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Earth Island JournalEarth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Winter 2016

Earth Island Journal is a publication in the field of news and society offering news and analysis about energy and the environment

United States
Earth Island Institute
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4 Issues


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unite and diversify

I drink water straight from the tap at home. It’s tasty, it’s refreshing, and it’s healthy. At least I assume it’s healthy. Carla Bartlett assumed the same. For many years she drank “lots and lots” of iced tea — her favorite drink — made with water flowing from the tap in her home in Coolville, Ohio, a small, working-class town across the river from DuPont’s plant in West Virginia. But what Bartlett didn’t know was that her water supply was contaminated with a carcinogenic chemical, C8, that DuPont used to make one of its signature products: Teflon. Even after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1997, Bartlett continued drinking the tap water, because, as she said in her recent court testimony, “They kept saying there is nothing to worry…

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letters & emails

(www.bizarro.com)Letters to the Editor Earth Island Journal 2150 Allston Way #460 Berkeley, CA 94704 editor@earthisland.orgTowards Global RecoveryAnna Lappé’s column (“It’s Alive! The Amazing World of Soil,” Autumn 2015) was outstanding. Soil health needs to be part of the global climate change discussion. It must also be included in comprehensive plans to protect the oceans from agricultural runoff. I enjoyed Lappé’s positive take on this urgent issue and am more optimistic than ever that we are leaving the pollution era behind and rapidly approaching the global recovery era!Caryl Zook Vero Beach, FLA Lesson for Western Culture Kaimana Barcarse’s article (“A Native View on the Indigenous Perspective,” Autumn 2015) focuses on simplicity, tradition, and being close to the earth as the keys to a “Native” way of being and seeing. As a…

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gold costs trees

Environmental advocates have long warned about the threats that logging and industrial agriculture pose to the Amazon rainforest. New research reveals another danger to the largest forest on the planet: illegal gold mines. A study published earlier this year in the British journal Environmental Research Letters concluded that between 2001 and 2013 approximately 415,000 acres of tropical rainforest were cleared for potential gold-mining sites in the South American jungle. In the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon, for example, an estimated 150,000 acres of forest have been lost due to illegal mining. Peru leads South America in gold production (and ranks in the top five gold producers globally), and about 20 percent of its exported gold comes from clandestine mines. The proliferation of tiny, unreported mines is slowly…

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ivory queen dethroned

Deep in the trenches of the war on ivory smuggling, the good guys have scored a victory. In October, a wildlife-trafficking task force in Tanzania arrested Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “ivory queen,” believed to be a leader in one of Africa’s largest ivory smuggling rings. Feng Glan, a Chinese national, has been charged with smuggling 706 elephant tusks between 2000 and 2014, valued at roughly $2.5 million. According to the Elephant Action League, a US-based nonprofit that fights wildlife crime, she is the most important ivory trafficker arrested in Tanzania to date. “It’s a very important arrest, important symbolically but also from a concrete point of view,” says Andrea Crosta, executive director of the Elephant Action League. “It’s the most important arrest in Africa so far, as they usually…

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california bans ivory

Tanzania-based businesswoman Yang Feng Glan has been charged with smuggling 706 elephant tusks between 2000 and 2014. (PHOTO ELEPHANT ACTION LEAGUE)California lawmakers struck a major blow against wildlife trafficking in September by voting to ban the sale of nearly all ivory products in the state. The new law will make it illegal to sell any ivory in California regardless of when it was imported, unless that ivory is part of a musical instrument imported before 1975, or is part of minor detailing on an antique more than 100 years old. California already had a law banning ivory sales, but that law allowed the sale of ivory imported prior to 1977. The loophole allowed illicit ivory dealers to skirt the ban by distressing ivory imported after the cut-off date. Since California…

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climate cover-up

The Rhone glacier in Switzerland is a major tourist attraction and an important source for the Rhone River and Lake Geneva. But like glaciers throughout the Alps, the Rhone is steadily melting due to the hotter temperatures associated with global warming. To counteract the ice-loss, glaciologists and the Swiss environment ministry have come up with a novel strategy: Cover the ice mass with white blankets that reflect heat and light. “For the past eight years, they have had to cover the ice cave with these blankets to reduce the ice melt,” glaciologist David Volken told AFP, referring to a winding ice grotto on the side of the glacier. Volken says the white fleece covers that stretch over a huge area at the glacier’s edge reduce the ice melt by up…