Environment

Controversial billionaire to gift Patagonian reserve to government

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Santiago Times - Outspoken billionaire environmentalist Douglas Tompkins has defined plans to donate several large tracts of Patagonian wilderness to the Chilean state, the latest and possibly last of the U.S. retired businessman’s grand-scale land gifts in the country.
 

Chilean government strengthens opposition to Japanese “scientific” whaling

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Ecoceanos News - Chilean senators Baldo Prokurica and Guido Girardi, along with representatives of the Chilean NGOs Cetacean Conservation Center and Ecoceanos Center held a meeting with Chilean minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Munoz to deliver the agreement adopted by consensus by the Senate against Japanese “scientific” whaling. 
 

Largest outflow glacier in the Northern Patagonian Icefield is shrinking

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NASA - The Northern Patagonian Icefield in the Andes Mountains in Chilé is a remnant of an ice sheet that covered the region about a million years ago. Though much smaller today, it is still one of the largest temperate (mid-latitude or non-polar) icefields in the world. Twenty-eight exit glaciers flow out of that field, and San Quintín is the largest.
 

Viva Patagonia: Five lessons on how to save the planet’s most beautiful places

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On Earth Magazine - Yesterday Chile witnessed a truly remarkable moment in the history of environmental protection. And it’s one that holds lessons for all of us, whether the fight is against destructive mines, fossil fuel extraction, tar sands pipelines, or, in this case, a gargantuan hydroelectric project that would have disfigured one of the most pristine landscapes in the world.
 

Chile rejects environmental approval of Patagonia megadams

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International Rivers Network - Today Chile’s Committee of Ministers – the country’s highest administrative authority – cancelled the environmental permits for five controversial dams proposed on two of Chilean Patagonia’s wildest rivers – the culmination of an eight-year battle.
 

Earth heading for another mass extinction, scientists warn

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Newsweek - Five times in the history of the Earth, mass extinction events have wiped out the vast majority of life. Now it appears to be happening again.
 

Ten things you should know about dams

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Earth Island Journal - The dam industry has choked more than half of the Earth's major rivers with large dams. The consequences of this massive engineering program have been devastating. The world's large dams have wiped out species, flooded huge areas of wetlands, forests and farmlands, and displaced tens of millions of people. While not every dam causes serious problems, cumulatively the world's large dams have replumbed rivers in a massive experiment that has left the planet's freshwaters in worse shape than any other major ecosystem type, including tropical rainforests. Despite this, large dams are back in style. Several massive projects are being proposed on rivers across the world, from the Amazon to the Mekong and the Nile and even on rivers in the high reaches of the Himalayas. Here are 10 things you should know about dams and their impact.
 

Review on Patagonia’s HidroAysén mega dams to be concluded by mid June

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Santiago Times - President Michelle Bachelet made no direct mention of the HidroAysén mega dams slated for Chilean Patagonian in her energy platform released last week, but the minister charged with the portfolio has since confirmed that a decision on the stalled hydro project will be made in the first two weeks of June.
 

Scientists warn of rising oceans from polar melt

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New York Times - A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.
 

Patagonia dreaming: Kris Tompkins works to build the best national park

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BusinessWeek - Kristine McDivitt Tompkins—then McDivitt, always Kris—had not made many big life changes, so maybe it was time. On the Sunday before Christmas 21 years ago, she closed the door and turned the lock on her beach house in Ventura, Calif., a place right on the water where she and her surrogate family of work friends had hung out for 20 years. One gave her a lift to LAX, where she caught a flight to Santiago, Chile. There she boarded a second, smaller jet bound for Puerto Montt. After a 26-hour trip she arrived at the farmhouse of her future husband, Douglas Tompkins. He lived off the grid, without a phone, at the far end of the Reñihue fjord, surrounded by thousands of acres of temperate rain forest. The nearest supermarket was two hours away. Kris had with her two duffel bags, spoke only gringo Español, and had “a one-line résumé,” because, she adds with a quick laugh, “I’d only had one job my whole life.”
 
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