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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jun 05, 2021 1:22 am

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A common struggle for nature

Vahap Işıklı, co-spokesperson of the Hewsel Protection Platform, said: “We stand with the villagers in struggle from Van Gülpınar to Ikizdere. Nature is a common good and our struggle is common.”

Hewsel Protection Platform co-spokesperson, Vahap Işıklı, said that the struggle against destruction of nature should be universal and underlined the importance of standing side by side to build that "new world is possible" so dreamed of.

In the Kurdish lands, where war continues, nature is being slaughtered as well. Forest areas are being destroyed with chemical weapons and bombs with high destructive power, used to implement deepened war policies. Since the state of emergency, in particular, as the government built military posts on the hills.

Trees are plundered both in the construction area and around it. In addition, the dams built for "security" reasons constitute a major pillar of the destruction of nature. The dams built in Kurdistan allegedly to increase energy production make up 40 percent of the dams in Turkey.

Speaking to ANF, Hewsel Protection Platform co-spokesperson and Mesopotamia Ecology activist Vahap Işıklı said: “The plunder of nature in the region is not slowing down. The Hydro Electric Power Projects (HEPP) to be built in Zîlan Stream and Sarim Stream, will mean that a large part of the living areas of the region will be flooded. We have witnessed tree cutting on Mount Cudi for a year.

When we consider tree cuts together with forest fires, we saw that these areas have been heavily destroyed. It is stated that 400 tons of trees have been cut. This reveals a grim picture. Moreover, the plunder and damage of lands adversely affect all living creatures, causing diseases to occur and multiply.”

Işıklı drew attention to the fact that the stagnation caused by the economic crisis has increased the plunder of nature and added that the struggle against this destruction should be a common one. Reminding that the cities of Kurdistan are on the agenda with the destruction of nature, Işıklı cited the marble quarry imposed on the village of Şêxan in Van/Gürpınar as the best example of this.

He said: “Just as a voice can be heard for a tree in the Amazons and for fish that die in the Marmara Sea, one should also speak up against the plunder of nature in Kurdish provinces. If the people in the region are not heard, there will be more plunder. Although 400 tons of trees can be cut down in Cudi a day, this disaster hardly hits the agenda. Authorities have not made a single statement regarding the causes of fish deaths because of HEPPs.

The fight against the climate crisis, which is of universal importance in terms of its consequences, needs to be a common struggle. We stand by the villagers who struggle from Van Gürpınar to Ikizdere. Our nature is a common good and our struggle is also common."
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:15 pm

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Vertical farming: disrupting agriculture

One day soon, you could eat bananas grown in city centers

It's a way of growing food that turns traditional agriculture on its head. With the required technologies now rapidly maturing, vertical farming is sprouting across the globe.

While there are still unresolved issues with this marriage of technology and agriculture, its promise may be irresistible. If it gets off the ground — literally — in a major way, it could solve the problem of feeding the Earth's 7.9 billion people. And that's just one of the benefits its proponents promise.

Vertical farms could take over the world | Hard Reset by Freethink http://www.youtube.com
Agriculture through time

When humankind began planting crops for nutrition about 12,000 years ago, the nature of our hunter-gatherer species fundamentally shifted. For the first time, it's believed, people began staying put.

With agriculture as their central mission, communities formed, with the now-familiar arrangement of residential areas surrounded by land dedicated to growing food. Even today, with modern transportation making the widespread consumption of non-local foods common, this land-allocation model largely survives: population centers surrounded by large areas for growing vegetables and fruit and raising livestock.

Challenges facing traditional agriculture

As our population has grown, traditional agriculture has begun facing some big challenges:

    Farmland takes up a lot of space and destroys biodiversity. Our World in Data reports that half of all habitable land is used for agriculture. As Nate Storey of Plenty, Inc., a vertical farming startup, puts it, "It is probably one of the most defining acts of humanity: We literally changed the ecosystem of the entire planet to meet our dietary needs."

    The demand for farmland — both for produce and livestock — has led to a dangerous deforestation in several parts of the world. This also results in biodiversity loss and contributes to an increase in the greenhouse gases that drive climate change.

    Degradation of farmland, such as through soil erosion, poses a threat to agricultural productivity.

    Agriculture consumes copious amounts of water, which exacerbates water shortages. (Obviously, water shortages also reduce agricultural productivity.)

    Fertilizer run-off causes substantial environmental damage, such as algal blooms and fish kills.

    Pesticides can degrade the environment by affecting non-target organisms.

    The effects of climate change are already making agriculture more challenging due to significant shifts in weather, changes to growing seasons, and realignment of water supplies. Our climate is continuing to change in unexpected ways, and the only predictable aspect of what lies ahead is unpredictability.
Vertical farming proponents expect that a re-think of how we grow food can ultimately solve these problems.
What is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a form of agriculture that grows plants indoors in floor-to-ceiling, tower-like walls of plant-holding cells. Instead of growing plants in horizontal fields on the ground, as in traditional farming, you can think of vertical farming's "fields" as standing on edge and extending upward toward the ceiling. The plants need no soil or other aggregate medium in which to grow; their roots are typically held in a cell lining, often composed of coconut fiber.

Vertical flora is grown either aeroponically, in which water and nutrients are delivered to plants via misting, or hydroponically, in which plants are grown in nutrient-rich water. These are incredibly efficient systems, requiring 95% less irrigation than soil-grown plants. With vertical farming, Storey says that 99 percent of the moisture transpired by plants can be recaptured, condensed, and recirculated.

Plants, of course, also need light to grow, and vertical farms use increasingly efficient LED bulbs to keep plants thriving.
Vertical farms can increase crop yields by 700 percent

If vertical farming takes off the way its supporters believe it should and will, it may solve many of the aforementioned challenges facing agriculture.

Crop yields with vertical farming far exceed what's possible with traditional agriculture. Plenty, Inc.'s Shireen Santosham notes that the highly controlled growing environment of vertical farming has allowed her company to reduce the growing time for some crops to as little as 10 days. Without needing to consider weather or even sunlight, combined with the ability to operate 365 days a year, their system increases the potential annual yield by about 700 percent.

The land requirement for vertical farming is a mere fraction of that for traditional agriculture. Santosham says it can be done in a building the size of a big-box retail store that can be built pretty much anywhere that has adequate utilities, including within major urban centers. The tightly controlled environment of a vertical farm should also eliminate the need for applied pesticides.

Yet another benefit of vertical farming is the return of land currently needed for food production back to the planet. This could help facilitate Earth's recovery from deforestation and return much needed habitat to threatened or endangered species. Of course, if we ever colonize the moon or Mars, vertical farming will be the go-to option for feeding the colonists.

Several vertical farming company pioneers are already getting their high-quality crops into the hands, and mouths, of consumers. Plenty, Inc. has an eponymous line of greens, and Aerofarms has their FlavorSpectrum line. Both companies claim that their products are exceptionally tasty, a result of their carefully controlled growing environments in which computer-controlled lighting can be optimized to bring out the most desirable qualities of each crop.

The history of vertical farming

The idea of vertical farming isn't new, and experts have been questioning its viability since the term was first coined in 1915 by Gilbert Ellis Bailey, who was obviously way ahead of the available technology at the time. The first attempt to grow produce in a constructed environment was a Danish farmhouse factory that was built to grow cress, a peppery green related to mustard, in the 1950s.

The modern concept of a vertical farm arose in the New York classroom of Columbia University's Dickson Despommier in 1999. He presented the idea as a theoretical construct, a mental/mathematical exercise imagining how to farm in an environmentally sound manner. His class began with the notion of a rooftop garden before considering a "high-rise" version that might theoretically be able to grow enough rice to feed two percent of Manhattan's population at the time. The eureka moment was a question Dispommier asked: "If it can't be done using rooftops, why don't we just grow the crops inside the buildings? We already know how to cultivate and water plants indoors."

With the technological advances of the last few decades, vertical farming is now a reality. Our sister site, Freethink, recently paid Plenty, Inc. a visit.

Today, growers across the globe are developing vertical farms. While the U.S. has more vertical farms than any other country, the industry is blooming everywhere.

There are currently over 2,000 vertical farms in the U.S. While more than 60 percent of these are owned by small growers, there are a few heavyweights as well. In addition to Wyoming's Plenty, Inc. and Newark's Aerofarms, there's also New York's Bowery Farming. There are also companies such as edengreen, based in Texas, whose mission is to help new entrants construct and operate vertical farms.

Japan comes in second, with about 200 vertical farms currently in operation. The largest vertical farming company there is SPREAD. Across Asia, vertical farms are operating in China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan. In Europe, vertical growers are in Germany, France, Netherlands, and the U.K. Germany is also home to the Association for Vertical Farming, "the leading global, non-profit organization that enables international exchange and cooperation in order to accelerate the development of the indoor/vertical farming industry."

In the Middle East, whose desert land and scarcity of water present a particularly challenging agricultural environment, vertical farming is taking root, so to speak. The United Arab Emirates' Badia Farms is now producing more than 3,500 kilograms of high-quality produce each day and expects to increase that yield going forward. In Kuwait, NOX Management launched in the summer of 2020 with plans to produce 250 types of greens, with a daily output of 550 kg of salads, herbs, and cresses.

The economics of vertical farming

Building and operating a vertical farm is a costly endeavor, requiring a substantial initial investment in state-of-the-art technology, real estate, and construction. AgFunderNews (AFN) estimates that it can cost $15 million to construct a modern vertical farm. Fortunately, investors see the potential in vertical farming, and the industry has attracted more than $1 billion in investments since 2015. That includes $100 million for Aerofarms. Plenty, Inc raised $200 million in 2017 from a fund backed by such respected forward-thinkers as Jeff Bezos and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt.

AFN is particularly excited by the potential of what they call second-generation vertical farming technology. They cite advances in LED technology — expected to increase energy efficiency by 70 percent by 2030 — and increasingly sophisticated automation that can streamline the operation of vertical farms. AFN anticipates operating cost reduction of 12 percent due to improvements in lighting and another 20 percent from advances in automation.

BusinessWire says that the vertical farming produce market was valued at nearly $240 million in 2019, and they expect it to grow 20 percent annually to over $1 billion by 2027.

Vertical farming would eliminate the need for the arduous work of harvesting crops by hand from vast tracts of farmland. Current picking jobs, the company says, can be replaced by better-paying, full-time jobs available 365 days a year in better working conditions — and in the variety of geographic locations in which vertical farms can operate.

There are two caveats, however. First, the number of people needed to manage and harvest vertical farm crops will be far fewer than the many farmworkers required for less efficiently planted traditional fields. Second, with automation becoming ever-more capable — and perhaps a key to eventual profitability — one wonders just how many new jobs ultimately will be created.

But the societal benefits far outweigh any costs. As Plenty's Storey muses, "Like most everything in the world, we can only save our species if it makes economic sense." Thankfully, it does make economic sense.

https://bigthink.com/technology-innovat ... al-farming
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:32 pm

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Disgusting Dog-fighting

If a dog dies in the ring, then he was a good dog

PISHDAR, Kurdistan Region — Crowds gather around as dog owners challenge each other at a violent match of dogfighting, a bloody practice that takes place every spring.

Attendees gather around from all over the region to witness the brutal past time.

“Participants came from all over Koya, Taq Taq, Sulaymaniyah, Pishdar and Bitwen,” says Issa Surchi, the owner of a dog that fights.

Dog fights typically take place in April, when the spring season is in.

“This is the last fight for now because we are approaching the summer season,” Surchi added. “There were 20 dog fights this season with some ending without a clear winner.”
Many dogs die during these vicious matches. The death of a dog that remains in the ring is a sign of bravery.

“If a dog dies in the ring, then he was a good dog because he fought until the bitter end and did not leave,” said Dog fighting referee Qaraman Alaadin.

Winners are declared based on the actions of the brutal sport.

“When a dog loses, it yelps loudly or lowers its tail. As soon as the dog yells, it is declared the lose,” explained Alaadin.

“Some dogs will even simply leave the arena without putting their tail down.”

Pishdar dogs are a popular breed among Kurdish dogfighters. They are among the oldest breeds in Asia, dating back 5,000 years. The strong and intelligent breed has long been used by shepherds to guard their flocks.

Link to Video:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/060620212
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:34 pm

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Campaign to end illegal hunting of wild birds, animals

Local authorities in the city of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region have launched a campaign for the criminalization of the trading and hunting of wild animals with the help of animal rights activists

“Our objective behind this campaign is to put an end to the trading of wild animals. This is indeed a very growing vicious trend. This trend will lead to the annihilation of all animals and birds. Nature is beautiful with them,” explained animal rights activist Shadi Ali to Rudaw over the weekend.

This campaign organized at the municipal level in coordination with the security forces of Sulaimani, takes place only on Fridays to seize hunted birds and animals and fine those selling them, Ali told Rudaw.

Between 2008 and 2010, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) introduced environmental protection laws, including related to hunting, in order to protect the region's wildlife and nature.

When the Region had to focus on fighting the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014, however, all forces were redeployed to the frontlines. This included the forest police, essentially giving illegal hunters open season.

Bahrooz Jalal, a local teashop owner in Sulaimani, shared with a Rudaw reporter that people “make business with them [wild animals]”, adding that “65-70 percent of the animals die here, meaning that most of the animals brought here from nature die anyway. There is now unlimited harm done to nature.”

Illegal hunting in the Kurdistan Region is currently threatening the Region's wildlife.

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https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/06062021
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:06 pm

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Millions of fish will die this year

Millions of fish will die in the Kurdistan Region this year due to low water levels, an official from the ministry of agriculture and water resources told Rudaw on Tuesday

“The exact amount of fish that will die is unclear, though it will be in the millions,” Sirwan Saeed, head of the ministry’s directorate for fisheries, told Rudaw’s Hemin Baban.

“We can already see the effects, and with the increase in temperature levels we will see them even more.”

On a yearly basis, around a million fish die due to rising temperatures and the flow of sewage into the dams, Saeed explained. But this year, he expects the numbers will be much higher.

This past winter and spring saw significantly less snow and rainfall than average and neighboring countries have built several dams in recent years, holding onto water in shared rivers, which has led to major problems for Iraq.

Kurdish officials have previously warned of dropping water levels.

Kurdish farmers have also said they will face a “catastrophe” as Iran blocks the water supply into the region. Farmers have already been affected by the water shortages. Shepherds in Garmian have abandoned their traditional farming areas to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Directors of the Duhok and Dukan dams have both raised concerns about low water levels.

Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable nation in the world to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity, according to the UN, yet it lags behind its neighbors in creating a plan to better manage its water supply.

Iraq's ministry of water resources said last week that they are holding talks with neighboring countries to secure Iraq’s share of water. Tehran is building a network of dams and canals while Ankara has constructed a mega-dam on the Tigris River at the cost of the ancient city of Hasankeyf that is now underwater.

The United Nations’ Watercourses Convention of 1997 governs transboundary water resources, however, only a few dozen states are party to the convention, under which nations are obligated to respect and equitably share water with their neighbors. The treaty has been signed by Syria and Iraq, but not by Turkey or Iran.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/080620214
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:29 am

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Sulaimani: drinking unclean water

Sulaimani’s health directorate on Wednesday expressed its concern over increasing cases of diarrhea among the public, urging residents to refrain from using unsuitable drinking water

“The data that we have, we will not hide it, it’s caused us worry and fear because the number of people infected with diarrhea has tripled and now a large number of people are suffering from diarrhea,” Sabah Nasraddin, the general director of Sulaimani’s health directorate, said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“We suspect if it’s not controlled, it could be a cause for the spread of cholera,” Nasraddin warned. “One of the reasons as you know is the drought, because the water has decreased and people are resorting to well water and water that is not suitable for drinking, which will spread disease.”

Sulaimani’s health department has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) and international organizations to help prevent the spread of cholera and diarrhea, Nasraddin said.

“They need to use water that is ready for drinking and not to use water from wells and natural sources,” he stated.

Nasraddin said “in the next few days” an “acceptable” amount of chloride will be put in Sulaimani’s water.

According to the health directorate, currently 800 people experienced diarrhea in a week, while the previous figure was from 200 to 300. The directorate is calling on residents to only drink bottled water and to put chloride in well water when washing and doing housework. They’ve also asked people to refrain from swimming in stagnant water and rivers.

The Kurdistan Region is in the midst of a water crisis due to a lack of rain and the dams being built in neighboring Iran, officials told Rudaw in April. But the drought is also blamed on poor water management and a lack of funds from the government. In addition to that, this past winter and spring saw significantly less snow and rainfall than average.

A lack of water flowing from Iran spells trouble for Sulaimani's Darbandikhan dam and those who depend on it. The dam manager said on some days, the water flow from the Sirwan River, which originates in neighboring Iran, "stops completely.”

Kurdish farmers have warned of a “catastrophe”, and the directors of the Duhok and Dukan dams have both previously raised concerns about low water levels.

The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday warned that millions of fish will die in the Kurdistan Region this year due to low water levels.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/090620212
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:17 pm

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Kurdish farmer's land cleared of mines

After nearly four decades since the Iran-Iraq war, a farmer from Sulaimani’s Sharbazher area is finally able to walk on his farmland which has been partially cleared of landmines and explosives

“Ever since 1983 when Iran neared the vicinity of our village and the Iraqi [army] approached the village from the town of Chwarta during the Iraq-Iran war, I had not been able to visit this area at all,” said Hama Saeed, a farmer from the village of Willyawa.

Saeed has finally been able to walk on his farmland in the village of Willyawa, in Sulaimani's Sharbazher district, after 38 years. Landmines and explosives left over from Iraq-Iran have been partially removed from his land.

Jabbar Fatih, a deminer working for the British Mine Advisory Group (MAG) said, “Today, we are handing over the land to the owner...we have cleared one part of it containing 1,030 pieces of ammunition.”

Dozens of people are maimed or killed across the Kurdistan Region by explosives each year. This property alone has seen nine casualties.

“So far, there have been nine casualties from these landmines. Among them are eight residents of Willyawa. Four of them were martyred and four were disabled,” Fatih added.

“In January of this year, one of our team members was also injured. Fortunately, he is now receiving treatment.”

According to the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Mine Action Agency, there have been about 13,400 mine explosion victims since the 1990s, including 3,000 deaths.

Iran's borders with the Kurdistan Region are dotted with unexploded landmines and ordinances. The Kurdistan Region has around 3,000 minefields.

“Mine clearance is a slow process because you want to save lives, not victimize others,” explained Muhsin Sheikh Abdulkarim, the general manager of Mine Affairs in Sulaimani.

“Secondly, the weather and topography of Kurdistan is that it is mountainous. For example, if we clear this part of the landmines and not the mountain peak, it will once again be littered with mines due to landslides caused by rainfalls, Abdulkarim says.

Over 500 square kilometers of land scattered with landmines have been cleaned since 1992. The remaining 260 square kilometers will continue to claim lives if not thoroughly cleaned.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/100620211
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:49 pm

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Livestock killed by Turkish bombs

Goats and sheep belonging to local farmer were killed when Turkey bombed the vicinity of two villages in Duhok province on Thursday afternoon, a local official has confirmed to Rudaw

The Turkish airforce struck an animal farm located between the villages of Mizhe and Spindar, with a local villager confirming there were no farmers or shepherds present at the time.

Peshmerga forces near the area prevented some villagers from visiting their land after the bombardment due to security reasons, Rudaw has learned.

“Since 5am, the areas between Mizhe and Spindar have been intensely bombarded four times by Turkish planes,” Ismail Mustafa, the mayor of the nearby town of Amedi, told Rudaw.

“There have not been any casualties from these two villages but people have been terrified because 30 families live in Mizhe, and there are 12 families in Spindar,” he added.

The exact amount of damage caused by Thursday’s bombardment is currently unknown. A team will investigate the damage when security improves, according to Mustafa.

Footage submitted to Rudaw shows a dog being freed by villagers after it became trapped underground due to the bombardment.

    Villagers in Duhok province rescued a dog on Thursday afternoon after becoming stuck underground due to Turkish bombardment of an animal farm.

    Scores of goats and sheep were killed in the bombardment.

    Video: submitted pic.twitter.com/QjjIMeQRqM
    — Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) June 24, 2021
The presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in these areas has led to Turkish bombardments, preventing people from visiting their land “although they have to irrigate their farms,” said Mustafa.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/240620211
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:17 pm

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Wildfires rage in Kurdistan

Saadat Shazi, 80, sits beside the grave of her son Mukhtar Khandani and cries. Khandani was one of three environmentalists who died a year ago fighting fires in the forests in the mountains of Kurdish areas of Iran. The pain of Shazi and the other families was still fresh when they held a ceremony to honour their loved ones on Tuesday

The job of putting out forest fires in Iran’s Kurdish provinces of Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and Western Azerbaijan has fallen on the shoulders of non-governmental organizations. These volunteers have taken on the dangerous job of protecting the forests, risking their lives. Last year Khandani, Yasin Karimi, and Bilal Amini lost their lives fighting fires in the Marakhel region of Paveh, Kermanshah province.

On the first anniversary of their deaths, environmental activists from across Kurdish areas, including Mariwan, Javanrud, Sanandaj, and Kermanshah, gathered at the Nowsud town cemetery in western Kermanshah, laying flowers on the graves.

“A year after the death of three selfless children of this area, people’s awareness and sense of responsibility toward nature has increased,” Ashna Hasanzadeh, a member of the environmental organization Zhiway Pawa, told Rudaw English at the ceremony.

“The concerned authorities such as natural resources and those related to nature in Paveh region do not have a strong will to control the fires, therefore not only in Paveh, but in many areas of Kurdistan and Iran, the task of protecting the nature has fallen on those non-governmental nature organizations,” she added.

Strung up in the cemetery was a large banner with pictures of others who have lost their lives protecting nature. In 2018, two members of Chya organization (Green Mountain) died fighting wildfires in Mariwan and four members of the same organization died this year in a traffic accident.

The forests that are going up in flames are centuries old

“The trees that are burning in this area are mostly oak trees, but some are pistachio, berries, and other wild fruits, which harm the nature of this area a lot,” Sharam Waisi, an environmental activist from Nowsud, told Rudaw English. “Some of the trees are up to 500 years old.”

“There is no exact data on the amount of trees burnt in Paveh and Nowsud, but the way we have seen it, these fires have hurt the nature of this area a lot. For example, in the past two weeks in Nowsud, in southern Nowsud valley alone, nearly 400 dunams of forests have burnt,” Waisi added.

As the sun set, Saadat Shazi’s cries over the grave of her son Mukhtar Khandani brought tears to the eyes of those around her.

“My son spent his whole youth saving the nature of this place, and then sacrificed his life for the forests. He would never hesitate to go and save the nature of those forests,” she told Rudaw English as she wiped the tears from her eyes with her white scarf.

“I ask all authorities and people, out of respect to those who gave their lives protecting nature, to respect their environment and follow in my son’s footsteps to save it. I have not been able to eat or sleep properly for a year now. My son’s death at this age has really struck me,” she said.

Jamal Qadri is a leadership member of Mariwan’s Chya organization. He said they have recorded 124 forest fires in Mariwan and Sawlawa alone in western Kurdistan province between March 28 and June 25, this year.

Local authorities like the natural resources department in Mariwan have a workforce of just six people who cannot battle all the fires, so the burden falls to Chya organization. But rather than increasing capacity to put out the fires, Qadri would like to see improved efforts to prevent the blazes. “We want to prevent fires from starting in the first place rather than increasing the ability to control the fires,” he said.

“Apart from the fires, invading the forests, which are public property, is an even bigger problem for Kurdistan’s nature,” Qadri added, referring to people trying to assert private ownership over public property. “And the authorities are negligent about this matter.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/300620211
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 01, 2021 10:16 pm

Wildfires hit U.S. West

In a grassy meadow outside Missoula, Montana, Jennifer Fowler eyes two drones high in the sky with weather instruments -- part of a program to see how drones can help to fight and monitor wildfires

Missoula is a major center for wildfire research and the program comes as the Federal Aviation Administration starts to loosen the reigns on autonomous flight regulation for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — a crucial step that takes the human out of the picture to make drone use cost effective. The FAA has mostly required drones to be within the pilot’s sight and the University of Montana team had to once hire a helicopter to follow the drone.

While some fire chiefs see drones as a nuisance that get in the way of tankers dropping fire retardants, some fire departments have tested drones with sensors to detect toxic gases or infrared cameras to measure the fire's temperature. Fowler’s drones carried instruments to measure temperature, humidity, location, wind speed and direction.

“If we can figure out where these fires are going to go and even give a better heads-up on what structures are in danger and when people need to evacuate,” said Fowler, the director of the Autonomous Aerial Systems Office at University of Montana. “I see a future where we can really make improvements and help.”

“It’s going to start in a trickle,” said Steve Luxion, executive director at Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, an outside research arm advising the FAA. “That trickle is starting with what Montana is doing” but once people see the advantage and the systems are in place, Luxion said there would be a “flood” of drones.

Luxion said that for autonomous drones, battery power and recharging technology are key and he is working with startup WiBotic to see what regulations are needed. WiBotic has autonomous charging pads that also analyze the data and a system that can monitor the battery health remotely.

“We all know with our cell phones that the battery lasts for this many hours on day one. And then after you've had your phone for two years, it only lasts for half as long. That's a big problem for FAA in terms of how do you define regulations for that,” said Ben Waters CEO and co-founder at WiBotic.

While Fowler’s team flew its drones manually, drone maker BlueHalo’s drones fitted with WiBotic’s charging hardware and software tested autonomous flight.

Fowler said her team is taking the drones to Oregon in October to test them out on a controlled burn, a fire set intentionally to help limit future wildfires.

https://www.reuters.com/business/enviro ... 021-07-01/
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jul 01, 2021 10:21 pm

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Canada has record-breaking heat

A forest fire that began after three days of record-breaking temperatures has destroyed most of the small western Canadian town of Lytton and damaged a nearby hydro power station, a local politician said on Thursday

More than 1,000 people in and around Lytton, in central British Columbia, were evacuated late on Wednesday after the fast-moving fire engulfed the community, catching residents by surprise. The cause of the fire was being investigated, B.C Premier John Horgan told reporters.

This week Lytton broke Canada's all-time hottest temperature record three times.

The sizzling heat wave also ravaged the U.S. Northwest with record-high temperatures. Some 62 new fires were reported in B.C. in the past 24 hours, Horgan said.

"The town has sustained structural damage and 90% of the village is burned, including the centre of the town," Brad Vis, a Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said in a Facebook post.

He said the fire also caused extensive damage to BC Hydro stations and highways, limiting access to Lytton by road.

B.C. officials told the briefing that "most homes and structures" in Lytton have been lost. Some residents have not been accounted for and police are investigating.

Flames rise from a burning building along a street during a wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada June 30, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video on July 1, 2021.

Amateur video footage showed residents scrambling to get out of town in cars as fires burned down trees and some structures. The fire spread so swiftly that people were forced to leave behind belongings.

Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered everyone in the town of 250 to vacate late on Wednesday.

"It's dire. The whole town is on fire," Polderman told the CBC. "It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere."

Residents of another 87 properties north of Lytton were also ordered to leave on Wednesday.

Lytton set a record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.28 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. The previous high in Canada, known for brutally cold winters, was 45 degrees Celsius, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.

On Wednesday, strong winds gusting up to 71 kph (44 mph) were recorded in the area, further flaming the fires.

https://www.reuters.com/business/enviro ... 021-07-01/
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:47 pm

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Wildfires raging in Mariwan

Kurdish environmentalists in Iran have been battling wildfires in Mariwan, bordering the Kurdistan Region, for three days, a member of a local environmental organization said on Saturday.

“It has been 72 hours now that the area of Dolabe has been burning. Dolabe, Qalanjan, Hawari Faqe Mohammed, Asnwa border southern Kurdistan [the Kurdistan Region]” Irfan Husseini, of the Green Mountain Organization, told Rudaw on Saturday.

“It’s a very steep and mountainous area and parts of it are mined – that’s why controlling it is very hard,” he added.

Up to 170 people, including members of Green Mountain and local villagers, have been trying to control the fire, according to Husseini, who said a helicopter was sent to the area on Saturday following pressure from locals.

Around 500 hectares have been destroyed in what he describes as one of Mariwan’s best forests.

“Its trees were up to 300 to 400 years old and most of them burned and were destroyed.”

The Green Mountain Committee (Chya Sabz) is a major non-governmental organization established 22 years ago in Mariwan, Kurdistan Province. To this day, it is the most active environmental group in Iran’s Kurdish areas and has played a critical role across the region by raising awareness of illegal logging, wildfires and threats to the famous oak tree forests.

In a tweet on Saturday, the group said it has controlled more than 120 fires in Mariwan since March 21, the beginning of Iranian New Year.

“The responsibility of preserving nature in Mariwan has fallen on the shoulders of Green Mountain. If we waited for the government and authorities, no forests would be left now,” one of its members told Rudaw English in June.

The organization’s work has not come without sacrifice. Three members lost their lives last year in June battling blazes in the province of Kermanshah. Environmental activists gathered last week, on the first anniversary of their deaths, in the cemetery where they were laid to rest.

“The environment in Iran is not focused on enough; environmentalism has no value for the government … all of Iran doesn’t have a special firefighting helicopter … All of Iran, from south to north, its east and west is about to be destroyed, the situation is hectic,” said Husseini.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/03072021
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:52 pm

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Hundreds of fish die in Sulaimani river

QADIR KARAM, Kurdistan Region — Hundreds of fish died in polluted waters of the Chami Rokhana River in southern Sulaimani province

Mohammed Luqman, who lives in the town of Qadir Karam, helped with efforts to pull the dead fish out of the water. “I was told to go in the water and help. I did. My shoulders have all turned red because of the water. When I was in the water, it felt like my body was burning,” he said.

Three suspects have been arrested by the Qadir Karam Forestry Police.

“Preliminary investigations have shown that the water was poisoned, leading to the death of a large number of fish,” said Rokan Khalil, head of Qadir Karam Forestry Police. Investigations are ongoing and he expects more arrests could be made.

Police have not disclosed what was put into the water.

Locals, who have been working for years to protect the river environment, are worried the dead fish will damage tourism to the area.

“For a while the Qadir Karam Forestry Police and the residents of Qadir Karam, we have been protecting the water under this bridge because there were beautiful fish there and it has become a tourist place. The fish created beautiful scenery for the area. I believe some people from around Qadir Karam and inside Qadir Karam have poisoned the fish, wasting our years of work,” said Swara Ahmed.

Government officials expect millions of fish could die in Kurdistan Region’s waterways this year because of low water levels. Unchecked pollution also causes mass fish deaths annually.

The same problem exists downstream in Iraqi provinces. On July 1, environmental organization Humat Dijlah reported thousands of fish died in the marshes of Maysan province.

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https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/03072021
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 07, 2021 2:59 am

Demand for ice surges as power fails

As Baghdad sizzles and the electricity fails, sales of coolers and blocks of ice are going up

“They use it to keep ice because there is no power and service, there’s nothing. Currently, the temperature is 50 degrees. Sometimes it reaches 53 degrees. There’s no national power and the generator owners cut off the power to people,” he said.

“Obtaining ice blocks is very challenging. Currently, there is no power. Ice is obtained from New Baghdad – 30 kilometers away. We go to stand in line at 2 am because it’s very crowded and it's too hot,” said Ahmed Ali, who sells blocks of ice.

Iraq has chronic electricity shortages, but this summer has been worse. Reduced imports from Iran and terror attacks on the power grid have led to blackouts.

To keep cool, some dive into the Tigris River for a swim. “We can’t stay at home because of the heat,” said swimmer Lu’ay Mohammed.

Link to Article - Video:

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/060720212
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 09, 2021 1:38 am

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Iraq, climate crisis next great threat

As Iraq bakes in the blistering summer heat, its hardscrabble farmers and livestock herders are battling severe water shortages that are killing their animals, fields and way of life

The oil-rich country, scarred by wars and insurgencies over the past four decades, is also one of the world's most vulnerable to climate change and struggles with a host of other environmental challenges.

Upstream dams in Turkey and Iran have diminished the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which are also heavily polluted with sewage, waste and agricultural runoff as they flow southeast through Iraq.

Drought has hit the Mesopotamian marshes, said to be the site of the biblical Garden of Eden, where water buffalos and their owners once found respite from summer heat above 50 degrees Celsius.

In southern Iraq, where the two big streams merge into the Shatt al-Arab, the reduced flow has caused saltwater intrusion from the Gulf, degrading the waterway that is shaded by lush palm groves on its banks.

"Everything we plant dies: the palm trees and the alfalfa which normally tolerates salt water," said Rafiq Taufiq, a farmer in the southern riverside city of Basra.

The saline water encroaching ever further upstream has already destroyed thousands of hectares of farmland.

This year, the trend has worsened again, said Alaa al-Badran, an agricultural engineer in Basra province.

"For the first time the salt entered as early as April, the start of the farming season," he said.

- 'Risk of displacement' -

The problems are exacerbated as decades of military conflict, neglect and corruption have destroyed irrigation systems and water treatment plants.

According to the United Nations, only 3.5 percent of Iraq's farmlands are watered with irrigation systems.

Rivers are meanwhile often polluted with viruses and bacteria, oil spills and industrial chemicals.

In Basra, where freshwater canals are clogged with garbage, more than 100,000 people were hospitalised in 2018 after drinking water polluted with sewage and toxic waste.

The heat and the water shortages have been a blow to Iraq's agricultural sector, which accounts for five percent of the economy and 20 percent of jobs, but provides only half of the food needs of Iraq, which relies heavily on cheap imports.

In a nation of 40 million people, "seven million Iraqis have already been affected by the drought and the risks of displacement that it entails," President Barham Saleh wrote recently.

The body of a dead fish lies on drying earth in the Chibayish marshland in Iraq's southern Ahwar area. Photo: Asaad Niazi/AFP

In Chibayish, in Iraq's marshlands, buffalo herder Ali Jasseb said he now has to travel great distances to keep the animals producing milk, his family's only income.

"Every two or three months, we have to travel to find water," he told AFP.

"Because if the buffaloes drink salty water, they get poisoned, they stop producing milk and sometimes they die."

Raad Hmeid, another buffalo herder, pointed to the sun-cracked ground below his feet.

"Until 10 days ago this was mud, there was water and even greenery," he told AFP.

- Years of drought -

In Iraq's east, cereal farmer Abderrazzaq Qader, 45, said he had seen no rain "for four years" on his 38 hectare (94 acre) farm in Khanaqin near the Iranian border.

The years of drought, he said, had led many local farmers to abandon the land to take jobs as labourers.

In total, "69 percent of agricultural land is threatened with desertification, meaning it is being rendered unfit for cultivation," Sarmad Kamel, a state forestry official working on the issue, told AFP.

Iraq's agricultural lands are shrinking further as farmers are selling their unprofitable plots to developers, said economist Ahmed Saddam.

"On the one hand, there is more and more demand for housing, while on the other hand cultivating land no longer creates sufficient income," he said.

Rather than continue their back-breaking work for little pay, many farmers near Basra have sold their plots, often for "between 25,000 and 70,000 euros ... huge figures for farmers," he says.

At this rate, "every year, 10 percent of agricultural land disappears to become residential areas", he added.

This accelerates a rural exodus into towns and big cities, piling huge pressure on the economic, social and environmental fabric of life in Iraq.

There is little respite in sight, warned Saleh in a recent statement that said "climate projections for Iraq foresee a rise of about two degrees celsius, and a drop in rainfall of nine percent by 2050".

Another worrying projection says that, by mid-century, Iraq's population will have doubled to 80 million.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/080720211
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