Royal Marines join US Navy assault ship for European drills

first_img View post tag: USS Whidbey Island Royal Marines join US Navy assault ship for European exercises View post tag: Royal Marines July 20, 2016 Back to overview,Home naval-today Royal Marines join US Navy assault ship for European exercises Authorities View post tag: US Navy Royal Marines joined their U.S. counterparts aboard the USS Whidbey Island assault ship as it entered European waters to begin a deployment with the USS Wasp battle group.The USS Whidbey Island is an assault ship – a slightly smaller version of Britain’s Albion and Bulwark which uses hovercraft rather than landing craft to put up to 500 troops ashore.The men of 42 Commando are in the early stages of a 12-month training regime which will see them taking over as the UK’s lead commando group.Once aboard the Whidbey Island, Royal Marines undertook martial arts training with Americans, observed amphibious assault vehicles in action, shot the M4 carbine – the US equivalent of the SA80 – and M27 service rifles – counterpart of the Royal Marines’ L129A1– observed US bomb disposal technicians at work and learned about the USMC’s 120mm mortar (the heaviest mortar the commandos fire is the 81mm).“I think doing things like this increases our ability to work with each other,” said 1Lt Kyle Jackson, a rifle platoon commander with Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. “Getting to meet and understand the Royal Marines allows us to develop a better relationship with them.”Before returning to their base near Plymouth, the Brits were treated to some US Navy/USMC hospitality: a steel beach picnic: Marines. Games. Picnic. Steel beach.“Everyone from Juliet Company enjoyed the steel beach event,” said L/Cpl Alex Johns. “It was a good atmosphere – and it was also a good way to get away from a normal working environment.” Share this articlelast_img read more

Transgender Suicides: What to Do About Them

first_imgPublic Discourse 27 July 2017Family First Comment: Excellent commentary…. “I have personally experienced gender dysphoria, and I explored transition in my early twenties. I am aware of the emotional struggle, but I am also aware of the empowering realization that I alone control how I perceive the world….…We cannot forget the real tragedy in all of this. People suffering from genuine mental anguish are being promised that with enough surgery, camouflage, social acceptance, legal protection, educational campaigns, and so on, they will finally feel whole as a person. Worse, they are told that the only reason they continue to suffer is due to the intolerance and hatred of those around them. The current method of addressing this concern is only making matters worse. Treatment needs to address the core problem.”I have personally experienced gender dysphoria, and I explored transition in my early twenties. I am aware of the emotional struggle, but I am also aware of the empowering realization that I alone control how I perceive the world.….In a recent discussion on Twitter, Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), pardoned by President Obama after being convicted of espionage, argued that transgender “treatment” is necessary for the health of trans individuals, “because,” Chelsea stated, “not getting medical attention for trans people is fatal.”……. The argument can be summarized as follows. Without medical treatment (expensive surgery and lifelong hormone therapy), social acceptance, correct pronoun use, and open bathroom access, trans people will never be comfortable in their bodies or in society. Consequently, they are at a high risk for suicide, and it’s an injustice not to make these “treatments” available; the crime of killingtrans people can even be laid at the feet of those who do not take these steps. This argument, made by Manning, Ford, and so many others, is supposed to halt any criticism—or even querying—of gender theory, but it raises more questions than it answers.If It Needs Treatment, Isn’t It an Illness?Further, if transgenderism requires medical treatment, how can it form the basis of anyone’s identity? Trans people and their allies have, of course, insisted with great indignation that their condition is not an illness, but it is hard to see how this conclusion is to be avoided, if it’s insisted that it must be treated or else will be fatal. Illnesses that require treatment do not constitute anyone’s identity. Being HIV-positive requires medical treatment. I do not identify as HIV-positive as though it made me an entirely new kind of person. It is a condition I need to treat in order to live and be healthy. How is being trans any different?We Need a Real CureSome trans advocates would presumably reply that sex should change rather than gender because sex can change, whereas attempts to change one’s gender usually end badly, but this response is unnecessarily pessimistic.I have personally experienced gender dysphoria, and I explored transition in my early twenties. I am aware of the emotional struggle, and I am sympathetic to the sense of frustration and hopelessness. But I am also aware of the empowering realization that I alone control how I perceive the world. Even if I would prefer to be female, I understand that my body is male, and therefore the most effective and healthiest plan of action is to align my sense of gender to that unchangeable state. I have largely been successful, as I feel fully integrated today and am not only comfortable in my male body but find myself enjoying the pursuit of masculine physical progress.An uncomfortable truth is that many surveys, including a 2011 Swedish study, indicate that suicide rates remain high after sex-reassignment surgery (the Swedish study reports that people who have had sex-reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely to die by suicide than is the general population); and the National Center for Transgender Equality reported in 2015 that 40% of people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide. The LGBT community actively fights such studies and suppresses the voices of people who, like myself, have chosen natural alignment or who regret transitioning. The medical community is currently uninterested in recognizing the inherent dangers and long-term impact of transition therapy and is equally unwilling to pursue study that may result in finding a cure or a resolution to the underlying issue. To suggest this is a medical issue needing to be cured is to be accused of proposing genocide.But medical issues do need to be cured. If gender dysphoria is indeed naturally fatal without treatment, the only ethical solution is to find a cure that exposes the body to the least amount of risk. Obviously, this would be to correct the biological problem and/or address the psychological distress behind the dysphoria itself.The LGBT movement has built a civilization around the validation of being “who you are” despite all efforts of judgment or persecution. Trans individuals often tell me they are now their “true gender.” Advocates like Zack Ford and others routinely demand that extreme social bigotry prevents the trans individual from living a full and happy life. But in the center of this storm of indignation and boasting of perseverance is the steady and quiet realization that these people are extremely insecure.We cannot forget the real tragedy in all of this. People suffering from genuine mental anguish are being promised that with enough surgery, camouflage, social acceptance, legal protection, educational campaigns, and so on, they will finally feel whole as a person. Worse, they are told that the only reason they continue to suffer is due to the intolerance and hatred of those around them. The current method of addressing this concern is only making matters worse. Treatment needs to address the core problem.READ MORE: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/07/19769/?utm_source=The+Witherspoon+Institute&utm_campaign=001854e5a2-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_15ce6af37b-001854e5a2-84094405last_img read more

Board of Trustees elects Lionsgate’s Corii Berg

first_imgThe Board of Trustees has elected Lionsgate Executive Vice President and General Counsel Corii Berg as its newest member, according to USC News. Berg previously held the position of USC Alumni Association Board of Governors president. In addition to promoting inclusion on campus, Berg said he wants to prioritize USC community members’ health and safety amid the pandemic. On Tuesday, the University announced a plan to reopen campus in the fall with the majority of classes available both in person and online. Berg has served on the USC Annenberg Alumni Advisory Board and currently works on the school’s Board of Councilors. “Corii Berg is a passionate and inclusive leader whose strategic communication and management skills make him a valuable addition to our board,” President Carol Folt said. “We are excited to welcome him to this important new role.” Berg is a 1989 graduate with degrees in journalism from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and political science from the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  “When I came to USC, my world was very small,” said Berg, who went on to earn a law degree at Loyola Law School in 1992. “I took my first international trip as part of a study abroad program. USC literally opened my eyes to the world.” Berg’s wife Cari is also an Annenberg graduate, and the couple’s son, Eben, earned his undergraduate degree at USC this year.center_img “It’s really important to be open and inclusive and ensure we make all opportunities available to our very qualified students to contribute their experiences and knowledge to all our programs,” Berg told USC News. “I feel like I grew up at USC,” Corii Berg said. “It’s been my and my family’s home for so long. To have this opportunity to be even more engaged and positively impact the University is exciting and also really humbling.” Berg has spent more than the last two decades in stints with Lionsgate and Sony Pictures, heading business affairs at each corporation. He assumed a prominent legal role with Lionsgate and, before working at Sony, gained experience in legal work with law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. “Everyone feels a little disconnected from everything right now,” he said. “One of our strongest attributes at USC is the constant connectivity with our alumni. It’s incumbent on all of us to continue to engage those alumni, including young alumni, to make sure we can harness everything that is great about the Trojan Family.” During his tenure, Berg, who was a first-generation college student at USC, hopes to emphasize diversity and accessibility at the University, he told USC News. last_img read more

Gabonese timber linked to illegal logging seized in Antwerp

first_imgCorruption, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Law, Forest Loss, Forests, Governance, Government, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Logging, Rainforests, Timber, Timber Laws, timber trade, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Tropical hardwoods In 2016 and 2017, EIA investigators posed as timber merchants and met with WCTS’s deputy general manager, Chen Wixing. They secretly filmed a series of meetings with Chen and other WCTS employees.“His business model is essentially structural over-harvesting, tax evasion, money laundering and, covering all that, corruption,” Handy said.According to Handy, WCTS was extracting between two and three times its legal quota. When the EIA spoke to Chen in 2016, Handy says WCTS was already cutting down forest in areas it was not supposed to have reached until 2030.In the videos, published by the EIA in May this year, Chen also describes evading tax through transfer pricing and channeling his exports through smaller companies to avoid the attention of the authorities in Gabon.Following the EIA’s exposé, WCTS is now under investigation in Gabon.As part of its commitment to reduce illegal logging, the European Union introduced the EUTR in 2013, making it an offense to import illegally logged timber into the bloc. A key part of the regulation is a requirement that European companies importing timber must conduct thorough due diligence on their timber sources.Guidance documents produced by the European Commission in 2016 to assist timber traders in interpreting the EUTR state, “In cases where the risk of corruption is not negligible, even official documents issued by authorities cannot be considered reliable.” It is on this basis that Greenpeace believes Compagnie de Bois Anvers failed to conduct due diligence.In a statement responding to inquiries from Mongabay, Compagnie du Bois Anvers said, “We were of course shocked to see the set of movies that was released by EIA on 22/5/2019. We have immediately suspended our relationship with WCTS until the outcome of further investigations.”It declined to comment further until the Belgian investigation is complete.Allegations of illegal activities by WCTS have been aired publicly since 2017. WCTS was fined by the Gabonese authorities in 2017 following an investigation. It is also the subject of a civil complaint by Conservation and Justice, a Gabonese NGO. Verbelen said he believes the availability of this information means that Compaigne du Bois Anvers had clearly failed in its due diligence obligation.“There are more than enough indications if you are a timber trader in Belgium that there is a high risk of dealing with illegal timber when you’re buying from this company,” he said. “[Compagnie du Bois Anvers] needs to be investigated and, in our opinion, sanctioned.”Compagnie du Bois Anvers and Greenpeace are now awaiting the outcome of the Belgian government’s investigation.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Banner image: Timber exported by Wan Chuan Timber SARL currently blocked at the port of Antwerp, Belgium. Image courtesy of Philippe Verbelen/Greenpeace Belgian authorities have blocked a shipment of tropical timber from Gabon after a tip-off by Greenpeace.Under the EU Timber Regulation, European companies have an obligation to conduct proper due diligence on the source of the timber they import.Greenpeace says this due diligence requirement was not met in this case, as the wood was exported by a Chinese logging firm with previous allegations of illegal logging. On July 8, Greenpeace forest campaigner Philippe Verbelen was conducting routine monitoring at the Belgian port of Antwerp when he noticed a familiar name attached to a timber shipment: Wan Chuan Timber SARL (WCTS), a company that has been exposed and fined for a series of grave offenses in Gabon.Verbelen alerted customs officials at the port, who moved quickly moved to block the shipment of padoek, a tropical timber. The Belgian government is now investigating the company receiving the shipment, Antwerp-based Compagnie de Bois Anvers, for a possible breach of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).The shipment in question came from Gabon, a country that currently still has 85 percent coverage of incredibly biodiverse rainforest. In May this year, Pierre Moussavou, Gabon’s then-vice president and minister of state for forests and the environment, was fired in connection with a timber scandal.“[Gabon] is a country with a high level of corruption linked to the forestry sector,” Verbelen said. “European timber companies clearly need to identify companies active in Gabon as a high risk for doing business.”WCTS, which exported the timber, is a Chinese logging company operating in Gabon. Verbelen recognized its name from an undercover probe by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an NGO based in Washington, D.C. The EIA came across WCTS in 2016 while investigating illegal logging activity in Gabon.“We were asking who the really bad guys were, who were the people or the companies that were just breaking all the rules with no respect,” said Lisa Handy, the EIA’s director of forest campaigns, “and several times everybody was referring back to WCTS.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by terna gyuselast_img read more

As Amazon deforestation in Brazil rises, Bolsonaro administration attacks the messenger (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Rhett Butler Officials in the Bolsonaro administration have attacked the credibility of the National Institute for Space Research’s system for tracking deforestation.But an analysis indicates their criticism of INPE is flawed.Nonetheless, the Bolsonaro administration is taking measures against the agency, including firing INPE’s director Ricardo Galvão on Friday.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. On July 31, Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles tried to explain the data showing a huge deforestation outbreak detected in June this year, but his success was essentially zero. The following day, on August 1, he held a press conference with President Jair Bolsonaro, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Ernesto Araújo), and the head of the Institutional Security Office (General Augusto Heleno). Minister Salles made a presentation questioning the data produced by INPE (National Institute for Space Research) from its DETER (Deforestation Detection in Real Time) system. These data pointed to an 88% increase in the deforestation detected in June 2019, compared to the same month in 2018. The minister alleged that INPE’s data contained two flaws that supposedly rendered the numbers “untrue”:Deforestation carried out in previous monthsThe first criticism was that some of the 3250 polygons (the outlines on satellite imagery around deforestation areas) that were detected in June contained deforestation that had “started” in the months prior to June without being registered by the DETER system. He highlighted some of these polygons where deforestation had begun before January 1, 2019, when Jair Bolsonaro took office as president. Some polygons contained deforestation that had occurred between August and December 2018 and one polygon had started in 2017. The minister argued that the area of these polygons should be subtracted from the 978 km2 clearcut that had been reported in June 2019, which would reduce the percentage increase from June 2018.The monthly data produced by DETER do not record deforestation performed in the nominal month (as Minister Salles assumed), but rather deforestation that was detected in that month. Of course, polygons detected on the first day of the month will be entirely composed of deforestation done in previous months, while those detected on the last day of the month will have a larger proportion cleared within the nominal month itself. Even if the deforestation that had occurred before the Bolsonaro presidency were subtracted, it is unlikely that the result for June 2019 would be anything other than a large increase. The basic fact is that deforestation erupted explosively in the Bolsonaro presidential administration, and the data confirm this. It is also good to remember that the deforestation detected in June 2019 that was carried out in 2018 had an important contribution from the effect of Bolsonaro as a candidate and later as president-elect. Between June and September 2018, which were the last months of the election campaign when it was evident that candidate Bolsonaro was going to win, deforestation increased by 36% over the same months in 2017, which is believed to be a result of the presumption of impunity generated by the candidate’s rhetoric.The way DETER works is a necessity because each clearing needs to reach a relatively large size before it is detected, making it only natural for each clearing to take some time to grow to the minimum detection size. This does not mean that deforestation prior to the month of polygon detection should be discarded, much less that the entire polygon should be discarded as suggested by the minister. The same methodology that DETER applied in June 2019 was used to generate estimates for June 2018, and the 2018 number should contain a similar percentage of detected deforestation that began in previous months, as would be the case for all monthly data. Minister Salles only spoke of subtracting the polygons where deforestation began in previous months in the case of June 2019. However, to have a valid comparison the same would have to be done for the polygons detected in June 2018. With the June values for both years lowered by a similar percentage, the increase from the new value for June 2018 to the new value for June 2019 would be similar to the 88% shown by the current data.Google Earth image showing deforestation around Parakanã in the state of Pará in the Brazilian Amazon.OverlapThe second alleged failure pointed out by Salles was that there were some partial overlaps between polygons detected in June 2019 and polygons that had already been detected and accounted for and in previous months, according to high-definition images being sold by Planet. Minister Salles wants to hire this company (or a potential competitor) to monitor deforestation for the Ministry of the Environment, a move that has been interpreted as having the purpose of removing INPE’s autonomy with regard to deforestation studies. Polygon overlays on the Planet imagery indicate that there was double counting of the overlapping parts. The inaccuracy of the locations in the DETER system that this reflects should, in fact, lead to some (small) overestimation of the deforested area. However, this does not invalidate the estimated 88% increase in deforestation that DETER detected in June 2019 compared with June 2018 — the increase percentage would have no systematic bias because a similar overlap percentage should also exist in the 2018 data. Of course, as with any estimate, there is a range of uncertainty both below and above the calculated value, but this does not mean that the estimate is invalid. In the case of DETER, the sum of the areas detected from August of one year to July of the next year is almost always smaller than the deforestation recorded every year for this same interval by INPE’s most precise monitoring system: PRODES (Monitoring Program for Deforestation in the Amazon). This means that the net effect of bias in DETER is downward, not upward.President Bolsonaro commented that he believes the high number for deforestation detected in June is the result of “bad faith” on the part of someone inside INPE, and implied that such a person must be producing false data to undermine Brazil’s image abroad. The president has been attacking INPE for several weeks because of bad news about deforestation. At the August 1 news conference, the president said there would be “summary dismissal” of the person or persons if bad faith were confirmed. However, nothing that was presented indicates any kind of bad faith.General Heleno commented that letting data into the public domain indicating a large increase in deforestation indicates a lack of “love for the fatherland,” and that even if the numbers were true, the numbers should be “treated internally”. Unfortunately, what the data indicate is that there really is a big deforestation surge in the first dry season of the Bolsonaro government. The following day, on August 2, the director of INPE was informed of his removal from office.Banner Image: Google Earth image of the Brazilian Amazon overlaid with Global Forest Watch GLAD alert data for January-July 2019 and INPE monthly deforestation data. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

All set to strike: Students, youths and activists clamor for climate justice

first_imgClimate Activism, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Climate Politics, Protests, Social Justice, United Nations Article published by Willie Shubert Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Millions of young people around the world are expected to go on strike to demand immediate and meaningful action by governments and corporations to tackle the climate crisis.Youth activists have gathered in New York ahead of the U.N. climate summit there, where they took part in a people’s summit supported by more than 200 environmental and human rights groups.A key aspect of the climate injustice being highlighted is the fact that people in poorer countries will be hit hardest by the impacts of a changing climate.In the Philippines, one of the countries at greatest risk from those impacts, the government has backed the youth-led climate strike and called on developed countries to step up their climate actions. NEW YORK — Today marks the start of protests across the planet as millions witness the youth-led climate strike demanding governments take urgent and transformative action on climate change.Young climate activists from more than 150 countries are now calling on everyone to join them in the fight for a just, resilient and sustainable future. They draw their inspiration from Swedish student Greta Thunberg, whose refusal to go to school to protest climate inaction has fueled a global movement.“We believe that all struggles are worthwhile. We will continue to push for climate action to protect our nature, our people and our future,” said Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, an environmental and indigenous rights activist from Honduras.Zúñiga, the daughter of the late environmental defender Berta Cáceres, who was killed for opposing a dam project in 2016, joins Thunberg in the call and dialogue with international leaders for climate action at the United Nations Climate Summit taking place in New York this week.“We have no choice but to fight for our rights. Our proposal is for governments to set high ambitions and how are we going to make radical change. And this is an opportunity for us to clamor [for] climate justice,” said Zúñiga, who, along with more than 200 environmental and human rights groups, took part in a people’s summit that was held ahead of the global climate strike.New era of climate movementThe summit adopted a declaration calling on governments and corporations to urgently tackle the climate emergency and ramp up climate commitments.“This is the moment of urgency. This is the new era of climate movement. And it is time to fight for human rights-centered climate action,” said Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International. “We need to seize the opportunity to hold governments and corporations alike to be accountable. Nature does not negotiate and we cannot change the science. We need political will because it is our responsibility to rise up for the benefit of the generations to come.”Naidoo said that apart from joining the strike, these organizations plan to pursue more concerted climate litigation efforts, target the financial sector’s funding of fossil fuels, make more effective use of human rights accountability mechanisms, and coordinate more mass mobilization campaigns at national and regional levels.Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, said the declaration marks a new era of climate activism by putting people and human rights at the core of its solutions.“We will all take action and confront those responsibilities. Weak governments and toxic corporate power will have nowhere to hide as we put people at the center of our demands, and seek climate justice for the communities least responsible but most vulnerable to this climate emergency,” Morgan said.Pointing to the case of people in poorer countries being hit hardest by the impacts of climate change, Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev “Yeb” Saño said the global climate strike led by the young has not only created awareness but put pressure on climate policymakers to help people cope with these impacts.In 2013, Yeb Sano was the lead negotiator for the Philippines at COP19 in Warsaw. Image by Push Europe via Flickr (CC BT-NC 2.0).“There is a massive clamor from all sectors at this time of climate emergency. The Philippines, for instance, is a stark example of the gross injustice brought on by climate impacts which infringe on people’s most fundamental rights such as the right to life, shelter, food and livelihood,” Saño said.Saño, who is in New York participating in the global summit on human rights and climate change ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit called by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, said the Philippines is currently undertaking a landmark investigation into corporate responsibility for climate action.“If successful, the inquiry could result in the first legal finding of corporate responsibility for human rights violations in the age of climate crisis. This can be a vindication for all climate-impacted communities everywhere,” Saño said.Skipping school for the planetLike many countries, the Philippine government has given the green light to more than 23 million public school students to skip classes on Sept. 20 and join the climate protests calling for immediate action to fight climate change.“Moved by the climate realities faced by the Philippines and inspired by the global youth action, young Filipinos nationwide will take part in the global climate strike,” the Department of Education announced on Sept. 18. “With this the department enjoins school heads and teachers to excuse students who will be joining the localized climate strike provided that parental consent/legal guardian consent is given.”The department has also encouraged schools and offices to conduct climate education and action activities within school grounds, including noise barrage, school or community clean-ups, and educational discussions.Over 500 students and other youth advocates across the Philippines joined today’s global youth climate strike in Manila, Philippines. Image by Leo M. Sabagan courtesy of 350.org“We need to sound the alarm for climate emergency,” said Rodne Galicha, lead convener of the Catholic climate movement Living Laudato Si’ Philippines. “We are one with Pope Francis’ call for urgent action. In solidarity with the young people of the world demanding change and the most vulnerable demanding climate justice, it is our moral duty to be responsible stewards.“We are glad that the Department of Education enjoins students and teachers to participate in the global climate strike. This is indeed intergenerational action,” Galicha said.Thousands of Filipino youths are expected to stage protests in 28 locations demanding the government declare a climate emergency.“Calling for enhanced climate action is not enough anymore,” said Jefferson Estela, convener of the Youth Strike for Climate Philippines. “This is a climate emergency and the government needs to send a clear policy signal about the urgency of this crisis.”Among their demands, the youth activists want an immediate phase-out of coal and other fossil fuels, in keeping with President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration for the country to fast-track the development of renewable energy sources. They also want the state to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples and environmental defenders amid the climate crisis, and strengthen climate adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction management policies.“The Filipino youth is ready to break the silence and demand the kind of action necessary to save our future from the climate crisis,” said youth climate activist John Leo Algo, program manager of the Climate Action for Sustainability Initiative. “We join the millions of voices worldwide as we scream in the present and fight for our common future.”Algo emphasized the need for industrialized countries to take more drastic climate action and for developing countries to show stronger political will to properly address climate impacts. He added that there is a need to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of not only human communities, but also natural ecosystems to adapt to this crisis and achieve true sustainable development.“It is clear that we are already in a climate emergency situation,” said Gerry Arances, executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development. “It is either we act now or forever perish. For us Filipinos, despite all that we have to endure, we will fight back and fight for our children and the generations to come. And we will start by forcing our government to shift away from coal and fossil fuels as soon as possible.”Arances pointed out that the latest scientific report from the United Nations warned that without urgent action, the world would face worsening flooding, fiercer typhoons, food shortages and other catastrophic effects as a result of climate change as early as 2040.Powerful agents for changeAs young people push for more concrete action from their governments, the Philippine government says it supports the active participation of Filipino youth in the global mobilization for climate action.“As agents of change and progress, the youth is in a unique position to raise awareness on the climate emergency and to inspire tangible actions from the ground up,” said Emmanuel de Guzman, secretary of the Philippine government’s Climate Change Commission. “Climate justice delayed is climate justice denied. To rein global warming to below 1.5C [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit] is a moral imperative. Hence, we reiterate our call to the developed world to step up their climate actions and to deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.”De Guzman said the commission also supported the call by President Duterte to fast-track the development of renewable energy sources and to reduce dependence on traditional energy sources such as coal. This pronouncement, he said, comes at a crucial time when the country is finalizing its first nationally determined contribution, its climate action commitment under the Paris Agreement.Climate activist Greta Thunberg. Image by stephane_p on Visual Hunt – CC BY-NC-NDBanner image caption:Canberra Climate Strike. September 20, 2019. Image by Stephen Smith via Flickr CC BY 2.0This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets worldwide to strengthen coverage of the climate story.last_img read more

Indigenous communities, wildlife under threat as farms invade Nicaraguan reserve

first_imgNicaragua’s Bosawás Biosphere Reserve straddles the country’s border with Honduras and was declared a UNESCO site in 1997. It comprises one of the largest contiguous rainforest regions in Latin America north of the Amazon Basin and includes 21 ecosystems and six types of forest that are home to a multitude of species, several of which are threatened with extinction.According to a report by the Nicaraguan environmental agency MARENA, a little more than 15 percent of the Bosawás reserve had been cleared and converted for agricultural use in 2000. But today, that number stands at nearly 31 percent. Satellite data show deforestation reached the heart of the reserve’s core zone earlier this year.Deforestation in Bosawás stems mainly from migration, as people in other parts of the country move to the region looking for fertile land and space to raise cattle and grow crops.Indigenous communities are allowed to own land within Bosawás. But sources say land traffickers are selling plots of land to non-indigenous farmers and ranchers, creating conflicts that have caused death on both sides. Torrential rain creates a deafening roar as it strikes the metal roof of community leader Ubence Zelaya’s two-bedroom home on the southern border of the Mayagna indigenous territory. Zelaya lives in the community of Wisoh alongside the Bocay River within the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in northern Nicaragua. Outside his open door, a mountainous green landscape disappears behind a solid wall of water.“I was born and created on this river,” Zelaya told Mongabay as the rains die down. “My mother, my father, my grandfather, my grandmother, here they were born and here they died. [The Mayagna] are the owners of everything you see here, of this we are created, and we are the owners.”Zelaya’s eyes fill with tears as he explained the dire situation facing his community and his people. “The Mayagna have a tradition of protecting the reserve, the forests and the animals. Today, the mestizos have come bringing different traditions. They negotiate the land, the reserve, and they cut down the forests to make pastures and raise cattle.”Mestizo is a Spanish term for people who form the ethnic majority population of Nicaragua and other Latin American countries, who speak Spanish, and do not ascribe to a particular Indigenous culture or tribe. In Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, the non-indigenous mestizo settlers are expanding into the Bosawás reserve’s core zone, settling ancestral lands that the Nicaraguan government has recognized as collective territory titled to the Mayagna and Miskito people.The rainforest in Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is particularly biodiverse. Photo by Taran Volckhausen for Mongabay.Nicaragua’s Bosawás Biosphere Reserve sits within the Mosquitia region that straddles the border of Honduras with Nicaragua, comprising one of the largest contiguous rainforest regions in Latin America north of the Amazon Basin. Bosawás, covering some 2.2 million hectares (4.4 million acres), is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor that ensures the free movement of wildlife between Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mexico.Nicaragua holds about one-quarter of Central America’s remaining forest cover. Since the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve covers around 14 percent of Nicaragua’s land area, it holds a large amount of valuable habitat for the region’s widlife. Comprising 21 ecosystems and six types of forest, the reserve is home to 370 plant, 215 bird, 85 mammal, 15 snake, 11 fish, and 200,000 insect species. Several of these species are already threatened with extinction, such as Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), which are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.‘They’re coming after me next’The reserve, declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997, is made up of two parts: a buffer and core zone. The buffer zone is intended to act as a containment area where regulated human activities could occur in an effort to limit impacts on the core zone, and for decades has been settled by small-scale farmers and cattle ranchers who have converted the forests to grow annual food staples such as corn, rice and beans, as well as raise livestock.According to a report by the Nicaraguan environmental agency MARENA, a little more than 15 percent of the Bosawás reserve had been cleared and converted for agricultural use in 2000. But today, that number stands at nearly 31 percent.Satellite data show incursions cut deep into the heart of the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve between June and September, 2019. The reserve’s core zone surrounds one of Nicaragua’s last remaining intact forest landscapes, which are areas of old growth forest that are undisturbed and connected enough to retain their original biodiversity levels. Source: GLAD/UMD, accessed through Global Forest WatchDeforestation in Bosawás stems mainly from migration, as people in other parts of the country move to the region looking for fertile land and space to raise cattle and grow crops. And this pressure is no longer relegated to the buffer zone. Zelaya told Mongabay that in 2018, colonists have started to extend roads and buy up land within the reserve’s core zone where the Mayagna indigenous people have lived for thousands of years. One of these new developments is an informal road that follows the Bocay River from the town of Ayapal into the reserve’s core.The forest isn’t the only victim of this expansion. Zelaya claims that 11 indigenous people have been murdered at the hands of the colonists since 2011. Last month, he said the colonists killed one of his townspeople, and that the colonists “are celebrating the month anniversary, saying that the killing was a triumph for them.”“The threats continue, I can no longer live here because I’ve been told that they’re coming after me next,” he said. “These people know the military has authority here. If they were to tell them to leave, they would go.”Zelaya said that the Mayagna have not been able to speak directly with the government about the problems that have arisen due to the colonists penetrating the reserve. “Why doesn’t [the government] talk to us? Is it because they don’t see us as human beings? I don’t know.”An informal road that residents say is promoting non-indigenous settlement. Photo by Taran Volckhausen for Mongabay.Jesus Demasio is on the governing board of the Bosawás Territorial Indigenous Government comprised of both Mayagna and Miskito ethnic groups. Even though the Mayagna’s collective lands cannot legally be sold by any single person, even a member of an indigenous group to whom the land is titled, Demasio explained that land traffickers still sold plots of land to non-indigenous farmers and ranchers, creating conflicts that have caused death on both sides.“The land conflicts have created personal conflicts with threats and killings of indigenous and non-indigenous people within the reserve,” Demasio said. “A man from the indigenous community began selling lands to the colonists, but now the colonists don’t want to leave unless their money is returned.”Demasio suggested that the government should determine how many colonists have illegally settled in Mayagna ancestral territory, and then persuade them to leave peacefully by offering compensation for the money they spent for the land.Vanishing resourcesMayagna community member Rioberto Delgado lives further north along the Bocay River in the Samaska community near the border with Honduras.“The communal living system of the indigenous communities is disappearing. The animals we used to hunt, the fish we used to take from the river, they’re all going away, they’re disappearing,” Delgado said. “With the colonists, another system is replacing ours and the indigenous are suffering. Our system requires lots of land, fish, animals, the ability to work calmly without [agricultural] chemicals.”The Mayagna people were officially recognized by Nicaragua’s state constitution in the late 1980s. Delgado said that even though the government officially granted land titles to indigenous communities in Bosawás, the laws protecting those titles have not been effectively implemented or enforced.Delgado said that municipal and regional governments are interfering with indigenous laws, and promoting road construction, colonization and development that is pushing the agricultural frontier further into the reserve. This, he said, is increasing deforestation and land conflicts between the indigenous communities and the colonists.Zelaya said the Mayagna lack access to the authorities, who have allegedly done little to stop the colonists from illegally settling on indigenous lands. “The government, who has the police, the army, the authorities behind them, needs to put a hand on their chests and make a concerted decision to stop the invasions.”With every passing year, deforestation within the core zone is increasing. Delgado said that a 2016 survey counted 21 non-indigenous families situated within the Mayagna territory, but that the problem has become more acute since then.“There could be 100 families or there could 500, I don’t know. Our reserve is in agony, we are not free, many lives are threatened,” Delgado said. “Some of the lands were taken over without anyone’s permission and others were sold, illegally.”last_img read more

Illegal gold rush causing ‘irreversible damage’ to rivers in the Brazilian Amazon

first_imgA surge in illegal gold mining in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará is causing a dramatic rise in water pollution and deforestation, as speculators clear swaths of forest along the riverbanks to make way for makeshift mines known as garimpos. These mines have invaded well into Kayapó indigenous territory, a vast region home to several indigenous groups, including some that live in voluntary isolation from the outside world.Deforestation has more than doubled in the Kayapó protected area since 2000, with nonprofit groups pointing to gold mining as the key driver. FUNAI, the government agency tasked with protecting the interests of indigenous people in Brazil, has identified almost 3,000 people contaminated by mining residue in the territory.In Brazil, it is illegal to mine on indigenous lands – but local sources claim this isn’t stopping illegal miners from encroaching on the Kayapó territory. Some indigenous people who live on this land have been battling to expel the invaders in recent years. Others have reluctantly tolerated the illegal mining in exchange for a cut of the profits, which they say brings badly-needed funds to their communities.Many point to the rhetoric of Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro as a key factor that has emboldened illegal miners. The controversial far-right leader – who has his own past as a miner – has repeatedly railed against land protections as an “obstacle” to mining and development. Bolsonaro’s government is now pushing forward a controversial bill that would permit mining in indigenous territories. SÃO FÉLIX DO XINGU – As João Inácio de Assunção’s small boat sliced through the clay-colored waters of Rio Fresco in northern Brazil, he recalled a different time when the river was clearer and brimming with fish.“There used to be so many types of fish here,” said 51-year-old de Assunção as he steered the engine-powered boat. “Things have changed a lot.”De Assunção has spent 30 years working on the river, which cuts through São Félix do Xingu, a municipality in the northern state of Pará better known for its frenzied cattle production. Yet in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for fishermen like him to survive from the river.“Now the fish are dying, they are disappearing,” he said.Environmentalists point to a surge in illegal gold mining in this corner of the Brazilian Amazon, which has brought along with it a dramatic rise in water pollution and deforestation, as speculators clear swaths of forest along the riverbanks to make way for makeshift mines known as garimpos.This activity has done “irreversible damage” to the rivers in the region, said Gilberto Santos, who works with the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) in São Félix do Xingu, an arm of the Catholic Church that strives to advance human rights in rural communities in Brazil.“There’s always been mining speculation here – but in recent years, it has spread like a fever, ” said Santos. “And the water they are polluting is in small rivers and streams that flow directly into Rio Fresco.”Local sources say the most dramatic pollution has occurred in Rio Branco, a narrow river that snakes through the adjacent region of Ourilândia do Norte – or Northern Land of Gold – before flowing into the larger Rio Fresco.João Inácio de Assunção looks out over Rio Fresco. Photo by Ana Ionova for Mongabay.The Ourilândia do Norte municipality, most of which was still covered in lush forest a few years ago, has recently seen a sharp rise in clearing: it lost more than 5 percent of its forest cover between 2001 and 2018, according to satellite data from the University of Maryland (UMD). About half of this loss occurred in 2017 and 2018 alone, indicating deforestation in the region may be accelerating.And there are also signs that this acceleration has kept up this year: preliminary data from UMD indicate deforestation spiked in September and October to more than double the average rate for the same period over the past four years. Satellite images show the bulk of 2019 deforestation is due to mining expansion, much of it clustered around Rio Branco.Local sources say some illegal miners – known as garimpeiros – dump toxic waste directly into the river. But most of the pollution occurs because the removal of forest and topsoil has badly weakened the banks of Rio Branco, said Daniel Clemente Vieira Rêgo da Silva, adjunct professor at the Federal University of Southern and Southeastern Pará (Unifesspa) in São Félix do Xingu. This means the soil – and the toxins miners use to extract minerals – runs directly into the river when it rains.“What happens is that you remove this protection,” Rêgo da Silva said. “And we have a big problem with the use of mercury in mining. That soil that is entering the water is rich in mercury and other minerals too.”While Rêgo da Silva says it’s  difficult to establish a direct link, many environmentalists in the area believe  the mercury is likely a key contributor to the dwindling number of fish in Rio Fresco – a sentiment that some global studies echo. Across Brazil, as much as 221 metric tons of mercury are released into the environment each year due to illegal mining, preliminary studies showed in 2018.Scientific studies have also found mercury to be detrimental to human health, linking exposure to the element to skin disease, infertility and birth defects. It can also impact river-dwelling communities far beyond the immediate area around a mining site, as contamination travels downstream and the impact becomes amplified up the food chain.The region is home to many river-dependent species such as giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), which are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Photo by www.Araguaia.org via Wikimedia Commons.In Pará, the contaminated water flows from one river into the next, eventually reaching São Félix do Xingu. In the open water where Rio Fresco meets Rio Xingu, the blue stream of one flows alongside the muddy currents of the other.“How can you use the water?” de Assunção wondered. “For whoever lives here, it’s impossible.”Decades of damageThe decline of Rio Fresco didn’t begin this year with the spike in mining activity in this part of the Brazilian Amazon. Instead, it goes back to the mining rush that gripped the broader Amazon region beginning in the 1970s.As new roads were built across the Amazon, the path into the mineral-rich lands around Ourilândia do Norte and Tucumã was opened up by miners searching for gold, nickel and iron. In the decades that followed, more and more miners moved into the area, hoping to strike it rich in the illicit gold trade.Today, there are more than 450 illegal mines in the Brazilian Amazon, according to the Rede Amazónica de Información Socioambiental Georreferenciada (RAISG), a consortium of civil society organizations. Brazilian authorities estimate that 30 metric tons of illegal gold – worth about 4.5 billion reais ($1.1 billion) – are traded each year just in the Tapajós Basin, much of which lies in Pará state.While mining accounts for  a far smaller proportion of deforestation than cattle ranching or logging, its environmental impact has become clearer – and more worrying – in recent years. A 2017 study found that mining contributed to about 10 percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between 2005 and 2015. The vast majority of mining-related clearing – about 90 percent – occurred illegally outside mining leases granted by the Brazilian government.Most often, miners come with heavy machinery, including excavators, that can raze large swaths of forest with ease. Often, they also carve out makeshift airstrips, allowing mining supplies and equipment to be flown into densely forested areas by plane. When the land begins to yield less, they move on to another patch of mineral-rich forest.Some of the mining in the region is legal but even those operations have run into controversy. Earlier this year, prosecutors suspended a nickel mine owned by mining giant Vale following contamination of a nearby river in the Xikrin indigenous territory. Vale has denied that its mine, which straddles the municipalities of Tucumã and Ourilandia do Norte, is responsible for the contamination.Meanwhile, the area where illegal miners have recently ramped up their activity overlaps with the Kayapó indigenous territory, a vast region spanning some 3.28 million hectares that is home to several indigenous groups, including some that live in voluntary isolation from the outside world.Satellite images captured in November show several large, active mining sites along rivers in and near the Kayapó indigenous territory. Imagery source: Planet Labs.In Brazil, it is illegal to mine on indigenous lands – but local sources claim this isn’t stopping illegal garimpeiros from encroaching on the Kayapó territory. Some indigenous people who live on this land have been battling to expel the invaders in recent years. Others have reluctantly tolerated the illegal mining in exchange for a cut of the profits, which they say brings badly-needed funds to their communities.Deforestation has more than doubled in the Kayapó protected area since 2000, with nonprofit groups pointing to gold mining as the key driver. FUNAI, the government agency tasked with protecting the interests of indigenous people in Brazil, has identified almost 3,000 people contaminated by mining residue in the territory.Along Rio Fresco, the long-term impacts of mining pollution have also started to become evident. A study done by researchers at Unifesspa, led by Rêgo da Silva, recently found only 21 invertebrate species still living in Rio Fresco. In contrast, there were roughly 45 species in Rio Xingu. Aquatic invertebrates – often the larvae of flying insects – are routinely used by researchers as indicators of waterbody health. “This isn’t just an environmental problem – it’s also a social problem,” said Cristian Bento da Silva, an anthropologist with the Instituto de Estudos do Xingu, who is studying the impact of water pollution on the São Félix do Xingu community. “In the early 2000s, it was still possible to fish in Rio Fresco. Now, this river is known as the ‘Dead River’ here.”As Rio Fresco became more polluted and the number of fish dwindled over the last two decades, de Assunção says many fishermen who relied on its waters have moved further along Rio Xingu in search of more plentiful catch.“The veterans, the majority have left. Because it became impossible to work as the mining picked up,” he said, noting that there’s also been instances of illness in the community, which he blames on the polluted water.last_img read more

Ghana’s government faces pushback in bid to mine biodiversity haven for bauxite

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Governance, Insects, Mammals, Mining, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by terna gyusecenter_img Ghana’s Atewa Forest Reserve is home to dozens of endangered species — as well as a substantial bauxite deposit.Environmental impact assessments have not been completed, and conservationists and local communities reject the plan as a threat to the reserve, which is a noted biodiversity hotspot.The government claims it can mine the forest with minimal damage, yielding 150 million metric tons of bauxite that it will use to pay for a national infrastructure program. ACCRA — “Beginning now, the full-scale exploitation of Ghanaian bauxite resources will commence,” Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said last June. “I am satisfied by what I have been told and what has been demonstrated to me that it is possible for us to get that red matter out without disturbing the wildlife that there is in the Atewa mountains.” The president may be satisfied, but environmentalists and concerned residents in and around Atewa are not.On Jan. 13, Ghanaian environmental NGO A Rocha Ghana went to court in a bid to stop the mining project. Supported by 20 other civil society organizations, A Rocha’s suit claims that mining bauxite in Atewa will violate Ghanaians’ rights to a clean and healthy environment and the protection of the environment for future generations.Chocolate-backed Kingfisher: one of 155 bird species found in the Atewa Forest Reserver. Image by Nik Borrow via Flickr (CC BY-NC-2.0)A treasure of biodiversityThe Atewa forest, 95 kilometers (59 miles) northeast of the capital, Accra, spans 725 square kilometers (280 square miles). Ranging in elevation from 230 to 845 meters (750 to 2,700 feet), the reserve supports a variety of different habitats, including more than 650 species of plants and a rare upland forest ecosystem. The forest is also the source for the Birim, Densu and Ayensu rivers, which provide water for some 5 million people, including residents of the capital.Though Atewa is designated a production forest and has been logged in the past, it is home to many vulnerable and endangered species. The white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) is found here, and what may be the last viable population of the critically endangered Togo slippery frog (Conraua derooi). Among 155 bird species recorded in the reserve are the brown-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus) and the Nimba flycatcher (Melaenornis annamarulae). The reserve also hosts 17 species of rare butterflies, half of which are found nowhere else in Ghana, including the African giant swallowtail (Papilio antimachus), with a wingspan of up to 23 centimeters (9 inches). New species continue to be found here, such as the endemic Atewa dotted border (Mylothris atewa), a butterfly recorded nowhere else, and a new species of hooded spider, Ricinoides atewa.There are about 30 communities — around 50,000 people — in the area. Most residents grow cacao alongside food crops. They also enter the forest in search of bushmeat, snails, honey, mushrooms, and wild fruit.This is where the state-owned Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) is determined to develop a bauxite mine as part of a massive $2 billion infrastructure deal.Hollow promises of protectionIn July 2018, Ghana’s parliament approved an agreement with China’s Sinohydro Corporation Limited to build infrastructure projects including roads, hospitals, landfill sites, and industrial parks. The Master Project Support Agreement will also see the electricity grid extended to more rural communities. Ghana is to pay for these with $2 billion worth of refined bauxite.Thirty-five kilometers of roads have already been constructed in Atewa, linking 53 test drill sites. Map courtesy Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape.In June 2019, GIADEC started clearing access roads to the summit of the Atewa forest to allow test drilling for bauxite deposits it believes amounts to 150 million to 180 million metric tons.The plan to mine in Atewa has been strenuously opposed by environmentalists and local communities. In 2018, NGOs and faith groups walked the 95 km from the forest to the capital to protest the mining plans. More recently, a group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape organized a shorter march. Carrying placards reading “Save Atewa Forest Now” and “Atewa is our heritage,” the protesters marched 9.5 km (6 mi) from the forest to the local municipal seat in Kyebi on Jan. 21.“GIADEC had entered the forest to explore and had drilled 53 points where the mining will take place, with the claim that the mining would take place in the northern part of the forest which will not affect the southern part,” Oteng Adjei, the leader of the group, told journalists. “Interestingly, the water table at the specific place being referred to is such that when you dig 3 meters [10 feet] deep, you will meet water. The bauxite is 6 meters deep [20 feet] and beyond, so the obvious conclusion is that the water will be reached before the bauxite is extracted.”The company insists it will mine the bauxite in such a way that the forest will not be damaged.At a press conference in Accra on Dec. 4 last year, GIADEC’s chief executive officer, Michael Ansah, said a “strip mining approach” would help to reduce noise, dust and the mining footprint.“There are examples of industry best practices where forest reserves have been mined and successfully rehabilitated and GIADEC will draw upon these examples to ensure minimal impact to the environment and the local communities,” he said. “One example where the bauxite mining has been done in a sustainable manner is the jarrah forest in Western Australia.”He said GIADEC would restrict mining near water bodies in the Atewa forest, as well as carefully remove and preserve topsoil for the preservation of the flora and fauna for later rehabilitation of the mining site.Asked about an environmental and social impact assessment for the proposed mine, Ansah told Mongabay that companies that would be awarded the contract to mine the bauxite would be engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ghana Water Resources Commission to do the impact assessment — a key requirement before mining can begin. He confirmed that test drilling has been done and that he expects the companies that will be contracted to mine the forest to be selected before the end of March 2020.“So, who gave GIADEC the permission to enter the Atewa forest and conduct the test drilling?” said Francis Emmanuel Awotwi, a lecturer at the University College of Agricultural and Environmental studies at Bunso, also in the Atewa enclave. Under Ghanaian law, one has to submit a work plan, site and concession plan before a prospecting permit can be granted.Awotwi said he was also unconvinced by GIADEC’s claim that strip mining will protect ecosystems in Atewa.He said the same approach is currently being used at Awaso, in western Ghana, and the outcome has been devastating. There, Awotwi said, the Awa River has been destroyed by the bauxite operations in the area, and people there can’t harvest rainwater because of the dust, adding that many of them are also suffering from respiratory diseases.Regarding the reference to mining in Australia’s jarrah forest, protest leader Adjei pointed out that the rehabilitation model from Western Australia is irrelevant here. “There are hundreds of different type of tree species and animals in the Atewa forest which can only survive in a natural habitat and GIADEC hasn’t shown any effort or roadmap towards preserving them, while it prepares to start the mining operation,” he added.The state-owned aluminium company says it can mine Atewa with damaging it, but conservationists are unconvinced. Image courtesy A Rocha Ghana.Unnecessary sacrificeAwotwi says the estimated 700 million metric tons of bauxite deposits at the Nhyinahin forest reserve alone could produce the $2 billion needed for the Sinohydro deal, without touching the Atewa forest. “We have always known that there is bauxite at Atewa, but governments have come and gone and nobody has touched Atewa because it is a very sensitive area ecologically.”Nhyinahin is part of the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve, in the Ashanti Region. But here, too, there is resistance to bauxite mining. Traditional leaders in the district have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to halt the proposed mining operations, citing lack of consultation from GIADEC.Communities around Atewa have also rejected the assurances being given by GIADEC.“We don’t live in a dreamland anymore and we are not 17th-century Ghanaians,” said Emmanuel Tabi, a local assembly representative. “Where is the environmental impact assessment? What is the roadmap? Let them be serious so that we will take them serious. They can’t just throw anything at us.”Tabi said he fears the worst for people whose livelihoods depend on the forest. “The Atewa Forest Reserve defines our livelihood. So, if anything should happen to the forest, the rainfall pattern will change and our livelihood also change. It will affect everybody living along the line and it is therefore important that the forest is reserved,” he said.Tabi has called on the president, who also comes from the Atewa area, to cancel the proposed mining project and instead turn the forest into a national park.“Nobody is saying that bauxite mining is not good or it won’t give employment or it won’t give Ghana government money,” he said, “but we believe that whatever we will get out of bauxite mining as at today, we equally beg that if we do the alternative, we will get several times what we will get and that will help Ghana today and Ghana tomorrow.”Local assembly representative Emmanuel Tabi: ‘if anything should happen to the forest, the rainfall pattern will change and our livelihoods will also change.’ Image Awudu Salami for Mongabay.Banner image: Foothills of the Atewa forest range. Image by Ahtziri Gonzalez/CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, Feb. 7, 2020

first_imgConservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update Article published by John Cannon There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsMalaysia estimates it will take a decade to build the Trans-Borneo Highway, connecting Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo with Brunei (The Malaysian Insight, The Edge Markets).The NGO African Parks will manage the 150,000-square-kilometer (58,000-square-mile) Iona National Park in Angola (Africa Geographic).Locusts have descended on Kenya, in the country’s worst infestation in 70 years (The Guardian).Malaysian lawmakers are expected to strengthen penalties levied against illegal loggers (Reuters).A dispute over land and resources may have left six indigenous people dead in Nicaragua (BBC News) …… While in Brazil a man was killed during a raid to stamp out illegal deforestation (Reuters).An economic study found that the U.S.’s biofuels policy has had an “insignificant” impact on deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia (Agrinews).Numbers of the pig-like white-lipped peccary have dropped by as much as 90%, a study has found (ScienceDaily).Other newsBumblebees have lost almost half their habitat in North America (The Washington Post).Some Republican lawmakers in the U.S. see addressing climate change as electorally necessary (The Washington Post).A baboon in South Africa’s Kruger National Park kidnapped, then gently groomed, a lion cub (Africa Geographic).Researchers wonder whether the platypus can withstand the assaults from feral cats, habitat loss and wildfires (The New York Times).The loss of sea ice in northern Japan is both a benefit and a hindrance to spotted seals (The Washington Post).Illegal fishing off the Somali coast is upending the small-scale fisheries on which communities depend (Hakai Magazine).Millions of trees may have died after a tree-planting project in Turkey (The Guardian).Andean condor numbers are dropping due to deaths related to pesticide use (The Revelator).U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t mention climate change in his State of the Union address, but said he has a plan to plant a trillion trees (Undark) …… Even as his administration moves to open up once-protected areas in the western U.S. to grazing, drilling and logging (The Washington Post).Currents are speeding up across more than three-quarters of the world’s oceans as a result of climate change (The Washington Post, The New York Times).Scientists have observed Alaskan brown bears hunting sea otters for the first time (Hakai Magazine).Banner image of brown bears courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more