Knight Center director in podcast on climate change in Central Asia

A fishing ship abandoned as the Aral Sea shrank near Nukus, Uzbekistan. It’s part of what has been nicknamed a “ghost fleet.” Credit: Eric Freedman

Knight Chair Eric Freedman was a panelist on a podcast about climate change and environmental challenges in the former Soviet republics on Central Asia.

The Majlis podcast from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty examined the signs of climate change in the region and how the governments there are responding. Those signs include melting glaciers, extreme weather and habitat destruction.

The other panelists were Bakytgul Chynybaeva of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz bureau, who was reporting on the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference from Glasgow; independent journalist and environmental researcher Ryskeldi Satke; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog. RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderated the discussion.

 

Vivid evidence of desertification of most of the Aral Sea that spans the Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border. Once a vital fishing resource, the Aral largely disappeared when the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation to grow cotton and other crops. Credit: Eric Freedman

Freedman is a former Fulbright Scholar in Uzbekistan who has been a guest speaker and researcher in three other Central Asian countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. His books include Environmental Crises in Central Asia: From Steppes To Seas, From Deserts To Glaciers (Routledge).

The MSU School of Journalism is now collaborating on a capacity-building project with the Journalism & Mass Communication University in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The project includes assistance in developing curricula on environmental, health and risk reporting and training for Uzbek faculty members and professional journalists.

A Kazakh villager carries a bucket of water from a well in a desert that once formed the bed of the Aral Sea. Credit: RFE/RL

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