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Mayotte feels left high and dry as water crisis worsens
MAMOUDZOU, Mayotte, 30 September 2023 (AFP) - Water has been cut off two days out of every three this month in France's poorest department Mayotte, an Indian Ocean archipelago left underdeveloped in one of the world's wealthiest nations. Although Mayotte's people and representatives have pushed for help from Paris, they have been left disappointed by a piecemeal government reaction.

Pacific countries endorse Guiding Framework for Invasive Species Management
APIA, Samoa, 29 September 2023 (SPREP) - Invasive species are a threat to Pacific communities, they are destructive to native biodiversity and the natural environment and have major socio-economic impacts on communities and national development. Considered “the most significant driver of population declines and species extinctions in island ecosystems worldwide”, invasive species cause extensive economic loss and compromise human health.

Genome study reveals 30 years of Darwin's Finch evolution
COLLEGE STATION, US, 29 September 2023 (Texas A&M Univ) - A landmark study on contemporary evolutionary change in natural populations released by an international team of researchers led by Texas A&M University professor Dr. Leif Andersson reveals that 45% of the variation in the highly heritable beak size of Darwin’s finches can be attributed to only six genomic loci (fixed positions on a chromosome). Among these is a supergene that comprises four genes, which was under strong natural selection as a result of a two-year drought.

Indonesia's 'Jurassic Park'
NEW YORK, US, 29 September 2023 (Insider) - There are only an estimated 1,400 adult Komodo dragons and 2,000 juveniles remaining in the wild. Known for their size, sharp teeth, and long tongues, Komodo dragons are only found on a few remote, volcanic islands in Southeast Asia. Now, with tourist numbers predicted to grow exponentially in coming decades along with climate change, wild Komodo dragons may be at risk. 

Thousands of salmon escaped an Icelandic fish farm
WESTFJORDS, Iceland, 30 September 2023 (Guardian) - Aquaculture is bringing jobs and money to rural regions, but on 20 August thousands of fish grown in pens from a Norwegian strain escaped. They have since been found upstream in rivers, endangering the wild salmon population and hitting the headlines in Iceland. Suspected escapees have now been found in at least 32 rivers across north-west Iceland, according to unconfirmed social media posts, one of which showed fish covered in sea lice, a parasite that can be lethal to wild fish.

Pacific Islands sanctuary debated at US House hearing
PORTLAND, US, 29 September 2023 (NF) - The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to protect 770,000 square miles with a new mid-Pacific marine sanctuary took center stage at a congressional oversight committee hearing, with commercial fishing advocates arguing the process of setting aside ocean waters can short-circuit requirements for public input in fisheries policymaking.

How 107 Bangladeshis became enslaved on a Pacific island
PORT VILA, Vanuatu, 30 September 2023 (Al Jazeera) -  When Bangladeshi businessman Mustafizur Shahin left for a job opportunity overseas he did not expect to be held captive on a Pacific island, forced to work without pay, physically abused when he complained and saved only after he made a daring escape.

Risk of miscalculation rises in South China Sea
LONDON, UK, 29 September 2023 (Guardian) - Tensions over the resource-rich region are intensifying as China attempts to cut access for nations with competing claims, such as the Philippines.

Cuban officials warn of increased blackouts due to fuel shortages
HAVANA, Cuba, 28 September 2023 (Reuters) - Cuban officials have warned that blackouts on the island will increase significantly due to a lack of fuel, potentially worsening the country’s plight as it deals with food and medicine shortages.

Japan's islands introducing 'entrance tax' to beat overtourism
TOKYO, Japan, 29 September 2023 (Nikkei) - A growing number of Japanese islands are introducing an "entrance tax" on visitors as they try to curb overcrowding. Starting in October, the Hiroshima prefecture city of Hatsukaichi will impose a tax on visitors to the island of Miyajima, home to the Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site.

Macron proposes granting limited autonomy to Corsica
PARIS, France, 28 September 2023 (AP) - French President Emmanuel Macron proposed granting limited autonomy for Corsica on Thursday in a modest step toward nationalist sentiment on the Mediterranean island. In a speech he described as “an outstretched hand,” Macron said: “Let us have the audacity to build a Corsican autonomy within the republic.”

Taiwan unveils new submarine to fend off China
LONDON, UK, 28 September 2023 (BBC) - Taiwan has unveiled its first domestically-made submarine as it bolsters its defences against a possible Chinese attack. President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the launch ceremony in the port city of Kaohsiung and the submarine has been named Haikun after a mythical massive fish that can also fly, which appears in classic Chinese literature.

Guernsey museum brings Renoir's art to island that inspired him
LONDON, UK, 29 September 2023 (Guardian) - The island of Guernsey may be best known as a tax haven for the super-wealthy, a pleasant holiday destination, and for the rich milk its docile cows produce. But thanks to a brief sojourn by Pierre-Auguste Renoir 140 years ago, and the bold thinking of culture lovers on the island, it is becoming a draw for art fans. 

Netflix picks up Billionaire Island drama
PORTLAND, US, 29 September 2023 (SS) - Filming is underway in Froya, Norway, on the first season of a Netflix project titled Billionaire Island, a drama about familial rivalry within the global salmon industry.

Plan to control the number of Kangaroo Island's koalas
VICTOR HARBOR, Australia, 29 September 2023 (ABC) - South Australia's environment minister says her department will consider all available options, including sterilisation, contraception and relocation in developing a new plan to manage the growing number of koalas on Kangaroo Island. 

As temperatures rise, Sicily turns to exotic fruits
GIARRE, Italy, 28 September 2023 (AFP) - Avocados, mangos, bananas and passion fruit - a wealth of exotic produce is growing under the shadow of Sicily's Mount Etna, as the Italian island's farmers adapt to global warming.

Forest restoration can fare better with human helping hand
MALUA, Malaysia, 28 September 2023 (Mongabay) - A two-decade-old experiment in the tropical rainforest of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, is beginning to reveal that human-assisted restoration of logged forests can increase the speed of an ecosystem’s recovery. 

Water-conscious Swedish islanders compete for ugliest lawn title
LONDON, UK, 29 September 2023 (Guardian) - Dry, brown grass is no longer a source of shame on one Swedish island where residents have been competing over the “ugliest lawn” in an attempt to save water – and it seems the trend is spreading. Gotland’s ugliest lawn contest was created last year because of an irrigation ban which prevented residents from watering their lawns.

El Nino fires bring heat and sickness to Sumatran province
PALEMBANG, Indonesia, 28 September 2023 (Mongabay) - New acute respiratory infections in Indonesia’s Palembang city, on the island of Sumatra, are on track to surpass the total number recorded there in 2022, as firefighters scramble to confront wildfires brought on by this year’s El Niño dry season.

Water is power on Thailand's Koh Samui
KOH SAMUI, Thailand, 30 September 2023 (CNA) - Just a few blocks back from the shimmering lights and pool parties along Koh Samui’s famous white beach strip, young men in pickup trucks are keeping the island functioning. They are water runners. A rudimentary pump system extracts groundwater from deep below the surface before it is filtered and then tapped into waiting vehicles.

Scottish seabird numbers decline a 'wake-up call'
LONDON, UK, 27 September 2023 (BBC) - Almost half of Scotland's seabirds have been lost in under four decades, a study has found. Populations dropped by 49% between 1986 and 2019 across 11 seabird species, before the current bird flu epidemic. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) State of Nature report says the losses are part of a wider trend.

The plastic-eating bacteria that could change the world
LONDON, UK, 28 September 2023 (Guardian) - In 2001, a group of Japanese scientists made a startling discovery at a rubbish dump. In trenches packed with dirt and waste, they found a slimy film of bacteria that had been happily chewing through plastic bottles, toys and other bric-a-brac. As it broke down the trash, the bacteria harvested the carbon in the plastic for energy, which it used to grow, move and divide into even more plastic-hungry bacteria.

Solomon Islands Wogasia spear festival
SANTA CATALINA, Solomon Islands, 28 September 2023 (ABC) - On a remote beach in Solomon Islands, family members sort out their differences with spears. But another threat is proving far more dangerous.

Nature doesn't know borders: Collaboration for conservation in Cyprus
NICOSIA, Cyprus, 27 September 2023 (IPS) - Along the 180-kilometer-long buffer zone separating the north and south of Cyprus, there is a surprising sign of unity: recycled ammunition boxes no longer hold bullets. They are home to baby birds. Over the past five years, UNFICYP have collaborated with local authorities to place 100 boxes throughout the uninhabited border area. An alternative to harmful pesticides, the man-made nests attract barn owls who prey on rodents. 

Desalination system that could produce cheap drinking water
BOSTON, US, 28 September 2023 (SPX) - Engineers at MIT and in China are aiming to turn seawater into drinking water with a completely passive device that is inspired by the ocean, and powered by the sun. The configuration of the device allows water to circulate in swirling eddies, in a manner similar to the much larger "thermohaline" circulation of the ocean. This circulation, combined with the sun's heat, drives water to evaporate, leaving salt behind. The resulting water vapor can then be condensed and collected as pure, drinkable water. 

Climate change seen abetting child marriages
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 28 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Marriage before the age of 18 is classified as a form of gender-based violence by the United Nations, but is commonly practiced in low-income communities to mitigate household economic pressures. On Jakarta’s northern coastline, child marriage is common in fishing communities responding to inflationary pressures and declining stocks of fish in near-shore waters.

Seychelles assumes presidency of SIDS DOCK
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 27 September 2023 (Nation) - Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan is the new president of SIDS DOCK, a small island developing states initiative for renewable energy and sustainable development.

The Haida nature reserve that became a model for the world
HAIDI GWAII, Canada, 28 September 2023 (Guardian) - Thirty years ago, when the people of Haida Gwaii blockaded logging roads in British Columbia, few foresaw the result – the remarkable Gwaii Haanas agreement that has reshaped how to manage contested areas.

Rosebank oil field given go-ahead by regulator
LONDON, UK, 27 September 2023 (BBC) - The controversial Rosebank offshore development off Shetland has been granted consent by regulators. Located 80 miles of west of Shetland, Rosebank is the UK's largest untapped oil field and is estimated to contain 500 million barrels of oil.

Call for extra money to eradicate stoats from Orkney
LONDON, UK, 24 September 2023 (BBC) - A project to eradicate stoats from Orkney could take another five years and cost a further £8m to complete, it has been claimed. The Orkney Native Wildlife Project began trapping the animals in 2019 and has so far removed more than 5,000.

Whipsnade Zoo snails move to new Pacific island home
LONDON, UK, 16 September 2023 (BBC) - Thousands of extinct-in-the-wild snails bred in British zoos have been flown to their new French Polynesian home. Whipsnade Zoo's invertebrate specialist Tyrone Capel has this week released 1,600 of the fingernail-sized snails onto the volcanic island of Moorea.

Maldives: The presidential poll with India and China on the ballot
LONDON, UK, 27 September 2023 (BBC) - The Maldives is the last place you would expect a geopolitical rivalry to play out. The island nation which consists of about 1,200 coral islands and atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean will see a run-off poll between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and opposition candidate Mohamed Muizzu on 30 September. But also on the ballot are India and China. Both countries are trying to strengthen their presence in the strategically located islands which straddle busy east-west shipping lanes.

SIDS take high-emitting countries to court to protect the ocean
LONDON, UK, 10 September 2023 (Guardian) - In a landmark hearing, small island nations disproportionately affected by the climate crisis will take on high-emitting countries in a court in Hamburg, Germany, on 11 September, in what is being seen as the first climate justice case aimed at protecting the ocean.

A paradise island on Australia's GBR where you make a pledge
LONDON, UK, 27 September 2023 (BBC) - "I love being told that something can't be done," said Peter Gash with twinkling eyes, as the managing director of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort led me into a structure resembling a giant chicken coop, its open-air design allowing the sea breeze to naturally cool the 248 batteries inside. Storing the energy captured by more than 906 solar panels, this humble solar power station generates enough renewable energy to run the entire resort. 

Small islands, invasive species need research, policy attention
LAGUNA, Philippines, 27 September 2023 (Rappler) - Filipino and Chilean scientists recently advised governments and communities of the significance of safeguarding small islands and warned them against the aggressive rates of invasive alien species that contribute to biodiversity loss.

No humans allowed: New Zealand's subantarctic islands
LONDON, UK, 22 September 2027 (FT) - Viewing the uninhabited Snares Islands’ rich wildlife is only possible from the sea, but it gives a glimpse into the country’s conservation challenges.

Navigating challenges of new city development for Nusantara
BANGKOK, Thailand, 27 September 2023 (IPS) - Many nations are engaged in ambitious urban planning endeavors and the creation of new capital cities. Nusantara, Indonesia, is the latest in a series of modern cities that have sprung up across Asia. The government aims to create a model capital city based on the principles of liveability and green urban development on the island of Borneo.

French Pacific archipelago divided over shark hunt
NOUMEA, New Caledonia, 10 September 2023 (AFP) - After killing seven people in the past five years, sharks are enemy number one in New Caledonia where the authorities have declared open season on the species in the hope of making beaches safe again. But environmentalists are on the side of the sharks, saying the local government's order to cull the animals has led to indiscriminate killing and harm to marine life.

Ecuador to reintroduce species on Galapagos island
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, 10 September 2023 (AFP) - Ecuador's government has announced it will spend $3.4 million on reintroducing 12 endemic bird and turtle species that have disappeared from an island in the Galapagos archipelago where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution. The project, funded with government money and donations, will also seek to weed out invasive rodents and cats on the island of Floreana.

Court ruling spares Papua forest from further clearing for palm oil
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 11 September 2023 (Mongabay) - An Indonesian court has rejected lawsuits filed by two plantation companies operating in the Tanah Merah mega oil palm plantation project in the country’s Papua region. The ruling means the companies are legally required to stop clearing forest in their concessions and preserve what remains.

Fiji's first Indigenous-owned carbon credit project
LABASA, Fiji, 12 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Fiji's first verified forest carbon credit project is based in the Drawa rainforest on the country’s largest island, and has been earning income for its Indigenous landowners for five years now, in exchange for keeping their forests standing amid pressure from logging companies to fell its ancient trees.

Kellogg's latest to freeze Indonesian supplier over palm oil violations
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 14 September 2023 (Mongabay) - U.S. food giant Kellogg’s is the latest major consumer brand to suspend its purchases of palm oil from Indonesian plantation giant Astra Agro Lestari, following reports of environmental and social violations. The cereal maker joins the likes of Hershey’s, PepsiCo, and Oreo maker Mondel?z in distancing itself from AAL, the second-largest palm oil company in Indonesia.

Climate resilience from mountaintop to seafloor
WINNIPEG, Canada, 27 September 2023 (IISD) - In 2004, Hurricane Ivan ravaged the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, claiming the lives of 34 people and causing damage worth twice the nation’s annual economic output. As Grenadians rallied in the disaster’s aftermath, the government made climate change resilience a national policy priority.

Investors over islanders as Indonesia uses force to push development project
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 21 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Critics have questioned the Indonesian government’s priorities as it prepares to evict longtime residents of a small island to make way for a $25 billion development that includes a solar panel factory and a tourism resort.

Fisherwomen fight plan for coastal salt farms on Indonesia's Madura Island
SUMENEP, Indonesia, 22 September 2023 (Mongabay) - A group of women in Sumenep district of East Java province is leading a protest against the local government’s proposal to develop a salt farm on 20 hectares (49 acres) of land on the coast of Gersik Putih village.

First Nation and scientists partner to revive climate-saving eelgrass
MALIKO'MIJK, Canada, 22 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Decades ago, the sea around Maliko’mijk Island was an expansive green carpet of eelgrass, the meadows so thick that members of the Pictou Landing First Nation had to cut channels through them for their boats to pass.

Deforestation for palm oil continues in Indonesia's 'orangutan capital'
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 22 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Despite various commitments from global brands and the government to protect Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, home to some of the rarest species on Earth, development of new palm oil plantations and drainage of carbon-rich peatlands continue in the ecosystem, a new investigation finds.

Delay of Indonesia's energy transition plan a chance to get public input
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 25 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Observers are calling for greater public participation and transparency in a $20 billion effort by Indonesia to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, following the government’s failure to publish the plan for the phased transition in time.

Indigenous community fighting a mine in Palawan wins a milestone legal verdict
PALAWAN, Philippines, 25 September 2023 (Mongabay) - In a move celebrated as a victory by an Indigenous community that since 2005 has been fighting plans to mine nickel in a protected area, the Philippine Supreme Court issued a verdict mandating the company and government agencies involved in the project to address Indigenous concerns about forest destruction.

Experts slam massive 'discount' in fines for Indonesian palm oil billionaire
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 27 Sepember 2023 (Mongabay) - Experts have slammed a court ruling that significantly slashes the fines imposed on Indonesian palm oil billionaire Surya Darmadi, even as it increased his jail sentence, in the biggest corruption case in the country’s history.

From rat-ridden to reserve, Redonda is an island restoration role model
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 27 September 2023 (Mongabay) - In 2016, conservationists began restoring the island of Redonda, part of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean, by removing invasive rats and goats. Shortly after removing these invasive species, vegetation on the island sprang back to life, and seabirds and other wildlife recolonized the island.

Leaders move forward on global nature goals
GLAND, Switzerland, 27 September 2023 (WWF) - At a WWF-backed event alongside the UN General Assembly, world leaders and civil society representatives sent out a strong signal of unified determination to rapidly deliver on landmark nature agreements secured in the past year, including the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the High Seas Treaty. In addition, new commitments to protect the waters around New Caledonia (130,000 sq km) and Niue (127,000 sq km) were announced together with a major restoration project for over 1,100 sq km of marine ecosystems was announced by the island states of Comoros, St. Lucia and Vanuatu. 

Urgent action needed for sea turtle conservation in Fiji
SUVA, Fiji, 14 September 2023 (SPREP) - New preliminary research findings highlight persistent and alarming rate of ongoing sea turtle harvesting, which directly contradicts the well-defined regulations prohibiting this practice. A troubling trend that warrants immediate attention. The turtle, also known as vonu or ika bula, holds significance within Fiji's customary rituals and events involving chiefs, such as for their installation ceremonies, weddings and funerals. 

Galapagos Islands tightens biosecurity
LIMA, Peru, 20 September 2023 (Guardian) - National park authorities on the Galapagos Islands have heightened biosecurity measures to protect the archipelago’s unique fauna from the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza after scientists confirmed that three birds had died from the virus.

We live on one of the world's most remote islands
LONDON, UK, 25 September 2023 (Sun) - One of the most remote islands in the world has a population of just seven people but its residents claim they are never lonely. The island of Stora Dimun is the smallest of 18 islands making up the archipelago of the Faroe Islands.

Irish islands face housing issues that may affect populations
DUBLIN, Ireland, 22 September 2023 (RTE) - People already living on offshore islands may have to leave and others who want to move there feel unable to do so over concerns about housing supply and affordability, according to new research. The findings from the Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann's Housing Survey will be outlined at a historic Oireachtas Committee due to be held on Árainn Mhór, Co Donegal.

Cursed island packed with 160k corpses
LONDON, UK, 25 September 2023 (Sun) - A forbidden "island of ghosts" which has the remains of 160,000 cremated corpses in its soil has been left abandoned for the last 55 years. The small Italian island of Poveglia, located between Venice and Lido in the north of the country, remains closed to visitors unless granted special permission.

US recognizes Cook Islands and Niue as independent states
WASHINGTON, US, 25 September 2023 (CNN) - The US is formally establishing diplomatic relations with a pair of Pacific Island nations Monday, recognizing the Cook Islands and Niue for the first time. The recognition comes as President Joe Biden seeks to strengthen relationships in the Indo-Pacific region as a counter to China’s rising influence, something that’s been a major priority since he took office. 

EC President visits island after migrant boat fears
LONDON, UK, 17 September 2023 (BBC) - The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has visited a migrant reception centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa, after the country's prime minister called for EU help with small boat arrivals. More than 8,000 migrants have arrived on the island over the past three days.

Orkney to get two electric ferries for three-year trial
LONDON, UK, 11 September 2023 (BBC) - Orkney is to trial two electric ferries after being awarded more than £15m of funding. The hydrofoil vessels - which have the hull above the water - are being supplied by Belfast-based Artemis Technologies for the three-year trial.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines Mayreau island is a cultural bastion
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, 12 September 2023 (GV) - Mayreau, with its population of approximately 350 people, is part of theTobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP). The Tobago Cays were designated a conservation area in 1987 under Fisheries Regulations, and the TCMP was created in late 1997. Coral reefs are essential to marine biodiversity conservation, housing seagrass beds and important feeding groups, and offering breeding grounds for threatened turtles and other marine life. Mayreau itself has vulnerable but extant endangered mangroves.

How Mayreau Island is tackling food insecurity
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, 12 September 2023 (GV) - The World Bank has funded St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2023 Food Insecurity Project at a sum of USD 10 million. It aims to mitigate the negative impacts on the country’s agricultural and fisheries sectors, which have been hard hit over the years by the Soufrière volcano's eruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic, tropical storms and droughts.

KHFN invest in solar power, infrastructure in Gwa'yas'dums
VANCOUVER, Canada, 13 September 2023 (CF) - Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation leaders and members have come together around a shared vision for revitalizing the village of Gwa'yas'dums, the Nation’s main community. The village, located on the west side of Gilford Island in what’s known as the Broughton Archipelago, is a small, close-knit community nestled between dense rainforest and shell-laced shoreline.

Sea sponges offer lifeline to women in Zanzibar
LONDON, UK, 13 September 2023 (BBC) - As ocean temperatures rise, single mothers and divorced women in Zanzibar switch from seaweed to sea sponge farming to stay afloat. Farming sea sponges has become a lucrative business for these women in recent years. Many women in Jambiani farm seaweed, but low yields due to rising sea temperatures have started to make it difficult to earn a living. In 2009, some women began switching to growing puff-like soft sea sponges: primitive aquatic animals that, when harvested, are used for bathing and cleaning.

Niue sells stakes in ocean to fund conservation
SYDNEY, Australia, 19 September 2023 (Reuters) - The Pacific Island nation of Niue wants to raise $18 million by selling sponsorship of its ocean, a novel funding initiative that comes as the region struggles to mitigate the impact of climate change with economies battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 70 countries sign historic UN treaty to protect high seas
PARIS, France, 20 September 2023 (AFP) - Sixty-seven countries at the UN on Wednesday signed a first-ever treaty on protecting the international high seas, raising hopes that it will come into force soon and protect threatened ecosystems vital to the planet. But each country must still ratify the treaty under its own domestic process. The treaty will come into force 120 days after 60 countries ratify it.

'Totally unsustainable' sand mining harms marine environments
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 19 September 2023 (Mongabay) - New data from the newly launched platform Marine Sand Watch suggest that the dredging industry is extracting about 6 billion tons of sand from the marine environment annually. Experts say the extraction of sand can have numerous impacts on the marine environment, such as harming biodiversity, polluting water and making coastlines more vulnerable to sea level rise.

Greek island idyll where electric vehicles rule
LONDON, UK, 19 September 2023 (Guardian) - The Dodecanese island of Astypalea is waving goodbye to petrol and diesel in a groundbreaking project that has been welcomed by local people.

Essential to preserve 'legacy' of Great Blasket island
DUBLIN, Ireland, 10 September 2023 (IT) - It is essential to preserve the “irreplaceable legacy” of Great Blasket Island, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said. Mr Varadkar visited the Co Kerry island on Saturday to see ongoing restoration works and attend the annual Ceiliúradh an Bhlascaoid commemoration.

The Greek island fuelling the Arab world's sweet tooth
CHIOS, Greece, 8 September 2023 (ME) - At first glance, the shaded, cobblestoned central square in the medieval village of Kalamoti on the Greek island of Chios, seems far removed from the bustling streets of Amman, Jordan. Kalamoti is one of 24 Mastichochoria, or mastic villages, of southern Chios, the only place in the world where the rare, cedar-flavored resin of the same name is cultivated.

Slave descendants on Georgia island fighting to keep protections
DARIEN, US, 8 September 2023 (AP) - Descendants of enslaved people who populate the tiny island of Sapelo off the coast of Georgia are once again fighting their local government, this time over a proposal to eliminate protections that for decades helped shield the Gullah-Geechee residents from high taxes and pressure to sell their land to developers.

The land and sea routes to 2030
LONDON, UK, 7 September 2023 (Nature) - Islands have unique vulnerabilities to biodiversity loss and climate change. Current Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement are insufficient to avoid the irreversible loss of critical island ecosystems. Existing research, policies, and finance also do not sufficiently address small islands’ social-environmental challenges. 

North Keppel becomes first carbon negative Great Barrier Reef island
ROCKHAMPTON, Australia, 8 September 2023 (ABC) - North Keppel Island off Queensland's Capricorn Coast is being completely powered by renewable energy, making it the first carbon negative island in the Great Barrier Marine Park. It is home to an environmental education centre run by the Queensland government. About 2,500 students stay on the island for school camp each year, where they learn about climate change, First Nations culture and sustainable living. 

The joy and pain of life on a desert island
LONDON, UK, 7 September 2023 (Guardian) - They are the stuff of dreams and nightmares – but what is it like to live on one? Here, four intrepid souls explain how they made a home in some of the most remote places on Earth.

Dynamite use sends shockwaves through fishing industries
PULMUDAI, Sri Lanka, 7 September 2023 (Guardian) - Though illegal in Sri Lanka, blast fishing thrives across the island with a variety of explosives such as gelignite, watergel sticks and detonators, often smuggled from stone quarries. Between 2019 and 2023, the Sri Lankan navy said it seized 18 gelignite sticks, 12,570 watergel sticks and 3,073 detonators, but that many more slip through.

Pacific alliance adopts moratorium on deep-sea mining
PORT MORESBY, PNG, 6 September 2023 (Mongabay) - A moratorium on deep-sea mining established by a group of Pacific island nations has struck a blow to the Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea, once poised to be the first country in the world to mine the deep sea, and its operator, Canada-based Nautilus Minerals.

Experts see red over planned green investment label for coal plants
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 6 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Indonesia’s financial regulator is considering encouraging investments in coal plants that power the metal-processing industry, prompting criticism from energy and finance observers. The proposed green label would put these highly polluting plants in the same favorable investment category as renewable energy projects, on the basis that the products they’re helping churn out will be used in batteries and electric vehicles.

Small-scale fishers flag use of banned net by outsiders
SUMENEP, Indonesia, 7 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Small-scale fishers in Indonesia’s Masalembu Islands have filed a petition to the government calling for the establishment of an exclusive fishing zone off-limits to larger trawlers that use a controversial type of net that scoops up everything in its path.

Hundreds abandon Caribbean island home
CARTI SUGTUPU, Panama, 6 September 2023 (AFP) - On a tiny Caribbean island, hundreds of people are preparing to pack up and move to escape the rising waters threatening to engulf their already precarious homes. Surrounded by idyllic clear waters, the densely populated island of Carti Sugtupu off Panama's north coast has barely an inch to spare with houses crammed together - some jutting out into the sea on stilts. The island's Indigenous community of fewer than 2,000 souls scrapes by without potable water or sanitation.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands turtles dying near runway
SYDNEY, Australia, 6 September 2023 (ABC) - A green turtle, skinny and starving, struggles to catch the tide out in a milky-looking lagoon on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The turtle can't find food because the meadows of seagrass that were once plentiful in this lagoon on Australia's most remote territory, have died. The lagoon is situated at the end of a 2-kilometre-long runway which is pivotal to plans by the Australian Defence Force and its allies for military surveillance of the Sunda and Lombok Strait that sit to the north of this coral atoll.

Indonesia awards biggest Indigenous forest claim yet
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 5 September 2023 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government has recognized the rights of 15 Indigenous Dayak communities to forests on Borneo covering a combined area larger than Jakarta. The nearly 70,000 hectares is the largest cluster of customary forests ever recognized by the state.

Indonesian voters want a clean energy plan
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 6 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Environmental policy experts are calling on the presidential hopefuls in Indonesia’s election next year to lay out their strategies for moving the country away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner sources of energy.

How can tourists help Maui recover?
WASHINGTON, US, 5 September 2023 (NatGeog) - Livelihoods across one of Hawaii’s most popular islands are suffering as a result of one of the deadliest U.S. wildfires in a century. According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, about three million tourists visit Maui each year, spending about $5.4 billion. Before the wildfires, about 8,000 people were arriving on Maui each day. Now, it’s around 2,000. After advising travelers to stay away, lawmakers, tourism officials, businesses, and even residents are now urging them to visit - mindfully.

Pacific Games stir controversy in Solomon Islands
HONIARA, Solomon Islands, 5 September 2023 (Guardian) - The host nation has attracted criticism over the price tag of November’s event, while an expert labels Chinese funding ‘shrewd diplomacy’.

Scottish islands being put at risk by an ongoing ferry crisis
LYON, France, 5 September 2023 (Euronews) - The future of many of Scotland's island communities are being put at risk by the unreliable state of the country's ageing ferries, which have seriously impacted the ability of islanders to get to the mainland for medical care, and stopped essential supplies reaching islanders.

Marshall Islands are decarbonising ocean transport
MAJURO, Marshall Islands, 5 September 2023 (ABC) - The Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport recently published a framework that aims to fully decarbonise transport in the Marshall Islands by 2050. Some of the potential technologies in the framework include wingships: vessels that are part-boat, part-plane that fly a few metres above the sea surface on a cushion of air. They're much faster and more fuel-efficient than a standard boat of the same size.

Building resilience in the tropical islands of Sao Tome and Principe
WASHINGTON, US, 4 September 2023 (WB) - Safety-at-sea kits that include GPS, sealed pockets to protect electronics, lifejackets and training, have been distributed to about 3,000 fishers (out of an estimated 4,125 fishers) under successive World Bank projects. The kits are part of a broad menu of interventions that are helping build greater resilience and reduce poverty in the small island state of São Tomé and Príncipe.  About 223,000 people live on the archipelago and about 15.4% of the population falls under the international poverty line.

South Georgia celebrates Toothfish Day
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 5 September 2023 (MercoPress) - Toothfish Day is a public holiday celebrated in the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The holiday marks the end of the toothfish (Dissostichus, also called Chilean sea bass, and merluza negra in the River Plate) fishing season. Locals (which at this time of year number around 16) celebrate with a toast and some bake gingerbread toothfish cookies. 

Wolf spider discovered on St Helena already endangered
LONDON, UK, 5 September 2023 (Guardian) - Three new species of spider have been discovered on the island of St Helena, in the South Atlantic, prompting calls from scientists to quickly identify unknown invertebrates so they can be protected. The wolf spiders bring the total number of species that exist nowhere else in the world except this remote island to 505.

In Mexico's Holbox, a natural paradise suffers from its own popularity
HOLBOX, Mexico, 4 September 2023 (Mongabay) - The island of Holbox is part of the protected nature reserve of Yum Balam, whose lagoons, mangroves and dunes are home to threatened species such as manatees, whale sharks and turtles. National and international investors have converted the white sand beaches into a tourism hotspot, with the island experiencing an unchecked construction boom in recent years, driven and protected by politicians and a legal vacuum.

Archaeologists uncover complete Neolithic cursus on the Isle of Arran
LONDON, UK, 4 September 2023 (Guardian) - In August, archaeologists working alongside local volunteers began their excavation at Drumadoon on the Isle of Arran of what is almost certainly the only complete Neolithic cursus monument found in Britain. These vast rectangular enclosures, which date back to between 4000 and 3000BC, are believed to have been built as spaces for procession, ceremony and gathering, deliberately separate from quotidian settlements or farming land.

Mining once made Banaba unliveable, now residents fear its return
LONDON, UK, 4 September 2023 (Guardian) - In the 20th century, the tiny island – barely six sq km – was rapaciously mined for phosphate, to feed the world’s burgeoning fertiliser industry. By the second half of the century, so much of the island had been mined, and fresh water stores left so precarious, that it was judged to be unliveable and the vast majority of Banabans were relocated to the island of Rabi, in Fiji, to restart their lives there. Now, an Australian company believes that mining the island’s remaining deposits could represent the best chance the island has of being restored from the ravages of last century.

Breeding breakthrough paves way for intensive tuna farming on land
SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, 4 September 2023 (Guardian) - The first successful breeding of Atlantic bluefin tuna at a Spanish research centre has spurred at least two companies to ramp up plans for the industrial farming of land-bred tuna. After the breakthrough in July at the government-run Mazarrón aquaculture plant in Murcia, the company Next Tuna said it plans to begin building a tuna farm north of Valencia. Nortuna, a Norwegian company, has also signed a deal with Mazarrón for the firm’s pilot site in Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa.

Scottish secretary to discuss Shetland tunnels plan
LONDON, UK, 4 September 2023 (BBC) - Shetland Council leaders are to meet Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to discuss building a series of tunnels linking the islands. Under the proposals, three separate tunnels would connect Shetland mainland with Yell, Whalsay and Bressay, while a fourth would link Yell to Unst. The project would also see the introduction of an improved inter-island ferry system.

Invasive species threaten world's diversity
LONDON, UK, 4 September 2023 (Guardian) - Invasive species are costing the world at least $423bn every year and have become a leading threat to the diversity of life on Earth, according to a UN assessment. Eradication programmes on islands, which are disproportionately affected by the spread of invasive species, have had an 88% success rate, according to the report.

Colby College finding purpose for Midcoast islands
ALLEN ISLAND, US, 3 September 2023 (PPH) - Last year, Colby College in Maine purchased Allen Island and neighboring Benner Island, which had for many summers been home to Andrew and Betsy Wyeth. The natural environment featured prominently in Andrew Wyeth’s art, but Betsy Wyeth was the one who shaped this landscape with the same discerning eye that critiqued her husband’s paintings.

In China's shadow, U.S. rushes back to neglected Indian Ocean island
MAHE ISLAND, Seychelles, 3 September 2023 (WP) -  At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force tracking station that monitored Soviet satellites from this island’s soaring tropical forests was a focus of Seychelles life. Then, the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union collapsed and in 1996 the Americans left, dismantling the tracking station and shutting down their embassy - citing budgetary reasons for abandoning what had seemingly become an irrelevant corner of the world.

After Maui, residents across Hawaii fear 'the next catastrophe'
WASHINGTON, US, 2 September 2023 (WP) - Across the chain of Hawaiian islands - notably the larger, more populated islands of Hawaii and Oahu - many residents are grieving and fearing that a West Maui disaster could strike their communities. They are on edge because the conditions that fueled the fast-moving inferno are all around them. Their islands are plagued by sprawling fallow fields - a legacy of the plantation era that endured for decades until many farms and ranches abruptly closed at the end of the last century.

Philippines are at the frontline of a brewing dispute with China
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 3 September 2023 (ABC) - As leaders across Asia descend on Jakarta for the annual ASEAN and East Asia summits this week, one regional flashpoint is looming large. For decades, five countries plus Taiwan have managed their competing claims in the South China Sea. While sporadic skirmishes have occurred between boat crews in the contentious area, China's actions in the past few months are being seen by some as a marked escalation. It may be the clearest sign yet that Xi Jinping's maritime forces believe they could seize the remaining Philippines-controlled islands if they choose to.

Defence upgrade of Cocos Islands runway has locals worried
SYDNEY, Australia, 2 September 2023 (ABC) - The Defence Force is about to splash more than $500 million on this remote part of Australia to upgrade the airstrip to take more high-tech spy planes. Locals, already concerned about parts of the islands falling into the sea, are worried what it'll mean for their futures.

The tropical island with the hot domain name
NEW YORK, US, 31 August 2023 (Bloomberg) - Anguilla is expected to make millions this year from a surge in demand for web addresses ending with .ai, thanks to the frenzy around artificial intelligence.

Palm oil giants start talks with EU over deforestation rule
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 1 September 2023 (Mongabay) - Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top two producers of palm oil, have set up a joint task force with the European Union to address their differences over a new law making it harder for the ubiquitous commodity to enter the EU.

Rhodes after the fires - photo essay
LONDON, UK, 1 September 2023 (Guardian) - July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded, and Rhodes in Greece was one of many places that faced scorching temperatures and wildfires. There were no human casualties but the fire ravaged about 135,000 hectares of forest and vegetation, burned more than 50,000 olive trees and many domestic animals, destroyed about 50 homes and led to the mass evacuation of tourists from the area.

Iceland allows whaling to resume
LONDON, UK, 31 August 2023 (Guardian) - Animal rights groups and environmentalists have described as “hugely disappointing” the news that Iceland has given the green light for commercial whaling to resume, after a temporary ban introduced this year came to an end.

Rathlin Island gets support for Green Transition project
LONDON, UK, 1 September 2023 (BBC) - A Rathlin Island project has been granted £4.625 million over the next two years to innovate on waste management and other environmental challenges. The project, called Future Island-Island, will be one of the UK's four new Green Transition Ecosystems. It will look at sustainable resource management and protecting the island from any negative impacts of tourism.