TEGUCIGALPA, Nov 10 (Tierramérica).- Some 30 indigenous Lenca communities from the western Honduran departments of Lempira and Copán will develop projects aimed at preventing their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
For those ends is the first grant of 150,000 dollars issued by China, based on the latest rainstorms two weeks ago that caused serious damage in those areas, Honduran International Cooperation Minister Karen Zelaya told Tierramérica.
The projects include measures of prevention, reforestation, food production, training and construction of small medical supply centers intended to deal with emergencies.
A decade after the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, Honduran has once again revealed its vulnerability with the latest heavy rains, which led to losses worth 100 million dollars, according to official reports.
Critics Point to Lack of Anti-Desertification Measures
SANTIAGO, Nov 10 (Tierramérica).- "Desertification is one of Chile's most serious environmental problems, but there is no government policy" to fight it, Lucio Cuenca, of the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OLCA), told Tierramérica.
Unlike the problems of protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change -- priorities of the government -- there are isolated plans and instruments for fighting desertification, and those are not coordinated and have not been evaluated, said Cuenca.
OLCA and other organizations met with the ministers of environment and agriculture and are organizing meetings with parliamentary commissions to present their diagnosis and to demand a response from the highest levels.
In 1998, the government reported that 63 percent of the country was undergoing some degree of desertification, which has continued over the last decade, according to the 2007 Agricultural Census, said Cuenca.
New Book Highlights Threatened Animals
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 10 (Tierramérica).- The Red Book of Endangered Brazilian Fauna provides detailed data about 627 animal species that could soon disappear from the planet -- three times the number of the previous list, from 1989.
The book was presented Nov. 4 by the Environment Ministry as part of the planned actions to contain the loss of biodiversity, such as hiring 3,000 new wildlife inspectors, beefing up conservation units and protecting birds of prey.
"Urban areas surely add more pressure on the biome," threatening the fauna, said Rafael Carmo, an expert with the Biodiversitas Foundation and coauthor of the book.
The biggest factor contributing to extinction is the destruction of habitat, caused by human activities like deforestation, hunting and fire, he told Tierramérica.
Of the list, 380 species are from the Mata Atlantica, a hard-hit forest ecosystem along the coast that extends from northeast to southern Brazil.
Students' Eco-Ideas Win Prizes
CARACAS, Nov 10 (Tierramérica).- María José Zavala, 20, and Enrique Pacheco, 23, traveled this month to Germany as part of the prize they won in a university contest for environmental ideas, sponsored in Venezuela by the environmental group Vitalis.
"More than 100 young people have participated each year since 2004 with their initiatives. In 2008, we awarded the 10 best ideas for fighting global warming with a trip within Venezuela, plus the two who went to Germany to observe new technologies for preserving the environment," Vitalis president Diego Díaz told Tierramérica.
Zavala, who studies physics and math in Cabimas, in the northwestern state of Zulia, proposed episodes of an animated show in which a brigade teaches viewers how to take care of the environment.
Pacheco, who is studying modern languages in Caracas, designed a plan with "preachers" who ride public transportation in the capital to raise awareness about climate change. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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