The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
The concentration of clorophyll in the tropical Eastern Pacific, off Costa Ricaâs northwest coast, reflects a high level of productivity and a healthy food chain. Credit: Kip Evans/MarViva Foundation
- The vast habitat known as the Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome in the eastern Pacific Ocean will finally become a protected zone, over 50 years after it was first identified as one of the planetâs most biodiversity-rich marine areas.
At the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP12), held Oct. 6â17 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Dome was declared an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA), at Costa Ricaâs request.
The measure will boost conservation of and research on the area, which is a key migration and feeding zone for species like the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis).
âMaking the ocean healthy guarantees an improvement in the living standards of the people who depend in one way or another on the countryâs marine resources,â the deputy minister of water, oceans, coasts and wetlands, Fernando Mora, told TierramÃ©rica shortly after the Dome was declared an EBSA at COP12.
âIt is one of the richest areas on the planet with a food chain that starts with krill (Euphausiacea), which attracts other species, including blue whales and dolphins,â Jorge JimÃ©nez, the director general of the MarViva Foundation, told TierramÃ©rica.
âIn that area is one of the greatest concentrations of dolphins in the American Pacific, that come from the west coast of California, to feed and breed,â he said.
The Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome is a key migratory route for blue and humpback whales. The whale watching industry is flourishing in Costa Ricaâs Pacific waters. Credit: MarViva Foundation
The Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome is an area 300 to 500 km wide where ocean and wind currents bring the mineral- and nutrient-rich cold deeper water to the surface, creating the perfect ecosystem for a vast variety of marine life.
The nutrients give rise to a highly developed food chain, ranging from phytoplankton and zooplankton â the productive base of the marine food web â to mammals like dolphins and blue whales, which migrate from the waters off the coast of California.
Mujeeb-ur-Rahman (right) speaks at Harvard University. Credit: Beena Sarwar
- Two years ago, gunmen shot dead Farooq Kahlounâs newly married son Saad Farooq, 26, in an attack that severely injured Kahloun, his younger son Ummad, and Saadâs father-in-law, Choudhry Nusrat.
Saad died on the spot. In Pakistan after travelling from his home in New York for the wedding, Nusrat died in hospital later. Four bullets remain in Kahlounâs chest and arm. A bullet lodged behind the right eye of Ummad, a student in the UK, was surgically removed months later.
As an Ahmadi leader in his locality, Kahloun knew he was a target for hired assassins in the bustling but lawless metropolis of Karachi. General insecurity in Pakistan is multiplied manifold if you are, like Kahloun, an Ahmadi â a sect of Islam that many orthodox Muslims abhor as heretic.
âI never thought they would target my family,â says Kahloun, 57, a successful businessman who left everything behind, obtained political asylum and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
In 1974, under pressure from Saudi Arabia, Pakistanâs parliament declared Ahmadis as non-Muslim (similarly pressured, the newly independent Bangladesh refused). A decade later, a military dictator made it a criminal offence for them to âpretendâ to be Muslims.
These changes, say lawyers and human rights advocates, violate Pakistanâs own Constitutional provisions, specifically Articles 8-27 that are comparable to the U.S. Bill of Rights.
âThese are shameful laws,â says Kahloun. âIf we have no other Prophet or Quran, what can we do?â
âTakfiriâ ideology (declaring someone a non-Muslim) led to Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize winner Dr. Abdus Salam (Physics, 1979), an Ahmadi, being hounded out of the country, and to the attack on Swat schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, now Pakistanâs second Nobel Laureate, also forced into exile.
The humble CREWS buoy hosts several instruments designed to measure conditions above and below the water, and keep track of these developing threats. Credit: Aaron Humes/IPS
- Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere, which provides jobs in fishing, tourism and other industries which feed the lifeblood of the economy, Belize has long been acutely aware of the need to protect its marine resources from both human and natural activities.
However, there has been a recent decline in the production and export of marine products including conch, lobster, and fish, even as tourism figures continue to increase.
The decline is not helped by overfishing and the harvest of immature conch and lobster outside of the standard fishing season. But the primary reason for less conch and lobster in Belizeâs waters, according to local experts, is excess ocean acidity which is making it difficult for popular crustacean species such as conch and lobster, which depend on their hard, spiny shells to survive, to grow and mature.
According to the executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), Dr. Kenrick Leslie, acidification is as important and as detrimental to the sustainability of the Barrier Reef and the ocean generally as warming of the atmosphere and other factors generally associated with climate change.
Arid and semi-arid lands account for about 80 percent of Kenyaâs land. Most pastoralists live in these areas and keep over 60 percent of the countryâs livestock population. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS
- Seif Hassan is a pastoralist from Garissa, Northern Kenya, some 380 kilometres outside of the capital, Nairobi. He sells his animals at the Garissa livestock market where, during a good season, pastoralists can sell up to 5,000 animals per week and âit is a cash-making business.âÂ
âIn a good season, an ox can go for as much as 1,000 dollars, a heifer for 560 dollars while a camel can be sold for as much as 3,400 dollars,â he tells IPS.
But as weather patterns become extreme with more frequent and prolonged dry spells, âlife has become difficult for the pastoralist community,â he says.
Michael ole Tiampati, the national coordinator for the Pastoralist Development Network of Kenya, a network of organisations that supportÂ pastoralist development in this East African nation,Â tells IPS that during dry spells âan ox is sold for between 200 and 300 dollars, a heifer at 50 to 170 dollars, while a camel is sold at between 1,000 and 1,700 dollars.â
Jomo Kwame Sundaram is the Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and received the 2007 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.
Peruvian peasant women working on the family plot of land near the village of Padre Rumi in the Andean department of Huancavelica. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS
- Family farms have been contributing to food security and nutrition for centuries, if not millennia. But with changing demand for food as well as increasingly scarce natural resources and growing demographic pressures, family farms will need to innovate rapidly to thrive.
A Pacific Climate Change Warrior paddles into the path of a ship in the worldâs biggest coal port to bring attention to the impact of climate change on low-lying islands. Courtesy of Dean Sewell/Oculi for 350.org
- Climate Change Warriors from 12 Pacific Island nations paddled canoes into the worldâs largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia, Friday to bring attentionÂ to their grave fears about the consequences of climate changeÂ on their home countries.
The 30 warriors joined a flotilla of hundreds of Australians in kayaks and on surfboards to delay eight of the 12 ships scheduled to pass through the port during the nine-hour blockade, which was organised with support from the U.S.-based environmental groupÂ 350.org.
Mark Lattimer is the Executive Director of Minority Rights Group (MRG) International and Mahmoud Swed works for MRG's Ceasefire Project.
Demonstrators in front of the White House call for greater U.S. intervention against ISIS to save Iraqi minorities, including Yazidi and Christians, from genocide. Credit: Robert Lyle Bolton/cc by 2.0
- Through all of Iraqi President Saddam Husseinâs campaigns of âArabizationâ, they survived. The diverse Iraqi communities inhabiting the Nineveh plains â Yezidis, Turkmen, Assyrians and Shabak, as well as Kurds â held on to their unique identities and most of their historic lands.