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miércoles, 31 de julio de 2013

Kivalina's Climate Change Problem: Why The Small Alaskan Village Is Disappearing

It is already difficult to find Kivalina on a map, but soon it may be impossible. Not only does the Alaskan village only cover 1.9 square miles of land and is home to less than 400 residents, but it is disappearing. Fast. As one of the most apparent and shocking examples of coastal erosion, Kivalina could be uninhabitable by 2025 -- all thanks to climate change.
In this photo taken in Sept. 2005 and provided by Millie Hawley, Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village is seen in on a barrier island off the coast of northwest Alaska.

The dump, airport and village are located on the narrow strip of land. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
Although the U.S. Corp of Army Engineers built a defensive wall to protect Kivalina, it is little more than a temporary fix. Moving villagers to higher land would cost the government $400 million, an amount they have yet to offer.
However, the residents of Kivalina refused to give up their home without a fight. They sued 24 of the world's largest oil companies, including BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, for the aforementioned cost of moving. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants led the public astray in regards to the effects of climate change, and were involved in a conspiracy to mislead. The villagers lost both their original suit in 2010 and a 2012 appeal.
Kivalina is not the only Alaskan village coming face-to-face with the harsh realities of climate change. According to the EPA, Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the national average in the last 50 years. In fact, 12 towns voted to move to new locations as a result of climate change, a practice Ars Technica calls “climigration.”

Waves are shown pounding against the sandbagged seawall in Kivalina, Alaska  (AP Photo/Mary Sage, file)

Source: Huffpost

viernes, 19 de julio de 2013

Urmia Biosphere Reserve: Largest Lake in Middle East May Dry Up

Urmia, the Middle East’s largest lake, is in danger of drying up as Iran’s Energy Ministry and local officials failed to ensure critical water transfers, Aftab News said, citing a lawmaker.

Lake Urmia Satellite image

The energy ministry is not standing by its commitment regarding Urmia Lake, Nader Ghazipour, who represents the city of the same name in the Iranian parliament, was quoted as saying on Aftab’s website. No funds have been allocated for the lake and “efforts to remedy its critical condition are leading nowhere,” he said.
Stranded ship evidencing recent desiccation of
Lake Urmia. Source: Harrijet News
Urmia in northwestern Iran, one of the largest hyper-saline lakes in the world, is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, according to a United Nations report. The lake’s surface area has declined since the mid-1990s due to drought, increased water diversion for agriculture and mismanagement, it said.

Urmia lake is now only a third full of water, Ghazipour said. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Tabriz and Urmia in 2011, critcizing authorities for mininal actions to save the lake, the UN said. A plan to transfer water from nearby Aras River wasnt´t followed through on,  Ghazipour said.

Source: Bloomberg Businesswek

Learn more about Urmia and another Biosphere Reserves in

miércoles, 10 de julio de 2013

BiosphereSmart: New layer with information about Geoparks

We have added a new layer with information about Geoparks. You can check it in 

Geopark is a unified area with geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on. Many Geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies among local communities. Geoparks hold records of past climate change and are educators on current climate change as well as adopting a best practise approach to utilising renewable energy and employing the best standards of “green tourism.”Tourism industry promotion in Geopark, as a geographically sustainable and applicable tourism model, aims to sustains, or even enhances, the geographical character of a place.
New layer with information about geoparks

The Global Geoparks idea is being adopted by increasing numbers of Member States. The Geoparks are becoming very popular due to their combination of conservation, sustainable development and community involvement. UNESCO started to be active in this area in 1999 when Geoparks were proposed as a UNESCO programme. However, in 2001, at the 161st session of UNESCO's Executive Board, the majority of Delegates decided 'not to pursue the development of a UNESCO geoparks programme, but instead to support ad hoc efforts within individual Member States as appropriate'.

If you are a geopark, please contact with us in to add your geopark to the platform.