June 2019

June 2019 Newsletter

View the full PDF publication here: UPP MAY-JUNE 2019 ISSUE




Saudade and the Rain: Nature, Culture, and Identity

Author: Gabriel Wilson Tavares Calderaro (UNU-IAS)

I love the rain. The sound it makes when it hits the roof of my house; how the lightning illuminates a whole new world for a split second; even how the thunder seems to shake me to my very core. I always thought rain would be the same; make me feel similar emotions, regardless of where I lived. Yet, as it rains in Tokyo, it doesn’t seem to incite the same easy joy it did in the Amazon. Why? What starts with a single drop of water landing on the pavement, then leads to a deep feeling… that perhaps doesn’t really exist in, or translate fully into English.

Saudade. This Portuguese word reminds me of home. It is a feeling of being incomplete or longing for something which one once had but has now lost. It is the sadness of missing, and the happiness of having the privilege of experiencing it. I feel saudade of the rain, the rivers, and the forest that surrounded me for years. Saudade of what made home, home….. Read more



Coral Reefs: The Rainforests of the Sea

Author: Priyanka Rohera (UNU-MERIT)


Curaçao is an island paradise home to 35 white sand and crystal blue water beaches, located in the Caribbean Sea. The island’s European heritage can be seen through the architecture, and pastel colored buildings. The cobblestoned streets filled with shops and restaurants in the island’s city center, Punda and Otrobanda, provide activities for tourists and locals alike. From live music and the World’s Best Mojito Bar to the captivating colors and the historic area of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the island is a popular tourist destination. Curaçao’s diverse history can be seen through the presence of a large international community consisting over 55 different cultures (Curaçao Tourist Board).

This island paradise is also home to beautiful coral reefs that surround the coast. The reefs are under stress due to a number of causes including climate change, pollution, careless tourism and bleaching events. Coral reefs are….. Read more




Climate ‘Refugees’: The Lost Population

Author: Femke Laauwen (UNU-MERIT)


Climate change is a topic that is on everyone’s minds, in one way or another. It is difficult to look at any newspaper, on any given day, and not see at least one article on the topic. It has led to heated debate within political circles and has exacerbated the differences between us through polarizing society, as illustrated through recent election results within the European Union. Ever since we’ve basically worked out the science behind climate change, the political and ideological differences between us have become all the more stark. But there is one aspect of this debate that has consistently fallen between policy gaps, and that is the concept of ‘climate refugees’. More specifically, the lack of a possibility to gain refugee status if you are fleeing for environmental or climate-related reasons because this is not covered within the scope of the definition of a refugee as outlined in the United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Why does this not receive more attention? And what will this mean for the future when the effects of climate change become increasingly more visible? ….. Read more





Ecosystem Services: Savior and Victim of Changing Climate

Author: Anuska Joshi (UNU-IAS)


It has been decades since climate change started threatening the health of the planet, and it still continues to do so. It has been decades since the discussion on the plausibility of anthropogenic climate change and its threat started taking center stage and while the discussion still continues, we have yet to know if the threat will ever really cease. Ecosystem services are the basis for our existence, and climate change is now creating a vicious circle with it, whereby the changing climate impacts the ecosystem and the impacted ecosystem further drives the consequences of changing climate.

For instance, the climate resilience of any ecosystem depends much on species richness, diversity and landscape (Locatelli et al., 2008), but these are also the very elements that climate change is threatening to disrupt. All types of services provided by our ecosystem is now under threat. A case example could be that of Sahel and the semi-arid drylands of East Africa which are now facing challenges of “crop and livestock losses, food insecurity, displacement, cultural losses including traditional livelihood systems, and conflict” (Geest, et. al., 2018). Impacts such as these differ according to the area but nonetheless are now occurring across the globe….. Read more