An open-pit coal mine in the southern island of Riesco, a paradise of biological diversity in Chile’s southern Patagonia wilderness region, is a reflection of the weakness of the country’s environmental laws, which are criticised by local residents, activists, scientists and lawmakers.
Desertification, land degradation, drought, climate change, food insecurity, poverty, loss of biodiversity, forced migration and conflicts, are some of the key challenges facing Africa—a giant continent home to 1,2 billion people living in 54 countries.
The world has been too slow in responding to climate events such as El Niño and La Niña, and those who are the “least responsible are the ones suffering most”, Mary Robinson, the special envoy on El Niño and Climate, told IPS at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22).
A persistent fear of diminishing phosphorus reserves has pushed mining companies to search far and wide for new sources. Companies identified phosphate deposits on the ocean floor and are fighting for mining rights around the world.
Land degradation already affects millions of people, bringing biodiversity loss, reduced availability of clean water, food insecurity and greater vulnerability to the harsh impacts of climate change.
Every two years, governments from across the globe gather to debate the fate of the world’s whales. And every two years, Japan, Norway and Iceland find themselves in the firing line for their refusal to end commercial whaling.
Secure indigenous land rights not only bring environmental benefits, they can also foster economic development, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute.
The dam supplying Johannesburg’s water sits less than 30 percent full. Water restrictions have been in place since November and taxes on high water use since August. Food prices across South Africa have risen about 10 percent from last year, in large part due to water shortages.
Every November, India’s Gahirmatha beach in the Indian Ocean region develops a brownish-grey rash for 60 to 80 days. Half-a-million female Olive Ridley turtles emerge out of the waves to lay their eggs, over a hundred each. For the sheer numbers, this arrival is hard to miss.
Wildlife trafficking is high on conservation and political agendas. It is also increasingly high on the global crime agenda. Rightly so: corruption was identified recently by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as the main enabler of wildlife trafficking – one of the largest transnational criminal activities in the world.
It is late afternoon when a light drizzle begins to fall over a group of young men seated together in Mudja, a village that lies approximately 20 kilometres north of Goma on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. Mudja is home to a community of around 40 families of indigenous Bambuti, also known as ‘pygmies.’*
“In San Lorenzo they cut down the jungle to plant African oil palms. The only reason they didn’t expand more was that indigenous people managed to curb the spread,” Ecuadorean activist Santiago Levy said during the World Conservation Congress.
The international conservation community has taken an important step towards saving African elephants from mass slaughter by voting at a major congress to call on all governments to ban their domestic trade in ivory.
A major environmental conference of governments and NGOs has called on nations to set aside at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans as “highly protected” areas by 2030, but delegates said opposition from China, Japan and South Africa had seriously undermined chances of success.
Japan and South Africa have ignited a furore at a major conservation congress by coming out against a proposed appeal to all governments to ban domestic trade in elephant ivory.