Gruesome reports from Europe – of people drowning as their rickety boats capsize in unforgiving waters, of migrants detained in squalid camps and even summarily executed on the high seas – have hit the headlines with predictable regularity in recent years.
These tragic incidents have a long history. What has changed is the exceptional scale of the migration across the Mediterranean sea. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that some 30,400 migrants had arrived in Greece by just May this year, compared to 34,000 in all of 2014.
From the beginning of the crisis it was clear to all except European governments that patrolling the Mediterranean and blocking the Channel Tunnel would fail; the land routes, railway networks, and pre-dawn single-queue processions have made these redundant. Government nitpicking about categories such as refugee, asylum seeker, economic migrant, illegal immigrant; deploying FRONTEX (the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union) to apprehend alien intruders, and planning cordon after cordon to make Europe a protected place – have all been overrun by the crowd of what can only be described as refugees.
The European Transport Forum opens on Tuesday (29 September) after a week dominated by headlines over the Volkswagen scandal.
The revelations that Volkswagen, the world's second largest car manufacturer, had routinely gamed US emissions testing has thrown the spotlight on the environmental and health impact of cars.
While EU member states, such as the UK, open or consider investigations into the beleaguered company, European Commission officials are currently reviewing the executive’s 2011 White Paper for transport, its main policy roadmap for the sector.
Bringing extra impetus to their deliberation is the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, international talks aimed at capping global warming.
Without a doubt the ocean is the most important part of the Earth, covering as it does 71% of its surface. Important because, along with the atmosphere, it is an essential component of the climate system which conditions all life. Important also for the resources it contains. Important, more indirectly, because it is in the ocean’s depths that resides the motor of the Earth crust’s dynamics, the ocean depths being the main characteristics of our planet. Important, finally, as it is the probable origin of life itself. Thus it is evident that the Ocean is a “necessary partner” of globalisations. In fact, one can say it "is" the centre of the world.
The Living Planet Report 2014 detailed alarming declines in biodiversity, showing species populations falling by half between 1970 and 2010. It also showed that humanity, particularly in developed nations, continues to make unsustainable demands on nature.
This special edition takes a deeper look into these findings, and their implications, for the marine realm. Data on marine ecosystems and human impacts upon them is limited, reflecting the lack of attention the ocean has received to date. Nevertheless, the trends shown here present a compelling case for action to restore our ocean to health.
Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades is threatening human
reproduction and health, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO),
the first global reproductive health organization to take a stand on human exposure to toxic chemicals.
FIGO, which represents ob-gyns from 125 countries/territories, published the opinion in the
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics on October 1st, just prior to its XXI World Congress in
Vancouver, BC, where more than 7,000 clinicians and scientists will explore global trends in women’s
health issues Oct. 4-9.
“We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals and the price we are paying in terms of
our reproductive health is of serious concern,” said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, MD, PhD, Honorary Secretary of
FIGO and lead author of the FIGO opinion. According to Di Renzo, reproductive health professionals
“witness first-hand the increasing numbers of health problems facing their patients, and preventing
exposure to toxic chemicals can reduce this burden on women, children, and families around the world.”