Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Destruction of the Blue Niles Falls

Dear Friends,

I am sad to report that the Blue Niles Falls is no more... The Ethiopian Ministry of Water Resources has used up $63 million to build a 450 megawatt power generating station called Tis Abay II, diverting the flow of the Nile's source.

What happened to conservation and alternative energy?

Chinese and Serbian contractors built the dam, while France and Britain served as consultants on this project.

READ Richard Bangs' article on MSNBC. Bangs and Pasquale Scaturro are authors of Mystery of the Nile: The Epic Story of the First Descent of the World's Deadliest River. Their journey is captured in an IMAX film, Mystery of the Nile.

"This seemed a crime against nature, against aesthetic sensibilities, even local economies..." Purchase the book.

Photo Courtesy: MSNBC.com

Here's a report from 2002 about the Tekeze dam, another dam project in Ethiopia.

Some facts about rivers and dams.

Some background on the messy Nile Basin Initiative. It's "business as usual..."

You are Africa's black soil that produce life
You are the milk that quench the thirsty multitudes
You are the messenger of my gospel, O Nile
That bring my abundant harvest to the mouth of the needy
You are the elegant pilgrim of my mercy
Your are the first fountain you are the first ever Ethiopia
You are the appeaser of the lustful greed
You are the first Earth Mother of all fertility
Rising like the sun from the deepest core of the globe
You are the conqueror of the scorching pestilence
You are the source you the Africa you are the Ethiopia
You are the Nile.

Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin, Ethiopian Poet Laureate

More on nationalgeographic.com about this legendary river that inspires both reverence and fear among Ethiopians who live along its banks.

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Ethiopia's paper currency, the one birr note, showcases the falls in spate

The Aral Sea level has dropped about 20m since 1960, primarily as a result of increased diversions from the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers for irrigation purposes.

Lake Chad,
once one of the African continent's largest bodies of fresh water, has dramatically decreased in size due to climate change and human demand for water.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Java War: Ethiopia Challenges Brazil

Natural 'decaf' coffee discovered in Ethiopia by Brazilian scientists, it was announced in the prestigious science journal Nature. Ethiopia is furious and challenging Brazil over the ownership of plants collected from the country's forests.

Who will win the Decaf Java War? FIND out.

Fair Trade and Starbucks Campaign
Starbucks Provides Only One Fair Trade Blend. FIND out why.

Welcome to DunkinDonuts.com
Dunkin Donuts Provides Fair Trade Coffee. FIND out why.

Are GM Crops the Answer to Food Shortages?

Of course, they're not, but officials from the United Nations argue the potential risks of biotechnology are outweighed by the benefits it could offer the continent.

Um, right...

Read why this Lady don't like GM food:

Ethiopians Urged to "Eat Rice"
FIND out why the UN and Japan launched a bid to encourage the impoverished nation to start growing a drought-resistant breed of rice called NERICA.

NERICA trials are expected to start in the northern Amhara region where some four million people are dependent on food aid each year, regardless of the weather.

What role has enset played in the agricultural policies of Ethiopia's recent and current governments?

More on the history of enset in Ethiopia.

Enset plants at the Areka Research Station, Boloso Sore.

photo courtesy oxfam.org

Bob Geldof Visits Ethiopia

Bob Geldof, who's first visit to Ethiopia inspired Band Aid and Live Aid, recently said: "The EU have been pathetic and appalling, and I thought we had dealt with that 20 years ago when the electorate of our countries said never again..."

He visited Ethiopia 20 years later and finds it pathetic all over again.

Read about his visit: