July 20 – 24, 2015

At the mercy of the Delhi water mafia

A quarter of Delhi’s households live without a piped-water connection, with most of the rest receiving water for only a few hours each day. So residents have come to rely on private truck owners – the most visible strands of a dispersed web of city councillors, farmers, real estate agents, and fixers who source millions of gallons of water each day from illicit boreholes, as well as the city’s leaky pipe network, and sell the liquid for profit. The entrenched system has a local moniker: the water-tanker mafia.


Utah set to be home of first oil sands mine project in U.S. by end of 2015

Despite fierce opposition from American environmental groups, the first commercial oil sands mine in the United States is just months away from starting up after receiving final regulatory approvals from officials in Utah late last week. Corporate Knights reported last year on the company’s plan to use a solvent derived from citrus in oranges to extract the oil, which it claims will eliminate the need for large tailings ponds like those in northern Alberta.


Concerns over drought fallout in B.C. heat up

There is growing concern about the economic, social and environmental toll of widespread drought in British Columbia. While Metro Vancouver has taken some preliminary steps to reduce water use in recent years, British Columbian homes and business remain profligate water users. The ongoing drought may finally persuade authorities to implement water metering and other more stringent conservation measures, such as requiring water-saving technology and fixtures in new construction.


The other reason for building greener workplaces

The benefits related to reduced energy and water consumption are well documented when it comes to green buildings, but the potential human health benefits have only recently been investigated. Researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health decided to analyze 15 previous studies on the subject, and found that the initial scientific evidence “indicates better indoor environmental quality in green buildings versus non-green buildings, with direct benefits to human health.”


Roam, roam on the range

A new breed of ranchers is working to restore the landscape in Montana and learning to live with predators like bears and wolves. The J Bar L ranch’s primary focus is grazing its cattle herd in a rotation to allow pastures to recover for months or even years between munching sessions and ensuring the animals don’t cause lasting harm to sensitive areas. As the herd chomps along, the ranchers put up portable, wildlife-friendly electric fences to keep them from wandering.


‘Fair trade’ cocaine and ‘conflict-free’ opium: the future of online drug marketing

A new generation of cryptomarkets is supplying the expanding online drug trade. They are populated by thousands of dealers who use digital encryption to communicate with clients, sell their wares and conduct illicit transactions. Some online drug dealers have even gone so far as to embrace marketing strategies that mimic corporate social responsibility initiatives – involving the promotion of drugs on the basis of supposedly ethical, fair trade, organic or conflict-free sources of supply.

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