The "critical" state of the soil threatens 50 million people

Soils are in critical condition. This is the alarming finding published in a extensive study on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the end of the 6th plenary session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which had held from 17 to 24 March 2018 in Colombia, in Medellín. This report, which required 3 years of work, involved no less than 3,000 scientists, governments, indigenous peoples and local populations. Their observations, data and testimonies were analyzed by about a hundred researchers from 45 different countries, then grouped together in a report of a thousand pages. This is the first global soil condition study. And his report is alarming.

A situation that causes conflict

Soils lose quality when they are overexploited or poorly exploited. Cultivable land is becoming less and less numerous on the surface of the planet and this will lead, more and more, to the populations to move. " By 2050, this degradation combined with the climate change problems, which are closely linked, will force 50 to 700 million people to migrate ," the researchers said.

According to the study, the most optimistic projections (50 million people forced to move to find better soil quality), will be achieved even if everything is put in place to reduce our impact and minimize climate change. The report also points out that " declining soil productivity makes societies more vulnerable to social instability, especially in dry regions, where years of very low rainfall have been associated with rising violent conflict going on. up to 45% ". Soil degradation would be a source of war.

87% of wetlands lost

In some parts of the world, soils no longer fulfill their role of water filtration, carbon storage or fertilizers. Several reasons explain this situation, such as the decline of biodiversity and deforestation. A quarter of the lands today escape the phenomenon. This figure will fall to 10% in 2050. IPBES also pointed out that 4 / 5th of the world's population lives in areas threatened by lack of water. " We have transformed much of our forests, our grasslands, we have lost 87% of our wetlands (…) We have really changed the Earth's surface ," said Watson, president of the IPBES. " Tropical forests have historically been sparsely populated because it was difficult to get in. Today we build roads, we introduce agriculture ," he said. to AFP Robert Scholes, one of the co-authors of the report.

The effects of this critical state of the soil are already being felt since they constitute the first cause of disappearance of animal and plant species. Friday, March 23, 2018, the IPBES had also made a worrying verdict on the biodiversity of the planet, threatened, according to her, by the first mass extinction of species since that of dinosaurs and the first caused by humans

Vicious circle

Soil degradation is already affecting the well-being of more than 3.2 billion men and women. Indeed, the deterioration of the land is accompanied by the deterioration of food security and the health of human beings. Soil degradation also contributes to worsening climate change. For example, deforestation and reduced soil capacity to store carbon that causes climate change contribute to the greenhouse effect. A real vicious circle that also affects animals and plants. The loss of biodiversity is expected to be 38-46% by 2050. " Soil degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are three facets of the same important challenge: the increasingly dangerous impact of our choices about our natural environment "said Robert Watson. It must be understood that the future of the land will define the future of humanity.

For researchers, intensive agriculture is an important factor in this deterioration of soils. The IPBES study highlights the over-consumption of developed countries and the increasing consumption of developing countries. All this while the world population is increasing more and more. But other factors also bear responsibility, such as logging, mining and oil extraction, or excessive and uncontrolled urbanization.

Still Possible Solutions

Researchers have also proposed measures to limit damage before it is too late. Thus, they emphasized that soil restoration would yield 10 times more benefits than their degradation currently costs. For regions like Africa or Asia, the cost of inaction to land degradation is at least 3 times the price of the action. The researchers also stressed the need to coordinate international, national and individual actions, which are now fragmented.

Scientists have proposed re-flooding dry swamps and stopping water pollution from mining, agriculture and industry at the source. In cities, the report recommends "green infrastructure" such as parks, reintroduction of native plant species, sewage treatment and river rehabilitation.

But it is agriculture that has a major role to play. It would be necessary to change several methods. So plowing the land can make it vulnerable to erosion and release the carbon it has captured, aggravating global warming. It has long been thought that this technique was used to aerate the soil, but today it is known that it destroys all the biodiversity contained in the earth. In terms of agriculture, subsidized fertilizer costs farmers very little. They are therefore pushed to use them. IPBES recommends replacing what they consider to be " perverse incentives, which promote soil degradation" through positive measures of sustainable management. Better labeling is also recommended by researchers. They want to leave consumers the choice to buy products with a more or less negative impact on the planet.

Finally, for IPBES, governments should take into account the protection of the planet in their decisions and coordinate them, stop fragmenting agriculture and environment on one side, economy, energy, infrastructure on the other. In itself, no longer isolate the theme of the environment. Experts also insist on a concerted vision at the international, national and individual levels, including indigenous and local communities.

Robert Watson says: " implementing actions to combat land degradation can transform the lives of millions of people around the world, but the longer we wait, the more it will become expensive and difficult to achieve "

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was established in 2012 under the auspices of the United Nations. It now has 129 Member States. This platform aims to inform governments and the public on issues related to biodiversity changes. For this purpose, IPBES researchers carry out a regular synthesis of scientific knowledge.

In Strasbourg, volunteers at the bedside of homeless people cold

"This time, it really costs!" Relieved, Mohamed has just learned that he will be able to sleep warm. The Restos du coeur volunteers, marauding in Strasbourg, have reserved accommodation for him, while other homeless people will face out on the cold night.

This Monday evening in the Alsatian capital, the temperature is -7 ° , she feels like a scathing -12 °. In a few minutes, fingers and toes are numb.

"The concern is that we can not say + yes + to everyone, sometimes we have to make choices that are not simple," says Claude Hecht, retired , one of four volunteers to make this weekly visit to people on the street.

For this winter night, four places for men and two for women are reserved for those crossed by maraude Strasbourg

] Hot soup, steaming coffee, water bottles, hygiene products, but also an increased ration of gloves, hats, socks, fleeces, sleeping bags. Survival blankets complete the loading of the two vehicles of the organization of Coluche, which will cross the city.

– Social link –

"The soup and the coffee are an excuse to go to meet people Objective 1 is to be a social link with those who sleep outside, "says Gaëlle, 32, assistant manager of the maraude of Restos du coeur.

With the arrival of negative temperatures, the reports the emergency number for the homeless, number 115, is increasing. "Passers-by feel more concerned when it's cold like that," says Gaëlle, who, along the way, takes stock with the Samu social.

Barely part, the volunteer team already has three additional reports to add to his tour of several hours.

There are these newcomers, rushed to the streets for various reasons, and then there are the "usual", whom they visit every week. Like Mohamed, in the street for 22 months, or Ivan, a German-speaking gray-haired man, who does not want to leave his pile of blankets placed in the recess of a bank.

– "For a single night?" –

The outbreak of the Cold Weather Plan in the Bas-Rhin, as in 67 other departments, was translated in Strasbourg by the opening of a gymnasium to accommodate homeless people. One of the few places where dogs are accepted.

But Jonathan, 21 years old, four of them on the street, does not want to go with his two dogs. "I'm sick of stealing my stuff," he says between sips of coffee. That night, he will go squat an abandoned garage, he says.

"If that really does not go, call 115", insists Gaëlle smoothly.

A message repeated also to Marguerite, 58, who sleeps for years in his car in a parking lot of the stadium of Meinau, in the south of the city. She leaves her rear door ajar to prevent windows from freezing.

"We did not choose, it's been so long, it does not matter", says the blonde woman under her blanket.

Back in the center of Strasbourg. The marauder goes in search of a family that has been reported to them. Armed with a pair of Armenians and their two children, they head for the Restos du cœur van to swallow a bowl of soup in silence, after seeking a little respite from a nearby shopping center.

In France since almost four-year-old, their 11-year-old son and their 8-year-old daughter go to school by day, but at night, it's been six months since they've had a place to sleep.

Tonight they'll finally be able to sleeping in two hotel rooms reserved for them

"It's for one night?" asks the mother, her eyes exhausted. "Unfortunately, yes," Gaëlle replied. "Tomorrow, we'll have to call back the 115."

Gas Cylinders Explode During a Wedding Party in India, 18 People are Killed

New Delhi
 A wedding party held at an Indian hotel was rocked by a gas canister blast that triggered casualties. At least 18 people were killed by this deadly explosion.

As reported by AFP Monday (19/2/2018), a gas cylinder exploded on Friday (16/2) evening local time at a hotel in the city Beawar, the state of Rajasthan. The explosion occurred during a wedding that was taking place at the hotel and was attended by many guests.

This explosion ruined the hotel to ruins. This explosion also triggered a major fire.

Rescue workers initially found nine dead bodies on Saturday (17/2) evening local time. But the number increased dramatically after nine other bodies were found in the ruins of buildings on Sunday (18/2) local time.

There are a number of women and children among these dead. In search of victims, rescue workers are assisted by Indian military personnel.

"So far 18 bodies have been found," said senior administration official Ajmer, Gaurav Goyal, in a statement.

Ajmer is the district where the explosion occurred. Ajmer is 200 kilometers from Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan.

"Five people who suffered serious injuries, with severe burns, are now hospitalized," Goyal added to AFP .

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. But a number of eyewitnesses told local television NDTV that the explosion occurred when the chef attempted to install gas cylinders for cooking.

Rajasthan's chief minister, Vasundhara Raje, announced the compensation of 200,000 rupees each (Rp 42 million) for every family of the dead.

(nvc / ita)

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Snowflood Landscape Switzerland, 2 Lost People

 The avalanche of snowfall occurred in the Valais region of Switzerland. As a result of these events, two people were declared missing.

Quoted from Reuters on Monday (19/2/2018), the landslide occurred on Sunday (18/2) morning local time. Police revise the number of missing victims from 10 to 2.

Police also said the victims were members of a group that was skiing in the region. Not to mention the identity of both.

Avalanche occurs at an altitude of 2,500 meters in an area called Col de Fenestral. The search for victims continues to be done.

Valais is an area bordering France and Italy. No further details have been made about the details of this incident.

(rna / dkp)

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Church in Dagestan Russia Attacked, 5 people killed and 4 injured

 A man is shooting at a crowd that is leaving a church in the Russian province of Dagestan. The incident also killed five people and wounded four others.

Reported by Reuters on Monday (19/2/2018) the shootings took place in the village of Kizlyar inhabited by a Muslim majority.

The attack was called when church visitors celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holy day that marks the last day before Lent according to the eastern orthodox calendar.

TASS news agency as reported by Reuters called the attacker a 22-year-old local resident. The perpetrator has been shot dead by a security officer on duty nearby.

The officer also secures the shotgun, bullet, and hunting knife that the perpetrator brought. Initial reports say five deaths were female, while the wounded were 2 security officers and two civilians.
(haf / dkp)

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