Hurricane Gustav Near Cuba With 230 kph Winds


Men pull boat out of water as Hurricane Gustav approaches in Havana, 30 Aug 2008

U.S. forecasters say Hurricane Gustav’s winds have strengthened to nearly 230 kilometers per hour as the deadly storm closes in on western Cuba.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center has upgraded Gustav to a category 4 hurricane on the scale that measures a storm’s intensity.

At last report, the eye of Gustav was expected to pass over western Cuba later Saturday.

Read moreHurricane Gustav Near Cuba With 230 kph Winds

The untold story of India’s floods


Stranded people make their way through flood waters in Bihar.
REUTERS/ Krishna Murari Kishan

The humanitarian needs created by the worst floods in the eastern Indian state of Bihar for 50 years are outstripping government and agencies’ ability to cope, aid workers say.

A week ago, the Kosi river in neighbouring Nepal burst its banks and forged a new course through Bihar, submerging hundreds of villages in the five districts of Supaul, Madhepura, Sharsa, Madhubani and Bhagalpur. According to the latest estimates, over 2 million people have been displaced and a quarter of a million homes have been destroyed.

Read moreThe untold story of India’s floods

New Orleans marks Katrina, braces for Gustav

NEW ORLEANS, Aug 29 (Reuters) – New Orleans residents paused on Friday to mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating blow even as they faced a possible evacuation order ahead of another potentially powerful storm.

City residents, many still recovering from the destruction of Katrina, could be ordered to evacuate early on Sunday to escape next week’s expected landfall of Hurricane Gustav, Mayor Ray Nagin said.

Gustav strengthened to a hurricane on Friday after it killed up to 77 people in the Caribbean in mudslides and floods.

Read moreNew Orleans marks Katrina, braces for Gustav

Rat meat in demand in Cambodia as inflation bites

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials said on Wednesday.

With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel (69 pence) from 1,200 riel last year.

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kg.

Read moreRat meat in demand in Cambodia as inflation bites

Monsanto Defeated on rBGH Animal Drug After 14 Year Battle

(NaturalNews) I recently received great news from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) that after a long fourteen year battle between OCA, public interest and family farmer groups against Monsanto’s Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), Monsanto has announced on August 6th that they will sell off their controversial rBGH. This is very good news since rBGH has been fed to cattle since the early 1990’s and has been implicated in a wide array of health issues, some very serious ones for both the animals themselves and anyone who consumes anything from the animals who are fed rBGH.

rBGH is said to be responsible for a number of health issues ranging from premature puberty in children to colon, prostate and breast cancer to increased antibiotic residues and elevated levels of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1.

Highly recommended videos:

Life running out of control – Genetically Modified Organisms

The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see.

rBGH is a genetically engineered variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. It is manufactured by Monsanto and sold to dairy farmers under the trade name Posilac. This hormone forces cows to increase milk production by about 10%, but it also increases the incidences of mastitis, lameness as well as reproductive issues.

Read moreMonsanto Defeated on rBGH Animal Drug After 14 Year Battle

Metropolitan Wastewater Ends Up In Urban Agriculture


Wastewater is most commonly used to produce vegetables and cereals (especially rice), according to this and other IWMI reports, raising concerns about health risks for consumers, particularly of vegetables that are consumed uncooked.

As developing countries confront the first global food crisis since the 1970s as well as unprecedented water scarcity, a new 53-city survey conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) indicates that most of those studied (80 percent) are using untreated or partially treated wastewater for agriculture.

In over 70 percent of the cities studied, more than half of urban agricultural land is irrigated with wastewater that is either raw or diluted in streams.

Read moreMetropolitan Wastewater Ends Up In Urban Agriculture

Coastal Water Study: ‘Dead Zones’ Multiplying Fast


A global map of “dead zones”—where coastal waters contain too little oxygen to sustain life—shows (as black dots) a concentration in the Northern Hemisphere, where human activity has had the most effect.
As of August 2008, there were more than 400 known “dead zones,” scientists said, up from just over 300 in the 1990s. Image courtesy Science/AAAS

“Dead zones” are on the rise, says a new study that identified stark growth in the number of coastal areas where the water has too little oxygen to sustain marine life.

There are now more than 400 known dead zones in coastal waters worldwide, compared to 305 in the 1990s, according to study author Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Related article: Are the oceans giving up?

Read moreCoastal Water Study: ‘Dead Zones’ Multiplying Fast

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster Listen: The Prince of Wales speaks out

The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world’s worst environmental disaster, The Prince of Wales has warned.

In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone “seriously wrong”.

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth’s soil by scientists’ research.

He accused firms of conducting a “gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong”.

“Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?”.

Related article: The Prince of Wales: ‘If that is the future, count me out’

Relying on “gigantic corporations” for food, he said, would result in “absolute disaster”.

Read morePrince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster

Berkeley Scientists: Mass Extinction of Species

Scientists: Humans To Blame

Devastating declines of amphibian species around the world are a sign of a biodiversity disaster larger than just the deaths of frogs and salamanders, University of California, Berkeley scientists said Tuesday.

Researchers said substantial die-offs of amphibians and other plant and animal species add up to a new mass extinction facing the planet, the scientists said in an online article this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related articles:
Wildlife populations ‘plummeting’
Wildlife extinction rates ’seriously underestimated’
UN official: Biodiversity loss could hurts medical research

“There’s no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now,” said David Wake, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley.

“Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn’t. The fact that they’re cutting out now should be a lesson for us.”

Read moreBerkeley Scientists: Mass Extinction of Species

Children have lost touch with nature

Children are just imitating their parents and society.
“Not all who wander are lost” (J. R. R. Tolkien), but those who have lost contact with nature are truly lost.
________________________________________________________________________________

Children have lost touch with the natural world and are unable to identify common animals and plants, according to a survey.

Half of youngsters aged nine to 11 were unable to identify a daddy-long-legs, oak tree, blue tit or bluebell, in the poll by BBC Wildlife Magazine. The study also found that playing in the countryside was children’s least popular way of spending their spare time, and that they would rather see friends or play on their computer than go for a walk or play outdoors.

The survey asked 700 children to identify pictured flora and fauna. Just over half could name bluebells, 54 per cent knew what blue tits were and 45 per cent could identify an oak. Less than two-thirds (62 per cent) identified frogs and 12 per cent knew what a primrose was.

Children performed better at identifying robins (95 per cent) and badgers, correctly labelled by nine out of 10.

Sir David Attenborough warned that children who lack any understanding of the natural world would not grow into adults who cared about the environment. “The wild world is becoming so remote to children that they miss out,” he said, “and an interest in the natural world doesn’t grow as it should. Nobody is going protect the natural world unless they understand it.”

Fergus Collins, of BBC Wildlife Magazine, said the results “reinforce the idea that many children don’t spend enough time playing in the green outdoors and enjoying wildlife – something older generations might have taken for granted”.

A surprisingly large number of children incorrectly identified the bluebells as lavender, and the deer was commonly misidentified as an antelope.

The newt, recognised by 42 per cent, was mistaken for a lizard while the primrose was thought to be a dandelion.

Experts blamed the widening gulf between children and nature on over-protective parents and the hostility to children among some conservationists, who fear that they will damage the environment. They said that this lack of exposure to outdoor play in natural environments was vital for children’s social and emotional development.

Dr Martin Maudsley, play development officer for Playwork Partnerships, at the University of Gloucestershire, said that adults had become too protective of wild places: “Environmental sensitivities should not be prioritised over children.”

He said: “Play is the primary mechanism through which children engage and connect with the world, and natural environments are particularly attractive, inspiring and satisfying for kids. Something magical occurs when children and wild spaces mix.”

By Sarah Cassidy, Education Correspondent
Friday, 1 August 2008

Source: The Independent