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Sandra the Orangutan is a Person, Rules Argentine Court – December 22, 2014

In landmark judgment, court says that the 28-year-old Great Ape has the right to be free

Sandra, a 28-year-old orangutan who lives in a zoo in Buenos Aires, Argentina is now the first animal to be legally recognized as a person.

In a landmark judgment last Friday, an appeals court in Argentina declared that the Sumatran orangutan, who has been held captive at the zoo for 20 years, should be recognized as a nonhuman person with the right to freedom. The court ruled that Sandra, who was born in captivity in Germany in 1986, be released to an animal sanctuary in Brazil where she can live out the rest of her life in relative freedom. (Since she was born in captivity, Sandra doesn’t have the skills… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Baja’s Iconic Surf Spot is Under Threat – December 12, 2014

Surfers and environmentalists have launched a campaign to have the San Miguel beach and watershed protected as a state park

San Miguel in Baja, California, is said to be where the first wave was surfed in all of Mexico. The area also contains one of the last intact riparian corridors in all of northern Baja — the San Miguel watershed.  This critical riparian ecosystem leads up to the beach, bringing with it sand and rocks that pile up and create a rock land formation that provides perfect conditions for a classic, long wave that wraps around the beach. The waves draw thousands of surfers to the area every year.

San Miguel BeachPhoto by courtesy of Surfing for ChangeThe San Miguel watershed leads up to the… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Tommy the Chimpanzee Is Not A Person, Rules New York Court – December 4, 2014

Nonhuman Rights Project plans to appeal decision

A chimpanzee cannot be considered a person, a New York court ruled today, rejecting the Nonhuman Rights Project’s (NhRP) appeal to recognize Tommy, a captive chimpanzee, as a legal person. This means the 26-year-old chimpanzee, who lives alone in a cage in Gloversville, NY, will not be released into a sanctuary to live out the rest of his life in relative freedom.

Tommy the Chimpanzee in his cagePhoto courtsey of the Nonhuman Rights ProjectThe ruling means that Tommy, the 26-year-old chimpanzee, who lives alone in a cage in Gloversville, NY, will not be released into a sanctuary.

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Top PR Firm Advises TransCanada to Target Greens Opposed to Its Latest Pipeline Project – November 18, 2014

Leaked documents indicate that the Canadian oil transport company is desperate to build public support for its alternative to Keystone XL

As supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline scrambled yesterday get that one last Democratic Senator on board to pass a bill authorizing the controversial project today, a set of leaked documents revealed that TransCanada, the company behind the proposed oil pipeline, is already hard at work trying figure out how to gain public support for an alternative pipeline that would run only through Canada and could make the Keystone XL proposal redundant.

green pipes for the Keystone XL piplinePhoto by shannonpatrick17/FlickrThe $10.64 billion Energy East Pipeline, the largest tar sands pipeline proposed yet, has been described by some as an “oil route around… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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The Risky Business of Building on Sand – October 3, 2014

In Review: Shored Up

Three years ago, when I was reporting on a story on climate change adaptation, the Environmental Protection Agency’s sea level rise expert James Titus told me that “managing human expectations” was by far the toughest part of figuring out how to adapt our lifestyles to a quickly changing world. This is especially true in coastal areas where, as the waters rise, we will have to make value judgments about which places to let go and which places to save by trying to hold back the sea. (Trouble is, no one expects to be the ones to be asked to let go.)

Beach replenishmentPhoto courtesy Shored… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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