Patagonia founder to give away millions saved from Trump tax cut to fight climate change
Last week, the founder of outdoor apparel company Patagonia announced it would donate the additional $10 million in profits it received in 2018 under Trump’s new corporate tax cut to grassroots groups fighting climate change. In 2017, Trump lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, said in a statement, “our government continues to ignore the seriousness and causes of the climate crisis. It’s pure evil.” Chouinard has not been quiet about Trump’s assault on the environment. When the Trump administration reduced the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments earlier this year, Patagonia sued the president. The case is ongoing and waiting to be heard in a federal court in Washington D.C.
Facial recognition technology used to identify bears over time
Applied Conservation Science Lab in Canada’s British Columbia is working on technology that could shape the way bears are tracked and monitored in the future. In 2018 the lab was awarded a 2-year grant to support their work developing facial recognition for brown bears. At their primary field site, the lab has been collecting a database of wild bear images since the late 1990’s. These images are being used to test how the recognition system performs when analyzing images of the same bears over time. A bear’s appearance can change dramatically from spring to late fall and over successive years. The lab hopes that the technology will one day be used to improve non-invasive monitoring techniques for bears and other large mammals.
Tennessee wilderness bill expected to pass
With decades of effort behind it, the Tennessee wilderness act is expected to pass after its inclusion in the farm bill. The act would protect an additional 19,558 acres of the 655,598-acre Cherokee National Forest in northeast Tennessee as wilderness under the 1964 wilderness act. The bill, which was introduced into the Congressional session by Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressman Phil Roe, would expand five existing wilderness areas within the Cherokee National Forest and create one new area. If the bill is passed, about 13 percent of Cherokee National Forest would be protected as wilderness. Wilderness designation provides the best legislative protection for federal lands by providing an overlay of restrictions that are designed to maintain the forever-wild status of the area.