UN General Assembly adopts resolution to move forward with high seas treaty negotiations

first_imgThe General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on Sunday to convene negotiations for an international treaty to protect the marine environments of the high seas.Earth’s high seas represent about two-thirds of the oceans, but are not governed by any one international body or agency and there is currently no comprehensive management structure in place to protect the marine life that relies on them.According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the treaty would be the first international agreement to address the impacts of human activities like fishing and shipping on the high seas. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on Sunday to convene negotiations for an international treaty to protect the marine environments of the high seas.Vast areas of ocean that lie outside any country’s exclusive economic zone — or, in other words, more than 200 nautical miles or more from any country’s shores — the high seas are areas of Earth’s oceans that lie beyond all national jurisdiction. They represent about two-thirds of the oceans, but the high seas are not governed by any one international body or agency and there is currently no comprehensive management structure in place to protect the marine life that relies on them.According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the treaty would be the first international agreement to address the impacts of human activities like fishing and shipping on the high seas. It would not only create a global system for coordinating the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, but would also pave the way for the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) and fully protected marine reserves in open waters.The UN reports reports that, as of 2017, 5.3 percent of the total global ocean area has been protected. That includes 13.2 percent of marine environments that fall under national jurisdiction, but just 0.25 percent of marine environments beyond national jurisdiction.Pew’s Liz Karan told Mongabay that high seas fisheries are estimated to account for up to $16 billion annually in gross catch, while estimates of the economic value of carbon storage from the high seas ranges from $74 billion to $220 billion a year. There are regional and sectoral bodies that have a very narrow mandate to look after particular high seas areas, but no body that looks at the ecosystem as a whole. “In these times, with a changing climate, looking at ecosystem resilience is especially important,” Karan said.The resolution adopted on December 24 had been anticipated since the final meeting this past June of a UN Preparatory Committee, which issued an official recommendation that the General Assembly launch an intergovernmental conference to negotiate a high seas treaty.“After more than 10 years of discussion, it is encouraging that United Nations member states unanimously agreed to move forward in 2018 with negotiations for an international agreement that would fill the gaps in ocean management to ensure protection for marine life on the high seas,” Karan said in a statement.“The international community, including scientists and members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), agrees that at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean should be set aside in MPAs and reserves to achieve a sustainable ocean. Protecting biodiversity on the high seas will be a key component of moving toward this goal.”The resolution lays out the negotiation process as consisting of four meetings, starting in 2018 and going through mid-2020. The first intergovernmental talks will take place in September 2018, and the final treaty text is expected by the end of 2020.At the conclusion of its meetings, the UN Preparatory Committee issued a report that made several recommendations of items to be included in an international high seas agreement, but there are still some crucial issues that must be hammered out via treaty negotiations.“Key questions that the countries will be discussing over the next two years through this intergovernmental conference will be what are the protections that can be taken at an international level, who are the decision-makers, how will that management be conducted and implemented, and then what kind of mechanisms for monitoring, review, and enforcement will follow through to make sure that those protections are not just designated but actually result in conservation benefits and change on the water,” Karan told Mongabay.Many other conservationists were quick to applaud the UN’s adoption of a resolution to move forward with high seas treaty negotiations, as well.“This is great news. This vote could open the way to create a Paris Agreement for the ocean,” Maria Damanaki, a former European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who now works for The Nature Conservancy, told The Guardian on the eve of the adoption of the resolution to move forward with treaty negotiations. “This could be the most important step I have seen in my 30 years working on oceans.”Two fishing vessels at sunset. Photo via Max Pixel, licensed under Creative Commons Zero – CC0.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Environment, Fisheries, Fishing, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Protected Areas, Oceans, Oceans And Climate Change, Protected Areas, United Nations last_img read more

Brazil 2017: environmental and indigenous rollbacks, rising violence

first_imgAgriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, China And Energy, China’s Demand For Resources, Climate Change And Forests, Controversial, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Dams, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, electricity, Energy, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Crime, environmental justice, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Featured, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forests, Green, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Illegal Logging, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Meat, Mining, Pasture, Protests, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Ranching, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Conflict, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation The bancada ruralista, or ruralist lobby, in Brazil’s congress flexed its muscles in 2017, making numerous demands on President Michel Temer to make presidential decrees weakening environmental protections and revoking land rights to indigenous and traditional communities in Brazil – decisions especially impacting the Amazon.Emboldened ruralists – including agribusiness, cattle ranchers, land thieves and loggers – stepped up violent attacks in 2017, making Brazil the most dangerous country in the world for social or environmental activists. There were 63 assassinations by the end of October.Budgets to FUNAI, the indigenous agency; IBAMA, the environmental agency; and other institutions, were reduced so severely this year that these government regulatory agencies were largely unable to do their enforcement and protection work.In 2017, Temer led attempts to dismember Jimanxim National Forest and National Park, and to open the vast RENCA preserve in the Amazon to mining – efforts that have failed to date, but are still being pursued. Resistance has remained fierce, especially among indigenous groups, with Temer sometimes forced to backtrack on his initiatives. Brazil’s Michel Temer meets with his ministers, many of whom like agriculture minister Blairo Maggi, hail from, or have close ties to, Brazil’s elite ruralists. Since this 2016 photo was taken, several ministers have been forced to resign due to corruption charges; both Maggi and Temer are currently under investigation for corruption. Photo by José Cruz / Agência Brasil2017 proved challenging for conservation in the Brazilian Amazon. The year was marked by a deluge of initiatives by Michel Temer, a weak president, who, facing accusations of corruption, embarked on a survival strategy that put his administration at the disposal of the rural caucus, the bancada ruralista, which holds a controlling bloc of votes in Congress.These politicians and their backers – agribusiness, cattle ranchers, land thieves and loggers – have long expressed resentment at what they see as the excessive amount of Brazilian land occupied by conservation units, indigenous reserves, traditional communities, and quilombos (communities set up by Afro-Brazilians, many of them runaway slaves).Early in 2016 – before agreeing to support Temer in his rise to power via the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff – the bancada ruralista drew up a list of political demands. The document entitled “Pauta Positiva – Biênio 2016-2017,” obliged a rollback of many environmental and social advances achieved since the country emerged from military dictatorship in 1985.Once Temer took office, the caucus gained even greater power and influence over the president as congress was called on three times to vote to prevent the chief executive from being investigated by the Supreme Court for corruption.With each new vote the ruralists pressed Temer to enact more of their demands.Still, the rural lobby hasn’t had it all its own way. The president’s 2017 initiatives often provoked a furious reaction from indigenous and popular movements, NGOs, the independent litigators of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), lawyers and members of civil society, and sometimes the international community. The opposition succeeded in delaying, or getting suspended, a surprisingly large number of measures, though few have been fully withdrawn.Indigenous leaders tear-gassed by police in front of Brazil’s National Congress in April 2017. Indigenous and traditional communities have seen a surge in violence against them and a loss of land rights since Temer took power in 2016, a trend which escalated significantly in 2017. Photo by Wilson Dias courtesy of Agencia BrasilA rising tide of violenceResistance stayed strong through 2017, even though it became increasingly dangerous to voice dissent in Brazil, with growing criminalization of social movements. Conflict centered this year around the denial of land rights to indigenous and traditional communities, peasant farmers and quilombolas.Violence has now escalated to the point that Brazil is rated the most dangerous country in the world for social or environmental activists. By the end of October, 63 assassinations had been recorded in the countryside, higher than the 61 killed during all of 2016. According to the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), more murders have already occurred in 2017 than any year since 2003, when 73 people were killed.Ruralists, likely emboldened by Temer’s sympathetic policies, have escalated their aggression, with this year seeing a series of violent massacres, decapitations, hands lopped off with machetes, torture and death.The following are some of the massacres that occurred this year (defined by the CPT as the assassination of two or more people at the same time): 20 April – Nine peasant farmers killed in Colniza, Mato Grosso state by four gunmen hired by a logger; 29 April – 22 Gamela Indians wounded in a violent attack in Viana, Maranhão state; 24 May – Ten rural workers assassinated in the Pau d’Arco municipal district in a joint action undertaken by Pará state military and civil police, who, as official investigations are showing, were acting under the order of rural landowners.Meanwhile, the government systematically undermined regulatory and law enforcement institutions. The Temer administration began the year by slashing the budget for INCRA, the National Institution for Colonization and Agrarian Reform; for FUNAI, the indigenous agency; and for IBAMA, the environmental agency. Coming on the heels of past reductions, this year’s draconian cuts left the agencies hard pressed to provide even basic protections.Guarani Kaiowa living in Mato Grosso do Sul state. Temer’s executive decrees this year have repeatedly targeted indigenous land rights guaranteed under Brazil’s 1988 constitution. Photo credit: percursodacultura via Visual hunt / CC BY-SAAttacks on indigenous land rightsWith the agencies weakened, the government began targeting indigenous land rights. In July 2017, Temer approved an Attorney General’s office recommendation, establishing new restrictive criteria for determining indigenous territory boundaries. Most controversial was the adoption of the “marco temporal,” an arbitrary date on which indigenous groups had to physically occupy a traditional territory in order to lay legal claim to it. That arbitrary date was set at 5 October 1988, when the newest federal Constitution was approved – a date, historians point out, by which many Indian groups had already been forced from their lands.The measure’s legality has been challenged and the Supreme Court may eventually annul it. But in the meantime, the Presidency has instructed the Justice Ministry to implement the initiative. In response, it immediately stopped marking out new indigenous lands and began “reviewing” 19 indigenous territories which had almost completed the long arduous land title process. At stake is a total area of almost 800,000 hectares (3,089 square miles), most in the Amazon basin. If the Justice Ministry decides this land doesn’t belong to the Indians – the country’s best land stewards – major deforestation could be in the offing.Through another measure, Portaria 68, the government sought to shift the technical task of demarcating indigenous land, until now carried out by FUNAI employees expert in such matters, to a new body, in which other actors, including landowners, will be represented. In the face of a fierce reaction from indigenous leaders, lawyers, the MPF and even the United Nations, the government revoked the most controversial measures, while still moving to create the new body.Other anti-indigenous initiatives in the pipeline include a presidential decree making it legal for agribusiness to rent land within indigenous reserves on a permanent basis. Márcio Santilli, one of the founders of the NGO Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA), said that the initiative, though issued by the nation’s Justice Minister, is clearly unconstitutional.The future of these Quilombola children, and others like them across Brazil, may depend on the outcome of a legal battle launched by ruralists who are challenging quilombo land claims – a fight which went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2017. Photo by Carol Gayao under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseAttacks on quilombolas and traditional communitiesIn 2017, a major offensive against the quilombolas’ land rights gained momentum. In 2003 the Lula government – more sympathetic to social rights – published a decree, Decreto 4.887, that abolished an old requirement that quilombola communities needed to prove they had lived continuously on the land since 1888, before being given land rights – an unfeasible expectation for communities that had deliberately maintained a low legal profile, having been established by runaway slaves fearful of recapture.The DEM, a right-wing political party, has now gone to court to annul Lula’s decree. In the face of widespread protest, the Supreme Court has not yet ruled, postponing judgement several times. But even if the court goes against the DEM, quilombolas won’t benefit, as the budget for marking out lands is now so diminished that demarcation is now at a standstill.Non-indigenous rural communities – including agrarian reform settlements and traditional communities of rubber-tappers, Brazil nut collectors and fishermen – have also suffered major land claim setbacks.Under Temer, the agrarian reform program has ended. The budget to create extractive reserves (RESEX) – where rural communities can legally harvest forest products provided they preserve the surrounding forest – is now exhausted, leaving a long queue of waiting communities. Likewise, programs by which municipal councils bought food for school lunches from small farmers have also ground to a halt.Through another presidential decree, MP 759 (now converted into Law 13,456), land that should belong to small farmers is being handed over to outsiders and wealthy elites, who are allowed to register it in their own names. These relaxed land registration rules resulted in land thieves, loggers and cattle ranchers violently evicting peasant families, and moving in on land the farm families had legally claimed. Meanwhile, the rural caucus is providing political cover for private militias sent to seize the land. Local courts, influenced by wealthy elites, have left evicted families with almost no source of appeal.The vast rainforests of Brazil’s Amazon basin were put at risk in 2017 by the anti-environmental, pro-ruralist policies of President Temer. Photo © Fábio Nascimento / GreenpeaceConserved lands threatenedLand thieves are also eying the country’s large conservation units, which operate as a buffer zone protecting the Amazon interior from deforestation.A fierce political battle is now raging over the dismemberment of Jamanxim National Park and Jamanxim National Forest, both created to protect the Amazon rainforest from incursions arising from the paving of the BR-163 highway linking Brasilia to Santarém in Pará state. At the instigation of the rural caucus, the president issued two decrees ­– MP 756 and MP 758 – to seriously weaken the conservation status of these units.Faced with protest at home and abroad, Temer reversed his position, fully vetoing MP 756 and partially vetoing MP 758. But the story didn’t end there: though the administration has, for the moment accepted that it cannot touch Jamanxim National Forest, it has sent a bill to Congress that would allow outsiders and especially land thieves to claim lands within Jamanxim National Park, achieving via a legislative route much of what the original presidential decree intended. This bill is currently being fast-tracked through Congress.Another huge environmental battle this year arose over the National Copper and Associated Reserve (RENCA), a gigantic national reserve of 4.6 million hectares (17,800 square miles) that straddles the states of Pará and Amapá in the Amazon.Known for its rich mineral resources, RENCA was created in 1984 by the military dictatorship, to prevent the area from being taken over by foreign mining companies. The Temer government has no such concerns and the abolition of RENCA, announced in August, was carried out at the behest of Canadian mining companies.RENCA, however, contains nine conservation and indigenous areas, and plays a key role in Amazon conservation, though this wasn’t the original military government’s intent. Temer’s decree was met with dissent at home and abroad, and he has revoked the edict – for now.The threat that the opening of RENCA poses to the environment became especially clear in light of new research in 2017, finding that mining activity has caused nearly 10 percent of Amazon deforestation.If climate change continues to worsen unchecked, and forest degradation continues unabated, then unstoppable Amazon mega-fires could be seen in this century; such fires would greatly increase the release of carbon into the atmosphere worsening climate change. Photo courtesy of IBAMAA game of chessThe clash between the rural caucus and its opponents has been likened to a political chess match, in which hundreds of thousands of Brazilians are pawns. The rural caucus has launched gambit after gambit, only to see many of its moves partially blocked by resolute resistance from social movements, NGOs and environmentalists.But the caucus, made up of skilled political operatives, has time and again regrouped and devised new tactics for achieving its goals. While this match plays out, government agencies remain at a regulatory and enforcement standstill throughout the Amazon basin.One casualty of this cat-and-mouse game may be Brazil’s pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 37 percent by 2025 as compared to 2005 levels – a promise that relies on drastically reduced deforestation, along with significant reforestation.As Temer presses forward with ruralist land usurpation objectives, the possibility of achieving the nation’s Paris goal is receding. Brazil increased its carbon emissions by 8.9 percent in 2016 over 2015 and another increase seems likely in 2017.Importantly, Brazil’s biggest carbon emitters weren’t urban or industrial states, but Pará and Mato Grosso, where the Amazon rainforest, with its immense carbon storage capacity, is being aggressively assaulted by cattle ranchers and soy producers.One reason for the big increase in carbon releases this year: human-set wildfires in the Amazon intended to clear land for agribusiness. Scientists warn: forest degradation is turning the Amazon from carbon sink to carbon source in some dry years, which is bad news for a world in need of drastic greenhouse gas reductions.An indigenous mother and child enjoy a river in the Amazon. The establishment of the Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa, covering 1.2 million hectares along the Middle Negro River in Amazonas state, was a major victory for indigenous groups in Brazil in 2017, at a time when many government decisions have gone against indigenous ancestral land rights. Brazil’s plans to build mega-dams in the Amazon were also back-burnered this year. Photo credit: Zanini H. via Visual Hunt / CC BYOne big Amazon environmental threat, the construction of mega-dams which loomed during the Rousseff administration, has faded for now. Brazil’s construction companies – once so powerful they could make or break presidents, and who long lobbied for lucrative dam contracts – have been laid low by the Car Wash (Lava Jato) scandal, a massive corruption investigation.Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of the Odebrecht construction firm, left prison this month after serving more than two years in prison for running one of the most extensive political corruption networks in the nation’s history. Since his conviction, the company’s prestige has crumbled, new orders fell away and some 100,000 workers were sacked. Chinese state companies have stepped into the void, with China offering Brazil a $20 billion infrastructure credit line in 2017 that could see Amazon mega-dam projects come roaring back soon.As bad as the news has been for the environment and the Amazon in 2017, indigenous communities and social movements have now clearly recognized the risk posed by agribusiness, and by its need for new roads, railways and industrial waterways to carry commodities downstream for export to Europe, the U.S. and Asia. They’ve also developed new strategies to protect their land and culture against increasingly strident government attacks.In April, for example, 3,000 indigenous leaders met in Brasilia, setting up what they called the Acampamento Livre Terra (Free Land Camp) – the biggest indigenous mobilization in Brazil’s history. In May, social movements carried out a large anti-Temer demonstration. Then in December, 90 Munduruku Indians prevented a public hearing in itaituba for the new Ferroagrão (Grainrail) railway, saying they hadn’t been properly consulted regarding the project. Amidst the gloom felt among environmental and social activists, some see a bright flicker of renewed resistance and hope – especially as elections loom in October 2018.The Temer administration largely failed to respond to Mongabay’s repeated requests for comment throughout 2017.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.An indigenous demonstration against the “marco temporal” in Brasilia in 2017. Resistance against the Temer government is especially strong within indigenous groups, who have repeatedly reached out to the international community for support. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Cavalli / Cimi Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Powering cameras and empowering people

first_imgAnti-poaching, Batteries, Camera Trapping, cameras, Citizen Science, early warning, Law Enforcement, Poachers, Protected Areas, Sensors, Software, Solar Power, Surveillance, Technology, Wildtech Mongabay-Wildtech:  So you’ll do an assessment to help decide on that? Schmidt:  Typically what we’ll do for any given project is start by going out and spending anywhere from one day to one week to really understand what the current operations look like, what challenges they’re facing, see the exact areas that they know they’re having problems with. Understand what the connectivity situation is, you know, is it cellular? Is there internet at the base camp? Is it something that we’ve got to start from scratch?Then we look at the topography, like are there high points where we potentially would need to put towers or whether there are existing towers we can potentially hang new equipment off of, all these different things.And then once we make that assessment, we’ll roll out usually a small, “beta” implementation of anywhere from two to five cameras. We then step back and monitor it for a little bit and really spend time saying, are we seeing what we expected to see? You know, i.e. bad guys coming in and out? Is the partner responding appropriately, or do we need to make adjustments to what we have before we try and do some joint fundraising or something to really expand the presence on the ground there?Camera trap photo shows oryx leaving a waterhole in low light. Oryx are huge and a target for bushmeat hunters in southern Africa. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  Who monitors the cameras to make sure they are working properly? I know you do some remote monitoring via the app from your office. Do you then contact the people on the ground when you find an issue? Smizik:  Pierre [WPS Africa Project Manager] in South Africa goes through the system almost daily. He’ll call partners up and say, ‘Hey, such and such camera’s down. Let me know if you need help. Here’s what I think might be going on.’  The volunteers are actually going to start participating this year too, sending lists of what cameras are up and down. And then some sites are so in tune to it, I get an email from one in South Africa, and they’ll tell me either the app or a camera has gone down before I’ve noticed it. So that means they are really tuned in to the system.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Is part of your work with field teams to help train them on some basic fixes if, say, the equipment breaks? Schmidt:  We’ve been exploring some ways whereby we can, for new implementations, bring down a little remote computer that we can dial into. So if something happens in the field, like a camera configuration gets messed up, they can just plug the camera in and then we can go in and remotely configure it.Smizik:  Our site in Hawaii has such a well put-together infrastructure on site… with all kinds of equipment and tools. Because they have those sorts of assets, I’ve been working on each trip on training them to build their own battery boxes and learn how to maintain the cameras on their own so that it’s less travel for us. If a site can become virtually self-sufficient, then we can just be sort of a support to as opposed to the primary resource. We don’t want to always have to be the ones to fix it. That’s not scalable.Mongabay-Wildtech:  So what aspects of the system took more time or effort than you expected, or were a lot harder than you thought?Schmidt:  I think resolving the power issues.Smizik:  Just even figuring that out, we spent a lot of time. We knew we were missing images early on, but we didn’t know why. And so we spent a lot of time physically going through every image on the SD card to compare them to what the system returned. And it wasn’t until we did that that we found the battery drop correlation.This low-light image from the app shows one of several sites where reserve managers use the detection system to monitor a fenceline and watch for trespassers coming through the area. Photo credit: wpsWatchSchmidt:  The next challenge is really making this part of everyone’s day. Like if you look at our implementations, some [field teams] do it really, really well. Some of them have [the system], and it’s like they haven’t clicked to it yet. And the differentiator there is whether or not they’ve caught poachers, frankly. The ones who do it and it works, they really click to it and they’re like, ‘Whoa, we’ve got to keep these cameras up. We’ve got to keep it going.’In other places where we put [the system] in, maybe because there aren’t poachers in that area or they just don’t have as high a pressure, they don’t get that kind of quick-hit success that is their eye-opener that says, ‘Oh man, I really do have to respond to this.’ So then they’ll let things like cameras go down, and then it’s more of a struggle. So it’s baking in the use of the system into their daily lives.A baby rhino forages near its mother as they walk along a pathway monitored by a remote camera. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  What advice would you offer other teams trying to use tech to monitor intrusions into reserves? Is there anything you want to add? Smizik:  I would say have patience and don’t expect this to be the end-all, be-all or that it’s not going to require any sort of maintenance. I find one of my biggest uphill battles on site is that people think you’re going to put something in, and this is the final solution. But you’re gonna still have to go check on these, at least monthly. Make sure they’re still up and running and that no water’s gotten in or no animals have gotten in or a baboon’s turned to the camera this way. They’re always going to be some aspect of maintenance. I think whenever you’re working with any technologies, managing those expectations.Schmidt:  My suggestion will be share data and cooperate. So much of the time I see different groups that are just solo, and insular, and the more we can, between appropriate organizations, share data, the better. Keeping equipment running in harsh field conditions can challenge any tech project, as can working successfully with volunteers.Mongabay-Wildtech spoke with leaders of one project, wpsWatch, that deploys connected camera traps to monitor wildlife and people in reserves and employs volunteers to monitor image feeds from afar.Powering equipment for field surveillance and “making it part of everyone’s day” enable the rapid image detection, communication, and response by ground patrols needed to successfully apprehend wildlife poachers using cameras and other sensors. Keeping equipment running in harsh field conditions can challenge any tech project, as can working successfully with volunteers. Some projects have to manage both.A recent Wildtech post describes wpsWatch, a remote camera and data integration system developed by Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS) to monitor wildlife and threats in real-time.A pair of white rhinos face off in front of a camera trap. Photo credit: wpsWatchConcealed cameras placed around reserves are connected via one of several networks to managers on site, as well as to staff and volunteers located a world away in the US who use the system’s apps to monitor image feeds. The groups notify each other of wildlife and/or intruders detected in camera images, allowing rangers to take quick action.As part of the discussion with Mongabay-Wildtech, WPS Executive Director Eric Schmidt and Program Director Carrie Smizik explained some of the strategies their team uses to prevent and respond to the twin challenges of deploying technology in remote and rugged areas and maintaining an effective corps of project volunteers.Mongabay-Wildtech:  What are the main challenges in maintaining the cameras and keeping the system going on the ground? Smizik:  Applying solar power to keep the batteries and the cameras up and running was the first issue that we ran into. We learned that as the cameras would drain battery power or lose battery power, the [image] transmission rates were falling off as well. So the camera didn’t have the power to transmit the images it was taking if it lost battery power. So we had to tackle that issue first.Schmidt:  Then it’s, you know, really wildlife and environmental. So in Africa, it’s baboons especially. And in Indonesia it was ants.Smizik:  In Hawaii, it’s rain and we have some theft issues too, so the cameras have to be well-hidden and well-placed. We were trimming branches so they wouldn’t interfere with the viewpoint of the camera, and one of our field guys would take mud and rub over where we had trimmed so that you couldn’t see it was a fresh cut on the tree. So simple camouflage, stuff like that that, really makes a difference in hiding your equipment.Baboons are curious and strong and can be big trouble for remote cameras. Photo credit: Sue PalminteriMongabay-Wildtech:  What are main challenges you face in working with the volunteers to identify photos and getting that information to the team?Smizik:  I don’t think that’s too big of an issue. I designed a training program around how you use the app and what defines a poacher–I have a training section on that specifically. And then we do a little quiz: poacher or not poacher, that sort of thing. I always tell them, ‘when in doubt, send me the image and I’ll make the determination.’ Sometimes I’m not sure, so I let the rangers make that determination if they have staff overturning or something. I’m not always going to recognize all of their staff members.So it’s a matter of just training them pretty thoroughly, and I can do it over the web or in person. It just depends on the size of the group and what their preferences are.The beauty of the system is they can monitor from their phones or their laptops. I have several that monitor all throughout the work day, and they just keep that up on their secondary computer monitor and they’re doing their work at the same time. So having the flexibility for them is a really great part of the program.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Do the volunteers take turns monitoring image feeds? How do you make sure that they have the hours covered?Smizik:  I haven’t dictated hours as of yet, mostly because I don’t want to make that a deterrent, though that’s changing. I’m going to assign specific [reserve] properties to volunteers. And we’ll talk about assigning hours, but I didn’t want, as we were starting the volunteer program, to say you have to monitor it from this time to this time every week. So many of them can’t commit to that sort of time commitment. And I wanted at first to establish the program and see what kind of response we got.A lone spotted hyena caught on camera approaching a work camp in south Africa. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  How many volunteers help monitor the wpsWatch images? Smizik:  I think we’re up to about 30 now, and they are mostly in Colorado, but we have some that are out of state, all over.And our staff is in the office too, we have the feeds up and we’re monitoring them all the time, along with the partners that are on site are monitoring their own feeds.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Are you seeking new volunteers? Smizik:  Always.Mongabay-Wildtech:  What features are needed at the implementation site, such as power, connectivity, staff capacity, terrain, etc. Schmidt:  The biggest one is staff capacity. If they’ve not got the ability to respond to a real-time system, it makes no sense investing in that level of thing. And so you’re better off to say, well, what do you need to do to get there? Sometimes that’s basics like radios, binoculars, and hydration packs.Smizik: You have to have a basic foundation of minimal sort of infrastructure.Schmidt:  Right. And then from there, you can sort out the [technology]. If it does look like that the basics are there, then you can come up with an appropriate technology mix. And you can compensate for things like no connectivity if you have a lot of money to put up your own towers and that sort of thing. Those become options once they’ve got at least some level of response capability.Screenshots from the wpsWatch app show how the camera traps assist reserve managers with monitoring locations and activity of staff and possible intruders (exact camera locations hidden).  The photo on the left shows employees passing a way point within a nature reserve. The photo on the right shows activity at a gate, as part of that reserve’s effort to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Image credits: wpsWatch Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Brazil’s fundamental pesticide law under attack

first_imgIn 2008, Brazil became the largest pesticide consumer in the world – the dual result of booming industrial agribusiness and ineffective environmental regulation.In 1989, the country established one of the then toughest pesticide laws in the world (7,802/1989), which included the precautionary principle in its pesticide evaluation and registration standards. However, limited staffing and budget has made the law very difficult to implement and enforce.With its increasing power after 2000, the bancada ruralista, the agribusiness lobby, has worked to overthrow that law, an effort thwarted to date but more likely to succeed under the Temer administration and the current ruralista-dominated Congress.Lax pesticide use regulation and education have major health and environmental consequences. Farmers often use pesticides without proper safety gear, while children are often in the fields when spraying occurs. Some experts blame pesticides partly for Brazil’s high cancer rate – cancer is the nation’s second leading cause of death. Applying pesticides in the field. Brazil is the world’s biggest user of chemical pesticide. Photo by prodbdf on flickrPesticides are flourishing on fertile economic ground in Brazil, thanks to the large government subsidies and low taxes granted to the companies manufacturing them, the negligible costs for national registration of active chemical ingredients, and virtually nonexistent pesticide use oversight.These and other incentives – plus explosive agribusiness growth – resulted in Brazil achieving a dubious record in 2008, when it became the largest pesticide consumer in the world, according to a Kleffmann Group study commissioned by the National Association of Plant Defense (ANDEF), representing Brazil’s pesticide manufacturers. (Oddly, a negative press response to the study caused ANDEF to deny its own findings  for years.)Number one or not, the national statistics are eye opening. According to IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, and other data, chemical pesticide active ingredient sales grew countrywide by 313 percent between 2000 and 2014, rising from 162,461 tons to 508,566 tons. São Paulo, Mato Grosso and Paraná became the major trading states over that period. But even once small pesticide consumers, like Amazonas, Amapá and Acre, saw exponential growth, with use soaring by 1,941 percent, 942 percent, and 500 percent, respectively, in sales per ton between 2005 and 2012 in these Amazon states.Brazilian pesticide consumption and related products (2000 – 2014). Vertical axis: 1,000 tons of active ingredient; horizontal axis: year. Chart courtesy of IBAMA. Data consolidation provided by the registrant companies of technical products, pesticides and the like, according to article 41 of Decree nº 4,074/2002. Updated April 2016Pesticide use driven by government policyPesticides were first imported to Brazil in the 1960s, but it was in 1975, with creation of the National Development Plan (PND) that commercialization grew significantly. Under the PND, farmers were obliged to purchase pesticides to obtain rural credit.Consumption gained momentum in the first decade of the 21st century, when the bancada ruralista, Brazil’s powerful agribusiness lobby, significantly increased the number of seats it held in Congress, which led to subsidies and tax breaks favorable to pesticide makers.The explosive growth of pesticide consumption went hand in hand with the increase in agriculture exports. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 1975 the production of cereals, legumes and oilseeds in the country amounted to just 39.4 million tons. In 2014 that grew to 194.5 million tons of grains grown on 56.7 million hectares (218.2 million square miles), and in 2017 to 240.6 million tons on 61.1 million hectares (235.2 million square miles).Two major commodities, soybeans and corn – both which require high pesticide use ­– represented much of that growth. In 2000, the value of all grains produced in Brazil was US$ 6.5 billion; of this, soybeans and corn accounted for US$ 4.6 billion. In 2016, the total value of grains rose to US$ 54.8 billion, of which US$ 44.9 billion came from soy and corn.“Brazilian agriculture has been consolidated through the expansion of crops turned to commodities or agrofuels that demand intensive use of pesticides,” concludes a study, Geography of the Use of Agrochemicals in Brazil and Connections with the European Union, by Larissa Mies Bombardi, at the Agrarian Geography Laboratory at the University of São Paulo.“Brazil consumes about 20 percent of all pesticides sold commercially worldwide,” that study concludes. “There are [currently] 504 pesticides allowed for use in Brazil, and of these, 30 percent are banned in the European Union – some more than a decade ago.”Large scale crop spraying. Photo by Trish Steel licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licenseThe glyphosate exampleBrazil’s high pesticide usage has potential consequences for human health and the environment. For example, one of the most consumed herbicides in the country is Monsanto’s globally controversial glyphosate which has been linked to numerous health problems, and one of whose inert ingredients has been shown to cause cell death.A technical opinion requested by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office and issued in May 2015 by Brazilian researchers Sonia Hess and Rubens Nodari, performed an “extensive review of international scientific literature” regarding glyphosate. Among their conclusions is that the herbicide has an endocrine disrupting effect on human liver cells and, in the concentration of parts per trillion (ppt), induces the proliferation of human cells of breast cancer.And yet, glyphosate regulation remains lax in Brazil, where the herbicide is allowed in application at up to 500 milligrams per liter. The European Union (EU) limits the maximum amount of glyphosate to 0.1 milligrams per liter, or 5,000 times less. Likewise, with soybean spraying, Brazil allows 200 times greater glyphosate residue; 10 milligrams per kilogram residue is acceptable in Brazil, against 0.05 milligrams per kilogram in the EU.Social movements and environmental organizations march in Brasilia as part of the Permanent Campaign against Agrochemicals and for Life. Photo by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil licenseBrazil’s fundamental pesticide law under attackDespite the dominance achieved by industrial agribusiness in Brazil during the 21st Century, and the record high use of chemical pesticides there, the bancada ruralista – in alliance with the pesticide industry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) – desires much more deregulation.According to experts interviewed for this article, the agribusiness sector has been working steadily for nearly three decades to dismantle legislation currently controlling chemical pesticide registration and use in Brazil.At the heart of this crusade is an effort to eliminate the country’s landmark, foundational pesticide regulatory act (7,802/1989), which reads in part:Pesticides, their components and the like can only be produced, exported, imported, sold and consumed if previously registered with a federal agency, in accordance with the guidelines and requirements of the federal agencies responsible for the health, environment and agriculture sectors.According to the law, ANVISA (Brazil’s health protection agency), IBAMA, and MAPA are responsible for implementing the pesticide registration process. The two agencies carry out hazard assessments, determining potential harm to humans and the environment; while MAPA analyzes agronomic performance and registers products.Under the rules, the hazard assessment performed by the two agencies is stringent, with pesticides categorized by intrinsic toxicity. Products must be automatically banned, regardless of dose, if classified as carcinogenic (cancer-causing), teratogenic (harmful to embryo or fetus), capable of producing cellular changes, hormonal disorders or reproductive harm.“The 1989 law was perhaps the most advanced in the world at the time,” Victor Pelaez told Mongabay. He is a professor of economics and coordinator of the Observatory on the Pesticides Industry at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). Long before the European Union instituted similar regulations in 2011, Brazil’s law 7,802 “already incorporated the precautionary principle,” which many nations, including the U.S. have yet to embrace. “That is, it recognized the tremendous high risk of not controlling excessive hazards to human health.”Unfortunately for Brazil’s environment and its people, law 7,802 had a critical flaw. It failed to provide the needed mechanisms and staff for implementation. The legislation never worked properly because of the “impracticability of such [strict] control, given the scarce supervision resources [granted to] the public bodies,” Pelaez said.The slowness of pesticide registration has, as a result, long frustrated the pesticide industry, which wants its products quickly approved, while the lack of regulatory staffing and oversight has frustrated environmentalists wanting careful analysis of pesticides.Monsanto Lasso herbcide to be sprayed on food crops showing proper protective gear. Photo courtesy of the USDAThe drive to deregulateSince law 7,802 was passed in 1989, dozens of bills have been introduced in Congress by the ruralists, and pushed by pesticide industry lobbyists, to eliminate its strict regulatory framework. The primary push, unsuccessful so far, has been to remove ANVISA and IBAMA from the chemical pesticide registration process.Another goal of the ruralists and pesticide makers has been to abolish the nation’s current stringent pesticide hazard analysis requirement – a particular scientific method used by the two agencies to evaluate biocide toxicity – and to replace it with a less strict risk assessment requirement.To appreciate motivations for this proposed change, it is important to understand the vast technical difference between “hazard analysis” and “risk assessment.”Hazard analysis (which in Brazil incorporates the precautionary principle) fully rejects for registration any toxic agents that have been studied extensively and found to possess “significant hazards” of causing disease or doing environmental harm.Risk assessment, on the other hand, is the probability that a hazard will occur and do harm when a product is used; an evaluation that encompasses much more uncertainty and allows more leeway in pesticide approval. Risk assessments are preferred by the ruralists and the pesticide industry who want more freedom in the selection and application of bio toxins.Aerial spraying can be particularly hazardous to public health depending on application and winds. Photo credit: Don McCullough on Visualhunt / CC BY-NCTypical of the bills pressed by the ruralists is PLS 526 of 1999, a measure meant to exclude ANVISA and IBAMA from the pesticide registration process. PLS 526 was authored by Blairo Maggi, then known as “The Soy King” for being Brazil’s biggest soy grower. Today Maggi is Brazil’s influential minister of agriculture.That bill, however, languished in the Chamber of Deputies and then was rejiggered as PL 6299/2002, which also went nowhere during the Lula and Dilma administrations.Thwarted by the multi-decade delay, the ruralists last year saw a new chance to move ahead with deregulation, working through the more sympathetic Temer administration. Agribusiness sought a fast track workaround to legislation: MAPA sent a draft of an MP, a Provisional Measure equivalent to a presidential executive order, to the Executive’s Chief of Staff for review in March, 2017. As with PL 6299, the MP proposed the exclusion of ANVISA and IBAMA from the pesticides licensing process.However, the pesticide deregulation MP (which if approved by the president, would take effect immediately), met with widespread criticism in the press, and has since disappeared from view. According to Jacimara Machado, IBAMA’s director of environmental quality, the agency kept waiting for the Chief of Staff “to discuss the MP’s draft,” but nothing happened.Unfazed, the ruralists are preparing another maneuver for 2018, according to Cleber Folgado, a member of the National Forum and the Bahia Forum Against Pesticides, coordinated by Brazil’s State Public Ministry. In September “the bancada ruralista and the Temer government negotiated a new bill draft that would replace PL 6299/2002,” Folgado told Mongabay.As scientific evidence grows regarding the potential health impacts of Monsanto’s pesticides, a global movement has risen against the company. Photo credit: msdonnalee on VisualHunt / CC BYThe new bill synthesizes eighteen measures related to PL 6299, all which advance pesticide deregulation. The new PL would establish an “agricultural governing body” to handle the evaluation and approval of pesticide registration, with that entity’s review based not on hazard analysis, but on less stringent risk assessments, and also focused more on pesticide crop effectiveness. ANVISA and IBAMA would have no say in the registration process and likely serve only as enforcers of the body’s decisions. In part it reads:The agriculture governing body will be able to define criteria and establish priority in the analysis of registrations or post-registration claims, based on the need for greater control of agricultural pests…. The health and the environmental agencies will adopt the priorities duly established by the agriculture body.If the ruralists, Congress, and Maggi’s MAPA achieve their goal, the new measure would probably allow an unprecedented number of biocides to be registered and to quickly enter the market, maybe including substances already banned in Brazil.Under the weaker risk assessment process, for instance, pesticides with known carcinogenic potential could no longer be rejected out of hand; instead, they could be registered with the understanding that they should be used in an established and proper manner to reduce the risk of their effects – even though Brazil lacks the regulatory staff to oversee the use risk reduction process.The MAPA draft justifies the easing of pesticide regulations in this manner:In a literal interpretation of the law, the regulator bodies [IBAMA and ANVISA] have understood that it is enough that the product presents those intrinsic [hazardous] characteristics to not be registered, regardless of the levels to which humans are exposed. It would be the same as, by making an analogy, every car was to be forbidden from being produced and marketed by its characteristic of being dangerous, i.e., of causing accidents.The MAPA draft adds: “Prohibiting the use of a substance without considering the exposure levels does not protect the health of the population more than when it is applied correctly, within the limits set by a thorough risk assessment.”Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi defended the proposed measure on television last July, stating simply: “What we are trying to do is make bureaucratic processes faster.”A cartoon confronts the paradox of pesticide regulatory measures: while protective gear may keep people safe, it doesn’t safeguard wildlife and the environment. Image by healthfulQuest on flickrA critique of deregulationUFPR’s Pelaez refutes MAPA’s and Maggi’s deregulation arguments: “In a country without a monitoring structure and communication resources on the intrinsic danger of pesticides, approving them in the name of a risk assessment is a setback and practically a crime.”Palaez notes that Brazil’s pesticide registration process is in dire need of funds, and he compares the Brazilian procedure unfavorably with that in the United States: “The U.S. government, as a way of enabling an assessment process compatible with the demands of the regulated sector, charges up to US$ 630,000 [to pesticide companies] for the registration of a new active [pesticide] ingredient. This [helps] finance the high costs of toxicological analysis of registration applications submitted by manufacturing companies. In Brazil, the maximum amount charged is around US$ 3,000,” so the industry contributes little money to quicken the registration process.The difference between the two nations doesn’t end there. While an American license lasts just 15 years, in Brazil a registration never expires – a potentially dangerous situation because new research may uncover formerly unknown health and environmental hazards. Currently, new study evidence can trigger a pesticide re-evaluation in Brazil, although that reanalysis could take years, as in the case of glyphosate which remains in use, despite recent findings of its harmful effects.The Ministry of Agriculture did not respond to Mongabay’s interview request. ANVISA’s communication office, when contacted by Mongabay, responded that they would “not comment on speculations” regarding potential pesticide regulation changes.IBAMA’s Machado said that the agency is not against using risk assessment as a tool, but added it would need time to make such changes: “We need to create a structure, do studies, analyze different scenarios and establish procedures, not to mention staff training. None of this is ready.”Tractor and spraying equipment. Photo by Maasaak licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licenseAgencies under staffed and under pressureFor years, ANVISA, part of the Ministry of Health, has operated under intense political pressure from the ruralist lobby. In 2012, Luis Claudio Meirelles, then ANVISA’s general manager, was dismissed after denouncing irregularities in the approval of pesticides that were under analysis.The same year, Eduardo Daher of ANDEF, the pesticide industry association, gave an interview to the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in which he attacked the regulatory agency: “ANVISA… tries to manage [everything] from breast prosthesis to… pastry. It plays God. The government is not able to coordinate it; it is politically oriented and ideologically manipulated.”At a congressional hearing, Kátia Abreu, a senator for Tocantins state, a ruralist, and a former minister of Agriculture, denounced the “slowness” of the agency in approving and releasing pesticides for use: “Thousands of Brazilians who earn a minimum wage need to eat food [treated] with pesticides because it is the only way to make food cheaper.… ANVISA plays a backward role for the country, to the detriment of agriculture.”Analysts point out that there is a good reason for ANVISA’s “slowness.” In 2012, the government provided the agency with just 20 technicians in its pesticide registration area, even though 1,500 products awaited evaluation.IBAMA isn’t any better staffed: the chemical and biological substances analysis department, which evaluates not only pesticides but also dispersants, oil, fuels, and other substances, currently has 37 employees, while 2,000 registration applications are pending.“Without operational capacity, we take five years, on average, to begin evaluating a product, while the assessment itself takes [on average] five months,” said IBAMA’s Machado. “Manufacturers complain about the delay. But while we release an average of ten products per week, 30 new applications enter the agency,” over the same period. In comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has roughly 850 technicians assigned to evaluation, registration and monitoring of pesticides alone.In January of 2017, MAPA celebrated an “historic record”: 277 new pesticides were registered in 2016 (of which 161 were generic). The previous year 182 licenses were approved, 43 of them generic.A generic pesticide combines, in addition to its active ingredient, other chemicals for varying purposes, facilitating the absorption of poisons, for example. Importantly, neither hazard analys nor risk assessment currently evaluates the synergistic effects of pesticides – the interaction of all ingredients, producing a greater effect than each separately.Spraying pesticides. Brazil’s 1989 pesticide law is one of the toughest in the world, except that it lacks the tools for staffing and timely implementation. Photo by AlcheaNemesis“Sells like soda”While MAPA officially advocates for the safe use of highly toxic pesticides, assuring they’re applied under controlled conditions – moderating dose, levels of exposure, safety equipment, and more – the reality out in the field is far different, say experts.Farmers are often unaware of the dangers of the chemicals they use, alone and in combination. “Instead of applying one pesticide at a time, many farmers combine an herbicide, a pesticide, and an acaricide [pesticides that kill members of the arachnid subclass Acari, which includes ticks and mites], for example, and make a single application on crops to save on aerial spraying,” said Forum Against Pesticides’ Folgado. These “so-called toxic syrups (caldas tóxicas, in Portuguese) increase the toxicity of biocides and [have become] a public health problem in Brazil. They are not evaluated by ANVISA or any other body.”Lacking proper state oversight and training, small scale farmers also often adopt unhealthy practices, as shown in a documentary entitled The insecure use of pesticides, by Pedro Abreu, a Ph.D. student in collective health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the State University of Campinas, and Herling Alonzo, professor of environmental health and toxicology at the same institution.One case documented in the film tells of a man who regularly used Monsanto’s Roundup on his crops ­– an herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate. The man reportedly applied the poison without any self protection, while wearing shorts and slippers; he died of cancer, though his death can’t be directly linked to Roundup.Improper spraying gear. Many experts believe that a sharp rise in cancers in Brazil may be due to pesticides and other environmental toxins. Photo by Bt Brinjal on flickrThe film registered other examples of improper use, in which, for example, one farmer had stored pesticides in his family’s living space, while another purchased them without an agronomist’s recommendation or instruction. José Reis, a family farmer from Lavras, Minas Gerais, told Abreu: The store “used to ask [for] a letter [of prescription], but not anymore, now [pesticides] sell just like soda.”Emerson Abreu, a young farmer, added: buying pesticides is “the same thing as picking up groceries on a supermarket shelf.”In a recent seminar at Fiocruz Minas Gerais state, a research institution specializing in biological sciences and based in Rio de Janeiro, with branches in nine other states, Eliane Novato, a researcher at the department of biochemistry and immunology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), said that “The impact [of pesticides] on health is often complicated to measure [in the field] because there are several factors that go into the relationship [to] ‘exposure-damage.’ High concentrations of toxic product for a short time have an immediate [health] effect, but low concentrations for a long time have a late, cumulative effect that is difficult to assess.”She notes that it is not uncommon to find children accompanying their parents into sprayed plantation fields, and yet the risk of regular exposure by children to agricultural pesticides is rarely considered.And yet, data published by the National System of Toxic-Pharmacological Information (Sinitox), linked to the Ministry of Health and Fiocruz, showed that 25.3 percent of pesticide poisonings reported between 1999 and 2015 occurred in children nine years old or younger, or 50,969 intoxications out of 201,832 cases. Of the children’s subgroup, 160 deaths occurred in the same period.Sinitox breaks down pesticide poisoning into three subgroups, agricultural pesticides, domestic-use pesticides, veterinary products and rodenticides. In 2015, for example, more than 33 percent of all pesticide poisonings occurred in children up to nine years old ­– 2,196 out of 6,591 cases. Of the children’s subgroup, 259 cases were caused by agricultural pesticides, 945 by household pesticides (insecticides, gardening products, repellents etc.), 379 by veterinary products and 613 by rodenticides. It’s important to realize that the Sinitox numbers are incomplete because they cover primarily acute cases, in just 18 of the 26 Brazilian states.The safe application of pesticides is critical to protecting public health, but experts argue that Brazil offers little oversight of use training and education. Photo by Eric Akaoka Flickr Creative CommonsSonia Hess, a Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) chemistry professor, told Mongabay that cancer is already the second leading cause of death in Brazil, surpassed only by cardiovascular diseases. The number of deaths has increased 31 percent since 2000 and totaled 223,400 Brazilians annually by 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). How many of these cases are related to exposure to carcinogenic chemical pesticides is uncertain, though researchers are concerned.“Unfortunately, there is always a long period between scientific evidence of health harm and the ban of these substances,” said Hess. “Remember thalidomide,” an approved drug that resulted in severe birth defects. “DDT is banned in more than 40 countries, including Brazil and the U.S.,” she added, but recognizing its environmental impacts and outlawing it required years.“For those who study the subject, there is no question that cancer is an environmental epidemic resulting from exposure to toxic substances present in the water, air, food, cosmetics, [and more]… But the reaction to the problem runs counter to the power of the chemical industry, which controls governments around the world. We will continue to count the sick and the dead until the disaster becomes so evident that some reaction can be successful,” leading to more proactive regulation, Hess concluded.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Agriculture, Agrochemicals, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Chemicals, Controversial, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corporate Responsibility, Corruption, Environment, Environmental Crime, environmental justice, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Featured, Food Crisis, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Law, Pesticides, Regulations, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Last of its kind: sole surviving male northern white rhino is gravely ill

first_imgThe planet’s last male northern white rhino is gravely ill.Sudan, as the rhino is named, has developed a serious infection.Only three northern white rhinos remain, including two females who are Sudan’s offspring.The northern white rhinos are protected from poachers by armed guards. The world’s sole surviving male northern white rhino is gravely ill, reports Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which safeguards the last three individuals of the critically endangered rhino subspecies.In an update on its web site, Ol Pejeta warned that Sudan — the 45-year-old rhino that represents the last male of its kind — is “deteriorating” due to an age-related infection.“His future is not looking bright,” said the conservancy. “We are very concerned about him – he’s extremely old for a rhino and we do not want him to suffer unnecessarily.” Article published by Rhett Butler Sudan developed an infection on his rear right leg toward the end of last year. Veterinarians treated the infection, which seemed to heal: Sudan was back to his normal habits in January. But in the second half of February, his behavior shifted and vets found “a secondary and much deeper infection”, which is not responding well to treatment. The conservancy has launched a last ditch fundraising appeal for the species.If Sudan doesn’t pull through, it means the two female northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta — Fatu and Najin — will be the only two remaining individuals of their subspecies, Ceratotherium simum cottoni. Ol Pejeta protects all of the rhinos under 24-hour armed guard.Sudan. Courtesy of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya.The northern white rhino once ranged across parts of Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo but was hard hit by poaching. By the early 1980s, the population was down to double digits.Other rhinos are also in rapid decline due to poaching for their horns and habitat loss. For example, the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) was declared extinct in November 2011, while Indonesia’s Sumatran rhino is believed to be down to as few as 30 individuals in the wild. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Green, Rhinos, Wildlife last_img read more

Cerrado: Agribusiness boomtown; profits for a few, hardships for many

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Luís Eduardo Magalhães (LEM) is a soy boomtown, built on Cerrado agribusiness. Its population has grown fourfold since 2000, to 83,000 people, and is one of Brazil’s fastest growing cities. But LEM has suffered growing pains as the people from rural areas have rushed there seeking jobs and opportunities.Public services have failed to keep up, with most urban streets still dirt and sanitation services lagging behind population growth. Many new arrivals from the countryside, lacking specialized skills, have been unable to get good jobs or gain access to the highly mechanized and specialized industrial agribusiness economy. So they remain poor.Many have ended up in Santa Cruz, an impoverished neighborhood where drug trafficking and gang violence are a constant daily threat. Those with better skills and more luck may end up in Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden), a nearby upscale neighborhood marked by security fences and security alarms as protection against crime.Experts say LEM seems likely to follow the path of agribusiness boomtowns globally: population grows rapidly, but initial economic gains and urbanization aren’t followed by ongoing development and investment. Disorderly growth negatively impacts the environment, leading to more poverty and a concentration of land ownership and wealth. Cargill soy silos are both a symbol and a source of the prosperity of the city of Luis Eduardo Magalhães, Brazil’s latest agribusiness urban hotspot. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceThis is the fifth of six stories in a series by journalists Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance who travelled to the Cerrado in February for Mongabay to assess the impacts of agribusiness on the region’s environment and people.Driving up BR 020 into Luís Eduardo Magalhães, we’re greeted by huge soy storage silos, the property of Cargill, the transnational commodities company — leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that we’ve arrived in the newest urban hotspot serving Brazil’s latest agribusiness frontier.In 2000, this Western Bahia city became a soy hub in its own right, emancipating itself from the state’s other soy capital, Barreiras (of which it was once a part). Since then, the population of Luís Eduardo Magalhães (LEM) has increased more than fourfold to 83,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing urban centers in Brazil.Swelling that population are rural people — fleeing drought or lack of opportunities — along with farmers seeking to prosper by becoming part of the booming agribusiness economy.LEM’s city center boasts some tall buildings, agribusiness suppliers, clothing shops and food stores, plus lots of commodity-related truck traffic. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceToday, Luís Eduardo Magalhães is a national agribusiness powerhouse, with the fourth highest GDP per capita in Bahia state, and ranking 20th in Brazil’s GDP of Agribusiness. Its growth is built almost solely on supplying the agriculture sector, so it is well connected to rural croplands. The highway cutting through the heart of the municipality is brand new, and busy with pickups and big trucks hauling soy, fertilizer and pesticide. The city also boasts seven private airfields, providing easy, fast access to the more remote parts of the countryside for the ruralist elite.But turning off the highway and onto city streets, we began seeing contradictions and contrasts to all that agro-wealth. Despite its rapid urbanization and economic growth, LEM has mostly dirt streets (mud streets in the wet season), no public spaces, and a visibly precarious sanitation system. The closest public hospital is at Barreiras, 90 kilometers (55 miles) away.“Luis Eduardo Magalhães is the main Matopiba hub [the collective name for the four Cerrado states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia]. It has service infrastructure and international investments, with an institutional apparatus, which is difficult to match in a short time,” says Clóvis Caribé, professor at the State University of Feira de Santana, who researched its rapid development. “The region was transformed, but it happened with a huge misalignment with social and environmental issues.”LEM’s Santa Cruz neighborhood keeps growing informally as new, down-on-their-luck, but hopeful, migrants flow in from the countryside. Photo by Alicia PragerVanishing vegetation might one day curb the boomToday, Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães are centrally positioned to take advantage of their roles as goods and services suppliers to the Matopiba agricultural sector. Since 2000, this four-state region, like much of the rest of the Cerrado biome, has been swept up in commodity production expansion, accompanied by a simultaneous, and equally fast paced deforestation trend. The Cerrado is currently losing native vegetation faster than the Amazon.Agribusiness growth northward is now significantly impacting the Rio de Ondas (Waves River) basin, which encompasses both LEM and Barreiras, a study by Brazilian institutions has found. As of 1984, only 5.3 percent of the basin’s native vegetation had been cleared. Three decades later, the deforested part of the basin reached 48.5 percent, or 2,705 square kilometers (1,044 square miles).That high deforestation rate is not only of concern to conservationists worried about biodiversity. The Rio de Ondas is an important water resource for both cities — providing drinking water, powering hydroelectric plants, and irrigating the outlying area’s large-scale soy, cotton and corn farms. Deforestation reduces water infiltration and hinders the recharge of the Urucuia aquifer, which then reduces stream levels, according to the Brazilian study.That ongoing and drastic loss of available water, enhanced by intensifying drought due to escalating climate change, is becoming increasingly important, especially in the dry season, to Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães. And ultimately, it could turn agricultural boom to bust.A bicyclist on the streets of Santa Cruz. The farther we travelled into this poor neighborhood the more residents warned us of the dangers. Photo by Alicia PragerNot everybody’s agribusiness El Dorado The BR 020 highway runs next to Santa Cruz, the oldest and biggest LEM neighborhood. It is the primary destination of poor migrants, especially from rural areas, who come to the city seeking their soy paradise. Many arriving in Santa Cruz are small farmers looking for job opportunities, but lacking expertise or a way into the mechanized system of crop production.Today’s Santa Cruz residents face poverty and chronic unemployment. Two years ago, Ernesto José de Souza, 43, left his small farm in Indianópolis, in neighboring Minas Gerais state, hoping for a better life. “I thought I would find more jobs here,” he says. But he never managed to opt into the soy paradise. So he sells popsicles on Santa Cruz streets for R$2 (US$0.60). His wife stayed back home. “It’s even more difficult to find jobs for women,” he says.Ernesto José de Souza came to LEM in hope of better job opportunities, but he never found work in the agricultural sector. Today, he sells popsicles. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceJandeilson Rosa da Silva, 36, tells a similar story. He arrived in LEM only five months ago, but difficult times here have already caused him to plan a return to his hometown of Brejo Cruz, Paraíba state, 1,618 kilometers (1,005 miles) away: “Nobody is hiring anymore,” he says.Silva took out a R$3,000 (US$915) loan to travel to LEM, and rented a R$400 (US$120) house on arrival, which he finds expensive. Therefore, he shares his two-rooms with two friends who took the same migratory gamble with him.“I really thought that things would be better, but they became worse,” says da Silva, leaning over a pile of tapestry pieces that he has been trying to sell. Instead, he has been collecting debts and dwelling on family memories: “I miss them a lot.” His wife and two children are back in his hometown, and they haven’t seen each other since he moved.These men weren’t foolish in coming to Luís Eduardo Magalhães. Despite Brazil’s ongoing economic crisis and its high rate of unemployment at 12.2 percent, LEM did offer more new jobs in 2017 than many other parts of the nation. However experts have pointed out that the rapid mechanization of Brazilian agribusiness has resulted in a trend where the sector pays more, but employs less. New technologies have reduced the number of unskilled workers’ positions, and increased the demand for a more specialized workforce.This is especially true in Western Bahia, where the land is flat, and large tractors, trucks and other big machines can do much of the work, and manual labor is minimally required. “Jobs in modern agriculture are scarce, as people need to speak English, know how to operate big tractors, and how to manage technologies,” says Caribé.Most urban job openings are in the service sector meeting the demands of agribusiness and transnational commodities companies. In the LEM city center, shop windows advertise farming tools, fertilizers, herbicides, and farm safety equipment.Drug trafficking and gang conflicts are common on the streets of Luís Eduardo Magalhães. Pedro José Santana’s daughter was almost killed by a drug trafficker. He makes his living by selling sugar cane broth. Photo by Alicia PragerViolence in the streetsSanta Cruz isn’t just poor. It is nicknamed “Iraq” because of the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Updated statistics for Luís Eduardo Magalhães are lacking, but the local media keeps an annual count of murders. Santa Cruz is at the heart of LEM’s drug trafficking and gang violence.“My daughter was almost killed by a guy involved in drug trafficking a few years ago,” says Pedro José Santana, 59, who settled in Santa Cruz in 2010.Small scale food farmer, Santana came to LEM with four children and his wife. He found a job, but also lots of urban stress. “In the countryside, there was no violence,” he explains. Shifting from job-to-job, he is unable to do the hard labor involved in harvesting, and has started selling sugarcane broth.“There are many killings up there, much trafficking, many kids stealing mobiles,” says Josiane Bezerra, 25, pointing at the long, straight main street of Santa Cruz.Her family moved here from the rural town of Irecê when she was still a child. Her parents fled the countryside’s long droughts, where hoping for rain did not grow food. Back in the 2000s, so many people came to LEM from this rural semi-arid town in Bahia state that a few stores in the neighborhood are dubbed Irecê today. Josiane’s friend, Ariana Nunes, is the same age and shares the same story. Both work in a low budget clothing store in Santa Cruz.“I don’t want to move, I like [it] here, I don’t want to work in the countryside. But there isn’t much to do,” says Nunes. With few urban leisure options, the friends treat the surrounding Cerrado as their playground. “There are plenty of waterfalls. We prefer going to Pedras, Alcides, Coqueiros… ,” she starts listing. Water remains plentiful at these green oases, so far.Josiane Maria Bezerra, Ariana Nunes de Silva, Tatiana Alves (left to right) work in a clothing shop in Luis Eduardo Magalhães. Josiane’s and Ariana’s families came to LEM to escape from the long droughts that made it hard to grow food. Photo by Alicia PragerImproved social indicatorsDespite the poverty and crime, social indicators have improved in LEM. The city has seen an increase in health care availability and education opportunities; the so-called human development Index (HDI) is considered high; and there has been a decrease in inequality, although the level remains at 0.62, higher than the Brazilian inequality index rating of 0.52.“Regions in Matopiba see agribusiness as the only chance of development they will ever have,” says agronomist Fernando Sampaio, executive-director of a Mato Grosso state project known as Strategy of Producing, Conserving and Embracing. “I got to know the South of Piauí [state] and Western Bahia 25 years ago. Where there is agribusiness, money flows, and people live better.”A study by the research group Climate Policy Initiative found that Matopiba municipalities within the Cerrado (a principle target of agriculture expansion) perform better economically than municipalities located outside the biome. The advance of agribusiness has increased those towns’ per capita GDP by 37 percent, and increased by 10 percent access to durable consumer goods, such as TVs and refrigerators, as well as electricity. But the study reports no improvement in access to water or sewage. In fact, only 18 percent of LEM households have proper sanitation, far below the national average of 43 percent. The municipality recently set up a sewage system in Santa Cruz, but it isn’t working yet.There are private health clinics in the city, but no public hospital, only smaller public health facilities. A popular local saying used to be that a farmers’ best hospital is the airplane, says Caribé. Today, people who need care take the BR 020 highway to Barreiras, the closest hospital. “Last week an acquaintance died in the middle of the road when heading to the hospital,” Tatiana Alves, 23, told us.The wealthier neighborhood of Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden) is located very close to the impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhood of Santa Cruz. As a result, residents of the upscale neighborhood make a big effort to protect their homes with security fences and security cameras. Photo by Alicia PragerDifficult development“I feel intrigued with the increasing social indicators,” as they can be misleading, comments Valney Rigonato from the Federal University of West Bahia, who lives on an unpaved street in Barreiras. “You just need to walk around for a while to perceive [the] predatory development [of the city]. From above they can show one reality, but here you see that we are going the wrong way.”In both Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães — though the streets may still be dirt and vegetation scarce — you can also find people leading the good life, thanks to the money flowing in from agribusiness. Next to impoverished Santa Cruz, lies Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden), where two-floor homes and pickup trucks are guarded by security cameras and high walls.However, many seem to understand that this prosperity relies on exportable mono-crops, a boom that could go bust at anytime.As experts point out, the cities of Western Bahia are being shaped by trends seen elsewhere in the world. Industrial agribusiness, they point out, tends to boost population growth, leading to economic gains and urbanization in rural cities. However, that is not generally followed by ongoing development or further investment. Profits flow out of town, and the cities grow in a disorderly manner, negatively impacting the environment and leading to a concentration of land ownership and wealth, and sometimes reckless speculation. Mongabay contacted the municipality of Luís Eduardo Magalhães several times for comment, but it didn’t respond.Many Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden) residents own trucks or other vehicles. Photo by Alicia PragerFew Santa Cruz neighborhood residents own cars. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceA recent paper that focused on the examples of Luís Eduardo Magalhães and Barreiras points toward increasing segregation within these agribusiness-dominated cities, as the divide widens between poor and well to do. While Jardim Paraíso and other parts of LEM see a real estate boom, Santa Cruz keeps growing informally and precariously as new migrants flow in.“Luís Eduardo Magalhães is the Wall Street of soybeans,” declares Deusdete Santiago, a former Monsanto company pesticide salesman, who now owns a large farming tools store in Barreiras. “But the big money doesn’t stay here, it goes to Sao Paulo or abroad,” he says. Just like that, the money flows out of the city, and the inhabitants’ hopes for a better future vanishes.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Today, Luís Eduardo Magalhães profits from industrial agribusiness. But like other such boomtowns around the world, LEM’s economic growth might not last. Photo by Flávia Milhorance Agriculture, Controversial, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Use Change, Organized Crime, Poverty, Rivers, Roads, Social Justice, Soy, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation center_img Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more