Dam it! How beavers could save Britain from flooding | Environment | The Guardian

At a secret location in the rolling pasture of west Devon lies a marshy patch of farmland protected by £35,000-worth of solar-powered electric fencing. This isn’t to keep people out but to restrain the tree-chomping, river-damming residents of these three hectares. Outside the fence is a typical small valley, with a trickle of a stream, willow thickets and pasture grazed by cattle. Inside the enclosure, the tiny stream has been blocked by 13 dams, creating pools and half-metre-wide canals. These have been built by Britain’s newest wild mammal, the beaver, which uses its waterways like we do – to transport goods. And as the beavers have coppiced trees, the willow thicket has been replaced with sunny glades of wild flowers – marsh thistles, watermint, meadowsweet – which dance with dragonflies and butterflies.

Source: Dam it! How beavers could save Britain from flooding | Environment | The Guardian

Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Trees can make or break city weather — ScienceDaily

 

Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.

Ties in with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (definitely worth reading) where he discusses how trees in a forest create their own micro-climate and provide each other with physical support against wind and storms. But also read where he discusses the plight of urban trees forced to live without the forest community that they evolved for.

Source: Trees can make or break city weather — ScienceDaily

Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily

The value of many oceanfront properties on the East Coast could drop dramatically if Congress were to suddenly end federal beach nourishment subsidies. Values could fall by as much as 17 percent in towns with high property values and almost 34 percent in towns with low property values. A gradual reduction of the subsidies, in contrast, is more likely to smooth the transition to more climate-resilient coastal communities.

via Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily.

Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online

Sprawl costs the American economy more than $1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. That’s more than $3,000 for every man, woman, and child.

These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs.

via Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online.

Urban Life and a Microscopic Attention | Sustainable Cities Collective

Small-scale urban spaces can be rich in biodiversity, contribute important ecological benefits for human mental and physical health (McPhearson et al., 2013), and overall help to create more livable cities. Micro_urban spaces are the sandwich spaces between buildings, rooftops, walls, curbs, sidewalk cracks, and other small-scale urban spaces that exist in the fissures between linear infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, tunnels, rail lines) and our three dimensional gridded cities.

via Urban Life and a Microscopic Attention | Sustainable Cities Collective.

Pentagon Plans for Climate Wars

Now that the Pentagon wants to address climate change, progress may be possible.

After all we only implemented food assistance when the head of the Selective Service in WWII warned Congress that too many draftees were being rejected due to malnutrition, the interstate highway system is actually the  Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, and the internet and numerous other technologies were funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

No fear, no funds.

Pentagon says we could soon be fighting climate wars | Grist.

Global Estuaries Forum

About 60 percent of the world’s population lives along estuaries and coastal areas Of the 32 largest cities in the world, 22 are located on estuaries 90 percent of Europe’s international trade passes through estuaries and their adjacent ports Coastal recreation and tourism generate between $8-$12 billion per year in the United States alone Often called the “nurseries of the sea,” estuaries provide vital nesting and feeding habitats for many aquatic plants and animals.

The Global Estuaries Forum brings together public institutions, the private sector, researchers, and NGOs from around the globe in an effort discuss and meet the pressing and immediate challenges facing our world’s most important estuaries. Follow on Twitter at @EstuariesForum.