Crikey intern Olly Perkins writes:

News from around the planet:

Awkward introductions. It’s hard to believe that with a species becoming extinct every 20 minutes, scientists are still discovering previously unknown types of plants, beetles and yes, even mammals.

High in the Peruvian mountains, scientists with Conservation International have found all three.

The species: a mouse (Akodon sp.nov), a high-Andean plant (Senecio sanmarcosensis) and two beetles (Eriopis canrash and Cycloneda andresii) were discovered during a series of expeditions conducted between 2005 and 2008.

Unfortunately, and making for a rather awkward round of introductions, the Ancash region, in which all four species were found, is believed to be under treat by uncontrolled logging, unsustainable shepherding practices, forest fires and mining.

For articles on more recent discoveries, go to Science Daily.

Farming fight back. Small scale sustainable farming in the world’s two most populated countries is on the rise, as the rule poor in both China and India revert to organic and independent farming operations as a way to combat the environmental damage and disempowerment many are experiencing as a result large scale industrial farming.

Between 2000 and 2006, China jumped from 45th to second in the world in terms of land under organic management. With farmers reporting that by retaining independence they were able to access traditional marketing channels despite increasingly integrating supply chains associated with the rise of larger industrial farming, and ultimately receive better prices. Full report found at Green Leap Forward.

In India, a farming collective of 5000 Dalit (untouchable) woman from the central state of Andhra Pradesh, is producing organic food and has opened an organic seed bank to encourage similar projects around the country, reports Treehugger.

An open call for residents. C.L.E.A.R. Village Foundation is taking applications from people keen to become one of the 100 co-designers of an eco-village that could be replicated around the world:

C.L.E.A.R. Village Foundation‘s five-year collaborative design project is working to construct a real-life C.L.E.A.R. Village. By bringing together leading figures from a variety of disciplines, powerful and complete solutions can be developed. The village will offer excellence in social, environmental and economic sustainability to both residents and guests. The village will let businesses test innovative solutions and technologies in a real world situation, showcasing their most innovative work on a world stage.

Meating of the absent minded. Finally, the NRDC would like us all to be aware that this week, Washington is playing host to the World Coal-to-Liquid Conference.

There’s scheming afoot, reckons the NRDC’s Rob Perks:

The participants are single-mindedly focused on fulfilling their dream of using federal tax dollars to fund an entirely new industry devoted to converting America’s coal reserves into liquid transportation fuel… Despite the Obama administration’s clarion call for clean energy solutions, the industry and its backers remain hell-bent on selling this fuel as a solution to America’s energy problems. In reality, liquid coal offers only enormous expense, minimal energy security benefits and an increase in greenhouse gas pollution.

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