November 6th, 2018

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'Our god is stronger'

For centuries, traditional religious practices have preserved the sacred forests of this archipelago off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. Now missionaries are muscling in

The 12 traditional priestesses of Orango island gathered in their wide hut in a deserted clearing of ankle-deep vegetation, passing a bowl of orange palm nuts between them.

Like their grandmothers before them, the baloberas, as the priestesses are known, were using their spiritual powers to protect the forests in their part of the Bijagós archipelago in Guinea-Bissau. They were performing the secret opening ceremony for a thicket of palm trees that they had closed up in May.

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Five products you didn't know were harming the environment

Five products you didn't know were harming the environment

Research suggests sunscreen could contribute to coral bleaching

Palau has become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen in order to protect its vulnerable coral reefs - but for many consumers this may be the first they have heard of the product's harmful effects.

Researchers believe 10 chemical ingredients found in sunscreen are highly toxic to marine life, and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching.

But sunscreen is far from the only household product having an adverse effect on the natural world.

Here are five others you may not have been aware of...


Also see: Pacific island to ban some sun creams in a bid to save its coral reefs

Contact lenses contributing to the microplastic pollution of our waterways