Tourists choose Iran over US, climate risks, the downside of hydropower, fashion supply chains and UK smog warning

Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq 'trump US as travel destinations'

Responsible Travel, the eco-travel company, have revealed in a statement that they have sold more holidays in January 2017 to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran than they have to the US.

The travel agents remarked that enquiries to these three destinations went up 176% in January, while enquiries for travel to the US declined 22%, despite overall travel growing by 30% for all destinations.

In a statement on the Responsible Travel blog, its CEO Justin Francis suggested that the dramatic fall was related to ethical concerns about the Trump presidency, particularly the travel ban. He also cited a poor exchange rate, worries of delays at immigration due to “extreme vetting”, and concern about having travelled to Muslim countries as possible reasons for the drop in tourism.

Describing the possible impact on the US economy, Francis said: “Our feeling is that the US tourism economy is likely to have a very poor year, and our belief is that other businesses will soon start reporting declines.”


Risk of ‘megafires’ to increase by 35% due to climate change


The likelihood of extreme wildfires, or “megafires”, across the world is expected to increase as global temperatures rise, according to new research.

The study, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, uncovers where megafires are most likely to strike around the world, and how they might be affected by climate change. Led by scientists from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, the results predict there will be a 35% increase in the days with high danger of fire across the world by 2070, with even larger increases seen in the western states of the US, south-eastern Australia, the Mediterranean and southern Africa.

Ethical Corporation has previously reported on weather-related catastrophes increasing six-fold since the 1950s. To predict the future of these disasters, this study looks at scenarios where global CO2 emissions aren’t curbed. The study uses satellite data collected by imaging instruments aboard two Nasa satellites, Terra and Aqua, which has transformed the way that scientists measure wildfires.

Hydropower dams impact biodiversity of Mekong river

Credit: sarintra chimphoolsuk

Dam construction on the Mekong river in China’s Yunnan Province has resulted in widely fluctuating river flow threatening fish productivity, which is key to the region’s economy, according to new research.

The study, published by Aalto University in Finland, reveals the building of six hydropower dam projects on the Mekong river – which originates in China before flowing through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam – have considerable impact on downstream river flows. The hydropower operations have caused exceptionally high dry season flows since 2011 – two to three times the long term average – and low wet season flows in Thailand, only two-thirds of the long term average.

The projects have the capacity to produce 15,000 MW of power and store over 23km² of water, but the changes in river flow greatly affect the ecology and economy of the Mekong River, which is relied on for food security by millions of people. The Mekong River is one of the world’s most productive fisheries, with an annual catch of 2.6 million tonnes, creating an annual value of $3.9bn. A continuing change in the river flow regime could have detrimental impacts on biodiversity and productivity, with a reduction in fish species already seen since the construction of the dams.

Aalto University says its aim is to “improve the sustainability of hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin…our findings call for active engagement and cooperation between the countries that share the same river to address the negative impacts of the hydropower development.”

Fabric of Change transforms textile supply chains 

Credit: Fabric of Change

The Fabric of Change Fellowship is tackling fashion industry supply chains by investing in five social entrepreneurs who are providing solutions to the industry's problems.

Launched in 2015, the joint initiative by Ashoka, the largest leading network of social entrepreneurs, and C&A Foundation, a corporate foundation transforming the fashion industry, supports innovators at various stages of their development to unite towards a shared vision of turning the apparel industry into a force for good.

The five Fabric of Change fellows, whose organisations focus on issues such as labour conditions and garment supply chains, will benefit from a lifetime of support from Ashoka’s network of peers, change-makers and partners. They also receive a financial stipend for up to three years to accelerate their development.

Stéphanie Schmidt, managing director at Ashoka, said: “We are thrilled to be building such a strong cohort of fellows with the Fabric of Change initiative. Ashoka’s global network will help them realise sustainable positive impact on the apparel industry.”

Brandee Butler, head of gender justice and human rights at C&A Foundation said: “Through the Fabric of Change partnership, C&A Foundation is proud to support their work and to enable access to the expertise, networks and resources they need to refine and scale their innovations.”

European Commission issues ‘final warning’ over air pollution

Credit: Joe Dunkley

The European Commission has issued a “final warning” to the UK and four other member states this week, after repeated breaches of EU air quality rules.

Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK received warnings over their breach of NO2 emissions, with two months given to tackle the problem.

In the UK, where air pollution is linked to the early deaths of about 40,000 people a year, EU limits have been breached in 16 areas including London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.

A European commission spokesman, Enrico Brivio, told a briefing in Brussels: “It is a warning that we send to member states asking to comply, to take measures to fight this poor air quality that provokes respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. It is an important factor on the health of citizens.”

The warning comes after the UK breached its annual air pollution limit for the whole of 2017 in just the first five days.


climate change  wildfires  travel  megafires  hydropower  supply chains  fashion  textiles  US  Donald Trump 

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