Environment


Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical forest...

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Zahra Hirji of Discovery News, presents a brief analysis on the hot subject which has been discussed for some time. Is the “ancient civilization in Amazonian forests” story, an “incredible cover-up of Mother Nature” as Hirji herself stated on the title of the article, or rather an exaggerated speculation that grew in some archaeologists’ minds? Augusto Oyuela Caycedo from University of Florida believes a past existence of a complex society in the depths of the rain forests. Many anthropologists support this view after researching the environment and examining the evidence. On the other hand, conservatives seem reluctant to be convinced. As Hirji stated, it appears as a controversy between the “old way of thinking” and the “new wave of thought”. A good read.

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Now I suspect if it’s really pollution which killed the fish or if there’s something “geological” happening around the Assam riverbed. If the latter is true, then it means there is a serious trouble which can trigger a scary seismical event near Brahmaputra and Assam.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Dead Brahmaputra fish

Pollution may be responsible (Pics: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee)

Thousands of dead fish have been washed ashore in a river in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam river since early this week.

They were discovered on the banks of the Brahmaputra river in the state capital, Guwahati.
An equal number of sick fish were found in the same place, officials said. They blamed rising pollution levels.
An investigation has been ordered by the Assam government, said C.K.Bhuiyan, senior district official in Guwahati.
Earlier in the year, the Assam Pollution Control Board (APCB) told all the oil refineries in the state to achieve “zero pollution” levels by 31 December, otherwise they would be threatened with closure.

Man holding dead Brahmaputra fish
The Guwahati refinery was found to be the worst polluting refinery and was perhaps the only one in Assam not to have yet complied, pollution control board officials said.
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drought.jpg While the climate denialists who call themselves “scientists” keep on nay saying, things going worse around the Mediterranean. Summer holiday in Turkey has been passing with the fears for “lack of water” since the shadow of a serious drought fell on the country. Big cities like Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir feel the threat of a water problem that has been appearing on the horizon, while Ankara has the most serious conditions with almost empty dams. The news story below was clipped from EarthTimes and tells about another recent report that showed the effects of the climate disaster in Eastern Mediterranean. The big picture does not look very bright.

clipped from www.earthtimes.org
Drought conditions are mainly to blame for the loss of half of Turkey’s 650,000 acres of wetland during the last four decades, a report said.

Today’s Zaman reported Wednesday that environmental data shows that during the last 40 years, Turkey has lost massive amounts of its available wetlands to a number of factors including drought and construction efforts.

The data from the Nature Association, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry and the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Turkish Branch, also shows that the loss of the wetlands has directly impacted the nation’s bird species.
“We are witnessing the same patterns in Turkey as in other parts of the world,” the group told the Turkish newspaper. “First the birds leave the region and then the people go too.”

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Satellite maps helped an important archaeological discovery: The new data from NASA’a AIRSAR satellite reveals that Cambodia’s fascinating temple complex Angkor Vat was once at the center of a large urban settlement with a complex irrigation system. New analysis also shows that the demise of the city came as the result of serious enviromental failures including deforestation. Yet another lesson to take, for us 21st century folks.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Angkor Wat

The researchers disovered at least 74 new temples

 

The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the centre of a sprawling urban settlement, according to a new, detailed map of the area.

Using Nasa satellites, an international team have discovered at least 74 new temples and complex irrigation systems.

The map, published in the journal PNAS, extends the known settlement by 1000 sq km, about the size of Los Angeles.

Analysis also lends weight to the theory that Angkor’s residents were architects of the city’s demise.

“The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding forests,” said Damian Evans of the University of Sydney and one of the authors of the paper and map.

Cambodia map

Working with researchers from Australia, Cambodia and France, the map was produced from ground surveys, airborne photography, and ground-sensing radar from Nasa’s AIRSAR satellite.

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Approaching global energy crisis forces scientists to search for alternative energy sources elsewhere. Now, some geologists are trying their best to obtain geothermal energy by drilling into the Earth’s crust.

clipped from dsc.discovery.com
Energy Search Goes Underground
Aug. 6, 2007 — A magnitude-3.4 tremor on Dec. 8 in Basel, Switzerland, was no ordinary act of nature: It had been accidentally triggered by engineers drilling deep into the Earth’s crust to tap its inner heat and thus break new ground — literally — in the search for new sources of energy.
After more, slightly smaller tremors followed, Basel authorities told Geopower Basel to put its project on hold.
But the power company hasn’t given up. It’s in a race with a firm in Australia to be the first to generate power commercially by boiling water on the rocks three miles underground.
On paper, the Basel project looks fairly straightforward: Drill down, shoot cold water into the shaft and bring it up again superheated and capable of generating enough power through a steam turbine to meet the electricity needs of 10,000 households, and heat 2,700 homes.

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Drought and floods walk side by side: Eastern Europe and South Asia is shaken by disasters caused by heavy rainfall, while many places in Africa, Middle East and Australia are longing for a few drops of rain. Both northern and southern hemispheres have been experiencing extreme weather conditions. Reuters reports about a record-breaking year, in just first 6 months.

clipped from africa.reuters.com

Extreme weather breaks records in 2007

GENEVA (Reuters) – The world experienced a series of record-breaking weather events in early 2007, from flooding in Asia to heatwaves in Europe and snowfall in South Africa, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began in 1880, at more than 1 degree Celsius higher than average for those months.

There have also been severe monsoon floods across South Asia, abnormally heavy rains in northern Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay, extreme heatwaves in southeastern Europe and Russia, and unusual snowfall in South Africa and South America this year, the WMO said.
“The start of the year 2007 was a very active period in terms of extreme weather events,” Omar Baddour of the agency’s World Climate Programme told journalists in Geneva.

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“The crux of the politicians’ answer to climate change and pollution is a gigantic crash research program,” writes Nicholas von Hoffman, the columnist for the New York Observer. “They usually invoke the Manhattan Project of World War II, the name given to the program for inventing and building the atomic bomb.”

So many fussings, so many discussions (most of them are really of no use at this stage) between political groups and “scientists” engaged to them. But, nobody cares a solution or even just a road map about how we should face the consequences of this inevitable climate change and stand on our feet. Time passes as we keep on discussing and fussing. Of course, Mother Nature does not wait for us to reach to a consensus about the climate change – there is nothing called “consensus” in the universe, there are just phenomenons, cycles and metamorphoses. Though the present situation does not allow us to be optimistic, we surely are not that desperate to sit on our asses without doing anything. Hoffman says:

As we all know there is a lot we can do before the earth is turned into a lobster pot with us playing the part of the crustaceans. We have all been told that conservation alone would make a vast difference, and we also know it means changing the way we live.

clipped from www.thenation.com
It is quite amazing. No major politician these days would think of giving a speech without the obligatory three or four paragraphs on global warming and energy. They tell us that it is a crisis, which is a laugh since we have been telling them it’s a crisis for the past twenty years.
What the politicians propose that we do about it now is simple: nothing. The leading candidates in both parties are given to talking about “benchmarks” we are to meet by 2016 or 2025 or 2050. One of those dates, they promise us, is the year we will be “energy independent,” which they would have us think is the same as being at an environmentally stable level.
What if the miracle doesn’t come? Those space shuttles do not always go as planned, and then we have those national days of mourning for the dead astronauts. What if the scientists cannot come up with the miracle fuel? Do we have national days of mourning for a dying planet?

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