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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:45 am

Hundreds of elephants dead

Mystery surrounds the "completely unprecedented" deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana over the last two months

Dr Niall McCann said colleagues in the southern African country had spotted more than 350 elephant carcasses in the Okavango Delta since the start of May.

No one knows why the animals are dying, with lab results on samples still a couple of weeks away, according to the government.

Botswana is home to a third of Africa's declining elephant population.

Dr McCann, of the UK-based charity National Park Rescue, told the BBC local conservationists first alerted the government in early May, after they undertook a flight over the delta.

"They spotted 169 in a three-hour flight," he said. "To be able to see and count that many in a three-hour flight was extraordinary.

"A month later, further investigations identified many more carcasses, bringing the total to over 350."

"This is totally unprecedented in terms of numbers of elephants dying in a single event unrelated to drought," he added.

Back in May, Botswana's government ruled out poaching as a reason - noting the tusks had not been removed, according to Phys.org.

There are other things which point to something other than poaching.

"It is only elephants that are dying and nothing else," Dr McCann said. "If it was cyanide used by poachers, you would expect to see other deaths."

Dr McCann has also tentatively ruled out natural anthrax poisoning, which killed at least 100 elephants in Bostwana last year.

But they have been unable to rule out either poisoning or disease. The way the animals appear to be dying - many dropping on their faces - and sightings of other elephants walking in circles points to something potentially attacking their neurological systems, Dr McCann said.

Either way, without knowing the source, it is impossible to rule out the possibility of a disease crossing into the human population - especially if the cause is in either the water sources or the soil. Dr McCann points to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is believed to have started in animals.

"Yes, it is a conservation disaster - but it also has the potential to be a public health crisis," he said.

Dr Cyril Taolo, acting director for Botswana's department of wildlife and national parks, told the Guardian they had so far confirmed at least 280 elephants had died, and were in the process of confirming the rest.

However, they did not know what was causing the animals' deaths.

"We have sent [samples] off for testing and we are expecting the results over the next couple of weeks or so," he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53257512
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:23 am

Koalas extinct by 2050

State parliamentary investigation finds biggest threat to the species’ survival is habitat loss – but logging and clearing has continued

Koalas will become extinct before 2050 in NSW unless there is urgent government intervention to prevent habitat loss, a year-long inquiry has found.

The NSW parliamentary inquiry also finds that a government estimate that there are 36,000 koalas in the state is outdated and unreliable.

The report, tabled on Tuesday by a multi-party committee, finds habitat loss remains the biggest threat to the species’ survival in NSW and yet logging and clearing of habitat has continued.

The committee said this habitat loss had been compounded by the 2019-20 bushfires, with an estimated 24% of koala habitat on public land affected. In some areas, as much as 81% of habitat had been burnt.

The report said climate change was exacerbating the severity of threats to the species such as drought and fire.

“Given the scale of loss as a result of the fires to many significant local populations, the committee believes the koala will become extinct in New South Wales well before 2050 and that urgent government intervention is required to protect their habitat and address all other threats to their ongoing survival,” the report said.

The committee expressed sadness and concern that the once-thriving koala population in the NSW Pilliga region was likely locally extinct before the bushfires.

“This report must be a gamechanger for koalas and the protection of their habitat in NSW,” said the Greens MLC and committee chair, Cate Faehrmann.

“The report found that habitat loss and fragmentation was the biggest threat to koalas, yet at every turn we were handed evidence that showed our current laws are inadequate and facilitating the clearing of core koala habitat.

“The strategies and policies currently in place to protect the koala aren’t working, like the NSW Koala Strategy, which fails in ensuring enough koala habitat is protected for the different koala populations across the state.”

The committee made 42 recommendations, including that the government urgently prioritise the protection of koala habitat corridors, improved monitoring methods, increased funding for community conservation groups, banned opening old-growth forest to logging and gave more incentives for farmers who protect land rather than clear it.

“There must be a significant increase in koala habitat protected from logging, mining, land clearing and urban development,” Faehrmann said.

Publication of the report comes ahead of an interim report on Australia’s national environmental laws that is due this week.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW said the committee’s findings demonstrated that one of Australia’s most iconic species needed help.

“We are pleased that there is a growing political consensus that koala extinction is a very real possibility if we don’t act urgently to protect koala habitat,” the council’s chief executive, Chris Gambian, said.

Conservationists were ready to work with government, industry, communities and unions and protection of forest corridors must form part of a plan to genuinely protect the species, Gambian said.

The report made clear the biggest threat to koalas was continued habitat loss, which was occurring in forests and on farms in the state at an alarming rate.

Gambian said the plunge in koala numbers was an indictment of both state and federal environmental laws.

“What’s the point of environment laws that set a course for the extinction of our most iconic national species?” he said.

“The plight of the species is the clearest argument that we must overhaul our environmental laws to reverse the trend.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ySiclQPcL4
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:29 am

Bogotá Colombia Bans Bullfighting

Animal rights councilors Juan Baena and Andrea Padilla co-authored a project to restrict bullfighting in the Colombian capital of Bogotá

Working alongside Bogotá’s City Council the two activists were able to end the cities tax money that was being funneled into the heinous spectacle of bullfighting.

Since the entirety of the bullfighting industry relies on public funding to continue, this new action by the City Council essentially ends an industry of animal cruelty once and for all in the city.

Smartly Bogotá has chosen not to hold a “Constitutional Tribunal” on the issue because every time they have done so excuses about the culture and history of bullfighting traditions comes up derailing the very real issue of cruelty.

Bogotá will no longer allow the use of banderillas (A decorated barbed dart that the banderillero thrusts into the neck or shoulders of the bull in a bullfight.), spears, and swords.

This means there will no longer be any bloodshed or killing and those fans of bullfighting who enjoy the sadistic spectacle of a bleeding and suffering animal will no longer attend this so-called sport.

While this will not completely end the animal cruelty and abuse co-author Councilor Andrea Padilla says it will limit it.

“During the journey from the pasture to the arena, a bull can lose up to 30 kilos of weight from stress. Just appearing at the plaza is very exhausting.

Which is why we can’t say there are ‘bloodless’ bullfights, as they have been traditionally called, but bullfights ‘with no bloodshed,’ would be much better,” claimed City Councilor Alianza Verde.

While this is a victory for the cruel “sport” of bullfighting it doesn’t mean that there is no more bloodshed or suffering for the bulls.

In the end, after the fight is done the bulls will still be killed just not inside of the ring for all to see.

The bulls will also still undergo horrors like their horns being shaved down to throw off their sense of balance in a fight.

They will still be kept afraid in total darkness days before a fight to further disorient and confuse them in addition to a stressful transport where they often lose up to 30 kilograms of weight.

Since there will no longer be any financial incentives from both the loss of spectators not getting to see matadors stabbing bulls with weapons and the city no longer covering expenses with public funds the industry is essentially banned.

Now, when someone wants to organize a bullfight in Bogotá they will have to cover all operating expenses on top of a new tax of 20%.

An undisclosed amount of the new tax will go to support the Institute of Animal Welfare and Protection in Colombia.

“Not a single peso will go toward bullfights,” said Claudia López in one of her first statements after being elected Mayor of Bogotá, affirming her anti-bullfighting stance.

Thanks to these new reforms bullfighting organizers will have to pay out their own money to not only put on shows but also to help pay to educate the public about how abusive bullfighting is thanks to the 20% tax.

The city used a similar tactic when taking on the tobacco industry. They required graphic imagery on cigarette packaging that shows the health effects on smokers’ lungs along with 30% of their advertising going to inform the public of tobacco’s dangers.

“Animals are individuals with rights, and they deserve all our protection and respect,” as councilor Juan Baena said.

Bogotá’s City Council also reduced their “fiestas” (celebrations) from eight a year down to just four, now three of which will occur in January and February and the fourth will be held in August.

Shortening the amount of city “fiestas” was done to give bullfighting organizers less time to plan and makes them compete against other events.

This new ban on bullfighting isn’t without its legal hurdles as Padilla expressed in the Constitutional Court saying:

“We can’t wait for Congress to ban bullfights, because it can be a paralyzing entity. The Council has reached the bold decision of restricting animal abuse, and Bogotá is ready for this,” said Councilor Padilla.

Bullfighting is quickly becoming a thing of the past and while opposition against it is growing by the day there is still a lot of work to do around the world.

https://vegannewsnow.com/2020/07/01/bog ... okn0sF377w
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:29 am

Migrant filmed roasting a kitten

At Campiglia Marittima station, a small coastal town in the province of Livorno in Italy, a migrant roasted a cat before the indignant eyes of passersby

Susanna Ceccardi, an MEP from the Italian League party, was the first to denounce this monstrosity by broadcasting the video on social networks. “The shock of a lady, her desperate cries to try and stop a migrant busy roasting a poor kitten in front of everyone. How did we become this cruel?” she complained.

“Is this the new ‘way of life’ that we must follow? Is this the reception system for the Tuscany Region? […] PS: It’s an almost unreal scene because of its monstrosity, it’s hard to watch, but it’s important to know the truth,” said the MEP.

The story was reported by the newspaper La Nazione, and relayed by the conservative daily Il Giornale, which detailed the horror of locals who were at Campiglia Marittima station at around 7 am on Tuesday.

The migrant started a barbecue with four wooden planks. A woman immediately approached him to film this abomination: “I’m going to have you arrested, cats aren’t food,” she said.

And the migrant replied: “I have no money.” The woman’s cries drew the attention of everyone present who immediately alerted the police. “You have money, I see you have cigarettes. You have money for it,” countered the woman.

The migrant ignored her and continued his barbecue. “Shame on you, disgusting…” shouted the woman to the African who did not seem intimidated in the least. After checking the facts, the police took the man to the police station. A complaint for animal abuse and cruelty has been filed.

It is quite common in the Ivory Coast and the south of Ghana to eat cats. Nobel laureate VS Naipaul describes how cats are killed and eaten in his book The Masque of Africa. Naipaul noted that “the best way of killing a cat or kitten” in the Ivory Coast, is to place the kitten in a sack. The sack is then placed in boiling water.

Killing and eating companion animals, stray or otherwise, is commonplace in Africa. In the north of Ghana dogs are called “red goat” meat.

https://freewestmedia.com/2020/07/03/af ... AAGKhWnDZg
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:01 pm

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:15 pm

Dakota Pipeline Shut Down

More Than Three Years After The Standing Rock Protests, A Judge Ordered The Dakota Access Pipeline To Shut Down

A federal judge in Washington on Monday ordered a complete shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline after finding the US government violated federal environmental law, a major defeat for the Trump administration and the company that built the pipeline three years after it became operational.

The ruling is a long-awaited win for Native American tribes that have fought the pipeline in court for years, and who had lost when they tried to stop it from going online in the summer of 2017. They’ve argued that the pipeline could cause serious environmental harm to Lake Oahe, a large lake that spans the border of North and South Dakota.

The Obama administration had paused the project in 2016 — thousands of Native Americans and other protesters held large demonstrations at the site near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation — but the Trump administration reversed course and allowed construction to proceed.

US District Judge James Boasberg wrote Monday that even though a shutdown likely would have significant economic consequences, there was no other option until the US Army Corps of Engineers completed a full Environmental Impact Statement given the “seriousness” of the agency’s violation and the potential environmental harm the pipeline posed while it carried oil in the meantime.

“The Court does not reach its decision with blithe disregard for the lives it will affect. It readily acknowledges that, even with the currently low demand for oil, shutting down the pipeline will cause significant disruption to DAPL, the North Dakota oil industry, and potentially other states,” Boasberg wrote. “Yet, given the seriousness of the Corps’ [National Environmental Policy Act] error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates, the Court is forced to conclude that the flow of oil must cease.”

Boasberg gave the pipeline company 30 days to empty the pipeline and shut it down by Aug. 5. The Trump administration could appeal Boasberg’s decision to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

“Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline,” Mike Faith, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a statement. “This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning.”

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment. Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of the pipeline project, said in a statement that they planned to pursue an expedited appeal before the DC Circuit if Boasberg refused to delay his order, and were "confident that once the law and full record are fully considered Dakota Access Pipeline will not be shut down and that oil will continue to flow."

"The economic implications of the Judge’s order are too big to ignore and we will do all we can to ensure its continued operation," the company stated. "This was an ill-thought-out decision by the Court that should be quickly remedied."

Monday’s ruling came several months after Boasberg issued a decision in March finding the US Army Corps of Engineers had violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it gave the pipeline company permission to build under Lake Oahe. The Army Corps conducted what’s known as an Environmental Assessment, and determined that a more in-depth Environmental Impact Statement wasn’t required.

Boasberg concluded at the time that the Army Corps was wrong. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the government isn’t always required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement before granting permits for a particular project, but the law lays out factors that can trigger a requirement to do one. One is if the effect of a project on the environment is “likely to be highly controversial.” It’s a factor that turns on how much dispute there is about the “size, nature, or effect” of an action by the federal government.

Boasberg found that when it came to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, the Army Corps had failed to resolve the controversy over the environmental effects of the pipeline when it approved the construction plan.

Recognizing that ordering a full shutdown was an extraordinary move, Boasberg in March gave both sides more time to argue over what he should do.

The judge noted in Monday’s decision that the pipeline’s owners raised significant concerns about the financial cost and potential job losses that would come with shutting down the pipeline now — the company submitted declarations saying it could lose $643 million over the rest of 2020 and another $1.4 billion in 2021. The company, along with other groups that submitted briefs to the court opposing a shutdown, argued there would be ripple effects on other industries that relied on oil coming through the pipeline, as opposed to by rail or other transportation routes.

The tribes, meanwhile, responded that the pipeline company’s prediction of economic problems were “wildly exaggerated” given that oil prices had already gone down because of economic instability during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boasberg wrote that it was clear the shutdown would have economic consequences, and that he did not take the issue “lightly,” but ultimately it didn’t “tip the scales” in favor of letting the pipeline continue to operate while the Army Corps did its full environmental review. A complete shutdown would give the Army Corps incentive to stick to its estimated timeline of 13 months to complete the review, the judge wrote, and he found that siding with the pipeline company now would undermine the purpose of the environmental policy law.

“When it comes to NEPA, it is better to ask for permission than forgiveness: if you can build first and consider environmental consequences later, NEPA’s action-forcing purpose loses its bite,” Boasberg wrote.

Leading up to the pipeline going operational in June 2017, Boasberg had denied requests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American tribes for injunctions based on arguments that the pipeline plan violated the tribes’ religious freedom and historic preservation laws.

The tribes continued to press the case even after the pipeline began carrying oil. Once the agency finishes the Environmental Impact Statement, the litigation could stretch on if the tribes decided to lodge a separate challenge to the outcome of that study. The judge noted that an Environmental Impact Statement is “a separate regulatory beast” and that the final product could be subject to its own round of court review.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zo ... f3E7xgooso
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:06 pm

Dying Buffalo Gores Hunter

A dying buffalo made a last-ditch effort to defend itself by goring a hunter through the leg after he shot it with arrows multiple times - sadly the hunter survived

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Chris Mcsherry, from Gove, Australia, came across the buffalo while out bow hunting last week in Port Bradshaw, just off the northeast coast of the Northern Territory.

He shot two arrows towards the animal in an attempt to take it down, but the buffalo tried to escape and fled the scene.

In a post on Facebook, Mcsherry explained he followed a ‘good blood trail’ to track the animal, and after a few hundred metres he came across it ‘in a thick piece of bush’.

The buffalo, which is said to have weighed approximately 1,700lbs, was shot with a ‘couple more bolts from [Mcsherry’s friend’s] crossbow’ as the hunter tried to ‘put the animal out of [its] misery’, but the beast was determined not to go down without a fight :((

It charged towards the hunter and gored him twice, leaving Mcsherry with a large hole above his right knee and an eight-inch gash under his bum.

After suffering the ‘decent wounds’, Mcsherry was transported to Darwin hospital where he underwent two surgeries. He may also have to undergo skin grafts as a result of the attack.

Mcsherry’s partner Elenie Bromot, shared an update following the incident, writing:

    Just wanted to give everyone an update, Chris Mcsherry is doing fine and is having surgery as we speak, thank you to everyone that has offered support to me and the girls and Ty, I am very grateful means a lot, and thank you to everyone thats has gone to see if he is ok in Darwin hospital, i really appreciate you all as i can not be there with him xoxo hopefully is home soon, will keep you updated [sic]
In spite of his painful injuries, the hunter remained optimistic he would get back out into the wild.

He wrote:

    Buff is dead I’m alive (this time) and hope to be back with my family and friends soon thanks for all the well wishes on other posts I appreciate the love and support and will live to HUNT another day
.It’s unclear what happened to the buffalo once Mcsherry killed it, though images show the beast lying dead on the ground. Pictures on Mcsherry’s Facebook page show him posing proudly alongside some of his other kills

https://www.unilad.co.uk/animals/dying- ... UMfJREa2-Y
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:41 am

Water supply in parts of England
could run out within 20 years


MPs have warned parts of England could run out of water within the next 20 years and called for the Government to step up and make up for lost time

In a damning report, the Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Government had shown a "lack of leadership in getting to grips with these issues".

The report said there has been "no progress" in reducing leakage over the past two decades, "very little" has been achieved in reducing demand and a "far too ponderous" approach has been taken to improving water infrastructure.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “It is very hard to imagine, in this country, turning the tap and not having enough clean, drinkable water come out – but that is exactly what we now face.

“Continued inaction by the water industry means we continue to lose one fifth of our daily supply to leaks.

“Empty words on climate commitments and unfunded public information campaigns will get us where we’ve got the last 20 years - nowhere.”

The damning report came from the Commons Public Accounts Committee(PA)

The committee was scathing in its assessment of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), saying the Government and regulators have "taken their eye off the ball".

The report said: "There is a serious risk that some parts of the country will run out of water within the next 20 years.

"More immediately, some areas are facing shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic."

The department must "step up, make up for lost time and ensure all parties act with the urgency required", the MPs said.

In a response to the report, Defra told the BBC: "We are already taking a tougher approach to poor performance and wastage within the water industry, while also finding ways to increase supply."

The report drew upon work by the National Audit Office which warned parts of the south and south east of England will run out of water within the next 20 years unless concerted action is taken.

The MPs said that due to rising demand and falling supply of water, the Environment Agency now estimates England will need an extra 3.6 billion litres per day by 2050 to avoid shortages.

But a fifth of the water currently used - more than three billion litres - is lost to leakage every day.

The figure, which the committee said it "wholly unacceptable", has fallen from more than 4.5 billion in the early 1990s until the turn of the century, but MPs said there has now been "over a decade of complacency and inaction".

The report was scathing in its assessment of Defra

Defra has "belatedly" set targets to reduce leakage by a third by 2030 and half by 2050, they said.

The committee called for annual league tables to be published by the end of the year showing water companies’ records in tackling leakage and reducing consumption.

The MPs also said the Government must be clear with water companies on how they should balance investment on improving infrastructure with keeping customers’ bills affordable.

A spokesman for trade body Water UK said: "We welcome the committee’s focus on an array of critical issues for our water supplies, and across many areas the industry is making significant progress, with leakage down 7 per cent this year to the lowest level since records began.

"Tackling leakage is one of the industry’s top priorities and we’re committed to halving it by 2050.

"We’ve also been calling for regulations to save water in homes by introducing labels on washing machines and dishwashers to show how much water they use, and we’re now working with the campaign group Waterwise on a new national consumer campaign to promote water efficiency."

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/wate ... 94221.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:26 pm

15,000 Stores Ban Coconut Milk

More than 15,000 stores have pledged to no longer sell coconut milk brands Aroy-D or Chaokoh after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals AKA PETA published their investigation

The PETA investigation showed that the Asian suppliers to the two brands were using cruel practices involving monkeys enslaved to pick coconuts.

9,277 Walgreens, 250 Duane Reade stores in the United States, 2,758 Boots stores (a Walgreens company) in the United Kingdom, and Thailand have all dropped the coconut milk brands in the face of PETA’s new investigation.

Cost Plus World Market will ban coconut products from Chaokoh from its 276 stores nationwide, as well as from its online platform.

Retail group Ahold Delhaize will no longer sell coconut products sourced from suppliers that use monkey labor at its 2,000 stores and distribution centers in the US (including Giant Food, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford), as well as its 889 Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands.

The overwhelming majority of stores that once carried Aroy-D and Chaokoh coconut milks have committed publicly to not purchasing those products or any other products made with coconuts harvested from Thailand where the money slave labor is the most prevalent.

The PETA Asia undercover investigations involved visiting four different so-called “monkey schools” where monkeys are cruelly trained using fear, pain, and starvation.

They also visited eight farms and a competition to see who’s monkey could pick the most coconuts.

The investigation led to the unbelievable revelation that chained up monkeys who were likely stolen from their mothers as children were enslaved and forced to pick coconuts day in and day out for global distribution.

According to the PETA Asia investigators when the enslaved monkeys were not picking coconuts endlessly they were kept chained up to old tires or locked up in tiny cages they could barely move in.

Many of the monkeys showed signs of psychological issues and other distress from the ordeal they have gone through.

If the monkeys lashed out and bit their kidnappers they would have their canine teeth removed without anesthetic or other veterinary care.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied mental stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to pick coconuts,” said Ingrid Newkirk PETA’s President.

“PETA believes virtually all coconuts from Thailand are picked by abused monkeys and is calling on kind people to buy coconut products that are sourced elsewhere.” She continued

Using monkey slave labor is not typical of the industry as most companies use a dwarf species of coconut trees that are closer to the ground and easier to harvest for humans.

Harmless Harvest was confirmed by PETA to not use monkeys in the harvest of their coconuts if you are looking for a guaranteed cruelty-free brand.

Other monkey free sources of coconuts are Hawaii, Colombia, and Brazil where they use humane methods involving humans to harvest their coconuts.

PETA Asia is calling on coconut suppliers throughout Thailand to provide evidence that they are not involved in the cruel slave labor of monkeys.

https://vegannewsnow.com/2020/07/13/mon ... t-picking/
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:44 pm

Siberian heatwave is clear
evidence of climate change


A record-breaking heatwave in Siberia would have been almost impossible without human-caused climate change, a study has found

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The Russian region's temperatures were more than 5C above average between January and June of this year.

Temperatures exceeded 38C in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk on 20 June, the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic circle.

The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average

An international team of climate scientists, led by the UK Met Office, found the record average temperatures were likely to happen less than once every 80,000 years without human-induced climate change.

That makes such an event "almost impossible" had the world not been warmed by greenhouse gas emissions, they conclude in the study.

It is, says Prof Peter Stott of the Met Office, the strongest result of any attribution study to date.

Attribution studies attempt to work out the role that human-induced climate change plays in major weather events.

Climate scientists use computer simulations to compare the climate as it is today with the climate as it would have been without human influence to see how likely different weather events would have been.

The researchers say that the current Siberian heat "has contributed to raising the world's average temperature to the second hottest on record for the period January to May".

What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic

The changing Arctic climate is of huge importance here in the UK.

Four of the six main systems that determine this country's weather are driven by conditions in the Arctic, said Dr Katharine Hendry of Bristol University.

She was one of the lead authors on a paper published last month that suggested a series of extreme weather events could be linked to changes in the Arctic.

The so-called "Beast from the East", in the winter of 2018, is one.

It involved Arctic air blasting the country, driving temperatures below 0C for several days with over half a metre of snow fell in some areas.

Image

The storm is reckoned to have caused over £1bn of damage and claimed 10 lives.

The paper published last month also cites the storms and floods in February this year and ones back in 2015 as other possible examples of Arctic-linked changes.

"The link between the Arctic and UK weather is through the jet stream," said Prof Stott, referring to the ribbon of fast-moving air high up in the atmosphere.

The jet stream helps move weather systems around the globe.

But sometimes it creates "blocking" patterns that can cause weather systems to stall.

The unusually sunny spring experienced in the UK this year was caused by a blocking pattern that allowed high pressure systems to dominate the UK for months on end.

State of emergency

The heatwave in Siberia was caused by the same pattern but with even more dramatic results.

The extreme temperatures led to a cascade of natural and human disasters which prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a state of emergency in early June.

A vast fuel spill was caused by the collapse of a reservoir containing 20,000 tonnes of diesel near the Russian city of Norilsk in late May.

Arctic wildfires are estimated to have led to the release of 56 megatonnes of CO2 in June.

At the same time, there has been widespread melting of the permafrost and reports of unusually large swarms of Siberian silk moths that have damaged trees, making them more susceptible to fire.

Uncertain future

It is well-known that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.

Arctic temperatures are estimated to have risen 2C since 1850 compared with 1C globally.

What impact that will have on the world's weather is less certain.

"Looking at the geological record, we don't think we've had CO2 levels as high for about five million years," said Dr Hendry. "So we really don't know what to expect into the future."

"We are," she said, "in uncharted territory".

This year's Siberian heatwaves shows just how extreme conditions can become.

What worries many scientists is that this new climate era we are entering means many places now experience weather conditions beyond anything local ecosystems - or indeed human communities - have evolved to endure.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53415297
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:47 pm

UN: World could hit 1.5-degree
warming threshold by 2024


The world could see annual global temperatures pass a key threshold for the first time in the coming five years, the U.N. weather agency said Thursday

The World Meteorological Organization said forecasts suggest there's a 20% chance that global temperatures will be 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) higher than the pre-industrial average in at least one year between 2020 and 2024.

The 1.5 C mark is the level countries agreed to cap global warming at in the 2015 Paris accord. While a new annual high might be followed by several years with lower average temperatures, breaking that threshold would be seen as further evidence that international efforts to curb climate change aren't working.

“It shows how close we’re getting to what the Paris Agreement is trying to prevent,” said Maxx Dilley, director of climate services at the World Meteorological Organization.

Dilley said it's not impossible that countries will manage to achieve the target set in Paris, of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 C, by the end of the century.

“But any delay just diminishes the window within which there will still be time to reverse these trends and to bring the temperature back down into those limits,” he told The Associated Press.

Scientists say average temperatures around the world are already at least 1 C higher now than from 1850-1900 because of man-made greenhouse emissions.

The Geneva-based WMO said there's a 70% chance that the 1.5-degree mark will be exceeded in a single month between 2020 and 2024. The five-year period is expected to see annual average temperatures that are 0.91 C to 1.59 C higher than pre-industrial averages, it said.

The forecast is contained in an annual climate outlook based on several long-term computer models compiled under the leadership of the United Kingdom’s Met Office.

Climate models have proven accurate in the past because they are based on well-understood physical equations about the effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, said Anders Levermann, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin who was not involved in the report.

“We can make more accurate predictions about the climate than about the weather," he said. “The physics behind it is solid as a rock.”

Leverman said that while hitting the 1.5-degree threshold was “a screaming warning signal” it should not become a distraction from efforts to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

WMO noted that the models used for the forecast don't consider the impact that the coronavirus pandemic might have on reducing emissions of planet-warming gases such as carbon dioxide. But experts say any pandemic-related dip in emissions is likely to be short-lived and could actually hurt efforts to end the use of fossil fuels.

“The impact of the coronavirus is a partial shutdown of the economy worldwide,” said Levermann. ”But changing the way we do things can only be done with a healthy economy.”

Dilley, the WMO official, said record temperatures such as those currently seen in the Arctic are the effect of emissions pumped into the atmosphere decades ago, so attempts to alter the future course of the climate need to happen soon.

“This is not something that can be stopped on a dime,” he said. “It’s like an ocean liner that takes a long, long time to turn."

“This is the message that people in their daily lives and how they vote and every other way they should be concerned about,” he added.
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:22 am

World fertility rate crash expected

The world is ill-prepared for the global crash in children being born which is set to have a "jaw-dropping" impact on societies, say researchers

Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.

And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100.

Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.

What is going on?

The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling.

If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall.

In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime.

Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100.

Image

As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century.

"That's a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline," researcher Prof Christopher Murray told the BBC.

"I think it's incredibly hard to think this through and recognise how big a thing this is; it's extraordinary, we'll have to reorganise societies."

Why are fertility rates falling?

It has nothing to do with sperm counts or the usual things that come to mind when discussing fertility.

Instead it is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children.

In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.

Which countries will be most affected?

Japan's population is projected to fall from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century.

Italy is expected to see an equally dramatic population crash from 61 million to 28 million over the same timeframe.

They are two of 23 countries - which also include Spain, Portugal, Thailand and South Korea - expected to see their population more than halve.

"That is jaw-dropping," Prof Christopher Murray told me.

China, currently the most populous nation in the world, is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in four years' time before nearly halving to 732 million by 2100. India will take its place.

The UK is predicted to peak at 75 million in 2063, and fall to 71 million by 2100.
Graph of population sizes Image copyright BBC Sport

However, this will be a truly global issue, with 183 out of 195 countries having a fertility rate below the replacement level.

Why is this a problem?

You might think this is great for the environment. A smaller population would reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation for farmland.

"That would be true except for the inverted age structure (more old people than young people) and all the uniformly negative consequences of an inverted age structure," says Prof Murray.

The study projects:

    The number of under-fives will fall from 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100

    The number of over 80-year-olds will soar from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100
Prof Murray adds: "It will create enormous social change. It makes me worried because I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wonder what the world will be like."

Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?

"We need a soft landing," argues Prof Murray.

Are there any solutions?

Countries, including the UK, have used migration to boost their population and compensate for falling fertility rates.

However, this stops being the answer once nearly every country's population is shrinking.

"We will go from the period where it's a choice to open borders, or not, to frank competition for migrants, as there won't be enough," argues Prof Murray.

Some countries have tried policies such as enhanced maternity and paternity leave, free childcare, financial incentives and extra employment rights, but there is no clear answer.

Sweden has dragged its fertility rate up from 1.7 to 1.9, but other countries that have put significant effort into tackling the "baby bust" have struggled. Singapore still has a fertility rate of around 1.3.

Prof Murray says: "I find people laugh it off; they can't imagine it could be true, they think women will just decide to have more kids.

"If you can't [find a solution] then eventually the species disappears, but that's a few centuries away."

The researchers warn against undoing the progress on women's education and access to contraception.

Prof Stein Emil Vollset said: "Responding to population decline is likely to become an overriding policy concern in many nations, but must not compromise efforts to enhance women's reproductive health or progress on women's rights."

What about Africa?

The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to treble in size to more than three billion people by 2100.

And the study says Nigeria will become the world's second biggest country, with a population of 791 million.

Prof Murray says: "We will have many more people of African descent in many more countries as we go through this.

"Global recognition of the challenges around racism are going to be all the more critical if there are large numbers of people of African descent in many countries."

Why is 2.1 the fertility rate threshold?

You might think the number should be 2.0 - two parents have two children, so the population stays the same size.

But even with the best healthcare, not all children survive to adulthood. Also, babies are ever so slightly more likely to be male. It means the replacement figure is 2.1 in developed countries.

Nations with higher childhood mortality also need a higher fertility rate.

What do the experts say?

Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, University College London (UCL), said: "If these predictions are even half accurate, migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option.

"To be successful we need a fundamental rethink of global politics.

"The distribution of working-age populations will be crucial to whether humanity prospers or withers."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53409521
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:21 pm

Summers could become
too hot for humans


Millions of people around the world could be exposed to dangerous levels of heat stress - a dangerous condition which can cause organs to shut down

Many live in developing countries, and do jobs that expose them to potentially life threatening conditions.

These include being out in the open on farms and building sites or indoors in factories and hospitals.

Global warming will increase the chances of summer conditions that may be "too hot for humans" to work in.

When we caught up with Dr Jimmy Lee, his goggles were steamed up and there was sweat trickling off his neck.

An emergency medic, he's labouring in the stifling heat of tropical Singapore to care for patients with Covid-19.

There's no air conditioning - a deliberate choice, to prevent the virus being blown around - and he notices that he and his colleagues become "more irritable, more short with each other".

And his personal protective equipment, essential for avoiding infection, makes things worse by creating a sweltering 'micro-climate' under the multiple layers of plastic.

"It really hits you when you first go in there," Dr Lee says, "and it's really uncomfortable over a whole shift of eight hours - it affects morale."

One danger, he realises, is that overheating can slow down their ability to do something that's vital for medical staff - make quick decisions.

Another is that they may ignore the warning signs of what's called heat stress - such as faintness and nausea - and keep on working till they collapse.

What is heat stress?

It's when the body is unable to cool down properly so its core temperature keeps rising to dangerous levels and key organs can shut down.

It happens when the main technique for getting rid of excess heat - the evaporation of sweat on the skin - can't take place because the air is too humid.

And as Dr Lee and other medics have found, the impermeable layers of personal protection equipment (PPE) - designed to keep the virus out - have the effect of preventing the sweat from evaporating.

According to Dr Rebecca Lucas, who researches physiology at the University of Birmingham, the symptoms can escalate from fainting and disorientation to cramps and failure of the guts and kidneys.

"It can become very serious as you overheat, and in all areas of the body."

How can we spot it?

A system known as the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) measures not only heat but also humidity and other factors to give a more realistic description of the conditions.

Back in the 1950s, the US military used it to work out guidelines for keeping soldiers safe.

When the WBGT reaches 29C, for example, the recommendation is to suspend exercise for anyone not acclimatised.

Yet that's the level Dr Lee and his colleagues are regularly experiencing at Singapore's Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

And at the top of the scale - when the WBGT registers 32C - the US says strenuous training should stop because the risk becomes "extreme".

Please click to enlarge:
1234

Temperatures

But levels that high have recently been recorded inside hospitals in Chennai in India by Prof Vidhya Venugopal of the Sri Ramachandra University.

She's also found workers in a salt pan enduring a WBGT that climbs during the day to 33C - at which point they have to seek shelter.

And in a steel plant, a ferocious level of 41.7C was recorded, the workers being among the most vulnerable to what she calls "the huge heat".

"If this happens day-in, day-out, people become dehydrated, there are cardiovascular issues, kidney stones, heat exhaustion," Prof Venugopal says.

What impact will climate change have?

As global temperatures rise, more intense humidity is likely as well which means more people will be exposed to more days with that hazardous combination of heat and moisture.

Prof Richard Betts of the UK Met Office has run computer models which suggest that the number of days with a WBGT above 32C are set to increase, depending on whether greenhouse gas emissions are cut.

US soldier and medic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The US military developed heat stress guidelines to keep its soldiers safe

And he spells out the risks for millions of people already having to work in the challenging combination of extreme heat and high humidity.

"We humans evolved to live in a particular range of temperatures, so it's clear that if we continue to cause temperatures to rise worldwide, sooner or later the hottest parts of the world could start to see conditions that are simply too hot for us."

Another study, published earlier this year, warned that heat stress could affect as many as 1.2bn people around the world by 2100, four times more than now.

What solutions are there?

According to Dr Jimmy Lee, "it's not rocket science".

People need to drink plenty of fluid before they start work, take regular breaks and then drink again when they rest.

His hospital has started laying on "slushie" semi-frozen drinks to help the staff cool down.

But he admits that avoiding heat stress is easier said than done.

For him and his colleagues, going for rests involves the laborious process of changing out of PPE and then back into a new set of equipment.

Fans cool off in front of fans at the Sydney International tennis tournament earlier this month.

There's a practical problem as well - "some people do not want to drink so they can avoid having to go to the toilet," he says.

And there's a professional desire to keep working whatever the difficulties so as not to let colleagues and patients down at a time of crisis.

People who are highly motivated can actually be at the greatest risk of heat injury, says Dr Jason Lee, an associate professor in physiology at the National University of Singapore.

He's a leading member of a group specialising in the dangers of excessive heat, the Global Heat Health Information Network, which has drawn up guidelines to help medics cope with Covid-19.

It's spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the US weather and climate agency Noaa.
graphic

Dr Lee says that as well as measures like rest and fluids - and shade for outdoor workers - a key strategy for resisting heat stress is to be fit.

"By keeping yourself aerobically fit, you're also increasing your heat tolerance, and there are so many other benefits too."

And he sees the challenge for medics, sweating inside their PPE as they deal with Covid-19, as "almost like a full dress rehearsal" for future rises in temperature.

"This climate change will be a bigger monster and we really need a coordinated effort across nations to prepare for what is to come.

"If not," he says, "there'll be a price to be paid."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53415298
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:32 pm

Had to share lovely photo of swan family :x

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:51 pm

Polar bears could be lost by 2100

Polar bears will be wiped out by the end of the century unless more is done to tackle climate change, a study predicts

Image

Scientists say some populations have already reached their survival limits as the Arctic sea ice shrinks.

The carnivores rely on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean to hunt for seals.

As the ice breaks up, the animals are forced to roam for long distances or on to shore, where they struggle to find food and feed their cubs.

The bear has become the "poster child of climate change", said Dr Peter Molnar of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

"Polar bears are already sitting at the top of the world; if the ice goes, they have no place to go," he said.

Polar bears are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with climate change a key factor in their decline.

Studies show that declining sea ice is likely to decrease polar bear numbers, perhaps substantially. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, puts a timeline on when that might happen.

By modelling the energy use of polar bears, the researchers were able to calculate their endurance limits.

Dr Steven Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, who was also involved in the study, told BBC News: "What we've shown is that, first, we'll lose the survival of cubs, so cubs will be born but the females won't have enough body fat to produce milk to bring them along through the ice-free season.

"Any of us know that we can only go without food for so long," he added, "that's a biological reality for all species".

The researchers were also able to predict when these thresholds will be reached in different parts of the Arctic. This may have already happened in some areas where polar bears live, they said.

"Showing how imminent the threat is for different polar bear populations is another reminder that we must act now to head off the worst of future problems faced by us all," said Dr Amstrup.

"The trajectory we're on now is not a good one, but if society gets its act together, we have time to save polar bears. And if we do, we will benefit the rest of life on Earth, including ourselves."

Under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, it's likely that all but a few polar bear populations will collapse by 2100, the study found. And even if moderate emissions reduction targets are achieved, several populations will disappear.

The findings match previous projections that polar bears are likely to persist to 2100 only in a few populations very far north if climate change continues unabated.

Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface, forming and melting with the polar seasons. Some persists year after year in the Arctic, providing vital habitat for wildlife such as polar bears, seals, and walruses.

Sea ice that stays in the Arctic for longer than a year has been declining at a rate of about 13% per decade since satellite records began in the late 1970s.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53474445
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