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

Recycling Struggling Due to Pandemic and Electronic Waste Breaks Records

Recycling Struggling Due to Pandemic and Electronic Waste Breaks Records

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused turmoil in recycling programs and markets for recycled goodsMeanwhile, a UN report released last week found that electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record of 53.6 million tons or about 16 pounds per person.

Why This Matters: And while residential waste is greatly increasing, fewer materials are being recycled other than cardboard, which is much in demand.  Recycling, like so many other local programs, needs federal financial support and soon.

Continue Reading 523 words
Ford Takes Comprehensive Approach To Sustainability, Will Be Carbon Neutral by 2050

Ford Takes Comprehensive Approach To Sustainability, Will Be Carbon Neutral by 2050

In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050.  In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments.

Why This Matters:  Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, and Tesla come to mind.

Continue Reading 596 words
Amazon Launches $2B Clean Tech Venture Fund

Amazon Launches $2B Clean Tech Venture Fund

Yesterday, online retail giant Amazon announced its  Climate Pledge Fund–a $2 billion that will invest in companies that develop innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. As the Verge explained, The fund will help Amazon and other companies adhere to The Climate Pledge initiative it started in September 2019. That pledge committed the company, and others […]

Continue Reading 474 words