Amy Yee

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A rescued pangolin in search of food on a private property near Johannesburg on Saturday. (Themba Hadebe/AP)

About two years ago in northern Uganda, I watched anxiously as an endangered pangolin was released into a protected forest. Wildlife authorities and conservationists had rescued the scaly mammal from poachers. The small, gentle creature fell off the tree he was trying to climb and weakly crawled into the underbrush. Pangolins tend to die in captivity so release into the wild was his best option for survival. But the odds were stacked against him, in many ways.

The pangolin is likely the world’s most poached and trafficked mammal, largely because of voracious demand for its scales and meat from China and other Asian countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

A solar panel generates electricity for this home in Bangladesh. Credit Thomas Trutschel/Photothek, via Getty Images

Since electricity — even in small doses — powers lamps, cellphones, fans, water pumps, health clinics and equipment for businesses, it is critical in improving the lives of the poor.

Mahmood Malik, chief executive of Idcol in Dhaka, calls its arrival for the rural poor “a silent revolution you can’t feel sitting in the city.”

Solar is also safer and cleaner than conventional fuel. Idcol estimates that each year its solar installations replace 242 tons of kerosene worth $300 million that the poor would otherwise spend on lighting.

The keys to Idcol’s expansion across Bangladesh are financing plans that cater to lower-income people, as well as partnerships with 56 grass-roots organizations like the microfinance institution Grameen.…  Seguir leyendo »

The forest was assessed by teams that measured trees in 480 sample plots across Kasigau Corridor. Independent environmental consultants from the United States used analytical software involving 60 algorithms to determine the amount of carbon in the forest.

Results were verified by the environmental audit firms Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, both based in Washington. The latter’s social audit includes weeks of meeting with local councils and questioning them independently.

In the early days, critics feared that “carbon credit cowboys” would displace or exploit locals and pocket profits. But setting up and verifying REDD+ is too complicated, expensive and stringent for speculators to make easy money.…  Seguir leyendo »