The Conquest of Normandy & The Red Army’s Advance to Warsaw, June-July 1944.

Originally posted on hungarywolf:
After D-Day – The Battle for Normandy: The landings of 6th June were, of course, ‘just’ the beginning of the campaign to liberate Western Europe from the occupation of the Third Reich. Having got into the…

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“If Perestroika Fails…”: The Last Summer of the Cold War – June-July 1991.

To remember

  • embarked on Perestroika > President Gorbachev constructive actions => awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1990
  • June 1991 Soviet troops completed withdrawal from Hungary + Czechoslovakia = last Soviet tanks left => Czechs + Hungarians cheered
  • Comecon, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance + Warsaw Pact = dissolved
  • START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) objective reduction of long-range strategic weapons + CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) negotiations remained as unfinished business
  • 1991 Vienna final text installed
  • 31 July 2 presidents signed START 1 in Moscow => 2 superpowers agreed to reduce nuclear warheads + bombs to below nine thousand, including 1,500 delivery vehicles. => new sequence of strategic arms reduction agreements.
  • After the START 1 summit in Moscow on 31 July, George Bush kept his promise to visit Ukraine, and went on to Kiev.
  • Ukrainians looking for US support in attempt to break away from Moscow + declare independence.

hungarywolf

President Gorbachev had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, but gave his acceptance speech in Oslo on 5 June 1991, twenty-five years ago. In it he warned that, if perestroika fails, the prospect of entering a new peaceful period of history will vanish, at least for the foreseeable future. The message was received, but not acted upon.  Gorbachev had embarked on perestroika; it was up to him and his ministers to see that it did not fail. Outside the Soviet Union, his Peace Prize was acclaimed, and the consequences of his constructive actions were apparent everywhere. In June 1991 Soviet troops completed their withdrawal from Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Czechs and Hungarians cheered as the last Soviet tanks left. At the same time, both Comecon, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact were formally dissolved.

Two sets of arms negotiations remained as unfinished business between…

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Commemorating the Normandy Landings

To remember

  • Normandy > Operation Overlord > to assault, simultaneously, beaches on the Normandy coast <= better shelter for shipping + less heavily defended than other possible beach areas along Channel coast => foothold gained on the Continent of Europe
  • 130,000 personnel and 20,000 vehicles, all of which were to be landed on the first three tides. …
  • German intelligence confused by practice of dropping dummy parachutists
  • French Resistance ordered to ready itself for invasion by BBC broadcast on 1 June > first line of poem Autumn Song by Paul Verlaine, which went Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automme (‘The long sobs of the autumn violins’).
  • Hans Speidel > Twelfth SS Hitler Youth Panzer Division to counter-attack at Caen
  • by far the greatest concentration of German fire on the entire invasion front
  • John Watney – eye-witness account in The Enemy Within (1946)
  • Wehrmacht overwhelmed by ability of RAF and USAAF to attack unprotected armour from above
  • bombing campaigns against Luftwaffe factories + trattritional war against German fighters = paid off spectacularly.

 

hungarywolf

Documenting D-Day:

This Thursday, 6th June, many of the world’s leaders will be gathering on the beaches in Normandy to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. Those veterans who survived the landings and the rest of the war are now well into their nineties, but many will make the crossing of the English Channel once more to commemorate their fallen comrades and recall the events of June 1944. But what exactly was ‘Operation Overlord’, what happened along the coast of Normandy seventy-five years ago, and what was the significance of those events in the war itself and over the following period? To gain a true understanding, we should not simply rely on Hollywood films or even documentaries. We also need to consult the documents and other primary, eye-witness testimonies from the time, with the help of serious historians. Otherwise, there is a danger that the sacrifice…

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Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Areas defaced with swastikas

In Yorkshire in the days leading up to D-Day’s 75th anniversary, vandals destroyed military gravestones.

Between Sunday 9th June and Monday 10th June, a number of areas within the Twyford Woods site have been defaced with swastikas in silver and white spray paint.

The site was used as an airfield in the Second World War for aircraft to take off for Normandy ahead of D-Day.

Several headstones, including some provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) for the anniversary, were smashed at Hirst Wood burial ground in Shipley, in what police labelled a “mindless act of destruction”.

Police have launched an investigation after a series of swastikas were spray-painted across a commemorative D-Day bench in Lincolnshire.

Commemorative bench spray painted with a swastika in Twyford Woods

Commemorative bench spray painted with a swastika in Twyford Woods ( PA )

Hirst Wood Regeneration Group campaigners said:

“It is impossible to understand the callous thoughtlessness of those who did this.

“Do they boast to their friends and relations that they managed to smash gravestones? What possible satisfaction can they get from such a mindless act?”

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Anyone with information on the vandalism in Twyford Woods can contact police on 101 quoting incident number 54 of June 10th or via email force.control@lincs.pnn.police.uk quoting incident number 54 of June 10th in the subject line. Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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In memory of racing pigeon Gustav the grizzle coloured war pigeon

On Tuesday 6 June 1944, Gustav the grizzle coloured war pigeon was released on Sword Beach in Normandy to deliver the first news of D-Day back to UK. Today, the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, re-enacted this scene with a Royal Signaller and the liberation of a racing pigeon from the same location, 75 years on.

Carrier pigeons played a vital part in both world wars acting as military messengers with their homing ability and speed. More than 100,000 pigeons were used in the war with a success rate of 95% in delivering their messages. For his act, Gustav was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery, considered to be the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps teamed up with the Royal Pigeon Racing Association in #Cheltenham to release our ‘pigeon voyageur’ from Normandy back to the UK #DDay75🇬🇧🇫🇷 | 📻 @BBCGlos http://bit.ly/PigeonGlos (from 54:18)

‏Verified account @HQARRC
23h23 hours ago

📺 Early Bird – Royal Signaller recreates first message back from D-Day beaches | Full story http://bit.ly/Pigeon75 #DDay75 #WeAreNATO🇬🇧🇫🇷

RPRA
‏ @official_rpra
24h24 hours ago

We’re pleased to announce that our pigeon has arrived safely back to its home in Portsmouth. #DDay #DDay75 #dday75th
#DDay75Anniversary #DDayLandings @NATO @HQARRC

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Combat or battle fatigue – Memories fading

War is not just about guns and battles and solemn ceremonies in the years that follow.
It is also about the personal memories of soldiers’ sacrifices and the emotional cost of surviving and then trying to bear witness to what people and you saw.

Lots of pepole experience trauma during war. Today in our regions were there has not been a battle for 74 years (when we do not take the Balkan war in account) most people living in West Europe have no idea about the actual horror of war.

Many do not know or do not think about the many people in ancient Greek history who had psychological problems from the battles they were involved. In the previous centuries lots of people experienced persistent nightmares or had other symptoms, such as feeling anxious and constantly on edge, which later became described as “soldier’s heart” during the American Civil War. But this history took a sharp turn a hundred years ago, during World War I, when the prevalence of what was then known as “shell-shock” or “combat or battle fatigue” meant that a formal treatment for psychological trauma was needed.

The intensity of the bombardment and fighting, all the continuous horrible noise, movements, and light accompanied by overactive responses that include involuntary defensive jerking or jumping (startle reactions), bringing sleep disturbances including battle dreams, nightmares, and inability to fall asleep, made from many helpless panicking people with an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk.

With the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion — D-Day, several veterans spoke about the problems they still have today. Some even hoped with coming back to the place where it all happened, they would be able to make an end to the regular flashbacks they have, in which the trauma is relived at full emotional intensity.

Psychological trauma experienced during the war had an unprecedented toll on veterans, many of whom suffered symptoms for the rest of their lives. These ranged from distressing memories that veterans found difficult to forget, to extreme episodes of catatonia and terror when reminded of their trauma. The sheer scale of veterans experiencing such symptoms after World War I led to the definition of “combat stress reaction”, informing our modern concept of PTSD.

At the commemoration the previous day we could see several of the still living witnesses who had survived the tremendous battle which should never to occur again. D-Day was for many horrible, whilst for others it meant the liberation of west-Europe, the beginning of the end of World War II. Many youngsters today even do not know D-Day or what it stands for. By many the memory is fading. Historians estimate that only 500,000 of the more than 16 million Americans who served during World War II are still living. Fewer than 1,000 D-Day veterans are believed to be alive, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

The D-Day successes did not end the war — far from it. Brutal fighting continued through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany into 1945. But D-Day gave the Allies a clear upper hand against the Nazis. Within three months, Paris was liberated. Less than a year later, Germany surrendered.

The inevitability that World War II veterans will be passing away in the next few years makes preserving their memory an urgent task. It is good that we nowadays can record audio and video recounting their experiences and veterans of more recent conflicts like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can present emails and blogs to document the experience.

Many complicated developments led to the terrible circumstances of World War II and the best way to prevent things like that happening again is to learn why they happened in the first place. Hopefully, then, we can notice harmful patterns and make better choices in the future.

It is extremely important to keep the memory high. The leaders of the many states should take every effort to give their citizens a real picture of what happened in history and should always give enough warnings to avoid a repeat of the disaster that took place twice in West Europe.

What is also important is to keep a bond of peace and readiness to help each other.

Emmanuel Macron, and surprisingly Donald Trump, showed signs of repairing frayed ties at yesterday’s D-Day commemorations, even if they remain fundamentally split on the climate, Middle East policy and well, just about everything.
Macron made a plea for the US president to embrace multilateralism in his speech, saying:

“America, dear President Trump, is never as great as when it fights for the liberty of others . . . as when it is faithful to the universal values championed by its founding fathers.”

Trump’s “America First” presidency and the international drama he has carried with him during his third trip to France meant the president delivered an address less heavily focused on international alliances than many of his predecessors.

In the previous months, more than once the American President seemed to have forgotten the value of the NATO and the necessity to have a united European Union.

Trump paid homage to the 160,000 American and Allied troops who landed on D-Day, altering the course of World War II. He read a prayer that President Franklin Roosevelt delivered in a radio address on June 6, 1944. But he offered little embrace of institutions such as NATO that rose out of the ashes of the fighting. Trump did not mention NATO by name in his address.

“To all of our friends and partners: Our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war, and proven in the blessings of peace,”

Trump, laconic saying also

“Our bond is unbreakable.”

The American president has in the past accused allies and NATO partners of “ripping off” the United States.

Troops crouch inside a Higgins boat just before landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. – U.S Coast Guard, National Archives

Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets said about the present American President

“He’s probably the worst president in our history to commemorate this moment,”

and agreed that

“He’s undermined the alliances which gave us peace in Europe for over 70 years.”

Dan Caldwell, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, countered that Trump has pursued the same foreign policy he campaigned on in 2016. Many of those arguments, including Trump’s remarks on NATO, generated news coverage at the time, so his positions should not have been a surprise to voters.

“He should talk about how the world has changed since the end of World War II, and why he is pursuing a foreign policy that is much different than his predecessors.”

“I think he can do that in a positive way,”

he said,

“explaining the world is changed and that it requires us to look at problems differently than we did 25 years or 75 years ago.”

More than once that American leader showed not to know enough about history or to be not emphatic with people with war problems. How one could expect an interest in history or a sense of insight from his citizens when the leader does not?

Problem is with some present leaders is, that they do not want to have intellectual humility, which requires a willingness to listen and to learn. The previous days we, like all the people over there at the Normandy beaches, had to remember those young soldiers. Boats disgorging combat troops cut down immediately on the sands by a losing enemy who would not admit defeat for another year. Youngsters of not yet 20, many to have grown up on farms, or as sons of factory workers, thrown before the lions.

By remembering we also should spread those stories. We also should make sure that memory is not just the domain of the old. It can remind us of what we are capable of doing, but even more important:

of what we should avoid happening again.

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Preceding

Invasion of Normandy a day never to forget

Blood soaking the water at democracy’s beachhead

75 years to remember

 

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Related

  1. Normandy veteran Jim Radford performs song about D-Day horrors to hundreds of veterans
  2. Prayer for the World
  3. President Trump’s Speech on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy
  4. My Father on D-Day: Why Do You Ask This?
  5. D-Day at Normandy
  6. The “D” in D-Day literally just stands for “Day” – for the military it’s still used, but more loosely now, to indicate the starting day of an operation (like the day of the Normandy landing).
  7. Sometimes, a Picture Says It All
  8. 75 years later, D-Day hits close to home for Global News audience
  9. 97 Year old WWII vet jumped onto Normandy, 75 years after he did it the first time.
  10. The Greatest Generation, or Thomas W. Higginson lands on Omaha Beach
  11. Read: Trump’s tribute to veterans on the 75th anniversary of D-Day
  12. So many of today’s dignitaries are unfit to mark the events of D-Day
  13. Thought for Shabbat
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75 years to remember

Today is a special day for humanity. It is a day which should have us to remember all those who died in the multiple wars. But it should also bring grate gratitude for those who were forced to see and feel the most awful things what can surround man.

A general called it “The Longest Day” and as such it also became known in the world of historical facts and in the world of fictitious film.

The reality can never be brought unto the screen like it really was. The world on the 6th of June 1944 at the West coast of France could see the biggest amphibious invasion of all time, and the beginning of the end of the Second World War. However it is described, D-Day is undoubtedly one of the most significant turning points in a six-year war that witnessed the deaths of an estimated 70-85 million people.

It brought together the military might of the US, the British Empire, British Commonwealth of Nations and a handful of other allied countries to launch a full scale assault on Nazi-occupied France. In doing so, it would not just secure a foothold in Europe, it would open a new front against the German war machine.

June the 6th 1944. Without a doubt one of the most important dates in modern history.
It marks the date on which almost 160.000 Allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches to start the liberation of Western-Europe. The assault was preceded by 24.000 troops who parachuted in or came by glider. The most important aircraft to support the airborne assault was formed by over 800 Douglas C-47 Skytrains (Dakotas). These winged work horses carried the brunt of all men into battle across the English Channel and may well be called the “Unsung Heroes”.

Thousands died on the beaches of Normandy and in the fields beyond them.

By night-time on 6 June 1944, about 156,000 Allied troops had landed on Normandy’s beaches, despite challenging weather and fierce German defences. Some had drowned when they were accidentally dropped off too soon in deep waters.

Let us remember them especially today and be thankful for the courage they manage to get them through a disaster trauma they were going to carry with them for all their life.

By the end of D-Day, the Allies had established a foothold in France and within 11 months Nazi Germany was defeated and the war was over.

Each year, thousands of people descend on Normandy in France to pay homage to the soldiers, sailors and airmen who took part in D-Day, Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy. Veterans and their families, political figures, re-enactors, military vehicle enthusiasts and thousands of other men, women and children pay tribute to the those who fought to liberate Europe and remember those who never returned.

Certain to be some of the most spectacular events for 2019 – and almost certainly never to be repeated – are being organised by Daks Over Normandy. Probably not since the Second World War will so many C-47 Skytrain (or “Dakota”, as the British called the aircraft) have shared the same piece of sky. More than 30 aircraft from several countries have so far committed to the project.

Yesterday in Southampton Theresa May said she was humbled to be able to mark the moment with veterans, who belonged to a “very special generation”.

“A generation whose unconquerable spirit shaped the post-war world. They didn’t boast. They didn’t fuss. They served,”

she said and told the ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion that the only words we can say to veterans,  from America, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Poland and Australia, along with their brothers in arms, those many heroes who lost their lives here during that summer of 1944, are

“thank you”.

Her words were echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who told D-Day veterans gathered in northern France that we owe them “our freedom”.

The day of commemorative events began with a lone piper marking the moment the first UK soldiers went ashore.

The US president is at a service at the US war cemetery at Omaha Beach.

Hundreds of veterans have gathered in Normandy for the anniversary of the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.

Mr Macron and Mrs May – in one of her final engagements as Conservative leader – were in Ver-sur-Mer to see the first stone laid for a memorial to commemorate the 22,442 British troops who died there in the summer of 1944.

Mrs May remembered all of those men sent in their death

“And they laid down their lives so that we might have a better life and build a better world.

No we do know that at the time the leaders knew 1/3 would die in the effort to enter the continent.

“If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come in France, in Britain, in Europe and the world, that day was June 6, 1944,”

Mrs May added.

Also paying tribute, Mr Macron said:

“This is where young men, many of whom had never set foot on French soil, landed at dawn under German fire, risking their lives while fighting their way up the beach, which was littered with obstacles and mines.”

The French president went on to say he was proud to have worked with Mrs May.

Following the inauguration ceremony, Mrs May, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended a service at the cathedral in Bayeux, the first city to be liberated by the invasion.

At the start of the service, a message was read out on behalf of Pope Francis, in which he said D-Day was

“decisive in the fight against Nazi barbarism”.

He also paid tribute to those who “joined the Army and gave their lives for freedom and peace”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the service was “beautiful and inclusive”, in memory of those “who died in Normandy and ultimately helped to defeat the scourge of facism”.

The service was followed by a ceremony at Bayeux War Cemetery, where many of the fallen are buried.

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At 06:26 BST – the exact minute the first British troops landed on the beaches in 1944 – a lone piper played on a section of the Mulberry Harbour in the town of Arromanches.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is at the US war cemetery at Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer.

Other events taking place include:

  • A veteran’s parade in Arromanches, followed by a Red Arrows flypast
  • A service of remembrance and wreath laying at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire
  • In Portsmouth, a veteran’s parade before a memorial service at the city’s D-Day Stone
  • The Duke of Sussex is joining the Chelsea Pensioners and six D-Day veterans for Founder’s Day at London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • In Edinburgh, 15 D-Day veterans will be presented with the Knight of the Légion d’Honneur Cross at the French Consulate

At the National Memorial Arboretum, the Duke of Cambridge gave an address which was originally made by his great-grandfather George VI in 1944.

He read: “Four years ago our nation and empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy, with our backs to the wall.

“Now once more a supreme test has to be faced.”

He added: “This time the challenge is not to fight to survive but to fight to win the final victory for the good cause.

“At this historic moment surely not one of us is too busy, too young, or too old to play a part in a nationwide, perchance a world-wide vigil of prayer as the great crusade sets forth.”

Wednesday saw the first day of the 75th anniversary events, with leaders from every country that fought alongside the UK on D-Day joining the Queen in Portsmouth.

Veterans of the landings were there to hear the Queen as she paid tribute to the “heroism, courage and sacrifice” of those who died.

Mr Trump – who was on the last day of his three-day UK state visit – said D-Day “may have been the greatest battle ever”.

  • 156,000allied troops landed in Normandy, across
  • 5 beaches
  • 7,000ships and landing craft involved and 10,000 vehicles
  • 4,400from the combined allied forces died on the day
  • 4,000 – 9,000German casualties
  • Thousandsof French civilians also died

Around 300 veterans were then waved off on the cruise ship MV Boudicca as it set off for the Normandy commemorations.

But two veterans – Harry Read, 95, and John Hutton, 94, – parachuted back into Normandy, 75 years after their first landing.

This time, they jumped in tandem with members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment display team, the Red Devils – and were greeted by cheers.

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The European Union – the environmental challenges and your voice

Environmental challenges are everywhere. There is an urgent need to stop biodiversity losses and to improve air, water and soil quality – to name but a few problem areas.

Among examples of global environmental problems, the loss of bees is symbolic. Bees’ well-being and role as pollinators are significant for biodiversity. More than 50% of bee colonies are in decline compared to figures from only a few years ago. Data in other areas point to further alarming issues.

Poor air quality in urban areas shows the urgent need to boost efforts. Over half of the urban population could be touched by pollution levels which are above the WHO’s guidelines. In the EU, this may result in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths yearly.

The situation is no better at sea or on land. An example with a strong environmental impact is the widespread use of disposable plastic shopping bags. Billions of disposable bags are used yearly around the world and plastic bags, while only used for an average of a few minutes, remain in landfills or oceans for thousands of years.

The EESC is working to promote an effective and progressive EU environmental policy and to find solutions contributing to better environmental protection and more efficient use of natural resources.

In addition to providing policy advice, the EESC is also taking a hands-on approach to helping preserve local biodiversity through practical, small-scale projects, such as having “green roofs” or keeping beehives on top of its building.

The adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change has signalled a new era of global cooperation for the world to tackle climate mitigation and adaptation in order to keep the global temperature rise below 2ºC.
The EESC is very active on climate issues in support of the Paris Agreement, with meetings organised to encourage active civil society participation. The EESC produces opinions that cover a wide range of issues such as climate justice, a fair transition to a low-carbon economy and the need for multi-stakeholder, multi-level climate governance collaboration. The EESC takes part in the annual UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties and in climate-oriented civil society summits that bring together non-state players.

Every inhabitant of the European Union has the opportunity to cast his supportive vote on 26 May whereby people can opt for those who support the protection of people, plants and animals, and together want to support working for the protection of the Earth with the EESC.

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Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: De Europese Unie – de Milieu-uitdagingen en uw stem

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De Europese Unie – de Milieu-uitdagingen en uw stem

Milieu-uitdagingen zijn alomtegenwoordig. Zo moet het verlies aan biodiversiteit dringend een halt worden toegeroepen, en moet de kwaliteit van lucht, water en bodem dringend worden verbeterd, om maar een paar voorbeelden te noemen.

Symbolisch voor de wereldwijde milieuproblemen is de teloorgang van de bijen. De rol van bijen als bestuivers en het welzijn van de bijenpopulatie zijn van cruciaal belang voor de biodiversiteit. Uit cijfers blijkt dat meer dan de helft van de bijenkolonies het nu slechter doet dan amper een paar jaar geleden. Ook gegevens in verband met andere gebieden zijn alarmerend. Zo moeten dringend meer inspanningen worden gedaan om de slechte luchtkwaliteit in stedelijke gebieden aan te pakken. Meer dan de helft van de stedelijke bevolking dreigt te maken te krijgen met vervuilingsniveaus die de maxima van de WHO overstijgen. Dit zou ertoe kunnen leiden dat honderdduizenden EU-burgers vroegtijdig komen te overlijden.

De problemen op zee zijn even ernstig als op het land. Zo heeft bijvoorbeeld het grootschalige gebruik van plastic wegwerptasjes een enorme impact op het milieu. Elk jaar worden wereldwijd miljarden plastic zakjes gebruikt, die gemiddeld maar een paar minuten dienst doen en op stortplaatsen of in de oceaan belanden, waar ze nog duizenden jaren blijven liggen.

Het EESC zet zich in voor een doeltreffend en progressief EU-milieubeleid en gaat na hoe het milieu beter kan worden beschermd en de natuurlijke hulpbronnen efficiënter kunnen worden gebruikt.

Niet alleen verstrekt het EESC beleidsadvies, het draagt ook in de praktijk bij aan de instandhouding van de lokale biodiversiteit via concrete, kleinschalige projecten; denken we maar aan groendaken en de bijenkorven op het dak van zijn gebouw.

De goedkeuring van de overeenkomst van Parijs inzake klimaatverandering heeft een nieuw tijdperk ingeluid van mondiale samenwerking voor de beperking van en aanpassing aan de klimaatverandering, om de mondiale temperatuurstijging te beperken tot minder dan 2 °C. Het EESC is zeer actief op het gebied van klimaatkwesties en steunt de overeenkomst van Parijs. Het organiseert bijeenkomsten om de actieve betrokkenheid van het maatschappelijk middenveld te stimuleren. Het EESC brengt adviezen uit die een brede waaier aan klimaatkwesties bestrijken, zoals klimaatrechtvaardigheid, een eerlijke overgang naar een koolstofarme economie en de noodzaak van een multilevel klimaatgovernance waarbij alle belanghebbende partijen worden betrokken. Het EESC neemt deel aan de jaarlijkse conferenties van de partijen bij het VN-Raamverdrag en aan topbijeenkomsten van het maatschappelijk middenveld over klimaataangelegenheden, waarop niet-gouvernementele actoren samenkomen.

Elke inwoner van de Europese Unie heeft op 26 mei de mogelijkheid om zijn supportieve stem uit te brengen waarbij men kan kiezen voor die partijen die achter de bescherming van mens, plant en dier staan en samen de werking voor de bescherming van de aarde met de EESC willen ondersteunen.

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Engelse versie / English version: The European Union – the environmental challenges and your voice

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Freshwater, marine and coastal pollution

Freshwater pollution.

Freshwater bodies, on which billions of people depend for water, food and transport, are heavily affected by nutrient run-off from agriculture, chemicals and pathogens in untreated wastewater, heavy metals from mining and industrial effluents.
Lack of access to clean water and sanitation is a major cause of child mortality.
Pollution can have a serious impact on fish and other biodiversity in sensitive freshwater ecosystems such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, and polluted freshwater can go on to contaminate land and soil and coastal waters. It hosts disease vectors such as cholera-causing Vibrio bacteria and the parasitic worms that transmit schistosomiasis.

Electron micrograph of an adult male Schistosoma parasite worm. The bar (bottom left) represents a length of 500 μm.

The Schistosoma, small, parasitic flatworms (family Schistosomatidae) commonly called blood flukes, bringing inflammation of the intestines, bladder, liver, and other organs. We should know that next to malaria, it is probably humanity’s most serious parasitic infection, being endemic to some 74 countries and affecting at least 200 million people yearly in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, and therefore should be taken seriously and fought against by making sure the waters should be cleaned and by taking care that in rural communities, where hygiene is poor due to poverty, the authorities taking measures to create an infrastructure to support adequate health care services. The disease Schistosomiasis, also called bilharzia or bilharziasis is ordinarily contracted by working, bathing, or swimming in water populated by snails that carry the worms. The parasites were first identified as a cause of the disease in the 1850s by Theodor Bilharz (hence its other name Bilharzia), a German pathologist working in Egypt.

Today Schistosomiasis, is still widely found in riverine areas. But both snails and flukes are also most common in areas where fields are irrigated. Schistosomes also parasitize birds and mammals. A skin rash called swimmer’s itch results from bird schistosomes trying, only partly successfully, to penetrate human skin. They die in the upper skin layers, and their decomposition causes local infection.

We should not only treat the children but should make sure the disease can not spread. When we know 120.3 million school-aged children and 99.6 million adults are affected we should take this serious and make a priority of getting the water and the fields clean. Our society should also try to take away the stigma which comes over affected people. Stigma has significant effects on treatment adherence, and affects socio economic status, potentially leading to conditions that favour reinfection, or co-infection with another neglected tropical disease. Though we should now that actions taken to day shall not bring a direct solution because the parasitic worm infections can last for many years, causing severe pain, physical disability, delayed development in children, and social stigma associated with deformity.

Marine and coastal pollution.

Marine and coastal waters receive waste and pollutants, including debris, oil, heavy metals and radioactive waste, from land-based sources and from the marine shipping, fishing and extractive industries.

Nutrients from agriculture are causing dead zones in coastal water, harming local fisheries. Many farmers do not seem to bother how much of their fertilisers and insecticides go deeper in the land and pollute the groundwater or just flows into the canals, streams and rivers to end up polluting the seas.

Persistent organic pollutants including pesticides, threaten coral reefs and seagrass beds. They accumulate in the marine food chain, posing a risk to birds, mammals and people, including indigenous peoples in the Arctic region.

Millions of tons of plastic waste are entering and spreading through the oceans every year, posing risks to ecosystems and human health that are not yet fully understood.

All people should become aware how our underwater ecosystem is really in great danger. The coral reefs with their change of colours and their death rate, giving us signals and a huge cry for help.

Close-up photograph of translucent coral polyps, showing the symbiotic algae living inside.

The brownish-green specks are the zooxanthellae that most shallow, warm-water corals depend on for much of their food. (© osf.co.uk. All rights reserved.)

Lots of reefs get destroyed by the boats passing, by the overfishing and destructive fishing, bringing lots of damage to the ridge or hummock formed in shallow ocean areas by algae and the calcareous skeletons of certain coelenterates, of which coral polyps are the most important.

Like we see the rainforest under great treat, the “rainforests of the sea,”which are home to a spectacular variety of organisms is even under a bigger risk, the danger many football-fields of surface being killed and creating a shortage of food, protection of shorelines, jobs based on tourism, and even new medicine. Those underwater paradises are troubled by the pollution, warming, changing ocean chemistry and in some places, reefs have been entirely destroyed or in many places have become a pale shadow of what they once were.

The ridiculous point of it is that it is very easily destroyed but takes a long time to grow a big coral colony or a coral reef, because each coral grows slowly. The fastest corals expand at more than 6 inches (15 cm) per year, but most grow less than an inch per year. Reefs themselves grow even more slowly because after the corals die, they break into smaller pieces and become compacted. Individual colonies can often live decades to centuries, and some deep-sea colonies have lived more than 4000 years. One way we know this is because corals lay down annual rings, just as trees do. These skeletons can tell us about what conditions were like hundreds or thousands of years ago. The Great Barrier Reef as it exists today began growing about 20,000 years ago.

It are not only the warm water coral which is in danger. Also the deep-sea corals that thrive in cold, dark water at depths of up to 20,000 feet (6,000 m). Both stony corals and soft corals can be found in the deep sea. Deep-sea corals do not have the same algae and do not need sunlight or warm water to survive, but they also grow very slowly. One place to find them is on underwater peaks called seamounts. They create the big cities of the sea, giving a habitat for many animals. Warmer water, pollution but also certain animals are a treat to them. Population explosions of predators, like the Crown-of-thorns sea stars, can result in a reef being covered with tens of thousands of these starfish, with most of the coral killed in less than a year. Some coral colonies have crabs and shrimps that live within their branches and defend their home against coral predators with their pincers. Parrotfish, in their quest to find seaweed, will often bite off chunks of coral and will later poop out the digested remains as sandOne kind of goby chews up a particularly nasty seaweed, and even benefits by becoming more poisonous itself.

American Somoa, 8 months apart The Huffington Post. Visser, Nick. Healthy, Dying Dead: This is what it looks like when a reef is bleached.

Rising carbon dioxide levels brings ocean acidification, which with the higher water temperatures cause corals to lose the microscopic algae that produce the food corals need — a condition known as coral bleaching. It is this severe or prolonged bleaching that can and does kill coral colonies and/or leave them vulnerable to other threats. Meanwhile, ocean acidification means more acidic seawater, which makes it more difficult for corals to build their calcium carbonate skeletons. And if acidification gets severe enough, it could even break apart the existing skeletons that already provide the structure for reefs. Scientists predict that by 2085 ocean conditions will be acidic enough for corals around the globe to begin to dissolve. For one reef in Hawaii this is already a reality. The Northwest Hawaiian Island coral reefs, which are part of the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, provide an example of the diversity of life associated with shallow-water reef ecosystems. There we also can see why it is so important to safe the coral reefs. In Hawai the area supporting more than 7,000 species of fishes, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.

Kahului Point on Maui – taken 3 months apart. The Huffington Post. Visser, Nick. Healthy, Dying Dead: This is what it looks like when a reef is bleached.

Too many people seem to forget how coral reefs also protect coastlines from storms and erosion, and provide jobs for local communities, plus offering  opportunities for recreation.  Over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection. Fishing, diving, and snorkeling on and near reefs add hundreds of millions of dollars to local businesses. The net economic value of the world’s coral reefs is estimated to be nearly tens of billionsoffsite link of U.S. dollars per year. These ecosystems are culturally important to indigenous people around the world.

Therefore we should protect the coastline and make sure that we call a halt to all extra burden to nature.
It demands a serious change in attitude of the consumers. We seriously need to think about the use of  fossil fuels such as oil and gas. Wwe all should take care that  levels of CO2 in the atmosphere shall be decreased so that it can not further bring damage to oceans and the precious ecosystem.

We should do our utmost best to reduce the further warming up of the atmosphere, this for protecting ourselves but also for the animals of this world of which between 8 and 50% of species worldwide are endangered and will become extinct due to climate change. We need to prevent further loss of ice, this going to bring higher sea levels making people having to flee flood-areas. And for the water we do have, we should take care it can stay clean as much as possible and shall be able to be re-used again and again.

Flower-like clusters of pink polyps make up this coral colony.

Flower-like clusters of pink polyps make up this coral colony. (Photo Collection of Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program)

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Preceding

Stopping emissions will not stop the warming of our planet

Egypt facing water scarcity

Avoiding to get Water at the price of gold #1 Global risks landscape

Avoiding to get Water at the price of gold #2 Dealing with effects of a changing climate

Waste and recycling

Taking care of the drinkable water

World Water Day 2019

Tackling the pollution challenge

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