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Pete Nichols

Pete Nichols joined the staff of Waterkeeper Alliance in July of 2011 as the western regional director after serving on the Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors for three years as Pacific Regional Representative and nearly eight years as the Humboldt Baykeeper.

Nichols was co-founder of Humboldt Baykeeper, and was the Baykeeper and executive director since its inception. Nichols has a background in Conservation Biology and has been involved in conservation in northern California for more than fifteen years. 

Originally inspired from the lakes and coastal waters of his childhood home of Maine, Nichols has always been an advocate for the environment. Upon arriving in northern California in 1992, he was deeply involved in the struggle to protect the last remnants of the region’s ancient redwood forests. Prior to his arrival at Humboldt Baykeeper, Nichols acted as the project and science coordinator for the California Wildlands Project, a habitat-based conservation planning project of the California Wilderness Coalition. 

A successful effort to defeat a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas proposal on Humboldt Bay in 2003, led Pete and others to realize that there was a need for a and strong advocate for Humboldt Bay and coastal waters of the north coast of California. In October of 2004, Humboldt Baykeeper was formed, and has been a strong voice for the Bay and coast ever since.

In addition to his role at the Waterkeeper Alliance, Nichols is also the founder and president of the Nature Iraq Foundation, a philanthropic charity dedicated to protecting the environment of the Middle East. Pete also serves on the board of the Friends of the Eel River and is the president of the Northcoast Environmental Center, a bioregional conservation organization for northwest California and southern Oregon.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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