The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 818 blog posts
  • To Legalize or not to Legalize?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 12 April 2010

    Did the drugs trade keep the global financial system afloat at the height of the economic crisis?

  • A rubbish heap of issues

    Emma Blackmore 8 April 2010

    In belt-tightening times, it’s not surprising that consumption often drops. The UK is a case in point. Happily, consumers there are wasting less too. The Waste and Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) reported that in the UK, households throw away half a tonne of food-related waste each year (or a third of all household food purchased). This costs the UK approximately £12 billion a year in disposal costs alone – over £1000 per household.

  • The case of the coca leaf

    Anais Hall 1 April 2010

    The war on drugs in Mexico has intensified. A recent article in the Economist reports that drug-related killings have increased by almost 1000 since last year. Moreover, innocent people in Mexico are becoming victims, as drug gang shootings are no longer just targeting police and rival gangs.Mexico and the US are working to eradicate the problem by investing US$1.3 billion in anti-drug aid, though only US$331 million is to be invested in social intervention. Yet the lack of intervention through social welfare programmes may be the underlying cause of the rapid growth of drug gangs and related violence. 

  • Staying south – trade, aid, and the recession

    Ben Garside 30 March 2010

    In the global recession, have so called ‘emerging' economies got a toehold in the trade, aid, and investment big-league?

  • Let's get compact

    Barbara Kiser 26 March 2010

    The future sprawls before us — urban sprawl, that is. John Vidal of the UK Guardian says that in 50 years, we could see ‘vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of miles across countries and be home to more than 100 million people’.In fact, they’re here already: the gargantuan Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Ghaungzhou conurbation, to take just one example, houses more than 120 million people.Whether in-migration to these regions is a trickle or a flood (and the downturn has apparently had a mixed effect on migration to cities), the urban pull remains powerful, as the poor chase jobs and escape degraded rural environments or conflict.

  • How to manage our fish and chips

    Anais Hall 23 March 2010

    ‘Mind-withering stupidity’ is how UK writer George Monbiot characterised the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) decision not to protect bluefin tuna.The ‘absence of a ban’, he went on to say, ‘ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them’.

  • Collateral damage - and no farewell to arms

    Emma Blackmore 17 March 2010

    When arms sales jump by more than a fifth during a global economic downturn, you have to wonder who’s buying, who’s selling and what the implications are for poorer countries.Richard Norton-Taylor, reporting in the UK Guardian, reports that the average volume of sales of arms — including weapons such as guns, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships and electronic systems — has increased by 22 per cent over five years compared to the previous five. Demand from South America and Southeast Asia has been particularly high.

  • The Nazca's folly: a pattern that won't go away?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 15 March 2010

    Some might say that archaeology is all about potsherds and old bones. But digging into the past can be a way of uncovering patterns of human behaviour with real relevance for our own time. And recently a group of archaeologists did just that, by unearthing an earlier culture that is an uncomfortable echo of our own. A study by this University of Cambridge group claims that the Nazca — a people famed for creating the gigantic ‘Nazca Lines’, patterns on a Peruvian desert that can only be seen from a plane — precipitated their own decline through excessive deforestation.

  • Recovery “kick off”? Of football, sausages and lost opportunities

    James MacGregor 11 March 2010

    When it’s done, the global tally could be 50 million. So says the International Labour Organization (ILO) about job losses from this recession.In richer countries, that has meant growing pressure on central government resources, as formal jobs have been lost and draws on government benefits have increased. Estimates include 8 million jobs lost in the US and 1.3 million in the UK.In developing countries, people are more likely to juggle several jobs than in the developed world. This means underemployment

  • Will biodiversity loss break the bank?

    Barbara Kiser 9 March 2010

    Is the biodiversity drain speeding up? As Juliette Jowit reports in a recent Guardian, a study by Simon Stuart of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission reveals that humans are driving extinctions ‘faster than new species can evolve’. That might not surprise some in Madagascar — the California-sized ‘eighth continent’ off Africa’s southeastern coast, and a crucible of species from lemurs to octopus trees. This positively sizzling biodiversity hotspot is in danger of becoming little more than a barren political minefield. All of which strikes a bleak note in this, the International Year of Biodiversity.

  • Credit Gap? Micro is beautiful

    Anais Hall 4 March 2010

    Many now fondly remember the days of cheap credit and apparent financial stability in the early 2000s. Those were the days where you would deposit your money and earn a reasonable rate of interest while businesses and individuals could receive a loan to open or expand a business, buy a home, go to university, etc.. The past is indeed a strange place: they do things differently there.

  • Blogging the corporate monster

    Abbi Buxton 24 February 2010

    Last week, over 100 bloggers reacted to Prem Sikka’s ‘Comment Is Free’ piece in the Guardian, which opined that ‘big business must be forced to temper its obsession with profit and align corporate practice with social justice and democracy’.

  • Did the bankers do the Amazon a favour?

    Emma Blackmore 22 February 2010

    Deforestation rates in Brazil nearly halved recently — the largest fall in two decades. Not bad for the country that, back in the 20th century, was so often portrayed in the media as losing a chunk of rainforest ‘the size of Wales’. That’s just one example of how the impacts of recession on the environment can tell us an awful lot about the way our economy works.

  • Happy Mondays — saving the planet one day at a time

    Emma Blackmore 17 February 2010

    What do ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and American actress Gwyneth Paltrow have in common — beyond a place in the celebrity stratosphere?

  • From Kenya with love

    James MacGregor 11 February 2010

    Supermarkets festooned with hearts and crammed with chocolate: Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Will it be a romantic meal, roses — or both? Kenyan products have your romantic gestures covered, and more. 

  • How piracy off the Horn holds thousands hostage

    James MacGregor 8 February 2010

    Pirates off the Horn of Africa — a 21st-century hotspot of maritime hit-and-run — are usually reported as victimising the crews of yachts or oil tankers straying into ‘their’ territory. The ordeal suffered by British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler is a case in point.

  • Still sweet? Fairtrade, Kraft/Cadbury and beyond

    Ben Garside 3 February 2010

    The hot debate over US food giant Kraft's bid for Cadbury - manufacturer of iconic British sweets - is still simmering. A new source of tension reared up this week with discussions in the UK Parliament on how much Kraft is committed to sticking to Cadbury's market-leading investment in Fairtrade cocoa.

  • Bushmeat stew: complexities of a shadowy trade

    Emma Blackmore 1 February 2010

    It’s hard for some to imagine sitting down to a meal of baboon, green monkey and warthog meat.

  • How mobiles stayed massive — talking down the recession

    Ben Garside 26 January 2010

    How is it that mobile phone operators are proving - true to their name - too agile for the long arm of this recession?

  • The hidden byway to recovery?

    James MacGregor 20 January 2010

    The ‘slump as opportunity’ concept is alive and well in UK government. Ed Miliband, the country’s Energy and Climate Change Minister, said today that recession will not deflect government efforts to cut carbon emissions and move to a low-carbon economy.

  • The marriage of an unlikely couple - carbon trading and non-resource extraction - and all in the context of a recession

    Emma Blackmore 18 January 2010

    According to conventional wisdom, there probably never was a great time to pay an unpredictable Latin American country with a doubtful deb

  • Farming, financial storms — and keeping a weather eye on volatility

    Emma Blackmore 12 January 2010

    Farming is usually seen as dicing with nature. So how has agriculture managed to weather the financial storms of the last year so well?

  • Another look at the slump’s silver linings

    Emma Blackmore 11 January 2010

    Few lobbyists or negotiators at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference advocated one solution to the urgent task of slashing greenhouse gas emissions – a deeper, longer, uglier recession.

  • Christmas means consumption

    Emma Blackmore 21 December 2009

    To give and receive: it’s the essence of Christmas. Strip away the personal significance, though, and we’re really just looking at the process of consumption.

  • Eat your greens at Christmas

    James MacGregor 21 December 2009

    Will your last-minute shopping for holiday feasts bring peace, joy and livelihood security to the world’s poorest? Your Christmas dinner plate could be piled high with support for the poor.

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