SustainAbility

Climate change, dam construction, irrigation and groundwater use are causing water supplies in Iran to shrink rapidly, a phenomenon epitomized by the near disappearance of Lake Urmia, The New York Times reported. Lake Urmia is estimated to contain just 5 percent of the water it once held, and though it is a saltwater lake, Iran’s […]

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In an effort to cut red tape for businesses, 73 percent of the United Kingdom’s environmental rules are being changed or removed, the Guardian reported. The overhaul is expected to save businesses $US 1.6 billion over five years. China After achieving record grain production in 2013, China aims to become completely self-sufficient for its grain […]

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“We cannot say that rain is not interesting just because we can dig wells,” says Vessela Monta, a civil engineer by trade who began working with the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) in 2002. Some resources — like the availability of harvestable rainwater — get forgotten when discussing sustainability, but not to Monta. She points […]

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Will farm land run out? The New York Times Dot Earth blog takes a sneak peek look at the forthcoming study, Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Saving Nature. The big idea? Trends show that population growth and farm land use are “decoupling,” that is to say that our demand for acres of farm land […]

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Circle of Blue’s 2012 Election Guide breaks down the presidential candidates’ positions on water issues, and it identifies state and local ballot initiatives related to water. A Green Light for Dredging The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave its final approval to deepen 50 kilometers (32 miles) of Savannah Harbor by 1.5 meters (5 feet), […]

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Traditional cooking techniques in Darfur can be dangerous for women and for the babies tied to their backs. But Andrée Sosler is working to change all that. As the executive director of Potential Energy, a California-based organization that markets high-efficiency stoves to Sudanese women who would otherwise use firewood, Sosler is offering a way to […]

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Dan Bena found his calling when he discovered the effect that could be made on the world by tweaking the standard business model for sustainability. “The thing that fuels my passion is the impact that we can collectively have,” says the senior director of Global Sustainable Development for PepsiCo. “When we can have a material […]

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Tough verdict on Rio+20 from author George Monbiot: governments have given up on the planet, he writes for the Guardian. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday secured metro Atlanta’s claim to water from Lake Lanier, granting Georgia a big legal victory in its long-standing water rights dispute with Florida and Alabama, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. […]

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The Peruvian government’s attempts to tighten the screws on illegal gold mining, and reduce its environmental and health impacts are causing a backlash in many local communities, Nature reported. Meanwhile, scientists monitoring mining’s impacts are on the front lines of a battle between miners, environ­mental campaigners and the authorities. Are world leaders settling for too […]

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Can putting a monetary value on natural resources reign in unfettered development? The Associated Press reports on the complex evolution of green accounting. Expectations are running low days before the Rio+20 global summit on sustainable development, The Wall Street Journal says, but can a different approach focused on “bottom up” efforts, local solutions and smaller […]

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Weather Extremes Thousands of Australians have been forced from their homes because of floods that have risen to record levels in some areas of Queensland and New South Wales, Reuters reported. While the coal industry is largely unaffected, agriculture and properties are likely to sustain significant damage. Bad weather has gripped much of Europe as […]

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Shallow canals and low water levels in Argentina have grounded two bulk carriers, causing significant delays in the country’s major grains terminal, MercoPress reported. Concerns about water levels have prompted Argentina and Uruguay to agree to dredge the Martin Garcia canal deeper as the inevitable expansion of the Panama Canal will give rise to a […]

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Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, currently has less than 200 square kilometers (77.2 square miles) of water surface area due to drought, Xinhua reported. Record low water levels on the Ganjiang River, which feeds into the lake, could cause water shortages in nearby cities. Israeli companies can use the West Bank’s natural resources for […]

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Australia’s fast-growing coal-seam gas industry is a “relatively short-term prospect” and may not be worth the cost to farmland and the environment, a according to an interim report for the Senate Inquiry into the impacts of coal seam gas in the Murray-Darling Basin, The Australian reported. The study recommends that coal-seam gas development be suspended […]

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Water management trails climate change on companies’ agenda, despite significant near-term risk and opportunity, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Water Disclosure global report. Two percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) should be invested in 10 industries — including water, agriculture and energy — to start making the global economy more sustainable, […]

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There is enough fresh water in the world to meet the soaring global food demand in the next decades, yet the problem is its inefficient use, AFP reported, citing a study released at the World Water Congress in Brazil and published in the journal Water International. The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to build a […]

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What are the largest additions and deletions in the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes? The Obama administration should reject the false division between environmental protection and the economy, according to this editorial in the journal Nature. A new online database tracks the “anti-environment” votes by the current U.S. Congress, The New York Times Green blog […]

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Support for farmers in Africa dried up long before Somalia’s famine, The Atlantic argues, when international donors walked away from long-term agricultural-development efforts in the continent. Meanwhile, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said the famine in two areas of southern Somalia could spread throughout the region unless the humanitarian response grows soon. […]

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The Financial Times reports on the growing local opposition to the Indian government’s plans to build a nuclear power installation on its western coast. Villagers fear that radioactivity and hot water from the facility will damage agriculture, fishing and health. Meanwhile, Japan created a no-go zone around its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. South Africa […]

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Mauritania, Kuwait and Jordan are the most water-stressed countries in the world, according to a new water ranking by a British risk analysis group. In its review of 160 countries around the globe, the company also notes that Sweden, Guyana, Canada and Russia have the most secure supplies. Meanwhile, Kuwait announced that it plans to […]

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