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Air pollution is a problem in many parts of the world, but especially India, China, Bangladesh and a number of other countries in Asia. During the World Economic Forum it was announced that India has the world’s worst air quality. Is the air pollution experienced in these countries primarily due to human activities such as heavy industry? Likely. A combination of emissions from vehicles, coal power plants and other sources is enough to make populations vulnerable to diseases caused by breathing in polluted air. But it’s not like this is a new problem, many of the more developed countries have had similar if not the same problems with poor air quality and in many cases still do. For example, London’s air decreases the life expectancy of its residents. Read more
Desertification is not only a problem for the countries that experience it, but for the entire planet. In this talk given by Allan Savory on TED, he explains how managing grasslands ‘holistically’ can reduce desertification, namely ‘by keeping cattle more densely packed on small plots of land and moving them frequently‘. This keeps herds from overgrazing and fertilises the land at the same time, restoring its nutrients. And if you can prevent grasslands from turning into desert they can remove carbon dioxide from the air, helping to mitigate carbon emissions that cause climate change. Simple, yet effective and cattle grazing, often viewed as ecologically destructive, becomes an environmental solution, not a problem. It also seems a great way to assist pastoralist communities in Africa.
The M=7.4 that struck just offshore western Guatemala yesterday is now believed to have killed at least 48 people, with more people thought to still be buried in the rubble. The location of the epicenter of the earthquake, as measured by the USGS, indicates that there is high ground within the area that might be expected to have suffered high peak ground accelerations (as the Google Earth perspective view below shows), indicating that landslides are likely:
Inevitably, the area affected by landslides is both remote and inaccessible in the aftermath of the earthquake, so a proper understanding of the landslides will take some time. In the meantime, there is some evidence that landslides have been a significant problem. The BBC has two images that show landslides. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr Timothy Sim with Hong Kong Polytechnic University visited Durham University to present a unique exhibition of photos by young people who lived through the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in Wenchuan, China. In this video, Dr Sim talks about the resilience of the children who survived the earthquake and tells the story behind their international photo exhibition. This video includes photos from the exhibition.