A 60m-year-lineage comes to an end

A trip to Crete, Cyprus or Malta 800 years ago would have been a great chance to meet pygmy elephants. Pygmy elephants of the Mediterranean islands may appear as fantastical as the woolly mammoths which still ambled across one Alaskan island just 5,600 years ago. In the interview to theguardian.com Prof Adrian Lister, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum, warns that the fate of the African and Asian elephants is analogous to the lost elephants’ ones. According to Lister, the problem is not only that they decrease in number, but also their populations are very fragmented.

When human beings inhabited Africa, they shared the land with 42 species of terrestrial mammal weighing more than a tone. Now only elephants, hippos and rhinos survive. The last representatives of the megafauna are the two contemporary elephant species. Today’s elephants belong to a lineage stretching back 60 million years, members of the order of Proboscidea.

The curator and professor at the American Museum of Natural History, Ross MacPhee says that most people think that all these losses are due to human’s extensive hunting. However, most pygmy elephants disappeared from Mediterranean islands before any evidence of human occupation. A new research ensures that the disappearance of woolly mammoths 5,600 years ago from St Paul’s Island, Alaska, was because of thirst. Humans didn’t reach St Paul’s until 1787. Other people think that it was climate change that resulted in the extinction of these species. MacPhee personally does not believe that either human beings or the climate change were responsible at all times.

Adrian Lister detects many parallels between the period of natural warming and the anthropogenic climate change causing the disappearance of pygmy elephants and other animals of the modern age. “What is really punishing these animals – global warming, pollution, habitat destruction – is a terrible synergy of different drivers which is threatening biodiversity today”, says Lister.

Conservation scientists have identified 101 “corridors” in India along which elephants move between core habitat, where they can feed and breed. Elephants have tramped these routes for generations but as they are blocked – by houses, roads, railways and other linear developments – so human-elephant conflict arises. “We need to secure the 101 corridors from developmental activities,” says Menon.

We do not exactly know how our ancestors contributed to the extinction of elephants. But regarding ourselves civilized superiors we continue demonstrating indifference. Will the last members of the great elephant family survive? If they don’t, we only have ourselves to blame.

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Greenland Ice Sheet is melting

5616According to www.theguardian.com, a new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest ice sheets. The emission of heat-trapping gases results in major changes to the Earth, one of which is melting ice. This includes ice atop mountains, ice floating in cold ocean waters, and the ice within large ice sheets or glaciers. The last type of ice loss raises sea level as a result of water running into the ocean. However, melting sea ice has small chances to affect sea level as it is already floating in ocean waters. So measuring ice sheet melting is important, not only as a signal of global warming but also because of the sea level impacts.
But how is this melting measured? The ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are huge and scientists need high-resolution and long duration measurements to fully understand trends.
In a very recent publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, an international team reported on a new high-resolution measurement of Greenland. The lead author Malcolm McMillan and his colleagues mapped Greenland with incredibly high resolution. They accomplished this mapping by obtaining data from the Cryosat 2 satellite which uses a special technique to measure the height of surfaces. If the height of the ice sheet is growing, it means the ice is getting thicker. If the heights are decreasing, it means the ice layers are getting thinner.
A simplistic view would be that if ice sheets become taller, then they contain more frozen water. If they are shorter, they contain less water. But, this isn’t the entire story. Scientists also have to account for other changes, such as changes to density, surface roughness, and water content.
This study has shown that that not only is Greenland losing a lot of ice, but the loss varies a lot depending on location and year. In total, they estimated approximately 270 gigatons of ice loss per year for 2011–2014.
Lead author Malcolm said the study held allowed them to understand where and when the greatest ice losses have occurred, the extent of Greenland’s contribution to sea level in recent years and how much ice has been lost each year.
The duration of this study is pretty short (4 years). It is interesting to see if the mass loss continues at the same rate in following years. If it happens, it would be bad news for vulnerable coastal cities like Miami.

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The Closing of Jermuk Resort Houses and the “Political” Amulsar Project

 Hraparak.am informs us that one of the oldest resort houses in Jermuk, ‘Jermuk – Moscow’ is being closed down from September 1. According to the administration, they are launching reconstruction works, however, according to the website, the area of the resort house was given to Geoteam Company, which intends to develop Amulsar gold mine near Jermuk. This is not the only resort house that is in danger of being closed. Earlier, a number of scientists, representatives of non-governmental organizations and environmentalists expressed their concern about the destruction of the resort center in Jermuk. It is noteworthy that Amulsar project had not been accepted by the City Council. The latter had written a letter to the government mentioning that the mining object would negatively affect  the brand of Jermuk

 During the press conference held on August 24 in “Ecolur” press club, the president of “Ecolur” informational NGO Inga Zarafyan announced that Amulsar mining project is a political decision, which has no substantiation, as it’s done based on certain arrangements and we can clearly see who these major political players are – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Bank (EBRD), which are the shareholders of “Lydian International” Company. She also stressed that negative responses of independent experts, international organizations and Armenian governmental agencies were not taken into account in the decision-making process of the project.

            Levon Galstyan, a member of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front, listed the decisions made by the government in favor of Amulsar project calling Jermuk’s and Gndevaz’s residents for decisive actions.

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U. S. is Offering Energy Revolution to Armenia

In her article in Lragir.am Naira Hayrumyan mentions that oil price reduction does not affect the prices in Armenia because Armenia has signed a contact with Russia according to which oil and gas depends on colonial relations rather than the market. The result is the price increase in electricity since August 1.

            According to experts, one of the main reasons why Armenian products are not competitive is expensive power which develops imports, destroying local production.

            Nowadays the whole world gradually transforms to renewable energy, which is an important factor for further development. The United States and the European Union have a great role in this sense. The U.S. government has called American investors to invest in renewable energy in Armenia. Although the investments are now limited to Vorotan Cascade a lot is yet to come.  

            Now Armenia is about to decide its transition to a new energy strategy which is only possible after its oil and gas dependence on Russia no longer exists.

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Battling Pollution in Rio Starting With the Youth

battling pollution in RioNBC NEWS informs us about the pollution in the Guanabara Bay which is a home to this year’s Olympic sailing events. Here an organization is using water sports as a tool to teach the next generation how to care for natural resources. A non-profit Projeto Grael’s program gives 9-years-old kids the opportunity to learn how to sail and swim. The aim is to teach kids to love water and respect the environment. As André Alcântara Martins, the sports coordinator of Projeto Grael explains that the environment can’t be separated from sailing, they work together.  

The coordinator of environmental programs for the Grael Project, Thiago da Silva Marques mentions that there is a potential for change since they invest in education. More than 12,000 kids have participated in this program since it was founded in 1998 by Brazil’s most prominent sailing family, the Graels. This semester, another 400 students will not only learn how to sail on the bay, but also learn more about how plastic and other pollutants appear in waters. They will sail on the eco-boats detecting garbage by using floats with GPS tracking.

At the end Marques highlights the importance of protecting Guanabara Bay as a natural heritage to be left for the next generation.

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Losing Sevan, Jermuk: Press Conference at EcoLur Press Club

“EcoLur” environmental, informational NGO informs us that a press conference will be held at 11:00, 24 August at EcoLur Press Club (49/2 Hanrapetutyun St.) where Amulsar gold mine risks and the dangers for Vorotan-Arpa tunnel and Lake Sevan will be discussed:

 Speakers are Inga Zarafyan, President of ‘EcoLur’ Informational NGI, Nazeli Vardanyan – Director of ‘Forests of Armenia’ NGO, WWF Armenia Director Karen Manvelyan, and Levon Galstyan, representatives of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front civic initiative.

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Eco News

Armenia 

The Closing of Jermuk Resort Houses and the “Political” Amulsar Project

 Hraparak.am informs us that one of the oldest resort houses in Jermuk, ‘Jermuk – Moscow’

U. S. is Offering Energy Revolution to Armenia

In her article in Lragir.am Naira Hayrumyan mentions that oil price reduction does not affect the pr

Losing Sevan, Jermuk: Press Conference at EcoLur Press Club

“EcoLur” environmental, informational NGO informs us that a press conference will be hel

Eco News

 

Ecosystem preservation in Climate Change – proposals to the RA Government

The question on what consequences will the expected temperature rise and precipitation decrease  ha

No Additional Water Outlet from Lake Sevan This Year

This year no additional water outlet from Lake Sevan will be conducted, as Yuri Javadyan, Chairman o

Red-Listed Species of Urtsasar are Victims of Travertine Mine

During the round table entitled “Vulnerability of Ecosystems Conditioned with Climate Change” he

Thanks to the Nature and to the Environmentalists!

The RA Minister of Nature Protection held the “World Environment Day” and the “Environment

Subsoil Exploitation at Expense of Agricultural Land Areas

According to “Ecolur” Informational NGO, a press conference was held at “Ecolur” Press Club

Proposals to the RA Government on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Light of Energy Safety

As “Ecolur” NGO informs us, the participants of the round table held in “Ecolur” Press Club,

The State Budget Accesses 3.1 Million AMD in the Result of The Environmental Violations.

According to the RA Ministry of Nature Protection, during the process of inspection visits, admittin

Changes and Additions to The Waste Management Industry of Armenia

On the 14th of May the RA government approved the documentation package “Making Amendments and Sup

40 million dollars to Develop Armenia’s Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation

“Ecolur” NGO informs us that the Climate Investment Fund has allocated a 40 million dollar grant

Fines to drivers for Exceeding Exhaust Gases

As informs “Ecolur” informational NGO, the RA Government is proposing to impose fines fo
World

A 60m-year-lineage comes to an end

A trip to Crete, Cyprus or Malta 800 years ago would have been a great chance to meet pygmy elephant

Greenland Ice Sheet is melting

According to www.theguardian.com, a new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest

Battling Pollution in Rio Starting With the Youth

NBC NEWS informs us about the pollution in the Guanabara Bay which is a home to this year’s Ol

Eco News

 

Biodiversity Conservation – a priority in European Policy

According to “Ecolur” Informational NGO, during the Conference on Biodiversity for the Eastern p

Green Pathway Instead of Balcony

In her article about the alternative to a balcony, Liz Eve speaks about wonderful green pathway that

THE FOOD MOVEMENT

According to Greenpeace International, the current food system is broken. This is because of chemica

The New Cause of Celebrating The Earth Day

Earth Day began in 1970 with the degraded state of the U.S. environment. Since then, there has been

Carbon Tax As The Best Solution to Climate Change

It’s very important nowadays to quickly reduce carbon emissions in order to avoid the climate chan

 

Ecosystem preservation in Climate Change – proposals to the RA Government

The question on what consequences will the expected temperature rise and precipitation decrease  have on the biodiversity of Armenia resulting from Climate Changes, was discussed  during the round table “vulnerability of ecosystems due to climate change”  held at “EcoLur” Press Club.

As a result of the discussion, the following recommendations were made to the RA Government:

  • develop monitoring approaches for the biodiversity according to the issue (administrative, research, impact assessment);

  • create a transparent information system for government programs, a council, to which will be presented all the programs coordinated by the Ministries

  • create councils of the state non-profit organizations for special protected areas, which can have not only members of the representatives from ministries, but also community members in the buffer zone, so that they can resolve conflicting issues between the community

  • human impact on ecosystems must be regulated based on sound scientific indicators

  • large variations in the level of the reservoirs must take into account the vulnerability of fish fauna

  • review the work of hydropower plants and ponds from the point of fish farming

  • review the ragulating principles of environmental flow allocation of the water of rivers, stop the hydropower plants during the dry months on the fishy rivers

  • develop normative documents on construction of fish routes matching the river’s peculiarity

  • include the trout in the Red Book

  • organize a Monitoring of the rivers, used for spawning, flowing into the lake

  • insure the stable rates of increase of lake Sevan each year

  • maintain and restore wetlands and their ecosystems

  • arrange all economic sectors so that no damage is caused to the ecosystem

  • do so that the scientific research institutions could support the government in decision making.

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No Additional Water Outlet from Lake Sevan This Year

Duke Forest, Umstead Parks, and the Eno River, where this was taken, are very popular with the Durham running community.This year no additional water outlet from Lake Sevan will be conducted, as Yuri Javadyan, Chairman of Scientific-Expert Committee on Lake Sevan told “EcoLur” in his interview. In 2015, 170 million cum water will be let out of Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes, which was approved by the executive in April. The Nature Protection Ministry proposed the State Committee on Water Industry to limit water outlet within 155 million cum instead of 170 million, but this proposal was turned down. Already 13 million cum water has been let out of Lake Sevan. According to Aram Harutyunyan, Chairman of State Committee on Water Industry, the fullness of reservoirs is higher this year than it was in the previous years. ‘Besides Aparan reservoir, the fullness of all other reservoirs is 80-90%,’ Aram Harutyunyan said in his interview with the journalists in Dilijan Town.

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Biodiversity Conservation – a priority in European Policy

According to “Ecolur” Informational NGO, during the Conference on Biodiversity for the Eastern partnership Countries in Brussels, Karin Zaunberger, DG ENV, said that Biodiversity and habitat conservation are a priority in European policy and the protection of natural capital is for the economic sustainability, and added that countries should undertake political commitments in this direction.

Europe intends to implement the following strategy by 2050: European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides – its natural capital – are protected, valued and appropriately restored…. A third of species are still threatened or declining (e.g. seabirds, falcons, ducks). 23% of the protected species are in a favorable conservation status. But over half are still unfavorable. Many species living in freshwater, (e.g. migratory fish and amphibians) continue to deteriorate. The European Union adopted several directives – Habitats Directive and Birds Directive. It’s noteworthy that the Birds Directive almost doesn’t contain any measures banning human activities having negative impact on birds. The focus is on agreements and arrangements. ‘Biological pollution’ of endemic populations with non-native species also causes concerns. There are several regulations connected with evaluations of banning import or growing invasive species. Monitoring of areas is regularly carried out, and in case alien species can’t be eliminated, the area must be restricted with further noticing. This is the European policy. Nevertheless, during such a wide-scale event as the Green Week, which was also held in Brussels, the owners of one of the pavilions expressed a contradictory viewpoint. They are worried that the ban on importing other species will result in non-survival of mono-cultures, if external conditions change. At the conference the representatives of six countries of the European Partnership: Gagik Manucharyan, Head of Environmental Management Department presented the situation in Armenia. It should be mentioned that all six countries of the Eastern Partnership experience the same problems, but approaches to their solutions differ. Though EU representatives assured that biodiversity conservation is important everywhere, nevertheless, the countries having signed the Association Agreement with the EU, are already getting ready to the formation of a new policy resembling the European one and arrange on the cooperation on the new basis. 

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