Coillte, a state-owned commercial forestry business, started buying land and planting here in the 1960s. Private companies, encouraged by tax breaks, followed. Farm land vanished as Sitkas multiplied. They now number an estimated 34.5m – more than 1,000 for each inhabitant. The trees mature in about 30 years – exponentially faster than oak – and are then felled, making way for a fresh plantation. “The forest closed in bit by bit,” said McCaffrey, a farmer, who now feels surrounded. The trees eclipse sunlight, exude mist and block wifi and phone networks, inducing isolation, he said. “It’s a death sentence for the townlands.” These non-native trees carpet the soil with acidic needles and smother wildlife, said Natalia Beylis, an artist. “A lot of people find them spooky because they don’t have life in them. They’re silent except on the edges.”
Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese suffer from gene mutations resulting from the Americans’ use of Agent Orange during the war. Birth defects are still a regular occurrence. Now, 44 years later, the U.S. has suddenly pledged more aid.
influenza has caused up to 57,300 deaths and sickened up to 41.3 million people, according to new estimates. And the CDC reported five new flu-related deaths in children, raising the total confirmed this season to 91.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted down the Green New Deal, with Republicans offering more auspicious climate change-combating proposals like “get married and have some kids” and embrace death.
Put on your raincoat and dive into the photo archives.
#13,894 Exactly 7 years ago today ( Feb 27, 2012 ) we looked at an announcement from scientists from the U.S. CDC and the Universid…
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said today that it has suspended all activities at the Ebola treatment center in Katwa, following a violent attack over the weekend, severely limiting access to care in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) main hot spot.
Of the 14 chemicals tested, every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased a dramatic 95% . Malathion was just one of the pesticides found in this study that are part of a group called organophosphates, which have long concerned public health experts because of their impact on children’s developing brains. Created as nerve agents in World War II, organophosphates have been linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities, and reduced IQ in children. The organophosphate chlorpyrifos, found in all of the family members, is so worrisome to public health that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planned to ban it in 2017 – a proposal dropped by the Trump administration. In the wake of inaction from the administration, Hawaii passed the first state level chlorpyrifos ban in 2018; and Representative Nydia Velázquez introduced a federal bill to ban it.
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.
“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades. Advertisement He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.