tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/pollution1 pollution news from mongabay.com 2015-06-17T15:54:16Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14976 2015-06-16T18:35:00Z 2015-06-17T15:54:16Z How solar thermal curbs pollution and improves health Modern environmental crises of global resources often threaten both human health as well as biodiversity. Many of these concerns have consistently escaped remediation by public health institutions and mainstream environmental organizations. The compounding severity of these threats requires solutions that are cheap, local, scalable, easily replicated and immediately beneficial to local populations and wildlife. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14893 2015-06-02T15:24:00Z 2015-06-17T17:10:02Z Photo essay: Polluted, overfished, and choked by weeds, world's second-largest lake is 'on its knees' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0602_IEsipisu_LakeVictoria_FishingGear_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lake Victoria is choking with pollution from industrial, agricultural, and human waste. Its problems are compounded by illegal fishing, catching of juvenile fish, and infestations of water hyacinth and the carnivorous Nile perch, which has wiped out many native fish species. Activists say lax law enforcement and a lack of political will are failing the lake, whose fisheries help feed nearly 22 million people. Rebecca Kessler -0.142376 34.736848 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14558 2015-03-30T18:16:00Z 2015-03-30T18:30:40Z 9 months after Amazonian oil pipeline spill, effects and fears linger <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0330cuninco150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Peru's state-run oil company pulled out of this small Kukama Indian village in mid-December after cleaning up an oil pipeline spill, residents thought life could slowly return to normal. But more than three months later, wisps of oil floating down the Cuninico River—along with a larger spill in the neighboring community of San Pedro—are a reminder that the problems are not over. Rhett Butler -4.801399 -75.216092 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14420 2015-02-24T22:47:00Z 2015-02-24T23:14:33Z Could big data turn us into ocean protectors instead of abusers? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0223_oceandata_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 washed away millions of tons of plastic debris into the Pacific Ocean. It even swept away a Harley Davidson motorcycle that subsequently ended up on Canada's coast. As production and consumption of plastic increases across the world, more of it gets discarded as waste. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14366 2015-02-10T17:34:00Z 2015-02-11T22:48:04Z Pollution from fossil fuels decreased rainfall in Central America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0210.thumb.yokbalum.86461_web.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Fossil fuel pollution may have caused a southern shift in a vital rainfall belt across Central America, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience, potentially leading to drier conditions and droughts in some northern tropical countries. Using data from a single stalagmite in a Belizean cave, the researchers were able to create an accurate record of both rainfall and temperature for the last 450 years. Jeremy Hance 16.504696 -88.919960 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14329 2015-02-02T18:11:00Z 2015-02-02T18:14:47Z Pollutants threaten long-term survival of wandering albatross <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0121_alba_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seabirds, aerial ocean predators, are known to amass harmful contaminants over their lifespan. Scientists believe this exposure to pollutants negatively impacts survival rates as well as reproduction, therefore contributing to large-scale population declines. Although previously these assumptions were largely theoretical, recent research involving blood samples from wandering albatrosses points to new conclusions. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14291 2015-01-21T20:01:00Z 2015-01-21T20:11:10Z Sundarbans still reeling from effects of December oil spill <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0121.kid_cleanup-1024x768.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last month, an estimated 350,000 liters of fuel oil spilled into the Sundarbans delta on the Bay of Bengal. An oil tanker that had collided with a cargo vessel on December 9th sank into the Shela River, spilling its oil into a protected sanctuary for the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) and the Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica). Jeremy Hance 21.968151 89.527303 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14265 2015-01-15T19:01:00Z 2015-01-16T18:35:14Z Empty seas? Scientists warn of an industrialized ocean <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/15/pink-skunk-anemonefish-(Amphiprion-perideraion)---Malin-Pinsky-300.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This is obvious, but still important: humans are not a marine species. Even as we have colonized most of our planet's terrestrial landscapes, we have not yet colonized the oceans. And for most of our history, we have impacted them only on the periphery. A new review in Science finds that this has saved marine species and ecosystems from large-scale damage&#8212;that is, until the last couple centuries. Jeremy Hance 32.139061 -78.793072 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14204 2014-12-29T17:55:00Z 2014-12-29T17:58:59Z Endangered mussel still harvested for food in Laos <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1229-mussel-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Only one freshwater pearl mussel species is known to inhabit tropical water systems. However, despite being listed as Endangered by the IUCN, it is also still a part of the diet of villagers in Northern Laos. A study published recently found that the dwindling populations of the bivalve would benefit from a ban on their capture. Morgan Erickson-Davis 22.124416 101.960561 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14161 2014-12-16T19:25:00Z 2014-12-22T19:14:23Z Forests could be a thrifty way to fight ozone pollution <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1216_smoggy-foggy-Houston150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Planting trees may be a cost-effective way to reduce ground-level ozone, a toxic component of smog that contributes to the deaths of about 152,000 people annually worldwide, according to new research. The study is the first to lay out a practical plan and examine the economic impacts of lowering ozone levels with trees. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14155 2014-12-15T18:17:00Z 2015-01-21T20:14:26Z Children 'clean' oil spill with kitchen utensils in the Sundarbans <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1214.oilspill.sundarbans.4.150jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On December 9th, a tanker slammed into another vessel along the Shela River in the world's largest mangrove forest: the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. The tanker sank, spilling an estimated 75,000 gallons (350,000 liters) of fuel oil into waterways that are a part of a reserve for threatened Ganges river dolphins and Irrawaddy dolphins. Jeremy Hance 22.143775 89.702728 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14103 2014-12-09T16:53:00Z 2014-12-09T16:58:49Z Pollinators puzzle to find flowers amidst natural and human fumes <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1209-potter-pollinators-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While unpleasant car exhaust makes us wrinkle our noses, such human-made fumes may pose serious problems to insects searching for nectar. Researchers recently revealed that background odors make finding flowers difficult for pollinators. The study, published in Science, measured how hawk moths (Manduca sexta) pick out the sacred datura flower scent (Datura wrightii) amidst all the other smells that waft through the environment. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14110 2014-12-04T16:11:00Z 2014-12-11T16:37:27Z Is the Gran Canal really a 'big Christmas present' for Nicaraguans? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0827.800px-Volcanic_Island.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>"A big Christmas present"&#8212;that is how Paul Oquist, an advisor to Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, described the country's plan to build a mega-canal across the nation. Preliminary construction on the canal is set to begin December 24th, despite major concerns over environmental destruction, forced removal of thousands of people, and a lack of transparency. Jeremy Hance 11.973290 -83.883255 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14065 2014-11-24T18:58:00Z 2014-11-26T04:09:49Z What happened to the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1124Urton_Irion_a6d2_i150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Images from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster endure, from the collapsing platform to oil-fouled coastline. But beneath the surface is a story photographers cannot as easily capture. Two days after the April 20, 2010 explosion that killed 11 and injured 16, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank. During the five months it took to seal the Macondo well 1,500 meters below the surface, nearly 5 million barrels of oil gushed into the ocean. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14051 2014-11-20T18:19:00Z 2014-11-20T18:21:29Z Indonesian government slow to reclaim lands damaged by coal mining Reclamation of over 830,000 hectares of abandoned mines has yet to begin in East Kalimantan, Indonesia--despite a provincial law passed over a year ago mandating the formation of commission to oversee the process. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13973 2014-11-03T20:48:00Z 2014-12-30T22:30:17Z Can we stop runaway global warming? 'All we need is the will to change' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0117mendenhall_401a.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Twenty-six years after the founding of the IPCC, the Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists has released a new synthesis report that warns in its strongest tones yet that climate change must be dealt with. None of the findings are surprising&#8212;they have been released in earlier assessments throughout the year&#8212;but the terms in which they are written are the starkest yet. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13949 2014-10-28T15:02:00Z 2015-01-21T20:13:08Z Artists, musicians, writers protest government plans for massive coal plant in the Sundarbans Over the weekend, Bangladeshi artists performed plays, sang songs, and recited poetry all in a bid to protect the Sundarbans&#8212;the world's biggest mangrove forest&#8212;from the threat of a massive coal plant. Construction is already under way on the hugely controversial Rampal coal plant, a 1,320 megawatt plant set just 14 kilometers from the edge of the Sundarbans. Jeremy Hance 22.564280 89.666323 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13944 2014-10-27T12:46:00Z 2014-10-27T12:55:10Z Scientific association calls on Nicaragua to scrap its Gran Canal ATBC&#8212;the world's largest association of tropical biologists and conservationists&#8212;has advised Nicaragua to halt its ambitious plan to build a massive canal across the country. The ATBC warns that the Chinese-backed canal, also known as the Gran Canal, will have devastating impacts on Nicaragua's water security, its forests and wildlife, and local people. Jeremy Hance 11.456933 -85.501372 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13906 2014-10-14T15:06:00Z 2014-10-15T00:54:51Z 'River wolves' recover in Peruvian park, but still remain threatened inside and out (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1014.L183_Capitulo2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lobo de río, or river wolf, is the very evocative Spanish name for one of the Amazon's most spectacular mammals: the giant river otter. This highly intelligent, deeply social, and simply charming freshwater predator almost vanished entirely due to a relentless fur trade in the 20th Century. But decades after the trade in giant river otter pelts was outlawed, the species is making a comeback. Jeremy Hance -11.890522 -71.402772 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13780 2014-09-14T07:48:00Z 2014-09-19T08:37:29Z Indonesia's secret treasures: islands passed over by loggers, hunters and conservationists <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0914island150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As our boat sailed towards the forest-clad island, I had no idea what surprise awaited me. A few months ago I was asked to conduct a wildlife survey on a rarely visited island somewhere in Indonesia. For reasons explained below I will not disclose its name. Suffice to say it is one of the thousands of Indonesian islands without people on it. In terms of the wildlife I saw, the absence of people really showed. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13779 2014-09-13T23:52:00Z 2014-09-14T07:50:58Z Domestic conservation: Indonesia’s rich should step up to save nation’s dwindling natural resources Indonesia’s middle and upper classes are becoming increasingly interested and supportive of environmental conservation. Still, they have some way to go to become real leaders and trendsetters on this important issue. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13735 2014-09-02T21:02:00Z 2014-09-02T21:11:52Z Australia cancels plan to dump dredge in Great Barrier Reef A consortium of companies&#8212;North Queensland Bulk Ports, GVK Hancock and Adani Group&#8212;have announced they are giving up on a hugely-controversial plan to dump five million tonnes of dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef. The plans ran into considerable opposition from environment, conservation, and tourism groups who feared harm to the world's largest coral reef system. Jeremy Hance -19.891980 148.077845 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13719 2014-08-27T18:52:00Z 2014-11-06T17:48:27Z The Gran Canal: will Nicaragua's big bet create prosperity or environmental ruin? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0827.800px-Volcanic_Island.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A hundred years ago, the Panama Canal reshaped global geography. Now a new project, spearheaded by a media-shy Chinese millionaire, wants to build a 278-kilometer canal through Nicaragua. While the government argues the mega-project will change the country's dire economic outlook overnight, critics contend it will cause undue environmental damage, upend numerous communities, and do little to help local people. Jeremy Hance 11.392321 -85.465667 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13645 2014-08-11T14:30:00Z 2014-08-12T13:18:37Z Indonesia's children see ravaged environment in their future <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0811.children.4-Future.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A generation ago, Borneo was one of the wildest places on the planet. But decades of logging and oil palm plantations has changed the landscape of Borneo forever: in fact a recent study found that the island has lost 30 percent of its total forest cover since 1973. In the face of this large-scale environmental destruction, a new study finds that Indonesian Borneo's children have a pessimistic view of their future. Jeremy Hance -0.910536 114.307703 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13629 2014-08-05T18:18:00Z 2015-01-21T20:12:45Z Featured video: new documentary highlights the Long March to save the Sundarbans Last fall tens of thousands of Bangladeshis participated in a five day march that took them from the country's capital to the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. They marched to protest the proposal to build a coal plant on the edge of the great wetland. Filmmaker, Bratto Amin, was there. Jeremy Hance 22.605330 89.694824 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13628 2014-08-05T15:26:00Z 2014-12-30T22:35:55Z Biomass burning accounts for 18% of CO2 emissions, kills a quarter of a million people annually Biomass burning takes many forms: wildfires, slash-and-burn agriculture, clearing forests and other vegetation, and even industrialized burning for energy production. Yet this burning&#8212;mostly manmade but also natural&#8212;takes a massive toll both on human health and the environment. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13601 2014-07-29T19:25:00Z 2014-07-29T19:32:15Z Peruvian oil spill sparks concern in indigenous rainforest community A ruptured pipeline that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Marañón River in late June is fueling concerns about potential health impacts for a small indigenous community. Rhett Butler -4.81667 -75.16667 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13573 2014-07-22T21:37:00Z 2014-07-22T22:20:26Z 'A high price to pay': new Indonesian peatland regulation may do more harm than good <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0722-peat-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Government Regulation on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management, initially drafted by the Ministry of Forestry in 2013, is getting mixed acceptance from civil society. On one hand, the regulation would offer more protection to the country’s vast peatland areas. However, on the other, some NGOs have slammed the draft as a potential source of new conflicts for local people. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.712921 102.020697 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13540 2014-07-15T14:28:00Z 2014-12-30T22:38:06Z 'Stop using the bloody things': pesticides linked to bee collapse now blamed for bird declines <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0715.800px-Landsvale.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In recent years the evidence has piled up that neonicotinoids&#8212;a hugely popular group of pesticide&#8212;may be at least partly responsible for ongoing bee and pollinator collapse. But new research in the journal Nature find that these pesticides could also be taking a heavy toll on other species, in this case common birds. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13381 2014-06-13T18:11:00Z 2014-06-13T21:46:38Z Oil drilling causes widespread contamination in the Amazon rainforest Decades of oil extraction in the Western Amazon has caused widespread pollution, raising questions about the impact of a new oil boom in the region, according to a team of Spanish researchers presenting at a conference in California. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13330 2014-06-03T17:35:00Z 2014-06-03T17:51:44Z Turning point? U.S. and China announce major actions on global warming Could 2014 be a turning point for efforts to slash global greenhouse gas emissions? Maybe: in less than 24 hours the world's two largest emitters of carbon dioxide announced plans to finally rein-in the gas most responsible for global warming. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13207 2014-05-12T14:17:00Z 2014-12-30T22:46:32Z India, not China, has the world's worst urban air pollution Breathing in urban India is hard: of the world's top twenty cities with the worst air, 13 of them are found in India, according to a new analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite the attention recently given to Chinese cities for atrocious air pollution, many of India's cities are actually worse when comparing annual averages of fine airborne particulates. Jeremy Hance 28.617115 77.205427 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13020 2014-04-02T16:00:00Z 2014-11-25T22:19:55Z Is 20 millions tons enough? Scientists recommend plastic crackdown as oceans choke <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0402-plastic-albatross-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Every year, 20 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans. In 2012, the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development dubbed marine plastic litter “a major environmental issue that the world must address,” and asked for management action by 2025. Morgan Erickson-Davis 25.769885 -171.736801 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12899 2014-03-10T14:38:00Z 2014-03-10T14:58:29Z Does haze from burning forests affect marine life? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0449.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Two scientists are calling on researchers, NGOs, and governments to begin studying the impact of burning forests and peatlands in Indonesia on the already-threatened marine ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Every year, Indonesian farmers set forests, vegetation, and peatlands alight to clear them for agriculture, often palm oil, and pulp and paper plantations. Not only do these practices destroy hugely-diverse tropical forests, but the resulting haze spreads to many parts of Southeast Asia, threatening regional health and impacting economies. Now, a new paper argues that the sinister impacts of Indonesia's burning may extend as far as the oceans. Jeremy Hance 0.597093 131.501257 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12875 2014-03-05T15:18:00Z 2014-03-05T15:50:58Z The price of gold: winners and losers in Latin America's mining industry <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0405.march.IMG_0764.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On a Friday afternoon in June, the Plaza de Armas in Cajamarca is pulsing with life. It's winter here, and although thick white clouds hover low in the distance, the sun in this northern Peruvian city is warm. Couples sit on benches facing one another. Kids run in the grass between flowerbeds. Men in suits stride along the perimeter. It's an idyllic day. But signs of something more ominous are not far from sight. On the mountainside overlooking the town the words <i>Nova Conga</i> have been carved into the vegetation. It is a constant reminder that beyond the square, hemmed with international hotels and expensive restaurants, there is another reality. Jeremy Hance -7.158507 -78.513558 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12831 2014-02-26T18:19:00Z 2014-02-26T18:34:21Z Plastic waste ingested by worms threatens marine food chains <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0212plastics150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Small fragments of plastic waste are damaging the health of lugworms, putting a key cog in marine ecosystems at risk. Published in <i>Current Biology</i>, a new study by scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth shows the impact of microplastics on the marine worms' health and behavior. Tiffany Roufs 27.059126 161.308587 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12788 2014-02-19T15:42:00Z 2014-02-20T19:09:19Z The making of Amazon Gold: once more unto the breach <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0219.amazongold.Image-4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Sarah duPont first visited the Peruvian Amazon rainforest in the summer of 1999, it was a different place than it is today. Oceans of green, tranquil forest, met the eye at every turn. At dawn, her brain struggled to comprehend the onslaught of morning calls and duets of the nearly 600 species of birds resounding under the canopy. Today, the director of the new award-winning film, Amazon Gold, reports that "roads have been built and people have arrived. It has become a new wild west, a place without law. People driven by poverty and the desire for a better life have come, exploiting the sacred ground." Jeremy Hance -11.867351 -70.764771 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12707 2014-01-30T13:06:00Z 2014-01-30T13:15:30Z Shell drops plans to drill in the Arctic for now Facing plunging profits, Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will cut exploration and development funding by nearly $10 billion this year, including halting their long-suffering plans to drill in the Arctic ocean. Shell's new CEO, Ben van Beurden, made the announcement yesterday that controversial plans to drill off the Alaskan coast will be put on hold for another year. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12699 2014-01-29T13:28:00Z 2014-01-29T14:27:38Z A series of oil spills sully Caribbean paradise, coating mangroves and wildlife (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0129.tandt.IMG_0266.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On December 17th, officials first discovered a massive oil spill in the Caribbean-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Since then, a series of oil spills have been discovered, coating beaches, sullying mangrove forests, and very likely decimating wildlife in Trinidad's Gulf of Paria. The oil spills have been linked to the state-owned oil company, Petrotrin, which has claimed that sabotage is behind at least two of the spills. However Trinidad and Tobago's Environmental Management Authority has recently slapped the company with a $3.1 million fine by for the damage, while some politicians have called for an independent investigation into the slew of spills. Jeremy Hance 10.243641 -61.620655 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12650 2014-01-17T13:53:00Z 2014-04-01T16:20:11Z Court orders logging company to clean up pollution disaster in Chile wetlands <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0117.swans.2004-11-18-14.01.49.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Chile is probably best known for its volcanoes, earthquakes and the formidable peaks of the Andes, but as a country that spans 4,300 km (2,670 miles) from top to bottom, it also boasts a huge variety of bird life. And, until recently, it was home to what was thought to be the largest population of black-necked swans (Cygnus melancoryphus) in South America. Not long ago, these swans, as well as 100 other species of rare or vulnerable bird species, could be seen nesting in the Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary in Valdivia, a Ramsar site that covers 12,000 acres in the south of Chile. But in 2004 the swans began to die. Jeremy Hance -39.691469 -73.207941 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12644 2014-01-16T14:04:00Z 2014-01-16T16:01:41Z Environmental groups: top secret Pacific trade agreement to sacrifice wildlife, environment Environmental groups have blasted draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) released yesterday by WikiLeaks as potentially devastating to the environment and wildlife. The massive 12-nation free trade agreement has been negotiated in secret now for almost four years, and the information release by WikiLeaks shows that key environmental safeguards in the agreement are being stripped away, including a ban on shark finning and illegal logging, as well as legally-enforced pollution regulations. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12568 2013-12-23T18:05:00Z 2015-02-12T00:03:12Z Bee-harming pesticides may impact human nervous system Neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been increasingly blamed for the collapse of bee populations, may also impact human's developing nervous system, according to a review of research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA says that current safety guidelines for two pesticides&#8212;acetamiprid and imidacloprid&#8212;may be too lax to protect humans, especially the developing brains of unborn children Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12549 2013-12-19T23:57:00Z 2014-02-20T19:14:57Z Indigenous groups win right to pursue Chevron assets in Canada in Amazon pollution case Indigenous plaintiffs in a long-running legal dispute against Chevron won the right to pursue the oil giant's assets in Canada as part of a $9.5 billion judgement by an Ecuadorean court over damages in the Amazon, reports Amazon Watch. Rhett Butler 0.074611 -76.757917 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12540 2013-12-19T15:01:00Z 2014-12-28T19:57:07Z Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1101olinguito.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>China begins to tackle pollution, carbon emissions: As China's environmental crisis worsens, the government has begun to unveil a series of new initiatives to curb record pollution and cut greenhouse emissions. The world's largest consumer of coal, China's growth in emissions is finally slowing and some experts believe the nation's emissions could peak within the decade. If China's emissions begin to fall, so too could the world's. Jeremy Hance 39.906576 116.413665 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12496 2013-12-10T14:09:00Z 2014-12-28T19:57:48Z Top 10 Environmental Stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/south-africa/150/south_africa_kruger_1126.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>1. Carbon concentrations hit 400ppm while the IPCC sets global carbon budget: For the first time since our appearance on Earth, carbon concentrations in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. The last time concentrations were this high for a sustained period was 4-5 million years ago when temperatures were 10 degrees Celsius higher. Meanwhile, in the slow-moving effort to curb carbon emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crafted a global carbon budget showing that most of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left untouched if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12484 2013-12-05T13:19:00Z 2013-12-05T13:40:41Z Humans are not apex predators, but meat-eating on the rise worldwide <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1205.maps.meateating.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new paper in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> has measured the "trophic level" of human beings for the first time. Falling between 1 and 5.5, trophic levels refer to where species fit on the food chain. Apex predators like tigers and sharks are given a 5.5 on trophic scale since they survive almost entirely on consuming meat, while plants and phytoplankton, which make their own food, are at the bottom of the scale. Humans, according to the new paper, currently fall in the middle: 2.21. However, rising meat-eating in countries like China, India, and Brazil is pushing our trophic level higher with massive environmental impacts. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12424 2013-11-20T23:16:00Z 2013-11-20T23:26:42Z Gulf of Mexico deep sea may need decades to recover from oil spill <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1120image150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The catastrophic explosion that spewed some five million barrels of oil deep into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 will take a heavy toll in the ocean’s lowest layers for years to come. That’s the stark conclusion of seafloor research conducted six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The study, published on August 7 in <i>PLoS ONE</i>, examined life in the Gulf’s deepest waters near the blowout, about 1.6 kilometers below the surface. Here, the researchers found that the damages will take decades to reverse. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12419 2013-11-20T17:44:00Z 2014-08-21T21:57:37Z The quicksilver demon: rogue gold-mining is the world's largest source of mercury pollution <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1118mercury150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1956, in the quiet seaside town of Minamata on the southwestern coast of Japan's Kyushu Island, cats began to behave very strangely. They convulsed, displayed excessive salivation, and gradually lost the ability to walk. Then, dead birds began to fall out of the sky. Shellfish opened and decomposed. Fish also displayed abnormal behaviors, eventually floating up to the surface of the Shiranui Sea. Many of the ailing cats wandered into the sea and drowned. Soon, there were no more cats alive in the area. Tiffany Roufs -11.899604 -70.237427 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12393 2013-11-18T17:57:00Z 2013-11-19T19:53:19Z Fracking: the good, the bad and the ugly <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1117.800px-Vitoria_-_fracking_ez.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The last few years have ushered in a new national and global awareness of fracking, the 150-year-old technology for extracting natural gas and oil from rock. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, uses ultra-high-pressure slurries to create hairline fractures throughout solid rock. Oil, and more frequently gas, comes rushing out while sand from the mixture holds the fractures open in this nearly alchemical process. As many readers are aware, there are two very divisive schools of thought on fracking. One side touts it as the future of energy. The other derides fracking as inherently toxic and demands its immediate and permanent cessation. Like so many aspects of life, the truth lies somewhere in between. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12345 2013-11-11T15:59:00Z 2015-02-11T23:56:41Z Bangladesh plans massive coal plant in world's biggest mangrove forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1110.Sundarbans_MM7666_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On October 22nd Bangladeshi and Indian officials were supposed to hold a ceremony laying the foundation stone for the Rampal power plant, a massive new coal-fired plant that will sit on the edge of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. However, the governments suddenly cancelled the ceremony, instead announcing that the project had already been inaugurated in early October by the countries' heads of state via a less-ornate Skype call. While the governments say the change was made because of busy schedules, activists contend the sudden scuttling of the ceremony was more likely due to rising pressure against the coal plant, including a five-day march in September that attracted thousands. Jeremy Hance 22.648235 89.651756 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12268 2013-10-28T19:36:00Z 2014-02-20T19:21:55Z Gold mining in the Amazon rainforest surges 400% <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_1475.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The extent of gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon has surged 400 percent since 1999 due to rocketing gold prices, wreaking havoc on forests and devastating local rivers, finds a new study published in the <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> (PNAS). The assessment, led by Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science, is based on a combination of satellite imagery, on-the-ground field surveys, and an advanced airplane-based sensor that can accurately measure the rainforest canopy and sub-canopy vegetation at a resolution of 1.1 meters (42 inches). Rhett Butler -12.768277 -70.545387 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12267 2013-10-28T19:24:00Z 2013-10-28T19:31:34Z Shanghai to ban coal by 2017 China's largest city and one of the world's biggest, Shanghai, is set to ban coal burning in just four years, according to a new Clean Air Action Plan. The city-wide ban on coal burning is one effort among many to get Shanghai's infamous smog under control as well as another sign that China has begun to take its pollution problems more seriously. Jeremy Hance 31.190483 121.509933 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12221 2013-10-22T13:42:00Z 2013-10-22T14:00:09Z The 'dead' ocean: eyewitness says overfishing has emptied the Pacific <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1022.800px-Chilean_purse_seine.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>An Australian sailor has described parts of the Pacific Ocean as "dead" because of severe overfishing, with his vessel having to repeatedly swerve debris for thousands of kilometers on a journey from Australia to Japan. Ivan MacFadyen told of his horror at the severe lack of marine life and copious amounts of rubbish witnessed on a yacht race between Melbourne and Osaka. He recently returned from the trip, which he previously completed 10 years ago. Jeremy Hance 30.600094 140.244137 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12213 2013-10-17T15:22:00Z 2013-10-17T15:36:22Z WHO: air pollution causes cancer Outdoor air pollution has been officially classified as carcinogenic by the cancer arm of the World Health Organization. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said air pollution from traffic and industrial fumes was a definite cause of lung cancer and also linked to bladder cancer. The strong verdict from IARC, a cautious body that pronounces only when the evidence is strong, will put pressure on governments to take action. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12172 2013-10-07T18:31:00Z 2013-10-07T18:44:08Z Scientists uncover high radioactivity near fracking site in Pennsylvania Scientists have for the first time found dangerous levels of radioactivity and salinity at a shale gas waste disposal site that could contaminate drinking water. If the UK follows in the steps of the US "shale gas revolution", it should impose regulations to stop such radioactive buildup, they said. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12150 2013-09-30T19:28:00Z 2013-09-30T19:31:30Z Coal railway could cause 'ecological disaster' in Indonesian Borneo, warn environmentalists Activists have urged the Indonesian government to cancel or reassess plans to build a 148-kilometer coal railway in Indonesian Borneo, claiming the project will be an 'ecological disaster' that will destroy watersheds and lead to increased coal exploitation in the region, threatening ecosystems and undermining local government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12134 2013-09-27T15:24:00Z 2015-02-11T23:42:52Z Forgotten species: the nearly extinct primate that can be shot on sight <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0926.Ppepieni9.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The attention paid to charismatic popular primates&#8212;such as gorillas, chimps, orangutans, lion tamarins, and even some lemurs&#8212;could make one suppose that conservationists have the protection of our closest relatives well in hand; the astounding fact that no primate species is known to have gone extinct in the last hundred years (despite large-scale destruction of their habitats) seems to confirm this statement. However, looking more closely at the data, one finds that not only are many of the world's primates slipping toward extinction, but a number of them have received little conservation attention. According to the IUCN Red List, a staggering 48 percent of the world's primates are threatened with extinction: that's a worse percentage than amphibians which have been ravaged by a global epidemic. And although a handful of the world's 600-plus primates have garnered conservation adoration, many remain obscure. Jeremy Hance 5.226349 6.29631 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12132 2013-09-26T18:26:00Z 2014-02-22T01:58:25Z Video of Amazon gold mining devastation goes viral in Peru <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0926screencap150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Video of illegal gold mining operations that have turned a portion of the Amazon rainforest into a moonscape went viral on Youtube after a popular radio and TV journalist in Peru highlighted the story. Last week Peruvian journalist and politician Guido Lombardi directed his followers to video shot from a wingcam aboard the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), an airplane used by researchers to conduct advanced monitoring and analysis of Peru's forests. The video quickly received more than 60,000 views on Youtube. Rhett Butler -13.028976 -70.550473 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12130 2013-09-26T14:14:00Z 2013-09-26T14:34:50Z Global society must leave fossil fuels in the ground, unburnt, says top official World governments must get used to the idea of leaving fossil fuel reserves in the ground unexploited and unburned, one of the world's most senior diplomats has said, ahead of a landmark report on climate science to be unveiled this Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The former Irish president and UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, is to spearhead a new international push aimed at breaking the climate talks deadlock and silencing skeptics, with a group of senior diplomats and politicians from around the world. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12127 2013-09-25T16:45:00Z 2013-09-25T17:00:27Z Climate change policy is just good economics For the majority of the new century, Americans have largely stopped caring about the environment. In that time, America has suffered 9/11, two of the nation's four longest wars, the deepest depression in 80 years, increased inequality, and incompetent or fractured leadership. There's been a lot on the public mind. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12100 2013-09-18T23:40:00Z 2013-09-18T23:47:48Z Zombie coal: Borneo resurrects controversial coal plant The Malaysian government is taking another look at building a hugely controversial coal-fired plant in the Bornean state of Sabah, a proposal that was thrown out in 2011 due to a large-scale grassroots movement. The 300 megawatt coal plant would have been built in Lahad Datu on the edge of a wildlife reserve and the state's renowned coral reefs. Reportedly, the government is now considering building the same plant only further south in Tawau, which also lies on the coast. Jeremy Hance 4.264246 117.933884 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12074 2013-09-13T02:34:00Z 2013-09-13T03:52:20Z Mesoamerican Reef needs more local support, says report <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.com/images/yucatan/thumbnails/web/PICT0008.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>From massive hotel development through the agriculture industry, humans are destroying the second largest barrier reef in the world: the Mesoamerican Reef. Although global climate change and its effects on reefs via warming and acidification of coastal waters have made recent headlines, local human activities may destroy certain ecosystems before climate change has a chance to do it. The harmful effects of mining, agriculture, commercial development, and fishing in coastal regions have already damaged more than two-thirds of reefs across the Caribbean, in addition to worsening the negative effects of climate change. Rhett Butler 17.579721 -88.067635 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12024 2013-09-05T19:05:00Z 2013-09-05T21:47:27Z Organization proposes climate change warning labels at the gas pump <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0905warning150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Rob Shirkey is the founder of the Toronto-based, not-for-profit organization Our Horizon. Inspired by his grandfather's last words to him, "Do what you love," Shirkey quit his job and founded the organization. Our Horizon is founded on the basis that we are all responsible for global climate change through our daily collective choices. It endeavors to influence those choices, specifically with the goal of convincing municipalities to require climate change warning labels on gasoline pumps. Tiffany Roufs 43.656943 -79.390183 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12006 2013-09-03T17:43:00Z 2013-09-03T18:16:52Z China punishes top oil companies for failing to clean up their acts China's top two oil companies have been penalized for missing pollution targets, reports China Central Television (CCTV). The Ministry of Environmental Protection has suspended all refinery projects for China National Petroleum Corporation (CPNC) and the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) until they meet their pollution targets. The move is a part of a wider crackdown on pollution across China, which has suffered from record air pollution. Jeremy Hance 39.963438 116.405411 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11973 2013-08-28T15:21:00Z 2015-02-11T23:38:28Z Bad feedback: ocean acidification to worsen global warming As if ocean acidification and climate change weren't troubling enough (both of which are caused by still-rising carbon emissions), new research published in Nature finds that ocean acidification will eventually exacerbate global warming, further raising the Earth's temperature. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11949 2013-08-21T14:55:00Z 2014-02-22T01:59:05Z Pesticide problems in the Amazon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_0609.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As the world’s population increases and agricultural frontiers expand into native tropical habitats, researchers are working furiously to understand the impacts on tropical forests and global biodiversity. But one obvious impact has been little studied in these agricultural frontiers: pesticides. However a new study in the journal Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B seeks to shine a light on the problem. Tiffany Roufs -5.747174 -64.299317 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11934 2013-08-19T13:05:00Z 2013-08-19T13:19:06Z China pledges $275 billion over 5 years to cut record air pollution Last week China announced it was going to spend over a quarter of a trillion dollars ($275 billion) to fight rampant and life-threatening pollution in its urban centers over the next five years. Recent decades of unparalleled economic growth has taken a drastic environmental toll in China, including record air pollution levels in Beijing. The announcement follows other news, including that the Chinese government has recently scrapped a massive 2,000 megawatt coal plant project near the cities of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Jeremy Hance 39.887611 116.408157 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11888 2013-08-06T17:32:00Z 2015-02-11T23:13:23Z Foodies eat lab-grown burger that could change the world Yesterday at a press event in London, two food writers took a bite into the world's most unusual hamburger. Grown meticulously from cow stem cells, the hamburger patty represents the dream (or pipedream) of many animal rights activists and environmentalists. The burger was developed by Physiologist Mark Post of Maastricht University and funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin in an effort to create real meat without the corresponding environmental toll. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11781 2013-07-17T14:09:00Z 2013-07-17T14:30:21Z Apple investigating if tin for smart phones involved child labor Apple is investigating whether tin mined from Bangka Island in Indonesia, where child labor and environmental damage from the mining has been reported, is used in its iPhones and other products. Jeremy Hance -2.416276 106.083069 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11696 2013-07-01T14:54:00Z 2013-07-01T14:59:22Z Activists, indigenous people plan healing walk in 'sick' tar sands landscape Hundreds of activists including Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein are going into the heart of Canada's tar sands this week – not to protest the destruction of the local environment, but to pray for the 'healing' of land and the people. Native elders from all over North America will lead people past lakes of tailings wastewater and massive infrastructure of the tar sands industry along the Athabasca River in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Jeremy Hance 57.074335 -111.638374 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11659 2013-06-27T19:56:00Z 2013-06-30T16:31:36Z Colombian mining dispute highlights legislative disarray Colombian authorities have ruled that local environmental officials acted correctly in ordering South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti to halt their work, following demands from the multinational corporation for their disciplining. Cortolima, the environmental authority of the department of Tolima in central Colombia, stopped AngloGold from conducting unsanctioned exploration activities in the Tolima municipality of Piedras in March. Jeremy Hance 4.498393 -74.915886 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11645 2013-06-25T20:53:00Z 2013-06-25T21:29:31Z After long wait, Obama lays out fight against climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Five years after being elected president and six months after winning a second term, President Obama today gave his first speech devoted solely to climate change and announced several executive actions to begin weaning the United States (historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gases) off fossil fuels. At Georgetown University today, Obama stated that his administration would expand renewable energy projects on federal lands, raise energy efficiency standards on appliances, and, most importantly, limit carbon pollution from both existing and new power plants, which represent about 40 percent of the U.S.'s emissions. Obama also noted that the U.S. would spearhead global efforts to combat climate change which is pushing sea levels higher, melting glaciers and sea ice, exacerbating fires, imperiling species, and worsening extreme weather worldwide. Jeremy Hance 38.908267 -77.071971 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11616 2013-06-18T19:38:00Z 2013-06-18T19:50:41Z Pesticides decimating dragonflies and other aquatic insects <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0618.pesticides.aquatic.57927.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While recent research (and media attention) has focused on the alleged negative impacts of pesticides on bees, the problem may be far broader according to a new study in the Proceedings of the US Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Looking at over 50 streams in Germany, France, and Australia, scientists in Europe and Australia found that pesticide contamination was capable of undercutting invertebrate biodiversity by nearly half. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11614 2013-06-18T15:07:00Z 2013-06-18T15:21:49Z EU labels another pesticide as bad for bees A widely used insect nerve agent has been labelled a "high acute risk" to honeybees by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A similar assessment by the EFSA on three other insecticides preceded the suspension of their use in the European Union. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11603 2013-06-13T14:30:00Z 2013-06-13T14:33:45Z Burning coal responsible for over 20,000 deaths a year in Europe <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0613.800px-Kompalniaielektrownia.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Air pollution from Europe's 300 largest coal power stations causes 22,300 premature deaths a year and costs companies and governments billions of pounds in disease treatment and lost working days, says a major study of the health impacts of burning coal to generate electricity. The research, from Stuttgart University's Institute for energy economics and commissioned by Greenpeace International, suggests that a further 2,700 people can be expected to die prematurely each year if a new generation of 50 planned coal plants are built in Europe. "The coal-fired power plants in Europe cause a considerable amount of health impacts," the researchers concluded. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11584 2013-06-12T17:26:00Z 2013-06-12T17:37:56Z 11,000 barrels of oil spill into the Coca River in the Amazon On May 31st, a landslide ruptured an oil pipeline in Ecuadorean Amazon, sending around 11,000 barrels of oil ( 420,000 gallons) into the Coca River. The oil pollution has since moved into the larger Napo River, which borders Yasuni National Park, and is currently heading downstream into Peru and Brazil. The spill has occurred in a region that is notorious for heavy oil production and decades of contamination, in addition to resistance and lawsuits by indigenous groups. Jeremy Hance -0.443569 -76.997738 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11574 2013-06-11T13:45:00Z 2015-02-11T23:06:50Z Conserving the long-neglected freshwater fish of Borneo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_2472.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Borneo is a vast tropical island known for orangutans, rhinos, elephants, sun bears, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and ubiquitous leeches. Conservationists have championed all of these species (aside from the leeches) in one way or another, but like many tropical regions Borneo's freshwater species have long been neglected, despite their rich biodiversity and importance to local people. But a new organization, the Kinabatangan River Spirit Initiative, is working to change that. Jeremy Hance 5.624186 118.367844 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11544 2013-06-04T17:51:00Z 2013-06-04T17:55:44Z Canadian province cancels tar sands pipeline due to environmental impact Efforts to expand production from the Alberta tar sands suffered a significant setback on Friday when the provincial government of British Columbia rejected a pipeline project because of environmental shortcomings. In a strongly worded statement, the government of the province said it was not satisfied with the pipeline company's oil spill response plans. Jeremy Hance 57.562995 -126.877442 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11541 2013-06-03T16:27:00Z 2013-08-27T13:38:18Z Mining in Indonesia taking a heavy social, environmental toll <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0603mining150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a patch of rainforest in northern Sumatra, a 28-year-old in jeans and tall rubber boots snubs out his cigarette and pulls a headlamp over his short black hair. Standing under a tarp, he flicks the light on and leans over the entrance of a narrow shaft lined with wooden planks that he and other miners cut from trees that once stood here. He gives a sharp tug on a rope that dangles 100 meters, plateauing in sections, and slides down. For hours, the man, Sarial, will use a pick to scrape away and bag rocks that are hauled to the surface by another miner, using a wooden wheel. Rhett Butler 0.957139 99.421935 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11500 2013-05-29T14:54:00Z 2013-05-29T15:00:25Z Local economy ruined by pesticide pollution in the Caribbean <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0529.800px-Plage_Feuillere.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On 15 April more than 100 fishermen demonstrated in the streets of Fort de France, the main town on Martinique, in the French West Indies. In January they barricaded the port until the government in Paris allocated €2m ($2.6m) in aid, which they are still waiting for. The contamination caused by chlordecone, a persistent organochlorine pesticide, means their spiny lobsters are no longer fit for human consumption. The people of neighboring Guadeloupe are increasingly angry for the same reason. After polluting the soil, the chemical is wreaking havoc out at sea, an environmental disaster that now threatens the whole economy. Jeremy Hance 16.254231 -61.529388 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11499 2013-05-28T19:02:00Z 2015-02-09T23:01:09Z Scientists discover high mercury levels in Amazon residents, gold-mining to blame <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0528.IMG_1408.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Madre de Dios region in Peru is recognized for its lush Amazon rainforests, meandering rivers and rich wildlife. But the region is also known for its artisanal gold mining, which employs the use of a harmful neurotoxin. Mercury is burned to extract the pure gold from metal and ore producing dangerous air-borne vapors that ultimately settle in nearby rivers. 'Mercury in all forms is a potent neurotoxin affecting the brain, central nervous system and major organs,'Luis Fernandez, an ecologist and research associate at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, told mongabay.com. 'At extremely high exposure levels, mercury has been documented to cause paralysis, insanity, coma and death.' Jeremy Hance -12.588073 -69.192982 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11496 2013-05-28T18:18:00Z 2013-07-04T13:57:36Z U.S. company's open pit gold mine in UNESCO reserve in Mexico raises concerns <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0528Sierra_Laguna150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sierra la Laguna is a unique ecosystem reserve spanning more than 100,000 hectares in the southern tip of the California peninsula. It is one of the best-preserved natural areas in Mexico and home to about 100 traditional farmer families as well as multiple endemic animal and plant species. But there is one more thing that makes the region unique: approximately 2 million ounces of gold reserves underground worth $2.8 billion at current gold prices. Rhett Butler 23.644524 -110.111389 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11494 2013-05-28T14:06:00Z 2015-02-09T23:00:56Z Water crisis widening: 4.5 billion people live near 'impaired water sources' The majority of the 9 billion people on Earth will live with severe pressure on fresh water within the space of two generations as climate change, pollution and over-use of resources take their toll, 500 scientists have warned. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11492 2013-05-27T23:11:00Z 2015-02-09T23:00:50Z Over 500 scientists warn we 'are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet' A new consensus statement by 520 scientists from around the world warns that global environmental harm is putting at risk the happiness and well-being of this and future generations. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11474 2013-05-23T13:34:00Z 2013-05-23T13:37:50Z China to begin cutting carbon emissions one city at a time China has unveiled details of its first pilot carbon-trading program, which will begin next month in the southern city of Shenzhen. The trading scheme will cover 638 companies responsible for 38% of the city's total emissions, the Shenzhen branch of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced on Wednesday. The scheme will eventually expand to include transportation, manufacturing and construction companies. Jeremy Hance 22.525243 114.058456 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11390 2013-05-08T14:53:00Z 2013-05-08T15:05:22Z Uranium mine at edge of Grand Canyon National Park approved <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/grandcanyon/0617_canyon_03-th.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Uranium mining on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon national park is set to go ahead in 2015 despite a ban imposed last year by Barack Obama. Energy Fuels Resources has been given federal approval to reopen its old Canyon Mine, located six miles south of the canyon's popular South Rim entrance, that attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year. Jeremy Hance 36.264207 -112.777863 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11389 2013-05-07T21:58:00Z 2013-05-09T05:56:34Z Debate heats up over California's plan to reduce emissions via rainforest protection <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_2201.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As the public comment period for California's cap-and-trade program draws to a close, an alliance of environmental activists have stepped up a heated campaign to keep carbon credits generated by forest conservation initiatives in tropical countries out of the scheme. These groups say that offsets generated under the so-called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism, will undermine efforts to cut emissions as home, while potentially leading to abuses abroad. However supporters of forest conservation-based credits say the program may offer the best hope for saving the world's beleaguered rainforests, which continue to fall at a rate of more than 8 million hectares per year. Rhett Butler 38.568426 -121.493694 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11386 2013-05-07T16:36:00Z 2015-03-27T03:50:52Z Health effects of toxic waste sites in developing countries could rival malaria, air pollution, new study shows <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_0166.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Exposure to dangerous chemicals from toxic waste sites may be creating a public health crisis in developing countries comparable to that caused by malaria or even air pollution, a new study suggests, highlighting the urgent need to clean up toxic waste. In a study published on Saturday in <i>Environmental Health Perspectives</i>, researchers calculated the number of 'healthy years of life lost' due to ill-health, disability or early death in individuals at risk of exposure to chemicals at 373 toxic waste sites in India, the Philippines and Indonesia. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11383 2013-05-07T14:28:00Z 2015-02-09T22:56:43Z Munching on marine plastic kills sperm whale <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0506.spermwhale.plastic.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>What do children's toys, balloons, mattresses and plastic bags have in common? They can, along with more non-biodegradable pollutants, be found in the belly of a sperm whale, the topic of a new study in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. The same whale that swallowed Jonah from the Bible, Geppetto from Collodi's <i>Pinocchio</i>, and the crew of the Pequod from Melville's <i>Moby-Dick</i> is now swallowing trash from the Spanish-Mediterranean coast, and in the Strait of Gibraltar. Jeremy Hance 36.721222 -3.357872 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11379 2013-05-06T18:10:00Z 2015-02-09T22:56:37Z The world's largest 'waste dump' is found in the Pacific Ocean If you were to travel from the United States of America to Japan, you would most likely encounter what could be described as the world's largest waste dump: a 100,000 tonne expanse of debris floating around a large region of the Pacific Ocean. The total area of this phenomenon has been said to equal the size of continental U.S., but the truth about its true size remains unknown. Jeremy Hance 34.016242 -175.488288 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11350 2013-05-03T16:36:00Z 2013-05-03T16:44:35Z Widely used insecticide contaminating water supplies, triggering wildlife die-off in Europe The world's most widely used insecticide is devastating dragonflies, snails and other water-based species, a groundbreaking Dutch study has revealed. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11341 2013-05-02T17:17:00Z 2015-03-16T03:04:35Z Is it possible to reduce the impact of oil drilling in the Amazon rainforest? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0502oilpipeline.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Oil extraction in the Amazon rainforest has been linked to severe environmental degradation &#8212; including deforestation and pollution &#8212; which in some areas has spurred violent social conflict. Yet a vast extent of the Colombian, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Bolivian, and Brazilian Amazon is currently under concession for oil and gas exploration and production. It seems clear that much of this hydrocarbon development is going to proceed whether environmentalists and human rights groups like it or not. Rhett Butler -2.344926 -76.159973 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11326 2013-04-30T21:49:00Z 2013-04-30T21:54:19Z Citizen group finds 30 toxic chemicals in air following tar sands oil spill in Arkansas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0404.Exxon-Pipeline-Spill-Arkansas.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Independent air samples by locals have yielded "a soup of toxic chemicals" in Mayflower, Arkansas where an Exxon Mobil pipeline burst on March 29th spilling some 5,000 barrels of tar sands oil, known as bitumen. Chemicals detected included several linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological impacts such as benzene and ethylbenzene. Air samples were taken by community leader and University of Central Arkansas student April Lane a day after the spill. However, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA)'s and Exxon Mobil's air samples have yielded chemical levels below harm except in the direct clean-up area, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Jeremy Hance 34.956026 -92.427664 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11322 2013-04-30T15:00:00Z 2015-02-09T22:52:51Z Mining companies must turn to recycling as demand for metals grows Demand for metals is likely to increase tenfold as developing economies surge ahead, putting severe stress on the natural environment, a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (Unep) has warned. The organization has suggested a novel response: bring in the mining companies&#8212;often seen as the environmental villains&#8212;to sort out the recycling. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11306 2013-04-25T20:00:00Z 2013-04-25T20:27:29Z Samsung admits to using tin linked to child labor, deforestation; Apple mum on sourcing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0425deforestation150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mobile device giant Samsung has admitted to using tin sourced from a controversial mining operation on the Indonesian island of Bangka, where unregulated mining kills 150 miners a year and causes substantial environmental damage, reports The Guardian and Mongabay-Indonesia. Rhett Butler -2.284551 106.067505 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11289 2013-04-23T14:45:00Z 2013-04-23T15:07:07Z The river of plenty: uncovering the secrets of the amazing Mekong <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0423.6799022660_06814e41d7_h.boat.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Home to giant catfish and stingrays, feeding over 60 million people, and with the largest abundance of freshwater fish in the world, the Mekong River, and its numerous tributaries, brings food, culture, and life to much of Southeast Asia. Despite this, little is known about the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Mekong, which is second only to the Amazon in terms of freshwater biodiversity. Meanwhile, the river is facing an existential crisis in the form of 77 proposed dams, while population growth, pollution, and development further imperil this understudied, but vast, ecosystem. Jeremy Hance 18.033586 101.890783 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11245 2013-04-16T16:30:00Z 2015-02-09T22:49:26Z Yangtze porpoise down to 1,000 animals as world's most degraded river may soon claim another extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0416.yangtzeporpoise.WEB_105591.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A survey late last year found that the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) population has been cut in half in just six years. During a 44-day survey, experts estimated 1,000 river porpoises inhabited the river and adjoining lakes, down from around 2,000 in 2006. The ecology of China's Yangtze River has been decimated the Three Gorges Dam, ship traffic, pollution, electrofishing, and overfishing, making it arguably the world's most degraded major river. These environmental tolls have already led to the likely extinction of the Yangtze river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer), or baiji, and possibly the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), which is one of the world's longest freshwater fish. Jeremy Hance 29.118574 116.283188 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11244 2013-04-16T14:01:00Z 2013-04-16T14:13:25Z Iraqi who is bringing back the Garden of Eden wins top environment award <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0416.800px-Marsh_Arabs_in_a_mashoof.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The vast Mesoptomian marshes in southern Iraq were said to be the site of the original Garden of Eden. On their fringes have risen and fallen 12,000 years of Sumerian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian and Arab civilizations. Organized farming is thought to have begun here, as did the first cities and writing. In legend, Gilgamesh fell asleep on the water side and let slip from his fingers the plant of eternal youth. Abraham was said to have been born here and explorers like Sir Wilfred Thesiger made their name here. Jeremy Hance 30.700516 47.551346 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11210 2013-04-10T23:10:00Z 2013-04-12T03:36:59Z Saviors or villains: controversy erupts as New Zealand plans to drop poison over Critically Endangered frog habitat <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0410.800px-1080PoisonWarning_gobeirne.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) is facing a backlash over plans to aerially drop a controversial poison, known as 1080, over the habitat of two endangered, prehistoric, and truly bizarre frog species, Archey's and Hochsetter's frogs, on Mount Moehau. Used in New Zealand to kill populations of invasive mammals, such as rats and the Australian long-tailed possum, 1080 has become an increasingly emotive issue in New Zealand, not just splitting the government and environmentalists, but environmental groups among themselves. Critics allege that the poison, for which there is no antidote, decimates local animals as well as invasives, while proponents say the drops are the best way to control invasive mammals that kill endangered species like birds and frogs and may spread bovine tuberculosis (TB). Jeremy Hance -36.54095 175.40185 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11197 2013-04-09T15:52:00Z 2013-04-09T16:03:39Z Air pollution killed 7 million people in 2010 Seven million people died from air pollution in 2010, according to new data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, published in the medical journal Lancet. The research found that indoor air pollution killed 3.5 million people in 2010, outdoor air pollution 3.3 million, and ground level ozone pollution 200,000 people. Jeremy Hance 39.929748 116.344986