Mexican trial of GM maize stirs debate

[MEXICO CITY] Mexico has authorised a field trial of genetically modified (GM) maize that could lead to commercialisation of the crop, sparking debate about the effects on the country's unique maize biodiversity.

Electric Cars

Will electric cars ever become the common way to drive? What is needed is an infrastructure that allows easy recharging of the vehicle (such as gasoline stations are for the internal combustion engine). There are two key barriers to plug-ins: first, the current battery technology is very expensive, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of a plug-in. Next, many well-established sectors must change to accommodate plug-ins. Consumers must learn the pros and cons of a plug-in lifestyle, and a new way of valuing upfront costs against operational savings. Utilities must learn to manage a large and mobile load. Cities, retailers, and other businesses must incorporate a new infrastructure of charge spots. All these players must build a new system of connectivity in order to line up charging times, billing, and consumer preferences.

Lingering impacts from BP spill in Gulf

When a BP oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last April, killing 11 workers, authorities first reported that no crude was leaking into the ocean. They were wrong. The disaster that captivated the world's attention for 153 days struck at 9:53 p.m. CDT on April 20, when a surge of methane gas known to rig hands as a "kick" sparked an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig as it was drilling the mile-deep Macondo 252 well off Louisiana's coast. Two days later, the rig sank. One year on, oil from the largest spill in U.S. history clogs wetlands, pollutes the ocean and endangers wildlife, not to mention the toll it has inflicted on the coastal economies of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and especially Louisiana. It was the biggest ever accidental release of oil into an ocean.

Connecting the Profound: Jewish Passover and the Environment

[Tonight] the Jewish holiday of Passover begins. The holiday marks the time when the Israelities left Egypt as slaves, and entered the land of Israel (Canaan) as free people. Today Jews around the world are working vigorously right now to remove each and every last speck of hametz (leaven) in their homes, and most see it as a time to do some spiritual housecleaning as well. Green Prophet is always looking to religious sources for answering the complex challenges that the world faces today in the green movement. And here in the Middle East, the time is ripe for an environmental revolution too.

Warming seas could push some fish species to limit: study

(Reuters) - Rapidly warming ocean temperatures in some parts of the world could be pushing some fish species to the limit, stunting their growth, increasing stress and raising the risk of death, a study shows.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to be cooled down over the next 6 to 9 MONTHS!

Japanese nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) hopes it will be able to achieve cold shutdown of its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant within six to nine months, the company said on Sunday. The firm said the first step would be cooling the reactors and spent fuel to a stable level within three months, then bringing the reactors to cold shutdown in six to nine months. That would make the plant safe and stable and end the immediate crisis, now rated on a par with the world's worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. TEPCO, founded 60 years ago, added it later plans to cover the reactor buildings, damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11. The latest data shows much more radiation leaked from the Daiichi plant in the early days of the crisis than first thought, prompting officials to rate it on a par with Chernobyl, although experts were quick to point out Japan's crisis was vastly different from Chernobyl in terms of radiation contamination.

Incredible rites of passage: Scarred for life, new from BBC Earth

With a dangerous reputation, crocodiles would not be the first animal you would associate with mental and physical strengthening. Surprisingly, the people of Papau New Guinea have a connection between man and beast that marks a boys journey into adulthood. Many traditional celebrations that accompany events like birth, the start of adolescence, marriage, and death are richly integrated with the use of natural materials; such as feather, skin and bone. But when an occasion as serious and important as the coming of age beckons, the rituals connection between cause and effect must reflect this intensity. Many inhabitants of the South Pacific islands practice some form of physical transformation during male adolescence. The sacred act of scarring which people of the Solomon Islands practice can make rituals such as ceremonial hair cutting, and being cast into the wilderness for a short period seem relatively less challenging. For decades, tribes have used the tradition of scarification to mature their young boys into men. For a number of weeks, the boys psychological as well as physical barriers are pushed with consistent verbal taunts as well as public humiliations. However their discipline is yet to be tested to its breaking point.

A year after the Gulf spill, cleanup workers are suffering

Jamie Simon worked on a barge in the oily waters for six months following the BP spill last year, cooking for the cleanup workers, washing their clothes and tidying up after them. One year later, the 32 year old said she still suffers from a range of debilitating health problems, including racing heartbeat, vomiting, dizziness, ear infections, swollen throat, poor sight in one eye and memory loss. She blames toxic elements in the crude oil and the dispersants sprayed to dissolve it after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010.

1872 mining law threatens Grand Canyon

A U.S. law from the pick-and-shovel days of the Western frontier now threatens natural treasures including Grand Canyon National Park as mining claims on public lands proliferate, an environmental group said on Friday. The 1872 Mining Law, signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, allows mining companies -- including foreign-owned ones -- to take about $1 billion a year in gold and other metals from public lands without paying a royalty, according to a report by the nonprofit Pew Environment Group. "The law was enacted ... to encourage the development of the West and ... rewarded those people who trekked across the frontier and gave them the right to mine gold, silver, whatever other valuable metals they could find on public land in unlimited amounts for free," said Pew's Jane Danowitz.

New from BBC Earth: Human Planet

Human Planet has arrived: The first natural history series to ever focus solely on human behavior. With a phenomenal collection of over 80 stories from over 70 locations around the world, the lens has been breathtakingly turned on one of the most successful species on the planet...Humankind. Bringing together the same fantastic program making as seen in the award winning Planet Earth, and widely-acclaimed blockbuster LIFE and The Blue Planet. The BBC has again teamed up with Discovery Channel to reveal and examine the amazingly complex relationship of humankind and nature in the modern day: Through the eyes of those who have learned to adapt and survive in some of the most unforgiving environments on earth. Heralded by the national press such as The Telegraph as being "like nothing you've ever seen before", this fascinating series made by documentary makers with over 50 years natural history experience, brings home the message that human's relationship with nature is still very much alive and well. This landmark series that weaves stories never told before on television will premiere on the Discovery Channel on Sunday April 10, 17 and 24 at 8 p.m. (EST) with two episodes each night. Human Planet will then arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26, just two days following the last broadcast.