Environment

Biodiversity and Food Security: the Dual Focus of the World Potato Congress

Potatoes were first taken out of Peru, where they originated, 458 years ago to feed the world. Half a millennium later, potatoes have spread throughout the planet but there are challenges to preserve the crop’s biodiversity as a source of food security, as well as the rights of the peasants who sustain this legacy for humanity.

The Future of Our Cities: New Agenda, New Faces, New Year

Urban development is one of our greatest challenges. While the world is highly urbanizing, our cities are transforming the nexus for the social, economic, environmental and political realities of our times.

Can Drought Be Prevented? Slovakia Aims to Try

A landmark programme to combat drought set to be implemented in the small Central European country of Slovakia could be an inspiration for other states as extreme weather events become more frequent, the environmental action group behind the plan has said.

Argentina’s Law on Forests Is Good, But Lacks Enforcement

Never in the parliamentary history of Argentina had something similar happened: one and a half million people in 2007 signed a petition asking the Senate to pass a law to reduce deforestation. The law was quickly approved, and promulgated on Dec. 26 of that year. But 10 years later, it has left a bittersweet taste.

“The World Has Gone in Reverse”

A year into his position, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that peace remains elusive and that renewed action must be taken in 2018 to set the world on track for a better future.

PPPs Likely to Undermine Public Health Commitments

The United Nations Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is being touted in financial circles as offering huge investment opportunities requiring trillions of dollars. In 67 low- and middle-income countries, achieving SDG 3 — healthy lives and well-being for all, at all ages — is estimated to require new investments increasing over time, from an initial $134 billion annually to $371 billion yearly by 2030, according to recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in The Lancet.

40% of India’s Thermal Power Plants in Water-Scarce Areas, Threatening Shutdowns

New WRI research finds that 40 percent of the country’s thermal power plants are located in areas facing high water stress, a problem since these plants use water for cooling. Scarce water is already hampering electricity generation in these regions—14 of India’s 20 largest thermal utilities experienced at least one shutdown due to water shortages between 2013-2016, costing the companies $1.4 billion.

Expansion of Soy Resurrects Key Railway Line in Brazil

The railroad can contribute to the economy, making transportation cheaper, but it is unlikely to foment equitable development in and of itself, apart from facing complex construction obstacles in countries like Brazil.

Sustainable Energy Critical for Achieving Overall Goals of Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement ushered in a new global approach to climate change. At the core of this agreement are the Nationally Determined Contributions. We are now implementing these pledges.

Clean Energy Sources Manage to Cut Electricity Bill in Chile

A 75 percent drop in electricity rates, thanks to a quadrupled clean generation capacity, is one of the legacies to be left in Chile by the administration of Michelle Bachelet, who steps down on Mar. 11.

Policy Support Gap for “Climate-Smart” Agriculture

Conditioned that ploughing is the sure way to produce crops, Zimbabwean farmer Handrixious Zvomarima surprised himself by trying a different method. He planted cowpea seeds directly without tilling the land. It worked.

Tourism Should Be Regulated, Before It Is Too Late…

This year, we will have 3 million tourists each day wandering the world. This massive phenomenon is without precedent in human history and is happening (as usual), with only one consideration in mind: money. We should pause and take a look at its social, cultural and environmental impact and take remedial measures, because they are becoming seriously negative if things are left as they are.

2017 Was a Year of Record-Breaking Climate Events

Parts of the United States are experiencing blizzard and record low temperatures, with sharks freezing in the Atlantic and cold-snapped iguanas falling from trees in Florida.

Disasters Bring Upheaval to Sri Lanka’s Rural Economy

Last year was an annus horribilis for 52-year-old Newton Gunathileka. A paddy smallholder from Sri Lanka’s northwestern Puttalam District, 2017 saw Gunathileka abandon his two acres of paddy for the first time in over three and half decades, leaving his family almost destitute.

Nowhere to Hide from Climate Change

The water is nibbling away the beaches of Fiji. Not even the dead are allowed peace of mind. The graveyard of Togoru - a village on the largest island of Fiji - has been submerged. The waves are sloshing softly against the tilted tombstones covered with barnacles. The names have become illegible, erased by the sea.

Central America Weakens Forest Shield Against Future Droughts

Jazziel Baca lives in the municipality of Esquías, in western Honduras, one of the areas hardest hit by the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis), which damaged almost 500,000 hectares of forest in that Central American country between 2013 and 2015.

The Political Responsibility in the Collapse of Our Planet

On 20 December, Europe’s 28 Ministers of Environment met in Brussels, to discuss the plan for reducing emissions prepared by the Commission, to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Well, it is now clear that we have lost the battle in keeping the planet as we have known it. Now, of course, this can be considered a personal opinion of mine, devoid of objectivity.

Central America Hashes Out Agenda for Sustainable Use of Water

The countries of Central America are striving to define a plan to promote the sustainable use of water, a crucial need in a region that is already suffering the impacts of climate change.

Goodbye to 2017, a Trump-dominated Year

In 2017, Donald Trump dominated the year by using US clout to change many aspects of global relations, and not for the better.

Production Diversity, Diet Diversity and Nutrition in Sub -Saharan Africa

Lack of diet diversity is viewed as the major cause of micronutrient malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. Imbalanced diets resulting from consumption of mainly high carbohydrate based-diets also contribute to productivity losses and reduced educational attainment and income. Consequently, micronutrient malnutrition is currently the most critical for food and nutritional security problem as most diets are often deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. In Tanzania, for example, most rural and urban households consume mainly staples as their main food, which are high in carbohydrates, but low in micronutrients and vitamins. Staple food items increase energy availability but do not improve nutritional outcomes if not consumed together with micro-nutrient rich foods.

Long Maligned for Deforestation, Charcoal Emerges from the Shadows

“We have various financial obligations that push us to charcoal making. Top on the list is farming inputs and school fees,” explains Arclay Moonga, a charcoal producer and chairperson of the recently formed Choma District Charcoal Association in Southern Zambia.

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