingerbread houses.

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Bangalore's garbage crisis and America's invisible trash


Noah Sachs uses the years-long Bangalore garbage crisis to ask some pointed questions about America's secretive waste-disposal industry, which treats the treatment of American waste as a military-grade secret, protected by barbed wire and vicious lawyers.

Bangalore's drowning in rubbish, it's contaminating the water and poisoning the Earth, tens of thousands labor in filthy, unsafe conditions to sort and recover it -- and the average Bangalorean is only generating about one pound of trash per day. Americans throw away seven times that amount, and the fact that it's whisked away doesn't mean it's not a problem. In Sachs's view, the Bangalore situation just makes visible the lurking consequences of America's own profligacy.

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Crowdscrounging pennies to support Canada's most important environmental research

When Stephen Harper's petrotories yanked funding from the Experimental Lakes Area -- Canada's answer to the Large Hadron Collider, a captive ecosystem where some of the world's most important environmental research has been conducted -- the world gasped and raced to rescue it; now, scientists are reduced to scrounging for crowdfunding to continue some of the most important environmental research in the world.

John calls it "an amazing opportunity for all of us to fund incredibly important basic scientific research" -- it is, but it's also a blazing indictment of the year 2014, Canada, Stephen Harper, and hydrocarbons.

The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is a freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario, Canada that has operated as a government research program for over 45 years. After the Canadian Government announced that it would no longer fund the ELA program, operations were transferred to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in April 2014. IISD now needs additional funding to expand ELA’s vital legacy of research so that it can continue to find effective solutions to environmental problems affecting fresh water.

We can thank the ELA for many of the improvements we have seen in recent years to the quality of the water we use daily. ELA’s whole-lake research findings have been instrumental in the phase-out of harmful phosphorus additives in cleaning products, tightening air pollution standards in response to acid rain threats, and proposed installation of scrubbers inside industrial smokestacks to reduce mercury levels found in the fish we eat.

The ELA features a collection of 58 small lakes, as well as a facility with accommodations and laboratories. Since its establishment in 1968, ELA has become one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. In part, this is because of the globally unique ability at ELA to undertake whole-ecosystem experiments.

World's Leading Freshwater Research Facility, the ELA, Needs YOUR Support!