April 02, 2013
One kilometer off the Philippine island of Palawan lays the Rasa Island Wildlife Sanctuary; here forest grows unimpeded from a coral island surrounded by mangroves and coral reefs. Although tiny, over a hundred bird species have been recorded on the island along with a major population of large flying foxes, while in the waters below swim at least 130 species of coral fish, three types of marine turtles, and that curious-looking marine mammal, dugongs. Most importantly, perhaps, the island is home to the world's largest population of Philippine cockatoos (Cacatua haematuropygia), currently listed as Critically Endangered. But, although uninhabited by people, Rasa Island may soon be altered irrevocably by human impacts. Officials have proposed to build a coal-fired power plant directly across the strait on the mainland of Palawan with its 'stack shadow' (the radius surrounding a coal plant of 0.8-1.6 kilometers) reaching all the way to Rasa Island Wildlife Sanctuary. But the coal plant's impacts, in a nation blasted by worsening typhoons, could stretch even further.
Read the rest here.