We live today in the most explosive era of infrastructure development in human history. By mid-century the unprecedented rate of highway, dam, mine and power plant construction; along with city growth, will girdle the globe in concrete. Arguably, that burst of activity will improve the lives of millions. But it is also coming at a terrible cost to the natural world, as we lose the rainforests, estuaries, wetlands, wildlife and indigenous people of our planet.
Four feet in length, of aggressive disposition, and deadly poisonous: you don’t want to stand on a Russell’s viper in the dark. Especially if there’s no antivenom for miles around. Yet that’s the daily predicament facing millions of villagers in Myanmar, where snakebites cause about 500 deaths every year.
In Yin Ma Chaung, a rural settlement about nine hours by car from Yangon, villagers can rest easier knowing there are doses of antivenom chilling securely in a new refrigerator in the village’s community centre, powered by solar.
A major expansion of economic-corridor networks and new areas for economic investment valued at US$32.6 billion (Bt1.2 trillion) will strengthen links between the capital cities of Mekong countries, according to the agreement revealed at the 21st Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference in Chiang Rai province yesterday.
Amid a wave of popular protest, construction on the Chinese-backed project was halted by the Thein Sein government in 2011. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s assurances in August that there will be a solution to the stalled dam may be welcome news in Beijing.
It’s difficult to encapsulate, as an outsider, how significant the Salween is in the hearts, minds and identities of the ethnic communities who live in its watershed. “From the Land of Green Ghosts,” Pascal Khoo Htwe’s autobiographical account of life in conflict-ridden eastern Myanmar is flecked through with references to the “legendary River Salween,” the river he refers to as “an old friend or a lover.” Meeting with Salween riverine communities in Myanmar today, Pascal Khoo Htwe’s depiction of his relationship with the river burns strong – they still talk about it all the time.
As bitter protests continue over ongoing Mekong River dam projects, Sweden has pledged $5.3 million to a controversial multinational body monitoring development in the basin.
The funding—to be disbursed over the next four years—will promote sustainable hydropower in the Mekong River basin, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said in a press release.
At the November 20 session of the 24th APEC Summit, a high-ranking leader suggested developing agriculture in a sustainable manner in tandem with the effective use of natural resources, including cross-border management of water resources.
DEVELOPMENT projects in the lower reaches of the Mekong River will take a great toll on the area’s biodiversity, experts have warned, with much of its fauna and flora facing imminent extinction.
In the face of major projects, such as the plan for a navigation route on the Mekong from Chiang Rai province down to Luang Prabang in Laos, as well as a controversial dam, concerned academics and experts attended the Greater Mekong Forum in Bangkok on Friday.
Journalists have the unique ability to help accelerate climate action through advocacy and education, but their potential to help achieve the global climate goals agreed in Paris last year still remains largely untapped, said media and environmental experts in Singapore.
Speaking at the inaugural Asian Environmental Journalists Forum, organised by non-profit Singapore Environment Council and media organisation Eco-Business, panellists said that shrinking budgets, a lack of public interest and the ever increasing complexity and geographical scope of climate issues are just some of the challenges that journalists face when trying to report on environmental issues today.