Category: Environment

Tanzanian president leads crackdown on elephant poaching

While inspecting the country’s seized ivory stockpile this week, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli ordered law enforcement officials to crack down on elephant poaching and trafficking syndicates.

“We are not going to allow our natural resources to be depleted,” Magufuli said, while offering federal security agencies his full support and urging them to “arrest all those involved in this illicit trade.”

Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Put Right to Water at Center Stage

Since August, over 400 people have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline –140 in the last week alone. This after the tribe sued the federal government in July, stating that they were not properly consulted about the construction project.

One underlying reason for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the construction of the oil pipeline is the tribe’s concern about safe drinking water. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lawsuit argues that the US government failed to properly consider the potential risks of the pipeline construction to the source of the Tribe’s drinking water.

Courts have twice denied the tribe’s request to stop the pipeline construction for now, agreeing with the government’s position that the Tribe was not sufficiently able to show that they were likely to win their lawsuit.

World’s food and energy systems key to tackling global biodiversity decline

Global wildlife could plunge to a 67 per cent level of decline in just the fifty-year period ending this decade as a result of human activities, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016. The report shows how people are overpowering the planet for the first time in Earth’s history and highlights the changes needed in the way society is fed and fuelled.

According to the report, global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, the most recent year with available data. This places the world on a trajectory of a potential two-thirds decline within a span of the half-century ending in 2020.

Fortunately, 2020 is also a year of great promise. In that same year, commitments made under the Paris climate deal will kick in, and the first environmental actions under the globe’s new sustainable development plan are due. If implemented, these measures, along with meeting international biodiversity targets set for 2020, can help achieve the reforms needed in the world’s food and energy systems to protect wildlife across the globe.

The most threatened ecosystem you’ve never heard of

What covers up to 600,000 square kilometers (230,000 square miles) of Earth’s surface, provides benefits worth an estimated US$570 billion or more each year, and is rapidly being lost due to human activity?

If you have not a clue, you’re far from alone. Scientists who study the underwater feature known as a seagrass meadow call it a “marginalized ecosystem” that ranks with coral reefs and mangrove swamps as among the most endangered marine habitats but is “often overlooked, regarded as merely an innocuous feature of the ocean.”

Belize offshore seismic testing suspended after outcry

The longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere has received a reprieve from seismic surveying, WWF has learned. Officials in Belize agreed to suspend the seismic portion of offshore oil exploration an after an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society groups and international conservation organizations and their supporters.

The survey began on Wednesday, 19 October, a day earlier than had been publicly announced, and was scheduled to reach just over one kilometre from the country’s fragile World Heritage site. However, the government of Belize on Thursday instructed surveyors to “cease seismic operations immediately.”

New Species Of Psychedelic Lichen Discovered In South America

Just when you thought psychedelic ventures couldn’t get weirder, a curve ball whips past. Researchers deep in Ecuador have discovered a new, mysterious species of psychedelic lichen. A cacophony of compounds exist within the species, renowned for cryptic effects on human consciousness.

This new species, Evolve Ascend reports, is the only known lichen to harbor psychedelic properties. Lichens are intriguing in that they exist due to a symbiotic, mutually beneficial algae-fungi relationship. Lichens are a kind of composite organism, making it all the more interesting that one is trip-capable.

A different kind of bank

The fossil fuel divestment movement argues that where we invest our money either helps move toward a cleaner future or props up polluting industries that are driving climate change.

Now government agencies are taking that idea to the next level by proactively encouraging investment in renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects. Called green banks, they are not banks as we typically think of them. They do not accept deposits from individuals, and they aren’t private institutions. Instead, green banks are government run and aim to leverage limited public funds by attracting private capital to these projects.

Anti-pipeline action targets Kelcy Warren’s borderland hideout

There may have been a snarling dog in the patrol truck in the play-Western “town” of the Lajitas Golf Resort, but it was an Indian dog, the deputy said. As for the man waving an American Indian Movement flag near the main offices of the multi-million-dollar resort shouting that its billionaire owner, Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, was a “criminal” and an “evil man”?

Zika Virus Pesticides Wiping Out Bees, BioTech Industrial Complex Booming

Honey bee populations, after having dwindled over the last couple decades, have just taken a turn for the worst. Pesticides sprayed to kill mosquitoes suspected of carrying zika virus purged millions of bees from America. Now they’re being considered for the endangered species list, and few are talking about any of it. Not only that, but Zika fear is now fueling a pesticide spouting, water tainting, genetically modified mosquito breeding, corporate biotech industrial complex.

Zika pesticide has been sprayed across several states, including South Carolina and Florida, over the last month or so. The pesticide, called Naled, is being used to kill a specific species of mosquito which carries the virus. Similar poisons have been used in South America, where the virus is spreading.

Sierra Club Releases Interactive #ToxicTrade Map

Trans-Pacific and Transatlantic Trade Deals Would Empower World’s Largest Polluters

After trade took center stage in the first presidential debate earlier this week, the Sierra Club today released a new map that reveals the coast-to-coast environmental threats of two pending trade deals — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — showcasing for the first time what the Sierra Club calls #ToxicTrade.

The Clean Power Plan and Inequality

An appeals court will rule on the legality of Obama’s plan, which could narrow economic gaps by lowering energy costs and creating jobs.

Lawyers for a coalition of states and businesses reliant on fossil fuels made their case September 27 to a federal appeals court that President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail climate-warming greenhouse gases is an unlawful power grab.11830516643_561ab36dd5_m-2

The Clean Power Plan is by no means perfect, but it has the potential to benefit American families, especially low-income people and people of color. These households are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel-fired power plants and the effects of climate change.

Climate Con: why a new global deal on aviation emissions is really bad news

A new climate deal is expected to be agreed upon soon by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations agency governing aviation. But it is a cop-out that allows airlines to carry on polluting, writes Oscar Reyes.

It sounds like a fine riddle: what can grow exponentially but still remain the same size? A new global deal on climate emissions from aviation promises just that, ‘carbon neutral growth’ from an industry that is the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.

The proposal has a series of loopholes big enough to fly a jumbo jet through

Huge fall in African elephant population as poaching crisis continues

Africa’s elephant population has crashed by an estimated 111,000 in the past decade primarily due to poaching, according to the IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report.

Released at the world’s largest wildlife trade conference, the authoritative report estimates that there are 415,000 elephants across the 37 range states in Africa – a huge drop since the last full update in 2006.

The surge in poaching for ivory that began approximately a decade ago – the worst that Africa has experienced since the 1970s and 1980s – has been the main driver of the decline, while habitat loss poses an increasingly serious, long-term threat to the species, according to the report.

Scientific Consensus: Why Should We Accept It?

Scientific consensus isn’t reached only through whipping up votes. It’s actually born out of an overwhelming agreement between scientists of varying fields of study regarding a particular issue at hand.
As if providing a systematic framework for understanding how everything in the cosmos works wasn’t enough, science is often found in the realm of the social — how people relate to each other as they live out their everyday lives. Across the world, arguments about bills and policies that govern entire countries cite “scientific facts” for support before they are passed into law. Companies convince their customers to purchase their products with appeals based on “scientific facts.”

India to be the Fifth Country to Generate Power From Tidal Waves

There are only approximately 20 locations on earth where power can be generated from tides and India is one of them.

In a bid to curb the country’s carbon emission levels, India will experiment with generating power from tidal waves. The government will tie up with an Israeli firm to set up tidal power plants in Goa. If the operation is a success, India will be the only fifth country in the world which to have operational tidal power plants.