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Google Cast Chrome extension bug turns on auto-play for YouTube videos
6 hours ago Aug. 19, 2014 - 9:53 AM PDTSummary: No, you are not crazy. Chrome really did start to auto-play all those YouTube videos, at least for some users. Here’s how to fix it. A strange bug has been affecting a subset
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Report: YouTube’s subscription service will be called Music Key, as will Google Play Music All Access
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Hisense and TCL get ready to ship their Roku TVs, suggested retail prices starting at $229
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Firefox gains Chromecast support as partner readies Chromecast competitor called… Matchstick?
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Earth News Reports

Dear Kate’s Leak-Proof Undies Help Ladies Navigate “That Time of Month”
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Engineering Students Create the World’s First Unstealable Bike
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Renovo Unveils All-Electric Supercar With a $529,000 Price Tag
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Is Your Neighborhood’s Urban Design Making You Fat? 22 August 2014, 19.30 Transportation
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Share on TumblrEmail “What is the influence of street network design on public health?” This question prompted a recent study that has just been published in the Journal of Transport & Health. While
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Scary landscapes by Michael Kerbow 22 August 2014, 19.30 Green Architecture
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20 great InDesign tutorials to become a layout master 22 August 2014, 19.30 Green Architecture
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50 great ideas of themes for your on-line shop 22 August 2014, 19.30 Green Architecture
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Visual identity for “Molto Piano” 22 August 2014, 19.30 Green Architecture
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
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Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
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Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
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Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 1, Warming up in Uummannaq and 24 hours on the wall PDF Print E-mail

By Nico Favresse, photos by the Wild Bunch


July 15, 2014—We are off again on an exciting adventure! Reverend Captain Bob Shepton is very excited to have the Wild Bunch—Sean Villanueva, Olivier Favresse, Ben Ditto and I—back on board the Dodo’s Delight for some jamming and big walls. Already four years have passed since our last expedition in Greenland with captain Bob. This time though we brought more musical instruments, more fishing equipment and more whiskey for our captain, all of which we hope will help us with our new assignment: testing the acoustics of some massive big walls located in the fjords on the east coast of Baffin Island.

We left Aasiaat one week ago and we’ve have had good moments so far but also harder ones. Yes, indeed, we missed the World Cup final and the ice hasn't melted enough for us to cross to the Baffin Island side. Our captain is becoming very impatient and we are afraid that he would be quite willing to take some risks for us to reach Baffin Island. If we did get stranded by the pack ice and its pressuring current, Dodo's Delight would most likely get crushed and sink. The good thing is that our captain is very familiar with that. He has two boats in Greenland, one of them he keeps below the water's surface!

Above: The ethic of our captain is very strict: There will be no bolts allowed on board!   

Four days of sailing with occasional stops for bouldering sessions brought us to the fjords of Uummannaq and its mountains. The ice cap and the ocean, filled with icebergs, look so unreal. It feels like we are on a different planet. There are some nice big walls here but it's not easy to evaluate the rock quality from a distance. So yesterday we decided to go have a closer look and attempt some climbing on a nice looking 400-meter wall right above the settlement of Ikerasak.

We split into two teams and went for two different lines. Ben and Oli chose the east ridge, a line that seemed not too risky or more suitable for committed married men (almost) while Sean and I chose the right prow with its overhanging headwall. The climbing turned out to be a lot better than we anticipated. The granite here is very rich in holds and fun to climb. There were also some sections of rotten rock but fortunately we found our way through it alive.

Now we are cooking up some organic, free-range local meat and look forward to a nice lunch for recuperation. We'll be in touch as the next exciting steps unfold. Stay tuned!

Greetings from the Wild Bunch and Reverend Captain Bob Shepton. We are very excited to be back. Four years have passed since our last time on Dodo's Delight.

What a nice surprise to be escorted by whales on our way out from Aasiaat!

Tricky sailing through the ice but pretty fun as long as we don't get stranded.

Fun climbing on these amazing overhanging cracks and dihedrals.

Our daily view of the fjords of the Uummannaq area.

Our first summit shot on this trip. Yeah!

August 1, 2014—It's raining but we aren't sleeping in today! The ice chart we received yesterday showed a very positive evolution in the ice melting over on Baffin Island so we are very excited. Now it's time for us to get ready to cross Baffin Bay.

We have just restocked with wine, whiskey and condensed milk. We have checked the sails, tightened up the cables of the mast and fixed everything well on the deck. Basically, for a crossing like this and with a fiberglass boat like we are on, you need to be ready for the worst to happen! We'll have to pay a lot of attention to icebergs and mermaids, especially if the thick fog settles in or the wind blows too hard, or if both happen at the same time. But we are ready for it, at least we think so!

What it’s like to sail on a rainy day in Greenland.

We are now really looking forward to the walls on Baffin Island. Our last climbing experience on this trip was pretty intense. As usual we sailed around and picked a wall to climb. How we choose the walls we climb is not always very rational. It definitely has some logical aspects like the steepness of the wall, the acoustics (for jamming), lines and rock quality. But it's also a general feeling about what looks appealing, and it tends to fluctuate. Some days you feel more confident and steep things don't seem so difficult, or a wall that looks loose can still catch our interest. It's all pretty dependent on our mental state and how we read it. Well, we must have been in a pretty high mental state when we chose to climb this last wall.

When we reached the base things that looked good from afar started to look different and way more intimidating. Me and Oli chose to aim for an obvious dihedral system while Ben and Sean chose a line of thin cracks and dihedrals. Right as I left the ground I understood the whole wall was shattered and it would be impossible to fully trust any of the holds or protections. I worked my way up about 20 meters and the rock began to crumble so I downclimbed and tried a different start. Again, I got about 20 meters up and got shut down by a bunch of loose flakes blocking my progress. Again I downclimbed and took a better look at the rock face. It all seemed loose so Oli and I opted to go fishing instead of climbing. This wall wasn't meant to be climbed by us. Somehow being confronted by your limits and accepting them is, for me, one of the most interesting parts of exploring new climbs. Of course, it wasn't without a little knot of uncertainty that we called our captain to come rescue us.

Oli approaching the wall with confidence. It looked good from afar, but far from good up close.

Our daily source of protein.

Meanwhile, Ben and Sean managed to take off on their line with very little protection and lots of loose rock. Ben led half of one pitch and backed off the loose dangling blocks. From the ground we could hear him reasoning with Sean to bail, but Sean was too excited to bail: “No way man, it’s too good!” They committed to the wall and spent 24 hours battling through 500 meters of steep challenging choss. 

“For me, the climb was a metamorphosis,” says Ben. “At first I was super stressed about the risk of climbing such extreme choss, but soon I found a rhythm that allowed me to enjoy the climbing, thanks to Sean leading every pitch.” 

Sean had found his happy place among the maze of loose blocks and circuitous cracks. Though by the end, the continuous difficulty pushed him near his limit. We are a little worried because he has now expanded his capability of taming the inner beast and physical difficulties seem trivial. We aren't sure when he will again find this nirvana, but we hope it isn't soon—and not with any of us as his partner. 

The ascent was accompanied by a host of whales and dazzling lightshows that kept Ben entertained as he belayed Sean on the two-hour-plus leads. They compromised on a name for the route: No Place for Humans, aka, Sunshine and Roses.

We are glad they are back from their adventures safely, and we’re super psyched for the next stage. 

Sean heads up the Funky Tower.

Ben and Sean on the second pitch of No Place for Humans, aka, Sunshine and Roses.

Sean and Ben explore the meaning of life atop their new route.

“Here is the heel hook, Bob.” Captain Bob works a new bouldering project.

As the adventures unfold we will keep you posted.

Nico Favresse is a Patagonia ambassador from Brussels, Belgium. In 2010, the same crew—Nico, Sean Villanueva, Ben Ditto and Olivier Favresse—joined Captain Bob Shepton for a sailing trip through the fjords of Greenland, eventually crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Scotland. Along the way they found virgin big walls and a bunch of good climbing, including the Impossible Wall. If you missed it, check out our coverage and watch the five-part video series. 

  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Earth  |  
Did Climate Shocks Shape Human Evolution? PDF Print E-mail

By Josh Fischman | August 19, 2014 |  

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Changes in African climate may have affected crucial points in human evolution, suggests geologist Peter B. deMenocal in his article, “Climate Shocks,” in the September 2014 issue of Scientific American. In this video, he and other researchers examine the evidence: Human ancestral species emergence and extinction, the rise and fall of certain plants, inventions of stone tools, cycles of wet and dry environments, marks on fossil teeth, the human trait of adaptability, and many other aspects. The video was made at a conference at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 2012.

About the Author: Josh is a senior editor at Scientific American, covering biology, chemistry, and earth science. On Twitter, he is @jfischman, and you can email him story ideas at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow on Twitter @jfischman.

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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Judge blocks Montana from logging in grizzly territory PDF Print E-mail

(Reuters) - Conservation groups on Friday hailed a court decision that blocks Montana from building roads and logging in nearly 37,000 acres of a state forest that serves as core habitat for protected grizzly bears.

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by issuing a permit to Montana allowing it to open the Stillwater State Forest to timber harvests in areas that would damage grizzly territory.

Grizzly bears were classified in 1975 as threatened in the continental United States after nearing extinction from hunting, trapping and poisoning.

Just five populations of the hump-shouldered bruins are found in the Lower 48 states, including roughly 1,000 grizzlies along the northern Continental Divide in Montana, and an estimated 600 in and around Yellowstone National Park in the northern Rockies.

Federal protections make it broadly illegal to injure or kill grizzlies, or to harm them by destroying designated habitat without a special permit.

It is the population along the Continental Divide that is at stake in the legal case brought against logging proposals in the Stillwater State Forest, in northwestern Montana.

Tim Preso, attorney for the environmental law firm Earthjustice, said grizzlies have made a comeback in that region thanks chiefly to habitat protections that curb human activities such as logging.

“Now is not the time to pull back. We need to keep that population of grizzlies secure for the future,” he said.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation argued in the legal case that its plan to build roads and harvest trees would have minimal impact on grizzlies because it called for logging of small areas at different times rather than a full-scale clearing operation.

Profits from the proposed logging were to benefit public schools, said an agency administrator, Shawn Thomas.

The Obama administration has indicated it will seek to strip grizzlies of federal safeguards in areas where they are thriving, including the northern Continental Divide and Yellowstone.

In the same ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy declined to block plans for roads and logging in two other Montana forests tied to conservationists’ claims they would harm imperiled bull trout.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Gavin Shire said the judge’s decision on trout shows that plans hammered out by state and federal officials can benefit threatened species while allowing “a working conservation landscape” in Montana.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Steve Gorman and Mohammad Zargham)

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Australia: Wilderness Society: Wild Rivers Act replacement 'weak regulation' PDF Print E-mail

wenlock basin
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in the Wenlock basin, Cape York, Queensland, which was covered by the Wild Rivers Act. Photograph: Russell Shakespeare/AAP/Australia Zoo

Ecologically and culturally sensitive parts of Cape York will be declared to be “strategic environment areas” under a new plan to allow development that replaces Queensland’s controversially scrapped wild rivers laws.

The Queensland government has publicly released a 52-page plan, a fortnight after repealing Labor’s 2005 Wild Rivers Act, which banned strip mining, intensive agriculture and in-stream dams in that part of far north Queensland.

The Cape York regional plan was tabled in parliament a week ago but was not released online until Friday.

It includes the declaration of “strategic environmental areas” where there is significant value for ecology, biodiversity, culture and water.

This covers the Archer, Lockhart, Stewart and Wenlock basins, where development was banned under the former wild rivers laws.

In June the federal court declared those restrictions to be invalid but did not overturn the laws.

The Queensland deputy premier, Jeff Seeney, said the Cape York plan had given traditional owners and indigenous communities in Cape York a real say and genuine opportunities.

“The plan allows for the protection of areas that the community believes are worthy of protection and allows opportunities for other areas to be sustainably developed with a high level of input from local community members,” he said in a statement.

But the Wilderness Society said the plan would fast-track development in Cape York.

“Hot on the heels of the removal of the wild rivers protections, we now have a hotchpotch of weak regulation and bureaucratic maze, based on the proposition that mining and environmentally sensitive areas can co-exist,” Queensland campaigner Tim Seelig said.

The Wilderness Society has also criticised the repeal for doing away with buffer zones created under the act to protect rivers from risky development such as strip mining, intensive agriculture and in-stream dams. It said the laws had been “trashed” to satisfy miners and developers.

“In its place, the Newman government will run with a dog’s breakfast of weaker policies, regulation and ever-changing maps which will operate without any parliamentary oversight and will lead to arbitrary decision-making,” Seelig said after the act was repealed.

After the repeal vote earlier this month, the opposition’s environment spokeswoman, Jackie Trad, said the environment would suffer with the loss of laws intended to stop over-extraction and protect vulnerable ecosystems.

She also accused the Newman government of misrepresenting the federal court ruling about the wild rivers laws.

“The court decision did not overturn the Wild Rivers Act as the government has attempted to claim,” Trad told parliament.

She said it had identified “process issues” with the declaration of those three rivers, and the court ruling did not undermine declarations for the Wenlock, the gulf and channel country, and Hinchinbrook and Fraser islands.

  • Australian Associated Press contributed to this report

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Leonardo DiCaprio Narrates Carbon Documentary to Fight Climate Change PDF Print E-mail

The Wolf of Wall Street is now the Whistle-Blower of Climate Change. Far from the bright lights of Hollywood, Wolf star Leonardo DiCaprio found his latest project in Carbon, a new documentary about climate change and the impact of carbon emissions. 

DiCaprio, 39, lends his voice to narrate Carbon, which premiered on Wednesday, Aug. 20, as well as three additional upcoming short documentaries focused on climate change.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Charity Efforts

The environmental short film takes a look at carbon pricing around the world as a tool to reduce carbon emissions globally. 

The Oscar winner says in the eight-minute piece, "Climate change is happening now -- and humans are responsible. We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon -- now." 

Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

PHOTOS: Leonardo DiCaprio's Ladies

Also, in the Tree Media collaboration, DiCaprio urges communities to take action instead of waiting for governments. The other three shorts, Green World Rising, Restoration, and Last Hours, will be released in the weeks leading up to the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.

DiCaprio is no stranger to speaking out about causes near and dear to his heart. In June, he pledged $7 million from his foundation to the cause of ocean conservation. Just weeks later, on July 23, DiCaprio hosted a star-studded fundraiser soirée in Saint-Tropez for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, supporting environmental efforts.

PHOTOS: Leo and Other Hot Hollywood Hunks

Watch Carbon in the video above and at  

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Work, Youth, Optimism, and the Drive Toward a Safe, Sustainable Planet PDF Print E-mail

As a professor directing several master's programs educating sustainability professionals and as a father of two daughters in their twenties, I think a lot about the job market and the type of employment opportunities available to our young people. I wonder if we can create a high throughput economy that provides opportunity for everyone without destroying the planet.

I recognize that my Ivy League graduate students and my daughters may not be typical of all young people, but what strikes me about the world of work that stands before them is how difficult it is to understand and navigate. Naturally, I compare the world in which they are making their way to the world I grew up in, but those worlds are so far removed in time and place that I am not sure the comparison is of much value.

I did not know what a resume was until I graduated from college. Today I know twelve year olds with resumes. I suppose if I had drafted a resume when I was 16 it wouldn't have looked all that bad. I worked every summer in high school and college (always for one tolerant relative or another). I worked for a bicycle company, a recording studio, and a locksmith. I was very active in student government and the anti-Vietnam War and pro-civil rights movements. I took a course for college credit at the New School -- granted, it was a seminar titled "Civil Disobedience." I sat at tables near the Kings Highway subway station in Brooklyn selling campaign buttons for a bunch of political causes. I was a busy kid, but I never thought of connecting any of this activity to a career. Today's young people need to calculate every move and work hard to build a record of accomplishment that might help them stand out in the competition for a good job. I never thought about the job market as a competition, just a place I would end up in when I completed school.

While privileged children prepare, make plans and struggle to make their way in a changing world, these kids are the fortunate ones. We must also recognize the utter hopelessness, frustration and even anger of young people raised in poverty, often by single parents. With family structures disintegrating, these young people often do not have the love and support of an extended family to help them. Mentorship is hard to come by, and in the competition for employment with wealthier young people, they find themselves left in the dust.

It is remarkable that in the face of these difficulties we do not see more pessimism and social dysfunction than we do. The frustration we have seen in Ferguson, Missouri in recent days is news because its expression is so unusual. Young people may be deluding themselves, but they remain optimistic about the future. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, a 2012 Pew Research Center study entitled "Young, Underemployed and Optimistic" noted that:

Despite the Great Recession and the sluggish recovery that followed, young adults remain extremely confident about their financial future. While a large majority of those ages 18 to 34 (whether they are employed or not) say they do not currently have enough money to lead the kind of life they want, most believe they will eventually attain that goal. According to the new Pew Research survey, only 31% of all young adults say they now have enough income to lead the kind of life they want. However, an additional 57% say that while they don't have enough money now, they think they will in the future. Only one-in-ten (9%) say they don't have enough now to lead the kind of life they want and don't believe they ever will.

There is of course something almost classically American about this one-in-ten number. This remains an optimistic culture. Young people today plan for the future in order to influence outcomes they have confidence they can influence. Their belief in a better future remains intact. Americans who are victims refuse to see themselves that way. Jodi Kantor's stunning New York Times story about Jannette Navarro, a 22-year-old Starbucks employee and single mom is a case in point. Her struggle to raise her son and make a living under incredibly challenging conditions is deeply moving. As reported by Ms. Kantor, companies seeking to keep labor costs under precise control use advanced software to schedule their employees without concern for the employee's home life, commute or parenting responsibilities. Ms. Navarro's remarkable can-do approach to meeting her challenges included no complaint about the system of work she operated within. As Kantor reported, "she had a way of flicking away setbacks -- such as a missed bus on her three-hour commute -- with the phrase, "I'm over it." Almost as remarkable was the nearly immediate response to the Times story by Starbucks Executive Chris Barrows. According to Ms. Kantor, the next day Mr. Barrows:

...specified that all work hours must be posted at least one week in advance, a policy that has been only loosely followed in the past. Baristas with more than an hour's commute will be given the option to transfer to more convenient locations, he wrote, adding that scheduling software will be revised to allow more input from managers.

Class warfare has always been a tough sell in this country because everyone thinks they, or their children, will eventually "make it big." You don't want to soak the rich if you think that someday you might be the one getting soaked. My generation didn't bother to plan, but rather simply assumed on faith that when we were ready to get serious and grow up, there'd be a way to do that. We expressed our optimism by assuming things would work out; today's young people express their optimism by developing and implementing strategies for getting ahead.

As events in Missouri have recently highlighted, young African Americans face additional challenges as they view the world they will come of age within. Nevertheless, a 2011 study by the Children's Defense Fund found that:

Black children and young people are generally more optimistic than their adult counterparts when assessing their current circumstances. Two-thirds of Black young people characterize these as very good or okay times for Black children, compared with one-third who characterize them as tough or really bad times.

Like the Pew study, the Children's Defense Fund study found that young African Americans were optimistic about the future:

Youthful optimism shows when adults and young people are asked to think 15 to 20 years into the future. Black young people are significantly more likely to think that their lives as adults will be easier than those of adults today, with 63% thinking that things will be easier compared with just 34% who think that things will be harder. This optimistic view is held among both boys and girls and older and younger Black children. In contrast, Black adults are much more likely to think things will be more difficult for young people when they reach adulthood, with a majority (54%) thinking things will be harder and just 30% thinking things will be easier compared with the lives of adults today.

None of us is capable of predicting the future, but the optimism of young people is even more impressive to me when we think of the uncertainties of the world to come. These include:
  • The sustainability challenges of climate change and ecological damage from economic development;
  • The changing nature of work and the impact of technology on work, families, communities, people and the planet;
  • The unpredictable impact of a world economy, global media and culture;
  • Increased sectarianism and tribalism in seeming response to the force of the global mega culture and the seductiveness of modern lifestyles; and,
  • The ever-increasing technology of destruction, particularly when coupled with evil and terrorism.

The nature of work is changing and the opportunity structure is a moving target that is difficult to understand and advance within. Change can be scary, but seems inevitable. I am comforted by the successful transition of my home city, New York, from industrial era disintegration to today's post-industrial world capital. It was not a smooth transition, but it worked. I am reassured by the optimism of young people as measured by pollsters. I am impressed by the attitude and ability I see in my students and in everyday heroines like Jannette Navarro and superb reporters like Jodi Kantor. The transition to a sustainable economy will require an optimistic human spirit, ingenuity and creativity. The path and skills needed to get there are still being defined, but perhaps out of this uncertainty our children will find their place in the world and build a world that has places for them to find.

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Oregon Rejects Key Permit for Coal Export Terminal PDF Print E-mail

The state of Oregon stood up to dirty coal exports today by denying a key dock-building permit. This denial is a major victory for residents and climate activists who have waged a huge, high-profile campaign against coal exports. Oregon’s decision today shows that our state leadership values clean air, our climate and healthy salmon runs.

Protesters speak out against coal exports in Oregon.Hundreds of Oregonians gather at a youth-led rally against coal export in March. Kids ages three and up spoke out against coal exports and demanded that Governor Kitzhaber protect their future from dirty coal.

Coal export proponent, Ambre Energy asked the Oregon’s Department of State Lands for permission to build a new loading dock to ship Powder River Basin coal down the Columbia River to ocean-going ships bound for Asia. Oregon said no, saying the coal export project “would unreasonably interfere with the paramount policy of this state to preserve the use of its waters for navigation, fishing and public recreation.”

Coal Exports ProtestPaddlers prove that the Columbia River is more than a dirty coal chute to Asia.

As American use of coal declines, the Pacific Northwest is threatened by industry trying to maintain profits by exporting the coal that is too dirty to burn here. At its peak, Oregon and Washington faced six coal export proposals. Three proposals were withdrawn by the companies and today’s decision marks the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency formally rejected a coal export permit. Two coal export terminals remain on the table in Washington and face intense public opposition, led by Power Past Coal, an alliance of health, environmental, businesses, clean-energy, faith and community groups working to stop coal export off the West Coast.

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Mexico closes 80 schools after chemical leak PDF Print E-mail

Mexico City (AFP) - Authorities in Mexico said Monday they have closed about 80 schools after sulfuric acid leaked from a copper mine in the country's northwest and contaminated the Sonora River.

"About 5,000 students from around 80 schools will not have classes this week because of a lack of water and in some locations their proximity to the river," said the director of the Sonora state civil protection agency, Jesus Arias.

On August 6, some 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid used to dissolve copper from ore for processing leaked out of a holding tank at the Buenavista copper mine, one of the largest in the world.

The chemical turned a 60-kilometer (40-mile) stretch of the Sonora River orange, causing authorities to shut off the municipal water supply to 20,000 people in seven towns.

The mine has poured tons of lime into the river to neutralize the acidity, but experts warn the water supply still poses a health risk because sulfuric acid releases heavy metals from the surrounding environment.

Potential risks for the local population include cancer, genetic deformities and developmental problems in children.

The government and the mine, which is owned by Latin American mining giant Grupo Mexico, say they have distributed four million liters of water to most of the affected communities.

The mine produces 200,000 tonnes of copper a year, and is seeking to increase annual output to 510,000 tonnes by 2016 with a $3.2 billion investment.

Prosecutors have said it could face a $224,000 fine for the leak.

  • Environment
  • Mexico City
  • sulfuric acid

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Reason Climate Change Optimism as Forest Strategy Validated PDF Print E-mail

Finally there's good news on climate change: We have part of the solution, and it's already working.

For a long time, experts have theorized that indigenous people in forest communities and their management of these forests are critical to controlling and eventually diminishing carbon emissions in the atmosphere – and now a new study shows that this is true. The report, called "Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change" and released jointly by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) in July, "makes a strong case for strengthening the rights of indigenous and local communities over their forests as a policy tool for mitigating climate change."

Forests suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere with unrivaled efficiency, and also serve as enormous filtration systems that provide clean water to millions of people. Every year as much as one fifth of the global carbon emissions may come from cut down trees, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The tenure of indigenous people over these patches of our planet – who can maintain standing forests and see that the trees are not cut down – is a crucial ingredient in the complex recipe for controlling carbon emissions and thereby tackling climate change itself.

Forest Communities as Vital Players

It's something that Almir Surui has known for years. As chief of the Paiter-Surui people, Almir has traveled the globe – from his tiny village deep in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil to international climate-change meetings to conference rooms at Google – bringing attention to the importance of the work that his people do in nourishing and maintaining their forest home. And in doing so, they maintain the "lungs of the planet" for all of us.

For Almir and his people, the pressure to clear the forest for logging – with its easy, fast financial return – has been intense, both outside the community and within, especially when the group has been plagued with food insecurity, disease, and natural emergencies, like fire.

It was Almir who negotiated an innovative deal for his community to earn money in exchange for the value that the Surui provide in reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere – known as carbon offsets. In this kind of deal, which provides funding for people to protect the forest rather than cut it down, companies seeking to offset their carbon emissions can buy carbon offsets from a forest community like the Surui, whose protection and management of the forest has earned them credits.

This financial mechanism is known as REDD, which stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Although REDD has its share of critics, it's clear that it's working, and WRI/RRI study backs that up, stating, "payments under REDD+ could incentivize governments to reform their legal frameworks and strengthen community forest rights if they are an integral part of a REDD+ agreement and implementation plan."

The deal for the Surui was a long and rocky road in coming: from the meticulous validation process (in which auditors measured the impact of the Surui's maintenance of the forest on carbon emissions and established how many carbon credits the community actually could sell) to the verification phase (through which external groups ensured that the Surui were indeed preserving their patch of the Amazon) to the continuing temptation from loggers to simply clear-cut the forest.

Finally, in May of 2013, the Brazilian cosmetics company Natura officially made their purchase of carbon credits from the Surui, and other deals have been closed since then.

REDD transactions like the Surui's are part of what is known as the voluntary carbon market. In 2012, more than half a billion dollars' worth of carbon credit transactions took place in the voluntary carbon market, according to Ecosystem Marketplace's 2013 State of Voluntary Carbon Markets Report.

The Boots on the Ground Against Climate Change: Stories of Success

The WRI/RRI study validates what groups like Forest Trends have long focused on as a tool in the fight against climate change: the power of communities having land tenure. The nonprofit serves as the connective tissue between groups like the Surui, governments, and the private sector, and has been working for more than twenty years on the premise that communities are vital to healthy forests. Based on its own research and experience – now supported by these new data – the D.C.-based group has supported initiatives and REDD programs in its mission to create economic value in our natural ecosystem.

Their Communities & Markets program works in indigenous communities in education, capacity building, technical assistance, and with policy. For example, Forest Trends is working with both the Surui and the Yawanawa peoples in Brazil in agroforestry trainings about sustainable forest products, renewable energy installations, youth learning exchanges, and women's empowerment strategies.

Another success story comes from the Brazilian state of Acre, which has a high economic reliance on agricultural, ranching and forestry/forest products and a small economy compared to other Brazilian states. Following suit to the success of REDD with the Surui, Acre has created a statewide REDD program, called System of Incentives for Environmental Services (Sistema de Incentivo a Serviços Ambientais, or "SISA"), with the German government as one of the early participants in buying carbon credits. The payments will support indigenous people in their traditional land management.

In Peru, the minister of environment has been working closely with Forest Trends to develop environmental law to control the exploitation of natural resources, including biodiversity and water. In June, Peru's National Congress passed the country's groundbreaking Payments for Ecosystem Services Law (Ley de Mecanismos de Retribución por Servicios Ecosistémicos). Under this law, land stewards, including indigenous peoples, are compensated for practicing sustainable land use. And the Tolo River People of Colombia, who own 32,000 acres of rainforest, have also started using REDD programs to help them maintain their land tenure, joining the Surui and many others in the burgeoning voluntary carbon market.

Across the globe in Vietnam, where illegal logging is a serious problem, Forest Trends is working to establish clear and secure tenure rights for local people living near forests, which would give them the ability to sustainably harvest forest assets if they so choose – which provides the incentive against illegal logging.

On a broader scale, a consortium of partners from Latin American are working under a grant from the U.S. government, as part of a program called Accelerating Inclusion and Mitigating Emissions (AIME). The second word in that name – "inclusion" – is important in what it implies: The program recognizes that the participation of indigenous people is key to fighting carbon emissions. With the goal of replicating the success of the Surui in payment for ecosystem services programs, AIME works to engage indigenous people in REDD.

The Case Is Clear

It is indisputable that the forests of the world play a vital role in combating climate change. And the people who have for years and years lived in these forests have been doing an excellent job of taking care of them. Now these people are being displaced or killed off by disease, forced to fight for basic rights of tenure and human rights, and "Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change" proves that there is something very wrong with this scenario. Indigenous people are an essential part of the equation when it comes to fighting climate change and the future of our planet – and programs like REDD recognize and support that.

The fight against climate change is daunting and complicated, and the news isn't always good. Success stories can seem few and far between and sometimes muddy in their functionality at scale. WRI/RRI's report, however, is clear in its message: The tenure of indigenous people in our world's forests has a powerful and positive impact on our ability to lower carbon emissions. The goal now is to apply this highly scalable and transferable "tool" more actively across the planet.

This report was filed by Ann Clark Espuelas. Follow her on Twitter.

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