A wave of recent closures of environment organizations in Vietnam, as well as the arrests of NGO leaders, reflects the difficult position that activists face in the one-party state.
Nonprofit organizations have an unclear legal status in the country, and are vulnerable to pressure from the state as well as from powerful private interests.
Though the communist-led government has at times recognized the value of NGOs as partners in implementing social and environmental programs, it has also attacked the concept of civil society as a threat to official ideology and morality.
Thuý, who helped run environmental programs at a nonprofit based in Ho Chi Minh City, had for weeks pondered quitting her job to pursue an advanced degree. The 24-year-old, who like all NGO workers interviewed for this story used a pseudonym due to fear of reprisals, was at a loss as to how to communicate her hard decision to her supervisors. While she felt it was time to move on, Thuý was grateful for the open-minded and dynamic working environment that had allowed her to grow tremendously.
Much to Thuý’s surprise, it was her supervisors who initiated a conversation about her career, advising her to be prepared to leave soon, because their organization was being told “from above” to shut down.
Sotheby’s auction of the exclusive licensed rights to the Widi Reserve, more than100 environmentally protected islands that cover 25,000 acres in Indonesia, has been delayed from its originally scheduled date last week. The holdup follows backlash from environmental groups, which say the privatization and development of the islands could cause ecological damage and interfere with life in coastal communities.
With 161 votes in favour, and eight abstentions*, the UN General Assembly adopted a historic resolution on Thursday, declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, welcomed the ‘historic’ decision and said the landmark development demonstrates that Member States can come together in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Kachin State’s Chipwi Township in northernmost Myanmar is known for its pristine forests and crystal-clear water.
But 10 years ago, local residents started noticing the patches of land that had been cleared on the lush mountains surrounding their town, which borders China’s Yunnan province. It started with one patch of land, where all the trees were cut down. Then others followed.
Soon locals saw heavy machinery being moved through their town, heading to those barren plots of land. Then workers started flooding in. They excavated the ground and left open pits, many filled with chemically-laced water, in areas once rich in woodland. The water near those sites was no longer clean.
It became obvious at that stage that the newcomers were looking for something underneath the ground – rare earth, which contains elements widely used in high-tech products like smartphones, computer components, electric vehicles and solar cells.
Transformations must occur across every sector at far faster pace than recent trends to keep the window open to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to this Systems Change Lab report authored by the UN High-Level Climate Champions, Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund and World Resources Institute.
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires far-reaching transformations across power generation, buildings, industry, transport, land use, coastal zone management, and agriculture, as well as the immediate scale-up of technological carbon removal and climate finance. This report translates these transitions into 40 targets for 2030 and 2050, with measurable indicators.
Big sales events like 10.10 or 11.11 singles day sales may excite shoppers and net billions in profits for online retailers but if we don’t stop this insatiable need to consume, all of us are in trouble, says climate activist Ho Xiang Tian.
Indonesia’s environment ministry has terminated its forest conservation partnership with WWF, citing the organization’s violations of their agreement.
But the spat appears to have been inflamed by high-profile social media posts that praised WWF Indonesia’s work to tackle forest fires last year during a period in which government efforts faced widespread criticism.
WWF Indonesia has operated in Indonesia for more than 50 years, and its ongoing programs with other government institutions remain unaffected by the environment ministry’s move.
Vinfast announced Thursday the establishment of VinBus, which will offer passenger transportation services in major Vietnamese cities.
The company said that the Vinbus Transport Service Co. will operate under a non-profit model, aiming to develop a modern public transportation system that reduces pollution and noise in Vietnam’s major cities.
The company will exclusively produce and run electric buses, it said.
VinBus has a charter capital of VND1 trillion ($42.88 million), and expects to start running bus routes in 5 major cities: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho.
In the short term, the company plans to operate 3,000 electric buses made by VinFast.
At present, the VinFast bus factory is still under construction. German industrial manufacturing giant Siemens has agreed to provide the technology and components to build electric buses here.
One hundred years ago, 1919 was a really big year: Countries signed the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I, Mahatma Gandhi began his nonviolent resistance against British rule, the Grand Canyon became a national park. And on a lighter note, pop-up toasters entered kitchens for the first time!
IPS correspondent Sinsiri Tiwutanond spoke to Global Green Growth Institute’s director-general Dr. Frank Rijsberman about Asia’s fight against air pollution.
On any given day, a pall of smog and dust hangs over Kabul’s streets. It clings to the face, burns the eyes, and stains the hands. It bathes the cars, often stuck bumper-to-bumper in traffic, and occludes the view of the distant mountains. Credit: Anand Gopal/IPS
BANGKOK , Jul 17 2018 (IPS) – At the start of the year the pollution in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, reached six times the World Health Organization’s guideline levels for air quality.
Yet the levels, which appear higher than those of South Korea’s capital Seoul—where most people monitor the air pollution levels daily—is not treated with equal concern because of a lack of general awareness. This is despite the fact that air pollution has become the largest cause of premature deaths in Asia.
“When I went to Vietnam, I realised no one thought there was an air pollution problem because no one was directly addressing it. It was worse than Seoul when we checked the level there. In Seoul, people talk about air pollution everyday. In the morning, you check the air quality to see if you need a mask or if the kids can play outside. In Hanoi, the problem is just as bad but people just don’t know about it,” Global Green Growth Institute’s director-general Dr. Frank Rijsberman told IPS. Tiếp tục đọc “Q&A: Air Pollution Remains Cause for Alarm in Asia”→
Khanh Nguy Thi grew up near a coal plant in Bac Am, a village in northern Vietnam. While Nguy Thi’s lifelong dream was to become a diplomat, the memory of pollution in her hometown pulled her toward work in water conservation and community development.