Newsletter 2022-07-14


Podcast: ‘Water always wins,’ so why are we fighting it? by Mike DiGirolamo — July 12, 2022

– On this week’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we examine humanity’s approach to harnessing water, and how the current “us-first” mindset is actually exacerbating our water access problems.
– Journalist and author Erica Gies joins us to discuss the concept of ‘slow’ solutions to water shortages presented in her new book “Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge,” and how communities can work with water rather than against it.
– Gies discusses how hydrologists, engineers, and urban planners are creating ‘slow’ water projects with traditional hydrological knowledge, which are less invasive ways of harnessing water, in places such as Chennai, India.

Inside Sierra Leone’s Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (video) by Ashoka Mukpo — July 11, 2022

– The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, located on the outskirts of Freetown, is a refuge for orphaned chimpanzees in Sierra Leone.
– Part of a network of sanctuaries in West Africa, Tacugama provides a home for orphaned western chimpanzees, which are critically endangered.
– Mongabay’s Ashoka Mukpo visited Tacugama in April and sat down with Bala Amarasekaran, the sanctuary’s founder.

Amazon deforestation is off to the fastest start to a year since 2008 by — July 8, 2022

– Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is off to the fastest start for the first half of any year since 2008 according to government data published today.
– Deforestation alert data from Brazil’s national space research institute INPE shows that 3,988 square kilometers of forest have been cleared within the Brazilian Amazon since January 1, a 17 percent rise over last year.
– Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a 15-year high in 2021.

For women on Bangladesh’s coast, rising seas pose a reproductive health dilemma by Jesmin Papri — July 8, 2022

– In coastal areas of Bangladesh, where poor families often can’t afford menstrual pads, women and adolescent girls are compelled to use cloth rags that they wash in water that’s becoming increasingly saline.
– This has led to a spate of uterine diseases, prompting many women and girls to misuse birth control pills in an effort to stop their menstrual cycles altogether.
– Health experts say this practice, carried out without medical advice, poses both short- and long-term risks to their reproductive and mental health.
– The root of the problem is the ever-worsening intrusion of saltwater into the water table, driven by a combination of rising sea levels, seepage from shrimp farms, and falling levels of the Ganges River.

‘We have advanced, but with much pain’: Q&A with Indigenous leader José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal by Astrid Arellano — July 8, 2022

– José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal heads COICA, an association that represents the Indigenous peoples of all nine countries in the Amazon Basin.
– He says the persecution of Indigenous peoples and destruction of their lands must end, otherwise “we also risk the disappearance of all human beings.”
– In an interview with Mongabay Latam, Díaz Mirabal talks about the threats to the Amazon’s Indigenous peoples, whether any progress has been made, and the disconnect between what governments pledge at environmental conferences and what they really do on the ground.
– “Indigenous leaders know that they are going out to fight, but do not know whether they will return,” Díaz Mirabal says. “And this has happened a lot.”

Return to agroforestry empowers women in Nepal by Abhaya Raj Joshi — July 8, 2022

– Although farmers traditionally practiced agroforestry in Nepal, they gave it up with the advent of the green revolution.
– A women’s group in Kavre district decided to return to agroforestry four years ago, and they are already seeing the benefits.
– The program is not only helping conserve soil nutrition and promote food security, it is also empowering women.


Study assesses wildlife exposure to rat poison on oil palm plantations by Sean Mowbray — July 13, 2022
– Rodents can pose a financial risk to oil palm plantation managers as they can cause significant damage to crops, potentially reducing yields by up to 10%.
– Anticoagulant rodenticides are often used to eradicate or manage rodent populations.
– A recent study assessed the risk of exposure to wildlife species known to hunt on palm plantations.
– Little is known about exposure and the potential risk to a wide variety of species, the study warns, and more research is needed to fill these knowledge gaps.

Climate change amplifies the risk of conflict, study from Africa shows by Malavika Vyawahare — July 13, 2022
– New research shows that climate change can amplify the risk of conflict by as much as four to five times in a 550-kilometer (340-mile) radius, with rising temperatures and extreme rainfall acting as triggers.
– Many countries most vulnerable to climate impacts are beset by armed conflicts, such as Somalia, which is grappling with widespread drought amid a decades-long civil war; the research suggests the country is trapped in a vicious cycle of worsening climatic disasters and conflict.
– Both too little rain and too much rain are triggers for conflict, the research finds: persistent rainfall failures increase instability over a broader geographic region while extreme rainfall increases the likelihood of confrontations over a smaller area and for a shorter time, the analysis suggests.
– The research underscores the importance of tackling climate change impacts and conflict mitigation together because misguided climate adaptation strategies can intensify existing tensions.

Can we save the Leuser Ecosystem? | Chasing Deforestation by Romina Castagnino — July 13, 2022
– Chasing Deforestation is a series that explores the world’s most threatened forests through satellite data and reporters on the ground.
– The third episode focuses on the Leuser Ecosystem on Indonesia’s main western island of Sumatra, a world biodiversity hotspot that has been fighting palm oil-driven illegal logging for decades.
– Rudi Putra, an Indonesian biologist and conservationist, and Wagini, a villager in Indonesia’s Aceh province, share their experiences of how illegal deforestation has impacted their lives and what they are doing to help recover the areas destroyed.

Displaced by a dam, women defenders fight for their land rights in Colombia by Jane K. Feeney — July 13, 2022
– Colombia’s fourth-largest dam, built despite local opposition more than a decade ago, continues to affect the livelihoods of neighboring communities in Colombia’s department of Santander, an area now also targeted by fracking.
– An ecosystem restoration project designed to compensate for the dam’s environmental impact by buying and restoring degraded land within a protected area has pushed locals from their land or left them with unclear tenure rights.
– Women-led associations are demanding the companies involved to respect the rights of local communities and clarify their status.

Sighting of an American black vulture in Nepal causes a flutter by Abhaya Raj Joshi — July 13, 2022
– Conservationists in Nepal have spotted an American black vulture in the country for the first time.
– It’s believed the bird had escaped from wildlife traffickers or from a private collection or zoo in the region.
– Researchers studying the trafficking problem in the country say the sighting isn’t a surprise, given Nepal’s increasingly prominent role as both a source and transit country in the illegal wildlife trade.
– Ornithologists warn the presence of non-native species in the wild could pose a threat of disease transmission to native wildlife, including the nine vulture species found in Nepal.

In restoring polluted rivers, Indonesia looks at restocking endemic fish by Basten Gokkon and L. Darmawan — July 12, 2022
– Two reported mudflows overflowed the Serayu River on the Indonesian island of Java within the space of a week earlier this year, mucking its waters and killing off fish.
– The incidents have raised calls from conservationists and fishers for restoration and fish restocking efforts in the river.
– Fish restocking has been carried out for several decades in Indonesian rivers, mainly as an effort to increase fisheries productivity and fish populations in inland waters such as rivers, reservoirs and lakes.
– But experts say these restocking efforts often emphasize ceremony at the expense of measures to ensure success, such as post-monitoring assessment.

Protected areas not exempt as blast fishing blows up in Sri Lanka by Malaka Rodrigo — July 12, 2022
– Blast fishing is widely practiced in the seas around Sri Lanka, with even marine parks and historical shipwrecks not immune to this illegal practice.
– Authorities say blast fishers work as part of a network to evade capture and obtain explosives, including by smuggling them in by sea from India.
– The easy availability of explosives transcends conservation issues and raises serious national security concerns, experts say, pointing to the use of explosives in a coordinated terrorist attack on churches during Easter of 2019.
– Blast fishing also poses a threat to recreational divers, with a serious injury or even death spelling the end for Sri Lanka’s dive tourism industry that’s already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing economic crisis.

Record-breaking seafood production must undergo a ‘blue transformation’: FAO by Elizabeth Fitt — July 11, 2022
– The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization released its latest “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” (SOFIA) report in late June. The flagship report, released biennially since 1995, provides data, analysis and projections that inform decision-making internationally.
– Fisheries and aquaculture production rose around 3% since 2018, to an all-time high of 214 million metric tons in 2020, with a first-sale value of around $406 billion, the report found. Growth was driven by a 6% rise in aquaculture production, while wild fish capture dropped by almost 4.5%.
– The number of sustainably fished marine fish stocks continued a long-term decline; less than 65% of stocks are now being fished within biologically sustainable levels, down from 90% in the 1970s.
– The new report outlines a “blue transformation” that aims to make both the aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors more sustainable and productive so they can help feed a human population projected to reach 10.9 billion by the end of this century.

Space: New frontier for climate change & commodification, or conservation? (commentary) by Evan Briscoe — July 11, 2022
– After its Cold War, militaristic origins, space exploration became an arena for scientific inquiry where courageous people have pushed the bounds of science and knowledge of our planet.
– Today’s privatization and commodification of space travel dilute this mission and will also likely cause ozone depletion and increased climate change, through the deposition of things like black carbon in the atmosphere.
– “Space is too important of an arena for science, humanity and the environmental movement to allow it to become a playground for competing billionaires,” a new op-ed argues: without robust regulation, these forces will push us away from these values of scientific research and humanitarian benefit and toward negative environmental outcomes.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Colorful new corals bedeck the busy waters off Hong Kong, study shows by Liz Kimbrough — July 11, 2022
– Scientists have found three new species of sun corals off Sung Kong and Waglan islands in the eastern waters of Hong Kong.
– The discovery of these orange, violet and green corals brings the number of known species in the Tubastraea genus from seven to 10.
– Sun coral species don’t build reefs or host symbiotic algae, but instead live in deeper waters and eat by capturing zooplankton from seawater with their tentacles.
– The discovery “reveals how little we know about marine diversity, and how many undescribed species are still awaiting our discovery,” one of the scientists said.

Natural regeneration and women-led initiatives help drive Atlantic Forest Pact by Sibélia Zanon — July 11, 2022
– Having restored 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of forest on Brazil’s coast, the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact plans to double this by 2025, with the ultimate goal of restoring 15 million hectares (37 million acres) by 2050.
– The Pact focuses on areas with high potential for natural regeneration, in order to reduce restoration costs; reforestation through active tree planting, however, remains an option for creating jobs on large rural properties.
– One of the members of the Pact, the Copaíba Environmental Association, has planted 700,000 seedlings on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) and produced more than 3 million seedlings in its nursery.
– Members of the Pact see gender equity as an aspect to be monitored in restoration projects, with a high degree of women’s participation in their work.

BP exploited Mexican communities hoping to benefit from carbon credits: report by Maxwell Radwin — July 7, 2022
– A report published this month in Bloomberg Green said oil and gas company BP has been buying carbon credits from Mexican villages below market value, raising questions about the carbon credit market’s viability as a tool for transitioning companies to green practices.
– BP purchased carbon credits from residents across 59 villages for just $4 per ton of avoided emissions. The true market price is often more than double that.
– Groups involved in conservation efforts, such as the World Resources Institute and Pronatura, were also involved in the creation of the controversial carbon credit program.

Amazonian communities in Peru try to keep oil-rich Block 64 in their own hands by Gloria Alvitres — July 7, 2022
– Indigenous Achuar and Wampis communities in Peru’s Amazon are opposing an oil project led by the Peruvian state oil company in Block 64, which will overlap with 22 communities.
– Since 2000, there has been over 474 reported oil spills in all of the Peruvian Amazon. One pipeline, the Northern Peruvian Oil Pipeline, which passes through Achuar communities and is very close to the Wampis, has broken so many times that residents in the territory fear the idea of more pipelines being installed.
– In Peru, the state has rights over the subsoil and all resources and can exploit any territory it sees as valuable for its resources. The only safety net for the communities is prior consultation.
– The Achuar and the Wampis people are demanding collective titling of their lands and recognition as Indigenous nations in an attempt to protect their territory from extractive activities.



In Thailand’s deep south, a fight to stop quarrying in a global geopark by Kannikar Petchkaew — July 6, 2022
In Brazil’s semiarid region, agrivoltaics show promise for food, energy security by Marina Martinez — July 5, 2022
Return of the king? Pakistan moves to bring gharials from Nepal to its rivers by Abhaya Raj Joshi — July 2, 2022
Disappointment and a few wins, Indigenous leaders react to Nairobi biodiversity talks by Laurel Sutherland — July 1, 2022
U.N. Ocean Conference ends with promises. Is a sea change coming? by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — July 1, 2022
Indigenous advocates sense a legal landmark as a guardian’s killing heads to trial by Karla Mendes — June 30, 2022