Monday, August 15, 2016

Mobile phones should be repairable/recyclable


 © Greenpeace / Alex Hofford
Greenpeace/ Alex Hofford 

Nearly half of consumers think manufacturers should be responsible for recycling mobile phones

Hong Kong, 15 August 2016 -  Consumers say mobile phone manufacturers are releasing too many new models, according to a survey Greenpeace East Asia commissioned across six countries. In all countries surveyed, consumers were most likely to say that mobile phone manufacturers should be responsible for providing people with the means to recycle their phones, while 4 in 5 surveyed said that it was important that a new smartphone can be easily repaired if damaged.

“The humble smartphone puts enormous strain on our environment from the moment they are produced - often with hazardous chemicals - to the moment they are disposed of in huge e-waste sites,” said Chih An Lee, Global IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

“Over half of respondents across the countries surveyed agree that manufacturers are releasing too many new models, many designed to only last a few years. In fact, most users actually want their phones to be more easily dismantled, repaired and recycled.”

Mobile phones are some of the most frequently replaced of all small electronics products. A United Nations University report in 2014 showed that up to 3 million metric tonnes of e-waste is generated from small IT products, such as mobile phones and personal computers. This represents a massive waste of resources and a source of contamination from hazardous chemicals.

Key findings from the survey:

  • Chinese (66%) and South Korean respondents (64%) are more likely to have ever had their phones repaired, compared to those in the US (28%) and Germany (23%).
  • Nearly half surveyed believe that mobile phone manufacturers should be most responsible for making recycling accessible. This sentiment was strongest in Germany (61%).
  • Except in Germany (86%), over 90% of respondents surveyed in all countries said that “designed to last” is an important feature of a new smartphone.
  • 4 in 5 respondents consider it important that a new smartphone is not produced using hazardous chemicals.
  • 4 in 5 respondents believe it is important for a new smartphone to be easily repaired if damaged.This rises to as high as 95% in China, 94% in Mexico and 92% in South Korea.
  • Apart from respondents in South Korea, the most common reason for replacing their last phone was the desire for a more up-to-date device.

“We believe true innovation means gadgets designed to last, to be repaired and recycled. It is time for tech leaders to rethink the way they make our electronics so that they are as innovative for our planet as they are for our lives,” said Lee.

“If tech brands want to lead us into the future, they need to move towards closed-loop production and embrace the circular economy; something that can be good for their profits, for people and for the planet.”

Greenpeace East Asia conducted the survey as part of its True Innovation campaign, which challenges the technology sector to embrace innovation to protect our environment and our future.

While US sentiments were not included in the survey, many in the US have the same concerns about ewaste.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

California island foxes populations grow: Delisted

Interior Announces Fastest Successful Recovery; Three Island Fox Subspecies Now Fully Delisted 

WASHINGTON – Representing the fastest successful recovery for any Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed mammal in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the final de-listing of three subspecies of island fox native to California’s Channel Islands. The removal of the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island fox subspecies from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife brings the total number of ESA de-listings due to recovery to 37, with 19 of those overseen by the Obama administration. In the Act’s 43-year history, more recoveries have been declared under the current Administration’s watch than all past Administrations combined.


“The Island Fox recovery is an incredible success story about the power of partnerships and the ability of collaborative conservation to correct course for a species on the brink of extinction,” said U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who visited Channel Islands National Park in March with fourth graders participating in the Every Kid in a Park program to witness fox conservation efforts. “The Endangered Species Act is an effective tool to protect imperiled wildlife so future generations benefit from the same abundance and diversity of animals and plants we enjoy today. What happened in record time at Channel Islands National Park can serve as a model for partnership-driven conservation efforts across the country.”

In the late 1990s, endemic island fox populations on San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina islands – four of the six Channel Islands they inhabit – plummeted by over 90 percent to catastrophic levels. At the low point, fox populations had dropped from 1,780 to only 15 individuals on Santa Rosa Island, from 450 to 15 on San Miguel Island, and from more than 1,400 to 55 on Santa Cruz Island. The decline was due primarily to predation by golden eagles (which had moved in to fill a niche in the ecosystem that had been vacated by loss of bald eagles due to the pesticide DDT) and a canine distemper outbreak on Santa Catalina Island.

Listing of the four Channel Island fox subspecies in 2004 stimulated a focused, partnership-driven conservation effort involving the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, Santa Catalina Island Conservancy and Institute for Wildlife Studies. Almost immediately, fox populations began to improve due to a variety of efforts including captive breeding programs and vaccinating foxes against canine distemper. Today the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz island subspecies are fully recovered. The fourth subspecies, the Santa Catalina Island fox has now been down listed from endangered to threatened.

“It’s remarkable to think that in 2004, these foxes were given a 50 percent chance of going extinct in the next decade. Yet here we are today, declaring three of the four subspecies recovered and the fourth on its way,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “That’s the power of the ESA – not just to protect rare animals and plants on paper, but to drive focused conservation that gets dramatic results. More than 300 experts, non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies came together to not only prevent the extinction of Channel Island foxes, but to fully restore them in record time. That’s something to celebrate!”

“The decline of the island fox, one of America’s rarest mammals, was rapid and severe,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “Captive rearing, an unprecedented emergency action was critical to saving the species. Efforts to restore balance to the island ecosystem ensured their survival.”

“The remarkably rapid recovery of the island fox shows the power of partnership, focus, and science,” said Scott Morrison, Director of Conservation Science at The Nature Conservancy. “Many aspects of this recovery effort – from its scientific rigor to the collaborative enterprise that drove it – can serve as model to advance conservation elsewhere.”

The partners embarked on an ambitious effort to restore balance to the island ecosystem, which included reestablishing bald eagles to their historic island territories, removing feral pigs, and relocating golden eagles to the mainland. Also at the core of the recovery was a captive breeding and release program, which reintroduced 226 foxes to the wild. Captive and wild foxes were also vaccinated to prevent the spread of canine distemper.

As of 2015, there were approximately 700 foxes on San Miguel Island, 1,200 on Santa Rosa Island, and 2,100 on Santa Cruz Island. The Santa Catalina Island population is estimated at around 1,800 foxes; however disease remains an ongoing threat to this subspecies.

In March of 2015, the Service collaborated with Channel Islands land managers and stakeholders to publish the final Recovery Plan for these island fox subspecies. This plan equips land managers with tried and true methods to protect island foxes into the future, including an epidemic response and golden eagle management strategy.

The final rule is available in the Federal Register Reading Room today under docket number FWS-R8-ES-2015-0170 and will officially publish on August 12, 2016.

The Endangered Species Act is an essential tool for conserving the nation’s most at-risk wildlife, as well as the land and water on which they depend for habitat. The ESA has prevented more than 99 percent of the species listed from going extinct, serving as the critical safety net for wildlife that Congress intended when it passed the law more than 40 years ago. In addition, the ESA has helped move many species from the brink of extinction to the path to recovery, including California condors, Florida panthers and whooping cranes. The Obama Administration has delisted more species due to recovery than any prior administration, including the Oregon Chub, Virginia northern flying squirrel, brown pelican and now three Channel Islands Fox subspecies.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Fur coats comfort wild pups

One Fur Coat Donated to Born Free USA will Comfort 28 Orphaned Coyote Pups at Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California
Coat made from 20 foxes to be repurposed as part of Born Free USA’s global Fur for the Animals campaign
Washington, D.C., August 8, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, recently received what was thought to be a lynx fur coat as part of the Born Free USA Fur for the Animals campaign. After further investigation at a furrier by Born Free USA, it was determined to be an arctic fox fur coat, dyed to look like a lynx, made from up to 20 fox pelts originating in Finland. Born Free USA sent the coat to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California, where it and other fur donations from the campaign are being used to comfort 28 orphaned coyote pups and additional baby wildlife.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Without a doubt, the foxes who died for this coat were born and held in miserable captivity on a Finnish fur farm. They were not allowed to run, play, or feed naturally. Simply put, they were not allowed to be foxes; their paws almost certainly never even touched the grass. Instead, they would have been driven mad by spending their entire lives in crowded, unsanitary, and painful wire cages: a fate shared by the millions of animals imprisoned in fur farms today.”
Due to the global success of Born Free USA’s Fur for the Animals campaign, the organization continues to receive fur donations every week from people who refuse to wear fur they have acquired: coats, stoles, hats, scarves, rugs, pillows, toys, etc. After receiving them, Born Free USA ships the items to wildlife rehabilitators across the country to use for supporting and comforting the baby animals in their care.
“Fur only comes from tortuous death,” Roberts explains. “The methods fur farms use to kill their victims are unspeakably cruel. Now, this coat that came from so much cruelty will be used to comfort coyote pups who, once rehabilitated, will potentially get the chance to live full lives in the wild. While the symmetry and symbolism is not lost on us, it would be far better if these foxes never had to die for fashion in the first place.”  
The lynx-dyed fox coat was included in a large shipment of fur donations Born Free USA sent to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center. The center is currently caring for 28 orphaned coyote pups, many themselves victims of wildlife conflict and lethal control. The parents of six of these pups were killed for getting ‘too close’ to a residential neighborhood. Two others were found wandering alone after their mother was hit and killed by a car.
According to Ali Crumpacker, Director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, “This coat, which needlessly killed so many animals, will now help many more on their journey to recovery and rerelease into the wild. While we are grateful for the opportunity to give a better ending to this tragic story, we continue to hope for a future in which fur is never taken from its original owner, and wildlife conflicts are resolved in a humane manner that doesn’t result in overwhelming numbers of vulnerable, orphaned wildlife.”
In addition to the coat, Born Free USA has shipped other donated fur pieces to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center over the past year, which has helped comfort: 54 skunks, 141 Virginia opossums, 38 coyotes, 4 bobcats, 5 bears, 1 gray fox, 1 mountain lion, and dozens of others in need.
About Born Free USA: Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.orgwww.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
About The Fund for Animals: The Fund for Animals operates the nation’s largest and most diverse network of animal care centers. An affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals provides hands-on care and safe haven for more than 3,000 animals representing 150 species each year, including those rescued from cruelty and neglect, victims of the exotic pet trade, injured and orphaned wildlife, refugees from research labs, and many more, and works to prevent cruelty through advocacy and education. For more information, visit fundforanimals.org. The Fund for Animals’ animal care centers include · Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas · Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California · Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts · Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon.

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