Monday, 22 February 2016

Fiji recovering from Cyclone Winston strongest ever

Fiji's location on the world stage. It's surrounded by several Pacific islands and is part of Melanesia region near to Vanuatu, Solomon islands, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia among other place such as New Zealand. Contrary to popular belief, Fiji is not an isolated archipelago.

Fijian people

The world's image of small islands in the South Pacific is mostly that of paradise: beautiful people, white sand beaches, clear waters, relaxed atmosphere, gorgeous landscapes and sailing.  Don't forget the hospitality of the Fijians and the local culture. Fiji is home to 900,000 citizens. It's a bucket list country along with Hawaii, French Polynesia and Vanuatu. The majority of Fijians live on the main island Viti Levu and in the capital city Suva.

Monukiri and Monu islands, Fiji with its clear waters and deserted beaches.

Climate change is still taking its vengeance out on the Pacific islands. Fiji was hit on Saturday, Feb 20th by a category 5 cyclone named Winston. Cyclone Winston is now the strongest cyclone to strike the archipelago of 300 islands. It is the second most destructive in the Pacific since Typhoon Haiyan destroyed parts of the Philippines particularly the town of Taclaban in 2013. Small islands like Fiji have long faced the danger of monsoons, cyclones and unpredictable tsunamis for hundreds of years. The Fijian people and government have warned the world of the dangers in ignoring or downplaying the human factors in climate change. Fiji's neighbours ie Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Micronesia, Maldives, Solomon islands and larger archipelagos like Indonesia and countries such as Bangladesh have also called on the world to take the threat seriously. They have all been bracing themselves for massive oceanic and nature related devastation with realistic preventable measures. Pacific island activists remain vocal on environmental issues before Paris summit. No matter the large amount of precaution and prepping, Cyclone Winston still caused damaged to many rural areas of Fiji. Some 29 Fijians have been declared dead and numerous people have been made homeless. Now, the Fijan government has warned that destruction of infrastructure and polluted water brought by the cyclone into Fijian towns and parts of the capital, may lead to diseases. Disaster aid groups, international NGOs and government are working quickly to provide clean drinking water and medical help to rural areas. Vanuatu survived the wrath of a major cyclone Pam last year March. Outside of the paradise image of Fiji and national social development policies, ordinary Fijians especially in the rural area lack of access to clean drinking water, lack of housing, dealing with ongoing poverty and yes, migration and emigration. Fiji is prepared to handle and fix the problems and issues.

Eyewitness to Cyclone Winston in Savusavu, Fiji 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Climate Change Environment protests world and Paris

Politics aside, everyone on Earth will have to share its resources with one another if humanity is to live and breathe equally and with dignity. Artwork by Nayzak from Deviant art.

Africa Mountain of God, Climate change and water in Tuvalu Afrisynergy News

In December 2015, Paris was back in the news on a positive note. The city became well known again for its usual protest of people from students to elderly. From Jakarta to Nairobi and men, women and children have been raging against the ignorance and insanity of environmental destruction around the world. Southeast Asia, many coastal regions in Africa and South America has long been threaten by the sea and ocean. The presidents of Maldives and Micronesia spoke at the summit to remind the world that their nations are immediately affected by climate change no matter if the Earth warms or cools. These small Pacific islands have been doing all humanly possible to fight again rising sea levels and sinking territories. Other Pacific islands such as Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Philippines to name a few are witnessing unusual, reoccurring typhoons, droughts and rapid flooding that have destroyed and leveled coastal towns and villages that fishermen and sea traders rely on for their living. While these island nations have been successful in fighting mother nature in the past, global warming, human environmental degradation, sea erosion and flood have stretched each nation's emergency responses and environmental protection agencies thin. It's not only the islands that are dealing with mother nature's wrath.

Bolivian climate negotiator Pablo Solon, "Paris agreement will cause the planet to burn"

Bangladesh has become the epitome of what future rising sea levels and environment destruction could mean for other countries and peoples. A low lying country, 100 million Bangladeshis are faced with freak storms, limited infrastructure and sea erosion that could turn them into climate refugees. Resettling millions of people in neighbouring countries or further away will be chaotic and frustrating. It's not a far fetch scenario given the melting ice caps and droughts in Bangladesh and India. China, Liberia, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea are facing an annual combination of increasing droughts, rapid desertification, searing heat each summer, limited land space (except for Liberia and Eritrea) and pollution.  When it rained heavily in the Atacoma Desert for the first time in 100+ years many local Chilean farmers nearly cried in joy. The Atacoma Desert in Chile is one of the driest deserts in the world. No one knew what the flowers looked like until Mother Nature released a springtime thunderstorm. MIT's climate scientists recently reported that the Gulf countries ie the UAE, Kuwait, KSA, might become unlivable by the year 2100 due to rising heat levels and lack of rainfall. If the predictions are correct, there will be millions of people fleeing the Venus like temperatures in Dubai, Riyadh and Bahrain for cooler areas around the world or the far west side of the region.

Atacoma Desert in Chile in full bloom

Water, water everywhere but still undrinkable

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was correct about the irony of Earth's plentiful water. There has long been warnings that water wars caused by global warming/climate change poses a serious threat to many societies. The possibility of a global water war isn't science fiction or video games. Access to reservoirs and underground aquifers have been one of the unspoken injustices of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and verbal war between Jordan, Israel and Egypt. The same limited access is causing problems between the different state water departments in drought starved California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Polluted water do not ease the frustrations many local residents have about access to water and their own water rights. Just as indigenous and local people in Bolivia and Ecuador have been fighting against multinational corporations and corrupt politicians for access to local waterways and arable land. Water and land are tied together for many societies just as language and culture go hand in hand.

PBS Space Documentary: Earth's Origins, how the primordial soup created a liveable world

It has been stated for centuries that Mother Earth or Tierra Madre is our only home. If it is destroyed there is nowhere else in the universe for humanity to live comfortably. All the seeds and elements that has made living on Earth comfortable happened by a combination of Earth being in the right place at the right moment. Earth's twin Venus started out similar to Earth until its rotation was thrown off course and it transformed into a hell hole. Earth had been created just right by the sun and the molecular cloud. Earth's current environment is the result of billions of years of space and time patiently constructing the atmosphere, water, tierra and organisms that humans owe a massive salute to for their life. It's impossible to think of one without the other. Earth's ancient ecosystem and organism are working to keep up with humanity's needs for safety and shelter. Another part of Earth that gets no mention or any credit for protecting the life is the magnetic field. Without Earth's magnetic field, the planet would be a dead desert like Mars. The magnetic field itself is thin but it serves as a shield against the sun's sporadic solar ejections and high levels of radiation. Back to Earth.

Paris was chosen to host the United Nations' COP21 summit. It is not a coincidence Paris was chosen either. The COP21 summit location and meeting of 21+ heads of states were already in place prior to the Nov 13th terror attacks. As a result of the 3 month state of emergency and security forces' paranoia about future terrorist attacks, any kind of massive environmental protest were banned from the streets of Paris. Shoes were left to symbolic protest both the banned freedom of assembly and environmental protests by thousands of Pro environmentalist, climate change activists, environmental refugees, Earth lovers, nature protectors, and perhaps Greenpeace supporters. The summit went on without a hitch but security was tight for obvious reasons. President Obama, Vladmir Putin,  also attended the summit focusing on the importance of climate change and going against the naysayers.

PS: Now that the climate summit has passed, many climate activists and environmentalists have more questions than answers.

South Sudan breaks up provinces into 28 states

South Sudan is Africa's 54th country to date. After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has ended up what it feared, a civil war. The majority of South Sudanese civilians have been affected by the war in one way or the other. Bordering Sudan to the North, Ethiopia and Kenya to its East, Centrafrique or Central African Republic and D.R. Congo to the West.

Recently South Sudan has broken up its ten provinces into 28 states under the current government of President Silva Kiir. Many South Sudanese journalists and citizens are questioning why an additional 18 states were created when the government hadn't addressed the problems facing the original 10 provinces in the pre and post independence days. Kiir is hoping the creation will satisfy the needs of all South Sudanese and allow everyone and each state to have access to resources, financing and social services. Everything from infrastructure would be provided by the local state governments and not solely the national government. There has always been discussions about federalism in South Sudan even before independence in 2011. Federalism is still seen by South Sudanese as the most popular and solution orientated form of governance in the country. It could even aid in ending the current choas across the country. That is if and when the different SPLA branches and arrow boys are able to sit and negotiate on how to end their respective demands for who will be part of an inclusive South Sudanese government. South Sudan is not the first African country to divide its provinces into smaller states. Nigeria famusly adapted federalism in the 1960s and broke up its original three provinces in 36 states. Today, Nigeria is a federal republic and treats decentralization as a must. The national ie federal government has the final say on certain things, but local state governors across Nigeria are tasked with running their states and providing services to the people. Nigeria is in no way utopia. But it could offer some lessons for South Sudan.

South Sudan 28 state creation could damage Peace Deal CCTV

There are now many SPLA branches across South Sudan. Each branch appears follow a different complaint made by South Sudanese to the government on a daily basis. opposing the government or challenging it to be better rulers. All the various rebel groups (they are not the one dimensional rebels of the media or movies) are actually fighting for their people and local home towns. All want the conflict to come to an end. Reoccurying peace deals have been proposed and discussed between the South Sudanese governments and SPLA factions in Ethiopia and Kenya. The SPLA factions also represent two of South Sudan's major ethnic groups the Dinka and Neur. Even before independence, the two peoples despite being countrymen argued over land, grazing rights for their cattle and access to natural resources. .

Channels Television News: SPLA says South Sudan Crisis is political war

SPLA's long struggle for a people first government

The SPLA short for the Sudanese People's Liberation Army is famous for fighting against the Khartoum government in Northern Sudan from the early 1980s until 2005. Although the SPLA continued to fight against the Khartoum government's execsive bombings and disproportionate use of force against South Sudanese civilians on both sides of the border until 2011. It's other name SPLM, Sudanese People Liberation Movement is still used in Sudan north of South Sudan. Despite being crossed by a new border, the people of the Blue Nile, Kordofan and Abyei regions consider themselves part of the larger South Sudanese identity, culture and languages. The Nuba, Dinka-Ngok and other ethnic groups along the border emphasize with their South Sudanese neighbours and many Sudanese including Arab and Islamic Sudanese in Khartoum and other towns fighting for a New Sudan. Many Sudanese fed up by Omar Bashir's regime and wahhabi styled sharia system, long for a Democratic and secular Sudan where the government and society is free from injustice, conflicts, racism and discrimination. Many Sudanese are fighting for a better and well of Sudan that not only provides for its citizens but offers them real benefits and focuses on the well being of all of society.