Nature

Chevron wins Ecuador rainforest ‘oil dumping’ case

An international tribunal in The Hague has ruled in favour of the US oil company, Chevron, in an environmental dispute with the government of Ecuador. BBC Chevron had been ordered to pay $9.5bn (£7.4bn) compensation to thousands of residents in Ecuador’s Amazon region. They accused the company of dumping toxic waste in local lakes and rivers of the Lago Agrio region for decades. The court said that the 2011 Ecuador Supreme Court ruling had been obtained through fraud, bribery and ... Read More »

How solar kits and battery lamps are replacing kerosene across Africa

For decades, people in rural Africa have been using sooty kerosene lamps to dimly light their homes. Jörg Peters The Conversation But in recent years households, even in poor areas, have started to replace their kerosene lamps with non-rechargeable dry-cell battery driven lamps and solar kits. This is happening largely without any governmental or donor involvement. These devices are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED) that have become significantly cheaper over the years. This has, in turn, made them a highly ... Read More »

Peruvian villagers face murder and intimidation from land traffickers

Invaders continue to seize land within the Chaparrí ecological reserve, one of Peru’s most biodiverse forests Rajmonda Rexhi and Matthew Weaver in El Mirador, Peru The Guardian hortly after sunset, along an isolated stretch of highway leading out of a dusty hamlet in northern Peru, a band of five weary farmers clad in reflective neon vests and armed with traditional whips made of bull penises set out on a solemn march. The Ronderos – self-governing peasant patrols – are resuming ... Read More »

Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing in U.S. waters

Coast Guard crews from Corpus Christi interdicted a Mexican lancha crew illegally fishing in waters off the Texas coast on Sunday. KRIS Communications According to the Coast Guard, four fishermen onboard the boat were detained and turned over to Border Patrol for processing. Coast Guard also seized 113 red snapper and two sharks from the vessel. A lancha is a fishing boat used by Mexican fishermen that is approximately 20 to 30 feet long, with a slender profile, typically has ... Read More »

Chilean Navy captures Peruvian vessel fishing in Exclusive Economic Zone

SANTIAGO – During a surveillance patrol, the Chilean Navy captured the fourteenth foreign vessel in the early hours of Friday morning, which was fishing in waters belonging to the Exclusive Economic Zone of the… The Santiago Times While the Maritime Zone Patrol Officer OPV-84 “Cabo Odger”, dependent of the Fourth Naval Zone, carried out surveillance operations, it detected a Peruvian minor vessel within the Exclusive National Economic Zone, 172 kilometers west of… The fishing vessel named “Jean Anthony” was inspected ... Read More »

Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up

The ground beneath our feet, our highways, and our cities appears to be very sturdy. Alan Taylor The Atlantic But, on rare occasions, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever it was supporting into an unpredictably deep hole. An undiscovered cavern or abandoned mine might collapse, or a broken water main or heavy storm might cause erosion, until the surface becomes a thin shell that drops away all at once. Sinkholes can be anywhere from a ... Read More »

What the grieving mother orca tells us about how animals experience death

For many weeks, news of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea captured the attention of many around the world. Jessica Pierce The Conversation Keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, named Tahlequah, also known as J35 by scientists, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf. This has been one of the most protracted displays of marine mammal grieving. Among scientists, however, there remains a prejudice ... Read More »

Rising seas will displace millions of people – and Australia must be ready

Sea-level rise is already threatening some communities around the world, particularly small island states, as it exacerbates disasters resulting from storm surges and flooding. Authors: The Conversation If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, by 2100 the world could see sea-level rise of a metre – or even more if there is a larger contribution from the Antarctic ice sheet, as some recent findings suggest. Even without a larger Antarctic response, the rate of rise at the end of the 21st ... Read More »

Modern myths about cancer – from ‘chemicals’ in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration – but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Naomi Elster The Guardian Cancer is not up there with the most likely explanations for what caused the mass extinction 66m years ago of the T rex and the triceratops. That said, at least one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours – and a 1.7m-year-old toe with bone cancerwas discovered in 2016 at a South African world heritage site. Cancer ... Read More »

Rohingya refugees remain a heavy burden on Bangladesh

The Rohingya people of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The Myanmar government doesn’t consider them as citizens and deprives them of basic rights such as… Mehdi Chowdhury The Conversation To avoid persecution, waves of Rohingya people have taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh in recent decades, with particular flash points in 1978, 1992 and 2012. The latest and largest mass exodus to Bangladesh took place in late August 2017. Within a month, around half a ... Read More »

Aboriginal traditions describe the complex motions of planets, the ‘wandering stars’ of the sky

The five planets we can see by naked eye were known to the ancient Greeks as “asteres planetai”, meaning “wandering stars”, due to their wandering journey across the sky relative to the fixed stars. Duane W. Hamacher The Conversation This is where we get the word “planet”. But knowledge of the planets and their movements goes back much further, being prominent in the traditions of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Recent research reveals a wealth of information about ... Read More »

Jury finds Monsanto liable in the first Roundup cancer trial – here’s what could happen next

In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and… Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens The Conversation The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due ... Read More »

Can military-style tactics help save the African rhino?

These magnificent beasts are facing annihilation from ruthless poachers, but environmentalists hope that military-style operations to move the animals across borders may help save the species. Todd Pitock The Age As the sun drifts down on the rolling hills in the heartland of South Africa, Manie Van Niekerk sits with his fingers clasped in his lap. At 52, he wears his hair cropped, which along with a solid physique gives the impression of a man who cannot be easily shaken. ... Read More »

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial

Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer. BBC In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It’s the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer. Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. “The jury got it ... Read More »

Meet the researchers designing the death of plastic

Urbana, Illinois: Adam Feinberg had no sooner made a bright yellow thin sheet of plastic than he had to shred it into little pieces. He chose an “I”-shaped mould. Then, he filled it with the plastic bits and stuck it in a hot oven. Xiaozhi Lim The Sydney Morning Herald New York Times “I opened up the mould and there was this beautiful yellow ‘I,'” he recalled. His new plastic passed the first test — it was moldable with heat like ... Read More »

Trees are made of human breath

Outside my office window, two skilled workers complete a hard and dirty job. They’re cutting the felled trunk of a tree into small enough pieces to be thrown into the back of a truck with the rest of the chipped remains. Cris Brack The Conversation I know that this act was ultimately for my own safety. I, like tens of thousands of others over the past 50 years, regularly walked beneath the canopy of that tree. But recently it was ... Read More »