Editor's Picks 10 September 2013

Collection with 8 media items created by Transterra Editor

10 Sep 2013 08:00

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Arabian Jurassic Park (20 of 24)
Socotra, Yemen
By dustweare
05 Nov 2012

Underwater view in the Dihamri protected area, located on the northeast coast of the island. Some species of rare fish, like the Acropora palifera and Rhincodon, are only found on Socotra.

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We are Plurality, We are Tunisia (3 o...
Tunis, Tunisia
By francesca_oggiano
10 Aug 2013

Brahim Young, a young revolutionary militant, says, "Bardo is my neighborhood and I decided to join the sit-in in defense of poor people and the unemployed. After Ben Ali's regime, nothing has changed". Tunis, Tunisia, August, 2013.

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Tsavo East, Kenya
By Karel Prinsloo
05 Jun 2013

A elephant can be seen in the Tsavo East game park in Kenya 5 June 2013. PHOTO/KAREL PRINSLOO

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Health in Uganda (16 of 49)
Luweero, Uganda
By Papillon
10 Feb 2013

Luweero, Uganda - March 10, 2013
Involvement in the promotion of better health is central in the development of Uganda as a better nation. This includes clean hospitals and health centers, schools, wells and effective community outreach programs in which people receive free medication, health services and mosquito nets. But even with the strong government efforts in reducing mortality rates, the situation is still serious and dangerous in some areas of Uganda. Children are at especially high risk of vector borne diseases including malaria, as well as water-borne diseases including bacterial diarrhea. Maternal mortality is high in Uganda, and pregnancy is still the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19. The picture shows a young mother, affected by HIV/AIDS, during the daily visit in Luweero general hospital, waiting for having anti-retroviral medicine.

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Life Along The Railway (1 of 11)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Michael Biach
20 Jun 2013

A train is passing by next to makeshift homes in a slum in Dhaka.

Space is scarce in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s vibrant capital. So is money. An estimated number of more than 10 million people live in Dhaka, making it one of the world’s most populated cities. Poor neighborhoods, by western definitions called slums, are continuously growing. The space next to railway tracks has long been occupied by numerous makeshift homes.

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Food insecurity: Does South Korea hav...
Seoul, South Korea
By maltekol
12 Jul 2013

The World Health Organization warns that overpopulation and a lack of arable land contribute to global food insecurity. So scientists are developing new farming technology to offset potential food shortages. Researchers in South Korea are experimenting with vertical farms; gardens that instead of spreading out, go straight up.
Jason Strother and Malte Kollenberg report from Seoul.

Almost half of South Korea’s 50 millions citizens live here in the capital. And in a country with very limited agricultural land, feeding all of these people presents a challenge. Some observers say the nation faces increasing food insecurity.

Park Hwan-il is food security analyst at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI (English)
"The food self sufficiency rate in Korea is just about 26 percent. Which means three quarters of the food we consume is from the foreign countries. That means the Korean people’s health and nutrition depends on outside factors that we cannot control”

Park says that climate conditions or other instability in the international market makes importing food unpredictable. It’s not only a problem for Korea, but for many other countries too. But some scientists say there is a solution.

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“My name is Dickson Despommier: I teach at Columbia Universities Medical School and school of public health. The world would be a much better place, if we had vertical farming.”

Despommier says tower-like hydroponic farms could someday stand alongside skyscrapers as a key food source for billions of city dwellers

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“Here’s my vision of what a vertical farm might look like. My gold standard for this is the Apple Store in New York City on 5th Avenue. If you took that building and made it into a five-story building. Now in the building you have multiple floors of course, and inside each floor you have multiple layers of crops.”

Despommier says vertical farms could be a key solution for countries with a growing population or limited arable land. Like South Korea.

30-kilometers south of Seoul in Suwon, the government is trying to make Despommier’s vision a reality. The Rural Development Administration has built the prototype of a vertical farm.Inside this research facility a small team of scientists is working on turning this concept a marketable product.So far, their experiment is only 3-storeys high. But they hope that one day, the technology will expand and be capable of feeding the entire nation.

Agrarian scientist Choi Kyu-hong is still sorting out more basic challenges.

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“The plant factory requires a lot of energy, the light energy and the heating and cooling energy. So we provide the heating or cooling energy using geothermal systems. We adopted the solar cell system to provide light source energies, but we are still (only) provide 15 percent of the total energy”

Choi adds his team still faces many challenges:

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“We are still (in) the research state, its take some time to make a commercial plant factories. We are firstly trying to find out the optimum wavelength of light”

Choi says the problem is that different plants grow at different speeds, depending on the light’s color and wavelength.

But even though the government hasn’t perfected vertical farming technology yet, some in the private sector are already putting it to use. Inside this Lotte Mart, a supermarket franchise in Seoul, lettuce grows under the lights of this small vertical farm.

Store mangers say produce grown in this facility has extra benefits for customers.

Int: Kim Chang-jo, Lotte Mart
(Korean) “We are the first super market to install a vertical farm. We hope that it will draw attention to environmental concerns. The plants are affordable and no pesticides were used, so its healthier for our customers”

Kim says the vertical farm lettuce costs the same as lettuce grown the old fashioned way. But some analysts say that all the lights and heating systems required to operate a vertical farm is just too expensive to make it a viable solution for food insecurity.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI
(English) “Vertical farming costs too much. / Even though the productivity in vertical farming is very high, very good, but it does not have the merit in price or marketing advantage at all”

Back at the Suwon experimental vertical farm, scientists admit they still have a long way to go. The Rural Development Administration’s Lee Hye jin gives a rough time frame.

Int: Lee Hye-jin, RDA
(Korean) “It might take at least five more years of research to make progress on these obstacles. Then vertical farms might be ready for commercial use”

The South Korean scientists say that once all the problems are resolved, vertical farms won't just have to stop at three-stories. The sky is the limit.

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Syrian Refugees in Iraq (12 of 37)
Domeez, Iraq
By Bartek Langer
27 Jun 2013

The UNHCR has installed a water containers in front of thousands of tents. Through a circulation system the water is pumped directly into the containers. However the system does not always work. Then the refugees have to queue up and wait for fresh water, which is filled in plastic bottles and buckets.