August 25, 2004

The World Bank will lend Brazil $1.2 billion over the next four years to help protect the environment by financing 10 projects that range from protecting the Amazon rainforest to employing environmental analysts. It is the bank's biggest single loan dedicated to protecting the environment of a single country.


August 16, 2004

Environmental groups are concerned over the Democratic Republic of Congo's plans to increase commercial logging of its rainforest. The Congo Basin is home to the Earth's second largest rainforest (18% of the planet's remaining tropical rainforest) and makes up 70% of the African continent's plant cover. I've added a special section on the Congo Rainforest: Congo Stats, Congo People, Congo River, Congo Deforestation, Congo Forestry, and Congo Conservation.


August 15, 2004

Britain may be sued by tribes in Papua New Guinea for its involvement in a 10,000-hectare oil palm plantation. The tribes claim Higaturu Oil Palms -- a company partially owned by the UK Department for International Development -- used toxic chemicals that poisoned their water, damaged ancestral graveyards and destroyed the "sole habitat of the world's largest butterfly, Queen Alexandra's birdwing." A successful outcome for the tribes could trigger similar compensation claims in other areas affected by foreign government sponsored development projects.


August 10, 2004

Next week a group of policy makers, scientists, and commercial fisherman are meeting in Malaysia for a conference on the conservation and sustainable management of sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean. Sea turtles are among the most threatened reptiles on the planet due to habitat destruction, unsustainable egg harvesting, mortality as bycatch, and pollution.


August 9, 2004

A University of Utah experiment conducted in the Peruvian Amazon suggests insects increase the diversity of the rainforest by feeding on trees. Such seemingly destructive behavior keeps dominant tree species under control but allows other trees to thrive. ''The battle between plants and insects increases the number of habitats in the rainforest,'' says Paul Fine, lead author of the study published July 30 in Science.


August 7, 2004

Exemplifying the remarkable shift in the corporate stance on climate change, the headline in this week's BusinessWeek reads: "Global Warming: Why Business is Taking It So Seriously." Only a couple of years ago, companies took out advertisements in leading publications proclaiming that global warming was a myth created by alarmist environmentalists and rogue scientists. Today companies are realizing the implications of changing climate and working to prepare for the new risks and opportunities presented by an altered climate. Increasingly the consensus is something must be done before it is too late. Rollover ratings for 2004 SUVs | 2004 Rollover ratings for Sport Utility Vehicle Models

The article notes that politicians are getting involved too. John McCain (R-Arizona) says, "The facts are there. We have to educate out fellow citizens about climate change and the danger it poses to the world," while New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer -- who recently sued the nation's largest utility companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- warns "Global warming threatens our health, our economy, our natural resources, and our children's future. It is clear we must act."


August 6, 2004

Home Depot is taking a green role in the international timber trade according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. Pressure from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and other environmental groups in the late 1990s helped encourage the company to reevaluate its environmental practices and eventually stop using products from endangered forests.

Home Depot's move reflects a change in corporate tactics for addressing criticism from environmental groups. As the article puts it, "For retailers, working with green groups can be a fairly inexpensive way to ingratiate themselves with customers and rid themselves of negative publicity." But the trend also extends beyond retailers: Citigroup, one of the world's largest financial services companies, has recently worked with RAN to develop and adopt a comprehensive environmental policy that promotes higher environmental standards through its business practices.

For their part, activist groups are getting smarter about their methods of pressing companies for change: "Instead of seeking environmental change through government legislation or the courts, these activists target specific corporations through boycotts and protests. They then persuade those companies to pressure their suppliers and business partners to change their practices, creating a 'green' domino effect through an industry."


August 4, 2004

The past few days I have been in the Sierra Nevadas. Here are some pictures: wildlife, lake, sunsets. Also, traffic to the site hit a new record in July.







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