e2 - Eye on Earth
, a service of World Watch
Magazine in partnership with the Blue Moon Fund
, provides our community with a unique perspective on current events, newly released studies, and important global trends. This update service offers context to critical world events that are seemingly disparate yet often closely related, highlighting the connections between human consumption and the natural world, while telling the stories of individuals and organizations that are supporting new approaches to resource use, energy use and urban development. Eye on Earth presents the news of today with an eye towards tomorrow, illustrating how current events will shape our own future and that of generations to come.
Some experts are calling today’s college students “the Greenest Generation” yet. From the West Coast to the East and everywhere in between, U.S. colleges and universities are taking steps to make their campuses more sustainable.
Ice in the Arctic region is disappearing—and quickly. Scientists from the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) report that this year’s retreat of Arctic sea ice could be the most extreme since monitoring of the polar ice cap began in 1979.
On August 31, the California legislature passed a bill establishing the most extensive carbon dioxide (CO2) emission controls yet in the United States. The law requires a 25 percent reduction in state CO2 emissions by 2020, with the first major controls taking effect in 2012.
Sunil Kumar Verma, founder of “Children Against Carbide” and a dedicated campaigner for justice for the victims of the deadly 1984 gas explosion in Bhopal, India, committed suicide on the evening of July 26. The 34-year-old activist was found wearing a T-shirt that said “No More Bhopals.”
In his August 27 sermon from his summer residence south of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI warned that, “damage to the environment makes the life of the poor…particularly unbearable.” He called on Christians to unite to care for the Earth and expressed support for the Italian church’s “day for the safeguarding of Creation,” a September 1 event when parishes across Italy ask believers to meditate on ecological damage.
Executives with the U.S. donut chain Krispy Kreme expect great success following the franchise’s August 8 debut in Hong Kong. But the event may portend a less welcome trend, as diets rich in sugars and oils feed a growing obesity epidemic in China. Krispy Kreme is only the latest in a line of high-calorie Western food chains to penetrate the Chinese border—fast-food giants McDonald’s and KFC have thrived in China for years—but its arrival comes at a time when developing and industrialized countries alike are concerned about burgeoning populations of overweight citizens.
After the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released a study earlier this month citing high levels of pesticides in Indian soft drinks manufactured by Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co., protests erupted across the country and seven states instituted partial bans on the products. But the continued focus on major soft drink manufacturers has left the broader issue of food and groundwater contamination in India in the background of this raging debate.
At an August 17 meeting in Athens, United Nations officials, Mediterranean environment ministers, and scientific experts agreed on an International Assistance Action Plan to clean up last month’s oil spill along the Lebanese coast.
As more people get their information from Internet chat rooms and other online sources, conventional print and media advertising becomes relatively less important. Gauging public opinion and adopting more-responsible practices before stringent regulations are developed can save businesses both time and money, Mallaby notes.
As World Water Week wraps up in Stockholm, Sweden, two new studies suggest that the world’s deteriorating water situation deserves more attention than ever.