The eruption sent lava shooting into the air, along with a huge cloud of ash and steam. Hawaiian officials urged residents to stay indoors shortly after the eruption.
"Trade winds will push any embedded ash toward the Southwest. Fallout is likely in the Kau District in Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Ocean View. Stay indoors," an official from Civil Defense Agency tweeted, according to CNN.
However, the lava posed little risk to residents due to the eruption's location on Halemaumau within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the AP reported.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, (HVO) which monitors activity at Kilauea and its sister volcano Mauna Kea, issued a red aviation code alert after the initial eruption, but has since lowered it to an orange alert, meaning another significant eruption may still be possible.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also reported a 4.4 magnitude earthquake that struck about an hour after the initial eruption. The USGS received more than 500 reports from people who felt the earthquake, but no major damage has been reported, according to the AP.
Kilauea last erupted in May 2018. That event involved a period of earthquakes and eruptions lasting for four months, creating lava flows that destroyed more than 700 homes, the AP reported.
The 2018 activity also caused Halemaumau's longtime lava lake to drain, according to the AP. In 2019, a new body of water was discovered in Kilauea's crater, leading to speculation about future eruptions, the New York Times found.
Jessica Ferracane, a Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman, told the AP that curious park spectators should take precautions. "There are high amounts of hazardous sulfur dioxide gas and particulates and those are billowing out of the crater right now and those present a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women."
HVO confirmed that Kilauea summit eruptions can last more than a decade, based on 200 years of tracking.
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2021 is forecasted to be slightly colder worldwide than years previous, according to meteorologists at the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, but will still be one the hottest on record due to greenhouse gas effects.
A La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean will cause strong winds to blow warm surface water around the equator westward, making the ocean temperature a few degrees colder. The variance in ocean temperature during a La Niña winter can cause temperature changes worldwide. It will likely increase rainfall in Australia, Indonesia, and eastern Asia, while drier conditions will likely occur in the southwestern U.S.
Forecasters calculate the hottest years by comparing temperatures before and after the industrial era of 1850-1900, when greenhouse gases became mostly human-made from automobiles, factories, and large-scale agriculture.
"The global temperature for 2021 is unlikely to be a record year due to the influence of the current La Niña, but it will be far warmer than other past La Niña years such as 2011 and 2000 due to global warming," Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office, told the BBC.
But next year is predicted to be still above 1 degree Celsius preindustrial levels — empirical proof greenhouse gases cause hotter temperatures and climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated a 0.2°C increase in global temperature every decade since the industrial era, due to human activities.
Around the U.S., the Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting a milder winter, with average to "warmer-than-normal" temperatures for most of the country, while New England, the desert Southwest, and the Pacific Southwest will be a bit chillier than normal in the winter.
According to the BBC, 2016 remains the warmest year on record. 2020 and 2019 are both contenders for second place.
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Making the switch to solar energy can help you lower or even eliminate your monthly electric bills while reducing your carbon footprint. However, before installing a clean energy system in your home, you must first answer an important question: "How many solar panels do I need?"
To accurately calculate the ideal number of solar panels for your home, you'll need a professional assessment. However, you can estimate the size and cost of the system based on your electricity bills, energy needs and available roof space. This article will tell you how.
If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Factors That Influence How Many Solar Panels You Need
To determine how many solar panels are needed to power a house, several factors must be considered. For example, if there are two identical homes powered by solar energy in California and New York, with exactly the same energy usage, the California home will need fewer solar panels because the state gets more sunshine.
The following are some of the most important factors to consider when figuring out many solar panels you need:
Size of Your Home and Available Roof Space
Larger homes tend to consume more electricity, and they generally need more solar panels. However, they also have the extra roof space necessary for larger solar panel installations. There may be exceptions to this rule — for example, a 2,000-square-foot home with new Energy Star appliances may consume less power than a 1,200-square-foot home with older, less-efficient devices.
When it comes to installation, solar panels can be placed on many types of surfaces. However, your roof conditions may limit the number of solar panels your home can handle.
For example, if you have a chimney, rooftop air conditioning unit or skylight, you'll have to place panels around these fixtures. Similarly, roof areas that are covered by shadows are not suitable for panels. Also, most top solar companies will not work on asbestos roofs due to the potential health risks for installers.
Amount of Direct Sunlight in Your Area
Where there is more sunlight available, there is more energy that can be converted into electricity. The yearly output of each solar panel is higher in states like Arizona or New Mexico, which get a larger amount of sunlight than less sunny regions like New England.
The World Bank has created solar radiation maps for over 200 countries and regions, including the U.S. The map below can give you an idea of the sunshine available in your location. Keep in mind that homes in sunnier regions will generally need fewer solar panels.
© 2020 The World Bank, Source: Global Solar Atlas 2.0, Solar resource data: Solargis.
Number of Residents and Amount of Energy You Use
Households with more members normally use a higher amount of electricity, and this also means they need more solar panels to increase energy production.
Electricity usage is a very important factor, as it determines how much power must be generated by your solar panel system. If your home uses 12,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year and you want to go 100% solar, your system must be capable of generating that amount of power.
Type of Solar Panel and Efficiency Rating
High-efficiency panels can deliver more watts per square foot, which means you need to purchase fewer of them to reach your electricity generation target. There are three main types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. In general, monocrystalline panels are the most efficient solar panels, followed closely by polycrystalline panels. Thin-film panels are the least efficient.
How to Estimate the Number of Solar Panels You Need
So, based on these factors, how many solar panels power a home? To roughly determine how many solar panels you need without a professional assessment, you'll need to figure out two basic things: how much energy you use and how much energy your panels will produce.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average American home uses 10,649 kWh of energy per year. However, this varies depending on the state. For example:
- Louisiana homes have the highest average consumption, at 14,787 kWh per year.
- Hawaii homes have the lowest average consumption, at 6,298 kWh per year.
To more closely estimate how much energy you use annually, add up the kWh reported on your last 12 power bills. These numbers will fluctuate based on factors like the size of your home, the number of residents, your electricity consumption habits and the energy efficiency rating of your home devices.
Solar Panel Specific Yield
After you determine how many kWh of electricity your home uses annually, you'll want to figure out how many kWh are produced by each of your solar panels during a year. This will depend on the specific type of solar panel, roof conditions and local peak sunlight hours.
In the solar power industry, a common metric used to estimate system capacity is "specific yield" or "specific production." This can be defined as the annual kWh of energy produced for each kilowatt of solar capacity installed. Specific yield has much to do with the amount of sunlight available in your location.
You can get a better idea of the specific yield that can be achieved in your location by checking reliable sources like the World Bank solar maps or the solar radiation database from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
To estimate how many kW are needed to run a house, you can divide your annual kWh consumption by the specific yield per kilowatt of solar capacity. For example, if your home needs 15,000 kWh of energy per year, and solar panels have a specific yield of 1,500 kW/kW in your location, you will need a system size of around 10 kilowatts.
Paradise Energy Solutions has also come up with a general formula to roughly ballpark the solar panel system size you need. You can simply divide your annual kWh by 1,200 and you will get the kilowatts of solar capacity needed. So, if the energy consumption reported on your last 12 power bills adds up to 24,000 kWh, you'll need a 20 kW system (24,000 / 1,200 = 20).
So, How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Once you know the system size you need, you can check your panel wattage to figure how many panels to purchase for your solar array. Multiply your system size by 1,000 to obtain watts, then divide this by the individual wattage of each solar panel.
Most of the best solar panels on the market have an output of around 330W to 360W each. The output of less efficient panels can be as low as 250W.
So, if you need a 10-kW solar installation and you're buying solar panels that have an output of 340W, you'll need 30 panels. Your formula will look like this: 10,000W / 340W = 29.4 panels.
If you use lower-efficiency 250-watt solar panels, you'll need 40 of them (10,000W / 250W = 40) panels.
Keep in mind that, although the cost of solar panels is lower if you choose a lower-efficiency model over a pricier high-efficiency one, the total amount you pay for your solar energy system may come out to be the same or higher because you'll have to buy more panels.
How Much Roof Space Do You Need for a Home Solar System?
After you estimate how many solar panels power a house, the next step is calculating the roof area needed for their installation. The exact dimensions may change slightly depending on the manufacturer, but a typical solar panel for residential use measures 65 inches by 39 inches, or 17.6 square feet. You will need 528 square feet of roof space to install 30 panels, and 704 square feet to install 40.
In addition to having the required space for solar panels, you'll also need a roof structure that supports their weight. A home solar panel weighs around 20 kilograms (44 pounds), which means that 30 of them will add around 600 kilograms (1,323 pounds) to your roof.
You will notice that some solar panels are described as residential, while others are described as commercial. Residential panels have 60 individual solar cells, while commercial panels have 72 cells, but both types will work in any building. Here are a few key differences:
- Commercial solar panels produce around 20% more energy, thanks to their extra cells.
- Commercial panels are also more expensive, as well as 20% larger and heavier.
- Residential 60-cell solar panels are easier to handle in home installations, which saves on labor, and their smaller size helps when roof dimensions are limited.
Some of the latest solar panel designs have half-cells with a higher efficiency, which means they have 120 cells instead of 60 (or 144 instead of 72). However, this doesn't change the dimensions of the panels.
Conclusion: Are Solar Panels Worth it for Your Home?
Solar panels produce no carbon emissions while operating. However, the EIA estimates fossil fuels still produce around 60% of the electricity delivered by U.S. power grids.
Although the initial investment in solar panels is steep, renewable energy systems make sense financially for many homeowners. According to the Department of Energy, they have a typical payback period of about 10 years, while their rated service life is up to 30 years. After recovering your initial investment, you will have a source of clean and free electricity for about two decades.
Plus, even if you have a large home or find you need more solar panels than you initially thought you would, keep in mind that there are both federal and local tax credits, rebates and other incentives to help you save on your solar power system.
To get a free, no-obligation quote and see how much a solar panel system would cost for your home, fill out the 30-second form below.
The Trump administration said Tuesday that federal protection for monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act is still a few years away. The reason? The administration cited 161 vulnerable species that are already waiting in line ahead of monarchs.
Monarchs will likely have to wait until 2023 to be added by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reuters reported. The federal agency oversees listing endangered species.
"Protection for monarchs is needed — and warranted — now," said George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, Reuters reported.
Monarch butterfly populations have exponentially decreased in the past decade, mostly due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change. For example, North America's Eastern monarch butterflies traditionally migrate up to 3,000 miles every year from the eastern U.S. to Mexico to spend the winter, but migration numbers are falling.
Overall, the Western monarch population declined by more than 97 percent to fewer than 30,000 between 1997 and 2019, Reuters reported, while the Eastern U.S. population declined 84 percent during the same period.
"We conducted an intensive, thorough review using a rigorous, transparent science-based process and found that the monarch meets listing criteria under the Endangered Species Act," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith told CBS News. "However, before we can propose listing, we must focus resources on our higher-priority listing actions."
Monarch butterflies may not have the time to wait.
"Forty-seven species have gone extinct waiting for their protection to be finalized," Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, told CBS News. "This decision continues the delay in implementing a national recovery plan which monarchs desperately need."
A decline in milkweed plants partly explains the falling monarch numbers. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed, but the plants are being killed off thanks to farmers spraying Roundup, a common herbicide, on their crops, The New York Times reported. Milkweed generally grows in between crops and cannot survive Roundup. It doesn't help that affected farmland is also prime monarch breeding ground.
In the meantime, there are numerous environmental groups and citizen efforts working to protect the species, including farmers paid by the federal government to maintain pollinator habitats. As adults, monarch butterflies pollinate many types of wild flowers. However, monarchs will have to wait for federal protection before herbicide use is regulated in their habitats. This is key to saving monarchs from extinction.
"One, we restore a lot of habitat," Chip Taylor, founder and director of Monarch Watch, told the New York Times.
"And two, we try to convince our fellow citizens and particularly our politicians that we have to do something about greenhouse gases."
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President-elect Joe Biden is currently considering the former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Barack Obama to be the domestic "climate czar," Reuters reported.
The appointment of Gina McCarthy would put her in charge of federal policy on climate across agencies. Biden has made the climate crisis a main focus for his upcoming administration, tapping former Obama secretary of state John Kerry to be its special presidential envoy on climate, as a cabinet-level official who will sit on the National Security Council.
McCarthy currently serves as the president of the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, an environmental advocacy organization with broad reach. She would be Kerry's counterpart, where she would run domestic policy, with Kerry in charge of international diplomacy with regard to climate.
In an interview with NPR in November, McCarthy said Biden's climate strategy consisted of re-entering the Paris agreement immediately, and moving to clean energy by 2035. She mentioned how under President Trump the administration was stacked with fossil fuel executives, which stalled policy on clean energy to move forward. It also stalled on the job front, as clean energy jobs are more likely to produce more employment through creating infrastructure.
She said in the interview that if people who may be skeptical about climate change, or rely on the fossil fuel industry for employment understood the potential of the job market in renewable energy — and the jobs would be more secure — then it could be massive step forward in combating climate change in the U.S.
And Michael Regan, the current secretary of North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality, is a top contender to head the upcoming administration's EPA office, according to Bloomberg News. One of his largest achievements while in office was in January, where he held Duke Energy Corp accountable for its pollution production, forcing the company to agree to the largest coal cleanup in the U.S.
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The investigation, Deep Trouble: The murky world of the deep sea mining industry, decries the increasing use of the ocean floor by large corporations, such as U.S. arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, to mine metals and minerals. Only several private sector companies with shell-organizations, or "operating through complex and opaque structures of sub-contractors, partnerships or subsidiaries," received 30 contracts to mine from the International Seabed Authority, a consortium with no environmental or assessment process that acts as the overseeing organization on seabed mining contracts. The ISA has never rejected a bid for mining.
For every contract the ISA issues, it receives $500,000. Greenpeace finds the setup to be a potential conflict of interest that undermines environmental regulation at the state and national level. It also unfairly allocates the natural resources of the ocean, to the point where some corporations partner with small island states such as the Micronesian country of Nauru, but the companies reap the benefits of extraction, while the nation-states are left with all the liability.
In 2019 deep sea mining and shipping firm Nautilus went bankrupt, leaving its partner state, Papua New Guinea on the hook for cleanup expenses. Now, according to The Guardian, Papua New Guinea is one of many nations calling for a moratorium on deep sea mining.
And the potential for environmental destruction is evident, says Greenpeace.
"Deep sea mining will cause serious and irreversible damage to the ocean biome, risks driving biodiversity loss and could potentially damage an important carbon sink: the deep ocean," the executive summary of the report notes. Dumbo octopuses, deep-sea corals, and the endangered scaly-foot snail are all potentially at risk of extinction.
In some areas the ocean floor contains poly-metallic nodules, which contain within them manganese peroxide, a substance used in bleaching powder, and cobalt, nickel, copper, titanium — metals commonly used in smartphones.
Just like a rocky garden, the life around the nodules is more abundant. And deep sea mining leaves tracks on the ocean floor that stay in place for decades, disrupting the area's natural processes, and are harmful to the few species of life that survive on the abyssal plain.
DeepGreen Metals Inc., one of the companies with an ISA approved mining contract, told The Guardian in a response to Greenpeace that deep sea mining could supply "critical minerals for the global transition off fossil fuels at a fraction of environmental and social costs associated with metal production from conventional land ores."
Greenpeace is calling for an international ocean treaty, where nations reuse and recycle the existing supply of minerals and metals, instead of opening the ocean floor to extraction.
"We think the deep sea ocean should be off limits because it is not possible to have good enough environmental rules," Louisa Cannon, lead author of the report told The Guardian.
"Scientists are warning of irreversible harm and potential extinctions. The ISA is supposed to be protecting the oceans and it's not doing its job."
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The study, published in Ecological Economics, focused on European residents, and determined that happiness correlated with a specific number of bird species.
"According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species," says lead author Joel Methorst, a doctoral researcher at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, the iDiv and the Goethe University in Frankfurt.
The authors calculated that being around fourteen additional bird species provided as much satisfaction as earning an additional $150 a month.
For the study, researchers used data from the 2012 "European Quality of Life Survey" to explore the connection between species diversity around homes, towns and cites, and how it relates to satisfaction. More than 26,000 adults from 26 European countries were surveyed.
According to the study authors, birds are some of the best indicators of biological diversity in any given area because they are usually seen or heard in their environments, especially in urban areas. However, more bird species were found near natural green spaces, forested areas and bodies of water.
In the U.S., birding has become a more common and accessible hobby during the pandemic.
Although not new, thousands of amateurs and expert birders participate in Audubon's long-running annual Christmas Bird Count, a three-week activity to count birds in a specific area for the group's data compilation.
"Nature conservation therefore not only ensures our material basis of life, but it also constitutes an investment in the well-being of us all," says Methorst.
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A new report about Australia's wildlife loss following the 2019-2020 wildfires reveals a staggering number. The sobering findings, calculated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Australia, determined that 143 million native mammals were likely killed, including more than 61,000 koalas.
Ten scientists and researchers worked on the labor-intensive report, factoring in limitations for concluding total numbers. However, an estimated three billion animals were affected by the fires, including 2.46 billion reptiles.
In the report's forward, WWF-Australia Chief Executive Dermot O'Gorman declared that the fires were "one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history."
Of the 143 million mammals, it's estimated that the wildfires killed about one million wombats, five million kangaroos and wallabies, five million bats, 39 million possums and gliders and 50 million native mice and rats, The Guardian reported.
The loss of Australia's endemic mammals is particularly stark since the country is the only place where they're naturally found.
Also lost were about five-and-a-half million lesser-known but equally important Australian mammals such as bettongs (or rat kangaroos), bandicoots, quokkas and potoroos.
The koala toll has been especially difficult. O'Gorman wrote in the report, "That is a devastating number for a species that was already sliding towards extinction in eastern Australia. We cannot afford to lose koalas on our watch."
Last month Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley decried "a serious lack of data about where [koala] populations actually are," and called for a national census of the marsupial.
In New South Wales, a parliamentary inquiry found that koalas would be extinct by 2050 without intervention to save their habitat.
Proposed solutions to increase koala numbers involve protecting koala corridors and banning logging in old-growth forests, but the severity of recent fires and the threat of future disasters due to climate change impede saving the species. However, a countrywide koala census is scheduled for next year.
Researchers intend to use koala droppings, drones and detector dogs to count the species. The last koala census in 2016 estimated there were more than 300,000 in Australia.
The report included recommendations to address future wildfire threats, such as establishing rapid response teams and improving fire prevention.
"It's really a call to arms to try and do something because under climate change these fires will happen again," University of Sydney Ecologist Chris Dickman, who worked on the project, told the Guardian.
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The world's largest sand island has been on fire for the past six weeks due to a campfire, and Australia's firefighters have yet to prevent flames from destroying the fragile ecosystem.
The wildfires on Fraser Island, also called by its Indigenous name K'gari, have burned almost 200,000 acres of its unique habitat, including large sand dunes, swamps and rainforests. Fraser Island is near Brisbane on the northeastern coast, where dingos, swamp wallabies, sugar gliders and more than 60 reptile species call the island home. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.
Several tourists visiting the island had to be evacuated as conditions worsened, Reuters reported.
"I think it's frustrating for everybody, the fact that a campfire has started this fire. Having the impact that it has had, it started in a very, very remote part of the island… really difficult to access," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner Mike Wassing told CNN affiliate Nine News, according to Reuters.
Since Saturday fire crews have dropped more than 200,000 gallons of water and flame retardant on the island, Reuters added.
The Guardian reported that crews are mainly addressing the problem from above, focusing on key ecological areas and sites that are important to the Butchulla Aboriginal people, who have called the island home for thousands of years.
However, fighting sand fires is difficult, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services assistant commissioner Gary McCormack told The Guardian. He explained how water quickly drained from the sand floor, even when dropped from above. Ground conditions weren't any better due to a lack of firebreaks.
"Unfortunately the current conditions are not conducive to extinguishment," McCormack said.
The fires are approaching the Valley of Giants, a tourist attraction known for its 1,000-year-old trees.
Researcher Dr. Gabriel Conroy, a conservation biologist at the University of the Sunshine Coast whose work focuses on Fraser Island, took a student group there last week.
"A northerly wind had kicked in and it was other-worldly with ash falling down on the students," he told The Guardian. "There's a sense of panic on the island."
Conroy explained that traditional fire practices by the Butchulla people were suppressed more than a century ago, and European loggers altered the island's ecology. Prior to this, the Butchulla had burned smaller fires on the island for thousands of years in order to prevent more widespread ones.
"This is a very large and very hot fire for this island. It's a big fire and it's the wrong kind of fire," Conroy said. He added, "It's a catastrophe. Even ecosystems that are meant to burn don't bounce back from widespread hot fires. It can be beyond their capacity to bounce back."
According to CNN, Queensland's Bureau of Meteorology warned that an extreme heat wave and strong winds, forecast for the next couple of days, would likely worsen the fires.
The current fires may be the start of a harsh and long fire season, and are already drawing comparison to the devastating wildfires Australia experienced in early 2020, where more than 37 million acres were destroyed, three billion animals killed, and 33 people died.
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The Ganges River is a quagmire of raw sewage, toxic waste and overfishing from the crowded cities along its waterway. It is also home to the endangered Ganges river dolphin and the critically endangered three-striped roofed turtle, along with other threatened marine species.
As part of the National Geographic Society's "Sea to Source: Ganges" expedition, a study was conducted to understand how much plastic pollution or "ghost" fishing threatens the native wildlife. Fishing nets are common in the river, and entanglements frequently occur.
According to interviews conducted with the local fishing community as part of the study, nets and equipment are commonly left in the river. Researchers at the University of Exeter, who gathered data for the study, found disposal systems in short supply.
"The Ganges River supports some of the world's largest inland fisheries, but no research has been done to assess plastic pollution from this industry, and its impacts on wildlife," said Dr. Sarah Nelms, a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter, and an author of the study.
"Ingesting plastic can harm wildlife, but our threat assessment focused on entanglement, which is known to injure and kill a wide range of marine species."
Professor Heather Koldewey, of the Zoological Society of London and the University of Exeter, and a National Geographic Fellow believes the "circular economy" – the reuse of products and equipment that have monetary value – can play a role in keeping nets out of the river, especially when nets are made of durable nylon material which can be reused to make carpet or clothing.
"Collection and recycling of nylon 6 has strong potential as a solution because it would cut plastic pollution and provide an income," she said.
Plastic pollution in marine and freshwater ecosystems continues on an increasing scale to cause wildlife death. But Koldewey believes behavior changes through this new research could have positive effects.
"This is a complex problem that will require multiple solutions – all of which must work for both local communities and wildlife."
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A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.
Mount Ili Lewotolok's eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara caused the local airport to shut down and created panic among locals. East Nusa Tenggara province is located in a remote section about 1,615 miles east of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, Al Jazeera reported.
Raditya Jati, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said no deaths or injuries have been reported, but about 2,780 residents from 26 villages have sought refuge, according to Al Jazeera.
Local Muhammad Ilham, a 17 year old who captured video of the eruption, told Reuters people were "panicked and they're still looking for refuge and in need of money right now."
Reuters reported that Indonesia has raised its threat level to the second-highest on a four-tier alert system. Three other volcanoes in Indonesia are currently at the second-highest level as well.
Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) website warned that "hot clouds, lava stream, lava avalanche and poisonous gas" would impact the immediate area around the volcano, Al Jazeera reported.
There are approximately 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, Reuters reported, the most in the world. According to the CVGHM, 79 have erupted in the last 400 years.
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In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.
The administration pushed to finish the environmental review process, a necessary step to transfer ownership to copper mining company Resolution Copper, and its two parent companies Rio Tinto and BHP, to December 2020, almost a full year ahead of the planned completion.
"The Trump administration is cutting corners and doing a rushed job just to take care of Rio Tinto," Democratic Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva told The Guardian. Grijalva has been outspoken in his opposition to the mine plans.
"And the fact they are doing it during Covid makes it even more disgusting. Trump and Rio Tinto know the tribes' reaction would be very strong and public under normal circumstances but the tribes are trying to save their people right now," Grijalva said.
Oak Flat is a high desert wonderland full of rock spires, choppy hills, ancient oaks, medicinal plants and long stretches of desert flatland. It contains many Indigenous archaeological sites dating back 1,500 years, and is near Tonto National Forest, the largest of six national forests in Arizona. For centuries, the Apache have considered the site holy, using the area for ceremonies. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
However, what is estimated to be one of the world's largest copper deposits resides 7,000 feet underneath the site. If mining proceeds, more than 11 miles of Indigenous sacred sites, burial grounds and petroglyphs would be destroyed, The Guardian reported. Not only that, but Resolution Copper intends to extract 1.4 metric tons of ore, which would create a crater stretching almost two miles wide and 1,000 feet deep.
Rio Tinto, the world's second largest mining company, is no stranger to controversy. The Anglo-Australian company was recently involved in destroying a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site in order to mine iron ore, against the wishes of the land's traditional owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.
In 2014, a proposal called the Southeastern Arizona Land Exchange was tacked onto the end of a spending bill to exchange federal land for privately owned land for Resolution Copper. Several Arizona legislators supported it, despite opposition from regional Arizona tribes.
Currently there is no federal law that allows control of ancestral lands outside of Native reservation boundaries.
After the environmental review process is complete, the transfer must occur within 60 days, potentially before President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
The move marks one of many attempts by the outgoing administration to keep pushing for environmental rollbacks as it leaves office, including opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling and weakening migratory bird protections.
"We are looking at the destruction of some of the Apache's most significant cultural and historic sites with this project," Kathryn Leonard, an Arizona state historic preservation officer, told The Guardian.
"Our preservation laws are not set up to prevent this level of loss. It weighs heavily on me."
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More than half the bacteria in the human gut microbiome are sensitive to glyphosate, the mostly commonly used herbicide in the world, reported scientists this month in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland recently developed a novel bioinformatics tool to predict if beneficial bacteria in the human gut are affected by exposure to glyphosate.
They found that the herbicide could disturb the natural cycles of microbiome life, and potentially harm human health, through weakening the system and causing greater susceptibility to diseases.
"Glyphosate targets an enzyme ... [that] is crucial to synthesizing three essential amino acids," said Pere Puigbò, who co-developed the bioinformatics tool.
Glyphosate is regularly in the news, viewed as a potential threat to health and well-being because of its widespread use on crops including corn, soy and canola. It is also a household weed killer, particularly the Monsanto/Bayer-owned brand Roundup.
The herbicide is currently banned from many countries including Germany, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, and is heavily restricted in others. Cities and states across the U.S. are starting to reduce use or pushing for a ban, due to mounting health concerns. Other cities, such as Los Angeles and Miami, have already banned use.
"We need experimental research to study the effects of glyphosate on microbial communities in variable environments," said researcher Marjo Helander in a statement about the findings.
"This groundbreaking study provides tools for further studies to determine the actual impact of glyphosate on human and animal gut microbiota and thus to their health."
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