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Antarctic glacier thinning more rapidly than thought: study

A large glacier in West Antarctica lost up to half a kilometer in thickness in seven years, thinning more quickly than scientists thought possible, according to a study released Tuesday. The Smith Glacier, spilling into the Amundsen Sea, shed up to 70 meters (230 feet) per year between 2002 and 2009, according to the study, based on NASA data collected during aerial flyovers. "If I had been using data from only one instrument, I wouldn't have believed what I was looking at because the thinning was so large," said lead author Ala Khazendar, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry both yielded the same results, he reported in Nature Communications. After 2009, Smith continued to shed mass, though at a slightly slower pace, Khazendar told AFP. Earlier studies using less …

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Air pollution may damage blood vessels even in healthy young adults: study

WASHINGTON -- Air pollution may cause blood vessel damage and inflammation, even in healthy young adults, a U. S. study said Tuesday. Air pollution is known to contribute to cardiovascular disease and related deaths, but it remained unclear how air pollution actually affects the blood vessels to increase the risk of disease. For this study, investigators analyzed the component of air pollution known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) -- the tiny pieces of solid or liquid pollution emitted from motor vehicles, factories, power plants, fires, and smoking. Study participants included 72 healthy, nonsmoking, adults in Provo, Utah, where the unique weather and geographical features periodically result in air pollution. During the winters of 2013, 2014, and 2015, these young adults, with an average age of 23, provided blood samples, which researchers then tested for …

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DENR assures IPs: no eviction from ancestral lands

The indigenous peoples (IPs) from Mindanao who have been holding a series of protest actions in Metro Manila got an assurance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that they won’t be evicted from their ancestral lands. In a meeting with the IPs at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, DENR Secretary Gina Lopez said the IPs have “exclusive right” over their ancestral lands amid continued plunder and militarization of ancestral lands across the country. Lopez also directed DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Isabelo Montejo to look deeper into issues being raised by the IPs. “I want you to investigate the various issues being raised, and address them,” Lopez told Montejo, who in turn assured the IPs of immediate assistance from the DENR. Lopez also explained to the IPs the DENR’s …

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Air pollution can affect blood pressure: study

Long-term exposure to urban air pollution incrementally increases the risk of high blood pressure, according to a study released Tuesday of more than 41,000 European city-dwellers. Constant noise pollution -- especially traffic -- also boosts the likelihood of hypertension, researchers reported in the European Heart Journal. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for premature illness and death. The study found that one extra adult per 100 people of roughly the same age developed high blood pressure in the most polluted part of towns compared to more breathable neighbourhoods. The risk is similar to being clinically overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30, the researchers said. To carry out the study, 33 experts led by Barbara Hoffmann, a professor at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, Germany, monitored 41,071 people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, …

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PHL further elevates biodiversity conservation bid

MANILA -- The Philippines is elevating further its biodiversity conservation efforts with a new project that aims to promote sustainable mechanism for better conservation, protection and management of the country's natural resources. Through the 2015-2019 Philippine ICCA Project, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and its partners will work on institutionalizing indigenous community conservation area (ICCA) as an alternative and sustainable mechanism for better conserving, protecting and managing Philippine protected areas outside coverage of Republic Act No. 7586 (National Integrated Protected Areas Systems Act of 1992). ICCAs are traditional governance and conservation mechanisms of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the country. "We'll promote recognition of and support for ICCAs," said project manager Angel Uson. She noted the project aims meeting such goals by seeking to harmonize public policies relevant to biodiversity conservation. "IPs will be part of …

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Ruffalo calls Obama ‘immoral’ at climate rally

Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo accused US President Barack Obama on Sunday of hypocrisy for allowing fracking and other fossil fuel extraction while presenting himself as a green president. The Oscar-nominated "Spotlight" and "Avengers" actor spoke out at a rally in Los Angeles protesting against man-made climate change and, in particular, the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, the site of escalating protests in recent weeks. "President Obama, it is immoral for you to keep drilling in our state lands, in our federal lands, off our federal waters, while at the same time calling yourself a climate change leader," he said. Ruffalo, 48, recently narrated and produced "Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now," a critical documentary on the outgoing head-of-state's environmental legacy. He was joined on stage by actresses Shailene Woodley, 24, and Susan …

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Major California river adding key ingredient: water

FRESNO, Calif. — A decade ago, environmentalists and the federal government agreed to revive a 150-mile stretch of California's second-longest river, an ambitious effort aimed at allowing salmon again to swim up to the Sierra Nevada foothills to spawn. A major milestone is expected by the end of the month, when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the stretch of the San Joaquin River will be flowing year-round for the first time in more than 60 years. But the goal of restoring native salmon remains far out of reach. The original plan was to complete the task in 2012. Now, federal officials expect it will occur in 2022. And the government's original estimate of $800 million has ballooned to about $1.7 billion. "I think we all had hoped we'd be further along," said Doug …

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New technique developed for designing multiple species wildlife corridors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Researchers at several U.S. institutions have developed a computer model that could be applied to wildlife corridors for multiple species. The efforts, by researchers at Oregon State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development, Cornell University and the U.S. Geological Survey, will assist managers of public and private lands that provide routes for animals to roam. Researchers have known that such migration corridors are crucial for conserving rare and endangered species. However, focusing on one species at a time has proved to be expensive. And the new method can meet most of the migratory needs of two species simultaneously while reducing the total cost of buying land by about three quarters. Results of the collaborated work over a five-year period was published in the …

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Tanza fish kill being probed

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fish kill reported in Tanza, Cavite. The local Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) confirmed at least 3.5 tons of dead fish, mostly sap-sap, floated in the waters of barangay Capipisa on October 13 and barangays Julugan I and Julugan III on October 14. BFAR said water samples were taken in the areas as part of the ongoing probe to determine the cause or the source of the fish kill. The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a fisherfolk group, earlier called on the BFAR and other concerned authorities to investigate the fish kill, which it said residents blamed on chemicals from a biscuit factory in the municipality. In a statement, Hicap said: “BFAR should also inspect factories and other industrial firms along Manila Bay …

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Secretary Lopez wants immediate closure of Cebu City landfill

CEBU CITY -- Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez has ordered the immediate closure of the Cebu City Government-run Inayawan Sanitary Landfill. Lopez said she recommended the closure of Cebu City’s landfill in Barangay Inayawan after she saw that garbage dumped at the site has reached the sea. She ordered the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue the closure order and compel the Cebu City Government to come up with a rehabilitation plan for the landfill and find an alternative dumpsite. “This site must be fixed. It’s an environmental bombshell,” Lopez said. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he will have to follow the law. “She initially said OK to rehab but when she heard that it’s near the sea she changed her mind. Due to …

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