The present report is submitted in accordance with resolution 16/11 of the Human Rights Council. This analytical study examines the key components of the relationship between human rights and the environment, with emphasis on the following themes: the conceptual relationship between human rights and the environment; environmental threats to human rights; mutual reinforcement of environmental and human rights protection; and extraterritorial dimensions of human rights and the environment.
Please read the report here.
About Whale of a Time
Whale of a Time is riding the wave of change, promoting successful stewardship of our planet to create a peaceful, morally just, humane and sustainable culture, while ensuring survival of all species and their natural habitats. Whale of a Time organises creative and fun, inspiring and empowering events on environmental issues to encourage active participation living a sustainable lifestyle inspired by a positive attitude. We engage young and old from all walks of life through the Whale of a Time Community, the Whale of a Time Festival and the Whale of a Time Workshop. Our work has been recognised by many national and community and environmental awards schemes.
Whale of a Time Tweats
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Saturday, 24 March 2012
From the forest to the ocean: how protected areas can positively impact species conservation. - Earthwatch
Describing Madagascar as an ‘evolutionary petri-dish’, Dollar spoke of the rapid decline of many of the unique species that are endemic to the country. Protected areas, he argued, are essential not only to sustain threatened habitats, but also human populations that depend on the natural resources that Madagascar’s forests provide.
The focus of Dollar’s research is the little-known fosa - Madagascar’s only natural mammalian apex predator, endemic to the island. Dollar drew on over a decade of data collected by over 300 Earthwatch volunteers. He observed “It is not necessarily the protected areas in themselves that make a difference to the conservation of endangered species, but rather the increased level of human presence in those protected areas that discourage activities such as illegal logging.”
“The simple presence of the many teams of Earthwatch volunteers that work with us in the National Park serves as a deterrent”, continued Dollar.
An interview with Earthwatch scientist, Professor Luke Dollar
Professor John Cigliano’s research by contrast focuses on the marine environment. The urgency of his work was illustrated with a stark warning that close to 80% of the world’s fisheries that have been assessed, are at or close to their maximum sustainable limits or past those limits, with some already collapsed or economically extinct.
Alongside Earthwatch volunteers, Cigliano has spent five years monitoring populations of the queen conch in Belize’s Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. The queen conch is a species of marine mollusc, of great importance within the marine ecosystem, but also economically and culturally to the Belizean people.
“My project was set up in response to the needs and inputs of the local community”, explains Cigliano. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on several years of data about the status of populations before the marine protected area was enforced. We are now beginning to contrast those findings with similar recordings post-enforcement. We need a few more years’ data to be able to draw solid conclusions, but preliminary analysis suggests that the protected area is indeed making a positive difference to density and average age of conch both within the reserve as well as in the fisheries outside as the recovering populations migrate outwards.”
Over the course of the evening, both speakers addressed many of the greatest environmental challenges we face today. In spite of this, the audience left with a sense of optimism on hearing about the significant positive impacts that these two projects are having not only on wildlife and habitats, but also in providing economic and educational opportunities to local populations to sustain the conservation efforts into the future.
Professor John Cigliano speaks about monitoring queen conch in Belize
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
With an estimated cost of at least $14 billion and a projected electrical capacity that would make it the third most powerful in the world, Brazil's Belo Monte Dam is leaving a large footprint - one that looks like it will stamp out local residents in the Amazon.
Until recently, Belo Monte faced seemingly endless court cases and popular opposition, but in June, the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA granted Norte Energia, the owner, a license to go ahead. That means an estimated 24,000 people living in the dam's vicinity are going to be paid to leave.
Elio Alves Da Silva, a fisherman who has lived in the community for 30 years, says he will take a $12,000 buy out, despite not wanting to leave.
Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo reports from the construction site.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Brian Skerry describes the exhilaration of an up-close encounter with a curious, 45-foot-long right whale
Inspired by the true story that captured the hearts of people across the world, the rescue adventure Big Miracle tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore) who are joined by rival world superpowers to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.
Local newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski) can't wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it, too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost, the one who worries Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she's also his ex-girlfriend.
With time running out, Rachel and Adam must rally an unlikely coalition of Inuit natives, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales. As the world's attention turns to the top of the globe, saving these endangered animals becomes a shared cause for nations entrenched against one another and leads to a momentary thaw in the Cold War.
Monday, 19 March 2012
*Brussels**/Nouadhibou (Mauritania)**, 19 March 2012 *-- European
fisheries ministers meeting in Brussels to discuss the reform of EU
fishing rules are expected to ignore the critical imbalance between the
bloated size of EU fleets and dwindling stocks, said Greenpeace.
Ministers are likely to reach an agreement on how to manage the impact
of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy on fishing in foreign waters.
The Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise is currently off the coast of
West Africa, near Senegal and Mauritania, where it has been involved in
actions to highlight the destructive impact of European overfishing.
The EU fisheries Council is expected to recognise the right of fishermen
in foreign coastal nations to retain priority access to local fishing
grounds and to only allow European and other foreign vessels the option
of fishing unclaimed quotas within sustainable levels. However,
ministers will likely omit any reference to agreed international
commitments on the reduction of fleet capacity .
Ministers will also debate rules to prohibit the damaging practice of
discarding unwanted catches, as well as a new fisheries subsidy regime
and common market rules.
The over-exploitation of fish stocks in Europe means that some of the
world's largest fishing vessels need to venture further and deeper to
catch fish in large quantities, with devastating impacts on the
environment. Super-sized industrial factory ships increasingly compete
with local fishermen in the developing world, pushing many communities
*Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz*said:
/"Ministers claim they are making progress on European fisheries reform,
but they are just pussyfooting around the real problem: there are just
too many destructive boats out there and not enough fish for them to
catch. The measure of success of fisheries reform will be whether Europe
commits to cut the size of its fishing fleet to ease the pressure on the
oceans and local fishing communities."/
According to official figures, the EU catches about 1.2 million tonnes
of fish per year outside its waters -- almost one quarter of its total
catch . The Commission reports that 14 EU countries have fishing
interests in foreign countries, but over two thirds of these 300 ships
fly the Spanish flag (67% of the total) and 14% are from France. While
French vessels target tropical tuna, vessels from the Netherlands,
Germany and Lithuania focus on small fish species .
Last week, in the space of just 10 hours, the Arctic Sunrise came across
no fewer than seven EU mega trawlers plundering the ocean's resources
off the coast of Mauritania. While patrolling the area, the Arctic
Sunrise also took action against other European and Russian ships taking
large quantities of fish.
*Greenpeace report*: /The price of plunder - How European tax-payers are
subsidising factory trawlers to strip fish from West Africa's waters
*Notes to editors:*
* *The EU acknowledges that there are simply far too many powerful
and destructive vessels for the amount of fish left in the sea. As
recently as autumn 2011, the EU joined other countries in the UN General
Assembly in a pledge to /"urgently reduc[e] the capacity of the world's
fishing fleets to levels commensurate with the sustainability of fish
**European Commission external fleet study (2008)
**European Commission assessment of the CFP
Greenpeace press release
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Switzerland has joined Norway, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Cyprus in banning the captivity of dolphins.
Switzerland’s House of Representatives has voted to outlaw the keeping of dolphins in aquariums or for entertainment purposes. The Senate also banned the future importation of dolphins, meaning that the dolphins living in the country’s only dolphinarium, Connyland, will remain there but will not be replaced when they die.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Mark Palmer, Associate Director of the Earth Island Institute‘sInternational Marine Mammal Project, in an exclusive interview with TakePart. ”The grass roots group Ocean Care deserves a great deal of credit for working on this for many years, working with Ric [O'Barry, of The Cove] in Switzerland. We also think that Ric’s appearance last year during the Bambi Awards, which aired in Germany and Switzerland, and in which he said ‘don’t buy a ticket to these shows’ played a big part.”
In the open ocean, a wild dolphin can live up to 50 years and swim up to 100 miles a day, but dolphins in captivity are limited to and area only 1/10,000 of 1 percent of their natural environment, which greatly decreases their lifespan. Many dolphins develop depression which can even lead to suicide.
The ban in Switzerland was spurred by the death of two dolphins last fall at Connyland. There was public concern that they were killed by hallucinogens thrown into their enclosures after a two-day techno party in the park, but the autopsies proved otherwise. Both dolphins, ages eight and 30, died from brain damage due to an overdose of antibiotics.