Could Post Disaster Aid Make Climate Impacts Worse? In India’s Case, Yes.

A typical morning at a fishing harbor in Nagapattinam, India. Image: Karthikeyan Hemalatha

The deadly Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in 14 countries and in response people across the world donated almost $6.25 billion in relief money.  Thousands of fishermen lost their boats.  In response, relief funds triggered an unsustainable investment in better boats, higher-tech “ring seine” nets, and that led to overcapacity in fisheries that set off a wave of overfishing that “changed the coastal ecology and the local economy in parts of Southern India forever.”

Worth Your Time:  This recent article in the online newsletter about development aid DevEx.com tells the tragic story of how a sudden influx of disaster relief money from the Boxing Day tsunami resulted in the fish catch in Tamil Nadu, a region in southern India, increased by nearly 75% in the 10 years following the tsunami.

Why This Matters:  Disaster relief proved to be a tsunami of a different sort — but equally devastating.  We have to learn the lessons of previous disasters like this one and ensure that when we rebuild and replace, we do so sustainably.

H/T: To #FriendofthePlanet Tom G for pointing out to us this cautionary tale.

Up Next

Sustainability Pledges Take Flight in Airline Sector

Sustainability Pledges Take Flight in Airline Sector

Delta Airlines (the world’s largest airline) and jetBlue have recently made big commitments to lower their carbon footprint, with Delta last week pledging to become “carbon neutral,” by 2030 and plan to invest $1 billion in achieving the goal, while JetBlue announced in January that it will be the first U.S. airline to pledge to offset all domestic flights beginning in July and United Airlines had previously committed $40 million to sustainable aviation development. 

Why This Matters:  If governments won’t force emissions to come down through regulation, then the fact that businesses are willing to make these pledges is even more significant.

Continue Reading 636 words
Marin Woman Builds Effort to Get Amazon to Reuse Delivery Boxes

Marin Woman Builds Effort to Get Amazon to Reuse Delivery Boxes

Marin County, CA resident and former marketing consultant Carolyn Lund got fed up with all the waste she saw accumulating in her community as a result of Amazon deliveries. That’s why she set out to spearhead a local effort to get Amazon to pick up their used boxes. The Amazon to Reuse Boxes pilot program […]

Continue Reading 289 words
Recycling Is Becoming More Difficult, But Some Retailers Are Stepping Up To Help

Recycling Is Becoming More Difficult, But Some Retailers Are Stepping Up To Help

Forbes reported this week on retail giant Walmart’s efforts to work with consumers and suppliers on improving sustainable packaging to reduce the amount of “wish-cycling” — people tossing things into recycling bins on the hope that they can be recycled – and to improve packaging design with its end of life in mind. 

Why This Matters:  Consumers produced over 80 million tons of container and packaging waste in 2017, and only 50.1% was recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills or incinerated for energy.

Continue Reading 496 words