Daily Archives: September 11, 2015

Famine Ravages Somalia, Aid Groups Unable To Get In | Here & Now

Friday, July 22, 2011

Somali women wait to receive rations at a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)

The United Nations has declared a famine in Somalia–but aid isn’t getting to many of the millions of people that need it.

Parts of Somalia are controlled by an al-Qaeda-linked militant group that has said it will not allow aid organizations into many areas.

Meanwhile, the U.N. children’s agency – one of the few groups that does operate in the area – said Friday that nearly 800,000 children are at risk of dying without urgent assistance.

The U.N. says it fears tens of thousands of people already have died in the country’s famine, which has prompted Somalis to walk for days in hopes of reaching a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.

Main factors that have lead to this crisis:

  • A historic drought: Oxfam says it’s the worst in 60 years, and it has caused the price of grains and fuels to rise. Farmers are unable to meet the basic food needs of their herds, and animals are either dying off or are simply being abandoned.
  • Two decades of war have weakened the government’s control over many portions of the country. Al-Shabab, an Islamic militant group aligned with al-Qaeda, controls much of the Southern part of the country where famine has been declared.

Ways to help:

The BBC contributed reporting to this piece.

Guest:

  • Yusuf Garaad, head of the BBC’s Somalia Service

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

EU Pres. Juncker ‘Tomorrow Morning we will have Climate Refugees’


jessuatwork

Published on Sep 10, 2015

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker used part of his “State of the Union” speech yesterday to make a bold claim about migration into the European Union that seems to have been missed by most news outlets.

He said, in revelatory comments about how the European Union expects to expand the definition of refugees and migration. He said in his State of the Union speech:

“One example of where we Europe is already leading is in our action on climate change.

“In Europe we all know that climate change is a major global challenge – and we have known for a while now.

“The planet we share – its atmosphere and stable climate – cannot cope with the use mankind is making of it.

“Some parts of the world have been living beyond their means, creating carbon debt and living on it. As we know from economics and crisis management, living beyond our means is not sustainable behaviour.

“Nature will foot us the bill soon enough. In some parts of the world, climate change is changing the sources of conflict – the control over a dam or a lake can be more strategic than an oil refinery.

“Climate change is even one the root causes of a new migration phenomenon. Climate refugees will become a new challenge – if we do not act swiftly.”

But the video below shows his ad-libbing on the subject going further.

He says: “We are tackling the root causes of the next migration wave… the climate change problems because tomorrow morning we’ll have climate refugees and we have to know that. We should not be surprised, astonished if the first climate refugees are coming to Europe.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

U.S. To Accept 10,000 Syrian Refugees. Is That Enough?


Friday, September 11, 2015

Syrian refugee Abd Alrazak, a 21-year-old from Homs, looks out of the window of his room at a temporary refugee home in Berlin’s Spandau district. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images)

As Europe struggles to cope with its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the rest of the world is under pressure to help as well.

The Obama administration has responded by saying the U.S. will accept thousands more Syrian refugees in the next year. That compares to the fewer than 2,000 the U.S. has accepted this year.

Paul O’Brien is vice president of policy and advocacy for Oxfam America, a humanitarian organization aimed at ending world poverty. He joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss whether the U.S. is doing enough to help refugees.

Guest

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Report: World’s Richest 85 Hold Same Wealth As Poorest 3.5 Billion

A slum community in Lucknow, India. (Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Income inequality has been in national headlines for weeks, but a new report out today from the Britain-based international charity Oxfam says it’s a major issue worldwide.

The report found “The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world,” and concludes “This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems.”

Roben Farzad of Bloomberg Businessweek joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the new report.

Correction: In our interview, it was stated that the Oxfam report found that the world’s richest 85 people own $110 trillion. That’s not correct. The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. We regret the error.

Guest

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Refugees Continue To Flood Europe

Monday, September 7, 2015

Migrants queue to board a train to Vienna at Keleti station on September 7, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

An estimated 20,000 people arrived in Germany over the weekend, many of them coming from Hungary, where officials stopped the flow of migrants last week. NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley was on a train yesterday filled with refugees who were finally able to leave Hungary.

“There was much relief,” Beardsley told Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd. “The families crammed into the cars. There were little children, there were lots of young men… I met a woman with a 2-week-old baby. So people were settled in and very happy to be leaving.”

Guest

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought

Abstract

Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest. We show that the recent decrease in Syrian precipitation is a combination of natural variability and a long-term drying trend, and the unusual severity of the observed drought is here shown to be highly unlikely without this trend. Precipitation changes in Syria are linked to rising mean sea-level pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean, which also shows a long-term trend. There has been also a long-term warming trend in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding to the drawdown of soil moisture. No natural cause is apparent for these trends, whereas the observed drying and warming are consistent with model studies of the response to increases in greenhouse gases. Furthermore, model studies show an increasingly drier and hotter future mean climate for the Eastern Mediterranean. Analyses of observations and model simulations indicate that a drought of the severity and duration of the recent Syrian drought, which is implicated in the current conflict, has become more than twice as likely as a consequence of human interference in the climate system.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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Environment Justice

Climate change a likely factor in Syria civil war

(Pic: Freedom House/Flickr)

By Alex Kirby

In a dire chain of cause and effect, the drought that devastated parts of Syria from 2006 to 2010 was probably the result of climate change driven by human activities, a new study says.

And the study’s authors think that the drought may also have contributed to the outbreak of Syria’s uprising in 2011.

The drought, which was the worst ever recorded in the region, ravaged agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to the cities where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created the unrest that exploded four years ago.

The conflict has left at least 200,000 people dead, and has displaced millions of others.

The study, by scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, US, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors are quite clear that the climatic changes were human-driven (anthropogenic) and cannot be attributed simply to natural variability, but are careful to stress that their findings are tentative.

“We’re not saying the drought caused the war,” says Richard Seager, one of the co-authors. “We’re saying that, added to all the other stressors, it helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice