Tag Archives: environmental issues

exchanging food for energy (part II)

 It is interesting that Malaysia PM Abdullah Badawi urged participants of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to think again on the shift towards biofuel production (from food production).

 

Maybe he has neglected to look at his own backyard.

 

When 30 years ago, you got to enjoy paddy fields, buffaloes, kampongs, rubber plantations, tin mines, cliffs and forests along the country roads, today, you see nothing but palm oil plantations along the North-South Highway. 

 

On a flight from Singapore to KL, you will marvel at the endless sea of uniform palm greenery below.

 

Back in the 60’s, Malaysia was self-sufficient where rice was concern.  Today, it imports 30% of the staple grain. 

 

The ongoing food shortage is a wake up call.  That is where PM Badawi is coming from in his address to the WEF. 

 

His government has recently decided to encourage rice farming on a massive scale again.  It has identified the East Malaysian state of Sarawak for the purpose, and the state is supportive in providing more land.

 

Sound policy it is.  The next question then, is where the land will come from.  Will biofuel production hectares be converted, or will it involve clearing of more forests yet?

 

*related article here

 

 

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sinking city

I used to associate direct use of groundwater with the rural areas and farms.  Wells, I thought, were a thing of the past.

 

In Jakarta, however, it is the factories, the hotels and the wealthy residents who draw water from wells.

 

The existing water utility companies are not coping with the demand from the city’s 14 million dwellers.  So, those with deep pockets dig even deeper wells to supplement their water needs.

 

This picture from wikipedia illustrates groundwater.

 The lowering level of groundwater, coupled with the piling developments on the surface, causes the city to sink.  If the estimates are correct, Jakarta will be underwater by 2025.

 

It doesn’t help that Jakarta is a coastal city.  The rising sea level from climate change will only aggravate the matter.

 

Just yesterday, parts of the city were inundated by a tidal wave brought about by astronomical interactions.