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­­Wormfood – January 7, 2015 – Commodity prices drive Amazon destruction

News > Global News Digest

Amazon forests suffer from commodity boom, broken renewable energy records, and Taliban leader recruits terrorists through LinkedIn.

Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: Commodity prices drive Amazon destruction

  • Commodity prices, directly or indirectly, have increased deforestation in the Amazon. While tighter regulation decreased rainforest cutting in Brazil, the governments of neighbouring countries Colombia, Peru, Bolivia relaxed legislation resulting in a loss of 32,000 sq km of rainforest.

  • Satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000. As more of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the climate system, it enhances ongoing warming in the region, which is more pronounced than anywhere else on the planet.

  • Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption has reported that 2014 saw a 10-year high in the number of “olim,” or Jewish immigrants to Israel, with 26,500 Jews moving to the country in the past year. Attacks on French synagogues, and instability of the Ukraine are believed to have influenced the immigration rate.  

Energy & Environment: Soil story

  • This animated film shows the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and overexploitation; and offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.

  • China granted public interest groups more power to sue those that flout environmental protection laws, the country’s highest court said, as Beijing steps up efforts to curb pollution that regularly chokes major cities.

  • Broken renewable energy records:

    • Wind turbines generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households on 25 out of the 31 days of December.

    • 39% of all electricity used in Denmark last year was produced by wind power.

    • Solar efficiency world record: Researchers working with readily available solar panels have converted over 40 percent of the total sunlight hitting the system into electricity.

Business & Economy: Shell pays up

  • Shell announces £55m payout for Nigeria oil spills. Shell and other oil companies were slated by NGOs and the media for their lack of action in cleaning up dozens of major spills in Ogoniland.

  • There is a major revision of the copyright monopoly underway in the European Union. And the person in charge, Julia Reda, is a Pirate Party representative.

Science, Technology & Design:  Earth-like planet discovered

  • An alien world that orbits a distant star in the constellation of Lyra may be the most Earth-like planet ever found outside the solar system.

  • Controversial DNA startup lets customers tinker with the genetic codes and then prints it. “Anyone in the world that has a few dollars can make a creature, and that changes the game,” CEO Heinz said. “And that creates a whole new world.”

  • DARPA has created self-guided, mid-flight changing bullets. 

Urban Environment: Peaks and valleys world map

  • This beautiful map shows the world population mapped as peaks and valleys.

  • Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 48 percent through the Midnight Defender Strategy program. Storekeepers allow taxi drives to park in front of their stores as long as they want, and this scares nightly robbers away. 

Unexpected and Intriguing: LinkedIn terrorist recruitment

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Merel Segers
Industrial Ecologist & Sustainable Storyteller

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