Thousands March in Lima Demanding Climate Action
Democracy Now! is broadcasting from the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru, where high-level talks have just gotten under way. Here is the coverage from today:
Putting People Before Profit: Thousands March in Peruvian People's Climate March in Lima
On Wednesday, climate justice activists from around world marched in Lima at the people’s climate march. We hear voices from Uganda, Mozambique, Australia, Canada Peru, Nigeria, and more. “We the people have come together to stand up against injustice. We are saying enough is enough,” says Godwin Uyi Ojo, executive director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth
"We Are Like the Walking Dead": Latin American Indigenous Groups Decry Corporate Destruction of Land
As the United Nations Climate Conference in Peru enters its final phase, thousands of people marched in downtown Lima on Wednesday to call for action on global warming. We hear from some of the voices who took to the streets: frontline indigenous and rural communities from across Latin America who are among the most impacted by both the industrial practices that fuel climate change, and among the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.
From the Streets to the Suites, Protesters Call for Climate Justice at Corporate Gathering in Lima
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, protesters gathered inside Monday to protest the invitation of oil giants Shell and Chevron to speak on summit panels. Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke was there when scores of summit delegates attempted to walk into an event featuring Shell climate change adviser David Hone.
El Pentagonito: U.N. Climate Summit Held at Peru Army HQ, a Site of Torture and Disappearances
The U.N. climate summit in Lima is being held at the Peruvian army headquarters, known as "El Pentagonito." It is a site with a dark history, built in 1975 by the dictator Juan Velasco Alvarado. The army, under President Alberto Fujimori, later used the base to torture and interrogate political prisoners. We speak with Marly Anzualdo Castro, whose brother, Kenneth Anzualdo Castro, was disappeared in 1993 during Fujimori's reign. Last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights determined the state was responsible for Kenneth's forced disappearance. To this date, his whereabouts remain unknown. Castro joined Wednesday's climate march in Lima holding a sign reading "No Olvidamos,” translated “we don't forget.”
Peru's Deadly Environment: Host Nation of UN Summit is Among Most Dangerous for Land Defenders
The United Nations Climate Conference is being held in Peru, which is now the world's fourth most dangerous country for environmental defenders. Four were killed in September alone. In a brutal incident in a remote region of Peru’s Amazon rainforest, leading indigenous activist Edwin Chota was ambushed as he traveled to neighboring Brazil for a meeting on how to address the region’s illegal logging crisis. Illegal loggers allegedly killed and dismembered Chota along with his colleagues Jorge Ríos, Francisco Pinedo and Leoncio Quinticima. Chota is among at least 57 environmental activists who have been assassinated in Peru since 2002. The Peruvian government has recently passed legislation that rolls back forest protections, which has increased the pace of such murders. We are joined by Chris Moye, the environmental governance campaigner for Global Witness and author of their new report, "Peru's Deadly Environment."
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
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The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
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