Through the lens | Global Ideas | DW | 26.01.2017
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Global Ideas

Through the lens

Join us as we take a look through the lens at some environmental events from around the world over the past week, including Trump's anti-environment agenda and other big stories you might have missed.

U.S. President Donald Trump has had a busy first week in power. The former reality TV star spent much of his time signing executive orders and signaling that he intends to follow through on a campaign promise to slash environmental regulations. Trump gave the greenlight to proceed with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines blocked by Barack Obama on environmental grounds and after much public protest. He authorized the projects on the condition that the pipelines use American steel, which he claims would create 28,000 jobs.  

In a move that has enraged climate change and environmental activists, Trump also ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to temporarily freeze all contracts and grants as well as putting in place what is effectively a media blackout. The agency is to stop issuing press releases, writing blog updates, posting on social media and to halt contact with the press.  Meanwhile, an anonymous group of employees at the country's National Park's Service, which is also covered by the same gag order as the EPA, has reportedly set up an alternative Twitter account to counter "science denial coming from Trump's administration." 

In Cameroon's Korup National Park, conservationists and locals are working together to put people at the center of the conservation effort. They are promoting sustainable forestry and wildlife management as well as farming as an alternative to hunting the endangered animals in the park. In some cases, hunters have swapped their guns for motorbikes as a way of earning a living by providing taxi and courier services. 

Climate change has forced many Mongolian herders to abandon their nomadic ways and move with their traditional circular tent homes – called yurts – to the country's capital. This brings environmental challenges for Ulaanbaatar. The new residents use coal to heat their yurts and in recent years the air quality in the capital has gotten worse than in Beijing or Mumbai. In 2016, a non-governmental organization called the Ger Community Mapping Center started work to combat the problems – through mapping.

Extreme weather is on the rise in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency. In its report "Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe," published every four years, the EEA said the continent was at an increased risk of floods and droughts, which would lower crop yields and ease the spread of infectious diseases. Europe must better prepare for the consequences of climate change, added the agency. The above picture shows flooding in Paris, France, after heavy rainfall in the summer of 2016. 

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