Hinterland Green

Sunday, May 31, 2009

African Officials Ask For Climate Reparations Payments at UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December

Environment ministers from Africa have called for more money and support from rich nations ahead of a landmark climate conference in Copenhagen because the continent contributes so little to global warming but suffers disproportionately from its effects. The ministers did not give a figure, but the U.N. says Africa needs at least $1 billion a year to manage the effects of climate change such as sinking islands, changing farming techniques and even relocating people from areas affected by extreme weather. In recent years, the continent has begun to experience the effects of a fast warming planet, which has stirred up a hornet's nest of woes on the poorest continent. For example, malaria, which is widespread in warm lowland areas of Africa and kills millions, has started to be recorded in the continent's cooler highland areas. Climate scientists are now predicting that some African mountains will lose all their snow cover and staple crops such as wheat, may disappear in the 2080s.
The U.S. and China are the world's largest polluters, accounting for about half the world's carbon emissions. But neither country was part of the Kyoto accord, which called on 37 countries to cut carbon emissions by a total of 5 percent below 1990 levels.The United States refused to sign Kyoto, citing the costs to the economy and lack of participation by China, India and other fast-developing countries. But some of those countries have said rich countries are not aggressive enough in cutting their own emissions. U.S. emissions now are 16 percent above what they were two decades ago.

Global temperatures have risen 0.22 degrees (0.12 degrees Celsius) since 1990, according to one U.S. government estimate. The U.N.'s chief panel on climate change estimates that the risk of increased severe weather will rise if the global average temperature increases between 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) and 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels.

Scientists attribute at least some of the past century's 1-degree rise in global temperatures to the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, byproducts of power plants, automobiles and other fossil fuel-burning sources.

Experts project that within 11 years some African countries may see farm harvests drop by up to 50 percent because water will be scarce and the continent relies on rain for its agricultural production. In the same period, they say, between 75 million and 250 million Africans are expected to suffer increased water shortages because of climate change. Source: Huffington Post
The last thing African needs to have land on its doorstep are problems associated with global warming. I don't know if demanding reparations will help them very much, but it is a starting point in trying to combat the effects of global warming.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Excessive Cola Consumption Zaps Muscle Power, Can Lead to Mild Weakness to Profound Muscle Paralysis


Coca-Cola could use some positive publicity, but instead, a report in the International Journal of Clinical Practice said that excessive cola consumption can lead to anything from mild weakness to profound muscle paralysis and doctors are warning because the drink can cause blood potassium to drop dangerously low. Ouch. That can't be good for business for either Coca Cola and PepsiCo.

The author of the research paper, Dr Moses Elisaf from the University of Ioannina in Greece, said it appeared that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks - glucose, fructose and caffeine. "The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalaemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE

Komodo Dragon Attacks Terrorize Indonesian Villages, Government Refuses to Allow Erection of Concrete Wall Around Villages

Nobody would have to tell me to run like crazy if I came face to face with a Komodo dragon. There have been a slew of stories in the news lately about the world's largest lizard. Villagers in Indonesia, who have lived for generations alongside the lizards, are now under attack by these dragons. Two people were killed since 2007, a young boy and a fisherman, while others have been severely wounded after being charged, unprovoked, no less. Komodo dragons, with these shark-like teeth and poisonous venom, can kill a person within hours of a bite.Experts have said Komodo dragon attacks are still rare, but have expressed fear is swirling through the fishing villages, along with questions on how best to live with the dragons in the future. Villagers say the dragons are hungry and more aggressive toward humans because their food is being poached, though park officials are quick to disagree. I don't quite know what to make of this, but something has definitely turned these lizards against the villagers.
Komodos grow to be 10 feet long and 150 pounds. All of the estimated 2,500 left in the wild can be found within the 700-square-mile Komodo National Park, mainly on its two largest islands, Komodo and Rinca. The lizards on neighboring Padar were wiped out in the 1980s when hunters killed their main prey, deer. The animals are believed to have descended from a larger lizard on Indonesia's main island Java or Australia around 30,000 years ago. They can reach speeds of up to 18 miles per hour, their legs winding around their low, square shoulders like egg beaters.

When they catch their prey, they carry out a frenzied biting spree that releases venom, according to a new study this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors, who used surgically excised glands from a terminally ill dragon at the, dismissed the theory that prey die from blood poisoning caused by toxic bacteria in the lizard's mouth. The long, jagged teeth are the lizard's primary weapons, said Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne. Source: Yahoo News
Villagers have reportedly asked for a 6-foot-high concrete wall to be built around their villages, but that idea has been rejected. The head of the park, Tamen Sitorus, said in a recent interview: "It's a strange request. You can't build a fence like that inside a national park!"That's a silly notion because the protection of the villagers should mean something to the powers that be. Residents have made a makeshift barrier out of trees and broken branches, but they complain it's too easy for the animals to break through. I pray that help will be on the way for these villagers. I would hate to live in constant fear of having an encounter with one of these lizards.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thanks to the Swine Flu, Soap, Hand Sanitizer, and Spray Disinfectant Products Experiencing Extraordinary Boom

There's a marketer waiting in the wings for every traumatic event that occurs in our lives. I suppose it's the essence of smart marketing and in light of the tight economy, every scary situation is potentially a new income stream. Now they are telling us to use the hand sanitizer or you will get sick or worse, come down with the swine flu. To date, millions of soaps, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, among others, have literally flown off the store shelves. This latest flu outbreak has been a boon for the biocide industry, perhaps, rivaled only by the popularity of the Slinky and the Pet Rock back from the 70's and 80's

Companies such as Henkel, which manufactures Dial Soap, Johnson and Johnson, which makes Purell Hand Sanitizer, and Lysol have began stepping up their marketing since news of the Swine Flu hit. The problem is these seemingly clever marketing schemes have attempted to disguise themselves as public announcements of disease prevention, but what they really offer is a cure, which always features their own product as the saving grace our nation has been waiting for. Right. It's all about capitalizing on a trend.

Though the Swine Flu has potential dangers, there's nothing that will take the place of good old-fashioned precautionary measures and hand washing after being in public areas. That's clearly not what the hundreds of salivating entrepreneurs who have already jumped on the bandwagon of preventative products want to hear. We have seen some crazy concoctions hit the Internet lately. Do a Google search and you will find Swine Flu Protection Kits, going anywhere from $10, on up to $40 on the popular Amazon Website. These kits feature sanitizing wipes, face masks, and rubber gloves. According to the Wall Street Journal, New York ad agency, Digo, has also joined the crowd with a line of whimsical designer face masks, each with its own creative design, catchy slogan ('”It's Not me, It's You”), and $100 price tag (goes to charity they tell us). This is another onslaught of wasted energy and unnecessary products that some gullible consumers will, no doubt, fall for. People wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough and cover your nose when you sneeze. You will see that most of these products aren't worth your hard-earned money and when the threat level is reduced, they will sit in a bathroom cabinet or under your kitchen sink, until they expire and you throw them out. Waiting, perhaps, for the next traumatic event to occur.