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Major palm oil companies accused of breaking ethical promises

Major palm oil companies accused of breaking ethical promises | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

Large palm oil companies that have promised to act ethically have been accused of land grabbing, ignoring human rights and exploiting labour in their African and Asian plantations.

In a damning 400-page investigation, the companies are variously charged with impacting on orangutan populations, destroying tropical forest and burning and draining large tracks of peat swamp forest.

Sixteen palm oil concessions, in Indonesia, Liberia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, all operated by members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) were visited by monitors working with international human rights groups including UK-based Forest peoples programme and Sawit Watch, from Indonesia. Local communities consistently accused the companies of not respecting their customary land rights, violating laws and court rulings and acting in such a way that encouraged conflict.


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Christian Allié's curator insight, November 7, 2013 2:33 AM

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Sixteen palm oil concessions, in Indonesia, Liberia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, all operated by members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) were visited by monitors working with international human rights groups including UK-based Forest peoples programme and Sawit Watch, from Indonesia. Local communities consistently accused the companies of not respecting their customary land rights, violating laws and court rulings and acting in such a way that encouraged conflict.

The growing global demand for palm oil has fuelled a massive expansion of plantations across the forests of southeast Asia and Africa but concerns have been growing for over a decade about the resulting environmental and social impacts. The RSPO, set up in 2004 by the industry and civil society groups including WWF, sets criteria for greener palm oil production and tries to encourage industry expansion in ways that do not cause social conflict.

About 15% of the world's palm oil is now certified as "sustainable" by the RSPO, whose members range from some of the largest growers and traders, to relatively small companies.......    ....

Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added)
If no farmland and no forests and no water and no fish - then what?
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A Farm For The Future (BBC Documentary)

A Farm For The Future (BBC Documentary) | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
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Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history

Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

epictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artifacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable.

The study, published September 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that local extinctions of mammal species led to a steady decline in the stability of the animal communities in the Nile Valley. When there were many species in the community, the loss of any one species had relatively little impact on the functioning of the ecosystem, whereas it is now much more sensitive to perturbations, according to first author Justin Yeakel, who worked on the study as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

Around six millennia ago, there were 37 species of large-bodied mammals in Egypt, but only eight species remain today. Among the species recorded in artwork from the late Predynastic Period (before 3100 BC) but no longer found in Egypt are lions, wild dogs, elephants, oryx, hartebeest, and giraffe.

"What was once a rich and diverse mammalian community is very different now," Yeakel said. "As the number of species declined, one of the primary things that was lost was the ecological redundancy of the system. There were multiple species of gazelles and other small herbivores, which are important because so many different predators prey on them. When there are fewer of those small herbivores, the loss of any one species has a much greater effect on the stability of the system and can lead to additional extinctions."


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Your contribution to climate change: see your impact on the Earth's vital signs

Your contribution to climate change: see your impact on the Earth's vital signs | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
What can we, as individuals, do to help the environment? The first step is keeping a finger on the pulse of the planet. View an up-to-date snapshot of the impact your country – and humans across the globe – are having on the Earth’s vital signs
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Texas drinking water tainted by natural gas operations, scientists find

Texas drinking water tainted by natural gas operations, scientists find | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
A new study in a prestigious academic journal says fracking isn’t directly to blame. Rather, it suggests, faulty safeguards in gas wells allowed gas to migrate into groundwater supplies.
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5 consumer products linked to illegal rainforest destruction

5 consumer products linked to illegal rainforest destruction | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

Tropical rainforests are home to rich indigenous cultures and amazing biodiversity. They also play an important role in stabilizing the climate and sequestering carbon. However, tropical deforestation continues to happen around the world at an alarming rate. This loss generates almost 50 percent more greenhouse gases than the world’s entire transportation sector, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

A large amount of tropical deforestation is driven by the creation of agricultural land, but a new report from Forest Trends finds that nearly half of all conversion from primary rainforest to agricultural use happens illegally. A few key agricultural products drive most of the deforestation, and are largely produced for export.


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It's Getting Harder to Dismiss the Thames as That 'Dirty Old River'

It's Getting Harder to Dismiss the Thames as That 'Dirty Old River' | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Several new efforts to clean up London's long-polluted waterway appear to be working. One day soon, you might even be able to take a slime-free swim.
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Testing the fossil record

Testing the fossil record | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Does the fossil record paint an accurate picture of the history of life? Norwegian geobiologist believes that fossils can tell us a lot about the evolution of life, but also about the evolution of Earth itself.

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Population 'tipping point' was about 2,000 years ago

Population 'tipping point' was about 2,000 years ago | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The human population is closing in on 8 billion people. New research suggests this boom got its start even before the collapse of the Roman Empire.

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Sorry policy-makers, the two-degrees warming policy is likely a road to disaster

Sorry policy-makers, the two-degrees warming policy is likely a road to disaster | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Alexander White: As we approach the New York climate summit, there are serious questions about whether the two degrees of warming limit is acceptable.

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Is this the end of the 'war on trees'? UN members pledge to restore woodland and safeguard rainforests

Is this the end of the 'war on trees'? UN members pledge to restore woodland and safeguard rainforests | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Since the birth of agriculture thousands of years ago, humans have cut down the world's forests to grow food and expand their population.
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Adorable Photo Of Bird's Baby Bump May Be First Of Its Kind

Adorable Photo Of Bird's Baby Bump May Be First Of Its Kind | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
A photo said to be the first to show a bird flying with a visible "baby bump" is now migrating across the Web.

The photo shows a rare Mascarene petrel with an egg-shaped bulge in its middle. It was photographed in 2012 by researchers nea...
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Oops: Plenty of Gas But no Fracking Water

Oops: Plenty of Gas But no Fracking Water | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
The conventional wisdom tells us that unlimited quantities of natural gas and oil are available in formerly untappable deposits, using new fracking technology.  Like the CW on coal use,  the grand ...

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Wastewater plants blamed for 3.2 million dead fish... - The Watchers

Wastewater plants blamed for 3.2 million dead fish... - The Watchers | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Jalisco state authorities said that the death of 3.2 million fish in western Mexico last week was caused by poorly functioning wastewater treatment plants that failed to filter out untreated material.An analysis of water samples c...
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Japan leads opposition to establishing marine sanctuary for whales

Japan leads opposition to establishing marine sanctuary for whales | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Environmentalists criticise decision at International Whaling Commission's conference as Japan continues 'scientific whaling'
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These Tanzanian villages don't have plumbing. But they have solar power.

These Tanzanian villages don't have plumbing. But they have solar power. | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
In East Africa, solar power is leapfrogging the electric grid.
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120 millions d’euros pour une fuite toxique au Mexique

120 millions d’euros pour une fuite toxique au Mexique | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
La compagnie minière Grupo México, responsable de la pollution début août d’une rivière du nord du Mexique par des fuites massives d’acide sulfurique, va consacrer près de 120 millions d’euros pour remédier aux dégâts environnementaux.

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Rescooped by pdeppisch from INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIAL SCIENCES DIGITAL TEXTBOOK(PSYCHOLOGY-ECONOMICS-SOCIOLOGY):MIKE BUSARELLO
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How LEDs Are Going To Change The Way We Look At Cities

How LEDs Are Going To Change The Way We Look At Cities | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Streetlights everywhere are going digital, cleaning up the
night skies, saving billions in wasted energy--and offering
major windfalls for those who embrace the gold rush.

Via Suvi Salo, Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks
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Sky-high honeybee deaths prompt class-action lawsuit

Sky-high honeybee deaths prompt class-action lawsuit | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Nobleton beekeeper's colonies down to 200 from 500
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Dramatic erosion of world's last intact forests

Since 2000, more than 100 million hectares of the world's surviving intact forests have been seriously degraded -- by logging, road building, fragmentation, and other disturbances. That's an area three times the size of Germany.


Via Timo Paasikunnas
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CO2 levels in atmosphere rising at dramatically faster rate, U.N. report warns

CO2 levels in atmosphere rising at dramatically faster rate, U.N. report warns | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
U.N. says nature’s “cushions” against climate change are less effective as greenhouse gases increase.
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Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history

Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artifacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable.

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“Smart” beaches for better bathing water management

“Smart” beaches for better bathing water management | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
In Torremolinos, Spain, Agbar, a SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT subsidiary, is installing an innovative solution for better bathing water management: COWAMA. The aim is to protect the ecological and health quality of natural environments and bathing water, a major concern for public authorities and users alike. We spotlight a solution that is preparing the city of tomorrow [...]

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India's Smog Destroyed Enough Crops In A Year To Feed 94 Million People

India's Smog Destroyed Enough Crops In A Year To Feed 94 Million People | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
India's smog problem could be preventing tens of millions of the country's poorest people from getting the food they desperately need.

According to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, ground-level ozone, the main com...
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ECO NEWS: Monsanto's Grip on U.S. Agriculture Grows Stronger

ECO NEWS: Monsanto's Grip on U.S. Agriculture Grows Stronger | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Monsanto gets U.S. Government approval for genetically modified crops as groups in the United States and Peru keep fighting the agricultural giant.
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Humans are wiping out species a thousand times faster than nature can create new ones

Humans are wiping out species a thousand times faster than nature can create new ones | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it

"Sometimes extinction happens naturally. Other times humans are to blame. Given the many millions of plant and animal species that have ever existed, it’s tough to know exactly how to assign responsibility. But new research indicates that we have an alarmingly large role.

 

Humans are wiping out species at least 1,000 times faster than nature is creating new species, according to a new study in Conservation Biology (paid access only). And it’s getting much worse. In the future, plants and animal species will go extinct at 10,000 times the rate at which new species emerge, the researchers assert.

 

Looking at both fossils and genetic variation, the study found that nature snuffs out its own creations much more slowly than we’d realized—at a rate of only one species per every 10 million. Past estimates put the “normal background extinction rate”—the rate at which species would go extinct without human interference—at about 10 yearly extinctions for every 10 million species.

 

Since mankind hit the scene, however, more than 1,000 out of every 10 million species have been dying out each year. “We’ve known for 20 years that current rates of species extinctions are exceptionally high,” said Stuart Pimm, one of the co-authors and president of the nonprofit organization SavingSpecies. “This new study comes up with a better estimate of the normal background rate—how fast species would go extinct were it not for human actions. It’s lower than we thought, meaning that the current extinction crisis is much worse by comparison.”

 

Overall species’ diversity grows exponentially richer over time, as branches of news species diverge. The authors liken this to a person’s bank account. Think of your income as the number of new species, while your spending is those that go extinct. Every month when you get paid, your net worth jumps for a while, before spending whittles it down again. If your spending is constant, that monthly spike will rise over time as your salary increases—just as the number of new species should also rise over time. But the authors saw no such increase, implying that extinction is happening far too fast for the pace of new species creation to keep up.

 

Take birds, for instance. There are 10,000 species of birds, as Pimm explains in a blogpost. At nature’s rate of one extinction per 10 million species, the disappearance of a single bird species should therefore be a once-in-a-millennium event. However, since the year 1500, at least 140 birds have disappeared—including 13 species we only identified after they went extinct."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Jocelyn Stoller
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Paulo Gervasio's curator insight, September 9, 11:39 PM

Why are we blaming ourselves for everything?  There is a biblical story about the tower of Babel.  I am sometimes reminded that maybe we are approaching the arrogance described in that story.  

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Reuters - Water's edge: the crisis of rising sea levels

Reuters - Water's edge: the crisis of rising sea levels | Farming, Forests, Water & Fishing (No Petroleum Added) | Scoop.it
Reuters investigates how rising seas are not a future threat, but a troubling reality in the U.S. and around the world.
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