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By Amanda Froelich

Jane Goodall is one of the most iconic conservationists on planet Earth—and for good reason! At age 26, she left England with little more than a notebook, binoculars and a dream to live with wild chimpanzees in Africa.

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As a result of South Africa's highest court rejecting a bid by the government to keep a ban on the sale of rhinoceros horn, it will soon be legal to buy and sell the land mammals' horns in the country.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Amanda Froelich

When Stefano Boeri Architetti presented the idea of installing a vertical forest in Milan, people were beyond thrilled with the idea. Following the success of that introduction, the architecture firm now seeks to construct something similar, but in Nanjing, China.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Inhabitat reported that two towers which overlook the Nanjing Pukou District will be completed by the end of 2018. Overflowing with 1,100 trees from 23 local species, as well as 2,500 cascading shrubs and plants, the installation will clean the city's air by producing 132 pounds of oxygen every day. Additionally, passersby and tourists will be greeted with a breathtaking view.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

The buildings, of course, will include more than just plants. The taller tower (656 feet) will hold offices, a museum, a green architecture school and a rooftop club. And in the second tower (354 feet), a 247-room Hyatt hotel will be found, complete with a rooftop swimming pool. Shops, restaurants and a conference hall will also be included in the second building in a podium that will rise 65 feet.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Because city air is notoriously dirty with pollution, those who stay in the hotel will have the unique opportunity to benefit from the oxygen produced by the plants as well as form a closer bond with nature.

According to Stefano Boeri Architetti, there will be approximately 600 tall trees and 500 medium-sized trees, in addition to the other foliage, that will help regenerate biodiversity in the area.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

The project is being celebrated because it will be the first green tower in all of Asia. Investors are also satisfied with the fact that the conceptualized idea will further modernization efforts in the south of China's Jiangsu province. Because of the potential economic boost the towers will provide, Nanjing Yang Zi State-owned Investment Group Company Limited is promoting the project.

Stefano Boeri Architetti

It may be the first-of-its-kind in China, but the architecture firm intends to build more green towers in Shanghai, Guizhou, Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou and Chongqing.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Photo credit: Lloyd Fox

In an unforeseen move by the famous circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey owners have decided to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth" forever after plummeting ticket sales no longer allowed the show to be viable.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., announced the closure to performers on Saturday night before releasing a statement explaining the reason for their decision, which he has said is hard for him and his family.

Stockpiling Moms

When the group announced last year that they would be ending the use of elephants in their shows it seemed to be a great opportunity for growth again because animal advocates might no longer boycott the show. However, what the entertainment group found was quite the opposite. Juliette Feld, Kenneth's daughter and the company's chief operating officer, said:

"We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants. We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role."

Ironically, getting rid of the elephants wound up being worse for the circus than anything else. Feld Entertainment did make the right decision with the elephants, but their existing animal "performers" continued to suffer, which may have caused animal advocates to steer clear even after the elephants left. Those remaining animals, including lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas, will apparently be sent to "suitable" homes while the elephants will stay at their Center for Elephants Conservation.

According to the company, they tried a number of methods to keep the show relevant and appealing to the modern public to no avail. An interactive app was developed, the first female ringmaster was hired and other popular elements of their successful shows, such as motorbike daredevils, were incorporated to keep the show fresh. Nothing significantly improved attendance or interest in the show, whose sales have been declining in the last 10 years.

The show will officially close in May after another 30 or so shows in major cities. The decision was based on a combination of issues, including high operating costs and changing public tastes. Approximately 500 people perform and work on both touring shows for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and most will be out of a job after the show performs its last show. Some performers will be used in other profitable shows that the entertainment group manages, like Monster Jam and Disney on Ice. Thankfully, they will help with housing relocation for the workers that lived strictly on the rail cars that transported the performers and crew.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

In 2011, a powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck the Fukushima prefecture in Japan, leading to a nuclear disaster whose impacts are still being felt globally. Now, a massive 7.4 earthquake hit Fukushima around 6 a.m. local time, and tsunami warnings and advisories are in effect.

It was first reported as a 7.3 earthquake but was later revised to 7.4 by the Japan Meteorological Agency. The epicenter of the quake was 67 km northeast of Iwaki, a city on the southern coast of the Fukushima prefecture.

Residents along Japan's Northeastern coast have been told to evacuate immediately and seek higher ground. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, tsunami waves are expected to hit repeatedly and make landfall imminently.

NHK News Japan

Their warning stated: "Damage due to tsunami waves is expected. Evacuate immediately from coastal regions and riverside areas to a safer place such as high ground or an evacuation building. Tsunami waves are expected to hit repeatedly. Do not leave safe ground until the warning is lifted." NHK News Japan warned those living on the coast to "hurry up and run away."

Though immediate concern was given to local residents and their safety, attention has quickly turned to TEPCO's nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the site of the 2011 catastrophic meltdown. Five years ago, three of the plant's six reactors melted down leading to the largest release of radiation into the ocean in world history. The damaged reactors were never sealed and continue to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive wastewater every day. As Japan braces for yet another tsunami, concern is growing regarding the potentially devastating effects that another tsunami could have on the cooling system's of the plant's three remaining, intact reactors.

According to reports, these fears are not unfounded. In the aftermath of the earthquake, TEPCO confirmed that the cooling system in one of the three intact reactors stopped working, but was successfully restarted 90 minutes after its abrupt shutdown. Though no "abnormalities" were reported, TEPCO has remained silent as to what caused the shutdown and if the cooling system suffered any damage that could lead to another unexpected shutdown. TEPCO said that the cooling system failure posed no "immediate danger" even though they admitted that there has been a "gradual" rise in reactor temperatures.

With the tsunami expected to arrive within hours, people around the world will be watching to see if the nuclear reactors will hold or if history will repeat itself in the worst way possible. However, TEPCO's credibility regarding its Fukushima plant is dubious as they lied about the true extent of the 2011 crisis with complicity from the Japanese government. Hopefully, this time they are telling the truth.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.


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