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                                                                                                              August 2008


              Note from the Editor
               By Gloria Liu                                             Inside This Issue
                Gloria is a rising senior at Wellesley College and as    Note from the Editor                           1
                an International Relations major she recognizes the
                importance of looking at government responses to         From Tangshan to Sichuan:                      1
                sustainable development issues. Hence, she chose to
                                                                         Earthquake PTSD Relief in China
                compile this particular issue to fulfill that purpose.

   At our current rate of development, a precarious future               ―Dominican Chernobyl‖                          6
   awaits us with open arms. As an increasing number of
   governments around the world recognize the truth                      Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh                7
   behind this deadly premonition, efforts have been made
   to stymie this rate of decline. That the Economic and                 Myanmar‘s Government Response to
   Social Council would meet this year to discuss                        Cyclone Nargis                                 8
   sustainable development and a great amount of talk is
   now circulating around the expiring Kyoto Protocol is                 Hurricanes of Florida vs. Katrina:
   a testament to this recognition. Yet, the effects of                  The Main Differences                          10
   human negligence are not all tangibly manifested in
                                                                         The Pisco Earthquake: Shaking the basis of    12
   crises like the food and oil crisis; rather, this
                                                                         Disaster-management programs in Peru
   negligence has been heralded as contributing to the
   frequency of natural disasters. This month‘s Ecology                  Africa‘s Population Dilemna: A Hindrance
   Enquirer examines government responses to both                        To Sustainable Development                    14
   natural disasters like the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar
   and human-induced disasters like garbage build-up in                  Europe‘s Garbage                              16
   Naples. Our examination offers case studies from all
   regions of the world in an attempt to offer a global                  Sakhalin: The Energy Projects                 18
   comparative perspective to facilitate comprehensive
   analyses. Human negligence has induced a volatile                     The Invasion of the Cane Toad                 19
   threat and governments bear witness to this truth in the
   increasing number of disasters and crises arising on                  Destruction of Olive Groves in Palestine:     21
   their agendas, therefore, in compiling this edition, we               ―The Third Nakba‖
   hope to offer some insight on our contemporary
                                                                         Concluding Remarks                            23
   plagues and the efficacy or inefficacy of certain
 From Tangshan to Sichuan:                                                In 1976, the second most lethal earthquake in
                                                                          history, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter
 Earthquake PTSD Relief in                                                scale, quietly flattened a sleeping Tangshan on the
 China                                                                    night of July 28th. The catastrophe diverted some
 By Emmy Chow, Greta Liao, Kent To and Lillian Tsang                      officials‘ attention from their political instability in
                                                                          the ―Year of Curse‖. However, relief work was
                                                                          criticized as insincere and inadequate. Rescue
                                                                          efforts were conducted secretly behind the world
                                                                          curtain when the Chinese government turned its
                                                                          back against international aid from the United
                                                                          Nations. The exact death toll, estimated from
                                                                          242,000 to 650,000 still remains uncertain.

                                               Thirty-two          insomnia, emotional instability, and tension.
                                          years later, on          For instance, a man witnessed with shock
                                          May          12th,       his wife‘s death from the Sichuan
                                          another deadly           Earthquake as a building suddenly collapsed
                                          earthquake with          and buried his wife. He could not accept the
                                          the         same         fact and kept blaming himself. This man‘s
                                          magnitude hit            case indicates what is termed ―survivor
                                               Wenchuan,           syndrome‖ or survivor guilt.
Complete Destruction of the City of       Hundreds       of        Overall situation in China
Tangshan by the July 28, 1976 Earthquake  thousands      of        China at that time was still closed under the
(Photo source: China Earthquake                 buildings,         Cultural Revolution when the Tangshan
Administration)                                 especially         earthquake      hit.    Infrastructure          was
              schools, were leveled, claiming more than            underdeveloped and loose. Therefore, the
              69,000 lives. The Chinese government, in             government's response was slow, ineffective
              this case, was highly praised by the                 and unwilling as reflected in the flow of
              international community for its immediate            information and the reluctance to foreign
              response. Two months later, the direction of         help. Furthermore, the flow of information
              the aftermath relief gradually cast its light        was almost stagnant at the government level.
              on reconstruction and psychological                  It took 12 hours for the central authorities in
              assessment. This article attempts to assess          Beijing to learn that Tangshan, the epicenter,
              the progress of government relief in                 was completely leveled. It was discovered
              addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder            only when a Tangshan coal miner, Li Yulin,
              (PTSD) victims from Tangshan to Sichuan.             drove an ambulance for six hours along dirt
                                                                   roads to reach Beijing to reveal the
              PTSD                                                 information.1          The
              Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a             common people were
              psychiatric condition that can arise from any        almost ignorant about the
              traumatic and catastrophic life experience,          situation. Hu Chengxi
              has been attracting increasing recognition           from      Mianyang       in
              and concerns in the scope of natural disaster        central China's Sichuan
              relief. Normally it does not appear during           province talked about his
              the catastrophe; instead, it gradually               parents'       experience:
              emerges as the trauma endures. The most              ―during the Tangshan           Lu Guilan, rescued by soldiers
              vulnerable groups to PTSD include victims            earthquake,                    after being trapped for 13 days.
                                                                                                  (Wang Wenlan, 1976).
              and survivors from disasters as well as              telecommunications
              rescuers.                                            weren't as developed as nowadays -- even
                                                                   television wasn't very popular -- so my
              The findings on the long-term impact of the          parents could only get news from the radio.
              Tangshan Earthquake on human‘s physical              They don't have many relatives or friends in
              and mental health show that after 32 years,          Tangshan, so at first they did not understand
              PTSD has cast a shadow on the rest of the            the severity of the situation there. But they
              victims and survivors‘ lives after the               were naturally shocked by the number of
              earthquake and contributed to their suffering        casualties.‖1 All communications were cut
              from neurosis, anxiety and fear. The chance
              of getting such a disorder among the                   胡金喜.袁藝.楊洋. ―心理之療 靠好心人持之以恆‖ 6 June, 2008. www.People.com.cn . 5 July, 2008. <http://www.512gov.cn/BIG5/123054/7350350.html>
                                                                   2Tyler, Patrick E. ―Tangshan Journal: After Eating Bitterness, 100 Flowers Blossom‖, 28 January, 1995. New York Times. 5 July 2008.

              Tangshan population is approximately 3-5             <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE7D91F30F93BA15752C0A963958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all>
                                                                   3 Björkell, Stina. ―Special report---Earthquake in China--- Hu Chengxi: Overseas Chinese struggle to cope with Sichuan tragedy‖ 23rd May 2008. Radio 86 All
                                                                   about China. 5 July, 2008. <http://www.radio86.co.uk/node/6530>
                                                                   4Szczepansk, Kallie. ―The Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976, the Natural Disaster That Ended China's Cultural Revolution‖ About.com. 5 July, 2008.
              times higher than normal. Those who have             <http://asianhistory.about.com/od/china/a/TangshanQuake.htm>.
                                                                   5Zhang, Hou can; Zhang, Yi zhong. (1991) Psychological consequences of earthquake disaster survivors. International Journal of Psychology Special Issue: The
                                                                   psychological dimensions of global change, 26: 613-621. 1991.

              experienced the trauma are more vulnerable           6                              Martinsen, Joel. « Why commemorate the Tangshan earthquake?" 28 July 2006. Danwei. 6 July, 2008.
                                                                   7史占彪, 王菁华. 四川省抗震救灾―安置安心‖心理援助德阳工作站成立. 23 June 2008. Institute of Psychology, CAS. 6 July, 2008.

              to high blood pressure and cerebral vascular         8                              Anonymous. ―Company News: All-in-one Outpatient Insurance Introduces Clinical Surgery Coverage‖ Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific)
                                                                   Insurance Limited. 5 July, 2008 <http://www.bluecross.com.hk/eng/aboutus/press.htm>
                                                                   9                              Anonymous. ―Psychologists suggest long-term counseling for China quake victims‖19 May 2008. Xinhua. 6 July 2008.

              diseases. Many of them are suffering from            12                            赛迪网. ―第一视频1800万网络视频播放器直播赈灾现场 » 15 May 2008. CCID. 10 July 2008

off from the outside. Foreign journalists                                                                                                             Rescue Ourselves." 4 With no water and
were not allowed into Tangshan until 1983,                                                                                                            only bags of biscuits dropped from airplanes
after the opening up of China. Information at                                                                                                         in the first few days, the people of this city
the time was so tightly controlled that the                                                                                                           had little time to mourn the dead, whose
scale of destruction and the number of                                                                                                                bodies were dumped in mass graves and
casualties were not revealed until 1979,                                                                                                              psychological      relief   was     seriously
when Xinhua released the data to the world.2                                                                                                          inadequate.
Rescue efforts                                                                                                                                        PTSD relief and aftermath
The rescuers encountered tremendous                                                                                                                   Unable to address PTSD in a timely and
difficulty in rescuing the victims. It took                                                                                                           effective manner, the victims of the
another few days before the government                                                                                                                Tangshan earthquake showed serious and
took action regarding the severe conditions                                                                                                           long-term mental disorders. "No one cried,"
in Tangshan. The first relief operations were                                                                                                         recalled Mr. Lu, "it was so big and so many
56 medical teams from Shanghai sent to join                                                                                                           people died that the streets and alleys were
the survivors in Tangshan desperately                                                                                                                 all piled up with corpses. People became
digging through the rubble of their homes by                                                                                                          numb and didn't even think to cry." 2 Doctor
hand and stacking the corpses of their loved                                                                                                          Yang Haimen who has been conducting
ones in the streets. Several days after the                                                                                                           research on the psychological impact on the
earthquake, the first People's Liberation                                                                                                             Tangshan people for 30 years said that the
Army (PLA) troops reached the devastated                                                                                                              victims were still facing disorders 20 to 30
area to aid in rescue and recovery efforts.                                                                                                           years after the earthquake. More than 75%
Although they finally arrived on scene, the                                                                                                           of victims tried to turn their faces away from
PLA lacked trucks, cranes, medicines,                                                                                                                 their psychological problems. They refused
masks and other necessary equipment. Many                                                                                                             to watch or hear anything about the
of the soldiers marched or ran for miles to                                                                                                           Tangshan earthquake. Although a few
the site because of the lack of passable roads                                                                                                        mental health doctors provided medical
and rail-lines. Once there, they too dug                                                                                                              service for the victims of the Tangshan
through the rubble with their bare hands,                                                                                                             earthquake, the problem was addressed 20
lacking even the most basic of tools. 4                                                                                                               years after the earthquake. Nearly a
                                                                                                                                                      generation later, many older city residents
Denial of foreign aid to address PTSD
                                                                                                                                                      still cannot bear to talk about it.
Concerning PTSD, some foreign countries
                                                                                                                                                      Zhang & Zhang (1991) examined the long-
have started examining mental treatment
                                                                                                                                                      term psychological effects of the 1976
since the 1970s. China, however, embarked
                                                                                                                                                      Tangshan earthquake in China. They
in this field of study only in the 1990s. In
                                                                                                                                                      administered the 16PF, 2 attitude tests, and
dealing with the aftermath of Tangshan,
                                                                                                                                                      individual interviews to 110 paraplegic
China's leaders, forbade foreigners from
                                                                                                                                                      (aged 25-70) and 100 non-paraplegic
entering the area and rejected offers of aid
                                                                                                                                                      subjects (aged 20-70). Results suggested the
from international relief agencies like the
                                                                                                                                                      presence of long-term psychological effects.
United Nations aid agencies and the
                                                                                                                                                      They suggested that earthquakes should be
International Committees of the Red Cross.
                                                                                                                                                      considered not only as physical disasters,
Instead, they organized a lean recovery                                                                                                               but also in conjunction with psychological
operation called "Resist the Earthquake and                                                                                                           after-effects.3
                                                                                                                                                      The government response to the Tangshan

                              新浪财经. ―五叶神为灾区我要爱心理援助行动资助100万‖ 20 May 2008. Sina. 9 July 2008.
                              AFP. ―China: no foreign rescue teams please‖ 13 May 2008. Asiaone News. 9 July 2008.
                                                                                                                                                      earthquake censored the world‘s knowledge
16                            Dasgupta, Saibal. ―China ready to accept foreign aid, not experts‖ 13 May 2008. The Times of India. 10 July 2008.
17 Alexandri, Maya. ―Supporting Caregivers‖ Mercy Corps. 10 July 2008.                    <http://www.mercycorps.org/topics/emergencies/2251>
                                                                                                                                                      of this tragedy. Not much was known except
                                                                                                                                                      through the famous reportage literature---

The Great Tangshan Earthquake by Qian                        shortage of professional psychologists to
Gang. There are some that even doubt the                     teach them. In response to such shortages,
earthquake‘s occurrence6. Throughout these                   local governments have held workshops for
past 32 years however, the world witnessed                   psychological experts to train volunteers on
many changes and development in the                          how to provide support for the needy. Due
Chinese government and the country. The                      to the flood of unskilled volunteers, the
Sichuan earthquake on May 12, 2008                           Central Government has adopted a policy
reflects its more open attitude to the people.               that only volunteers who have already
                                                             certified as psychological counselors at the
The Sichuan Earthquake                                       national level are qualified to join the
                                                                         program. But they will receive
Immediate action                                                         further training before heading to
The         Chinese                                                      the earthquake-hit areas to begin
government       has                                                     their work.10
taken immediate
action since the                                                           Apart       from       face-to-face
day of the Sichuan                                                         counseling, the ministry has
earthquake. It has                                                         organized universities to launch
received         and                                                       counseling hotlines and websites
adopted        eight                                                       for    quake      victims.     Nine
                            The parents and relatives are mourning the
suggestions                 killed pupils.(photo source: Getty Images)
                                                                           universities including the Beijing
regarding                                                                  Normal University and Sichuan
psychological relief proposed by the                          Normal University have opened hotlines and
Institute of Psychology.7 The eight                           websites. For example, websites, such as
suggestions include actions ranging from                      www.newssc.org and www.nen.com.cn,
immediate action to long-term strategies.                     have started operations to help young
Two days after the disaster, May 14th 2008,                   Sichuan migrant students and employees.
the first bundle of counselors including more                 Psychologists stay online to answer
than 300 professional psychologists have                      questions concerning post-quake problems.11
been sent by the Ministry of Health and
other institutions to the quake zone. By                      The        Chinese
June, the number of counselors had                            government has
increased to 50 teams numbering over 1,000                    also initiated self-
individuals in total to assist in psychological               help programs for
counseling, but most of them did not have                     the         victims,
proper training in post-disaster counseling.8                 distributing self-
As China's psychological counseling service                   help booklets and
has just developed in the past few years, the                 posters.       Mass
number of psychologists that are specially                    media informs the       Premier Wen Jia-bao talks to the
                                                                                      orphans.(Photo Source: Xinhua)
trained for treatment and intervention for                    public about the
post-disaster psychological trauma is limited                 resources being distributed for psychological
and those having on-spot experience are                       relief. Participating mass media corporations
even fewer.9                                                  include CCTV, Guangming Daily, Science
                                                              Times Daily, Hong Kong TaKungPao and
Thousands of volunteers from around the                       Vodone Broadcasting Production.12
country have registered through local
psychological service stations to help                        Sixty thousand posters have been sent to
counsel victims. Before their frontline tasks,                quake areas in a bid to help the
they have joined training programs at the                     psychological counseling of traumatized
local level. Even though many Chinese                         survivors.13 These posters, drawn and
citizens want to volunteer, there is a serious                printed under the organization of the Health

Ministry, are targeted at adults, middle-            had been granted access. The Japanese
school students, and preschool and primary           government, with their expertise on dealing
school students. Consoling words have been           with earthquake aftermaths, had been one of
written into doggerel verses to make them            the first foreign governments to offer China
easier for people to understand and                  assistance following the initial earthquake.
remember.                                            Foreign rescue teams from Russia, the
On May 20, the first 50,000 books had been           Republic of Korea and Singapore were
sent to students in hard-hit Mianyang city in        subsequently allowed to assist in the search
the southwest Sichuan province, where                for survivors.15
classes have resumed in tents. These books
were especially written by experts on child          The authorities of China in charge of
psychology after the quake. More                     disaster relief works and civil affairs have
psychological      pamphlets    are    being         now welcomed the aid from international
distributed to the victims, including one            community and they have made contact with
covering the treatment for children,                 the relevant countries and organizations. The
particularly orphans, following a deadly             Chinese government has developed a
catastrophe.14 According to the Ministry of          partnership with international organizations
Education, starting on May 27, 800,000               in the relief work. Ministry of Water
copies of this counseling book regarding             Resources (MWR), along with the project
treatment of child victims were sent to              partners-- UNDP China, China International
schools handling quake-affected children.            Center for Economic and Technical
Another 10,000 psychological manuals have            Exchange (CICETE) and The Coca-Cola
been distributed to the general public of            Company, provided urgent assistance with
Sichuan from Tianjin. The manuals                    tents, medicines, food and drinking water
compiled by experts and students at Nankai           valued at RMB 100,000 to the quake
University, teach people how to comfort              affected areas under the joint Water Project
themselves and help others to recover from           in Chongzhou city of Sichuan Province.
psychological trauma.11
                                                    Without the relatively open policies and
Open for foreign aid                                humanitarian principles of the Chinese
For the Sichuan Earthquake relief and               government in both the rescue and post-
recovery, the Chinese government opened             quake recovery, all these efforts from civil
their door to foreign aid and shared the            societies and international community are
rescuing work burden with the international         futile. Hence, the government‘s role in crisis
community. Compared to the response to the          management and in the cooperation with
Tangshan      earthquake,    the    Chinese         NGOs, civil society and the international
government eventually allowed foreign               community are vital. The Chinese
relief workers access to the                                  government has made contrasting
                                     “People became
region surrounding the epicenter                              responses to the two quakes. After
                                     numb and didn't
of the earthquake. Immediately                                30 years, China now has enabled
                                     even think to cry”
after the earthquake, the head of                             people to mobilize and muster
China's Civil Affairs Ministry                                resources at a time of great need;
had cited poor travel conditions in the             the quick and active participation of NGOs
Sichuan area as the reason for not allowing         has marked the milestone in the
foreign rescue teams access. However, on            development of civil society in China. In the
May 15th, three days after the earthquake,          coming future, reconstruction and recovery
the Foreign Ministry has changed their              are of equal importance as is relief from the
stance and announced that a Japanese team           mental-health                    perspective.

                                                                drinking water supply4. The health implications
  “The                              Dominican                   of this careless disposal system have resulted in
  Chernobyl”                                                    almost an 80% lead poisoning rate, which is
  By Vanessa Matthews                                           highest among children. This data is superseded
                                                                by a multitude of other health implications,
                                                                which includes 93% of the residents having
                                                                asthma, 83% with bronchitis, 69% having flu
                                                                symptoms, and 68% having diarrheal infections.
                                                                Most of the 90,000 residents of Bajos de Haina
                                                                suffer from more than one, if not all, of these
                                                                ailments5. The D.R. Academy of the Sciences
                                                                also emphasized the effects of non-toxic waste
                                                                in the region, which is a result of the 85 tons of
                                                                garbage produced daily and disposed of in open-
This fall Vanessa enters her senior year as an
undergraduate at Rutgers University. As a double major in
                                                                air dumps. This leaves residents susceptible to
Political Science and Spanish, she hopes to work for a          infection, disease, and poisoning because of the
United Nations delegation or become the President of an         ―inappropriate means of disposal,‖ reported the
NGO in the future. Her decision to write about Bajos de         Academy.
Haina reflects her family heritage as well as her overall
                                                                         The weak environmental protection laws
concern about poverty, the economy and the environment.
                                                                and the lack of government intervention in
  Developing nations constantly face a barrage of
                                                                clean-up and health-care only worsens the
  social, political, and environmental issues when
                                                                situation in Bajos de Haina. In 2006, the Council
  attempting to leap out of the sphere of
                                                                of Environmental Affairs of the CAFTA-DR
  ‗developing‘ and into that of ‗modern‘. The
                                                                agreement established the Secretariat of
  Dominican Republic is no exception to this
                                                                Environmental Affairs to enforce the weak
  notion and since its industrial boom in the 1970s
                                                                environmental laws of the country in order to
  it has faced more challenges in reaching this
                                                                clean up the hazardous waste materials all over
  point. The region of Bajos de Haina, about 20
                                                                by having the Secretariat report annually to the
  kilometers west of the capital of Santo
                                                                Council on its activities.6 Unfortunately, this
  Domingo, is one of the biggest industrial ports
                                                                legislation is still insufficient because the
  in the country and accounts for more than 60%
                                                                environmental protection laws are still in the
  of the nation‘s industrial success. In 1997, Bajos
                                                                beginning stages of enforcement and
  de Haina became one of the world‘s most
                                                                enforcement is limited by a lack of fiscal
  polluted cities and the catastrophe of the
                                                                sources.7 Still, the government has established
  Baterias Meteoro battery swelter left the
                                                                organizations and training programs to promote
  residents of Haina without much hope of
                                                                environmental protection awareness and
  governmental help.
                                                                enforcement, but the underlying factor is money,
           The automobile battery recycling plant,
                                                                and without the proper funding, successful
  Baterias Meteoro, was shut down in 1997
                                                                protection can only go so far.
  because of failing results. Problems arose,
                                                                         Although the CAFTA-DR treaty
  however, when the plant did not do its part to
                                                                enforces a healthier environment, few efforts
  clean up the chemical and metal waste that it
                                                                have been made on the government‘s behalf to
  produced from the battery acids. After five
                                                                eradicate the health consequences of the people
  years, it was evident that the abandoned factory
                                                                in Bajos de Haina. Because it continues to be a
  and its ill-disposed trash were having negative
                                                                developing nation, the Dominican Republic
  repercussions for the residents of Bajos de Haina
                                                                lacks the necessary funds to advance technology
  because of the dangerously high levels of heavy
  metal began seeping into the air, soil, and
  drinking water of the region. According to the                4
                                                                  The Blacksmith Institute. ―World‘s Worst Polluted Places.‖
  2004 Blacksmith Institute‘s report on the most                http://www.blacksmithinstitute.org/search2.php?program=lead&industry=le
  polluted cities in the world, all of the factories in         5
                                                                  Pina, Diogenes. ―Dominican Republic: Thick Smog on the Caribbean
                                                                Coast.‖ http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36404
  the region annually release 457 tons of heavy                 6
                                                                  Communique of the Environmental Affairs Council of the Dominican
  metals into the air, 577 tons of heavy metals into            Republic- Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement.
                                                                Guatemala City, Guatemala. May 2006.
  the ground, and 89 tons of heavy metals into the              7
                                                                  Communique of the Environmental Affairs Council of the Dominican
                                                                Republic- Central America- United States Free Trade Agreement.
                                                                Guatemala City, Guatemala. May 2006.

  and social welfare as it pertains to healthcare.               they reached their goal of supplying 80% of the
  Because of lack of national funding to hospitals               people of Bangladesh with ―clean‖ water, via
  and clinics, residents are required to pay for                 their tube-well system.8
  their health services prior to reception. In direct                     However, the supposed purity of the
  correlation with the national poverty problem,                 water became suspect in the early 1980s. In
  more than half of Bajos de Haina residents live                1983, numerous hospital cases linked to arsenic
  below the poverty line. This makes it near                     surfaced in West Bengal. As years passed, the
  impossible for any families to receive medical                 silent serial killer, arsenic poisoning, emerged,
  treatment for the lead poisoning, asthma, and                  hospitalizing victims with lesions, skin pigment
  other health problems caused by the deteriorated               changes, and tumors. The lesions were traced to
  environment in Bajos de Haina.                                 water, initiating scientists to speculate about the
           Ultimately, the poor health of the                    cleanliness of the water. Investigations found
  Hainans makes it more difficult for a healthy                  that the water from the tube-well systems was
  environment to exist and more difficult still for a            contaminated with inorganic arsenic. The
  strong economy to grow. The crisis occurring in                aquifers were the root of the problem because
  the Dominican Republic speaks to all corners of                they were never tested for arsenic.2 As a result,
  the globe concerned with either environmental,                 many people developed illnesses, causing
  economic, or health issues. Success on any of                  physical deformities, which were passed from
  these matters will never come to fruition without              generation to generation. The higher the
  applying a comprehensive approach that                         concentration of arsenic in a certain tube-well,
  includes them all with a focus on the vital role of            the faster the terminal diseases struck. When the
  people and cooperation.                                        West Bengali population was exposed to lower
                                                                 dosages of arsenic, they were infected anytime
Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh                                  within 20 years, and experienced slower deaths.
                                                                 The crisis soon intertwined into the daily lives of
By Anushka Chadha                                                the Bangladeshi people.
                                                                          The health crisis was somehow masked
                    Anushka is a rising senior at Millburn       from the media, and it did not make headlines
                    High School in New Jersey. She is
                    interning at WIT because she is              until twenty years later. Since then,
                    interested to learn how                      approximately 33 to 75 million out of the 125
                    the United Nations works, and how            million Bangladeshi people that encompass the
                    international bodies exchange                entire population have been at risk to arsenic
                    information. She chose the topic of
                    arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh
                                                                 poisoning from the contaminated water.8
                    because she feels that public health         According to data reports, the concentration of
                    issues are a growing concern and             arsenic in the most toxic water well reached
                    people should be provided with               4000 parts per billion. Relative to the maximum
                    accurate information about them              permissible
  The world‘s largest mass poisoning, a blemish                  standard
  on the face of public health officials, was a                  concentration in
  simple lapse in judgment. In the 1970‘s,                       the         United
  UNICEF collaborated with the Department of                     States, which is
  Public Health Engineering in a public health                   50 parts per
  campaign to create a tube-well system – a                      billion,
  system of underground water wells in                           Bangladeshi
  Bangladesh. They wanted to give the country                    waters          are
  access to ―clean‖ water, as opposed to the                     perilous.      The
  disease-infested, animal-shared water routed                   severity of the
  from ponds and rivers. The new tube-well                       issue is captured      Two men from Bangladesh are
                                                                                        pictured collecting water from a
  system created an underground connection with                  by Allan Smith,        typical tube-well.
  the pipes in the wells to the aquifers; aquifers               a professor of
  are water filled surfaces that transmit the water              epidemiology at University of California at
  to the pumps. The pump is the basic operating                  Berkeley: ―…the scale of this environmental
  mechanism of the tube-wells. Bangladeshi                       disaster is greater than any seen before. It is
  people pumped the water from this system for
  their every need from drinking, to bathing, to
  cleaning. In 1997, UNICEF announced that                       8

beyond the accidents at Bhopal, India, in 1984,                              in the calamity than the Bangladesh government.
and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.‖9                                           That idea adds to the incongruity of the situation
         It took the Bangladesh government                                   because the source of the problem also helped
about 10 years to investigate and acknowledge                                eliminate the problem. But, the fact that the
the serious health problem. Meanwhile, other                                 international community ignited the crisis
countries and international agencies, such as the                            actually balances the fact that the international
British Geological Survey, felt the need to take                             community came to the rescue when the
immediate action in the form of investigative                                Bangladesh government was weak. So, whether
research.8 During the investigations, health                                 the international community acted as a ―cure‖ or
officials from the British survey made sure to                               a ―disease,‖ is not part of the equation. The
mark the well pumps, contaminated with arsenic                               significance lies in the sense that the
levels above the standard concentration, with red                            international community banded together, to
paint. Concurrently, the few new pumps that                                  help part of the human population in dire need
replaced contaminated ones are thoroughly                                    of assistance. And this gives life to the term
tested for arsenic before and after the                                      ―United Nations.‖
         At the time of the incident, government
response was weak. The Bangladesh
                                                                             Myanmar’s Government
government did not immediately respond to the                                Response to Cyclone
health crisis. 10The former chief engineer for the                           Nargis
Bangladesh government provided the following                                 By Peter John Davis         Peter Davis is a rising
explanation: ‗‗ [we] were concerned about                                                                senior at Cornell
creating a scare. If you tell people there is                                                            University, majoring in
                                                                                                         American Studies. He
arsenic in the water, they won't even use it for                                                         finds the government‘s
bathing. They'll be afraid their hair will fall out.''                                                   reaction to Cyclone
   But, eventually the government adopted an                                                             Nargis extremely
agenda called Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation                                                              important because it is a
                                                                                                         great case study of how a
Water Supply Project (BAMWSP) in 2005.                                                                   government‘s reaction to
Donor countries such as the United States of                                                             a natural disaster can
America funded the project. Recent reports,                                                              directly impact the
however, criticize BAMWSP for its sluggish                                                               aftermath of a crisis.
exploits and minimal impact. The project
director      of   BAMWSP,         Khoda        Bux,                         On May 2nd 2008, Cyclone Nargis swept
―…admitted…that lack of finances and                                         through Myanmar, taking with it over 90,000
coordination between bureaucrats and people at                               lives and leaving more than 50,000 people
the grassroots, has prevented the government                                 missing. While acting witness to the destruction
from tackling the problem adequately.‖12                                     and devastation, the world responded with a
However, the Bangladesh Director General of                                  clear voice of support, offering aid in all shapes
Health cajoled the public by announcing that the                             and forms to help the people of Myanmar
government was training doctors in early                                     survive         the
detection of arsenic poisoning, so that they can                             aftermath of the
implement treatment as soon as possible.12                                   storm. However,
         The catastrophe in Bangladesh may not                               the relief effort,
be entirely resolved for years to come. However,                             which could have
it is top priority on the United Nations agenda                              been a triumph of
because it is an element of Millennium                                       international
Development Goal number seven. This MDG                                      cooperation and a
strives ―…to halve the proportion of people                                  beacon of hope
without sustainable access to safe drinking water                            for the survivors
and basic sanitation.‖ 13 It appears that the                                of the Cyclone,            d/asia/06myanmar.html?_r=5&em&ex=1
international community is much more involved                                became           an        210305600&en=ac6f159a24c81fe2&ei=5
                                                                             exercise         in        087%250A&oref=slogin&oref=sl&oref=l
                                                                             governmental negligence. The ruling military
   http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/international/asia/17arsenic.html       junta of Myanmar stifled the aid efforts, clinging
   http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEFD6113EF933A25        to a false sense of national security and hiding
    http://us.oneworld.net/node/79978                                        behind a long held distrust of foreign nations.

          Furthermore, the government of Myanmar had                    still the amount of lives lost to this negligence
          put the survivors of the Cyclone in more danger               has yet to be determined.
          for political reasons. The aftermath of Cyclone
          Nargis can serve as an excellent case study in                With the United Nations declaring that only a
          the dangers of government negligence and also                 quarter of the two million people affected by the
          provide a blueprint for how, together; the world              cyclone received the required aid, the world
          community can act to ease the suffering of                    community has pressured the ruling junta to
          people due to government failures.                            loosen their aid restrictions.3 Led by Secretary
                                                                        General, Ban Ki-Moon a wave of international
           The reaction of the ruling junta to hamper aid               pressure ensued to counter the Junta‘s misguided
           efforts spurs from a long line of distrust of                claims of isolation and open the doors to aid. In
           foreign influence. Preceding the cyclone, the                the Group of 8 summit in Japan, world leaders
           junta had remained adamantly closed off to                   called upon Myanmar‘s government to lift all
           outside influence, resisting economic sanctions              remaining bans on aid. Following this pressure,
           and dismissing public criticism of human rights              the government of Myanmar invited Secretary
           violations. However, with the cyclone‘s tragic               General Ban Ki-Moon back to Myanmar to
           impact, the junta‘s position of isolation came               further discuss how to proceed with aid relief. It
           under immediate scrutiny because of the deadly               was this constant pressure that allowed aid to
           consequences that came from the government‘s                 flow more freely to the survivors. With aid
           response to reject aid. Proofs of the                        workers now in Myanmar, reports have
           counterintuitive priorities held by the junta were           suggested that the people of Myanmar have
           found in the constitutional referendum for which             countered the lackluster response of their
           a vote was held in the wake of the disaster. The             government through their own will and
           referendum sought to extend the Junta‘s power                resourcefulness. Partly due to luck, with low
           and was alleged to be rigged by members of the               rates of serious injuries caused directly by the
           government.1 This stubborn isolationism led to               cyclone, but mostly due to unbelievable local
           the impediment of much needed aid to the                     organization, the people of Myanmar have
           survivors of the cyclone and collective criticism            managed to avoid widespread disease outbreak
           of the Junta‘s actions. As pressure grew for the             and starvation. This grassroots aid relief was an
           Junta to lessen its restrictions on aid, various             amazing accomplishment in light of the junta‘s
           deals were slowly negotiated to facilitate the               response to the disaster. Without such an
           assistance for the survivors. Although food was              overwhelming, organized response at the local
           beginning to be permissible, the Junta remained              level, the disaster could have been much worse.
           skeptical of foreign aid workers, specifically by            However, the effects on drinking water and food
           denying search and rescue teams. The ruling                  supply leave the survivors in an unstable habitat
           junta denied the response of aid groups such as              with incalculable consequences for their future
           UNICEF, Red Cross and Red Crescent by                        health.
           denying these workers proper travel visas. The
           consequences of this delay were significant, not             The destruction and devastation of Cyclone
           only because with every second that workers                  Nargis left the people of Myanmar in desperate
           with expertise in disaster response were denied              straits. Effects were only exacerbated by a
           access, the chances of finding missing persons               government stifling aid because of outdated
                            decreased, but also because the             isolationist ideology. But the world responded
“Without such an            high amount of dead bodies were             by rallying behind the basic principles of human
overwhelming,               contaminating the drinking water            compassion and proved that this desire to help,
organized response          and increasing the chances of               could mute differences between international
at the local level, the     disease to spread. Many of the              powers and take precedence over long held
disaster could have          survivors were left drinking from          rivalries.
been much worse.”
                             puddles, fighting off dysentery
                                                                         The New York Times. "When It Comes to Politics, Burmese Say,
                             and diarrhea2. Despite all of the          Government Is All Too Helpful ," New York Times 28 May 2008. 7 Jul
           public pressure on the junta                                 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/28/world/asia/28delta.html>
                                                                         "Burma 'to let in all aid workers' ," BBC News 23 May 2008. 7 Jul 2008
           to lift aid restrictions, the junta maintained that it       <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7416143.stm>
           provided a timely response by setting up refuge               "Burma 'to let in all aid workers' ," BBC News 23 May 2008. 7 Jul 2008
           camps and restoring electricity promptly.
           However, it is clear the Junta‘s response
           undoubtedly cost aid workers valuable time, and

Hurricanes of Florida                                        hurricanes pummeled through the state of
vs. Katrina: The Main                                        Florida, leaving about 20% homeless and
                                                             killing around 124 people.1 With the constant
Differences                                                  weather updates and continuous press
By: Natalie Miller
                                                             coverage, the majority of Floridians had
                                                             ample time to prepare and possibly evacuate
                                                             with Hurricanes Charley, Francis and Jeanne
                                                             all becoming tropic storms then hurricanes
                                                             hundreds of miles of the Floridian coast.
                                                             Though the three hurricanes all came
                                                             through Florida within weeks of each other
                                                             and their courses were unpredictable, paths
                                                             were foreseen and safety and evacuation
                                                             plans were constantly televised. Many
Natalie Miller will be a senior this fall at the             citizens were able to board up their
University of Central Florida in Orlando Florida. She        windows, take special valuables and
studies Communications along with International and
Global Studies. Being a Florida native, the hurricane
                                                             evacuate to a safer area.
season of 2004 directly affected her and her
hometown of Daytona Beach where Charley, Jeanne              Florida is, for the most part, at either sea
and Francis all caused damage.
                                                             level or below, and most of the land is only
                                                             60 miles from the coastline, leaving it
Throughout American history, natural
                                                             vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical
disasters have been a large factor in shaping
                                                             storms.1 But given proper warning and
our      country‘s      environmental     and
                                                             preparations, lives can be saved and houses
governmental policies. From tornados to ice
                                                             can be preserved. Following Florida‘s
storms, nature has changed the way our
                                                             evacuation plan, the first step is to prepare
government acts when a crisis is thrust upon
                                                             before hurricane season even begins, by
it. Specifically in Florida, hurricanes have
                                                             determining an evacuation plan, checking
become a great threat where just in the fall
                                                             emergency equipment (flashlights, extra
of 2004 alone, with Charley, Frances and
Jeanne all came through
Daytona Beach. Although
F.E.M.A.             (Federal
Emergency Management
Agency) was not actively
present       during      the
hurricane of 2004, many
Americans remember its
disappointing performance
during Hurricane Katrina in
the fall of 2005. The impact
of Hurricane Katrina was a
lot more damaging than the
three hurricanes that hit
Florida            combined
respectably due to the
structure of the city of New Weather forecast of Florida Hurricane Season
Orleans overall, even with
                                                         water, etc.), purchasing extra food and
the similar emergency procedures in place.
                                                         supplies, and making sure the yard is secure
                                                         from low branches and shrubbery that could
Starting in August and lasting through
                                                         become airborne during a high powered
September, three category three and four

      storm.4 Moreover, it is important to listen to                       Many F.E.M.A. employees shared their
      the radio for updates, keep away from                                concern of the upcoming brutal hurricane
      windows, close all doors, and evacuate                               with their supervisors.3 Days before the
      when told.4 With the help of local news                              storm hit, employees wrote about their
      channels, especially Channel 13, this                                concerns for the low leveled city in daily
      information was readily available to all                             reports to Homeland Security.3 But these
      citizens of Florida, especially in those area                        letters were met with no response.3 One
      predicted to be hit by hurricanes.                                   particular employee, Leo Bosner, spoke out
      Comparing to the Hurricanes Charley,                                 when no one else would voice their
      Francis and Jeanne, Hurricane Katrina was a                          concerns.3 He said that the F.E.M.A.
      much more devastating attack of nature with                          director, Michael Brown, was not the
                                                                           appropriate man for the job, with his only
“five out of the eight top F.E.M.A officials had no                        experience being in law and not in
previous crisis management experience.”                                    emergency management.3 It was later found
                                                                           out that five out of the eight top F.E.M.A
      higher winds, killing more then 1,800                                officials had no previous crisis management
      people with estimated damages cost more                              experience.3
      than $81 billion dollars.2 Katrina was more
      damaging and destructive because it hit east                         With the inexperienced officers and the
      of the city of New Orleans, which is on                              delaying of the much needed aid, Hurricane
      average eight feet below sea level.2 The city                        Katrina quickly became known as one of the
      is maintained by water levees, which help                            worst hurricanes to hit the United States.1
      hold the water back from overflowing into                            Once the levees broke, and the town was
      the city. When Hurricane Katrina hit in                              soon flooded, the people left behind were
      August 2005, although 80% of the residence                           soon stranded on the tops of their homes,
      were able to evacuate, many stayed behind.2                          which was highly televised. Days after the
      Many New Orleans citizens did not adhere                             brutal natural disaster, F.E.M.A. was still
      to the evacuation warnings because they                              nowhere in sight.
      trusted the levees would hold back the water
      that surged into the area. With the force of                         The storms that hit the state of Florida were
      the wind and water at a high of 140 mph, the                         less powerful that Hurricane Katrina, with
      levees securing the city were no match and                           the overall wind speed of 30 mph less.5
      broke, releasing the ocean‘s water into the                          Taking this into consideration, and the
      city.5 Many media                                                            location of the storms, small cities at
      outlets,      similar                                                        sea level in Florida and the large city
      during the fall of                                                           of New Orleans eight feet under sea
      2004      Hurricane                                                          level, the aftermath of the storms
      season in Florida,                                                           were       dramatically      different.
      constantly                                                                   F.E.M.A. was not present during the
      informed the locals                                                          Florida storms mainly because there
      of the evacuations                                                           was no overall need for their help.
      plans in their area Weather forecast for Hurrican Katrina   7
                                                                                   The state of Florida was very
      and the proper                                                               prepared for the storms and many
      materials to store, like water and canned                            evacuated before hand. In New Orleans,
      goods.5 Even with the warnings and media                             although many were aware of the impending
      coverage of the dangers of staying behind,                           storm and prepared with supplies and food,
      many citizens, especially in the lower                               the levees protecting them broke causing the
      income part of town, stayed in their homes                           city to flood, leaving many people stranded
      during the storm.                                                    in their homes. With this unforeseen
                                                                           aftermath of the storm, F.E.M.A. was
                                                                           desperately needed to help rescue citizens.

An emergency plan is just that, a plan of                                                    The Pisco Earthquake:
action to take when disaster strikes. But                                                    Shaking the Basis of
even though it was unexpected for the
impact of Hurricane Katrina was
unexpectedly great, F.E.M.A. is still the                                                    Programs in Peru
organization for the assessment and                                                          By Mariana Sentieri
handling of crisis situations. When the
nation needed them the most, they were
nowhere to be found. This delay allowed                                                                                        Mariana Sentieri is a rising junior at
                                                                                                                               Rutgers University pursuing a major in
more lives to be most and more damage to                                                                                       Economics. Within the environmental
be wrought.                                                                                                                    field, she is interested in the concept of
                                                                                                                               sustainable development and disaster
                                                                                                                               management programs. The choice of
In conclusion, when comparing the Florida                                                                                      her topic derived from her willingness to
Hurricanes of 2004 (Charley, Francis and                                                                                       combine such interests with her own
Jeanne) to Hurricane Katrina of 2005, there                                                                                    cultural background, Latin America.
is a substantial difference in the
management. With the hurricanes in Florida,                                                  Almost a year ago, on August 15 2007, an
there was a lot of media coverage, with                                                      earthquake of 8.0 magnitude14 hit the coast
many news outlets constantly reporting the                                                   of Peru. The Pisco earthquake, named after
proper emergency preparedness needed to                                                      the city that was hit the hardest by the
stay in homes or evacuate. Many were able                                                    disaster, was neither the first, nor the last
to retreat to safe houses and many lives were                                                natural
saved. With Hurricane Katrina, although
there was constant coverage of the possible
track of the storm, citizens were not as
prepared as they should have been for such a
powerful category three storm. The city was
not prepared for the levees to give way, and
the subsequent flooding. Moreover, the
absence of F.E.M.A. exacerbated the

In the management of hurricanes in Florida,
                                                                                                                  Earthquake‘s epicenter and Impact Area (U. S. Geological Survey
F.E.M.A. has become a crucial outlet for
assistance. Hurricane Katrina differed from                                                  occurrence of this sort to strike Peru.
previous hurricanes because it hit a city with
a low sea level and attacked the levees                                                      It was considered the most significant
barricading the city from the ocean. But the                                                 earthquake in the past 100 years to occur in
delay and inexperience of the workers of                                                     the region of Ica, a coastal area southeast of
F.E.M.A. resulted in more dramatic effects.                                                  Lima15.. In fact, after 11 months, Ica still
1.―Weather Safety: Hurricanes‖ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of
                                                                                             struggles to recover, regardless of all the
Commerce.                    2002                13            July
                                                                                2008         international support and the much promised
―The First Year After Hurricane Katrina: What the Federal Government Did‖ Homeland
Security.              Feb.             2006          13           July         2008
                                                                                             – but still insufficient, some claim – help of
Foreman, Tom. ―A Disturbing View from Inside FEMA‖ CNN. Nov 2005 13 July 2008
                                                                                             the Peruvian Government. The Pisco event
―The State of Florida: Family Preparedness Guide‖ The State of Florida. 2001 13 July
                                                                                             resonates not only the importance of
2008 5http://www.doh.state.fl.us/rw_webmaster/prepareenglish04.pdf>
Simmons, Lesly. ―Gulf Coast States Prepare for Hurricane Katrina‖ American Red Cross.
                                                                                             sustainable      development      and    good
27              August,               2005           13           July          2008
6.       https://firstclass.wellesley.edu/Login/FOV1-000CD99D/982E0C65-3B9ACA00-
1A125B1E.0/2004hurricanes.png?InAttach=1&U1U=/Login/FOV1-                                    14 Mooney, Walter. ―M8.0 Pisco Earthquake.‖ Video Clip. U.S. Geological Survey. 21
000CD99D/&SAEO=/Login/FOV1-000CD99D/                                                                     Sept. 2007. 12 July 2008
7.       https://firstclass.wellesley.edu/Login/FOV1-000CD99D/982E0C65-3B9ACA00-                         <http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/world/peru/pisco/>
000CD99D/&SAEO=/Login/FOV1-000CD99D/                                                         15, 3Tavera, Hernando, ed. El terremoto de Pisco (Peru) del 15 de agosto de 2007 (7.9
                                                                                                           Mw). Lima, Peru: Instituto Geofísico del Perú, 2008. 11 July 2008.

government management on disaster
programs, but also the capacity of self-
preparedness of the population on a regional
level. In the light of the current international
scenario, where climate change can increase
the incidence and intensity of natural
disasters, Pisco not only serves as a lesson
for Peru, but for the entirety of the world                                                Survivors still sleeping outside of their torn homes. (Photo: Ricardo
                                                                                           Mazalan/Associated Press, picture extracted from The New York Times
governments.                                                                               website)
―Peru is a land of earthquakes. Its history                                                        Both international and domestic
has shown us that it is only a matter of time;                                             responses to the disaster were made in a
so let‘s not close our eyes to reality. It‘s                                               matter of a couple of days. In a report made
time we begin to work and prepare                                                          by OCHA, from August 16, 200719, the
ourselves.‖16 It is with these words that                                                  Peruvian Government had declared a state
Hernando Tavera, current director of the                                                   of emergency in the Department of Ica and
Instituto de Geofísica de Perú (Geophysics                                                 the province of Cañete. INDECI, Peru‘s
Institute of Peru), introduces the recent                                                  national defense organ, was working on a
online report on the Pisco earthquake.                                                     response plan. Internationally, emergency
Indeed,     the     Lima     newspaper       ―El                                           cash grants had been released by UNDP and
Comercio‖17 claims that 191 earthquakes                                                    OCHA and help was being offered by
have stricken Peru in 2007; Pisco‘s being                                                  various different entities. In a matter of eight
the most devastating of all4. According to                                                 days20 from the initial report, the
IGP, the seismologic process was particular                                                government of Peru declared that 800 tons
due to its uncommonly long duration, about                                                 of humanitarian aid had been delivered in
210 seconds, and the subsequent 4,500 after-                                               Pisco, several shelter sites were set up in the
shocks that it produced. Also, a by-product                                                areas hit the hardest, and the humanitarian
of the Pisco earthquake was a tsunami that                                                 aid had reached 95% of the affected
did not produce as much devastation as the                                                 population. Internationally, the UN had
earthquake but nonetheless, the Peruvian                                                   released an approved budget totaling $9,591
Government posted an alarm.                                                                million dollars to Peru and many
        Although the mortality rate of this                                                governments and organizations were
disaster was relatively low, approximately                                                 sending supplies, personnel, and cash
600 deaths, because most people were                                                       donations. Nonetheless, regardless of all the
outdoors when it occurred, more than a                                                     resources that were allocated to sooth the
thousand were injured, and 39, 741 houses                                                  disaster, help still arrived too slowly to some
were destroyed. Almost 100 hospitals were                                                  areas and many Peruvians felt abandoned in
either destroyed or had their functioning                                                  a time of hardship.
compromised by the earthquake. The                                                                 Indeed,       many      believe     that,
electricity and water were cut, and early                                                  immediately after the disaster, the relief was
estimations18 believed 150,000 people were                                                 organized neither quickly nor efficiently
deprived from those two basic resources2.                                                  enough. The local population insists that,
The earthquake of Pisco isolated each                                                      had help arrived faster, many deaths would
community within their devastated locality,                                                have been avoided. ―Families in the area say
without water supplies or electricity.                                                     they were left to sift the ruins for the dead
                                                                                           and the living‖, reported a journalist for The
                                                                                           New York Times eight days after the

17 ―Peru fue sacudido por 191 sismos sensibles durante el 2007‖.El Comercio [Lima].
July 12 2008< http://www.elcomercio.com.pe/ediciononline/HTML/2008-01-02/el-peru-
fue-sacudido-191-sismos-sensibles-durante-2007-informo-igp.html>                           19 OCHA-Geneva. ―OCHA Situation Report No. 1/ Earthquake- Peru‖.16 august 2007.
                                                                                                      RedHum Website. < http://redhum.org/informes_documentos.php>
18 UN News Center. 20 august 2007.―OPS responde en Perú a emergencia por
terremoto‖.13 July 2008.                                                                   20 OCHA-Geneva. ―OCHA Situation Report No. 1/ Earthquake- Peru‖.24 august 2007.
http://www.un.org/spanish/News/fullstorynews.asp?NewsID=10168                                         RedHum Website. < http://redhum.org/informes_documentos.php>

disaster occurred21. The government, on the                                                                                             The peril of Africa's explosive population
other hand, defended itself by blaming the                                                                                              growth is often overshadowed by other
delays in distribution of aid on the scale of                                                                                           epidemics in the continent; ironically,
the damage to infrastructure. ―No matter                                                                                                however, the threat posed by the growing
what we do, people will complain‖, said                                                                                                 population is one of the greatest challenges
Women‘s Issues and Social Development                                                                                                   hampering Africa‘s development. As the
Minister, Virginia Borra22.                                                                                                             African population growth rate continues to
        But has the government done enough                                                                                              accelerate upward, it hinders the continent's
after eleven months? Contradictory accounts                                                                                             efforts to tackle poverty, reduce the spread
continue to arise. Early in February, a                                                                                                 of diseases, and construct its economy.
Spanish newspaper published a story                                                                                                     These impediments propel the people to
explaining that, the lack of a registry had                                                                                             exploit environmental resources for survival
hampered       the    beginning      of     the                                                                                         and consequently, such actions present an
reconstruction projects in the affected                                                                                                 obstruction to progress and development in
region, and that life continued ―chaotic and                                                                                            Africa.
difficult‖23 for the local population. Some
affirmed that the help that was promised                                                                                                Africa is the second most-populated
never arrived. On the other hand, last June,                                                                                            continent in the world after Asia. In sub-
the UN released accounts on the continued                                                                                               Saharan Africa alone, there are 788 million
effort to promote recovery in the area in                                                                                               people—approximately twelve percent of
partnership     with     the    government24.                                                                                           the world's population1. Yet, according to
Earthquakes, as Mr. Tavera has wisely                                                                                                   Mr. John May, a demographer at the World
stated, will continue to be part of Peru; it is,                                                                                        Bank, Africa's population is growing at 2.5
therefore, of uttermost importance that the                                                                                             percent per year--twice the rate of other
country devises an efficient plan on how to                                                                                             regions. At this rate, Africa's population
respond to them.                                                                                                                        will double in twenty-eight years 2.

Africa’s     Population                                                                                                                 Given these statistics, one may question why
Dilemma: A Hindrance                                                                                                                    population growth reduction is overlooked
                                                                                                                                        by African leaders and not a priority in the
to          Sustainable                                                                                                                 international arena. During the 1960s and
Development                                                                                                                             the      1970s,      various      international
By Wing Yin (Maggie) Leung                                                                                                              organizations         collaborated         with
                                                                           Maggie (Wing Yin) Leung is                                   governments of developing countries to
                                                                           a recent graduate from New                                   establish effective family-planning programs
                                                                           York University. Upon
                                                                           graduation, she worked as a                                  to control population growth. While African
                                                                           pharmaceutical consultant at                                 leaders largely neglected and illegalized
                                                                           IBM where she developed an                                   such programs which were believed to
                                                                           interest in health and policy.
                                                                           In hopes to expose the often-                                encourage       immorality7,     they     were
                                                                           overlooked population crisis                                 successfully implemented in Asia and Latin
                                                                           in Africa, Maggie chose this                                 America. With the successes in the latter
                                                                           topic to discuss its
                                                                           repercussions to the                                         continents, world population growth rate
                                                                           continent's sustainable                                      stabilized and international funding was
                                                                           development efforts.                                         shifted to tackle other urgent issues1. Yet, to
                                                                                                                                        establish sustainable development in Africa,
                                                                                                                                        the issue of population growth reduction
21 Barrionuevo, Alexei. “Quake Orphan Reflects Peru’s Loss, and Anger”. The New York Times [New York] 23 August
2007. July 12 2008. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/25/world/americas/25peru.html>                                                      must be brought back to the forefront.
22 Chauvin, Lucien O. “Government’s earthquake relief in Peru not enough, say experts.” Christian Science Monitor
99.185 (2007): 7. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. Rutgers University Lib., 11 July 2008
                                                                                                                                        One of the major obstacles undermining
23 “Los afectados por el sismo de Pisco todavía esperan.” Video clip. La Vanguardia. 15 February 2008. 11 July 2008.
                                                                                                                                        development in Africa is poverty—a factor
     Sistema de Las Naciones Unidas en el Perú. UN. 13 July 2008. <http://www.onu.org.pe/Publico/OnuPeru/MenuPrincipalPeru.aspx>
                                                                                                                                        that is directly linked to population size. As

          Mr. Joe Santangelo from Medical News                        likelihood that the market can absorb an
          Today asserted, ―population growth                          overwhelming number of low-skilled job
          threatens food security in already                          seekers is very slim. As unemployment
          malnourished states, makes long-term                        rates climb, some unemployed individuals
          dependence on international assistance more                 may turn to criminal activities to survive. In
          likely, and increases the pressure for                      fact, as stated by Ms. Dorothea Schmidt
          international migration.3‖          Instead of              from the International Labour Organization
          focusing efforts to develop infrastructures,                (IL0), ―there is a strong correlation…
          African nations must provide basic                                                                            between
          human needs to its growing population                                                                            high
          and prevent massive illegal migration
          in order to stop perpetuating the
          existing destitution of the continent.
          Moreover, as the population continues
          to grow, conflicts over scarce
          resources—such as arable land—will
          intensify. In such dire conditions, the The average desired number of children in African families is between
          African people are likely to live in six tocountries per household—a number significantly greater than
                                                            nine children

          poverty for years to come.
                                                                      unemployment rates and recruitment into
          Besides poverty, rapidly expanding human                    terror groups‖5.
          populations also contribute to the spread of
          diseases—another         major        challenge             Based on a research conducted by the World
          undermining development in Africa. In both                  Bank in 1994, the availability of family
          past and recent history, dense population                   planning programs and improvement in
          and crowding conditions provided an ideal                   contraceptive practices—two elements that
          environment for the spread of infectious                    are often lacking in African nations—can
          diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis (TB),                greatly reduce population growth. African
          and HIV4—all of which plague Africa.                        leaders should consider granting access to
          Infections can be spread quickly in                         such services and education for their people.
          overcrowded regions as bacteria find                        Furthermore, by increasing schooling and
          numerous hosts to thrive in. While there are                improving economic opportunity for
          treatments and strategies to counter these                  women, the study revealed that the desire
          illnesses, the funding is very costly. As a                 for children could be significantly lowered.
          continent that is already facing severe health              Currently, the average number of desired
                         challenges, development will                 children in African families is between six
“One of the major        inevitably be hindered if more               to nine children per household—a number
obstacles                funding is allocated to address              much greater than most countries6. Because
undermining              the outbreaks of other                       of women‘s lack of financial independence,
development in           infectious diseases.                         they feel that they must have a large number
Africa is poverty—                                                    of children to support them during old age.
a factor that is
                         Excessive population growth                  Raising the status and bargaining power of
directly linked to
population size.”        also jeopardizes economic                    African women will reduce the demand for
                         development in Africa. With                  children.
                         a large number of people
          living in poverty, African governments face                 The immediate need to stem rapid
          the daunting task of providing education—                   population growth in Africa is real and
          an essential element for long-term                          urgent. The extent to which rapid
          development—to their nations‘ youth.                        population growth will threaten the
          Without education, African citizens are                     development effort in Africa will largely
          likely to remain low-skilled workers. The                   depend on the actions taken by the African

leaders. A prompt implementation of a                                                         Whether or not this industrial waste is the
practical and effective long-term population                                                  cause, doctors say that cancer rates in the
policy is therefore vital to Africa‘s future.                                                 area are much higher than the national
   May, John, and Jean-Pierre Guengant. ―Africa‘s greatest challenge is to reduce             average, but the presence of organized crime
fertility.‖ Financial Times. 13 Mar. 2008.
  May, John. “Africa’s Population Growth: a Development Challenge.” The World                 makes the situation almost impossible to
Bank. 1 April 2008.
  Santangelo, Joe. “Reducing poverty in Africa, population growth may be bigger               rectify locally.2 Consequently, and in
hurdle than AIDS. Medical News Today. 29 Oct. 2005.
  McMichael, Anthony J. Planetary Overload: Global Environmental Change and the               reaction to the ripening effects of summer
Health of the Human Species. Oct 1993.
  Fowler, Jonathan. ―UN on Youth Unemployment and Crime.‖ 11 Aug. 2004.                       heat, residents have begun burning the piles
  Ainsworth, Martha. ―Population Policies for Sub-Saharan Africa‖ The World Bank.
Dec. 1994.                                                                                    of rotting waste, the public health effects of
  Mundell, Jonathan. ―Family Planning Integration: A Proven, but Highly Under-Utilised
Prevention Strategy.‖ Consultancy Africa Intelligence. May. 2008.                             which have not been evaluated.3

                                                            The national government has spent over 1.3
Europe’s Garbage                                            bn euros over the past thirteen years trying
By Hillary S. Kabach                                        unsuccessfully to clean up the streets,4 and
                             Hilary is a second-year
                             Masters student at
                                                            now Berlusconi has two new plans. The first
                             Columbia‘s School of           is to add ten new landfills in the region. This
                             International and Public       plan has been met with dissent by residents
                             Affairs. She is interested in
                             sustainable development,
                                                            who fear the effects on both their health and
                             social justice and cognitive   that of the local environment.5 The second is
                             linguistics. She chose to      to treat the trash crisis as a natural disaster
                             write about garbage in
                             Europe because it is a
                                                            and relinquish control to civil services
                             significant development        forces, such as the military.6 Up to four new
                             issue that is often            incinerators will also be added.7 Berlusconi
                             overlooked until it reaches
                             crisis proportions.
                                                            has declared that landfills, dump sites and
                                                            incinerators ―will become virtually military
People don‘t like to think about garbage. We                zones and will be guarded by soldiers to
throw it in a bin, put it out on garbage day,               ensure that they can be cleared,‖ and that
and then someone comes to take it away.                     they are ―areas of strategic national
But what happens when no one comes to                       interest.‖8 As such, any interference with
collect it? It stays in the street, piling up and           waste disposal or management is punishable
stinking, as the residents of                                                   by a prison sentence.
Naples        know.       Since                                                         Interestingly, on
December 2007, garbage                                                          July 10th the Italian
dumps in the Campania                                                           parliament voted to grant
region of southern Italy have                                                   legal impunity to the four
been overflowing, and as a                                                      highest            ranking
result garbage collectors                                                       government officials: the
have stopped collection,                                                        President, the Presidents
which has led to an                                                             of the Senate and the
estimated 3,000 tons of                                                         House                    of
waste lining the streets of                                                     Representatives, and the
Naples, and as much as                                                          head of the government
200,000 tons in the wider Garbage piled up in front of a school in              (the Prime Minister).9
Campania region.                       Naples. EPA/CIRO FUSCO at M&C Europe     Garbage or no, this lack
        Further complicating                                                    of     accountability    is
matters, the Camorra, the local version of                  unlikely to help the functioning of public
the Mafia, operates in every part of the                    services in general and should call into
region‘s sanitation system, often bringing in               question the aims of the Italian government.
large quantities of industrial waste from the                        The European Union has taken note
north to dump in Campania‘s landfills, as                   of Italy‘s problem and in June sent the
well as in the surrounding countryside.                     Italian government a ―letter of formal

notice‖ that it was violating the EU's Waste         which make people pay for their garbage
Framework Directive.10 The European                  output, as well as a charge for collection.
Commission has also taken Italy to the               Meanwhile Germany appears to take the
European Court of Justice, saying it does not        lead in recycling programs, with separate
believe Italy has proposed an adequate               bins for glass, sorted by color, one for paper,
solution,11 and the EU‘s Environmental               another for plastics, tins and composite
Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, has called              materials, one for biological waste and the
for "concrete and immediate measures to              stuff of compost, and one for other things.
resolve the situation, keeping the needs of          This program has the added benefit of
public health and the environment in                 encouraging people to simply produce less
mind.‖12 Punishments for not complying               waste.
with EU directives include imposition of                     The lesson is that Europe‘s waste
fines and withholding of regional funds, in          output is unsustainable, and it needs to
addition to national humiliation.                    produce garbage. While EU, national and
        Although the Waste Framework                 local authorities have the responsibility of
Directive encourages states to become self-          rolling out environmentally friendly
sufficient in waste-management and to                schemes to do so, ultimately private citizens
produce less waste and recycle more, as              simply need to produce less waste.
much as 160,000 tons of waste is being
                                                      ―Clashes over Naples rubbish site.‖ BBC News. 24 May 2008. Site accessed
taken out of Italy altogether in an effort to        1 July 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7418558.stm
remedy the garbage crisis. It is being moved          ―Clashes over Naples rubbish site.‖
                                                      ―Naples faces 'disaster measures.'‖ BBC News. 21 May 2008. Site accessed
to Germany, which has a much more                    1 July 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7412123.stm
                                                      ―EU sues Italy over rubbish crisis.‖ BBC News. 6 May 2008. Site accessed
developed waste management system and                2 July 2008.
creates less waste in general. According to          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7385282.stm
                                                      ―Clashes over Naples rubbish site.‖
Martin Mineur, technical director of two of           ―Naples faces 'disaster measures.'‖
                                                      ―Naples garbage crisis to end.‖ UPI. Site Accessed July 5, 2008.
Hamburg's incinerators: ―We are doing this           http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/07/02/Naples_garbage_crisis_to_end/
because we were asked to provide                      ―Naples faces 'disaster measures.'‖
emergency aid, but we will do it only for a           ―Protégé par l'immunité pénale, Silvio Berlusconi pourrait échapper à la
                                                     justice.‖ Le Monde with AFP. 10 July 2008. Site accessed 11 July 2008.
few months, not years."13                            http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2008/07/10/protege-par-l-immunite-
        It thus appears that a temporary             justice_1068858_3214.html#ens_id=999907
solution has been found, and cleanup has              ―Q&A: Can the EU clean up Naples?‖ BBC News. 8 January 2008. Site
                                                     Accessed 2 July 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7175380.stm
begun. However, Naples is not the only                ―Clashes over Naples rubbish site.‖
                                                      ―Q&A: Can the EU clean up Naples?‖
city—and Italy not the only country—in                Rosenthal, Elizabeth. ―All of Europe getting a whiff of Naples
                                                     garbage problem.‖ International Herald Tribune. 8 June, 2008. Site
Europe with a waste problem. Britain, for            accessed                    7                    July               2008.
example, Europe‘s most prolific trash-               http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/08/europe/trash.php
                                                      ―All of Europe getting a whiff of Naples garbage problem.‖
producer, will have filled its garbage dumps          ―All About Recycling.‖ How to Germany. Chuck Emerson Media Services:
                                                     2008.          Site         Accessed          07         July       2008.
in nine years if current trends continue. As         http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/recycling.html
landfills across the continent fill, the
European commission is issuing stronger
calls for waste reduction. By 2020, for
example, member states will be required to
have reduced the amount of waste sent to
landfills to a mere thirty-five percent of
what it was in 1995.14
        Some of the schemes devoted to
reducing landfill waste include recycling
programs, waste-capping with fines for
exceeding the cap, and power-generating
incinerators. The UK is considering both
capping programs and increased ―bin taxes,‖

                          The Others
                          With growing attention paid to biodiversity, the growing consensus has
                          realized that the human population is not the only one affected by human
                          actions and damages done to other populations holds great repercussions for
                          the world as a whole

Sakhalin:              The            Energy                  pipelines away from the feeding grounds of the
                                                              WGW, it refused to move a drilling platform
Projects                                                      adjacent to those grounds. With such a serious
By Nickolai Belakovski                                        disturbance nearby, the WGW population‘s
                                                              chances for survival are reduced, and NGOs and
                          Nickolai is a rising                environmentalists continue to call for the
                          sophomore at Purdue
                                                              relocation of the drilling platform.
                          University, where he is
                          double majoring in
                          Astronautical Engineering      The salmon population is facing a number of
                          and Applied                    difficulties as well due to the sedimentation
                          Mathematics. He has a          caused by construction of the pipeline. Scientific
                          great interest in              research says salmon cannot spawn in water
                          international affairs and is   with more than 220mg of suspended solids, and
                          President of the Model         while the report of Sakhalin Environment Watch
                          UN club at Purdue.             (an NGO monitoring the situation) does not
Projects to develop the natural resources                                           include the actual
of Sakhalin Island assume a very muddled                                            level of suspended
environmental picture. For one thing, the                                           solids, it contains
infrastructure they require is substantial,                                         photographic evidence
and so affects many aspects of marine life                                          showing water so
both in the Sea of Okhotsk where the                                                sediment-filled it is
fields are being developed, and closer to                                           opaque.3 In the photo
the coast where several hundred                                                     below, the company
kilometers of pipeline transport the oil and                                        claimed that the water
gas from the frozen waters of the Sea to                                            was cleared of all
transport terminals at the southern tip of                                          suspended solids just
the island. The pipelines and other                                                 100             meters
                                                                                   downstream of the
components threaten to drive into extinction
                                                 This is what the river looks like river crossing, but the
the Western Gray Whale (of which only 100 14km downstream from the
                                                                                   photo is taken 14
remain) and damage wild salmon habitats.1 upstream oil pipeline
                                                                                   kilometers downstream
The project also threatens the livelihoods of
                                                                                   and shows a clearly
many local fishermen and the layout of the
                                                         dirty river.
pipelines is such that many spots are vulnerable
to damage significant enough to cause a major
                                                         Apart from the effects on WGWs and salmon,
oil leak, which would be an environmental
                                                         the pipeline holds the potential for numerous
                                                         hazards. The 800km long pipes are at various
                                                         points vulnerable to volatile seismic activity,
The Western Gray Whale is believed to migrate
                                                         land erosion, landslides, and at one point are
from eastern Russia to China2 and numbers only
                                                         built only 300m away from an old military
around 100. While Shell, then-leader of the
                                                         ammunition depot. Russian law stipulates the
development consortium, agreed to reroute the
                                                         official prohibited zone around such areas at

400m, and construction projects must be placed                                rectifying the situation. The deal signed by
even further.                                                                 Gazprom and Shell signed in December 2006
                                                                              gave little credence to the Russian government‘s
An investigation by the government of the                                     position on the environment. But in late 2007, a
Russian Federation in mid-2006 revealed a large                               report published by an independent firm of
number of violations of environmental                                         consultants (commissioned by potential lenders
legislation by the consortium developing the                                  to the Sakhalin project) concluded that the
pipeline. Not only did they provide little or no                              project was largely in compliance with all the
protective measures against erosion in many                                   relevant environmental requirements.7
areas, entire tributaries were covered with soil
due to the unauthorized construction of access             In spite of this independent assessment, the
roads and little or no measures were put in place          murky waters of Sakhalin are not clear. Several
to prevent mudslides in some of the most                   public banks are either still deciding whether to
vulnerable areas. Also, the pipeline route                 give funds to the project, or have otherwise
deviated significantly from the original plan, and         decided against it. These banks have strict
now goes through a nature preserve. The                    environmental policies for the projects they
investigation      prompted                                                   finance and groups like Sakhalin
Oleg Mitvol, the deputy         “…The 800km long pipes are                    Environment                  Watch claim the
head of the Russian             at various points vulnerable                  decisions to withhold funds was due to
Federal Service for the         to volatile seismic activity,                 the consortium‘s failure to comply
Oversight      of     Natural   land erosion, landslides, and                 with said policies. On the whole, it
Resources,        to,      in   at one point are built only                   would appear that the actions of
September 2006, order the       300m away from an old                         governments as well as government-
halt of all construction        military ammunition                           backed bodies such as the public
works on the development        depot…”                                       banks, have led a successful campaign
project and threatened to                                                     against the environmental degradation
revoke environmental authorization for pipeline            of Sakhalin Island.
installation. Mitvol suggested that the
environmental damages could cost up to $50                 1.Sakhalin Environment Watch. ―Sakhalin 2 still not rejected by EBRD in spite of
                    4                                      increased        violations      from       Shell.‖      November       29,     3005.
billion to repair. After several months of                 http://www.sakhalin.environment.ru/en/
uncertainty, Gazprom, Russia‘s natural gas                 2. International Union for the Conservation of Nature. ―Western Gray Whale
                                                           Conservation Initiative.‖ 2007. http://www.iucn.org/themes/marine/sakhalin/
giant, took control of 50% plus one share of the           3. Dmitry Lisitsyn. ―Sakhalin Phase II: environmental and social problems: What‘s
                                                           new?‖ October 20, 2005. http://www.pacificenvironment.org/
consortium developing the island. Then-                    4. Parfitt, Tom. ―Kremlin attack dog vows to take on Shell in the battle of Sakhalin.‖
                                                           October 4, 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/
President Vladimir Putin said the environmental            5. Kommersant. ―Russian Authorities Pull Out of Dispute with Sakhalin Energy.‖ March
                                                           29, 2007. http://www.kommersant.com/
issues had been resolved. Finally, on March 29,            6. Sugiyama, Yoshikuni. ―Russia‘s economic roulette: Gazprom wants more than 50% of
                                                           Sakhalin II.‖ September 30, 2006. http://royaldutchshellplc.com/
2007, Mitvol stated the government would not               7. ―Sakhalin‘s Phase 2 HSES Report Gets High Marks from AEA.‖ October 9, 2007.
be taking any action in the courts against Shell           http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=51196

for its environmental violations. The decision
was made on the basis that the consortium was
willing to solve the problems.5                            The Invasion of the
At first, many independent analysts saw the                                                                   Stacy is a rising junior at
move by Russian government to halt pipeline
                                                                              Toad                            Tufts University,
construction as a way to ―strengthen its position,                                                            majoring in International
and increase its role in the project.‖6 The deal                              By Stacy Jen                    Relations and Chinese.
                                                                                                              She is interning at WIT
struck in the 1990‘s between the Russian
                                                                                                              because she believes that
government and Marathon, McDermott, and                                                                       focusing on sustainable
Mitsui (Shell and Mitsubishi joined later on, and                                                             development and
Marathon and McDermott sold their stakes) was                                                                 environmental and health
very unfavorable for the government, and so the                                                               issues is crucial to
move to halt construction was seen as a way of                                                                improving human
                                                                                                              welfare. She became
                                                                                                              interested in the problem
                                                                                                              of cane toads through her
                                                                                                              environmental biology
                                                                                                              class last year.

With its large build and dry, warty skin, the cane        goannas, snakes, and salt-water crocodiles have
toad is a seemingly mundane and innocuous                 been declining since the introduction of the
creature. However, the Bufo marinus is proving            toad.2 Furthermore, these native animals are
to be a huge environmental problem for                    forced to compete with the prolific toads for
Australia. One hundred of these toads were                food sources, especially insects, in addition to
shipped from Hawaii to northern Queensland in             the struggle to habitat space., Furthermore,
1937 as a natural method to control the beetles,          without any natural diseases or predators in the
which were devastating sugarcane crops. The               region checking these growing populations, the
species of beetles found in Australia differed            cane toad continues to consistently expand its
from those found in Hawaii, and the toads,                territory southward each year by an estimated
unable to jump high enough, were not capable of           1.3 kilometers. 1 In all life stages, the cane toad
dealing with the pests. 1 Nevertheless, by                is fatally poisonous. In its adult form, both the
releasing these animals into the wild, a great            upper surface of its skin and the protruding
threat was unknowingly introduced to the                  glands on its sides exude toxins. The poison is
environment.                                              absorbed through body tissue, and predators that
        It is without a doubt that this invasive          get their mouths around the toad die from
species is wreaking havoc on the biodiversity of          contact with the poison. The cane toad is also
                                                                   known to eat feces, and in areas of poor
                                                                   sanitation, they are able to transmit
                                                                   bacteria and diseases, such as
                                                                   salmonella. 1
                                                                            The cane toad‘s massive
                                                                   takeover of the continent can also be
                                                                   attributed to its prolific reproductive
                                                                   cycle. Although preferring to breed
                                                                   during the wet season and in still waters,
                                                                   the toad is capable of reproducing year
                                                                   round. Females lay anywhere from
                                                                   8,000 to 33,000 eggs in one spawning,
                                                                   whereas native Australian frog species
                                                                   lay only 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time.
                                                                   The eggs of cane toads are also more
                                                                   resistant to certain herbicides and
                                                                   eutrophic waters, environments that are
                                                                   uninhabitable to other frogs. Moreover,
                                                                   these eggs quickly hatch into tadpoles,
  The spread of cane toads throughout Australia                    which subsequently develop into adults
                                                                   quicker than the natives, heightening the
Australia,    ultimately  compromising       the          level of competition between species for
environment in terms of food security, pest               available resources. 3
control, and water and soil quality. The cane                      The cane toad is a declared pest in
toad is a nocturnal, resilient animal, able to            certain regions of Australia, calling forth
survive in temperatures of 5° to 40° C and a              government responses on a more local and
multitude of environments. A land-dweller, it             regional level. In Western Australia, the WA
feeds on almost anything that it can swallow,             Cane Toad Initiative was implemented as a
ranging from smaller frogs to petite mammals              means to delay the encroachment of the toad.
and reptiles, and even food left out for pets.            Between 2006 and 2009, a 7 million dollar
Because of the toad‘s nonspecific diet, native            survey across 20 Kimberley Islands is being
species are constantly being eaten by these               undertaken to gain a more accurate picture of the
amphibians, endangering species that are already          biodiversity and the flora and fauna at risk, and
marginalized. Populations of northern quoll,              how to protect these species more efficiently. 4

Other state governments have invested millions                                                 Destruction of Olive
of dollars in genetic research. Peter Koopman,
the professor of Developmental Biology at the
                                                                                               groves in Palestine:
University of Queensland, is currently                                                         “the third Nakba”
developing a gene that results in only the birth of                                            By Jennie Ellison
                                                                                                                                                 Jennie is a rising second year
male toads. If successful, the numbers of toads                                                                                                  Master's student, studying
will plummet. 5                                                                                                                                  International Community Health
         Biological methods are also effective at                                                                                                at Steinhardt School of Culture,
                                                                                                                                                 Education, and Human
controlling the cane toad. At the University of
                                                                                                                                                 Development, New York
Sydney, a lungworm parasite that is deadly to                                                                                                    University. She is interested in
the cane toad but not Australian frog species has                                                                                                international communities and
been discovered. In addition, when ―alarm                                                                                                        the many social, economic,
pheromones‖ are released from injured tadpoles,                                                                                                  political and behavioral
                                                                                                                                                 determinants that produce health
it signals that danger is in the area, urging them                                                                                               statuses. She chose this topic as it
to flee. However, these pheromones stress out                                                                                                    is an example of how political
the tadpoles to an extreme level, and as a result,                                                                                               determinants affect people´s
many of them die due to stress. Luckily, this                                                                                                    livlihoods and health statuses.
pheromone can be produced and can be used as
a means to control the population. Combined,                                                        Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
these biological methods are proving effective. 6                                              territories in1967, Palestinians have lived under
         Governments are also relying on                                                       Israeli restrictions on olive harvesting. In 2000,
organizations and volunteers to physically go                                                  these restrictions became harsher, making
into the environment and humanely dispose of                                                   harvesting extremely difficult, if not impossible,
the toads. Long strands of cane toad eggs can be                                               for the farmers.         The Israeli occupation
found in lakes and removed. Fine mesh fencing                                                  authorities‘ policies include curfews, permits,
is also useful in preventing toads from reaching                                               confiscation of ID cards and equipment, fines,
ponds to reproduce. 1                                                                          and destruction of crops25. Israeli settlers have
         As cane toads continue their march                                                    attacked and killed harvesters during the harvest
across Australia, both national and local                                                      season and the military regularly shoots at
governments are stepping up to meet the ever                                                   Palestinians outside after curfew.
increasing environmental challenges posed by                                                        Since 1967, Israel has been responsible for
these      troublesome       amphibians.       This                                            destroying over 1 million olive trees in
decentralized approach is more efficient, able to                                              Palestinian territory26. Olive groves make up
meet the challenges posed by the toads in the                                                  4.6% of Palestine‘s GDP and serve as a main
various terrains of the country. Scientific                                                    source of income for over 100,000 families27.
advances are also helping to mitigate the                                                      From 2000-2004 alone, the Palestinian Ministry
problem, but the possibility of these methods                                                  of Agriculture has reported the uprooting of
negatively impacting the environment still                                                     approximately 400,000 trees worth over 60
exists. A more careful and thorough study and                                                  million US dollars28. Besides the habitual
testing should be undertaken to ensure its safety.                                             uprooting of olive trees, the Israeli construction
    "The feral cane toad (Bufo marinus) - Invasive species fact sheet." Australian             of the segregation wall, or Israeli West Bank
Government - Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 2004.
Australian     Government - Department of the Environment, Water, Heritag. 09 Jul              barrier, uprooted 45,000 olive trees29. The wall
                                toad.pdf>.                                                     will affect more than 126 communities30 and
  Cameron, Elizabeth. "Cane Toads, Giant Toads or Marine Toads." Australian Museum
Online.        June      2002.        Search     &      Discover.    10     Jul    2008
                                                                                               make about 1 million more trees inaccessible or
   "The Unwanted Amphibian." Cane Toads in Australia. 05 Oct 2005. 10 Jul 2008
               <http://www.fdrproject.org/pages/toads.htm >.
      ―Cane     Toad       Initiative.‖    Naturebase.     2007.    10    July.   2008.        25
                                                                                                  Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. Monitoring Israel Colonization Activities in the
               <http://www.naturebase.net/content/view/2548/1371/>                             Palestinian Territories. ―Olive Harvest in Palestine. Another Season, Another Anguish‖.
  "Gender bending could see cane toad's end." ABC News Online. 06 June 2006. ABC. 10           Accessed 7 July 2008 at
July           2008 <http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s1656274.htm>.                <http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=455. 6 November 2004>
6                                                                                              26
  Australian Academy of Science. "Biological Weapons To Control Cane Toad Invasion                ibid
In             Australia."     ScienceDaily     10    May 2008.        10   July 2008          27
<http://www.sciencedaily.com                  /releases/2008/05/080508131953.htm>.             28

restricted31. It will also ―leave over 50% of                                                     In its past and current policies and
Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza                                              actions concerning the Palestinian territories and
Strip in Israeli hands‖32                                                               its people, Israel has been in violation of many
        As         any           deforestation                will         have         international laws. The United Nations called
environmental and economic consequences,                                                for the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian
Palestinians have been affected in even greater                                         territories after the 1967 war; however, Israel
ways by the olive grove destruction. The olive                                          has not relented. Israel is also in violation of the
tree is also a historical, cultural, and religious                                      Hague Convention of 1907 and the Fourth
symbol for Palestinians. It has been grown in                                           Geneva Convention of 1949, the former
the Middle East for thousands of years and                                              prohibiting the seizure or destruction of property
Palestinians see it as ―a symbol of their nation‖                                       except during war and the latter prohibiting
    as well as a symbol of peace. It serves as a                                        collective penalties.
religious symbol for both the Muslim and                                                        The responses of both governments are
Christian Palestinians, mentioned in the Qur‘an                                         couched in the continuing feuds and violent
and the Bible. In the destruction of olive trees,                                       attacks from both sides. There have been many
Palestinians feel a direct attack on themselves,                                        peacemaking attempts between Israel and
their families and their nation. ―Uprooting the                                         Palestine since 1967, the last of which was the
tree is seen as a form of crushing the Palestinian                                      Annapolis conference of November 2007. The
culture and eliminating their voices‖34.                                                content of those talks was confidential; however,
        Both sides offer differing reasons for the                                      both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders have
restrictions and destruction of olive                                                                              spoken concerning its
groves. In terms of restrictions,                                                                                  progress.      An Israeli
Israel has stated that they want to                                                                                spokesman has stated that
keep the harvesters safe from                                                                                      the    ―discussions     are
attacks of Israeli settlers and the                                                                                continuing;      we     are
restrictions allow them to provide a                                                                               making progress‖, while
safer environment for harvesting. In                                                                               a               Palestinian
regards to the destruction of olive                                                                                spokesperson states that
groves, the Israeli military has                                                                                   negotiations ―are not
stated that Palestinians use the trees                                                                             advancing at the required
for shelter while throwing stones at                                                                               pace or yielding the
Israelis and therefore they are acting                                                                             progress necessary for us
to preemptively remove their ability                                                                               to reach the agreed
to attack the Israelis. The Israeli                                                                                objectives by the agreed
                                                                     An olive grove farmer surveys his land.
Defense                Force              has           also         Photo: Palestine Monitor
                                                                                                                   dates.‖36. The destruction
acknowledged that they have                                                                                        of olive groves will not
uprooted trees ―to build settlements, expand                                            be successfully brought to an end until the entire
roads, and lay infrastructure‖35. Palestinians                                          peacemaking attempts are successful.
argue that the restrictions and uprooting are                                                     Several organizations are currently
aimed to destroy this sector of the Palestinian                                         involved in efforts to stop the uprooting of olive
agriculture economy and slowly take more land                                           trees. The United Nations provides Palestine
through the destruction of the groves.                                                  with $1 million each year to support the olive
                                                                                        economy37.           The International Solidarity
  ReliefWeb. ―The olive harvest in the West Bank and Gaza – Oct 2006‖. 31 October       Movement, Rabbis for Human Rights, and
2006. Accessed 7 July 2008 at
<http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-6V7K9C?OpenDocument>                 Grassroots         International     Protection    for
  Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. Monitoring Israel Colonization Activities in the
Palestinian Territories. ―Olive Harvest in Palestine. Another Season, Another Anguish‖.
Accessed 7 July 2008 at
<http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=455. 6 November 2004>
33                                                                                              36
                                                                                                   New York Times. ―Palestinian Official Says Talks With Israelis Yield Little‖. 18
―Uprooting Olive Trees in Palestine.‖ Accessed 7 July 2008 at                                   April 2008. Accessed 8 July 2008 at
<http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/olive-tree.htm. November 2002>                                 <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/world/middleeast/18mideast.html?scp=2&sq=anna
                                                                                                   ReliefWeb. ―The olive harvest in the West Bank and Gaza – Oct 2006‖. 31 October
     ibid                                                                                       2006. Accessed 7 July 2008 at
35                                                                                              <http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-6V7K9C?OpenDocument>

Palestinain People are a few of many non-                     perniciously     felt    socially,
governmental organizations who are speaking                   economically, politically and
and acting out in regards to the olive grove                  environmentally for generations
destruction.                                                  to come.      Furthermore, the                                                                    Enquirer
Palestine experienced their first Nakba, or                   poor,      minorities,      tribal
catastrophe, in 1948 with the dispossession of                communities, the environment,                                                                    World Information
their land and the second in 1967 after the Six-              animals         and         other                                                                  Transfer Inc.
Day War. An olive grove owner in the village                  disenfranchised       populations                                                                475 Park Avenue
of Ni´lin, Asad Amera, called the building of the             will bear these costs at a                                                                             South
segregation wall ¨the third Nakba¨ or                         disproportionate rate.                                                                              22nd Floor
                                                                                                                                                                 New York, NY
catastrophe1. The building of the wall will mean
further destruction of olive groves and restricted             Yes, our governments must                                                                      Telephone:
access to the existing groves for farmers. Only               take the lead with initiatives to                                                               (212)686-1996
with continued peacekeeping efforts from Israel               mitigate and prevent disaster                                                                   Fax: (212)686-
and Palestine will the economic, social, religious            but we as citizens have a greater                                                               2172
and environmental consquences of olive grove                  responsibility to hold ourselves                                                                Email:
destruction be either mitigated or brought to an              accountable. Citizens of the                                                                    wit@worldinfo.org
end.                                                          world, whether they be
                                                              students,          professionals,                                                               Editors:
Concluding Comments                                           government officials or civil                                                                   Gloria Liu
                                                                                                                                                              Alaya Levi Salley
By Alaya Levi Salley                                          society must vehemently mold
                                                              the governments of the globe to
                         Alaya Levi Salley is a rising        become the responsive and                                                                       Contributors:
                         junior at Wellesley College.         effective bodies needed to                                                                      Emmy (Chow Yi
                         She plans on majoring in                                                                                                             Tin)
                         Peace and Justice Studies and        create a sustainable, healthy and
                                                                                                                                                              Greta (Liao Jing
                         Economics. She chose to edit         safe world.                                                                                     Hua)
                         this issue of the Ecology                                                                                                            Hilary Kaback
                         Enquirer because of its              On behalf of the WIT interns of                                                                 Jennie Ellison
                         relevance to her studies.
                                                              Summer 2008, we hope you                                                                        Kent (To Kwok
                                                              have thoroughly enjoyed this                                                                    Wai)
As quoted from World Information Transfer
                                                              edition of the Ecology Enquirer                                                                 Lillian (Tsang Kai
Inc.‘s homepage- ―We have not inherited the                                                                                                                   Ni)
                                                              and realized that disasters end
world from our forefathers…we have borrowed                                                                                                                   Maggie Leung
                                                              only when committed persons
it from our children.‖ Our actions, if we be the                                                                                                              Mariana Sentieri
                                                              mobilize resources to commit to
agitators, and our reactions, if we be the                                                                                                                    Natalie Miller
                                                              long-term change, prevention
government or identify as politically active,                                                                                                                 Nickolai Belakovski
                                                              and preparedness.                                                                               Peter Davis
must always consider the near and distant future
in combination with the urgent matters of the                                                                                                                 Stacy Jen
present.                                                                                                                                                      Vanessa Matthews
                                                                                                                                                              Anushka Chadha
                                                                                   Thank You.
The exact price we will pay for negligence and
                                                                                                                                                              Special Thanks:
recklessness is immeasurable but will be                      1
                                                                Palestine Monitor: Exposing Life Under Occupation. ¨¨The Nakba of Ni'lin: Landowners Losing
                                                                                                                                                              Amy Williams
                                                              their Olive Trees to the Wall¨. 9 July 2008. Accessed 25 July 2008 at
                                                                                                                                                              (Assistant Editor)

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