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Baja’s Iconic Surf Spot is Under Threat

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…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – December 12, 2014

Tommy the Chimpanzee Is Not A Person, Rules New York Court

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…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – December 4, 2014

Evolution of an Idea

A timeline of thoughts on animals

Questions about our relationship with and responsibility toward other animals have always been troubling. The elaborate rituals of Judaism’s kosher rules and Islam’s halal, for example, may have started as a way of atoning for the act of murder. The development of a coherent animal rights philosophy has been unsteady, with setbacks and reversals accompanying each attempt at more enlightened thinking. Wikimedia CommonsAn 1838 painting by P Matthews of the Trial of…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – Winter 2015

Animals Are Persons, Too

We know more about the complex inner lives of animals than ever before. Are we ready to recognize their right to be free?

Photo Ian UmedaEddie at the Oakland Zoo Roused from his afternoon nap to meet with visitors, Eddie gamely obliged, coming up to the large glass windows to gaze at us. After a while, he pointed an index finger at his caregiver, Margaret Rousser, who was standing beside us, touched his forehead, then his mouth, puckered his lips, and made loud smooching sounds. It was a trick Eddie had been taught during his…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – Winter 2015

Top PR Firm Advises TransCanada to Target Greens Opposed to Its Latest Pipeline Project

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…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – November 18, 2014

The Risky Business of Building on Sand

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…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – October 3, 2014

Barefoot Biologist

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
By Will Harlan
Grove Press, 2014, 307 Pages

When the first few pages of a biography include lines like, “She is as tough as the sea turtle carapaces that line her museum. But beneath that hardened shell is a soft, bruised being,” a reader can’t but proceed with some trepidation. But for those who have the fortitude to soldier on, Untamed offers an unexpectedly intimate account of the swashbuckling life of Carol Anne Ruckdeschel – a self-taught biologist who has…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – Autumn 2014

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