With at Least 200 Killed, 2016 Was Deadliest Year Ever for Earth Defenders

Last year was the deadliest in history to be an environmental activist, according to a new report that found, on average, nearly four people were killed per week. Defenders of the Earth, released by U.K.-based human rights group Global Witness, lists the names and locations of 200 environmental advocates who were killed around the world. While the report found Brazil, Colombia, and the Philippines were the nations with the most murdered environmentalists in 2016, Honduras has been the deadliest country for environmental activists over the last decade.

Last year, Nicaragua was the most dangerous country per capita, where at least 11 environmental activists were killed—all but one were indigenous. In 2013, the Nicaraguan government agreed to allow a Chinese company to build a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the canal will also force up to 120,000 indigenous people to relocate, according to the report.

— source commondreams.org

Oscar-nominated actor sent to jail

Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell is reporting to jail at 4 p.m. today in upstate New York after he was sentenced to a week behind bars for taking part in a nonviolent protest against a natural gas-fired power plant. Cromwell says he’ll also launch a hunger strike. He was one of six activists arrested for blocking traffic at the sit-in outside the construction site of the 650-megawatt plant in Wawayanda, New York, in December of 2015. The activists say the plant would promote natural gas fracking in neighboring states and contribute to climate change.

— source democracynow.org

Insecticides damage bee socialization and learning skills in bees

The effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees has been widely covered in the news recently, with laboratory-based studies suggesting that the chemicals are harmful, and field studies which are much less clear cut. Adding to current knowledge on the topic, new research published in the Journal of Apicultural Research further explores the effects that these chemicals may have on social behavior and learning in honey bees.

bees fed with thiacloprid significantly reduced their social interactions, suggesting that foraging bees that encounter high doses of insecticide in the field may be less likely to recruit others to these nectar sources, but they also exchanged more food to other group members, which resulted in a dilution of the contaminated food. This means, although thiacloprid may act to interfere with social network structure, it could also play a role in the dynamics of disease transmission in the colony if pathogens are transmitted via food exchange.

— source alphagalileo.org

Income directly affects children’s outcomes

Poorer children have worse cognitive, social-behavioural and health outcomes because they are poor, and not just because poverty is correlated with other household and parental characteristics, according to a new report from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Looking to explain why income matters, they found evidence in support of two central theories, one relating to parents’ ability to invest in goods and services that further child development, and the other relating to the stress and anxiety parents suffer caused by low income. There is particularly strong evidence that increasing income is likely to reduce maternal depression, which is known to be important for children’s outcomes.

— source lse.ac.uk

American Geophysical Union Sells Its Scientific Integrity For $35,000 In ExxonMobil Money

Apparently you can buy the scientific integrity of the entire American Geophysical Union (AGU) for $35,000. Well, maybe you can’t, but oil giant ExxonMobil can.

In February, 100 AGU members and other earth and climate scientists wrote an open letter to the board of 62,000-member group urging it to stop taking sponsorship money form ExxonMobil. The scientists urged the AGU to live up to its 2015 board-approved policy that says AGU will only partner with (i.e. take more than $5,000 from) organizations that meet “the highest standards of scientific integrity, that do not harm AGU’s brand and reputation, and that share a vested interest in and commitment to advancing and communicating science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.”

On Thursday, the AGU board announced that — after reviewing the detailed report on ExxonMobil along with the peer-reviewed literature and other publicly available information — it wasn’t going to cut ties with Exxon.

— source thinkprogress.org

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab sentenced to two years in jail

A Bahrain court sentenced rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab to two years in jail on Monday, supporters said, for allegedly making “false or malicious” statements about Bahraini authorities. Authorities at Bahrain’s information affairs office could not immediately be reached for comment. Bahrain has repeatedly denied systematic rights abuses. Rajab was a leading figure in a 2011 pro-democracy uprising which Bahrain crushed with the help of fellow Gulf Arab countries.

— source reuters.com

Solar power plant lights up abandoned nuclear project

Since 1981, 36 years ago, the Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant in Surgoinsville, Tennessee has sat abandoned. As of today – that site is finally producing CO2 free electricity, but instead with a 1MW solar power plant. The solar power plant is 1MW of peak production. The plant will produce approximately 1,100-1,400MWh/year. Considering the average household uses about 11MWh/year and contains 2.5 people, a system like this will provide enough electricity to balance out about 100 households and 250 people.

— source electrek.co