When the bees are gone.
Pesticide use, habitat loss, diseases, parasites and global warming are plunging the honeybee population into decline, so much so that fruit farmers in China and elsewhere are doing the work of bees. Why? Because you have a bee to thank for every one in three bites of food you ingest.
In many developing countries, children grow up in potentially life-threatening environmental conditions – in squalor, surrounded by rampant pollution such as trash, toxic water and polluted air. These pictures – from “Happyland” in Manila, where families salvage waste for a living – present a clear picture of the health hazards posed by these conditions.
One countermeasure to mitigate disasters in tsunami-prone Japan is to monitor ocean waves far offshore. In a buoy equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System), antennas are fixed on top of a buoy that is floating at the sea surface, to continuously monitor changes in sea surface height. A simple filtering technique can then distinguish tsunamis from higher frequency wind waves or lower frequency changes due to astronomical tides.
Check out Asian Geographic's Climate Change Issue 1/2016
Article Professor Kato Teruyuki
TERUYUKI KATO is Professor of Geodesy and Solid Geophsics at the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo. His current interest is crustal deformation and tsunami monitoring using GNSS (GPS).
ca. 1980s-1990s --- Fishermen fish with a net in the Strait of Malacca.
Long before the sun peeks over the horizon, artisanal fishermen across Malaysia's Johor Strait gather at their respective jetties and beaches. As they set their nets and lines, check their engines and look up for an indication of the weather, they hope that the day's catch will be a good one.
Some are fortunate enough to be able to fish just off their shores - others burn fuel travelling hours away in their small boats to find a spot that still has fish. Sometimes this even entails sneaking across national borders, risking capture by marine police and violent encounters with human smugglers.
Indigenous Way of Life
In the southwest of Malaysia, the artisanal Malay fishermen of Mukim Tanjung Kupang ply the narrow straits between Singapore and Malaysia in the Pendas and Pulai River estuaries. These fishermen are used to inshore fishing, never straying far from coastal mangroves and seagrass areas. But over the last few decades, the winds have changed, the weather is erratic and even water patterns are strange.
The winds bring alternatively extremely hot then much cooler air, sometimes bringing them an unexpected shrimp bounty, other times, their nets coming up empty. The generation-old tricks of the trade do not seem to ensure a catch. Monsoon seasons have completely turned on their heads and the only way to guarantee an income when cash is of essence is to travel further out and risk life in border areas.
The Orang Seletar, the original indigenous people of this area, are still dependent on the seas as a source of food and livelihoods. Ten years ago they would hardly ever be found venturing beyond the mouth of the river - their boats and engines are too small to go far.
By Serina Rahman
Read more in ASIAN Geographic No.117 Issue 2, 2016.
Farmer Dilli Ram Regmi stands beside the 4.5kW solar array that harnesses the sun's energy to pump water for drinking and mushroom farming in his community in rural Sirubari, Nepal.
At a magnitude of 7.8 that hit on 25 April, then 6.3 on 12 May - just two weeks apart from each other - the disastrous impact left close to 9,000 people killed and tens of thousands injured. A further 850,000 homes were damaged and over 2.5 million of the population were left without homes. This inevitably meant that healthcare and education facilities were left in tatters, with local agriculture suffering from lack of power to operate water pumps and irrigate crops. As the country continues to struggle with the effects of the natural disasters, climate change and political instability, renewable energy is providing both light and hope for a nation of people renowned for their resilience.
Over 80% of Nepal's population live in rural mountainous regions that lack access to electricity, and it is this lack that remains one of the biggest barriers to the country's economic development. Kerosene lamps are currently the only reliable source of light, leading many businesses to run privately-owned diesel generators for backup. Still, they suffer from increasing fuel costs, frequent shortages and pollution from fumes and noise.
In the post-earthquake situation, these businesses have been forced to shut down and are actively seeking out clean, reliable and alternative energy solutions. Solar, therefore, has become a very feasible and viable answer to power Nepal and provide a path towards energy independence.
By Kristin Lau
Read more in ASIAN Geographic No. 117 Issue 2, 2016.