More and more coffee beans are being grown under the sun (with lots of help from fertilizer and pesticides), casting a shadow on the whole industry. A whopping 98 percent of the world’s coffee comes from farmers growing berries under a hot tropical sun—from plants that need lots of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to thrive.
Can the Dead Sea Be Saved?
On the side of Route 90, on the fringes of the Judean desert in the West Bank, an old engraving on the face of the cliff seems to encapsulate the story the Dead Sea – a thick, red line and underneath it the letters “PEF”. These were etched by members of the Palestine Exploration Fund, a British society surveying …
Africa Loses $50bn a Year in Plundered Resources
Africa is losing 50 billion dollars or 5.7% of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) each year due to unending plunder of its forests, fisheries and other resources by corrupt officials and foreign investors, says a major new report on the continent. Africa’s rich natural resources offer a unique opportunity for a breakthrough in improving the lives of Africa’s citizens …
Dams Blamed for South Asia’s Sinking Deltas
One or two people leave their homes in the Sundarbans forests of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta each day, perhaps never to return. It’s but a small vignette of a larger tragedy being played out across South Asia’s delta regions where land is fast sinking as the sea waters rise, leaving millions of people vulnerable to disasters like cyclones and floods. The mouth of the …
End of the Lime
My first inkling of the Great American Lime Crisis of 2014 came when I ordered a vodka tonic in Washington, D.C., recently. I didn’t think much about it when my server told me the restaurant was out of limes and offered to garnish my drink with a lemon instead (pass). But when the same thing happened at a bar in …
Environmental Impact of China’s Dam Rush
China plans to increase its share of non-fossil energy to 11.4 percent of total energy consumption through an additional 160 gigawatts (160,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity by 2015, along with ambitious expansions in renewables and nuclear. By 2020, China plans to have 430 gigawatts (430,000 megawatts) of installed hydropower capacity, more than Europe and the United States combined. A bilingual interactive map published by the Wilson Center’s China …
Climate Change Threatens Humankind: Report
Scientists for long have predicted the horrific effects of climate change. The economic, ecological, social and humanitarian costs of the impending disaster have for long been a subject of debate. But a new, and probably the most extensive, report released by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the …
Remember the Bubal Hartebeest!
Deserts make up 17 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to all sorts of endangered species. And yet, when was the last time you saw a bumper sticker demanding that we “Save the Scimitar-Horned Oryx”? That’s what I thought. Jungle cats and pandas in misty, green forests get lots of attention (as they should), but a recent …
Why a Melting Arctic Could Sink the Global Economy
[Climate change in the Arctic] is one of the most obvious shared challenges on the face of the planet today … Today, as Secretary of State, I come here keenly aware that the long list of [Arctic] challenges—acidification, pollution, ice melt, rising sea levels, disappearing species, and indiscriminate development practices—all of these carry even more challenges downstream, so to speak, …
Saving Our Blue Future
Have you heard? The world is running out of accessible clean water. Humanity is polluting, mismanaging, and displacing our finite freshwater sources at an alarming rate. Since 1990, half the rivers in China have disappeared. The Ogallala Aquifer that supplies the U.S. breadbasket will be gone “in our lifetime,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. By 2030, global demand …