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The Biofiles

Adelaide Australia Will Soon Be Out Of Water

With gold nudging toward R8000 an ounce, can you imagine a time when water will be more valuable?

“Australia’s biggest river is running so low that Adelaide, the country’s fifth-largest city, could run out of water in the next two years.

Tuna Exports Boom As Fears Grow For Fish’s Survival

The Mediterranean island of Malta doubled its exports of frozen bluefin tuna to Japan last year - despite warnings from scientists that the species is under threat of being wiped out.
Specialist fisheries information service WorldFish Report has revealed that Maltese exports climbed from 1 942 tonnes in 2007 to 4 098 tonnes

From Waste To power…

The Waste Management company in the US went very green many years ago. It has built almost 100 methane-powered generating plants at landfills around the country.
Now, it is negotiating to build something similar in Florida’s Collier County.

Mirror Treehouse

Swedish design firm Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkitekter have used the mirror concept to great effect with this designer treehouse. Reflecting its surroundings to minimize impact on the environment, it has taken woodland chic to the next level.

Global Warming Changing Birds’ Habits?

When it comes to global warming, the canary in the coal mine isn’t a canary at all. It’s a purple finch. Snow geese, like the ones shown here, are spending the winter more than 200 miles farther north than they used to in 1966. (Donald Metzner / Cornell Lab of Ornithology via AP)

Nigeria to use Solar powered Boreholes

The government of Bauchi state in Nigeria says it will provide fifteen solar-powered boreholes in each of the twenty local government areas in the state. Special Assistant to the Governor on Millenium Development Goals Hajara Wanka said that the water project was part of the efforts of the state government to meet the Millennium Development Goals in the water sector.

Pellet Stoves vs. Wood Stoves: Which is Greener?

Pellet stoves have become darlings of the green home heating world, in some ways; they’re more efficient and have fewer particle emissions than their wood-burning stove brethren, but they aren’t a perfect solution.

The Octuplets and their Massive Carbon Footprint

When the news of the California octuplets hit the world, the first reaction was awe. When it came out that this single mother living with her parents already had six children, for many, the second reaction was, well, isn’t this a tad bit excessive?

Superglue from Sea Worms

Broken bone? Soon, you’ll be able to have the break superglued back together, all thanks to sandcastle worms and biomimicry. Researchers at the University of Utah have been inspired by the sea worms, who secrete their own natural glue that they use to build underwater houses;

World’s Most Efficient Solar Panels?

An Irish company, Surface Power, has launched what could be the most efficient solar hot water panel ever produced. The new solar panel was independently certified by TUV Rhineland.

Dangerous Signs of New Era of Eugenics

The era of pre-birth genetic screening of babies has commenced. Doctors at University College in London have produced what they called the “world’s first breast cancer gene-free baby” by screening a baby for the BRCA1 gene, which they claim causes breast cancer.

GM Crops Implicated in Honeybee Colony Collapse

As the disappearance of honeybees continues, researchers are trying desperately to discover the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). General concensus at this point is that there is more than once cause and the latest culprit may be genetically modified crops. This is one area of research being neglected as mainstream scientists insist GM crops are safe.

Botox Injections May Cause Brain Damage

The anti-wrinkle treatment Botox can spread from the face to the brain, researchers have claimed. Botox - based on a natural poison - is used by millions of women every year in the quest for smoother skin. But scientists who injected rats with the toxin said they observed traces of it in the rodents’ brain stems three days later.

Apple Pectin Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer

The pectin from apple peels and extracts of apple juice appear to increase the production of a chemical associated with protection from colon cancer, according to a new study conducted by German researchers and published in the journal Nutrition.

NF3 in Microchips May be the Missing Greenhouse Gas

A chemical widely used to manufacture microchips and flat-screen monitors and televisions has 17,000 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide, but remains unregulated under domestic laws or international treaties, a team of atmospheric chemists from the University of California-Irvine has warned, in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

90 Percent of U.S. Infant Formula May Be Contaminated

Up to 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States may be contaminated with trace amounts of melamine, the toxic chemical linked to kidney damage, according to recent tests. The FDA’s test results, which the agency hid from the public and only released after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that…

EPA Plays Chicken with Emission Regulations

New studies show that operations from chicken farms generate more ammonia emissions annually than oil refineries and steel mills combined in poultry heavy states. About 8 times more. And now the EPA is pushing for an exemption for the poultry industry so they wouldn’t have to report those or other harmful emissions, on grounds that they’re protected under federal “right to know” laws.

Climate Change Alters Ocean Chemistry

Stanford, CA— Researchers have discovered that the ocean’s chemical makeup is less stable and more greatly affected by climate change than previously believed. The researchers report in the December 12, 2008 issue of Science* that during a time of climate change 13 million years ago the chemical makeup of the oceans changed dramatically.

Acupuncture is Just as Effective Without Needles

Acupuncture works, but it appears to work equally well with or without needle penetration. This conclusion was drawn from a treatment study involving cancer patients suffering from nausea during radiotherapy.

Ocean Fish Farms Won’t Save Wild Fish & Can Easily Destroy Them

A new study in shows why and how ocean fish farms can hurt wild fish populations.
Done by prof. Neil frazer of the university of hawaii at manoa, the basic premise is that the higher density of fish in the farms promotes infection, and that infection lowers the fitness of surrounding fish. For the wild fish this means:

Stop Bush Clearing Bush!

Despite a powerful citizen outcry, the Bush administration is poised to sacrifice more than two million acres of wildlands in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah for the production of dirty fuels. Please take action right now to block this attempt to turn vast expanses of our natural heritage into industrial wastelands.

Giving Is Good For You

It’s official: giving is good for you. A number of recent studies have shown that giving to good causes works on our brain chemistry to make us happier. And since South Africans are a giving nation – giving roughly R12 billion a year to help others – we must all be a very happy bunch. Right?


2008 has been declared “The Year of the Potato” by the UN General Assembly in honour of the vegetable people around the world love - the humble potato. Ironically, South Africa intends it to be the year that the potato is transformed from a food, into a laboratory made pesticide.


The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world’s worst environmental disaster, the Prince of Wales has warned. In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting a “gigantic experiment … with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong”.

The Solution to the Rubber Problem

In In the 1840s, Charles Goodyear invented the process that turns the soft gum from the rubber tree into the hard rubber used in tires or mats or shoe soles. The process is called vulcanization. Vulcanization is a chemical reaction between the rubber, sulfur, and other chemicals. It makes rubber much stronger, more pliable, and durable.

Great News - Dark Chocolate is GOOD for your Heart

Dark chocolate is good for your heart.  Eating one 100g bar a day can dramatically reduce your blood pressure - and it’s just as powerful as an anti-hypertensive drug. It even works at far lower levels.  When scientists tested the health-giving effects of dark chocolate

Police Turn to Secret Weapon: GPS Device

Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare [criminal suspects], often without a warrant or court order. Privacy advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward George Orwell’s Big Brother society.

Children and Teens Should Stay Away From Cell Phones

Toronto’s department of public health has advised teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones, in order to avoid potential health risks. The advisory is the first of its kind in Canada.

Sea Ice in Its “Death Spiral”

After the ominous news that North American permafrost (and presumably European and Asian, as well) stores 60% more greenhouse gases than we thought, here’s another siren announcing that we are rushing full speed ahead towards a climatic tipping point:

Amazon tribe enlists Google

You may know it as Google, but in bamboo-and-thatch roundhouses deep in the Amazon rainforest the iconic brand goes by another name. The Surui people, one of the most remote on Earth, call it ragogmakan – “messenger” – and they’re banking on the search engine to save them and their ancestral lands from extinction.

Goodbye from the
world’s biggest polluter

George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan. The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”

Huge rubber snake generates power from waves

A giant rubber snake could be the future of renewable energy. The rippling “Anaconda” produces electricity as it is squeezed by passing waves. Its developers say it would produce more energy than existing wave-energy devices and be cheaper to maintain.

Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian. The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

No ice at the North Pole?

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet.

Brazil seizes livestock to protect rainforest

In an unprecedented move against rogue cattle ranchers in the Amazon, the Brazilian government has seized livestock grazing there illegally, the new environment minister announced Tuesday. Officials carted off 3,100 head of cattle that they said were being raised on an ecological reserve in the state of Para.

Biofuels are increasing poverty

The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says. Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world’s soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

Honda makes first hydrogen cars

Japanese car manufacturer Honda has begun the first commercial production of a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle. The four-seater, called FCX Clarity, runs on electricity produced by combining hydrogen with oxygen, and emits water vapour. Honda claims the vehicle offers three times better fuel efficiency than a traditional, petrol-powered car.

Climate protest halts coal train

About 30 climate campaigners have halted a train taking coal to one of Europe’s biggest power stations in North Yorkshire. A giant banner reading “Leave it in the ground” has been draped over the train bound for Drax near Selby. The train was stopped in Rawcliffe, on the border of North and East Yorkshire.

First beaver dam in England
for centuries

A pair of beavers have built what is believed to be the first dam in England for centuries. The animals were hunted to extinction in England and Wales during the 12th century and disappeared from the rest of the country 400 years later. However, two beavers from Germany were introduced to a river enclosure in Devon last year.

Bird family trees predict decline

A new genetic family tree of the UK’s birds may help predict which will see their populations decline in future. The family tree - or phylogenetic map - shows how closely species are related. The scientist who compiled it, Gavin Thomas, found that populations of closely related species tend to undergo declines more or less in step.

Whales stranded off Madagascar

A mission is under way to rescue more than 100 whales trapped in a bay in the north of Madagascar. About 30 whales have already died and experts are being flown in from across the world. The site is near an area where ExxonMobil is carrying out seismic surveys but the oil company has denied any link.

Agricultural patents and bio-piracy

Genetic Engineering has emerged as a modern means of improving and altering life forms, accomplishing within a matter of moments in the laboratory what previously took farmers hundreds of years of selection and cross-breeding to achieve. Genetic scientists, through the manipulation of gene sequences or traits, have (arguably) improved plant varieties and seeds, and corporations have in turn slapped patents on the supposed ‘inventions’, restricting the use of the product or plant/seed by others. The patent process is used as a means of stimulating competition.

Caribbean monk seal is extinct

After five years of futile efforts to find or confirm sightings of any Caribbean monk seals — even just one — the U.S. government on Friday announced that the species is officially extinct and the only seal to vanish due to human causes. “Humans left the Caribbean monk seal population unsustainable after overhunting them,” Kyle Baker, a National Marine Fisheries Service biologist, said.

Japan fleet misses whaling target

Japan’s whaling fleet has failed to catch its quota, after being disrupted by clashes with anti-hunting activists. The fisheries agency said the fleet caught 60% of the minke whales they had planned - 551 from a target of 850. The ships, which were followed around the Antarctic by the activists, are due to return to port in the next few days.

World’s largest tidal turbine successfully installed

The world’s largest tidal turbine, weighing 1000 tonnes, has been installed in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. The tidal turbine is rated at 1.2 megawatts, which is enough to power a thousand local homes. It was built by Marine Current Turbines, and it will be the first commercial tidal turbine to produce energy, when it begins operation later this year.

Quest to make cattle
 fart like marsupials

Australian scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say. Thanks to special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroo flatulence contains no methane and scientists want to transfer that bacteria to cattle and sheep who emit large quantities of the harmful gas.

Disease threatens mass
extinction of frogs

Scientists fear the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs because of a deadly disease which is sweeping through populations of frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians across the globe. Amphibians have thrived for hundreds of millions of years but as many as half of all species could perish unless a solution is found.

North America’s largest solar-electric powerplant switched on

North America’s largest solar photovoltaic system is now running and generating power — about 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The 14 megawatt power plant is at the Nellis Air Force Base in the sunny desert of southern Nevada. It’s expected to save about $1 million in power costs annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tons each year.

China abandons plans for huge dam on Yangtze

China has abandoned controversial plans to build a huge dam which would have submerged one of the country’s most renowned tourist areas and forced the relocation of 100,000 residents in the south-western province of Yunnan.

Palau and Pentagon looking to harness solar energy from space

A joint venture between the U.S. Department of Defense and Palau is set to test the feasibility of using satellites to beam down “affordable, clean, safe, reliable, sustainable, and expandable energy for mankind.”

Nigeria investing in solar energy to power rural communities

Nigeria’s government has just announced its intention to make another round of investments in solar energy to supply up to 10 rural communities that currently lack access to the national power grid. The initiative, funded by Nigeria’s Ministry of Science and Technology, will benefit around 5,000 individuals living in villages spread across several local governments and is projected to cost 150m Naira, or $1.25 million.

Why greed may bring new growth for renewables

Jeremy Leggett is the UK’s most respected green energy boss. He explains how investors are driving transformation of the energy industry, despite half-hearted government support.

Japan drops humpback whale hunt

A controversial Japanese mission to hunt humpback whales in the Antarctic has been temporarily abandoned, a top government official says.

Mass deaths of rare croc in India

At least 21 endangered crocodile-like gharials have been found dead over the past three days in a river in northern India, wildlife officials say.

Climate deal sealed by US U-turn

Delegates at the UN summit in Bali have agreed a deal on curbing climate change after days of bitter wrangling.

Wind Energy could power all UK homes by 2020

The Brown government is set to unveil an ambitious proposal to build 7,000 new wind turbines off Britain’s coast by 2020, effectively producing enough electricity - 33 gigawatts - to power all of the country’s homes.

Google hopes to undercut coal with cheap, renewable energy

By now, everyone is familiar with Google’s corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.” In an effort to spread that message of not-being-evil, the search engine behemoth has announced a plan to develop sources of renewable energy that will be cheaper than coal.

South China Tiger Cub born in South Africa

An extremely rare male South China tiger cub was born in the Free State province to proud parents Tiger Woods and Cathay.

Environmental Group to take on Japanese Whalers

A group of militant environmentalists has pledged to harass and intimidate the Japanese whaling fleet that recently set sail on an expedition to hunt over 1000 whales, including 50 rare humpback whales.

Japan sets out on Whale Hunt

Japanese whalers set out today on a quest to hunt more than 1000 whales, including 50 endangered humpback whales.

The truth about recycling

As the importance of recycling becomes more apparent, questions about it linger. Is it worth the effort? How does it work? Is recycling waste just going into a landfill in China? Here are some answers…

Engineered weathering process could mitigate global warming

Researchers at Harvard University and Pennsylvania State University have invented a technology, inspired by nature, to reduce the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by human emissions.

Russian oil tanker splits in half

A Russian oil tanker has split in half during a severe storm near the Black Sea, spilling around 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil.

China losing a million acres a year to desertification

China is losing a million acres a year to desertification. In Dunhuang, a former Silk Road oasis in the Gobi, the resulting water shortage has become critical.

702 Nuclear Debate

For those who missed the nuclear energy debate broadcast on 702 on 8 November 2007, featuring Dr David Figg (Earthlife) & Dr Adi Paterson (PBMR) we’ve got good news: you can listen to it right here:

Eco-friendly Bus Fleet takes off in Delhi

Delhi’s public-transit system got a shot in the arm today with the launch of a new fleet of low-floor buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

Absorbing CO2 by Dumping Urea Into Ocean Pisses Off Activists

The Philippines government has approved an Australian company’s plan to absorb excess CO2 by dumping massive amounts of urea in the Sulu Sea. Environmental activists say the dumping is a potentially risky, scientifically unsound gamble that underscores the dangerous absence of international geoengineering regulations.

Climate wars threaten billions

A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

Massive Arctic Sea Ice Loss: 1979-2007 (Video)

A new animation from NASA shows that Arctic sea ice loss over the past 28 years has been enormous… with potentially devastating consequences for the larger global environment.

Indonesia: “Want Us to Save Our Forests? Pay Us.”

The Indonesian government is recruiting other developing nations in an attempt to pressure richer governments to provide incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some see the government’s request for money as a type of environmental hostage taking, and many feel that Indonesia’s request smacks of hypocrisy in light of its own poor record.

Biofuels ‘crime against humanity’

A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.

Largest debt-for-nature swap ever yields $26M for Costa Rica’s forests

The Nature Conservancy has brokered the largest debt-for-nature swap in history — a deal that will secure long-term, science-based conservation for Costa Rica’s tropical forests.

2050: the last gorilla

The gorilla is threatened with extinction by the mid-21st century if poaching and destruction of its habitat continue at the current rate, the United Nations has warned.

Is it time to just live with climate change?

An article in this week’s Time magazine raises an interesting point about climate change.

Biofuels could add to greenhouse gas emissions

A new paper suggests that biofuel production may be contributing to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar Challenge race coming to SA

In September 2008, South Africans will be able to compete on their home soil in a FIA approved 4000km+ solar car race.

Sneak Peak: Biophile Issue 18

Our friends over at UrbanSprout have uploaded a sneak peak at the next issue of Biophile, due out next week.

Press release: the Coir Institute launches eco friendly products

There is a global focus on finding practical eco-friendly, biodegradable solutions for all industry sectors. To assist in enabling this vision, business solutions company e.com institute holdings has launched a new company, the coir institute (Pty) Ltd.

World Bank accused of razing Congo forests

The World Bank encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world’s second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies, according to a report on an internal investigation by senior bank staff and outside experts.

Portugal builds world’s first commercial wave farm

Portuguese surfers keeping an eye on the weather will be joined this month by engineers and businessmen, but they will be hoping for very different reports. The men and women behind the latest renewable energy project will be looking for a flat, calm sea.

Arctic ice island breaks in half

The giant Ayles Ice Island drifting off Canada’s northern shores has broken in two - far earlier than expected.

Examine what you eat on World Day for Animals: October 4

October 4, believed to be the birthday of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, is celebrated worldwide every year as World Day for Animals.

New Zealand commits to 90% renewable electricity by 2025

In a speech this week, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke announced New Zealand’s intention to commit to 90% renewable electricity by 2025, according to a press release issued by the New Zealand government.

James Lovelock urges ocean climate quick fix

Two of Britain’s leading environmental thinkers say it is time to develop a quick technical fix for climate change.

Deal on ozone and climate relief

Nearly 200 governments have agreed a faster timetable for phasing out chemicals that deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.

DME’s Energy Summit puts our heritage at risk

In 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections. Part of that democratic heritage was that a new way of governing was brought into being. People were to be involved in decision-making, and government would facilitate this. Legislation which supports access to information, administrative justice and environmental justice was enacted and many sector specific policy processes were undertaken. One of these was the policy process on energy which culminated in the White Paper on Energy of 1998.

Chernobyl to be covered in steel

The authorities in Ukraine have approved a giant steel cover for the radioactive site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster - Chernobyl.

Steering away from ‘climate porn’

Alarmist language used to discuss the threat of global warming is tantamount to “climate porn”, offering a thrilling spectacle but ultimately distancing the public from the problem, a leading progressive think tank has warned.

Cancer doubt remains over mobiles

The long-term cancer risk of mobile phone use cannot be ruled out, experts have concluded.

Gorillas head race to extinction

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick dies at 64

The death of Dame Anita Roddick from a brain haemorrhage, after suffering from Hepatitis C for 30 years, was met with great shock by the many she inspired.

Earthlife Africa a step closer to PBMR info

Earthlife Africa Cape Town (ELA CT) is pleased to announce that it has moved a step closer to victory in its court case against Eskom for access to board minutes pertaining to the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor.

Iceland cancels whale hunt

The government of Iceland announced last week that it is calling off its controversial whale hunt, not because of political pressure, but due to the lack of demand for whale meat and other whale products.

Apec leaders reach climate deal

Asia-Pacific leaders meeting in Sydney have agreed an “aspirational” goal to restrain the rise of greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change.

90 Biodiesel Reactors for South Africa

Green Star Products has announced that it has signed an agreement with De Beers Fuel Limited of South Africa to build 90 biodiesel reactors.


Cover of Issue 28

Issue 29 of Biophile is going electronic and will be available soon. It will also be available to our international readers. Stay tuned or contact us for more details! find out more


I was just checking the website of the SEXPO which has just visited SA, this is what the Cape Town site says. . . . “The world’s largest Health, Sexuality and Lifestyle expo is coming back to Slaapstad and it’s bigger and sexier than ever! continue reading


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