Natural Resources






DeforestationBBC News recently reported:

Brazil’s biggest bank — the state-run Banco do Brasil — is being sued for allegedly funding deforestation in the Amazon.

Public prosecutors say the bank lent money to companies that illegally cleared the rainforest and used labour practices bordering on slavery. The smaller state-owned Banco da Amazonia is also being sued.

Brazil says it has drastically reduced the rate of deforestation in the Amazon in recent years.

Prosecutors in the state of Para said they had uncovered 55 loans worth nearly $5m (£3m) that the Banco do Brasil approved to farms that had broken environmental and employment laws. They also said they had uncovered 37 loans worth $11m given to farms with similar violations by the Banco da Amazonia.

The loans violated Brazil’s constitution, environmental laws, banking regulations and international agreements signed by Brazil, the independent prosecutors at the Public Ministry said.




Ray Villard writes on Discovery News: Rather than looking for aliens who use interstellar radio signals to say “hi,” an alternative search strategy is simply to spy on any mega-engineering projects that…



Earth As Seen From Apollo 17Via Discovery News:

A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an “unrecognizable” world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

To feed all those mouths, “we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

“By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable” if current trends continue, Clay said.




Would smiles still exist in a world without chocolate? We may find out. Global chocolate consumption is far outpacing cocoa production, portending an ominous future in which chocolate prices rise drastically, and…