Happy Earth Day, Bonne Journée Mondiale de la Terre 2010

While readers in the United States are still busy doing the millions of activities organized this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day,  I’m just closing up shop on my favorite one to date.  I spent the day in Thies, Senegal’s 2nd largest (but rapidly developing) city, giving a talk about climate change.  […]

A new international masters program in sustainable development at UCAD

Last week, the MacArthur Foundation,  Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD)’s  Faculte des Sciences Economiques et de la Gestion (FASEG), announced their partnership to offer a new Global Masters in Development Practice (MDP). In a launching ceremony in the grand amphitheater of the modern UCAD II building, UCAD’s Rector […]

Dakar, then and now

If I had a 100 cfa coin for every time un dakarois has remarked how much the city has changed in the last 5/10/20 years, I’d be awash in bus fare.  These two graphics, taken from UNEP’s Africa:  Atlas of Our Changing Environment,  say it all.  (And lives up to this publication’s media blurb: “As […]

Climate Divide: The Common Blind Spot of China & U.S. pre-COP15

The last few days have been busy ones for announcing opening positions for the COP15 negotiations.  The United States announced on 11/26 that it would reduce the total tonnage of its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.  These numbers reflect targets specified in […]

Talking Turkey at COP15

Good news!  The White House announced today that President Obama will attend the COP15 meeting on Wednesday, December 9, on his way to Oslo to accept the Nobel Prize the following day. In the nick of time, for scientists have recently given policymakers even more incentive to come to Copenhagen prepared to talk turkey (in […]

A Bend in the Road: The Copenhagen Two-Step?

Newsflash:  Why are we all going to Copenhagen if President Obama agrees with other western countries that they are not ready to make a real deal?  As the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum wrapped up four days ago, participating world leaders backed a two-step process offered by Danish PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen that would […]

Rich and Poor States on the Bumpy Road to Copenhagen

In the run-up to the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen this December, developing countries have voiced concerns about climate change’s disproportionate effect on them.  The Prime Minister of Grenada, Thomas Tillman, spoke at a meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) the day before the U.N. General Assembly opened its September 22nd session.  AOSIS’s […]

Two Perspectives on Food Security and Climate Change

Today’s NYT (10/23/09) reports that the Nutrition Department of the Swedish National Food Administration  has begun issuing new food guidelines that give equal weight to climate and health.  Noting this new acknowledgment of environmental health law, Ulf Bowman, head of this department, said “We’re used to thinking about safety and nutrition as one thing and […]

Climate Change and Rain

Floods are the big news, within Senegal,  greater West Africa, and internationally.  It’s the rainy season, but the amount of rain is higher than usual, a recent BBC report indicates.  Here in Mermoz, one of the comfortable suburban neighborhoods just north of the university, there’s little evidence of hardship beyond muddy streets and occasional open […]

Simmering Senegal

Senegal simmers.  On the cultural front, this West African country even sizzles in terms of  music and dance.  Think Youssou N’Dour, the Orchestre Baobob, and Baba Maa. But the land of teranga or hospitality, known for its human warmth, now simmers environmentally.  Climate change impacts are already showing.  The 2008 Atlas of Our Changing Environment […]