- In March, Mongabay released videos showing how mining in different countries is devestating both ecosystems and local communities for a long time, and how the communities are fighting back.
- Watch how changing climates, growing populations and burgeoning industrialization are the reasons for the food crisis becoming an increasingly serious concern in Kenya, and how development projects in Southeast Asia are threatening the critical environmental areas.
- Watch interviews with conservation players from India — documentary director Kartiki Gonsalves, author and authority on wildlife M.K. Ranjitsinh Jhala, and energy expert Purnima Jalihal.
- Get a peek into the various segments of the environment across the globe. Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on YouTube.
Mining projects across the world continue to affect the local populations. In Ecuador’s Intag Valley, communities are working to conserve, restore and defend the cloud forests in what locals say is the longest continuous resistance movement against mining in Latin America. In Nigeria, the gold rush is profiting a small handful of local elites and their Chinese partners at the expense of local communities and the environment. In Brazil, 20,000 illegal miners and their camps are being removed from the Yanomami Indigenous Territory.
In March’s episode of Mongabay Sessions, host Romi Castagnino spoke with director Kartiki Gonsalves about her Oscar-winning documentary The Elephant Whisperers.
With changing climates, growing populations and burgeoning industrialization, food crisis is an increasingly serious concern. The long drought in the arid northern Kenya has forced pastoralists to turn to fishing in an already stressed Turkana lake. In another part of the country, in another lake, massive fish die-offs have affected the fishers significantly.
Mongabay-India spoke with conservationist M.K. Ranjitsinh about the introduction of African cheetahs in India, his fight with power companies for the great Indian bustard, and his wish for India’s environment. The team also covered stories about how traditional livelihoods and rural trades are being boosted by local solar power, and how we can employ technology to use agricultural waste to produce clean fuel.
In Southeast Asia, where development is rapidly growing with little attention to local communites and the environment, Mongabay covered two issues in Vietnam and the Philippines. The plan for an ecotourism city along the mangrove coasts of southern Vietnam threatens to destroy both the ecosystem and the way of life. In southern Philippines, a planned bridge would endanger a rich biodiverse coral reef called the Paradise Reef.
Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on Mongabay’s YouTube channel.
How livestock and wild herbivores impact soil carbon differently
A study in India found how livestock and wild herbivores differ in impacts on soil carbon and ultimately the climate. Extensive use of antibiotics on livestock may restrict soil carbon by altering the efficiency with which microorganisms convert absorbed carbon into their own biomass. The findings highlight the importance of the continued conservation of native herbivores and the need for new solutions to improve livestock management.
Read more: Livestock and wild herbivores impact soil carbon differently
EXTRACTIVE PROJECTS AFFECT LOCAL POPULATIONS
Defending the Intag Valley: 30 years of community resistance
For nearly 30 years, communities have worked to conserve, restore and defend the cloud forests of the Intag Valley in Ecuador, in what locals say is the longest continuous resistance movement against mining in Latin America. Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer from Chile, plans to open a mine in the Intag Valley that would destroy primary forest and lie within the buffer area of Cotacachi Cayapas National Park — a plan that experts say would be ecologically devastating and not worth the cost.
Read more: In Ecuador, communities protecting a ‘terrestrial coral reef’ face a mining giant
Chinese gold miners threaten the livelihood of Nigerian farmers
Commercial-scale gold miners are wreaking havoc in southwestern Nigeria’s Atorin-Ijesha region. Local officials largely condone these often illegal activities, while the federal authorities have been slow to crack down. Affected community members say the miners are destroying their crops, polluting their land, and contaminating their water sources with mercury and lead.
The gold rush is profiting a small handful of local elites and their Chinese partners, at the expense of local communities and the environment.
Read more: ‘Brought down by gold’: Communities and nature suffer amid Nigerian bonanza
Dismantling illegal mining camps in Yanomami Indigenous land
With support from Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs agency, the environmental law enforcement agency has been working to remove 20,000 illegal miners and their camps from the Yanomami Indigenous Territory in northern Brazil.
Read more: Lula government scrambles to overcome Yanomami crisis, but hurdles remain
Meet the Oscars 2023 Best Short Documentary director, Kartiki Gonsalves
In this episode of Mongabay Sessions, Romi Castagnino spoke with director Kartiki Gonsalves about her film The Elephant Whisperers, best short documentary in Oscars 2023. The documentary is about an Indian couple who devote their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, forging a family like no other.
FOOD, COMMUNITIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
People are fishing in the desert
As Northern Kenya’s unabating drought continues, a growing wave of pastoralists are finding it challenging to keep their livestock alive and are switching to fishing in Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake. However, environmentalists, fishing authorities, and some fishers worry that potential overfishing and increased pressures on fish populations will cause a collapse in fish stocks and the lake’s ecosystem.
Read more: Herders turn to fishing in the desert amid severe drought, putting pressure on fish population
Massive fish die-offs in Lake Victoria affect Kenyan fishers
Fishing communities living along Lake Victoria depend on it heavily for their livelihoods. For ages, fishing in the world’s second-largest freshwater lake has been a significant source of income for them. However, fishers suffered a whopping loss of 1 billion shillings ($8 million) last year after massive fish die-offs in the lake. Months later, they are still trying to grapple with the loss and attempting to get back on track.
Read more: Fish kills leave Kenya’s Lake Victoria farmers at a loss, seeking answers
RESTORATION AND REWILDING PROJECTS
On grassland policy, cheetah reintroduction and political will in India: M.K. Ranjitsinh
One of the masterminds behind India’s Wild Life Protection Act and a co-author in the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India,’ M.K. Ranjitsinh called for shifting conservation focus to neglected grasslands and their biodiversity. Advocating for a grassland policy in India, he acknowledged the hurdle in political will. A grassland policy, if framed, would lead to, among other actions, regulating grazing season, Ranjitsinh says.
Read more: [Interview] Conservationist MK Ranjitsinh Jhala on the need for a grassland policy in India
Can bats help get rid of pests on apple farms in South Africa?
In 2021, South Africa exported over 580 000 tonnes of fresh apples worth almost $500 million. Yet around 44% of the fresh apple production was considered waste and discarded. Zoology Ph.D. candidate Alexandra Howard in South Africa is investigating how bats could help suppress pests on apple orchards and reduce the costs of using chemical pest controls.
Trades in rural Karnataka, India, get a solar thrust
Decentralized renewable energy solutions are supporting several people in rural Karnataka whose trade suffered from irregular power supply. The thrust provided by solar power has also reduced the dependence on additional labor and increased their incomes. While experts claim that large-scale adoption of decentralized renewable technology can help reduce rural-urban migration and create more jobs and livelihood options in rural India, the cost of solar equipment is a challenge for low income rural populations.
Read more: Decentralised solar is transforming rural India, needs an extra push
Innovative technology uses agricultural waste to produce clean fuel in India
Punjab, India, is home to innovative technology that produces clean fuel from agricultural waste. India’s biggest CBG plant, and the only one on paddy straw, was commissioned in Sangrur, the hotbed of intensive wheat-rice agriculture in Punjab. The plant can produce CBG as well as organic manure daily from agricultural waste. India has the potential to produce clean fuel like CBG, that can replace 50% of the current diesel use in transport. However, the CBG plants still need to find market to sell manure they produce to make the CBG plants viable.
Read more: Organic agriculture critical for generating indigenous, clean fuel
DEVELOPMENT VS. THE ENVIRONMENT
Mangrove forests of Cần Giờ under threat: development endangers local residents’ livelihood
Cần Giờ’s mangrove forests, and those who depend on them, face an uncertain future as developers target this coastal district of Ho Chi Minh City for development. The Vietnamese government and developers hope to market the area as an ecotourism city based on its natural beauty and post-war success story, but major projects could shift the precarious balance between ecosystems and livelihoods.
Read more: As livelihoods clash with development, Vietnam’s Cần Giờ mangroves are at risk
China-funded bridge threatens Paradise Reef in southern Philippines
Samal Island in the southern Philippines is home to a coral system known as Paradise Reef. The reef is under serious threat due to a plan to build a bridge linking Davao to Samal. Scientists and conservationists warn that the proposed bridge’s construction could result in irreversible damage to this fragile ecosystem. Campaigners are calling on the Philippine government to reconsider the bridge’s construction and reroute it to minimize the damage to the reef.
Read more: China-funded bridge threatens Paradise Reef in southern Philippines
RENEWABLE ENERGY IN INDIA
Future of ocean energy systems in India: Purnima Jalihal
Purnima Jalihal, head of the energy and freshwater group at the National Institute of Ocean Technology, India, is currently coordinating the development of the maiden ocean energy-powered desalination plant in Lakshadweep. The plant is presently powered by diesel. Jalihal believes that the development of both small-scale off-grid ocean energy systems and large-scale structures is important to meet clean energy targets. In an interview with Mongabay-India, Jalihal discusses the future of ocean energy systems in India and its challenges.
Read more: [Interview] Purnima Jalihal on the evolution and future of ocean energy systems in India
Banner image: Roberto Castro from Intag Valley under a grove of elephant ear plants, which grow where water is abundant. Photo by Liz Kimbrough for Mongabay.