Saturday, January 11, 2014

West African Lions

This article is about the little talked about West African lion. We always see the lions of East and Southern Africa, but those in West Africa only number 250. This is not uncommon to have endangered populations - other examples are the cheetahs in Iran and the Asiatic lion (350 in India). The number of Amur leopards is below 40 and they have not been seen in years.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dengue Fever and Climate Change

This is an interesting article referencing an article in the British medical journal the Lancet (the original article can be found here. It shows how the population which are at risk from dengue fever will expand due to global warming. Take a good look at the map to see the effect.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New (special) Semester

Welcome new to students to another semester of Environmental Science. To start off the semester take a look at these pictures. (Remember click on the highlighted words to go to the link)

The pictures show how the different environmental ethics are at play. It shows how much damage can be done by large hydroelectric dams.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Welcome new students

Welcome to my new students in Environmental Science.

As a starter there is an interesting BBC article on the issue of a dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. The dam is opposed by the downstream users Egypt and Sudan. These two countries claim to have a right to 90% of the Nile's flow. This is an example of what is known as a transboundary water issue. There is a similar problem in SE Asia with respect to the Mekong River.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New items for the new semester

Welcome to new students for this semester. To start off the semester I picked three new items from the last few days.

First is the issues of biodiversity and especially ecosystem services. This article from ARKive shows how some pesticides are killing bumblebees. These bees are very important for pollination of many crops. Loss of bee population is a loss of biodiversity and pollination is a good example of an ecosystem service. (See also this video from the BBC.)

Of course one of the big environmental topics is global warming. The biggest issue for this year is the fact that the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of this year. One thing agreed to in the last year's negotiations is the Global Climate Fund (GCF). Last week there was a meeting to setup the GCF (which has no money yet pledged). It agreed that the fund headquarters would be in South Korea. For this and other results of this meeting see this report from World Resources Institute.

One source of greenhouses gases (which cause global warming), that is often not recognized, is rice farming. Bacteria associated with the rice root system produce methane, a greenhouse gas stronger than carbon dioxide. This study shows that global warming may actually be increasing the amount of methane produced by rice. This is an example of a feedback mechanism.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Brazil imposes fines by biopiracy

One important area in the fight to keep biodiversity is the fight against biopiracy. For that reason it was good to see the Brazilian government taking action by giving fines to 35 companies for a total of US$44 million. The companies were fined for failing to share benefits from the exploitation of the biodiversity. Much of this exploitation comes at the expense of indigenous peoples.

For a previous action in South America on biodiversity, see this article.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lead Poisoning in Nigeria

BBC has an article about lead poisoning in Nigeria. The lead is contained in rock which also contain gold. People were collecting the rock, bringing it home, and then breaking it -- releasing lead dust into the air.

Lead is a very serious poison. It causes damage to organs and causes mental problems. It is also accumulative, meaning it continues to build up over time in the body.