Climate Action: Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron Are Taking on Climate Change Together #sdgs #globalgoals


It was last June that the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, announced it was leaving the Paris Climate Accord.

Now, the leaders of Canada and France are joining forces to combat climate change together.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris on Monday to confirm a partnership in the fight against climate change.

The countries agreed to work more closely on tackling targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, according to a press release  from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“France and Canada today pledge to redouble their efforts and increase their co-operation,” Trudeau said in French at a news conference with Macron. “This initiative will encourage and accelerate the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets through concrete measures to make this agreement in principle a reality.”

This partnership on climate and the environment will include pushing measures like securing global carbon pricing, encouraging energy efficiency and reducing emissions in transport sectors.

Canada is hosting the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, this June, and will hand over the G7 presidency to France in 2019.

Canadian officials hope that the other G7 countries will follow the Canada-France example and continue trying to reach the targets set out in the Paris agreement, according to the Canadian Press.

The Canadian government is also using this moment to prove that Canada is serious about tackling climate change.

France has voiced concerns around the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and its investor-protection clauses that could result in feebler environmental rules, according to the Canadian Press.

“Whether it’s environmental protection or freedom of expression or other things, Canada and France are well aligned. Canada and Europe are well aligned,” Trudeau said at the news conference. “And CETA is a progressive trade agreement that truly reflects those protected values and represents a new standard for all future trade agreements.”

Trudeau and Macron also announced a new cultural initiative between the two countries.

On Monday, Trudeau met with Isabelle Hudon, ambassador of Canada to France and Monaco, and Melinda Gates, the co-chairs of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council.

The group discussed ways to encourage economic growth that benefits everyone, which will be a key theme at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.


Partnerships For the Goals: Gates, Jolie, the Obamas: These Are the Most Admired People of 2018 #sdgs #2030now #globalgoals


Gates and Jolie beat out former presidents, royals and Oprah to claim the top spots.

YouGov recently released their annual study highlighting public figures people look up to the most. The list includes celebrities, activists as well as former and current world leaders.

The survey queried 37,000 people from more than 35 countries to determine who are the women and men our world hails as most admirable.

Entertainers rounded out most of the top 20 for women, while businessmen, politicians and athletes dominated the top 20 for men. Many of these men and women work to tackle global issues and have left a lasting impact on the world.

The World’s Most Admired Women

Angelina Jolie

Angelina-Jolie.jpgAngelina Jolie poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA Film Awards, in London, Feb. 18, 2018.
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

While famous for her work as an actress, Jolie has also committed her life to humanitarian efforts. As a Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, she focuses on preventing and punishing sexual violence.

Michelle Obama

michelle obama ap .jpgImage: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The former first lady’s transformative work includes the launch of Let Girls Learn , an initiative that helps educate girls around the world.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah-Golden-Globes-MeToo.jpgImage: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/AP

Aside from being a general beacon for empowerment of everyone, everywhere, Oprah stole the show at the Golden Globes with her powerful speech on the #MeToo movement.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen-Elizabeth-Social-Share.jpgBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd in Ascot, England, June 22, 2017.
Image: Alastair Grant/AP

The Queen recently waged a war on plastic in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of royal households.

Hillary Clinton

clinton dnc victory ap.jpgImage: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

As a former secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has spent her life breaking glass ceilings and advocating for the rights of women both domestically and abroad.

Emma Watson

emma watson UN Women malawi.jpgUN Women/Karin Schermbrucker
Image: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker

Watson is a dedicated advocate for the UN’s HeforShe campaign working to promote gender equality.

Malala Yousafazi

2017-Women-Malala.jpgImage: Mark Garten/UN Photo

As the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala is staunch advocate of education as a basic human right and uses her own organization and voice to empower girls around the world.

Read More: 15 Times That Malala Nailed It

Priyanka Chopra

GCF17_PriyankaChopra_DanielDorsaForGlobalCitizen102.jpgImage: Daniel Dorsa 

Chopra advocates for girls’ causes and education as an ambassador for both Girls Up and Girls Rising and through her own foundation.


madonna-woman-of-the-year (1).jpgImage: Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

When not pushing musical boundaries, pop icon Madonna works to end extreme poverty among orphans in Malawi.

Gal Gadot

gal gadotImage: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

Gal Gadot is a Wonder Woman both on and off screen: She uses her platform to raise funds to build schools and take a stance on the importance of education.

Angela Merkel

Angela MerkelImage: Michaela Rehle/Pool Photo via AP

Merkel made headlines with her open door refugee policy that took in millions fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The World’s Most Admired Men

Bill Gates

AP_17128846109365_Bill_Gates_AP Photo_Nati Harnik.jpgImage: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

As the founder of both Microsoft and the world’s largest private charity, Gates promotes global development and tackles issues in health and education.

Barack Obama

Barack_Obama_Birthday_FINALS_011.jpgImage: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Having ranked first in 19 of the countries surveyed, the former president continues his legacy as a leader of global change

Jackie Chan


Considered one of Asia’s premier philanthropists, Chan has founded multiple charities focused on expanding educational opportunities for children.

Dalai Lama

DalaiLama WikiCommons.jpgImage: Yancho Sabev / Wikimedia Commons

The spiritual leader and activist is renowned for his peaceful approaches to global relations and attempts to end human rights violations.

Warren Buffet

Warren BuffettImage: Fortune Live Media / Flickr

While he donates billions to charity, philanthropist Warren Buffet also uses his status to advocate for ending global poverty.

David Beckham


Michael Jordan


Jordan actively contributes to charities that target and help at-risk youth.

Pope Francis

Pope-Francis.jpgPope Francis waves as he leaves the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles after a mid-morning prayer with contemplative nuns, in Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, 2018.
Image: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Pope Francis has brought ending poverty and eradicating injustices to the forefront of his mission as head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City.

Lionel Messi


Messi’s charitable work includes building classrooms in Syria so more than 1,600 displaced children can return to school.

Imran Khan

The Pakistani politician’s foundation works to engage and mobilize local communities through better access to basic services.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the UNImage: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Modi has made humanitarian efforts central to his role as Prime Minister of India by making improvements to health and education a priority.

Climate Action: This New Satellite Will Combat Climate Change From Space #Climate #ClimateAction #ClimateChange #sdgs #GlobalGoals


Methane gas, produced by fossil fuel extraction, livestock, and decaying waste, also traps heat.

Methane emissions are a huge environmental problem. But they’re difficult to measure in real time, making it hard to say exactly how big the issue is.

The Environmental Defense Fund hopes to change that. On Tuesday, the organization unveiled plans to launch a methane-measuring satellite into space, during a TED Talk.

Methane is a greenhouse gas — meaning it traps heat and contributes to the warming of the atmosphere — that is released when fossil fuels are extracted from the ground. The harmful gas is also emitted by livestock and produced naturally as organic waste, like that found in landfills, decays.

So the more fossil fuels we use, the more meat we consume, and the more waste we produce, the worse climate change is.

“Cutting methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry is the single fastest thing we can do to help put the brakes on climate change right now, even as we continue to attack the carbon dioxide emissions most people are more familiar with,” Fred Krupp, President of the EDF, said.

By gathering more accurate data on how much methane people are producing and where, Krupp hopes to improve efforts to stop climate change in its tracks.

“Twenty-five percent of the warming that the planet is experiencing right now is from man-made methane emissions,” the EDF’s Senior Vice President Mark Brownstein told the Washington Post. “The oil and gas industry is a significant source of those emissions. Reducing those emissions can have a material impact on slowing the rate of warming now.”

The satellite, called MethaneSAT, is scheduled to launch in three years, NPR reported, and would help compare companies’ and countries’ actual methane emissions with the emissions caps they committed to as part of the Paris agreement.

MethaneSAT will also be able to identify where methane is being emitted. The EDF hopes this data will help countries form more effective policies to address climate change.

Environment & Poverty: This Brazilian City Is Solving Plastic Waste and Poverty at the Same Time #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #


“For me it is empowering – it has given me work and given me a social life.”

The statistics about global plastic pollution are shocking. An estimated 1 million plastic bottles are bought each minute. As a result, the average person consumes more than 70,000 microplastics, which can leak into food and water, each year. The amount of plastic in the ocean is on pace to triple in the next decade. The list goes on.

Sometimes lost in the deluge of facts about plastic pollution are the human beings affected by it — especially those living in extreme poverty.

In Brazil, where more than 50 million people still live below the poverty line, the poorest people often bear the brunt of plastic pollution. Plastic pollutes life-sustaining rivers, leads to diseases, and floods poor communities that lack proper waste collection infrastructure, The Guardian reports.

But despite ever-rising plastic pollution, villagers in one Brazilian community are showing that there’s hope. With the help of the NGO Tearfund and a local church outreach project called Instituto Solidare, residents of the city of Recife are fighting back against plastic pollution — by turning trash into treasure.

In Recife, where poverty and crime are rife, an army of plastic collectors is cleaning up the community of Coqueiral and turning plastic collection into a full-time job, according to The Guardian report.

Women sell handbags, jewellery, and toys they fashioned out of plastic waste; schoolchildren collected waste and turned it into a House of Trash; many others collect plastic and sell it to collection companies at a rate of about 50 cents for every 50 plastic bottles.

“We are putting a lot of work into researching the market and looking at trends and trying to make sure we can make a business out of what we are doing,” one woman, Olga Gomes, said. “For me it is empowering – it has given me work and given me a social life.”

Residents have also organized marches to protect the local river, the Tejipió, from plastic waste, and to lobby for the government to institute waste management policies that protect people living in poverty.

“The situation here in this community, where life is already incredibly hard, has been getting worse,” Evandro Alves, a community leader, told The Guardian. “We are are seeing more and more plastic being used and thrown away, and it stops here in their community. So we decided to mobilise.”

In Brazil, a rising global economy, the problem goes beyond plastic pollution. According to a 2011 report, Brazil produces nearly 150,000 tons of metric waste each day.

Residents have called on the Brazilian government to implement a solid waste management regulatory policy, which it failed to pass in 2010.

The Guardian reports that the movement to turn plastic into profits has spread to other poor communities around the world — including Nigeria and Mozambique.

Elsewhere, plastic is being turned into everything from roads, to houses, to art, to shoes. While these communities aren’t literally turning trash into treasure, they’re coming pretty darn close.

Environment & Climate Change: This Florida Teen Just Planted 400 Trees to Save Florida’s Coastline #sdgs #globalgoals #treeplanting


And he did it by reusing yogurt containers.

When Hurricane Irma struck South Florida last fall, it uprooted countless native mangrove trees that help prevent coastline erosion.

But thanks to one local teen, a few yogurt containers, and a makeshift rooftop garden, more than 400 trees have now been saved and replanted.

Theo Quenee, an 18-year-old Miami native, first spotted the uprooted mangrove seedlings scattered throughout his neighborhood after the storm.

“The debris was going to be picked up by the city and immediately it just struck me, all of these mangroves are going to die [during the cleanup process],” Queenee told

So the Florida International University freshman gathered as many seedlings as he could in his backpack and, after multiple trips, brought more than 500 plantings to his mother’s home.

“Florida’s estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests contribute to the overall health of the state’s southern coastal zone,” according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, providing “protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp.”

Read More: Hurricane Irma Left 2 Manatees Stranded. Then 5 Floridians Came to the Rescue

Using skills he had learned in marine science classes in high school, Quenee created a makeshift greenhouse out of recycled yogurt containers he tended on the roof of his mother’s home.

“I live in an area with a lot of trees,” Quenee explained to, “so the roof of my house was the only place that got the sunlight… I knew that they grew best with humidity, so I designed a simple greenhouse with a big platter and a five-gallon bucket.”

Fast forward seven months of constant watering and care, 400 mangroves remained and were at last strong enough to be planted.

Following the advice of NOAA scientists he had contacted for help, Quenee chose a new location for the trees to continue growing that is rich in soil nutrients, according to Along with a group of friends, he constructed a PVC pipe grid and replanted the trees in a handful of days.

Time will tell how many are able to survive on their own in their new home.

“The area I planted them in is pretty rich in nutrients,” Quenee told “It has good muddy soil and a good amount of water so I think they’ll be doing well where they’re at.”

Life On Land: Colombia Just Protected More Than 30,000 Square Miles of the Amazon Rainforest #sdgs #2030Now #globalgoals


“It is unprecedented — it has not happened anywhere else, any other place at least that I know.”

BOGOTA, April 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia’s Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss.

The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday aim to create a buffer zone for the country’s southern Amazon region.

Farmers are pushing deeper into forests, cutting down more trees to clear land for cattle-grazing and agriculture.

Santos said the protected areas will be marked off in the next two weeks, meaning that “once and for all, we (will) know where we can farm, produce – and from what boundary we will protect all the forests and the entire Amazon”.

This brings the total area of protected forests in Colombia to nearly 40 million hectares, Santos said in a speech in the Amazon town of Leticia, flanked by indigenous tribes and Norway’s prime minister and environment minister.

Norway, a key financial backer of Colombia’s forest conservation efforts, said the new buffer zone was important to meet Colombia’s goals of zero net deforestation by 2020, and halting the loss of all natural forest by 2030.

“It is unprecedented – it has not happened anywhere else, any other place at least that I know,” Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s new minister of climate and environment, said on this week’s visit.

Reducing deforestation is crucial in the fight against climate change, Elvestuen added.

When forests are degraded or destroyed, the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, with deforestation accounting for 10 to 15 percent of carbon emissions worldwide.

Under a decree signed by President Santos, Colombia’s Amazon tribes will be able to decide through their own community councils how to spend government development funds in three provinces.

“Indigenous people have traditionally shown themselves to be the best keepers of rainforests,” Elvestuen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

Norway said it would extend an agreement with Colombia by five years to 2025 under which Colombia gets payouts for meeting verified targets to reduce emissions by slowing deforestation.

Colombia will receive up to $50 million a year through 2025 under the deal, which could run until 2030, the minister said.

The payments are usually distributed to farmers, as well as community and indigenous groups and local environment authorities working on forest protection.

Colombia is home to rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England but is struggling to protect it. Deforestation rates in its Amazon region increased by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Elvestuen said they could rise again in 2017 and 2018.

Swathes of forests are being felled in areas vacated by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as part of a 2016 peace deal signed with the government.

As the government tries to regain control of former FARC strongholds, farmers, illegal loggers and organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking and illegal mining are tapping into new places, including in the Amazon, Elvestuen said.

Colombia’s top court earlier this month told the government to come up with plans within four months to combat rising deforestation in the Amazon.

Climate Change & Life Below Water: As Oceans Heat Up, Sea Creatures Are Crossing New Boundaries #sdgs #globalgoals


Climate change and warming waters are causing certain species’ territories to shift.

There isn’t anything obviously different about the waters north or south of 44.61 degrees north latitude off Nova Scotia’s coast. No new land mass emerges as you cross the parallel. No new ocean currents sweep in.

Yet within 100km (62 miles) of this line is the boundary between north and south for at least five very different types of marine animals, marking a dividing line between the genetically distinct populations of the species.

This multispecies boundary, however, is likely to move farther north as waters warm due to climate change, bringing the populations of commercially valuable species with it, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The paper reveals this new “biogeographic boundary” separating the northern and southern populations of American lobster, Atlantic cod, European green crab, northern shrimp and sea scallops. Despite their differences, all those species share that breakpoint: Below it are genetically distinct southern populations of the various species; above it, genetically distinct northern populations.

“What’s more remarkable is how tightly aligned this breakpoint is to climate,” said Ryan Stanley, lead author of the study and a researcher based in Nova Scotia at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a government agency.

Typically, when analyzing responses to climate change, he said, researchers will look at a single species, but the similarities they discovered across such different creatures allowed them to examine them together.

The researchers took the discovery of this new multispecies boundary and tried to see what it could tell them about the future of these species, all hugely commercially important, with the exception of green crab, which is invasive.

They predict that by 2075 the line between northern and southern populations will move north: around 300km for northern shrimp, around 275km for lobster, around 225km for green crab, just under 200km for cod and just under 100km for scallops, by far the least mobile of the five species.

Both the northern and southern populations of all five species would also shift north as ocean temperatures rise. The northern population of lobster would see the biggest shift, with the center of its range moving north by 400km – about the distance by sea from Boston to the Canadian border.

For lobster, that shift would largely be the result of expanded habitat, meaning it wouldn’t be a shift so much as an increase in territory. But other species would move north while losing habitat to the south. Cod, in particular, would see both its northern and southern populations shift north by 150–200km, but it would lose about 10–15 percent of both its northern and southern habitat. Northern shrimp would gain a fraction of habitat for its southern population but lose around 30 percent of its northern habitat. Warmer waters have already contributed to declining catches and fishery closures for some segments of the northern shrimp industry in recent years.

These changes echo shifts already being seen on the other side of the Atlantic. In the North Sea, for example, all but one species of fish had shifted its distribution northward by 2005.

And the predictions lend further support to similar ones about shifts off the U.S. East Coast. A study published last year, for instance, predicted a “northward shift of the thermal habitat for the majority of species” there. In the Gulf of Maine, which it noted is warming faster than 99 percent of the rest of the global ocean, habitat loss could mean, “that species currently inhabiting this region may not remain in these waters under continued warming.”

It’s a phenomenon Tom Nies is already seeing.

“We’re definitely seeing changes in distribution here,” said Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council in Newburyport, Massachusetts, which manages cod and sea scallop fisheries. He notes, though, that those shifts aren’t all northward.

Nies cites cod in the Gulf of Maine as an example. “At present, we’re seeing cod locating into colder, deeper waters there, not necessarily to the north,” he said.

But while cod see their range shrink, other species, such as fluke, are seeing theirs grow – though that’s only part of the story of how climate change is impacting fisheries, he said, noting it also affects how fast fish grow and how successfully they reproduce. That North Sea study, for example, found that the species that had shifted to the north had shorter lifespans and were smaller in size.

The impacts in the northwestern Atlantic are still a little unclear, Nies said, and are complicated by the fact that there are many other possible factors for struggling stocks, such as northern shrimp. “These stocks have been heavily exploited for years, so sometimes trying to differentiate between the impacts of fishing and climate change is difficult,” he said, “but climate change is definitely having an impact.”

The new study raises another complicated question, but one that might give hope to adapting fisheries. If five very different species share the same boundary, as the study suggests, perhaps other species do as well – maybe they’re similar enough to be able to thrive in new environments as they move northward into the waters vacated by cod or shrimp.

Stanley said it “could stand to reason” that, potentially, the similarities extend beyond these five species. He said he plans to test whether other species also diverge along the biogeographic boundary they found.

Jake Kritzer, director of diagnostics and design at the Environmental Defense Fund’s Fishery Solutions Center in Boston, sees this as a big unanswered question. “Would the same pattern hold for species that are currently not found in large numbers in the New England region but might become more abundant there?” he wondered.

To him, the new study suggests for the first time that populations moving north from the U.S.’s mid-Atlantic region might have similar underlying genetic makeups as those already to the north.

“The fact that things like black sea bass, squid, blue crab are showing up in the Gulf of Maine doesn’t mean that they’re actually going to form economically stable, viable populations there, but it’s giving some hope that as some species move out of the region others might be able to take their place in fishermen’s portfolios,” Kritzer said. “But the jury is still out.”

“We need to know how much fish we are going to be able to catch,” Nies said. “I don’t know that we really have the ability to quantify what these changes mean, to the point where you can say, ‘OK, you’re going to be able to catch X amount of fish long term.’”

The paper suggests the northern lobster population could gain more than 25 percent additional habitat by 2075. But what that will mean for managers is still impossible to say right now. “Will yields go up 25 percent? That’s the type of information that’s hard to develop and hard to come by because there’s so many variables involved,” Nies said. “It’s difficult to take these things that say change is coming and say, ‘This is what it means.’”

The biggest remaining questions for fishery experts are the policy implications.

This article originally appeared on Oceans Deeply. You can find the original here.

Environment & Climate Change: The Sea Is Swallowing Up Homes in This Senegal City #CoastalErosion #sdgs #sealevel #oceanrise #2030no2 #climatechange


A scheme backed by the World Bank aims to resettle 10,000 residents from the coast of Saint-Louis.

By Nellie Peyton

SAINT-LOUIS, Senegal, April 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – “Mum, mum, get up – the water’s here!”

Fatou Ndiaye’s children shook her awake in the night, as waves crashed against their house on the coast of Saint-Louis, a city in northern Senegal.

They were used to sleeping with the sound of the ocean a few feet away – but this time Ndiaye stretched out her hand and felt water rising inside the room. They fled.

Two weeks later, she told the story standing by a pile of rubble where her childhood home used to be.

The disaster surprised no one in this crowded fishing neighbourhood. Since 2016, two or three times a year, the ocean has swelled and knocked another row of houses off the coast.

Saint-Louis, a city that spans a thin peninsula between the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean, is particularly vulnerable to the rising sea levels and urban crowding that are putting pressure on West Africa’s coast.

With damage now unavoidable, Senegal’s government and the World Bank are mobilising to resettle nearly 10,000 people from the city’s riskiest zone.

The effort reveals the challenges other countries will also face as their shorelines retreat due to a combination of higher seas linked to global warming and coastal erosion driven by natural processes and manmade factors, such as poorly planned infrastructure and sand mining.

In Saint-Louis’ dirt streets, crisscrossed with laundry lines and filled with sheep, residents described their predicament.

“They took people to Khar Yalla, but Khar Yalla is not good,” said Ndiaye, referring to a temporary relocation site about 6 km (4 miles) inland that now houses about 1,000 people.

Not wanting to go to a place where most people are living in tents without electricity or running water, she instead moved in with neighbours whose house was still standing – but could be the next to go.

Other residents near the water’s edge said they were afraid and ready to leave, but had not received help.

“For two years now, the water has been rising. It doesn’t recede,” said Soda Mbengue, eight months pregnant, walking through her shell of a home.

“The government told us they’d come here to help us, and give us houses, but up until today we’ve seen nothing,” she said. Water seeps into her bedroom all the time.


Tourists still stroll through art galleries in the centre of Saint-Louis, the former French capital of colonial West Africa, but it is in the poor neighbourhoods, just across a short bridge, that buildings are disappearing into the ocean.

A school and a large mosque have already succumbed to the waves, with pupils redistributed to other packed classrooms.

Khalifa Faye, 21, was among the first to lose his home to a storm, two years ago. After living in a tent for a few months, he and his family were given a small concrete house at the relocation site in Khar Yalla.

“In the beginning it was bad. We didn’t know this place,” said Faye, standing in a yard where his aunts made couscous and children played. Now he is happy, he said, though he wishes they had plumbing.

But other residents, especially those newly displaced, were less content. The temporary settlement sits on the side of a highway, surrounded by barren fields.

Tauty Fall lifted the flap of a blue canvas tent to reveal a small space where she lives with her husband, their five children, and another family. “Life is not good here,” she said.

Almost all the men earn a living from fishing and must now commute to the sea, said their wives. They take a bus for 150 CFA francs ($0.30) but in the off-hours they have to take expensive taxis.

Deputy Mayor Balla Gueye said the people shifted to Khar Yalla are living in “precarious, very difficult conditions”. The city is working to provide them with better temporary lodging, such as mobile homes, before the permanent relocation scheme gets underway, he added.

In the meantime, the government is ordering more tents.

Another 59 families lost their homes in the most recent storm at the end of February, and some don’t even have a canvas roof yet, Gueye said.


The World Bank project in Saint-Louis aims to relocate about 10,000 people at a cost of $30 million. It covers residents within 20 metres of the waterline on a 3.5 km stretch of shore, said the deputy mayor.

But erosion threatens thousands of kilometres of coast from Mauritania to Gabon. About 105 million people live in West Africa’s coastal areas, which generate 56 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

In some places, the land is receding as much as 10 metres a year, it said.

To deal with the larger problem, the bank has launched a West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA), with a first funding round of about $220 million due to be approved this month.

The money will be used to build sea walls and other defences, plant vegetation along shores and support communities, said Benoit Bosquet, WACA manager at the World Bank. But it will not be enough to move everyone out of harm’s way.

“When it comes to relocation, it’s very tricky,” Bosquet told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s not clear that we will have the time or money sufficient to do relocation everywhere.”

Saint-Louis has identified a few potential plots where the 10,000 people at risk or already displaced could move, and is negotiating with neighbouring communes for the land, said Ousmane Sow, director of the regional development agency.

In the best-case scenario, houses could be built and people relocated within two years, he said.

“We are counting on the state,” said Faye in Khar Yalla – a sentiment echoed by others who have already seen their homes disappear.

But Sow anticipates challenges in resettling people the water has yet to reach. “We will have to convince them,” he said.

One of the potential relocation sites is close to Saint-Louis, but the city may not be able to seal a deal for the land, he said.

Another option is about 30 km away. It is close to the sea, so fisherman would not have to travel too far.

But it is only a matter of time – perhaps several decades – before the water arrives there too, Sow said.

Life Below Water: Baby Turtles Return in Mumbai After ‘Largest Beach Clean-Up’ in History #sdgs #globalgoals #turtle #sealife #marinelife


“I had tears in my eyes when I saw them walking towards the ocean.”

More than 80 Olive Ridley baby turtles have been spotted waddling across the sand of Versova Beach in Mumbai to get to the Arabian Sea over the past week, the Guardian reports.

It had been decades since the turtles were last seen on the beach. Their return continues a migratory journey that has been going on for centuries.

“I had tears in my eyes when I saw them walking towards the ocean,” Afroz Shah, a lawyer and local community activist, told the Guardian.

The migration is a sign that thousands of hours of hard work has paid off.

Two years ago, Versova Beach was essentially a landfill — pictures show legs sinking knee-deep into garbage.

“[The waste] was 5.5 feet high,” Shah told CNN at the time. “A man could drown in the plastic.”

Today, you can sunbathe on the pristine sand.

That’s because a team of hundreds of volunteers led by Shah spent nearly two years picking up 11,684,500 pounds of trash, clearing upstream rivers, putting systems in place to prevent future trash from accumulating, and teaching locals about sustainable waste management.

They also cleaned 52 public toilets and planted 50 coconut trees, and Shah has plans to line coastlines with mangrove trees to prevent flooding and improve water quality.

The United Nations called it the “world’s largest beach clean-up effort” and awarded Shah the “Champion of the Earth” award.

“I am an ocean lover and feel that we owe a duty to our ocean to make it free of plastic,” he told the UN. “I just hope this is the beginning for coastal communities across India and the world.”

Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs in the area, but had been unable to climb through the trash on  Versova Beach, according to the Guardian.

Now the same volunteers who cleaned the beach are camping out to make sure the baby turtles are protected from dogs and birds as they make their way to the water, the Guardian reports.

It’s an example of how collective action can revitalize communities and create environmental guardians.

Each year, 8 to 13 million tons of plastic make it into the world’s oceans — the equivalent of a garbage truck filled with plastic every minute. Throughout the world, there are about five plastic bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline. By 2050, plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans.

Shah wants to bring his community clean-up methods around the world to make sure ecosystems stay safe for both humans and animals.

“There has been a loss of a sense of belonging,” Shah told the Guardian. “You can have laws, policies, regulations in place, but if the community doesn’t have a sense of belonging, you can see what happens.”

Life Below Water: Brazil Just Protected 559,000 Square Miles of Ocean From Fishing and Mining #Sdgs #GlobalGoals


Sea Life

The reserves are home to immense biodiversity.

Brazil went from being a laggard in marine conservation to a leader last week when President Michel Temer announced four massive new marine protected areas that are bigger in size than France, England, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland combined, according to Conservation International.

The new reserves are located around the Trindade-Martin Vaz and the São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelagos and span 559,000 square miles. They bring the percentage of Brazil’s waters that are protected to 24%, up from 1.5%, far surpassing the UN’s call for 10% of the world’s marine areas to be protected by 2020.

And despite the president’s past attempts to open up the Amazon to industrial activity, the reserves show that the government is willing to take bold steps to protect its environment.

“It shows the importance of this area’s stunning biodiversity, and also [defends against] the risk of illegal fishing and mining activities,” Rodrigo Medeiros, vice president at Conservation International Brazil, told GC.

Medeiros said this is an important achievement because mining companies have been pushing to open up new ventures off Brazil’s coastlines.

“On land, mining causes a huge impact,” he said. “You can imagine what it would do in the oceans — the disasters and accidents.”

More than 12% of the new reserves will be fully shielded from industrial fishing and mining, according to the government. The rest will be shielded from destructive activities and steps will be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change, according to Conservation International.

Preventing industrial fishing will allow threatened fish populations to recover, Medeiros said.

Globally, industrial fishing has caused fish populations to plummet.

More than 50% of fish populations are severely depleted, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Another 30% are close to endangered levels. Up to a third of global fish hauls are done illegally — adding strain to an already severely strained industry.

Tuna and mackerel populations, for example, have plunged around 75% over the past four decades.

Oceans are also threatened by industrial pollution, invasive species, overfishing, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification, which is when the oceans absorb too much carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions and acidify.

The new reserves in Brazil come after years of advocacy from dozens of organizations, according to CI, including a campaign called “It’s the Hour of the Sea” featuring famous actors, surfers, and scientists.

Rare algae, sharks, fish, coral, sponges, turtles, and more are found in the reserves and they’re also home to migratory species such as Mobula manta rays and whale sharks, CI notes.

Now that the reserves are established, a management plan has to be developed, according to Medeiros. This will involve input from community groups, scientists, the country’s coast guard and navy, and other players, to determine how best to implement no-fishing bans and preserve ecosystems.