September 27th, 2013
06:02 AM ET

Global warming is extremely likely our fault

The world's getting hotter, the sea's rising and there's increasing evidence neither are naturally occurring phenomena.

So says a report from the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change, a document released every six years that is considered the benchmark on the topic. More than 800 authors and 50 editors from dozens of countries took part in its creation.

The summary for policymakers was released early Friday, while the full report, which bills itself as "a comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change," will be distributed Monday. Other reports, including those dealing with vulnerability and mitigation, will be released next year.

Full Story


Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Energy • Environment • Science • Weather • World • World Update
Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag
April 23rd, 2013
04:22 AM ET

Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag

The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.

The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.

It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.

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Filed under: Arkansas • Barack Obama • Business • Canada • Climate change • Democratic Party • Earth • Economy • Energy • Environment • Global Warming • Jobs • Montana • Nature • Nebraska • North Dakota • Politics • Protest • Railroads • Republican Party • State Department • U.S. • World
Global warming is epic, new study says
A scientist looks at an ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide coring site.
March 8th, 2013
05:23 AM ET

Global warming is epic, new study says

Global warming has propelled Earth's climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest - in just one century.

A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.

Things are set to get much worse in the future.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Energy • Environment • Global Warming • Nature • Science • Uncategorized • Weather • World Update
February 16th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Final take in Florida hunt is 68 pythons

They can reach lengths of 18 feet and their numbers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, but Burmese pythons, a nuisance in the Everglades, aren't easy to find.

"It's an amazing challenge to try to come out and hunt these big snakes," hunter Dennis Jordan told CNN Miami affiliate WSVN in the closing days of the 2013 Python Challenge sponsored by state officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday that 68 Burmese pythons were taken during the January 12-February 10 competition that drew 1,600 registrants lured by prizes of up to $1,500.

Though the take was small, wildlife officials said their main aim was heightening public awareness of the invasive species.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Environment • Florida • Snakes
February 15th, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Tank storing radioactive waste leaking in Washington

A tank storing radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is leaking liquids to the tune of 150-300 gallons per year, the governor said Friday.

"This is an extremely toxic substance and we have to have a zero tolerance policy for leaks of radioactive material into the ground, and potentially groundwater of the state of Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters.

He stressed the leak poses no immediate public heath risk, but said that fact should not be an excuse for complacence.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Energy • Environment • Nuclear • Washington state
January 29th, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Beijing choking on hazardous smog - again

Hazardous smog was covering Beijing on Tuesday, reducing visibility to less than 200 meters (200 yards) in parts of Chinese capital while forcing the cancellation of airline flights and the closure of highways, Chinese state media reported.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing reported that at 8 p.m. local time Tuesday air quality had been at hazardous levels for the past 24 hours, meaning that “everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low,” according to the embassy’s website.

Citizens were fed up with the hazardous air. The latest blanket of smog, which began to cover the eastern China area on Monday, is the fourth to menace the area since the beginning of the year.

FULL POST

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Filed under: China • Environment
Sea snails' shells dissolving in Earth's increasingly acidic oceans, study says
The pteropod (marine snail) inhabit the top 200 m of oceanic waters. Their shells are made of aragonite that can dissolve rapidly.
November 26th, 2012
03:56 AM ET

Sea snails' shells dissolving in Earth's increasingly acidic oceans, study says

Until recently, the main threat to the lives of sea butterflies, tiny snails with winglike lobes that float in ocean currents, had been the fish and birds that rely on them as an important source of food.

But a new, less visible menace is emerging, scientists say, as the parts of the ocean that the snails inhabit become more acidic as a result of the burning of fossil fuels by humans.

In a study published this month, a group of international scientists say they have discovered that the snails' shells are being severely eaten away by the rising acidity in an area of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

This is the first evidence of the changing chemistry of the oceans affecting living organisms in their natural environment, according to the scientists, whose paper was published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Climate change • Environment • Weather • World
Tens of thousands of dead fish stink up Lake Erie shore
Tens of thousands of dead fish are stinking up a 25-mile stretch of Lake Erie shoreline.
September 5th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Tens of thousands of dead fish stink up Lake Erie shore

Tens of thousands of dead fish have washed up on a 25-mile stretch of Lake Erie's northern shore, and Ontario environmental officials say they could be victims of a natural phenomenon called a lake inversion.

The inversion brings cold water, which has lower oxygen levels, to the lake's surface and fish suffocate.

"Essentially it's a rolling over of the lake," Ontario Ministry of the Environment spokeswoman Kate Jordan told The Chatham Daily News. "Something whether it be a storm, or cooler temperatures at night, or strong winds triggers a temperature change in the lake."

Jordan said it was windy and choppy on the lake Friday night, according to a report in The Windsor Star. The fish kill was reported Saturday.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Canada • Environment • Fish
Beached whales on Scottish coast
September 3rd, 2012
04:55 PM ET

10 beached whales rescued on Scotland coast

Ten beached pilot whales were rescued Sunday in Scotland, but 16 others could not be saved, the local newspaper The Scotsman reported.

The stranding occurred between Pittenweem and Anstruther at the mouth of the bay called the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.

Rescuers took advantage of high tide to get 10 whales out of trouble about 4:30 p.m., but the rest, including three calves, died, the paper said. A 17th whale died Monday, BBC reported.

The Fife Coastguard, Fire Brigade, British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were joined by local veterinarians and volunteers in the rescue effort, The Scotsman reported. Large crowds gathered but were urged not to interfere with the rescuers.

A group of whales believed to be the ones that were refloated was spotted Monday near North Queensferry, across the Firth of Forth from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, BBC reported. They were being monitored for signs of stranding as low tide approached. About two dozen other whales, believed to be from the same pod, were seen in shallow water a short distance away.

Bob McLellan, Fife Council's head of transport and environmental services, told BBC the whale carcasses are in a hard-to-reach place and may have to be winched up the cliff face for disposal.

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Scotland • United Kingdom • Whales • World
40% of U.S. food wasted, report says
Average supermarket losses are 11.4% for fresh fruit, the report says.
August 22nd, 2012
12:45 PM ET

40% of U.S. food wasted, report says

Forty percent of food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, taking a toll on the country's water resources and significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council released this week.

The group says more than 20 pounds of food is wasted each month for each of 311 million Americans, amounting to $1,350 to $2,275 annually in waste for a family of four. Think of it as dumping 80 quarter-pound hamburger patties in the garbage each month, or chucking two dozen boxes of breakfast cereal into the trash bin rather than putting them in your pantry.

The report points out waste in all areas of the U.S. food supply chain, from field to plate, from farms to warehouses, from buffets to school cafeterias.

"Food is simply too good to waste," the report says. "Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Agriculture • Energy • Environment • Food
Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star
Paul Watson, seen here speaking to reporters in Berlin in May, skipped bail last month.
August 9th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star

Interpol has issued an international wanted notice for conservationist and “Whale Wars” TV star Paul Watson, days after he skipped bail in Germany as Costa Rica tried to have him extradited.

Watson was arrested at Germany’s Frankfurt airport on May 13 on an arrest warrant issued by Costa Rica, which accuses him of endangering a fishing vessel off the coast of Guatemala in 2002.

He posted roughly $302,000 bail and was ordered to remain in Germany as it considered Costa Rica’s extradition request, but he stopped reporting to authorities on July 22, a German court said. Watson left Germany and forfeited his bail, according to his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which isn’t revealing his location.

“Following confirmation from German authorities that Paul Watson had failed to satisfy the bail conditions established by the German courts and had fled the country, Costa Rican authorities renewed their request” for Interpol to issue an international wanted notice for Watson, which Interpol did Tuesday, Interpol said.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained him fame on Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show and his crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Costa Rica • Courts • Crime • Environment • Germany • Justice • Nature
July 19th, 2012
09:09 AM ET

Is Greenpeace's prank on Shell oil a 'scam'?

By Thom Patterson, CNN

(CNN) - If there's an official ranking for snarkiness, Greenpeace and the Yes Lab have got to be near the top this summer. Their snarky social media mash-up takes Greenpeace's campaign against Shell Arctic drilling to a whole new level.

It's a fake Shell website that encourages supporters to create ads that mock Shell's offshore drilling effort and to sign an anti-drilling petition.

Greenpeace teamed up with Yes Lab in June to create the fake website.

No matter which side you favor regarding offshore Alaska oil drilling, watching this fight is just plain fascinating.  Just make sure you get out of the way when the fur starts flying.

The Greenpeace/Yes Lab social media campaign clearly points to a strategy to succeed in a cacophonous Internet where it's increasingly harder to be heard and credibility is often called into question.

Although Shell is none too happy, calling the campaign a "scam," Greenpeace says it has received no legal action from Shell nor threats of legal action.

Here's a sample of these mocking fake Shell ads:

FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Coal mining families aren't only ones facing shifts in industry
Amanda Sedgmer, with her kids in Hopedale, Ohio, worries about the survival of the coal industry and her family's way of life.
July 18th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Coal mining families aren't only ones facing shifts in industry

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Two teams of producers are traversing the country as part of CNN Radio and CNN iReport's Embed America project. They're talking to voters about how the 2012 presidential election affects them, and focusing on issues identified during phase 1 of the iReport debate.

CNN visited Hopedale, Ohio, to meet iReporter Amanda Sedgmer. She's the mother of five children and the wife and daughter of a coal miner. Sedgmer told CNN she feared that if President Obama was re-elected, her family's way of life would be threatened. At the same time, competition from natural gas and a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency are contributing to the demise of some coal plants. The resulting story garnered thousands of comments. One topic the readers discussed was how other fields have changed due to circumstances. Some offered messages of hope for Hopedale.

The war over coal is personal

The decline of auto manufacturing jobs in the Midwest left this reader out in the cold, and she offered advice to Sedgmer.

Jakes_momma: "Ms. Sedgmer, please don't blame the POTUS for the decline in coal production. The energy industry is changing. Coal was once king, now it's natural gas. That's not the government, that's industry moving on. If you and your husband are smart, you'll make a change quickly and leave the area, as much as it saddens me to tell you that. I've had to leave my childhood home of central Indiana when the auto industry shut plant after plant after plant in the city we lived in during the '80s. There are no longer good paying production jobs of any quantity in that area. We didn't wait until the last plant closed to leave, we sold our home and moved on. We would have loved to have had a GM job like our dads but it was not in our control. You may be voting for Romney but you would be wise to keep the Obama 2012 slogan in mind - 'Forward.' What is really in the future of the coal industry regardless of who is president is more closures. I think they have fracking in Ohio; that's the future (at least short-term). Good luck to you, your family and your area! It's hard and very sad to watch an industry change, even if it's better for all."

Some said readers should try to be understanding of the family.

Andrea Dawn Bignall: "If you were in their situation, you would probably do the same. They have kids to think about, and jobs are harder to come by nowadays. Yeah, its bad for the environment, but so is driving you car back and forth to work everyday. Put yourself in someone else's shoes."

One commenter asked if the family is lucky, in a strange way. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Energy • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
July 5th, 2012
12:18 AM ET

South Korea says it may resume whaling, angering environment groups

South Korea is considering hunting whales in the waters off its shores for scientific purposes, drawing condemnation from environmental groups.

Citing calls from fishermen for a resumption of limited whaling, the head of the South Korean delegation to the International Whaling Commission, Kang Joon-suk, said Wednesday that Seoul was working on a proposal to hunt minke whales migrating off the Korean Peninsula.

Korean fishermen complain that the whales are disrupting their fishing activities and eating fish stocks, Kang said at the commission's annual meeting in Panama.

Nonlethal measures are not enough to assess the whales' numbers and feeding habits, he said.

But environmental organizations are skeptical about the South Korean explanation.

"We believe this move is a thinly veiled attempt by Korea to conduct commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research, similar to hunts conducted by Japan in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary," said Wendy Elliott, head of WWF's delegation to the whaling commission.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Earth • Environment • South Korea • Whales • wildlife
Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill
Members of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade climbed two miles up a steep canyon to repair a 26-mile water pipeline.
June 8th, 2012
09:12 PM ET

Tombstone takes water fight to canyons, Capitol Hill

Tombstone, Arizona (CNN) – Under an unforgiving desert sun, about 60 determined souls gathered in a high school football field under the banner of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade. They collected shovels and joined a pickup truck caravan across the desert. Then they climbed two miles up a steep, rocky canyon and began to move part of a mountain, one boulder at a time.

Thousands of miles away, in the nation’s capital, Tombstone’s congressman and the city archivist tried to move a bureaucratic mountain, too, during hearings before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Tombstone, as CNN has reported, is in the midst of a court battle with the U.S. Forest Service. At issue is whether Tombstone can take heavy equipment into federally protected wilderness.

Tombstone is trying to repair a 26-mile pipeline that has brought mountain spring water into the city since 1881. The pipeline was damaged during last summer’s Monument Fire and floods that brought mud and boulders crashing down the denuded mountainside.

The city sued the Forest Service in December, accusing the agency of dragging its feet during a state of emergency. The courts have turned down the city’s request for an emergency injunction, and so the battle has entered a new phase in the court of public opinion.

Frustrated with the slow pace of the repairs, Tombstone’s supporters created the nonprofit Tombstone Shovel Brigade a couple of months ago. They are helped by the organizers of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, which used volunteer muscle power to move a boulder and reopen a mountain road on federal wilderness in 2000.

Tombstone has become the poster city for a sweeping resurgence of the Sagebrush Rebellion in some Western states. This time, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory explained, the rebellion is not fueled by oilmen and cattle ranchers.

Instead, local governments are behind the movement to push back against what they say is the federal government’s treatment of them as “submissive subdivisions.”

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake has introduced H.R. 5971, the Emergency Water Supply Restoration Act, which proposes to set aside Forest Service restrictions against the use of construction equipment during state-declared water emergencies. Flake and Nancy Sosa, the city’s archivist, were among the witnesses who testified Friday.

“The unforeseen consequences of federal laws and regulations threaten to do something outlaws, economic busts, and the Arizona desert couldn’t: Kill the town too tough to die,” Flake said. Tombstone, population 1,400, is a throwback to the Old West and is famous for the 30-second gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which is re-enacted for tourists twice a day.

“Without water, the most precious commodity in the desert, Tombstone will cease to exist,” Sosa said. She told the committee that Tombstone burned to the ground twice before the waterline was built.

CNN will have more on this developing story Saturday.

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Filed under: Arizona • Congress • Courts • Environment • Fire • Flooding • U.S. • Weather
April 30th, 2012
01:21 PM ET

EPA official resigns over 'crucify' remark

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency's office in Dallas has resigned over comments he made in 2010 that became the focus of political condemnation last week.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday that she accepted a letter of resignation from Al Armendariz. "I respect the difficult decision he made and his wish to avoid distracting from the important work of the agency," Jackson said in a written statement.
In the letter dated Sunday, Armendariz said he regrets his comments, adding that they did not reflect on his work or the work of the EPA.
The controversy erupted last week when a video surfaced showing Armendariz saying in 2010 that his methods for dealing with non-compliant oil and gas companies were "like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into little villages in Turkish towns and they'd find the first five guys they saw and crucify them."

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Elections • Energy • Environment • Politics • Texas • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman
Edinburgh's male giant panda, Sunshine, enjoys a meal in December. Sadly for Sunshine, sex isn't on the menu.
April 5th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Panda sex drive, robotic squirrel and a Beltway Batman

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The following three stories are all a bit - or a lot - bizarre, but they've gotten a really interesting reader response. Check out the comments from readers.

Why panda sex is so complex

Pandas have a reputation for being picky maters with a narrow window of opportunity. Conservationists in Scotland were hoping panda pals Sweetie and Sunshine would take their courtship to the next level, but alas, nothing came of it. Readers had lots of suggestions to improve the process.

"Throw a bottle of wine, a pair of cuffs and a copy of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in the cage, that should get her going," said NorCalMojo.

Some suggested that pandas need to mate if they want to survive, and if they can't mate, we humans need to help them along. "Oh, just get the turkey baster already," wrote commenter Paul. CNN.com's Elizabeth Landau responded to the following reader's comment.

Harry: "Either artificially impregnate the female panda or let them go extinct. If they only have a three-day-a-year window for reproduction then it's pretty clear that they won't survive as a species with humans around. So either we save it ourselves or let it go bye-bye.

elandau: "A number of readers asked about artificial insemination in pandas. This is a common practice for captive pandas, veterinarian Copper Aitken-Palmer tells us. For instance, every baby panda born at Zoo Atlanta has been the result of artificial insemination, and most groups with giant pandas in the United States, Europe and China participate in assisted reproduction techniques."

Is the panda beyond help? FULL POST


Filed under: Animals • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Science • Scotland • Snakes • World
Japan ends whaling season 70% below quota
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker clashes with Japanese whaling vessels this week in the Antarctic.
March 9th, 2012
02:12 PM ET

Japan ends whaling season 70% below quota

Japan's whaling fleet was headed home from the southern ocean after ending its annual Antarctic hunt with only a third of its expected catch, news reports from Japan said Friday.

The hunt ended three days ago with a catch of 266 minke whales and one fin whale, officials from Japan's Fisheries Agency said, according to one report from Australia's ABC news online.

The Sea Shephed Society, which sent a fleet of vessels to the southern ocean to block the hunt, proclaimed victory on its website.

"Operation Divine Wind is over! The Japanese whalers are going home!" the Sea Shepherd headline read.

"There are hundreds of whales swimming free in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that would now be dead if we had not been down there for the last three months. That makes us very happy indeed," Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson is quoted as saying on the organization's website.

News of the Japanese whaling fleet's withdrawal comes four days after the Institute of Cetacean Research, which oversees the Japanese whaling program, reported a confrontation between the Japanese ships and Sea Shepherd's ship Bob Barker. The Bob Barker fired more than 40 flares and aimed a "high-powered" laser beam at the Japanese ships for more than 50 minutes, the institute said in a news release.

Watson said that with the high-seas showdown, "the whaling season was effectively over for the season."

Japan hunts whales every year despite a worldwide moratorium on whaling, utilizing a loophole in the law that allows for killing the mammals for scientific research.

Sea Shepherd said it would be back to block the Japanese fleet if it returns this year.

“If the Japanese whalers return, Sea Shepherd will return. We are committed to the defense of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” Watson said on the website. “No matter how long it takes, no matter how risky or expensive. The word 'sanctuary' actually means something to us and that something is worth fighting for.”

Japan hands over whaling activists to Australia

Drones used to fight whaling fleet

Japan: Tsunami reconstruction funds go to whaling

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Japan • Whales
Gotta Watch: Dr. Seuss turns 108
Author Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, sits with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat' in1957.
March 2nd, 2012
05:47 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Dr. Seuss turns 108

Dr.Seuss was born on March 2, 1904. He gave us stories like "The Lorax," "The Cat in the Hat" and much more. Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote books for all ages, with whimsical characters, rhyming and new phrases. Between a Grinch who stole Christmas, Sneetches and Thneeds, Dr. Seuss had an impact that all generations can see. So whether its "Green Eggs and Ham" or "Horton Hears a Who" we want to wish a very happy 108th birthday to you!

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'The Lorax' leaps to life on big screen

TheTruffula trees come to life and roam free in this sneak peak of ‘The Lorax’ that’s playing in 3D.

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'Suessologist' uncovers lost Seuss books

One man found a collection of Dr. Seuss stories that are new. It’s amazing what a bit of sleuthing can do.

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2004: Dr. Seuss gets Hollywood star

In 2004 you didn’t have to look far. Dr. Seuss finally got his Hollywood star.

You can also check out our education blog to learn about Read Across America Day, which takes place today.

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Filed under: Animals • California • Celebrity • Environment • Gotta Watch • Los Angeles • Showbiz
Greenpeace: "Xena" actress arrested after protest on drilling ship
Lucy Lawless aboard the Noble Discoverer last week.
February 27th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Greenpeace: "Xena" actress arrested after protest on drilling ship

Actress Lucy Lawless, famous for starring in the television show "Xena: Warrior Princess," was arrested along with six other Greenpeace activists early Monday for boarding a drilling ship last week in New Zealand, according to Greenpeace. She and the others who were aboard the ship without permission were released shortly after their arrest, the activist organization said.

CNN.com spoke with Lawless on Friday while she was having a restless night on the Noble Discoverer, a ship leased to Shell Oil. The ship was docked in the Port of Taranaki when the actress and other activists, on behalf of Greenpeace, made it on board to protest drilling in the Arctic.

The group was able to display signs on the Discoverer's 174-foot drilling tower. One sign said "Stop Shell #SaveTheArctic."

Lawless told CNN on Friday that she expected to be arrested for the stunt but that she and the others intended to remain on the ship for as long as possible. She stressed that exchanges between them and authorities had been peaceful.

"We feel very much that what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic anymore," Lawless said. "An oil spill can never be cleaned up because of the remoteness and the freezing temperatures. We risk trashing whole ecosystems and poisoning them from plankton on up. It's absolutely unthinkable."

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Filed under: Environment • New Zealand
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