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Environment

Around the world, the environment is increasingly under threat from industrial pollution, business development of the wilderness and climate change. Pulitzer Center stories tagged with “Environment” feature reporting that covers climate change, deforestation, biodiversity, pollution, and other factors that impact the health of the world around us. Use the Pulitzer Center Lesson Builder to find and create lesson plans on the environment.

 

Bangladeshi Presence Strong as COP15 Gets Under Way

As the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change began today, a group of leading Bangladeshi members of parliament and internationally renowned climate change experts held a press conference in Copenhagen's Bella Center to raise awareness of their country's vulnerability to global warming, and its readiness to put adaptation funding to immediate use.

COP15 Struggles to Handle the Crush

Overwhelming global interest in COP15 ("Convention of Parties") led to a few glitches as conference attendees descended on Copenhagen over the weekend of Dec. 5-6. On Dec. 1 the organizers announced they were no longer accepting applications from media to attend, having already reached a maximum of 5,000 (later it was announced this was cut to 3500). 34,000 people in all were attempting to participate in the conference, but the Bella Center, a vast, somewhat makeshift conference complex just outside of Copenhagen, has a capacity of 15,000.

Kenya: At the Paradise Hotel

Ask a typical American what corn means to him or her, and you're likely to get a blank stare, unless they've read The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan's best seller, or watched a movie like Food Inc. That person may say corn has taken over the American diet, caused the U.S. obesity crisis and contributed to environmental degradation. Corn, after all, is used in some way to produce everything from meat to snack chips and soft drinks.

But ask poor east Africans what corn, or maize, means to them and they'll tell you it is what sustains life.

Kenya: Rift Valley Wasteland

I grew up in western Texas and covered the Midwest's devastating drought of 1988. I know what a drought looks like, but I've never seen anything like the devastation to a portion of the Rift Valley near the Tanzania border that I visited today in pursuit of corn farmers.

Kenya: "Let the Rain Come"

Fog shrouded the surrounding hills as a steady rain fell in the town of Machakos today, driving customers from the shops and market stalls in the middle of town. Tarps were draped over bins of grain and beans to keep them dry. But just try to find a merchant unhappy with the rain. "No problem. It's only for a while," said one vegetable vendor in the market. "Then we'll have enough food for Kenya."

Creating New Land for Climate Refugees in Bangladesh

Muhammud Yusuf tends a muddy, two acre farm in southeast Bangladesh. He's been here for six years, but a few decades ago, this land did not exist. It was underwater. This land area was created by silt that floats down rivers from the Himalayan mountains. Journalists William Wheeler and Anna Katarina-Gravgaard investigate this new land, and the impact it is having on climate refugees in the region.

Kenya: Africans Not Sold on Biotech Food

An issue earlier this year of New African, a widely distributed monthly news magazine, carried the cover story: "GM Food: Is it good for Africa?" The headline on the story inside gave the answer: "Seeds of destruction." That's a message that Africans have been getting for a decade at least about genetically engineered crops. And governments, with a handful of exceptions, most notably South Africa's, have kept biotech seeds out of their country, much to the frustration of the U.S. government and American agribusiness.

Kenya: Fighting Drought the Traditional Way

It remains to be seen whether genetically modified crops will ever be grown in east Africa, but in the meantime scientists already are reporting some success with improving the drought tolerance of corn, known here as maize, the old-fashion way, crossing existing lines from as far away as Mexico with lines common to Africa. Agronomist Dan Makumbi says yield improvements though this traditional breeding can mean the difference between whether small-scale farmers can feed their families or not.

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