Tuesday, August 28, 2007

West Bank: Occupation bad for environment

[...] during more than 40 years of Israeli control, the West Bank has become, either consciously or unconsciously, our garbage dump, and particularly that of the settlements and illegal outposts in the area. Toxic sewage from plants and sewage systems pouring into Palestinian agricultural and pasture areas are a routine matter. [...] The sewage and waste cause irreversible destruction and damage to the natural springs in these areas and to ground water in aquifers. Olive trees and crops belonging to residents in the territories are damaged forever; nature reserves or areas that were supposed to be declared as such are damaged and neglected, along with the direct damage to flora and fauna, and to the entire delicate ecological system that exists there. [...] The environmental hazards will not disappear even if we build a fence or define the territories as enemy territory. The area, in and of itself, is homogenous, despite the two peoples living there.

West Bank ecology. Picture from original article.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Correlations from weather to sociology

The past

It turns out that [19th century] Bavaria kept remarkably comprehensive crime statistics - the most meticulous in Germany - and when laid out one on top of the other, there was a startlingly robust correlation between the amount of rain, the price of rye and the rate of property crime: they rose and fell together in lockstep.

[...] rainfall often has a surprisingly strong effect on violence

[...] The causes of any war are incredibly complex - or are they? The economists found that one of the most reliable predictors of civil war [in Africa during the 1980s or 1990s] is lack of rain.

The future

[...] the predicted rise in temperature will increase the death rate for American men by 1.7 percent and for women by 0.4 percent.

[...] global warming would produce a net agricultural gain in the US, [some] states would be the big winners and [some] would be the big losers.

Source: Global warming could bring us together - By Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

From the Ecowar frontiers

Middle East

Around one-third of a massive oil slick caused by Israeli bombing of a Lebanese power plant remains in the Mediterranean a year on from war

Source: Lebanon still cleaning oil spill one year after war - Middle East Times


Canada's increased military presence in the Arctic poses environmental dangers as bullets, shells, shell casings and other war-game detritus wind up in ecologically sensitive waters and tundra

Source: globeandmail.com: War games in Arctic draw fire over impact on ecology

Central America

Campesinos in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have been blocking access to an area where the government wants to build a huge dam and hydroelecric station, since 2003

Source: ENVIRONMENT-MEXICO: High Voltage Conflict Over Dam


Bullets, grenades, bombs, mortars and other war tools obliterate wildlife, disturb native habitats and poison the air, water and soil with toxic chemicals. This damage to the environment is very costly and can persist for generations.

Source: Concealed casualty of war - INQUIRER.net

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's the 11th hour

That's right - I just played my part in viral whoring of Leonardo DiCaprio's new film, The 11th hour [IMDb]. But it really touched my heart getting an email from Mikhail Gorbachev and Stephen Hawking (read: an email from the web 2.0 ad company they hired to push the thing). No, seriously: sure, I'm going to watch it sometime.

I even watched The Great Global Warming Swindle [IMDb] and An Inconvenient Truth [IMDb] as they were both recently broadcast on Danish TV. One is pretty good layman's science weirdly drenched in US American pathos, the other is a sadly funny mix of conspiracy theories. Figure out which is which yourself - I don't make up my opinion from movies. I've been reading the science for years, I'm happy to brag. But of course most people don't and movies are invaluable in communicating to any wider audience.

“With the onset of global warming and other catastrophic events, environmentalism has become a broader unifying human issue. We as citizens, leaders, consumers and voters, have the opportunity to help integrate ecology into governmental policy and every day living standards.”
- DiCaprio.

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