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Court Ruling In Favour Of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Could Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

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Court Ruling In Favour Of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Could Stop Dakota Access Pipeline
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

John Vibes, Truth Theory

After a lengthy legal battle that stretched on for years, a federal court has finally sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and ordered a full environmental review for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The court ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted the permits in 2016. The ruling also stated that there were concerns about oil spills and the potential damage that could be caused to the environment, which were overlooked in the initial assessment.

This current ruling is not the end of the tribe’s struggle against this pipeline. In fact, oil is still flowing through the pipeline. This merely requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review, something that should have happened before construction began anyway. For some reason, the agency rushed to approve permits for Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of DAPL, without a proper review of the land.

In the meantime, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg will hold a hearing next month, where each side will argue their case on whether or not oil should be able to flow through the pipeline while the review is being conducted.

In his ruling, Judge Boasberg stated that, “The many commenters in this case pointed to serious gaps in crucial parts of the Corps’ analysis – to name a few, that the pipeline’s leak-detection system was unlikely to work, that it was not designed to catch slow spills, that the operator’s serious history of incidents had not been taken into account, that the worst-case scenario used by the Corps was potentially only a fraction of what a realistic figure would be – and the Corps was not able to fill any of [the gaps in the analysis].” 

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith called the verdict a “significant legal win” for the tribe.

“After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win. It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns,” Faith said.

According to a previous report from Greenpeace, ETP was involved with numerous oil spills that went unnoticed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The report indicated that the company and its subsidiaries were responsible for 527 spills from 2002-2017, at least 67 of which contaminated water resources. Testimony from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe described how workers with ETP destroyed at least 380 sacred and cultural sites along the DAPL route. The company also hired private security firms like TigerSwan, who used excessive force and military tactics against protestors, all while operating without a license to operate in the state of North Dakota.

Read the court’s decision.

About the Author

John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.

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Environment

Scientists Accidentally Discover Massive, Skyscraper-Sized Coral Reef On Great Barrier Reef

The remarkable, 1,600-foot-tall underwater structure is taller than New York City’s Empire State Building.

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Coral Reef
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) A massive, detached coral reef the size of a skyscraper has been discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, researchers announced Monday, marking the first such find in over a century.

The remarkable, 1,600-foot-tall underwater structure – the first to be discovered in 120 years – is taller than manmade buildings like France’s Eiffel Tower, New York City’s Empire State Building, and Britain’s tallest building, the 95-storey The Shard.

The unexpected discovery was made on Oct. 20 by a team of Australian scientists on the Schmidt Ocean Institute research vessel Falkor who were on a 12-month expedition conducting underwater mapping of the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef.

On Sunday, the team used the institute’s underwater robot or remotely operated vehicle (ROV) SuBastian to explore the new reef. The institute live-streamed the robotic dive and subsequent “climb” up the reef, allowing viewers across the world to enjoy close-up views of the tremendous natural structure.

The blade-like reef measures nearly a mile wide at its base, and its tallest point extends to about 130 feet below the surface of the ocean.

This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean,” Wendy Schmidt, the institute’s co-founder, said in a statement“The state of our knowledge about what’s in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”

The towering reef lies off the coast of North Queensland, in the area surrounding Cape York. Since the late 19th century, seven detached reefs have been found in the region.

“We are surprised and elated by what we have found,” said Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at James Cook University who is leading the expedition. “To not only 3D map the reef in detail, but also visually see this discovery with SuBastian is incredible.”

The expansive Great Barrier Reef comprises about 2,900 reefs and 900 islands. It is home to an incredible array of fish, shrimp, and various other reef denizens.

In recent years, dead coral reefs have become one of the major horrors resulting from the impact of human economic activities, with thousands of miles of coral ecosystem across the globe being transformed into bleached-out graveyards due to the devastating impact of fast-heating ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, pollution, marine pests, and overfishing.

The newfound reef is completely separate from the main shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef, and very little is known about why such detached reefs exist.

And while the Great Barrier Reef has felt a devastating impact from recent coral bleaching, the newly-discovered reef appears to be mostly intact.

“To find a new half-a-kilometre tall reef in the offshore Cape York area of the well-recognized Great Barrier Reef shows how mysterious the world is just beyond our coastline,” said Jyotika Virmani, the executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “This powerful combination of mapping data and underwater imagery will be used to understand this new reef and its role within the incredible Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”

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Environment

The Amazon Rainforest Is Coming Dangerously Close To Permanently Converting Into Dry Savannah

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications found that as much as 40% of the Amazon rainforest could become a savannah-like environment.

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Photo Credit: Daily Sabah

(TMU) – A vast swathe of the Amazon is teetering on the brink of disaster and risks crossing the tipping point of transforming from a closed canopy rainforest teeming with life to an open savannah with few trees as climate conditions deprive the region of rainfall and effectively kill its unique ecosystem, scientists have warned.

Rainforests are extremely sensitive to even the slightest changes in rainfall and moisture levels, and extended periods of drought and fire can be devastating in areas that rely on rain for sustenance. In the Amazon, such conditions would transform the lush rainforest into a semi-arid savannah-like mixture of woodland and grassland while also boosting the risk of fire.

While such dramatic changes to the Amazon were believed to be worst-case scenarios that could happen decades away, a team of Europe-based scientists warned on Monday that the tipping point is now dangerously close.

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications found that as much as 40% of the existing Amazon rainforest is already seeing so little rainfall that it could exist as a savannah-like environment, deprived of its canopy-like tree coverage and with far less biodiversity.

Researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Center used computer models and data analysis to stimulate the effect of continued climate change resulting from emissions from burning fossil fuels from now until the end of the century to find the results.

Rainforests typically create their own rainfall through water vapour, which then sustains and even extends the reach of tree levels.

However, when rain levels plummet, forest land also begins to fade away and degrade – resulting in a drier landscape that becomes more susceptible to the ravages of fire, drought, and ultimately, total deforestation.

The situation in the Amazon has only grown worse as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has stubbornly pushed forward the opening of the rainforest to economic development, unleashing a wave of human-caused fires meant to illegally clear one of the region so that it can be exploited by miners, cattle ranchers, loggers, and big agricultural interests.

This year’s fires in the Brazilian Amazon are the worst in a decade, marking a dizzying 60% rise in fire hotspots compared to last year’s infamous blazes.

The rainforest is so delicate that even the most subtle changes in climate conditions can have an outsized impact on the ecological balance of the environment, said the study’s lead author, Arie Staal.

As forests grow and spread across a region, this affects rainfall,” he told The Guardian. “Forests create their own rain because leaves give off water vapour and this falls as rain further downwind. Rainfall means fewer fires leading to even more forests.”

However, the loss of large areas of rainforest mean a precipitous drop in rainfall levels across the region.

“Drier conditions make it harder for the forest to recover and increase the flammability of the ecosystem,” Staal said.

At that point, the rainforest crosses a threshold and converts into a savannah-type environment – a conversion that is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

“It is harder to return from the ‘trap’ caused by the feedback mechanism in which the open, grassy ecosystem is more flammable, and the fires, in turn, keep the ecosystem open,” Staal said.

Experts have warned that the Amazon rainforest is a crucial barrier to the catastrophic breakdown of global climate conditions. Without the Amazon rainforest, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could become out of control and drive global warming to intolerable levels while the change in rainfall patterns could impact the entire Western Hemisphere.

World’s rarest Great Ape, discovered 3 years ago, is fast being wiped out by British firm’s goldmine. (Click here to read the full article!)

Tragically, the loss of rainforests like the Amazon would also entail the extermination of a huge portion of global species.

“We understand now that rainforests on all continents are very sensitive to global change and can rapidly lose their ability to adapt,” said study co-author Ingo Fetzer of the Stockholm Research Center. “Once gone, their recovery will take many decades to return to their original state. And given that rainforests host the majority of all global species, all this will be forever lost.”

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Animal World

Half A Million Sharks Could Be Killed To Make COVID-19 Vaccine

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Half a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Make COVID-19 Vaccine
Photo Credit: TMU

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline may need to slaughter half a million sharks to harvest squalene, an oil made in shark livers, to make a new line of COVID jabs. Glaxo mixes squalene with a witches’ brew of proprietary surfactants to produce its controversial AS03 vaccine adjuvant. Adjuvants are compounds that amplify immune response to hyperstimulate the immune system. They are associated with a variety of autoimmune diseases.

Scientific studies have linked squalene adjuvants to Gulf War syndrome and to a wave of debilitating neurological disorders including epidemics of narcolepsy caused by Glaxo’s H1N1 Pandemrix vaccine during the 2009 swine flu “pandemic.” One study showed a 13-fold increased risk of narcolepsy in children who received Pandemrix.

The devastating cascade of brain injuries to children and health care workers forced the termination of that Glaxo vaccine after European governments used only a small fraction of the jabs they had purchased from Glaxo. A recent study links squalene to carcinomas. In a bizarre and reckless twist, Glaxo has revived the dangerous adjuvant as its hall pass to the COVID-19 money orgy.

The company said it would manufacture a billion doses of this adjuvant for potential use in coronavirus vaccines. Around 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one ton of squalene.

Shark Allies, a California-based group, said Glaxo will kill around 250,000 sharks to make enough AS03 for the world’s population to receive one dose of its COVID-19 vaccine. If, as expected, two doses are needed, half a million sharks must die.

Glaxo declared that it would be producing 1 billion doses of AS03 “to support the development of multiple adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

Stay out of the water: does a prehistoric shark still live in the ocean? (Click here to read the full article!)

Glaxo has developed partnerships with multiple companies, including its behemoth rival Sanofi, China’s Clover Bio and Innovax Biotech in the city of Xiamen. Glaxo has also agreed to make the technology available to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for COVID vaccines in Australia and elsewhere. Glaxo said it is focusing on what it considers a “proven technology” that will give the company “several shots on goal.”

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is implementing many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Environment

Hope For The World’s Oceans – Major New Study Provides Route Map To Recovery In Just 30 Years

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Hope For The World’s Oceans – Major New Study Provides Route Map To Recovery In Just 30 Years
Photo Credit: Pexels

Nikki HarperGuest Writer

Of all the damage mankind has inflicted upon our earth, the depletion of marine life around the world has been some of the most heart-breaking – but a major new international study has set out a route map to recovery. If urgent action is taken, biodiversity in our oceans could be restored to healthy levels within just one generation, by 2050, researchers believe [1].

Using evidence from successful marine conversation projects around the world, researchers from four continents, ten countries and sixteen universities have been able to identify and narrow down the most crucial steps governments around the world must take if this narrow window of opportunity is to be taken [2]. Although threats from climate change and over-fishing are becoming ever more acute, the marine life losses we saw in the 20th century have to some extent slowed in the 21st century so far – and in some cases, remarkable success has been achieved. Take the global population of humpback whales, for example – a species which was on the brink of extinction in 1968, but which now numbers more than 40,000. Northern elephant seals are another example of what the report terms “impressive resilience” – numbering just 20 breeding animals in 1880, today there are more than 200,000 [3].

Endangered Orcas have begun surrounding and attacking boats this summer. (Click here to read the full article!)

Such good news stories are important for individual species, but they’re also important for global marine management, provided that the lessons learned from them can be scaled up and applied quickly.

The new study states that marine life recovery can be accelerated by large scale interventions – to such an extent, if done well, that we may see substantial ocean life recovery within the next two-three decades. Researchers have identified broad themes necessary to support this recovery, such as the protection of species, wise harvesting, protected spaces, habitat restoration, pollution reduction and climate change mitigation. Each of these themes contains specific actions which should be brought to bear on nine integral elements of marine life, namely deep sea, megafauna, fisheries, oyster reefs, kelp, coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves and saltmarshes.

Researchers have laid out a careful road map towards recovery, including discussion of possible problems and remedial actions. However, as the authors point out, any such success in marine life recovery will depend upon global will, across national boundaries and diverse societies – not to mention a substantial financial commitment, in the region of $10-20 billion a year, the report estimates [3]. However, such an investment would be repaid many times over in the benefits from ecotourism, sustainable fishing and a reduction in storm damage where coastal areas are protected by marshes or mangroves. The report is also clear that this plan can only succeed if the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change are reached.

The study, published in Nature, states “Rebuilding marine life represents a doable Grand Challenge for humanity, an ethical obligation and a smart economic objective to achieve a sustainable future.”We have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver a healthy ocean to our grandchildren’s generation,” said Dr Carlos Duarte, Professor of Marine Science and lead author of the study. “We have the knowledge and the tools to do so. Failing to embrace this challenge – and condemning our grandchildren to a broken ocean – is not an option.”

Article Sources
  1. https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2020/research/save-marine-life/
  2. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/landmark-study-outlines-how-to-restore-oceans-to-former-glory-by-2050/
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/sea-ocean-marine-life-2050-ecosystem-nature-climate-change-study-a9442601.html
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About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

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