Hurricane Sandy exposes Haiti’s agriculture and environment woes

AN – Years of neglect of agriculture and disaster prevention in Haiti, coupled with the government’s failure to protect the environment and stem deforestation, are exacerbating food shortages following Hurricane Sandy, aid agencies say. Tropical storm Sandy skirted the island but killed at least 52 people in Haiti and destroyed or damaged around 200,000 homes, the government says – the highest death toll in the Caribbean.Read article

Deforestation costing Kenya millions, increasing water shortages

Bikyamasr – Deforestation deprived Kenya’s economy of 5.8 billion shillings ($68 million) in 2010 and 6.6 billion shillings in 2009, far outstripping the roughly 1.3 billion shillings injected from forestry and logging each year, according to a joint Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and UN Environment Program (UNEP) report. The ongoing work of the KFS, together with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and international partners, says that the contribution of forests is undervalued by 2.5 percent, putting the estimate of its annual contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at around 3.6 percent. Read article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Storm surge heights in southern Rhode Island relative to contemporary mean sea level

Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge was likely surpassed in the New England hurricanes of 1635 and 1638. From 1635 through 1954, New England was hit by at least five hurricanes producing greater than 3 m storm surges in New England. Analysis of sediment cores led to the conclusion “that at least seven hurricanes of intensity sufficient to produce storm surge capable of over topping the barrier beach (>3 m) at Succotash Marsh have made landfall in southern New England in the past 700 yr.” All seven of those storms occurred prior to 1960.

SOURCE: http://www.geo.brown.edu/georesearch/esh/QE/Publications/GSAB2001/JDonnelly/Succotash/300dpi/Fig03.jpg

Antarctic marine park negotiations end in failure

ABC – Conservation groups are angry an international conference has failed to agree on new marine reserves around Antarctica. About 250 delegates representing 25 countries have been locked in talks at the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Read article

News Archive In Focus – Conspiracy and Secrets (1,499 articles)

Open Your Eyes only uses mainstream news sources so no great conspiracies at work here. Just the honest news about big topics that many would rather “sweep under the carpet”.Questions too big and too hard to shrink into sound-bites. For a comprehensive view of the news about Conspiracies and Secrets around the world, read our news archive of 1,499 articles CLICK HERE

Fracking on the agenda in US elections

Ten years ago few people had even heard of the energy extraction technique known as ‘fracking.’ Now the issue is set to play an important role for many US voters in the presidential election in November. “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years,” US President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union speech this year. As pundits began scrambling to confirm or debunk the claim, Obama went on to assure Americans that his administration would “require oil companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.” Read article

Shipbreaking experts clean up polluted shipyards

DW – Old ships are torn to pieces in unregulated shipbreaking yards around the world, releasing harmful chemicals. But German and Chinese experts are getting onboard with new global regulations to improve standards. Many products containing materials considered hazardous to the environment or human health are subject to strict environmental laws that regulate how they must be recycled after becoming redundant. Such is the case with cars and consumer electronics – but ships have regularly fallen outside of regulation. That’s about to change. Read article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Climate change link to Sandy invalid

The Australian – AUSTRALIA’S Climate Commission has misrepresented data from the leading US meteorological bureau to highlight a link between climate change and the severity of Superstorm Sandy which this week crippled New York. In a statement on the disaster that hit North America on Monday, the federal government-sponsored Climate Commission said “all the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy”. Matthew England, chairman of the commission’s Science Advisory Panel, said it was important to get the message out that storms today were “operating in a different environment than they were 100 years ago”. Professor England said increased humidity, higher sea levels and warmer sea surface temperatures were all contributing to the severity of storms. The commission quoted data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that “the temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy drew energy were three to five degrees warmer than average”. However, senior NOAA climate scientist Martin Hoerling said the higher sea-surface temperatures quoted by the Climate Commission were not significant in relation to Sandy. Read Article

Farmers’ body opposes field trials of GM crops

Business Standard – Farmer community in Gujarat has raised objection to the union agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar’s appeal to the state governments to permit field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops. Farmer body, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has alleged that Pawar has colluded with the multi-national seed companies to act against the interests of the country’s farmers. “It is unfortunate that our union agriculture minister, who has the responsibility to ensure welfare of the farmers and achieve food security for the country, is pressing for field trials of GM crops despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture had recommended to stop all field trails,” said Ambubhai Patel, national secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS). Read article

Israeli army opens West Bank barrier for animals

DW – The West Bank barrier is blocking animal migration between Israel and the Palestinian territories. But now, the Israeli Defence Force is seeking ways to allow animals to get over – or even through – the wall. Imad Atrash is the Palestine Wildlife Society Executive Director and says the barrier divides animal families. In an interview with DW, he explained that before the barrier was built, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the red fox population was separated by a fence. “The male was on the Israeli side and the female was inside Palestinian lands,” he said. “The male dug a hole and came to the female.” But then the West Bank barrier was built. Read article

News Archive In Focus – Africa (1,878 articles)

Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent and is widely regarded within the scientific community to be the origin of humans, as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors. Geographically, Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas. With a diverse set of cultures and political regimes, the news coming out of this region is varied and topical. Keep up to date with a look at our Africa news archive of 1,878 articles on the topic CLICK HERE

Conservationists slam Antarctic Ocean sanctuary failure

DW – Two weeks of talks in Australia have failed to produce a deal to create a huge marine sanctuary in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservation groups accused officials of favoring fishing rights over marine preservation. The Antarctic Ocean Alliance said on Friday that it was hugely disappointed by the lack of progress in talks on a major marine sanctuary. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), consisting of 24 countries plus the European Union, convened for two weeks in Hobart, Australia to seek an agreement on a massive marine reserve in the Ross Sea. The meeting ended without pasing a resolution. Read Article

WWF lifts lid on unreported tuna trade

AFP – Thousands of tonnes of Atlantic bluefin tuna traded through Panama over a decade were never reported to the global body tasked with protecting the threatened fish, green group WWF claimed Wednesday. Some 14,300 tonnes of processed bluefin traded over the period 2000 to 2010, a figure obtained from official trade and customs databases, was the equivalent of 18,700 tonnes of live fish, it said in a statement. If confirmed, the concealment would amount to illegal fishing and constitute an environmental crime, said the WWF, as it demanded a probe.Read article

Australia: Roundup-resistant weeds running rampant

The Australian – Super-weeds and grasses that cannot be killed or controlled by common chemicals are insidiously spreading across Australia. A study by Adelaide University researchers, funded by the National Weeds Program, has discovered herbicide resistance in half the weed sites surveyed along major roads stretching from the Darling Downs in Queensland to southern and Western Australia. Read article

Related articles: How GM crops have increased the use of dangerous pesticides and created superweeds and toxin-resistant insects; After Years of Herbicide Use, Roundup-Resistant Superweeds Are Evolving to Invade U.S. Fields

Ex-Fukushima worker files lawsuit against TEPCO

ABC – A former worker at the Fukushima nuclear plant has filed a lawsuit, alleging the operator sent crews into highly radioactive areas without proper protection. The Associated Press is reporting the former worker, identified only as Shinichi, is alleging that crews were not given adequate protection or warnings by TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima plant. Read article

News Archive In Focus – Energy & Resources (1,841 articles)

We are consuming energy at an exponential rate, placing more and more stress on the world’s resources. As governments and companies work towards developing new solutions and technologies to the question of our energy consumption, we must also address the range of pollution, climate change, and resource issues that arise. For a comprehensive view from a diverse range of sources, read our Energy & Resources news archive of 1,841 articles CLICK HERE

News Archive In Focus – Australasia (1,642 articles)

Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouringislands in the Pacific Ocean. With a distinct evolutionary history, a great many unique flora and fauna, and an region rich in resources, Australasia is and will continue to be a region of wonder and importance for generations to come.For a comprehensive view of the news coming out of that region, read our Australasia news archive of 1,642 articles CLICK HERE