Shuddering and unable to breathe, he vomited up five plastic bags. The small pilot whale, found in a Thai canal this past June, is another symptom of a crisis in the world’s oceans. Plastic waste, mostly broken down into tiny particles, floats in huge blobs that together cover as much as 40 percent of Earth’s ocean surface. Growing public concern has inspired movements to ban single-use plastics, most notably straws.
Current International News
A complex and dangerous mission is underway to rescue twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach, who survived more than two weeks trapped by rising waters in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system. Though one person, a former Thai Navy SEAL, has lost his life in the effort, prospects are brightening for the boys as elite divers guide them, one by one, through a treacherous 2.5-mile route to freedom.
I have a hard time navigating the two worlds I find myself occupying. On the one hand, I occupy a world within Stanford University, amidst seemingly infinite, almost palpable, resources, opportunities, and an unspoken sense of security. On the other hand, I occupy a world within the border of Syria, amidst an acute shortage of even the most basic human necessities and a nagging reminder of the brevity and unpredictability of life.
The natural and cultural beauty of Costa Rica’s Osa and Golfito region has attracted the attention of tourists and developers in recent years. A Stanford initiative is working with local residents to create livelihoods that reconcile perceived conflicts between human prosperity and protection of natural resources.
Imagine if a country mobilized tens of thousands of people to reforest an area the size of Ireland within a year. This and other seemingly incomprehensible scenarios are a reality in China. A massively ambitious effort to become “the ecological civilization of the 21st Century” has driven the Middle Kingdom to commit more than a trillion dollars to environmental investments, limit development on nearly half of its total land area and pay 200 million people to restore landscapes, change farming practices or move out of sensitive areas.
A new Bing Overseas Studies Program in Hong Kong will open in 2019. From their home base in Hong Kong, Stanford students may also get the opportunity to pursue other academic and cultural offerings, including internships in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.