Dutch Court Ruling Helps Curb Illegal Timber Trade

An administrative court in the Netherlands last week ruled on an EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) case involving the import of timber from Cameroon. The case is notable in that, for the first time, a European court has explicitly ruled that Operators in the EU must not only undertake meaningful Due Diligence but must also be able to supply documentary proof of compliance with the EUTR on request. The court concluded that it is not sufficient for Operators to rely solely …

Exiting the Paris Agreement Doesn’t Make America Great

Yesterday’s decision by the US administration to exit the Paris Climate Agreement will not make America or the world great. It is a decision that ignores basic science and turns its back to the global efforts to fight climate change. The Paris Agreement, by design, provides flexibility that the US could have used, if it had concerns about specific aspects of the agreement, such as lowering the costs by allowing the use of market mechanisms like cap-and-trade. The US exit …

By Pulling out of Paris Agreement, Donald Trump Offers U.S. Farmers a Bad Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump seems ready to punish his own supporters once again – this time by pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, depriving U.S. farmers and private forest owners of billions of dollars in income. To understand that figure, first try to remember your high school biology: specifically, the part about how plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, storing the carbon in their trunks and roots. Because of this capacity, healthy forests, farms, and …

Climate Negotiators Roll Up Their Sleeves in Bonn, With or Without the U.S.

As the next round of climate talks get underway in Bonn, the question on everyone’s mind is whether the United States government will stay in the Paris Agreement – and, if so, under what conditions. Many expect the Trump Administration to reach a final verdict any day now, and its decision will obviously have profound effects that reach far beyond this week’s negotiations. But, as always, the show must go on, and negotiators in Bonn will continue hammering out important …

Amazonian Tribe Shares the Secret of Treating Snake Bites

What are the biggest hazards of life in the Amazon rainforest? Many outsiders might peg snakes at the top of the list: the region is home to dozens of venomous snakes, among other fearsome reptiles, fish, insects, and mammals. But the Yawanawa, a tribe of 1,250 people living at the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, have never regarded snakes as much cause for alarm – not even those whose fangs pack a potent punch. In fact, the community hasn’t seen …

Peru Floods Show Peril of Tackling 21st Century Water Challenges with 20th Century Infrastructure

On the eve of World Water Day last week, and for a week before, millions of Peruvians that live in the country’s coastal zone were reminded of the power of water on their daily lives. Heavy rains triggered violent flooding and landslides, which were shared with the world through unnerving images of homes lost to raging rivers and people struggling out of the mud. In a cruel paradox, neighborhoods under floodwater had dry taps and no drinking water. High …

Suits, Greens, and Governments Use International Day of Forests to Forge Green Supply Chains

In January of this year, consumer-goods giant Unilever agreed to help three small and remote Indonesian villages change the way 600 farmers harvest palm oil. That might not seem like a big deal on a planet of 7 billion people, but if the company is able to successfully help one of those villages, Pangkalan Tiga, become the world’s first “certified sustainable palm-oil village”, it will then replicate their model across the country and around the world – which may …

Surui and Yawanawa Etch Their Past into the Future

Across the Americas, indigenous and traditional communities have long struggled to assert their stories into a history written largely by foreign newcomers – one which continues to drown out pre-colonial voices. But in the Brazilian Amazon, the Yawanawa and Paiter Surui indigenous tribes are doing their part to set the record straight – in two newly released books that document their histories in their own words. For the Yawanawa and Surui, who are currently experiencing a renaissance after reclaiming their …

What Does Brexit Mean for Illegal Logging and the Global Timber Trade? (Updated)

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Theresa May, today confirmed that the country will leave the European Single Market[1] in what has become known as a “Hard Brexit”. While the future shape of the UK’s relationship with the EU and other trade partners is still not entirely clear, the announcement rules out a number of possible scenarios. It also has implications for the UK’s position on forests and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), transposed into UK law …

Green Infrastructure Key to Solving 21st Century Water Crises

Cities and communities all over the world are facing severe water crises. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades; and while California is finally seeing its parched reservoirs being refilled, the intensity and fierceness of the storms bringing this relief also harbor new dangers, triggering mudslides, flooding, blizzards, and avalanches – thereby putting lives at risk. Intense and erratic weather patterns such as these put much of our natural infrastructure at risk, and, among other things, make access …