Divestment Transparency

We like to think we can see the true nature of the world around us, or at least, that we have a chance of understanding it. In February, the Irish government took a big step towards revealing how the fossil fuel infrastructure really works. How? By halting all public investment in fossil fuels like coal,…

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Fish and Steel

The image of thousands of fish washing up on a shore is almost never a metaphor for lucky circumstance. It’s almost always a sign that something, somewhere, has gone very wrong. Back in April, fishermen in four central Vietnamese provinces, mostly outside the main tourist centers, started finding fish washed ashore. Fishing suddenly became easier…

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Making Choices

I was doing some early morning grocery shopping this morning, and I was buying avocados. Above the avocado bin were two types of produce bags: a roll of the thin plastic bags, and a stack of bags made of recycled paper. This might seem like a tangential story to begin a post about World Pangolin…

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A Stone on the Ledge

I want to talk about a couple of pieces of legislation that seem unrelated, namely new water regulations to deal with drought in California, and new Chinese laws making the purchase of illegal animals parts punishable by jail time. But first, I’d like to talk about a large white stone that sits atop a window…

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World Wildlife Day 2015

Today is World Wildlife Day 2015, which this year highlights the challenges of the illegal trade in wildlife. World Wildlife Day, on the 3rd of March, marks the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The global trade in wild animals and their…

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Ivory Trade Antics

There have been several elephant and ivory-related news items over the past few weeks, including a year-long ban on ivory imports announced by China this week, and the announcement by several Hong Kong retailers that they will no longer be selling elephant products. New regulations have just come into effect in the United States, one…

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Tipping the Scales

21 February is World Pangolin Day, and anyone who follows this blog knows I have a soft spot for the scaly anteater that is being rapidly hunted into extinction. The ongoing decimation of the slow and strange pangolin is a grim illustration of the long-lasting impact greed and lack of political willpower can have on…

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Telling Time

There’s a new chill in the morning air, in spite of unseasonable warmth. Winter is still around the corner, according to the calendar, but it’s still as warm as late summer. We wore shorts yesterday. A few roses shoot another round of late blossoms that might cost the plants dearly, a couple of the tomato…

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Anticyclonic Haze

It’s been a hazy couple of days here on the eastern edge of France, dry and cloudless but when I look out the window, the air above (the currently invisible) Lake Geneva is whitish-yellow.And indeed, checking the news, I find that three-quarters of France is under a high pollution alert. City bikes are free today…

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Breaking the Chain

When it comes to putting a stop to the illegal trade in endangered animals and animal parts, I don’t know if the┬áLondon Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade is the first major conference to explicitly include the main consumer nations of animal parts as well as the countries in which the most animals are poached. But…

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