Peccaries, Deep Rock Mining, and Bears, oh my!

In this week's news round up, we explore the wonderful (and less wonderful) worlds of the South American rainforest, the negative effects of mining, and historic EPR legislation.

Take, for instance, the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) discovery that sushi isn't just for a Saturday date night with your girlfriends: fish is also fodder for the native Brazillian mammal known as the peccary. Douglas Fernandes snapped the first known photos of the previously exclusively vegetarian creature. It is yet another example of the adaptive nature of ecosystems - but also the importance of preserving them. You can read more at WCS's website here.

Speaking of conservation, Disney recently named the Corps of Community Park Guards as "Disney Conservation Heroes." A joint venture by Overbrook Grantee the Fundacion Cordillera Tropical (FCT), CELEC EP Unidad de Negocio Hidropaute, and the Ministry of Environment, it aims to strengthen the protection of the valuable natural resources found in the Nudo del Azuay region of southern Ecuador. The Guards have been instrumental in monitoring and protecting the regional spectacled bear population. Put on your glasses and read more about their efforts here.

In contrast to the lush rainforests in Brazil and Ecuador, many parts of the world are suffering the effects of desertification. Exacerbating those effects, Earthworks outlines in its new in-depth report, are hard-rock mining companies. It estimates that 17 to 27 billion gallons of polluted water will be generated by forty mines each year, every year, in perpetuity. This is equivalent to the amount of water in 2 trillion water bottles – enough to stretch from the earth to the moon and back 54 times. You can also learn more about its efforts to reform the industry by checking out the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance.

And, to paint a more positive picture, the Vermont State Legislature voted on May 14 to enact a law requiring manufacturers to fund and operate a post-consumer paint take-back program across the state. This makes Vermont the 5th state to enact such legislation. Similar to the other paint take-back programs, Vermont's will be funded through a small per-container assessment fee ("PaintCare Recovery Fee") that manufacturers pay to PaintCare. Manufacturers pass the assessment fee onto retailers, who then pass it on to consumers at point-of-sale. You can read more about it here, and on the Product Stewardship Institute's efforts to nationalize EPR legislation here.