Wildlife Trafficking, Outlaw Oceans and Brain-robbing Toxins

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 94, Aug. 22, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

What do elephants, rhinos, giraffes and weird snakes have in common? They're all among the 550 heavily trafficked species being discussed this month at the latest Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Here's our rundown of the key issues.

Primates aren't high on the agenda at CITES, but it's still a critical time for their conservation. We know that 60 percent of primate species are endangered, but what about what we don't know? A survey of the field's scientific research raises some alarm bells — here's why.

The oceans are often filled with mystery and danger. From overfishing to slavery, journalist Ian Urbina's new book The Ocean Outlaw uncovers a dark world of exploitation on the high seas — a world that exists out of the public eye and beyond the rule of law. Read our review.

And last this week, we have a thought-provoking talk with author and ethicist Harriet Washington about one of the most overlooked aspects of environmental racism: how certain pollutants can lower intelligence and disrupt livelihoods.

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Let's go a little deeper. Here are five additional stories we're watching this week.

1. More major automakers are expected to join a growing pact with California that would undermine the Trump administration's efforts to roll back clean car standards.

2. South Africa could be allowed to nearly double the number of black rhinos killed in trophy hunts after a decision made at CITES. A final vote is pending.

3. A new economic analysis found that the cost of not taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be steep for all countries, including the United States — which could see a 10.5 percent cut to GDP by 2100.

4. Keeping track of efforts to reduce plastic waste can be confusing. Here's a map of all the places in the United States that have bans, fees or restrictions on plastic products — and those that have taken the opposite track by putting bans on banning plastic.

5. Wildlife officials in Florida are investigating a mysterious disorder seen in some of the state's wild cats, including critically endangered Florida panthers.

In case you missed it:

Your social media behavior can inadvertently support animal cruelty and spur the illegal pet trade. Here's how to tell what's safe to share.

What should we cover next?

Drop us a line anytime. We welcome your ideas and inside scoops.

Coming up:

We have a lot of new work in development, including continued coverage of the CITES wildlife-trade meeting, a couple of new videos, and a look at how tribes are tackling climate change.

Look for our latest links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We also share other news there, too, so please join us and keep the discussion going.

As always, thank you for reading.

Tara Lohan

Tara Lohan
Deputy Editor, The Revelator


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