country:botswana

  • Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds
    https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351

    Billions of years ago when the world was still young, treasure began forming deep underground. As the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates plunged down into the upper mantle, bits of carbon, some likely hailing from long-dead life forms were melted and compressed into rigid lattices. Over millions of years, those lattices grew into the most durable, dazzling gems the planet had ever cooked up. And every so often, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, an eruption would send a stash of these stones rocketing to the surface inside a bubbly magma known as kimberlite.

    There, the diamonds would remain, nestled in the kimberlite volcanoes that delivered them from their fiery home, until humans evolved, learned of their existence, and began to dig them up.

    The epic origin of Earth’s diamonds has helped fuel a powerful marketing mythology around them: that they are objects of otherworldly strength and beauty; fitting symbols of eternal love. But while “diamonds are forever” may be the catchiest advertising slogan ever to bear some geologic truth, the supply of these stones in the Earth’s crust, in places we can readily reach them, is far from everlasting. And the scars we’ve inflicted on the land and ourselves in order to mine diamonds has cast a shadow that still lingers over the industry.

    Some diamond seekers, however, say we don’t need to scour the Earth any longer, because science now offers an alternative: diamonds grown in labs. These gems aren’t simulants or synthetic substitutes; they are optically, chemically, and physically identical to their Earth-mined counterparts. They’re also cheaper, and in theory, limitless. The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has rocked the jewelry world to its core and prompted fierce pushback from diamond miners. Claims abound on both sides.

    Growers often say that their diamonds are sustainable and ethical; miners and their industry allies counter that only gems plucked from the Earth can be considered “real” or “precious.” Some of these assertions are subjective, others are supported only by sparse, self-reported, or industry-backed data. But that’s not stopping everyone from making them.

    This is a fight over image, and when it comes to diamonds, image is everything.
    A variety of cut, polished Ada Diamonds created in a lab, including smaller melee stones and large center stones. 22.94 carats total. (2.60 ct. pear, 2.01 ct. asscher, 2.23 ct. cushion, 3.01 ct. radiant, 1.74 ct. princess, 2.11 ct. emerald, 3.11 ct. heart, 3.00 ct. oval, 3.13 ct. round.)
    Image: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Same, but different

    The dream of lab-grown diamond dates back over a century. In 1911, science fiction author H.G. Wells described what would essentially become one of the key methods for making diamond—recreating the conditions inside Earth’s mantle on its surface—in his short story The Diamond Maker. As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes, there were a handful of dubious attempts to create diamonds in labs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the first commercial diamond production wouldn’t emerge until the mid-1950s, when scientists with General Electric worked out a method for creating small, brown stones. Others, including De Beers, soon developed their own methods for synthesizing the gems, and use of the lab-created diamond in industrial applications, from cutting tools to high power electronics, took off.

    According to the GIA’s James Shigley, the first experimental production of gem-quality diamond occurred in 1970. Yet by the early 2000s, gem-quality stones were still small, and often tinted yellow with impurities. It was only in the last five or so years that methods for growing diamonds advanced to the point that producers began churning out large, colorless stones consistently. That’s when the jewelry sector began to take a real interest.

    Today, that sector is taking off. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a trade group formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA secretary general Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market. This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market.

    He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry.
    “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not.”

    “This year some [factories] will come up from 100,000 gem-quality diamonds to one to two million,” Zimnisky said. “They already have the infrastructure and equipment in place” and are in the process of upgrading it. (About 150 million carats of diamonds were mined last year, according to a global analysis of the industry conducted by Bain & Company.)

    Production ramp-up aside, 2018 saw some other major developments across the industry. In the summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversed decades of guidance when it expanded the definition of a diamond to include those created in labs and dropped ‘synthetic’ as a recommended descriptor for lab-grown stones. The decision came on the heels of the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, announcing the launch of its own lab-grown diamond line, Lightbox, after having once vowed never to sell man-made stones as jewelry.

    “I would say shock,” Lightbox Chief Marketing Officer Sally Morrison told Earther when asked how the jewelry world responded to the company’s launch.

    While the majority of lab-grown diamonds on the market today are what’s known as melee (less than 0.18 carats), the tech for producing the biggest, most dazzling diamonds continues to improve. In 2016, lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna announced its partners had grown a 6.28 carat gem-quality diamond, claimed to be the largest created in the U.S. to that point. In 2017, a lab in Augsburg University, Germany that grows diamonds for industrial and scientific research applications produced what is thought to be the largest lab-grown diamond ever—a 155 carat behemoth that stretches nearly 4 inches across. Not gem quality, perhaps, but still impressive.

    “If you compare it with the Queen’s diamond, hers is four times heavier, it’s clearer” physicist Matthias Schreck, who leads the group that grew that beast of a jewel, told me. “But in area, our diamond is bigger. We were very proud of this.”

    Diamonds can be created in one of two ways: Similar to how they form inside the Earth, or similar to how scientists speculate they might form in outer space.

    The older, Earth-inspired method is known as “high temperature high pressure” (HPHT), and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A carbon source, like graphite, is placed in a giant, mechanical press where, in the presence of a catalyst, it’s subjected to temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius and pressures of 5-6 Gigapascals in order to form diamond. (If you’re curious what that sort of pressure feels like, the GIA describes it as similar to the force exerted if you tried to balance a commercial jet on your fingertip.)

    The newer method, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), is more akin to how diamonds might form in interstellar gas clouds (for which we have indirect, spectroscopic evidence, according to Shigley). A hydrocarbon gas, like methane, is pumped into a low-pressure reactor vessel alongside hydrogen. While maintaining near-vacuum conditions, the gases are heated very hot—typically 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius, according to Lightbox CEO Steve Coe—causing carbon atoms to break free of their molecular bonds. Under the right conditions, those liberated bits of carbon will settle out onto a substrate—typically a flat, square plate of a synthetic diamond produced with the HPHT method—forming layer upon layer of diamond.

    “It’s like snow falling on a table on your back porch,” Jason Payne, the founder and CEO of lab-grown diamond jewelry company Ada Diamonds, told me.

    Scientists have been forging gem-quality diamonds with HPHT for longer, but today, CVD has become the method of choice for those selling larger bridal stones. That’s in part because it’s easier to control impurities and make diamonds with very high clarity, according to Coe. Still, each method has its advantages—Payne said that HPHT is faster and the diamonds typically have better color (which is to say, less of it)—and some companies, like Ada, purchase stones grown in both ways.

    However they’re made, lab-grown diamonds have the same exceptional hardness, stiffness, and thermal conductivity as their Earth-mined counterparts. Cut, they can dazzle with the same brilliance and fire—a technical term to describe how well the diamond scatters light like a prism. The GIA even grades them according to the same 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—that gemologists use to assess diamonds formed in the Earth, although it uses a slightly different terminology to report the color and clarity grades for lab-grown stones.

    They’re so similar, in fact, that lab-grown diamond entering the larger diamond supply without any disclosures has become a major concern across the jewelry industry, particularly when it comes to melee stones from Asia. It’s something major retailers are now investing thousands of dollars in sophisticated detection equipment to suss out by searching for minute differences in, say, their crystal shape or for impurities like nitrogen (much less common in lab-grown diamond, according to Shigley).

    Those differences may be a lifeline for retailers hoping to weed out lab-grown diamonds, but for companies focused on them, they can become another selling point. The lack of nitrogen in diamonds produced with the CVD method, for instance, gives them an exceptional chemical purity that allows them to be classified as type IIa; a rare and coveted breed that accounts for just 2 percent of those found in nature. Meanwhile, the ability to control everything about the growth process allows companies like Lightbox to adjust the formula and produce incredibly rare blue and pink diamonds as part of their standard product line. (In fact, these colored gemstones have made up over half of the company’s sales since launch, according to Coe.)

    And while lab-grown diamonds boast the same sparkle as their Earthly counterparts, they do so at a significant discount. Zimnisky said that today, your typical one carat, medium quality diamond grown in a lab will sell for about $3,600, compared with $6,100 for its Earth-mined counterpart—a discount of about 40 percent. Two years ago, that discount was only 18 percent. And while the price drop has “slightly tapered off” as Zimnisky put it, he expects it will fall further thanks in part to the aforementioned ramp up in Chinese production, as well as technological improvements. (The market is also shifting in response to Lightbox, which De Beers is using to position lab-grown diamonds as mass produced items for fashion jewelry, and which is selling its stones, ungraded, at the controversial low price of $800 per carat—a discount of nearly 90 percent.)

    Zimnisky said that if the price falls too fast, it could devalue lab-grown diamonds in the eyes of consumers. But for now, at least, paying less seems to be a selling point. A 2018 consumer research survey by MVI Marketing found that most of those polled would choose a larger lab-grown diamond over a smaller mined diamond of the same price.

    “The thing [consumers] seem most compelled by is the ability to trade up in size and quality at the same price,” Garard of IGDA said.

    Still, for buyers and sellers alike, price is only part of the story. Many in the lab-grown diamond world market their product as an ethical or eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

    But those sales pitches aren’t without controversy.
    A variety of lab-grown diamond products arrayed on a desk at Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan. The stone in the upper left gets its blue color from boron. Diamonds tinted yellow (top center) usually get their color from small amounts of nitrogen.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Dazzling promises

    As Anna-Mieke Anderson tells it, she didn’t enter the diamond world to become a corporate tycoon. She did it to try and fix a mistake.

    In 1999, Anderson purchased herself a diamond. Some years later, in 2005, her father asked her where it came from. Nonplussed, she told him it came from the jewelry store. But that wasn’t what he was asking: He wanted to know where it really came from.

    “I actually had no idea,” Anderson told Earther. “That led me to do a mountain of research.”

    That research eventually led Anderson to conclude that she had likely bought a diamond mined under horrific conditions. She couldn’t be sure, because the certificate of purchase included no place of origin. But around the time of her purchase, civil wars funded by diamond mining were raging across Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, fueling “widespread devastation” as Global Witness put it in 2006. At the height of the diamond wars in the late ‘90s, the watchdog group estimates that as many as 15 percent of diamonds entering the market were conflict diamonds. Even those that weren’t actively fueling a war were often being mined in dirty, hazardous conditions; sometimes by children.

    “I couldn’t believe I’d bought into this,” Anderson said.

    To try and set things right, Anderson began sponsoring a boy living in a Liberian community impacted by the blood diamond trade. The experience was so eye-opening, she says, that she eventually felt compelled to sponsor more children. Selling conflict-free jewelry seemed like a fitting way to raise money to do so, but after a great deal more research, Anderson decided she couldn’t in good faith consider any diamond pulled from the Earth to be truly conflict-free in either the humanitarian or environmental sense. While diamond miners were, by the early 2000s, getting their gems certified “conflict free” according to the UN-backed Kimberley Process, the certification scheme’s definition of a conflict diamond—one sold by rebel groups to finance armed conflicts against governments—felt far too narrow.

    “That [conflict definition] eliminates anything to do with the environment, or eliminates a child mining it, or someone who was a slave, or beaten, or raped,” Anderson said.

    And so she started looking into science, and in 2007, launching MiaDonna as one of the world’s first lab-grown diamond jewelry companies. The business has been activism-oriented from the get-go, with at least five percent of its annual earnings—and more than 20 percent for the last three years—going into The Greener Diamond, Anderson’s charity foundation which has funded a wide range of projects, from training former child soldiers in Sierra Leone to grow food to sponsoring kids orphaned by the West African Ebola outbreak.

    MiaDonna isn’t the only company that positions itself as an ethical alternative to the traditional diamond industry. Brilliant Earth, which sells what it says are carefully-sourced mined and lab-created diamonds, also donates a small portion of its profits to supporting mining communities. Other lab-grown diamond companies market themselves as “ethical,” “conflict-free,” or “world positive.” Payne of Ada Diamonds sees, in lab-grown diamonds, not just shiny baubles, but a potential to improve medicine, clean up pollution, and advance society in countless other ways—and he thinks the growing interest in lab-grown diamond jewelry will help propel us toward that future.

    Others, however, say black-and-white characterizations when it comes to social impact of mined diamonds versus lab-grown stones are unfair. “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not,” Estelle Levin-Nally, founder and CEO of Levin Sources, which advocates for better governance in the mining sector, told Earther. “I think it’s always about your politics. And ethics are subjective.”

    Saleem Ali, an environmental researcher at the University of Delaware who serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative, agrees. He says the mining industry has, on the whole, worked hard to turn itself around since the height of the diamond wars and that governance is “much better today” than it used to be. Human rights watchdog Global Witness also says that “significant progress” has been made to curb the conflict diamond trade, although as Alice Harle, Senior Campaigner with Global Witness told Earther via email, diamonds do still fuel conflict, particularly in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

    Most industry observers seems to agree that the Kimberley Process is outdated and inadequate, and that more work is needed to stamp out other abuses, including child labor and forced labor, in the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector. Today, large-scale mining operations don’t tend to see these kinds of problems, according to Julianne Kippenberg, associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, but she notes that there may be other community impacts surrounding land rights and forced resettlement.

    The flip side, Ali and Levin-Nally say, is that well-regulated mining operations can be an important source of economic development and livelihood. Ali cites Botswana and Russia as prime examples of places where large-scale mining operations have become “major contributors to the economy.” Dmitry Amelkin, head of strategic projects and analytics for Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, echoed that sentiment in an email to Earther, noting that diamonds transformed Botswana “from one of the poorest [countries] in the world to a middle-income country” with revenues from mining representing almost a third of its GDP.

    In May, a report commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a trade organization representing the world’s largest diamond mining companies, estimated that worldwide, its members generate nearly $4 billion in direct revenue for employees and contractors, along with another $6.8 billion in benefits via “local procurement of goods and services.” DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr said this was a story diamond miners need to do a better job telling.

    “The industry has undergone such changes since the Blood Diamond movie,” he said, referring to the blockbuster 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drew global attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. “And yet people’s’ perceptions haven’t evolved. I think the main reason is we have not had a voice, we haven’t communicated.”

    But conflict and human rights abuses aren’t the only issues that have plagued the diamond industry. There’s also the lasting environmental impact of the mining itself. In the case of large-scale commercial mines, this typically entails using heavy machinery and explosives to bore deep into those kimberlite tubes in search of precious stones.

    Some, like Maya Koplyova, a geologist at the University of British Columbia who studies diamonds and the rocks they’re found in, see this as far better than many other forms of mining. “The environmental footprint is the fThere’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.” ootprint of digging the hole in the ground and crushing [the rock],” Koplyova said, noting that there’s no need to add strong acids or heavy metals like arsenic (used in gold mining) to liberate the gems.

    Still, those holes can be enormous. The Mir Mine, a now-abandoned open pit mine in Eastern Siberia, is so large—reportedly stretching 3,900 feet across and 1,700 feet deep—that the Russian government has declared it a no-fly zone owing to the pit’s ability to create dangerous air currents. It’s visible from space.

    While companies will often rehabilitate other land to offset the impact of mines, kimberlite mining itself typically leaves “a permanent dent in the earth’s surface,” as a 2014 report by market research company Frost & Sullivan put it.

    “It’s a huge impact as far as I’m concerned,” said Kevin Krajick, senior editor for science news at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who wrote a book on the discovery of diamonds in far northern Canada. Krajick noted that in remote mines, like those of the far north, it’s not just the physical hole to consider, but all the development required to reach a previously-untouched area, including roads and airstrips, roaring jets and diesel-powered trucks.

    Diamonds grown in factories clearly have a smaller physical footprint. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, they also use less water and create less waste. It’s for these reasons that Ali thinks diamond mining “will never be able to compete” with lab-grown diamonds from an environmental perspective.

    “The mining industry should not even by trying to do that,” he said.

    Of course, this is capitalism, so try to compete is exactly what the DPA is now doing. That same recent report that touted the mining industry’s economic benefits also asserts that mined diamonds have a carbon footprint three times lower than that of lab-grown diamonds, on average. The numbers behind that conclusion, however, don’t tell the full story.

    Growing diamonds does take considerable energy. The exact amount can vary greatly, however, depending on the specific nature of the growth process. These are details manufacturers are typically loathe to disclose, but Payne of Ada Diamonds says he estimates the most efficient players in the game today use about 250 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per cut, polished carat of diamond; roughly what a U.S. household consumes in 9 days. Other estimates run higher. Citing unnamed sources, industry publication JCK Online reported that a modern HPHT run can use up to 700 kWh per carat, while CVD production can clock in north of 1,000 kWh per carat.

    Pulling these and several other public-record estimates, along with information on where in the world today’s lab diamonds are being grown and the energy mix powering the producer nations’ electric grids, the DPA-commissioned study estimated that your typical lab-grown diamond results in some 511 kg of carbon emissions per cut, polished carat. Using information provided by mining companies on fuel and electricity consumption, along with other greenhouse gas sources on the mine site, it found that the average mined carat was responsible for just 160 kg of carbon emissions.

    One limitation here is that the carbon footprint estimate for mining focused only on diamond production, not the years of work entailed in developing a mine. As Ali noted, developing a mine can take a lot of energy, particularly for those sited in remote locales where equipment needs to be hauled long distances by trucks or aircraft.

    There’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.”

    #dimants #Afrique #technologie #capitalisme

  • Le Botswana décriminalise l’homosexualité - RFI
    http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20190611-le-botswana-decriminalise-homosexualite

    C’était une décision très attendue : la Haute Cour du #Botswana a ordonné l’abrogation des lois criminalisant l’#homosexualité ce mardi 11 juin. Après l’Afrique du Sud, les Seychelles, l’Angola et le Mozambique, un nouveau pays d’Afrique lève donc l’interdiction pénale en la matière.[...]

    Dans son arrêt, elle affirme que les lois en question sont « des reliques de l’ère victorienne », qu’elles « oppriment une #minorité » et « ne passent pas l’épreuve de la constitutionnalité ». Comme dans la plupart des pays, la #Constitution botswanaise affirme en effet la stricte #égalité entre les citoyens.

  • Environnement. Le #Botswana réautorise la #chasse aux #éléphants et crée la polémique

    Après l’avoir interdite pendant cinq ans, le gouvernement du Botswana vient de réautoriser la #chasse_sportive d’éléphants dans le pays. La décision suscite un tollé chez les écologistes, les autorités la justifient par des questions de #sécurité.


    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/environnement-le-botswana-reautorise-la-chasse-aux-elephants-

  • La « mise en biais » des problèmes sociaux : ce que l’économie comportementale fait aux situations complexes | AOC media - Analyse Opinion Critique
    https://aoc.media/analyse/2018/12/19/mise-biais-problemes-sociaux-leconomie-comportementale-aux-situations-complex

    L’économie comportementale est le fer de lance des sciences cognitives contemporaines. S’appuyant sur des résultats de la psychologie et des neurosciences, elle entend mettre en évidence les limites à la rationalité des individus et dessiner des politiques publiques « clés en main ». Popularisées sous le terme nudge, celles-ci jouent avec les « biais de rationalité » des individus, pour les pousser à agir dans leur intérêt ou dans celui de la collectivité.

    La légitimité scientifique et politique de l’économie comportementale semble désormais bien établie. Elle a reçu les marques de l’institutionnalisation dans le domaine scientifique, à travers, notamment, l’octroi de Prix de la Banque de Suède à plusieurs de ses représentants (dont Richard Thaler en 2017) comme dans le domaine politique, avec la création de structures ad hoc, appelées nudge units ou behavioral insight teams, dans divers gouvernements (démocratiques ou non). La sphère économique n’est pas en reste avec la création de structures similaires dans des entreprises, à, l’instar, en France, de la société d’études et de conseil BVA.

    Néanmoins, l’économie comportementale et les solutions politiques qu’elle inspire ont fait l’objet de critiques : le caractère éthique des expérimentations et des solutions politiques déployées a été amplement débattu, du fait de la part de manipulation des individus qu’elles recèlent. De même, des doutes ont été émis sur l’efficacité de ces solutions, en particulier à long terme. Un autre problème, moins souligné et pourtant essentiel à nos yeux, auquel nous souhaitons consacrer cet article, réside dans la propension de l’économie comportementale et des nudges à réduire des problèmes sociaux, fussent-ils complexes, à des biais cognitifs.

    Jusqu’aux années 1990, de riches traditions de recherche s’intéressaient aux interactions entre acteurs ou aux contextes organisationnels et institutionnels et avaient démontré en quoi ces dimensions étaient essentielles pour comprendre les décisions et les comportements de santé. Pourtant, de tels travaux sont aujourd’hui moins nombreux et moins visibles, au profit de travaux massivement orientés vers l’analyse des biais cognitifs. Karen Luftey Spencer et Matthew Grace, pourtant non hostiles aux sciences cognitives, qu’ils pratiquent dans certaines recherches, situent ce virage cognitiviste – et la marginalisation des autres approches – au tournant des années 2000 et déplorent cette situation dans un article de la prestigieuse revue littéraire Annual review of sociology. Elles appellent à s’intéresser à nouveau aux « fondations sociales des inégalités de santé et des biais de traitement ».

    C’est ce qu’a proposé un groupe de chercheurs nord-américains, autour de la sociologue Michèle Lamont et du politiste Peter Hall. Dans une démarche pluridisciplinaire mêlant l’anthropologie, la sociologie et la science politique, mais aussi l’épidémiologie et l’économie, ces chercheurs concluent que les déterminants des états de santé dépendent des ressources non seulement matérielles (économiques), mais aussi sociales des individus. Ces derniers, en fonction de leur position dans la structure sociale n’ont accès ni aux mêmes ressources « horizontales » provenant de l’insertion dans des réseaux – d’entraide et de soutien – d’autres individus, ni aux même ressources « verticales », associées au statut social. Par exemple, une recherche comparative a montré pourquoi les habitants d’Ouganda avaient été mieux protégés de l’épidémie du sida que ceux du Botswana, pourtant considéré comme un pays exemplaire par la communauté internationale car son gouvernement applique à la lettre les recettes des organisations internationales. Toutefois, le gouvernement ougandais a réussi, en s’appuyant sur les structures sociales et les communautés locales, à mobiliser les solidarités entre individus, ce qui s’est avéré in fine plus efficace dans la prévention du sida.

    #Santé_publique #Nudge #Neurocapitalisme

  • #Braconnage. Pourquoi le #Botswana n’est plus le paradis des #éléphants africains

    Quatre-vingt-dix carcasses d’éléphants ont été retrouvées au Botswana. Jusqu’à présent, contrairement au reste du continent, ce pays d’Afrique australe était préservé des braconniers en quête d’#ivoire. Désarmement des rangers, nouveau président… Ce spécialiste sud-africain explique ce qui a changé.


    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/braconnage-pourquoi-le-botswana-nest-plus-le-paradis-des-elep

  • #Jérusalem : qui a voté quoi en #Afrique ? – JeuneAfrique.com
    http://www.jeuneafrique.com/504934/politique/jerusalem-qui-a-vote-quoi-en-afrique

    Ces pressions, une nation africaine a décidé de les dénoncer : le ministère des Affaires étrangères du #Botswana a émis un communiqué, le 21 décembre dénonçant la virulence des propos de Haley, selon lesquels le président américain observerai soigneusement le vote et prendrai note des pays qui ont voté « contre » Washington. Le Botswana a dénoncé « un message menaçant et grossièrement inapproprié […] dont le but semble être de saper la souveraineté du Botswana ».

    #Etats-unis

  • MSC Containership Drags Anchor, Causing Internet Blackout in Somalia -Reports – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/msc-containership-held-in-somalia-over-internet-blackout-reports

    Somali authorities have detained an MSC containership alleging that the vessel dragged anchor and cut an undersea fibre optic cable supplying internet to much of the country, according to reports. 

    Somalia has been suffering from an internet blackout since June 24 when the MSC Alice allegedly dragged anchor outside Mogadishu port, severing undersea fibre optic cables used by many of the country’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

  • #Botswana wants electric fence along Zim border

    Gaborone – A lawmaker from the governing Botswana Democratic Party, Samson Guma-Moyo, has called for the erection of an electric fence along the country’s border with #Zimbabwe, as a way of curbing the spread of the foot and mouth disease.

    https://southernafrican.news/2017/05/22/botswana-wants-electric-fence-along-zim-border
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #santé #maladie #épidémie

  • Chinese migrants have changed the face of South Africa. Now they’re leaving. — Quartz
    https://qz.com/940619/chinese-traders-changed-south-africa-now-theyre-leaving
    https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/a-sign-at-the-entrance-of-china-city-johannesburg-e149312195

    “What’s the point of working in South Africa where it is more dangerous and lonely when you could be making the same wage in China?” says Mingwei Huang, a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, echoing sentiments expressed by traders during her research at the China malls.
    An estimated half a million to more than 1 million Chinese live in Africa, many of them small-scale traders and entrepreneurs. Chinese traders in African countries from Botswana to Senegal are also struggling to make a profit in the once booming trade of importing cheap goods from China—a sign that the best days of an industry involving thousands of African and Chinese traders, agents, and middlemen across Africa and China might be over.

    #chine #afrique_du_sud #commerce #xénophobie #rand

  • « Dictateur » ? Hollande attaque mais oublie ses actes

    Aujourd’hui, Le Canard Enchaîné rapporte des accusations inouïes, d’une grave violence, de la part du chef de l’État en exercice contre un candidat pour le remplacer et ce à quelques jours même de l’élection. François Hollande est aux abois, face à la chute sondagière de son héritier désigné, Emmanuel Macron. Il tente de cacher son bilan catastrophique et d’enrayer l’accès de Jean-Luc Mélenchon au second tour de l’élection présidentielle en le traitant de « dictateur ». Quelle blague !

    En monarchie présidentielle, le roi est nu

    Qui est ce président sortant pour qualifier de « dictateur » le porte-parole d’une 6e République démocratique ? Cette fin de mandat crépusculaire n’en finit plus.

    Est-il effrayé à l’idée que l’on puisse révoquer les élus, résolu qu’il est à violer systématiquement toutes ses promesses ? Craint-il un pays sans 49.3, sans possibilité d’obliger le parlement à voter ce qu’il refuse ? A-t-il peur d’un pays où les élus corrompus seraient inéligibles ?

    Effectivement, en 6e République, le mandat de François Hollande n’aurait pas duré cinq ans avant que les citoyens n’y mettent un terme !

    Hollande et ses fréquentations dictatoriales

    Mais d’ailleurs, d’où parle-t-il ce président qui a pactisé avec les tyrans du monde entier ?

    Qui a reçu en catimini, le roi Al-Khalifa du Bahreïn, dès août 2012, c’est-à-dire tout juste sorti de la répression violente du printemps arabe place de la Perle ?

    Qui est parti trinquer avec Joseph Kabila au Congo, l’homme qui reporte les élections éternellement et brutalise ses opposants ?

    Qui a visité Paul Biya au Cameroun, dirigeant d’une main de fer le pays depuis 35 ans ?

    Qui a rencontré sans aucune critique José Eduardo dos Santos en Angola, record de longévité avec 37 années de présidence sans partage ?

    Qui a accueilli en secret le président d’Azerbaïdjan Ilham Aliev, successeur de son père, et qui a investi son épouse vice-présidente ?

    Qui a félicité Idriss Déby au Tchad pour une énième réélection sans autre candidat ?

    Qui a déroulé le tapis rouge à l’émir Al Thani du Qatar en 2014, fermant les yeux sur l’esclavage moderne des chantiers de la coupe du monde de football 2022 ?

    Juste avant de poser à côté du maréchal égyptien Abdel Fattah al-Sissi la même année, dont les opposants ont tendance à disparaître par centaines ?

    Qui a validé les trucages électoraux du président Sassou-Nguesso au Congo Brazzaville ?

    Qui a salué Mahamadou Issoufou au Niger, tortionnaire de ses opposants ?

    Qui a protégé le bourreau du Burkina-Faso Blaise Compaoré, exfiltré en Côte d’Ivoire pour le sauver des manifestants ?

    Qui a osé décorer en 2016 le prince héritier d’Arabie Saoudite Mohammed ben Nayef, ministre de l’intérieur qui fait fouetter les blogueurs dissidents ?

    Qui a signé un accord de renvoi des migrants avec la Turquie de Recep Tayyip Erdogan ?

    Qui a vendu, le mois dernier, pour 500 millions d’euros de matériel militaire à l’Arabie Saoudite afin de l’aider à écraser le Yémen ?

    Oui, c’est bien cet homme, François Hollande, ce monarque en fin de règne qui va chercher auprès des bourreaux de toute espèce une reconnaissance que le peuple français a vite cessé de lui accorder !

    Un règne hollandais liberticide

    Et c’est bien lui qui calomnie Jean-Luc Mélenchon quand la campagne de la France insoumise est sans précédent.

    Non seulement il s’est couvert de honte, mais il a abaissé la France en participant comme premier chef d’État occidental en mai 2015 à un sommet du Conseil de coopération des États arabes du Golfe, alors que les pétromonarchies qui le dirigent écrasaient le Yémen sous les bombes.
    Manifestement, le monarque François Hollande a appris de tous ces dirigeants autoritaires.

    Lui aussi a mis en place un état d’urgence permanent et la répression violente des mouvements sociaux et écologiques.

    Lui aussi a vu un manifestant mourir sous son régime, au barrage de Sivens, et des jeunes être torturés par les forces de l’ordre, notamment à Aulnay-sous-Bois.

    Lui aussi a organisé la liquidation de journalistes hostiles, comme Aude Lancelin débarquée de l’Obs à son instigation.

    Durant son mandat, la France est passée de la 38e à la 45ème place dans le classement annuel de la liberté de la presse, basculant derrière l’Afrique du Sud, Trinité-et-Tobago, le Botswana ou le Suriname. Autant de pays où les médias sont plus libres qu’en France.

    François Hollande n’est donc pas en situation de délivrer des certificats de libertés publiques.
    Alors quand ce complice de toutes les dictatures les plus atroces, ce président sous lequel nos libertés ont diminué, accuse Jean-Luc Mélenchon d’être un dictateur, nous nous demandons s’il a perdu la tête. D’autant plus que L’Avenir en commun, le programme de Jean-Luc Mélenchon a obtenu les félicitations d’Amnesty international, référence en matière de libertés publiques.

    Devant tant de confusion dans les mots, et tant d’atteintes au respect républicain entre candidats, il est urgent que le monarque sortant cesse ses ingérences douteuses dans la campagne électorale. Qu’il balaie devant sa porte et fasse le compte des bourreaux qu’il a blanchi à l’Élysée. Il en est de même pour les éditorialistes en panique, parlant de « coup d’État » ou affabulant sur l’Alba.

    https://jlm2017.fr/2017/04/19/dictateur-hollande-attaque-mais-oublie-ses-actes-jlmdesintox

  • Le Conseil adopte onze résolutions dont cinq sur les droits de l’homme en Palestine et dans les autres territoires arabes occupés
    ​Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’#ONU, le 24 mars 2017
    http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21445&LangID=F#sthash.ZKaoENC8.dpuf

    Concernant la #Palestine :

    Par une autre résolution sur les droits de l’homme dans le #Golan syrien occupé (A/HRC/34/L.11), adoptée par adoptée par 26 voix pour, 3 contre (États-Unis, Royaume Uni et Togo) et 18 abstentions, le Conseil se déclare profondément préoccupé par les pratiques israéliennes dans le Golan syrien occupé, telles qu’elles sont décrites dans le rapport du Secrétaire général soumis à la présente session du Conseil.

    Les États suivants ont voté en faveur de la résolution (26) : Afrique du Sud, Arabie saoudite, Bangladesh, Bolivie, Brésil, Burundi, Chine, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Égypte, El Salvador, Émirats arabes unis, Équateur, Éthiopie, Ghana, Inde, Indonésie, Iraq, Kenya, Kirghizistan, Mongolie, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Tunisie et Venezuela.

    Les États suivants ont voté contre (3) : États-Unis, Royaume-Uni et Togo.

    Les États suivants se sont abstenus (18) : Albanie, Allemagne, Belgique, Botswana, Congo, Croatie, Géorgie, Hongrie, Japon, Lettonie, Pays-Bas, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, République de Corée, Rwanda, Slovénie et Suisse.
    ============================
    Par une résolution visant à « Faire en sorte que les responsabilités soient établies et que justice soit faite pour toutes les violations du droit international dans le Territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est » (A/HRC/34/L.38), adoptée par 30 voix pour, 2 contre (États-Unis, Togo) et 15 abstentions, le Conseil invite instamment tous les États à promouvoir le respect du droit international et invite instamment toutes les Hautes Parties contractantes à la quatrième Convention de Genève à respecter et à faire respecter le droit international humanitaire dans le Territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est.

    Les États suivants ont voté en faveur de la résolution (30) : Afrique du Sud, Arabie saoudite, Bangladesh, Belgique, Bolivie, Botswana, Brésil, Burundi, Chine, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Égypte, El Salvador, Émirats arabes unis, Équateur, Ghana, Indonésie, Iraq, Kirghizistan, Mongolie, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, République de Corée, Slovénie, Suisse, Tunisie et Venezuela.

    Les États suivants ont voté contre (2) : États-Unis et Togo.

    Les États suivants se sont abstenus (15) : Allemagne, Albanie, Croatie, Éthiopie, Géorgie, Hongrie, Inde, Japon, Kenya, Lettonie, Pays-Bas, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda et Royaume-Uni.
    ===============================
    Par une résolution sur le « droit du peuple palestinien à l’#autodétermination » (A/HRC/34/L.39), adoptée par 43 voix pour, 2 contre (États-Unis et Togo) et 2 abstentions (Panama et Paraguay), le Conseil confirme que le droit de souveraineté permanent du peuple palestinien sur ses richesses et ses ressources naturelles doit s’exercer dans l’intérêt du développement national et du bien-être de ce peuple et dans le cadre de la réalisation de son droit à l’autodétermination.

    Les États suivants ont voté en faveur de la résolution (43) : Afrique du Sud, Albanie, Allemagne, Arabie saoudite, Bangladesh, Belgique, Bolivie, Botswana, Brésil, Burundi, Chine, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatie, Cuba, Égypte, El Salvador, Émirats arabes unis, Équateur, Éthiopie, Géorgie, Ghana, Hongrie, Inde, Indonésie, Iraq, Japon, Kenya, Kirghizistan, Lettonie, Mongolie, Nigeria, Pays-Bas, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, République de Corée, Royaume-Uni, Rwanda, Slovénie, Suisse, Tunisie et Venezuela.

    Les États suivants ont voté contre (2) : États-Unis et Togo.

    Les États suivants se sont abstenus (2):Panama et Paraguay.
    ===================================
    Aux termes d’une résolution sur la situation des droits de l’homme dans le Territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est (A/HRC/34/L.40), adoptée par 41 voix pour, 2 contre (États-Unis et Togo) et 4 abstentions (Rwanda, République du Congo, Panama et Paraguay), le Conseil se déclare profondément préoccupé par la situation des prisonniers et des détenus palestiniens, y compris des mineurs, dans les prisons et les centres de détention israéliens.

    Les États suivants ont voté en faveur de la résolution (41) : Afrique du Sud, Albanie, Allemagne, Arabie saoudite, Bangladesh, Belgique, Bolivie, Botswana, Brésil, Burundi, Chine, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatie, Cuba, Égypte, El Salvador, Émirats arabes unis, Équateur, Éthiopie, Géorgie, Ghana, Hongrie, Inde, Indonésie, Iraq, Japon, Kenya, Kirghizistan, Lettonie, Mongolie, Nigeria, Pays-Bas, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, République de Corée, Royaume-Uni, Slovénie, Suisse, Tunisie, Venezuela.

    Les États suivants ont voté contre (2) : États-Unis et Togo.

    Les États suivants se sont abstenus (4) : Congo, Panama, Paraguay et Rwanda.
    =====================================
    Par une résolution intitulée « Colonies de peuplement israéliennes dans le Territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est, et le Golan syrien occupé » (A/HRC/34/L.41/Rev.1, oralement révisée), adoptée par 36 voix pour, 2 contre (États-Unis et Togo) et 9 abstentions, le Conseil décide de tenir, à sa session de septembre 2017, une table ronde sur « les activités de colonisation israéliennes dans le Territoire palestinien occupé, y compris Jérusalem-Est », et demande au Haut-Commissariat de consulter les États et l’ensemble des parties prenantes.

    Les États suivants ont voté en faveur de la résolution (36) : Afrique du Sud, Allemagne, Arabie saoudite, Bangladesh, Belgique, Bolivie, Botswana, Brésil, Burundi, Chine, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Égypte, El Salvador, Émirats arabes unis, Équateur, , Éthiopie, Ghana, Inde, Indonésie, Iraq, Japon, Kenya, Kirghizistan, Mongolie, Nigeria, Pays-Bas, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, République de Corée, Slovénie, Suisse, Tunisie et Venezuela.

    Les États suivants ont voté contre (2) : États-Unis et Togo.

    Les États suivants se sont abstenus (9) : Albanie, Croatie, Géorgie, Hongrie, Lettonie, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda et Royaume-Uni.
    ========================================
    Remarque : on voit que la politique d’#Israfrique commence à porter ses fruits avec le #Togo qui vote systématiquement pour israel...

    Et pourquoi la France ne vote pas ?

  • Sur une représentation globale des infections a #VIH en Afrique subsaharienne. Les complexes socio-spatiaux de risques

    Nous présentons une étude exploratoire qui traite des groupes de pays organisés selon des complexes socio-spatiaux de risques pour le VIH. L’analyse des correspondances multiples, traitant un tableau de variables de nature socio-géographique, socio-économique et à caractères épidémiologiques, est particulièrement adaptée à la recherche de variables de synthèse dans la description des structures liées à l’infection.
    Les données utilisées dans cette étude sont des résultats statistiques sélectifs récemment publiés sur 44 pays des régions de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Les explorations entreprises dans les groupes de population adulte âgée de 15 à 49 ans montrent que les composantes socio-géographique et socio-économique qui leurs sont associées interfèrent selon des combinaisons complexes qui varient d’un espace géographique à un autre. Le complexe des pays insulaires (Comores, Madagascar) et des pays de la façade atlantique (Mauritanie, Sénégal, Guinée) à très faible taux de prévalence (inférieur à 3 %) représente des situations de faibles expositions ; le complexe austral des pays dit riches (Afrique du sud, Namibie, Swaziland, Botswana) avec des taux de prévalence supérieurs à 12 % signale des situations de fortes expositions. D’autres situations d’expositions variées s’égrènent entre ces deux situations extrêmes et font valoir à l’Est, à l’Ouest et au Centre, des complexes de forte endémicité, de poussée épidémique et d’épidémie active.


    http://cybergeo.revues.org/2329
    #HIV #sida #cartographie #visualisation
    L’article date de 2002, pour archivage

    • Méthodes pour cartographier les tendances régionales de la prévalence du VIH à partir des Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé (EDS)

      Pour de nombreux pays, en particulier en #Afrique subsaharienne, les Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé (EDS) constituent la principale estimation de la prévalence du VIH au niveau national et en population générale. Plusieurs EDS collectent la longitude et la latitude des grappes enquêtées.
      Dans cet article, nous présentons trois approches méthodologiques pour cartographier les variations spatiales de la prévalence du VIH à partir des EDS. Ces approches sont appliquées à des simulations d’EDS échantillonnées à partir d’un pays modèle. Les surfaces estimées sont alors comparées à la surface initiale du modèle.
      Nous montrons qu’une méthode utilisant des estimateurs à noyau à fenêtres adaptatives de même effectif permet d’estimer les principales tendances régionales des épidémies. Son application aux données de l’EDS 2003 du Burkina Faso fournit une image plausible de la situation épidémiologique dans ce pays.

      http://cybergeo.revues.org/23782

    • Les cartes de prévalence (avec l’encoche qui évoque la Gambie) m’ont obligé à lire l’article… Merci.

      Le Bénin, le Burkina Faso et le Ghana ont été agrégés pour créer un pays fictif servant de modèle. Le Togo a été volontairement exclu afin d’obtenir une forme concave qui peut complexifier l’estimation, le « creux » ainsi formé n’étant pas enquêté. Une telle forme se retrouve dans les frontières de certains pays tels que le Sénégal.

    • Application aux données réelles


      Tendances régionales de la prévalence du VIH (15-49 ans), estimées avec l’approche par les estimateurs à noyau (N=500), sur les données de l’EDS 2003 du Burkina Faso

      L’application effectuée sur les données de l’EDS 2003 du Burkina Faso a permis de produire une surface des tendances régionales de la prévalence plausible.

      Si l’interprétation d’une telle carte doit être prudente, elle fournit cependant une indication descriptive sur la situation épidémique au sein d’un pays, indépendante du découpage administratif du territoire. Il s’agit bien là d’un outil de visualisation des principales variations spatiales du phénomène et d’identification des régions les plus touchées. Bien que les EDS soient insuffisantes pour mener une analyse des déterminants spatiaux des épidémies de VIH, elles permettent d’en esquisser un premier portrait, en l’absence d’enquêtes plus spécifiques ayant une meilleure couverture géographique.

  • Botswana at 50: African miracle or African mirage?
    http://africasacountry.com/2016/10/botswana-at-50-african-miracle-or-african-mirage

    At the end of last month, Botswana celebrated the 50th anniversary of its political independence from British colonialism. Long celebrated by outside observers as the “African Miracle” or “African success story” for its steady economic growth and seeming political stability, more recently that designation is being called into question. At independence in 1966, Botswana was […]

    #POLITICS #Bostwana #Independence_Anniversary

  • Pula! Botswana at 50: love, race and duty in the struggle for freedom
    http://www.groundup.org.za/article/pula-botswana-50-love-race-and-duty-struggle-freedom

    Here was the future King of the Bamangwato, a border people, whose labour was interwoven with South African capitalism, whose capital was at Mafikeng, within South Africa, presuming to transgress the most basic prejudices of the racial order.

    The rush of correspondence to stop this abominable wedding was intense. The British government hired lawyers, mobilised diplomats and succeeded in getting a Church of England Bishop to refuse the marriage. Seretse’s uncle forbade him to proceed and Ruth was cast out of her family for a while.

    (…) Jan Smuts intervened and changed Churchill’s mind, convincing him that support for Seretse would only harden the Nationalists who had defeated Smuts in South Africa. “Natives traditionally believe in authority,” Smuts explained, “and our whole Native system will collapse if weakness is shown in this regard.”

    #Botswana #Afrique_du_Sud #colonialisme #histoire #mariage #racisme #beau
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMswBd8AND4

  • The tribes paying the brutal price of conservation | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/aug/28/exiles-human-cost-of-conservation-indigenous-peoples-eco-tourism

    Welcome to 21st-century life in the vast Central #Kalahari game park, an ancient hunting ground for the San, but now off-limits to the people who forged their history there. The brutal incident took place last week, just days after Botswana’s wildlife minister Tshekedi Khama, the brother of President Ian Khama, announced a shoot-on-sight policy on poachers.

    Khama claims the policy, which is supported by conservation groups, will deter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, which is widely seen by Europe and the US as disastrous for biodiversity. But there are no rare or endangered species such as elephants or rhinos in the areas where the bushmen hunt. Sending a helicopter gunship and armed guards to arraign the hunters looks rather like an escalation of the low-grade war that Botswana has waged for years on one of the most vulnerable indigenous groups in the world.

    #Botswana #Bushmen #conservation #peuples_autochtones #territoires

    • Trump’s Border Wall Could Impact an Astonishing 10,000 Species

      The list, put together by a team led by Dr. Gerardo J. Ceballos González of National Autonomous University of Mexico, includes 42 species of amphibians, 160 reptiles, 452 bird species and 187 mammals. Well-known species in the region include the jaguar, Sonoran pronghorn, North American river otter and black bear.


      http://therevelator.org/trump-border-wall-10000-species

    • Border Security Fencing and Wildlife: The End of the Transboundary Paradigm in Eurasia?

      The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe has seen many countries rush to construct border security fencing to divert or control the flow of people. This follows a trend of border fence construction across Eurasia during the post-9/11 era. This development has gone largely unnoticed by conservation biologists during an era in which, ironically, transboundary cooperation has emerged as a conservation paradigm. These fences represent a major threat to wildlife because they can cause mortality, obstruct access to seasonally important resources, and reduce effective population size. We summarise the extent of the issue and propose concrete mitigation measures.

      http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002483
      #faune #Europe #Europe_centrale #Europe_de_l'Est #cartographie #visualisation

    • Rewriting biological history: Trump border wall puts wildlife at risk

      Mexican conservationists are alarmed over Trump’s wall, with the loss of connectivity threatening already stressed bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bears and other animals.
      About one-third of the border, roughly 700 miles, already has fencing; President Trump has been pushing a controversial plan to fence the remainder.
      A wall running the entire nearly 2,000-mile frontier from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, conservationists warn, would be catastrophic for borderland ecosystems and many wildlife species, undoing years of environmental cooperation between the two countries to protect animals that must move freely or die.
      The wall is currently a key bargaining chip, and a sticking point, in ongoing immigration legislation negotiations taking place this week in Congress. Also expected this week: a federal court ruling on whether the administration can legally waive environmental laws to expedite border wall construction.


      https://news.mongabay.com/2018/02/rewriting-biological-history-trump-border-wall-puts-wildlife-at-risk
      #bisons

    • A Land Divided

      The national debate about border security doesn’t often dwell on the natural environment, but hundreds of miles of public lands, including six national parks, sit along the U.S.-Mexico border. What will happen to these lands — and the wildlife and plants they protect — if a wall or additional fences and barriers are built along the frontier?


      https://www.npca.org/articles/1770-a-land-divided
      #parcs_nationaux

    • R ULES C OMMITTEE P RINT 115–66 T EXT OF THE H OUSE A MENDMENT TO THE S ENATE A MENDMENT TO H.R. 1625

      US spending bill requires “an analysis, following consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, of the environmental impacts, including on wildlife, of the construction and placement of physical barriers” (p 677)

      http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180319/BILLS-115SAHR1625-RCP115-66.pdf
      Extrait partagé par Reece Jones sur twitter
      https://twitter.com/reecejhawaii/status/977304504700780544

    • Activists Vow Fight as Congress Funds Portions of Border Wall

      Last week Congress voted to appropriate some monies to build new fortifications along the United States–Mexico border, but border activists in the Rio Grande Valley say the fight against President Donald Trump’s border wall is far from over.

      The nearly $1.6 billion in border wall funding included in the omnibus spending bill that Trump signed Friday provides for the construction of some 33 miles of new walls, all in Texas’s ecologically important Rio Grande Valley. Those walls will tear through communities, farms and ranchland, historic sites, and thousands of acres of protected wildlife habitat, while creating flooding risks on both sides of the border. But far from admitting defeat, border activists have already begun mapping out next steps to pressure Congress to slow down or even halt the wall’s construction.

      https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/activists-vow-fight-congress-funds-portions-border-wall

    • State attorney general, environmental group to appeal decision on Trump’s border wall

      A ruling by a San Diego federal judge allowing construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall to go ahead will be appealed by two entities that opposed it, including the state Attorney General.

      Both the Center for Biological Diversity and Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed formal notices of appeal on Monday seeking to reverse a decision in February from U.S District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel. The judge ruled that the Trump administration did not abuse its discretion in waiving environmental laws in its rush to begin border wall projects along the southwest border.

      The center had said after the ruling it would appeal, and Becerra also hinted the state would seek appellate court review at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

      The notices declare an intent to appeal. They do not outline arguments to be made on appeal or why each group believe that Curiel got it wrong.

      In a prepared statement Becerra said, “When we said that a medieval wall along the U.S.-Mexico border does not belong in the 21st century, we meant it. There are environmental and public health laws in place, and we continue to believe that the Trump Administration is violating those laws. We will not stand idly by. We are committed to protecting our people, our values and our economy from federal overreach.”

      The lawsuits challenged a law that allowed the federal government not to comply with environmental and other laws and regulations when building border security projects. They argued the law was outdated and Congress never intended for it to be an open-ended waiver for all border projects, and contended it violated constitutional provisions of separation of powers and states’ rights.

      In his decision Curiel said both that the law was constitutional and it gave the Department of Homeland Security wide latitude over border security.

      Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said in response to the Curiel ruling that the administration was pleased DHS “can continue this important work vital to our nation’s interest.”

      “Border security is paramount to stemming the flow of illegal immigration that contributes to rising violent crime and to the drug crisis, and undermines national security,” O’Malley said.

      http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-border-appeal-20180409-story.html

    • Les murs n’arrêtent pas que les humains

      Des États-Unis à la Malaisie, en passant par Israël ou la Hongrie, les hommes construisent de multiples murs pour contraindre les déplacements de nos semblables. N’oublions pas, explique l’auteur de cette tribune, que nous ne sommes pas les seuls à habiter la Terre et donc à pâtir de ces barrières.

      La #forêt_de_Bialowieza a quelque chose de mythique et de sacré. Âgée de plus de 8.000 ans, elle est la dernière forêt primaire d’Europe. S’étalant sur 150.000 hectares entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie, inaccessible aux visiteurs sans guide assermenté, elle constitue un sanctuaire d’espèces témoignant de la richesse des mondes anciens. Le bison d’Europe y vit encore de manière naturelle, côtoyant élans, cerfs, loups, lynx, etc.

      En 1981, à l’époque du rideau de fer, l’URSS a décidé de clôturer la frontière entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie, coupant à travers cette forêt et séparant en deux la dernière population de bisons d’Europe (environ 500 individus de part et d’autre). Cette clôture est symboliquement forte, car elle témoigne de la coupure existentielle (« ontologique », diraient les philosophes) que les humains se sont imposée vis-à-vis des autres êtres vivants. Ces derniers semblent ne pas exister à nos yeux.

      Mais cette séparation est plus que symbolique, elle est concrète. Les murs dressés par l’espèce humaine représentent une menace importante et sous-estimée pour de nombreux êtres vivants non humains.
      Murs de béton, de pierre, de boue, de sable ou de brique, de barbelés, de grilles en acier ou de clôtures électrifiées

      On en trouve surtout aux frontières : entre les États-Unis et le Mexique, la Corée du Nord et du Sud, Israël et la Cisjordanie, la Malaisie et la Thaïlande, l’Inde et le Pakistan, l’Iran et l’Irak, la Chine et la Mongolie, le Botswana et le Zimbabwe, etc. Ils prennent la forme de murs de béton, de pierre, de boue, de sable ou de brique, de barbelés, de grilles en acier ou de clôtures électrifiées, et viennent accompagnés de routes, de casernes, de lumières et de bruits. Leur nombre a considérablement augmenté depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Par exemple en Eurasie (sans le Moyen-Orient), il existe aujourd’hui plus de 30.000 km de murs, grillages et barbelés aux frontières.

      Ces murs affectent évidemment les populations humaines en brisant les trajectoires personnelles de millions de personnes. Ils affectent aussi les autres espèces [1]. À Białowieża, par exemple, la séparation a empêché les flux génétiques (et a donc fragilisé) des populations de bisons, d’ours, de loups et de lynx. Pire, 25 ans après la destruction du rideau de fer entre l’Allemagne et la République tchèque, les jeunes cerfs (qui n’avaient jamais vu de clôtures) ne traversaient toujours pas la frontière [2].

      En mai 2018 paraissait dans la revue Bioscience un article cosigné par dix-huit grands noms de l’étude et de la protection de la biodiversité (dont Edward O. Wilson) et signé par 2.500 scientifiques, qui alertait sur les « conséquences inattendues mais importantes » de ces murs frontaliers sur la biodiversité [3]. Ce cri d’alarme n’est pas le premier [4], mais il résume bien l’état des lieux de la recherche, et aussi l’état de préoccupation des chercheurs.
      Lorsque les habitats se fragmentent, les territoires des populations se réduisent

      Les murs nuisent à la biodiversité de plusieurs façons. Premièrement, ils peuvent blesser ou tuer des animaux directement, quand ils s’emmêlent dans les fils barbelés, sont électrocutés ou marchent sur des mines antipersonnelles.

      Deuxièmement, ils fragmentent et dégradent les habitats. Par exemple la frontière de 3.200 km entre le Mexique et les États-Unis traverse les aires de répartition géographique de 1.506 espèces natives (parmi lesquelles 1.077 espèces animales) dont 62 sont sur la liste des espèces en danger. Le mur menace cinq régions particulièrement riches en biodiversité (on les nomme « hotspots ») qui retiennent presque tous les efforts de conservation et de « réensauvagement » (rewilding). Lorsque les habitats se fragmentent, les territoires des populations se réduisent, et le nombre d’espèces présentes sur ces petites surfaces se réduit plus que proportionnellement, rendant ainsi les populations plus vulnérables, par exemple aux variations climatiques. Les clôtures frontalières contribuent aussi à accroître la mortalité de la faune sauvage en facilitant la tâche des braconniers, en perturbant les migrations et la reproduction, et en empêchant l’accès à la nourriture et à l’eau. Par exemple, le mouton bighorn (une espèce en danger) migrait naturellement entre la Californie et le Mexique mais ne peut aujourd’hui plus accéder aux points d’eau et aux sites de naissance qu’il avait l’habitude de fréquenter.

      Troisièmement, ces murs annulent les effets bénéfiques des millions de dollars investis dans la recherche et les mesures de conservation de la biodiversité. Les scientifiques témoignent aussi du fait qu’ils sont souvent l’objet d’intimidations, de harcèlements ou de ralentissements volontaires de la part des officiers responsables de la sécurité des frontières.

      Enfin, quatrièmement, les politiques de sécurité mises en place récemment font passer les lois environnementales au deuxième plan, quand elles ne sont pas simplement bafouées ou oubliées.
      Des centaines de kilomètres de clôtures de sécurité aux frontières extérieures et intérieures de l’UE

      Le double phénomène migrations/clôtures n’est pas prêt de s’arrêter. En 2015, un afflux exceptionnel d’êtres humains fuyant leurs pays en direction de l’Europe a conduit plusieurs États membres à réintroduire ou renforcer les contrôles aux frontières, notamment par la construction rapide de centaines de kilomètres de clôtures de sécurité aux frontières extérieures et intérieures de l’UE. Le réchauffement climatique et l’épuisement des ressources seront dans les années à venir des causes majeures de guerres, d’épidémies et de famines, forçant toujours plus d’humains à migrer. Les animaux seront aussi de la partie, comme en témoigne la progression vers le nord des moustiques tigres, qui charrient avec eux des maladies qui n’existaient plus dans nos régions, ou encore l’observation du loup en Belgique en mars 2018 pour la troisième fois depuis des siècles…

      Les accords entre pays membres de l’Union européenne au sujet des migrations humaines seront-ils mis en place à temps ? Résisteront-ils aux changements et aux catastrophes à venir ? Quel poids aura la « #Convention_des_espèces_migrantes » (censée réguler le flux des animaux) face aux migrations humaines ?

      En septembre 2017, un bison d’Europe a été aperçu en Allemagne. C’était la première fois depuis 250 ans qu’un représentant sauvage de cette espèce traversait spontanément la frontière allemande. Il a été abattu par la police.

      https://reporterre.net/Les-murs-n-arretent-pas-que-les-humains
      #Bialowieza

    • Les murs de séparation nuisent aussi à la #faune et la #flore

      3419 migrants sont décédés en Méditerranée en tentant de rejoindre Malte ou l’Italie. C’est ce que révèle un rapport du Haut commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés publié le 10 décembre. Il y a les barrières naturelles, et les murs artificiels. Pendant deux mois, le web-documentaire Connected Walls s’attaque aux murs de séparation entre quatre continents : le mur entre l’Amérique du Nord et l’Amérique latine incarné par les grillages entre les Etats-Unis et le Mexique, celui entre l’Europe et l’Afrique incarné par les barbelés qui séparent les enclaves espagnoles du Maroc. Tous les 10 jours, Connected Walls publie un nouveau documentaire de cinq minutes sur une thématique choisie par les internautes. Cette semaine, ils ont sélectionné la thématique « animal ».

      Cette semaine, sur Connected-Walls,Valeria Fernandez (USA) et Fidel Enriquez (Mexico) ont suivi John Ladd dont la famille possède un ranch dans l’Arizona, à la frontière mexicaine, depuis cinq générations. Depuis la construction du mur frontalier en 2007, les choses ont changé pour lui et pour les animaux.

      De leur côté, Irene Gutierrez (Espagne) et Youssef Drissi (Maroc) ont rencontré Adam Camara, un jeune de Guinée Équatoriale qui a tenté de traverser plusieurs fois le détroit entre le Maroc et l’Espagne. Lors de sa dernière tentative, il a reçu l’aide d’un mystérieux ami.
      Pour chaque thématique, un partenaire associatif a carte blanche pour rédiger une tribune. Celle-ci a été rédigée par Dan Millis, de l’organisation écologiste Sierra Club :

      « Les animaux se moquent bien des frontières politiques. Le jaguar de Sonora n’a pas de passeport, et le canard morillon cancane avec le même accent, qu’il soit à Ceuta ou dans la forêt de Jbel Moussa. Les murs et les barrières ont cependant un impact considérable sur la faune et la flore. Par exemple, les rennes de l’ancienne Tchécoslovaquie ne franchissent jamais la ligne de l’ancien Rideau de Fer, alors même que cette barrière a disparu depuis 25 ans et qu’aucun des rennes vivant aujourd’hui ne l’a jamais connue. Les quelques 1000 kilomètres de barrières et de murs séparant les États-Unis et le Mexique détruisent et fragmentent l’habitat sauvage, en bloquant les couloirs de migration essentiels à la survie de nombreuses espèces. Une étude réalisée grâce à des caméras installées au niveau des refuges et des zones de vie naturellement fréquentés par la faune en Arizona a montré que des animaux comme le puma et le coati sont bloqués par les murs des frontières, alors que les humains ne le sont pas. »


      https://www.bastamag.net/Connected-Walls-le-webdocumentaire-4545
      #wildelife

    • Border Fences and their Impacts on Large Carnivores, Large Herbivores and Biodiversity: An International Wildlife Law Perspective

      Fences, walls and other barriers are proliferating along international borders on a global scale. These border fences not only affect people, but can also have unintended but important consequences for wildlife, inter alia by curtailing migrations and other movements, by fragmenting populations and by causing direct mortality, for instance through entanglement. Large carnivores and large herbivores are especially vulnerable to these impacts. This article analyses the various impacts of border fences on wildlife around the world from a law and policy perspective, focusing on international wildlife law in particular. Relevant provisions from a range of global and regional legal instruments are identified and analysed, with special attention for the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species and the European Union Habitats Directive.

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/reel.12169

    • Border Security Fencing and Wildlife: The End of the Transboundary Paradigm in Eurasia?

      The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe has seen many countries rush to construct border security fencing to divert or control the flow of people. This follows a trend of border fence construction across Eurasia during the post-9/11 era. This development has gone largely unnoticed by conservation biologists during an era in which, ironically, transboundary cooperation has emerged as a conservation paradigm. These fences represent a major threat to wildlife because they can cause mortality, obstruct access to seasonally important resources, and reduce effective population size. We summarise the extent of the issue and propose concrete mitigation measures.


      https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002483

    • Butterfly Preserve On The Border Threatened By Trump’s Wall

      The National Butterfly Center, a 100-acre wildlife center and botanical garden in South Texas, provides a habitat for more than 100 species of butterflies.

      It also sits directly in the path of the Trump administration’s proposed border wall.

      The federal spending bill approved in September includes $1.6 billion in 2019 for construction of the wall. In October, the Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver to 28 laws protecting public lands, wildlife and the environment to clear the way for construction to proceed.

      https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/660671247/butterfly-preserve-on-the-border-threatened-by-trumps-wall
      #papillons

    • Wildlife advocates, local indigenous tribes protest preparations for new border wall construction

      The federal government this week began moving bulldozers and construction vehicles to the Texas border with Mexico to begin building a new six-mile section of border wall — the first new wall under President Donald Trump, administration officials confirmed Tuesday.

      The move immediately triggered angry protests by a local butterfly sanctuary — The National Butterfly Center — and local indigenous tribes who oppose the wall and say construction will damage natural habitats. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the wall will run through land owned by federal government. The dispute came amid an administration claim that a caravan of 2,000 migrants had arrived in northern Mexico along the Texas border.

      “We’re a recognized tribe and no one’s going to tell us who we are especially some idiots in Washington,” said Juan Mancias of the indigenous peoples’ tribe Carrizo-Comecrudo, who led protests on Monday. “We’re the original people of this land. We haven’t forgot our ancestors.”

      So far, the Trump administration has upgraded only existing fencing along the border. The president has called for some $5 billion for new wall construction, and Democrats have refused, resulting in a budget dispute that shut down the government for five weeks.

      This latest Texas project relies on previously appropriated money and won’t require further congressional approval. Construction plans for the Rio Grande Valley, just south of McAllen, Texas, call for six to 14 miles of new concrete wall topped with 18-foot vertical steel bars.

      Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Kristen Nielsen waived a variety environmental restrictions, including parts of the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts, to prepare for construction in the area. Construction on the Rio Grande Valley project is expected to start in the coming weeks.

      Marianna Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, remains a staunch advocate against the border wall. She met this week with authorities who she said wants to buy the center’s land for wall construction.

      She traveled to Washington last month to explain the environmental damage that would be caused by the construction in testimony on Capitol Hill.

      “The bulldozers will roll into the lower Rio Grande Valley wildlife conservation corridor, eliminating thousands of trees during spring nesting season for hundreds of species of migratory raptors and songbirds,” Wright told the House Natural Resources Committee.

      When asked by ABC News what message she has for people who aren’t there to see the impact of the new border wall, Wright paused, searching for words to express her frustration.

      “I would drive my truck over them, over their property, through their fence,” she said.

      DHS continues to cite national security concerns as the reason for building the border wall, with Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen saying in a statement Tuesday that migrants in the new caravan that had arrived at the Texas border would try to cross over illegally.

      “Such caravans are the result of Congress’s inexcusable failure to fully fund a needed physical barrier and unwillingness to fix outdated laws that act as an enormous magnet for illegal aliens,” Nielsen said in a statement.

      The last so-called caravan that caused alarm for the administration resulted in thousands of migrants taking shelter in the Mexican city of Tijuana. Just across the border from San Diego, many waited several weeks for the chance to enter the U.S.

      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wildlife-advocates-local-indigenous-tribes-protest-preparations-border/story?id=60859814
      #résistance #peuples_autochtones #Carrizo-Comecrudo #McAllen #Texas

    • As Work Begins on Trump’s Border Wall, a Key Wildlife Refuge Is at Risk

      Construction is underway on a stretch of President Trump’s border wall cutting through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Biologists warn the steel wall will disrupt carefully preserved habitat critical for the survival of ocelot, jaguarundi, and other threatened species.

      As Tiffany Kersten descends from a levee into a verdant forest that stretches to the Rio Grande more than a mile away, she spots a bird skimming the treetops: a red-tailed hawk. Later, other birds — great blue herons, egrets — take flight from the edge of an oxbow lake. This subtropical woodland is one of the last remnants of tamaulipan brushland — a dense tangle of Texas ebony, mesquite, retama, and prickly pear whose U.S. range is now confined to scattered fragments in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The ecosystem harbors an astonishing array of indigenous wildlife: ocelot, jaguarundi, Texas tortoise, and bobcat, as well as tropical and subtropical birds in a rainbow of colors, the blue bunting and green jay among them.

      But the stretch of tamaulipan scrub Kersten is exploring, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, won’t be around much longer. About 15 feet from the forest edge, Kersten — a board member of a local conservation group — spots red ribbons tied to tree branches on both sides of the trail. Soon, an excavator will uproot those trees to make way for a 140-foot-wide access road and an 18-foot-high wall atop the levee, all part of the Trump administration’s plan to barricade as much of the Texas/Mexico border as possible. On Valentine’s Day, two days before I visited the border, crews began clearing a path for the road, and soon the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will plant a cement foundation in the levee and top it with a steel bollard barrier.

      This construction is the first project under a plan to build 33 miles of new wall along the levee in South Texas, with $641 million in funding that Trump requested and Congress authorized last year. That 33-mile stretch, cutting through some of the most unique and endangered habitat in the United States, will be joined by an additional 55 miles of wall under a funding bill Trump signed February 15 that allocates another $1.375 billion for wall construction. The same day, Trump also issued a national emergency declaration authorizing another $6 billion for border walls. That declaration could give the administration the power to override a no-wall zone Congress created in three protected areas around the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

      Since the mid-20th century, ranches, oil fields, and housing tracts have consumed 97 percent of the tamaulipan brushland.

      Since the mid-20th century, ranches, farms, oil fields, subdivisions, and shopping centers have consumed 97 percent of the tamaulipan brushland habitat at ground zero of this new spate of border wall construction. That loss led Congress to create the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the 1970s and spurred a 30-year-effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservation organizations, and private landowners to protect the remaining pockets of tamaulipan brushland and restore some of what has been lost. The Fish and Wildlife Service has purchased 10,000 acres of cropland and converted it back into tamaulipan woodlands; it hopes to replant another 30,000 acres. The refuge, now totaling 98,000 acres, has been likened to a string of pearls, with connected jewels of old-growth and restored habitat adorning the 300-mile lower Rio Grande Valley.

      Into this carefully rebuilt wildlife corridor now comes the disruption of a flurry of new border wall construction. Scientists and conservationists across Texas warn that it could unravel decades of work to protect the tamaulipan brushland and the wildlife it harbors. “This is the only place in the world you can find this habitat,” says Kersten, a board member of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, a non-profit group that works closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the corridor program. “And only 3 percent of this habitat is remaining.”

      For all its efforts to turn cropland into federally protected habitat, the Fish and Wildlife Service finds itself with little recourse to safeguard it, precisely because it is federal property. The easiest place for the federal government to begin its new wave of border wall construction is the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the picturesque La Parida Banco tract, where I joined Kersten. Under a 2005 law, the Department of Homeland Security can waive the environmental reviews that federal agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service typically conduct for projects that could alter federally protected lands.

      The tract Kersten and I visited is one of four adjacent “pearls” in the wildlife corridor — long , roughly rectangular parcels stretching from an entrance road to the river. From west to east they are the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge’s La Parida Banco tract, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the refuge’s El Morillo Banco tract, and the privately owned National Butterfly Center. A levee runs through all four properties, and the first sections of fence to be built atop it would cut off access to trails and habitat in the refuge tracts. Citizens and local and state officials have successfully fought to keep the fence from crossing the National Butterfly Center, the Bentsen-Rio Grande state park, and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge farther downstream — at least for now. If Trump’s national emergency declaration survives court challenges, the border barriers could even be extended into these holdouts.

      When the wall and access road are completed at La Parida Banco, a crucial piece of intact native habitat will become isolated between the wall and the river. Species that either rely on the river for water or migrate across it will find pathways they’ve traversed for thousands of years blocked.

      While biologists are concerned about the impacts of the wall all along the U.S.-Mexico border, the uniqueness of South Texas’ ecosystems make it an especially troublesome place to erect an 18-foot fence, they say. The 300-mile wildlife corridor in South Texas, where the temperate and the tropical intermingle, is home to an astounding concentration of flora and fauna: 17 threatened or endangered species, including the jaguarundi and ocelot; more than 530 species of birds; 330 butterfly species, about 40 percent of all those in the U.S.; and 1,200 types of plants. It’s one of the most biodiverse places on the continent.

      `There will be no concern for plants, endangered species [and] no consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service,’ says a biologist.

      “This is a dry land, and when you have dry land, your diversity is near the water,” says Norma Fowler, a biologist with the University of Texas at Austin who studies the tamaulipan brushland ecosystem. She co-authored an article published last year in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment warning of the consequences of the new wall for the region’s singular ecosystems and wildlife. Since the wall can’t be built in the river, it’s going up a mile or more north of it in some areas, placing both the riparian habitat right along the river and the tamaulipan thornscrub on higher ground at risk.

      “Both of those habitats have been fragmented, and there’s not much left,” Fowler says. “Some of it is lovingly restored from fields to the appropriate wild vegetation. But because they’ve waived every environmental law there is, there will be no concern for plants, endangered species. There will be no consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

      When the wall rises, the barrier and the new patrol road alongside it will cut an unusually wide 140-foot swath to improve visibility through the dense brush. In her article, Fowler estimated that construction of the border wall would destroy 4.8 to 7.3 acres of habitat per mile of barrier. The fence will also cut off access to the river and habitat on the Mexican side of the border for many animals. Including bobcats, ocelot, jaguarundi, and javelina. Some slower-moving species, like the Texas tortoise, could be caught in floods that would swell against the wall.

      If new walls must be built along the Rio Grande, Fowler says, the Department of Homeland Security should construct them in a way that causes the least harm to wildlife and plants. That would include limiting the footprint of the access roads and other infrastructure, designing barriers with gaps wide enough for animals to pass through, and using electronic sensors instead of physical barriers wherever possible.

      One of the most at-risk species is the ocelot, a small jaguar-like cat that historically roamed throughout Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Arizona, but that numbers only about 80 today. The sole breeding population left in the U.S. is in South Texas, and it is wholly dependent on the dense shrubland in the Lower Rio Grande Valley that the wall will bisect. Some species could be wiped out altogether: The few sites where Physaria thamnophila, a native wildflower, still grows are directly in the path of the wall, Fowler says.

      With 1,254 miles of border — all following the languid, meandering course of the Rio Grande — Texas has far more of the United States’ 1,933-mile southern boundary than any other state, yet it has the fewest miles of existing fence. That’s because much of the Texas border is private riverfront land. The first major push to barricade the Texas border, by the George W. Bush administration, encountered opposition from landowners who balked at what they saw as lowball purchase offers and the use of eminent domain to take their property. (Years later, some of those lawsuits are still pending.) Federal land managers also put up a fight.

      Natural areas already bisected by a Bush-era fence offer a preview of the potential fate of the Rio Grande wildlife refuge.

      When Ken Merritt — who oversaw the federal South Texas Refuge Complex, which includes the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana, and the Laguna Atascosa refuge near where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico — questioned the wisdom of a barrier through Santa Ana during the Bush administration, he was forced out of his job.

      “I was getting a lot of pressure,” says Merritt, who still lives in the valley and is retired. “But it just didn’t fit. We were trying to connect lands to create a whole corridor all along the valley, and we knew walls were very much against that.”

      Natural areas already bisected by the Bush-era fence offer a preview of the potential fate of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. A few miles downstream from the La Parida tract, the Hidalgo Pumphouse and Birding Center, which anchors the southern end of the tiny town of Hidalgo, now looks out at a stretch of steel bollard fence atop a concrete wall embedded in the levee.

      On a recent Monday morning, a few tourists milled about the gardens behind the pumphouse, listening to the birds — curve-billed thrashers, green monk parakeets, kiskadee flycatchers — and enjoying the view from the observation deck. Curious about the wall, all of them eventually walk up to it and peek through the four-inch gaps between the steel slats. On the other side lies another pearl: a 900-acre riverside piece of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge called the Hidalgo Bend tract. It was once a popular spot with birders drawn to its ferruginous Pygmy owls, elf owls, and other wildlife. But since the wall went up in 2009, few birders visit anymore.

      At The Nature Conservancy’s Sabal Palm Preserve, a 557-acre piece of the wildlife corridor near the Gulf of Mexico, a wall installed in 2009 cuts through one of the last stands of sabal palm forest in the Rio Grande Valley. Laura Huffman, regional director for The Nature Conservancy, worries that the more walls erected on the border, the less hope there is of completing the wildlife corridor.

      Kersten and others remain unconvinced that the danger on the border justifies a wall. She believes that sensors and more Border Patrol agents are more effective deterrents to drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. Earlier on the day we met, Kersten was part of a group of 100 or so protestors who marched from the parking lot at nearby Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park to the adjacent National Butterfly Center, holding signs that read “No Border Wall” and “Solidarity Across Borders.” One placard listed the more than two dozen environmental and cultural laws that the Trump administration waived to expedite the fence. Among them: the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires environmental analysis before federal projects can begin; the Endangered Species Act; the Clean Water Act; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act; the National Historic Preservation Act; and the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act.

      Even as the wall goes up in the refuge, preparations for this year’s restoration projects are moving ahead. Betty Perez, whose family has lived in the Lower Rio Grande Valley for generations, is one of several landowners who grow seedlings for replanting on refuge lands each year. At her ranch, about a 45-minute drive northwest of the La Parida Banco tract, she’s beginning to collect seeds to grow this year’s native shrub crop: coyotillo, in the buckthorn family; yucca; Texas persimmon.

      Next to a shed in her backyard sit rows of seedlings-to-be in white tubes. To Perez, the delicate green shoots hold a promise: In a few years, these tiny plants will become new habitat for jaguarundi, for ocelot, for green jays, for blue herons. Despite the new walls, the wildlife corridor project will go on, she says, in the spaces in between.

      https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-work-begins-on-trumps-border-wall-a-key-wildlife-refuge-is-at-risk

    • Border Wall Rising In #Arizona, Raises Concerns Among Conservationists, Native Tribes

      Construction has begun on President Trump’s border wall between Arizona and Mexico, and conservationists are furious. The massive barrier will skirt one of the most beloved protected areas in the Southwest — Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, recognized by the United Nations as an international biosphere reserve.

      On a recent drive along the borderline, a crew was transplanting tall saguaro cactus out of the construction zone.

      “There may be misconceptions that we are on a construction site and just not caring for the environment,” intones a voice on a video released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project. “We are relocating saguaro, organ pipe, ocotillo...”

      But a half-mile away, a big yellow bulldozer was scraping the desert clean and mowing down cactus columns that were likely older than the young man operating the dozer.

      Customs and Border Protection later said 110 desert plants have been relocated, and unhealthy ones get bulldozed.

      This scene illustrates why environmentalists are deeply skeptical of the government’s plans. They fear that as CBP and the Defense Department race to meet the president’s deadline of 450 miles of wall by Election Day 2020, they will plow through one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions of the continental United States.

      The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has warned that the wall, with its bright lights, human activity and impermeable barrier, could negatively impact 23 endangered and at-risk species, including the Sonoran pronghorn antelope. And the National Park Service says construction could destroy 22 archaeological sites. Yet, for this stretch of western desert, the government has waived 41 federal environmental laws to expedite construction.

      “This is a wall to fulfill a campaign promise. It’s really clear. And that’s what makes so many of us so angry. It’s being done so fast outside the rule of law and we know it’ll have an incredible impact,” says Kevin Dahl, Arizona representative for the National Parks Conservation Association. He sits beside a serene, spring-fed pond fringed by cattails, and dive-bombed by dragonflies. It is called Quitobaquito Springs, and it’s located on the southern edge of the #Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument.

      A biologist peers into a rivulet that feeds this oasis in the middle of the Sonoran desert.

      “These guys are very tiny, maybe half the size of a sesame seed. Those are the Quitobaquito tryonia. And there are literally thousands in here,” says Jeff Sorensen, wildlife specialist supervisor with Arizona Game and Fish Department. He’s an expert on this tiny snail, which is one of three species — along with a mud turtle and a pupfish — whose entire universe is this wetland.

      The springs have been used for 16,000 years by Native Americans, followed by Spanish explorers, traders and farmers.

      But the pond is a stone’s throw from the international border, and the path of the wall. Conservationists fear workers will drill water wells to make concrete, and lower the water table which has been dropping for years.

      “We do have concerns,” Sorensen continues. “Our species that are at this site rely on water just like everything else here in the desert southwest. And to take that water away from them means less of a home.”

      The Trump administration is building 63 miles of wall in the Tucson Sector, to replace outdated pedestrian fences and vehicle barriers. CBP says this stretch of desert is a busy drug- and human-trafficking corridor. In 2019, the Tucson sector had 63,490 apprehensions and seized more than 61,900 pounds of illegal narcotics. The Defense Department is paying Southwest Valley Constructors, of Albuquerque, N.M., to erect 18- to 30-foot-tall, concrete-filled steel bollards, along with security lights and an all-weather patrol road. It will cost $10.3 million a mile.

      The rampart is going up in the Roosevelt Reservation, a 60-foot-wide strip of federal land that runs along the U.S. side of the border in New Mexico, Arizona and California. It was established in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

      Congress refused to authorize money for construction of the wall in Arizona. Under Trump’s national emergency declaration, the Defense Department has reprogrammed counterdrug funding to build the border wall.

      In responses to questions from NPR, CBP says contractors will not drill for water within five miles of Quitobaquito Springs. The agency says it is coordinating with the National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife and other stakeholders to identify sensitive areas “to develop avoidance or mitigation measures to eliminate or reduce impacts to the environment.” Additionally, CBP is preparing an Environmental Stewardship Plan for the construction project.

      Critics are not appeased.

      “There is a whole new level of recklessness we’re seeing under Trump. We thought Bush was bad, but this is a whole other order of magnitude,” says Laiken Jordahl, a former national park ranger and now borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity.

      There was an outcry, too, back in the late 2000s when President George W. Bush built the first generation of bollard wall. Those barriers topped out at 18 feet. The structures rising southwest of Tucson are as tall as a two-story building. They look like they could hold back a herd of T-rexes.

      The Trump administration is using the same Real ID Act of 2005 that empowered President George W. Bush to build his border wall without heeding environmental protections. But the pace of waivers is quickening under Trump’s aggressive construction timeline. Under Bush, the Department of Homeland Security issued five waiver proclamations. Under Trump, DHS has issued 15 waivers that exempt the contractors from a total of 51 different laws, ranging from the Clean Water Act to the Archeological Resources Protection Act to the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

      “The waivers allow them to bypass a lot of red tape and waive the public input process,” says Kenneth Madsen, a geography professor at Ohio State University at Newark who monitors border wall waivers. “It allows them to avoid getting bogged down in court cases that might slow down their ability to construct border barriers along the nation’s edges.”

      The most important law that CBP is able to sidestep is the National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA—known as the Magna Carta of federal environmental laws. It requires a detailed environmental assessment of any “federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” NEPA covers most large federal construction projects, such as dams, bridges, highways, and waterway projects.

      Considering the construction of 450 miles of steel barriers on the nation’s southern boundary, “There is no question that NEPA would require preparation of an environmental impact statement, with significant input from the public, from affected communities, tribal governments, land owners, and land managers throughout the process. And it is outrageous that a project of this magnitude is getting a complete exemption from NEPA and all the other laws,” says Dinah Bear. She served as general counsel for the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality for 24 years under four presidents.

      To some border residents, barriers — regardless how controversial — are the best way to stop illegal activity.

      “I support Donald Trump 100%. If you’re going to build a wall, build it!” declares rancher John Ladd.

      His family has bred cattle in Arizona since it was a territory. Their ranch backs up to the Mexican border near the town of Naco. The surrounding mountains purple at dusk, as a bull and his harem of cows munch gramma grass.

      Time was when the Ladd ranch was overrun by people crossing the border illegally. They stole things and cut fences and left trash in the pastures. Then in 2016, at the end of the Obama years, CBP built a fence, continuing what Bush started.

      Ladd reserves judgment on the propriety of a wall through a federally protected wilderness. But for his ranch, walls worked.

      “When this 18-foot wall went in, it was obvious that immigrants quit coming through here,” he says. “It was an immediate improvement with the security of our border as well as our houses.”

      Other border neighbors feel differently.

      The vast Tohono O’odham Nation — nearly as big as Connecticut — shares 62 miles with Mexico. The tribe vehemently opposes the border wall. Several thousand tribal members live south of the border, and are permitted to pass back and forth using tribal IDs.

      Already, border barriers are encroaching on the reservation from the east and west. While there is currently no funding to wall off the Arizona Tohono O’odham lands from Mexico, tribal members fear CBP could change its mind at any time.

      “We have lived in this area forever,” says Tribal Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. “And so a full-blown 30-foot wall would make it that much difficult for our tribal citizens in Mexico and in the U.S. to be able to actively participate with family gatherings, with ceremonial gatherings.”

      Traditions are important to the Antone family. The father, son and daughter recently joined other tribal members walking westward along State Highway 86, which runs through the reservation. They were on a pilgrimage for St. Francis.

      Genae Antone, 18, stopped to talk about another rite of passage. Young Tohono O’odham men run a roundtrip of 300 miles from the reservation, across the border, to the salt flats at Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

      “The salt run, for the men, that’s really important for us as Tohono O’odham. For the men to run all the way to the water to get salt,” she said. “Some people go and get seashells. So I don’t really necessarily think it (the border wall) is a good idea.”

      The Antone family — carrying a feathered walking stick, a statue of the virgin, and an American flag — then continued on its pilgrimage.

      https://www.npr.org/2019/10/13/769444262/border-wall-rising-in-arizona-raises-concerns-among-conservationists-native-tri
      #cactus

  • Flaws in Botswana’s Diamond Industry - Khadija Sharife
    http://wpj.dukejournals.org/content/33/2/77.full

    A contract negotiated between De Beers and a prominent sightholder, Diacore, showed that De Beers traded high-value diamonds through corporate structures that operated entirely through tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands. For instance, say a diamond is exported from Botswana and classified as “exceptional.” Exceptional, here, refers to a gem-quality rough diamond that is valued at more than $250,000.

    In this instance, De Beers, through an unknown set of criteria, values it at $19.5 million with the sightholder paying half. The sightholder is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands as a holding company with financial advisers based in Switzerland. The company maintains over two-dozen shell entities, constantly changing names and forms.

    (...) Through this process, De Beers can essentially set its own tax rate by determining the value of the diamonds on which government fees are levied.

    (...) In Botswana, democracy has been perverted. A company needs a country to thrive; a political party needs the company to maintain its hold on the government; and a company benefits from a friendly party in power. Within this incentive structure, De Beers will help Botswana to a certain degree, and as long there are diamonds in the mine, revenue will continue to be generated. Yet Botswana’s paper success does not translate to the kinds of gains that the country should be receiving. Disclosure of key information and ending De Beers’ monopolistic practices would liberate the economy and its democracy.

    #extractivisme #corruption #diamants

  • Across Africa, the worst famine since 1985 looms for 50 million | Global development | The Guardian
    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/22/africa-worst-famine-since-1985-looms-for-50-million?CMP=twt_gu

    Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola and Swaziland have already declared national emergencies or disasters, as have seven of South Africa’s nine provinces. Other countries, including Botswana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have also been badly hit. President Robert Mugabe has appealed for $1.5bn to buy food for Zimbabwe and Malawi is expected to declare that more than 8 million people, or half the country, will need food aid by November.

    More than 31 million people in the region are said by the UN to need food now, but this number is expected to rise to at least 49 million across almost all of southern Africa by Christmas. With 12 million more hungry people in Ethiopia, 7 million in Yemen, 6 million in Southern Sudan and more in the Central African Republic and Chad, a continent-scale food crisis is unfolding.

    #climat #famine #Afrique #El_Nino #sécheresse

  • Le Kenya brûle son stock d’ivoire contre le braconnage des éléphants
    http://www.lemonde.fr/biodiversite/article/2016/04/30/le-kenya-brule-son-stock-d-ivoire-contre-le-braconnage-des-elephants_4911293

    C’est la saison des pluies, mais les flammes promettent d’être visibles à des kilomètres. Le #Kenya doit brûler samedi 30 avril quelque 105 tonnes d’#ivoire, soit la plus grande cérémonie de destruction d’« #or_blanc » par le feu jamais organisée en Afrique.

    Onze bûchers de 16 000 défenses ont été dressés face au Parc national de Nairobi. Le symbole est fort, spectaculaire, car il y a urgence. L’#Afrique ne compte plus que 500 000 #éléphants, moitié moins qu’il y a trente ans, et 30 000 y sont tués chaque année par les braconniers. Près d’un animal toutes les quinze minutes.

    Tout le continent est frappé, ou presque. Seul le Botswana semble faire exception, abritant 40 % de la population du continent grâce à une ambitieuse politique de lutte contre le #braconnage.

  • BBC’s World’s Sneakiest Animals reveals why females lions grow manes | Daily Mail Online
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3371256/Leo-lion-No-Leonora-females-grow-manes-develop-deeper-roar-like-males-s


    In disguise: This ’lion’ in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, is actually a lioness that has grown a mane

    Leo the lion? No, Leonora… how females grow manes and develop a deeper roar like males to scare off rivals
    • Scientists discover female lions are developing manes and deeper roars
    • They evolutionary trait helps fool other prides into thinking they are males
    • The adapted lionesses have been filmed for the first time by a BBC crew
    • The World’s Sneakiest Animals is set to be broadcast on Christmas Day

    Quand la #théorie_du_genre devient pratique !

  • Secondary education and HIV infection in #Botswana - The Lancet Global Health
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(15)00252-1/fulltext

    We found a large causal effect of upper secondary schooling on HIV infection, but no association with primary schooling. In a natural experiment in Zimbabwe, secondary schooling led to delayed sexual debut, delayed fertility, and reduced child mortality.6 There is mounting evidence of health returns at the secondary level.

    #santé #éducation #sida

  • Hunger heralds climate change’s arrival in Botswana
    http://lacite.website/2015/11/24/hunger-heralds-climate-changes-arrival-in-botswana

    A perfect storm of lower rainfall and a growing population beckons for Botswana. But others find climate change is already in the fields and paddocks. “As climate change ushers in more stress on the water sector, it is increasingly a concern that losses in rangeland productivity will result in food insecurity, especially in rural areas,” a country analysis report unveiled recently on Botswana states.

  • Hunger heralds climate change’s arrival in Botswana
    http://lacite.website/2015/11/24/17938

    A perfect storm of lower rainfall and a growing population beckons for #Botswana. But others find #climate_change is already in the fields and paddocks. “As climate change ushers in more stress on the water sector, it is increasingly a concern that losses in rangeland productivity will result in food insecurity, especially in rural areas,” a country analysis report unveiled recently on Botswana states.