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Thinking ethical pays off as good guys come out on top

You can’t be entirely sure where your cash will go, but funds that have steered clear of controversial sectors such as gas and oil are prospering

They have been ridiculed by some and overlooked by others, but ethical investment funds – and the people who have put money into them – are having the last laugh.

The funds appear to have benefited from their low or non-existent exposure to sectors such as mining and oil, where share prices have collapsed in recent months.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Feast for four-legged vacuum cleaners

New Forest The older pigs are intent on the job but the younger ones are behaving more like a bunch of playful children, bumping and chasing each other all over the place

Four-legged vacuum cleaners are out. It’s been an excellent fruiting year. Hollies are heavily berried. Hawthorn hedges have a magenta sheen where the ripened fruits are increasingly hidden in colouring foliage. The strippings of cobnuts lie under many hazel bushes. Wild apples have produced an abundant crop, their fallers a magnet for foraging cows. The woodland floor is already white-speckled with the star-shaped shucks of the prickly cases of sweet chestnuts, occupied now by only the two outer nuts in the case, poor apologies for a fruit, their juicy swollen companions already stored away to be winter-life sustaining for squirrel – and jay.

Three ponies block the lane but on this grey day they are not in summer mood, motionless apart from a constant flick of the tail, enjoying the slightest breeze that keeps the flies at bay. Head down, side by side, rumps towards me, they are oblivious that they are blocking my way as they gorge on the acorns the wind has scattered across the tarmac. As I wait to get past them, more acorns bounce off the roof of the car. I sense that once the ponies have cleared the road in front, they will turn to feast on those already dropping behind.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Marine parks plan for north-west WA doesn't go far enough – conservationists

Horizontal Falls – described as one of the wonders of the natural world – would be included in marine parks, but critics say plan should ban commercial fishing

The Western Australian government has released a proposal for two new marine parks which will protect a pristine stretch of Australia’s north-west coast. However, environmental groups say the decision to allow prawn trawling and fishing within the marine parks could affect their conservation value.

The draft management plan, released on Friday, includes long-awaited protection for Horizontal Falls, a tidal lagoon encircled by cliffs and described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world” for the rapids that form at the two narrow entries to the lagoon as the tide comes rushing in and out each day.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Exxon's climate change denial warrants federal inquiry, congressmen say

Members of Congress claim that oil company’s ‘sustained deception campaign’ could be prosecuted through truth in advertising and racketeering laws

Members of Congress have asked for a federal investigation into whether ExxonMobil broke the law by intentionally obscuring the truth about climate change.

The two members of Congress wrote to Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, on Wednesday, saying they were concerned by the results of two separate investigations by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times, which found that ExxonMobil scientists confirmed fossil fuels were causing climate change decades ago, but publicly embarked on a campaign of denial.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Obama administration blocks new oil drilling in the Arctic

Interior Department cancels two future offshore leases in Chukchi and Beaufort seas and will refuse requests from oil companies to renew existing leases

Barack Obama blocked off the prospects for future oil drilling in the Arctic on Friday, imposing new lease conditions that make it practically impossible for companies to hunt for oil in the world’s last great wilderness.

The Department of Interior said it was canceling two future auctions of Arctic offshore oil leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, and turned down requests from Shell and other oil companies for more time on their existing leases.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Former coal executive says company took safety shortcuts under ex-CEO

Former executive testifies Massey Energy was more concerned about having to pay fines than actually keeping mines safe under Don Blankenship

A former coal executive who was dealt a prison sentence for mine violations testified on Friday that his company sometimes took shortcuts to produce coal under his top boss, ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Taking the stand in Blankenship’s criminal trial, former Massey subsidiary president David Hughart said that under Blankenship and former COO Chris Adkins, the company was more concerned about having to pay fines than actually keeping mines safe. He said his mines would sometimes be short-handed and still producing coal.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Elizabeth May: Canadian Green leader elbows her way into election picture

The party doesn’t enjoy the same high profile in Canada as in Europe, but the tenacious May could very well wind up a power broker in a minority government

When the Canadian Green party leader, Elizabeth May, was excluded from three of the televised leaders debates ahead of Canada’s federal election, she still managed to force her way on to the political stage.

As the other three party leaders gathered to spar over the economy, she hosted her own parallel debate with the assistance of Twitter.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Solar firm blames subsidy cuts for UK exit

Parent company says government does not support solar development, as Zep Solar UK becomes fourth UK solar business to close in a fortnightz

A solar power company backed by the billionaire inventor Elon Musk has pulled out of the UK, blaming the government for not supporting the technology.

Zep Solar UK, which is owned by SolarCity where the Tesla boss is chairman, becomes the fourth UK solar business to close in a fortnight. SolarCity laid the blame squarely on cuts to solar subsidies announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the summer.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The Indian child labour behind our patio stones

A new report reveals that the Rajasthani sandstone sector relies on child labour and urges businesses and the government to take action

Best known for its gemstones and jewellery trade, Rajasthan is also home to a far less glittering industry. The Indian state’s sandstone sector employs millions of people , thousands of whom are child workers, some as young as five.

Related: Child labour in the fashion supply chain – where, why and what can business do?

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Source: Guardian Environment

Tories and Labour would kill for unity shown at SNP love-in

Any dissent was kept well off stage in Aberdeen, with anti-fracking and land reform hardliners quickly voted down

There was genuine excitement on the conference platform. At last a vote that was close enough to require a count rather than a unanimous show of hands. A vote to challenge the SNP’s anti-fracking commitment on the grounds that it wasn’t hardline enough. It was also something of a surprise, as there didn’t appear to have been any arrangements put in place for such an eventuality.

“Can we have some stewards please?” asked an astonished Susan Aitken, the session chair. Five minutes later some stewards appeared, and it was eventually agreed that the official anti-fracking position had been adopted. The extreme anti-frackers had been defeated.

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Source: Guardian Environment