Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big rally on the mall in Washington DC

Jotman was there live in Washington DC Saturday, blogging both the Al Sharpton march and the Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Protests in Chile to save Punta de Choros

Historiauv reports that Tuesday the Regional Environmental Commission (COREMA) of the Coquimbo Region approved Franco-Belgian Suez Energy's bid to build a coal-fired thermoelectric power plant at Chungungo cove near the town of La Higuera.  It's to be built just south of the historic Punta de Choros, a region famous for marine ecological diversity. 

Silvia Viñas blogs that the Chilean president Sebastián Piñera's had promised to, “oppose all thermoelectric plants that seriously undermine nature, communities and quality of life.”

The project is said to pose a threat to the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, consisting of three islands located off Punta de Choros.  The islands are also home to seabirds, a colony of bottlenose dolphins and migrating whales.  There is a marine reserve around the archipelago. 

Around noon 500 people demonstrated in the center of Coquimbo, a port city.    In Santiago the environmental group Pescao Chao convened a protest today at the corner of Alameda and Ahumada. Gonzalo Rocker (6 twitpic) was there live at Ahumada in Santiago.  He took photos of  police using water cannons to disperse a large crowd of peaceful protesters. There were demonstrators in other other parts of the country, most notably in Valparaiso at the Plaza Sotomayor.     

Other power plants are planned for the coast of Chile that threaten other spectacular natural spots, for example the Los Robles energy project to be developed on the coast of the Maule region, close to the sea lions of Loanco, wetlands, and the Reloca Frederick Albert National Reserve. (maulee!)

Astu Science has been following the controversy on his blog, and posts this video:

Twitter: #Termoeléctrica

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Effects of Pakistan floods of 2010

In addition to the sources mentioned in the previous post, Dave has been live-blogging the impact of the floods.

Dave's Landslide Blog, Update on the disasters in China and Pakistan (11 Aug),  Update on China and Pakistan (13 Aug), and Pakistan flood update (15 Aug)

Dave suggests that after the initial flooding, two further dangers threaten Pakistan:

1.  A second wave of flooding.
The danger must be that the second flood wave starts to catch up with, and build upon, the stalled first wave.  This would create the potential for an extremely damaging second phase of floods.  It took six days for the first wave to pass from Taunsa to Guddu, and a further day to Sukkur.  The hope must be that the water level starts to fall quickly at these two sites before the second wave arrives.

Unfortunately, it is clear that this slow motion disaster has several more weeks to go, even if there is no further heavy rain. 
2.  Coping with devastation
The sheer magnitude of the disaster in Pakistan is difficult to comprehend.  Unfortunately the true horror of this event is probably remaining hidden; the real impact will come when the water levels in the south subside to leave polluted water wells, destroyed homes and wrecked crops.  The legacy of this disaster will be long-lasting, and will have a profound impact on Pakistan and elsewhere.
Denver Post, Captured in flooded Pakistan - selected photojournalism

How to donate?  Medicins Sans Frontiers  is providing emergency medical care to flood victims in Pakistan via mobile clinics and health centers in all four provinces affected  as well as sanitation equipment, water, drugs and medical material to displaced persons. You can donate online or by phone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pakistan floods of 2010

Al Jazeera reports that More than a million people have been affected by massive flooding in Pakistan.

Robert Mackey, Eyewitness video to the floods

Weaver, Pakistan flood live updates

Fires burn across Russia

It's quite amazing that mainstream media in the west are failing to provide good stories with the Russia fire situation. Half of the country, most of its populated part, is on fire. Some pics and videos are quite apocalyptic in nature.  For example,
  • Here's a scary video - just some folks trying to drive through the burning area.
  • This video shows a wildfire seen approaching the town of Vykza.
People are basically trying to organize themselves - bloggers seem to be of some help in coordinating that activity. For instance, i-cherski.  
Another blogger, Vollove on 07.29 attempted to join some volunteers and help fight the fire near Vykza. Here is a short summary of his report which included pictures:
  • We arrive on the scene. Wait for 20-30. There's a lot of volunteers around. There is a fire engine, some trucks and buses. Our gear looks ridiculous.
  • Suddenly it gets absolutely dark, even though it's an afternoon. Suddenly there's a strong wind and all the air is gone - can't breathe. We see the flames over the tops of the trees. It's moving fast. We realize it's hopeless to attempt anything against this force. Firefighters yell "run!"
  • We run. It gets dark and hot, and no air. Some burning crap is flying around. Can't run. Finally reach the cars. Some folks are missing - can't wait. We try to drive. Can't see anything. One of the cars crashes - folks join us. Somehow manage to get out of there, but it still feels like hell all around. 
  • At home, we start packing stuff, just in case.
See also this report which includes links to maps.
Report by JOTMAN.COM contributor Sanjuro.