In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making.
Climate change is altering the ecosystem of our oceans, a big carbon sink and prime source of protein from fish. This is old news.
Irrigated green fields of vineyards and monoculture crops coexist in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast with dry plains dotted with flowering cacti and native crops traditionally planted by the locals. Two models of development in struggle, with very different fruits.
The prevailing “Take-Make-Dispose” linear economic model consisting of voracious depletion of natural resources in both production and consumption patterns has proved to be one of the world’s main killers due to the huge pollution it causes for air, land and soil, marine and freshwater.
With 30 countries from Kenya to Indonesia and from Canada to Brazil now involved in the world campaign to beat pollution by countering the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading oceans and endangering the life they sustain, the UN has strengthened its massive efforts to clean up the seas, which are the Earth’s main buffer against climate change.
Recent raids in South Africa have uncovered disturbing evidence of the changing dynamics of rhino horn trafficking from Africa to Asia.
Fish is big business. The latest figures show that more than 165 million tonnes of fish are either captured or harvested in a year, with each person consuming more than 20kg of fish annually, according to the world average. Roughly US$ 140 billion worth of fish is traded globally per annum, with millions of people relying on jobs in fishing and fish-farming, not to mention the seafood industry which involves processing, transport, retail and restaurants.
Pressures on global land resources are now greater than ever, as a rapidly increasing population coupled with rising levels of consumption is placing ever-larger demands on the world’s land-based natural capital, warns a new United Nations report.
With the highest temperatures on record and unprecedented heat waves hitting Europe this year, Africa’s ‘Great Desert’, the Sahara, is set continue its relentless march on the Southern European countries until it occupies more than 30 per cent of Spain just three decades from now.
Africa’s population continues to grow, putting intense pressure on available land for agricultural purposes and life-supporting ecosystem services even as the scenario is compounded by the adverse impacts of climate change.
Ceylon Clayton is trying to revive a sea moss growing project he and friends started a few years ago to supplement their dwindling earnings as fishermen.
A Trinidadian scientist has developed a mechanism for determining the degree of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) compliance with respect to projects, processes and products.
A third of global forests, crucial for curbing gas emissions, are primarily managed by indigenous peoples, families, smallholders and local communities, according to the United Nations.
“Showing them a picture-book crow, I intone ‘kaak
’ in Bengali, the State language. While others repeat in chorus, the tribal Santhali first-graders respond with a blank look. They know the crow only as ‘koyo’
. They’ll happily roll out glass marbles to count but ask them how many they counted, they remain silent because in their mother tongue, one is mit
, two is bariah
- very different sounding from the Bengali ek
Since 2013, Jamaica’s Met Office has been using its Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) to forecast ‘below average’ rainfall or drought across the island. The tool has allowed this northern Caribbean island to accurately predict several dry periods and droughts, including its most destructive episode in 2014 when an estimated one billion dollars in agricultural losses were incurred due to crop failures and wild fires caused by the exceptionally dry conditions.
If the impact of drought and poverty in the municipalities of the so-called Dry Corridor in Nicaragua continues pushing the agricultural frontier towards the Caribbean coast, by the year 2050 this area will have lost all its forests and nature reserves, experts predict.
As Tobago's tourism industry struggles to repel the sargassum invasions that have smothered its beaches with massive layers of seaweed as far as the eye can see - in some places half a metre thick - and left residents retching from the stench, the island's government is working to establish an early warning system that will alert islanders to imminent invasions so they can take defensive action.
Jonathan Barrantes walks between the rows of shoots, naming one by one each species in the tree nursery that he manages, in the south of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coastal region. There are fruit trees, ceibas that will take decades to grow to full size. and timber species for forestry plantations.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 31.1 percent or about 337,000 hectares of Jamaica is forested. Of this, 26.1 percent or 88,000 is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest.
The tourism industry is the key economic driver and largest provider of jobs in the Caribbean after the public sector. Caribbean tourism broke new ground in 2016, surpassing 29 million arrivals for the first time and once again growing faster than the global average.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, which account for 12 per cent of the planet’s arable land, and one-third of its fresh water reserves, a number of factors contribute to soil degradation and to a rural exodus that compromises food security in a not-so-unlikely future.