Posts Tagged ‘Flood’

Water map shows billions at risk of ‘water insecurity’ – BBC News

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

About 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure, according to a new global analysis.

Researchers compiled a composite index of “water threats” that includes issues such as scarcity and pollution.

The most severe threat category encompasses 3.4 billion people.

Writing in the journal Nature, they say that in western countries, conserving water for people through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature.

They urge developing countries not to follow the same path.

Instead, they say governments should to invest in water management strategies that combine infrastructure with “natural” options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and flood plains.

(more…)

Fungi Expert’s Solution for Oil Spill

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Now the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been contained, few in the media are delving into the severity of its continued impact on the planetary ecosphere. But mushroom expert, author and Bioneer, Paul Stamets, has a viable solution for the long-term clean-up procedure. Recently named as one of the ‘50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World’, he has made extraordinary discoveries about how the humble mushroom could be the key.

Fungi were the first life forms to inhabit the land 1.3 billion years ago; 600 million years before plants evolved. After asteroid impacts darkened the skies, de-greened the Earth and caused mass extinctions 65 million years back, the only organisms to survive were the ones that ‘paired up’ with fungi and learnt how to
be co-dependent.

“It’s time for another re-greening,” Paul thinks, “as Earth recoils from the on-going catastrophes inflicted by our species.” And cleaning up after oil spills, pollution, storm damage, floods and volcanic clouds is just another day at the office for fungi. It’s a process he has called mycoremediation and here’s how it works.

Beneath the fruit – or mushroom as we call it – fungal roots, known as Mycelia, spread outwards to create a vast mat of underground cells that permeate the soil. Now known to be the largest biological entities on the planet, a single colony can cover an area equal to 1,665 football fields and travel several inches a day. A massive network of whispering spaghetti, these ‘neurological’ tendrils intersect with neighbouring colonies and even fuse with the roots of other species to share water, food and communicate vital information.

Paul explains:

“Mycelia are the Earth’s natural internet – the essential wiring of the Gaian consciousness. The creation of the computer internet is merely an extension of a successful biological model that has evolved over billions of years.”

Once the Mycelium has taken root, it gets to work as a super-filter, producing enzymes and acids that break down the components of woody plants. But importantly, these same enzymes are excellent at disintegrating hydrocarbons – the base structure of all oils, petroleum products, pesticides and pollutants.

Through a series of trials, Paul’s team at Battelle Laboratories, in the US, made some astonishing findings. Soil that had been heavily contaminated with oil and hydrocarbons was inoculated with Oyster mushroom spawn. After four weeks, it was bursting with fruit, while 99% of the hydrocarbons had been destroyed. Only non-toxic components remained and even the mushrooms themselves revealed no traces
of petroleum.

“And then came another startling revelation,” Paul says. “As the mushrooms rotted, flies arrived. The flies laid eggs, which became larvae. The larvae, in turn, attracted birds, who apparently brought in seeds. Soon it was an oasis, teeming with life!”

Amazingly, Paul’s team also found that Oyster mushrooms are tolerant to salt water. Mixed with straw, which will also absorb oil, and encased in biodegradable hemp-socks that are called MycoBooms, the Mycelium is able to colonize and get to work underwater. Myceliated straw and woodchip tubes could also be placed at the shoreline to capture and break down the incoming hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, the mushrooms sprout to create floating gardens; gnats and flies gather, and fish, birds, bats and insects benefit from the emerging food source.

Ahead of the game, back in 1994, Paul proposed that world governments set up Mycological Response Teams who could be deployed after events, such as hurricanes and oil spills.

Mycoremediation centres could be hubs of learning; places to cross-educate others and build central bodies of knowledge for our future generations. In time, world leaders, policy makers, scientists, students and citizens would have all of the Mycoremediation tools necessary to address every single environmental event.

During his 30 years working with fungi, Paul has also made other significant discoveries. Mycelium can protect human blood cells from major infections, such as smallpox, hepatitis B, influenza, HIV and various strains of cancer. Another type of fungi consumes and effectively eliminates the bacteria E. coli, while one species – and the research is currently classified by the Department of Defence – will destroy biological and chemical warfare agents; especially VX, the same deadly nerve gas that Saddam Hussein was accused of using in the Gulf War.

“The time to act is now,” Paul says. “Waiting for science and society to wake up to the importance of these ancient old growth fungi is perilously slow and also narrow in vision… But an unfortunate circumstance we face,” he continues, “is that mycology is poorly funded in a time of intense need. We need to educate our friends, family and policy makers about these solutions and bring local leaders up to speed.”

In order to appreciate the many benefits of mycotechnology, including the ones not yet discovered, Paul believes we need to adopt a ‘mycelial perspective’ of the world and wholly understand how it is  interconnected with every living being on the planet.

“Your job,” he tells us, “is to become embedded into the mind-set of Mycelium and to run with it… Earth is calling out to us, and we need to listen.”

Source: Positive News UK

Date: 14 September 2010

Vietnam capital hit by floods

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Heavy rains after weeks of drought turned the streets of Vietnamese capital Hanoi Tuesday into rivers up to half a metre deep.

A heavy downpour that lasted for more than two hours forced motorbike commuters to push their machines through the dirty water and trees were down.

Police said on state radio that scores of locations in the city of several million people were flooded or snarled by traffic jams.

A meteorologist said the city centre was hardest hit, with about 120 millimetres of rain falling in the rush-hour period.

Hanoi had been suffering for weeks from a drought which meteorologists said was the worst in decades.

It worsened power shortages and led to blackouts in the country, which gets more than one-third of its electricity from hydropower.

Source: Vietnam capital hit by floods – straitstimes

Date: 13 July 2010

Dozen villages inundated in Haryana floods

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Large swathes of agriculture land were inundated and nearly a dozen villages submerged in flood waters in Haryana’s Sirsa and Fatehabad districts due to breaches in the Ghaggar river, officials said Tuesday.

The water level in the Ghaggar river in Sirsa district was flowing above the danger mark, posing a threat to many villages.

According to officials, 33 people have died due to floods in Haryana and Punjab.

In Punjab, the water level in most of the affected districts has receded and no fresh breach in the Ghaggar was reported.

The weather office has predicted moderate to heavy rain in most parts of Punjab and some places in Haryana till Wednesday.

Source: Dozen villages inundated in Haryana floods – Thaindian

Date: 13 July 2010

Millions affected by floods in regions along Yangtze River

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Vehicles are immersed in the floodwater at a bus terminal in Youyang County of Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, July 9, 2010. The electricity supply was interrupted by a heavy rainfall in Youyang on Friday and vehicles were immersed in the ensuing flood.Vehicles are immersed in the floodwater at a bus terminal in Youyang County of Chongqing Municipality, southwest China, July 9, 2010. The electricity supply was interrupted by a heavy rainfall in Youyang on Friday and vehicles were immersed in the ensuing flood.

Rain-triggered floods are affecting millions of people in regions along China’s longest river, the Yangtze, China’s flood control authority said Friday.

The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH) said on Friday that:

  • Provinces including eastern Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui and Chongqing Municipality were all affected by swelling rivers after heavy rain in these regions,
  • More than 2.48 million people were affected, with some areas in Hubei and Chongqing completely flooded.
  • At least 15 people were dead from rain-triggered disasters, with 5 others still missing.
  • 176,000 people had so far been evacuated from flood-hit areas.
  • An emergency flood response and ordered local bureaus to closely monitor the weather and issue alerts promptly.

Source: Millions affected by floods in regions along Yangtze River – news.xinhuanet.com

Date: 09 July 2010

Storms and floods hit central, SW. China

Friday, July 9th, 2010
Local authorities in central and southwest China are on alert to respond to emergencies caused by severe storms and floods.

Local authorities in central and southwest China are on alert to respond to emergencies caused by severe storms and floods.

Local authorities in central and southwest China are on alert to respond to emergencies caused by severe storms and floods. It comes just days after the regions sweltered through a record breaking heat wave.

The National Meteorological Center has raised the storm alert level to “orange,” that’s one step below the highest rating on a four-color scale. Heavy rains are already pounding central Hubei and eastern Anhui provinces. In Hubei, one person was killed after floods hit three counties and a city in the province’s north, affecting half a million residents.

The Hubei Provincial Civil Affairs Department says more than 10,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes, 242 homes have collapsed and over 27,000 hectares of farmland flooded.

Source: Storms and floods hit central, SW. China – english.cntv.cn

Date: 09 July 2010

Torrential rains hit China

Friday, July 9th, 2010

China’s National Meteorological Center has raised the nation’s storm alert to “orange”, one step below the highest rating.

Heavy rainfall has been forecast in at least ten provinces and regions, in central and southwest China.  It began to ravage Chongqing Municipality on Thursday, causing mud flows and landslides in many parts of the region.

At a coal mine in Yongzhou district, flood-triggered disasters have damaged nearly 100 nearby homes.

A national highway was cut off by the downpours.  Most flights to and from Jiangbei International Airport have been delayed.

East China’s Jiangxi Province issued a yellow storm alert on Friday. Fuzhou county, along with many its surrounding areas that were pounded by floods last month, are once again experiencing heavy downpours. Roads, bridges and farmland have been submerged.

A rainstorm alarm sounded in the mountainous Dabieshan areas in central China’s Hubei Province. Local weather officials forecast more rainfall in eastern parts of Hubei province.

In neighboring Anhui, authorities launched a level II emergency response on Friday, and raised the storm alert to “orange”.

The provincial government has called an emergency meeting to discuss plans to counter the damage from what officials said might be the worst storm to hit parts of Anhui in a decade.

Source: Torrential rains hit China – english.cntv.cn

Date: 09 July 2010

Climate wars

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

As the planet warms, floods, storms, rising seas and drought will uproot millions of people, and with dire wider consequences. Barack Obama, collecting his Nobel peace prize, said that climate change “will fuel more conflict for decades.”

He took the analysis not from environmental scaremongers but from a group of American generals.

The forecast is close to becoming received wisdom. A flurry of new books with titles such as “Global Warring” and “Climate Conflict”.  Predicts that floods, storms, the failure of the Indian monsoon and agricultural collapse will bring “enormous, and specific, geopolitical, economic, and security consequences for all of us…the world of tomorrow looks chaotic and violent.”

Jeffrey Mazo, calls climate change an “existential threat” and fears it could usher in “state failure and internal conflict”.

Scientists preparing the fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due in 2013, are for the first time including a chapter on threats to human security.

Marshall Burke of the University of California, found that rising temperatures are indeed associated with crop failure, economic decline and a sharp rise in the likelihood of war.

Take the widely cited case of the war in Darfur, the UN secretary-general, described it as “an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change”. Darfur repeatedly suffered droughts. Clashes over grazing and then displacement of villagers were followed, by horrific war.

Between Kenya and Somalia in the past 60 years when grazing was abundant and fell during droughts. Hungry people were too busy staying alive, or too exhausted, to fight . . . .

A study of the short-term impact of hurricanes on Haiti and the Dominican Republic, suggests that the storms have grown more intense, and natural disasters usually produced short-term economic pain but no sign of increased political violence.

Earthquakes, too, tend to produce mixed outcomes. A Mexican quake in 1985 may have stoked an insurgency. But the tsunami of 2005 offered a moment for secessionists in Aceh and the central Indonesian government to co-operate. Climate change could indeed cause woes aplenty. That is all the more reason to be precise about them.

Source: Climate wars - economist

Date: 08 July 2010

Floods affect Punjab villages

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

On Tuesday, in Samrala Village of Punjab, the flood situation turned grim while dozens of villages were inundated.

The mainly affected villages included Toddarpur, Dhande, Orana, Kulewal, Barma, Herian, Rajewal and Kheernian.

The main victims of floods are the farmers, as floods have spoiled their crops.

Special pumps have been requisitioned from neighboring districts to expedite de-watering operation. Flood protection machinery has been put on high alert.

The deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal said:

“Medical facility has been provided to the villagers and we are providing veterinary doctors too so that there won’t be any kind of infection. We are providing drinking water also to the villagers, considering the health of people.”

The incessant rainfall has flooded several low-lying areas in the region, besides affecting power supply and road traffic.

Source: Floods affect Punjab villages - newkerala

Date: 06 July 2010

EC to help Romania deal with floods

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The European Commission (EC) announced on Sunday (July 4th) that four of its members — Belgium, Austria, France and Estonia — have offered Romania help in dealing with the heavy floods that hit the country amid torrential rains over the past week.

Romania’s request for assistance was made on Friday. Authorities in Bucharest said they have accepted the aid offered from Belgium and Austria. Austria offered ten dirty water pumps and three power generators, while Belgium will provide 11 pumps, five power generators, a water purification unit and its conditioning unit. Romania is currently analysing the offers from France and Estonia.

Source: EC to help Romania deal with floods – setimes

Date: 05 July 2010

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Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change

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Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers

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Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis

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Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010

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Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report

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Livestock's Climate Impact

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Livestock & Sustainable Food

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Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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