The lead article gives a brief glimpse on remote sensing and GIS and their potential use in planning. The useful reads includes two publications on GIS likely to be of interest to readers. This issue also contains rehab news snippets – clippings from the media on rehab progress in the different Indian states affected by the tsunami.
This month’s newsletter focuses on the issue of environmental security. Though earlier considered a component of human security, it is now being looked at on its own. The issues that need to be considered include shelter security and livelihood security, amongst others. Environmental security becomes of great importance especially for those directly dependent on the environment for their livelihood, including fishers and farmers and here access to resources can become crucial to their well being.
In this newsletter are included some recent publications which I hope will be of interest to you. The latest update from the government, news snippets about activities on the coast as well as about tsunami rehab in India are included as usual.
The recent volcanic eruption and the closing down of the European airspace all of a sudden disrupting thousands of flights and millions of passengers showed how vulnerable we are. While the direct losses due to the volcanic eruption may not be high, the indirect losses run to billions of dollars. Clearly human society is vulnerable in ways not conceived before. The impact of disasters on the environment and the environmental drivers of disasters are equally important to understand. While we talk of disaster mitigation, we also need to be aware of what kind of long term and long range impacts on the environment can be there. A small example is given in this newsletter to illustrate this.
The newsletter also contains useful reads and news you can use.
Today's front page news in the dailies is about Delhi's temperature breaking the 50 year record for the hottest day in April, five degrees above normal and the heat conditions are likely to persist. There is also the news that the World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level Wednesday, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent. There is also news that the Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting will convene on 17 May 2009, under the theme of “Health and Climate Change.”All these bits of information indicate that it is rather appropriate that the May newsletter from TRINet focuses on some fundamentals of climate change and health.
The Useful reads section contains a note about "The Tsunami Legacy", a report released last week by the UN Secretary General apart from a review on the economics of CC in Southeast Asia; there is also the 'News you can use" section".
The monsoons have hit Tamil Nadu, India. Reports of floods have come in from many parts of the state – paddy fields are submerged and crop lost. Drainage channels being blocked are one reason for flooding of fields. In the town areas, it is the storm water drains which are misused as waste disposal systems that are clogged with all manner of solid wastes from debris to plastics to rubber to tree branches. Mosquitoes are everywhere – breeding in water from the rains stagnating till it evaporates or seeps underground - and there is the constant threat of mosquito borne diseases apart from the usual diseases due to water contamination.
September was when the Coastal Clean up day was observed and the data accumulated over the last twenty years clearly indicates that most of the wastes dumped on the coast can be avoided. At another level, Beijing was recently host to the second Inter Governmental Conference on the Global Programme of Action for the protection of the marine environment from land based activities where among others, litter disposal was a major cause for concern.
These are but a few reasons why this issue of the TRINet newsletter focuses on the problem of solid waste disposal.
It is not only the effect of climate change on agriculture that is of concern but agriculture’s role in climate change. The FAO says that while agriculture contributes to GHG emissions, it has great potential in mitigating CC effects because it can act as a carbon sink. This is not extensively talked about - it requires investigation into and going back to older farming practices, especially those that existed in India before the green revolution. This is the focus of the November newsletter. Along with it are the Useful Reads and News you can use.
The recent report from UN-Habitat pointed out that cities in the coastal zone are extremely vulnerable. Other reports have shown the increasingly destructive impacts natural hazards have had on coastal areas in recent times. In many cases, it has been clearly shown that destruction of natural ecosystems and unplanned ‘development’ are the obvious cause for vulnerability of coastal areas. It is at this juncture that a volume that deals with the experiences worldwide on integrated coastal zone management is welcome. This volume is the focus of the November issue of the TRINet newsletter.
This issue carries the usual complement of Useful Reads and news snippets of what is happening in coastal areas as well as in tsunami rehab in India.
Capacity building at various levels is a theme that constantly crops up these days in all discussions. There is also better clarity on what the community's capacities can be to respond to a disaster as they are the first responders. The unseen web of relationships, "social capital" that exists in a community shows up in disaster situations and it is now clear that the capacity of this entity also needs to be built up so that it becomes proactive to ensure the safety of the community. Social Capital and what it represents is briefly explored in the lead essay.
UNDP/UNTRS organized a two day conference on learnings from post-tsunami shelter rehab processes. A very brief report on the event is included in this newsletter as also a note about one of the many books that were released during the meeting.
It is important to note that this year's theme on world disaster day (Oct 8) is "Hospitals Safe from Disasters". With the increasing number of disasters, this is essential because a non-functional hospital in a disaster situation is more a liability than otherwise. This issue of the TRINet newsletter contains Useful Reads, as well as snippets of news on coastal issues and tsunami rehab.
Psychology is being increasingly studied in a bid to understand how people view environmental problems as well as climate change issues. This issue of TRINet newsletter has a short piece on climate change and psychology. It also carries the Tunza youth declaration on Climate Change, notes on the recent public consultations about the CRZ, useful reads and news you can use.