Category: Environment

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.

Why Degraded Reefs Could be the Future of Ocean Conservation

When there’s not enough pristine habitat left to save an ecosystem, it’s time to take a new look at less-than-perfect places.

When you think of a nature preserve, chances are you picture a tract of pristine, healthy wilderness, set aside in order to protect a functioning ecosystem. But what if not much remains of the ecosystem you want to protect?

A new proposal by an international group of scientists and conservationists is challenging traditional ideas about what’s worth saving when it comes to coral reefs. In 2010, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity set a goal of conserving 10 percent of each of the world’s ecological regions, and agencies and governments around the world have set aside areas of healthy coral reef habitat as Marine Protected Areas or MPAs. However, the authors of a new study in the journal Conservation Biology argue that not enough pristine reefs might remain to meet this goal. The solution, they say, is to create new MPAs around degraded reef habitat, building opportunities for restoring and reconnecting reefs instead of simply abandoning these areas as lost forever.

If lead ammunition is bad for people and the environment, why do we still use it?

Concerns about regulation, skepticism about the science and misperceptions about costs are slowing the transition to nontoxic alternatives.

Andrea Goodnight knows firsthand what lead poisoning looks like. A veterinarian at the Oakland Zoo, Goodnight treats endangered California condors when testing shows dangerous levels of the toxic metal in their blood.

If blood lead levels get too high, condors, eagles and other raptors “regurgitate everything and can’t hold anything down, so basically they’re starving to death,” Goodnight says. “A very clinically ill bird is very distressing. They’re weak, they fall over, they just can’t feed themselves at all and eventually they die. To me, it’s an absolutely horrible way to die.”

These Fires Are Huge, Hidden and Harmful. What Can We Do?

Smoldering peat gives off massive quantities of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, but the search for solutions is on.

As forest fires devastated Fort McMurray, Alberta, last month, a different sort of fire may have started beneath the ground. Peat, a carbon-rich soil created from partially decomposed, waterlogged vegetation accumulated over several millennia and the stuff that fueled Indonesia’s megafires last fall, also appears in the boreal forests that span Canada, Alaska and Siberia. With the intense heat from the Fort McMurray fires, “there’s a good chance the soil in the area could have been ignited,” says Adam Watts, a fire ecologist at Desert Research Institute in Nevada.