Carbon pricing works, and this proves it

September 1, 2020 by  
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Carbon pricing works, and this proves it Paul Burke Tue, 09/01/2020 – 00:45 Putting a price on carbon should reduce emissions, because it makes dirty production processes more expensive than clean ones, right? That’s the economic theory. Stated baldly, it’s obvious; however, there is perhaps a tiny chance that what happens in practice might be something else. In a newly published paper , we set out the results of the largest study of what happens to emissions from fuel combustion when they attract a charge. We analyzed data for 142 countries over more than two decades, 43 of which had a carbon price of some form by the end of the study period. The results show that countries with carbon prices on average have annual carbon dioxide emissions growth rates that are about two percentage points lower than countries without a carbon price, after taking many other factors into account. By way of context, the average annual emissions growth rate for the 142 countries was about 2 percent per year. This size of effect adds up to very large differences over time. It is often enough to make the difference between a country having a rising or a declining emissions trajectory. Emissions tend to fall in countries with carbon prices A quick look at the data gives a first clue. The figure below shows countries that had a carbon price in 2007 as a black triangle and countries that did not as a green circle. On average, carbon dioxide emissions fell by 2 percent per year from 2007 to 2017 in countries with a carbon price in 2007 and increased by 3 percent per year in the others. The difference between an increase of 3 percent per year and a decrease of 2 percent per year is five percentage points. Our study finds that about two percentage points of that are due to the carbon price, with the remainder due to other factors. The higher the price, the greater the benefit The challenge was pinning down the extent to which the change was due to the implementation of a carbon price and the extent to which it was due to a raft of other things happening at the same time, including improving technologies, population and economic growth, economic shocks, measures to support renewables and differences in fuel tax rates. We controlled for a long list of other factors, including the use of other policy instruments. It would be reasonable to expect a higher carbon price to have bigger effects, and this is indeed what we found. On average, an extra euro per tonne of carbon dioxide price is associated with a lowering in the annual emissions growth rate of about 0.3 percentage points in the sectors it covers. Avoid the politics if possible The message to governments is that carbon pricing almost certainly works, and typically, to great effect. While a well-designed approach to reducing emissions would include other complementary policies , such as regulations in some sectors and support for low-carbon research and development, carbon pricing ideally should be the centerpiece of the effort. Unfortunately, the politics of carbon pricing have been highly poisoned in Australia, despite its popularity in a number of countries with conservative governments, including Britain and Germany. Even Australia’s Labor opposition seems to have given up. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that Australia’s two-year experiment with carbon pricing delivered emissions reductions as the economy grew. It was working as designed. Groups such as the Business Council of Australia that welcomed the abolition of the carbon price back in 2014 are calling for an effective climate policy with a price signal at its heart. Carbon pricing elsewhere The results of our study are highly relevant to many governments, especially those in industrializing and developing countries, that are weighing their options. The world’s top economics organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, continue to call for expanded use of carbon pricing. If countries are keen on a low-carbon development model, the evidence suggests that putting an appropriate price on carbon is a very effective way of achieving it. Contributors Frank Jotzo Rohan Best Topics Carbon Policy The Conversation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Zdenek Sasek Close Authorship

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Carbon pricing works, and this proves it

Wild in Africa jewelry supports wildlife conservation charities

August 14, 2020 by  
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When National Geographic filmmaker Shannon Wild moved to Africa in 2013 to make wildlife documentaries, she found herself in the hospital after a near-death experience in Masai Mara. After pushing her body to the point of complete exhaustion for her career, she was medevaced to Nairobi and became bedridden for three months. Unable to even hold a camera initially, and with the knowledge that going back into the field would take months of stamina-building physical therapy, she started a grueling 6-month recovery period. Shannon had built up a collection of beaded bracelets throughout her travels, and one day, yearning for a creative outlet, she began dismantling and redesigning them. Using her past experience in graphic design and marketing, she was able to establish a business, Wild In Africa – Bracelets for Wildlife , to commemorate her healing journey and the love for animals and wildlife that brought her to Africa in the first place. Related: Make a statement with Serendipitous Project’s eco-friendly jewelry Today, Wild responsibly sources beads from all over the world and donates 50% of the purchase price of the Wild in Africa jewelry to 10 separate wildlife charities . The gender-neutral bracelets include a combination of stone beads, tribal charms and pendants that pay homage to the colors and textures found in the natural world. On the company’s website, the charity that each bracelet supports is outlined on the product’s page. It includes a general description of the organization’s values and goals, from bringing an end to the global rhino horn trade to conservation plans for Zambian carnivores. There is also a link to the charity so customers can learn more about where their contributions are going. The packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable , and materials are sustainably sourced. The company also offers a membership for first access to special, limited-edition bracelets and behind-the-scenes looks at featured charities. + Wild in Africa Images via Wild in Africa

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Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

August 14, 2020 by  
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As parents, protecting kids against chemical-laden fabrics and setting examples about conscientious purchases make an important impact. Brands like Mightly, a children’s clothing company, make it easier to ensure the clothes you buy are responsibly manufactured, both for the safety of the planet and the children. Launched in 2019 by co-founders Tierra Forte, Barrie Brouse and Anya Marie Emerson, Mightly started with the goal of making ethically made and organic clothing more affordable for families. In partnership with Fair Trade USA, the brand will be releasing its first Fair Trade-certified collection.  Related: Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award By the end of the year, all of Mightly’s clothing will achieve Fair Trade certification . This includes its best-selling pajamas, which are made without chemical flame retardants. In addition, the team offers artist-designed T-shirts with itch-free labels and flat seams for kids with high sensitivities. Other products include long-lasting leggings with no-show, reinforced knees (a must for kids) and double-duty dresses with strategically placed pockets for children who like to collect everything in their path. Mightly is also launching new Fair Trade-certified products including kids underwear and adjustable-fit face masks. “Our goal as a company is to make ethically made children’s clothing accessible to more families and Fair Trade Certification is a key part of that commitment. I’ve seen firsthand the many ways that workers benefit from Fair Trade and am proud that Mightly is a part of the program,” said Mightly CEO Tierra Forte. Forte was previously a leading member of the team at Fair Trade USA that developed and launched the Fair Trade Apparel and Home Goods Standard, which has been widely adopted by sustainably minded brands. With a deep understanding of the process, from sourcing materials to selling products, Mightly ensures each step is kind to the Earth. Products are made from rain-fed, certified organic cotton and use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-approved dyes and inks. Mightly works exclusively with family farmers in India who sell the cotton through a farmer-owned nonprofit to the company’s Fair Trade factory in India.  Fair Trade-certified factories must adhere to rigorous social, environmental and economic standards to protect the health and safety of workers. For every Fair Trade-certified product sold, Mightly pays an additional Fair Trade premium directly back to the workers. Mightly’s comfort wear is made for children ages 2-12 and is available on Mightly.com. + Mightly Images via Mightly

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Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands

August 6, 2020 by  
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More than 1 million minks have been killed on farms in Spain and the Netherlands due to an outbreak of coronavirus among the furry animals. According to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, there has been coronavirus outbreaks on 26 and counting Dutch mink farms. The novel coronavirus has been detected in a number of animals including dogs, cats and tigers, although none of these animals has been proven to infect humans. However, scientists are now investigating the outbreak of a coronavirus among minks on farms in Spain and the Netherlands to determine whether these animals may have infected some humans. The outbreak of mink infections in Spain and the Netherlands is believed to have started from a human, although officials are not certain. It is believed that the virus spread from workers to the minks. Related: Animal rights groups work to “Open Cages” of animals on fur farms An outbreak was discovered at one mink farm near La Puebla de Valverde in Spain in May. Seven of the 14 employees tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the closure of the farm . Two other employees tested positive after the farm had been shut down. Due to the widespread infections in mink farms, over 1.1 million minks have been killed for the fear that they may spread coronavirus to humans. Because the virus strain affecting these animals is similar to the one affecting humans, there is a possibility of the minks spreading the virus to humans, according to Wim van der Poel, a veterinarian and professor at Wageningen University & Research. The World Health Organization has noted that the spread of the coronavirus on mink farms could have transmitted both from humans to the animals and from animals to humans. However, the organization says that such an occurrence is limited. “This gives us some clues about which animals may be susceptible to infection, and this will help us as we learn more about the potential animal reservoir of (the virus),” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO. Via Chicago Tribune Image via Derek Naulls

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1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands

APM: An Overlooked First Step Toward Digital Transformations

July 22, 2020 by  
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APM: An Overlooked First Step Toward Digital Transformations Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 are complex concepts, and many manufacturers struggle to sort through what it means and how to approach the topic.  Meanwhile, manufacturing and process businesses continue to face ongoing labor crunches and a mass retirement wave (taking significant tribal knowledge with them), which add to the urgency and stress to understand the concept, develop a strategy, and take action to maintain or increase a competitive edge. For manufacturers with industrial asset data but are struggling to put it to use, Asset Performance Management may offer a unique approach to launching your manufacturing digital transformation.  Many industrial businesses are finding that Asset Performance Management is a quick way to leverage their existing data to improve reliability and reduce their environmental footprint by improving operational efficiency. This webinar will offer: Practical definitions of digital transformation for industrial manufacturers Guidance for evaluating where your organization stands on a digitalized-operations scale How Asset Performance Management and Analytics fit into digital transformation Highlights of typical starting points, potential roadblocks and mitigations, and the benefits and differences between them Moderator: Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group Speakers: John Vargo, Director, MES & Digital Supply Chain, RoviSys Matt Kirchner, Head of Product, Atonix Digital If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Wed, 07/22/2020 – 13:24 Joel Makower Chairman & Executive Editor GreenBiz Group @makower John Vargo Director, MES & Digital Supply Chain RoviSys Matt Kirchner Head of Product Atonix Digital gbz_webcast_date Tue, 08/11/2020 – 10:00 – Tue, 08/11/2020 – 11:00

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APM: An Overlooked First Step Toward Digital Transformations

Paul Polman: ‘Businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail’

July 22, 2020 by  
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Paul Polman: ‘Businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail’ Deonna Anderson Wed, 07/22/2020 – 01:30 As people across the United States and the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice, the business community has an integral role to play in both the dialogue and the solutions to these social issues. Last week, former Unilever CEO Paul Polman urged business leaders to be courageous in their response. “What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet,” said Polman during his webcast conversation with Joel Makower, co-founder and executive editor of GreenBiz. “People are understanding how much more the relationships between biodiversity, climate, inequality — may I add racial tension to that? And I think it is not surprising that more people are asking now for a more holistic solution.” He noted that citizens, employees and executives alike want better solutions. Polman is co-founder and chairman of Imagine , a “for-benefit” organization and foundation, which he started in 2019 with Valerie Keller, CEO for the organization; Jeff Seabright, former chief sustainability officer of Unilever; and Kees Kruythoff, chairman and CEO of the Livekindly Company. Imagine’s mission is to mobilize business leaders to tackle climate change and global inequality.  During the webcast, Polman noted that one reason he co-founded Imagine was to help break down obstacles for companies trying to deliver on their sustainability commitments. “It’s difficult for individual companies now to do what the public at large expects from them. They might not have the skill. They might not have the capabilities. They might have the government working against them with policies, which still is the case in many places,” Polman said. “What we’re focused on now is, ‘Can we bring these CEOs together, at industry level, across value chains to make them more courageous leaders to drive these transitions faster?’”  Polman has spent decades at the helm of big corporations — in various roles at P&G and most recently as CEO of Unilever — and he’s known for his optimism.  In Polman’s work at Imagine, he aims to bring together key stakeholders who can make a big impact in their industries. “We carefully select the industries that we believe have the biggest impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially around climate change and inequality,” Polman said of Imagine, noting that the organization has started with the fashion industry and is starting to make traction in the food and finance industries. The COVID-19 pandemic puts Imagine’s efforts in the travel industry on hold. While Imagine is choosy for now about which organizations it is working with, Polman said there will be room for more collaborators in the future. “As these initiatives become bigger, we can include others in the circle, so to speak,” he noted. In the meantime, here are three major takeaways from last week’s conversation between Polman and Makower.  1. Companies that are focused on ESG performance are better off. “I think now it is clear … that if you want to maximize your shareholder return, it leads you automatically to a more responsible ESG, multi-stakeholder type business model,” Polman said. “That’s what the numbers keep telling us, and that’s also where the fiduciary duty is starting to move to.” In addition to meeting the expectations of financial stakeholders, there is also the need for companies to meet the needs of their employees. Right now, in particular, there’s an enormous tension within companies because employees want their C-suites to deliver on their promises — for example, truly embedding diversity and inclusion throughout their work in a way that is intentional and sustained. Companies that have not invested in their employees or their value chains “see that their relationships are broken now,” Polman said. “These are moments of truth where I think you can see what right corporate behavior leads to and what wrong corporate behavior leads to.” 2. Our social model is broken. The people who are most marginalized such as communities of color and those working in service industries have suffered most from the COVID-19 pandemic. Polman noted that people are starting to realize the importance of social cohesion. Moreover, their awareness about our broken systems is increasing. People in lower paid jobs “have disproportionately paid for this crisis and yet these are the people that we need the most,” he said. “These are the people that provide us healthcare, transport, agricultural products and the list goes on.” What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet. For some, including government officials and corporate leaders, there’s a sense of urgency to create a better, greener economy. Polman notes that this push is being driven by corporate leaders’ deep understanding that “businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail.” There continues to be a need to operate within our planetary boundaries and move to a more inclusive, sustainable form of capitalism, Polman said. 3. The real Black Swan has been the lack of leadership. The coronavirus pandemic has done a lot of damage, but Polman said that government leaders, their lack of leadership and inability to work together have been the major reason for the extent of the crisis. Polman noted that governments around the world are trying to put rescue packages in place that could help with the “greening” of society. But that’s not enough. “The other half still needs to catch on,” he said. In addition to discussing government leadership, Polman said corporate leaders must show courage. That leadership needs to be moral and human, he said, in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past. For example, Polman pointed to the 2008 financial crisis in which the U.S. federal government rescued the wealthy but left others behind to figure it out on their own. “It needs to be a leadership with more empathy and more compassion,” Polman said. At the end of the webcast, this question was asked: At a moment in time when all hope feels lost, how can a person stay hopeful? “I’m a prisoner of hope. And the second thing is I believe in the goodness of humanity,” Polman answered. “I’m hopeful for the young people because they have a higher sense of purpose and they’re going to play a bigger role. And I’m actually hopeful because of us having waited so long, the cost of inaction is now clearly higher. … And we need to translate [the hope] into action and resources.” Pull Quote What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet. Topics Leadership Social Justice Corporate Social Responsibility Racial Justice Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, speaking during the World Economic Forum panel on ending poverty through gender parity at Davos on January, 24 2015. Source:   Paul Kagame Flickr Paul Kagame Close Authorship

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Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species

July 13, 2020 by  
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The International Union for Conservation (IUCN) has uplisted the North Atlantic Right Whales from endangered to critically endangered . This move now raises concern about the possible extinction of these whales. The Right Whales have for a long time been listed as an endangered species in a bid to lobby authorities for protection. However, the state of care for the whales has not changed, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. The uplisting follows the sad news concerning the death of a Right Whale calf. The calf was one of the only 10 Right Whale calves born during the last calving season. According to NOAA, the calf was killed by a vessel strike on the coast of New Jersey . Related: Federal agencies propose designated marine habitat to help protect Pacific humpback whales IUCN updates its Red List of threatened species every year. According to the organization, overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that the Right Whales are dying at an alarming rate because of humans. The main causes of death include vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Despite the listing of these Right Whales as endangered species previously, they have continued to be killed by human actions. IUCN now hopes that by listing the whales as critically endangered, more efforts will be geared toward their protection. Since 2017, over 31 deaths of Right Whales were reported. Additionally, more than 10 Right Whales were reported as having serious injuries. Such a large number of dead and injured whales brought a sharp focus on the declining population of the Right Whales. Today, there are less than 400 existing right whales, and conservation groups are sounding an alarm over the state of this endangered species. Scientists warn that if the Right Whales are not protected, the situation will be irreversible within a decade. Conservationists are now lobbying governments to enhance the protection of the remaining whales. The NRDC has proposed establishing a Right Whales conservation act and advises that governments put in place legislation that will end the killing of the whales by vessel strikes . + IUCN Via NRDC Image via Allison Henry/NOAA

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Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species

Global e-waste growth rate poses increased danger to the environment

July 8, 2020 by  
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Recent research findings published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have revealed that global e-waste is growing at an alarming rate. Many people worldwide use electronic gadgets such as smartphones, laptops and TVs, but few countries have an elaborate plan for disposing or recycling the waste generated. Today, approximately 5.16 billion people use mobile phones globally . Interestingly, most people only use a new phone for 2.5 years . According to the ITU report , a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was discarded in 2019 alone. This is about 9.2 metric tons higher than just five years ago. Due to these figures, the organization is concerned over the improper disposal of e-waste. Some of the compounds in the waste are potential hazards to human health . Most of the e-waste was found to contain mercury, brominated flame-retardants and chlorofluorocarbons. Related: How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home According to the report, only 17.4% of e-waste is recycled annually, leaving about 83% of electronic waste to end up in landfills and bodies of water. According to Belmont Trading , many marine species are dying due to the increase in electronic waste in the oceans. “We know we’re losing biodiversity at a rate that is 1,000 times faster than we should be,” said Stuart Pimm, a conservation biologist at Duke University. In 2018, ITU set a target of recycling about 30% of e-waste produce annually by 2023. The aim is to increase the formal collection and recycling of e-waste to reduce the volume of waste going into oceans and landfills. The organization is now lobbying member states to adopt sustainable methods of e-waste disposal. In 2019, 78 countries are reported to have adopted an official e-waste policy. If more countries can do the same, global e-waste can decline in the near future. We can all contribute to the efforts toward a world with little e-waste. Before you dispose of that phone, laptop, TV or kitchen appliance, think about other ways you could use it, donate it or recycle it. + ITU Image via Willfried Wende

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Global e-waste growth rate poses increased danger to the environment

Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

July 8, 2020 by  
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Argyle Gardens, a newly-opened modular co-housing development, is providing affordable housing for individuals who formerly experienced homelessness and are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, Oregon. Opened at the beginning of April 2020, the project houses 72 residents in studio and SRO-style units. Because of the offsite modular construction, development costs for the units were 31% lower than typical affordable housing projects and the construction schedule was shortened by four months. Argyle Gardens is located in the Kenton area of north Portland and features a modular design brought to the area by Transition Projects specifically to address the current times of hardship for those who need the most support. Related: Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx There are four buildings in total, the largest of which contains 36 apartments. The buildings are positioned around a large, central community space that includes laundry facilities and support service offices. In addition to the main apartment building, there are three co-housing structures, which each contain two six-bedroom pods, two shared bathrooms and a kitchen. Argyle Gardens is near the light rail, a public park, bus lines and the downtown and commercial shopping areas. By June 1, over half of the units have already been filled by low-income residents and people who formerly experienced homelessness. Going a step further, community-building programming and supportive services have already been implemented on the property. Residential activities such as a gardening club and cooking demonstrations have started as well. The project was designed by Portland firm Holst Architecture and features gable roof trusses and translucent polycarbonate panels. The modules can adapt to any area that allows duplexes while still working within the existing zoning codes for Portland. Despite the site’s steep and vegetated topography, the design team accomplished balance in the environmental considerations required for modular construction. The high-efficiency housing model can be replicated and modified by other modular builders around the country. + Holst Architecture Photography by Josh Partee and Portlandrone via Holst Architecture

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Victory at Standing Rock as Dakota Access pipeline shut down

July 8, 2020 by  
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The Standing Rock Sioux tribe won a reprieve after the Monday decision by a U.S. District Court judge to suspend the Dakota Access pipeline pending further environmental review. The highly controversial  pipeline  has operated for three years. Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered both sides to submit briefs on whether the pipeline should continue operations. In March, Boasberg ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it permitted the pipeline and failed to acknowledge the devastating consequences of potential oil spills in the area. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline placed under environmental review The 1,172-mile pipeline transports oil underground from North Dakota to Illinois, passing through South Dakota and Iowa on its way. Standing Rock Reservation straddles the Dakotas’ state line and draws its water from the Missouri River. The tribe alleges the pipeline, which crosses beneath the river, pollutes their water . Energy Transfer, a Texas-based gas and oil company that owns the biggest share in the project, disagrees and claims the pipeline is safe. The $3.8 billion pipeline brought trouble from the start. During its construction in 2016-2017, tribal members began a protest campaign that drew international support. Activists from around the country stood with Standing Rock. Some clashes at the site grew violent, with police and security officers using attack dogs, water cannons and military equipment to clear protesters and their encampments. Political action persisted, with David Archambault II, then-Chairman for Standing Rock , addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2016. Senator and former Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders also supported the protests, and then-President Barack Obama spoke with tribal leaders.  In December 2016, before leaving office, the Obama administration ordered a full environmental review of the project, including analysis of the tribe’s treaty rights, and denied permits allowing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River. President Donald  Trump  signed an executive order expediting construction during his first week in office. But for now, the tribal  water  supply is safe. “Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline,” Mike Faith, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, said in a statement. “This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning.” + The Guardian Via Earth Justice Images via Indrid Cold , Fibonacci Blue and John Duffy

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