Here are my favorite environment, health, climate change, international development or country specific blog posts (and articles) for the past week in no particular order.
- Tuvalu to World: Help! from Treehugger
Tuvalu’s main island of Funafati. 10 centimeters above sea level. Photo from Der Spiegel
The tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu is urging the rest of the world to do more to combat global warming, before the island-state sinks beneath the ocean’s lapping waves.
Related: Very good NPR piece on their lone envoy’s plea to the UN and the world on his country’s behalf.
- In Africa, smaller cities grow faster from Christian Science Monitor
Botswana’s capital offers an example of one city’s efforts to manage explosive growth.
- A lot of good stories in the Monitor this week. Here is another one.
Why adopting in Guatemala is getting harder from Christian Science Monitor
American parents cradle their new babies in cotton blankets and feed them bottles of formula. They clog the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Guatemala City with strollers. Penny Conner, from Medfield, Mass., says she cannot wait to bring her 9-month-old boy home. It’s a joyous scene: Guatemala is one of the most popular places to adopt for American families â€“ second only to China.
But across town, Angelica Lopez cries and can’t stop. A year ago, three women kidnapped her 2-month-old baby daughter, she says. Her story is the underbelly of the country’s multimillion-dollar adoption industry.
- An unexpectedly popular papaya protest from How the World Works
Whether you consider genetically modified papaya to be a fruit of Satan or salvation from a dreaded papaya-annihilating virus, it’s hard not to chuckle at reports of what transpired at a Greenpeace-organized protest in Bangkok, Thailand, earlier this week.
- The Dark Side from the New Yorker
In 1610, Galileo Galilei published a small book describing astronomical observations that he had made of the skies above Padua. His homemade telescopes had less magnifying and resolving power than most beginnersâ€™ telescopes sold today, yet with them he made astonishing discoveries: that the moon has mountains and other topographical features; that Jupiter is orbited by satellites, which he called planets; and that the Milky Way is made up of individual stars. It may seem strange that this last observation could have surprised anyone, but in Galileoâ€™s time people assumed that the Milky Way must be some kind of continuous substance. It truly resembled a streak of spilled liquidâ€”our word â€œgalaxyâ€ comes from the Greek for milkâ€”and it was so bright that it cast shadows on the ground (as did Jupiter and Venus). Today, by contrast, most Americans are unable to see the Milky Way in the sky above the place where they live, and those who can see it are sometimes baffled by its name.
The [International Dark-Sky Association] also has members in seventy-eight foreign countries, including Iraq and Iran, where astronomy is a popular hobby, especially among girls and young women. Authorities in Saâ€™adat-shahr, about four hundred miles south of Tehran, periodically cut off all electric power in the town in order to improve visibility at nighttime â€œstar partiesâ€ conducted by a local teacher.
- Pipeline bombs: Mexico’s gas infrastructure comes under attack from The Economist
A series of attacks on September 10th on Mexicoâ€™s natural-gas pipelines have dealt the country a triple blow: they have crippled affected businesses, caused losses to the state oil company PetrÃ³leos Mexicanos and hurt the government of President Felipe CalderÃ³n. Concern about the vulnerability of Mexicoâ€™s infrastructure and its vital oil and gas industry is likely to increase as a result. The incidents also suggest that Mr CalderÃ³n, who has proven to be more effective in his early months in office than had been anticipated, still faces considerable challenges from both within and outside the political system.
- India’s PM: No Subsidies, More Local Water Conservation Strategies from Treehugger
In the face of a mounting water crisis, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlined his plan for water conservation at a national groundwater conference in Delhi on Tuesday, stating that instead of economic and commercial subsidies, a price should be put on water usage. At the same time, he urged all local governments to come up with effective strategies to popularize rain-harvesting and to engage in maintaining traditional reservoirs through more sustainable means. [Emphasis added]
- Giant Web Of Spider Networking from Good Magazine
A 200 yard stretch of Lake Tawakoni State Park is covered in a massive web of, well, massive webs.
No Global warming related. Just creepy.
- Ecuador: Pay us not to drill for oil from FP Passport
In a unique environmental scheme, Ecuador’s government is asking developed nations to pay $350 million for them NOT to drill for oil in a major field in the heart of the Amazon. The sum represents about half of the estimated revenue that Ecuador would receive from drilling in the Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve that may contain up to a billion barrels of crude. Since Ecuador proposed the scheme last spring, politicians from Germany, Norway, Italy, Spain, and the EU have expressed interest, according to Ecuador’s minister of energy.
“Show me the money”.
- Go Beachcombing — and Save the Ocean from Lighter Footstep
There’s nothing like beachcombing.
Take an early morning walk by the shore. You’re guaranteed to see something interesting: a coconut from some far away beach. Shells. Maybe even the proverbial message in a bottle.
More likely, though, you’ll see trash — lots of it. Our oceans have become the Earth’s biggest dumping ground. Take the North Pacific Gyre, a vast whirlpool of mostly plastic trash spinning endlessly in the currents. This plastic is mistaken for food by marine animals, with fatal results. Fish and dolphins become entrapped in cast-off nets and fishing lines. It’s a slow-motion environmental disaster.
But you can help. Grab a bag and let’s head to the shore.
Down with MOOP.