New York Squirrels

Even though, New York (especially Manhattan) doesn’t have too much green space, of course you can find squirrels everywhere (a friend of mine called them New York’s rats of the trees – a rather unflattering account, I think)! The squirrels I found most amusing were jumping around in Central Park!

For everyone who’s wondering about why I post so many squirrels on my blog, click here.

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Stabilizing Climate Change? – Impressions from the Aral Sea

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Between 30 November and 11 December this year, the leaders of the world are meeting in Paris for 21st session of the COP (Conference of Parties) to the  UNFCCC, which is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Together with Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) have a special status and interest in negotiations about climate change. While SIDS are mostly threatened by a rise of water-levels due to climate change, LLDCs experience serious threats due to the melting of glaciers, their only water source. Obviously, the whole crowd of ‘stans’ is part of the latter category and Uzbekistan is together with Liechtenstein the only doubly landlocked country in the world.

While in Paris, the country representatives pledge to provide more money, commit to measurable goals etc. to manage the human-made catastrophe of climate change, there are of course also human forces that, mostly for the sake of profit, continue to work in favor of climate change, such as the Goldmining industry in Kyrgyzstan, which contaminates water resources and, together with already melting glaciers poses a threat of a flood for the country. In this post, I will address another water-related issues in Central Asia and its human origins: the Aral Sea catastrophe in Uzbekistan.

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It’s time for another tribute

 

Cars and cotton – an Uzbek roadtrip

Some time ago, I’ve been to Uzbekistan. It’s an amazing country, full of beautiful mosques, madrassahs and mosaics. I’ve been there for ten days but traveled five cities. That’s usually not my style of traveling, as I like to have more time to get into the atmosphere and lifestyle of a city. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to do this one time and I saw a lot of amazing buildings and got an impression of the huge differences in architecture and culture in this big country.

But, because of our ambitious travel planning and the size of the country (see box), we spent a long time in cars, trains, marshrutkas and even a propeller-driven plane. So, before talking about the amazing buildings and history of this fascinating country, I want to give you an impression of our “roadtrip”, and some lessons we learned. A somewhat sarcastic “road”-experience:2013-09-10 14.42.45

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