Small but not forgotten: Gibbons need more attention (commentary)

first_imgGibbons are frequently misidentified as monkeys, and few people are familiar with the taxonomic diversity represented by this primate family.With the inclusion of the recently discovered Skywalker hoolock, there are now 17 recognized species of gibbon, and all but one of them are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN Redlist.By failing to recognize the broad diversity within the gibbon family, policy makers and local stakeholders may underestimate the threat to individual species.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay. At the beginning of this year, Fan and colleagues captured the attention of the media when they described a new species of gibbon that they named the Skywalker hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing), a native of the Gaoligong Mountains in Southeast Asia. The announcement was picked up by news outlets worldwide and even garnered a tweet from Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films.Yet despite the flurry of attention, gibbons are still very much misunderstood. They are frequently misidentified as monkeys, and few people are familiar with the taxonomic diversity represented by this primate family. This situation needs to change if we hope to save these remarkable small apes from extinction.In an effort to improve awareness of gibbons, we recently published a comment in the American Journal of Primatology with the succinct title “Overlooked small apes need more attention!” In our commentary, we briefly review the perilous position of the small apes by highlighting population declines and loss of habitat. With the inclusion of the Skywalker hoolock, there are now 17 recognized species of gibbon, and all but one of them are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.Bornean white-bearded gibbon (Hylobates albibarbis). Photo by Bernat Ripoll.A juvenile female Lar gibbon (Hylobates lar). Photo by Kulpat Saralamba.The generally less well-studied species of the genus Nomascus (crested gibbons) tend to be at greatest risk, but all species are suffering from loss of habitat. On average, each species lost 11 percent of its potential habitat from 2000 to 2014. In fact, the rate of habitat loss tends to be most severe for better-studied species, which were once thought to be out of harm’s way. For example, we estimate forest habitat loss for three species (siamang, agile, and pileated gibbons) to be 20 percent or more since the year 2000 (Figure 1a, below).Threats to gibbons are by no means unique. In fact, a recent landmark paper, Estrada et al. (2017), warns of a major extinction event that threatens the loss of half of all primate species.Nevertheless, as gibbon researchers we have long been troubled by the lack of conservation and research interest paid to gibbons. Research on the small apes lags well behind many other primate groups, particularly the great apes (Figure 1d). Based on publications listed in the Web of Science, research on great apes outpaces small ape research by an order of magnitude. In this case, the old moniker “lesser apes” certainly holds true. This has important implications for gibbon conservation.Click for larger view. Image via Fan et al. (2017) doi:10.1002/ajp.22631.An adult female Pileated gibbon (Hylobates pileatus). Photo by Kulpat Saralamba.By failing to recognize the broad diversity within the gibbon family, policy makers and local stakeholders may underestimate the threat to individual species. But this is also a missed opportunity to study important, and in some cases cutting-edge, questions about the pattern of evolutionary change across closely related species.The goal of our commentary was not to redirect resources away from other threatened species, but, rather, to alert governments and policymakers in countries where gibbons are found — countries like China, Malaysia, and Indonesia — to the critical threats facing these charismatic apes. Chief among these is habitat loss, but hunting and the pet trade also contribute to the continuing decline.Stakeholders throughout the gibbon range and worldwide must work together to slow, and ideally reverse, this alarming trend.An adult female Eastern hoolock gibbon (Hoolock leuconedys). Photo by Fan Pengfei.CITATIONSEstrada, A., Garber, P. A., Rylands, A. B., Roos, C., Fernandez-Duque, E., Di Fiore, A., … & Li, B. (2017). Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances, 3, e1600946. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600946Fan P-F, He K, Chen X, Ortiz A, Zhang B, Zhao C, Li Y-Q, Zhang H-B, Kimock C, Wang W-Z, Groves C, Turvey ST, Roos C, Helgen KM, & Jiang X-L. (2017). Description of a new species of Hoolock gibbon (Primates: Hylobatidae) based on integrative taxonomy. American Journal of Primatology. 2016; 9999:e22631. doi:10.1002/ajp.22631Fan, P. & Bartlett, T.Q. (2017). Overlooked small apes need more attention!. American Journal of Primatology e22658. doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22658IUCN. (2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at www.iucnredlist.orgAuthors: Thad Q. Bartlett, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Pengfei Fan, Sun Yat-Sen University.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. Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Commentary, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Editorials, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Habitat Loss, Hunting, Mammals, Pet Trade, Primates, Researcher Perspective Series, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_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

New highway brings deforestation near two Colombian national parks

first_imgBiodiversity, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Loss, Forests, Habitat Loss, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Infrastructure, National Parks, Primary Forests, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Roads, Tropical Forests, Wildlife 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 The Marginal de la Selva is a $1 billion dollar highway project would connect Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador without having to enter the Andes mountains.The unfinished section that would complete the project cuts through a natural corridor between two national parks, which both contain exceptionally high levels of biodiversity — even by Colombia’s standards.Forest loss in the sensitive ecological area has shot up in anticipation of the highway and as illegal armed groups promote deforestation in the region.Critics say institutions lack territorial control in the area and are unable to coordinate effectively to ensure environmental laws are enforced. Planned since the 1950s, the Marginal de la Selva is a $1 billion highway project that would create a paved land passage through the Andean foothills in Colombia’s Amazon region. The highway, when complete, would allow land cargo to cross South America from the Atlantic to the Pacific without having to enter the Andes Mountains, opening an enticing trade route from Venezuela to Ecuador through Colombia.While the majority of the road project has been completed, there is still one particularly sensitive stretch that has yet to be finished: a section that passes between two of the country’s national parks. As expectations for the road project rise, rates of deforestation have soared and the zone is now one of eight “deforestation hotspots” in Colombia, giving rise to concerns about the project’s possible impacts on the parks.Treasure trove of biodiversityColombia is the world’s second-most biodiverse country after Brazil. In particular, the foothills of the Colombian Andes and the nearby transition zone between the Amazon and the eastern plains regions known as the Amazonian piedmont — where the Marginal de la Selva is being routed —contains exceptionally high levels of biodiversity even for Colombia, according to the country’s national parks authority.To the south of the projected highway, Chiribiquete Natural National Park, which is nearly the size of Belgium, is the largest protected area in the Amazon. Known for its unusual elevated rock formations and ancient indigenous art dated to 18,000 BC, the park is also rich in biodiversity, housing 41 species of reptiles, 49 amphibians, 145 birds and at least 13 threatened mammals, as well as four indigenous groups that are believed to remain in isolation.Marginal de la Selva region between San Jose del Guaviare and la Macarena. Credit: FCDSEven closer to the planned highway, across the Guayabero River, sits Serrania de la Macarena National Park, which protects an independent mountain range that connects three of Colombia’s five regions: the Amazon, the Andes and the eastern plains.La Macarena National Park is also home to the Caño Cristales River, one of the most famed water bodies on the planet. Known as the “river of five colors,” the Caño Cristales is home to a unique species of plant called Macarenia clavigera that for a few weeks per year explodes into a living rainbow of gold, olive green, blue, black and red that contrasts vividly below the water’s crystal surface.Caño Cristales. Photo by Mario Carvajal via Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)Despite the region’s level of biodiversity, it has never been comprehensively surveyed. Andrew Crawford, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at University of the Andes, told Mongabay that researchers are only now starting to conduct studies and collect specimens.“Researchers are just now finally arriving to study the migratory and endemic species found near the Macarena National Park,” said Crawford, who explained that years of civil conflict and guerrilla activity had kept scientists at bay.However, Crawford said that the improvements in security conditions that are attracting scientists are also bringing the road development: “it’s a race between biologists and development to see who’s going to get there first.”In September 2016, Edersson Cabrera, the director Colombia’s meteorological institute IDEAM, told local newspaper El Tiempo that he had satellite imagery demonstrating that the forest corridor connecting la Macarena to the Amazon and Chiribiquete is disappearing at an alarming rate, with only 2.6 kilometers of direct connection remaining.Deforestation along the illegal roadway. Photo courtesy of CDA“Fauna and flora populations pass through these forests. Right now, there is only one direct connection because the rest of the Amazonian piedmont was lost years ago,” Cabrera told el Tiempo.And he cautioned that even that last connection fragment may be disappearing.“The only connection remaining is the area of the Marginal de la Selva, in San Jose del Guaviare municipality, but it has been disappearing,” Cabrera said. “Only a 2.6km area of forest is left directly connecting the Amazon and the Andes, but it’s possible that space has been reduced over the course of the year.”The road will run between Sierra de la Macarena and Serrania de ChiribiqueteNational Parks. Data from forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch show the path of the road will be near an intact forest landscape, which is an area of original land cover undisturbed and large enough to retain its native biodiversity levels.One of the species threatened by the road development is the jaguar, which needs large tracts of land and strong connections between populations. Cabrera told Mongabay Latin America that the deforestation in the Marginal de la Selva region “is a threat for the movement of species such as the jaguar, due to the fragmentation of the lower Colombian Andes and their connection with the Amazon.”Part of a larger pro-development visionThe Marginal de la Selva highway is part of President Juan Manuel Santos’ Master Intermodal Transport Plan. A major feature of Colombia’s post-conflict plan to integrate remote regions of the country into the national economy, the plan has a cost of approximately $3.5 billion per year, or 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP in 2015.With the country set on improving its agricultural economy, one of the main goals of the national transportation plan is to allow semi-trucks to travel 37 miles per hour in the mountains and 50 miles per hour on flat land like the Marginal de la Selva, according to national road agency INVIAS.INVIAS told Mongabay that the final phase of Marginal de la Selva project is still in the “studies and design” stage.This final stretch of the road will cost around $100 million, of which $66 million is earmarked for bridges and 72 kilometers of pavement.In a press statement, the agency said the road “will benefit first and foremost rural producers including projects such as industrial agriculture, petroleum, trade and social development.”More deforestation near national parks expectedEnvironmentalist and sustainability expert Rodrigo Botero has been working for the past five years with his non-profit organization FCDS in the region between the town of Macarena and San Jose del Guavaire where the Marginal de la Selva highway is planned.Botero explained that while informal roads built by farmers have existed in the area for decades, the local Guaviare department has recently been undertaking “small bridge and drainage projects” in the area as part of its regional development plan. The projects have caused “deforestation to shoot up exponentially,” Botero said.Alerted to the deforestation in this migratory corridor by IDEAM’s satellite imagery, environmental government agency Corporation for Sustainable Development of the North-East Amazon (CDA) has ordered local construction on the road to be ceased until an environmental license is issued for the Marginal de la Selva highway project.Deforestation is common in the region. Photo courtesy of CDACDA Director César Meléndez claimed that illegal armed groups are behind the increased deforestation in region.“There are armed actors who are putting pressure on the local rural farmers to destroy the forest,” Meléndez said. “We don’t know what their economic motives are exactly, but they have burned and cleared two thousand hectares already.”Melendez said that the deforestation in expanding into Serrania de la Macarena National Park and there are new illegal roads being built toward Chiribiquete where armed groups – including a FARC dissident group that is still active – are increasing coca cultivation pressure in the region.Lacking institutional presenceBefore closing down the road construction in March, CDA officials said they tried to set up a dialogue with residents of the local hamlet of Cachicamo to discuss the deforestation in the area.  According to Wilfredo Pachón, local CDA Director in San Jose de Guaviare, the community reaction “was pretty bad.”“They wouldn’t let us talk at all during the meeting, and since then we haven’t been able to return,” Pachón said. “We identified actors from the armed group who were organizing the response at the meeting.”CDA Director Melendez said that the agency is working with INVIAS and the National Environmental Licensing Authority to develop a highway that would still allow biological connectivity between la Macarena and Chiribiquete.However, Colombia’s armed forces and police across the country have been ineffective in moving into territory formerly controlled by FARC rebels, and the Marginal de la Selva area is still not under the control of state authorities. As such, illegal armed groups are still exercising significant control, making it impossible for state institutions to coordinate and ensure environmental laws are followed.Botero and FCDS are working with rural farmers in the communities around Marginal de la Selva to build environmental consciousness through conservation studies, reforestation programs, seed collection and eco-tourism pilot projects. However, he is still concerned that the minimum institutional standards necessary to ensure sustainable development of the highway are not yet being met.“As the situation stands today, the state institutions in the area are totally unprepared for the impacts that this project could bring,” Botero said. “In the case that the state cannot provide territorial control, it is better that it stays as a undeveloped network for rural farmers.”Banner photo: Amazonian Piedmont region in rural region of Florencia, Caqueta, buy Antanas Jurksaitis.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.center_img Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davislast_img read more

Troubled firm aims to mine Madagascar forest for rare earth elements

first_imgA Singaporean company called ISR Capital is working to develop a rare earth mine on Madagascar’s highly biodiverse Ampasindava peninsula. The company faces an investigation by financial regulators and turnover among its top executives.The mining of rare earth elements needed for cell phones and many other modern devices can have severe environmental and health impacts. This would be the first such mine in Madagascar.The Ampasindava peninsula is home to a number of threatened lemur species that could be further imperiled if the mining project goes forward, scientists warn. Local farmers and tourism operators oppose the project, fearing it could contaminate land and water. AMPASINDAVA PENINSULA, Madagascar — Solondraza, a 63-year-old farmer in northwestern Madagascar, has led a mostly conflict-free life. He and his wife live in a small house made of ravinala, a type of palm tree that fans out across the hilly landscape. They earn a living on cash crops like vanilla and cacao that grow well in the tropical environs, and this has allowed them to support their 18 children and 54 grandchildren, most of whom still live in and around their village of Befitina.But in recent years Solondraza has become something of an activist, organizing meetings and rallying neighbors. He wants to stop a foreign-owned company, Tantalum Rare Earth Malagasy (TREM), from mining his land for rare earth elements.“Our ancestors survived here by living off of the land,” Solondraza said. “If TREM comes here to destroy that harmony, I fear for my children’s future. We do not want TREM and we do not need them.”Solondraza inspects vanilla plants near his home. Coffee beans are on the trees just behind the vanilla. Cash crops such as these are the main livelihood for Ampasindava families. Photo by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Befitina is part of TREM’s 115-square mile (300-square kilometer) concession on the Ampasindava peninsula, a highly biodiverse area jutting out into the Mozambique Channel, several hundred miles east of the coast of mainland Africa. Ampasindava is home to a number of threatened lemur species that could be further imperiled if the mining project goes forward, scientists warn. The peninsula is also just across the water from the island of Nosy Be, Madagascar’s main tourist destination, where business owners worry that mining pollution could turn visitors away. Rare earth mining can have severe environmental and health impacts, research from China shows.TREM’s explorations show Ampasindava to be rich in the valuable rare earth elements needed in electric motors, computer parts, cell phones, and many other modern devices. The company managing the project has touted the “exceptionally promising” findings in Ampasindava, and the concession has twice been appraised at over $1 billion. (However, financial regulators rejected the appraisal methods and a third appraisal is now underway. This week, ISR Capital indicated that the upcoming appraisal would be much lower.) It is an ionic clay deposit, which are valuable for having rare earth elements that are relatively easy to mine and process. Only a few such deposits have been discovered outside of China, and the one in Ampasindava is considered especially large.Maps show Madagascar’s Ampasindava peninsula, with its marine protected area (blue writing), terrestrial protected area (green writing), and TREM rare earth mining concession (red writing). Background map courtesy of Google Maps; Ampasindava peninsula map by Association Famelona.Directly beside TREM’s concession is a protected area that covers the rest of the Ampasindava peninsula. The area was granted protected status in 2015, but only after TREM successfully lobbied to reduce its size, in order to safeguard the boundaries of the concession.In early 2015, two high-level government officials were flown into Ampasindava on a TREM-chartered helicopter, according to several people affiliated with Missouri Botanical Garden in Madagascar, which manages the protected area. A few months later, in July 2015, Madagascar’s government decided that the Ambongomirahavavy mountain area, which is the source of 80 percent of the peninsula’s water and had been slated for inclusion in the protected area, would remain part of TREM’s concession.“The government’s position was clear — they were pro-mining,” a Malagasy botanist involved with the negotiations told Mongabay. “Their interest in the environment was zero.”TREM viewed the negotiations differently. “I do not have precise information on how the negotiations went but TREM obviously was interested in the end results and it would be logical that TREM lobbied for a limited area to be protected in its concession,” Markus Kivimäki, the CEO of Tantalus Rare Earths AG (TRE AG), TREM’s longtime parent company in Germany, wrote in an email to Mongabay.last_img read more

Brazil / UK push offshore oil pact, a potential climate change disaster

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer 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 This month, as Brazil ratified the Paris Agreement, President Michel Temer and the Congress pressed forward with Provisional Measure 795, which must be approved by Friday or it will expire. PM 795 would offer billions in tax breaks to transnational oil companies seeking to tap into Brazil’s 176 billion barrel offshore oil reserve.In November, Britain reaffirmed its Paris Climate Agreement commitments, but diplomatic telegrams released by Greenpeace show the UK was in clandestine talks with Brazil in 2017 to smooth the way for offshore drilling, massive tax incentives and relaxation of environmental licenses for transnational oil and gas companies, including British Petroleum (BP).Brazil has also announced major auctions for oil and gas exploration blocks in its offshore pre-salt region. Ten rounds of bids have been authorized to occur between 2017 and 2019. The September and October auctions counted BP, Shell, Exxon, and Brazil’s Petrobras among the big winners.Exploitation of Brazil’s offshore oil reserves could release 74.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, compromising the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. UPDATE: Late on Dec. 13 Brazil’s House passed PM 795 in its original form. Now the bill goes to Pres. Temer. Court challenges may follow. Exploitation of the pre-salt layer off the coast of Brazil could result in the burning of a carbon reserve equivalent to the release of 74.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially compromising the Paris Agreement goal to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Photo by nate2b on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-NDOpposing forces within the Temer administration are engaged in a tug-of-war over Brazil’s dire need to slash greenhouse gas emissions, and its desire to unleash an orgy of deep water drilling off the country’s coast to hugely profit transnational oil companies.Similar is Great Britain’s divided mind, which at the COP23 Climate Summit last month recommitted to its carbon reduction goals, while plotting a deal to help BP, Shell and other firms drill for 176 billion barrels of Brazilian crude.Pulling in one direction is Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment which says it is standing firm against fossil fuel exploration expansion – the ministry, through its communications office, told Mongabay that it is working to fulfill Brazilian carbon cut commitments made under the Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Brazil on 12 December.Pulling forcefully in the opposite direction is Brazil’s Presidency of the Republic, with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). Both are working aggressively for approval of Provisional Measure (PM) 795/2017 that provides gigantic tax exemption to foreign oil companies operating in deep water offshore in what is known as the pre-salt layer of sedimentary rock on the ocean floor.Driving these huge tax giveaways was clandestine lobbying by the UK government on behalf of the big oil firms.Brazilian Environment Minister José Sarney Filho (left) and Minister of Mines and Energy Fernando Coelho Filho at a press conference announcing the end of protections for the RENCA reserve in the Amazon, and its opening to mining (a presidential decree first made by President Temer, then rejected by him after a wave of public outrage). Photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / Agência BrasilThe art of the dealOn 29 November, Brazil’s House of Deputies approved PM 795 by a 208 to 184 vote. The bill moved on to the Senate, which on 12 December approved it by 27 votes to 20. But that’s not the end of it: The text of the bill was altered in the Senate and so must go back to the Chamber of Deputies for another vote, which needs to act by this Friday, 15 December, or the legislation loses its validity and expires.Under the original House and Senate bills, PM 795 provides huge tax breaks as incentives for offshore drilling. It eliminates for an indefinite period a government requirement for transnational oil companies to pay a social contribution on their net profits and income federal tax. The bill, if passed this week, would suspend the payment of import taxes and a tax on industrialized products. The corporate tax waiver would cost Brazil – an economically stressed nation in dire need of revenue – R$ 40 billion (about US$ 13 billion) per year, or R$ 1 trillion (US$ 300 billion) over 25 years, according to a congressional technical study.However, under strong opposition pressure, Senator Romero Jucá presented an amendment on Tuesday reversing a portion of the text as approved by the House of Deputies that was in conflict with Brazil’s Annual Budget Law (LOA). The House deputies had originally established that the suspension of taxes would occur until 2040. But the Budget Law only allows incentives of up to five years, or until 2022, which is what led to the adjustment in PM 795 and its return for a second vote to the House.This still didn’t eliminate Senate opposition: “This provisional measure is the official theft of national public money,” protested senator Lindbergh Farias.Daily oil output at the pre-salt layer soared from approximately 41,000 barrels per day in 2010, to 1 million barrels per day in mid-2016, a nearly 24-fold increase, with more rapid expansion expected if PM 795 is approved. The pre-salt area encompasses 149,000 square kilometers (57,529 square miles) of ocean, an area nearly three and a half times the size of Rio de Janeiro state.Contacted by Mongabay, the Civil House of the Presidency’s communications office referred questions concerning PM 795 to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The MME, in turn, referred questions about oil exploration in the pre-salt layer to the Ministry of the Environment. And the Ministry of the Environment, as already mentioned maintained its commitment to the Paris Agreement.Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho during the October 2017 pre-salt block oil and gas auction in Rio de Janeiro. Credit Tomaz Silva / Agência BrasilBrazil’s split petro-personalityWritten by the Ministry of Finance, PM 795 was published in the Union Official Gazette last August, the same month in which the Presidency issued Decree 9.128/2017, which temporarily extended from 2020 to 2040 the suspension of federal taxes on imports of equipment for exploration and production of oil and gas deposits.But even as some sectors of the Temer government hurried to create fiscal incentives for fossil fuel exploration, the Ministry of the Environment – which would need to monitor a rapid expansion in offshore deep water drilling, and clean up spills – faced a 2018 budget cut of more than 50 percent. Meanwhile, Environmental Minister José Sarney Filho is expected to leave the government in order to run for office In Brazil’s October elections.“The Temer government has not even considered investing [significantly] in renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. In fact, it fears that oil will no longer be exploited and get replaced,” by other alternative energy sources, said Márcio Astrini, coordinator of public policies at Greenpeace Brazil.British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion on April 20, 2010 off the Louisiana coast. British Petroleum (BP) is one of the big winners in bids for Brazilian deep water oil development. Photo by Deepwater Horizon Response on Visual hunt / CC BY-NDIn early 2015, the NGO joined with federal deputy Arnaldo Jordy in presenting a bill that would have suspended payments of import tariffs for imported solar panels. “We consulted the Ministry of Finance, which showed great concern. They said the exemption would bring a ‘monstrous impact’ and would break the Severance Indemnity Guarantee Fund (FGTS) [designated to support Brazilian workers],” recalled Astrini. But according to bill supporters, individuals could use part of their FGTS to purchase solar equipment for their homes.Meanwhile, PM 795 has a very good chance of passage by Friday in light of a resumption of major auctions for oil and gas exploration blocks in the offshore pre-salt region. Ten rounds of bids have been authorized to occur between 2017 and 2019. This year, the auctions held in September and October raised, respectively, R$ 3.84 billion (about US$ 1.28 billion) and R$ 6.15 billion (US$ 2.05 billion), money that will be used to reduce the country’s 2017 fiscal deficit.The country’s September oil auction saw a consortium made up of Brazil’s Petrobras and Exxon Mobil as the big winners. In October, Shell, British Petroleum (BP) and Exxon Mobil ranked among the biggest winners of the two oil and gas block auctions.Brazilian minister Wellington Moreira Franco, head of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, was exultant: “We had an extremely important day for the Brazilian economy. It represents the importance of the [oil] sector recovery, which accounts for 13 percent of the [nation’s] GDP. ”UK Minister of the Department for International Trade Greg Hands in March, 2017: “With Brazil’s Energy & Mines Minister Paulo Pedrosa [left] at our UK Energy Showcase, outlining UK capability in offshore, decommissioning & more!” Photo by Greg Hands on flickr, https://twitter.com/greghandsBrazil betrays Paris with a little help from the UKBrazil’s drive to drill – with the PM 795 push, and the new pre-salt auctions – wasn’t born out of nothing. It apparently arose out of clandestine lobbying by the United Kingdom on behalf of transnational oil companies, Greenpeace revealed on 19 November.The NGO reported that Greg Hands, the UK Minister of the Department for International Trade, traveled to Brazil last March to smooth the path within the Temer administration for BP, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Premier Oil to secure oil blocks in the country’s pre-salt auctions, and be “direct beneficiaries of the changes” in the national oil exploration environmental rules and tax code.According to an official diplomatic telegram released by Greenpeace, the UK trade minister met with Paulo Pedrosa, Brazilian deputy minister of Mines and Energy, to talk about the concerns of the British oil companies regarding “environmental licensing and taxes.” Pedrosa, for his part, confirmed that the Brazilian Mining Ministry was already interceding in favor of the oil companies.A portion of the a diplomatic telegram released by Greenpeace providing a window into the Brazil / Great Britain oil deal which will benefit BP, Shell, Premier and other oil companies with billions in Brazilian tax breaks, while completely disregarding climate change concerns. Image courtesy of GreenpeaceThe news of this clandestine UK/Brazil oil drilling deal surfaced just two days after the end of the COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany.At the event, UK Climate Change Minister Claire Perry stated that the British government intends to go “further and faster” on cutting carbon emissions, and called on countries to move towards a “low carbon, sustainable economy.”Brazil’s Temer likewise claimed to be on track to meet Paris Agreement goals – a claim that seems to run counter of Brazil’s nearly 10 percent annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions last year, and its continued commitment to agribusiness and mining expansions which seem poised to cause major Amazon and Cerrado deforestation.“The episode is shameful for both Brazil and the UK,” said Astrini, of Greenpeace. “While diplomats were negotiating the terms of the climate agreement at the conference, the reality is that other Brazilians and British representatives were discussing how to get fossil fuels from the ocean’s pre-salt area.”Something similar happened with Temer’s attempt to open the vast National Copper and Associated Reserve (RENCA) to mining, said Astrini. In March, five months prior to the president’s decree opening RENCA, (an order put on hold by Temer days later due to public outcry), Minister of Mines and Energy Fernando Coelho Filho met with Canadian mining executives, informed them that RENCA reserve protections would soon be abolished, and invited the firms to participate in a mining concession auction.“In the case of PM 795, its publication [by the Temer government] took place five months after the UK minister negotiated with the Brazilian government,” explained the Greenpeace coordinator.First images of the Amazon coral reef taken from a submarine launched from the MY Esperanza. This Greenpeace ship was then sailing near the Amazon River mouth, Amapá State, for the “Defend the Amazon Reef campaign. Photo by GreenpeaceA coral reef and the global climate put at riskEnvironmentalists noted that the Brazil / UK deep water drilling scheme is being forwarded at the same time a vast new environmental treasure requires protection. Drilling could put at risk the coral reef discovered last year at the mouth of the Amazon River, stretching from Amapá to Maranhão states and covering approximately 9,500 square kilometers (nearly 3,700 square miles). In 2013, BP and Total obtained blocks for oil exploration next to the then unknown reef, though the companies have yet to receive a drilling license from IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency.The mouth of the Amazon River includes seven oil exploration blocks. The closest to the coral reef belongs to France’s Total, a five-block concession held in consortium with BP and Petrobras. At the end of August, IBAMA demanded that Total provide further clarification to document how it would avoid environmental impacts in the region in case of oil spills. Past studies presented by the company were considered insufficient.In addition to the potential destruction of the coral reef and other marine ecosystems, exploitation of the pre-salt layer would result in the burning of a carbon reserve equivalent to the release of 74.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially compromising the Paris goal to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).O Globo newspaper columnist Ricardo Noblat referred to the PM 795 as “a crime against Brazil.” Considering the carbon emissions that could arise due to this provisional measure, it could also be called a crime against humanity, according to experts.Offshore oil rigs. Daily oil output at the pre-salt layer soared from approximately 41,000 barrels per day in 2010, to 1 million barrels per day in mid-2016, a nearly 24-fold increase, with more rapid expansion expected if PM 795 is approved and more oil and gas blocks are opened for exploration. The pre-salt area encompasses 149,000 square kilometers (57,529 square miles) of ocean, an area nearly three and a half times the size of Rio de Janeiro state. Photo by puliarf on Visualhunt / CC BYThe climate change “question is hardly [ever] brought to the public [attention]. What predominates is the economy speech, the generation of jobs, but this operating mode can no longer be [tolerated] in the 21st century,” said Alexandre Araújo Costa, professor of applied climatology at the State University of Ceará.Our governments “are doing exactly the opposite of what should be done if we want to have a chance of a future. We must keep the reserves of oil, gas and coal under the ground,” he said. “The big problem, in fact, is that national governments are puppets that kneel to [the fossil fuel] corporations, or worse, are direct agents of their interests. And if we depend on the fossil fuel industry, they will burn [without pause] to the last drop of oil on Earth.”UPDATE: Late Wednesday, 13 December, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved the original PM 795 without amendment 206 to 193. The legislation now goes to President Temer for signature. The bill, as passed, ignored Senate legal concerns that PM 795 disregarded a Brazilian law that limits incentives to five years (which would have ended oil company tax breaks in 2022), and instead extends the incentives to 2040. Opponents say there are now grounds for an appeal to the courts. According to Observatório do Clima (Climate Observatory), there is sufficient oil in the pre-salt layer to release enough carbon to exceed Paris Agreement targets.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.UK Minister of the Department for International Trade Greg Hands in March, 2017: “About to open our Oil & Gas showcase in Rio, with key players from Shell, BP and Premier Oil. There’s 40bn barrels just off the coast here!” Photo by Greg Hands on flickr, https://twitter.com/greghandscenter_img Amazon Destruction, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change, Climate Change And Coral Reefs, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, Controversial, Coral Reefs, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corporate Responsibility, Energy, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Global Environmental Crisis, Global Warming, Green, Impact Of Climate Change, Infrastructure, Oceans, Oceans And Climate Change, Oil, Oil Drilling, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon last_img read more

Modern ways…

first_img…in school disciplineith our little darlings about to return to school (and out of our hair) our Education Ministers (there’s two of them) huddled with “stakeholders” in a parley designed to improve the “deliverables” with the largest chunk of spending in the budget – $43 billion! The kids and their parents weren’t invited to the discussions so one can assume they’re either not “stakeholders” or this was above their pay grade.Anyhow, your Eyewitness was particularly interested in the Senior Minister – Dr Roopnarine – explaining that the new focus in the schools will be on extracurricular activities – sports, physical education and music – and “discipline”. Evidently the Welfare Department will be strengthened to impart “modern means of carrying out discipline in schools”. Even though he thought our challenge were “Maths and English”, your Eyewitness will pass over the extracurricular activities for now. He must confess he experiences a certain frisson whenever he sees the word “discipline” and “children” in the same sentence.Your Eyewitness, you see dear reader, is a product of the fag end of the “spare the rod and spoil the child” philosophy in pedagogy. And he can assure you that the rod – the “wild cane, in his instance – was scarcely spared! He suspects the Senior Education Minister (SEM) – who appears to be QUITE senior – must’ve come through the education system when it wasn’t too far removed from the penal system. Both were intended to literally whip the inmates into (an obedient) state! No “education as socialisation” namby-pamby for the SEM!So we’re rather intrigued by his proposed “modern means” of instilling discipline. Maybe he has the US experience – of which he has a first-hand immersion – in mind? But he would know – after the permissive seventies when the Americans encouraged their little darlings to “be themselves”, they were discovered to actually be little devils!! Metal detectors for knives and dogs for drugs became standard school paraphernalia.So the Americans are now gravitating to the “zero tolerance” approach: strict rules of behaviour are made very clear and after three strikes, the miscreant kid’s out like Flash! But the SEM doesn’t have to go all the way to the States to see Zero Tolerance in operation. He should just mosey over to the Swami school over on the West Coast – the one’s that’s been giving Queens College a run for its money.But the SEM should know the key to “Zero Tolerance” on discipline is the kids must practically be guaranteed success at their exams. This way, most parents line up to enrol their little darlings and ensure they stick to the straight and narrow.So, we’re back to the teachers, no?…on returnsMost folks today wouldn’t remember, but there was a time when all Guyanese “recycled”: not just their soda (“sweet drinks”?) bottles, but also rum bottles – which at that time outnumbered the former! The recycling drive didn’t come from any government pushing “environmentalism”, but from the mundane fact that it was cheaper for the “beverage industry” to pay folks to return the glass bottles than buying new ones!With the advent of plastic bottles, these cost so little, it wasn’t worth the while for manufacturers to purchase empties. And pretty soon, this practice resulted in the non-biodegradable plastic bottles polluting the environment as it presently does – including clogging canals! But in the US, they solved the problem by mandating a 5 cents consumer deposit on beverages bottles that can be redeemed when the bottle is redeemed.With the slogan “Don’t trash ‘em – cash ‘em!” their environmental problem is solved. But not ours where a tax was just introduced as a revenue raising measure on the manufacturer.Expect the same pollution and the tax to be passed on to the customer!…of thievingIn the past, fellas would resort to “choke and rob” when they were short of dough.The latest (electric contract) scandal with the Public Infrastructure Ministry is just the modern version of “choke and rob”.last_img read more

“Year of Result-based Management” programme presented in Region 10

first_img…to focus on agriculture, health, education, youthWith a clearly defined programme established, 2017 has been declared the “YearRegion 10 Chairman Renis Morianof Result-based Management” for Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) by its Chairman Renis Morian. A document which outlines expectations from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in 2017, was handed over to Councillors during the hosting of a meeting of the Council late last week. Morian, in highlighting aspects of the document entitled “Year of Results-based Management,” explained that the key areas of focus include agriculture, health, education, youth, commemoration and works. An additional section is expected to be added to include women and local government. According to Morian, the document will serve as a powerful guide as to where the Council intends to go in 2017. At the end of each month, he noted that Councillors should be able to measure and assess what was accomplished, as well as focus more on the categories in which they are placed.AgricultureIn the area of agriculture, the document charges the Council to execute a major project in 2017, write proposals for funding, organise monthly meetings with farmers and to pursue results. Additionally, there are plans to engage youths in agricultural activities by promoting agriculture in schools, establish a working linkage with the Agriculture Ministry, the National Agricultural and Research Extension Institute (NAREI), the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Linden Agriculture Office, as well as to monitor flooding, among other areas.Republic Avenue, Linden“The Agriculture Committee, your plans got to be to meet the farmers… The objection is to improve production, because of the fact that we bring into Region 10 about 70 per cent of our agriculture foods. We need a working linkage now with the people who make agriculture happen… We need a synergy with the people who have the materials,” Morian said.HealthMonitoring the availability of drugs at health posts in the pegion is listed as one of the top priorities, in addition to working towards improving conditions where medical professionals operate.“All through the year there have been complaints, but we got to move now from complaints and come up with solutions. Coming here and complain wouldn’t solve the problem… We got to be solution oriented for 2017,” Morian told members of the Council.Other areas for Councillors to follow which are included in the document are to see the establishment of First Aid kits in the RDC and schools, and to be visible at major activities in the form of a standby health team in collaboration with the Regional Health Committee.EducationThe area of education has been one of the most talked about categories between Councillors over the past year, with numerous issues being brought to the fore. The document outlines plans to work with the Education Department for the upgrading of schools and compounds, establish working relationship with school Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and to monitor education delivery in the region.“We’ve talked a lot in 2016 and I don’t want a talk shop… this has been a sore point for us. We want to see school compounds look better,” Morian stated, while urging the Education Committee to work in collaboration with the Education Department. The Regional Chairman further stressed that there should be no substandard work in schools come this year, while he stated that the RDC will not be accepting Chinese-based products as part of schools infrastructure.YouthPlans for youths include delivery in the area of sports, education, an anti- drugs and alcohol programme, greening activities, developing of sport grounds and the establishment of a working relationship with sports groups in Linden.Meanwhile, the Works Department is expected to be the eyes and ears of the RDC as it relates to maintenance, repairs and building of bridges, roads, buildings and other structures, in addition to supporting the Departments of Education and Health in overseeing work done, support efforts and projects to clean school compounds and work with PTAs to better the physical conditions of schools. The document specifically states that the plans of the Council must have measurably indicators.last_img read more

Ferreira smashes course record as Snow settles for T2

first_img“What a way to start a tournament with such an inspiring score, I am chuffed,” he quipped of his record score.Ferreira dropped a solitary shot on the par 3-4th but bolstered his campaign with eight birdies on holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 17.He nevertheless had his day one campaign effectively sewn up with an eagle on the par 5- 15th.“It was a good day in the office today. I drove the ball solidly well and savored a couple of good putts. The game plan tomorrow is to hold my nerves and keep the ball in play,” said Ferreira who won Uganda Open two years ago.His fairy tale score in today/s round wasn’t his career best though. Three years ago, Ferreira carded an 11 under in the Zambian Open but still found his 10 under at the par 72 Karen Country Club course  quite heartening what with the course record.The best placed Kenyan is Greg Snow in joint second along with South African trio of Garrick Higgo , Neil Schietekat  and  Thabiso Ngcobo  on 5 under par 67.David Wakhu with a round of 3 under par 69 is the second best placed Kenyan professional after playing 36 in the front nine and 33 in the back nine. Despite dropping a shot on the par 4 ninth, Wakhu made up for a good day with four birdies on holes 3, 9, 12 and 18.“The course is much better than it was last year. Three under wasn’t that bad. The essence is to make the cut tomorrow (today) so let’s see how it goes,” said Wakhu.Five Kenyans CJ Wangai, Dismas Indiza, Justus Madoya, amateur Daniel Nduva and Jeff Kubwa are lying joint 24th on 2 under par 70.Wangai who hit a hole in one in the Pro-Am on Saturday  was left to rue his round on the opening day.“One of the players in our group was quite slow and this adversely affected my score. I am hoping to make amends on day two and indeed be in the money bracket. Two under isn’t that bad,” said Wangai.Wangai started off from the 10th tee and was 4 under after his first nine but dropped two shots on the par 5-3rd and par 4-4th to dip more than 10 places further below the leaderboard.The event enters its second round today. The top 70 players will make the cut tomorrow.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Greg Snow enjoys Banana on the course. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, June 28 – Portuguese Stephen Ferreira was over the moon upon setting a course record on the opening day of the 2019 KCB Karen Masters.His stunning record round of 10 under par 62 and a five shot lead going into day two made the Portuguese Sunshine Tour pro a star attraction.last_img read more

New registry implemented to protect temporary foreign workers

first_imgVICTORIA B.C. – B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains introduced the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act to protect the people that come to work in B.C. from other parts of the world.The province depends on workers to fill positions in agriculture, forestry and hospitality sectors as their presence in the workforce helps our province to have a stronger workforce and economy.Temporary foreign workers that are coming to B.C. from different areas of the world want to be confident that their rights are protected, and there are measures in place to prevent exploitation by abusive employers.- Advertisement -Under the legislation, the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act states recruiters of foreign workers must be licenced and registered with the province and if not will face significant penalties and possible jail time.The Protection Act will help keep employers and recruiters accountable in their practices and how they treat their employees as a problem that has been reported by foreign worker advocacy groups is that people they serve experience some form of exploitation.The Government is taking steps to protect these people by eliminating the opportunity for unfair treatment.Advertisement The registry will be a free service and easy to use.last_img read more

Pet owners drool over all-natural, biodegradable goods

first_imgThinking green these days? How about a solar doghouse for Fido? And while you’re browsing, what about some recycled pet tags and whole-wheat animal treats? As more ecoconscious consumers snap up Earth-friendly products for themselves, they’re also reaching for green items for their pets. From biodegradable doggie poop bags to ecofriendly cat toilet seats, an environmentally aware animal market – projected to soon top the $1 billion mark – is stocking up with natural and dye-free goods to sell. “It’s the overall awareness of consumers,” said Eduardo Martinez, economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for Fido.” Already, about 70 million pet owners in the United States spend more than $40 billion a year on their beloved animals – enough money to build about 23 space shuttles, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers’ Association. While natural and organic food and supplies for pets racked up barely 1 percent of that in 2004 – with $527 million in sales – Maryland- based market research firm Packaged Facts projects that to soar to $1 billion by 2009 as speciality stores and traditional chains tap Americans’ increasing social awareness. And there’s plenty of room for growth, with 63 percent of U.S. households owning at least one pet – 44 percent of them owning dogs and the rest cat lovers. Jillian Roller, manager of pet boutique Maxwell Dog, said green versions of doggie beds, collars, leashes and pet clothing often sell out at her high-end Studio City shop. Items for felines aren’t far behind, since Roller also carries organic kitty-litter box cleaners scented with essential lavender oil. “As people become more environmentally conscious, this is going to reflect on how they shop for their pets,” said Roller, who only stocks biodegradable poop bags and organic and natural dog food. Growing out of the environmental movement of the 1970s, the market for ecoconscious products is slowly moving out of its niche status, said Barbara Gross, a former retail marketing professor who is now an administrator at California State University, Northridge. “Along those same lines, the pet industry has also grown since people have found themselves in situations where they are not having children so their primary companions are their pets,” Gross added. “This seems like it should be a good match.” Still, some say more education is needed for pet owners. “We have sold the biodegradable poop bags for at least four years,” said Brad Edmonson, manager of Healthy Pet in Thousand Oaks. “But outside of that and all-natural dog food, I don’t get too many customers asking for these types of environmentally friendly products,” Edmonson said. Some dog owners say they would be open to buying more green products – if they knew where to find them. “I have made all the regular environment-friendly changes at home – the windows and energy-efficient appliances,” said Susan Odjakjian, a film editor from Woodland Hills and owner of Kirby, a cavalier King Charles spaniel mix. “And I would do the same for my dog products,” she added, “if I knew what I needed to get.” Eric Kelven and his mother, Lynn, said they can often be found at the Calabasas Open Air market on Saturday mornings buying ecofriendly and organic goodies for Dutch, their 13-month-old Labrador mastiff. The Kelvens are not new to the environmental movement – Lynn has been an activist for years, even producing films and cartoons promoting awareness. They say they would buy more environmentally friendly pet gear if they could find it. “There just isn’t enough marketing out there for these products unless I go out of my way,” Lynn Kelven said. Three years ago, Pam Wheelock started Purrfectplay.com – an online business based in Indiana that makes and sells pet toys from organic, dye-free and chemical- free natural fibers. Wheelock, a vegetarian, had always shopped around for toys for her cats that were free of plastics and coloring. Coming home empty-handed, she decided to make her own pet toys. Eventually, she quit her job as a rehab therapist and opened her business. Sales this year have jumped nearly 500 percent, Wheelock said. “I started making my own,” Wheelock said. “It sounds so cookbook, but it’s true.” Earlier pet-related organic businesses didn’t open to the same warm reception. David Colella got a lot of snickers 10 years ago when he opened Earth Dog – a Tennessee-based business that makes hemp collars, leashes, beds and toys for pets. Not anymore. Business has boomed. “The more mainstream it gets, the products will get a little cheaper,” Colella said. “And hopefully, everybody’s quality of life will get a little better, too.” sue.doyle@dailynews.com (818)713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Manchester United summer target ‘happy to stay at Southampton’

first_imgEngland defender Nathaniel Clyne says he is “happy to stay at Southampton”, despite reports of a big-money summer move to Manchester United.The 24-year-old right-back will be out of contract at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, and while recent reports claim talks over a new deal are currently at an impasse, club executive director Les Reed recently told talkSPORT the ‘signs look good’ Clyne will extend his stay at St Mary’s.Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at Sunderland, manager Ronald Koeman suggested the club wanted an answer one way or another, adding: “In football, if you go in the last season of your contract, we don’t like that.”Clyne, however, gave an interview to the Southampton Daily Echo in which the player suggested an immediate future away from St Mary’s is not currently in his thoughts.“I am enjoying my football for Southampton, playing week-in, week-out and it is an up-and-coming club, so, yeah, I am happy playing for Southampton and happy to stay at Southampton as well,” Clyne told the newspaper.“My agent is negotiating, so I will just leave it with my agent and I am just going to concentrate on playing my football.” 1 Southampton and England youngster Nathaniel Clyne last_img read more