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Eye on United Arab Emirates: Fostering Sustainability
October 5, 2007 08:07 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
In early November, a group of Japanese business leaders and government advisers will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a tiny oil-rich country on the Persian Gulf, to present their vision of a "Sustainable City." The group, known as the Sustainable Urban Development Consortium for Japan and Gulf States Partnership, plans to propose a city that would reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent using technology that has been tested in Japan. "The initiative is certainly welcome,” says Worldwatch Institute researcher Zoe Chafe. “The question is whether the ideas and technologies presented will be implemented soon with government support."
Ecotourism May Benefit India’s Environment, Economy
October 3, 2007 07:21 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
INDIA - Recent assessments of the state of the environment in 32 states across India indicate that the country’s rising economic prosperity is putting the environment under stress, the Hindustan Times reports. Experts cite tourism as a leading cause of the environmental degradation in some areas. But “ecotourism,” if properly implemented, has the potential to benefit both the economy and the environment.
Air Fresheners Unregulated, Potentially Dangerous, Group Says
October 1, 2007 10:45 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
A study of 14 common household air fresheners has found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “There are too many products on the shelves that we assume are safe, but have never even been tested,” said Dr. Gina Solomon, NRDC senior scientist. “The government should be keeping a watchful eye on these household items and the manufacturers who produce them.”
Agrilandia Farm: Italy’s Slow Food Culture Comes to Beijing
September 28, 2007 10:10 AM - Lila Buckley, Worldwatch Institute
Nestled in the dusty northern suburbs of Beijing, the village of Baige Zhuang seems like an unlikely birthplace for fine Italian wines and cheeses. But since 1999, Agrilandia Italian Farm has been producing handcrafted organic red wines, fruit wines, cheeses, and conserves in Beijing’s remote suburbs, in an attempt to bring the philosophy of Italian ecological agriculture to the Chinese capital.
Nutrient Pollution From Farms and Livestock Hurts Amphibians
September 28, 2007 10:07 AM - Danielle Nierenberg, Worldwatch Institute
Minnesota - Remember the uproar in 1995 when school kids in Minnesota began finding frogs with extra limbs? The mutated amphibians looked like props in some sci-fi movie, and scientists quickly began searching for the culprit behind the deformities. Speculation centered on pesticides, increased UV radiation, and infection from parasites- which ultimately turned out to be the "villain."
The Benefits of a Low-Carbon Future
September 27, 2007 08:45 AM - Janet L. Swain, Worldwatch Institute
Yesterday, we weighed in on the need for stronger leadership on climate change from the United States and China in light of this week’s landmark meetings at the UN and White House. Today, we’ll provide a run-down of the benefits of addressing climate change—and what we stand to lose if we don’t.
The Stern Report, compiled for the UK government and released in late 2006, estimates that the costs of climate change under a "business-as-usual" scenario could equal the loss of 5 to 20 percent of gross world product each year. In contrast, the report puts the costs of efforts to avoid the worst impacts at only about 1 percent of gross world product. Since then, the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have issued similar conclusions.
Despite Progress Against Trafficking, World Still Hungry for Exotic Creatures
September 26, 2007 08:46 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited law enforcement officers from the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) to meet with counterparts in China to discuss strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade. Conservationists applauded the historic move, but say there is still much to learn. “It’s hard to gauge to what degree the trade may be getting better or worse,” notes Steven Galster of the PeunPa Foundation, a Thai group that works to end wildlife trafficking.
China Needs New Environmental Policies, SEPA Says
September 25, 2007 08:07 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
At a Green China Forum meeting earlier this month, Pan Yue, the vice president of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), made an unequivocal statement about the need to address the nation’s mounting environmental challenges. “There is no time for China to wait for the launch of environmental economic policies,” he said.
Worldwatch Perspective: With the 2007 Farm Bill, the Local Goes Global
September 24, 2007 08:34 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
The 2007 Farm Bill, a critical piece of legislation that highlights America’s agricultural priorities, has been on lawmakers’ agendas this fall. With the authority of the 2002 Bill due to run out by the end of the year, more than 65 proposals put forward by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are in need of extension or reauthorization. The Farm Bill is also seen as evidence of the U.S. government’s commitment to rural areas, and is recognized for its investments in alternative energy sources and food production.