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© Stuart Matthews 2014




Stories

Dead Wood: The Latvian Timber Trade

The Latvian forest industry accounts today for about a fourth of the country’s GDP but environmental NGOs fear that the sector might damage the country’s biodiversity. Latvia has over 3.2 million hectares of private and state owned forest. In 1990, when the country gained independence from the Soviet Union, its vastly untouched timber reserve became the corner stone of the economy. Today Latvia exports timber throughout Europe and neighbouring countries.



Gyda’r Tir: ‘With the land’ Off the grid in Wales

Hidden away in an isolated valley in southwest Wales, 18 adults and 17 children are carving out a new way of life. The first thing the visitor to the eco-village of Lammas notices is how calm the place feels. Removed from the chaos, distractions and consumption habits of the 21st-century, the community of Lammas are working to find an alternative way of living.





In Search of Hope

Displaced migrants are emptying out of the countryside ravaged by the rising coastal flood waters and erosion of the Jamuna and Padma rivers. They are being drawn to the lights of the capital in search of a new beginning. As much as half of Dhaka’s population lives in vast, hand-built shantytowns beside railway lines and along the riverbanks. Shadows from the wealthy high-rise apartment blocks of Gulshan district cast over the millions living in swampy lowland shacks.



Disappearing Landscape

Each year the Jamuna River starts to rise during The Barsha (Monsoon) season. Severe flooding from Glacier melting in the Himalayas and the seasonal Monsoon rains causes fast following currents to cut their way through the heart of the landscape. The waters erode hundreds of square km of land displacing thousands of people, who are forced to take refuge on char islands.





Changing Tides: The Barsha

In the remote south-western corner of Bangladesh the coming monsoon storm poses a severe threat to the people living in the region. Each year during the Monsoon season (Barsha) rising flood waters and coastal flooding causes many to migrate, taking refuge in makeshift shelters on embankments throughout this low lying country.





More Than 90 Minutes

Fans throughout London crowded around TV’s and Radio’s to support the 32 nations competing in the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world with over 300 languages spoken amongst its 7.3 million residents who were watching and nervously, waiting in anticipation to see if this time their country could win the most prestigious sporting prize in the world.




Climate Refugees

Patil Bari is one of the oldest Char (Sand Islands) in the Shagahata Upazila, residents migrated to the Char 20 years ago when their previous home were destroyed. They are are currently 392 households living on Patil Bari, farmers grow a variety of different crops such as Maize, Chili, Jute and Vegetables. They join together in renting a boat to take their crops to the local bazaar on the mainland, this can cost around 1,500 – 2,000 BDT depending on the harvest.



Changing Tides: An Uncertain Future

Bangladesh has an extremely vulnerable landscape with 80% of its land made up of low-lying deltaic plains with an altitude of only 10 meters above sea level or less. This land is subject to frequent flooding during the Monsoon season, with large quantities of water flowing down the Jamuna and Padma rivers, causing catastrophic erosion along the banks of a fragile, predominantly silt, landscape.




Independence

On the 17th February 2008 Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, which received mixed reactions. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy were the first to recognise this new country, and others soon followed. Serbia and Russia still contest that the declaration was Illegal and void on the grounds that it was not in accordance with the UN Charter.






East

In a country that has been solely focused on its booming economic growth over the last decade, recorded at 10.3% in 2006, the people have begun to realise the consequences of neglecting the environment. The Chinese people breathe in polluted air and consume water, which doesn’t even come close to their own Government’s standards due to gross negligence. The Chinese media is tightly monitored by the state which has shut down media organisations for publishing material and voicing opinions against the state.