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British chicken driving deforestation in Brazil’s “second Amazon”

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THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM This satellite shot shows soybean production in Cerrato, Brazil. Green represents areas cleared before 2001 and purple - between 2007-2013. NASA. Soya used to feed UK livestock linked to industrial-scale destruction of vital tropical woodland. Story here.

As giant ice shelves collapse amid global warming in the Canadian Arctic, experts call for more protection for the "Last Ice Area" (LIA). The vast communities of plants and animals living there could be lost, they warn, before we even get to know them!

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by Larry Powell  The vast Milne Ice Shelf broke up this summer. Animals found  living within its ice cavity (red box),  are shown on the right.  Photo credits: Left: Joseph Mascaro, Planet Labs Inc.  Right: Water and Ice Laboratory, Carleton University. Using tools which included video taken by a robot submarine, a Canadian research team recently discovered an amazing array of plants and animals, living in the hear t of Milne, the very ice shelf which broke apart just this summer north of Ellesmere Island (above), losing almost half of its mass. Dr. Derek Mueller, Professor of Geography and Environment Science at Ottawa's Carleton University, is a team member who's worked in the area for decades. In an email to PinP, he provides more detail. "There are really neat microbial mats (communities of micro-organisms including cyanobacteria, green algae, diatoms, heterotrophic bacteria, and viruses) that live on the surface of the ice shelves. Similar microbial mats can be found

As South Africa clings to coal, a struggle for the right to breathe

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YaleEnvironmnt360 A small coal Mine, Highveld, South Africa.  A Sierra Club photo. Close ties between the ruling elite and the coal industry have helped perpetuate South Africa’s dependence on the dirtiest fossil fuel for electricity. But now residents of the nation’s most coal-intensive region are suing to force the government to clean up choking air pollution. Story here.

The role we humans play in the continuing decline of Earth's biosphere knows no boundaries. Sadly - an essential part of human life - food production - remains part of the problem.

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NASA   A thick blanket of smoke again darkens skies over northern India. Every year, farmers light large numbers of small fires between September and December—after the monsoon season—to burn off rice stalks and straw leftover after harvest, a practice known as stubble or paddy burning. Details here. By Larry Powell Smoke from burning stubble hovers over a small town in southwestern Manitoba, CA. Nov. 2020. A PinP photo. Canada is no stranger to the same practise. While "stubble-burning" in this country did not approach that of India's (at least not this year), numerous such fires were still common again this fall over the eastern prairies (See above) and in past years (below). Stubble-burning in Manitoba - circa 2005. Photos by PinP. Wildfire smoke (see brown) over the Canadian prairies last year. A NASA photo. Smoke from several large wildfires in Canada (now proven to be more severe, frequent and prolonged thanks to manmade climate change) was so thick and widespread

Snarl for the camera! An international team of scientists and software developers use facial recognition technology to identify individual grizzlies in the wild.

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 By Larry Powell An adult female grizzly  (Ursus arctos). "BearID," as the program is called, captures a bear’s face in a  photo image, rotates, extracts and embeds it in order to classify the individual.   Facial recognition techniques have long been used to identify primates, including humans. But, up 'til now, there's really been no effective way of identifying wild species like the grizzly (brown) bear who, unlike the zebra or giraffe, lacks unique and consistent body markings.       In co-operation with two US software developers, four scientists from the University of Victoria bought their idea to reality. They tested their system on grizzlies at two locations - Knight Inlet, BC, and Katmai National Park, Alaska. After taking thousands of pictures, they were able to positively identify 132 individuals with almost eighty-four percent accuracy.  An adult female in another colour phase. All images by Melanie Clapham, U of Victoria, Canada.  The technology enables

Concentration Matters. Farmland Inequality on the Canadian Prairies

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The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives    by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan and Mengistu Wendimu A scene typical to the Canadian prairies - a big farm at harvest time. A public domain photo by cj berry. The ownership and control of Canada’s food-producing land is becoming more and more concentrated, with profound impacts for young farmers, food system security, climate change and democracy.  On the Canadian prairies, small and medium-sized family farms are often portrayed as the primary food production units. Yet, the reality of farming in Western Canada is quite different. In fact, a small and declining number of farms are operating the lion’s share of Prairie farmland and capturing the lion’s share of farm revenue and net income.  The authors analyse the extent of farmland concentration in Canada’s three Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), where over 70 per cent of the country’s agricultural land is situated. They find that 38 per ce