Want to avoid climate-related disasters? Try moving

first_img Laying some groundwork for environmental protection Protecting P-town For those who lived through the storms, their names — Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Michael — are enough to trigger memories of homes, businesses, and loved ones lost in rising floodwaters. Other disasters elicited similar reactions, from the Midwest floods to the California wildfires, and droughts in the Great Plains.The eventual response to catastrophes tended to be a defiant vow to rebuild, turn loss into lesson by making protective seawalls higher and stronger to hold back floods, or raising homes onto stilts to stay clear of the encroaching waves.To this, A.R. Siders says, “Enough.” The time has come to consider a different path: retreat. Abandon areas prone to repeated disaster in favor of those that are safer and do so in a deliberate, thoughtful way.Known as “managed retreat,” Siders, an Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment who recently joined the faculty of the University of Delaware, said the strategy has the potential to save not only lives, but possibly billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs to cities and towns. The idea is described in an Aug. 23 paper published in Science with co-authors Miyuki Hino and Katharine Mach.“Traditionally speaking, there are three ways people respond to floods or hurricanes,” Siders said. “There is protection — basically building a sea wall. There’s accommodation, which often means homes that are elevated, or there’s retreat.“We see retreat listed as an option as early as 2001 by the [Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change], but retreat has been seen as largely theoretical — somewhere, sometime people might have to move. But what we’re seeing more and more is that it might be here and that it might be now. It’s no longer a theoretical last resort. It’s something we should talk about now as a realistic option.”The purpose of the paper, Siders said, is to call attention to the need for a greater focus on the strategy as a way to avoid the fallout seen from earlier disasters.,“The point we’re trying to make is: Retreat will happen; people will move. Not managing retreat doesn’t stop people from moving,” Siders said. “After Hurricane Katrina, people had their homes destroyed, and they moved with no help and no support. They just left.”For the neighborhoods they leave behind, the results can be corrosive.“You have thousands of empty homes, and the city has to figure out who owns them,” she said. “They have to sell or demolish them, and maintain the lots. So it eats away at the community, because it’s dotted with vacant homes, and it eats away at the city’s resources.“But if you do manage it and try to do this in a strategic way, then you have a better chance of avoiding those harms,” she continued.The notion of managed retreat, however, is about more than what happens to the homes people leave behind when they flee.“It touches on so many aspects of a city,” Siders said. “You have to think about things like where people are going — where they’re choosing to go and where you want to provide incentives for them to go.“What are the effects on the community they’re moving to? Do they have enough services? Do they have enough hospitals and schools to take in the people they’re receiving? For the people who stay behind, do they suddenly have no sense of community because of all these vacant lots, or do they have something like a new public park or feature to maintain a sense of community?”Those questions only deepen, Siders said, when retreat crosses national and cultural borders. Robot builds erosion barriers from interlocking metal sheets, while robot swarms could protect threatened areas Related GSD students imagine approaches to climate change that save the town’s quintessential New England character “That coordination can happen when people leave New Orleans and go to Houston,” she said. “But what happens when you’re crossing national borders? How do you handle that? So far much of the focus has been on making people safer … but there’s not a lot of focus on if they’re better off holistically, on the emotional or cultural or social aspects. And those are important issues.”For some communities, retreat could mean leaving behind centuries of cultural and religious connection to a particular land, something people are often unwilling to do.“There are examples where people have overcome these problems in creative ways,” Siders said. “There is a community in Indonesia where people moved away from a volcano, but they were allowed to return to visit, and they were given rights to provide tourism in the area, so now they have an economic benefit they didn’t before.“So the problems are not insurmountable,” she continued. “They’re challenging, but they’re not insurmountable, and they can be much more easily overcome if people start thinking about retreat as a real option, and how it ties in to these other issues.”Though it remains an uphill battle to convince communities to consider ideas like managed retreat, Siders said, the tide is slowly turning.“It’s still a very difficult topic to talk about, but in the last few years we’ve seen such drastic wildfires and floods just in the U.S. … there’s a major push for people to start thinking of retreat as an option,” she said. “Just in the time since Sandy there’s been a shift in our thinking. I was in New York during the storm and wrote a paper about the legal strategies that could be used to help communities undertake managed retreat, and no one wanted to talk about it. But fast-forward to this spring, and Columbia University had a conference on managed retreat with 150 presentations. I think people are starting to see the effects of climate change and realize that extreme changes require extreme adaptation.”This research was supported with funding from the Harvard University Center for the Environment, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Sykes Family Fellowship in Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.last_img read more

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Grenada individual investor program shelved

first_img Sharing is caring! 33 Views   no discussions NewsRegional Grenada individual investor program shelved by: – March 6, 2012 Share Tweetcenter_img Share ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Just days before the presentation of the 2012 budget, ministry of finance officials in Grenada are being forced to revisit their projected sources of revenue for planned programs and projects of government.The country was expecting to generate millions of dollars under an initiative called Grenada Individual Investor Program (GIIP).Finance Minister Nazim Burke.However, according to a finance ministry source, GIIP has been put on hold for the moment. “Our information is that the idea did not receive the approval of a majority of cabinet members who recently met to discuss the program,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.It is believed that many government ministers, as well as longtime supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), fear backlash from the implementation of GIIP, which is reminiscent of the “passport selling” Economic Citizenship program of the former New National Party (NNP) administration.The NNP program, which allowed successful applicants to secure Grenadian passports, may have contributed to the party’s 2008 general election defeat, and led to Canada’s inclusion of Grenadians on a list of foreign nationals who now require visas to enter that country.In a series of media appearances in late February, Finance Minister Nazim Burke acknowledged that there is likely to be “a lot of national anxieties” about GIIP because of the failed economic citizenship program of the NNP.But he was confident that GIIP, once approved by government, could “bring substantial benefits to Grenada if it is well designed; if it is properly managed; if it is well implemented.”Burke said GIIP “provides an opportunity to expand the national economy; to increase the revenue base for the country; to increase employment generation; and is an additional source of foreign exchange for Grenada.”The 2012 budget, which was rescheduled from its expected January presentation, will be delivered on Friday by Burke, who is also minister of planning, economic development, cooperatives and energy.The country is facing a budget deficit estimated to be about EC$100 million. Caribbean News Now Sharelast_img read more

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Fellaini winner shocks Man Utd

first_imgRobin van Persie started life at Manchester United with a defeat as Everton produced an outstanding performance to deservedly claim victory at Goodison Park.Sir Alex Ferguson’s £24m signing from Arsenal emerged as a 67th-minute substitute – but he made a quiet introduction and was powerless to prevent United starting the Premier League season with a defeat – their first since they lost at Chelsea in 2004.And it was fitting that Everton’s winning goal came from the outstanding Marouane Fellaini, who tormented Manchester United’s makeshift defence throughout a thunderous evening on Merseyside.The giant Belgian’s towering 57th minute header from Leighton Baines’ corner finally ended the defiance of United keeper David de Gea, who had kept Everton at bay with a series of outstanding first half saves.Leon Osman also struck the crossbar – and when Van Persie was finally introduced Everton had an iron grip on the game and only looked like conceding the advantage Fellaini had given them when Phil Jagielka cleared off the line from Tom Cleverley.Everton have traditionally been slow starters but in this opening game they dominated United for spells, with keeper Tim Howard only being troubled by the occasional effort from Wayne Rooney. Goodison Park celebrated the victory noisily at the final whistle, leaving Ferguson to contemplate a lacklustre performance undermined by a reshuffled rearguard in which Michael Carrick never settled in his role as emergency central defender alongside returning captain Nemanja Vidic. United were without Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans – and how Everton exploited the weakness.Ferguson eased Van Persie into life at Old Trafford with a place on the bench, entrusting attacking duties to Rooney and England youngster Danny Welbeck.United were grateful to keeper De Gea for a performance of defiance and athleticism that kept his side on terms as they were terrorised by the power and presence of Fellaini.The young Spaniard stretched to turn over Steven Pienaar’s header then dived to turn away the South African’s shot as Everton applied pressure. He did even better to save Osman’s shot on the turn and leap to claw away a free-kick from Baines that was destined for the top corner. United had opportunities of their own but they were rarities, Howard saving twice from Rooney and Welbeck rolling a low shot wide as United claimed a penalty when he tangled with Jagielka.United’s biggest escape came just after the interval when Fellaini once more headed into the path of Osman, who did beat De Gea but held his head in anguish as his effort rattled the crossbar.Everton were not to be denied and finally got the lead they so deserved. The source was no surprise as Fellaini – who had simply been too much for Carrick – rose above him to power in Baines’ corner.United gave Everton their most anxious moment after 66 minutes when Jagielka cleared off the line from Cleverley and seconds later Van Persie entered the fray in place of Welbeck. However, with Jagielka and Sylvain Distin magnificent, Everton were in no mood to see their resistance broken and they claimed a win their efforts merited. Everton manager David Moyes: “I’m really pleased because we performed ever so well. We’ve often started the season slowly but just because we’ve won one game doesn’t mean we’ve had a good start – as it would not have been a bad start had we lost.“Marouane Fellaini is a really good player. We can play him behind the striker, in the middle or because of his power in the air we can play him as a defensive one as well.“The only time we had a really good start here we ended in the Champions League places. I don’t know if that’s possible but it would be nice for us not to be playing catch up.“David de Gea made some great saves. In the build-up it was all about Manchester United and what they could do – I felt people called that wrong because we are a tough team to beat at Goodison Park.“We defended really well when we had to. Phil Jagielka was outstanding.”last_img read more

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