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Quick Reads + Environment

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Environment

Call to Stop Construction to Protect the Leopard Cats in Taiwan

A small leopard cat. Photo is taken by the Wildlife First Aid Station and reprinted by leopardcatgo. CC BY-NC 2.0

A small leopard cat. Photo is taken by the Wildlife First Aid Station and reprinted by leopardcatgo.

Leopard cat is listed as a vulnerable species [zh] in Taiwan. Since the big cats live in the forests and jungles in both plains and in hilly areas and their home range is very broad, their habitats in Taiwan are easily disturbed by new construction projects. The Taiwanese environmental evaluation committee had temporally rejected the request from the Miaoli Government to develop an alternative road in Miaoli across the habitat of leopard cats on April 16 2014 after a round of protests and petition. However, this development project was not dropped, and more development projects in this area are coming up. A facebook page [zh] was set up so people who want to protect the leopard cats in Taiwan can be well informed and mobilized.

East Timorese Protect Land Rights Against Australian Cement Plant Deal

The announcement of a new cement plant project by an Australian company in Baucau, northeast of East Timor, has led local community groups to set up a non-governmental organization “to protect and preserve the communities’ rights to their culture, development and traditional land rights.”

According to the community organization, Kapeliwa, the government of East Timor gave the largest construction company in Western Australia, BGC, permission to construct [tet] a cement plant with the annual capacity of 1.5 million tons in Baucau, as well as a license to extract limestone for 100 years. The construction project was awarded to the South Korean company POSCO E&C, from East Timor’s TL Cement (“a special purpose corporation wholly owned by BGC”), in December 2013.

Kapeliwa was publicly launched on April 19, 2014, by a group of intellectuals from Kaisido, Parlamento, Lialailesu and Osowa - four villages located in the northeast coast of Timor-Leste, Baucau district. The four villages, situated near the airport of the country's second city, are part of the administrative area of Suco Tirilolo, where the minority ethno-lingusitic community Uaima'a live.

In the first public meeting with the community members and leaders of the four villages, the group's founders presented the ”potential positive and negative impact of the proposed cement factory in and on Uaima'a land known as Kaisido.” The group claims that there is lack of information about this project and that there hasn't been a proper viability study for the development.

Will there be a Popular Consultation for Yasuní?

(All links are in Spanish, otherwise noted as [en] for English)

Following the president's decision last year to exploit the oil fields in Parque Nacional Yasuní [en] [Yasuní National Park] an oppositional movement began and became quickly organized. It started carrying out marches for collecting signatures in order to hold a popular consultation regarding Yasuni's fate. 

On Saturday, April 12th the Yasunidos collective, along with other organizations, presented almost 750,000 signatures before the CNE [National Electoral Board, for its Spanish name] so that it may be passed on to the Consulta Popular del Yasuní ITT [The Yasuní ITT Popular Consultation]. The CNE accounted for receiving the signatures and indicates that the minimum signatures required were 583,324. It also announced that the signature verification procedure started on Monday, April 14th. 

However, on Thursday, April 17th an incident occurred involving Yasunidos members. They blocked the boxes, containing the forms of the collected signatures, from being transferred between the CNE and the signature verification center. They claimed there were irregularities in the procedure. 

They want to take the boxes away without our consent despite the petition to postpone the procedure until we're certain.

On Friday, April 18th the CNE announced that the procedure is advancing in accordance to the established timetable and that the presence of supervisors guarantees its transparency and proper conduct. Nevertheless, activists continue to denounce irregularities with the procedure.

The military @FFAAECUADOR closes the door on #Yasunidos #DefiendeTuFirma [Defend your signature] #Yasuní 

20-40% of Water Sector Finances Are Lost to Corruption in Africa

Access to water is a human right; Source: actionaid.org with permission

Mustapha Sesay, West Africa Water Integrity Ambassador wrote about corruption in the water sector on the West Africa WASH Journalists Network :

The issue of accessing pure and affordable water is a fundamental human right but this is not given the much needed attention. Corruption in the water sector is ripe and involves all classes of people ranging from the ordinary man, politicians, Heads of Water Institutions and even Non-Governmental organizations working in this sector.Report on “Corruption in the water sector” by Water Integrity Network in a book titled “Training Manual on Water Integrity” states that in the sub-Sahara Africa, forty-four percent (44 %) of the countries are unlikely to attain the Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water eighty-five percent (85%) are unlikely to attain the sanitation aspect. Estimate by the World Bank report suggests that twenty –forty percent (20 – 40% ) of water sector finances are being lost to dishonest practices.

Coming Soon! Rising Voices Microgrants for Amazon Communities

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas  (CC BY 2.0)

Amazon Peru, photo by Pearl Vas (CC BY 2.0)

Rising Voices will be launching a microgrant competition next month for digital citizen media projects in the Amazon region which is home to many indigenous communities. Thanks to Avina Americas, Fundación Avina, and the Skoll Foundation, we'll be offering this support with ongoing mentorship from the Global Voices community.

Read more about the project on Rising Voices and register your interest here.

Citizen media has played an important part in many cultural, political, social and environmental struggles in the region. See some of our past coverage of Amazon communities on the special coverage page: Forest Focus: Amazon.

Manga “1F” Takes You Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Ichi Efu, by Kazuto Tatsuta.

Ichi Efu, by Kazuto Tatsuta.

A manga by artist going by the name Kazuto Tatsuta takes readers inside the crippled nuclear plant of Fukushima Dai-Ichi, or ichi efu (1F) – as insiders dubbed it – a place he himself worked in 2012, a decision he took in a period of financial struggle.

The graphic novel “1F: The Labor Diary Of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant,” (いちえふ ~福島第一原子力発電所労働記~) offers a rare peek into the plant which was hit by one of the most powerful tsunamis in Japan's history on March 11, 2011.

The plant currently remains accessible exclusively to plant workers, employees of Tepco – the operating company – and few representatives of the press, on occasional tours.

In the pilot chapter, he describes the daily routine of the laborers, the different masks, layers of protective suits and clothing they have to wear every day, the use of an Active Personal Dosimeter which alerts them when they reach the daily radiation dose allowed, and their trip back and forth from the J-village, a former sports center that was converted into a residence for the laborers after the accident.

Tatsuta's manga won the 34th Manga Open award in 2013.

The Perils Of The Dams Coming Up for Mumbai Region

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) blog reports that as many as 12 dams are either being planned or are under construction to satisfy the increasing water demand of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in India. The Tribals and other affected groups have long been strongly opposing these projects but most people in Mumbai seems to be unaware of their struggles or impacts of these projects.

All of these dams fall in eco-sensitive region of the Western Ghats. They will together submerge more than 22,000 hectares of land, including nearly 7000 hectares of forests, lakhs of trees and more than 750 hectares of Tansa Sanctuary. They will affect a minimum of 100,000 tribals who depend on the forests and their ancestral lands for livelihoods. These dams include Kalu, Shai, Balganga, Susari, Khargihill, Bhugad, Pinjal, Gargai, Middle Vaitarna, Barvi and Poshir, among others. These are in addition to the dams already constructed for MMR water supply.

Malaysia's Water Shortage is a Natural and Man-Made Disaster

Water shortage has been reported in Selangor, Johor, Negri Sembilan, and Kedah in Malaysia. The Sin Chew Daily explains the cause of the problem:

…the drought and water shortage in the Peninsula are both natural and human-induced disasters. The government as well as the people have an inescapable responsibility.

Over-emphasising development while ignoring environmental protection has led to such man-made disasters while exposing the weakness of improper management. With proper management, floods could actually be reduced and water shortages could be avoided.

Lies and Falsehoods Keep the World Go ‘Round in Japan

Twitter user @suzaks1 criticized [ja] the amount of lies and inaccuracies that are making Japanese headlines:

[Japan is a] country covered in lies: fake ingredients on the menu of top Japanese hotels, railway gauges fabricated in Hokkaido, major symphony music by a fraud composer, and falsehoods continues to prevail in the nation's top-level research institute, as well as on doctoral dissertations. It's scary to see how this country is run by continuous frauds. No wonder the nuclear plant exploded. Even if the land ends up contaminated, they can just lie everyone and continue on with life.

A Map of China, By Stereotype

TeaLeafNation uses China's dominant search engine Baidu's search history to finish half-written questions about different provinces in China. They plot the stereotypes onto an interesting map about China. For example, Beijing was associated with “smog” and Xinjiang was considered as “being chaotic”. The piece has also explained the stereotypes about different provinces in details. 

 

 

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