Mercury's Impact on Wildlife, Tracking Glacial Melt, Kid-Driven Cleanup, Undergrad Field School, and Antarctic Warming

Loads and loads of Nooze for you today, to make up for our overly long silence. rebecca kesslerFirst, from Becky Kessler writing for Yale Environment 360, what she calls "a very oozy story indeed about mercury's effect on wildlife, on the eve of the first global treaty to curb mercury emissions:"

Mercury's Silent Toll on the World's Wildlife

This month, delegates from over 140 countries gathered in Geneva and finalized the first international treaty to reduce emissions of mercury. The treaty — four years in the works and scheduled for signing in October — aims to protect human health from this very serious neurotoxin.

But barely considered during the long deliberations, according to those involved in the treaty process, was the harm that mercury inflicts on wildlife. While mercury doesn’t kill many animals outright, it can put a deep dent in reproduction, says David Evers, chief scientist at the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), who serves on a scientific committee informing the process. “It is a bit of a silent threat, where you have to kind of add up what was lost through studies and demographic models.”... Read more.

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susan benceNext, from Susan Bence with WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio, a story about a man chronicling melt, and the hopes that his efforts will convince naysayers:

Glacier Melt Tracking Team Hopes to Wake Up Climate Change Skeptics

James Balog captures fleeting images in Greenland and other icy environments.

2012 will be remembered as a year of climatic calamity across the United States – from Superstorm Sandy to vast crop-shriveling droughts.

One man is working to convey the unfolding story of Earth’s changing climate, by chronicling melting ice in glacial zones.

A documentary titled Chasing Ice captures his quest.

After seeing the film at Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre, WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence reached photographer James Balog by phone at his home base in Boulder, Colorado.... Read and hear more.

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Rhitu ChatterjeeFrom Rhitu Chatterjee with PRI's The World, a look at how some unexpected players are getting involved in the fight to clean up India's slums:

Child-Driven Community Organization, Prayasam, Working to Improve Lives in Kolkata Slums

14-year-old Shikha Patra and her friends conduct a water survey to document the lack of clean drinking water in their community. (Photo: Rhitu Chatterjee)

In the heart of Kolkata, on the edge of the railroad tracks, is a sprawling slum. Hundreds of tiny huts and small brick houses sit on a maze of narrow streets. 

Just outside the slum, new roads have been built and modern apartment complexes have sprung up, but here the people have been left behind.

Most homes don’t have toilets. Infectious diseases are common. And residents don’t have access to clean drinking water.

But 14-year-old Shikha Patra is determined to change that... Read and hear more.

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sarah gilmanSarah Gilman with High Country News writes about Whitman College's innovative Semester in the West program, as part of HCN's Natural Resources Education issue.

A field program teaches undergrads to think differently about public lands

Artist and archaeologist Joe Pachak leads the Westies up the slickrock on Comb Ridge near Bluff, Utah last October. (Photo by Claire Meints courtesy Semester in the West)

I am in school, watching a grown man cry.

He works at a clinic in the Klamath Basin on the Oregon-California border. He tells me and 22 other visiting college students what happened to local farmers one season, when the federal government shut off their irrigation water to protect endangered fish during a drought. He is counting divorces, cases of depression, heart attacks. He is counting suicides. "Fish are as important as people," he says. "Fish are not more important than people."... Read more.

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sam eatonAnd from Sam Eaton, also with PRI's The World, a look at a rapidly warming Antarctic and its potential impacts:

Antarctica Warming Raises Sea Level Rise Risk

Antarctica, with its miles-deep ice sheets, has long been seen as the frigid holdout on a rapidly warming planet. But a new analysis of temperature records on the Western edge of the continentchallenges that notion, and says that the region is actually one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet.

In fact, says Andrew Monaghan, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, West Antarctica is warming about twice as fast as what we had thought, and three times the global average... Read and see more.

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