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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Land clearing by Digoel Agri. Pusaka

A new company has begun clearing rainforest in an area of Indonesia's easternmost Papua province earmarked to become the world's largest oil palm plantation, in a vast project that has been mired in allegations of lawbreaking.

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Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue, in the Baka village in the south region of Cameroon, 2017. Greenpeace Africa

By Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue, Greenpeace Africa

When I think of the forest, I remember playing in it. We would build huts of sticks and moss, and vehicles from bamboo trees. Getting lost in the forest was a real adventure. We used to turn the forest into a navigation game. We could get a sense of orientation without a compass or a GPS.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Medical staff are seen at a makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 5. Xinhua / Xiong Qi / Getty Images

Efforts to contain the Wuhan coronavirus and fears that it can spread and form a global pandemic have slowed industries around the world.

Shipping is delayed, cars and electronics are stalled on the assembly line, and commodity markets around the world are predicting losses because of the virus. Fears around the virus even have Olympic officials worried that it could impact Tokyo's planning for the summer games scheduled for the end of July, according to CNN.

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A firefly perched on a blade of grass, its abdomen lit in bright yellow light. James Jordan Photography / Moment / Getty Images

Human activity threatens to make summer nights a little less magical.

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Residents of La Chiquita say they don't have adequate access to safe drinking water. David Silva

By Alejandro Pérez, translated by Romina Castagnino

Fifteen years ago, Martha Valencia relied on the nearby river for water and for food. But then oil palm crops arrived in the area and polluted the river, say Martha and her neighbors. The community took the oil palm grower to court, which ultimately resulted in a ruling in their favor.

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Fires in peat land in Cengal of South Sumatra's Ogan Komering Ilir district, Indonesia. Nopri Isim / Mongabay Indonesia

By Hans Nicholas Jong

The makers of Oreo cookies and KitKat chocolate bars are among the companies getting some of their palm oil from producers linked to the fires that have razed large swaths of land in Indonesia, a new report says.

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Journalists were found dead at a palm oil plantation like this one in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. ILO Asia-Pacific / Flickr

By Ayat S. Karokaro and adapted by Basten Gokkon

Two Indonesian journalists who had reported on an illegal oil palm plantation in Sumatra while also allegedly trying to gain control of the crop have been found dead at the plantation.

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Golfrid Siregar, left, at a protest against the proposed Batang Toru hydropower project, which threatens the only known habitat of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan. Indonesian Forum for the Environment

By Ayat S. Karokaro

Environmental activists in Indonesia have raised suspicions over the death this week of a human rights defender who was a staunch advocate of communities threatened by palm oil plantations.

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This aerial photo taken March 3, 2018 shows a protected area of the Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve being burnt in preparation for the opening of a new palm oil plantation. JANUAR / AFP / Getty Images

By Basten Gokkon

Major consumer brands including Nestlé, Kellogg's and The Hershey Company have been getting some of their palm oil from an illegal plantation inside a protected forest that holds the highest density of critically endangered orangutans anywhere on Earth, a new report says.

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Orange-red oil palm fruit produces two kinds of oil: "palm oil" from the flesh, "palm kernel oil" from the seed. dolphfyn / iStock / Getty Images

By Helen A. Lee

We cook with it. We bathe with it. We use it for mood lighting. Palm oil is an ingredient in processed foods, cosmetics, hygiene products, biofuels and candles; experts estimate it's found in 50 percent of the items on grocery store shelves. Inexpensive to produce, palm oil contains no trans fats, and has a high melting point, making it versatile and easy to spread. The result: increasing demand. In 1996, global production totaled 16 million metric tons. By 2017, it was 60.7 million.

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Two palm oil plantations in Peru supplanting primary forest.

Environmental Investigation Agency

By Genevieve Belmaker

Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.

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