By Susanna Tol - Also in the world of climate change, organic is the way to go. I am not writing about organic food here, despite my personal interest in the topic, but about peatlands, which are soils with a substantial layer of organic matter at or near the surface. Well, they are the way to go for the climate as long as you treat them well. If not, they become a vigorous source of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The wave was higher than the trees. The sea came right over the village. Every building was destroyed, including all 300 houses. About 180 people were killed, more than half the population. The only people who survived were those who ran for the hills.” That’s how they tell it in the cafe at the entrance to Keude Unga on Aceh’s west coast, which took the full brunt of the tsunami.
by Fred Pearce
Layeun is famous among the tsunami villages of Aceh. Bill Clinton came here earlier this year and brought the media. He called for new help to rebuild the lives of the fishing community whose homes disappeared beneath the waves during the tsunami.
By Fred Pearce
Precisely 256 people were living in Gampong Baro on the day the tsunami hit. Just under half of them died. Just 24 bodies were found, while 97 are registered forever “missing”. Their names and ages are all listed on a stone memorial in the heart of the village.
by Fred Pearce
Azhar, leader of Lham Ujong, is a proud man. Proud of the pictures in his album of him shaking hands with dignitaries bringing aid money to the village. Proud of his Olympic torch, which he helped take round Jakarta in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics of 2008 – a privilege he was nominated for by Wetlands International. And proud especially of the trees planted in huge numbers round his village in the aftermath of the tsunami.
[This article originally appeared at Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.]
The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 obliterated vast areas of Aceh province. But villagers there are using an innovative microcredit scheme to restore mangrove forests and other coastal ecosystems that will serve as a natural barrier against future killer waves and storms.
By Fred Pearce
Or can we dream of a new world where ecology, economy and society are re-connected?
By Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer
By Jaap van Thiel de Vries, Ecoshape
Last week, I visited Indonesia together with Femke Tonneijck from Wetlands International to meet our partners that are involved in the development of a Building with Nature approach to solve the severe erosion along the muddy Northern coast of Central Java (Demak district).
By Marta Andelman, Wetlands International Argentina -
“The natural flow of water in the Parana Delta is altering,” tells a local farmer. “We know this is caused by the increasing amount of infrastructure for the conversion of the Parana Delta wetlands into soy plantations. There is evidence that as a result, communities are no longer protected during the regular floods that occur in the Delta.” He is eager to find solutions for this problem affecting the region as well as adjacent territories.
By Susanna Tol
“Yes, we are illiterate sir, but we are engineers as far as our experience with water and rivers is concerned”, says Phushi Mahato, a villager in the Gosi Kandak floodplains in North-Bihar in India.
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