Lithuania shuts Soviet-era nuclear plant

Lithuania shut down its nuclear power plant in Ignalina last week, raising fears of increased energy dependency on Russia and of a further blow to an already recession-hit economy. The Baltic state shut down the last reactor at the Ignalina plantexternal on Thursday (31 December). It agreed to shut the plant, which has the same kind of reactors as at Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear accident in 1986, under its agreement to enter the European Union. Some analysts have forecast rising power prices, dealing a further blow to the economy, and more dependence on power supplies from Russia.

Outdone by Dubai, Taiwan tower seeks green award

Outdone by an tower extending over 800 meters in Dubai, the world's former tallest building, Taipei 101, wants to become the highest green structure by completing a checklist of clean energy standards, a spokesman said on Monday. Taipei 101 will spend T$60 million ($1.9 million) over the next year to meet 100 criteria for an environmental certificate that it would hold over Dubai, spokesman Michael Liu said.

Colombia: Galeras volcano erupts again

The Galeras volcano in southern Colombia erupted on Saturday, shooting rock and ash and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of about 8,000 people. No one was killed or injured in the eruption. But officials warned that the volcano could remain volatile.

Brazil death toll from floods, mudslides rises to 64

Rescue crews on Saturday intensified the search for victims at a plush Brazilian beach resort ravaged by mudslides and flooding that have killed at least 64 people in three states. Firefighters waded through mountains of mud and sifted through the remains of a lodge and homes that were destroyed in the early hours of Friday when a hillside collapsed in the luxury beach resort of Angra dos Reis, removing 35 bodies, authorities said.

Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2010

Green building is one of the keys to economic recovery. Not only is it a better way to do business, it drives innovation, improves efficiency standards, makes for happier and healthier people and creates new "green collar" jobs. The trend topics on this list will be no surprise to others who are experts in this area; they are products, systems and concepts that have been quietly percolating. The purpose of this list is to identify those "big picture" trends that we see becoming more mainstream in 2010.

Access to Information

One of our key priorities at EarthTrends is ensuring that the public have access to the type of information that can be used to understand trends, shape ideas and inform change.

Information is crucial to both development and good governance. Successful decision making can only occur if both leaders and the wider public have a complete picture of the key trends and issues impacting their nation and communities. This is particularly important when it comes to sustainably managing a country's natural resources.

However for many, particularly in low income countries, easy access is not always a given. Limited investment, poor infrastructure and the socio-economic landscape all contribute to significant segments of the population having inadequate access to information resources.

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Access to Information

One of our key priorities at EarthTrends is ensuring that the public have access to the type of information that can be used to understand trends, shape ideas and inform change.

Information is crucial to both development and good governance. Successful decision making can only occur if both leaders and the wider public have a complete picture of the key trends and issues impacting their nation and communities. This is particularly important when it comes to sustainably managing a country's natural resources.

However for many, particularly in low income countries, easy access is not always a given. Limited investment, poor infrastructure and the socio-economic landscape all contribute to significant segments of the population having inadequate access to information resources.

read more

Population and Consumption

The air is full of carbon dioxide and other pollutants;
The ocean is emptying;
We have observed record setting harvests over the last few years, and yet chronic hunger persists and has recently been increasing;
The planet is experiencing the 6th great extinction;

All of these are the result of human activity.

This evidence illustrates that we have not responsibly managed, neither through governance nor technology, our environmental resources. In the absence of finding a sustainable relationship with our ecosystem, we might conclude that we have reached Earth's carrying capacity.read more

Population and Consumption

The air is full of carbon dioxide and other pollutants;
The ocean is emptying;
We have observed record setting harvests over the last few years, and yet chronic hunger persists and has recently been increasing;
The planet is experiencing the 6th great extinction;

All of these are the result of human activity.

This evidence illustrates that we have not responsibly managed, neither through governance nor technology, our environmental resources. In the absence of finding a sustainable relationship with our ecosystem, we might conclude that we have reached Earth's carrying capacity.read more

Sanitation: Access and Health

Human waste may be a topic that people generally do not or prefer not to think about. However, its capture and disposal (often referred to in terms of sanitation) play a vital role in human health and development. The importance of sanitation as a basic human need has made it an international development priority and a key target in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Even though since 1990 the percent of the global population with access to improved sanitation has increased (see Figure 1.), lack of improved sanitation still threatens human health and development particularly in developing regions of the world.

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