In case you missed it: 3 big stories from our world

Areas that formerly belonged to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, pictured above, were opened to potential mining last week. (© IIP Photo Archive/Flickr Creative Commons)

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, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

Former national monuments shrunk by Trump to be opened for mining claims

The story: The areas of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that were downsized by President Donald Trump in November, were opened Friday to mining claims for uranium and other minerals. To stake their claim, uranium miners would merely have to hammer poles in the ground or build rock piles marking the area they would like to claim, due to an 1872 law, reported Alastair Gee for The Guardian.

The big picture: The Trump administration has made a significant push to open public lands to mining and drilling. After Trump ordered the downsizing of the Utah national monuments, the administration announced that it would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all United States coastal waters.  Environmental groups and Native American tribes both expressed opposition to this move.

Read more here.

Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017

The story: A total of 197 people, or about four people a week, were killed in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects, according to Global Witness data. Most of the killings occurred in remote forest areas of developing countries, particularly in Latin America, reported Jonathan Watts for The Guardian.

The big picture: This number has risen fourfold since this data was first collected in 2002. Global Witness believes many more murders go unreported and many more people are injured in altercations over land protection. The Global Witness data allows governments and companies to clearly trace the risk factors associated with these deaths. “We hope that our work helps to end levels of impunity that have emboldened the perpetrators of violence and in most cases, allowed them to literally get away with murder,” Global Witness wrote in a blog post.

Read more here.

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The Pentagon Warned That Climate Change Threatens Half of America’s Military Installations

The story: A Pentagon report, based on a survey of military officials located at bases across the globe, found that sites along the West, East and Gulf coasts all face flooding from powerful storms. Drought threatens bases in California and across the prairie states and wildfires pose threats across the West, reported Justin Worland for Time.

The big picture: The Trump administration removed the issue of climate change from its National Security Strategy last year. This report proves that climate change does in fact threaten national security by causing potential damages to U.S. military bases. “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a written response to the Senate Armed Services Committee last year. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

Read more here.

Morgan Lynch is a staff writer for Conservation International.

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