What We're Reading: April 2018

This month we found everything from important research to inspiring news to share. Check it out!

1. "Indigenous peoples can manage their forests better than anyone else" by Prakesh Kashwan, Grist

Based on extensive research in India, Mexico, and elsewhere around the globe, Kashwan finds that community forestry programs have better conservation records than strictly top-down conservation schemes.  According to this research, encouraging public participation - particularly from people who depend on the forest the most - leads to more effective forest management policy. "Conservation policies designed to protect critical ecosystem services and support rural livelihoods simultaneously are more likely to be successful," Kashwan writes. We couldn't agree more!

2. WATCH: "How an Indian Professor is Turning Plastic Trash into Highways" by Todd Reubold, Ensia

Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan created a fascinating new method for recycling plastic that would ordinarily go into a landfill: using it to create flexible, extra durable roads. Thousands of kilometers of highways in India have been paved with this new process, with more to come. This is an innovative way to reduce the environmental impact of plastic while turning it into something useful

3.  LISTEN: "Maroon 5’s James Valentine on why he’s working to stop illegal logging" by Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay Newscast

James Valentine (right) playing guitar in the Madre De Dios region of Peru with Adam Gardner of Guster/REVERB (center) and K.T. Tunstall (left)] | Photo: Environmental Investigation Agency

James Valentine, guitarist for multiple Grammy award winners Maroon 5, discusses his campaign to boycott illegally logged timber.  “The wood that’s being used for guitars, of course, that’s just a small drop in the bucket. The larger issue are the consumer goods that everyone uses, the tables, the chairs, dressers,” Valentine says. “It does start with consumers, asking and creating that demand for wood products that can be traced. So that’s why we’re out here — that’s why I’m here talking about this now — because awareness is going to be the first step.”

4. "Iceland supermarkets to ban palm oil in own-brand products" BBC

Iceland, the large UK supermarket chain -- not to be confused with Iceland the country, has announced a ban on palm oil in its branded products, the first British supermarket chain to do so.  The large scale cultivation of palm for palm oil, a common additive in foods and household products, has been linked to tropical deforestation and habitat loss for orangutans.  We applaud this massive step forward from Iceland supermarkets!


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