From Making Waves

This is the first in a series of short news updates beyond Greenpeace-specific news. World environmental events in a blurb:

In Short:

Reuters reports that India will pump about USD 200 million into the protection of its forests. Forests are critical to India's climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, the environment minister said. Forestry forms will also play an important part of the international negotiations for a new U.N. climate change deal in Copenhagen in December. India considers its efforts to conserve and increase forest cover as vital as reducing deforestation.

Armed with spears and blowpipes, dozens of Malaysian tribes people are fighting to preserve their land. Grist reports that the indigenous Penan tribes people, who have been resisting deforestation since the 1980s, have set up roadblocks in Borneo to stop logging firms from encroaching on their territory. "The logging and oil palm companies are robbing the Penan not just of their forests but of their food and water,” Survival International’s director Stephen Corry said in a statement.

If the world comes to an end, it will be because of one (or multiple) of the seven terrors of the world, at least that's what a new report by the Millennium Project states. The report, titled 2009 State Of The Future, was compiled by 2700 experts from 30 countries and gives a bleak outlook on the future. Climate pollution, food shortages, diseases, wars, disasters, crime and the recession - the world is facing a series of interlinked crises threatening the future of humanity, the report warns.

On a lighter note, this weekend, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin showed an interest in ecological issues. On Friday, he clipped a radio transmitter onto a Beluga and on Saturday he dived to the bottom of Lake Baikal - the world's deepest lake. Lake Baikal contains around a fifth of the world's freshwater reserves but Putin thought the water looked like "plankton soup". Besides the actions being just another couple of publicity stunts, Putin also held a meeting on ecological security and preservation of Baikal's ecosystem.

The organic food debate:

Last week, the UK Food Standard Agency touched a nerve when it released a review about organic food and claimed organic food contained no more nutritional value than factory-farmed meat or fruit and vegetables grown using chemical fertilizers. This sparked international debate on the health benefits of organic food. The FSA came out with a statement that the agency supports consumer choice and is neither pro nor anti organic food. It promised to continue giving people "accurate information about their food based on the best available scientific evidence." At Greenpeace, we believe genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health. We advocate immediate interim measures such as labeling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.

Forest Fires:

In Indonesia, Greenpeace and the WWF are calling on the president Yudhoyono to stop the forest fires, which continue to rage in Riau, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and Sulawesi. After three months of fires, the government has yet to take concrete action. Most forest fires were lit on purpose to clear land for palm oil or paper plantations. For the last few days, the Greenpeace SEA action team has joined local people in braving the forest fires in the Riau province in trying to extinguish them. Forest fires are a big issue as they account for about a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions, and are set to become more frequent and ferocious as the climate changes.

Anne-Marije