Daily Archives: January 12, 2014

Measles outbreak sweeps through CAR camp


The Political Economy of Predatory Capitalism


Bad investment(Image: Bad investment via Shutterstock)The world is returning to the predatory laissez-faire capitalism that immiserated millions in the early 20th century and is predicated on neoliberal “voodoo economics,” void of empirical reference.

E120, e145,

Fukushima Update: The Nuclear Disaster That Won’t Go Away


When was the last time you heard an update about the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the evening news? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You might take the silence to mean that everything’s fine, but it’s not. In fact, if the little blips and pieces of news coming out of Japan are any indication, things are far from fine, and are getting worse by the second. Those of us in other countries, even on the other side of the world, may soon get our own taste of nuclear fallout.

Imminent Meltdown?

On New Year’s Day (nearly three years after the initial incident) operators of the Fukushima plant reported that “plumes of most probably radioactive steam” had been seen rising from the reactor 3 building. According to RT.com, “the Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still houses an estimated 89 tons of the plutonium-based MOX nuclear fuel composed of 514 fuel rods.” Unfortunately, high levels of radiation inside the building make it nearly impossible to determine the source of the mystery steam. Although TEPCO, the plant’s operator, claims there’s no increased danger (small comfort from the people who admitted to the world that they have no control over the situation), most agree that the plant is just seconds away from another disaster.

E145, e120, nuclear,

Climate Change Threatens East Africa’s Food Security


  • Published: January 11th, 2014

By Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network

LONDON – The report, East African Agriculture and Climate Change, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), looks at threats to food supplies in 11 countries in East and Central Africa – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Agriculture dominates the economies of countries in East Africa: if plans aren’t made to adapt to climate change the region’s rapidly expanding population faces a grim future, says a new report.
Credit: Flickr/CGIAR Climate

Agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of gross domestic product across the region. The report says soil deficiencies in many parts mean agricultural productivity is falling.

Ecosystems are depleted, infrastructure is poor and there’s a lack of reliable information and policy coordination. Meanwhile weather systems are becoming more erratic and violent.

“Climate change will have far-reaching consequences for the poor and marginalized groups, among which the majority depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt…this situation is likely to become more desperate and to threaten the very survival of the most vulnerable farmers as global warming continues,” says the study.

Bleak Prospect

Crop production across the region depends overwhelmingly on rainfall. Many areas are likely to see less rainfall in future and an increased incidence of droughts. In 2011 there were prolonged droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Rising temperatures in many areas are likely to result in reduced crop yields: harvests of wheat, soybean, sorghum and irrigated rice could decline by between 5 percent and 20 percent, with irrigated rice production being the hardest hit. However, output of rain-fed maize and rain-fed rice might increase slightly, due to increased rainfall in some areas.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

Row over BBC climate change conference ‘cover up’ – Telegraph


The BBC has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle to keep details of an executive conference about climate change secret. Photo: PA

By Graeme Paton

5:01PM GMT 12 Jan 2014

The BBC spent thousands of pounds over six years attempting to “cover up” a climate change seminar credited with shaping its coverage of the environment, it emerged today.

At least £20,000 was paid out by the corporation battling a Freedom of Information request about the conference that featured lectures by green activists and scientists, it was revealed.

Almost 30 of the BBC’s most senior executives – including the head of TV news and future director-general – attended the event in 2006 which was funded with a grant from the former Labour government.

According to the Mail on Sunday, a senior official admitted that the “seminar had an impact on a broad range of BBC output”, including news reports and a three-part series on the environment and global warming.

The disclosure is likely to fuel claims of a lack of balance surrounding the corporation’s coverage of the issue.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

CDC: Climate Change Increasing Korean Disease Rates


By Jeffrey Kopman Published: Jan 10, 2014, 11:37 AM EST weather.com

Summer is the season for insect-borne diseases, which sicken tens of thousands every year. Here, the host of mosquito, tick and other insect-borne diseases that strike in the United States, and what to watch for. All of the following information is from the CDC. (James Jordan/Flickr)

The consequences of climate change stretch beyond deep freezes. In South Korea, warmer temperatures have already begun to lengthen tick and mosquito season, causing the number of infectious diseases to rise by more than 20,000 cases from 2012 to 2013, according to a report from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in The Korea Herald.

(ABOVE: Diseases Spread by Mosquitos, Ticks and More)

This finding reinforces a belief long held by epidemiologists and climatologists — that climate change will dramatically increase the prevalence of vector-borne disease across the globe.

In 2013, 77,215 Koreans were diagnosed with an infectious disease, compared to 51,520 in 2012. The Korea CDC specifically cited a spike in the cases of scrub typhus, an illness that causes fever, headaches, rashes and scabbing, as one example for the increase.

“The Korean Peninsula’s climate is turning subtropical and more people are coming in and out of the country,” Kim Woo-joo, professor of infectious disease at the Korea University Guro Hospital, told The Korea Herald. “We have to take steps to prevent new diseases from spreading in the country.”

In addition to warming temperatures, researchers said that many Koreans are traveling to rural areas where more insects might live. These areas could also be responsible for the spread of diseases like dengue fever.

As evident by the recent bird flu death in Canada, those traveling to other countries can be at risk for infectious diseases. The U.S. CDC recommends travelers going to South Korea update their vaccinations, and make sure they have a typhoid vaccine. The CDC warns that diseases spread through contaminated food and water.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

A Dream Fulfilled – Van Jones



Uploaded on Jan 18, 2012

See further links to the work and perspectives of Van Jones
See work of similar grassroots/global visionaries.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120