Tag Archives: India

Mapping China and India’s diasporas

The Economist maps the largest twenty countries of China and India’s diasporas.

More Chinese people live outside mainland China than French people live in France, with some to be found in almost every country. Some 22m ethnic Indians are scattered across every continent. Diasporas have been a part of the world for millennia. But today their size (if migrants were a nation, they would be the world’s fifth-largest) and the ease of staying in touch with those at home are making them matter much more.

Bhopal 2011: Requiem & Revitalization

MJ writes about BHOPAL 2011: Requiem & Revitalization an International Students’ Workshop and Symposium, Bhopal, India January 23 – February 04, 2011.  The workshop is organized by the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, modern Asian Architecture Network (mAAN), India and The International Committee for Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) India.  More information is available on the conference website.  MJ writes:

Bhopal is known the world over as the city that witnessed the Union Carbide Gas Tragedy in 1984 and continues to struggle with the fallout of this disaster. The significance of the disaster however, extends beyond Bhopal. The factory site of the disaster, now an urban void in a dense neighbourhood of Bhopal lies abandoned and the stories that it contains, lie untold. Over the course of two weeks in January-February 2011 students and experts from multiple disciplines and backgrounds will converge in Bhopal and work together with local citizens in an attempt to understand the tragedy and its site in its conflicting interpretations. Through exploring the possible transformation of the site into a place of remembrance and a resource for empowering the local community the participants will also address the broader issue of how heritage sites with a troubled and troubling legacy can contribute to a better understanding of our times.

BHOPAL2011 looks at the possible protection, decontamination and rehabilitation of Union Carbide Factory as potential to revitalize the precinct and the community around the site and explores the possible approaches and mechanisms to do so. In exploring key issues linked to the emergence of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Site as a cultural heritage site, BHOPAL2011 sets the ground for an collaborative and creative dialogue between disciplines of cultural heritage, architecture, urban design and applied arts.

Within a collaborative framework the conference and the workshop will explore three main themes:

  1. Challenges in Recognizing Contemporary Sites with a Conflicting Past as Heritage
  2. Challenges in Interpreting and Rehabilitating Sites with Contemporary and Conflicting Heritage
  3. Challenges in Harnessing Sites with Contemporary and Conflicting Heritage for Society Building

Last date for registration is December 1, 2010.

Papers are invited for the following (but not limited to) themes and proposals for organizing sessions are welcome.

  1. Commemoration & the Politics of Construction of Public Memory
  2. Public Participation in Revitalization of Sites of Memory
  3. Challenges in Rehabilitating Landscapes of Disaster
  4. Protection, Preservation and Interpretation of Sites of Conscience
  5. Heritage, environment and economy – Conflicts and Resolutions
  6. Gaps in the World Heritage list. Industrial & Modern Heritage of Asia, Africa and Latin America

The last date of submission of abstracts is November 15, 2010.

Over fertilizing the world

Three faces of global over fertilization from agriculture in China and the USA, and its complex effects on food webs.

1) Chinese farmers are acidifying there soil by over applying fertilizer.  Acidic soils impede crop growth and amplify the leaching of toxins.  Since the early 1980s, pH has declined from 0.2 to 0.8 across China, mostly due to overuse of fertilizer.  This is shown in a new Science paper, Significant Acidification in Major Chinese Croplands (DOI: 10.1126/science.1182570) by JH Guo and others.

Topsoil pH changes from 154 paired data over 35 sites in seven Chinese provinces between the 1980s and the 2000s. The line and square within the box represent the median and mean values of all data; the bottom and top edges of the box represent 25 and 75 percentiles of all data, respectively; and the bottom and top bars represent 5 and 95 percentiles, respectively. (From Guo et al)

Reporting on the paper Mara Hvistendahl writes, “Beginning in the 1970s, Chinese farmers applied ever-increasing amounts of fertilizer with the hope that it would lead to bigger harvests. Instead of high yield, however, they got water and air pollution. Today, agricultural experts estimate that in many parts of China fertilizer use can be slashed by up to 60%.”  In another issue of Science she also reports on current Chinese efforts to reduce fertilizer use.  In the Wall Street Journal, Geeta Annad reports on overfertilization in India “Pritam Singh, who farms 30 acres in Punjab, says the more desperate farmers become, the more urea they use. Overuse is stunting yields.”

2) The Washington Post reports on how in the US large feed lots are causing water quality problems in Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable

Animal manure, a byproduct as old as agriculture, has become an unlikely modern pollution problem, scientists and environmentalists say. The country simply has more dung than it can handle: Crowded together at a new breed of megafarms, livestock produce three times as much waste as people, more than can be recycled as fertilizer for nearby fields.

… Despite its impact, manure has not been as strictly regulated as more familiar pollution problems, like human sewage, acid rain or industrial waste. The Obama administration has made moves to change that but already has found itself facing off with farm interests, entangled in the contentious politics of poop.

3) Fertilization of ecosystems can have complex ecological consequences. In a paper in PNAS, John Davis and others show that in a Long-term nutrient enrichment decouples predator and prey production DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908497107.

Relationship between primary consumer and predator secondary production for the reference stream (gray circles), the treatment stream (black circles), and previously published data (open circles). The arrows represent the temporal trajectory of the treatment stream starting with the 2 years of pretreatment (P1 and P2) and ending with the fifth year of enrichment (E5). The data labels correspond to the sampling year for the reference and treatment streams. The previously published data include 5 years of production data from the reference stream (C53) and a similar Coweeta stream (C55) that had experimentally reduced terrestrial leaf inputs during 4 of those years (21). It also includes previously published data from an unmanipulated year that compared our current reference (C53) and treatment (C54) streams (22). AFDM is ash-free dry mass.

Their research showed that there were differences in how predators and prey responded to fertilization, but these only emerged over time.  Increases N and P entering a stream increased populations of both predators and prey, however later on prey populations continued to increase but predator populations declined,because fertilzation shifted the streams prey to larger, predator resistant species, which reduced the efficiency with which energy flowed through the food web.