Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Monday, August 19, 2019

Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

Yahoo – AFP, Jeremie RICHARD, August 18, 2019

The Okjokull glacier in Iceland has melted away due to climate change (AFP Photo)

Reykjavik (AFP) - Iceland on Sunday honours the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

A bronze plaque will be unveiled in a ceremony starting around 1400 GMT to mark Okjokull -- which translates to "Ok glacier" -- in the west of Iceland, in the presence of local researchers and their peers at Rice University in the United States, who initiated the project.

Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson are also due to attend the event.

"This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world," Cymene Howe, associate professor of anthropology at Rice University, said in July.

The plaque bears the inscription "A letter to the future," and is intended to raise awareness about the decline of glaciers and the effects of climate change.

"In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it," the plaque reads.

It is also labelled "415 ppm CO2," referring to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May.

"Memorials everywhere stand for either human accomplishments, like the deeds of historic figures, or the losses and deaths we recognise as important," researcher Howe said.

"By memorialising a fallen glacier, we want to emphasise what is being lost -- or dying -- the world over, and also draw attention to the fact that this is something that humans have 'accomplished', although it is not something we should be proud of."

Howe noted that the conversation about climate change can be abstract, with many dire statistics and sophisticated scientific models that can feel incomprehensible.

"Perhaps a monument to a lost glacier is a better way to fully grasp what we now face," she said, highlighting "the power of symbols and ceremony to provoke feelings".

This NASA handout image shows the Okjökull glacier in 1986 (AFP Photo)

Iceland loses about 11 billion tonnes of ice per year, and scientists fear all of the island country's 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200, according to Howe and her Rice University colleague Dominic Boyer.

Stripped in 2014

Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland.

In 1890, the glacier ice covered 16 square kilometres (6.2 square miles) but by 2012, it measured just 0.7 square kilometres, according to a report from the University of Iceland from 2017.

In 2014, "we made the decision that this was no longer a living glacier, it was only dead ice, it was not moving," Oddur Sigurdsson, a glaciologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told AFP.

To have the status of a glacier, the mass of ice and snow must be thick enough to move by its own weight. For that to happen the mass must be approximately 40 to 50 metres (130 to 165 feet) thick, he said.

According to a study published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)in April, nearly half of the world's heritage sites could lose their glaciers by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.

Sigurdsson said he feared "that nothing can be done to stop it."

"The inertia of the climate system is such that, even if we could stop introducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere right now, it will keep on warming for century and a half or two centuries before it reaches equilibrium."

Iceland's Vatnajokull National Park, which was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in early July, is home to, and named after, the largest ice cap in Europe.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pollen, not pollution: Utrecht’s new bus stops are buzzing

DutchNews, August 16, 2019

One of Utrecht’s green roof bus stops. Photo: Mobilane

Utrecht’s bee friendly bus shelters are capturing the world’s imagination with media from across the globe reporting on a solution to urban pollution that is both simple and effective. 

From Mexico City to Melbourne, local officials have been in touch about how to make bus shelters a part of efforts to combat pollution and protect bees, the Volkskrant reported on Friday. 

When Utrecht city council started looking for ways of making the city more sustainable Reclamebureau Limburg (RBL), which specialises in advertising in public spaces, was quick to take up the gauntlet. 

Apart from bamboo seats, RBL’s new bus shelter, of which there are now over 300 in Utrecht, has a green roof . The hardy sedum plants provided by family firm Mobilane reduce the amount of lung-damaging fine dust, store rain water and combat heat. They also promote biodiversity, and the ‘bee stops’, as the foreign press dubbed them, could well play a part in saving this endangered insect. 

With July entering the history books as the hottest ever recorded the shelters were put to the test almost immediately. RBL, which built and maintains the shelters from the proceeds of advertising, told the Volkskrant that the plants survived the heat wave ‘surprisingly well’. Sedum plants need little water and are able to withstand extreme temperatures.

But convincing sceptic Utrechtenaren was not always plain sailing. ‘People in Utrecht initially said “oh not another GroenLinks scheme that will only cost tax money and won’t do anything. And will I be stung by a bee while I’m waiting for a bus?” But it’s become the summer hit of 2019,’ the paper quotes council spokesperson Jacqueline Rabius as saying. 

While the sustainable shelters are not going to save the world, the 2,000 m2 of additional green roofs will contribute to cleaner air in the city and 96 of them have also been equipped with solar panels. 


They are also proving a stimulus to others because requests for subsidies for green roofs have been multiplying since the bus shelters hit the headlines,’ Utrecht public space manager Maurice Prijs said. Nijmegen, Rotterdam, Hoorn and Apeldoorn are reportedly also looking into replacing conventional shelters with bee stops. 

To put things in perspective, spokesperson for environmental organisation Milieu Centraal Puk van Meegeren told the paper that the effect on air quality of the shelters will not equal that of a number of big trees in a park.

‘But the shelters are a start and other bigger roofs may follow. Green roofs help to store water which would otherwise disappear into the sewage system. For homes with a flat roof they make a good alternative for air conditioning systems.’

Friday, August 16, 2019

July 2019 hottest month on record for planet: US agency

Yahoo – AFP, August 15, 2019

Heat haze distorts the background during a heatwave in Tokyo on July 31 (AFP
Photo/Kazuhiro NOGI)

Washington (AFP) - July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday, while satellite data showed polar ice shrank to its lowest levels.

According to the NOAA, the average global temperature for the month was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius (60.4 Fahrenheit), making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.

"Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded. The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows," the agency said.

The findings confirmed data released by the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service on August 5, though the margin of the new record compared to the last, in July 2016, was greater according to the US data.

People cool off and sunbathe by the Trocadero Fountains next to the Eiffel Tower 
in Paris, on July 25 during a massive heat wave (AFP Photo/Bertrand GUAY)

Searing heat waves saw records tumble across Europe last month, while in the US, nearly 150 million people struggled to stay cool from the Midwestern plains to the Atlantic coast and local media reported at least six deaths.

The new high is all the more notable because the previous followed a strong El Nino, which boosts average global temperates beyond the impact of global warming alone.

El Ninos are naturally occurring weather events triggered by periodic warming -- every three to seven years -- in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Declining polar sea ice

"Nine of the 10 hottest Julys have occurred since 2005—with the last five years ranking as the five hottest," the NOAA said, based on its data from weather stations, ship reports, and buoys.

A girl runs through water at Praterstern Square in Vienna on July 25 amid a 
blistering heat wave (AFP Photo/ALEX HALADA)

Alaska had its hottest July since it began keeping records in 2005, several countries in Europe saw their heat records smashed, and it was also the hottest month ever across Africa as a whole.

There were some regions with cooler than average temperatures including parts of Scandinavia and western and eastern Russia, where temperatures were at least 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average or cooler.

Average Arctic sea ice meanwhile set a record low for July, at 1.9 million square kilometers (726,000 square miles), 19.8 percent below average, and surpassing the previous historic low of July 2012.

Heat haze distorts the background during a heatwave in Tokyo on July 31 (AFP 
Photo/Kazuhiro NOGI)

Average Antarctic sea ice was 675,000 square kilometers (260,000 square miles), 4.3 percent below the 1981-2010 average, making it the smallest for July in the 41-year record.

US President Donald Trump in withdrew in 2017 from the Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to cap global warming at below 2 C above pre-industrial levels.

But a federal climate assessment released by the NOAA in November found that climate change "is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the US and its territories."

Related Article:

(Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“… The Weather

Let's talk about the weather. We retreat to exactly what we told you before in this very chair. The water cycle is a cooling cycle, not a heating cycle. You're going to have more severe winters and storms. It's going to get colder. But it gets warmer before it gets colder. That is the cycle, and it has always been the cycle. You can see it in the rings of the trees and the cores of the ice. Don't let your scientists pull the political wool over your eyes for their own purposes. Start seeing these things for what they are. It's a recurring cycle based on four Earth alignment attributes, including the wobble (the precession). You're in this cycle. Prepare.

The beginnings of it will be with you from now at least until the end of the 2012 36-year window, and you can watch it work. The first thing that happens is that the ice melts at the poles, but not completely. It's the way it has happened before. As the redistribution of weight from the poles to the oceans of the earth takes place, the weight is redistributed to the crust, and that creates earthquakes. And the earthquakes that will be the most powerful are the ones that are closest to the poles. We told you that some time ago. So it's not a mystery that suddenly you have some of the most powerful earthquakes that you've ever had. Not only that, but a cooling ocean creates larger storms.

What do the conspiracists do with all this? "See? We're doomed. Here it comes," they say. "Here it comes! The end is here!" Twenty-two years ago, we gave you the information that is happening today. We told you about the weather. We told you to get ready for it, but we still haven't told you why the water cycle is needed. We've hinted at it since it is very controversial, and we'll lose many readers right here and now. Here's the prediction: The scientists are going to laugh and biologists are going to scratch their heads and roll their eyes.

The Refreshing of the Cycle of Life

When you change the temperature of the waters of the planet, it changes the life cycle of the ocean and it eventually renews itself. The life cycle of the planet has a limit to its viability over time. There has to be a refreshing of the very cycle of life, and this is what the water cycle does. Are there any places you've seen too many fish lately? Yes. Millions of salmon in the north. Odd that it was in Alaska, isn't it? Alaska is very close to the poles where the water temperature is being felt first. Oh, again the experts will tell you that this is not the reason. It's about hatcheries and rivers. But nobody predicted this, did they? Science is fast to give you reasons, but slow to give you logic in advance. They always seem to be surprised.

We are saying things we haven't said before. Again, watch for this, an actual change in the life cycle of the planet's oceans because of the water temperature shift. Biologists are going to have to start redesigning the paradigm of how everything works, including reefs, ocean bottoms, and how plankton survive and reproduce. Listen, this is not the first time that the life cycle has been refreshed! But again, this may take generations of humanity to complete. In the process, you may again lose species. This is normal. Gaia is slow, and Humans are impatient. Your textbooks may someday tell of how naive humanity was back in 2011 when they tried to blame weather changes on everything but a natural cycle. Now you know why there is a water cycle.

So what does that tell you about Gaia? Gaia is beginning the cycle of refreshing life on over-fished oceans. It tells you that in the cracks, there is love and caring about the Humans who live on the earth. There's a reason you're here. There's a plan here, and a benevolent Universe and quantum energy with intelligent design. All is there for you, precious, sacred Human Being. …”

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Italian hydroponics farm bets on 'red gold

Yahoo – AFP, Ella IDE, August 7, 2019

Luigi Galimberti says his farm can produce a kilogramme of tomatoes using just
two litres of water, compared to 75 in the fields (AFP Photo/ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

Grosseto (Italy) (AFP) - The Italian tomato is prized around the world, but its reputation has soured in recent years over reports of mafia infiltration, slave labour and toxic fires that poison water sources.

Southern Europe's biggest hydroponics farm is out to change all that, by growing pesticide-free crops in environmentally friendly greenhouses -- and getting bees to do the hard work.

Set among organic vineyards in Tuscany, Sfera Agricola was launched in 2015 by Luigi Galimberti as a response to repeated UN warnings that food production will need to increase sharply to feed the growing global population.

"The UN reminds us every year that by 2050 there will be 10 billion of us, and we'll need double the amount of water and double the land to produce food for everyone," Galimberti told AFP.

"Along with the problems of a suddenly-changing climate, which is having an ever-greater impact on farming, it pushed me to imagine a more efficient, technological way of farming that produces more with less," he said.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using water fortified with mineral nutrients and oxygen instead.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using water fortified with 
mineral nutrients and oxygen instead (AFP Photo/ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

Galimberti's farm produces a kilogramme of tomatoes or lettuce using just two litres of water, compared to 75 in fields, he says.

Of those two litres, over 90 percent is collected rainwater.

It relies on natural organisms to control pests and disease and the few plants that need to be treated chemically are separated and their fruit destroyed.

'Insect predators'

"We use bumblebees to pollinate the flowers, and we release a series of insect predators to combat the insects we fear," Galimberti said, adding that it had led to the creation of new bee colonies in a boost for the local ecosystem.

Pickers shuttle back and forth on solar-powered platforms, delicately tying back the plants' upper branches as the fruit below ripens.

Further on, vast basins shimmer in the midday heat where styrofoam boards holding baby lettuces are floated on a nutrient-rich, oxygenated solution.

As his farm expands, Luigi Galimbert hopes to grow cabbages, spinach, courgettes, 
peppers and aubergines as well (AFP Photo/ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

As the company expands, it hopes to grow cabbages, spinach, courgettes, peppers and aubergines as well.

Galimberti tapped private investors and banks to raise the 20 million euros ($22.4 million) needed to open the 13-hectare greenhouse, which now employs 230 people and produces crops every day of the year.

Italian tomatoes -- particularly the canned variety -- have received bad press in recent years, with rights charities warning that foreign workers are effectively used as slave labour.

The fruit dubbed "red gold", destined for supermarket shelves around the world, is plucked in back-breaking conditions under a pitiless sun, for pitiful wages, largely by Africans who live in shanty towns.

The illegal dumping and burning of toxic waste particularly in southern Italy has also spooked consumers over recent decades, amid reports of contaminated farm produce and a sharp rise in cancers, malformations and birth defects.

The so-called "agro-mafia" business -- the infiltration of organised crime along the agri-food chain in Italy, from pickers to distributors -- is worth 24.5 billion euros, according to a July report by farming association Coldiretti.

Luigi Galimberti plans to build 500 hectares of hydroponic greenhouses in the
next 10 years (AFP Photo/ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

"The exploitation of workers combined with exhausting conditions make picking in the south an ignoble job," said Galimberti, who says his company's proper contracts and paid overtime are "a rare thing in the sector".

'Flavour advantage'

Sfera Agricola has bet on a return to the Italian tomato's glory days, producing three varieties that have fallen out of favour with farmers and distributors, but that the company is "bringing back to supermarket shelves".

"Over the last 50 years, the market has evolved rapidly for distribution and commercial reasons. Tomato skins have thickened so they last longer on the shelf, and the fruit no longer drops off the vine when ripe," he said.

Thanks to the cubes of rockwool -- a hydroponic growing medium that mimics soil and supports the roots -- "the plant is protected and we can use older, weaker varieties," he added.

Those have thinner skins and tend to fall off the plant when ripe, so they have to be picked and eaten relatively quickly, he said.

Sfera Agricola is betting on a return to the Italian tomato's glory days (AFP Photo/

"But they do not have 'innovative' characteristics, which gives them a flavour advantage," Galimberti said.

He aims to build 500 hectares of hydroponic greenhouses in the next 10 years, to become one of the biggest players in the sector in Europe.

But his toughest competition may be much smaller, and closer to home.

"In Italy almost everyone has someone in their family who produces their own tomatoes. Or their neighbour does, or the old man next door."

Related Articles:

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Indonesian man walking in reverse to save forests

Yahoo – AFP, August 5, 2019

Medi Bastoni walks 20 to 30 kilometres backwards every day under the scorching sun,
with a rear-view mirror attached to his backpack to avoid bumping into objects (AFP
Photo/Medi BASTONI)

Jakarta (AFP) - An Indonesian man is walking 700 kilometres (435 miles) from his home on a volcano in East Java to Jakarta in the hope of drawing attention to the archipelago's quickly shrinking forests -- and he is doing it backwards.

Medi Bastoni, a 43-year-old father of four, set out on his arduous, in-reverse journey in mid-July, with the goal of reaching the capital by August 16, a day before the Southeast Asian nation's independence day anniversary.

"Of course I'm exhausted, but I'm willing to do this to fight for the next generation," Bastoni told AFP.

"(My home) is losing all of its trees so I have to do something. I can take the pain and fatigue."

Walking backwards is a siganl to Indonesians to reflect on the past and remember 
how national heroes fought for the good of the country (AFP Photo/Medi BASTONI)

When he arrives, Bastoni said he hopes to meet with president Joko Widodo and highlight deforestation across the archipelago including at his home on Mt. Wilis, a dormant volcano.

Indonesia suffers from one of the high rates of deforestation in the world, according to Greenpeace.

Bastoni walks 20 to 30 kilometres backwards every day under the scorching sun, with a rear-view mirror attached to his backpack to avoid bumping into objects.

Along the way, supporters cheer him on, offer him meals or a place to stay overnight. But Bastoni always leaves at dawn to stay on schedule.

Walking backwards is meant as a siganl to Indonesians to reflect on the past and remember how national heroes fought for the good of the country, he said.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Buzz kill: mass bee deaths sting Russian beekeepers

Yahoo –AFP, Maria ANTONOVA, 1 August 2019

Russian beekeepers south of Moscow have been seeing their bees die off en
masse due to what they believe is improper sraying of an insecticide that is
still legal in Russia but has been banned in the EU

Anatoly Rubtsov looked despondently at the beehives lining his property. "The farm used to be loud, it sang," he said. Today just a faint buzz is audible but an overpowering rotting stench hung in the air after his bees were likely poisoned by a pesticide.

Rubtsov, who keeps a large honeybee farm on the edge of a small village in the Tula region south of Moscow, is one of hundreds of beekeepers across Russia to report mass bee deaths that have robbed them of their livelihood.

Eighty-two bee colonies -- almost the entire farm -- have died since early July, and the survivors will unlikely make it through the winter, he said.

That is over three million dead bees and Rubtsov estimated his losses at 1.6 million rubles ($25,000).

All the bees in the vicinity have met the same fate.

People around Bobrovka are certain that the culprit is a local company growing rapeseed, a cash crop with yellow flowers used for cooking oil, cattle feed, and biofuel, that treated its fields with insecticides on July 4.

Viktor Morozov, another beekeeper who kept hives in a nearby forest, filmed empty pesticide containers lying on the ground alongside the rapeseed fields, but said the workers denied using a strong insecticide that contains fipronil.

A lab in Moscow eventually confirmed the presence on the rapeseed plants of fipronil, which is legal in Russia provided certain precautions are taken but banned in the EU.

"They broke all the rules possible" regarding spraying, said Rubtsov.

NT Agri, the accused company, denied that it broke any rules. "We followed all instructions," said its director Irina Trubitsina.

"Flowering rapeseed is a big attraction for the bees, so it was like an ambush," said Rubtsov.

Worker bees gathered the toxic nectar and brought it to the hive, where even bees born days later were poisoned.

Beekeeper Anatoly Rubtsov has lost nearly all of his hives

"They are the living dead," he said, peering at the bees crawling chaotically on the bottom of one hive, unable to fly. "The whole farm is doomed."

'Rapeseed takeover'

Russia's agriculture watchdog confirmed the bee deaths were caused by uncontrolled use of insecticides and acknowledged that their use is not being monitored closely.

"The volumes of pesticides being used and their quality aren't checked by the government," spokeswoman Yulia Melano told Russian news agencies.

Fipronil had been used widely in the European Union before a 2017 scandal when it was found in Dutch eggs after being used illegally to treat chicken stables.

Studies have shown that the neurotoxin fipronil, along with so-called neonicotinoid substances used in other pesticides, can cause bee colonies to collapse and harm other insects such as butterflies, as well as worms and fish.

The EU banned the use of fipronil and most neonicotinoids on outdoor crops in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

In Russia, they are still allowed: fipronil can be sprayed on potatoes, grains and pastures -- but only at night in non-windy weather, with bees kept away for several days.

Those requirements were ignored by farmers growing rapeseed in the Tula region, beekepers told AFP.

They are bitter that Europe makes environmentally-friendly biodiesel from Russian rapeseed grown with pesticides that the EU has banned for use at home.

"The pesticides banned in Europe have all been dumped here in Russia," Morozov said angrily. "Somebody has to take responsibility."

Rapeseed cultivation has doubled in Russia over the past decade with most of the processed oil exported abroad.

The bees still alive can't fly

"Rapeseed has taken over the whole region," said Morozov, who lost 50 bee colonies in July -- the worst catastrophe in his 40 years as a beekeeper.

But rapeseed is a delicate crop and experts say farmers are tempted to take more radical steps as pests become resistent to certain chemicals.

"Pesticides are expensive, and sometimes they dilute them with cheap toxins and ignore application rules," said Anna Brandorf, who heads Russia's national beekeeping research centre.

Not only is use of pesticides not monitored, she noted, but nobody coordinates between beekeepers and farmers about their use.

Global crisis

Brandorf said Russia is beginning to experience the same bee crisis as other parts of the world -- one that has alarmed scientists and constitutes a threat to our food supply -- and has already forced some Chinese farmers to pollinate crops by hand.

Tula is just one of 30 Russian regions that have experienced large-scale bee deaths this summer, according to the country's beekeeping association.

The agriculture ministry said the deaths inflicted "considerable damage" on beekeeping nationwide. It estimated that about 300,000 colonies have perished, out of a total of about 3.3 million.

This has taken a toll on beekeepers, with Rubtsov saying several of his colleagues have had heart attacks from the stress.

Some are fighting for compensation, but even when they have evidence they face a long, often uphill battle in Russian courts. Many others haven't bothered.

Brandorf believes that following the loss of their hives many beekeepers will simply quit, as with no government support, the profession is becoming unprofitable.

"It's becoming easier to just close bee farms," she said.

Russian beekeepers south of Moscow have been seeing their bees die off en masse due to what they believe is improper sraying of an insecticide that is still legal in Russia but has been banned in the EU

Beekeeper Anatoly Rubtsov has lost nearly all of his hives

The bees still alive can't fly.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Asian countries turning back wealthy world's waste

Yahoo – AFP, July 30, 2019

This handout photo from the Cambodian Ministry of Environment shows workers
opening a container loaded with plastic waste after the shipment arrived at
Sihanoukville port in July. Cambodia will return about 1,600 tonnes of plastic
waste to the US and Canada. (AFP Photo/Handout)

Paris (AFP) - Several Southeast Asian countries, sick of being the wealthy world's rubbish dump, have in recent weeks turned back container-loads of waste from foreign shores.

It comes after China last year stopped accepting the world's used plastic, having previously been the biggest market for recyclables.

After Indonesia on Tuesday announced it had sent back illegally imported garbage from France and Hong Kong, here is a roundup.


On January 1, 2018, China closed its doors to almost all foreign plastic waste, as well as many other recyclables, in a push to protect its environment and air quality.

For many years China had received the bulk of scrap plastic from around the world, processing much of it into a higher quality material that could be used by manufacturers.

Beijing's decision forced developed countries to find new destinations for plastics that are either "of poor quality and value" or not recyclable, the non-governmental group Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) said.

It led to enormous quantities of waste being redirected to Southeast Asia, where recycling capacities are more limited.


In late May Malaysia said 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste would be shipped back to where it came from -- Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The country however does allow the import of homogenous and clean waste plastics for the recycling industry.

"We urge developed countries to stop shipping garbage to our country," said government minister Yeo Bee Yin.


In late June the Philippines returned to Canada tonnes of rubbish held in 69 containers that had been in the Asian country for six years.

It put an end to a row dating back to 2013 and 2014 when a Canadian company shipped containers mislabelled as recyclable plastics to the Philippines.

The shipment actually contained a mixture of paper, plastics, electronics and household waste, including kitchen trash and diapers.

Some of the waste was disposed of in the Philippines, but much of it stewed in local ports for years.


In July Cambodia said it would send back to the United States and Canada 1,600 tonnes of illegal plastic waste found in shipping containers.

Seventy of the containers, stored at the southern port town of Sihanoukville, came from the United States and 13 from Canada.

Sri Lanka

Also in July, Sri Lankan customs ordered the return to Britain of 111 containers abandoned in Colombo port for nearly two years and found to be holding hazardous mortuary and clinical waste, possibly including human organs.

The containers, discovered after they emanated a huge stink, were illegally imported from Britain under the cover of metal recycling.

Of 241 dodgy containers imported since 2017, 130 had been taken to a free-trade zone near the port where they have contaminated the water and air.


In late July Indonesia returned seven containers of illegally imported waste to France and Hong Kong from its Batam island port. They were loaded with a combination of garbage, plastic waste and hazardous materials.

Authorities were still waiting for clearance to return another 42 containers of waste at the port to the United States, Australia and Germany.

Earlier the same month the country said it would send more than 210 tonnes of garbage back to Australia.

The rubbish was in eight containers seized in Surabaya that should have contained only waste paper but were found to include household trash such as plastic bottles and packaging, used diapers, electronic waste and cans.

In June Indonesia returned five containers of rubbish to the United States.