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Amazon fires stir bitter dispute over who is to blame

Rio De Janeiro, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — As fires raged in the Amazon rainforest, the Brazilian government on Thursday denounced international critics who say President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb massive deforestation. The growing threat to what some call “the lungs of the planet” has ignited a bitter dispute about who is to blame during the tenure ... Read More »

Red alert in Sundarbans ahead of Eid to protect wildlife

Khulna, Aug 9 (UNB) –The forest department has issued red alert in the Sundarbans ahead of Eid-ul-Azha to protect the wildlife of the world heritage site. Leave of all the officials and employees of different stations and patrol outposts has been cancelled to ensure smooth patrolling in the forest during the Eid vacation, said M Bashirul Al Mamun, DFO of ... Read More »

Turning agro-waste into environment-friendly plastics

by Sahana Ghosh on 30 July 2019 • Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Italy’s port city of Genoa is making bioplastics from agro-waste. The institute has tied up with the city’s central vegetable market for sourcing raw material. • The use of agro-waste to churn out biodegradable plastics aligns with the concept of a circular economy and may address the ... Read More »

Money grows on trees–don’t uproot them

By Friday Phiri Pemba, Zambia, Jul 26 2019 (IPS) – Jennifer Handondo, a small scale farmer of Choma district in southern Zambia, plants food crops such as maize mostly for her family’s needs. Because of uncharacteristically high temperatures and low rainfall during the planting season in March, the divorced mother who single-handedly supports her three children has not been able ... Read More »

Tree fair fetches Tk 11 mn selling 16 lakh saplings

Dhaka, July 22 (UNB) – The month-long National Tree Plantation Campaign and Fair-2019 evoked an overwhelming response from plant and nature lovers as saplings worth around Tk 11 crore were sold during the fair. The fair, inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 20 last, concluded on Sunday. A total of 105 nurseries, including 13 public ones, showcased thousands ... Read More »

Dhaka to invite World Heritage Committee to the Sundarbans

Dhaka, Jul 10 – Bangladesh will invite World Heritage Committee (WHC) team to visit the Sundarbans and adjoining areas to prepare report on the environmental issue regarding the Rampal power plant, Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said Wednesday. “We’ll fully cooperate with the WHC team although it wasn’t an obligation for Bangladesh to invite them,” he said while ... Read More »

Is there a co-relation between human development & SDGs?

By Pedro Conceição UN, Jul 1 2019 (IPS) – “People are the real wealth of nations,” began the first Human Development Report (HDR). That 1990 report marked a turning point in the global development debate. During the second half of the 20th century there were growing concerns about the tyranny of gross domestic product (GDP). Many decision-makers seemed to believe ... Read More »

New Mexico governor seeks ideas for recreational pot law

Santa Fe, Jun 29 (AP/UNB) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is launching a new effort to craft legislation that could legalize recreational marijuana sales next year. The first-year Democratic governor announced Friday her recruitment of health, legal and fiscal policy experts to serve in a new discussion group that provides recommendations on state legalization. Members of the group ... Read More »

5 BD cement factories near Sundarbans get EIA nod: Minister

Dhaka, Jun 29 (UNB) –Five air-polluting cement factories located within the ecologically critical area of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest have been given environmental clearance, Forest Minister Md Shahab Uddin told Parliament on Saturday. The factories are Meghna Cement Mills Ltd, Bashundhara Cement Mills Ltd, Mongla Cement Mills Ltd, Dubai-Bangla Cement Mills Ltd, and Holcim (Bangladesh) Ltd. “These air-polluting cement factories ... Read More »

Budgetary reform for sustainable development in BD urged

Dhaka, June 21 – Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a civil society platform of Bangladesh called for budgetary system reform for sustainable development. The platform recommended the budgetary system be reformed to effectively impact the country’s sustainable development at roundtable programme held at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka yesterday (Friday). Shujan said in its reaction to the proposed national budget for ... Read More »

Restaurants could be 1st to get genetically modified salmon

New York, Jun 21 (AP/UNB) — Inside an Indiana aquafarming complex, thousands of salmon eggs genetically modified to grow faster than normal are hatching into tiny fish. After growing to roughly 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) in indoor tanks, they could be served in restaurants by late next year. The salmon produced by AquaBounty are the first genetically modified animals approved ... Read More »

How indigenous people in Sikkim united in anti-dam movement

by Sahana Ghosh on 17 June 2019 • Territoriality through traditional self-governance played a key role in successful and sustained anti-dam protests by two indigenous communities in Lachen and Lachung in the eastern Himalayas. • While many anti-dam protests have not been successful in northeast India, they worked in Sikkim’s Lachen and Lachung because of the deployment of notions of ... Read More »

Give up Rampal power plant project: TIB urges govt

Dhaka, June 17 – Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Monday urged the government to stop all ‘controversial projects’ including Rampal power plant which might pose a threat to largest mangrove Sundarbans. Expressing concern over the UNESCO’s recent proposal of listing Sundarbans under the category of ‘World Heritage in Danger’, which will be placed at the 43rd session of the UNESCO ... Read More »

Asia-Pacific Region falters on UN development goals

By Thalif Deen UN, Jun 14, 2019 (IPS) – UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a Chatham House meeting in London last week that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of the legacies of the late Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “spawned tremendous progress” in the battle against poverty worldwide. She pointed out that the number of people living on less ... Read More »

Scaling up agroecology for sustainable development

In April 2018, the FAO hosted the Second International Symposium on Agroecology, following the first in 2014. With the main objective of moving from dialogue to action, the Symposium brought together different stakeholders and catalyzed inter-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration. The proceedings were released in March 2019. Among the Symposium’s outcomes were the launching of the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative, the ... Read More »

Where did insects come from?

by Geetha Iyer The evolution of insects About 500 million years ago (MYA), the Earth experienced a remarkable evolutionary event. Called the Cambrian explosion, it resulted in the emergence of a plethora of life forms – some gigantic, others small; some that lived on land and others that occupied water. Around 412 MYA (in a time period called the Devonian), ... Read More »

Bangladesh Sundarbans has Tk 19-billon carbon reserve: Survey

Khulna, June 7 (UNB) – There is a reserve of 5.6 crore tonnes of carbon in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans, says a survey of the Forest Department. This carbon worth Tk 18,816 crore could be extracted without causing any harm to the world’s largest mangrove forest, experts said calling for taking steps to collect the substance. According to ... Read More »

Plant biosecurity knowledge gap increases biological threats

By Caley Pigliucci UN, Jun 3 2019 (IPS) – The plant-life on the Pacific Islands is currently under threat as protections against diseases and pests are left in the hands of under-trained personnel with limited facilities. Talei Fidow-Moors, the Principal Quarantine Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Samoa, warned in a statement to IPS of an “increased ... Read More »

Extinctions can’t be halted unless water is protected

By Claudia Sadoff Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 31 2019 (IPS) – Global biodiversity loss has reached critical levels. One million species of plants and animals are now estimated to be at risk of extinction. The window for action is closing, and the world needs to urgently take note. Countries would do well to consider this: our ability to preserve species ... Read More »

Agroecology and organic farming can drive sustainability in agriculture

Most quarters agree that agriculture and food systems urgently need to change to make progress on several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while staying within planetary boundaries. However, two narratives dominate the discussion: incremental steps to improve efficiency in conventional agriculture while reducing negative externalities, versus transformative redesign of farming systems based on agroecological principles. The SDGs offer an opportunity to ... Read More »

These dangerous aliens are here to stay

By Baher Kamal Madrid, May 29 2019 (IPS) – No, no, no. Nothing to do with what the US and Europe’s far-right fanatics now use to vociferate, saying once and again that “migrants come here to destroy our democracy, our civilisation, and our lifestyle”. Rather the complete opposite—this is about major damage that precisely “our civilisation” and “our lifestyle” have ... Read More »

Unleash all creative potentials to achieve SDGs

Mostafa Kamal Majumder Recent official information and statistics affirm, Bangladesh is on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With four years of the 15-year time span to achieve 17 goals already spent, a government report says, ‘Bangladesh is performing well in various aspects including poverty reduction, gender equality, electricity, sanitation and annual GDP growth.’ Being ahead of other ... Read More »

Water bodies to be re-excavated for fish cultivation

The government has taken initiatives for re-excavation of water bodies across the country for fish cultivation to meet the demand of protein of the people. “The government would re-excavate abandoned rivers, canals and other water bodies for increasing fish production in the country,” Director General of Fisheries Department Abu Sayeed Rashedul Haque told a workshop held in Syedpur here. He ... Read More »

Organic croplands emit 40% less GHG, mitigate climate change

With a share of 10–12% in carbon-dioxide equivalents (CO2-eq.), agriculture contributes substantially to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Considering indirect emissions from agriculture-related activities such as fertiliser production and land use change, this share can be up to 30%. In 2005, the agricultural sector contributed 56% to the emissions of the anthropogenic non-CO2 GHGs, i.e. nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane ... Read More »

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change

The food people eat around the world is becoming “alarmingly homogenous” according to UN data, even though access to a wide variety of nutritious food has never been greater. That warning comes as the world marks the International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, which this year highlights the impact of environmental neglect on food security and public health. Biodiversity ... Read More »

Long life to their majesties, the bees!

By Baher Kamal Madrid, May (IPS) – Amazingly organised social communities, bees ensure food chain. ‘Bee’ grateful to them… at least on their World Day! While the (surprisingly) still called homo sapiens continues to destroy Mother Nature, bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, carry on performing their vital role as one of the most marvellous, unpaid, ... Read More »