Sunday, 19 August 2007

Of Migratory Birds, Recycling Roma, Palm Oil and Disappearing Deltas

Some interesting articles I came across in the past few weeks and thought I would share:

Article one is about the destruction of ancestral land and rainforest in Western Kalimantan in order to grow palm oil plants. The growing demand for palm oil products in India, China and Europe and which Indonesia is hoping to cash in on is having a negative effect on the native Dayak Kanayan people. I had posted about Borneo, palm oil and the Penan people in a previous post.

The second article is also about environmental degradation, this time in the Indus river delta region in southern Pakistan. Keti Bandar was once a thriving river port but it is now struggling to keep from being submerged and it appears as if it will go the way of another nearby town, Kharo Chhan, which in 1946 used to be part of the mainland but is now an island about 30 minutes’ boat ride from the shore. Significant irrigation infrastructure and over extraction of water are the causes cited by experts for this sad situation- displacement of people, dwindling poultry and livestock, sea intrusion, shortage of drinking water etc.

The third article is about a rare colony of flamingos leaving Camargue, a marshy region in southern France. The birds have nested on an artificial island in the delta of the River Rhone for thirty years but a strike at the local saltworks has meant that no saltwater from the Mediterranean has been pumped into the lagoon in which the island sits. The brine shrimp in the area and its relative safety provide ideal breeding ground for the flamingo. There is however hope for the flamingos as the saltworks and employees seem to be heading to a solution which will include conservation efforts.

Climate change is being blamed for a drop in the numbers of migratory birds visiting Britain each winter and is the subject of the fourth article.

Philosophy and Recycling in Albania is about the Roma community in Albania and their efforts at recycling and reusing scrap. One of the persons mentioned in the article is a chemist whose job is to assess the toxic levels of the country’s dumps but whose real passion is translating the works of Bertrand Russell from English into Albanian.

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