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Eco Environment News feeds

  • Sheep grazing has dominated the Howgill Fells for over a century, but with shifting agricultural subsidies and urgent calls to address biodiversity loss, change is coming

    For William Wordsworth the Howgill Fells was a romantic landscape, for rewilders they could be home to wolves, and for farmer John Pratt, these hills are home. “I was hoping this day would never come. I shan’t say it will break my heart, but it will,” says Pratt, who is selling his sheep and retiring after 55 years of uplands farming. “I’ve had a flock of sheep since I was 14, so I’m ready for a break,” he adds.

    The 69-year-old tenant farmer works seven days a week and takes six days of holiday a year. Since 1966 he has been renting Kilnmire Farm (with no heating in the house) on the edge of Ravenstonedale village in Cumbria with his wife, Hazel. He doesn’t drink alcohol (he’s Methodist) and doesn’t have a mobile phone because he “wouldn’t know how to use it”. He tried an olive for the first time in 2017. It’s a lifestyle none of his three children is willing to take on.

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  • Gas discovery at centre of Turkey-Greece dispute will ‘make world even less safe’

    The giant gas reserves at the heart of a bitter political standoff between Greece and Turkey could lead to the same carbon emissions as the whole of France and Spain combined every year, according to a report that has called for the proposed gas pipeline project to be scrapped.

    The gas discovery has inflamed regional tensions in theeastern Mediterranean as Greece and Turkey vie for control of new fossil fuel reserves in disputed waters and, according to Global Witness, the climate cost will outweigh its value in Europe’s carbon neutral future.

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  • Halting destruction of wild places could slow frequency of deadly outbreaks, say scientists

    The world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, according to a report from some of the world’s leading scientists.

    The emergence of diseases such as Covid-19, bird flu and HIV from animals was entirely driven by the razing of wild places for farming and the trade in wild species, which brought people into contact with the dangerous microbes, the experts said.

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  • Who better to ask how to handle the cold than people who work in the elements? Here, Guardian readers give their best advice – from the ideal breakfast to the perfect snood

    I was once working at a beer festival in -12C and high wind for 18 hours. It was so cold that beer brought outside would “steam” like a cup of tea. We kept warm by wearing about 10 layers (Scottish woolly jumpers and Norwegian merino thermals). Under-layers are much more important than jackets, but they must be breathable and not cotton. Old-fashioned all-in-one long johns with a vest suit (and a bum hatch) were the best thing I bought, as they keep your middle warm even if you move around a lot (regular vests come untucked). Wool is the best material, as it stays dry; damp is the real enemy. Your hands are the best indicator – they should stay warm without gloves and steam if cold water touches them. If your hands get cold, you need another layer. Kenn Flatt, markettrader

    Take spare gloves for the afternoon. There is nothing worse than putting on cold, soggy gloves after your lunch break – it makes you feel cold instantly. Simon Rogers, ranger,Cwm Idwal national nature reserve,Snowdonia

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  • Guardian photographer David Levene visits National Trust houses at Chartwell and Emmetts Gardens to capture the spectacular colours of autumn

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  • Climate crisis exacerbates extreme weather during natural events, say experts

    La Niña climate event is under way, heralding a colder and stormier winter than usual across the northern hemisphere, but 2020 remains likely to be one of the warmest years on record.

    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has declared La Niña event – a cooling of surface ocean water along the Pacific coast of the South American tropics – to help governments and humanitarian agencies plan for extreme weather events around the world.

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  • Removal of millions of tonnes of material from Goodwin Sands, the watery grave of hundreds of ships in the English Channel, would make a mockery of marine protection pledges, critics say

    Six miles off the coast of Deal, in Kent, lies Goodwin Sands, a 10-mile sandbank known as the “ship swallower”. Seals bask there at low tide, belying its reputation as one of the most treacherous spots in the Channel and a graveyard for centuries-old shipwrecks, as well as downed aircraft from the second world war.

    Now the site has become central to another battle, by conservationists and campaigners, to safeguard Britain’s seas from damaging activities and to hold the government to account on its “30 x 30” pledge to protect 30% of marine habitats by 2030.

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  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: These mushrooms are outrageously exhibitionist, and bring to mind an old song

    “One for sorrow, two for joy” goes the old magpie rhyme, but these are not birds, these are mushrooms – Coprinopsis picacea, the magpie inkcap. There have been changes since the last time I walked this path between field and wood: a new wire fence erected, low-sweeping branches of an old oak lopped, debris and scrub cleared, pasture tidied and improved. In a patch where something has been disturbed under the fence is a cluster of amazing black and white fungi; fruiting bodies in various states of growth and decay. In this one patch, an egg pushes out of the ground; a dark bell-end with white feathery patches rises upwards on a stalk; at a foot tall, its cap rolls up and melts into a black inky gloop. “Three for a girl and four for a boy…”

    The magpie inkcap is unusual and, although it is found in Britain and Ireland, throughout Europe and in North America, it’s rare to find such a strong group. Scientifically described in 1785 as Coprinus (an eater of dung) picacea that looks like Pica pica, the magpie – it was renamed Coprinopsis at the beginning of this century because of DNA differences with other Coprinus species such as shaggy inkcap.

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  • Restoring and connecting habitat across Britain could save a fifth of species by 2030, says report by Rewilding Britain

    Global heating is shifting Britain’s climatic zones by up to 5km each year, outpacing wildlife’s ability to adapt and survive, according to a new report by Rewilding Britain.

    If species cannot adapt to higher temperatures or relocate elsewhere, they will be threatened with extinction.

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  • The Biobank is an ambitious scheme to house 800 corals in a purpose-built facility in Port Douglas

    A Noah’s ark-like plan to house hundreds of the world’s most at-risk coral species at a publicly accessible bank next to the Great Barrier Reef could prove an important part of long-term coral conservation, marine biologists say.

    The Living Coral Biobank, labelled a “coral ark” by its proponents, would serve as a technologically advanced facility where 800 different types of hard corals would be kept and bred, in the event live samples are needed to revive populations wiped out in nature in the future.

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