Newsletter 213


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Newsletter 213

  1. 1. SOUTH AMERICA ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH NEWSLETTER213 t h issue, December 19, 2012 COLOMBIA: Debate Between Government and Archeologists About In this issue: Underwater Cultural Heritage* By Alejandra de Vengoechea Colombia: Debate The Colombian National Congress voted by an overwhelming margin Between Government and to contract marine exploration companies in the management of Archeologists About Underwater Cultural shipwrecks, considering this the best option to underwater cultural Heritage. heritage. As payment, these companies will receive up to 50% of Chile: Torres del Paine what they find. Reborn From the Ashes. Health: Huayllabambana. Although Bill Nº125-2011 requires the Senate’s approval to become Ecuador: Will Ask OPEC law before June 2013, this voting showed the way. It is obvious that to Analyze Proposal Colombia is against ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Against Climate Change. Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, which sets forth that Brazil: Frontiers of any archeological remain located under water –a simple pan or a Science Conference. gold bar– is heritage, belongs to the corresponding nation and Science: Farm Soils Determine Envrionmental cannot be put on sale. Fate of Phosphorous Underwater excavation. Photo by Wessex Climate Change: Will For the Ministry of Culture it is very important to legalize this theme. Archeology (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License. Exacerbate Migration and “The underwater area is as large as the inland territory, more than Increase Conflict. 900,000km2,” explained Ernesto Montenegro, Deputy Director of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, at the Congress. “There is no doubt that the nature of underwater Next events: objects is different to objects on land, due to their inaccessibility. If there is an object below 200m under the sea, it is not humanly possible to reach it, we require technology.” The law will allow the February 1, 2013 State to enter into association with private investors, at national or international levels. As REO S&T School Contest Montenegro explained, the law pretends to guarantee the right of people from all countries to Launching know this heritage, either on site or at marine museums. February 4, 2013 World Cancer Day However, many in the scientific and academic community are opposed to this decision. Carlos del March 22, 2013 World Water Day Cairo, director of Terra Firme, a foundation studying the underwater cultural and historical March 23, 2013 patrimony of Colombia since 2006, explained that when objects are taken out from water, historical Earth Hour information is lost. “This law is focused on rescuing two shipwrecks in particular —the San Jose April17-19, 2013 galleon and the Luiz Fernandez fleet. There are two opposite groups. One group seeks economic IFT Energy benefits and the other one seeks knowledge and to recover a large part of Colombian history that is Santiago, Chile under the sea. In my view, this law is regulating piracy,” said Terra Firme Director, Carlos del Cairo. April 22, 2013 Earth Day A rough figure estimates the value of underwater remains in about 500,000 million dollars, only for June 5, 2013 World Environment Day the San Jose galleon. July 10-12, 2013 Eolica, Buenos Aires, Read more at: Argentina The information contained herein was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so. For questions or comments, please contact us at * Free translation prepared by REO staff.
  2. 2. CHILE: Torres del Paine Reborn From the Ashes*Almost one year after the fire that burnt more than 17,000 hectares at Torres delPaine National Park, in the Chilean Patagonia, authorities and ecologists are develop-ing programs to reforest and avoid new catastrophes.The fire, which occurred at the end of December 2011, accidentally provoked by atourist, damaged part of the ecosystem, that little by little is recovering its originalaspect. This natural paradise is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.“This last year we have learnt that we have to allow nature to do its job” highlightedEduardo Katz, General Director of the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF accord- Photo by Alessandro Casagrande(flickr user). Under Creative Commonsing to its initials in Spanish). According to CONAF reports, out of the 17,600 hectares License.burnt, almost 9,000 were magellanic prairies, whose sprouts started rising again a fewmonths after the fire. It was the same for about 6,000 hectares of scrublands, which after the low austral temperatures, slowlysprouted again.However, 1,000 hectares of native forest are beyond recovery. For this reason, park rangers were visited last March by several spe-cialists from Yosemite National Park in the United States, to share ideas about how to develop the affected area.CONAF –with the logistic support of Reforestemos Patagonia NGO- developed a campaign to create awareness in local and foreigntourists. Thus, since May 2012, this association planted more than 150,000 native trees along the Chilean Patagonia, thanks to do-nations received through their website.Read more at: Huayllabambana Seed Has the Highest Omega-3 Content in a Fruit*A recent finding called this fruit “a promising food from the Amazon to the world.”The huayllabambana has the highest content of Omega-3 oil known to date in a fruit. It has a 66% concentration of Omega-3 andalthough its appearance is similar to the sacha inchi, it is a different product, explained Edy Barnett, deputy director of the Profes-sional College for Food Industry at the San Martin de Porres University. Mr. Barnett leads research to deepen knowledge of huaylla- bambana’s phytochemical characterization and nutritional value. “It was being sold as sacha inchi in the jungle, but now we know that it is a different seed, with higher nutritional value thanks to the Omega 3 content. While sacha inchi has a 44% content, huayllabambana’s concentration ranges between 60% and 66%”. Read full article at: semilla-con-mas-omega-3-que-el-sacha-inchi/HUAYLLABAMBANA.
  3. 3. ECUADOR: Will Ask OPEC Bank Unveils 10-Year Environmental StrategyCLIMATE CHANGE: World to Analyze Proposal Against Climate Change* By Lisa FriedmanThe Minister of Non-Renewable Resources, Wilson Pastor, will ask the Organi-zation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) during its next meeting inVienna, to analyze Quito’s proposal to impose a tax on crude oil sales to fi-nance the fight against climate change. The minister declared that this pro-posal “needs previous preparation” by OPEC.This query “is not in the agenda of this session, but we expect that it will beconsidered for the next meeting in June, with due preparation” he explained.Last October, the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, defended his proposalfor a tax on oil sales in order to finance the climate change fight. Specifically,Correa said that it should be the fossil oil-consuming countries, who rational- Photo by Paul Lowry (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.ize their consumption and pay something to compensate the countries thatgenerate environmental assets and suffer climate changes.”Read more at: Frontiers of Science Opened with Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Sociologist andFormer President of Brazil* By Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva During his presentation, Cardoso affirmed that “what links people in the university is the sense of cooperation, of belonging to a community. Within the university, knowledge is king, but also the sense of sharing.” Last December 10, during the opening of the event “Frontiers of Science: Brazil and Spain, 50 years of FAPESP”, the first call was announced for the presentation of proposals within the frame of the scientific cooperation agreement subscribed between the Foundation to Support Scientific Research of the State of Sao Paulo (FAPESP according to initials in Portuguese) and the University of Salamanca (USAL). Each entity will grant 10,000 Euros for projects in the following fields: Physics (semiconductors, pulsed laser and spectrometry), Mathematics, Climatology, Chemical Engineering, Life Sciences (parasitology, biochemical, cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, cardiology and cancer), Agriculture (microbiology, genetics, molecular biology), Nursing, Pharmacology, Law, History,Photo by Duncan Hull (flickr user). Under Pedagogy, Library Science and Communications.Creative Commons License. Reat more about this topic at: Farm Soils Determine Environmental Fate of Phosphorous By Brow UniversityJust 20 years ago, the soils of the Amazon basin were thought unsuitable for large-scaleagriculture, but then industrial agriculture — and the ability to fertilize on a massive scale— came to the Amazon. What were once the poorest soils in the world now producecrops at a rate that rivals that of global breadbaskets. Soils no longer seem to be thedriver — or the limiter — of agricultural productivity. But a new Brown University-ledstudy of three soybean growing regions, including Brazil, finds that soils have taken on anew role: mediating the environmental consequences of modern farming.Read more at: Photo by openDemocracy (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.
  4. 4. C L IMA T E C H A N G E : Climate Change Will Exacerbate Migration And Increase Conflict B y Michael Werz and Arpita Bhattacharyya Climate change is likely to constrain natural resources, drive migration both domestically and internationally, and exacerbate tensions globally into 2030, according to a new Na- tional Intelligence Council “Global Trends 2030” analysis. The report examines multiple emerging global trends and highlights areas in which cli- mate change will be a key factor. Food, water, and energy demands will increase as popu- lations rise and climate change will further constrain these resources. “Dramatic and un- foreseen changes already are occurring at a faster rate than expected. Most scientists are not confident of being able to predict such events. Rapid changes in precipitation patterns – such as monsoons in India and the rest of Asia – could sharply disrupt that region’s ability to feed its population.” And the report states that changes in resource availability and weather patterns will also likely influence migration: “Internal migration – which will be at even higher levels than international migration – will be driven by rapid urbanization in the developing world and, in some countries toward the end of our time frame, by environmental factors and the impact of climate change. Climate-change-driven migration is likely to affect Africa and Asia far more than other continents because of dependence on agriculture in Africa and parts of Asia and because of greater susceptibility in Asia to extreme weather events.”Photo by Global Water Partnership (flickr user). Under CreativeCommons License. These findings reflect the research of last month’s Center for American Progress publica- tion on “Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in South Asia,” which examines the roleof climate change as it intersects with migration and security at the national level in India and Bangladesh. The research zeroes inmore closely on northeast India and Bangladesh to demonstrate the interlocking tensions that might face the population there andacross all of South Asia. Previous publications in CAP’s Climate, Migration, and Security Project looked at the Arc of Tension — anarea covering Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, and Morocco that will face climate-related security challenges as a contiguous region.The results strengthen the argument of a recent National Intelligence Assessment concluding that, over the next two or three dec-ades, vulnerable regions (particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia) will face the prospect of foodshortages, water crises, and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change. In addition, the depletion of groundwater in agricul-tural areas will pose risks to national and global food markets in the next decade, threatening social disruption.These developments could demand U.S., European, and international humanitarian relief. Future interventions will also occur whilefinancial resources are under stress, meaning that cooperation and effective burden-sharing will be crucial. The U.S. intelligencecommunity has also identified water management, particularly the mitigation of trans-border riparian risks, as a source of majorconcern in the next three decades. Inadequate management of river systems like the Brahmaputra, Amu Darya, Tigris and Euphra-tes, Nile, and Mekong is likely to degrade regional food security and potentially exacerbate political tensions. For example, China’scontrol over the water from the Tibetan plateau, and their plans for dam building and water diversion projects, will have directimpact on regional security if China’s neighbors are denied access to river flows.Similarly, irrigation in the fertile Punjab is reliant on the waters of a number of Indus River tributaries shared by Pakistan and India.Indian damming projects have increased tensions in recent years and exacerbated Pakistani fears of diminished water supplies. Theissues are very real and will be exacerbated by climate change, as glacial melting on the Tibetan plateau alters water dynamicsdownriver. The potential for water disputes to boil over into political contests and social unrest is acute and growing.The new “Global Trends 2030” report reflects the need to broaden our national security narrative by understanding that climatechange may stress existing social tensions surrounding resources and other environmental factors: “…many developing and fragilestates-such as in Sub-Saharan Africa- face increasing strains from resource constraints and climate change, pitting different tribaland ethnic groups against one another and accentuating the separation of various identities. Ideology is likely to be particularlypowerful and socially destructive when the need for basic resources exacerbates already existing tensions between tribal, ethnic,religious, and national groups.”Read more at: