Outrage Grows After Hunter ‘Brags’ About Killing Popular New Jersey Bear

A bow hunter in New Jersey has apparently killed a popular local black bear,

Pedals

.

Wildlife

lovers are outraged as the hunter has been reportedly bragging about the kill.



Pedals, the upright-walking bear, which once had 22,000 fans on a now-defunct Facebook page, was just one of 549 bears killed by hunters during a controversial expanded hunting season. Reaction was so negative on both sides of the issue that a Facebook page dedicated to the bear was shut down Saturday night. A new Facebook page,

RIP Pedals The Walking Bear

, posted a plea to “please be respectful of others.”

Anger may have been provoked by the defunct site’s post, which read, “The hunter who has wanted him dead for nearly three years had the satisfaction of putting an arrow through him, bragging at the station.”

The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

confirmed

that it had pictures of an injured black bear brought into the Green Pond check station in Rockaway last week, but said it could not determine the identity of the bear. A

statement

posted by the division read:

“Upon arrival to check stations, bears are weighed and measured around the head. DNA samples are taken and a tooth is extracted to determine the bear’s age. But without any prior scientific data taken from a bear, it is not possible to verify the identity of a bear that has been harvested.”

It is believed that Pedals walked upright due to injuries to both front paws. Black bears are not endangered, and are found throughout the state of New Jersey. Native to the state, they were hunted indiscriminately following European colonization. The state says there are

about 3,600

today, a sharp increase since the 1970s. Only one

fatal attack

by a bear has ever occurred in New Jersey’s history. The

victim

was a 22-year old Rutgers University student who was hiking with a group of friends in Passaic County in 2014 when he was attacked.

State officials maintain that hunting is necessary to regulate the population of black bears in New Jersey, and has spent $9 million since 2000 on black bear management. However, state senator

Raymond J. Lesniak

has introduced a bill that would ban bear baiting and establish trash disposal rules that would reduce access to human food waste, as has been implemented in other areas with high bear populations. The bill would also

eliminate

the October and December bear hunting seasons.

In the State Assembly, four

legislators

are seeking to end hunting of black bears in New Jersey. They are Tim Eustace of Bergen County along with Grace Spencer, Raj Mukherji and Thomas Giblin, all of Passaic County.


Aspen

, Colorado residents have gotten used to living with black bears in this tiny, high-altitude resort town. Trash receptacles must be bear-proof, doors are kept locked and food has to be kept away from decks and unattended vehicles. Bear sightings, even downtown, are not uncommon. The city has taken a

progressive approach

to bear management, avoiding the unnecessary death of bears and protecting its citizens and visitors. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services

killed 3.2 million animals

, including black bears, mountain lions,

wolves

and bobcats.

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Meanwhile, fans of Pedals mourn the bear’s loss. Posting on the Facebook page, Kelly Champan Cherhan wrote, “This is heartbreaking!!!!” Angela Lindsay Paulson added, “I lose sleep over this too.” Michael Kenneth Watson commented, “So very upset, who shoots a handicapped bear? Why?”


At this time, the identity of the hunter has not been confirmed.

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Florida Faces Worst Orange Harvest Crisis Since Records Began in 1913

Production of the official fruit of Florida continues to plummet as the first forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2016-2017 growing season indicates a 14 percent drop in the state’s

orange

crop.

On Wednesday, the USDA

predicted

farmers will have enough oranges to fill 70 million boxes for the season. Last season, Florida

produced

81.5 million boxes, a

52-year low

. This latest forecast shows that the region is in the midst of the worst orange harvest crisis since records began in 1913, according to

The Guardian

.

After the announcement, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam

said

that the forecast is disheartening and further proof of the difficult times facing Florida’s citrus industry which has been dealing with

citrus greening

, an incurable bacterial disease that can kill a tree within two years.


Citrus greening disease on mandarin oranges.


T.R. Gottwald and S.M. Garnsey / USDA

“Production of our state’s signature crop is down 70 percent from 20 years ago, and the future of Florida citrus depends on a breakthrough in the fight against greening,” Putnam said. “We must continue to support our growers and provide them with every tool available to combat greening.”


The state has set aside $8 million in the budget to help fight against greening, in addition to $14.7 million for a citrus health response program within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, reports

The Tampa Bay Times

. Farmers themselves have put $100 million into fighting the disease that is spread through

hurricanes

and

storms

that hit the state.

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“Farmers are giving up on oranges altogether,” Judith Ganes, president of the commodities research firm J Ganes Consulting, told The Guardian. “Normally after a freeze or a hurricane [which both kill lots of trees], the growers would replant 100% of their plants. But the disease has been spread all over by hurricanes, and made it totally uncontrollable. Farmers are giving up and turning to other crops or turning land over to housing.”

This, in turn, is causing the steep rise in wholesale prices and companies are getting more creative in how they sell their juice in stores either by making the cartons smaller or blending the juice with other fruits or water.

So far, The Guardian reports that these methods have kept prices from increasing in grocery stores for now, in addition to the fact that demand for orange juice is down.

“U.S. consumers have it in their mind that orange juice is high in sugar, which it is, but it’s natural sugars that don’t contribute to obesity,” John Michalik, a beverages expert at the Canadian division of the market research group Global Data,

said

. “People are not having the full breakfast at home like they used to. Now almost all breakfasts are a coffee and sandwich or snack on the go.”

While some farmers may be abandoning the orange industry, Michael Sparks, vice president and CEO of grower group Florida Citrus Mutual, which represents many of the 62,000 people employed in the state’s citrus industry, said Wednesday that their farmers are not giving up yet.

“The 2016-17 citrus season is here and we are cautiously optimistic heading into it,” he

said

. “The all Florida orange forecast number of 70 million boxes is about what we expected, and although it’s low, Florida growers will again use their trademark resilience to bring consumers the best citrus in the world.”

DOJ Must Protect First Amendment Rights for Charged Journalists Amy Goodman and Deia Schlosberg

North Dakota has charged journalist

Amy Goodman

and filmmaker

Deia Schlosberg

for doing their jobs: reporting and documenting the peaceful protests against the

Dakota Access Pipeline

. This string of arrests constitutes nothing less than a war on journalism and a victory for fossil fuel interests that have banked on the pipeline.

We call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to act to protect the first amendment rights of those attempting to tell the stories of the water protectors fighting the risky pipeline. The DOJ must investigate the arrests of Amy Goodman and Deia Schlosberg at the hands of North Dakota police.

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The first amendment is not only a cornerstone of our bill of rights, but the right to free speech and freedom of the press is critical to addressing our

climate

chaos. We need brave journalists to tell the stories of injustice that are occurring at the hands of the banks and fossil fuel companies seeking to extract every last drop of fossil fuels for profit—no matter the cost.

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We applaud Goodman and Schlosberg for courageously documenting the peaceful actions at Standing Rock and call upon Attorney General Loretta Lynch to immediately investigate to determine whether their constitutional rights have been violated by North Dakota officials.

$15,000 Reward Offered Over Illegal Killing of Oregon Mother Wolf

The Center for Biological Diversity added $10,000 on Friday to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting and killing an

endangered

wolf earlier this month in south-central Oregon. The wolf—a female known as OR-28, who recently had a pup—was found dead Oct. 6.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also offering a $5,000 reward in the case.


OR-28.


Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

“The illegal killing of wolf OR-28 is heartbreaking. She was a pioneering animal, one of the first wolves to make the journey from northeastern to western Oregon,” said Amaroq Weiss, the center’s West Coast wolf organizer. “OR-28 was also a first-time mother, who leaves behind her mate and single pup to fend for themselves. This was a cowardly crime. I hope the perpetrator is caught quickly.”

Because she lived in the western two-thirds of Oregon, OR-28 was protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Poaching a protected species is punishable by a heavy fine and jail time. In 2015 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported six wolf deaths due to illegal shootings, ingesting poison or from suspicious but unknown causes. This is the highest number of illegal and suspicious wolf mortalities recorded in Oregon in a single year. Only one of the 2015 wolf deaths resulted in a conviction.

Anyone with information about this case can call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or the Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888. Callers may remain anonymous.

News of OR-28’s death comes on the heels of a

statewide poll

that found that the vast majority of Oregonians—from both rural and urban areas—oppose hunting as a way to manage wolves and believe wildlife officials wrongly removed state protections from wolves last November. The poll also revealed that most Oregonians believe nonlethal methods should be the primary focus in reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock.

“Oregonians love wolves and want them protected. The poaching of OR-28 is a disgusting crime that shouldn’t go unpunished,” Weiss said. “Someone out there almost certainly knows who did this, and I really hope they’ll step forward and help secure justice for this wolf.”

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World’s Oldest Panda in Captivity Dies

The oldest giant panda living in captivity was euthanized Sunday in Hong Kong after her health rapidly deteriorated over the past two weeks, according to officials at Ocean Park. She was 38 years old.


Jia Jia celebrates her 38th birthday at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.


Ocean Park /

Facebook

As her health declined, officials say Jia Jia’s appetite dropped drastically. She went from eating 22 pounds of food per day to less than seven and her weight also declined.


“Over the past few days, she has been spending less time awake and showing no interest in food or fluids. Her condition became worse this morning. Jia Jia was not able to walk about without difficulties and spent the day laying down,” Ocean Park

said

. “Her state became so debilitated that based on ethical reasons and in order to prevent suffering, veterinarians from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and Ocean Park agreed to a humane euthanasia for Jia Jia.”

The average life expectancy of Jia Jia’s species is under 20 years in the wild, and around 20 years under human care.

“This is a day we knew would eventually come, but it is nevertheless a sad day for everyone at the park,” the park said.

Born in the wild in China’s Sichuan province in 1978, Jia Jia, whose name translates as “excellence,”


was given to Hong Kong in 1999 where she served as an important animal ambassador for her species.


Park officials say their panda-related educational programs are the most popular among guests and students and have helped raise public awareness on the importance of protecting giant pandas and their natural habitat.

“We are proud of her contribution to conservation,” the park said.

Jia Jia’s species has been under threat of

extinction

due to development in China’s Yangtze Basin region, the panda’s primary habitat. However, recent numbers shows that conservation efforts are working.

In September, giant pandas’ status was

downgraded

on the Red List of Threatened Species from “endangered” to “vulnerable” pointing to the 17 percent rise in the population in the decade up to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China, according to the

World Wildlife Fund

.

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Due to the threats they face in the wild and their low birthrate, captive breeding programs have become key to ensuring their survival. During her time at Ocean Park, officials say Jia Jia gave birth five times to six panda cubs, according to

Hong Kong Free Press.

The park plans to establish a memorial area beginning Oct. 22 for guests to pay tribute to their beloved animal ambassador.

Nearly 200 Nations Reach Landmark Deal to Cut Super Polluting HFCs

More than 170 countries reached a deal to eliminate

hydrofluorocarbons

(HFCs),

powerful greenhouse gases

used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.

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Under the new amendment to the Montreal Protocol, developed countries will begin phasing down HFCs in 2019, while developing countries have two different timelines. More than 100 countries will start their HFC phase down in 2024, and a handful of countries, including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states, will start in 2028.

This amendment is the “

largest temperature reduction

ever achieved by a single agreement” and could avoid nearly 0.5 C of

global warming

.


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“This is a major breakthrough: The world has come together to curb climate-wrecking super-pollutant HFCs,” David Doniger, NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air program director, said. “This is the biggest step we can take in the year after the Paris agreement against the widening threats from climate change. And bringing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol sends a clear signal to the global marketplace to start replacing these dangerous chemicals with a new generation of climate-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives.”


For a deeper dive:


Agreement

:

New York Times

,

Guardian

,

Reuters

,

Washington Post

,

The Hill

,

BBC

,

AP

,

Financial Times

,

LA Times

,

Climate Home

,

NPR

,

VICE News

,

CNN


Industry:


Reuters

,

New York Times

,

Wall Street Journal


Commentary:


Kigali New Times editorial

;

Guardian, John Vidal column

;

Reuters, Alister Doyle analysis

;

Mashable, Andrew Freedman analysis

;

Vox, Brad Plumer column

;

Wall Street Journal, Daniela Hernandez analysis

;

The Nation editorial


For more

climate change

and

clean energy

news, you can follow Climate Nexus on

Twitter

and

Facebook

, and sign up for daily

Hot News

.



10 Most Eco-Friendly Coffee Roasters in the U.S.

The U.S. is the world’s

leading consumer of coffee

, with Americans drinking some 400 million cups of coffee each day. But, drinking

coffee

can be detrimental to people and the planet, and the industry says it will

cost $4 billion

and take decades to make the entire sector sustainable.

But if you still want enjoy your cup of joe and be conscious of your impact on the Earth, here’s

a list

of the 10 most sustainable coffee roasters in the U.S.

The list compiled by coffee writer

Jimmy Sherfey

comprises “10 U.S. roasters and retailers that are overcoming obstacles to curb

carbon emissions

, offset energy use, cut down on waste and help farmers mitigate the existing damages associated with

climate change

.” They range from the nationally-distributed

Peet’s Coffee

, which roasts all of its coffee in the first LEED Gold certified roasting facility in the U.S., to smaller producers such as

Larry’s Coffee

in Raleigh, North Carolina. Founder

Larry Larson

is a Seattle expat who converted a school bus, used for deliveries, to run on used vegetable oil.


Coffee plants naturally prefer shade, as they evolved in the understory of the African jungle. But more and more, coffee is being grown in

direct sun

on monoculture plantations that resemble cornfields. Shade-grown coffee slipped from 43 percent of the world’s farms in 1996 to just 24 percent in 2010. Three-fourths of the coffee farmland in Brazil and Vietnam has no shade tree cover at all. Much of their production is cheaper, robusta beans that are generally used for instant coffee and low-price supermarket brands.

The coffee you choose may be

harmful

to your health, to the environment or to the growers themselves. Much coffee is grown using

pesticides

, which has been shown to be detrimental to coffee farmers. Also, pesticides used to combat the coffee cherry borer and coffee rust can remain in the environment.


On large coffee plantations, workers often toil in

harsh conditions

for subsistence wages. Children as young as six or eight work the fields, and just 13 percent of coffee workers in Guatemala have completed primary education. In contrast to these big plantations, small farmers generally cultivate less than seven acres of land and often struggle to earn more than the cost of production. Fair Trade coffee may or may not help: only the label “Fair Trade Certified” ensures that farmers receive a fair price for their coffee.


Shade grown coffee in Nicaragua


Flickr

So

shade-grown

, organically grown and Fair Trade Certified coffees are

the way to go

—if you can find them. In a recent trip to my local supermarket, however, I could find no coffee with the Fair Trade Certified label.

In order to research this story, I went to my local coffee shop and asked for a cup of sustainable coffee. The clerk wasn’t taken aback by my requests. He told me that their coffee is supplied by

Wicked Joe

, which it turns out uses organic, Fair Trade Certified, shade grown beans. Their coffee is also

bird-friendly

. It meets the rigorous

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

criteria for shade tree farms, which includes 100 percent certified organic beans and the use of native shade trees for cover.

Many of these smaller roasters sell locally and online. But what about the ubiquitous

Starbucks

? On its website, the coffee giant states, “We’re committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest-quality arabica coffee in the world.”

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Last year, they

announced

that 99 percent of their coffee had been ethically produced. Working with

Conservation International

, they’ve developed their own set of standards related to farmers’ working conditions, reduced agrochemical use and improved economic transparency. But although the company states that it is one of the largest buyers of Fair Trade Certified coffee, you might have to specifically ask your barista for it. A search for “fair trade coffee” on the Starbucks website yields just two results, one for a whole bean Italian roast and one for portion packs.

McDonald’s

announced

last week that it committed to purchasing all of its coffee from sustainable sources by 2020. The fast food retailer is also partnering with Conservation International. McDonald’s buys arabica coffee from Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru and El Salvador, along with some espresso beans from Indonesia.

I take my coffee black. That gives me the

health benefits

of coffee without

diluting it

by adding dairy products or sweeteners. Now I need to go and refill my cup.

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