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Refugees approaching the Greek shore after making the crossing from Turkey
Refugees approaching the Greek shore after making the crossing from Turkey
Subhi Franjieh

BODRUM — When the photograph of Alan Kurdi's lifeless body spread around the world, the plight of Syrian refugees suddenly came into focus like never before. Yet Kurdi was just one of many who have died making the perilous journey to Europe, where they hope to attain asylum as the ongoing Syria civil war in their homeland continues to claim countless civilian lives.

Turkey, which currently hosts some 1.8 million exiled Syrians, has increasingly become a departure point for a perilous sea journey toward Greece in flimsy rafts and ill-equipped boats to get inside European territory.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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