Tag Archives: Environment

WORLD JOURNALISM: NEW INTERNATIONALIST – NOV ’22

New Internationalist – NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2022:

TAKE BACK THE LAND

The land beneath our feet is what sustains us – from it we can produce food, construct shelter and build livelihoods. But, it’s also a cultural marker and a source of identity. Its control has been a long-favoured tool of colonizers, wealth hoarders and polluters, while its fiercest protectors – often Indigenous peoples – are criminalized, violated and dispossessed. This edition hears from struggles to take back the land in Brazil, Bangladesh, Kenya and North America. We also launch our new series ‘Decolonize how?’ which will explore what people are doing to dismantle the impacts – and current realities – of British-linked colonialism.

Bali Views: How A 90-Year-Old Man Fights Pollution

Each year, just about 30,000 metric tonnes of plastic pollution enter Indonesia’s waters. How does one man plan to clean it up?

In Indonesia, the ocean plays a critical role in people’s livelihood; from their food to their careers. But that important life source is under threat from overwhelming amounts of plastic. Unfortunately, this pollution is fueled from one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations, Bali.

This, combined with plastic from the rest of the world, washes up on beaches, gets hooked by local fishermen, and damages marine ecosystems. This film follows Wayan, a 90-year-old Balinese fisherman using all his resources and knowledge to tackle this growing problem, one net of trash at a time. This is Voice Above Water, a production from Turning Tides Films.

Views: Guardians Of The River Seine In Paris, France

The River Seine is the beating heart of Paris. The banks of the river attract 8 million visitors each year, making it one of the busiest places in the French capital. We meet those who take care of the Seine seven days a week, from the technicians checking water quality to members of the river patrol, who respond to emergency call-outs and use radar to explore the river’s depths.

Nature View: Bald Eagles Soar In New York City

Bald eagles were nearly extinct in New York City due to environmental factors such as pollution and pesticides. Michael George spoke to an urban park ranger sergeant who participated in the two-decade effort to bring the birds back to the city.

The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle, which occupies the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic. 

Habitats: The Destruction Of Paraguay’s Rainforests

Paraguay might be one of the world’s first countries to lose its rainforest because of a confluence of factors including inequality, corruption, drug trafficking, and climate change. The South American nation offers a stark warning for what the planet stands to lose if it doesn’t act to protect its natural resources.

Paraguay is a landlocked country between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, home to large swaths of swampland, subtropical forest and chaco, wildernesses comprising savanna and scrubland. The capital, Asunción, on the banks of the Paraguay River, is home to the grand Government Palace and the Museo del Barro, displaying pre-Columbian ceramics and ñandutí lacework, the latter available in many shops. 

Views: The Eden Project – World’s Largest Indoor Rainforest, Cornwall, UK

There’s a rainforest in Europe? Apparently, yes – and it’s called the Eden Project! It houses the world’s largest covered rainforest, beneath a giant dome.

But it’s not an amusement park, but rather an educational centre and environmental organisation. The concept: Only those who experience and engage with the beauty of nature can also protect it. That’s why 100,000 plants from all over the world have been brought here, where they cover an area of some 50 hectares.

Not only the sheer number of plants is impressive, the building itself is, too: Two geodesic domes span the site as greenhouses – like massive soap bubbles sticking together. Our Euromaxx reporter Hendrik Welling visits the record-breaking Eden Project and to explore its biotopes and rainforest.

Wildfires: The Alder Creek Giant Sequoia Graveyard

On a dead still November morning in the Sierra Nevada, two researchers walk through a graveyard of giants. Below their feet: a layer of ash and coal. Above their heads: a charnel house of endangered trees.

This is Alder Creek Grove, a once idyllic environment for a majestic and massive specimen: the giant sequoia. It is now a blackened monument to a massive wildfire—and humankind’s far-reaching impact on the environment. But these two researchers have come to do more than pay their respects.

Linnea Hardlund and Alexis Bernal, both of the University of California, Berkeley, are studying the effects of record-breaking fires such as the one that destroyed large swaths of Alder Creek Grove in the hopes that their findings will inform forest management that might preserve giant sequoias for future generations.

So far, those findings are grim: mortality in Alder Creek Grove is near 100 percent. Of the mighty trees that stood watch for thousands of years, only charred skeletons remain. About a century of aggressive fire suppression and a warming, drier climate have created a perfect environment for unprecedented fire.

On August 19, 2020, it came to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The SQF Complex was two fires—the Castle and Shotgun fires—that burned for more than four months, affecting nearly 175,000 acres. And a preliminary report on the Castle Fire estimated that 10 to 14 percent of all living giant sequoias were destroyed.

Hardlund, who is also at the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League, and Bernal fear that, without scientifically informed intervention, such fires will continue to return to the Sierra Nevada—leaving the once proud guardians of the forest a memory and another casualty of our ecological failure.

Views: The Bonneville Salt Flats In Northwest Utah

The Bonneville Salt Flats are perfect for speed. Every year, cars and motorcycles break land speed records on the flat expanse of the Bonneville Salt Flats. It’s been a tradition for more than a century, and racers have built a thriving community around the salt races. But how did these salt flats form, and why are they disappearing now?

Climate Change: “Don’t Choose Extinction” (U.N.)

A visitor to the United Nations General Assembly has a message about climate change, telling us government-supported fossil fuel subsidies will prove disastrous to our species. The computer-animated Frankie the Dinosaur (voiced by actor Jack Black) stars in this message produced by the U.N. Development Program as part of its “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign, timed to the COP-26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Nature: Belize Converts Debt To Protect 30% Of Its Coral Atolls, Barrier Reef

The Belize Barrier Reef System features three of four coral atolls in the Atlantic, lush mangrove forests, numerous offshore islands, and one of the most extensive seagrass areas in the Caribbean. It hosts 77 species listed as threatened by the IUCN, including a sizeable population of West Indian Manatees.

Now, Belize has reaffirmed its environmental leadership by becoming the first country in the Americas to finalize a debt conversion for ocean conservation—and one that represents an impact investment for marine protection that’s unprecedented in scale. This commitment will enable Belize to restructure approximately US$550 million of external commercial debt—an amount that represents 30 percent of the country’s GDP—and reduce the national debt by 12 percent.