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Saturday, 15 December

09:30

Dutch banks customers unknowingly profit from palm oil companies "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Dutch banks ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are failing to inform their customers that investment funds they offer include shares in palm oil companies damaging the environment in Indonesia, according to a new report by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands). Some of these funds have been labeled as sustainable, despite having shares in companies with a track record of misconduct, according to the report, titled Investment Funds: The untold story about the link between Dutch banks and industrial palm oil companies. The report examines the links between the three Dutch banks and a selection of mostly Indonesian palm oil companies and conglomerates. Although not all of the 81 selected palm oil companies have similar social and environmentally abusive practices, the researchers write, the industrial palm oil industry as a whole remains rife with controversy and human rights violations in the production chain. These problems, such as deforestation, environmental degradation, pollution and the exploitation of workers, were described in another report published recently by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, titled Draw The Line: A black book about the shady investments of Dutch Banks into palm oil. Palm oil can be found in an endless array of supermarket products, including shampoo, soap, peanut butter, chocolate spread, milk powder, pizza and chips. Pungkat in Sumatra is an example of a village that suffers from the effects of the palm oil industry, activists say. Before, the villagers could drink water and eat fish from the river, says Devi Indriani, an advocacy and campaign

09:10

Four Injured in Explosion & Fire at MarkWest Gas Processing Complex in Southwest PA "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

MarkWest isolates Ethane, Propane and Butanes from Wet Natural Gas

Four injured, one critically, in explosion at MarkWest processing plant in Washington County, PA

From an Article by Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 14, 2018

Four people remain hospitalized, one in critical condition, after an explosion at a Washington County gas processing plant Thursday night.

The explosion involved two storage tanks at the MarkWest Energy facility at 800 Western Ave., in Houston, Pa. It was reported at 6:03 p.m. and the fire brought under control within an hour, according to county emergency officials.

All of the injured workers suffered burns. Two were flown to UPMC Mercy, including one person who was in critical condition Friday morning, officials said. The other two injured were flown to West Penn Hospital.

Nine fire departments and three EMS crews responded, as did the countys hazmat unit. No homes were evacuated.

A MarkWest official said in a statement that the explosion occurred near two temporary tanks that were on-site for routine maintenance, resulting in a fire.

Although the processing plant was not involved in the incident, it was shut down as a precaution and at this time there are no off-site impacts, the statement read. Agency notifications have been made and an investigation into the cause of this event is underway. Our prayers are with our injured colleagues and their families.

**********************************

From WTAE Action 4 News:

The Marathon Petroleum Corporation issued the following statement:

At approximately 6 p.m. local time, the MarkWest processing plant in Houston, Pennsylvania, experienced an incident near two temporary tanks that were on-site for routine maintenance, resulting in a fire. There were injuries and four individuals have been transported to area hospitals. Local fire departments responded and the fire has been extinguished. The processing plant has been shut down as a precaution and at this time there were no off-site impacts. Agency notifications have been made and an inves...

08:47

Risk Assessment on Mariner East 2 Pipeline Appears Inadequate "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Mariner East 2 Pipeline to transport NGL to Delaware River for export

Delaware County (Pennsylvania) sets public hearing on pipeline risk study

Article from the Delaware County Daily Times, Upper Darby Township, PA, December 14, 2018

MEDIA COURTHOUSE Delaware County Council will hold a public presentation of the Pipeline Risk Assessment on December 17 at 6 p.m. in the County Council Public Meeting Room, located on the first floor of the Government Center, 201 W. Front St., Media.

Council contracted with G2 Integrated Solutions, based in Texas to conduct an independent study of the risks associated with the operation of the Mariner East 2 pipeline and the converted Adelphia pipeline. Analysts from G2 will present the findings of the study to Council and to the public on December 17, 2018.

In response to public discussions, this risk assessment was undertaken to estimate the level of individual risk to Delaware County residents from either the Mariner East 2 pipeline or the converted Adelphia pipeline and then compare to other common sources of risk experienced by the general population. The Mariner East 2 pipeline and Adelphia pipeline quantitative risk assessments were executed in a systematic process in which potential accident events were identified, the associated consequence and likelihood of such events were determined, and the risk measures estimated.

The full results of the risk assessment study can be found here.

Some pipeline opponents have criticized the findings of the study, which downplayed the danger of a serious incident or risk of injury from the pipeline as being about the same as being involved in a car accident, house fire or fall down the steps.

Mariner East 2 foes have said that actually the study points to just the opposite, that the blast zone created by a serious problem with the pipeline actually is greater than thought, about 1.3 miles, and that while the chance of an incident are smaller, any problem likely would be catastrophic.

Sunoco and Energy Transfer P...

06:04

Special Needs Cat Gets The Most Magical Cat Tree "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Wolfie was rescued after living behind a building with his siblings on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. From the moment he arrived in his new home, there was always something different about Wolfie. He was a very sickly kitten, and his mom eventually discovered that he was born with a severely kinked esophagus. Once he started eating an all-liquid diet, he became much healthier, and has now transformed into the funniest, sweetest cat. 

Oh my gosh, he's hilarious, Jacqueline Santiago, Wolfies mom, told The Dodo. He's spunky and makes the silliest faces. He's a total mamas boy. He loves all cats and wants to play with everyone.
 

Credit: Jacqueline Santiago

Despite his special needs, Wolfie doesnt seem to have any idea hes any different, and loves playing with all his cat siblings whenever he gets the chance. Between Santiago and her roommate, there are five cats living in their house. They all get along great and love to hang out together, and so the two friends decided they wanted to get them something they could all enjoy together a gigantic cat tree

My roommate and I had been researching cat trees because we found our other trees were a bit too small for her cat plus our four other kitties, Santiago said. We wanted something that could accommodate everyone's needs.

Credit: Jacqueline Santiago

They decided to order a custom cat tree from Hollywood Kitty Company, and began working with the designer to come up with something that would work for each one of their furry family members. 

The decaying tree stump on the right was made for my cat Piper who needed her own private space, Santiago said. The larger platforms accommodate our bigger cats like Leonidas and Noelle. Our kitty Khaleesi loves all the branches and there is a bed right in the middle just for her. Wolfie is a huge fan of being on top, as is Leo, so we made sure there was several tall platforms so there would be no fighting over the top spot. As we disc...

05:34

Raccoon Looking For A Snack Gets His Head Stuck In A Can "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

This raccoon found a great snack but then, everything went downhill.

Last month in North Fort Myers, Florida, a curious raccoon thought he hit the jackpot when he stumbled upon a metal can with some soup remnants still left inside. Eager to slurp up the leftovers, the raccoon put his head in and then it got stuck.

Credit: CROW

Luckily, locals found the wayward snacker and took him to Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) for help.

Its a good thing Dr. Robin Bast had a can opener on hand because she was going to need it.

Credit: CROW

The veterinarian and her team carefully opened the bottom end of the can to allow the raccoon to breathe better, and then administered sedation to fully remove the remaining metal can.

As the raccoon relaxed, the team was able to quickly pull the can from around the animals head and they were glad to see that the can hadnt cut into his neck or chin.

Credit: CROW

The animals who get help in time, like this racoon, are the lucky ones.

Its not an uncommon occurrence; we get a handful of [litter] cases per month, Bast told The Dodo. Situations include bottles or cans stuck on the animals head, dryer sheets wrapped around a birds beak, plastic stuck on wings or legs, etc.

The hungry raccoon likely found the soup can while snooping through a trash can for food something that can be easily prevented by taking the right precautions, Bast said....

05:33

800-Pound Pig Found On Streets Just Wants Someone To Love Him "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The Langley Animal Protection Society typically takes in cats, dogs and other similarly sized animals but when they got a call about an 800-pound animal who needed their help, they knew that no matter how big, they couldnt turn him away. 

Theodore the pig was found running through the streets of Langley, British Columbia, all alone, and no one has any idea where he came from. He was initially spotted on a very busy road, and so his rescuers knew it was important to get him to safety as quickly as possible so he wasnt injured by a passing car. It wasnt an easy feat getting an 800-pound pig to corporate, but his rescuers refused to give up, and Theodore became an official resident of the Langley Animal Protection Society. 

Credit: Jayne Nelson

His rescue was reasonably straightforward although he was very reluctant to get onto the horse trailer, Jayne Nelson, executive director of the Langley Animal Protection Society, told The Dodo. It took about two hours and a chocolate chip granola bar to convince him to jump in the trailer. 

Credit: Jayne Nelson

Once he was safe, Theodore's rescuers searched for his family, but unfortunately came up empty and so once he was neutered, they began the tricky task of trying to find a family who would be willing to take on such an enormous new family member. 

Credit: Jayne Nelson

Despite his size, Theodore is one of the sweetest creatures youll ever meet. He just wants constant attention and loves from the people caring for him, and would make...

05:14

New Jersey Is First State To Ban All Animal Circuses "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

In a landmark win for the animals, New Jersey has become the first U.S. state to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

Signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy, this historic measure recognizes both the animal welfare concerns and public safety concerns of circuses and other traveling shows that force wild animals to perform.

Credit: Facebook/Circus World

The new law protects many endangered and threatened species like elephants, tigers, lions, bears and primates from being made to perform for entertainment.

The news has been long-awaited by animal advocates across the country, who diligently stood behind lawmakers in their efforts to pass the so-called Noseys Law, which was named after a now-famous circus elephant from Alabama.

After decades of living in chains and being forced to give rides to her owners customers, Nosey was awarded a new home in 2017 at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Her former owner, Hugo Liebel, faces animal cruelty charges for the years of neglect.

Credit: Facebook/The Elephant Sanctuary

Now, thanks to Noseys precedent and New Jersey lawmakers, its possible other performing animals will go on meet the same peaceful fates at a sanctuary.

For Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International and long-time advocate of Nosey, the news is a cause for celebration and a sign that more change could be on the way in other states very soon....

04:55

Extinction is Not an Option: The $1bn Push to Save Orcas in Washington "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

by Levi Pulkkinen / The Guardian

A female orca leaps from the water while breaching in Puget Sound, west of Seattle. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP

Governor proposes destroying dams, repairing habitats and limiting whale-watching in bid to save struggling creatures.

Five months after twin tragedies cast a spotlight on the states ailing orcas, Washington plans to spend more than $1bn to stave off extinction.

If enacted, a proposal from the governor, Jay Inslee, would knock down two dams, repair habitat and place a three-year ban on orca watching. Crucially, Inslee hopes to shore up salmon runs that feed the orca while cleaning and quieting the waters in which they live.

The deaths of two young orca this summer transfixed the nation and inspired a desperate push to save the black-and-white creatures, also called killer whales, who are treasured regional symbols. A shortage of Chinook salmon, pollution, and marine noise caused by boats which blinds their echolocation has led to diminishing numbers of orcas. Three years have passed since an orca calf born in the region has survived.

Worries of imminent extinction prompted demands for action from state leaders. Inslees answer came earlier this week as the governor, a Democrat thought to hold presidential ambitions, outlined the billion-dollar, two-year proposal.

When we save the orcas from toxins, when we save t...

03:58

Rescue Bear Skips Hibernating So He Can Play With This Log "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

When a bear named Riku first arrived at a sanctuary last year, he had to adjust to an entirely different kind of life.

Riku had been kept chained up in a tiny shack next to a man's house in Albania. Most likely he had been kept captive since he was a small cub. By the time he was 2 years old, he was too big for his owner to handle. Day and night he was chained up, unable to feel sunlight or step on fresh grass. 

Credit: Four Paws International

People from Four Paws International arrived in May 2017 to save Riku and bring him to Dancing Bears Park Belitsa in Bulgaria, a sanctuary for bears saved from abuse. 

Credit: Four Paws International

For the first time since he was a tiny cub, Riku was able to roam freely, smell fresh air and meet other bears like him. 

It takes some time for bears who are saved from being kept in cages to adjust back to a more natural kind of life. 

One of the hardest things for rescued bears to do after being kept captive is hibernate. Not given the opportunity to build a den when in captivity means that newly rescued bears sometimes skip whole winters when they should be hibernating. 

...

03:20

Butterfly Sanctuary Is Heaven On Earth And About To Be Bulldozed "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Sixteen years ago, people decided to set up something special near a beautiful river in Texas. 

And setting something up, in this case, meant letting things be. The people at the National Butterfly Center let the trees that were going there in the rich Rio Grande Valley keep growing. They let the wildflowers, shrubs and natural undergrowth keep blooming.

Credit: National Butterfly Center

People even helped nature along on the center's one hundred protected acres, planting native flowers to encourage a wide range of butterfly species, as well as different types of birds, to come and make their homes there. 

This land soon became a magical haven for over two hundred species of wild butterflies  as naturally as leaves come to trees.

Credit: National Butterfly Center

"It is positively magical for people to walk through clouds of butterflies," Marianna Wright, director of the center, told The Dodo. "None of this is artificially constructed. We are simply planting the host and the nectar plants and they [the butterflies] just appear."

But the delicate and colorfully winged creatures that create the otherworldly atmosphere of this place and the people who are devoted to protecting them are suddenly facing a hard reality

"Its stuff I never thought I would be dealing with," Wright said.

In the summer of 2017, surveyors started to show up. Wright found surveying stakes in the land. She saw contractors had started to cut down some surrounding trees and pulling up flowers. 

Now it's all too...

03:13

Adanis claims that W&J have certified Woongal are false "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

MEDIA RELEASE

Saturday 15 December 2018

Adanis claims that W&J have certified Woongal are false, disrespectful and underhanded, say Traditional Owners

Adanis announcement that Woongal Environmental Services has been given a contract to monitor environmental outcomes on Wangan and Jagalingou country has drawn condemnation from the W&J Council as false, and typical of the disrespectful and underhanded way in which Adani treats Traditional Owners.

W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said, The claim that Woongul is a Wangan and Jagalingou certified business is false. No decision of the native title party has ever been made to certify this company. This announcement is in breach of the terms of Adanis own purported ILUA.

A Wangan and Jagalingou certified business is a reference to a business accredited in accordance with the process set out in the Adani ILUA. Mr Burragubba says this process has never been followed.

We will seek legal advice on blocking this contract. We are tired of other people misrepresenting us and benefiting at our expense. Adanis announcement is an insult. Other people have been given authority over our country and our environment, while many W&J Traditonal Owners and families have been deliberately excluded from any input into cultural heritage protection and environmental management.

We know Adani must give the appearance of starting work, and they like to hide behind supposed Aboriginal employmen...

02:36

Police Dog Can't Quite Figure Out His New Winter Booties "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Jary has a very demanding job in law enforcement for a dog.
 
The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois joined the Rapid City (South Dakota) Police Department in 2016, and has gone everywhere with his dad and handler, Senior Officer Hower, ever since.
 
The K9 always finds a way to lighten the mood at the station and brighten his fellow officers' day.
 
His personality is that of a puppy. He loves to play and meet new people, Hower told The Dodo. He loves going to work and hanging out with the other officers at the station.

Credit: Facebook/Rapid City Police Department

Jarys natural talent for entertainment came into play last week, when his dad bought the pup some protective footwear to battle the winter chill. Jary has to be prepared for anything, so a little snow and ice cant get in his way when it comes to fighting crime.
 
But when Hower put the new booties on Jary, he didnt expect the dogs hilarious reaction. Luckily, a fellow K9 handler had his phone handy.

Credit: Rapid City Police Department

Shoes can throw off a dogs balance and friction, and its clear Jary is struggling with both. This was his first time wearing these particular brand of boots, Hower said. We had a good laugh while watching his response to the boots, but encouraged him at the same time.

Hower was just going to share the clip with his family and friends, but since it was posted to the police departments official Facebook page, Jary has become a star. To the surprise of his handler, Jarys video has been viewed nearly 6 million times in under a week.
 
I had...

00:15

Cow Takes Wrong Step And Falls Into Huge Sinkhole "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

One morning last week, the Lincoln County Fire Department got a call about a cow whod gotten stuck in a sinkhole, and was completely unable to pull herself out on her own. The hole was about 20 feet deep, and while the man who found her tried everything he could think of to help her out, he eventually decided to call for help

Credit: Dustin Whited

Around noon, the man contacted the fire department in hopes that they could help. The department sent some firefighters out to the scene, but they quickly realized that the rescue was going to be a tricky one, and wasnt something they would be able to do on their own. 

In order to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible, the Lincoln County Fire Department decided to call in the Jessamine County Fire Department and the Lexington County Fire Department as well, to provide extra crew members and equipment, so that the poor cow would have the absolute best chance of getting out of that sinkhole as quickly as possible. 

Credit: Dustin Whited

Once on scene the fire department realized the rescue was beyond their scope, Captain Dustin Whited, who works with both the Lexington County Fire Department and the Lincoln County Fire Department, told The Dodo. Most of them know that I am on the technical rescue team in Lexington. I got a call about the cow and they inquired if we would respond to assist them. 

Once the entire rescue crew was assembled, they all assessed the situation together and formulated the best plan to get the cow out of the hole safe and sound. Throughout the entire process, the cow seemed scared and confused and yet remained calm, as if she knew that a whole team of people were working together to get her out. 
...

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Friday, 14 December

23:04

Category 4 Tropical Cyclone "Owen" to hit Queensland, Australia "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Severe Tropical Cyclone "Owen" is currently a Category 3 strength system in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Owen is forecast to continue on a generally easterly track for the remainder of today, intensifying to Category 4 strength before making...... Read more

Record-breaking rains hit Victoria, Australia "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The moisture from Tropical Cyclone "Owen" is feeding the low-pressure system over Victoria this week, bringing record-breaking rains and floods to the region. The worst affected were northeast and northwest regions of Victoria, around Birchip, and east of...... Read more

Hobby-grade drones above can monitor marine animals beneath the surface "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Using drones for wildlife surveys isnt new to marine wildlife research, but its been focused mainly on detecting the large mammals and sea turtles that break the oceans surface to breathe. Researchers in The Bahamas wanted to test whether they could also locate the many sharks, rays, and other species that spend time just below the oceans surface using small, commercially available drones. They published their findings and testing methods last month. We found that drones can be used to count and make species-level identifications of marine species, particularly in shallow marine environments, lead author Enie Hensel, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University, said in a statement. Sharks, rays, and sea turtles are both disproportionately threatened by human activity and difficult to monitor. The aerial viewpoint offered by drone-borne cameras allows the pilot to detect these large animals beneath the surface. So the researchers set out to test if they could reliably identify animals in video footage taken from drones at different locations. Study lead author Enie Hensel flies a small commercial drone over the shallow waters of The Bahamas to test its utility in surveying and monitoring large marine animals. The researchers conducted aerial surveys and analyzed drone video footage to record the numbers and species of animals spotted. Image by Duncan Brake. They used small commercial-grade quadcopter drones that are relatively affordable, easy to use, and able to carry fairly high-definition video cameras to mimic the equipment that might be available to a wide range of

Amazon Besieged: Q&A with Mongabay contributor Sue Branford about new book "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

From 2016 to 2017, Mongabay contributors Sue Branford and Maurcio Torres traveled to the Tapajs River Basin, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, to report on the controversial plan to turn the region into a major commodities export corridor. Along the way, they visited many of the indigenous villages and other local communities whose very survival is threatened by the more than 40 large hydroelectric dams that are to be built in the region in addition to a railway and numerous roads, canals, and port complexes, all so that soy and other agricultural products can be exported to global markets and fuel Brazils economic growth. Branford and Torres wrote a 15-part investigative series (published in partnership with The Intercept Brazil) based on what theyd found during their travels for Mongabay in the Tapajs Basin, one of the most biodiverse and culturally rich places on Earth. Now, the reporters have turned those pieces into a book, Amazon Besieged, which was published by Practical Action Publishing this month. Cover of Amazon Besieged. Courtesy of Practical Action Publishing. Amazon Besieged tells the story of two writers long investigative trip along the basin in 2016 and 2017, according to Practical Action Publishing. As if travelling through history, the authors were able to trace the way an outside economic force arrives and dispossesses earlier inhabitants. The book has already been heaped with praise. Journalist George Monbiot said: This is a fascinating, important and astonishing account of the battle to save the living world and

Madagascar auctioning a large swath of virgin waters for oil exploration "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

At an oil industry event in Houston in September, representatives of Madagascars government went into auctioneer mode. Their message: Let the bidding commence! They had traveled to Texas to announce that Madagascar was opening up a large area of marine territory to oil exploration. None of the 44 concessions on offer, which cover 63,296 square kilometers (24,440 square miles) in the Mozambique Channel off the countrys west coast, has ever been tendered or explored before. Members of the hydrocarbon industry expressed excitement about the news, but civil society groups oppose the sale, arguing that the potential projects environmental and social impacts have not been evaluated. The coastal waters have a high level of biodiversity, a fragile coral reef network, and a number of marine areas that local fishers manage themselves, all of which could be threatened by oil exploration or drilling. [T]he offshore exploration and production of oil and gas on this scale goes directly against the objectives of protecting fisheries resources and preserving the marine ecosystems on which the livelihoods and food security of a large part of the Malagasy population depend, wrote four civil society groups, led by the Antananarivo-based Research and Support Center for Development AlternativesIndian Ocean (CRAAD-OI), in a statement late last month. International groups have also voiced opposition to the sell-off. The opening of this bidding round is clearly worrying for Madagascars unique marine ecosystems and biodiversity, Franois Chartier, an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace France, told Mongabay by email. Oil drilling could threaten vulnerable species, coral reefs

COP24: Will they stay or will they go? Brazils threat to leave Paris "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro pretends to shoot a gun, a signature gesture he uses to punctuate a point in his speeches. The gesture has become a sort of meme and accompanies incendiary language which critics say may be inciting some Brazilians in remote rural areas to violence against indigenous groups and other minorities. Image by Carlos Eugenio. KATOWICE, Poland One by one, Brazilian representatives from science, government and civil society gamely responded publicly in a press conference this week to a question theyd been fielding privately since arriving at the 24th United Nations climate summit, COP24, here in Poland: Would the volatile and staunchly anti-environmental President-elect Jair Bolsonaro follow the path of another volatile and staunchly anti-environmental president to the north and join the United States as the only other nation on earth to promise to leave the historic Paris Agreement? The answer is critically important not only to Brazilians, but to the world. The South American country is the worlds eighth largest economy and is guardian to much of the Amazon rainforest the worlds largest carbon storehouse. I dont think he will leave, said Alfredo Sirkis, a former presidential candidate and member of Brazils Congress, now executive director of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change. But I didnt think the Trump government would leave either. It depends on a lot of political circumstances. There will be very strong pressure, especially from agribusiness, to remain in the Paris Agreement. At the same time, this is a very idiosyncratic group

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, December 14, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Tropical forests By keeping pests in check, bats could help farmers in Madagascar, reducing the need to expand their farms into nearby rainforests (Science Daily, Scitech Europa). Corruption allows the plunder of Guinea-Bissaus forests to continue, the Environmental Investigation Agency says (All Africa). The region around the Mekong River in Southeast Asia is home to nearly 160 new species of plants and animals discovered in 2017 (Vietnam News, Xinhua). African cocoa producers arent ending deforestation (The Guardian, Confectionery News, Thomson Reuters). Deforestation is down in 2018 in Brazils Cerrado (VOA News). Ghanas government is taking steps to address illegal logging in the West African country (Ghana Business News). Conservation groups warn of an illegal mining epidemic in the Amazon (CGTN, The New York Times). Forest and rangeland restoration could help combat climate change in Ethiopia (Thomson Reuters). Other news The Tanzanian island of Kisiwa Panza is struggling to cope with climate change (PRI, Reuters). Carbon emissions limits could be relaxed by the EPA (The Washington Post). Most of the oldest ice in the Arctic has melted away, scientists warn (The Washington Post). Environmental groups object to the permits awarded to oil and gas companies in the U.S. that allow them to harm animals in the ocean (The Washington Post). A new book captures Icelands glaciers in photographs, before theyre all gone (The New York Times). Climate change could be a disaster for the worlds infrastructure, engineers say (Devex). Conservationists blame geotagging on Instagram for ruining natural places (The New York

22:21

People Can't Believe Who They Find Outside In Freezing Cold Tent "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

When one border collie escaped the makeshift outdoor enclosure where she and 15 others were being kept, she started running, doing what she was trained to do.

These border collies had been bred to be working dogs who herd cattle. But when this dog tried to do that to a group of cows nearby, tragedy struck.

Credit: ECHO Rescue

"Apparently she escaped from his makeshift enclosure and ran onto the neighbors cattle farm," Debbie Lazaro, president of East Coast Herding Dog Organization (ECHO) Rescue, told The Dodo. "The farmer shot her in order to protect his livestock ... [the cows] did sustain some unfortunate injuries."

Credit: ECHO Rescue

Such a loss never would have happened if the 16 dogs had not been left in a backyard shed in Kansas after a backyard breeder decided to shut down his operation.

"He moved away from the property and the dogs were left behind," Lazaro said. "He visits approximately once a day to 'take care of them.'" 

Credit: ECHO Rescue

It was obvious to rescuers that the breeder's care couldn't be sufficient.

"It's cold in Kansas. These dogs are outside ... It is not safe for these dogs," ECHO Rescue wrote in a plea on Facebook earlier this week. ...

20:40

FIRE-EARTH Conference: Giga Trends A Sustainable Future Scenario "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

IN PROGRESS TIA [September 24, Confidential 10] RNR [December 3, Confidential 10] GTEG [December 11, Confidential 10] Nominated Groups: Executive Based on earth dwellers inability to change direction, economy and lifestyle, together with assessment of the elite Zeitgeist, the available data and trends, as well as History of civilization (past experience) Current socioeconomic developments (present []

20:16

Permit Hearing for Taiwanese Plastic Plant in Louisiana Turns into a Referendum on Environmental Racism "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

About 40 people attended the December 6 hearing in Valcherie, an unincorporated community in St. James Parish, Louisiana, located 50 miles west of New Orleans. It was held by representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

 

18:38

Effusive/explosive activity, lava flows and amazing winter scenery at Mount Etna, Italy "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Italy's Mount Etna continues creating amazing scenery with effusive/explosive activity and two lava flows. Etna's current activity is very different from what we have seen over the past 8 years, but not atypical. The activity is taking place at the eastern...... Read more

Argentina creates two new marine parks to protect penguins, sea lions "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Argentina has officially created two large marine protected areas: the Yaganes Marine National Park, lying off of the countrys southern tip, and the Namuncur-Burdwood Bank II Marine National Park in the South Atlantic. Together, the two parks cover a total area of about 98,000 square kilometers (37,000 square miles). By designating these two marine parks, Argentina has increased the total area of its protected ocean to about 8 percent. This puts the country closer to achieving its commitment of protecting 10 percent of its national waters by 2020 under the biodiversity targets of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Yaganes Marine National Park lies off the southern tip of Argentina, while Namuncur-Burdwood Bank II Marine National Park is located in the South Atlantic. Image courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Recent explorations of the areas now designated as marine parks have shown that the waters and surrounding land are home to a rich diversity of marine creatures including the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens); king (Aptenodytes patagonicus), rockhopper (Eudyptes spp.) and Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus); South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis); several species of sharks and rays; and rare cold-water corals. Many marine species in these parks are not found anywhere else on Earth. The sea floor is also covered by mountains and canyons and giant kelp forests, the expeditions conducted by National Geographics Pristine Seas team, the government of Argentina, the government of Tierra del Fuego, and the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, revealed. Argentinas new marine parks

Palm oil giant Wilmar promises to take harder line with errant suppliers "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The worlds biggest palm oil trader has updated its sustainability policy, as its self-imposed deadline to stop buying palm oil linked to a variety of environmental and social ills draws closer. Beginning in January 2019, Wilmar International will freeze purchases from suppliers found to be in violation of its sustainability policy, which bars plantation companies from clearing rainforests and peatlands, grabbing land from rural communities and mistreating workers. Previously, Wimar would continue to buy palm oil from these firms while it engaged with them. The Singapore-listed conglomerate also said it would require some suppliers that violate its policy to submit recovery plans. The Recovery Plans may include options to protect and restore forest, bare land and/or peat swamps and to assist local communities to secure social forestry rights, Wilmar said in a statement announcing the changes. It may be a while before any recovery plans are put into effect. The specifics have yet to be defined, a process Wilmar says will begin in January. The firm is giving suppliers until the end of 2019 to submit the plans. Those that fail to do so will enter the Grievance Procedure, an indefinite process that can take any amount of time, a spokesperson acknowledged. Engagement is essential to bring these suppliers up to compliance with our NDPE policy rather than drive them towards a growing leakage market of unsustainable palm oil, the spokesperson said in an email. However, we will suspend suppliers who refuse to comply or do not show any progress in moving

COP24: Fossil Fuel Inc.s outsize presence at talks reflects its influence "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

KATOWICE, Poland How did you get here? asked the angry fossil fuel company executive. Have you ever been to Nigeria? responded the agitated environmental activist. This was part of an exchange between Swedish environmental activists and a senior executive from oil-and-gas giant Royal Dutch Shell at the ongoing United Nations climate summit in Katowice, Poland. Not exactly fighting words, but not a friendly conversation either. What it exposed, though, was just how deeply entrenched parties with a vested interest in fossil fuels are in influencing the global climate pact. It started after Shell, among the top 10 fossil fuel companies in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, presented its future scenario on climate change, called SKY, during a side event at the climate talks on Dec. 11. Shells chief climate change adviser, David Hone, and its projects and technology director, Harry Brekelmans, said solutions ranging from carbon capture technology to hydrogen fuel and market-based mechanisms would be essential to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), as targeted by the Paris Climate Agreement. Brekelmans responded to charges that Shell had willfully withheld since 1988 knowledge that its fossil fuels were contributing to climate change, saying that no one company was responsible for the current climate situation. So we are all responsible for this, he said. We cant be pointing fingers at each other to say that you are unilaterally causing [climate change]. Because we are all enjoying the energy in this room with electricity powered by fossil fuel.

17:20

Poland UN Climate Conference & Running to Catch a Bus to the Apocalypse (Photo of the Month) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Copenhagen, Denmark: Fingers are pointed at Corporations and Bankers as the drivers of climate change during the UNFCCC (2009)Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC Via PhotoLangelle.org Intro from Orin Langelle 13 December 2018: I was going to wait until the final words were hammered out... Read More

16:48

Worlds Only Nuclear Plant in Rainforest: Indian Environmentalists Oppose Kaigas Expansion "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Environmentalists in Karnatakas Karwar are alarmed over the proposed expansion of the Kaiga Atomic Power Station by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). The power plant which has currently four units, was recently in the news after Unit-1 of the plant ran uninterrupted operations for a record 940 days with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling it a major feat.

The post Worlds Only Nuclear Plant in Rainforest: Indian Environmentalists Oppose Kaigas Expansion appeared first on DiaNuke.org.

16:07

Magnitude 4.4 11km NNE of Decatur, Tennessee December 12, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

USGS Event Page
Magnitude 4.4 11km NNE of Decatur, Tennessee
2018-12-12 09:14:43 (UTC)
-35.614N  -84.740W
9km depth

USGS Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity
Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York Philadelphia Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake. USGS
Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mounta...

09:15

US District Court Vacates Forest Service Approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is Law!

US Fourth Circuit Court Throws Out Forest Service Approvals for the ACP

Article from the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), December 13, 2018

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated on December 13 the U.S. Forest Services approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to cross two national forests and the Appalachian Trail. The Courts 60-page opinion came on a case brought by several ABRA members and others that was argued on September 28 (see ABRA Update #200 for details).

The plaintiffs, represented by Southern Environmental Law Center, were Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee and Wild Virginia.

The Court concluded that the Forest Services decisions amending its Forest Plans and granting a Special Use Permit (SPU) for the ACP violate the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and that the Forest Service lacked statutory authority pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) to grant a pipeline right of way across the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The Court granted the petition for review of the Forest Services SPU and its Record of Decision to amend the Forest Plans, as sought by the plaintiffs, vacated those the Forest Services decisions and remanded the case to the Forest Service for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

In its opinion, the Court detailed how the Forest Service initially expressed serious skepticism about the ACPs ability to be constructed through the steep slopes of the central Appalachian mountains in West Virginia and Virginia. In an October 24, 2016 letter to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic), the Court noted that the Forest Service had requested ten site-specific stabilization designs for selected areas of challenging terrain to demonstrate the effectiveness of Atlantics proposed steep slope stability program, which Atlantic called the Best in Class (BIC) Steep Slopes Program because the agency needed...

08:57

Indonesian court throws out lawsuit against green experts testimony "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

JAKARTA An Indonesian court has thrown out a lawsuit against an environmental expert whose testimony led to the conviction of a governor in a mining scandal. Basuki Wasis, an expert on environmental degradation from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), had testified in February in the trial of Nur Alam, the governor of Southeast Sulawesi province, who was charged with abuse of power in the issuance of mining licenses. Basuki, who has testified in more than 200 cases involving environmental crimes such as forest fires and pollution, told the court that the illegal mining activities by one of the companies that received a permit from Alam had led to deforestation and resulted in 2.7 trillion rupiah ($186 million) in combined ecological losses, environmental economic losses, and the cost of repairing the damage. As the case proceeded, however, Alam sued Basuki, questioning the accuracy of his calculations and his credibility. Alam was subsequently convicted, sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay fines and damages totaling 3.7 billion rupiah ($268,000). A cartoon of Basuki Wasis created for an online petition in support of the environmental expert. Image courtesy of Change.org. On Dec. 13, judges at the Cibinong District Court in West Java province found in favor of Basuki in the lawsuit. They said his testimony as a witness for the prosecution in Alams trial could not be subjected to criminal or civil charges. The lawsuit against Basuki was one of several litigation efforts against Indonesian environmental experts that

06:22

One map to rule them all: Indonesia launches unified land-use chart "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

JAKARTA The Indonesian government has published a long-awaited map that, for the first time, unifies all land-use data from a host of disparate sources. The fractured nature of the land-use maps in force across the sprawling archipelago has led to overlapping claims and conflicts, which in turn have given rise to environmental damage and human rights abuses. The unified map was launched Dec. 11 in Jakarta by President Joko Widodo. One reference, one database, and one geoportal, which essentially is set to prevent any overlap, to give certainty, to give clarity, and to have consistency in building this nation, the president said at the launch. The so-called one-map policy, conceived in 2011 to establish a single database for all government maps to eliminate disparities between the various maps currently in use by different government agencies, was initially slated for launch in mid-August this year, to coincide with the countrys independence anniversary. The prevalence of mixed and often contradictory sources of reference across the different levels and arms of government is one of the biggest impediments to sustainable development in the country, experts say. This is particularly true for land-use maps, which are just as crucial in the management of Indonesias forests and natural resources as they are for infrastructure planning and development projects. Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks at the Dec. 11 launch of a unified land-use map in Jakarta. Image courtesy of the Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat. In February, President Widodo expressed hope that the one-map policy would be

05:22

Cat Who Lost Two Owners Was Too Sad To Eat For Days "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Samara the cat has loved and lost not just once, but two times already.

Her life first turned upside down in 2016 when her beloved owner died, and the family dropped her off at a busy shelter in Michigan.

Credit: Michigan Cat Rescue

Not many rescues go to this shelter, so they have a very high kill rate, Sasha Oza, executive director of Michigan Cat Rescue, told The Dodo. But Nancy [Hutchinson], who is the president [of Michigan Cat Rescue], will go there when she can and pull cats from there.

On one serendipitous visit, Hutchinsons eyes fell on Samara.

Credit: Michigan Cat Rescue

She was only eight months old, and she was actually scheduled to be euthanized, Oza said. So we pulled her and brought her to the rescue.

It didnt take long for Samara to find a new home and a good one at that.

Credit: Michigan Cat Rescue

She was adopted by a really wonderful lady named Joyce, Oza said. Joyce actually became a really big donor and follower of us. She would come to our events, and she was just a really wonderful person.

She really loved that cat, Oza added. I got a couple pictures from her Facebook page with little captions saying, The love of my life.

But three weeks ago, tragedy struck again.

...

04:22

People Find Sweetest Puppy In Garbage Bag Floating In Creek "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

On Tuesday, two highway workers stepped out of their truck to do some maintenance on a road in Sadieville, Kentucky. When they gazed down at the frozen creek below the road, they saw something unusual a puppy desperately trying to keep her head above the icy water.

The men dropped everything and dashed down to the creek.

Credit: Scott County Animal Shelter

One guy waded right into the water and got the puppy, Sherry Bishop, assistant director at Scott County Animal Shelter, told The Dodo. It turned out that it was inside a plastic trash bag, and inside that trash bag was another plastic bag full of rocks that probably weighed about 10 pounds  and it was holding the puppy the down. But the puppy got her little head out of an opening of the bag because they didnt tie it all the way shut.

The puppy was wet and suffering from hypothermia after being submerged in the freezing cold creek so the men whisked her off to the Scott County Animal Shelter.

Credit: Scott County Animal Shelter

When the puppy came in, we immediately started using the hair dryer, blowing warm air on her, Bishop said. She couldnt even really hold her head up. She was shaking like a leaf it was so pitiful.

The shelter staff rushed the puppy to the vet hospital for more treatment but no one was sure if shed make it.

Credit: Scott County Animal Shelter

The puppys body temperature was extremely low when sh...

02:57

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: December 5 - 11, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

New activity/unrest was reported for 2 volcanoes between December 5 and 11, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 14 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Manam, Papua New Guinea | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines). Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu...... Read more

02:17

How Native American Tribes are Bringing Back the Bison from Brink of Extinction "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

by Jeremy Hance / The Guardian

Bison herd with calves in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone Park. Photograph: Neal Herbert/Yellowstone NPS

The continents largest land mammal plays crucial role in spiritual lives of the tribes.

n 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North Americas Indigenous people.

The bison or as Native Americans call them, buffalo are not just sustenance, according to Leroy Little Bear, a professor at the University of Lethbridge and a leader in the bison restoration efforts with the Blood Tribe. The continents largest land mammal plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural lives of numerous Native American tribes, an integrated relationship, he said.

If you are Christian and you dont see any crosses out there, or you dont have your corner church theres no external connection, [no] symbolic iconic notion that strengthens and nurtures those beliefs, said Little Bear. So it goes with the buffalo.

Only a couple of hundred years ago, 20 million to 30 million bison lived in vast thundering herds across North America. They were leftover relics of the Pleistocene and one of the few large mammals to survive the Ice Age extinction....

01:44

Urgent: Come to Camp Now! "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

from Unistoten Solidarity Brigade

...

Injunction will be decided this Thursday

The hearing of TransCanadas application for an injunction was moved to this Thursday December 13th in Prince George. If granted RCMP could be at the Unistoten Camp as early as Friday.

The time to stand with the Unistoten is now. If you are in a good space to be on a frontline and can get to camp by Thursday please do so.

If you cant make it by Thursday but can by shortly after its worth it to attempt to get to camp.

Please sign up online at: http://unistoten.camp/come-to-camp/camp-registration/ and/or for expediency call or signal message Bob at 604 760 6786 to coordinate ride sharing.

If you are uncomfortable being on a frontline but can give people rides to camp or at least Houston please get in touch with Bob. Finding a good vehicle is a major barrier to people getting to camp.

If you are not in a posistion to come to camp but can give money please do so at Unistoten.Camp/donate.

Please spread this message far and wide.

Thank You,
Unistoten Solidarity Brigade

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Thursday, 13 December

23:54

Elephant Famous For His Huge Tusks Gets Stuck In Scary Situation "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Tim had gotten himself into a sticky, boggy mess and he needed help getting out.

Last week, the 49-year-old wild elephant, whos famous for his huge 100-pound tusks, moseyed onto a farm in Kimana, Kenya, to snack on some crops. But when Tim tried to move to another farm, he slipped into a furrow in a swampy part of the land.

Credit: DSWT

The huge elephant struggled to get out, but that only made things worse, digging himself deeper and deeper into the mud.

No one knows for sure how long Tim was stuck, but Craig Millar, head of security at Big Life Foundation, believes he spent 12 to 14 hours in the furrow. A farmer eventually noticed Tim, and instead of getting angry that Tim had eaten his crops, he phoned Big Life Foundation and urged them to help the helpless elephant.

Big Life Foundation joined forces with the mobile veterinary unit run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service but when the team of rescuers arrived, they realized that freeing Tim was not going to be easy.

Credit: Big Life Foundation

Not only was Tim a massive elephant, but hed done a spectacular job lodging himself into the swampy ground.

In other rescues, the elephant has always been smaller, the mud nowhere near as deep and there has always been firm ground much closer to position vehicles to pull the elephant out, Millar told The Dodo.

Tim was also visibly agitated, thrashing his head and trunk, making it dangerous for the rescuers to get too close.

...

22:28

Massive floods hit Central Vietnam after extreme northeast monsoon dumps record-breaking rain "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Severe flooding caused by extreme northeast monsoon hit Central Vietnam, including the city of Da Nang, regional commercial and educational center over the past couple of days, leaving tens of thousands of homes flooded, at least 14 people dead and one missing....... Read more

Satellite trackers help fight vultures extinction in southern Africa "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

CAPE TOWN, South Africa  Every other hour, Sonja Krger logs onto her website and checks the birds status. Pharoah is taking a mud bath in the mountains, Jeremia is on a roost site viewing the Maloti mountain range, and Mollie is scouring the grasslands for a fresh carcass. A GPS location of the birds is taken very hour, and it shows where the vultures are flying to, at what speed, their favorite cliff roost sites, and where they feed, Krger, an ecologist with the NGO Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, told Mongabay. Data have told us a lot about these birds movement and population trends, she added. Ezemvelo runs Maloti-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site within the mountain range of the same name. The range is home to vultures in Lesotho and the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State in South Africa. An immature bearded vulture posing. Image by Sonja Krueger. The isolated southern African population of bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis) has declined by more than 30 percent over the past few decades, with fewer than 350 individual birds and 109 breeding pairs remaining in the region. Cape vultures (Gyps coprotheres), found only in southern Africa, are endangered, with 2,900 breeding pairs. Approximately 1,450 individuals, roughly 20 percent of the population, live in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountains. The roll call In 2006, Krger started the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project to address the decline in vulture populations within the mountains. She said the vultures feasted on carcasses and thus kept the environment clean,

Dam drove collapse of rainforest bird populations in Thailand "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The construction of a hydroelectric dam in Thailand in the 1980s devastated the areas wild birds, leaving behind just a few of the many species that once inhabited the region, a study has found. The journal Global Ecology and Conservation published the research Nov. 11. The Chiew Larn reservoir. The flooding caused by the Ratchaprapha dam flooded the rainforests and created small islands. Image by Greg Irving. Greg Irving, a graduate student in conservation ecology at King Mongkuts University of Technology Thonburi in Bangkok and the studys lead author, said the findings demonstrated the importance of determining, before a projects approval, how damming a river would impact resident plants and animals. Those considerations should include the irreplaceable loss of lowlands and degradation of mainland habitat induced by edge effects, Irving said in a statement. The research found that bird habitat vanished as the Khlong Phrasaeng River swelled upstream of the Ratchaprapha dam to form the Chiew Larn reservoir in 1986. The rising waters swamped the surrounding lowland rainforests, leaving small islands; along the edges of the reservoir, people cut down trees and burned the forests, leaving birds with little refuge. A straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus). Image by Wichyanan Limparungpatthanakij. Irving and his colleagues investigation surveyed bird populations on the islands and the reservoirs shores. They then compared their species counts with the numbers of birds living beyond the dam in more intact parts of the Khlong Saeng-Khao Sok forest complex, mainland Thailands largest remnant of protected forest. The teams fieldwork

Super-spreaders: How the curious life of a newt could ignite a pandemic "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

If you take a stroll in the woods, its worth pausing for a moment to take in the sights and sounds, peer into the undergrowth, or even turn over a damp log or two. Youll see birds rummaging for tasty snacks, squirrels scolding you from nearby tree branches, and colorful fungi springing up from the forest floor. And, if you happen to live in the United States and look a little more closely under logs or in ponds, chances are good that youll see a salamander or two or 200. People tend to think of lush, vibrant tropical forests as the globes biodiversity hotspots, and if youre looking for frogs, by all means, head to the Amazon. But if salamanders are what youre after, a better bet would be North Carolina. Salamanders are unique among amphibians for preferring the temperate forests of the eastern U.S. to anywhere else on Earth. The U.S. contains both the highest total number of salamander species of any country at nearly 200 and the highest species richness, peaking in parts of the Appalachian Mountains. Many of them are found nowhere else in the world. And the U.S. doesnt just boast a record abundance of species; in ponds where salamanders are present, their sheer numbers can be staggering. One pond where we were doing mark and recapture, we caught more than 3,000 individuals over the course of two days, said Evan Grant, the principal investigator of the U.S. Geological Surveys Amphibian Research and

COP24: Nations complicit in ignoring bioenergy climate bomb, experts say "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The handfuls of wood pellets and the green sleeves seen here are part of a widespread, biomass industry-supported PR campaign claiming that burning wood to produce energy is carbon neutral. But recent studies show that wood pellets produce more CO2 per kilowatt hour than coal. However, because of United Nations IPCC emission counting loopholes, these wood pellets will be counted as carbon neutral when burned, putting climate stability and the world at greater risk. Photo credit: #ODF on Visual hunt / CC BY. KATOWICE, Poland Today, its being called the bomb that could explode the United Nations carbon climate emissions accounting system and possibly destabilize the global climate. When first conceived, this bomb was thought to be a boon: turn trees and woody biomass into wood pellets. Burn that woody biomass at power plants instead of coal to generate electricity. Plant more trees where the wood was harvested to offset the emissions produced by burning pellets. Then call it green and celebrate a sustainable way to reduce coal emissions. Some 20 years ago, bioenergy produced from biomass was seen as the next new thing, and a valuable sustainable resource. And because it was deemed renewable, countries that burned biomass wood pellets instead of coal would not be required to count those carbon emissions. All that carbon dioxide was believed to be absorbed by the new tree seedlings. For the purpose of United Nations carbon accounting policy, established under the Kyoto Protocol, the burning of biomass was

Global agreement on conserved areas marks new era of conservation (commentary) "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

On November 29, 2018, the 196 Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision that represents a high-water mark for the governance of protected areas and marks a new era of protected and conserved areas. The decision, made during the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the CBD, builds upon more than 15 years of international-level progress on the governance aspects of protected areas and provides the CBDs clearest elaboration of the principle of equity as it relates to conservation initiatives. The decision also defines and provides technical advice on other effective area-based conservation measures (referenced in Target 11 of the CBDs Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and increasingly referred to as conserved areas), which will have far-reaching implications for the ways in which conservation is understood and undertaken. Tangible progress towards more effective and just forms of conservation is contingent on new relationships being forged at all levels. Unprecedented honesty, open-mindedness, and readiness to innovate on existing approaches are now required to maximize the multi-faceted potential of this new designation. The Dusun village of Buayan and the Crocker Range Park in the background (Sabah, Malaysia). Photo: Harry Jonas. Conservation past Fifteen years ago, at the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (Durban, South Africa), delegates took a major step forward in international policy on protected areas. For too long, protected area planners and managers had either ignored indigenous peoples and local communities contributions to biodiversity or actively undermined their relationships with territories, lands,

From a new bird to a new community reserve: Indias tribe sets example "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Other stories in this four-part series on the indigenous groups living around Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, India, will appear here upon publication.   SINGCHUNG, India Follow the rustling in the bushes, whispers Phurpa Tsering, tiptoeing aside. I hear a brief low-pitched call. A bird, larger than a sparrow but smaller than a pigeon, stirs in the branches before diving deeper into another bush in the ravine. Its partner trails behind, revealing a fleeting glimpse of the birds famed olive-gray body and black cap. Tsering, a self-taught and highly sought-after local bird guide in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area in Indias northeastern-most state of Arunachal Pradesh, had pointed me to an extremely rare bird. The Bugun liocichla, or Liocichla bugunorum, is a critically endangered species, with only 14 to 20 individuals believed to exist in the world. Nearly all of the birds live within a tiny area just outside the sanctuary with one pair having been spotted inside the sanctuary several years ago sharing their home, and name, with a local indigenous tribe. The Buguns, sometimes known as the Khowa, are clearly proud of the Bugun liocichla: it was one of the first bird species to be discovered in India since the countrys independence in 1947 and it lives only on the Buguns community lands. Lots of researchers name species after someone elses name, but we were very happy that the bird was named after the tribe, says Indi Glow, the Bugun head of a

20:55

The Day After: how 30 years ago a movie forced us to face the reality of nuclear wepaons "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Dawn Stover | The made-for-TV movie The Day After had an enormous impact on Americas national conversation about nuclear weapons in 1983. Resuming that conversation today is essential, and the movie holds some lessons about what that would take.

The post The Day After: how 30 years ago a movie forced us to face the reality of nuclear wepaons appeared first on DiaNuke.org.

20:53

Mexico: Statement From the National and International Campaign for the Freedom of the Political Prisoners of Tlanixco and the Yaqui Tribe "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

by Voices in Movement / Its Going Down

Statement on indigenous and ecological political prisoners in Mexico.

Movement for the Freedom of the Defenders of Water and Life of San Pedro Tlanixco

To the People of Mexico and the World

To the Media

The history of Indigenous peoples can be different. Each community cares for and uses their natural resources according to their necessities, times and manners. Each community organizes, struggles and resists but also each community receives the beating in their territories from one or more heads of the capitalist hydra. Although not all of us are beaten in the same way and at the same time, all Indigenous peoples, not only us, have suffered violations, exploitation, repression, and hatred from those that seek to own our territory, resources and that have little by little taken away our culture. Today we are here as a consequence of that commonality: two Indigenous communities, although we are very distant geographically, our hearts are united due to the pain and rage of having our compaerxs kidnapped by the state.

Our history, the history of San Pedro Tlanixco in its struggle for water and now for freedom, began more than 20 years ago. The Indigenous Nahua community of San Pedro Tlanixco is located in the foothills of the mountain of Toluca, which because of its location has fresh water springs, rivers, forests and resources that have always been cared for and used by the community. However, at the end of the 1980s in the face of the intensification of the neoliberal system and the flower industry in the municipality of Villa Guerrero, the history of our community took a turn and we began to struggle in defense of water against the voracity of the flower businessmen.

The businessmen of Villa Guerrero, neighbors to the south of the community, began their aberration to dispossess us of our fresh water springs to use them in their own interest. They d...

20:31

Meet a CCANer: Camila Thorndike "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Camila is the DC campaign director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and has been at the heart of the movement behind what will soon become the strongest climate bill in the country. She coordinated and led the DC Climate Coalition, which is made of more than 110 environmental and justice advocacy organizations, faith groups, unions, consumer advocacy organizations, D.C. businesses, and more. Heres her story.

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I was 15 when I first saw the climate hockey stick graph. I realized that this skyrocketing arrow of temperature would take place in my life time. All of the big milestones of life that I was looking forward to would be in the context of this big global crisis. It led to the question of whether or not to have kids which is still a big question for me where I would put down roots, what my family would do. My moms a farmer; will that be still viable in Oregon, where Im from, when temperatures get so extreme?  

Then I had the great fortune of visiting my extended family including a bunch of cousins in Australia after I graduated from high school. For my eighteenth birthday, they gave me this awesome gift of a day snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. But I saw that the reef, even then, was starting to bleach out. That was one of the first realizations that all these forecasts of devastation were already starting, and at a very fast rate.

What impacts of climate change currently hit home to you?

The last two summers, my home in the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon has been suffocated by wildfire smoke. My mom started the first commercial organic cut-flower farm on the West Coast. I grew up there with my little sister. But now, my sister works with her, and they have to wear heavy-duty gas masks, with the level of smoke that sometimes makes southern Oregon look like Beijing. It was like that for eight weeks this summer.

Then the Paradise fires happened, following all the previous years fires in California. There was an illusion that if you live in a town or city that youre going to be safe, but thats been totally obliterated. Homes and entire cities have been burned to the ground. People escaped down these two-lane roads on foot, or in cars with their kids while the outsides...

20:06

Expansion of Kaiga Nuclear Plant in Karnataka: Biodiversity of Western Ghats Under Threat "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The biodiversity of the Western Ghats, already under a lot of anthropogenic pressure, will suffer even more if the expansion of the Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is to come up for public hearing on December 14, goes ahead.

The post Expansion of Kaiga Nuclear Plant in Karnataka: Biodiversity of Western Ghats Under Threat appeared first on DiaNuke.org.

19:59

Analysis: Rat Poison Found in 85 Percent of Tested Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Fishers "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Poisonings Prompt California to Reassess Super-toxic Rodenticides SACRAMENTO, Calif. A new state analysis has documented super-toxic rat poisons in more than 85 percent of tested mountain lions, bobcats and protected Pacific fishers, prompting state regulators to open a new evaluation of... Read More

19:07

Letter from the Director: more good news than youve heard all year "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Friends,

In the next 60 seconds, Im going to give you more GOOD news on climate change than anyone has given you all year. Ready?

The District of Columbia will soon pass the strongest clean energy legislation in American history! Seriously. It includes a mandate for 100% wind and solar power for the entire DC grid by 2032. Meanwhile, members of Marylands General Assembly have now reached supermajority status in support of a bill that will convert half of that states grid to renewable power within a decade. The bill also creates a pathway to 100% clean power soon after that. And Virginia? The citizens there are beating back with real success two major fracked-gas pipelines while pushing Governor Ralph Northam toward a statutory cap on carbon pollution for all dirty power plants.

Whew. Yes, all of that is happening. And the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has been at the CENTER of each one of those campaigns in all three states. Which is why, during this season of giving, we ask you to consider making a generous donation to our proven climate leadership in the states of Maryland, Virginia and DC. Please give. We cant do it without you. Give now.

And yes, worldwide, the news is bad, bad, bad on global warming. The UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have barely ten years to cut the worlds carbon emissions in half. And a Trump Administration report, dumped the day after Thanksgiving, says huge climate impacts are already harming the US economy and public health.

But you in partnership with CCAN are part of the solution. We live in a region that includes and encircles the nations capital. So when the DC Council passes the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act for 100% clean power, people across America and the world will notice. When Maryland creates tens of thousands of new wind and solar industry jobs by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act which we predict it will by April then other states will notice. When the citizens of Virginia fight back against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, then dirty-energy investors nationwide get the message: We dont want your stinkin pipelines. We want clean energy.

Of all the regions of the world, you and I live in the one that can truly accelerate the clean-energy revolution worldwide in time to save the planet. Thank you for your activism. And th...

17:50

A Zambian sanctuary finds caring for chimps is a lifetime commitment "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

COPPERBELT, Zambia Thirty-five years ago, a game ranger in Zambia confiscated a baby chimpanzee from poachers who had smuggled it from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was Oct. 18, 1983, when Pierre Faber took the animal to the farm owned by his in-laws, Sheila and David Siddle, and asked them to protect it. In her book, In My Family Tree, Sheila described the dire condition the young chimpanzee was in when it arrived at the familys farm. The small chimp a bag of bones, really had badly smashed teeth and the right side of his mouth was slit open about two inches more than it should have been, she wrote. Game rangers traditionally did nothing to confiscate the animals since there was no facility in place for keeping them. So the Siddles, who had previously kept a baboon, nursed the orphaned and sick chimpanzee at the farm. That was the start of their journey into chimpanzee conservation. Pal, the first ape rescued by the Siddles, arrived in dire condition, his mouth injured by the bullet that probably killed his mother. Today he is over 35 years old and lives with a group of chimpanzees in an outdoor enclosure at Chimfunshi.  Image courtesy of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage. That farm is today the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, now home to more than 130 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). The apes are kept in five enclosures spread across 60 square kilometers (23 square miles) of virgin forest on the banks of

COP24: Tropical deforestation risks undermining 1.5-degree warming limit "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

KATOWICE, Poland The world has just 12 years left to halve greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change, but hopes that a solution will come from saving the last great tracts of tropical rainforest are dimming. Trees and soils are crucial to managing climate change; plants absorb about a third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce, while the earth takes about 10 to 15 percent. Recent estimates suggest that stopping deforestation and other natural climate solutions could help achieve 37 percent of the climate target needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Combined with a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel, this could be enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Thats the threshold beyond which a recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns that massive and destabilizing climate events will be inevitable. But the current climate commitments of the countries with the richest swaths of rainforest indicate they will continue to clear trees, undermining one of the best available solutions to staving off climate change impacts. A new report by the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), an NGO, dissects the climate plans of six tropical countries, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, which spell out the actions they countries intend to take to address climate change, in a bid to project what will happen with their forests. The countries studied were chosen because they are home to the last large intact spans of rainforest in the world: Brazil,

17:13

Scientists Find Ecosystem Below Earth Twice the Size of Worlds Oceans "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Barely living zombie bacteria and other forms of life constitute an immense amount of carbon deep within Earths subsurface245 to 385 times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface, according to scientists nearing the... Read More

17:12

FIRE-EARTH Conference: Giga Trends Involuntary Mass Euthanasia Scenario "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

IN PROGRESS TIA [September 24, Confidential 10] RNR [December 3, Confidential 10] GTEG [December 11, Confidential 10] Nominated Groups: Executive Based on earth dwellers inability to change direction, economy and lifestyle, together with assessment of the elite Zeitgeist, the available data and trends, as well as History of civilization (past experience) Current socioeconomic developments (present []

11:54

Guest post: Is glacier carbon good or bad for the climate? "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Dr Arwyn Edwards is a senior lecturer in biology from the University of Aberystwyth and Dr Joe Cook is a postdoctoral researcher in glaciology from the University of Sheffield.

Our warming planet is losing its glaciers and ice sheets. Water from melting glaciers trickles into the sea while faster-flowing glaciers are delivering more icebergs, raising global sea levels.

While large icebergs calving into the oceans and the shrinkage of continent-sized ice sheets are dramatic symbols of cryospheric change they are, in part, controlled by processes operating at the very smallest scales: the scale of individual molecules and microbes.

In this article, we explore one aspect of this remarkable cross-scale linkage: the role of glacier carbon. This type of carbon is created by a large community of photosynthetic microbes that draw CO2 down from the atmosphere and store it on the ice surface.

While the activity of these microbes may benefit the climate by removing CO2 from the atmosphere, the dark appearance of glacier carbon causes it to absorb large amounts of sunlight. This, in turn, causes the surrounding ice to melt at a faster rate.

In our research based in the Arctic, we are using a host of techniques  ranging from satellite data collection to real-time genetic sequencing to try to shed light on whether glacier carbon could be a help or a hindrance to global efforts to tackle climate change.

Frozen communities

Glaciers are not made of ice alone. Ice is a habitat that supports an abundant and active microbial community.

Each individual member of this community is invisibly small. The largest creatures in the glacial food web are the tardigrades, which measure just 0.5mm long.

Wednesday, 12 December

23:28

Status quo Farm Bill nears finish line "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Farm Bill and farmers

After months of negotiations, the 2018 Farm Bill was just passed by the U.S. House and Senate. Next up? The bill is expected to be signed into law by the end of the week.

While still flawed, the final bill is in stark contrast to the widely criticized original House version. The choice was clear: a Farm Bill that harms farmers and communities and strips away local control of pesticide protections, investments in conservation, local food systems, food assistance and more or one that maintains status quo levels of support for family farmers, sustainable agriculture and a more equitable future.

Though were breathing a collective sigh of relief that the bill closely mirrors the much better Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill, we will continue to advocate for federal policy that greatly expands rather than just maintains support for a more just food and agriculture system.

While actions to protect programs are important, the problem is were not looking at the bill or the process as a whole. Were in defense mode, rather than fighting for what we need.

Patti Naylor, Iowa Farmer

Here at PAN, were striving toward a future characterized by worker justice and healthy communities, fair farm economies and a food system that works for us into the future and were advocating for federal policy that helps get us there. So how does the 2018 Farm Bill measure up?

...

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