4 rivers project facing opposition from green groups

South Korea has recently had a ground breaking for a large scale remaking of the four major rivers known as the Han, Nakdong, Yeongsan and Geum. The project includes dredging of the rivers and construction of dikes, reservoirs and hydro-dams whilst creating parks, bikeways, and water recreation areas. This is a major undertaking by South Korea and its President Lee Myung-bak, Lee has a successful track record with rehabilitating rivers as it was during his term as Mayor of Seoul that the successful rehabilitation of 5.8km Cheonggyecheon River occurred.

The Four Rivers Project is expected to cost $19.2 billion USD and is expected to increase the water quality and flood control of the rivers which are somewhat polluted. 400 green groups have filed suit against the project to halt its progress based on environmental grounds including disruption to the ecosystem. The political opposition have joined with the green groups in opposing the project, however the government has countered that thorough environmental studies show minimal distrubance will occur and project will bring great economic benefits to the region.

SOURCES: The Chosun Ilbo – 4-Rivers Project Passes Nat’l Assembly Committee
Arirang – Groundbreaking Ceremony for 4 River Restoration Project Held
New York Times – River Project Fuels Competing Claims of Green

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The Chosun Ilbo – Historic Village to Be Spared in 4-Rivers Project
The Chosun Ilbo – Compensation under 4-Rivers Project to Start Next Month

‘Karachi needs to be connected to its hinterland’

The News reports

All mega cities were deeply connected with their hinterland and until we see Karachi in relation to its hinterland, we won’t be able to solve many of its problems, said Chairman, Department of Architecture and Planning, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Dr Noman Ahmed.

Read Dr Ahmed’s full presentation at the [SOURCE: The News – ‘Karachi needs to be connected to its hinterland’.]

Businesses asked to sign up to Jakarta Charter

During the Convention for Biological Diversity being held in Jakarta from November 30 to December 2, representatives from about 200 companies worldwide in mining, fisheries, construction, forestry, tourism and cosmetics business released a draft charter called the Jakarta Charter which will requires companies to integrate biodiversity into their business strategies to reduce poverty and increase sustainable development.

Jakarta Post cited Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as saying

“The Jakarta Charter will be open for signatures to all companies in the world that adhere to its principle,”…..
He said the Jakarta Charter on Business and Biodiversity would be submitted for adoption at the convention’s meeting in Japan in Oct 2010.

Executive director of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, Rodrigo Fuentes, told reporters that biodiversity loss was a forgotten crisis in the region that received little attention in the media.

read more at the SOURCE: Jakarta Post

Also read more at the Convention for Biological Diversity

£1.5 billion contract awarded for regeneration of Elephant & Castle

London Borough of Southwark announced that they have awarded the £1.5 billion (circa A$2.7 billion) regeneration of Elephant & Castle to Lend Lease.

The project is one of the most significant schemes of its type in Europe, comprising over 300,000 square metres of new build, mixed-use development, together with major infrastructure improvements and a range of enhanced community facilities. The location, within two miles of London’s West End, is unrivalled for a development of this scale.

The scheme comprises six phases. The first phase demolition is scheduled to commence in February 2010. Detailed planning consent for the first phase is expected to be achieved by April 2011. Both parties have expressed their commitment to work together on the redevelopment of all six phases of the site.

SOURCE: Lend Lease

IMAGE SOURCE: Elephant & Castle

Green group criticizes delay of wetlands protection plan

Calgary Herald reports

Environmentalists are disappointed that another plan for Alberta‘s water resources pushes back to at least 2012 a strategy for protecting wetlands.

“After a decade of debate and the loss of thousands of hectares of wetlands in Alberta, we can no longer afford to delay taking action to protect our wetland resources,” said Danielle Droitsch, executive director of the conservation group Water Matters.

SOURCE: Calgary Herald – Green group criticizes delay of wetlands protection plan

Top scientists join calls to save threatened red gum forests

Sydney Morning Herald reports

MORE than 50 leading scientists from around Australia have written to the Premier, Nathan Rees, asking him to protect the iconic Riverina red gum forests by creating huge national parks in south-western NSW and increasing the flow of water to them from the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers

The letter, signed by 57 scientists, warns that the red gum forests and their wetlands are in poor health. It says the Government needs to ”act swiftly to hasten the much-needed repair and protection of these precious river red gum wetland forests by protecting them in new parks and reserves”.

Read the full article at the SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald – Top scientists join calls to save threatened red gum forests

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Ecological Agriculture: can it feed the world?

The latest edition of the Monthly Review (November 2009, Volume 61, Number 6) includes a paper from Jules Pretty is professor of environment and society at the University of Essex, UK. titled Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?

Below is an extract from the paper

Something is wrong with our agricultural and food systems.Despite great progress in increasing productivity in the last century, hundreds of millions of people remain hungry and malnourished. Further hundreds of millions eat too much, or consume the wrong sorts of food, and it is making them ill. The health of the environment suffers too, as degradation of soil and water seems to accompany many of the agricultural systems we have developed in recent years. Can nothing be done, or is it time for the expansion of an agriculture founded more on ecological principles and in harmony with people, their societies, and cultures?

Read the full paper at the [SOURCE: MonthlyReview – Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?]

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