Atmospheric researchers have pinpointed the spot on Earth with the cleanest air. It's not in the midst of a remote jungle, nor on a deserted tropical island. Instead, the cleanest air in the world is in the air above the frigid Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, as CNN reported.
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Satellite data collated for the World Resources Institute (WRI) showed primal rainforest was lost across 38,000 square kilometers (14,500 square miles) globally — ruining habitats and releasing carbon once locked in wood into the atmosphere.
Bolivia Has 80% Higher Loss<p>In its Global Forest Watch report, the WRI highlighted Bolivia, saying its removal of primary forest and surrounding woodlands — to produce soy and range cattle in 2019 — had been 80% higher than any of its previous years on record.</p><p>"Its highly biodiverse Chiquitano Dry Forest was particularly affected, with reports that nearly 12% of it burned," said the study.</p><p>Other countries with severe losses had been Peru, Malaysia and Colombia, followed by Laos, Mexico and Cambodia — from 1,620 square kilometers and 800 square kilometers in primal forest lost.</p><p><strong>Indigenous Rights Protect Forests Too</strong></p><p>WRI's Seymour said a "mounting body of evidence" suggested that legal recognition of indigenous land rights "provides greater forest protection:</p><p>"We know that deforestation is lower in indigenous territories," Seymour said.</p>
Pandemic Weakens Enforcement<p>The current Covid-19 pandemic had changed dynamics, said Weisse, weakening enforcement of forest-protection laws and leaving rural families desperate to feed themselves back home after losing jobs in cities.</p><p>In April, scientists grouped within the Global Carbon Project estimated that coronavirus-induced economic slowdowns would trim carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5% year-on-year.</p><p>It was "something not seen since the end of World War Two," said project chair Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, California.</p><p><span></span>But, recalling the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré at England's University of East Anglia, forecast in April that emissions were likely to rebound if structural changes were not instituted.</p>
Glasgow's COP26 Postponed<p>Last week, host Britain confirmed that UN climate talks due in Glasgow, known as COP26, had been postponed a year until between November 1 and 12 2021.</p><p>Experts involved in those long-running negotiations insist that global emissions must start dropping this year to avoid irreversible impacts, including polar melts, record hot weather, rogue storms, and ocean level rises.</p>
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Researchers have found that warm temperatures in the U.S. this summer are unlikely to stop the coronavirus that causes the infectious disease COVID-19, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease.
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The glaring numbers that show how disproportionately racial minorities have been affected by the coronavirus and by police brutality go hand-in-hand. The two are byproducts of systemic racism that has kept people of color marginalized and contributed to a public health crisis, according to three prominent medical organizations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians, as CNN reported.
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By Jessica Corbett
With the nation focused on the coronavirus pandemic and protests against U.S. police brutality that have sprung up across the globe, the Trump administration continues to quietly attack federal policies that protect public health and the environment to limit the legal burdens faced by planet-wrecking fossil fuel companies.
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1267581093349191680" id="twitter-embed-1267581093349191680" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1267581093349191680&created_ts=1591049857.0&screen_name=PeterGleick&text=And+while+attention+is+elsewhere%2C+another+Trump+assault+on+the+Clean+%23Water+Act+and+the+ability+of+states+to+protec%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FUtqe7IkGt9&id=1267581093349191680&name=Peter+Gleick" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="b88aab098c5666a85c251e01b7a029bf"></iframe>
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1267802127273005056" id="twitter-embed-1267802127273005056" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1267802127273005056&created_ts=1591102556.0&screen_name=EnvProtectioNet&text=.%40epa%E2%80%99s+rule+change+is+a+blatant+attack+on+states%E2%80%99+rights+and+flies+in+the+face+of+decades+of+Supreme+Court+rulings%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fk42d4AgTL5&id=1267802127273005056&name=Environmental+Protection+Network" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0d99172630e2eaea81fb529e2c93c87"></iframe><p>Hauter vowed that Food & Water Action "will be pursuing all avenues available—legal, electoral, and otherwise—to ensure that states have the right to reject fossil fuels as they see fit, and support vulnerable communities everywhere seeking to protect themselves from this malicious administration."</p>
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A video of an incident in Central Park last Monday, in which a white woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on African American birder Christian Cooper after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, went viral last week, raising awareness of the racism Black people face for simply trying to enjoy nature.
By Jodi Helmer
In Georgia there are just 213 game wardens to enforce state fish and wildlife laws, investigate violations, assist with conservation efforts and collect data on wildlife and ecological changes across 16,000 miles of rivers and 37 million acres of public and private lands. Statewide 46 counties have no designated game warden at all. The shortage could lead to wildlife crimes going undetected.
The Environment Pays the Price<p>Environmental crimes like poaching, overfishing and illegal dumping threaten healthy ecosystems, and without adequate patrols can lead to declining wildlife populations, disease spread, increases in invasive species, erosion and contaminated waterways.</p><p>"People who want to cheat resources know which [ranger] stations are vacant and know that the odds of seeing a warden in the field are rare because regular patrols aren't happening," explains Larry Bonde, chairman of the <a href="https://dnr.wi.gov/about/wcc/" target="_blank">Wisconsin Conservation Congress</a>, a group of elected delegates who advise the state department of natural resources. "It's not just fish and game violations; if no one is visiting sensitive sites…there are a lot of things that get overlooked that could be spotted by [a game warden] patrolling the area."</p><p>In California, for example, game wardens with the Department of Fish and Wildlife are often the first to spot illegal cannabis cultivation sites — called trespass grows — where growers raze paths through national forests to access secluded sites, divert significant amounts of water to irrigate cannabis plants, and apply massive amounts of pesticides to keep wildlife from gnawing on the crops. Too few game wardens in the field could lead to massive environmental degradation before trespass grows are spotted.</p><p>Even when issues are spotted, Rick Langley, wildlife program manager for the <a href="https://www.azgfd.com/" target="_blank">Arizona Game and Fish Department</a> and president of the <a href="https://www.naweoa.org/" target="_blank">North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association</a>, believes that having too few game wardens in the field could have a negative impact on investigations and enforcement.</p><p>"[Game wardens] work really hard to fill in the gaps to protect natural resources," he says. "In areas with less officer presence or where officers are spread thin to cover vacant districts, it has the potential to leave investigations incomplete or not responded to or followed up on as thoroughly as they would have been if you had one officer assigned to the area."</p><p>Bonde agrees, adding, "If the station is vacant and there's a complaint, it won't be ignored, but it certainly isn't going to get the amount of attention it would if it had been a full-time posted station."</p>
COVID Challenges<p>These existing challenges are poised to get worse. The COVID-19 global health pandemic has triggered major budget cuts, further threatening funding for environmental conservation and could result in additional cuts to conservation districts that are already cash-strapped and understaffed.</p><p>"For agencies that receive funding [through state taxes and revenues], the repercussions from reduced tourism and businesses closing could have a very serious effect," says Langley. "We're hearing rumors about budget cuts and, in many areas, budget is one of the main reasons these positions go unfilled."</p><p>In 2019 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had 21 open positions across its 155 patrol areas; the number decreased (from 27 vacancies in 2019) but the state is facing a <a href="https://mn.gov/mmb-stat/budget/may-interim-budget-projection-slides.pdf" target="_blank">projected $2.42 billion budget deficit</a> as a result of the pandemic, which could threaten funding for the department.</p><p>In Montana the wardens working for Fish, Wildlife & Parks wrote 2,194 citations in 2018 compared to 4,027 a decade earlier. Game wardens suspect that there are not fewer wildlife crimes, just fewer officers to catch perpetrators. That number could drop again. The state, anticipating "significant revenue shortfalls" due to the pandemic, led legislators to request reducing state spending; the department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks could feel the sting.</p><p>To complicate matters, stay-at-home orders have led people to spend more time outdoors, hiking in national forests and boating and fishing on lakes. States like Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota and New York have reported significant increases in the number of fishing licenses being issued, which means more anglers to monitor and too few game wardens to ensure no one is violating catch limits.</p>
Targeting Solutions<p>The seriousness of the issue has led some states to implement strategies to increase the number of game wardens in the field and provide additional support to keep them in their roles.</p><p>In fiscal year 2018-2019, the Minnesota legislature allocated an additional $2.8 million to help the Department of Natural Resources recruit, hire and train additional game wardens to help fill 28 vacant positions. The Arizona Fish and Game Department, which has 16 vacancies across its 80 conservation districts, ramped up recruitment efforts too, adding three classes to the law enforcement academy in 2020 (up from just one in previous years). It also hired an advisor to educate students graduating from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona about conservation careers.</p><p>Most departments also have ranger "tip lines" where the public can report violations. In addition to the hotlines, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also installed 400 cameras across the state to help catch wildlife violations.</p><p>"Instead of a game warden sitting out at night for eight hours to watch for hunters spotlighting deer [an illegal practice that involves using a flashlight or headlights to locate wildlife while hunting after hours], we use cameras," England explains. "If we have problems with people dumping trash, sneaking in certain areas and fishing after hours or illegal hunting, we can hide one of these cameras and it sends the game warden a picture or a video of what's going on."</p><p>While Bonde supports the use of high-tech tools and hotlines to report potential conservation violations to help protect wildlife and the environment, he believes additional funding to get more game wardens in the field is essential, adding, "Without proper enforcement, there will always be people who cheat our natural resources."</p>
At least 100,000 people were evacuated along India's west coast as the country's financial capital of Mumbai awaits its first cyclone in more than 70 years.
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As protests are taking place across our nation in response to the killing of George Floyd, we want to acknowledge the importance of this protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the years, we've aimed to be sensitive and prioritize stories that highlight the intersection between racial and environmental injustice. From our years of covering the environment, we know that too often marginalized communities around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental crises.
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By Peter Beech
Using waste food to farm insects as fish food and high-tech real-time water quality monitoring: innovations that could help change global aquaculture, were showcased at the World Economic Forum's Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2020.
Fly fishing. nextProtein
BiOceanOr's AquaREAL system. BiOceanOr
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The big three broadcast channels failed to cover the disproportionate impacts of extreme weather on low-income communities or communities of color during their primetime coverage of seven hurricanes and one tropical storm over three years, a Media Matters for America analysis revealed.
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