News-in-Transition

25 March 2017

 - A Rainforest Action Network field investigation team has documented new evidence of large-scale, illegal rainforest destruction within habitat critical to the survival of the Sumatran elephant, tiger and orangutan. RAN’s research has uncovered supply chain connections that link the rogue palm oil company responsible for the deforestation to major global brands through their shared supplier, Wilmar. The companies implicated include PepsiCo, McDonalds, Nestle, Unilever and Procter and Gamble.

This forest clearance is taking place in direct breach of the Indonesian government moratorium on the clearance of rainforests for palm oil plantations announced last April, as well as the no-deforestation policies announced by palm oil giant Wilmar and other brands that commit the companies to eliminate conflict palm oil such as this from their products.

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19 March 2017

paris-trees-1024x413 - On 21 March, the International Day of Forests, 200 organisations are reminding the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that its misleading forest definition dating back to 1948 must be changed. The definition has allowed the plantations industry to hide the devastating ecological and social impacts of large-scale monoculture tree plantations behind a positive forest image.

FAO’s forest definition has allowed the plantations industry to call their monoculture plantations of fast-growing species such as eucalyptus, pine, rubber or acacia “forests” because it defines a forest only by the number, height and canopy cover of trees on an area. The FAO forest definition has been used as blueprint for over 200 national and international forest definitions since 1948.

Under the guise of this FAO forest definition, the industry has been able to expand fast, especially in the global South, where monoculture tree plantations now cover some several tens of millions of hectares of land. This expansion has brought misery to countless rural and peasant communities, and indigenous peoples. Families have lost land and livelihood where monoculture tree plantations have taken their land, destroyed their way of life, dried up their water springs and streams and poisoned their food with agro-toxins.

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8 January 2017

 - There’s already ample evidence of the ways environmental degradation can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, and now a recent study provides an example of how the disruptions to an ecosystem caused by deforestation and other land-use change can help spread a bacterial pathogen.

There are about 250 known human emerging infectious diseases, which are those that have recently appeared within a human population or those with an incidence rate or geographic range that is rapidly increasing. Rapid urbanization in developing countries and human population encroachment are known to help drive outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases.

Mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, for instance, thrive in artificial habitats created by humans, including urban waste such as uncollected garbage piles or old cans, barrels, and tires that collect water and provide a breeding ground for the insects.

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30 December 2016

 - Brazil will restore 22 million hectares of land in what’s being called “the largest restoration commitment ever made by a single nation.”

“We are a country of forests,” says Rachel Biderman, director of the World Resources Institute in Brazil. “The national strategy for the restoration of forests and degraded areas positions Brazil as one of the global leaders in the development of a forest economy.”

Between now and 2030, Brazil plans to rehabilitate 12 million hectares of forest land that is degraded or deforested. The balance of the area will be restored and developed through the country’s Low-Carbon Agriculture Plan for crops, managed forests, and pastures. Brazil made the plan public at the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity in Cancún, Mexico, on December 3rd.

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25 November 2016

seed-bomb2 - As a result of deforestation, only 6.2 million square kilometers remain of the original 16 million square kilometers of forest that formerly covered Earth. Apart from adveserly impacting people’s livelihoods, rampant deforestation around the world is threatening a wide range of tree species, including the Brazil nut and the plants that produce cacao and açaí palm; animal species, including critically-endangered monkeys in the remote forests of Vietnam’s Central Highlands, and contributing to climate change instead of mitigating it (15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation).

While the world’s forest cover is being unabashedly destroyed by industrial agriculture, cattle ranching, illegal logging and infrastructure projects, Thailand has found a unique way to repair its deforested land: by using a farming technique called seed bombing or aerial reforestation, where trees and other crops are planted by being thrown or dropped from an airplane or flying drone.

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25 October 2016

 - Tooling around the Internet. This is literally the least amount of effort one could exert to make the world a better place. Seriously – unless you can feed people while watching TV, there is nothing less you can possibly do to plant trees and improve the world.

So, allow us to introduce Ecosia – the search engine that plants trees for every Web search you conduct.

It’s not like someone is out on the field waiting for one more person’s search in order to plop another tree in the ground. Oh no, that would be just weird. Ecosia has partnered with other companies that will plant the trees. We hope!

According to the homepage, over 5 million trees have been planted. Check it out – it’s fun to watch the ticker move up for every tree planted.

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26 September 2016

 - “This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest.”

Did you know? Every year, an estimated 55 billion tons of fossil energy, minerals, metals, and bio mass is extracted from the Earth.

As a result, humans are using up 50% more natural resources than the planet can comfortably provide. Scientists even speculate that within 100 years, the world’s rain forests could completely vanish.

This spells trouble for future generations, which is why Norway recently banned the practice of deforestation – the first in the world to do so.

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