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Half of world's animals gone since 1970 ›› new reply Reply
Bashar al-Asad @ December 9, 2017 3:26 PM
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Bashar al-Asad @ December 11, 2017 2:11 AM
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The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains. And the smell of rot fills the country. Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth.

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage
Aldo Leopold @ January 14, 2018 9:52 PM
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Sanchi oil tanker sinking is the 'worst situation' for marine ecology say scientists 1/14/2018

An oil tanker burning in the East China Sea for more than a week has finally sunk, Chinese media say.

The Sanchi and a cargo ship collided 260km (160 miles) off Shanghai on 6 January, with the tanker then drifting south-east towards Japan.

Iranian officials now say all 32 crew members - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis - on the tanker are dead.

The tanker was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an incredibly toxic form of ultra-light crude.

China Central Television said that the Sanchi had gone down after "suddenly igniting" around noon (04:00 GMT).

The sinking of the oil tanker the Sanchi on Sunday, which had burned for more than a week in the East China Sea, is the worst possible outcome, say experts who are concerned the submerged oil could have a severe impact on marine life.

The Sanchi broke apart after a fierce explosion and sank at around 4:45 pm on Sunday, said the China's Ministry of Transport in a statement on Sunday afternoon.

"The ship sinking is the worst situation," Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The condensate oil, a kind of ultra-light oil on Sanchi, is different than other types of crude oil and is poisonous to marine life," he warned.

Unlike crude, condensate does not form a traditional surface slick when spilt. Instead, it generates a toxic underwater plume of hydrocarbons invisible from the sea surface.

Whales, porpoises, seabirds, fish, and plankton in contact with these hydrocarbons in the East China Sea will either die quickly or develop "sub-lethal injuries" such as physiological impairment, reproductive failure and chronic diseases.

The region is also a crucial spawning site for many large fish species, whose eggs and larvae have "undoubtedly been exposed" to the toxic compounds, he said.

"Just because there is no traditional surface slick does not mean there is minimal impact. While the toxic phase of the spill may only last a few months, the injury to populations could persist much longer," he said.

He slammed governments for failing to gather environmental data more quickly.

"As no one has been conducting a scientific assessment of (the environmental impact), the governments and ship owners are likely to claim, erroneously, there was limited damage."

The ministry said that the ship began to list and apparently broke apart after an explosion that sent flames as high as 1,000 meters.

It would have been better for the oil to have burned than to sink with the ship, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The condensate oil will probably leak from the broken ship as it sinks and any marine life that encounters it could be killed," said Lin. "Therefore, it is important to assess how much oil leaked into the sea to determine how serious the marine ecology might be impacted."

Ma said the ship sank not far from Zhoushan, East China's Zhejiang Province and constant monitoring will be necessary to track any oil slick that might move close to shore.

Scientists worry the accident will affect the well-known Zhoushan fisheries.

Ma said it is important to evaluate how much of the ship's cargo had burned off during the long-fought fire and Sunday's explosion to determine how much was left on the ship when it went down.

Four Chinese rescuers recovered the bodies of two sailors and the voyage data recorder on Saturday, the Legal Mirror reported on Sunday.

The Sanchi, which was carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, collided with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, about 160 nautical miles east of the Yangtze estuary on January 6. The tanker had a crew of 32, including 30 Iranians and two from Bangladesh, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Panama-flagged Sanchi was bringing the condensate from Iran to South Korea when the collision with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal, carrying grain from the US, happened in the East China Sea. The crewmen of the Crystal were all rescued.

The cause of the collision is still not known.

After the collision the Sanchi drifted at about 2.2km/h (1.4mph), south-eastwards towards the Japanese island of Amami Oshima.

Condensate is very different from the black crude that is often seen in oil spills.

It is highly toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular crude.

Condensate creates products such as jet fuel, petrol, diesel and heating fuel.

"Oil spills from the ship are still burning" at the scene, China's transport ministry said Monday.

An oil spill 18.5-kilometres long and up to 7.4-kilometres wide surrounded the site as of Monday afternoon, according to the official People's Daily newspaper.

Dramatic photos showed a huge column of black smoke rising from bright red flames.

Alaska-based oil spill consultant Richard Steiner called the accident "the single largest environmental release of petroleum condensate in history".

"Given the poor condition of the hull of the ship after a week of explosions and fire, it is my assumption that none of the cargo holds or fuel compartments remain intact, and thus all of the condensate and fuel has been released," Steiner told AFP.

Even if only 20 per cent of the vessel's cargo was released into the sea, it would still be an amount about equivalent to Alaska's disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez crude oil spill, he said.

"I don't know of any condensate spill into a marine environment larger than 1,000 tonnes, and most that we know of have been less than one tonne," he said.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate.

Aldo Leopold @ January 20, 2018 7:22 PM
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Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea 1/20/18

HONG KONG — An oil spill from an Iranian tanker that sank in the East China Sea is rapidly spreading, officials said Tuesday, alarming environmentalists about the threat to sea and bird life in the waterway.

The tanker, the Sanchi, was carrying 136,000 tons of highly toxic and flammable condensate oil when it crashed into a freighter on Jan. 6. On Sunday, the Sanchi sank after a huge blast sent up a great plume of black smoke and set the surface of the water on fire, China Central Television said.

When spilled, the condensate can produce a deep underwater plume damaging to marine life.

The oil slicks from the sunken tanker were growing in size, China’s State Oceanic Administration said Tuesday. There are now two huge slicks covering 52 square miles, compared with just four square miles the previous day. Strong winds were pushing the spill toward Japan, away from China, and it was now less than 200 miles from Naha, Japan.

Experts are further concerned that the bunker fuel powering the tanker will be released into the sea, exposing delicate marine life to the extremely toxic substance.
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Greenpeace expressed alarm about the threat to the marine ecosystem in the East China Sea, which is one of the world’s most heavily trafficked waterways, saying the disaster occurred in “an important spawning ground” for fish.

“At this time of year the area is used as wintering ground by common edible species such as hairtail, yellow croaker, chub mackerel and blue crab,” Greenpeace said. “The area is also on the migratory pathway of many marine mammals, such as humpback whale, right whale and gray whale.”

“Given the poor condition of the ship after a week of fire and explosions, it is likely that all cargo (and fuel) tanks are breached, and all of this toxic hydrocarbon mixture has now been released into the environment,” said Rick Steiner, a marine conservation specialist formerly with the University of Alaska.

“If so, this is the single largest environmental release of petroleum condensate in history,” he said.

The Sanchi disaster appears to be the largest tanker spill since 1991, when an unexplained detonation caused the ABT tanker to leak 260,000 tons of oil off the coast of Angola.

Hiroshi Takahashi, a fisheries official in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, said the government was “monitoring the direction” of the spill because of fears it “could direct towards Kagoshima.”

Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s first vice president, said that efforts to recover the bodies of 29 crew members ceased when the tanker sank off the China’s coast last Sunday.
Aldo Leopold @ February 5, 2018 11:33 AM
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Whale and shark species at increasing risk from microplastic pollution

Whales, some sharks and other marine species such as rays are increasingly at risk from microplastics in the oceans, a new study suggests.

Species such as baleen whales and basking sharks, which feed through filtering seawater for plankton, are ingesting the tiny particles of indigestible plastic which now appear to permeate oceans throughout the world. Some of these species have evolved to swallow hundreds or even thousands of cubic metres of seawater a day, but taking in microplastic can block their ability to absorb nutrients, and may have toxic side-effects.

The new study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, advises more research on the megafauna of the oceans, as the effects of microplastics on them is currently not well understood. Scientists have found, for instance through examining the bodies of beached whales, large pieces of plastic in the guts of such creatures, but the effect of microplastics, though less obvious, may be just as harmful.

Elitza Germanov, a researcher at the Marine Megafauna Foundation and co-author the study, said: “Despite the growing research on microplastics in the marine environment, there are only a few studies that examine the effects on large filter feeders. We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue. It has become clear, though, that microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”

Many species of whale, filter-feeding shark and rays are already under threat from other problems, such as overfishing and pollution. The added stress from microplastics could push some species further towards extinction, the authors of the study warned.

Polar bears face extinction faster than thought

Teens kill deer and clustered their decomposing carcasses to bait eagles

Sarvey Wildlife Center got a call Wednesday from someone who said they heard gunshots and saw an eagle fall to the ground near Snohomish.

Wildlife center staff brought the eagle estimated to be about a year old to the center for medical care.

Officials said Thursday that the eagle died overnight.

Eagles are federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

"What happened yesterday to this eagle was senseless, illegal, and incomprehensible," Sarvey said in a statement.

Sarvey was initially offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to successful prosecution, but said Thursday a veteran generously offered to double it. On Friday, another generous donor allowed the center to double the reward again. Later, another donation bumped that reward up to $5,000.

No recorded births this year indicate that right whales could be extinct by 2040

Scientists observing the whale community off the US east coast have not recorded a single mother-calf pair this winter. Last year saw a record number of deaths in the population.

Threats to the whales include entanglement in lobster fishing ropes and an increasing struggle to find food in abnormally warm waters. New figures show at least seven North Atlantic right whales got entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence alone this summer.

Many animals will carry the gear for months, if not years, before slowly succumbing to their injuries, according to Philip Hamilton, a research scientist at the New England Aquarium.

"It is heartbreaking because of the suffering," he said.

The combination of rising mortality and declining fertility is now seen as potentially catastrophic. There are estimated to be as few as 430 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, including just 100 potential mothers.

“At the rate we are killing them off, this 100 females will be gone in 20 years,” said Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Without action, he warned, North Atlantic right whales will be functionally extinct by 2040.
Aldo Leopold @ February 5, 2018 11:39 AM
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Four environmentalists killed per week in 2017 globally

The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects.

The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption.

“The situation remains critical. Until communities are genuinely included in decisions around the use of their land and natural resources, those who speak out will continue to face harassment, imprisonment and the threat of murder,” said Ben Leather, senior campaigner for Global Witness.

Most of the killings occurred in remote forest areas of developing countries, particularly in Latin America where the abundance of resources is often in inverse proportion to the authority of the law or environmental regulation.

Extractive industries were one of the deadliest drivers of violence, according to the figures, which were shared exclusively with the Guardian in an ongoing collaboration with Global Witness to name every victim.

Mining conflicts accounted for 36 killings, several of them linked to booming global demand for construction materials.

In India, three members of the Yadav family: Niranjan, Uday and Vimlesh, were murdered last May as they tried to prevent the extraction of sand from a riverbank by their village of Jatpura.

In Turkey, a retired couple, Ali and Aysin Büyüknohutçu, were gunned down in their home after they won a legal battle to close a marble quarry that supplied blocks for upscale hotels and municipal monuments.

The hunger for minerals was also blamed for turning the Andes into a “war zone” with high-profile conflicts between indigenous groups and the owners of Las Bambas copper mine in Peru and El Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia.

Agribusiness was the biggest driver of violence as supermarket demand for soy, palm oil, sugarcane and beef provided a financial incentive for plantations and ranches to push deeper into indigenous territory and other communal land.

With many of the tensions focussed in the Amazon, Brazil – with 46 killings – was once again the deadliest country for defenders. Relative to size, however, smaller Amazonian neighbours were more dangerous.

Colombia suffered 32 deaths, largely due to an uptick of land conflicts and assassinations in the wake of the 2015 peace deal, which left a power vacuum in regions previously operated by Farc guerrillas. Among the most prominent victims was Efigenia Vásquez, a radio and video journalist from the Kokonuko community who was shot during a protest “to liberate Mother Earth”.

Peru witnessed one the worst massacres of the year in September when six farmers were killed by a criminal gang who wanted to acquire their land cheaply and sell it at a hefty profit to palm oil businesses.

Gangs and governments were largely responsible for the bloodshed in the second and fourth countries on the list: Mexico with 15 killings (a more than fivefold rise over the previous year), and the Philippines, which – with 41 deaths – was once again the most murderous country for defenders in Asia.

A broader crackdown by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, was a key factor. When his soldiers massacred eight Lumad in Lake Sebu on 3 December, the government claimed they died in a firefight with rebels, but fellow activists insisted they were killed for opposing a coal mine and coffee plantation on their ancestral land.

In Africa, the greatest threat came from poachers and the illegal wildlife trade, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo where four rangers and a porter were ambushed and killed in July. But the highest profile victim last year of the poaching conflict was Wayne Lotter, an influential conservationist who was murdered in Tanzania after receiving death threats.

Global Witness believe many more murders go unreported. Defenders are also being beaten, criminalised, threatened or harassed. In a recent example, Ecuadorean forest activist Patricia Gualinga reported last month that attackers had thrown rocks through her windows and yelled death threats at her.

This is common. The EU-funded Environmental Justice Atlas has identified more than 2,335 cases of tension over water, territory, pollution or extractive industries, and researchers say the number and intensity are growing.

Justice is rare. The assassins are often hired by businessmen or politicians and usually go unpunished. Defenders, who tend to be from poor or indigenous communities, are criminalised and targeted by police or corporate security guards. When they are killed, their families have little recourse to justice or media exposure.

Cambodian forest defenders killed after confronting illegal loggers

Top ivory investigator murdered in Kenya

Woman found strangled on a highway in Mexico after being targeted by illegal loggers

Aldo Leopold @ February 18, 2018 1:43 PM
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More than 100,000 Critically Endangered orangutans have been killed in Borneo since 1999, research has revealed

Scientists who carried out the 16-year survey on the island described the figure as "mind-boggling".

Deforestation, driven by logging, oil palm, mining and paper mills, continues to be the main culprit.

The popularity of palm oil, found in a wide variety of food products, is a well-known cause of that habitat loss.

But the research, published in the journal Current Biology, also revealed that animals were "disappearing" from areas that remained forested.

This implied large numbers of orangutans were simply being slaughtered, said lead researcher Maria Voigt of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Prof Serge Wich from Liverpool John Moores University, UK, also part of the team, told BBC News: "We didn't expect the losses to be so large in standing forest, so these studies confirm that hunting is a major issue."

"When these animals come into conflict with people on the edge of a plantation, they are always on the losing end. People will kill them.

"Just last week, we had a report of an orangutan that had 130 pellets in its body, after being shot in Borneo.

"It's shocking and it's unnecessary. Orangutans might eat farmers' fruit, but they are not dangerous."

penisbong @ February 18, 2018 5:53 PM
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I bought a gallon of palm oil from Walmart yesterday.
Suckitbhouse @ February 19, 2018 10:21 PM
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At this rate they are all going to die
Suckitbhouse @ February 19, 2018 10:22 PM
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Fuck America fuck the Earth
Suckitbhouse @ February 19, 2018 10:22 PM
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Kill us all you cowards
Suckitbhouse @ February 19, 2018 10:22 PM
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The cube will.kill and ruin us all
Aldo Leopold @ March 3, 2018 6:44 AM
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Say a prayer for Sudan, the last surviving male northern white rhino in the world. He is dying.

The health of the last surviving male northern white rhino in the world is deteriorating, raising fears the subspecies will soon be completely extinct.

Sudan, one of only three northern white rhinos alive, is gravely ill following an infection in his right hind leg. According to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where he lives with the remaining two female northern white rhinos, the 45-year-old is “starting to show signs of ailing [and] his future is not looking bright.”

Sudan's problems started with an earlier infection on his back right leg near the end of 2017, according to Ol Pejeta. His veterinary team treated him, and he was back to normal in January. But since mid-February, vets have discovered that there is a deeper infection underlying the original one, and Sudan is not responding as quickly to treatment this time.

“Recently, a secondary and much deeper infection was discovered beneath the initial one. This has been treated, but worryingly, the infection is taking longer to recover, despite the best efforts of his team of vets who are giving him 24-hour care, with everything possible being done to help him regain his health."

Sudan's subspecies of rhinoceros used to roam across Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to Ol Pejeta, but poaching by Asian cartel financed local hunters for the trade in exotic animal parts and chaos from years of civil war in the region sent the population plummeting. The last time a northern white rhinoceros was seen outside of captivity was 2007, and the subspecies is presumed extinct in the wild.
Aldo Leopold @ March 24, 2018 11:54 PM
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Scientists warn that destruction of wilderness is as dangerous as climate change

Human destruction of nature is rapidly eroding the world’s capacity to provide food, water and security to billions of people, according to the most comprehensive biodiversity study in more than a decade.

Such is the rate of decline that the risks posed by biodiversity loss should be considered on the same scale as those of climate change, noted the authors of the UN-backed set of reports, which were released in Medellin, Colombia on Friday.

Among the standout findings are that exploitable fisheries in the world’s most populous region – the Asia-Pacific – are on course to decline to zero by 2048; that freshwater availability in the Americas has halved since the 1950s and that 42% of land species in Europe have declined in the past decade.

Underscoring the grim trends, the reports were released in the week that the decimation of French bird populations was revealed, as well as the death of the last male northern white rhinoceros, leaving the species only two females from extinction.

“The time for action was yesterday or the day before,” said Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which compiled the research.

The five reports, which were prepared over three years by 550 international experts, give regional assessments of biodiversity in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Central Asia. A fifth report assesses the state of land degradation globally.

The reports conclude that in the Americas, there are about about 31 percent fewer species than was the case at the time of European settlement. With the growing effects of climate change added to the other drivers, this loss is projected to reach 40 percent by 2050.

The reports found a significant lack of progress on various UN biodiversity plans, including the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its biodiversity targets, which were agreed by parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity at their meeting in Aichi, Japan in 2010.

"Taken together, these five peer-reviewed assessment reports represent the single most important expert contribution to our global understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem services of the past decade," said Watson said.

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Aldo Leopold @ March 24, 2018 11:59 PM
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Nearly 150 beached whales die in Australia

Only six whales have survived a mass stranding of pilot whales on the coast of Western Australia.

About 150 of the animals were found beached at Hamelin Bay, about 300km (180 miles) south of Perth.

Their discovery by a local fisherman on Friday prompted a major rescue effort to return them to deeper waters.

However, by nightfall, more than 140 of the whales had died, with deteriorating weather conditions and the threat of frenzied sharks impeding efforts.

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