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Revealed: how Indigenous Australian storytelling accurately records sea level rises 7000 years ago

Distinctive ‘cross-checking’ tradition helps explain extraordinary accuracy in 21 stories about dramatic sea level rises between 7000 and 18,000 years ago

Indigenous stories of dramatic sea level rises across Australia date back more than 7000 years in a continuous oral tradition without parallel anywhere in the world, according to new research.

Related: Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change

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Source: Guardian Environment

Summer bids farewell as autumn plants seize their moment

Crackington Haven, Cornwall: Ferns thrive in the undergrowth and blackthorns are loaded with sloes

Downhill from the chapel and beyond garden hedges of orange montbretia, red valerian and fuchsia, the stark headland of Pencannow Point dominates the view seawards. Dark folded rocks tower above the haven with its cafe and hotel and the narrow bridge, rebuilt in 2004 after damage from the torrential rain that rushed down converging streams.

Coastal vessels used to be run up on to the beach to offload limestone and coal, burnt in a kiln to produce agricultural lime. Sand, seaweed and stone were also gathered from here and carted inland, but plans for a railway to link this rudimentary harbour with Launceston were never implemented. Now, tourists park in the ticketed car park or pause here for refreshment along the coastal path.

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Source: Guardian Environment

David Attenborough backs huge Apollo-style clean energy research plan

Naturalist says 10-year public research and development programme, that would emulate race to put men on the moon, could halt climate change

An Apollo-style research programme to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels has won the backing of Sir David Attenborough, who says this alone would be enough to halt climate change.

The renowned naturalist joins a group of eminent scientists, business executives and politicians backing a 10-year public research and development plan to cut the costs of clean energy and deliver affordable technologies to store and transport solar and wind power.

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Source: Guardian Environment

48 hours in Mackay, north Queensland – where to go, what to do

Use the city as a base to explore the beautiful Cape Hillsborough and Eungella national parks. You may even see some platypus in the wild

With the mining boom waning, the Australian city that once boasted the highest per-capita Harley-Davidson motorbikes, breast implants and tattoo sales is now facing the doldrums. The Harleys are for sale on eBay. Not much can be done about the implants or the tattoos. And Mackay – one of the hubs of the resources boom – is at a crossroads.

Related: 48 hours in far north Queensland: what to do and where to go

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Source: Guardian Environment

A spider-proof shed – is it even possible?

Are spiders scared of conkers, peppermint or the colour blue? As a £2,000 anti-spider shed goes on sale, we investigate creepy-crawly deterrents – and whether we really need them

With autumn’s mists and mellow fruitfulness come a prevalence of spiders, mainly of the male variety, searching for a female to mate with. While the eight-legged creatures are an awe-inspiring part of nature to many, they are a detestable pest to some – which is where a new shed comes in.

The world’s first “spider-proof” shed is designed by a company called Tiger Sheds. With airtight windows and draft-sealed doors, it offers owners a “10-year anti-spider-infestation guarantee” for £2,000. The shed comes in light blue, a colour “scientifically proven” to repel the creatures. As an optional extra, insecticides, peppermint and citrus can be impregnated into the wood, while a “No spiders allowed” sign is supplied as standard, just in case any spiders can read.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Northern California wildfire grows to more than 100 square miles overnight

Officials say the toll of property loss has climbed to at least 585 homes and other structures destroyed and that the blaze is only 15% contained

The deadly and destructive wildfire that sped through three Northern California counties has grown to 104 square miles Tuesday, and fire officials say the toll of property loss has climbed to at least 585 homes and other structures destroyed.

At least four firefighters have been injured. One woman died in her home, and several other people remain unaccounted for on Tuesday morning.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Stopping fracking won't stop climate change

I am neither pro nor anti-fracking, but green campaigners must go beyond local level issues and tackle the fossil fuel status quo if we are to combat climate change

I am resigning as a shadow minister in the Lords in a few weeks. Not because Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s new leader but because I decided, after the general election, that I could have a bigger impact reducing the growing risk of climate change in a different, more internationally-focused role.

Judging from my Twitter feed and inbox this will delight many who have made it their mission to oppose fracking in the UK.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Flash flood turns Arizona street into a river – video

Amateur video shows a torrent of water carrying branches and debris under a bridge in Colorado City. The footage, shot by Guy Timpson on Monday, shows various debris beginning to dam under the bridge. Bystanders are heard saying cars were also seen in the water. Flooding hit twin towns on the Arizona-Utah border after heavy rains fell in the canyons just north of the area

Watch the full video

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Source: Guardian Environment

You don't have to be rich to lead an 'eco friendly' lifestyle – here's how I do it

Eco-friendly living is being sold as the exclusive domain of those who have too much time, too much money or both. It needn’t be this way

Shopping secondhand is hardly a new concept – the practice of making do with castoffs and finding treasure in trash has existed for as long as there have been those desperate, thrifty or creative enough to try it. Renewed environmentalist concerns are now begging us to revisit and revitalize these ideas.

Related: You don’t have to be mad to invest in art – but you do have to be realistic

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Source: Guardian Environment

The palm oil plantations powering communities and tackling climate change

Palm oil mills are generating electricity using waste methane to the benefit of local communities and company profits

Environmental concerns over palm oil production tend to focus on rainforest felling and the plight of the orangutan. But palm oil companies are now starting to grapple with a lesser-known issue that could make a significant difference in the quest to curb climate change.

The rapid expansion of palm oil cultivation has resulted in the creation of vast wastewater lagoons beside plantations in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s two dominant producers.

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Source: Guardian Environment