1 April 2018 Humanitarianism Mass starvation is making a comeback as a weapon of war. To tackle this great evil we must stop talking about food and over-population, and engage with the politics, argues Alex de Waal What would it take to end starvation? A few years ago, this question was moot as famines appeared to have disappeared – or at least to have been confined to Stalinist anachronisms such as North Korea. But with the disturbing resurgence of famine in 2017, the issue becomes salient once more. Famine is a political phenomenon; starvation happens when some (powerful) people inflict it on other (less powerful) people. It’s manmade – and the gendered word is deliberate. It’s also a complex, compound evil – each famine is a vortex where different factors converge and combine. The most commonly proposed formulae for ending famine are destined to fail because they don’t put the politics first. Let me outline four false solutions: namely, … [Read more...] about How can famines be ended?
How can we stop global warming
AN abrupt halt to climate engineering would have "devastating" consequences for the planet, scientists have warned. Mimicking the effects of a volcanic eruption by spraying sulphur dioxide particles high in the atmosphere has been proposed as a last resort answer to climate change. But if the operation had to stop suddenly for any reason the global impact could be disastrous, new research suggests. Loading article content The US team conducted computer simulations of a scenario in which large-scale geoengineering is used to achieve a moderate level of climate cooling. It involved aircraft spraying five million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere every year from 2020 to 2070. The strategy was calculated to lower global temperature by about 1C, roughly reversing the amount of warming that had occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution. However, a sudden halt to the spraying led to hugely accelerated climate change, with the planet heating up … [Read more...] about Stopping climate engineering would be devastating for the planet, warn scientists
Dr Joanne Chory, a biologist from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and HHMI, has created a type of plant infused with a compound called suberin that she says can cut atmospheric carbon-dioxide (CO2) by 50% if just 5% of the planet's cultivable ground planted them. The research by Chory got her a Breakthrough Prize in life sciences, reports Popular Mechanics. Chory's study is on modifying the way plants work by changing their abilities. This is done by looking at how plants adapt and change to their environment. For example, based on just the amount of light available, a plant or a type of plant can adapt itself to be tall, short, skinny, or stumpy. Working out how they are able to do this in simple equations and fine-tuning them based on need could produce predictable results. Chory has found a way to make plants not just use CO2, but also store the gas. Her team has created new plant varieties that can draw immense amounts of carbon-dioxide out of the atmosphere to the point … [Read more...] about These wonder plants can capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and fight climate change
If there is no air conditioning, organs strain and can start to fail 0SHARES Share Tweet Email File Photo: A girl cools off in the Unisphere fountain at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York July 22, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS MUMBAI: High humidity will magnify the effects of rising heat from South America to India, affecting people’s ability to work and even survive, unless greenhouse gas emissions are substantially cut in coming decades, according to US researchers. Heat remains underestimated as a threat by governments, aid agencies and individuals, and muggy heat is even more oppressive than the ‘dry’ kind, because it stops people from sweating which takes away excess heat. A study from the Earth Institute at Columbia University found areas along the coast and others that experience humid-weather patterns will be most affected by higher temperatures unless governments curb greenhouse gas emissions that can raise … [Read more...] about Rising humidity can worsen impact of higher temperatures: study
WHEN you look back at Britain’s history – the bits that have been immortalised in film – you’d imagine that we lost every single war that we fought, that our soldiers had no spines and that our leaders were drunken imbeciles.Dunkirk, for example. That’s one of our most famous military escapes and what does the movie celebrate?Yes, the total humiliation of our Army, which had to be brought home by a bunch of pensioners in rowing boats.Then you have Arnhem, celebrated by the epic movie A Bridge Too Far, in which we see the gung-ho Americans getting things done while the Brits hide behind walls, trying to make their faulty radios work.Oh, and then there’s Gandhi, where we have a man in his underpants taking on and beating the entire British Empire.And The Bridge On The River Kwai, in which a British officer is made to live in a box.The Falklands? Well we won that handsomely so as a result no films have been made at all.All of this is very different to … [Read more...] about Why can’t we win in our war films the way the Yanks do?