Mongabay

How the Oglala Sioux Are Freeing Themselves From Fossil Fuel

It’s high summer in South Dakota and a cruel sun beats down with an endless floodtide of photons that burns skin through T-shirts and tinted car windows. That’s the way Henry Red Cloud likes it. To Red Cloud, a descendant of a great Lakota insurgent chief, founder of Lakota Solar and self-proclaimed “solar warrior," that July sun is key to the independence of his fellow Lakota and native peoples across America. It also embodies a hot business opportunity.

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How Tropical Deforestation Is Driving the Rise of Infectious Diseases

There’s already ample evidence of the ways environmental degradation can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, and now a recent study provides an example of how the disruptions to an ecosystem caused by deforestation and other land-use change can help spread a bacterial pathogen.

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Is Your Retirement Fund Contributing to Deforestation and Climate Change?

Even as a new administration hostile to efforts to combat global warming is poised to take over the White House, climate activists in the U.S. are continuing to push for action in myriad and sometimes even unexpected ways. For instance, you may not realize that saving for your golden years could have an impact on the global climate, but a movement is currently underway to make the retirement funds relied on by millions of Americans free of any connection to deforestation and associated carbon emissions due to investments in palm oil producers.

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U.S. Gov't Pressured Cameroon to Approve Destructive Oil Palm Development for Agribusiness Land Grab, Documents Reveal

Cables obtained by the non-profit Oakland Institute through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that U.S. government officials pushed the Central African nation of Cameroon to approve a deeply controversial oil palm development owned by Herakles Farms despite full knowledge of the project’s negative impacts on the environment and local communities.

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Climate Change Pledges Not Nearly Enough to Save Tropical Ecosystems

Ohio Residents Clash With State and County Government in Fight to Ban Fracking via the Ballot

For years, local Ohioans have been told by courts and elected officials that they have no control over fracking - "it is a matter of state law." However, groups of determined residents are refusing to accept this argument, taking steps to establish local democratic control over what they see as vital societal questions of health, safety,…

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Why Latin American Environmentalists Are an Endangered Species

This article was originally published on Mongabay.
  • At least 185 environmental activists were murdered worldwide in 2015, nearly two-thirds of them in Latin America, according to a June report from the U.K.-based NGO Global Witness.
  • The reasons for the killings vary, but many are related to a surge in development in remote parts of the region. There, governments have been granting concessions for hydroelectric dams, mines, and other projects, often without consulting indigenous or farming communities already occupying the land.
  • With little government assistance, some members of these communities are opposing environmental destruction on their own and paying the ultimate price.
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The Scale of Global Wildlife Crime Is Massive, Reveals Shocking New Report

  • The report was produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime using data on thousands of species and seizures from more than 120 countries.
  • It found that trafficking is faciliated by widespread corruption at many levels of government and society, and that crimes are generally not restricted to certain countries.
  • To better fight wildlife crime, officials urge a stepping-up of enforcement and monitoring, as well as increased transnational cooperation.

Wildlife trafficking is a global problem, revealed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their first-ever World Wildlife Crime Report. Released late last month, the report finds, among other things, that more ivory has been seized than cocaine, and that broad corruption is facilitating illegal trade in plants and animals.

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Gray Wolf Returns to Iowa After 89 Years...and Is Shot Dead

DNA testing has confirmed that an animal shot in February in Iowa's Buchanan County was in fact a wolf, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This is the first confirmed gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Iowa since 1925. 

Experts believe the wolf likely traveled south from Wisconsin or Minnesota, the latter of which has the largest wolf population in the lower 48. 

The Iowa wolf, which was a 65-70 pound healthy female, was shot and killed in February of this year by a hunter who claims he mistook it for a coyote. Although wolves remain a protected species in Iowa, the hunter was not cited, because he said he believed the animal to be a coyote and has cooperated with authorities, including bringing the wolf to them in the first place. 

"I was surprised but not that surprised," DNA specialist Vince Evelsizer told the Gazette. "Large animals can cover great distances, and state lines mean nothing to them." 

After being nearly exterminated across the continental US, gray wolves have returned to many states in the last two decades, both due to reintroductions and populations migrating from Canada. Gray wolves have been confirmed as far west as California and Oregon and as far east as Michigan.

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