The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Book Review: ‘Law of the Jungle' by Paul M. Barrett

The Law of the Jungle looks at Donziger and Chevron's Amazon involvement

A hand covered in crude oil, taken from one of Chevron’s oil pits in Ecuadorean Amazon rainforest near Lago Agrio. (Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest Action Network / Flickr Creative Commons)

When one thinks of the Amazon, many probably picture it as a pristine, luscious rainforest teeming with biodiversity that hint at simpler times before human development and exploitation. But within the dense foliage of the Amazon rainforest lies one of the most complex, tangled 30-year-old tales in the making that’s undoubtedly one of the world’s biggest stories of environmental injustice.


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Ocean Roundup: Gulf of Maine Cod Fishery Closed, Climate Change Worsening Dead Zones, and More

Fishery managers closed the Gulf of Maine fishery

Cod (Gadus morhua). Fishery managers closed the Gulf of Maine cod fishery for six months. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

- Researchers have discovered that they can examine how much plastic debris seabirds ingest on the open ocean by studying its concentration in birds’ preening oil. The scientists say this will help them understand how trash is affecting other marine species. ABC


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Thirty-One Species Granted Protection by UN in Big Move for Wildlife Conservation (Photos)

The UN protected 31 species

A reef manta ray (Manta alfredi), one of the species protected by CMS over the weekend. (Photo: Jacob Mojiwat / Flickr Creative Commons)

After six days of “intense negotiations,” the Convention on the Conservation on Migratory Species (CMS)—an international treaty under the United Nations Environment Program specializing in migratory species—closed its Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Quito, Ecuador with good news for global wildlife conservation. Delegates from more than 100 countries agreed on protections for 31 different terrestrial, avian, and aquatic species, including safeguards for a record 21 species of sharks, rays, and sawfish.


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Ocean Roundup: Polar Bears Have Smelly Feet, 21 Sharks, Rays, and Sawfish Gain Protection, and More

CMS protected 31 new species

The thresher shark is one of the species protected over the weekend. (Photo: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has put new fishing regulations in place for striped bass. Amid population declines, the Commission imposed a 25 percent catch rate reduction for 2015, and recreational fishermen can only catch one fish. Providence Journal


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Ocean Roundup: Polar Bears Congregating in Manitoba, Northern Shrimp Declining across Their Range, and More

Polar bears could lose two-thirds of their population by mid century

Polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. (Photo: Valerie / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory held a meeting behind closed doors with state and federal officials and agencies involved with offshore drilling, which was closed to journalists, environmental groups, and the public. The meeting included discussions related to offshore oil and gas exploration that could be coming to the North Carolina coast within a few years. The Associated Press


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Ocean Roundup: New Deep-Sea Coral Discovered, Alvin Submersible Highlighted for Oceanographic Research, and More

The Alvin has been conducting oceanographic research for years

The Alvin submersible. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Nicaragua will soon begin constructing a new canal that connects the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and will be nearly 200 miles long by the time it’s completed. However, both environmental and social impact studies have not yet been completed, and it’s estimated that at least 30,000 people will be displaced by its construction. Spiegel Online International


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Video: Adorable New Robot Helps Researchers Study Emperor Penguins in Antarctica

A new penguin is helping researchers study emperor penguins

Emperor penguins in Antarctica. A new robot is lending clues about their behavior. (Photo: Christopher Michel / Flickr Creative Commons)

While studying penguins in Antarctica may seem like a rewarding task, it’s undoubtedly a difficult one. Emperor penguins are said to be quite shy, so their heart rates increase and they tend to change their behavior when humans enter their colonies. This left scientists with inaccurate data on penguin health and other measurements, and in need of a way to probe into their Antarctic world without disturbing them too much.


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Five Must-Know Facts about The Shrimp You Eat from Oceana’s Recent Report

Oceana uncovered widespread misrepresentation of shrimp

(Photo: Oceana)

As America’s favorite seafood, there’s a good chance you’ve consumed shrimp before, whether that be as shrimp salad, shrimp scampi, or battered coconut shrimp. And while all of those dishes are absolutely delicious, consumers don’t often realize what they’re getting when they order “shrimp.”


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Ocean Roundup: Fatter Elephant Seals Are Better Swimmers, Queen Conch Not to Receive Protection under ESA, and More

queen conch won't receive protection under the ESA

Queen conchs will not be protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Photo: Daniel Neal / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The National Marine Fisheries Service ruled not to list queen conch under the Endangered Species Act, which will allow groups to still import queen conch into the country (it’s been illegal to harvest in Florida waters for years). While conservation groups petitioned for its listing, saying it was overexploited, scientists reviewed its populations in Florida and the Caribbean over a 20-year period and found them to be sustainable. Miami Herald


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Ocean Roundup: California Sea Lions Eating Contaminated Mussels, Offshore Fracking Expanding in Gulf of Mexico, and More

California sea lions are eating contaminated freshwater mussels

California sea lions are said to be consuming contaminated shellfish. (Photo: phoca2004 / Flickr Creative Commons) 

- New research found that over half of vessels involved in the biggest oil spills over the past 30 years hail from nations that tend to not comply with international safety and environmental regulation standards. The researchers also found that about one-third of current oil tankers on the water are from these nations, too. ScienceDaily


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