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Martin Strel: 60-year-old man plans to swim through 107 countries in 450 days

The seasoned marathon swimmer hopes to raise awareness on water pollution through his 24,000-mile journey in March 2016: ‘It’s not such a big deal’

Martin Strel has a goal: swim more than 24,000 miles around the world to raise awareness of aquatic pollution.

The 60-year-old marathon swimmer will embark on this journey on 22 March 2016, which he announced last week, before displaying his swimming prowess in the rainy New York Harbor. Strel swam the 2.2-mile stretch between the Statue of Liberty and the marina near the World Trade Center in about an hour – a regular morning workout for the man who has swum the entire length of five large rivers.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Indonesia arrests seven company executives for illegal forest fires

A senior executive of plantation company Bumi Mekar Hijau is one of those held for suspected environmental crimes, as part of a wider drive to combat the pollution haze crisis, reports The Straits Times

Indonesian police arrested seven corporate executives on Wednesday in connection with illegal forest fires across Sumatra and Kalimantan, as part of a wide-ranging effort to stop the haze crisis.

Suspects included a senior executive from Bumi Mekar Hijau, a unit of Singapore-based Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which is also Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper producer.

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Source: Guardian Environment

EU united for ambitious, binding agreement at Paris talks, says climate chief

Environment ministers agree bloc’s joint position after overcoming objections from Poland

Europe will not settle for anything less than a robust, ambitious and binding agreement on climate change at UN talks in Paris later this year, the EU’s climate chief has said.

“Today’s a very good day. The EU is equipped with a very solid position for Paris,” said Miguel Cañete after environment ministers agreed the bloc’s joint position on the climate summit, overcoming objections from coal-reliant Poland.

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Source: Guardian Environment

How not to save the rhino

As conservation efforts fail, scientists and economists are coming up with increasingly loony and dangerous schemes to save the rhino

Last month it was confirmed that the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is extinct in Malaysia. The future looks bleak for this species. The few dozen remaining individuals are confined to remote forests in Sumatra (Indonesia), in refuges that are under siege on an island devastated by rampant deforestation.

Rhinos are under threat worldwide. The estimated population of the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), just 60 individuals, is even lower than that of the Sumatran rhino. In 2011 the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) was declared extinct. The global population of another African sub-species, the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), now consists of four individuals, all in zoos, none of them in breeding condition.

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Source: Guardian Environment

From Oregon to Johannesburg, micro-hydropower offers a solution for drought hit cities

Cities worldwide are harnessing the power of gravity to generate electricity from public drinking water pipes

To see how closely water and energy are linked, you only have to look at the west coast of the US, where four years of severe drought have led to historically low levels in water reservoirs, forcing some hydroelectric plants to shut down or cut production.

It’s little wonder, then, that new micro-hydropower technology that allows cities to generate electricity from the water running through their pipes is gaining worldwide attention.

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Source: Guardian Environment

We are pro-nuclear, but Hinkley C must be scrapped

Overpriced, overcomplicated and overdue, the Hinkley project needs to be killed off and the money invested into other low-carbon technologies

• Read more: Nuclear supporting environmentalists in call to scrap Hinkley C plans

As committed environmentalists, our conversion to the cause of nuclear power was painful and disorienting. All of us carried a cost in changing our position, antagonising friends and alienating colleagues. But we believe that shutting down – or failing to replace – our primary source of low carbon energy during a climate emergency is a refined form of madness.

Because atomic energy provides a steady baseload of electricity, it has great potential to balance the output from renewables, aiding the total decarbonisation of the power supply. The dangers associated with nuclear power have been wildly exaggerated, all too often with the help of junk science. Climate breakdown presents a far greater hazard to human life. The same goes for the air pollution caused by burning coal.

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Source: Guardian Environment

A dying Californian shopping mall gets the world's largest green roof

City links: Greening Silicon Valley, Guatemala City’s mystery zone and spray paint cycle safety in Berlin feature in this week’s best city stories

This week’s best city stories from around the web explore Silicon Valley’s newest sustainability project, an app which automatically sprays potholes you cycle over, the “missing” Guatemala City neighbourhood and Indianapolis’ growing pains with a new electric car share scheme.

We’d love to hear your responses to these stories, and any others you’ve read recently, both on Guardian Cities and elsewhere. Just share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Rescuers find seventh Utah flash flood victim and release names of those killed

The hikers – six from California and one from Nevada – died when fast-moving floodwaters rushed through a narrow park canyon on Monday afternoon

Hours after rescuers traversed a 100ft drop into a rugged Utah area to find the seventh victim of a flash flood, Zion National Park officials released the names of all those killed.

The hikers – six from California and one from Nevada – died when fast-moving floodwaters rushed through a narrow park canyon on Monday afternoon.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Pro-nuclear environmentalists in call to scrap Hinkley C plans

Three leading experts urge government to end nuclear project saying delays will create panicked scramble back to fossil fuels

Three leading environmentalists who broke ranks to give their support to a new generation of nuclear plants have now urged the government to scrap plans for Hinkley Point C.

The call comes as George Osborne and Amber Rudd, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, head off to China, where they will discuss Beijing’s proposed investment in the new nuclear plant in Somerset.

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Source: Guardian Environment

River flows after 20 year drought: Indian village celebrates – video

The Kalavapalli river in the Anantapur district of India flows for the fist time in 20 years of severe drought. The video, originally posted to Facebook on 8 September, shows people gathering on the dry river bed and shouting and celebrating as they see the water coming. The slow flow gathers momentum and the bed floods
Watch the full video on YouTube

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Source: Guardian Environment