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In Seattle, an Ongoing Effort to Save the Region’s Green Spaces – September 1, 2014

The Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust aims to find a happy balance between development and wildlands protection

Whenever I go back to Seattle after a long time away, I’m struck by how green it is. The streets are lined with trees; there are parks everywhere; and I can see snow-covered peaks to the west, the east, and the south.

Those green spaces – the urban, suburban, and nearby wilds – are important both for people and for wildlife, says Lyanda Lynn Haupt, a Seattle-based author, naturalist, and eco-philosopher. “A tree outside a hospital window – just one tree can speed healing from surgery. One tree outside of a Chicago housing project can increase the attention span and the study habits for a student that lives in that project,”… more

by: Eilís O'Neill

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Chile Finally Gets Tough on Mining Industry – March 26, 2014

New Environment Superintendent cracking down on domestic and foreign operations

Chile’s new office of the Environment Superintendent was only five months old when, last May, it took the country by surprise: It slammed the largest gold-mining company in the world, the Canada-based Barrick Gold Corporation, with a $16 million fine for water pollution and other environmental violations at its open-pit gold mine Pascua Lama. In response, Barrick Gold indefinitely suspended operations at the mine, which had cost $5 billion to construct. “Companies didn’t realize that the Superintendent was going to be so rigorous in its inspections,” says Ana Lya Uriarte, who was Chile’s environment minister when the law creating the Environment Superintendent was passed.

photo of an enormous… <a href=more

by: Eilís O'Neill

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Environmentalists in Uruguay Fight New Open-Pit Mining Law – November 12, 2013

Recent vote opens up South American country to large-scale mining

A new mining law in Uruguay has unleashed a debate in the South American country between those who say Uruguay could benefit economically from big mining projects and those who say the environmental and social costs are too high.

Lake formed by old open pit iron minePhoto by Mac ArmstrongA rainwater lake in a former open pit iron mine in Ontario. Pro-mining officials in Uruguay envision tourism to lakes like this, formed by abandoned mine pits, will bring in additional revenue as well as the return of the small-scale cattle ranchers who currently live in the country's ore-rich Valentines region. Uruguayan environmentalists see the… more

by: Eilís O'Neill

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Harvard’s Timber Plantation Causing Environmental and Social Havoc in Argentina – November 4, 2013

Local residents join with Harvard students to ask university to be a better neighbor

Timber plantations owned by Harvard University may be harming northern Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands and the communities in the wetlands region, according to a report recently published by the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition and the Oakland Institute. Emilio Spataro, the president of the NGO Guardians of the Iberá, first alerted the Responsible Investment Coalition to the environmental threat posed by the plantations. The pine trees “have transformed the region into a green desert,” Spataro says. “It’s green because there are trees, but there’s nothing else. Animals go through the plantations and find nothing to eat, so there are no animals. And there are no plants.”

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by: Eilís O'Neill

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The Fracking Debate Moves to Argentina – October 7, 2013

Industry and environmentalists are gearing up for a fight over the country’s energy future

Argentina has an energy problem. The country imports more than $10 billion of gas and oil every year — a number that amounts to the country’s entire trade deficit. As a result, the value of the Argentine peso has fallen dramatically, contributing to the country’s 25 to 30 percent annual inflation rate.

Andes, ArgentinaPhoto by Alexander TorrenegraOne of the largest shale oil and shale gas reserves in the world sits beneath the Argentine Andes.

Now, the government thinks it has found a solution. One of the largest shale oil and shale gas reserves in the world sits beneath the Argentine… more

by: Eilís O'Neill

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