Category: Environment

A Toxic Mix of Illegal Logging and Corruption Is Devastating Europe’s Last Primeval Forests

Earlier this week, journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the RISE Project published a new documentary studying the effects of illegal logging in Romania and Ukraine. The film, titled “Clear Cut Crimes,” examines the collusion of illegal and legal businesses that are devastating the last of Europe’s primeval forests.

Hopes high for global climate deal’s early entry into force

Hopes for the early entry into force of the universal climate Paris Agreement will be boosted this week with a special meeting at the UN on 21 September where at least 20 countries are expected to announce they have ratified the agreement, and others will commit to ratifying it before the end of 2016.

The agreement requires 55 member countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions to ratify it before it can enter into force. In an unprecedented show of political will, more than 175 countries signed the agreement in April and more than 29 countries representing around 40 per cent of global emissions have ratified it to date.

Commenting on this, Regine Guenther, interim leader of WWF International’s Climate and Energy Practice said all actions which escalated climate action were welcome and necessary.

Indigenous communities mobilize to defend Guatemala’s forests from loggers

Across Guatemala, indigenous communities are organizing to challenge logging in the country’s vast forests. These communities are concerned with the impact that both legal and illegal logging will have on their watersheds and on the environment.

On June 15, concerned residents from the highland Ixil Maya municipality of Nebaj, Quiche staged a protest outside the municipal building to express their concern with the steady increase in trucks leaving town loaded with lumber. The action was organized by residents and members of the Indigenous Authority of Nebaj in order to pressure the state authorities to strip the nine companies of their licenses to exploit timber on private lands. Residents raise concern over the fact that the deforestation affects everyone in the area.

Respected Journalist Amy Goodman Faces Arrest Warrant For Covering Pipeline Protest

The US government took a sharp turn down Orwell Avenue after issuing an arrest warrant for renowned journalist of Democracy Now! Amy Goodwin. Democracy Now traveled to North Dakota to cover protests against a massive pipeline project threatening Native American lands. The charges arrive as activists are detained, and concerns of political suppression germinate.

According to Democracy Now!, Goodwin is charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Her team traveled to North Dakota to cover the pipeline protests spearheaded by a coalition of Native American tribes. The charges come after Goodwin’s team filmed Dakota Access security guards unleash dogs on peaceful protesters.

Bayer, Monsanto Merger Will Devastate World Agriculture

The Bayer – Monsanto merger, announced last week, will no doubt be good for shareholders in the short term, with the sale price of seed and GMO giant Monsanto ending up at $66 billion, or $128 cash for each share. But the result for farmers across the globe will likely be far less rosy.

The Bayer – Monsanto merger deal, which took months of negotiations to finalize, will create the largest agribusiness in the world. Bayer, mostly known for their aspirin and other pharmaceutical products (including, long ago, heroin) are actually an agriculture product giant in and of themselves,with a large chunk of their yearly profits being from the sale of agricultural chemicals.

How three U.S. mini-farms are sowing the seeds of global food security

Tiny, biointensive operations show smallholder farmers from around the world how they can grow far more food than conventional approaches.

Her face shaded by a wide-brimmed straw hat, Olawumi Benedict is cheerfully tending to her “little babies” — kale seedlings growing in shallow wooden flats until they’re hardy enough for transplantation into soil beds. Three miles over the hills on another small farm, Jonnes Mlegwah is double-digging the soil with a spading fork, preparing to plant potatoes. Both are Africans, but these mini-farms are 140 miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino County, better known for the harvesting of redwood trees and marijuana plants than kale and potatoes.

Benedict and Mlegwah are a long way from home, and the biointensive farming system they’re mastering is a long way from becoming the norm — in the U.S. or Africa. Still, millions of small-scale farmers, especially in Latin America and Africa, are turning to it because it’s low-cost and low-tech, and it produces far greater yields than conventional agriculture while using far less land and water.

Terraforming And Geoengineering: A Climate Change Silver Bullet, Or Dormant Blowback?

Adaptive technologies have begun creeping into center stage recently in the global climate conversation. Some of those technologies are radical, however, and pose nagging questions. For instance, researchers now considering using geoengineering and terraforming to reverse CO2 emissions now explore the line between earth guardians and god players.

The UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently announced it’s condonment of terraforming. Simply put, humanity’s collective greenhouse emissions must staggeringly decline immediately. If this doesn’t happen, TVN reports, then warming may rack worldwide societies with unmanageable disasters.

Louisiana’s Floods: Climate Change Crying To The US

Louisiana’s shores are once again swelling to devour homes and businesses, streets and roads. Record flooding interrupted the lives of thousands, killing at least 13 in the process. As rescue operations continue, onlookers realize that climate change can’t be closeted anymore. Will this most recent lash from nature shake Americans into responding to the crisis? Or is nothing to be learned?

Over two feet of rainfall drowned Louisiana last week, emptying over just three days. The “historic flooding” was spawned after a low pressure system combined with record amounts of atmospheric water vapor, Washington Post reports. The disaster has displaced untold thousands, and killed around a dozen people. Those figures are expected to rise.

A new pathway to peace? Danger ahead for Sustainable Development Goal 16

What is needed is the operationalization of a universal principle into a set of diversified strategies aimed at different categories of countries, and uncomfortable partnerships.

The heads of state of the international community agreed in September 2015 that peace, inclusivity, access to justice and quality institutions matter for sustainable development.

This agreement took the form of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16) in the United Nations 2030 agenda ‘Transforming Our World’. The preamble of Agenda 2030 actually puts SDG16 at its core by stating that: ‘There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.’ Otherwise put, violence and conflicts are considered key threats to the progressive and universal development vision of Agenda 2030. No amount of indicators, however well-chosen technically, will change the fact that a number of governments that signed the UN’s 2030 Agenda have little intention of actually implementing parts of it.

Tackling Climate Change Equitably

Climate disruption is inextricably linked to economic inequality. Serious climate solutions must be, too.

This year’s Democratic platform has the fingerprints of progressive movements all over it. A $15 minimum wage, a pathway to cannabis legalization, improvements to Social Security, police accountability, and financial reforms — including a tax on speculation — all make an appearance.

The platform also highlights the critical link between climate and the economy. In particular, it argues that “carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities.”

Climate science: revolution is here

A host of innovations in energy technology is transforming the climate-change outlook – one of the world’s three required paradigm shifts.

Heatwaves of more than 50⁰C in Iraq and India in recent weeks are yet further indications that climate disruption is a present-day reality, not something for the future that the world can respond to at leisure. They come in the wake of many months of increasing global temperatures and successively escalating years: 2014 the warmest on record, 2015 exceeding that, and 2016 confidently expected to be even higher (see “The climate pioneers: look south”, 22 June 2016)

Is Solar Energy Really Too Expensive?

Utilities are lobbying against the expansion of rooftop solar, and that’s no good for anyone.

In order for solar power to compete with other forms of energy, the conventional thinking goes, it needs to become way cheaper.

Installing rooftop solar panels can be prohibitively expensive, after all, and it takes years before the resulting energy savings pay off. For the individual, it doesn’t matter whether solar panels will save you money in the long run if you can’t afford them in the short run.

For those of us who are renters, the decision of whether to go solar is even more irrelevant. We don’t have the option to install panels ourselves. And unless your apartment comes with utilities included, your landlord has no incentive to install solar panels, because you would get all the savings.

What happens when the needs of endangered tigers and endangered people collide?

As government works to save big cats from extinction, indigenous forest dwellers pursue peaceful coexistence for man and beast

The wild hillocks and the forests of Central India are a world of their own. Nestled on lush green foothills are intermittent clusters of villages, little touched by modern civilization. They are the ancestral home of an ancient indigenous tribe, the Baiga, which has had a symbiotic relationship with these jungles and their biodiversity, preserving them with their knowledge for generations.

These forests are also a part of the Central Indian Landscape, which hosts nearly 40 percent of India’s big cats.

What We Need To Learn From Native Cultures About Climate Adaptation

When it comes to climate change, now is the time to react and develop defenses. Unfortunately, very few western resources are allocated to prepare for future environmental challenges. That’s not the case in areas inhabited by indigenous peoples, who’re already dealing with environmental changes. Recent months have seen adaptation techniques field tested in indigenous areas, for eventual use elsewhere. One of the many questions going forward, however, is whether progress itself is sustainable.

As important as the actual technologies is including as many voices as possible in climate conversations. Climate change affects humanity more than any war, or plague. In fact, grimmer predictions for the future suggest it may eventually cause those things. According to Glacier Hub, whereas indigenous peoples occupy 65% of earth’s land, they’re rarely included in climate debate.

Yet Another Environmental Activist Is Murdered in Honduras. When Will It End?

“Lesbia Yaneth lives, the fight continues! Berta lives, the fight continues!”

With those words, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, or COPINH) concluded their statement on their blog about the murder of community leader Lesbia Yaneth Urquía in Honduras on July 7. Her body was found in a garbage dump; she reportedly had suffered injuries to the head.

Her death was nationally and internationally condemned as yet another blow to the environmentalist fight in the region. The news came at a time when the country is still trying to recover from the loss of Berta Cáceres, the co-founder of COPINH who was murdered four months ago.