October 31, 2011

France loses its harvest wild flowers

In an October 25, 2011 report, France’s Environment Ministry states that of the country's total 102 wildflower species, more than 50% are now endangered, with seven whose colorful beauty has disappeared altogether, and food supplies also potentially affected due to the flowers' vital role in the pollination process.

Sources: Guardian, Earthweek

Report warns that genetically engineered crops do not increase food crop yields

A group of 20 southeast Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups publish the October 2011 Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs as they warn that genetically engineered crops do not increase food crop yields but have instead been shown to increase the use of chemicals and the growth of superweeds.

Sources: Guardian, Daily Mail

New pioneering study reveals oil drilling is disrupting ecosystems in Alaska

A pioneering study by the Wildlife Conservation Society published on October 26, 2011 has revealed that oil drilling and development in the Alaskan Arctic is disrupting delicate ecosystems and in particular is endangering populations of migratory nesting birds.

Sources: Mongabay, http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/arctic-predators-caught-in-the-act/
NY Times

October 30, 2011

Permafrost and glacier melt in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau region are resulting in grassland and wetland erosion

Chinese researchers report on October 26, 2011 that permafrost and glacier melt recorded in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau region are already resulting in grassland and wetland erosion, which is raising concerns for water shortages that could dry up rivers and lead to more widespread desertification.

Sources: The Hindu, Summit Country Voice

Yukon River Basin is discharging more toxic mercury than other river systems

The US Geological Survey reports on October 25, 2011 that the immense Yukon River Basin in northwestern Canada and central Alaska, USA, is discharging 32 times more toxic mercury into the environment than five other comparably-sized river systems, likely caused by accelerated permafrost melt due to climate change.

Sources: Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette, Scientific American

Chinese artist Yuan Xikun's exhibits raises awareness on the effects of global warming

Wishing to raise awareness about the effects of global warming, prominent Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun as reported on October 24, 2011 submerges a small award-winning crystal sculpture of polar bears into the sea near the Maldives as a symbolic warning of the need for prompt human action to save the endangered animals and all life.

Sources: CNTV, UNEP, MiniVan News

October 29, 2011

Communities in Bolivia’s Huayna Potosí Mountain are already experiencing water shortages due to the effects of global warming

Communities in Bolivia’s Huayna Potosí Mountain, 25 kilometers north of the capital La Paz, warn about the effects of global warming, saying that as of October 2011 they are already experiencing water shortages that will soon be felt by millions of urban inhabitants in the capital city.

Sources: Eldiario, Entorno Inteligente

2011 melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is the third largest since 1979

An October 2011 study by US scientists reveals that this year's melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is the third largest since 1979, exceeded by the ice lost in 2007 and 2010.

Sources: Treehugger, Greenland 2011

October 28, 2011

Economic impacts of climate change being seen in the US

In a recent annual meeting, US crop scientists expressed concern that global warming has been shrinking crop yields for the world’s largest food exporter through increasingly worse droughts and extreme temperatures.

With an unusual rise in daytime and especially night-time temperatures in regions around the globe, tomatoes and snap beans, for instance, can no longer be grown in the southern US during the summer.

Economist Gerald Nelson with the International Food Policy Research Institute stated, “As temperatures rise, we are going to have trouble maintaining the yields of crops that we already have.”

Not only rising temperatures, but also extreme weather events in the United States are troubling regions like the US Midwest, known as the country’s breadbasket, and other agricultural areas, as explained by US climate scientist Dr. Donald Wuebbles from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Donald Wuebbles – US climate scientist, IPCC lead author (M): This year actually was the worst year on record for natural disasters in the US. Over US$35 billion of damages. Every part of the US has seen an increase in over the last 50 years in the top 1% of storms for that particular area. In the Midwest, that’s been over a 30% increase in the top 1% of storms. And so more precipitation is coming as larger events. Well, that means more flooding.

When they do get rain, it still tends to come as larger events than it used to, but they’re not getting as much rain as they were before. And so that’s why in Texas this year, we had a really major problem with a really major drought. There are very little in the way of plant life right now because this drought was so devastating.

VOICE: With US agronomists worried about the economic impact of these changes as well as the inability to meet food demands, Dr. Wuebbles emphasized the need to address global warming immediately.

Dr. Donald Wuebbles (M): The cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action. It is much better to do something now than wait because of the extreme expense.

We may have as much as a 20% decrease in the gross domestic product worldwide by the end of the century if climate change continues to occur at the rate it is. We’re talking about a huge amount of expense from potential impacts on society if we don’t do something about this problem.

VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Donald Wuebbles and US crop experts, for further alerting us to the real threats of global warming on food production. May we act swiftly to cool our planet as well as adopt climate-friendly agricultural practices to ensure the sustenance and safety of all.

During a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed concern about climate change and food insecurity, as she pointed to the organic vegan way for effectively addressing them both.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So, you see, climate change affects us in many different ways, not just the heat, the drought, the flood, the disease, food shortage, etc., but even the cold.

And climate change – through droughts and floods that destroy crops – is, of course, a major cause of high food price and food insecurity.

So just this one change, simple change, small change: changing our diet to an organic vegan diet. This will help all the governments of the world to afford climate change mitigation and preserve biodiversity.

It will also help us protect food security and conserve water. What is the use for us to satisfy our taste right now with meat when we know for certain that in the future our children will go hungry, our world will collapse? What is the use of that? However tasty the meat is,we have to consider this option and change it so that the world can continue to survive and thrive in abundance and happiness and health.

Sources: Reuters, News Daily, Care2

October 27, 2011

Germany’s railway set its sights on a goal of 100% sustainable energy sources by 2050

In response to consumer wishes for alternative energy generation, Germany’s railway, the Deutsche Bahn, in October 2011 set its sights on a goal of 100% sustainable energy sources by 2050 as it announced that it would begin harvesting solar power from the roofs of its nearly 6,000 stations as well as partnering with wind and hydroelectric power suppliers.

Sources: Treehugger, NY Times

Climate change would cause human migration to more hazardous environments

A report commissioned by the British government released on October 19, 2011 states that although some 75% of migrations due to climate change will occur within a nation's borders, governments must act now to safeguard against situations where residents move toward areas with even greater degrees of vulnerability.

Sources: BBC, eGov Monitor

October 26, 2011

United Nations works to address desertification

HRH Prince Charles of Wales (M): I do hope for the sake of the hundreds of millions of people living in the world’s arid and semi-arid regions, as well as in those temperate areas, which I fear will be tomorrow’s deserts, that you succeed with your endeavors.

VOICE: On Saturday, October 22 the two-week United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) concluded in Changwon, South Korea as over 6,000 delegates, scientists and other experts discussed ways to reverse desertification, land degradation, and drought, all of which have worsened due to climate change.

The UNCCD estimates that 6 million hectares of forests are being destroyed annually, with some 24 million people who have had to leave their homes due to desertification in recent decades.

Furthermore, a new United Nations report released during the summit stated that the Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty cannot be achieved without responding to land degradation of vulnerable drylands, which compose 40% of the world’s land area and support 2 billion people.

Luc Gnacadja – Executive Secretary, UNCCD (M): Land degradation means life degradation.

Aruna Jobe – Program Officer, Gambian National Environment Agency (M): It has caused a lot of low productivity in our soils.

François Tapsoba – Representative of African Union (M): It requires a very long time for such soil to fully heal and recover.

VOICE: With a shared goal of achieving zero land degradation by 2030, the meeting highlighted the importance of halting unsustainable land and water use.

Ban Ki-moon – United Nations Secretary-General (M): If we protect, restore and manage land and soils, we can tackle many challenges simultaneously. Hussein Nasrallah – Area Manager, United Nations Development

Program - South Lebanon (M): In order to have food security, we have to work on combating desertification.

VOICE: With a primary driver of land degradation worldwide being livestock grazing, delicate ecospheres like grasslands are even more susceptible to desertification. Acknowledging this, some delegates advocated for a change in agricultural practices away from meat consumption.

Dr. Alfredo Guillet – Director General for Development Cooperation, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (M): There is no doubt that livestock industry entails double cost and double pressure to the environment.

Dr. Syaiful Anwar – Deputy Director, Indonesian Ministry of Forestry (M): Overconsumption with meat means that you have over-livestock production of meat. Then the problem with the livestock, usually they produce a lot of methane, where they will contribute carbon to the atmosphere. So I think I agree if we try to consume more vegetable diet.

Khadija-Catherine Razavi – Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Development (Cenesta) (F): Organic, sustainable use of natural resources is the most important thing for fighting against global warming and all this story of climate change, land degradation.

VOICE: To help achieve the Convention's goals, a first-ever set of monitoring tools was presented for use by participating countries, along with the Changwon Initiative, introduced by hosting nation South Korea to support follow-up work and encourage reforestation efforts worldwide.

Kim Hwang Sik – Prime Minister, South Korea (M): It will help set specific goals for combating desertification and pave the way to build partnerships for implementation.

Our sincere thanks, all delegates and experts for your participation in this conference to address one of the most critical issues facing our fragile planet. May leaders and societies work swiftly to protect our life-giving land by adopting sustainable and restorative organic vegan policies.

Sources: UN.org, Korea Herald, All Africa

October 25, 2011

Great Whale Conservancy raises public awareness on preserving endangered blue whales

In efforts to preserve endangered blue whales in the Northeast Pacific from being struck by passing-by ships, US-based advocacy organization the Great Whale Conservancy raises public awareness on the undersea perils these marine mammals face and the need to increase life-protecting standards for vessels travelling through their habitat.

For their tireless and caring endeavors, Supreme Master Ching Hai is honoring Great Whale Conservancy with the Shining World Compassion Award, along with US$20,000 to humbly support their noble work, with all her love and gratitude.

Source: Great Whale Conservancy

Persistent drought in central China's Hunan province have caused reservoir levels to drop

Persistent drought in regions such as central China's Hunan province have caused reservoir levels to drop, with reduced water supplies causing the National Energy Administration to warn on October 21, 2011 that electricity generation from hydropower could be diminished by up to 40% this winter.

Source: China Daily

Cameroon Tribune report highlights importance of halting climate change

Ahead of a five-day environmental forum beginning on October 24, 2011, the Cameroon Tribune newspaper reports that sea level rise due to climate change by the end of the century could increase salt levels in the country’s Dibamba and Wouri Rivers, with more than half a million people who would be displaced, highlighting the importance of halting climate change to protect both humans' and animals' lives.

Sources: Cameroon Tribune, All Africa

Due to oil leak, 100% of shrimp and other seafood samples contained cancer-causing petroleum byproducts

A study published in the October 2011 journal Environmental Health Perspective found that, following the 2010 oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, 100% of shrimp and other seafood samples contained cancer-causing petroleum byproducts, with more than half that were above levels of concern, especially for vulnerable populations such as expectant mothers.

Sources: Sott.net, Daily Paul

October 24, 2011

International organizations help mitigate climate change related risks in Tajikistan

A project in the mountainous regions of Tajikistan is launched in October 2011 thanks to donations totaling nearly US$1 million each from the Swiss and British governments, together with support from the Aga Khan Development Network and German non-governmental aid agency Help World Hunger, to reduce the risk of glacial lake outburst floods due to accelerated glacial melt resulting from climate change.

Source: Asia Plus

Durango state in Mexico issues hunger alert

On October 15, 2011, Governor Jorge Herrera Caldera of Durango state in Mexico issued a hunger alert, with a collection drive to assist 60,000 rural residents facing food shortages due to prolonged drought in the region.

Sources: Prensa Latina, Vanguardia

Rising global temperatures effecting animals and plants

Published in the October 2011 peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, a new study by researchers in Singapore warns that rising global temperatures are shrinking the body size of many animal and plant species over multiple generations.

Sources: France24, CNN

October 23, 2011

Schools can save energy costs equal to teacher’s annual pay

A report published October 14, 2011 states that hundreds of schools across England are participating in a new national scheme to help reduce public sector energy bills along with carbon emissions by enforcing school-wide measures such as switching off lights and installing more efficient heating.

Sources: Teaching Times, Carbon Trust

10 countries most at risk to climate change

Based on currently adverse conditions and the likelihood of further disasters, an October 2011 UN report finds that the 10 countries most at risk to climate change are Vanuatu, Tonga, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Costa Rica, Cambodia and El Salvador.

Sources: Straits Times, Global Nation

October 22, 2011

Canada loses nearly half her Arctic ice shelves to record melts

In a deteriorating change that is being characterized as likely irreversible, researchers at the nation's Carleton University and the University of Ottawa recently reported that the nation's millennia-old Arctic ice shelves have steeply diminished in volume due to global warming in just the past six years.

They noted that during the summer of 2011 alone, Canada's largest ice shelf, the Ward Hunt, split into two, with some 3 billion tons of ice disintegrating into drifting masses.

Meanwhile, the Serson Ice Shelf almost completely melted, and the frozen Ellesmere Island shrunk by 480 square kilometers.

Remarking on the unprecedented loss of such natural wonders, Dr. Derek Mueller of Carleton University stated, "These unique and massive geographical features that we consider to be part of the map of Canada are disappearing and they won’t come back."

Our appreciation, Dr. Mueller and fellow scientists, for this alert to the alarming effects of continued global warming.

May we all take heed and unite to protect our cherished earthly home. During a November 2009 videoconference in Washington, D.C., USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the disturbing consequences of climate change in the Arctic and other areas, as well as what must be done to safeguard these precious landforms.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: In the Arctic, North Pole, so much ice has already melted that scientists are forecasting an ice-free summer within as little as 3-6 years, which would be the first time in one million years - first time in one million years!

Glaciers across the globe are shrinking more quickly than researchers ever expected, leaving rivers and lakes gone, disappearing or drying, with no water for crops and billions who face food shortages due to water shortages, as well.

You may ask, what is the main cause of this damage and destruction to the environment? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the coal industry or cars or planes or trains or boats or ships. It’s methane, which is produced primarily by the livestock industry.

So, sir, to solve this, we do need to move quickly. Be vegan.

Sources: Mongabay, CTV, Earthweek, Think Progress

October 21, 2011

Medical experts in the UK warn of impending climate change threat

Sponsored by the British Medical Journal, a conference that opened in London on Monday, October 17 focused on the concerns of participating physicians, environmental health experts and other public figures.

Those attending released a statement saying that climate change is creating an immediate, serious and escalating threat to the health and security of people across the globe.

They also released a set of recommendations for governments to implement in showing a stronger commitment to mitigating climate change. As Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne spoke of the need for such actions to protect people not only in the United Kingdom and Europe but across the world, Lord Michael Jay, chair of the British health and medical aid agency Merlin stated, "Climate knows no frontiers."

Our sincere appreciation, Secretary Huhne, Lord Jay and colleagues, for your concerned voices on behalf of fellow citizens everywhere. May we all act now to save lives and restore our shared planetary home.

Sources: Science Daily, France24, Trust, SPA.gov

October 20, 2011

Snow coverage in the Australian Alps has decreased by 30% since 1950s

Scientists in Australia report that snow coverage in the Australian Alps has decreased by 30% since 1950s, due to climate change effects causing them to warn that the mountains could be completely devoid of snow by 2050.

Sources: Telegraph, ABC.net

US government funds project to improve habitats for butterflies and birds

As part of a larger environmental restoration program, the US government in October 2011 allocates funding for a project in the Lake Michigan region that will provide jobs for the unemployed while improving the habitat of endangered butterfly and bird species.

Sources: EPA.gov, Green Living Guy, Canadian Business, EPA.gov

Industrial environmental toxins found to adversely effect Arctic polar bears

Danish scientists in mid-October 2011 reveal after a decade of research that environmental toxins from industrial activities are being carried through the air and in sea currents to the Arctic, with adverse health effects found in polar bears that include damage to their bones as well as immune and reproductive systems.

Sources: PhysOrg, PlanetSave

October 19, 2011

97 harbor seals perished along the beaches of Massachusetts and other New England states

As of October 16, 2011, officials noted that a total of 97 harbor seals, the vast majority of whom were one-year-old pups, had been found perished since September 1 along the beaches of Massachusetts and other New England states, with scientists saying the regions elevated water temperatures may have been the cause.

Sources: Reuters, The Extinct Protocol, WMUR.com

New technology developed to recycle tires

Seeking a more eco-friendly way to handle the one billion tires that are disposed globally each year, Australian researchers from Deakin University and industry partner VR TEK Global develop technology that converts the tires into powders without the use of chemicals for easy recycling into new rubber products.

Sources: Deakin, PhysOrg.com

October 18, 2011

African scientists discuss veg solution to curb impacts of drought

As the dire conditions in the Horn of Africa continue to afflict the lives of over 13 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, tens of thousands in Somalia alone have lost their lives.

Also affected have been livelihoods, with livestock farmers such as those in Kenya now struggling for survival, as are the animals themselves, especially due to the severe lack of water and grazing land.

Shem Otoi Sam – Environmentalist, Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (M): Some of Kenya, the people there are pastoralists, which means their livelihood depends on livestock. Livestock depends on water and pasture, but some have taken five years without rain, so the communities always have conflict over water points. So it forces the government to deploy police force there, but to protect the water points and to guard the people from shooting them, they have guns. So it’s a serious crisis.

VOICE: While the Kenyan Ministry of Water had budgeted relocations of bore holes in various parts of the country, experts like environmentalist Mr. Shem Otoi Sam say it is still not enough as a long-term solution.

Dr. Woldeamlak Bewket of Ethiopia suggests that people's cooperation in reducing livestock production could drastically help ease the drought’s impacts.

Dr. Woldeamlak Bewket – Environmental scientist, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia (M): Reducing dependence on livestock products and changing consumption patterns into greens and vegetarian sort of food habits will contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and also to reduce the demand for fresh water resources.

It will be very difficult to sustain our food habits of consuming so much animal products given the limited fresh water elsewhere. So from the point of view of water management, saving water, and reallocating it for other productivity purposes, changing our consumption from livestock products to vegetable products helps a lot.

Shem Otoi Sam (M): The other bit of this is why must people consume meat when it’s all that deadly? People should adapt to the vegan lifestyle which is very healthy, low cholesterol in the body, the people will live long and the environment will be very friendlier, yes.

VOICE: We thank Mr. Sam and Dr. Woldeamlak Bweket for your information and concern in seeking solutions to the urgent water crisis in the Horn of Africa. Our prayers for gentle rain and bounteous harvests to ease the suffering of millions, and the urgent transition to the organic vegan way that will conserve water while sustaining all lives and the planet.

As during an August 2011 videoconference in the US, Supreme Master Ching Hai has often spoken of the alarming ways that the livestock industry is wasting our fresh water supplies, at a perilous cost to humans.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The livestock industry is becoming a bigger and bigger threat to our water supplies, which scientists warn are shrinking worldwide, fast, due to climate change.

But most of the water used in the livestock industry is to grow the grains and soya beans, again, to feed the animals, not humans. So, while this staggering waste of water,of both water and food, is occurring, one billion people in our world lack access to safe drinking water and go hungry.

We all know about the current starvation crisis in Somalia, in the Horn of Africa. Such tragedies could be minimized or even averted if everyone became vegan, because the vegan diet saves nearly 70% of our precious water resources. 70%. We can surely stop the livestock industry from destroying our precious water supplies.

Sources: ABC, Trust.org

October 17, 2011

TerraCycle of New Jersey turn a billion pieces of waste into creative and eco-friendly products

TerraCycle of New Jersey, USA reports that as of October 2011 it is now transforming around a billion pieces of so-called waste each month by collecting materials like juice pouch packaging and flip-flop sandals, then turning them into creative and eco-friendly products such as folders, backpacks and even playgrounds.

Sources: CNN, TerraCycle

Record-setting heat in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles, California, USA area experiences record-setting heat with downtown temperatures of 37.2 degrees Celsius, or 11 degrees above normal on October 12, 2011.

Sources: LA Times, CRI, ABC Local

Action needed to reverse the loss of 24 billion tons of soil annually

At a mid-October 2011 meeting of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, experts cited a loss of 24 billion tons of soil annually to factors such as erosion and livestock grazing of livestock as they urged for actions to reverse the process.

Sources: Korea Herald, UN.org

October 16, 2011

Wildfires sparked by drought consume vital habitat in Brazil

In a year that has been marked by devastating flooding, scarce rain in other parts of the country have caused fires to ignite more easily, including one that has devastated the Rola Moca nature reserve in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Firefighters say that the blaze, which began at the end of September, is the worst in the 17-year history of the 4,000 hectare sanctuary. Ninety percent of the reserve has been consumed, with animals such as rabbits, monkeys and endangered jaguars and wolves having fled.

The fire also forced humans to evacuate as it approached residential areas in the Minas Gerais capital, Belo Horizonte. In addition, large areas of Brasilia National Park were destroyed by wildfires that also began in September, while the nation's capital, Brasilia, endured 107 days of consecutive drought.

We are saddened to learn about the devastation caused by the extreme dry conditions in Brazil. Our prayers for a restoration of balance as humanity returns to harmonious, eco-protecting lifestyles. Speaking during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the destructive effects of climate change, while emphasizing the immediate actions needed to safeguard the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Increased temperatures mean erratic rainfall - either too little or too much at a time - so we have ravaging floods that drown the crops and fires that burn the forest.

If you’re a farmer,you already can feel that the climate is in trouble. There are more frequent droughts, heat waves, floods, storms, frosts, freezes, and locusts than before.

If the world becomes vegan as a group, we can remedy the disasters that affect us globally. The planet will begin repairing itself in astonishing ways that scientists would be surprised.

For example, the ice will stop melting and return to the way it was, green life will appear again, the oceans will be healed as the rainfall and temperature begin to regulate themselves again, produce restored balance.

Sources: Fox News, Youtube link 1, Youtube link 2, Journal Floripa

October 15, 2011

Dead turtles prompt new water testing calls in Queensland, Australia

Soon after a fishing net ban was imposed in Queensland, Australia's Gladstone Harbor due to disease and massive fish deaths in the region, locals on October 10, 2011 called once again on the state government to test the water after sea turtles were discovered perished off Turkey Beach.

Sources: ABC.net, The Morning Bulletin

Worst episode of avian bacterial disease in a decade

Saying that it is the worst episode of avian bacterial disease in a decade, officials on October 7, 2011 report that nearly 2,000 ducks and other birds have died from botulism at a hunting lake in Nevada, USA.

Sources: The Alien Project, RGJ.com

Climatologists warn of flooding caused by Himalayan glacial melt

In a special news report, UK-based The Guardian on October 10, 2011 cited climatologists' warning about the some 20,000 lakes that have formed and continue to grow at the base of glaciers in the Himalayas due to global warming, with outburst flooding that could affect many thousands of people.

Source: Guardian

October 14, 2011

Music for the planet

A group of over 30 Aulacese (Vietnamese) musicians have joined to be part of the song "One World" to call for action in addressing climate change. Composed by rapper and 2011 ambassador for the campaign, Hà Okio, the song is performed by singers in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) including Tùng Dương, Hồ Ngọc Hà, Thảo Trang, Hà Anh Tuấn, and musician Dương Cầm.

The music video, made possible through the support of Early Risers Media Groups, Aulacese music channel YANTV, and environmental organization 350.org, is airing in mid-October on YANTV, and other television channels a week later.

We look forward to seeing this inspiring music video! May the lifting of voices in song bring many hearts together in greater care for one another and our planet.

Sources: VOV Online, Tuoi Tre

October 13, 2011

Greenlandic glacier melting faster than expected

As reported in the scientific journal The Cryosphere, an international team of scientists found in September 2011 that melting of Greenland’s longest observed ice mass, the Mittivakkat Glacier, reached a record high this year.

Sources: Cordis Europe, Science Daily

Nearly half the state of Karnataka, India, declared drought-stricken

As lack of rain persists in Karnataka, India, the state government on October 7, 2011 declared 14 additional administrative divisions to be drought-stricken, bringing the number to 84 total regions, or nearly half the state thus far.

Source: Thaindian

Petition to encourage labeling of genetically modified foods

With growing support and concern from the American public about the potential dangers of genetically engineered crops, the US-based Center for Food Safety on October 5, 2011 petitioned the US government to mandate the labeling of such foods, with interested parties also being encouraged to sign at JustLabelIt.org.

Sources: France24, Boston Herald, McGill Daily

Heritage Lottery Fund awards £340,000 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

With two species of bumble bees in the UK that have gone extinct in the past 70 years and six types now endangered, the Heritage Lottery Fund awards £340,000 to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in support of its efforts to safeguard the vital bees.

Sources: BBC, Scotsman

October 12, 2011

As oil spill near New Zealand worsens, containment hampered by high winds

In an accident that occurred on Wednesday, October 5, a Liberian oil tanker traveling in calm waters collided with reefs in the Bay of Plenty offshore New Zealand’s North Island.

Although the crew was uninjured, the ship's hull was breached, with an initial 20 tons of oil that leaked into the water. Storms arriving since then have caused more of the toxic substance to be released, with an estimated 350 tons that had been discharged into the bay by Tuesday.

As New Zealand Environment Minister Nick Smith ranked the event as the country's most significant environmental disaster ever, gusting winds from the storm shut down both containment and rescue operations, with signs of oil fouling reaching once-pristine beaches in locales like Tauranga.

Meanwhile, crews have been working to remove the oil totaling 1,700 tons from the tanker, along with some other hazardous materials.

A public health warning has been issued, advising avoidance of contaminated beaches, where touching the oil or inhaling its fumes can cause irritation and other damage, while consuming seafood from the affected areas was also highly discouraged. Another distressing result of the disaster is its effect on wildlife, with a number of birds already perished as personnel work to rescue oil-covered seabirds, penguins, and seals.

Greenpeace representatives also stated that whales and dolphins calving in the area could be affected as well.

Our gratitude, concerned officials and all who are dedicating your time and efforts to alleviate these distressing conditions.

May we strive to act in harmony with nature for the protection of the Earth and all her cherished inhabitants.

During an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand, Supreme Master Ching Hai urged for humanity's greater consideration for the wildlife and the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We’re losing so many animals and plant species every day due to global warming already or due to other forms of carelessness. Physically, they suffer. Spiritually, they know the solution lies in humans’ hands and humans’ hearts.

The question is how will we choose to respond between the only two choices we have -compassion and life or killing and destruction? We should all pray that humankind will make the wiser choice of compassion and life.

Sources: CNTV, France24, CNTV, Global Animal

October 11, 2011

Nissan unveils Leaf-loving home of the future

On October 5, 2011 Japan-based Nissan unveils the "NSH-2012 Smart House of the Future," designed especially for post-disaster situations with a sustainable energy system that can also power the home through a connection to the Leaf electric vehicle in times of emergency.

Sources: World Car Fans, TechCrunch, Ubergizmo, Nissan

Ecuador being deforested more quickly than any other Latin American country

An October 2011 report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization states that Ecuador is being deforested more quickly any other Latin American country, with losses of up to 200,000 hectares per year that are threatening some of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

Sources: Lahora.com, Eluniverso

October 10, 2011

Pacific Islands declare states of emergency

The island nation of Tuvalu, as well as Tokelau, a New Zealand territory, have each declared states of emergency as months without rain have threatened drinking water supplies.

Tuvalu, whose population of 10,000 relies on a combination of rainwater and desalinization, sent out an SOS this past week, saying that her desalinization system had broken down, and the entire island had only four or five days of water left.

New Zealand and Australia both responded, with New Zealand flying in two replacement desalinization units, while Australia sent emergency rehydration packs to the island's hospital along with thousands of liters of water that were distributed by the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, Tokelau's 1,500 residents were down to a week's supply of water when the US Coast Guard arrived on Friday with 36,000 liters. The extended drought has also aggravated saltwater encroachment inland, causing crops to wither and die. This latest predicament, combined with years of rising sea levels, has severely jeopardized the future of the islands and their residents.

In a recent address to the United Nations, Tuvalu's Prime Minister Willy Telavi appealed to fellow member countries, saying that without urgent action to address climate change, his island would not survive.

We thank New Zealand, Australia, the US Coast Guard, Red Cross and all others for your caring aid to Tuvalu and Tokelau. May we act swiftly in concerted actions to restore our harmony with nature for the safety of these fragile islands and the world.

In a December 2008 videoconference held in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the urgent state of island nations and urged a change in lifestyle to halt all climate change impacts.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So many islands have sunk under water already. Many coastal cities’ land has been eroded. Two thousand more islands are sinking, and 18 islands - for what we have known, maybe more, but we don’t know - 18 islands including small nation islands already gone, disappeared under water, sometimes 6 meters under water already, and another 40 are or at risk of sinking, or uninhabitable or begins to be uninhabitable because they cannot cultivate anymore because the land became inundated with salty water already.



Sources: France24, Telegraph, SMH.com, CNN.com, AJC.com

October 9, 2011

Extensive flooding in Aisa has severely impacted staple crops

Reporting in the first week of October 2011, officials in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos state that extensive flooding this year has severely impacted staple crops such as rice, with 1 million hectares damaged in Thailand alone.

Sources: Youtube, Alarabiya, France24

12 million honeybees discovered lifeless in Florida, USA

As many as 12 million honeybees within just a 1.5 mile (2.4 kilometer) radius of each other were discovered lifeless in Florida, USA's Brevard County, with preliminary investigation into the deaths, which occurred around September 26, 2011, revealing possible pesticide toxicity.

Sources: Natural News, Daily Mail, Florida Today

October 8, 2011

New Zealand opposes Japanese whaling plans

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced on Tuesday, October 4 that his country has joined in support of Australia’s legal initiative made last year in the International Court of Justice to halt Japanese whaling.

With Japan stating that the practice would resume this year in December, Minister McCully warned that the nation could become isolated from the international community if her government proceeds with such disrespect for the strong concerns expressed by the people of Australia and New Zealand.

He also warned that lives may be put at risk if there were a confrontation, especially given the peaceful but unyielding stance of organizations such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which last year was successful in helping end the killing season early, saving the lives of an estimated 800 whales.

We thank Minister McCully, the people of New Zealand and Australia, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and all others for your concern and courage in standing up to save these precious marine mammals.

Blessed be such concerted actions in bringing all gentle co-inhabitants on Earth the dignity and peace they so deserve. During a 2009 videoconference in the United States, Supreme Master Ching Hai, who has expressed sorrow many times about the plight of the whales, spoke of their sentience and nobility, as well as their vital role for humanity’s own survival.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: These animals, they were born here in order to balance it, to help us to fill in the void of love that we lost through our inconsiderate actions. But sadly, we kill them. We kill our benefactors, just because we are blind. If we can contact some of the best animal telepathic communicators, they will tell you that whales are the greatest love.

I have told about the different quality of love of different animals, and whales and seals are one of the few “number ones” in loving power. So, if we kill these beings we’re really killing ourselves.

Now, if we let them live, then they will be able to bring back to Earth the powerful, unconditional love, and they do their noble mission knowingly.

Sources: CNN, Channel News Asia, China Post, VOA News, Sea Shephard

October 7, 2011

Study shows that the majority of humankind's historical crises linked to climate change

University of Hong Kong geographer Dr. David Zhang publishes a new report on October 4, 2011, which concludes that the majority of humankind's historical wars, epidemics and economic downturns were directly linked to climate change.

Sources: Sott, Wired

State of emergency in Durango, Mexico, caused by extreme drought

With no signs of rain for the previous 200 days, a state of emergency is declared at the end of September 2011 for nearly 75% of the municipalities in the Mexican state of Durango, as drought and water storage levels fall to 30% of capacity.

Sources: Eluniversal, OEM.com

World Wildlife Fund joining Greenpeace to save Indonesia from deforestation

The Indonesian government announces on October 3, 2011 that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is joining Greenpeace in a campaign to save from deforestation the tree-canopied regions that are home to Sumatran tigers and elephants, both considered to be the sacred guardians of the forest.

Sources: Antara News, Oana News

October 6, 2011

Conservation offers better rewards than plantations: UNEP

A September 29, 2011 UN Environment Program report advocating forest conservation in Indonesia finds that in addition to the benefits of preserving water supplies and protecting rare orangutans, the undisturbed forests are worth up to US$22,000 per hectare at current carbon prices, three times more than their value if the land is cleared.

Sources: Jakarta Post, UN.org

Scientist develop lime-amended BioClay to aid soil in retaining moisture

In an effort to cope with the climate change effects of increased temperature and dryness on both crops and native plants, scientists with the Water Corporation of Western Australia in September 2011 develop a material called Lime-amended BioClay, which aids the soil in retaining moisture and maintaining root health.

Source: Water Corporation

October 5, 2011

Journalist bears testimony to dwindling Himalayan glaciers

Ms. Suzanne Goldenberg in late September 2011 completed an 18-day trek to the Himalayas with an international team of scientists from the Mountain Institute to study the encroaching effects of climate change on the region.

In an article published in UK-based The Guardian, Ms. Goldenberg described interviews with long-term observers, who reflected on changes well above altitudes of 8,000-meters, through signs such as trees that are growing at higher elevations and ice that is melting even on the southern approach to Mount Everest.

One climber and expert on Nepal glaciers, John All, commented that in 2010 he climbed the majority of the final approach without crampons because there was so much bare rock, which he said would never have been possible in the past.

Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, who has worked for years at the Mount Everest base camp, also expressed his unease as he stated, "Everything is changing with the glaciers.

All these crevasses have appeared in the ice." Conservation officer Birendra Kandel of Sagamartha National Park, which includes Mt. Everest, said that animals have been seen moving northward out of their traditional habitats.

Finally, water supplies for millions of people are being jeopardized as the glaciers melt, with potentially lethal dangers posed by lakes that form at their bases, which could burst.

Mountain Institute Scientific Director Dr. Alton Byers concluded by saying, "...At current warming trends, I would say that the outlook is not good, not good at all."

Our thanks, Ms. Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Mountain Institute scientists and all contributors for shedding light on the increasingly dire situation in the Himalayas. May humanity quickly adopt lifestyles to restore the fragile balance of these wondrous mountains and the many lives they support.

During an October 2009 videoconference in Hong Kong, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern about the melting glaciers and other treacherous tolls of climate change, along with the urgent actions needed to protect the planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: We hear about glaciers melting, water becoming more scarce, rising food shortages, rising food prices with over one billion people going hungry every day, animals becoming extinct and many species gone forever and so on and so forth.

But be assured that even though our time is running out, we do still have time to save this beautiful planet and restore it to its original splendor, or even more so if all turn to the vegan diet.

The 50% greenhouse gas emissions, which heat up our planet, which put our lives in danger, which put our world into the perilous situation of mass extinction, is from the livestock industry. If we stop the meat industry, 50% of the heating factor is gone!

Sources: Guardian link 1, Guardian link 2

October 4, 2011

35% of the nation's glaciers have disappeared in the last 30 years in Tajikistan

Addressing the United Nations on September 27, 2011, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi stated that although more than half of the water supplying Central Asia originates in Tajikistan, 35% of the nation's glaciers have disappeared in just the last 30 years.

Sources: UN.org, Reaching Critical Will

Brazilian court orders halt on construction of the Belo Monte Dam

On September 28, 2011 a Brazilian court ordered a halt to the construction of the US$11 billion Belo Monte Dam, saying that it would cause irreparable harm to the environment while displacing thousands of indigenous people.

Sources: France24, BBC

October 3, 2011

New map reveals the most biodiverse place on Earth, but already threatened by oil

New data in September 2011 shows that Yasuní National Park, bordering both Ecuador and Peru contains the highest amount of diverse wildlife in the Western Hemisphere, including a higher number of tree species in one hectare than in the entire US and Canada, with scientists urging for the region's protection from proposed oil drilling.

Source: Mongabay

Netherlands pledges to support Mekong Delta in addressing climate change

Meeting with Aulacese (Vietnamese) Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng on September 27, 2011, former Dutch Agriculture Minister Professor Cees Veerman pledges his country's support in addressing climate change through the sharing of knowledge and technology to help stabilize conditions in the Mekong Delta.

Source: VOV Online

October 2, 2011

Ongoing drought worsens power crisis in Tanzania

Reuters news agency reports that ongoing drought in Tanzania through the end of September 2011 has decreased water levels in the country’s Great Ruaha River, drastically affecting hydroelectric power generation, which in turn has impacted crops and other revenues, with officials warning that the dry conditions are not likely to end soon.

Source: Trust.org

Study finds that groundwater use also causes sea level rise

In a study considered to be one of the first to quantify groundwater use and its effect on sea level rise, researchers at the US Geological Survey report in the September 25, 2011 issue of “New Scientist” magazine that groundwater runoff causes increases nearly equal to those resulting from ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica combined.

Sources: New Scientist, AGU.org

October 1, 2011

Livestock grazing is a major cause for the deforestation in legally protected forests

In the Honduran on-line newspaper, El Heraldo, government official and head of a September 2011 fact-finding mission, Major José Marcelino Iraheta, reports on an alarming level of deforestation in legally protected forests, stating that livestock grazing is a major cause for the destruction.

Sources: Elheraldo link 1, Elheraldo link 2

Lakes and streams in the Alps in danger of drying out

Addressing a conference in Austria on September 22, 2011, international experts warned that lakes and streams in the legendary Alps are in danger of drying due to climate change, noting a loss of water reserves and that glaciers in Switzerland alone have lost one-fifth of their surface area in the past 15 years.

Sources: Xinhua Net, Austrian Times