Cattle egrets? In promising sign, UK wildlife-friendly farms have had a few

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Farmers who have taken regenerative approach see birds as indication of ecosystem healthAlmost as soon as Johnny Haimes took up regenerative farming – replacing arable fields with herb-rich pasture so cattle could graze outside all year round – a distinctive white bird appeared on his pasture.Numbers of cattle egrets are booming in Britain, boosted by wildlife-friendly farming where cows are grazed on gentle rotations designed to improve soil quality and boost invertebrate populations. Continue reading...

Farmers who have taken regenerative approach see birds as indication of ecosystem healthAlmost as soon as Johnny Haimes took up regenerative farming – replacing arable fields with herb-rich pasture so cattle could graze outside all year round – a distinctive white bird appeared on his pasture.Numbers of cattle egrets are booming in Britain, boosted by wildlife-friendly farming where cows are grazed on gentle rotations designed to improve soil quality and boost invertebrate populations. Continue reading...

Farmers who have taken regenerative approach see birds as indication of ecosystem health

Almost as soon as Johnny Haimes took up regenerative farming – replacing arable fields with herb-rich pasture so cattle could graze outside all year round – a distinctive white bird appeared on his pasture.

Numbers of cattle egrets are booming in Britain, boosted by wildlife-friendly farming where cows are grazed on gentle rotations designed to improve soil quality and boost invertebrate populations.

Continue reading...
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California warehouse boom comes with health, environmental costs for Inland Empire residents

In 1980, the Inland Empire was home to 234 warehouses. There are now more than 4,000, providing significant economic benefits for the region. But this growth also has consequences: more unhealthy air days in predominantly Latino communities. Following the release of a new report, a coalition is asking state leaders to intervene.

In summary In 1980, the Inland Empire was home to 234 warehouses. There are now more than 4,000, providing significant economic benefits for the region. But this growth also has consequences: more unhealthy air days in predominantly Latino communities. Following the release of a new report, a coalition is asking state leaders to intervene. Drive east from downtown Los Angeles, and the scenery thins out. The land grows drier, the hills rougher. The desert encroaches. Beverly Hills and Hollywood are replaced by Pomona, Fontana, Rialto, Redlands.  This is the Inland Empire, home to more than 4 million people and perched at the periphery of Los Angeles. Some dismiss it as the “land of cheap dirt.” It’s not just any cheap dirt, though. It’s cheap dirt within a few hours’ drive of one of the world’s largest port complexes – Los Angeles and Long Beach together represent America’s chief point of importation from Asia – and well-positioned to feed the nation’s growing obsession with ordering goods online and expecting them to arrive instantly.  The result: California’s Inland Empire has become home to a cascade of warehouses. Today, warehouses occupy about 1 billion square feet of the Inland Empire. Another 170 million square feet has either been approved and is awaiting construction, or is pending approval from a local government.  In 1980, the region was home to 234 warehouses; there are now more than 4,000. And individual warehouses are getting bigger, too. Nearly 40 square miles of the region’s land today sit beneath the roof of a warehouse. With that growth have come jobs and benefits. The Inland Empire has been quick to rebound from COVID and is chugging along at employment levels that resemble a pre-pandemic economy. But warehouses and the industries they support also carry consequences. Warehouses are not standalone buildings; they take in goods and move them out again – mostly with trucks, which burn fuel and clog up streets and highways. The 4,000 warehouses that line the region’s transportation corridors generate some 600,000 truck trips every day, producing a staggering 50 million pounds of carbon dioxide.  The implications for climate change and personal health are daunting. In just one year, from 2019 to 2020, the number of unhealthy air days in San Bernardino County jumped from 15% of the calendar to 20% of all days. And, predictably, the negative effects of that pollution and related traffic congestion are overwhelmingly concentrated in neighborhoods inhabited mostly by Latinos and low-income residents. Small cities such as Fontana show the effects of this hellbent absorption of warehouses. With a population of just over 200,000 people, Fontana houses distribution centers for Coca-Cola, Target, Smart & Final and FedEx, among others. Since 2010, Fontana has approved more than 70 new warehouses, which cover some 860 acres and produce more than 16,000 truck trips a day. Those findings are part of a groundbreaking project spearheaded by a group of activists and analysts who have created a database and map to track the growth of warehouses in the region. One of them is Susan Phillips, a professor of environmental analysis at Pitzer College and director of the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability.  “This is really, really scary,” she said in an interview, adding that some planners seem not to grasp the problem while others willfully ignore its implications. “They’ve made the choice not to care about the health impact.” The growth in warehouses is in part a reflection of changes in the national and international economy. Indeed, most of the goods that pass through these warehouses are not bound for the Inland Empire at all. It’s merely a waystation for everything from pharmaceuticals to toys, arriving from Asia and making their way to points east of Fontana or San Bernardino. The phenomenon also reveals holes in the region’s approach to planning. Warehouses typically are approved by local officials, often with little consideration for their impact on neighbors even though the cumulative effect of the new warehouses is regional rather than localized (pollution and traffic don’t stop at a city’s edge). But calls for regional planning test the Inland Empire’s politics and its structure, leading to confusing, uncoordinated policy decisions. In response, Phillips and her colleagues produced a breakthrough, interactive map called Warehouse CITY. It cuts through confusing government jargon – some cities label warehouses as “warehouses” whereas others rely on euphemisms such as “light industrial property” – and puts together a searchable, overarching look at the growth in warehouses in recent years. This allows users to chart the development of these buildings across Southern California and visualize the footprint. It also explains why this is so urgent for the people who are tracking this issue. They have gathered their findings in a report entitled “A Region in Crisis,” which they forwarded to Gov. Gavin Newsom this week, along with a letter urging him to intervene. The coalition called on Newsom to declare a “state of emergency and public health crisis in the Inland Empire.” They also asked state leaders to adopt a moratorium on new warehouse construction until the health and environmental consequences of this explosive warehouse growth can be better understood. That’s a tall order, one that will pit the interests of some of the nation’s largest manufacturers and distributors against local concerns. It will invite the typical decrying of NIMBYism, and it will hit residents where they live – in availability of jobs, the health of their air and the vitality of their communities. —– Given the stakes for the region and the political test this issue poses for local and state leaders, CalMatters contributor Jim Newton will be revisiting this subject again in the coming months.

South Africa’s Heatwave Poses Serious Health Threat, SAMRC Warns

Infants, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, pregnant women, outdoor workers, and those who are on chronic medications are the most vulnerable to death as a result of exposure to extreme heat, according to research conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and its partners. The research, according to the SAMRC, draws a correlation […] The post South Africa’s Heatwave Poses Serious Health Threat, SAMRC Warns appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.

Infants, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, pregnant women, outdoor workers, and those who are on chronic medications are the most vulnerable to death as a result of exposure to extreme heat, according to research conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and its partners. The research, according to the SAMRC, draws a correlation between how the biological, environmental, medical, socio-behavioural and geographical effects of extreme heat exposure have had an adverse impact on morbidity and mortality in the most vulnerable communities in Africa. Previous similar research had only been conducted in high income countries. This week, the SA government expressed its sadness after eight people died of heat stroke in the Northern Cape, after a heatwave hit that province. GCIS Acting Director-General, Michael Currin, said: “We are concerned about the impact of the hot weather, parts of South Africa have been experiencing.” He urged residents in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) – currently experiencing extreme heat, up to 39 degrees Celsius – to drink water and wear light clothing. Chief Specialist Scientist at the SAMRC’s Environment and Health Research Unit (EHRU), Dr Caradee Wright added: “The current extreme heat and heatwaves being experienced in January 2023 in South Africa pose a serious and concerning health threat to South Africans. We should take precautions such as drinking water regularly, if possible cooling arms and feet in a basin of water, using shade when outdoors and wearing a hat.” Where possible, the expert advised avoiding outdoors during the hottest time of the day in the afternoon. “However, this might not be possible for outdoor workers. Outdoor workers should wear cool clothing and hats, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.” Heat, according to the SAMRC, affects the human body by reducing its ability to regulate its temperature and keep cool by sweating. As the body becomes too hot, a person may experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even hyperthermia. Irritability, lack of concentration, headaches and loss of ability to do skilled tasks or heavy work. People vulnerable to heat either cannot self-regulate their internal “thermostat” or are faced with excess heat exposure, as is the case for people working outdoors. “It is essential that outdoor workers and their employers are trained to recognise the symptoms of heat illnesses and impacts.” Wright, who is also a Principal Investigator on the review, believes there are major gaps in knowledge about the effects of heatwaves on health outcomes among different sub-groups in low and middle-income countries. “The few existing studies that address this topic for Africa largely focus on other continents and include selected African countries only as an add-on.” The SAMRC’s EHRU conducted a study specific to heat resilience and coping mechanisms related to indoor and outdoor temperatures among 406 households in Limpopo where temperatures rose to above 40 degrees Celsius and 36 degrees Celsius indoors. According to the study, most people perceived their homes to be too hot when temperatures were high outdoors and relied on recommended heat-health actions such as sitting outdoors in the shade or opening windows to try and keep cool. “Resilience to heatwaves as a result of climate change requires more than personal action,” Wright explained. “In light of climate threats and climate-related disaster risks facing South Africa, an all-encompassing approach, including education campaigns, climate-proofed housing, access to basic services, and financial considerations that will help support resilient coping among South Africans is urgently required.” According to the study, preparedness and resilience are key as South African temperatures are expected to become warmer than the projected global average. In addition, some parts of the country will experience dryness, while others will become wetter. The study shows how there are not any certainties as to how much exactly and where temperatures will reach extremes such as heatwaves. Heatwave is typically described as a consecutive period of hot days with temperatures above a given threshold. Meanwhile, researchers indicate that there is evidence that global warming will lead to more frequent and extreme weather events such as heatwaves. – SAnews.gov.za The post South Africa’s Heatwave Poses Serious Health Threat, SAMRC Warns appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.

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