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cracked-earthA DIFFERENT QUESTION

If I had one thing to impart to our leaders and opinion-makers, it would be this: Start worrying instead about the fate of human civilization. The Earth will survive the assault of the modern era. The urgent question is whether the Earth will remain a place that can support a complex, interconnected global civilization like our own. We could lose far more than coastal cities and cultural treasures to extreme weather and rising seas; the ultimate stakes in this planetary gamble is the stable climate that has made civilization possible.Rising emissions could destabilize the climate to a degree that would prove devastating to agriculture.

Op-ed: The fate of our fragile civilization — The Daily Climate.

NEW UNITED NATIONS REPORT: The economic turmoil sweeping the globe has lead to a sharp spike in hunger affecting the world’s poorest, uncovering a fragile global food system requiring urgent reform, according to a report issued today by two United Nations agencies.The combination of the food and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger, with the number of hungry expected to top 1 billion this year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

"When they are slaughtering camels it is like throwing away the pension"

"When they are slaughtering camels it is like throwing away the pension"

The drought which has hit East Africa is wreaking havoc among the region’s pastoralists. Their herds of livestock have been decimated. Even the hardy camels are dying.

They were sitting in the sand and lying among them were dozens of emaciated goats – concave with protruding ribs.

“I had a herd of 100 goats but just in the last month 40 have died,” said Esther Ekouam, who had walked about 15km (10 miles) and had to carry her goat as it was too weak to make the journey.

“Now the children are very weak because, as the animals are dying, they are not getting enough food. This is the worst drought we have had here since 1969.”

via BBC NEWS | Africa | Drought: Kenya’s own “banking” crisis.

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AND IT MATTERS

“They consume huge quantities of invertebrates, including humanity’s most vilified pests and their crucial role in global ecosystems helps maintain healthy functioning environments”

A third of amphibians are threatened with extinction. If allowed to continue, the projected losses would constitute the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times Magazine contributing writer Peter Maass spent eight years following the flow of oil around the world, from fields in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Azerbaijan to corporate boardrooms. His new book, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, uses stories from these locales to show why the lucrative resource tends to be very bad for the people who live above it.

“If crops don’t adapt to climate change, neither will we,” says Cary Fowler, an expert in biodiversity. Key to ensuring that crops will be able to adapt is maintaining crop diversity. We’re at risk of losing the very diversity of plant variety that will keep us alive in a warming environment. Fowler gives an outstanding TED talk about the issue. Click through to watch.

via TED Talk: Save Our Future by Saving the Seeds (Video) : TreeHugger.

Lush Land Dries Up, Withering Kenya’s Hopes – PICTURE

• A devastating drought is sweeping across Kenya, killing livestock, crops and children. The twin hearts of Kenya’s economy, agriculture and tourism, are especially imperiled. The fabled game animals that safari-goers fly thousands of miles to see are keeling over from hunger and the picturesque savanna is now littered with an unusually large number of sun-bleached bones.

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