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Top Environmental Stories of 2015 – December 31, 2015

Climate change, energy, and wlidlife issues in the forefront

It’s that time again, when we reflect on the year that’s passed and draw up a tally of the best and worst of just about everything. For us at the Journal, the tally is, naturally, about the most important environmental stories, stories that are not necessarily headline-grabbers, but are likely to have long-term impacts on the state of our land, water and air.

This year, we sought the collective wisdom of the greater Earth Island community while drawing up our list. I asked the directors of Earth Island’s diverse range of environmental projects — who work on everything from wildlife conservation, social justice, food and agriculture issues, to climate policy —… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Thousands of Planned Coal Plants, if Built, Could Doom Efforts to Contain Global Warming – December 2, 2015

Meanwhile, climate change continues to wreak havoc in real time

I landed in Calcutta (Kolkata, if you are a stickler for official names) on November 30, the day the world leaders, policy makers, and environmental activists gathered in Paris to figure out how to curb climate change. Officially, it’s wintertime in this city of my birth, but the air on Monday night was anything but chilly. Instead, it was uncomfortably muggy. The only sign of winter was the hazy air — a regular year-end feature in this overcrowded, traffic-choked metropolis in eastern India.

Photo of Chennai FloodsPhoto by McKay Savage The rains in Chennai, India have broken a 100-year-old record. The image… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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US Dolphin Safe Tuna Label is Unfair to Mexico, WTO rules yet again – November 24, 2015

Marine mammal advocates accuse trade body of putting business above dolphin protection

If Mexico and the World Trade Organization have their way, those “dolphin safe” cans of tuna you’ve been buying at the supermarket might actually come stained with dolphin blood.

Last Friday, the global trade body again ruled against the United States in a long-running dispute with Mexico over US “Dolphin Safe” tuna-labeling regulations, saying that the regulations unfairly discriminate against Mexico. The decision by the WTO's appellate body is the latest development in a trade dispute between the two countries that dates back to the establishment of the Dolphin Safe tuna label in 1990.

tuna cansPhoto by The Hamster Factor/FlickrThe dolphin-safe label (the small… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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World’s Northern White Rhino Population Down to 3 After Death at San Diego Zoo – November 22, 2015

41-year-old Nola euthanized following long illness

Nola, one of the last four Northern White Rhinos remaining in the world died at San Diego Zoo Safari Park today following a bacterial infection.

The aging female rhino, who had been at the zoo since 1989, had been captured from the wild in Sudan when she was about two years old. Nola was brought to the San Diego Zoo from a Czech Republic zoo as part of breeding loan.

Santa Rita MountainsPhoto courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari ParkForty-one year old Nola had been suffering from a bacterial infection since May.

Forty-one-year old Nola had been under veterinary care since May for a bacterial… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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NIH Says it Will Retire the Last 50 of its Research Chimpanzees – November 19, 2015

Animal welfare advocates welcome decision, point out it doesn’t help 900 other privately-owned chimpanzees in the US

In good news for animal right advocates, the National Institutes of Health announced yesterday that it was retiring the last 50 chimpanzees that it has been holding in captivity for research purposes.

The NIH had decided to end invasive research on our closest genetic relatives back in 2013 and retire most of the 360 or so animals it held at its various research labs, but it held on to 50 individuals as a sort of emergency reserve, just in case they were needed to test out solutions for some kind of medical or public health crisis.

profile of a lone chimpanzeePhoto by Ryan SummersThere’s… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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