Category Archives: Around the World

A picture-perfect Hebridean island

The Economist: Scottish islanders are buying out their lairds. “But remote settlements will need more than new owners to survive.”

“In June Ulva was bought by its residents, a result of sweeping land reform by the Scottish government. “For the first time, the people who live on the island will get to decide what happens to it,” declared Rebecca Munro, an islander.

When Ulva was put on the market last year, Mrs Munro and her family feared that a new landlord might terminate their tenancies. A brochure portrayed the island as a private playground, they said, listing the dates when tenants could be evicted. Community ownership, by contrast, suggests security and self-determination. But the fate of fragile and marginal places depends on more than land changing hands.

Who owns what, and why, has a particular emotional pull in Scotland. Half the country’s private land is owned by fewer than 500 people. Nationalists view this as a legacy of English colonialism, which saw the appropriation of land that under the clan system had been mutually owned. The clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, when rich landowners forcibly evicted poor tenants to make way for sheep farming, loom large in the cultural imagination.”

Huffington Post: Meet The Island Communities Fighting Back Against Wealthy, Absent Landlords. “These tiny Scottish communities are taking control of their own destinies.” (Includes a 10min video worth watching.)

“Eigg is one of the Scottish Small Isles, an archipelago of islands a few miles off the country’s west coast, and when Fyffe arrived, the population was at an all-time low of 39.

The island was owned by businessman and former Olympic bobsleigher Keith Schellenberg. Schellenberg had bought Eigg in 1975 for the equivalent of $360,000 (274,000 pounds), and despite some initial investment, things had progressively declined. In an interview with the West Highland Free Press in 1991, he enthused that under his ownership the island had kept its “slightly rundown … Hebridean feel.”

Fyffe and her neighbors saw it differently. “We were in extreme circumstances,” she says. “With no security of tenure, no one was investing; the community hall was falling apart; the only shop was in a corrugated shed with no water or electricity.”

Fed up and desperate for change, the community decided to do something about it. When Schellenberg’s divorce led to the island being put on the market, Eigg passed briefly to a German artist, before the newly formed Isle of Eigg Trust raised $1.97 million to buy it ― one-third from hundreds of small donations and two-thirds from a woman who has remained anonymous to this day. Last year, Eigg celebrated its 20th anniversary of community ownership.”

Links via MetaFilter.

Da bleiben einem Nutella, Rocher und Küsschen im Halse stecken…

Deutsche Welle: Haselnüsse für Nutella vergiften Chile. “Eine der wichtigsten Zutaten für die Produkte des Süßwarenherstellers Ferrero sind Haselnüsse. Die werden unter anderem in Chile angebaut – unter fragwürdigen Bedingungen.”

“Ein Grund für die steigende Produktion von Haselnüssen in Chile ist vermutlich die lasche Umweltgesetzgebung. Die fehlenden Regulierungen beim Einsatz von Pflanzenschutzmitteln machen den Anbau kostengünstiger und effizienter. Auf den Haselnuss-Plantagen wird das wahrscheinlich krebserregende Glyphosat eingesetzt. Agrichile steht außerdem unter dem Verdacht, das giftige Pflanzenschutzmittel Paraquat zu verwenden. Paraquat wurde von der englischen Firma Imperial Chemical Industries entwickelt, deren Agrarsparte heute Teil des Schweizer Unternehmens Syngenta ist. In Chile wird das Umweltgift von Arysta und Anasac vermarktet.

Untersuchungen des Pestizd-Aktion-Netzwerks in Chile RAP (Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativas en Chile) warnen vor Gesundheitsschäden durch den Einsatz von Paraquat wie Nierenversagen, Atemnot, Lungenschmerzen, Seh- und Leberschäden, schweren Hautverletzungen, Todesfällen sowie Embryoschädigung. In der Europäischen Union ist Paraquat verboten, in Chile nicht.”

From the Earth to Space

Astronomy Picture of the Day: Rocket Launch as Seen from the Space Station. (YouTube, 1:37min) “Video Credit: ISAA, NASA, Expedition 57 Crew (ISS); processing: Riccardo Rossi (ISAA, AstronautiCAST); music: Inspiring Adventure Cinematic Background by Maryna.”

“Have you ever seen a rocket launch — from space? A close inspection of the featured time-lapse video will reveal a rocket rising to Earth orbit as seen from the International Space Station (ISS). The Russian Soyuz-FG rocket was launched ten days ago from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying a Progress MS-10 (also 71P) module to bring needed supplies to the ISS. Highlights in the 90-second video (condensing about 15-minutes) include city lights and clouds visible on the Earth on the lower left, blue and gold bands of atmospheric airglow running diagonally across the center, and distant stars on the upper right that set behind the Earth. A lower stage can be seen falling back to Earth as the robotic supply ship fires its thrusters and begins to close on the ISS, a space laboratory that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.”

“Was in der gedruckten Welt nicht erlaubt ist, sollte auch in den sozialen Medien nicht erlaubt sein”

Deutsche Welle: Jüdischer Kongress warnt vor wachsendem Juden-Hass. “Die Warnung ist deutlich: Es sei nicht fünf vor zwölf, sondern fünf nach zwölf. Auf einem Kongress in Wien haben Experten über den wachsenden Antisemitismus in Europa gesprochen. Vor allem im Netz tobt der Hass.”

“Mit drastischen Worten wurde vor zunehmendem Juden-Hass gewarnt. Es sei nicht fünf vor zwölf, sondern fünf nach zwölf, sagte EJC-Vizepräsident Ariel Muzicant. “Wir stehen an einem Scheideweg.” Die Situation für die rund 1,5 Millionen europäischen Juden werde schlimmer und schlimmer. Auch in Deutschland nähmen die Vorfälle zu.”