Daily Archives: August 30, 2021

Jakarta floods: Thousands of people evacuated – BBC New

BBC News – Jan 2, 2020

At least 21 people have died in flooding in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, after the city had its most intense rainfall for at least 24 years.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) measured 377mm (14.8 inches) of rainfall in a day at an airport in East Jakarta.

That’s the most rain in a single day since at least 1996, when records supplied by the agency began.

“The rain falling on New Year’s Eve… is not ordinary rain,” said the agency.

The agency said the intensity of the rain was due to several factors, including the monsoon season, as well as a high amount of water vapour in the air affecting cloud formations over Java island.

At least 62,000 people have been evacuated out of the city. Some people spent the night on the roofs of their buildings while awaiting rescue.

The U.S. military versus the mosquito

Bill Gates – Aug 25, 2021

Finding ways to protect soldiers from the mosquito—the world’s deadliest animal – is a top priority at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Since its founding in 1893, WRAIR has been a global research leader into new malaria drugs, mosquito control, and more recently, vaccines, to protect people from mosquito-borne diseases. This research benefits the lives of not only American soldiers, but also billions of people living in areas where mosquito-borne diseases are a threat. Learn more at https://gatesnot.es/3zwczc0

Coronavirus: Flying in the age of Covid-19? – BBC Travel Show

BBC Travel Show May 23, 2020

Rajan Datar finds out what it will be like to get on a plane after the world finally emerges from lockdown, how New York’s famous yellow cabs are dealing with the new normal and why social distancing is not a problem at the usually packed ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Asia’s Sinking Cities: Jakarta | Insight | Indonesia

CNA Insider Feb 26, 2020

Will the decision to relocate the country’s capital city from Jakarta to East Kalimantan help safeguard the city from being engulfed by the sea? For more great INSIGHT into the top issues affecting Asia: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

Estimating Deaths in a Nuclear War

Neil Halloran – Aug 8, 2017

Sequel to The Fallen of World War II, The Shadow Peace is a web series that combines data-visualization and cinematic storytelling to explore the driving factors of war and peace.

The first episode looks at the numbers behind nuclear war and peacekeeping efforts. Composed largely of data-driven animation, the 15-minute film allows the viewer to pause at certain moments to interact with the content.

Why Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is sinking – BBC News

BBC News Aug 13, 2018

Why Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest-sinking megacities Indonesia’s capital Jakarta has sunk by up to 4m in places since 1970. But what is causing it? Animation by Davies Surya

Jakarta is sinking! – Equator from the Air – BBC

BBC – Jun 25, 2019

Jakarta, the fastest-sinking city in the world – BBC News

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta is home to 10 million people but it is also one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world. If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers. Is it too late?

It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it’s not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground.

“The potential for Jakarta to be submerged isn’t a laughing matter,” says Heri Andreas, who has studied Jakarta’s land subsidence for the past 20 years at the Bandung Institute of Technology.

“If we look at our models, by 2050 about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged.”

It’s already happening – North Jakarta has sunk 2.5m in 10 years and is continuing to sink by as much as 25cm a year in some parts, which is more than double the global average for coastal megacities.

Jakarta is sinking by an average of 1-15cm a year and almost half the city now sits below sea level.

The impact is immediately apparent in North Jakarta.

In the district of Muara Baru, an entire office building lies abandoned. It once housed a fishing company but the first-floor veranda is the only functional part left.

The submerged ground floor is full of stagnant floodwater. The land around it is higher so the water has nowhere to go. Buildings that are so deeply sunk are rarely abandoned like this, because most of the time the owners will try to fix, rebuild and find short-term remedies for the issue. But what they can’t do is stop the soil sucking this part of the city down.

An open air fish market is just a five-minute drive away.

“The walkways are like waves, curving up and down, people can trip and fall,” says Ridwan, a Muara Baru resident who often visits the fish market. As the water levels underground are being depleted, the very ground market-goers walk on is sinking and shifting, creating an uneven and unstable surface.

“Year after year, the ground has just kept sinking,” he said, just one of many inhabitants of this quarter alarmed at what is happening to the neighbourhood.

North Jakarta has historically been a port city and even today it houses one of Indonesia’s busiest sea ports, Tanjung Priok. Its strategic location where the Ciliwung river flows into the Java Sea was one of the reasons why Dutch colonists chose to make it their bustling hub in the 17th Century.

Today 1.8 million people live in the municipality, a curious mixture of fading port businesses, poor coastal communities and a substantial population of wealthy Chinese Indonesians.

Fortuna Sophia lives in a luxurious villa with a sea view. The sinking of her home is not immediately visible but she says cracks appear in the walls and pillars every six months.

“We just have to keep fixing it,” she says, standing beside her swimming pool with her private dock just a few metres away. “The maintenance men say the cracks are caused by the shifting of the ground.”

She’s lived here for four years but it has already flooded several times: “The seawater flows in and covers the swimming pool entirely. We have to move all our furniture up to the first floor.”

The heroes and politics of Jakarta’s floods

‘Fossil’ groundwater’s modern secret

But the impact on the small homes right by the sea is magnified. Residents who once had a sea view now see only a dull grey dyke, built and rebuilt in a valiant attempt to keep seawater out.

“Every year the tide gets about 5cm higher,” Mahardi, a fisherman, said.

None of this has deterred the property developers. More and more luxury apartments dot the North Jakarta skyline regardless of the risks. The head of the advisory council for Indonesia’s Association of Housing Development, Eddy Ganefo, says he has urged the government to halt further development here. But, he says, “so long as we can sell apartments, development will continue”.

…(read more).

Why Bill Gates Is Buying Up U.S. Farmland

CNBC – Aug 21, 2021

Bill Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. But he’s not the only one. Some of the wealthiest landowners including Jeff Bezos, John Malone and Thomas Peterffy are buying up forests, ranches and farmlands across the United States. Why? Watch the video to find out.

Investments in farmland are growing across the country as people, including the ultra-wealthy like Bill Gates, look for new ways to grow their money.

In 2020, Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. He had accumulated more than 269,000 acres of farmland across 18 states in less than a decade. His farmland grows onions, carrots and even the potatoes that are used to make McDonald’s French fries.

“It’s an asset with increasing value,” American Farmland Trust CEO John Piotti said. “It has great intrinsic value and beyond that, it is a limited resource.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30% of all farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves. Buyers often purchase land from farmers who have owned it for decades; many of whom may be asset rich but maybe cash poor.

“The economic realities for them are typical that they’ve spent their life farming,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, land campaign director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. “Their retirement, their equity is all in the land and tied up in selling land.”

Private landowners are also making a profit by utilizing the land in numerous ways. Approximately 39% of the 911 million acres of farmland across the U.S. is rented out to farmers, and 80% of that rented farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves data from the Agriculture Department shows.

“The young farmers are just as happy to lease the land because whether you are young or old, it’s a business, right?” said Thomas Petterfy, chairman of Interactive Brokers and owner of 581,000 acres.

“You go buy a farm and you put that cash rental lease in place, you’re going to be looking at about 2.5% return on your capital,” Peoples Company President Steve Bruere said.

See related:

Exxon’s Oil Drilling Gamble Off Guyana Coast Could Turn Country from Carbon Sink to “Carbon Bomb”

Democracy Now! – Aug 30, 2021

Despite desperate climate warnings against new fossil fuel development, ExxonMobil is pursuing a massive new oil project in Guyana that is projected to be the corporation’s largest oil production in the world. A new investigation by Antonia Juhasz, a longtime oil and energy investigative reporter, reveals the project will release 125 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, turning Guyana from a carbon sink into what she says could be a “carbon bomb” and posing major environmental risks.