Climate emergency, oil spill aftermath, 'The Elephant Queen': 3 stories you may have missed

© Olivier Langrand

Editor's Note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Conservation News shares three stories from the past week that you should know about. 

1. Trump serves notice to quit Paris Climate Agreement  

The United States will withdrawal from the largest global framework to address climate change. 

The Story: On Monday, November 4, 2019, the Trump Administration began the official, yearlong withdrawal process of the United States from the Paris Agreement, reported Lisa Friedman for the New York Times. Under this United Nations climate framework, nearly 200 nations across the globe have pledged their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to keep the global temperature 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels.

The Big Picture: In a recent declaration, more than 11,000 scientists around the world announced a “climate emergency” caused by human activities that are increasing greenhouse gas emissions. As the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, the U.S. plays a pivotal role in ending the climate crisis by remaining in the Paris Agreement and drastically reducing emissions. 

Read more here.

2. Oil spill threatens vast areas of mangroves and coral reefs in Brazil

As oil spreads across Brazil, critical ecosystems are in danger of contamination.

The Story: More than 2,400 km (1,491 miles) of land and sea along the northeastern coast of Brazil have been contaminated with oil following a large-scale spill in September, reported Dom Phillips for the Guardian. The oil has pervaded coastal mangroves, coral reefs and whale breeding grounds across the country’s coastline, endangering seabirds and turtles that rely on these marine ecosystems. 

The Big Picture: “There are still many indirect impacts that have not yet been properly shown,” said Guilherme Dutra, director of Conservation International’s marine program in Brazil. “The risk of contamination of the food chain is very high.” As the oil diffuses through Brazil’s Abrolhos Marine Seascape — one of the most diverse coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean — an abundance of marine life and carbon-storing coral species are at risk. Conservation International Brazil is working with local partners to monitor and remove oil from the water and beaches, with help from volunteers across many of the impacted communities. 

Read more here.

3. Apple TV+'s first documentary is the true story of 'The Elephant Queen'

A new film highlights the importance of elephant conservation through one herd’s unique story. 

The Story: Apple TV+, the technology company’s new streaming service, recently released “The Elephant Queen,” a film that follows an African elephant matriarch as she guides her herd through the Kenyan savanna in search of a habitable home. Filmed over four years, this nature documentary focuses on the struggles and triumphs an elephant herd experiences in a changing environment during a severe drought. 

The Big Picture: As the largest terrestrial mammal in the world, African elephants are hard to miss in the grasslands of Kenya — which makes them easy targets for poachers seeking valuable ivory tusks. In a partnership with Conservation International, Apple will make a donation for each view of the "The Elephant Queen" that will support elephant conservation efforts to protect this iconic species in the region where the documentary was filmed.

Read more here.

Kiley Price is a staff writer for Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: African elephants crossing a ranch in Kenya. (© Olivier Langrand)