Environmental news from California and beyond

Category: Los Angeles area

Occupy Landfills! Trash from Occupy L.A. not recycled

From the Out of Sight, Out of Mind Dept: Remember the 25 tons of material left behind by Occupy L.A. campers after they were evicted from the park in front of City Hall early Wednesday morning?

It went to the dump.

As reported earlier in the Times, the mess of debris left behind after the two-month encampment included not just tents, tarps and other materials used for shelters, but also books and CDs, luggage and boom boxes, mattresses and dining chairs, cellphones, electric razors, even a small red guitar with its neck snapped. What was previously reported as 30 tons is now believed to be 25 tons.

According to Peter Sanders, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, none of that was reclaimed or recycled.

“The material collected by the Bureau of Sanitation after the park was closed was sent to a transfer station, and then to landfills. The collected material could not be recycled,” Sanders said.

Over 300 people were arrested during the eviction process, but the LAPD says that most of them either didn’t take their stuff or didn’t identify it as theirs.

“When the people were advised to leave, they were advised to take their property with them. If they don’t take their property, it’s booked as found property,” said Tenesha Dobine, a public information officer with the LAPD. “The tents and stuff: that might be considered abandoned property.”

Dobine said that anyone who was able to identify property as theirs during the arrests was given a receipt for that property and would be able to reclaim it.

Most of it, however, was simply left behind in the rush of the operation.

“Just like if you went camping and you drove away from your campsite and didn’t come back, you’d expect someone else would take it or it would get thrown away,” Dobine said.


Playa Vista plan gets court approval

Peter Brown back onboard with Sea Shepherd

Entourage's Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer SHFT Hollywood green

-- Dean Kuipers

Photo: Gino Ramirez of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation picks up blankets during cleanup of the Occupy Los Angeles encampment following the Los Angeles Police Department raid on Wednesday. All of this material went to a landfill. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

'Entourage’s' Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer SHFT Hollywood green


When "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier was introduced to indie film producer Peter Glatzer a number of years back, their mutual commitment to eco-friendliness and sustainability compelled them to work together. They put together the show “Alter Eco” for Discovery’s Planet Green channel in 2008, a reality show about folks moving the needle on sustainability. The pair saw a hunger for solutions, but realized they needed a new platform that could grow as they grew. SHFT was born.

Yes, is a website, but Grenier and Glatzer have already proved it can be more than that. It’s an honest attempt to move ideas into the culture. The “Watch” section has five original video series that continue to expand, including the “Eat LACMA” series on food and community, and “Lighten Up,” about green touring strategies for bands on the road. Like “Alter Eco,” the shows are about beautiful people making a difference. But the site is also a pretty impressive resource for sustainable products as varied as electronics and art, and a connection to lifestyle news and information.

SHFT is creating an entity that’s pretty rare for famous Hollywood types: a community.

“We’re looking to permeate the culture and change the perception of what it means to be environmentally friendly,” Grenier says by phone from New York. “Because, for so long, it’s been a marginalized cause. But we don’t see it as a cause. We see it as a way to improve your quality of life.”

Glatzer, speaking from L.A., takes it further: “The notion of ‘environmentalism’ was just antiquated and anachronistic to the world we live in now. To think of environmentalism as a movement or a separate category of things that we do that are Earth-friendly is not the way to think about it. It has to be folded into the fabric of our lives and into the small choices that we make every day.”

In October, the site manifested briefly as a pop-up gallery and shop on La Brea Avenue, something the pair has been doing in New York for years at Christmastime, and the opening was packed with people pawing over the bikes, art, furniture and housewares. The products on the website are made real at these events, and SHFT may soon develop a bricks-and-mortar entity in partnership with a mainstream retailer.

Mainstream, by the way, is where they want to be. These are people who make movies and TV, so of course the first thing they did was make a show. And they are still making shows. But “Alter Eco” confirmed that Hollywood is mostly allergic to this kind of thing, and for good reason: do-gooding is not (usually) hot media.

“Media is very tricky because it thrives on conflict,” Grenier acknowledges. “Really, the environmental notion is the opposite -- it’s something that is full or harmony and goodwill amongst people and collaboration, so it’s difficult to dramatize.”

Glatzer thinks the ideas just have to be worked into the groundwork of everything they make. “I watch movies all the time, like ‘The Descendents,’ for example, Alexander Payne’s new film. It really does have an environmental component to it that isn’t overt at all. It’s an appropriate dollop of environmentalism,” he says.

“If it’s a background, context-setting thing, great, but otherwise, I don’t know,” Glatzer adds.

None of this, by the way, is overtly political. They’re looking to change the culture through everyday choices.

“We like market-driven solutions,” says Glatzer. “As much as we’d love to see policies change and see the public sector do various things that we’re actually quite passionate about, having consumers be aware of what their options were was one of our big goals. And to make it fun.”

“Yeah, I found that my snarky, condescending glances at people, when I walked around the set, were totally ineffective,” chuckles Grenier. “I find that being able to take someone by the shoulders and say, ‘Hey, check out SHFT,’ or ‘Do you want to come to this pop-up store?’ is much more enjoyable for the both of us.”

Speaking of which, their first SHFT brand product? A red wine made in Paso Robles, SHFT House Wines. Because, yeah, it’s organic and all that; but it’s also a party in a bottle. Available on the site in the coming weeks.


Peter Brown back onboard with Sea Shepherd

Karen Dawn's Thanksgiving turkey rescue

Sierra Club's Carl Pope to step down as chairman

-- Dean Kuipers

Photo: Adrian Grenier, left, and Peter Glatzer at the opening of the SHFT pop-up gallery and shop on La Brea Avenue in October. Credit: Brent Harrison for Guest of a Guest L.A.

Karen Dawn's Thanksgiving turkey rescue

This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

Animal activist and author Karen Dawn makes a point of having turkey for dinner every Thanksgiving, but the birds are at the table, not on it. For the fourth year in a row, Dawn, the author of the book "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals," has rescued two turkeys from an L.A. slaughterhouse and is hosting them at her home in Pacific Palisades.

“They’re named Russell and Perry,” says Dawn, speaking from her home. “I had originally named them Russell and Katy, after Russell Brand and Katy Perry, who saw the movie ‘Forks Over Knives’ and Russell tweeted and said he was going vegan.”

After Dawn had bathed and blow-dried the birds at her home, as is her annual ritual, she noticed “Katy” had quite the snood -– the comb that hangs over the animal’s beak -– and that she was actually a he. So, she changed the name to Perry.

Dawn hosts two new birds each year, in what she calls her Palisades Pardoning, to raise awareness of the number of turkeys slaughtered each year for the annual holiday, and the conditions in which they are raised. Sherrie Rosenblatt, spokesperson for the National Turkey Federation, an industry group, says that an estimated 46 million turkeys will be consumed during Thanksgiving feasting in the U.S. this year.

According to information available on Dawn’s website,, the birds are often kept in overcrowded pens with their toes clipped back to remove their claws and beaks seared off.

Responding to such claims, Rosenblatt noted, “A turkey farmer’s No. 1 priority is ensuring the health and well-being of their flock. That’s how we can provide safe, nutritious and affordable food for consumers. Not only on Thanksgiving day but every day.”

Dawn’s other couples were originally named Bruce and Emily (after actors Bruce Greenwood and Emily Deschanel) -- later changed to Brucilla and Emily after a similar mix-up -- Monty and Marsha, and Ellen and Portia after vegans Ellen DeGeneres and Portia Di Rossi.

“People are very good at compartmentalizing: animals that you eat versus the animals that you pet,” says Dawn. “So I do something that makes it harder for people to compartmentalize. A lot of the neighbors will not eat turkey at Thanksgiving after meeting these guys.”

Curious neighbors come over to Dawn’s house to cuddle with the birds, which quickly habituate to human company and enjoy the attention.

“Friday, the little boys next door asked: ‘When are the turkeys coming?’ And I said ‘tomorrow’ and they literally jumped up and down with delight,” adds Dawn.

The birds will stay with Dawn through the Christmas holiday, then in January they’ll move to their new home at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres in Acton, where Sunday visitors can see Russell and Perry and many other animals.

[For the Record, 6 p.m. Nov. 21, 2011: An earlier version of this post used a photo and a video that were from 2010. Both have been changed.]


Are birds getting bigger because of global climate change?

Gulf of Mexico fish-tracking system goes full steam ahead

Obama proposal would open Arctic and Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling

-- Dean Kuipers

Photo: Karen Dawn blow-dries the feathers of one of her birds at her Pacific Palisades home. Credit: Hugh Slavitt

Playa Vista plan gets court approval

This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

A state appellate court has upheld the city of Los Angeles' approval of Playa Vista's second and final phase.

Wetlands activists had challenged a revised environmental impact report for the Village, as Phase 2 of the big project south of Marina del Rey is known.

Wednesday's decision comes after a long trail of litigation, revision and further appeals.

The Los Angeles City Council initially approved the environmental analysis for the Village in April 2004. Challengers sued, alleging that the report was flawed. In January 2006, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge upheld the city's approval.

The activists appealed, and a three-judge panel in the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed that three aspects of the environmental impact report should be revised.

The City Council approved the revised EIR in 2010. Activists once again challenged that approval in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The trial court upheld the council's approval in January 2011, and the challengers appealed again.

The three-judge panel that affirmed the trial court's ruling on Wednesday was the same panel that ordered the EIR revisions. The wetlands activists have 40 days to petition the California Supreme Court for review.

Rex Frankel, president of the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project, one of the Playa Vista challengers, said his organization planned "soon" to petition the state high court. He contended that there "is a good likelihood the Supreme Court will take our case."

Playa Capital Co-President Patti Sinclair said the company would vigorously oppose his filing. She added that the high court seldom takes rulings that are "unpublished," as this one is. She said the company expected to begin construction on the Village early next year.

The Village is intended to be the link between the Phase 1 residential community and the commercial campus that is home to Facebook, USC and a division of Fox Sports, among other employers. The Village will include retail stores and restaurants as well as parks, office space and multi-family residences.

[For the Record, 6 p.m. Nov. 10, 2011: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Patti Sinclair was president of Playa Capital.]


Christo river wrap gets BLM approval

Grand Canyon mining ban moves forward

Super committee could gut national parks budget

-- Martha Groves

Photo: Playa Vista's first phase can be seen behind the Ballona Fresh Water Marsh. Environmentalists eager to preserve wetlands have sought to limit development. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Malibu elementary school opens zero-waste campus

Muse3The students at Muse School CA in Malibu canyon will no longer throw their spent glue sticks and granola bar wrappers in the trash. On Monday, the nonprofit private school for children age 2 through 12 unveiled a new zero-waste sorting unit that not only recycles valuable commodities such as plastic, glass, metal and paper, it reuses broken electronics and office materials and upcycles pens and other classroom castoffs that aren't recycled through the city's curbside system.

A sign at the school's entrance lists the many items the school actively, if politely, disallows, including plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, noncompostable takeaway containers, styrofoam and single-use plastic utensils, plates and cups.

Muse1In their place, the school provides refillable stainless-steel bottles to all students, faculty and staff. School lunch is prepared from scratch using organic and locally raised foods -- 30% of which will eventually be grown on site -- and all food waste is composted on the school grounds.

"I have visited so many platinum LEED school buildings, and you walk in and there are plastic bottles and toxic cleaners and plastic straws. Muse is really about going 100% of the way," said school co-founder Suzy Amis Cameron, mother of five and wife of "Avatar" director James Cameron.

Cameron, 49, co-founded Muse with her sister in Malibu in 2006 and relocated it two years later to Topanga Canyon, "but there was only so much we could do having landlords," she said. "The vision was always there," but it wasn't until she and her husband bought the Malibu Canyon property from another school in 2010 that its 22 acres could be transformed into a facility that was truly sustainable inside and out. And not only in its day-to-day operations as an educational institution.

Muse4As the campus was created, Cameron worked toward 100% landfill waste diversion with sustainable design consultant Darren Moore and his Canoga Park company, Ecovations Lifestyle. All of the buildings on the Muse campus contain at least some materials that were salvaged from existing structures, including doorway trim reclaimed from the wood siding of torn-down buildings and a play structure repurposed from a water tank. 

All of the wood chips in the garden were ground up from wood that was torn from other buildings and run through a chipper. The garden's xeriscaped planters are ringed with broken concrete, also found on site.

But the most difficult aspect of Cameron's zero-waste remodel was what she found inside the buildings before they were deconstructed.

"It was as if a smart bomb had gone off. There were half cups of coffee, paper everywhere. That was really the beginning of some very difficult philosophical questions," said Cameron, who struggled with proper disposal of phthalate-laden plastic toys and two-stroke garden equipment, and how to get rid of outdoor pests without chemicals.

Cameron worked with a recycler that specialized in plastics with phthalates. She had the two-stroke weed whackers and leaf blowers disassembled into parts that were then used for the school's robotics program. To rid the grounds of rodents, she hired a falconer, who now lives on site and unleashes his hawk on the grounds to dine on squirrels. The school is home to house cats and is also dotted with owl boxes, inviting both types of predator to hunt mice. Cameron said the rodent population has been reduced 90% as a result.

But the centerpiece of the zero-waste school is how the students interact with it. For that, sustainable-design consultant Moore devised a five-bin collection area that emphasizes reuse first. The first bin is for anything that can be reused or repurposed. The second is for pens, glue sticks, cereal boxes and whatever else the school has agreed to upcycle into other products through Terracycle. Only then are objects considered for recycling. A fourth bin is for e-waste, and the fifth, and final receptacle, is for trash, which the kids themselves dispose of after weighing it to see how close to their zero-waste goal they've gotten.   

The next step is to install solar and move the school to net zero energy, said Cameron, adding, "Give me a couple years." 


ReUse Haus: A miniature dwelling made with used materials

L.A.'s green schools

L.A. charter school adopts green curriculum

The Garbage Maven

-- Susan Carpenter

Photos: A building constructed from reclaimed materials at Muse School CA; the 5-bin sorting system; James Cameron, Suzy Amis Cameron and their kids at Muse School CA. Credit: Brandon Hickman / Muse School CA

Laguna Beach hotels to recycle all soaps -- a first in U.S.

HotelbarsoapsLaguna Beach welcomes more than 6 million visitors annually to its sandy shores. Now visitors who stay in the beachside city's 22 hotels and lodging establishments will be inadvertent participants in a citywide effort to recycle all of the soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, lotions and bath gels that are left over after a night's stay.

Starting Monday, Laguna Beach becomes the first city in the nation to have all of its hotel properties with more than 20 rooms participate in Clean the World -- a Florida-based nonprofit that provides recycled hotel soaps and hygiene products to those in need. Montage Laguna Beach, Pacific Edge Hotel and Best Western Laguna Brisas are among the 18 participating hotels, along with four of the city's six bed and breakfasts, for a total of 1,229 rooms.

In an average year, with an estimated 75% occupancy rate, Laguna Beach hotels generate 336,000 bars of soap and a slightly lesser number of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and lotion bottles, all of which were previously thrown in the trash. Working with Clean the World, those hygiene products will be reclaimed by the housekeeping staff and set aside in a separate receptacle to be shipped to a Las Vegas processing facility. The bars of soap are cleaned of hair and paper, sterilized, ground into pellets and pressed into new bars of soap that are distributed to non-governmental organizations in 45 countries that do not have ready access to soap.

The bottled amenities are likewise reclaimed. If they're full, the bottles' exteriors are sterilized and redistributed to homeless shelters and soup kitchens inside the U.S. If the bottles are 25% empty, the plastic is recycled or potentially upcycled for use in other products.

Founded in 2009, Clean the World has 1,200 partner hotels across the U.S. and Canada, 126 of which are in California, including the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim. Since joining the Clean the World Hospitality Partnership Program in July, Disney's three Southern California resorts have collected 3,152 pounds of hotel soap and 2,212 pounds of bottled amenities such as shampoo.

Clean the World charges hotels 65 cents per room per month for the service. Of the 4.6 million hotel rooms in the U.S., Clean the World recycles the hygiene products for about 6% of them, said Shawn Seipler, who co-founded the nonprofit in 2009.

At the time, Seipler was a business executive and on the road four nights a week.

Continue reading »

Get your EVs running: First National Plug In Day is Oct. 16

NissanLeafRedElectric-vehicle enthusiasts from New York to California will wheel into the streets en masse Sunday as part of National Plug In Day. Twenty-one cities, including Santa Monica, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Orange in California, will  hold electric car parades and tailpipe-free tailgate parties to celebrate -- and test drive --currently available plug-ins from Nissan, General Motors, Tesla and SMART, and soon-to-be available models from Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford and Coda.

"We wanted to get the word out to the American public that electric cars are here now and viable," said Paul Scott, co-founder of Plug In America, which teamed with the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Assn. to organize the nationwide event. "In the past, a lot of our activities had been centered around California because that was virtually the only state you could get an electric car.  Now the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster are in most states and have new drivers who are excited about their cars."

About 400 electric cars, trucks and motorcycles are expected at the Santa Monica parade Sunday. The EVs will start their trek at Santa Monica City Hall and drive down Main Street starting at 10 a.m. Ed Begley Jr. and "Revenge of the Electric Car" director Chris Paine are expected to attend.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Nissan Leaf. Credit: Nissan USA

Reptile and Amphibian Appreciation Day at L.A. County's Natural History Museum

Got frogs?

This year’s lineup at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s third annual Reptile and Amphibian Appreciation Day on Sunday, Oct. 9, features a 100-pound reticulated python, a king cobra, a four-pound pixie frog, three-horned chameleons and slithering examples of all of the native rattlesnake species found in California.

The star of the show, however, may be a lone Western spadefoot toad recently discovered in a Chatsworth marsh.

Spadefoot toads, which get their name from a distinctive hard, black projection on the underside of each hind foot, had not been seen in the area for more than a decade.

“The herpetological community is very excited about this cute little guy,” said Leslie Gordon, manager of vertebrate live animal programs at the museum. “It suggests there is at least one place left in the greater Los Angeles area where spadefoot toads are still hanging on.”

The event will offer a chance to meet federal biologists, reptile breeders and local “herp club” representatives and to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Natural History Museum’s herpetological collection.

Then there is special guest speaker Sean P. Bush, a professor of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and an expert on the treatment of stings and bites.

His topic: Venom ER.





Newhall Ranch developers must not harm California condors

Endangered turtles haven in California's Ventura County

Plan to fight white-nosed syndrome in bats unveiled


-- Louis Sahagun


Photo: A Western spadefoot toad. Credit: Illustration by Dugald Stermer/For The Times



Tehachapi slender salamander denied endangered species protection

Tehachapi slender salamander
Jeremy Nichols had never seen a living Tehachapi slender salamander when, acting as a private citizen, he filed a petition in 2006 asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the stealthy, brick-red amphibian as endangered.

Nichols became infatuated with the salamander after reading an article about it in a book about North American reptiles and amphibians. His petition cited Tejon Ranch Co.’s development plans as threats to its existence.

The agency agreed to study the matter, declaring in the Federal Register in 2009 that Nichols' petition presented "substantial scientific or commercial information" to warrant a comprehensive review.

On Friday, the service rendered its final conclusion: Batrachoseps stebbinsi does not warrant a spot on the endangered species list. An analysis determined that cattle grazing, road construction, flood control projects, disease, severe wildfires, prolonged drought and construction of Tejon Ranch’s proposed 7,860-acre residential and commercial development, the Tejon Mountain Village project, would not impact the species in the foreseeable future.

The salamander resides in two canyons about 13 miles apart and separated by a freeway 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

It lives mostly underground and, without lungs, absorbs oxygen through its skin. When threatened, it can coil its body like a snake.

The salamanders live most of their lives underground, emerging only when it rains. They occur on north-facing slopes within canyons or ravines, beneath rocks, fallen logs, talus, or leaf litter. They feed on small arthropods and other invertebrates.

It is unknown how long it lives, and no juveniles have been seen in the wild or reported.

Nichols, a climate program director with Wild Earth Guardians, an environmental group based in Santa Fe, N.M., was not immediately available for comment.


Court approves endangered species settlement

Rocky Mountain pikas not nearing extinction, study finds

Endangered arroyo toads cling to existence in the Tehachapi Mountains 

-- Louis Sahagun

Photo: An adult Tehachapi slender salamander from Caliente Creek, Kern County. Credit: Gary Nafis.

Mattel drops paper company linked to Indonesia deforestation

It's official: Barbie has broken up with Asia Pulp and Paper.

Responding to a campaign by Greenpeace, toy giant Mattel, maker of the famed Barbie doll line, announced Wednesday that it will stop buying paper and packaging that the environmental group has linked to rain forest destruction in Indonesia.

The El Segundo company said it will tell suppliers to avoid wood fiber from companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation.” Among those companies, Greenpeace said in a statement, is Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) group. 

“The rain forests of Indonesia should be for species like the Sumatran tiger, not for throwaway toy packaging," Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s campaign to save the forests in Indonesia, said in the statement  "That’s why it is such good news that Mattel has developed a new paper buying policy."

The group urged Asia Pulp & Paper to follow in the path of its sister company, Golden Agri-Resources, which “has already committed to clean up its act and has won back lucrative contracts."

Greenpeace has pledged to push other companies, such as Disney and Hasbro, to take similar action to protect rain forests. 

Mattel's move comes after Greenpeace tested packaging from the company's toys, packaged in Indonesia, and found the cardboard contained significant amounts of timber from Indonesian rain forests. The group used Mattel's advertising campaign that featured a "reunion" between Barbie and Ken to draw attention to the packaging, sending an activist dressed as Ken and another as Barbie, who drove a pink skip loader to the company's corporate office in June. They hung a banner from the building that read: “Barbie: It’s Over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.”

Mattel’s new policy also includes safeguards against buying wood fiber from tree plantations established in areas where natural forests once stood, a practice that is driving deforestation, Greenpeace said.  

The toy maker also said it intends to increase the amount of recycled paper it uses, and to increase the use of wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

"Mattel is committed to advancing the use of sustainably-sourced paper and wood fiber in our packaging and products," a statement on the company's website said. "Mattel will strive to implement these fundamental principles to guide our efforts and maximize, to the extent feasible, the use of post-consumer recycled content and sustainable fiber."

The company also said it will "maximize post-consumer recycled content where possible, while maintaining packaging and product integrity and compliance with applicable laws and regulations."

It pledged to use only fiber whose source is known and traceable, and which is harvested "in compliance with applicable laws and regulations" locally, nationally and internationally, and in accordance with "international guidelines and treaties to protect the rights of indigenous peoples."

The company said it will establish specific goals and report on its progress publicly.

[Updated, 11:38 a.m.: A statement from Asia Pulp & Paper said the company “applauds Mattel’s commitments to recycling, wood legality, protection of High Conservation Value Forest, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and robust auditing and certification procedures." 

The company added that it "supports all credible industry certification, however, we strongly urge companies to not limit their procurement policies to one standard, in this case FSC, which discriminates against products from Indonesia and other developing markets. APP supports policies that protect both the environment and the vital income which developing countries receive from the pulp & paper industries.”]

[Updated, 11:55: Mattel spokesperson Jules Andres said the company this summer directed its suppliers "to not source paper and pulp from Asia Pulp & Paper. She said Mattel's new policy "directs our printers not to contract with controvesial sources," and that Mattel considers Asia Pulp & Paper "a controversial source."]

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that nearly 2.5 million acres of rain forest is being lost every year, according to Greenpeace.  

Indonesia’s rain forest, the largest in the world after those in the Amazon and the Congo, is home to orangutans, tigers, elephants, clouded leopards and scores of other endangered plants and animals. In the last half-century, about 40% of the country’s forests have been cleared, mainly for palm oil plantations and pulp and paper operations.

Despite a partial moratorium announced last month, Indonesian government plans suggest, by some accounts, that nearly half of the remaining natural forest could be cut in the next two decades.


US forest rules face controversial overhaul

Chiapas to California: preserving forests for dollars

Proposed law threatens to cripple Amazon rain forest protection

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: Environmental activist Elise Nabor in a Barbie outfit, driving her "Barbiedozer" is stopped by an El Segundo police officer a half block away from the Mattel building in El Segundo, during a June protest. Credit: Mark Boster


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