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  • Indigenous leader’s court win halts one of Australia’s ‘dirtiest gas projects’
    on September 23, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    - Indigenous community members from the Tiwi Islands off the northern coast of Australia took Santos Limited to court, arguing that the company did not adequately consult traditional owners in its plans to drill in the Barossa offshore gas field.- A federal court threw out the approval granted by Australia’s offshore energy regulator, noting that all relevant stakeholders were not consulted.- The drilling to develop the $3.6 billion Barossa gas project could threaten the Tiwi peoples’ food sources, culture and way of life, opponents say.- If the Barossa project goes ahead, it could become one of Australia’s dirtiest gas projects emitting around 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly, estimates from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis show.

  • Guatemalans strongly reject mining project in local referendum
    on September 23, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    - Nearly 88% of participating residents voted against metallic mining in a municipal referendum in Asunción Mita, in southeastern Guatemala.- Locals fear the Cerro Blanco gold mining project would pollute soil and water sources, affecting the health of residents and crops.- There is also strong opposition in nearby El Salvador to the mine as it is located near a tributary of the Lempa River that provides water for millions of Salvadorans.- Cerro Blanco owner Bluestone Resources, the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines and a local pro-mining group contest the legality of the referendum.

  • Mongabay founder wins prestigious 2022 Heinz Award for the Environment
    on September 22, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    - The Heinz Awards are presented annually to honor excellence and achievement in the arts, environment, and economics. Previous winners in the environment category include Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Amory Lovins, Jane Lubchenco, and James Hansen, among many others.- This year’s winner of the prestigious prize’s environment award is Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett A. Butler, for his work creating a popular and impactful media outlet that publishes news from nature’s frontline in multiple languages for a large global audience.- “The pace of environmental degradation, deforestation and habitat loss due to human activity is devastating, but Rhett has responded with courage and dedication, creating a platform that equips the world with critical news information gathered with the highest journalistic and scientific integrity,” says Teresa Heinz, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation and founder of the Heinz Awards.- “The rise of Mongabay as one of the most widely read environmental news sources is a powerful testament to what’s possible when even one person has the interest in and passion for the natural world that Butler has,” says Mongabay board member Jeannie Sedgwick.

  • U.S. charts course for adopting ropeless fishing to reduce whale deaths
    on September 21, 2022 at 5:02 am

    - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a report laying out a strategy to allow the use of “ropeless” or “on-demand” fishing gear off the U.S. East Coast with the goal of reducing entanglements of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.- The gear uses acoustic signals to locate and retrieve gear, reducing the amount of time that vertical lines are present in the water column, where they can ensnare right whales and other types of marine life.- Right whale numbers in the North Atlantic have declined precipitously in the past decade, as collisions with ships and entanglements have killed individuals and hampered the species’ ability to reproduce.- NOAA’s Ropeless Roadmap estimates that on-demand fishing gear can substantially diminish the risk to right whales, while allowing economically and culturally important fisheries of the northeastern U.S. to continue.

  • New oil refinery ‘a huge disaster’ for Nigerian forest reserve
    on September 20, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    - Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve comprises nearly 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) in southern Nigeria, and is home to threatened wildlife and economically valuable tree species.- Despite its official protected status as a forest reserve, much of Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve’s tree cover has been lost due to human activities like logging and farming.- Area residents say the construction of this new refinery has exacerbated deforestation in Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve, and a government official calls the development of the reserve “a huge disaster for the forest.”- Residents are also concerned that the refinery will exacerbate conflicts between Local Government Areas.

  • Podcast: Could Brazil’s election decide the fate of the Amazon?
    on September 20, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    - In a new podcast dialogue with Mongabay’s top tropical forest news commentator (and CEO), Rhett A. Butler, we catch up on the biggest trends and news, like the upcoming Brazilian presidential election, which could alter the outlook for the Amazon going forward should Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva win: with 2022 looking like the worst year for Brazilian Amazon deforestation in 15 years, Lula’s campaigning on Amazon conservation and has a long track record on the topic.- We also discuss Norway and Indonesia, which just renewed a previously canceled REDD+ agreement, in which Norwegians will pay to keep Indonesian forests standing.- And the European Parliament voted in favor of a bill banning the import of 14 commodities linked to deforestation, setting a policy precedent requiring entities to track the supply chain of common goods derived from both legal and illegal deforestation into the EU.- We discuss how these trends and new/renewed initiatives could change the prospects for global tropical forests amid the context of tipping points that some experts say we may have already passed.

  • Lebanese research preserves heat-adapted seeds to feed a warming world
    on September 20, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    - In Lebanon, the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) is preserving crops’ genetic diversity and helping breed climate-resilient varieties of seeds.- Varieties selected for their adaptation to local conditions, resilience to drought and heat can thrive without the use of expensive hybrid seeds and agrochemicals promoted by agribusinesses — boosting farmers’ finances and food security — and can improve production on sustainable farms based on the principles of agroecology.- “Big companies like Monsanto are after profit, they are trying to find ways to make the farmers dependent on buying seeds from them. For us it’s not about profit, it’s about improving livelihoods and promoting agricultural practices that don’t harm the environment,” an ICARDA researcher tells Mongabay.

  • How close is the Amazon tipping point? Forest loss in the east changes the equation
    on September 20, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    - Scientists warn that the Amazon is approaching a tipping point beyond which it would begin to transition from a lush tropical forest into a dry, degraded savanna. This point may be reached when 25% of the forest is lost.- In a newly released report, the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) estimates that 13.2% of the original Amazon forest biome has been lost due to deforestation and other causes.- However, when the map is divided into thirds, it shows that 31% of the eastern Amazon has been lost. Moisture cycles through the forest from east to west, creating up to half of all rainfall across the Amazon. The 31% figure is critical, the report says, “because the tipping point will likely be triggered in the east.”- Experts say the upcoming elections in Brazil could have dramatic consequences for the Amazon, and to avert the tipping point we must lower emissions, undertake ambitious reforestation projects, and build an economy based on the standing forest. Granting and honoring Indigenous land tenure and protected areas are also key strategies.

  • Fish return to Southern Brazil after trawling ban
    on September 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    - Small- and large-scale fishers report an increase in the volume and variety of fish species in the Patos Lagoon and the coast of Rio Grande do Sul state.- Such abundance came after a bill banning motorized trawling on the state’s coast was passed and signed into law in 2018.- Drafted by fishers and scientists and passed unanimously in the state parliament, the law goes against the interests of President Bolsonaro’s allies.- Appointed to the Federal Supreme Court by Bolsonaro, Justice Kassio Nunes Marques overturned the Court’s prevailing view and suspended the effects of a previous ruling. On a date yet to be scheduled, the Court’s plenary session will have the final word.

  • Rare turtles hatch from eggs rescued from flood-prone Nepal riverbank
    on September 16, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    - Conservationists in Nepal successfully rescued and hatched hundreds of Indian narrow-headed softshell turtles (Chitra indica) from a riverbank in Chitwan National Park.- The nesting sites were hit by a flash flood three weeks after the eggs were removed; 375 of the 496 eggs hatched successfully at Chitwan’s gharial breeding center after nearly seven weeks.- Narrow-headed softshell turtles are an endangered species, threatened by hunting for their meat and consumption of their eggs, as well as degradation of their habitat, but aren’t the subject of any dedicated conservation programs in Nepal.- Conservationists have called on the government to focus more attention on the species, saying it wouldn’t cost much and would require only the will to act.