Newsdesk – October 6

Chief Eýy Cy and his son in the main village of the Governador indigenous territory, in Maranhão state. The Pyhcop Catiji people who live there created a group called the Forest Guardians, which patrols the forests in order to report illegal deforestation. [Image by Brent Stirton/Getty Images for Human Rights Watch]
Brazilian state complicit in violence against forest defenders, report says. Violence against defenders of the forest has increased under the Bolsonaro administration, which has sabotaged Brazil’s commitments assumed in the Paris Agreement to eliminate illegal logging in the Amazon by 2030. On Sept. 17 Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a study carried out over the course of three years. In the report, the organization documents 28 murders and 44 death threats over that period in the Brazilian Amazon. In all the reported cases, there is reliable evidence that those behind the attacks were land grabbers or illegal loggers — a criminal network that is now being strengthened by the discourse and actions of Brazilian President. “Organized crime is responsible for deforestation in the Amazon,” said Raquel Dodge, Brazil’s former prosecutor general, in an interview with researchers. The Federal Public Ministry has already broken up some of these groups, such as one that deforested 180 square kilometers (70 square miles) over the past few years in Boca do Acre, in Amazonas state. Various sets of data consulted by Human Rights Watch show that the biggest areas of preserved Amazon forest in Brazil are situated within the perimeter of indigenous reserves, which makes these territories prime targets for criminals. The Forest Guardians carry out regular expeditions to the remotest parts of their lands and inspect the borders of indigenous reserves. They also use a GPS system to provide precise coordinates to the authorities. A group of “women warriors” from the Caru indigenous territory, inhabited by the Awá Guajá and Guajajara peoples, is even learning to use drones to improve monitoring. The situation is extremely urgent, because where loggers see money, indigenous people see a soul: “We, the Pyhcop Catiji people, believe there is life after death, that our spirits transform themselves into trees, into animals,” said Eýy Cy, the chief of the Gavião people. “So, it is not just a tree, not just a forest that is there. What is there is a life, my ancestors’ lives” – Mongabay

  • If Each of Us Planted a Tree, Would It Slow Global Warming? – Wired
  • Dakota Access Pipeline Activists Face 110 Years In Prison, Two Years After Confessing Sabotage – The Intercept
  • Meet the ‘NIMBY people’ trying to kill solar – E&E News
  • ‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone’: the fight to save the giant sequoia – The Guardian
  • Pope urges bold action to protect the Amazon amid fires – The Charlotte Observer
  • The Word Nobody Wanted to Say at the UN Climate Action Summit
    “Offsets” – ProPublica
  • How Britain Ended Its Coal Addiction – Inside Climate News

Burgers aren’t the biggest issue when it comes to beef and climate change. Steak is. [Photo Credit: Rikki Snyder for The New York Times]
The Real Problem With Beef. An extensive study confirms that red meat might not be that bad for you. But it is bad for the planet, with chicken and pork less harmful than beef. Red meat has been vilified more than almost any other food, yet studies have shown that while moderation is important, meat can certainly be part of a healthy diet. Recently, meat substitutes have emerged as a possible solution, but the promise is much greater than the reality.  Burger King and other fast-food chains are trying out Impossible Foods burgers as a vegan answer to beef. The Impossible Whopper has 630 calories (versus a traditional Whopper’s 660). It also contains similar amounts of saturated fat and protein, and more sodium and carbohydrates. No one should think they’re improving their health by making the switch. What about the environmental argument? Almost 30 percent of the world’s ice-free land is used to raise livestock. We grow a lot of crops to feed animals, and we cut down a lot of forests to do that. But beef, far more than pork or chicken, contributes to environmental harm, in part because it requires much more land. The greenhouse gas production per serving of chicken or pork is about 20 percent that of a serving of beef.  Ground beef is not the problem; steak is“, says Sarah Taber, a crop scientist and food system specialist. There’s no profit to be made in ground beef,” she said. “That all comes either from leftover parts once cattle have been slaughtered for more expensive cuts, or from dairy cattle that have outlived their usefulness. To improve the environment by reducing the number of cows slaughtered, we’d need to find a way to replace the many other cuts of beef Americans enjoy. To greatly reduce the reliance on cows, we’d also need to wean ourselves from our high level of milk consumption. The increasing use of alternative milks, like oats or soy, could help, but the dairy industry still dominates – The New York Times

Mammoth bones that could be tens of thousands of years old are strewn near the Kolyma River. They probably were discarded by poachers in favor of valuable tusks. [Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez, The Washington Post]
Radical warming in Siberia leaves millions on unstable ground. A Washington Post analysis found that the region near the town of Zyryanka, in an enormous wedge of eastern Siberia called Yakutia, has warmed by more than 3 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times — roughly triple the global average. The warming got in the way of our good life,” said Alexander Fedorov, deputy director of the Melnikov Permafrost Institute in the regional capital of Yakutsk. For the 5.4 million people who live in Russia’s permafrost zone, the new climate has disrupted their homes and their livelihoods. Siberians who grew up learning to read nature’s subtlest signals are being driven to migrate by a climate they no longer understand. This migration from the countryside to cities and towns represents one of the most significant and little-noticed movements to date of climate refugees.  And then there’s that rotting smell. As the permafrost thaws, animals and plants frozen for thousands of years begin to decompose and send a steady flow of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere — accelerating climate change. Winters, though still brutal, turned milder — and shorter. Fed by the more rapidly thawing permafrost, rivers started flooding more, leaving some communities inaccessible for months and washing others away, along with the ground beneath them.  In the summer, huge blazes tore through Siberian boreal forests, unleashing yet more carbon into the atmosphere. Some scientists fear worsening northern fires are amplifying the permafrost damage. Meanwhile, on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, monstrous craters have opened up in the tundra. Scientists suspect they represent sudden explosions of methane gas freed by thawing permafrost. Although the thawing of these ancient remains raises the threat of terrifying consequences, it is, for some, the bright side of climate change. “The mammoth bone comes out and brings us money,” said Yevgeny Konstantinov, a newspaper editor in the Arctic town of Saskylakh. “Everyone rides Jeeps now” – The Washington Post