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Should nature have inalienable rights? Image courtesy @serbogachuk via Envato.

Increasing pressures from industry and human encroachment are giving nature a tough go. The fact is that an ever-increasing population has to find food and shelter in order to simply live. In many cases, this is upon the banks of rivers, on the edge of cities or encroaching on wild areas. The activities of these relative newcomers may have a long-lasting effect on the place they call home. In other cases, local companies find it easier and cheaper to improperly dispose of waste and dump it, rather than trucking it to a more expensive treatment facility.

While I personally think destroying nature for economic gain is morally wrong, many of these activities are not technically illegal. I once had a debate with someone about opening protected wild areas for resource extraction. His argument was that if it is not illegal then why shouldn’t they do it? The industry in question had a long history of using legal means to justify dumping of toxic waste on the land surrounding their sites. Then, when the money dried up, a common practice was to close the site and walk away. When or if they were ever charged, they found it cheaper to fight the landowner with lawyers and legal tactics than to simply do the right thing and clean up their mess. More often than not, their tactics worked; it was legal after all.

If the destructive activities are not illegal, and if the area being damaged has no legal protection, then who will prevent the damage from occurring? Certainly not the polluters.

The Dawki River in Bangladesh has legal protection. Image courtesy @abhishekch.5kv10 via Twenty20.

In 7 countries that have legally recognized the rights of nature, the writer showcases 7 places that have begun to provide legal rights to natural areas and rivers. Intended to bypass red tape and difficult to enforce laws about pollution and development, the premise is very simple: an entity that has legal rights of protection may not be degraded in any way – regardless of how it was to occur. I believe we will see more of this in the not too distant future.

Pink flamingos are taking over Mumbai. Image courtesy @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20.

We’ve heard lots of great stories about amazing wildlife recoveries during the pandemic and here’s another one. Flamingos Have Taken Over Mumbai As Humans Sit in Quarantine — and the Photos Are Amazing. A historic breeding area for the bright pink birds, in 2020 Mumbai has almost 26 million human inhabitants and is the second-largest city in the world. During so-called normal times, Mumbai is not a great place for wild creatures. The coronavirus lockdown has kept residents inside though and the birds are flocking to their favourite locations to feed on plankton that has been growing undisturbed for months.

Renewable energy beats coal in the US. Image courtesy @rossinni0522 via Twenty20.

Good news for air quality in the US! Renewable energy topped coal in US for 40 days straight. The US Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) announced that due to warmer weather, lower demand due to coronavirus and other factors, renewable power generation outperformed coal for 40 days, its longest stretch to date in the US. The previous record was just 9 days in April of 2019, a better than 4 times increase. The event is significant not only because of the amount of increase, but also because IEEFA predicted this to not occur consistently until 2021. They have now revised their estimates and believe it will happen in 2020 – a full year earlier than expected!

Orcas are getting a break from shipping noise. Image courtesy Janne_Amunet via Envato.

Whales and other marine mammals are getting a break too.  Silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise. Whales have a sophisticated means of communication and use sound (a type of sonar) to “talk” over long distances underwater. It is known that they reduce this communication when boats travel nearby, and in areas with heavy boat traffic, they have been documented to suffer from stress and associated health concerns. Marine scientists studying these intelligent creatures have long been wondering how they might create a boat free test to learn about how the creature’s behaviour changes in quiet oceans. Now they are getting the chance. In ports around the world, shipping traffic has been greatly reduced and scientists are getting their opportunity.

A silvereye perched on a branch in New Zealand. Image courtesy kjwells86 via Envato.

Everyone loves a good animal photo, especially if it’s a wild creature that we don’t often see. The best ones usually have amazing quality with the image showing the animal in its natural habitat or maybe even interacting with it’s young. This Facebook Group Is Dedicated To Crappy Wildlife Photos That Are So Bad They’re Good shows another side of photography. Wild animals don’t do as told and are often totally unpredictable, making the ability to capture good photos even more difficult. This Facebook group shares wildlife photos so bad they are good – and often kind of funny. Highly recommended if your mood needs a boost!

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1) 7 countries that have legally recognized the rights of nature

7 countries that have legally recognized the rights of nature

2) Flamingos Have Taken Over Mumbai As Humans Sit in Quarantine — and the Photos Are Amazing (Video)

Flamingos Have Taken Over Mumbai As Humans Sit in Quarantine — and the Photos Are Amazing (Video)

3) Renewable energy topped coal in US for 40 days straight

Renewable energy topped coal in US for 40 days straight

4) Silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise

Silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise

5) This Facebook Group Is Dedicated To Crappy Wildlife Photos That Are So Bad They’re Good

This Facebook Group Is Dedicated To Crappy Wildlife Photos That Are So Bad They’re Good

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4 COMMENTS

    • Hi Heather, I cannot tell you how much I needed that comment just now! Thank you, I am happy you enjoy Happy Eco News – please share the good news!

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    • Thanks Glenn, the positive comments and nice people I meet are what keeps me going. I appreciate your comment and daily visits. Thank you!

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