The New York Times published an interview with University of Maryland Professor Margaret Palmer discussing her experience at an environmental colloquium in North Korea. Palmer was one of only three delegates to attend from the United States. She is the executive director of the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland.
North Korea is known for being a very closed-off society. However, in March 2012, North Korea invited fourteen scientists from eight different countries to an unprecedented conference focused on the country's environmental conditions. About seventy-five per cent of North Korean scientists and officials also attended. Participants shared strategies on restoration and security. There were presentations ranging from reforestations to agroforestry to climate change mitigation. The conference was sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in collaboration with the Pyongyang International Information Center for New Technology and the Environmental Education Media Project in China.
The Korean War in the 1950's started many of the environmental problems. Forest fires caused severe deforestation, which was exacerbated by farming on recovering forests. The country is dealing with soil erosion, desertification, nutrient depletion and pest epidemics.
To read the interview and for more information, visit http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/q-and-a-north-koreas-choked-environment/
March 30, 2012