Global environmental challenges
from Photographers Blog:
The world turned off its lights on March 26 for an hour from 8.30 p.m. local time as a show of support for tougher action to confront climate change.
I was given the assignment to not only photograph the event from Taipei, Taiwan, but to produce a multimedia video that showcased the world's landmarks without lights as part of the fifth annual Earth Hour.
The Reuters online team in Toronto and I had decided to produce a video to illustrate the event with pictures by our photographers around the world. The idea was to fade before pictures with the lights turned on into the exact same image without the lights on.
The most challenging part of this was coordinating with the chief photographers around the world to advise their staff photographers of exactly what I needed in the pictures to make the transitions in the video seamless.
Remote villages in developing countries might benefit from these twin 40-ft long containers (left) — a water purification system driven by solar power — as a substitute for noisy diesel-powered generators, trucks bringing in water or people spending hours every day walking to fetch water.
That’s the hope of the makers, environmental technology group SwissINSO Holding Inc. The small company has recently won its first contracts to supply the systems to Algeria and Malaysia and is aiming to sell 42 units of what it calls the world’s “first high-volume, 100 percent-solar turnkey water purification system” in 2011.
from Tales from the Trail:
The great thing about presidential commissions is that they can soberly consider complicated matters and then offer unvarnished reports on what to do. The tough part is when that information rockets around Washington, as occurred after a White House commission issued its final report on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The "Deep Water" report, apparently titled in reference to the doomed BP Deepwater Horizon rig, blames the deadly blowout and oil spill on government and industry complacency, and recommends more regulation of offshore drilling and a new independent safety agency. But as my colleague Ayesha Rascoe reports, the commission lacks the authority to establish drilling policies or punish companies.
It took just 30 seconds to fell the tree. Hendri, 27, a skinny Indonesian from Central Kalimantan on Borneo island, skilfully wielded the chainsaw more than half his height. The result is a thunderous crash and a tree that is quickly cut into planks on the forest floor near by.
from Reuters Investigates:
BP's Macondo Gulf spill would be nothing compared to the effect of a drilling accident in the Arctic, Jessica Bachman reports from "the foulest place in all of Russia." Scientists and Russian officials are just starting to wake up to the fact that "if something happens on the Arctic Barents Sea in November it would be, 'OK, we'll come back for you in March,'" Jessica says.
But quite what Russia would do about that is not at all clear. The Russian government gets more than 50 percent of its revenues from oil and gas and Prime Minister Putin's stated aim is to keep producing more than 10 billion barrels a day through 2020. Environmentalists aren't the only ones who are worried.
from The Great Debate:
By Karol Boudreaux
The opinions expressed are her own.
At the recent UN biodiversity conference in Japan, participants were tasked with finding a new approach to preserve threatened ecosystems.
In the end, government and UN officials, NGO representatives and others reached an agreement that some are calling historic. The executive director of the UN's Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said: "This is a day to celebrate in terms of a new and innovative response to the alarming loss of biodiversity and ecosystems." But how different is it?
from The Great Debate UK:
-- Lord Hunt is a visiting professor at Delft University and emeritus professor at University College London, and former director-general of the UK Meteorological Office. Dr Simon Day is a researcher at the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, University College London. The opinions expressed are their own --
The devastating tsunami that struck the Indonesian islands of Mentawai may have caused about 450 deaths, with hundreds more still missing, and compounds the disaster caused in the country by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Java. Following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake, the Mentawai Islands were engulfed with estimated three-metre waves that affected thousands of households.
from Tales from the Trail:
You sort of have to like a U.S. cabinet secretary and Nobel Prize winner who knows how to have a little fun while getting out a message.
That would be Steven Chu, who posted a picture of himself as a green-faced, blood-dripping zombie on his Facebook page. Just in time for Washington's scrupulously-observed Halloween weekend, Chu used his own zombification as a platform to point out power-sucking appliances -- energy vampires, he called them.