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We’re All in This Together

Communities with strong ethics of the commons most resilient to disasters

Following the hugely destructive earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, communities along Japan’s northeastern coast faced a major challenge of social organization: People who had lost everything needed to decide, often together, how to rebuild. They had to work through complex issues…
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by: Winnie Bird – June 10, 2013

Japan’s Reconstruction Two Years On — Plain Old Disaster Capitalism?

In Miyagi Prefecture rebuilding efforts give corporations the upper hand

Whatever happened to Japan’s sustainable reconstruction? Photos by Winnie BirdAs a recovery strategy, Sendai’s local government has decided to ramp up existing policies of farm expansion, corporatization, and integration with the processing and service industries. I asked myself that question as I…
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by: Winnie Bird – March 11, 2013

Radiant Wildlands

The forests near Fukushima and Chernobyl likely have been changed forever.

illustration Doug Chayka Late in the spring of 2011, the pale grass blue butterflies seemed no different. Flitting about the meadows of Fukushima Prefecture, their satin wings shimmered as they moved among the notched leaves of wood sorrel and feathery pampas grass. When Joji Otaki began looking closely at the delicate insects the size of a silver dollar, however, he was struck by abnormal patterns in the dark dots on their wings.…
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by: Winnie Bird – Spring 2013

Yokohama Anti-Nuke Meet Draws Thousands of Activists, Experts

But 10 Months After the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster it’s Unclear if Japanese Citizens will be Able to Force their Government to Phase Out Nuclear Power

In the 10 months since an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiici nuclear power plant, people in Japan have engaged in some of the most dramatic activism in the country’s recent history. Mothers have stormed public meetings. Angry citizens have taken…
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by: Winnie Bird – January 17, 2012

World Governments Reach Biodiversity Agreement

Nagoya conference adopts sweeping new conservation plan and deal to fight biopiracy

Just past 1:30 this morning, a Nagoya meeting hall packed with representatives of 179 countries heaved a collective sigh of relief and burst into a standing ovation. After two weeks of tense negotiations, some deft diplomacy by Japan, and a final meeting…
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by: Winnie Bird – October 29, 2010

Following the Money at COP 10

Countries are divided over conservation funding, but will more money really solve the biodiversity crisis?

One morning a few days ago, I was sitting despondently at my desk in the COP 10 conference center, wondering whether another week of argument between delegates over targets, financial mechanisms, and benefit-sharing would really help bees and butterflies back home. Just…
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by: Winnie Bird – October 26, 2010

Geo-Engineering Ban Likely at COP10 this Week

Outcome of talks on access and benefit sharing and conservation plan remains uncertain.

Three seats out of four were still empty this Friday in the Media Center at the Congress Center in Nagoya, Japan, where delegates from 193 countries are meeting for a UN conference on biodiversity this week and next. Outside, too, protesters in…
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by: Winnie Bird – October 25, 2010

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