Author Archive

Serbia’s unabated quest for coal causes tremors among mining communities

Guardian: Vitomir Simic, 53, points at the faded, black and white photograph of his parents, still hanging on the wall of the home he abandoned in Radljevo, a village south-west of Belgrade, Serbia. Its modest frame hides only an inch of the giant fractures that ripped open the walls of the house where he was born, and forced him and his three children to flee. Simic works nearby in the Kolubara coal mine, helping to maintain the giant excavators that gouge the earth day and night. This relentless quest...

Environmental Threats Could Push Billions into Poverty

Guardian: The number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to tackle environmental challenges, a major UN report warned on Thursday. The 2013 Human Development Report hails better than expected progress on health, wealth and education in dozens of developing countries but says inaction on climate change, deforestation, and air and water pollution could end gains in the world's poorest countries and communities. "Environmental threats...

Slum surveys giving ‘invisible’ inhabitants a say in urban planning

Guardian: In 2005, Jeremiah Makori was asleep in his home in Nairobi's Deep Sea slum when he heard a voice outside. "We went to sleep as usual, and at midnight I heard a strange voice outside, [saying] move out and save your lives," he said. He rushed outside with his nightclothes on, carrying his two sons, and watched his home disappear. "It was all demolished. We lost everything." Makori had lived in the slum since 1998, having left his home in rural western Kenya to look for work in the city. Although...

Foreign investment in Mali’s arable land jumps by 60%, says report

Guardian: Foreign investment in arable land in Mali increased by 60% between 2009 and 2010, says a report published on Thursday to coincide with the first international farmers' conference to tackle the global rush for land. The report, by the US-based Oakland Institute and the Malian national farmers organisation, estimates that more than 544,500 hectares of Malian land have been leased or were under negotiation for lease by the end of 2010. The bulk of these land deals – covering an area the report says...

Is the stage being set for new water wars in Africa?

Guardian: With diarrhoea the biggest killer of children in Africa, the urgency of the water and sanitation crisis on the continent is hard to question. But while some NGOs are calling on African governments to make water and sanitation integral parts of their national public health strategies, and fund them accordingly, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced this week that closing the continent's multi-billion dollar infrastructure gap requires new investors and paying customers. Leading a special...