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This tiny Maine island is recruiting new residents
BOSTON, US, 13 June 2024 (Globe) - If you have, for example, ever dreamed of escaping to life on a remote island, much of what you imagine will be true. It will often be quiet, you will live surrounded by nature, and you can grow your own food. But there are other practical realities, too: a big hardware store may be a boat trip away, winter is long, and a medical center nowhere to be found. This is the case on Isle au Haut, one of 15 unbridged islands off the coast of Maine, from where the island launched a digital campaign this spring to recruit new residents to join its tiny population.

Aboriginal land managers restoring Bass Strait island
LAUNCESTON, Australia, 11 June 2024 (ABC) - A native rewilding project on the Tasmanian Bass Strait island of lungtalanana, or Clarke Island, will see wombats, wallabies and potoroos reintroduced to the landscape from next year. The island has been managed by traditional owners as protected land since 2009 and Landcare groups hope to eradicate feral cats from the island and are calling for increased funding from the federal government.

Better accounting of peat and mangrove carbon emissions
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 12 June 2024 (Mongabay) - Researchers looking into how Indonesia calculates its greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands and mangroves say they’ve identified ways for a more accurate accounting that will help the country meet its emissions reduction goals and refine its climate policies.

Ghost nets haunt marine life in Malaysian marine park
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 13 June 2024 (Mongabay) - Tioman Island Marine Park in Malaysia, renowned for its coral reefs and vibrant marine life, is facing a silent but potent threat: ghost nets. These lost or abandoned fishing nets are typically made of plastic and could take centuries to break down. In the meantime, they can damage delicate ecosystems and entangle and kill marine wildlife.

Macron suspends controversial voting reforms in New Caledonia
LONDON, UK, 13 June 2024 (Guardian) - Controversial voting reforms in New Caledonia will be suspended, Emmanuel Macron has announced, after a period of deadly unrest in the French Pacific territory. The reforms, which would have altered voting rights, are contested by the Indigenous Kanak people who say they would be marginalised further should the changes go through.

Scotland's burgeoning seaweed industry
LONDON, UK, 13 June 2024 (Guardian) - Think sun, sea, Skye – and seaweed. It’s early summer off the west coast of Scotland, and Alex Glasgow is landing a long string of orangey-black seaweed on to the barge of his water farm. It emerges on what looks like a washing line heavy with dirty rags, hoicked up from the depths. 

Chagos Islanders sleep in leisure centre in Sussex
LONDON, UK, 13 June 2024 (BBC) - Chagos Islanders are sleeping in emergency shelter at a leisure centre in West Sussex after a "significant number" arrived from Mauritius at Gatwick Airport. It comes after the government launched a British citizenship route for people of Chagossian descent in November 2022.

Niue's effort to preserve 40% of its waters
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 11 June 2024 (RNZ) - A new film from National Geographic, 'Protecting Paradise: The Story of Niue', promises to provide a glimmer of hope amongst negative environmental news. The documentary follows a group of community members from Niue who have put nearly half their exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in a marine protected area (MPA). Moana Mahu MPA covers 127,000 square kilometres, about half the size of New Zealand. It includes Beveridge Reef which is home to the highest density of grey reef sharks in the world.

Forest bird trade flies quietly under social media radar
KENDARI, Indonesia, 11 June 2024 (Mongabay) - During the COVID-19 pandemic, a young documentary filmmaker began quietly joining a growing number of Facebook community groups run by traders of rare Indonesian birds. Over the following two years, a reporting team from several news organizations uncovered a wide network of actors offering species for sale for as little as 250,000 rupiah ($15). These individuals included a serving naval officer.

Efforts to save Cambodia's coast tread water as fish stocks plummet
KOH RONG ISLAND, Cambodia, 12 June 2024 (Mongabay) - The afternoon sun beat down on the azure sea off the coast of Koh Rong, the largest island in Cambodia’s first marine national park in the southwestern province of Preah Sihanouk. Mangrove forests skirted by lazily as Dy Chantha left Prek Svay, one of the island’s fishing villages, to patrol the waters of the community fishery, or CFi, off the northern tip of Koh Rong with a team of five other CFi officers in March 2024.

Fight to save Whisky Galore island's rare ponies
LONDON, UK, 11 June 2024 (BBC) - A new campaign has been launched to save the Eriskay pony, once used on crofts throughout the Western Isles. The mid-sized ponies were used to carry baskets of peat and harvested seaweed - or even children on journeys to school. Declines in their numbers started when other breeds and then tractors replaced the Eriskay before World War Two. By the early 1970s only about 20 survived. Numbers have recovered to about 400 today, but Eriskay Pony Society said more help was needed to ensure its survival.

Iceland grants licence to hunt 128 fin whales
LONDON, UK, 11 June 2024 (Guardian) - Iceland has granted a licence to Europe’s last whaling company to kill more than 100 animals this year, despite hopes the practice might have been halted after concerns about cruelty led to a temporary suspension last year.

Haiti forms new government as gang violence persists
LONDON, UK, 12 June 2024 (BBC) - A new government has been formed in Haiti as it tries to restore order in the violence-ravaged nation. The new cabinet completely replaces all the ministers from the government of the former Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, who was forced to step down earlier this year by gangs which control large parts of Haiti.

Colombian underwater 'art gallery' serves as coral home
ISLA FUERTE, Colombia, 12 June 2024 (AFP) - On the Caribbean seafloor, an unusual sculpture gallery is taking shape with an equally unusual purpose: to provide homes for corals under threat from tourism and climate change. Created by potters Hugo Osorio and Pedro Fuentes, 25 figures so far form a sort of artificial reef in the blue waters around Isla Fuerte, off the coast of Colombia.

Migrant workers 'fear for their safety' after deaths on Diego Garcia
LONDON, UK, 9 June 2024 (Observer) - Migrant workers employed by the US defence contractor KBR on the British-owned island of Diego Garcia have expressed concerns for their safety after the recent deaths of two of their colleagues. 

Thousands march against mass tourism in Spain's Balearic Islands
LONDON, UK, 9 June 2024 (Sky) - Thousands took to the streets in the Balearic Islands to protest against mass tourism and overcrowding this weekend. Demonstrators marched through Menorca and Mallorca on Saturday in the latest protests over tourist "massification" across Spain's island regions. While tourism accounts for around 45% of the Balearic Islands' gross domestic product, according to data from industry organisation Exceltur, demonstrators say holiday rentals are pricing locals out.

FestPAC 2024: Largest celebration of indigenous Pacific islanders
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 10 June 2024 (RNZ) - "One body, one people, one ocean, one Pacific", was Samoa's powerful statement during the parade of nations at the official opening of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC). It was a sentiment echoed loudly and proudly by all other parading nations. Rapa Nui's delegation exclaimed, "we are all brothers and sisters, we are a family!"

How Italians are making a meal of invasive blue crabs
CATANIA, Italy, 10 June 2024 (Guardian) - In a down-to-earth suburb of Catania on Sicily’s east coast, smoke billows from street stands selling traditional grilled horse meat, and local youngsters gather around kiosks selling the region’s unique handmade drink, seltz limone e sale (seltzer with lemon and sea salt). It is here that a family of charismatic ex-fishers have opened a seafood restaurant that bravely challenges long-held regional conventions.

How did the Isle of Jura help shape Orwell's masterpiece?
LONDON, UK, 7 June 2024 (BBC) - George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was published 75 years ago on Saturday. The book is a powerful study of totalitarianism and its effect on the individual. But it was written in an isolated and beautiful corner of the Isle of Jura as the author, afflicted by the tuberculosis which would soon kill him, sought to escape the noise, smog and damp of London, and get his warning to the world completed before he ran out of time.

Artist creates underwater sculptures in Caribbean
LONDON, UK, 8 June 2024 (BBC) - A new underwater sculpture exhibition created by an artist from Kent is to open in the Caribbean. The installation consists of a fleet of 30 sculptures crafted from marine stainless steel and pH neutral green cement. Titled A World Adrift, the sculptor said his latest installation drew inspiration from the “looming crisis” of climate change in Carriacou and Petit Martinique, two islands in Grenada.

An ethical - and safe - place to swim with whales
LONDON, UK, 7 June 2024 (BBC) - The Islands of Tahiti have long practiced the ancient conservation custom of rahui to help preserve their maritime spaces and species, including a seasonal refuge for humpback whales.

More intense, frequent tropical cyclones may devastate seabird colonies
LONDON, UK, 6 June 2024 (Guardian) - Increased tropical cyclones due to global heating could lead to dramatic declines in seabird populations, according to a new study. Scientists found that after Cyclone Ilsa – a category-5 tropical cyclone – hit Bedout Island in Western Australia in April 2023, several seabird populations experienced a collapse of 80-90% due to the storm at the internationally important breeding site.

Panama community moves into new houses
ISBERYALA, Panama, 6 June 2024 (AP) - Hammocks began appearing this week in the doorways of 300 new houses built in what was previously a yucca field along Panama’s Caribbean coast for families from the country's first low-lying island evacuated due to rising sea levels. Indigenous Guna families from the island of Gardi Sugdub ferried stoves, gas cylinders, mattresses and other belongings first in boats and then in trucks to the new community of Isberyala.

Restoring Indigenous aquaculture in Hawaii
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 5 June 2024 (Mongabay) - The loko i’a system of native fishponds in Hawai‘i has for generations provided sustenance to Indigenous communities, supported fish populations in surrounding waters, and generally improved water quality. These benefits, long understood by native Hawaiians, have now been confirmed by scientists in a new study that looked at the restoration of one such fishpond.

Honduras plans mega-prison on a remote island
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 5 June 2024 (Mongabay) - Honduras is preparing the construction of a maximum-security prison to address the country’s ongoing security crisis, which continues to suffer from widespread gang violence. But the prison happens to be located on a remote Caribbean island designated as a protected area, and conservationists say the project could destroy its ecosystem.

Study shows restoration of drained tropical peat is possible
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 6 June 2024 (Mongabay) - Rewetting of tropical peatland that was drained for agriculture can lead to the recovery of the native ecosystem, a long-term study of a former pulpwood plantation in Indonesia shows.

Island nations seek new climate fund worth trillions of dollars
BONN, Germany, 5 June 2024 (National) - Island nations at risk of disappearing are asking rich countries to put trillions of dollars into the fight against climate change. 

Shadowy exotic pet trade thrives in Pacific island nation
HONIARA, Solomon Islands, 7 June 2024 (AFP) - The Pacific's Solomon Islands has become a key player in the global live animal trade, with foreign collectors sourcing exotic species including some subject to trade bans. Conservationist testimony, official documents and UN data show native Solomon Islands lizards being shipped to the United States, wild birds plucked from verdant rainforests and sent to the Middle East, and dolphins destined for Chinese aquariums.

Exploring innovations in marine biomass and blue carbon capture
LOS ANGELES, US, 5 June 2024 (SPX) - A new study offers first-time insights into three emerging climate innovations to safeguard or increase the carbon naturally captured by ocean and coastal ecosystems: rapid interventions to save the Great Barrier Reef, satellite-tracked kelp beds in the deep ocean, and seagrass nurseries in the United Kingdom. 

Why we're hunting through a century of data from Britain's northernmost observatory
READING, UK, 5 June 2024 (Conversation) - Built in 1913 as a naval radio station, the Shetland Isles’ Met Office at Lerwick provides the temperature reading you see on the top right-hand corner of the UK weather map. The site became part of the Met Office network in 1921 and began regular meteorological and magnetic recording, which continue today – capturing more than a century of atmospheric history.

Zanzibar's ingenious solution to protect its coral
LONDON, UK, 6 June 2024 (BBC) - The coral reef surrounding Mnemba Island, part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago, is under threat from warmer sea temperatures, illegal fishing and damage by tourism. Now locals have come up with an ingenious solution to preserve both the reef and their own livelihoods.

Illegal fishing and labor abuse rampant in China's Indian Ocean fleet
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 6 June 2024 (Mongabay) - A recent report by the Environmental Justice Foundation shows that the Chinese distant-water fleet is participating in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and exploitative practices such as shark finning and human rights violations in the Southwest Indian Ocean.

Electric aircraft to ferry tourists on short hops to Greek islands
LONDON, UK, 7 June 2024 (TW) - Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will ferry passengers to the Greek islands as part of a €50 million “pioneering project” outlined by Aria Hotels. The Libra Group brand is spearheading the development of four ‘vertiports’, with completion expected by late 2026. Aria Hotels has secured leases on 10 all-electric eVTOLs with a maximum range of 250 nautical miles and the capability to recharge in under an hour.

Farne Islands clear of flu but bird numbers fall
LONDON, UK, 5 June 2024 (BBC) - The Farne Islands are clear of bird flu but there has been a "catastrophic decline" in seabird numbers, rangers have warned. The disease killed more than 9,600 seabirds and saw the area close to visitors for two years.

Faulty cancer gene traced back to Shetland island
LONDON, UK, 6 June 2024 (BBC) - Scientists have traced a gene which can increase the risk of certain types of cancer back to a family living in 18th century Shetland. Geneticists believe the gene was introduced by a family living on the island of Whalsay before 1750. The island is situated to the east of the Shetland mainland, and is home to around 1,000 people.

Final plan released for Marianas Trench sanctuary
SAIPAN, CNMI, 7 June 2024 (RNZ) - The final management plan and environmental assessment for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument - part of an MPA announced by then US president George Bush in 2009 - has been released. The Mariana Trench includes submerged active volcanoes and hydrothermal vents and the deepest point on earth.

SIDS4 charts the course towards resilient prosperity.
APIA, Samoa, 6 June 2024 (SPREP) - The Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for Small Island Developing States: A Renewed Declaration for Resilient Prosperity (ABAS) was endorsed at the closing of SIDS4. During the conference, a new Centre of Excellence for SIDS to be housed in Antigua and Barbuda was launched. This will serve as a global hub for data, technological innovation and investment driving sustainable development across the islands. Within the next 12 months the first Island Investment Forum will be convened to attract investment in cutting edge technologies for SIDS. It will be held biannually and rotated among SIDS. Also announced was the SIDS Debt Sustainability Service Initiative to help address the unsustainable debt burden faced by many of the Small Islands.  It will mobilise bespoke financing for development, labelled a game changer for Islands to create a pathway to financial stability and sustainability.

How giant earthworms have transformed the Isle of Rum's landscape
PRESTON, UK, 6 June 2024 (Conversation) - Renowned for a thriving and intricately studied population of around 900 red deer, the Isle of Rum, part of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, is often considered an outdoor laboratory for scientific research. But the earthworms on Rum are equally remarkable. These invertebrates act as “ecosystem engineers”, actively shaping the landscape, often after humans have left their mark on this remote island.

Taiwan's factcheckers on fighting Chinese disinformation
LONDON, UK, 5 June 2024 (Guardian) - The University of Gothenburg’s Varieties of Democracy project lists Taiwan as the target of more disinformation from abroad than any other democracy, ahead of Latvia and the US. The biggest threat comes from across the Taiwan Strait and it is most intense around election periods.

Oceans face triple threat
LONDON, UK, 5 June 2024 (Guardian) - The world’s oceans are facing a “triple threat” of extreme heating, a loss of oxygen and acidification, with extreme conditions becoming far more intense in recent decades and placing enormous stress upon the planet’s panoply of marine life, new research has found.

Palm oil firm clashes with villagers it allegedly shortchanged
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 4 June 2024 (Mongabay) - A dispute simmering for years has erupted into conflict between villagers and a palm oil company on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi over the latter’s failure to abide by a profit-sharing scheme.

Fishers mount a community-led fight against destructive fishing
LOMBOK, Indonesia, 4 June 2024 (Mongabay) - In coastal communities across Indonesia, local fishers are pushing back against destructive and illegal fishing methods by organizing into volunteer patrol groups known as Pokmaswas. These groups have become crucial in protecting Indonesia’s vast marine resources amid limited government resources and infrastructure.

New Zealand PM announces Niue energy project
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 5 June 2024 (RNZ) - New Zealand plans to invest $20.5 million into a new, large-scale, renewable energy project in Niue, reducing the island nation's reliance on diesel. The project will bring Niue's renewable generation to 80 percent. New Zealand will also commit $2 million to the Niue Ocean Wide Trust, which aims to develop a blue economy and ensure long-term ocean conservation and climate resilience.

Seabirds in Samoa take centre stage in knowledge exchange
APIA, Samoa, 5 June 2024 (SPREP) - The importance of seabirds to Samoa’s cultural heritage and unique ecosystem was given special attention during a knowledge café hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the Samoa Conservation Society (SCS), and the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust of New Zealand. 

Plastic pollution on small islands
LONDON, UK, 3 June 2024 (Phys.org) - A new study has found that 72% of items washing up on the shores of small remote, protected islands, are manufactured by major brands Danone and Coca-Cola Company, causing untold pollution to the area.

Fogo Island: A far away comeback story
NEW YORK, US, 2 June 2024 (CBS) - A small island off the coast of Newfoundland is redefining itself with the help of a local businesswoman who combined deep pockets with a deep appreciation for the island's past.

World will miss target of tripling renewable electricity generation
LONDON, UK, 4 June 2024 (Guardian) - The world is off track to meet the goal of tripling renewable electricity generation by 2030, a target viewed as vital to enable a swift global transition away from fossil fuels, but there are promising signs that the pace of progress may be picking up.

The race to find safe spaces for the Galapagos ocean-going predators
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, Ecuador, 4 June 2024 (|Guardian) - Scientists are tagging sharks to map Pacific migration routes in a bid to expand marine reserves before more of these endangered species fall prey to illegal industrial fishing.

Number of asylum seekers on Nauru jumps
LONDON, UK, 4 June 2024 (Guardian) - The number of asylum seekers on Nauru appears to have topped 100, with a further two groups of 37 people sent to the Pacific Island. The people, classified as “unauthorised maritime arrivals”, include 33 Bangladeshis who were found on Christmas Island on 9 May, one of who is a woman. Their boat was destroyed by bad weather.

I live on a rural island where we share all our tools
LONDON, UK, 3 June 2024 (Guardian) - Neil Wiesblott, 69, swapped bustling Los Angeles for a quiet island off the coast of Seattle more than 30 years ago and never looked back. Among Vashon Island’s many charming features, perhaps its most beloved is a vast “tool library” that lends out more than a thousand items to residents for DIY projects and home improvements – from saws to ladders to power washers.

Thai island of Samui weighs 'White Lotus effect'
KOH SAMUI, Thailand, 1 June 2024 (Guardian) - Along the beachfront on the Thai island of Samui, vendors are busy setting up tables covered with souvenirs and sunglasses. Soon, there could be even more customers passing through the area. The island is one of several locations that will feature in the third season of The White Lotus, a series so popular that its previous settings, Hawaii and Sicily, both saw surges in demand from travellers.

Real-life 'Gilligan' living on remote Wedge Island
PORT LINCOLN, Australia, 4 June 2024 (ABC) - There's no millionaire and his wife, nor shipwrecked crew. There might have been a movie star, but there's definitely a little bit of Gilligan and some skippers, too, on Wedge Island, South Australia. While semi-retired Melbourne sign-writer Ron O'Brien isn't marooned on Wedge Island at the bottom of Spencer Gulf, he's earnt the nickname Gilligan after the 1960s series Gilligan's Island for spending a lot of time isolated on the island.

Fishers left with no land, no fish, in fire sale of Cambodian coast
KOH RONG, Cambodia, 4 June 2024 (Mongabay) - Coastal communities in Cambodia are facing a double threat, from land and sea, as developers evict them from their homes and farms, and trawlers encroach on their nearshore fishing grounds.

World record broken for living thing with most DNA
LONDON, UK, 31 May 2024  (BBC) - A rare fern found only on New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean and a few neighbouring islands, where it grows on the trunks and branches of rainforest trees, has entered the record books for having more DNA than any other living thing. The plant’s genetic material, or genome, would reach about 100 metres when unravelled, outstripping Big Ben.

Concern for Iceland town following new eruption
LONDON, UK, 29 May 2024 (BBC) - Another volcanic eruption has begun in south-west Iceland, forcing the evacuation of the famous geothermal Blue Lagoon spa and the small fishing town of Grindavik.

Philippine president warns China against 'acts of war'
SINGAPORE, 1 June 2024 (BBC) - Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has warned China not to cross a red line in the South China Sea, where a standoff between the countries continues to escalate. If any Filipino died as a result of China’s wilful actions, he said on Friday, the Philippines would consider it as close to “an act of war” and respond accordingly. Mr Marcos was speaking at a security forum in Singapore attended by defence chiefs from around the world, including the US's Lloyd Austin.

India's 'sinking island' looks to election for survival
LONDON, UK, 31 May 2024 (Guardian) - For many on Ghoramara, the general election is about the climate crisis and survival. The island, 150km south of Kolkata and named the ‘sinking island’ by the media, has lost nearly half its area to soil erosion in the past two decades and could disappear if a solution is not found.

The aid packages feeding diabetes and heart disease in the Pacific
LONDON, UK, 31 May 2024 (Guardian) - When twin cyclones Judy and Kevin hammered their way through the 83 tropical islands of Vanuatu in March 2023, the government and NGOs were quick to distribute supplies. The South Pacific country’s crops had been decimated and the need to feed the 300,000-plus population was a priority. The bags of rice, packets of noodles and tinned tuna that communities depend on for the months after a disaster were welcomed. But unlike native staples such as yams, taro and sweet potato, these emergency foods only serve to worsen the region’s non-communicable diseases (NCDs) problem, according to experts.

In Belize, flawed conservation measures threaten small-scale fishers livelihoods
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 30 May 2024 (Mongabay) - The Mesoamerican Reef stretches roughly 1,000 kilometers along the coastlines of Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala, and is an integral part of people’s livelihoods across the region. Belize in particular has garnered much praise for its conservation policies on the reef, which often include creation of new marine protected areas, but local fishing communities increasingly feel left out of such decisions.

Michelin's no-deforestation claims in Indonesia rubber plantation a stretch
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 30 May 2024 (Mongabay) - Rubber manufacturer Michelin claims to have avoided millions of tons of carbon emissions and saved thousands of hectares of primary forest in a sustainable rubber plantation project in Indonesia.

Floods set to worsen on Sumatra peat as landscape gives way
PEKANBARU, Indonesia, 30 May 2024 (Mongabay) - A major flood at the turn of the year in Indonesia’s Riau province caused long-term traffic gridlock affecting thousands, with attendant knock-on effects for economic activity in the region. One of Riau’s leading experts on peat hydrology told Mongabay that deterioration of the province’s carbon-rich peatland increases risks of disastrous flooding owing to reduced drainage, among other factors.

Marshallese worries span decades - first nuclear tests, now sea-level rise
BIKINI ATOLL, Marshall Islands, 29 May 2024 (Mongabay) - The Marshall Islands were the site of numerous U.S. nuclear tests in the 1950s that displaced communities and altered their way of life. Locals across the islands and atolls are now at risk of evacuation and losing more of their ties to the land if sea-level rise continues at its current rate.

Pressure grows on banks to end business with Indonesian coal giant Adaro
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 28 May 2024 (Mongabay) - Pressure groups are mounting a campaign to get international lenders to stop doing business with Adaro, one of Indonesia’s biggest coal companies, citing its lack of a credible plan to transition away from the fossil fuel. Adaro says it’s committed to a clean-energy transition and a net-zero emissions target, but this is contradicted by its actions, according to an online petition signed by more than 32,000 people.

Panama prepares to evacuate first island in face of rising sea levels
GARDI SUGDUB, Panama, 1 June 2024 (VOA) - On a tiny island off Panama’s Caribbean coast, about 300 families are packing their belongings in preparation for a dramatic change. Generations of Gunas who have grown up on Gardi Sugdub in a life dedicated to the sea and tourism will trade that next week for the mainland’s solid ground.

The Maldives faces existential threat from a climate crisis
MALE, Maldives, 25 May 2024 (Guardian) - The Maldives is liable for just 0.003% of global emissions, but is one of the first countries to endure the existential consequences of the climate crisis. Wealthier nations have a moral responsibility to communities like ours. Yet SIDS are given only about 14% of the finance that the least developed countries receive.

Macron halts reform that sparked island 'insurrection'
LONDON, UK, 23 May 2024 (BBC) - President Emmanuel Macron says he will not force through a controversial voting reform in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia following deadly rioting. Speaking on a visit to the main island, Mr Macron said local leaders should engage in dialogue to find an alternative agreement for the archipelago's future.

Putin's designs on a Baltic island
COLCHESTER, UK, 24 May 2024 (Conversation) - Gotland has been a popular holiday destination for decades, but recently Swedish commander-in-chief, Mikael Bydén, claimed that Russian president Vladmir Putin "has his eyes" on the island. Concern was further ramped up, showing Gotland was just one part of Russia’s ambitions in the Baltics, in the last few days when Russia published a document suggesting that it needed to reassess the maritime borders in the Gulf of Finland.

UN fears Papua New Guinea landslide buried 670 people
LONDON, UK, 26 May 2024 (BBC) - About 670 people are estimated to be buried under a massive landslide in in the highlands of Enga, in the north of Papua New Guinea, a UN official says.

Tourism surge forcing Ibiza's workers to live in car parks
IBIZA, Spain, 25 May 2024 (Observer) - Mohamed-Ali is one of a growing number of locals and foreign workers who find themselves locked out of Ibiza’s rental market. Faced with exorbitant rents for cramped, shared homes, many have little choice but to live in vans, caravans or tents. In Ibiza – as in neighbouring Mallorca and in the Canary islands – it is increasingly obvious that neither the island nor its housing market can put up with the huge numbers of tourists that arrive each year.

Hungry deer may have driven tiny plant evolution on Japanese island
LONDON, UK, 24 May 2024 (NS) - On Yakushima island, sika deer might have forced flora to shrink as small as a tenth of the size of their mainland counterparts. 

Greenpeace blocks planting of 'lifesaving' Golden Rice
LONDON, UK, 25 May 2024 (Guardian) - Scientists have warned that a court decision to block the growing of the genetically modified (GM) crop Golden Rice in the Philippines could have catastrophic consequences. Tens of thousands of children could die in the wake of the ruling, they argue.

Celebrating tradition on the world's most remote inhabited island
WASHINGTON, US, 26 May 2024 (NPR) - On Tristan da Cunha, the Okalolies only come alive on Dec. 31, hours before the start of the new year. For 26-year-old Dean and 21-year-old Randal, who were both born on Tristan and have lived here their entire lives, Old Year's Night is an annual tradition they look forward to. The Okalolies are part of a type of visiting custom known as mumming in which young men disguise themselves, visit homes and engage in playful pranks.

Island youth build 'wall of commitment'
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 26 May 2024 (UN) - It may be built out of recyclable cardboard boxes, but when world leaders officially open SIDS4 on Monday, one of the manifestations of young people’s hopes for a better future that will greet them is a solid “wall of commitment” imploring them to take more action against the ravages of climate change.

First Kenyan police arrive in Haiti to help tackle gang violence
LANCASTER, UK, 24 May 2024 (Conversation) - An advance team of Kenyan special forces police have arrived in the troubled Caribbean nation of Haiti. They are part of a larger UN-backed “support” mission tasked with establishing order, pushing back the advances of criminal gangs and allowing the freshly appointed interim government to function effectively.

King Island is going through its worst drought on record
BURNIE, Australia, 26 May 2024 (ABC) - King Island, off Tasmania's north-west tip, is experiencing its worst drought on record. Deb Delaney, recently appointed King Island's drought coordinator by TasFarmers, says the scale of the drought is "absolutely massive". Ms Delaney says most farmers have destocked what they can, but if conditions worsen over winter, they will need to start culling pregnant cows.

Small island development 'a test case' for climate and financial justice
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 27 May 2024 (UN) - The world must not allow the loss of a single country or culture due to global warming or a continuation of a “two-speed financial world” where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, said UN chief António Guterres in his opening address at SIDS4. 

Cham Islands builds successful conservation projects
HANOI, Vietnam, 28 May 2024 (VN) - Having been recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site in 2009, Chàm Islands-Hoi An has been boosting the conservation of flora and fauna species on land and water, making it an ideal destination, rich in biodiversity, for green travellers.

SIDS drowning in debt and 'running on empty'
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 28 May 2024 (UN) - International financing is the fuel for sustainable development, but SIDS are “running on empty”, drowning in debt and rising sea levels due to climate change and through no fault of their own. That's the warning from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on day two of SIDS4. 

More climate funding needed to transition from rhetoric to action
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 29 May 2024 (UN) - Climate action taken so far to help fund efforts in cash-strapped SIDS “does not measure up to what has been said” in the wake of COP28 in Dubai last year. That was the strong message from President of Palau but representatives from two European nations committed to climate financing said substantial progress is being made, pointing to news just hours earlier from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) confirming that a total of $115.9 billion had been raised in 2022 for climate action in developing countries.

SIDS go forward with a new plan for the next 10 years
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 30 May 2024 (UN) - The roadmap towards achieving resilient prosperity for SIDS adopted on Thursday in Antigua and Barbuda “marks the beginning of a new journey” and a decade of delivery for their citizens and the world, said the UN Deputy Secretary-General.

'All hands on deck' in Antigua and Barbuda for SIDS conference
NEW YORK, US, 23 May 2024 (UN) - The Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) will bring together governments, the UN, civil society, the private sector and leading youth voices to turn new ideas into action, raise new pledges of support and discuss the key challenges that lie ahead for the vulnerable group of nations.

Norway sued over deep-sea mining plans
LONDON, UK, 23 May 2024 (Guardian) - One of the world’s biggest environmental groups is suing the Norwegian government for opening up its seabed for deep-sea mining, claiming that Norway has failed to properly investigate the consequences of this move. WWF-Norway says the government’s decision has breached Norwegian law, goes against the counsel of its own advisers, and sets a “dangerous precedent”.

Half of world's mangrove forests are at risk
LONDON, UK, 23 May 2024 (Guardian) - Half of all the world’s mangrove forests are at risk of collapse, according to the first-ever expert assessment of these crucial ecosystems and carbon stores. Human behaviour is the primary cause of their decline, according to the analysis by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with mangroves in southern India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives most at risk.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival
LONDON, UK, 24 May 2024 (NGT) - It’s not yet light, but Jui Tui, a Chinese shrine in the Old Town of Phuket, is already a hive of activity. I’m standing in a massed crowd of devotees, sheltered beneath canopies of vermilion and jade and surrounded by eclectic religious statues: Taoist deities, Hindu gods and Buddhist bodhisattvas.

The inaccessible and abandoned islands of New York
LONDON, UK, 24 May 2024 (Guardian) - Photographer Phillip Buehler has a new exhibition of pictures from the last 50 years that trace the often forgotten history of the islands surrounding Manhattan. No Man Is an Island: Poetry in the Ruins of the New York Archipelago is now on show until 23 June at the Front Room Gallery in Hudson, New York.

The Mediterranean isle where hikers stay for free
LONDON, UK, 23 May 2024 (BBC) - Renowned for its pristine beaches and dramatic granite cliffs, the Italian island of Sardinia has long been known as a jet-setters' paradise. But away from the mega yachts and glitterati of its glamorous Costa Smeralda resort, much of the Mediterranean's second-largest island remains a rugged, unspoiled wilderness waiting to be explored. Now, a group of hikers and former miners are hoping to lure adventure-seekers to Sardinia's seldom-visited south-west coast by offering free lodging along the island's stunning 500km Santa Barbara Mining Route.

How are sharks faring in French Polynesia's shark sanctuary?
TAHITI, French Polynesia, 24 May 2024 (Mongabay) - While sharks are feared and threatened in many parts of the world, French Polynesia decided to protect them two decades ago by declaring its entire exclusive economic zone a massive sanctuary for sharks and rays. The move aligns with traditional beliefs that hold sharks as sacred animals that represent gods and the link between past and present. New citizen-science data offer some evidence the sanctuary is working to protect sharks, but more research is needed to confirm it.

Hundreds of families asking to be moved away from goldmine
PUEBLO VIEJO, Dominican Republic, 21 May 2024, (Guardian) - In the shadow of El Llagal, a tailings dam that holds waste from one of the world’s largest goldmines in the Dominican Republic, sits the home of Casilda Lima. The roof is corrugated iron and the walls are wood, painted pink and yellow. A sign reads “God bless this home”. Communities around the Pueblo Viejo mine complain of serious health problems and have spent years campaigning to be relocated.

Fearing rising tides, SIDS gain key win at UN ocean court
WASHINGTON, US, 21 May 2024 (VOA) - The U.N. maritime court has ruled in favor of greater protection of the oceans in the face of climate change in a case brought by small island countries.The court stated that countries creating the pollution are under “the specific obligation to take all measures necessary to ensure that... emissions under their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage by pollution to other states and their environment.” The case may be influential in the future regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because carbon emission also pollutes the sea.

An endemic island falcon that plays
TOPEKA, US, 21 May 2024 (Phys.org) - An unusual falcon species has been added to the growing list of animals that play. A study published in the Journal of Raptor Research explains that Striated Caracaras in the Falkland Islands like to interact with various objects like sheets of plastic, sea cabbage, sheep poop, and stones - apparently for fun.

Oil palm estates pose flood and water contamination risks
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 21 May 2024 (Mongabay) - Clearing of forests for oil palm plantations can increase flooding risk and water contamination for downstream communities, a new study shows. The research focused on the Kais River watershed in Indonesian Papua, where about 10,000 hectares of forest have been clear for plantations as of 2021.

Baltic concerns over Russian plan to move sea borders
LONDON, UK, 22 May 2024 (BBC) - There have been calls for calm in Finland and the Baltic states after a draft Russian decree proposed revising its borders in the Baltic Sea. Latvia said it was trying to clarify the situation, but Lithuania warned that the Kremlin was aiming to intimidate its neighbours with a "deliberate, targeted escalatory provocation".

Excavation reveals 'major' ancient migration to Timor Island
CANBERRA, Australia, 22 May 2024 (SD) - The discovery of thousands of stone artefacts and animal bones in a deep cave in Timor Island has led archaeologists to reassess the route that early humans took to reach Australia. Researchers dated and analysed the artefacts and sediment at the Laili rock shelter in central-north Timor-Leste, north of Australia, to pinpoint the arrival of the colonists.

Chinese team proposes invisible expansion using tunnels
LONDON, UK, 22 May 2024 (Independent) - A team of Chinese scientists say they have come up with a way to build tunnels under artificial islands in the South China Sea, which Beijing uses to reinforce its claim to large swathes of contested territory. These islands are small and overcrowded, especially in the Spratly reef chain where there are competing territorial claims from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Extreme weather chips away at Easter Island statues
EASTER ISLAND, Chile, 21 May 2024 (Guardian) - The Ahu Tahai moai, on the east side of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is an impressive 4.5 metres high. Carved from a soft volcanic rock, the statue looks out solemnly over the island, with its back to the bay. However, Ahu Tahai’s face has gradually lost its original features, including the cut of the nose and the sockets of the eyes. Its hands, once prominent, are now smoothed into the body.

Indonesia's plan to grant mining permits to religious groups
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 21 May 2024 (Mongabay) - Critics have slammed Indonesia’s outgoing government over a plan to hand out mining permits revoked from companies to religious organizations - not on the basis of the latter’s mining competence, but simply because they played an important role in the country’s independence struggle nearly 80 years ago.

'Stop threatening Taiwan', its new president William Lai tells China
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 20 May 2024 (BBC) - Taiwan's newly inaugurated president William Lai has called on China to stop threatening the island and accept the existence of its democracy. He urged Beijing to replace confrontation with dialogue, shortly after being sworn in on Monday. He also said Taiwan would never back down in the face of intimidation from China, which has long claimed the island as its own. China responded by saying, "Taiwan independence is a dead end".

Scotland's vulnerable marine life not properly protected
LONDON, UK, 20 May 2024 (Guardian) - Fragile and damaged marine life around Scotland’s coasts is not being properly protected because ministers in Edinburgh have broken their promises, environment campaigners have warned. For example, the rich and diverse seas around the Hebridean islands of Canna and Rum are a case study in failure. The seabed there should be safeguarded by the Small Isles marine protection area. It was one of Scotland’s first MPAs, designated in 2014 as a “high risk” site. Instead, the campaigners say, the rich and diverse marine life has been bulldozed by scallop dredgers and bottom-trawling.

Can the Caribbean win its war against waste?
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao, 20 May 2024 (Mongabay) - Green Phenix is a local environmental startup that has set itself a big goal: To clean up Curaçao. This is more than a civic duty - it may also be a national imperative: Waste disposal has become a serious problem on the island, which is the size of Manhattan, and it’s getting worse. The same is true on islands across the Caribbean.

Taiwan's steely leader rewrote the book on how to deal with China
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 18 May 2024 (BBC) - It is a well-known fact that the diminutive, soft-spoken president of Taiwan does not like doing interviews. When Tsai Ing-wen swept to power in 2016, she was dismissed as a dull bureaucrat and ridiculed as a “cat lady” - a swipe at her for being middle-aged and unmarried. She embraced the image, appearing on magazine covers holding her large grey tabby in her arms. Soon, her supporters adopted a new sobriquet: Taiwan’s Iron Cat Lady.

Brown tree snakes silenced the forests of Guam
LONDON, UK, 19 May 2024 (Guardian) - Douglas Russell, a senior curator at London’s Natural History Museun, was examining a collection of nests gathered more than 100 years ago on the island of Guam when he made an unsettling discovery. In almost every case, the nests belonged to birds that had once thrived on the western Pacific island but which were now extinct. As to the cause of this devastation, conservationists blame brown tree snakes, which were brought to the island on US transport - probably as stowaways on military ships - at the end of the second world war. 

Artist to return shell collection to Cocos (Keeling) Islands
KARRATHA, Australia, 19 May 2024 (ABC) - Sally Clarke loved collecting shells when she was growing up, but more than 40 years later she has decided to return her treasures to the place they came from. The Canberra-born artist moved to the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, about 2,000 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia, as a teenager in the 1970s.

The unique biodiversity of Channel Islands National Park
PARK CITY, US, 19 May 2024 (NPT) - On an uninhabited island off the coast of Southern California where pygmy mammoths once roamed, I trekked along sandstone cliffs and up a steep footpath into one of the rarest native pine forests in the United States. Dwarfed and gnarled by the fierce winds, the endangered evergreens with freakishly large pine cones were so mesmerizing that I almost missed seeing a fox that is found nowhere else on earth.

Chatham Islands run out of petrol
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 18 May 2024 (Herald) - The Chathams Islands’ only petrol station has run out of fuel, raising the prospect residents may be unable to use cars or machinery. Normally, petrol supplies would come in to the islands, which have a population of around 650 people and lie about 860km east of Christchurch, on the ship MV Southern Tiare. However, with the Southern Tiare in dry-dock for repairs, island authorities have not yet been able to arrange alternative shipping.

Cuba laments collapse of iconic sugar industry
HAVANA, Cuba,18 May 2024 (BBC) - The men of the Yumuri sugar co-operative in Cuba have worked the cane fields around the city of Cienfuegos since they were old enough to wield a machete. For hundreds of years, sugar was the mainstay of the Cuban economy. It was not just the island's main export but also the cornerstone of another national industry, rum.

'We will fight until Kanaky is free': How New Caledonia caught fire
NOUMEA, New Caledonia, 18 May 2024 (Guardian) - The violence that erupted last week is the worst in New Caledonia since unrest involving independence activists gripped the French Pacific territory in the 1980s. Anger over France’s plan to impose new voting rules swelled in the archipelago of 270,000 people. The plan would expand the right of French residents living in New Caledonia to vote provincial elections, which some fear would dilute the indigenous Kanak vote. Kanaks make up about 40% of the population.

The quiet Japanese island paradise on the frontline
YONAGUNI ISLAND, Japan, 17 May 2024 (Guardian) - Yonaguni is a tourist hotspot – but its location just 100km from Taiwan means residents must wrestle with the creeping militarisation of their home. There are plans to expand a Japanese self-defence base on Yonaguni, and to extend the airport and port. In April, the government announced it would build underground evacuation shelters here and on other “frontline” islands.

Runners take on 'legendary' islands ultra marathon
LONDON, UK, 18 May 2024 (BBC) - An "iconic" ultra marathon across the Channel Islands is back 10 years after it was last run. The Five Islands Ultra is being staged by Run Jersey Events with 10 people tackling courses in Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm between Saturday and Monday.

For sale: unique piece of land in strategic Arctic archipelago
OSLO, Norway, 17 May 2024 (AFP) - The last piece of privately owned land in the strategic Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic is up for grabs, a property likely to entice China but which Norway does not intend to let go without a fight.

Cordilleran women in the Philippines rely on seed saving
BENGUET, Philippines, 17 May 2024 (Mongabay) - As El Niño and climate change bring drought to the northern Philippines, farmers say the value of local heirloom seeds shines through. Farmers say these seeds, cultivated through generations, show greater resilience to drought and heat than commercial hybrid seeds promoted by the government.

Taiwan's incoming president Lai Ching-te had a tough upbringing
WANLI, Taiwan, 18 May 2024 (Guardian) - Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s next president, was one of seven children born to a working-class mining family in Wanli, a small hillside village near Taiwan’s north-east coast. His father, Lai Chao-chin, died in a mining accident when Lai was two, leaving his mother to raise them alone in the small house on the mining tenement. In 2023 Lai told Time magazine that the family’s hard life taught him a sense of determination.

The idyllic Queensland island 'hammered' by four-wheel-drives
LONDON, UK, 18 May 2024 (Guardian) - Jacqui Fitzgerald bought her home in the seaside village of Woorim two years ago, seeking a peaceful lifestyle. She soon discovered it would be anything but. Fitzgerald is on the frontline of Bribie Island’s rapid growth in tourism. Her home borders the entrance to the national park and four-wheel drive beach on the southern tip of the island just north of Brisbane.

Little penguins at risk of vanishing from WA island
LONDON, UK, 17 May 2024 (Guardian) - A once-thriving population of little penguins on a tourist island off Perth’s coast has plummeted to no more than 120 birds, with plans to build a container port in nearby foraging grounds further threatening the survival of the colony.

Scientists solve mystery of ancient 'tree of life'
LONDON, UK, 15 May 2024 (BBC) - Scientists have solved the mystery of the origins of ancient baobab trees. According to DNA studies, the iconic trees first arose in Madagascar 21 million years ago. Their seeds were later carried on ocean currents to Australia and also to mainland Africa, evolving into distinct species.

Solomon Islands: A change more in style than substance
LONDON, UK, 16 May 2024 (IPS) - There’s change at the top in Solomon Islands – but civil society will be watching closely to see whether that means a government that’s grown hostile will start doing things differently.

Daily ice loss in Greenland tracked by new GPS method
PARIS, France, 16 May 2024 (SPX) - When the ice sheet in Greenland melts, the bedrock beneath moves slightly. This occurs because the pressure from the ice above decreases, causing the land beneath to rise. This elevation change can be measured and translated into how much ice disappears from Greenland's ice sheet and how fast it's happening. 

Gotland Island's strategic importance to NATO's defense
NEW YORK, US, 16 May 2024 (DC) - Defense on Gotland is rapidly increasing, particularly since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. As a consequence of its new membership in NATO, the Swedish government approved in March 2024 the construction of a reserve port on Gotland to accommodate both defense capabilities, including support from NATO.