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Sunday, 18 February

03:44

Habitat loss and hunting have eliminated more than 100,000 Bornean orangutans, report states CHANGING TIMES

Photo courtesy of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

The number of orangutans on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo plummeted between 1999 and 2015, according to a new report.

The population decreased by more than 140,000 over the period, scientists have deduced, and the causes range from land clearance for industrialised plantations to hunting.

The most severe population declines occurred in areas in which habitat had been removed, the researchers concluded. However, most orangutans were lost from forests, which, the scientists say, suggests that hunting is a major cause of the decrease in numbers.

The researchers say habitat degradation and loss is happening in response to the local and global demand for natural resources, including timber and agricultural products.

In their report, which was published in Current Biology, the researchers point to what they call the unsustainable use of natural resources.

They say their modelling indicates that, between 1999 and 2015, half of the Bornean orangutan population was affected by logging, deforestation, or industrialised plantations. They estimate that there were 1...

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Saturday, 17 February

10:15

Reversing climate change: The middle gets it Centre for Climate Safety

The middle gets it. The middle is happening.
~ Paul Hawken, American author

In The Sustainable Hour on 14 February 2018:
Architect Alvyn Williams from Soft Loud House Architects about passive houses and star rating systems
Councillors Susan Rennie and Trent McCarthy about the worlds first municipal climate emergency plan
American Drawdown author Paul Hawken about how the middle is happening
Leigh Ewbank about Friends of the Earth Melbournes act on climate campaign
Rebecca Lees from the Alternative Technology Association about the coming EV Expo in Melbourne.

More info below.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 203 on 94.7 The Pulse:

...

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Friday, 16 February

20:05

Suspension of Federal Law Given to Dominion Energy for ACP Pipeline "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Large diameter pipe has been in storage for months

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Suspends the Law

By Beth Little, Mountain State Sierran, Volume 44, Number 2, Spring 2018

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline could not be built through the Monongahela National Forest without violating the law, so the law has been suspended.

I will explain. I say suspended because the amendments to the forests Land and Resource Management Plan included in the permit issued by the Forest Service are project-specific plan amendments. They apply only to construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Land and Resource Management Plan is law. It contains the regulations for how the forest is to be managed. It was developed by the staff of the Forest Service, including scientists and technicians, who are charged with protecting the forest from the ravages of the late 1800s and early 1900s, when a frenzy of logging resulted in massive flooding, huge fires, loss of life, destruction of local economies and disappearance of wildlife. Unregulated practices left a wasteland that took more than a century to recover significant productivity.

The Monongahela National Forest includes the highest mountains in West Virginia and the origin of major rivers in the East. These rivers have been cutting their channels for millennia, resulting in ravines with startlingly steep slopes. To truly appreciate how steep they are, you have to stand at the top and look down what appears to be a straight drop of hundreds of feet to rushing water. It is hard to believe trees can grow on slopes so steep, but then its the trees that maintain the slopes by holding the soil on them.

The forest also gets some of the highest rainfall in the continental U.S. So, if the trees (and all other vegetation) are removed, and a heavy rainfall comes, the soil is washed away, making the rivers run with sediment.

There are four standards in the forests management plan to be modified for the pipeline construction. The shortest example: Standard SW06: Severe rutting resulting from management activities shall be confined to less than 5 percent of an activity area.

This language is specific and easy to enforce. The modified standard reads: Standard SW06: Severe rutting resulting from management activities shall be confined to less than 5 percent of an activity area w...

15:47

BCL wants to bully Bougainville into reopening Panguna Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Has BCL not learnt from history that Bougainvilleans do not like being bullied!

BCL takes Bougainville Govt to court over licence non-renewal

Radio New Zealand | 16 February, 2018

Mining company Bougainville Copper Ltd is taking an arm of the Bougainville government to court.

This came after the autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea region announced late last year a moratorium on mining at Panguna, which had been abandoned in 1989 after the civil war started.

Two companies are vying to re-open Panguna but Bougainville President John Momis said to get the nod, the successful company must first win the trust of the people and BCL is yet to do this.

Meanwhile a mining wardens meeting in central Bougainville in December turned down BCLs request for its exploration licence to be extended.

But the company is not...

12:54

Chinese looking to cut costs for Frieda river mine Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

What will be the costs for the environment and the mighty Sepik river as PanAust looks to decrease capital expenditure?

Frieda River upside options explored

PNG Industry News | 16 February 2018 

THE Frieda River copper-gold project in Papua New Guineas Sandaun Province represents PanAusts long-term strategic growth opportunity.

This was said by PanAust managing director Fred Hess when he presented the companys quarterly report for December 2017 this week.

[PanAust is wholly owned by Chinese State company, Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co. Ltd (GRAM)]

In 2017, we made strides towards making the project a reality through identifying opportunities to increase the value of the project, decrease capital expenditure, and reduce its overall risk profile. 

We will continue to evaluate these opportunities in 2018, Hess said. 

...

03:34

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: February 7 - 13, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes between February 7 and 13, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 15 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Fuego, Guatemala | Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines).Ongoing activity:...... Read more

East Africas Albertine Rift needs protection now, scientists say "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

The equatorial ecosystems of the Albertine Rift are packed with plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Formed as tectonic plates in eastern Africa have slowly pulled away from each other for millions of years, the unique habitats in this epicenter of biodiversity have rapidly come under threat in recent decades from conflict, poverty and a booming human population. Now, a coalition of conservation groups is working with authorities to mobilize a plan to protect the cloud and lowland rainforests, the lakes and rivers, and the savannas and wetlands that stretch from Lake Albert south to Lake Tanganyika. The six landscapes of the Albertine Rift. Image courtesy of WCS. The Albertine Rift is the most important site for vertebrate conservation in Africa, with more endemic and globally threatened vertebrates than any other region of the continent, Andy Plumptre, a conservation biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Societys Africa program and the papers lead author, said in a statement. WCS, in concert with local NGOs and the governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, has pulled together research spanning 16 years. Theyve used these investigations to better understand the six geographic landscapes selected for the high concentrations of unique and threatened species they contain, and theyve put forth detailed plans to protect them. According to the report, the scientists estimate that it will cost about $21 million a year to set their proposals in motion, a figure they argue offers a greater bang for the buck

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Thursday, 15 February

09:34

Drones enable fast, accurate wildlife counts, study shows "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

Jarrod Hodgson is one of very few scientists who have used rubber ducks as part of their Ph.D. research. Hodgson and colleagues at the University of Adelaide compared the accuracy of counts of birds on an Australian beach from images taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to counts by ground observers. They brought in the ducks to serve as faux seabird colonies, each with a known number of individuals. The University of Adelaide research teams experimental site, filmed from the UAV. A colony of rubber ducks, posing as greater crested terns, is in the foreground at left. Ground counters, researchers, and other volunteers are scattered behind. Copyright: Jarrod Hodgson Their findings, published this week in the journal Methods of Ecology and Evolution, suggest that aerial imagery can offer scientists more accurate counts of at least some species than even experienced observers on the ground. Image vs. in-person observations UAV-derived imagery is increasingly being used to survey and monitor wildlife, including detecting and monitoring individual koalas and surveying orangutan and chimpanzee nests, but few researchers have tested the accuracy of UAV-based data collection relative to other, traditional methods. Counting birds and other colonial species from the ground is liable to miss some animals and double-count others. It also requires experts to invest time visiting a site, sometimes repeatedly, to collect the data, and their presence may scare or alter the behavior of the animals they are trying to study. Thus the drones and the ducks. The researchers simulated 10 breeding

09:21

Tolukuma mine liquidated Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Asidokona Mining Resources is reputable, committed, has integrity, and capacity said then Mining Minister, Byron Chan when the government sold the mine in 2015

Who in the Mineral Resource Authority is going to take responsibility for this monumental mess?

SEE ALSO

Tolukuma mine purchased by Asian finance company with no mining experience

More farce over governments botched sale of Tolukuma mine

...

05:43

Eye of Papua shines a light on environmental, indigenous issues in Indonesias last frontier "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

JAKARTA Zely Ariane, an editor at the Tabloid Jubi newspaper in Indonesias easternmost region of Papua, gets frustrated each time an acquaintance travels there and asks to meet up on short notice. None of them, it seems, realizes just how vast the region is. My friends always say, Hey, Im in Papua, lets meet up! Zely said in Jakarta recently. But where in Papua, though? If someone was to ask to meet you in Java, theyd surely say where [specifically], no? The name Papua typically refers to the western half of the island of New Guinea, which is split up into two administrative regions: the provinces of West Papua and Papua. Together, they cover more than 420,000 square kilometers (162,000 square miles) an area the size of California. Crucially, the two provinces account for 35 percent of Indonesias remaining rainforest, spanning 294,000 square kilometers (113,500 square miles). No one seems to have a good grasp of the geography of Papua, or at least almost no one, Zely said. This lack of understanding is due in part to the remoteness of the region Indonesias least developed and most impoverished and its harsh mountainous terrain, as well as to the security response to a low-level separatist insurgency simmering since the 1960s. The military and police have for decades maintained a strong presence there, and to date it remains the least accessible part of Indonesia for journalists in particular foreign reporters, who require a special permit just to

Wednesday, 14 February

13:31

Dog Left Hiding In Doghouse After Family Decides To Move Without Her "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

For eight years, a dog lived in a ramshackle doghouse in her family's yard and then one day it seemed like things got even worse for her. 

The family was being evicted from their house, and Pamela was left behind. 

Credit: Speranza Animal Rescue

"Ever wonder what a dog with a broken heart looks like?" Janine Guido, founder of Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, wrote on the organization's Facebook page last week, posting a photo of Pamela peering out of the little house she was about to lose. "This is where she has lived. For eight long years ... it's all she has ever known."

Guido had shown up because she'd been tipped off by a local realtor that the dog would be homeless. The man being evicted arrived shortly after and loaded Pamela into Guido's car. "He just shut the door and went back into the house to collect his belongings," Guido wrote. 

Credit: Speranza Animal Rescue

Pamela was obviously terrified about the new and sudden changes in her life. She was cowering in her crate, tucking her tail tightly under her, growling softly. "While she doesn't have physical wounds, hers are emotional," Guido wrote. "And those are the hardest ones to heal."

But Guido has helped even the most traumatized dogs overcome their pasts. So she knew that Pamela just need some love, comfort and patience. 

The dog also needed a trip to the vet she had sores on her body from living...

10:14

Nautilus Minerals misleads the world over machine testing Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

This Auxiliary cutter has been tested in a large puddle NOT the extreme conditions it will face at 1500 metres

Nautilus Minerals has been proudly trumpeting to the world the successful completion of the submerged trials of its giant mining machines. Nautilus though has been carefully to omit one crucial fact about these successful trials, they have been conducted in a large puddle NOT in the extreme conditions of pressure, cold and darkness the machines will experience at a depth of 1500m.

Nautilus still has no idea if the machines can work in those conditions, just as it has no idea what the environmental impacts of the proposed strip mining will be 

Submerged Test of Seafloor Mining Tools Completed

Maritime Executive | 12 February 2018

Nautilus Minerals has successfully completed submerged trials of its seafloor production tools in Papua New Guinea.

...

09:27

Court reinstates case of Tolukuma mine spill Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Christopher Yowat | The National aka The Loggers Times | February 13, 2018

THE Supreme Court has reinstated a case filed against the Tolukuma Gold Mine Limited over the alleged spillage of sodium cyanide into rivers in Golilala district, Central, 18 years ago.

The case was filed by James Gabe and others in 2006. it claims that more than K1 million in damages from the mining company was dismissed by the National Court in April, 2014. Gabe then applied to the Supreme Court to review the decision by Justice Sir Bernard Sakora.

The three-man Supreme Court bench of judges David Cannings, Ere Kariko and Jeffery Shepherd, granted the orders sought by Gabe that the dismissal of the case by the National Court on April 9, 2014, be quashed and that the matter be reinstated.

Justice Sir Bernard had dismissed the proceedings after he had been satisfied that Gabe and the other plaintiffs were guilty of an inordinate delay in prosecuting the case and that there had been no proper explanation for it.

Gabe argued that...

08:56

Seabed minerals [mining] company to visit Cook Islands Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Seabed Minerals Authority mining operations commissioner Paul Lynch says exploration is very different from the exploitation the EU Parliament wants to stop.

Jonathan Harwood | Cooks Island News | February 12, 2018

Representatives from United States-based company Ocean Minerals LLC (OML), which has an option on exploring the possibility of seabed mining in Cook Islands waters, are to visit Rarotonga next month.

...

08:06

Peoples Permanent Tribunal on Human Rights and Unconventional Gas NATIONAL TOXICS NETWORK

The protection of our environment is a vital part of contemporary human rights doctrine as it affects the right to life and the right to health. In the lead up to the Peoples Permanent Tribunal on Human Rights and Unconventional Gas, NTN has prepared its testimony regarding the industrys impacts on the health of residents and its threats to our basic human right to live in a pollution-free world.

In 2001, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) acknowledged that living in a pollution-free world is a basic human right and those who pollute violate these rights. Australia has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which specifically describe a childs right to health, adequate food and clean water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution.

Despite this, citizens, including vulnerable children, in gas fields and around gas infrastructure across Australia, are exposed to toxic chemicals through the industrys chemical releases, contaminated dust, storage ponds and associated waste water spills, accidents and fugitive emissions.

You can watch testimony from Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith and Dr Geralyn MacCarron and many others here.

You can read NTNs submission here.

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