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Environment

Barley helped ancient humans inhabit ‘Roof of the World’

Monday, November 24, 2014

How did human settlements manage to reach high altitudes in the Tibetan Plateau, a region known as the “Roof of the World”? An international team of researchers has a simple answer: barley. The findings, published in the journal Science, reveal a key factor that helped human settlements overcome such harsh, unforgiving environments. Archaeologists have found traces of intermittent human presence high on the Tibetan Plateau from 20,000 years ago, including …

Threat of flooding hangs over Buffalo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. — First came the big storm, then the big dig. Now comes the big melt. Residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo should move valuables up from the basement, pack a bag and prepare for the possibility of evacuation as up to 7 feet of melting snow posed the threat of flooding, …

Quabbin Photo Group offers presention from international exhibit Monday

Friday, November 21, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — The featured program of the Quabbin Photo Group’s November meeting is a visual and audio selection of 500 images from the 2014 Massachusetts Camera Naturalists (CAMNATS) International Nature Exhibition. The meeting, which is open to the public, takes place Monday at 7 p.m. at the Belchertown Senior Center, 60 State St. …

River walks and paddle created by the Mill Ri er Greenway Initiative

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Here are the river walks and one paddle created by the Mill River Greenway Initiative. ■ Downtown Northampton I: Paradise Pond to Old South Street ■ Downtown Northampton II: Old South Street to Hockanum Road ■ Bay State Village: Paradise Pond to the Cutlery Building ■ Florence I: …

Waterborne virus may be cause of epidemic killing sea stars by the millions

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SEATTLE — Grisly sea star deaths are continuing to litter the tidelands along the West Coast with decaying, ghostly goo, but scientists now believe they, at least, may have identified a potential culprit. New evidence suggests a mysterious …

Some question legacy of John Muir, patron saint of environmentalism, as centennial of his death nears

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES — John Muir is the patron saint of environmentalism, an epic figure whose writings of mystical enlightenment attained during lone treks in California’s wilderness glorified individualism, saved Yosemite and helped establish the national park system. As the first president of the Sierra Club, Muir shaped enduring …

Mill River Greenway Initiative helps protect watershed, preserve artifacts and improve ecological health

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

As rivers go, the 13.5-mile-long Mill River is relatively small, and it inconspicuously flows along often unnoticed except when it periodically floods. But this little river has some big stories to tell. The Mill River Greenway Initiative is …

Statewide quarantine on ash lumber, hardwood firewood seeks to contain emerald ash borer

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One little bug is causing big problems for trees and loggers in Massachusetts. A statewide quarantine on ash lumber and all hardwood firewood took effect Monday, in an effort by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to …

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. seeks 29 percent increase in six-month supply rate

Friday, November 14, 2014

The other shoe dropped Friday for electricity customers in the Valley, with the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. seeking a 29 percent increase in its six-month supply rate. WMECo, citing a “dramatic” increase in the cost of electricity it provides for its 200,000 customers, filed Friday with the state …

Debate renewed over effect that falling world oil prices have on environmental matters

Friday, November 14, 2014

NEW YORK — Deepwater drilling rigs are sitting idle. Fracking plans are being scaled back. Enormous new projects to squeeze oil out of the tar sands of Canada are being shelved. Maybe low oil prices aren’t so bad …

Valley Views: Prayer flags in autumn

Friday, November 14, 2014

Prayer Flags and Autumn Colors Springfield Road, Belchertown Photograph and text by Julius Lester, Belchertown Although I am not a Buddhist, I like the idea of the flags sending prayers for peace into the world whenever the wind …

Earth Talk: Global warming threatens crop nurtients

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that global warming is causing our crops to be less nutritious? — William Persson, Glendale, Ohio It is difficult to say whether or not the climate change we are now experiencing is negatively …

French police out in force to track ‘tiger’ on prowl

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PARIS (AP) — Scores of police patrolled a small town west of the French capital on Thursday night after a tiger eluded a massive search and remained on the prowl in the region near Disneyland Paris. The small …