There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic - us. As with the climate and biodiversity crises, recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity – particularly our global financial and economic systems, based on a limited paradigm that prizes economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones.
At around 11am on a Saturday, Luke Okomo arrives at Dunga Beach, on the outskirts of Kenya’s Kisumu City, and heads straight to what is known as the ‘Dunga Papyrus Boardwalk’.
A Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary report in 2018 made two disturbing observations about that country’s quarry sector:
- Of the 67 mining operators on record, only 6 were operating with current licenses;
- The State loses large sums in the form of unpaid/uncollected royalties from quarry companies.
Vanessa Nakate of Uganda may have been cropped out of a photograph taken at the World Economic Forum, but she along with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg have made the climate crisis centre stage.
Trinidad and Tobago, like many other signatories to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, had made commitments in 2010, to achieve several biological diversity targets during the decade 2011 to 2020, commonly referred to as the Aichi targets. However, achieving most of those targets continues to be a work in progress.
“The world out there is watching and waiting for results,” Elizabeth Maruma Mrema warns while talking to IPS regarding the preservation of biodiversity of our planet.
The UN’s highly-touted socio-economic agenda, which lays out an ambitious global plan for “people, planet and prosperity”, has been dominated by “goals, targets and deadlines.”
When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the 193-member General Assembly last December, he focused on the smoldering climate crisis-- pointing out that the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded.
When we were children, a long auto trip would require a stop every hour or so to clean the windshield of the insects that had been intercepted.
For any riverine country, the state of the water body around big cities and conditions of major rivers hold a leadership position in the overall climate effects and how the water body is protected and preserved impacts the entire economy and living standards of that country. Bangladesh is renowned for the geomorphic features that include massive rivers flowing throughout the country. Within the border of Bangladesh lie the bottom reaches of the Himalayan Range water sources that flow into the Bay of Bengal totaling the number of rivers by a count of 700. The length of river bodies is about 24,140 km. There are predominantly four major river systems: the Brahmaputra-Jamuna, the Ganges-Padma, the Surma-Meghna, and the Chittagong Region river system. The Brahmaputra is the 22nd longest (2,850 km) and the Ganges is the 30th longest (2,510 km) river in the world. (1) The river system works as a backbone for agriculture, communication, drinking water source, energy source, fishing and as the principal arteries of commercial transportation in Bangladesh. During the annual monsoon period between June and October, the rivers flow about 140,000 cubic meters per second and during the dry period, the numbers come down to 7000 cubic meters per second.
Warming himself with a kangri
(a firepot) kept under his pheran
(a long winter cloak worn by Kashmiris), 66-year-old Mohammad Subhan Dar sat chatting with a bunch of his fellow villagers on a January afternoon on the edge of the road overlooking Wular Lake in Saderkote-Bandipora, northern India.
I love visiting Canberra in the summer. The air is clean. The water in lake Burley Griffin is crystal clear and the "go boats" merrily bob up and down with their wine sipping occupants while black swans frolic in peace.
Ramkumar Mondal’s farm is awash in a brilliant yellow mustard bloom. A flock of grey cranes peck for food amidst the shallow watergrass. But Mondal’s fishpond digs in there like a do-or-die last sentinel as nearby high-rise buildings, a symbol of development and encroachment, menacingly tower over the fishpond, permanently blocking the eastern sun so essential for the pondwater to convert sewage into fish-feed.
Vandana Shiva, a pioneer of organic farming in India, is incensed by the 2019 draft law to compulsorily register all seeds used by farmers. On a wintry afternoon, at her farm Navdanya in the Himalayan foothills, the noted ecologist spoke on the future of the organic farming movement in India. Excerpts:
Steven Seremwe, who is 57 years old, was retrenched from his job as an administrator at Lake Shore Missions in 2012. He decided to focus on farming, and he started growing various crops—white maize, sugar beans, and sweet potatoes, among others—for consumption and sale.
More than half of worldwide GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature, putting biodiversity
loss among the top five risks to the global economy, according to a report presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
With 95 per cent of the ocean still unexplored by humans, we are only just beginning to understand its profound influence on life on earth, including its effect on global climate and ecosystems.
Climate change is already a reality. Ever-more-ferocious cyclones and extended droughts lead to the destruction of infrastructure and the disruption of livelihoods and contribute to mass migration.
The chatter of cockatoos and lorikeets has given way to an eerie silence in smoke enveloped charred landscapes across south-eastern Australia. The unrelenting bushfires have driven many native animal and plant species to the brink of extinction and made several fauna more vulnerable with vast swathes of their habitat incinerated.
“Unprecedented.” “Hell on Earth.” “Catastrophic.”
In Australia, these terms are being used to describe 17.9 million acres of burned land so far. While fires of this magnitude are certainly unprecedented, they’re far from unexpected.
As nature's fury wreaked havoc across Australia, reducing to ashes all that came in its way - people, flora, fauna, picturesque historic towns and villages once popular with local and overseas tourists – it was unlike anything the country had witnessed before. The staggering scale and intensity of the devastation could best be summed up as apocalyptic.