High-value opportunities exist to restore tropical rainforests around the world – here’s how we mapped them : The Conversation

The green belt of tropical rainforests that covers equatorial regions of the Americas, Africa, Indonesia and Southeast Asia is turning brown. Since 1990, Indonesia has lost 50% of its original forest, the Amazon 30% and Central Africa 14%. Fires, logging, hunting, road building and fragmentation have heavily damaged more than 30% of those that remain.

These forests provide many benefits: They store large amounts of carbon, are home to numerous wild species, provide food and fuel for local people, purify water supplies and improve air quality. Replenishing them is an urgent global imperative. A newly published study in the journal Science by European authors finds that there is room for an extra 3.4 million square miles (0.9 billion hectares) of canopy cover around the world, and that replenishing tree cover at this full potential would contribute significantly to reducing the risk of harmful climate change

But there aren’t enough resources to restore all tropical forests that have been lost or damaged. And restoration can conflict with other activities, such as farming and forestry. As a tropical forest ecologist, I am interested in developing better tools for assessing where these efforts will be most cost-effective and beneficial.

Over the past four years, tropical forestry professor Pedro Brancalionand I have led a team of researchers from an international network in evaluating the benefits and feasibility of restoration across tropical rainforests around the world. Our newly published findings identify restoration hotspots – areas where restoring tropical forests would be most beneficial and least costly and risky. They cover over 385,000 square miles (100 million hectares), an area as large as Spain and Sweden combined.

The five countries with the largest areas of restoration hotpots are Brazil, Indonesia, India, Madagascar and Colombia. Six countries in Africa – Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Togo, South Sudan and Madagascar – hold rainforest areas where restoration is expected to yield the highest benefits with the highest feasibility. We hope our results can help governments, conservation groups and international funders target areas where there is high potential for success.


Source: High-value opportunities exist to restore tropical rainforests around the world – here’s how we mapped them : The Conversation

No laughing matter: Trump’s speech threatens world order and peace | Asia Times

When US President Donald Trump began his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, laughter erupted from the hall. “In less than two years,” Trump said, “my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the entire history of our country.” There was a pause. Then Trump continued, “America’s – so true” – but he was interrupted by laughter.

Not laughter at a joke that Trump had cracked. Nothing like that. The laughter was directed at him. “Didn’t expect that reaction,” Trump said, “but that’s OK.” There was more laughter, even raucous laughter.


Source: No laughing matter: Trump’s speech threatens world order and peace | Asia Times

The challenge for the United States

It is certainly worrying times.

Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou

From its beginnings, Democracy has opened the way for people with overweening ambition, who employ lies, division and bigotry to achieve their goals. From ancient Athens to modern Europe, we have often seen leaders who challenged the endurance of the political system. But however many wounds those people caused, the democratic system repeatedly proved that it could heal them and lead citizens back towards stability and prosperity. As long as there was some force to restore democracy, the way the United States did in Europe twice last century.

Seldom, though, has a person been able to wield so much power as the US president today, and, at the same time, seldom has an elected leader seemed so unqualified to wield that power as does Donald Trump. The United States’ technological and military superiority, its economic power, its history as winner of two world wars and guarantor of the international order…

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Team GB Fencer Laurence Halsted: Olympic Athletes Must Exercise Their Right to Speak Beyond Their Sport

A difficult stance for any athlete for they live for their sport and the span in which they can compete is short and many will need sponsors to enable them to complete.

But when they have other convictions how can thse mix into their sport and the sponsors of sport.

Unfortunately this is left to the indivdual sports person, until, if they ever do, the sports organisers take this on board.

Stop Making Sense

Team GB fencer Laurence Halsted writes for The Guardian:

As a Team GB fencer in my hometown Games at London 2012 and part of the squad for Rio this summer, I have spent my whole life working towards the Olympics. But I feel torn looking at the protests in Brazil as I prepare for Rio.

It would be irresponsible not to take notice of the outcry in Rio around hosting the Olympics while the health and social wellbeing of everyday cariocas suffer. If I were Brazilian I would be on the streets too. As an athlete proud to represent my country at the Games, I have been forced to grapple with the fact that the Olympics come with negative side effects for the host nation. Silence in the face of such injustice could be wrongly interpreted as implicit approval.

Controversy has stalked the hosting of recent Games. Just look at the vast…

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Donald Trump, Alexis Tsipras, and the similarities.

A like and not a like.

Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou

Donald Trump and Alexis Tsipras couldn’t be more different. The sexagenarian Trump is an unabashed capitalist while the 40-year-old Greek prime minister joined the Communist Party as a teenager and since 2009 has led the radical-left Syriza party.
The ostentatious American parades his multiple mansions and his fortune, which Forbes had the temerity to value at a mere $4 billion despite Trump’s claims that it “is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.” Tsipras, an engineer who has spent most of his life as a political activist, lives in a modest apartment in a working-class neighbourhood of Athens. The prime minister rarely wears a tie, whereas the Donald J. Trump Collection offers “the pinnacle of style and prestige in the form of men’s suits, dress shirts, cuff links, neckwear, belts, eyewear, and more.” During political rallies, Trump likes to extol wealth while Tsipras denounces the growing gap between rich and poor.

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