A Filipino wildlife official shows seized elephant tusks and dried sea turtles estimated to be worth more than $2m from a shipment that came from Tanzania in 2009. The Philippines has launched an investigation into the alleged involvement of Catholic priests in the illegal trade of African ivory in the country, officials said. Elephant tusks are commonly used in the manufacture of statues, figurines and image replicas of saints | image by Dennis M. Sabangan
Uniting climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Congo Basin
Communities in the Congo Basin are heavily impacted by the twin threats of deforestation and climate change. Could a green belt around the village of Lukolela in the DRC help the local community adapt to climate change, while also bringing carbon reduction benefits?
The Centre for International Forestry Research’s latest project, COBAM aims to tackle these problems and create a synergy between climate change mitigation and adaptation through forestry projects in the region. CIFOR visits one community involved in the project in Lukolela, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I hesitated reblogging this because 1) the sound quality is terrible 2) the presenter is difficult to understand (beyond the sound issues) and 3) she comes from the corporate-greenwashing-side of the resilience/adaptation side of the table, which to my very critical ear means she’s just peddling another widget.
But, her company’s maps help identify environmental and health impacts from regular distribution and resource extraction (e.g., supply chain management). There are a lot of sexy visuals - charts, graphs, maps, and videos - but no people, no case studies, no proof of product.
She doesn’t show how her business helps people, she only states that she does help. Nice try though. Most business people (in my experience) don’t have a basic understanding of their company’s health/enviro impacts beyond the fact that labeling something green increases their bottom line.
“We can really start telling a story in terms of predicting risk in the future…We are actually able to engage in policy change to be able to shape the future growth environment and prevent disaster.”
Watch now:Alyson Warhurst is CEO and founder of the risk analysis and mapping company Maplecroft, the leading source of extra-financial risk intelligence for the world’s largest multinational corporations, asset managers and governments.
Scientists still do not know why locusts swarm. Most believe they swarm due to weather or some sort of cyclical climate conditions, where the locusts are simply searching for food. But, in this video, a researcher discusses his field research as to why they coordinate. He found that locusts are surprisingly driven by two social queues, cannibalism and leadership.
Iain Couzin shares his lessons from a locust cannibal plague. Whether looking at what causes locusts to swarm, or how people function as a society, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and behavioral ecologist Iain Couzin is finding fascinating ways creatures accomplish things in groups that they never could as individuals.
500 Rhinos are illegally killed (poached) each year for their horns. The horns are imported (illegally) to Asia and sold as medicine. World Wildlife Fund kicked off a new campaign to save these endangered animals. In addition to their habitat shrinking from growing human populations, climate change affects their food sources, and, now, poaching is increasing the chances that they’re doomed to extinction.
Vietnamese consumers—the main market for rhino horn—mistakenly believe in rhino horn’s detoxification properties, notes the report. Wealthy users grind up rhino horn and mix the powder with water or alcohol as a hangover cure and general health tonic. The horn is also consumed as a supposed cancer cure by terminally ill patients. Rhino horn traders deliberately target these patients as part of a cruel marketing ploy to increase the profitability of the illicit trade.”
A couple discovered a huge python hitching a ride in their car. The slithery squatter sneaked underneath the bonnet of Marlene Swart and Leon Swanepoel’s car while they were on holiday at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. They were on the look-out for lions when the five-metre python shot out of the grass and disappeared under their car. When the snake failed to reappear Marlene and Leon were forced to endure a three-mile journey knowing the python was somewhere inside their vehicle before arriving at the nearest lookout point.
Unilever’s push into Africa is a return to familiar territory. The firm made a fifth of its profits in Africa until the 1970s, when it shifted its attentions to Asia. Now it is back, employing 30,000 people on the continent and shifting soap, soup and so on worth €3 billion ($3.7 billion)—out of total worldwide sales of €46 billion. It is already Africa’s biggest supplier of consumer goods, and aims to double sales in the next five years by beefing up investment and bringing in more of its brands.
In spite of the risks, businessfolk are upbeat. A couple of decades ago, most African governments made life very hard for business. Now policies are more market-friendly, albeit with frequent relapses: Zambia, for example, recently banned the use of American dollars in local transactions—a needless extra hassle for firms operating there.
Still, the corridor chatter at sub-Saharan conferences these days is cheerful. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, says that cynicism about Africa has turned to optimism. “We have a sense that things are really getting better,” says Mr Braeken. Africa is not only about mining and oil any more. But, he says, the continent still needs to overcome what George Bush, in another context, called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.
South African police open fire on striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground.
A Reuters cameraman says he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, northwest of Johannesburg.
Exxon Mobil announced a new oil spill in the Niger Delta today. There’s nothing beyond the announcement now—no word on how much is spilled, if people are hurt, etc. But with the US oil presence in Nigeria in the news for moment, it’s a good time to flag this documentary.
Sweet Crude is the well told story of Big Oil in the Niger Delta (only a 50-year old phenomena), and the local resistance to it. If you’ve ever wanted to know how protest struggles evolve to include guns, and how we see the side we come to see, here’s one way.
ExxonMobil’s Nigeria unit said it was investigating an oil spill near its facility off the country’s southeast coast, which local fishermen said had covered the waters where they fish with a toxic film.
Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the state oil firm, said on Wednesday that relevant government agencies had been notified of the spill.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria … confirms that oiling from an unknown source has been sighted along the shoreline near Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State,” spokesman Nigel Cookey-Gam said.
“An emergency response team was immediately dispatched to the shoreline, and samples of the substance were collected for fingerprinting to determine its source, which remains unknown.”
Sam Ayadi, a fisherman in Ibeno, said by telephone that no one had been able to go fishing since the spill was first noticed on Sunday.
“The fishermen are still off the waters due to the spill. We cannot return yet. We are waiting for Mobil to open to discussions with us about what happened,” he said.
Oil spills are common in Africa’s top energy producer. Stretches of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment, are coated in crude. Thousands of barrels are spilled every year, and lax enforcement means there are few penalties.
The companies say the majority of spills are from armed oil thieves hacking into or blowing up pipelines to steal crude, an activity they estimate saps nearly a fifth of Nigeria’s output.
A landmark U.N. report in August last year slammed the government and multinational oil companies, particularly leading operator Royal Dutch Shell for 50 years of oil pollution that has devastated the Ogoniland region.
The government and oil majors have pledged to clean up the region and other parts of the delta, but residents say they have seen very little action.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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