(Ensia) – Imagine sinking into the deepest parts of the Central Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Mexico and Hawaii. Watch as the water turns from clear to blue to dark blue to black. And then continue on for another 15,000 feet…
The rise in recent decades of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that factors in the environment are contributing.
In 1932, New York gastroenterologist Burrill Crohn described an unusual disease in 14 adults. The patients had bouts of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and lesions and scars on the bowel wall. Doctors in other parts of North America and Europe were seeing it in their patients, too. They called the rare condition Crohn’s disease. After World War II, the number of new people getting inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and a related condition called ulcerative colitis) skyrocketed across the West in countries such as the U.S., Canada and the UK. In the last three decades, IBD has begun to crop up in newly industrialized parts of the world like Hong Kong and China’s big cities.
A Spanish wetland stopover for six million migratory birds is poised to become the first European Union site placed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.
Today is the deadline set by UNESCO for Spain to address threats to Doñana National Park in order to keep the site off the in danger list.
According to a WWF assessment, the country’s government has failed to cancel the destructive dredging of the Guadalquivir River as requested by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee urged the Spain to cancel the project and not to permit any future plans to deepen the river.
The murder of 22-year-old Jeremy Barrios, a young environmentalist in Guatemala, has increased concerns over the threats that environmentalist defenders endure and the failure of the state to provide protection to organisations under threat.
Barrios was shot and killed in Guatemala city on November 12. His murder is in many ways a dark symbol for Guatemala, a country in the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change, where the average age of the population is, precisely, 22 and where at least ten environmental activists – most of them indigenous – were murdered in 2015.
As fears over rumors of a possible nuclear war incite Americans to speculate on the future and survival, a silent nuclear disaster continues almost unnoticed within the borders of the United States. Abandoned Uranium mines and radioactive waste storage continue to affect the lives of people living on and off reservations, as well as contaminating surface and ground water resources in multiple states.
Among the affected indigenous populations, the Navajo Nation, with the reservation covering parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, is the most well-known. Navajo uranium miners and their families became ill due to contact with uranium and dust from mining. The ongoing contamination of the surface dirt and water as well as groundwater supplies affect their nation today. The Navajo Nation currently has over 500 abandoned uranium mines within the borders of their reservation.
Arch Coal and its subsidiaries received approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri today for its reorganization plan that will require the company to replace all of its existing self-bonds with more reliable financial instruments to assure funding for required future environmental reclamation. Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2016, and today’s reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is expected to become effective sometime later this month. The approved reorganization plan also leaves in place Arch Coal’s additional environmental obligations at its coal mines across the country.
In April 2016, Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her environmental advocacy and courageous stand against the Newmont Mining Corporation, the world’s second-largest goldmining company. This is her story.
Before the mine came with lies about jobs and economic development, I lived here without any problems. I have been poor all my life, but I always lived in peace.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Cajamarca. When I was a child I never had any toys, never went to school. So I never learned how to read or write. I worked in the fields, helped around the house and took care of my deaf younger brother. In my spare time, I would make hats and clothes for other children’s dolls.
Máxima Acuña, a farmer from Peru’s northern highlands, recently won the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her resistance against the mining consortium Yanacocha in Cajamarca, Peru.
At the prize acceptance ceremony in San Francisco on 18 April, in lieu of a speech Máxima sang her story: ‘Because I defend my lakes, they want to take my life.’
Yanacocha is the largest gold mine in Latin America and fourth largest in the world, operating since 1993. The mine is now owned by the US Newmont Mining Corporation, a Peruvian mining company, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.