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Threats – old and new A

s we know, we live in a complex, changing world. Our report on emerging problems affecting our oceans (page 16) shows how unexpected these changes can be. Vast algal blooms have been found in the Pacific, covering an area the size of the Sahara, which are caused by soot from terrestrial fires thousands of kilometres away. Sometimes these changes create opportunities, such as the potential for aquaculture in the ever-growing expanses of offshore wind farms. However, too often they cause problems, such as the burgeoning demand for the metal lithium, which is putting at risk some unique habitats. We focus on eight of the emerging ocean threats identified in a major new study. While new problems fill the news agenda, we often forget about some of the world’s more persistent ones. Tommy Trenchard visits a remote corner of Angola (page 22) to update us on one of the world’s nastiest scourges. In the last century, we littered the planet with sophisticated anti-personnel mines, and, decades later, they’re still wreaking havoc. Angola was particularly ravaged and since the end of its long-running civil war, there has been a concerted effort to rid the country of landmines. Led by the UK’s HALO Trust, the work has seen some 100,000 mines destroyed since the 1990s. However, as Tommy discovered, the problem is far from solved, with an estimated 1,000 minefields still needing to be cleared. He visited the far southeast of Angola and found the complex impact such a legacy is having on two national parks that were once home to tens of thousands of elephants. Graeme Gourlay Publisher


‘South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, have been a Hollywood filming set for decades, yet the South Africans never could tell their own stories to Hollywood’, says reporter Cécile Bontron (page 50) ‘But everything is there: the talented directors, writers, actors, set designers, make-up artists and technicians. They all want to go global now and change our vision of the world.’


‘Southern Angola was once teeming with wildlife, but decades of war and the lingering presence of tens of thousands of landmines have had a catastrophic impact,’ says writer and photographer, Tommy Trenchard (page 22). ‘Conservationists hope the area can be restored, but that can’t happen until the mines are gone. Clearing them is a Herculean struggle, but one that the HALO Trust is determined to win.’

‘When you arrive at La Rinconada, the first thing you feel is that you are short of breath and the cold goes down to your bones,’ says Oscar Espinosa (page 40). ‘Life in the highest human settlement on the planet, where everything revolves around the gold mines, is not easy. But the ability of human beings to adapt to such extreme conditions is surprising, as is their inability to abandon the dream of a better life.’



July 2020 Volume 92 Issue 07

Publisher Graeme Gourlay

Editor Katie Burton Design Gordon Beckett Staff writer Bryony Cottam Operations director Simon Simmons Sales and marketing Elaine Saunders

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Cover image Tommy Trenchard

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