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WORLD FOOD AND WATER CRISIS
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 20950

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GMO: OMG! What Everyone Needs to Know

The truth is, in the last 25 years, dangerous changes have taken place that impact how our food is grown – and how safe it is to eat. Most people aren’t even aware of what’s happening – or are dangerously underinformed.
We don’t want that to be you.

At Food Revolution Network, we’ve studied the impact of GMOs extensively, and we’ve consulted with the world’s leading experts on the topic. We believe that this is one of the critical food issues of our time, and we’re
passionate about giving you the knowledge you need to be informed, and to protect yourself and those you love.

What is a GMO?

A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. The most common GMO foods have been engineered to withstand being heavily sprayed with toxic herbicides.[1]

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https://cdn.foodrevolution.org/special-reports/special-report-gmos.pdf
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The innovation turning desert sand into farmland

Faisal Mohammed Al Shimmari farms in some of the most extreme conditions in the world, at Al Ain, an oasis in the United Arab Emirates desert, where temperatures can reach 50C.

"It's expensive as we have to buy water regularly to irrigate these plants," he says.

Farmers have to use tankers to bring in water, and in the desert, farms use almost three times as much water as those in temperate climates. This makes farming in the desert impractical so the UAE imports about 80% of its food.

Yet for many, this might be the future of farming. Increased drought, deforestation and intensive farming methods are turning an area half the size of Britain into desert each year.

According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Climate Change, by 2045, 135 million people could lose their homes and livelihoods to desertification.

Liquid clay

Norwegian scientist Kristian Morten Olesen has patented a process to mix nano-particles of clay with water and bind them to sand particles to condition desert soil - he has been working on Liquid Nanoclay (LNC) since 2005.

"The treatment gives sand particles a clay coating which completely changes their physical properties and allows them to bind with water," he says.

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http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/the-innovation-turning-desert-sand-into-farmland/ar-AAwMT5L?li=AAggNb9&ocid=mailsignout
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Desert Air Will Give Us Water

Last year, after a punishing four-year drought, California lifted emergency water-scarcity measures in all but four counties. Residents could sigh in relief but not without resignation. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” California Governor Jerry Brown said at the time. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

He’s right. In April, a study in Nature Climate Change, based on climate model simulations, concluded that a 25 percent to 100 percent “increase in extreme dry-to-wet precipitation events is projected” for the rest of this century, “despite only modest changes in mean precipitation. Such hydrological cycle intensification would seriously challenge California’s existing water storage, conveyance and flood control infrastructure.” In 2015, when a record-setting low of California mountain snowpack was being set, Richard Saykally, a water chemist at UC Berkeley, told me it wouldn’t be unprecedented for the drought to last for decades. “There has been a record of far worse droughts than what we’re experiencing now,” he said, referring to tree-ring data which indicates that, some 500 years back, California suffered something like a 150-year drought. “It is fully possible that this could turn into a 50-year drought or 100-year drought, which would be devastating, unless we have reliable sources of water that don’t rely on precipitation.”

A partial solution may be to snatch water from the air, Dune-style. A team of six researchers, led by UC Berkeley chemist Omar Yaghi, reported in Science Advances this month a method of producing water from desert air using just the power of natural sunlight. The researchers say the aluminum-based water absorbent they used “potentially” meets the needs of large-scale industrial production, and “should be applicable to various regions of the world.” The device is an update on a proof-of-concept he and his colleagues unveiled in a 2017 paper. It looks like a little microwave in this short video, where Yaghi describes the absorbent materials as “metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs.” It’s a white, powder-like substance that water in the atmosphere can’t help but cling to.

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http://nautil.us//blog/desert-air-will-give-us-water?utm_source=Nautilus&utm_campaign=270e193d5c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_15_08_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc96ec7a9d-270e193d5c-60760513
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Climate Change Starts Wars

Rising temperatures are bringing ethnic tensions to a boil in Central Asia.


Excerpt:

Conflicts over natural resources are not new, but as climate change shrinks access to water, their occurrence is bound to rise worldwide. From 1980 to 2010, almost a quarter of all armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries coincided with climate-related natural disasters, reported the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The risk of violence was “exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change and in particular climate-related natural disasters,” the report said, adding that Central Asia is “exceptionally vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change and characterized by deep ethnic divides.”

The analysis noted similar linkages between climate-related natural disasters, ethnic divides, and armed conflict outbreak in Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan over the past 30 years, citing the “societal consequences” of drought. “We’re not saying there’s a climate disaster and this will cause a conflict, but in the context where it will basically add to societal stress, then this could enhance the risk for the outbreak of conflict,” said lead researcher Carl-Friedrich Schleussner.

More....

http://nautil.us/issue/63/horizons/when-climate-change-starts-wars-rp?utm_source=Nautilus&utm_campaign=533f53e5c9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_08_08_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc96ec7a9d-533f53e5c9-60760513
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saving the Soil Starts at Home

A couple of weeks ago at the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Ministers, world leaders in ag had quite a discussion about sustainable agriculture, the need for better farm technology, soil and crop losses and problems caused by intense weather events and climate change.

The G20 territories account for about 60% of all agricultural land and nearly 80% of world trade in food and agricultural commodities. Argentina, as current G20 president for 2018, proposed that the member nations “discuss ways to promote healthy, fertile and productive soils to improve food security and human health,” as well as discuss sustainable soil management.

There were definitely some sobering statistics shared during the meetings:

Global population is expected to rise from 7.6 billion currently to 8.5 billion by 2030.
The effects of hunger worldwide increased in 2016 to reach 815 million people.
Some 24 million acres of cropland is being lost every year due to soil erosion, and unharvested crops are becoming a serious issue.

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https://www.no-tillfarmer.com/blogs/1-covering-no-till/post/8103-saving-the-soil-starts-at-home
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raising food security: The AKDN in Madagascar

October 2018 - About 60% of people in low-income countries are “food insecure”. In Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, some families eat only one meal a day during the “hungry season”. Since 2005, the Aga Khan Development Network has helped 80,000 rice farmers to produce crops of better quality, in less time and with less labour. In many areas, crop yields have tripled, and families no longer have to deal with chronic hunger.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXSnAwy0Wjw&utm_source=Direct
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Searching for Water Across Borders

Saudi Arabia and China are among the countries that have turned to the United States and elsewhere.


As climate change begins to make water scarcity a critical security issue globally, wealthier countries have begun to look outside their borders to meet their water needs. In moves that have important trade and geopolitical implications, Saudi Arabia and China have come to America to help solve their water problems and feed their people.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company, Almarai, bought about 15 square miles of farmland in Arizona for $47.5 million to grow alfalfa to feed its dairy cows back home. Huge amounts of water are required to cultivate the crop — nearly four times as much as wheat — which is why the Saudis had come to Arizona.

China, too, had come to the United States for food that requires vast amounts of fresh water to produce. Facing water scarcity issues in and around the Gobi Desert, China has been importing more than half of the world’s soybeans, another water-intensive crop, from farmers in the United States and South America. And not just soybeans. In 2013, a Chinese company bought the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods. Until recently, the meat from a quarter of all the hogs raised in the United States — a process that also consumes enormous amounts of water to grow the feed for these animals — ended up in China.

More...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/climate-change-saudi-arabia-water.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20181019&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=12&nlid=45305309emc%3Dedit_ty_20181019&ref=headline&te=1
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Africa needs a green revolution

Governments can help, but need to get their policies right


Excerpt:

Something akin to Asia’s rural development may, at last, be happening in parts of Africa. Since 2002 the proportion of African workers employed in agriculture has fallen from 66% to 57%. Yet the real value of agricultural production has grown at an average pace of 4.6% a year, double the rate between 1970 and 2000. Even so, the region is lagging behind. Most of the increase comes from using more land, rather than improved productivity.

A green revolution—the increase in agricultural yields seen in most parts of the poor world apart from Africa since the 1960s—is unlikely to succeed if government is obstructive. “Government is the most important partner,” says Boaz Keizire of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, a think-tank with its headquarters in Kenya, “but in Africa it is the weakest link.”

More...

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/11/03/africa-needs-a-green-revolution?cid1=cust/ddnew/email/n/n/2018117n/owned/n/n/ddnew/n/n/n/nna/Daily_Dispatch/email&etear=dailydispatch&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily_Dispatch&utm_term=2018117
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q&A: Nutrition solutions lie beyond health

The solutions to under-nutrition lie beyond healthcare, yet policy often doesn’t take this into account, according to Zulfiqar Bhutta, Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and founding director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.

According to the WHO, almost half a billion people are underweight, and 155 million children were chronically under-nourished in 2016.

As part of the Bellagio Residency 2018 series, Bhutta tells SciDev.Net about the need to more effectively make the link between under-nutrition and issues such as oil prices, agriculture, water shortages, and conflict.

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https://www.scidev.net/global/nutrition/supported-content/q-a-nutrition-solutions-lie-beyond-health.html
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Starving Children, a Bite of Hope

Malnutrition kills a million of the world’s children a year. To stem that, United Nations agencies and charities are testing a new system for distributing high-nutrition foods more efficiently.


As Americans gather for our most food-centric holiday, there’s some potentially great news about food — especially for people who have very little to eat. It’s a new strategy that could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of hungry children every year.

Fifty million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition. It’s one of the biggest contributors to the nearly one million deaths each year of children under 5. Malnutrition wears down the immune system, so a child can die from a cold. It also can cause permanent physical and cognitive damage to children who survive.

Acute malnutrition is easy to treat with therapeutic food. The best-known of these is Plumpy’Nut, a packet of peanut butter, dried milk, oil and sugar fortified with extra vitamins and calories introduced in 1996. It’s very effective for children who get it; one or two packets a day can restore a child to health in a few months. But most children don’t get it. “At best, we are providing treatment for 20 percent of children with severe malnutrition,” said Victor Aguayo, chief of Unicef’s global nutrition program.

Why do we fail children so badly? One reason is we aren’t willing to spend the money. Voluntary donations from governments finance the United Nations’ food programs. The World Food Program is frequently forced to cut food rations and turn people away. Right now, severe child malnutrition in Africa’s Sahel countries is the highest in a decade, but Unicef has only 35 percent of the funds it needs to treat children.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/opinion/malnutrition-hunger-united-nations.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20181120&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=9&nlid=45305309emc%3Dedit_ty_20181120&ref=headline&te=1
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let Them Drink Bottled Water

Excerpt:

Water scarcity is a subject of serious debate in Pakistan, of the occasional riot and sometimes of long queues at rare public wells or sources. The chief justice of the Supreme Court has set up a fund to build two dams and is asking for donations.

Public drinking water here wasn’t always poisonous. Even toward the end of the 1990s, bottled water was reserved for the ultra-elite — for heads of state hosting other heads of states or for posh Pakistanis who vacationed on the French Riviera.

But today, thanks to pollution and a lack of investment in infrastructure, if you don’t drink bottled or filtered water, you are condemning yourself and your little ones to horrible diseases and maybe even to a new form of the ancient affliction called death by contamination. According to one estimate, 53,000 children in Pakistan die of diarrhea every year after drinking water containing dangerous bacteria. According to another estimate, 40 percent of all deaths in Pakistan are caused by water contaminated with sewage, industrial waste, arsenic or diseases.

More...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/23/opinion/pakistan-water-contamination-bottled.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20181123&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=4&nlid=45305309emc%3Dedit_ty_20181123&ref=headline&te=1
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can We Grow More Food on Less Land? We’ll Have To, a New Study Finds

Harvesting soybeans in Mato Grosso, Brazil.


WASHINGTON — If the world hopes to make meaningful progress on climate change, it won’t be enough for cars and factories to get cleaner. Our cows and wheat fields will have to become radically more efficient, too.

That’s the basic conclusion of a sweeping new study issued Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, an environmental group. The report warns that the world’s agricultural system will need drastic changes in the next few decades in order to feed billions more people without triggering a climate catastrophe.

The challenge is daunting: Agriculture already occupies roughly 40 percent of the world’s land and is responsible for about a quarter of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. But with the global population expected to grow from 7.2 billion people today to nearly 10 billion by 2050, and with many millions of people eating more meat as incomes rise, that environmental impact is on pace to expand dramatically.

More...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/climate/agriculture-food-global-warming.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_sc_20181211&nl=science-times&nl_art=9&nlid=45305309emc%3Dedit_sc_20181211&ref=headline&te=1
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HUMANS MADE THE BANANA PERFECT—BUT SOON, IT'LL BE GONE

Excerpt:

Ward had predicted that the coffee of Ceylon would be devastated. As the plantations of bananas expanded across the American tropics, scientists made similar predictions. These scientists noted that in the native range of bananas lived a great diversity. There were big ones, small ones, sweet ones, sour ones, hard ones, soft ones, bananas as dessert, and bananas—plantains, really—consumed as sustenance. In those same regions one could also find an extraordinary diversity of pathogens. But in the cultivated world of bananas, the scientists pointed out, because a single genetically identical variety of banana was planted everywhere, were any banana-attacking pathogen to arrive, it would mean trouble. Any pathogen that could attack a single banana plant, even one, would be able to kill all of them. If the banana companies had listened to these warnings, they might have planted a diversity of banana varieties or a variety that would be resistant to the most likely pathogens. But why would they? The single clone of the Gros Michel banana was the most productive anyone had ever found. Planting anything else would mean losing money.

More....
https://www.wired.com/2017/03/humans-made-banana-perfect-soon-itll-gone/?mbid=social_twitter&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=wired&utm_social-type=owned&utm_medium=social&utm_brand=wired
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glaciers Are Retreating. Millions Rely on Their Water.

Henry Fountain, a New York Times reporter, and Ben C. Solomon, a Times multimedia reporter, traveled to Kazakhstan to see the effects of climate change on mountain glaciers. Maps by Jeremy White.

Excerpt:

Glaciers represent the snows of centuries, compressed over time into slowly flowing rivers of ice, up to about a thousand feet thick here in the Tien Shan range and even thicker in other parts of the world. They are never static, accumulating snow in winter and losing ice to melting in summer. But in a warming climate melting outstrips accumulation, resulting in a net loss of ice.

The Tuyuksu, which is about a mile and a half long, is getting shorter as well as thinner. When the research station was built in 1957 it was just a few hundred yards from the Tuyuksu’s leading edge, or tongue. Now, reaching the ice requires scrambling on foot for the better part of an hour over piles of boulders and till left as the glacier retreated.

Interative media and more...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/15/climate/melting-glaciers-globally.html?emc=edit_th_190120&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=453053090120
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALEX AWITI: Our health and the future of our planet depend on our food choices

Modern dietary choices will exacerbate the global burden of non-communicable diseases. According to the report, unhealthy diets present a greater risk to morbidity and mortality compared to the combined morbidity and mortality from unsafe sex and substance abuse. More than 820 million people subsist on low-quality diets, which contribute to diet-related obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Our food production systems pose a colossal risk to environmental quality. Animal and crop production accounts for 40 per cent of land use. Land use change owing to agriculture is the largest driver of land degradation and biodiversity loss.

Moreover, food production consumes about 70 per cent of freshwater resources and emits 30 per cent of greenhouse gases. The slow death of large freshwater lakes such as Lake Victoria is largely due to eutrophication, or excessive nutrient loading, due to misuse or overuse of nitrogen and phosphorous in our farms.

Hence, feeding a burgeoning human population on healthy diets, while maintaining a resilient ecological base is a most grave challenge. We must act to transform our food systems to reduce the effects on human health and restore ecological integrity. Such change will demand dramatic shifts in what we eat and how we produce it.

More...

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019/01/22/alex-awiti-our-health-and-the-future-of-our-planet-depend-on-our-food_c1881254
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How the world’s first ever scientific eating plan forgot the poor

The diet is slightly problematic as it doesn’t recognise the enormous differences across the world when it comes to food consumption and production systems.


A team of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries have just released the world’s first ever scientific eating plan. The “planetary health diet” is designed to be healthier for people and more environmentally friendly.

The team warns that the way we eat now threatens both our health and the long-term survival of the planet. They say the current food system dangerously overproduces greenhouse gases, misuses fertiliser, and causes large-scale food wastage and massive land degradation.


Their solution is to shift to a diet that transforms this damaging food system. This diet would sustainably feed up to 10 billion people by 2050 and avert about 11 million premature adult deaths a year due to cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases.

The diet sounds like a silver bullet, but we have found it to be slightly problematic. It doesn’t recognise the enormous differences across the world when it comes to food consumption and production systems.

More....

https://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/special-report/2019/03/04/how-the-worlds-first-ever-scientific-eating-plan-forgot-the-poor/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why billionaire Bill Gates is backing this business that wants to change the way we eat

When Pat Brown was working in his research lab in 2009, he had “zero” intention of starting a business — much less one that would win United Nations backing and investment from the likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

“I basically decided I was going to look for the most important problem that I could have the opportunity of solving,” he told CNBC Make It.

But when the former pediatrician-turned-Stamford professor discovered what that problem was — namely the “catastrophic” use of animals in our food system” — he realized he had to go “all in.”

Brown is the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, a California-based food company attempting to revolutionize the way we think about animal agriculture with its plant-based meat substitute, commonly known as the “Impossible Burger.”

He started the business in 2011 after his academic research led him to discover the detrimental impact of meat production on the planet.

Meat production is considered by far one of the world’s greatest contributors to climate change, not only for the level of greenhouse gas it produces, but also the water and land consumption it requires. However, despite growing awareness around the issue, Brown noted that education had done little to curb consumers’ insatiable appetites for meat.

So, bailing on his academic career — and colleagues — the then 56-year-old set about creating an alternative product that could give the same experience as meat.Out for beef

“The only way to solve the problem is to give consumers what they know they want, and make it our job to find a better way to produce it and find a better technology than cows and other animals,” said Brown.

A few years later, the Impossible team believed they’d discovered the solution in a molecule called heme. Found in abundance in both animals and plants, the molecule is responsible for carrying oxygen in living organisms and giving blood its red color. By augmenting the molecule in plants, researchers found they could create a product that looks and tastes like meat.

And so, in 2016, the Impossible Burger was born.

By using plants rather than traditional meat, Impossible Food’s website claims production of one of its burgers saves the equivalent of 75 square feet of land, one half tub of bathwater and 18 miles of emissions in a car compared to a regular beef patty.

More...

https://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/international/2019/03/08/why-billionaire-bill-gates-is-backing-this-business-that-wants-to-change-the-way-we-eat/
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Britain (Yes, Rainy Britain) Could Run Short of Water by 2050, Official Says

LONDON — To the casual observer, Britain — an island nation that’s no stranger to rain — could not get much wetter.

But, as it turns out, that’s a fallacy. And if preventive steps are not taken, in less than three decades, Britain might run out of water, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, a public body responsible for conservation in England, said on Tuesday.

“On the present projections, many parts of our country will face significant water deficits by 2050, particularly in the southeast, where much of the U.K. population lives,” the agency chief, James Bevan, said at a conference on water use.

In about 20 to 25 years, demand could close in on supply in what Mr. Bevan called “the jaws of death — the point at which, unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs.”

The reasons, he said, were climate change and population growth. And he called for a change of attitude toward water conservation to help tackle the problem.

“We need water wastage to be as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby or throwing your plastic bags into the sea,” Mr. Bevan said.

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https://www.msn.com/en-ca/weather/topstories/britain-yes-rainy-britain-could-run-short-of-water-by-2050-official-says/ar-BBUYloC?li=AAggFp5&ocid=mailsignout
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Water Day 2019

22 march 2019 - Access to clean and safe water is a basic human right. While some of us are lucky to have year-round access to safe drinking water, many communities living in the remote mountainous regions of northern Pakistan do not have this luxury. These communities are dependent on unsafe water sources, which puts them at risk of water-borne diseases and limits their opportunities for prosperity and well-being. To address this issue, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Pakistan has helped provide safe drinking water – meeting the World Health Organization standards – to around 500,000 people living in these communities over the last two decades.

Photos at:

https://www.akdn.org/gallery/world-water-day-2019
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dam Problem in the West

On a raft trip down the Colorado, a writer faces her environmental preconceptions.


I am paddling through the silt of the Green River, the largest, most remote, and least developed tributary of the Colorado River, which brings water to nearly 40 million people across the western United States. It’s crucial, it’s overused, and it’s at risk.

The Green starts in the glaciated high alpine of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, then winds through hundreds of miles of sagebrush flats, scrubby plains, tight gorges, and empty gas lands to the red rock desert of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, where it meets up with the main stem of the Colorado. All signs of western development—from coal to cattle to cities—surround the river. As population swells in cities like Denver and Salt Lake, and as climate change shrinks stream flow, the question of how the water in this river is used and how far it can be stretched is becoming more urgent.

Like nearly all water sources in the western U.S., it’s been dammed up, spread thin, and abused. Drought has wracked most of the western half of the U.S. since the beginning of the 21st century, draining reservoirs and depleting aquifers. Water is mired in the future of the climate, it’s tied to the physical, political, and economic divide between urban areas and rural ones, and it’s crucial to the debate about future energy sources. And more than anything, it’s indispensable. More than oil. More than food.

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http://nautil.us/issue/71/flow/the-dam-problem-in-the-west
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bananas at risk of extinction as Panama disease returns

Panama disease, an infection that ravages banana plants, has been sweeping across Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. The impact has been devastating. In the Philippines alone, losses have totalled $400m. And the disease threatens not only the livelihoods of everyone in this $44 billion industry but also the 400 million people in developing countries who depend on bananas for a substantial proportion of their calorie intake.

However, there may be hope. In an attempt to save the banana and the industry that produces it, scientists are in a race to create a new plant resistant to Panama disease. But perhaps this crisis is a warning that we are growing our food in an unsustainable way and we will need to look to more radical changes for a permanent solution.

To understand how we got here, we need to take a look back at the history of the banana, and in particular the middle of the last century, when a crisis that had been growing for decades was threatening to bring down whole economies and leave thousands destitute. The banana was dying out.

Video and more...

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/bananas-at-risk-of-extinction-as-panama-disease-returns/ar-BBW7NXj?li=AAggFp5&ocid=mailsignout
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can the veggie-burger company change eating habits before it goes bust?

IT IS LESS ubiquitous than Airbnb and less hubristic than Uber. But Beyond Meat, which goes public on May 2nd, shares with those firms—and with many other tech outfits expected to list this year—a Californian address and a grand, disruptive ambition. In one sense, Beyond Meat is the boldest of the lot. Changing the way people book accommodation and cars seems trifling next to changing what they eat.

Beyond Meat makes what it calls “plant-based meat products”, and what most people call veggie burgers and veggie sausages. Unlike some rival products, which are merely hamburger-shaped, Beyond Meat’s patties resemble the real thing. Throw one in a hot frying pan and it will turn from pink to brown while sizzling. Social media are full of tales of committed meat-eaters unable to distinguish it from the real thing.

They are the firm’s target market. Only about 5% of Americans describe themselves as vegetarians, and it is not clear why they would want to eat something that closely resembles animal flesh. Carve a slice off the gigantic meat trade, though, and you might have a good business. Look at what has happened to milk, says Beyond Meat’s prospectus. Non-dairy versions made from almonds, soya and other things are now one-eighth the size of the dairy milk market in America. Non-flesh meat could grab a similar share of the meat market, or perhaps an even larger one.

A powerful environmental case can be made for the stuff, argues Beyond Meat’s founder and boss, Ethan Brown. The livestock industry is a planetary thug. It is thought to account for about 15% of greenhouse-gas emissions, if you count the forests that are felled to create fields for growing animal feed, the methane in cow farts and the fuel that is burned moving everything around. Farm animals hog enormous amounts of land and pollute the water.

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https://www.economist.com/business/2019/05/01/can-the-veggie-burger-company-change-eating-habits-before-it-goes-bust
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thirsty Indian cities have a management problem, not a water problem

Chennai, the sixth-biggest, is needlessly parched


Between december and June the largest reservoir supplying Chennai, India’s sixth-biggest city, shrivelled and then vanished. From the window of a plane, darker patches suggest Puzhal Lake still holds some water. Close up, the “water” turns out to be just a different shade of mud.

Puzhal is indeed “bone dry”, says T. Prabhushankar, the head of Chennai’s water board, and so are three more lakes that are the other main sources of water for the city’s 8m people. In his air-conditioned office a computer screen indicates that the city’s reservoirs, which have a total capacity of 11bn cubic feet, contain a minuscule 25m cubic feet. “There is nothing to hide about it,” he shrugs. “There has been no rain for 190 days, so there is no water.” Yet Mr Prabhushankar is not worried. Not only does he expect to get through the current dry spell—Chennai’s worst since 2004—he also insists that, for the city, water scarcity will soon be a thing of the past.

As with India as a whole, the growing city’s demand for water has placed huge stress on traditional sources such as groundwater, rivers and lakes. And, like all of India’s 1.3bn people, Chennai’s thirsty inhabitants may very well face long-term dangers from climate change, one effect of which is more erratic rainfall. But while it is easy to blame both the city’s and India’s water woes on nature, a closer look reveals a legacy of poor management, lax laws and underinvestment. Most of the time, the two annual monsoons suffice to top up lakes and groundwater. The trouble comes when leaks spring in the system.

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https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/07/06/thirsty-indian-cities-have-a-management-problem-not-a-water-problem?cid1=cust/dailypicks/n/bl/n/2019079n/owned/n/n/dailypicks/n/n/na/268863/n
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

To survive the climate emergency, India needs the collective power of small-scale, nature-based efforts.


India’s water crisis offers a striking reminder of how climate change is rapidly morphing into a climate emergency. Piped water has run dry in Chennai, the southern state of Tamil Nadu’s capital, and 21 other Indian cities are also facing the specter of “Day Zero,” when municipal water sources are unable to meet demand.

Chennai, a city of eight million on the Bay of Bengal, depends on the fall monsoon to provide half of the city’s annual rainfall. Last year, the city had 55 percent less rainfall than normal. When the monsoon ended early, in December, the skies dried up and stayed that way. Chennai went without rain for 200 days. As winter passed into spring and the temperature rose to 108° F, its four water reservoirs turned into puddles of cracked mud.

Some parts of the city have been without piped water for five months now. Weary women with brightly colored plastic jugs now await water tankers, sometimes in the middle of the night. On June 20, the delayed summer monsoon arrived as a disappointing light shower.

These water crises are now global and perennial. Day Zero plagues cities from Cape Town to Mexico City to São Paulo, Brazil. Nearly half of the human population is living with water scarcity, inhabiting places unable to fully meet their drinking, cooking and sanitation needs.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/opinion/india-water-crisis.html?em_pos=small&ref=headline&nl_art=3&te=1&nl=opinion-today&emc=edit_ty_20190715?campaign_id=39&instance_id=10910&segment_id=15221&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=45305309emc=edit_ty_20190715
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UK helps improve irrigation of 600 hectares in Kadamjai district

AKIPRESS.COM - The seasonal shortage of irrigation water in the Aiyl Aymak of Birlik, Kadamjay district of Batken oblast, was solved with the help of the Aga Khan Foundation's project “Improving Stability and Better Natural Resources Management in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan” and implemented with the support of the British Government (UK Aid), Aga Khan Foundation said.

The water supply of 600 hectares of land for more than 1,000 households has been improved through the construction of a feeder canal, where a 240-meter drainage system, a 60-meter pipe crossing, 60 protection dam, and 110-meter concrete canal from the Uuru-Sai river were constructed, the Aga Khan Foundation said. The Water Users Association and the Ayil Okmotu also cleared about 5 kilometers of the ground canal.

Improving irrigation in the agricultural lands of the villages of Syrt, Vartan, Kakyr, Molo, Chechme, and Beliyl Aymak Birlik will help to resolve issues such as migration, conflicts due to insufficient irrigation water and increased income from agriculture. The local population is 7,229 people or 1,125 households.

“Irrigation water was not enough for 400 out of 800 hectares of land during the season, when the water level of the Gorotu Canal decreased and did not reach the land on the end of the canal. In recent years, these lands became conditionally irrigated, where they began to use them for perennial grasses or were not used at all. That is why the locals asked to build a supply canal from the Uuru-Sai river,” said local authorities.

The opening ceremony on the occasion of the reception-transfer of the constructed facility was held on July 23, 2019, in the Birlik Ayil Okmotu, Kadamjay district. The British Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, the leadership of the Aga Khan Foundation, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Batken region, the akim of the Kadamjay region, representatives of local government and the project beneficiaries participated in the event.

The UK Government, together with the Aga Khan Foundation and partner non-governmental organizations, is implementing the project “Strengthening Stability in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan through Effective Management of Natural Resources”, to improve the availability of infrastructure, increase the capacity of local institutions to effectively use and co-manage natural resources, including water and pasture infrastructure, increasing the knowledge of young people and the local population about the importance of rational use of GOVERNMENTAL and pasture resources, as well as training tools and approaches to mitigate conflict sensitivity ensuring continuity of opportunities for civic and environmental education and training for young children, youth and non-formal groups living in conflict-affected areas.

https://akipress.com/news:622542
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

24 Faith-Based Organizations Promoting Food Security

Sharing food is a fundamental part of many religions. In the book of Luke in the Christian Bible, for example, Christians are urged to share food: “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food let him do likewise.” A famous Hindu proverb reads: “May the person who donated food remain happy forever.” In the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, those who feed the needy are described as those who will be among the “companions of the right” and will inherit paradise. The Buddha said “hunger is the worst kind of illness,” and that “if people knew the results of giving, they wouldn’t eat without having shared their meal with others.”

Based on these principles, faith-based organizations have historically contributed to humanitarian aid worldwide, many of them with a focus on alleviating hunger and promoting food security. Food Tank is excited to highlight 24 faith-based organizations fighting food insecurity around the globe.

1. Aga Khan Foundation
2. Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association
3. BAPS Charities
4. Bread for the World
5. Buddhist Global Relief
6. Catholic Relief Services
7. Food for the Hungry
8. Hazon
9. Hindu American Foundation
10. Islamic Relief USA
11. Khalsa Aid
12. Langar Chile
13. Leket
14. Manos Unidas

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https://foodtank.com/news/2019/07/24-faith-based-organizations-promoting-food-security/
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astral, a community & govt at war over water

Someday the world will go to war over water and for a small dry community in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, a skirmish has already broken out. Political Capital investigates the confluence of capital, power and scarcity of a basic human right....

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https://www.cnbcafrica.com/videos/2019/07/31/astral-a-community-govt-at-war-over-water/
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises

BANGALORE, India — Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water.

From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Tuesday.

Many are arid countries to begin with; some are squandering what water they have. Several are relying too heavily on groundwater, which instead they should be replenishing and saving for times of drought.

In those countries are several big, thirsty cities that have faced acute shortages recently, including São Paulo, Brazil; Chennai, India; and Cape Town, which in 2018 narrowly beat what it called Day Zero — the day when all its dams would be dry.

“We’re likely to see more of these Day Zeros in the future,” said Betsy Otto, who directs the global water program at the World Resources Institute. “The picture is alarming in many places around the world.”

Climate change heightens the risk. As rainfall becomes more erratic, the water supply becomes less reliable. At the same time, as the days grow hotter, more water evaporates from reservoirs just as demand for water increases.

Water-stressed places are sometimes cursed by two extremes. São Paulo was ravaged by floods a year after its taps nearly ran dry. Chennai suffered fatal floods four years ago, and now its reservoirs are almost empty.

Map illustrations and more...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/06/climate/world-water-stress.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_190807?campaign_id=2&instance_id=11405&segment_id=15936&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=453053090807&login=email&auth=login-email
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.

Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.

A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.”

More....

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/climate/climate-change-food-supply.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_190808?campaign_id=2&instance_id=11484&segment_id=15967&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=453053090808
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earth’s Food Supply Is Under Threat. These Fixes Would Go a Long Way.

Sowing and reaping: It’s at the core of human society. In ancient times, agriculture helped make the first great civilizations possible. Now, with the help of modern machinery and fertilizers, farm yields are so high that we produce more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet.

Yet, hunger remains stubborn. Malnutrition is growing in some parts of the world. And, the planet’s land and water resources are so poorly used, according to a new United Nations report, that, as climate change puts ever-greater pressure on agriculture, the ability of humanity to feed itself is in peril.

We are reaping what we sow in another sense.

The report, published in summary form Thursday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, magnifies a dual challenge: how to nourish a growing global population, but do so in a way that minimizes agriculture’s carbon footprint.

Answering that challenge requires a huge overhaul of how we use land and water for food production, experts say. And it also requires a hard look at who gets to eat what.

“What we eat influences what we grow or raise, which in turn influences how we use our land,” said Alexander Popp, head of the land use management group at the Potsdam Institute in Germany and one of the co-authors of the report. “You don’t want to harm more than you solve.”

The food production system accounts for somewhere between a quarter and a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the accounting method. But if agriculture is done right, experts say, it can be less of a climate change problem and more of a climate change solution.

The way forward, they point out, requires reducing planet-warming emissions, removing carbon from the atmosphere by storing it in trees or soil, and changing diets, especially among the world’s wealthy.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/climate/climate-change-food.html?em_pos=medium&ref=headline&nl_art=10&te=1&nl=science-times&emc=edit_sc_20190813?campaign_id=34&instance_id=11605&segment_id=16113&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=45305309emc=edit_sc_20190813
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