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Happy Planet Index

Happy Planet Index

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Pollution Locator: USA Over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released by industry into the nation's environment each year, including 72 million pounds of recognized carcinogens. Scorecard can give you a detailed report on chemicals being released from any of 20,000 industrial facilities, or a summary report for any area in the country. Scorecard spotlights the top polluters in the U.S., and ranks states and counties by pollutant releases. Provide your zipcode to get a report for your community, or use the Pollution Locator to search for reports on specific areas.

Research Shows Plants Are Sentient. Will We Act Accordingly? Research continues to verify the intelligence of plants. If we begin to regard them as sentient beings, will our treatment of them improve? ©John T. Andrews Animal advocates and wildlife enthusiasts like you and me are always excited when new research comes out demonstrating the intelligence of the “others” among us; for example, how crows solve problems or whales have complex cultures. The Trees Talk The trees are most likely talking over your head. ©Henry H. Holdsworth.

Plant Behavior The Society for Plant Neurobiology was formed after the First International Symposium on Plant Neurobiology was held in Florence in 2005. This, and each of the subsequent symposia, were scientifically energizing and exciting, drawing a diverse array of participants. Plant Neurobiology describes a newly named, but also old and fascinating field in plant biology addressing the physiological basis of adaptive behavior in plants. Perhaps this field could be called "Sensory Biology in Plants" or something similar.

nature “Gravity” Hyalophora cecropia on buttonbush Samuel Jaffe is getting close and personal with subject matter found right in our backyards— the furry, florescent, grubby little creatures we often find inching along our trees and sidewalks. Jaffe is fascinated by local environments, and aims to share the information he has collected about these backyard ecosystems so we can become more in tune with what’s right below our feet or hiding in the grass. Ghost Town Coffee Roasters The town of Armero was located 100 miles from Bogota in Colombia’s most fertile agricultural region. It was founded in 1895 but not officially recognized until 1908. It was originally named San Lorenzo and was changed to Armero in 1930 to honor the memory of Jose Leon Armero, a national hero who died fighting for Colombia’s independence from the Spanish. The region was the main cotton producer in the country and prosperous until 1985. In addition to cotton it also produced rice, coffee and sorghum.

How a numbers man and a botanist are helping business go green In Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens – among the majestic lemon-scented gums, newly-planted ferns, rustling groves of bamboo and sweeping lawns – a quiet, constant process is unfolding. All these plants are growing: taking molecules of carbon dioxide out of the air and water from the soil and joining them together, using the energy from the sun, to build their plant tissues. While a tree is growing, it is “locking” carbon, taking greenhouse gases from the oversupply that is currently in our atmosphere and storing them in their trunks, stems, roots and leaves. While visitors enjoy the plants, wander through Fern Gully, dodge bat droppings or take in an outdoor Shakespeare performance, few realise they’re moving through a living laboratory. The 5700-odd trees have been mapped using high-resolution GPS. Their size and health are known and monitored.

Brazil dam disaster: judge freezes assets of miners BHP and Vale A judge has frozen the Brazilian assets of mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale SA after determining their joint venture Samarco was unable to pay for widespread damage caused by the bursting of a dam at its mine last month. In a ruling issued late on Friday, the judge in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais determined that Vale and BHP could be held responsible for the disaster at the iron ore mine, for which the government is demanding 20bn reais ($5bn) in compensation. Vale and BHP each said they had not yet been notified about the decision. The companies are able to appeal. The dam rupture , which turned into Brazil’s worst ever environmental disaster, killed 16 people, left hundreds homeless and polluted a river 800km (500-miles) long that flows across two states. Despite the scale of the crisis, Vale had argued Samarco, as an independent legal entity and a sizeable company in its own right, was wholly responsible for the accident and the subsequent damage and fines.

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