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Environment

  • The pintail

    The pintail

    The pintail, or silfjun in Maltese, is a regular migrant seen mostly offshore from autumn to spring. It can be seen singly or in very large flocks and sometimes one or more visit Għadira or Simar nature reserves. Usually they stay in the reserves...

  • How vultures survive their food

    How vultures survive their food

    Vultures have evolved extreme digestive systems to cope with their disgusting diet, scientists have discovered. The scavenging birds happily feast on rotting flesh that may be contaminated with faeces yet are immune to the cocktail of deadly bugs...

  • Sonar measures Antarctic ice

    Sonar measures Antarctic ice

    Antarctic ice floes up to 17 metres thick have been accurately measured for the first time using a submersible robot equipped with upward-looking sonar. The high resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice will help scientists investigating the...

  • Extreme El Niño weather stunted growth of Peruvian children – study

    Extreme El Niño weather stunted growth of Peruvian children – study

    Children in Peru on the front line of a severe cyclical warming of the Pacific Ocean in 1997 and 1998 suffered stunted growth, showing how extreme weather can cause lasting damage to health, a study said yesterday. The study of 2,095 children born...

  • ‘Save the countryside’ again

    ‘Save the countryside’ again

    It was a busy weekend for environmental protests last weekend. As tree protesters turned up for a press conference by Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) outside the Malta Environment and Planning Authority offices, marchers in the south of the...

  • Dismantling our environmental apathy now

    Dismantling our environmental apathy now

    Last week, terrified at the prospect of further construction closer to home, I organised something small, simple, and possibly effective – a pleasant Sunday walk, advertised mainly through Facebook. The latest efforts by the construction lobby in...

  • Preti, Ball and catacombs

    Preti, Ball and catacombs

    It was a glorious autumn day when the Ramblers Association of Malta went for a cultural walk in the Mqabba and Żurrieq area. Joe Agius, one of the members and a lover of history, led the group through a number of sites, most of which were obscure...

  • Farming ‘changes earth’s breathing’

    Farming ‘changes earth’s breathing’

    Intensive farming in the northern hemisphere has changed the way the Earth is breathing, research has shown. Seasonal variations in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have became more extreme as the ‘green revolution’ developed between 1961 and...

  • In search of mushrooms

    In search of mushrooms

    This is the best time of the year to visit the countryside in search of fungi. One should be able to find a good number of species, especially in wooded areas such as Buskett Gardens and Wied il-Luq. Mid-autumn is a good time to find mushrooms...

  • Phase out CO2 emissions by 2070 to slow climate change, urges UN

    Governments are far off track in combating global warming and should phase out net carbon dioxide emissions by 2070, well within the expected lifetime of people born today, a UN study said yesterday. Greenhouse gas emissions have leapt 45 per cent...

  • Bio bus takes to the streets

    Bio bus takes to the streets

    The Bio-Bus, which is powered entirely by human and food waste, took to the British roads, yesterday. The 40-seater shuttle service, between Bath and Bristol Airport, can travel up to 299km on one tank of gas, which is generated through the...

  • Redefining ODZ in ‘the south’

    Redefining ODZ in ‘the south’

    Earlier this year, I had commended the former president of the Malta Developers Association (MDA), Michael Falzon, for explicitly stating that the MDA was against any development in ODZ areas and against further relaxation of the existing...

  • Giving Maltese agriculture the prestige it deserves

    Giving Maltese agriculture the prestige it deserves

    Whenever we think of local agriculture, we somehow think of elderly farmers hand-picking potatoes under the scorching Mediterranean sun. But this is an archaic mentality. The mistaken perception that farmers are uneducated and unskilled should be...

  • Bolt from the blue

    Bolt from the blue

    Rising global temperatures may cause a big jolt in the number of lightning strikes in the US over the rest of the 21st century in the latest example of extreme weather spawned by climate change, scientists say. Researchers forecast that lightning...

  • Climate focus turns to India

    Climate focus turns to India

    After this week’s carbon deal between the US and China, No. 3 emitter India faces growing pressure to devise a clear strategy and step out of China’s shadow during pivotal global climate talks. India has given no sign what kind of commitment it...

  • Primates ‘act to stop infanticide’

    Primates ‘act to stop infanticide’

    Some female primates are promiscuous to prevent males from killing their offspring, scientists have said. Previous research has found that infanticide by male mammals is common in species where the females live in social groups dominated by one or...

  • Crustaceans ‘can retain maleness’

    Crustaceans ‘can retain maleness’

    Male crustaceans can ‘lock down’ their maleness to avoid being completely feminised by seawater contaminated by feminising pollutants, according to scientists. Research by scientists at the University of Portsmouth has shown that crustaceans...

  • US, China unveil ambitious goals

    US, China unveil ambitious goals

    The US and China have unveiled ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of a make-or-break treaty to be finalised next year. President Barack Obama announced...

  • Dutch put solar panels in bike path

    Dutch put solar panels in bike path

    A project dubbed SolaRoad gets under way in the Netherlands this week, testing road surfaces as a potential canvas to collect solar energy. Fittingly for the cycle-crazy Dutch, the first SolaRoad is a bike path not far from Amsterdam. The path is...

  • Carmakers to triple range of green cars by 2020

    Carmakers to triple range of green cars by 2020

    Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. plan to triple their number of fuel-efficient cars by 2020, addressing concerns about the pair’s green track record and competitiveness in fuel economy. Investors have voiced concern about Hyundai’s...

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