Environment Forum

Holy water!

August 7, 2009

Aletsch glacier, the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps is seen on August 18, 2007. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Are the residents of Fiesch and Fischertal in Switzerland particularly pious, desperate or both? I wonder after learning that villagers there want Pope Benedict’s blessing to stop the melting of Europe’s longest glacier. That, after hundreds of years of praying for it to stop growing. Researchers predict winter temperatures in the Swiss Alps will rise by 1.8 degrees Celsius in winter and 2.7 degrees Celsius in the summer by 2050.

Maldives: “Paradise Drowning”, partly due to tourism?

April 22, 2008

A tourist from London plays with her daughter on the jetty outside the Maldivian resort of Banyan Tree on January 9, 2005. Most tourists are leaving the Maldives after the atoll nation was hit by the Asian tsunami. REUTERS/Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi AL/TWThe Maldives has a dilemma — it fears that rising seas caused by global warming could wipe the country off the map but it doesn’t want to restrict tourists who visit the Indian Ocean coral islands in aircraft whose emissions are a cause of climate change.

Kenya crisis hits Mara game reserve hard

April 10, 2008

Joseph Kimojino, a ranger with Mara Conservancy, talks with a group of Maasai men outside Enkereri village, near Maasai Mara game reserve, April 3, 2008. The Maasai tribesmen of the Oloololo Escarpment have been hit hard, with only a trickle of visitors to the world-famous park meaning the breakdown of a compensation scheme meant to stop them hunting lions. But with the Mara Conservancy facing a monthly shortfall of at least $50,000 due to gate receipts that have plummeted 80 percent — and therefore unable to pay out when predators kill valuable Maasai livestock — tensions are rising fast. REUTERS/Radu SighetiHuman-animal relations are at breaking point in Kenya’s renowned Maasai Mara game reserve.
Visitor numbers have dropped 80 percent since a deadly post-election crisis at the start of the year, meaning the Mara Conservancy, the non-profit organisation that manages the park, is in financial crisis.
It has had to cut back on anti-poaching patrols, lay off staff and suspend a successful cattle compensation scheme that had encouraged conservation by paying local Maasai for livestock killed by leopards and lions.