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Obama Creates Three New National Monuments Protecting Another 1M Acres of Public Lands – July 10, 2015

New designation preserves areas of historic, cultural, and natural value in California, Nevada, and Texas

Using his authority under the Antiquities Act, President Barak Obama today signed into being three new national monuments in California, Nevada, and Texas. Together, the new monuments protect more than one million acres of public lands. National monument’s are similar to national parks, except that they can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government via a presidential proclamation. With these new designations, Obama will have used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 19 national monuments in the United States. Altogether, he has protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any other president

The new monuments are:

Basin and… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Climate Change Is Shrinking Bumblebee Habitats, New Study Warns – July 9, 2015

Assisted migration may be necessary to prevent extinction of some bumblebee species in Europe and North America

Warming temperatures are killing off bumblebee populations across North America and Europe at an unprecedented rate, according to a new study published in Science. The study says global warming is putting a squeeze on these critical pollinators by shrinking their habitat ranges in both North America and Europe.

Red-tailed bumblebeePhoto by Jeremy T. Kerr As temperatures warm, bumblebee species are declining rapidly from warm areas but failing to colonize new areas in the north. Pictured here is a red-tailed bumblebee from Denmark.

As Earth’s temperature rises, many species have been expanding their territory further north while continuing to cling on to the southern (more… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Want Babies? Eat Organic Produce – April 6, 2015

Pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables linked to poor semen quality, says study

For couples struggling with infertility issues, the list of probable causes can be long, running the whole gamut from genetics to age to sexually transmitted diseases. Now there’s one more to add to the list, at least in the case of men: their diet of conventionally produced fruits and veggies.

A new study shows that men who eat conventionally-grown produce with higher levels of pesticide residues — like peppers, spinach, strawberries, apples, and pears — have lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm than those who eat produce with lower pesticide residues. (Check out my earlier report about the variations in pesticide exposure risk from conventional produce.)

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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Obama Administration’s New Rule to Govern Fracking on Federal Lands Draws Swift Criticism – March 20, 2015

Energy industry files lawsuit, environmentalists say rule falls short of what's needed to protect public health and safety

The Obama administration unveiled its first major federal regulation on fracking today and the backlash from the energy industry and its supporters was swift. Less than an hour of the announcement, two energy groups — the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance — filed a lawsuit challenging the rule, calling it “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns.” Meanwhile, environmental groups say the rule falls short of providing Americans the protection they deserve.

Gas FlarePhoto by Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking The rule, they point out, applies only to oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Which means, in regions like Pennsylvania,… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Pesticide Risk from Conventional Produce Varies Dramatically, New Study Shows – March 19, 2015

Consumer Reports analysis offers a risk guide for 48 fruits and vegetables; recommends organic produce

When it comes to shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, I usually follow a very basic rule of thumb: For leafy greens, berries, and anything that grows in direct contact with the soil — like onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots — buy organic. For the rest, go with locally grown, even if it might not always be organic. The idea being to minimize exposure to toxic agricultural chemical residues as far as possible (and support the local farming economy). But it seems my method might not be quite as effective as I’d thought.

an array of vegetablesPhoto by Natalie MaynorThe researchers analyzed 12 years… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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