November 2 marked National Bison Day in the United States of America. Bison are seen as a conservation success story surviving after nearly going extinct in the early twentieth century. However, their populations are deliberately kept low to appease the ranching industry. With public opinion slowly evolving and bison numbers still near threatened, why are we allowing ranchers dictate the recovery of a species?
A dispute over maritime territory in the Indian Ocean between Kenya and Somalia has resulted in major western countries lining up on either side, depending on which of the two African nations best serves their oil interests.
The disputed territory is 100 000 square kilometres with prospects of vast oil and gas deposits.
Somalia refuted Kenya’s claims. But during the oil and gas conference, it had submitted bidding rules and procedures and also displayed a map of oil and gas blocks which it intended to auction in future.
Tens of cities in Africa, such as Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and Kampala are overwhelmed by an inflow of people fleeing conflicts in different parts of the continent. In particular people living in Mali, Somalia and South Sudan flee their home countries to seek safety.
About 17.5 million refugees worldwide don’t live in camps, but live in urban areas. The 2018 World Refugee Council report shows that 60% of all refugees and 80% of all internally displaced persons are living in urban areas.
This is a result of conscious policy. For example the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognises that camps can turn into de facto prisons. But it’s also because many refugees don’t want to live in camps.
Paulo Paulino Guajajara, a 26-years-old indigenous Guajajara leader was killed on Friday in an Amazon rainforest ambush allegedly by loggers in the Araribóia Indigenous Reserve, one of the country’s most threatened indigenous territories, which is located in Brazil’s Maranhão state.
Paulo was a member of “Guardians of the Forest,” a group of 120 indigenous Guajajara who risk their lives fighting illegal logging in the Araribóia reserve. The Guardians also protect the uncontacted Awá Guajá hunter-gatherers — one of the most at risk indigenous groups on the planet.
Indigenous leader Laércio Guajajara, also a Guardian, was hit by gunfire too, but was able to escape and was later taken to a hospital, said indigenous chief Olímpio Iwyramu Guajajara, the Guardians’ leader. All three Guardians have reportedly been threatened by loggers recently.
Federal Police and Maranhão state police are investigating the attack, which also reportedly resulted in a logger being killed; Paulo’s body has yet to be found. The killing is the most recent in a rising tide of violence against indigenous activists since Jair Bolsonaro took power in January.
According to Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies, changes at Google first became noticeable in 2016, after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States
Google started filtering “fake news,” yet Vorhies got concerned when he discovered examples of news stories tagged as fake news that were in fact factual historical events
Machine Learning Fairness is a Google project that replaces “unfair” search results — even when the unfairness is accurately reflecting worldly reality — with a more fair and balanced search results, thereby artificially altering what people perceive as “reality”
Vorhies has collected and released 950 pages of Google documents that paint a comprehensive picture of how Google is manipulating public opinion and the political landscape
The documents clearly reveal Google is far from a neutral platform for information. It has a very clear political agenda, and is using its platform to shape the public view by selectively promoting some content and demoting others
Seagrass—secret weapon in the fight against global heating
By UNEP - 01. November 2019
One of the most threatened yet overlooked ecosystems on Earth, seagrass, could have a promising future thanks to its ability to absorb carbon.
Seagrass is a flowering marine plant whose blades form dense meadows in shallow, sheltered areas along coastlines. It has a range of benefits: seagrass acts as a nursery and food source for a wide variety of marine life, provides a home for many fish and charismatic animals such as turtles and dugongs, protects coastlines by absorbing wave energy, produces oxygen and cleans the ocean by soaking up polluting nutrients produced on land by humans.
Prologue: Elders of the genuine San people have already protested against the deal, which reminds of the scam UNILEVER had launched concerning the Hoodia cactus.
Landmark deal to give Khoi and San benefit-sharing levy in Rooibos
By Songezo Ndlendle - ANA - 01. November 2019
CAPE TOWN - The Rooibos industry and the Khoi-Khoi and San have signed an access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreement which will see the Khoi-Khoi and San communities benefit from the commercialisation of the indigenous herbal tea.
A special ceremony to mark the historic occasion was held in !Khwa ttu, close to Cape Town on Friday, with representatives from the department of environment, forestry and fisheries (DEFF), the Rooibos industry and Khoi and San councils in attendance.
During the signing of the agreement, the Rooibos industry was represented by the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) and the Khoi-Khoi and San was represented by the National Khoi-San Council (NKC) and the South African San Council (SASC).
SARC chairperson, Martin Bergh said the protection and preservation of the Rooibos industry and its people remained critical to the SA Rooibos Council.
“The industry recognises that the Khoi-Khoi and San people had knowledge of the Rooibos plant and that including them as beneficiaries in this agreement, is the right thing to do.”
The NKC and SASC also welcomed the move which they said would contribute a great deal to the development and empowerment of the Khoi-Khoi and San communities they represent.
As a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol, South Africa requires industries that trade in indigenous biological resources, such as Rooibos, to share benefits with traditional knowledge holders in a fair and equitable way.
When the DEFF first recognised the Khoi-Khoi and San people as the rightful traditional knowledge holders of Rooibos, a working group, which included the SARC, NKC and SASC, was formed to negotiate on benefit sharing in accordance with the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA).
After four years of negotiations, an agreement was reached, which included a benefit-sharing levy at 1.5 percent of the farm gate price of Rooibos, effective from January 1, 2019. In rand terms, this currently equates to an estimated R9-million per annum, but may differ year-on-year based on the price and volumes of Rooibos traded.
How the benefit-sharing levy will be used, will be independently decided by the National Khoi-San Council and South African San Council, but it is primarily intended for the upliftment of the Khoi-Khoi and San communities. An annual report, detailing the distribution of funds, will be submitted to the DEFF to ensure complete transparency, the statement.
Bergh hailed the agreement as a best practice example, which provides a robust framework for other bioprospecting, access and benefit-sharing agreements in SA and abroad.
“It’s the first agreement of its kind in the world – both in terms of the interpretation and application of the Nagoya Protocol. Previous ABS agreements involved specific companies and traditional knowledge holders, whereas the Rooibos agreement encompasses the entire industry, ensuring all volumes of Rooibos sold will be levied through one process,” he said.
The accord is regarded as an important milestone in the history of global governance for the preservation of genetic biodiversity, associated traditional knowledge, and poverty relief.
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy also described the signing as a landmark moment.
“Today’s celebration is also an observance of the correction of a past injustice – a wrong that is being righted. The successful completion of this negotiation, and the implementation of this agreement is a very good story for all of us to tell considering that Rooibos is an existing industry with prospects for transformation, where small players in the value chain have the potential to become big players in a global industry.”
CAPE TOWN - A small rural community is set to supply the Spar Group with South Africa's legendary rooibos tea.
The Nieuwoudtville community in the Northern Cape signed a deal with the retailer to supply its stores with Bokkeveld Rooibos.
Community consultant and Anflo director John Neels, who has advised the community on the transaction, said the partnership would have far-reaching benefits for Nieuwoudtville and surrounding towns.
Neels said the partnership would see the community supplying 12000 Spar supermarkets with rooibos in South Africa and Namibia.
“We are just as excited as you to launch Bokkeveld Rooibos to its country of origin and the spin of this will have for rural communities in the Northern Cape,” Neels said. “We will also personally get involved to use our influence to get this through the whole network of Spar.”
The community started the project with a factory 10 years ago with plans to employ at least 100 people.
Neels said that the fortunes changed when the community contracted Anflo to forge a closer relationship between it and the factory.
“The spin-offs of all of this is that, firstly, the community will be getting permanent work,” he said. “The factory is the main job supplier for the community. Since I started with this process, the factory has already appointed 40 people in the packaging alone.”
He said the Spar group would expand sales once there was sufficient machinery and packaging facilities at the factory to meet the additional demand.
“We are humbled and excited about this partnership, and that Spar Retail Store has embraced our vision for sustainable jobs, and rural and community development.
"Giving effect to this, Spar agreed to order and stock our Bokkeveld Rooibos tea products. This is an opportunity one cannot ignore, as this will change Nieuwoudtville and surrounds into self-sustainable and developed communities,” said Neels.
Spar’s Mario Santana said the partnership would have massive spin-offs for the local community of Nieuwoudtville and the surrounding communities, exponentially increasing the levels of employment and injecting massive amounts of hard currency into the communities, which would automatically kick-start and boost other economic activities in the region.
Selected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro actually enjoys to be called 'Nero of Brazil' and was already for years called 'Captain Chainsaw' due to his psychopathic urge having the Amazon forest cut down for deeply corrupted 'development' scams and Indigenous cultures destroyed. Bolsonaro also has been implicated in the assassination of Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco and her driver
Brazil wildfires: Blaze advances across Pantanal wetlands
By BBC - 1 November 2019
A 50 kilometre-long (31 mile) wildfire is advancing across Brazil's Pantanal wetlands.
The governor's office in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul said the fire was "bigger than anything seen before" in the region.
At least 50,000 hectares of vegetation have already been destroyed.
The area, located in the southern part of the country, is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and a popular tourist destination.
Five Years On, Saudi Attacks on Yemen’s Farmers Are Pushing the Whole Country into Famine
Between March 2015 and March 2019, the Saudi-led Coalition launched at least 10,000 airstrikes in Yemen that struck farms, 800 that struck local food markets, and about 450 airstrikes that hit silos and other food storage facilities.
HODEIDA, YEMEN — The country of Yemen, known in the medieval period as “Green Yemen,” is one of the most extensively terraced areas of the world. There, Yemeni farmers transformed rugged mountain slopes into terraces and built dams like the Great Marib, a structure whose history spans long enough that it was mentioned in the Quran. During the medieval period, Yemen had one of the widest ranges of agricultural crops in all of the Middle East.
Farhan Mohammed is one of the richest farmers in Qama’el, a rural village in the region of Baqim in northwestern Yemen. He owns 50 hectares of land which he uses to cultivate corn, pomegranates, and apples. Now, Farhan is struggling to keep his farm afloat after Saudi airstrikes targeted his fields, burning his crops and rendering the soil so toxic that it’s no longer able to sustain life. Saudi Arabia’s now nearly five-year-old project in Yemen has decimated the incomes of Farhan and most other Yemeni farmers. Fuel is hard to come by thanks to a Saudi-led coalition blockade and the fuel that is available has become prohibitively expensive. Airstrikes targeting farm fields and orchards have rendered large swaths of Yemen’s arable land too toxic to use.
As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe? Karl Grossman, space expert and professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, joins Brian and John.
Interview with Karl Grossman this week about the secret U.S. Air Force “space plane,” the X-37b, just landing after 780 days in space, and NATO expected to next month declare space a “war-fighting domain,” and the Trump push for a Space Force — all despite, as I emphasize, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 setting space aside for “peaceful purposes.”
But the USA, China and Russia seem to be engaged in a race to have or gain the upper hand in space too. This must stop.
First, a little background: atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have been rising significantly since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In May, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported an average monthly level of carbon dioxide above 415 ppm, the highest concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in millions of years (I,II). This accumulation represents an additional 135 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, which equates to one trillion tons* of carbon dioxide, or one teraton (III).**
To avoid the harshest effects of these additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we must reduce current emissions – but even that will not be enough.
Trophy hunting: A new front opens in the War of Words
By Andreas Wilson-Späth - DM - 31 October 2019
The trophy hunting lobby and its ideological hangers-on will do whatever they can to defend the right of members to shoot wild animals and display their stuffed carcasses.
Using the pages of one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, a group of authors have recently suggested that trophy hunting in Africa, while perhaps repugnant, is a necessary evil without which wildlife conversation efforts are doomed.
Their claims are flawed, poorly substantiated and dangerous. Most tellingly, their credibility is diminished by their association with the international hunting lobby itself.