Heat Wave – Impact on the Poor and the Marginalised

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Countercurrents | June 12, 2019

While summer is uncomfortable to most of middle class people, it takes heavy toll of the daily laborers, marginalised casual workers and industrial manual employees. The rich and most government employees take some shelter under air conditioners or coolers but large number of ‘fourth -class’ employees, the street hawkers, peddlers, beggars and daily wagers are forced to work in scorching heat conditions. Deaths due to heat wave are reported usually without classifying their state of ‘class’ or ‘caste’ . If carefully analyzed most of those who die are from dalit and marginalised sections who work ceaselessly throughout summer for their daily bread and face risk of sun- strokes.Read More »

Promoting gender equality a ‘crucial contribution’ in effort to restore, protect our planet’s oceans

UN News | June 08, 2019

Arne Hoel/World Bank
Oceans and seas are home to vast biodiversity. A woman in Entebbe, is photographed on the shores of Lake Victoria, Uganda.

Women are engaged in all aspects of interaction with our ocean, yet their voices are often missing at the decision-making level, the head of the United Nations cultural agency said on World Oceans Day, emphasizing that “we must ensure diversity and gender inclusiveness at all levels” to set a balanced course for humanity and foster innovative solutions for the ocean.

“We need to empower each and every citizen to take care of the ocean and enable all women to play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our ocean”, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, pointing out that this year’s “special edition” of World Oceans Day links the themes of gender equality and ocean preservation.

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With a premature death every five seconds, air pollution is violation of human rights, says UN expert

UN News | June 03, 2019

© UNICEF/Mungunkhishig Batbaatar
Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, suffers from severe air pollution. (January 2018)

An independent UN expert said on Monday that the failure of governments across the world to ensure clear air, constitutes a “violation of the rights to life, health and well-being, as well as the right to live in a healthy environment.”

Ahead of the 2019 World Environment Day on Wednesday, which has air pollution as its theme, David Boyd, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, called on states to take urgent action to improve air quality in order to fulfill their human rights obligations.

Air pollution is a deadly, man-made problem, responsible for the early deaths of some seven million people every year, around 600,000 of whom are children. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s population breathe polluted air.

Every five seconds, somebody around the world dies prematurely as a result.

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‘We’ve Created a Civilisation Hell Bent on Destroying Itself – I’m Terrified’

by James Dyke

The Conversation | June 04, 2019

The coffee tasted bad. Acrid and with a sweet, sickly smell. The sort of coffee that results from overfilling the filter machine and then leaving the brew to stew on the hot plate for several hours. The sort of coffee I would drink continually during the day to keep whatever gears left in my head turning.

Odours are powerfully connected to memories. And so it’s the smell of that bad coffee which has become entwined with the memory of my sudden realisation that we are facing utter ruin.

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Human Influence on Global Droughts Goes Back 100 Years, finds NASA study

by Jessica Merzdorf, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Human-generated greenhouse gases and atmospheric particles were affecting global drought risk as far back as the early 20th century, according to a study from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City.

The study, published in the journal Nature, compared predicted and real-world soil moisture data to look for human influences on global drought patterns in the 20th century. Climate models predict that a human “fingerprint” – a global pattern of regional drying and wetting characteristic of the climate response to greenhouse gases – should be visible early in the 1900s and increase over time as emissions increased. Using observational data such as precipitation and historical data reconstructed from tree rings, the researchers found that the real-world data began to align with the fingerprint within the first half of the 20th century.Read More »

Protecting rare species can benefit human life: Research brief

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (05/16/19) — Preserving rare species for the sake of global biodiversity has long been the primary focus for conservationists.

To better protect rare animals, insects and plants, and to prepare for an uncertain future influenced by climate change, a team of researchers is aiming to merge this conventional wisdom with a new way of thinking: arguing researchers needs to better understand how rare species benefit people outside of their existence value.Read More »

One million species face extinction, world is on notice, says major UN report

Countercurrents | May 07, 2019

wild life photo

Nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail if radical action is not taken, says a major UN report on the impact of humans on nature.

Speaking in Paris at the launch of the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – the first such report since 2005 – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that its findings put the world “on notice”.Read More »