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Is China Turning the Corner on Environmental Protection? – August 21, 2014

Growing health concerns have spurred significant changes to the Middle Kingdom’s environmental law and policy.

Most of the news we hear about China’s environment is depressing, filled with references to the country’s dirty air, water, and soil. Some of it is downright apocalyptic, accompanied by images of environmental destruction that remind me of Dr. Seus’ illustrations in The Lorax. These scenes are the result of lax environmental protection, combined with rapid economic development and fast-paced population growth. Lately, however, a few positive changes in policy and rhetoric have caught my eye, leading me to wonder if China is changing its tune when it comes to the environment.

Commuters wearing face masks in NanjingPhoto by Markus SpringCommuters in Nanjing,… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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Wildlife Depletion May Be Driving Child Labor and Crime – August 13, 2014

Decline in biodiversity is a source of social conflict rather than a symptom, says UC Berkeley report

What do overfishing, wildlife trafficking, and endangered species all have in common? According to a paper recently published in the journal Science, these environmental challenges may all have cascading social consequences when it comes to forced labor, organized crime, and even piracy.

photo of people folding nets on a dock; one of them is very youngphoto by ILO in Asia and the Pacific, on Flickr Children and teenagers who work on small fishing boats in Cambodia stay out at sea for 10-11 hours at a time, mostly at… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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A Pledge that Promises to Keep Seeds Free For All to Use – July 22, 2014

In battle against seed patents, plant breeders and advocates find inspiration in open source software

For years, many of us have kept an eye out for organic and pesticide free vendors at our local farmers markets. Thanks to a new movement hitting the American food scene, we may soon be looking for another important environmental marker: open source seeds. At least, that is the goal of a small but burgeoning group of plant breeders and sustainable farming advocates who hope to add “free seed” to the list of things consumers watch for as they vote with their wallets.

a newly germinated seedlingPhoto courtesy USDAThe Open Source Initiative has released 36 varieties of 14 different vegetables and grains using a new… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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$30,000 to the First Person Who Can Prove Man-Made Climate Change Isn’t Real – July 14, 2014

Physicist Christopher Keating’s challenge to climate skeptics goes viral

Think you can prove that man-made climate change is a flat-out lie fabricated by the green Left? Well, you may just be in luck. Christopher Keating, a Texas-based physicist who has taught at the University of South Dakota and the US Naval Academy, will pay $30,000 to the first person who can prove, using the scientific method, that man-made global climate change is a farce.

photoname Photo by Andrea ZeppilliKeating says he's sure he'll never have to pay up because scientific evidence for the causes
of global warming is overwhelming.

Keating set up this unusual competition out of sheer outrage that climate… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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Brazil Spends Billions on “Green” World Cup, But Does Little to Protect Environmentalists – July 8, 2014

South American nation holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of murders of environmental activists

I wouldn’t call myself an avid soccer fan, but I’ve certainly been seduced by the World Cup (not to mention Tim Howard’s beard). As a result, I’ve been disturbed by reports about the environmental toll of the world’s most popular sporting event. I’ve also been struck by the fact that Brazil is today the most dangerous place in the world to be an environmental activist. By the end of Sunday’s final match, an estimated 3.7 million people will have flocked to Brazil to support their home teams. And if statistics hold true, at least two Brazilian environmental activists will have been murdered over the course of the tournament.

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by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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