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Science to the rescue
Driftnets - FAO
Drift gillnets (or driftnets), in common with other types of gillnet, are among the simplest and oldest methods of fishing. Such nets operate by gilling or entangling fish in the meshes of a sheet of netting. The netting is held more or less vertically in the water column by means of a buoyant floatline at the top of the net, and a weighted leadline at the bottom of the net. ..
Brazil's 'chainsaw queen' takes on environmentalists
In 1950, about 15% of the Earth's land surface was covered by rainforest. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. That is more than 150 acres lost every minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year. More than 20% of the Amazon rainforest is already gone, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within another fifty years. If deforestation continues at current rates, scientists estimate nearly 80 to 90% of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020.
UN initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.
World Rainforest Movement
The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) is an international organization that, through its work on forest and plantation related issues, contributes to achieving the respect of local peoples’ rights over their forests and territories. WRM is part of a global movement for social change that aims at ensuring social justice, the respect of human rights and environmental conservation.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that once was lauded for its versatility, recognized for its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties, and used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction. It was woven into fabric, and mixed with cement.
Its properties were so desired that the United States military mandated its use in every branch of service. Asbestos was a perfect blend to make things better – except it was highly toxic, too. Today asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, is banned in more than 50 countries (not the U.S.), and its use has been dramatically restricted in others.
Lead can disrupt numerous crucial bodily functions, and hence has a wide variety of symptoms, from vomiting to madness to death. It's known to be a potent blocker of receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter crucial for learning. It is also able to displace a series of other metals from doing their normal job in the body - most significantly, calcium, iron and zinc.
Image from: http://www.panna.org/issues/persistent-poisons/the-ddt-story
This man-made fat was developed to protect us against butter. Turns out, it acts like butter inside our bodies.
How to Cool the Planet by Right now, a group of scientists is working on ways to minimize the catastrophic impact of global warming. But they’re not designing hybrids or fuel cells or wind turbines. They’re trying to lower the temperature of the entire planet. And they’re doing it with huge contraptions that suck CO2 from the air, machines that brighten clouds and deflect sunlight away from the earth, even artificial volcanoes that spray heat-reflecting particles into the atmosphere. This is the radical and controversial world of geoengineering, which only five years ago was considered to be "fringe." But as Jeff Goodell points out, the economic crisis, combined with global political realities, is making these ideas look sane, even inspired. Goodell himself started out as a skeptic, concerned about tinkering with the planet’s thermostat. We can’t even predict next week’s weather, so how are we going to change the temperature of whole regions? What if a wealthy entrepreneur shoots particles into the stratosphere on his own? Who gets blamed if something goes terribly wrong? And perhaps most disturbing, what about wars waged with climate control as the primary weapon? There are certainly risks, but Goodell believes the alternatives could be worse. In the end, he persuades us that geoengineering may just be our last best hope—a Plan B for the environment. His compelling tale of scientific hubris and technical daring is sure to jump-start the next big debate about the future of life on earth.
Call Number: S\ 363.7 Goo
Publication Date: 2010-04-15
Would you drink toilet water?
Image Source: Kathleen Canter The Exploratorium
Collapse by In Jared Diamond's follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society's apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana. Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?
Call Number: S\ 304.28 Dia
Publication Date: 2011-01-04
Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.
The Great Barrier Reef
As the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally outstanding and significant entity. Practically the entire ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres...
Silent Spring At 50 by Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement when published 50 years ago, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had a profound impact on our society. As an iconic work, the book has often been shielded from critical inquiry, but this landmark anniversary provides an excellent opportunity to reassess its legacy and influence. In Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson a team of national experts explores the book’s historical context, the science it was built on, and the policy consequences of its core ideas. The conclusion makes it abundantly clear that the legacy of Silent Spring is highly problematic. While the book provided some clear benefits, a number of Carson’s major arguments rested on what can only be described as deliberate ignorance. Despite her reputation as a careful writer widely praised for building her arguments on science and facts, Carson’s best-seller contained significant errors and sins of omission. Much of what was presented as certainty then was slanted, and today we know much of it is simply wrong.
Call Number: S\ 363.73 SILENT
Publication Date: 2012-09-16
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson's passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.nbsp;nbsp;
Call Number: S\ 363.73 CARSON
Publication Date: 2002-10-22
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).
United World College of Southeast Asia (UWCSEA): Dover Campus: 1207 Dover Road, Singapore 139654 / East Campus: 1 Tampines Street 73, Singapore 528704