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Food Miles and Sustainability

Food Miles and Sustainability | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A Season for Everything
A luscious, sweet strawberry three months after the local harvest has been bought out in the market. An exotic, tropical mango grown and flown from thousands of miles away.

Napakadali mamili ng prutas kahit wala sa panahon, pero iniisip ba natin gaano kalayo ang pinanggalingan nito at gaano kadaming langis ang nagamit para ihatid ito sa harap mo? Panahon na para pagisipan natin ang naging kaugaliang ito, lalo na at nagkalat ang mga supermarket sa Metro Manila. Gaano din kadaming prutas at gulay ang nabubulok araw-araw?

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Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
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Are seawalls the best answer to rising sea levels – or is retreat a better option? ("should we fight nature?")

Are seawalls the best answer to rising sea levels – or is retreat a better option? ("should we fight nature?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

While barriers are the most widely used method of protecting coastal homes and infrastructure in Australia, landscape architects must consider other options

Given their spectacular locations, the homes in the frontline of raging waves are usually valuable property. Attempts to fortify them are met with resistance from ecologists and other beach users, who say the houses should not have been built there in the first place. 

They object to seawalls because they stop the beach from being a dynamic system, in which wind and waves continually reshape the shore. Natural processes will usually redeposit much of the lost sand back on to beaches in the weeks after a storm. But where there is a seawall, heightened waves run up the shore and slam against it. The beach can’t move backwards, so the sand disappears.

But seawalls, like dykes, levees and berms, have been used across the world for centuries to protect homes and other assets. From Sydney to São Paulo to New York, a sea-level rise of even a few centimetres can threaten to swallow homes and highways, inundate sewage treatment plants, and contaminate water supplies. Whether faced with king tides or swelling rivers and lakes, planners in coastal and estuarine urban settings must find a way to brace against the impacts of climate change.

The row about whether a seawall should be built on a stretch of coast in Collaroy has raged since the shoreline of the northern Sydney suburb was subdivided more than 100 years ago. When the beach retreated during high seas, the then beach shacks were undermined. Records show major erosion occurred in 1920, seven shacks fell into the sea in 1945 and one was washed away in 1967. But, as Rissik says: “People forget and they build there again.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
There is a great debate on how to handle rising sea levels. 
Are seawalls the answer or not? 
In the first place, should beach houses really be there? 
Or should beach house designs be radically changed? 
Or is retreating an option?
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A cheap, simple experiment just found a very effective way to slow deforestation ("get paid for not cutting")

A cheap, simple experiment just found a very effective way to slow deforestation ("get paid for not cutting") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A "proof of concept" study shows that paying developing country landowners not to cut down their trees actually works.

In a convincing new study conducted in Uganda and based on a program sponsored in part by its government, a team of researchers have found an effective and affordable way to combat deforestation in a country showing some of the fastest tree loss rates in the world. How? The program simply paid owners of forest land not to cut down their own trees for either agricultural purposes or to sell them for timber. 

The research provides a positive model for protecting a forest region that is a hub for biodiversity, including serving as a key habitat for endangered chimpanzees. At the same time, it also validates the effectiveness of a “Payments for Ecosystems Services” program of the sort that could bolster the battle against global deforestation and its impact as a leading driver of climate change. 

More such programs could be supported under a broader United Nations initiative called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), in which richer countries and other international funders make payments to developing nations in exchange for protecting their vital trees. That quest that has only become more urgent after an explicit shout-out to the importance of combating deforestation, and REDD+, in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The value of forests are now being matched with "financial incentives" for local villagers not to cut trees for any reason. It has succeeded in test areas.
This can be matched in the Philippines with our "cash transfer" program. Get paid for not cutting -- a fair offer.

"The result was that while forest cover decreased by between 7 and 10 percent in the “control” villages, it only dropped between 2 to 5 percent in the designated “treatment” villages, suggesting that the incentive payments were preventing a significant number of landowners from selling large trees for timber or charcoal, or chopping down forest to grow more crops."
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Why You Should Fear an "Ecological Recession" (the impact on humans unquantifiable but alarming")

Why You Should Fear an "Ecological Recession" (the impact on humans unquantifiable but alarming") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Human efforts to slow biodiversity loss are falling short across the globe, creating the potential for harm to future human development

Researchers behind study, published in the journal Science, found that human-caused pressures like land use change—the destruction of natural habitats often for timber, agriculture or residential developments—have cause biodiversity to fall to unsustainable levels more than half of the world’s surface. On average, human activity has driven away 15% of species that would have been present otherwise in locations across the globe, according to the study. 

“Decision-makers worry a lot about economic recessions,” said author Andy Purvis, a professor at the Natural History Museum in London in a press release. “But an ecological recession could have even worse consequences—and the biodiversity damage we’ve had means we’re at risk of that happening.”

Determining exactly what level of biodiversity loss can be sustained without damaging human wellbeing is a difficult challenge. Previous research has suggested that a decline of more than 10% in the number of species in a certain area could be a dangerous threshold, but even that study notes that the figure is far from certain. 

Healthy biodiversity plays a crucial role in a number of functions that support human life, including pollination and pest control, both of which support agriculture. Other vulnerable species—like some types of trees and plants—suck up carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to climate change.

“It is a tricky problem to say how much biodiversity loss is too much,” says Tom Oliver, an associate professor in landscape ecology, in an opinion piece accompanying the study. “However, we can be certain that inaction commits us to a future with substantial costs to human well-being.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Humans are creating an ecological bomb that may explode anytime. The adverse impacts of biodiversity loss are difficult to measure but will definitely affect our daily lives. In the meantime, the world is preoccupied with wars, terrorism, crime, politics, etc.

"A number of initiatives are underway to address biodiversity loss, including the 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty that establishes a framework for dealing with the issue. But, with biodiversity showing no signs of slowing—and other phenomena like climate change worsening the problem—change may not come soon enough."
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Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years ("we can't catch up w/ food production")

Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years ("we can't catch up w/ food production") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Experts point to damage caused by erosion and pollution, raising major concerns about degraded soil amid surging global demand for food

New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil. 

The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, which undertook the study by analysing various pieces of research published over the past decade, said the loss was “catastrophic” and the trend close to being irretrievable without major changes to agricultural practices.

The continual ploughing of fields, combined with heavy use of fertilizers, has degraded soils across the world, the research found, with erosion occurring at a pace of up to 100 times greater than the rate of soil formation. It takes around 500 years for just 2.5cm of topsoil to be created amid unimpeded ecological changes.

“We aren’t quite at the tipping point yet, but we need to do something about it. We are up against it if we are to reverse this decline.” 

The erosion of soil has largely occurred due to the loss of structure by continual disturbance for crop planting and harvesting. If soil is repeatedly turned over, it is exposed to oxygen and its carbon is released into the atmosphere, causing it to fail to bind as effectively. This loss of integrity impacts soil’s ability to store water, which neutralizes its role as a buffer to floods and a fruitful base for plants.

Bert Guevara's insight:
We are taking our soil for granted and putting our future at risk. How else can we catch up with food production, with an ever increasing population, if good soil runs out?

"New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil. 
"The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, which undertook the study by analysing various pieces of research published over the past decade, said the loss was “catastrophic” and the trend close to being irretrievable without major changes to agricultural practices."
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Bandila: Palawan, 'World's Best Island' sa ikalawang pagkakataon ("no to mining; yes to tourism")

Muling pinatunayan ng Palawan ang kanyang natatanging ganda. Sa ikalawang pagkakataon kasi, itinanghal itong "World's Best Island' ng isang internationa
Bert Guevara's insight:
Palawan can earn more for its people through tourism. There is no room for mining in this God-given jewel.

"Muling pinatunayan ng Palawan ang kanyang natatanging ganda. Sa ikalawang pagkakataon kasi, itinanghal itong "World's Best Island' ng isang international travel magazine. At maging ang Boracay at Cebu, pasok din sa listahan ng mga pinakamagagandang isla sa mundo."
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New multi-crop zero-till planter boosts yields and farming efficiency in Pakistan | CIMMYT 

New multi-crop zero-till planter boosts yields and farming efficiency in Pakistan | CIMMYT  | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A new planter that promotes dry seeding of rice, saves water and increases planting efficiency is being used increasingly in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.

A new planter that promotes dry seeding of rice, saves water and increases planting efficiency is being used increasingly in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. 

Many farmers in Punjab alternately grow rice and wheat in their fields throughout the year, and the province produces more than 50% of Pakistan’s rice and 75% of its wheat. 

Traditionally, rice planting involves transplanting 4-6-week old seedlings into puddled fields, a process that requires large amounts of water and labor, both of which are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Repeated puddling negatively affects soil physical properties, decreases soil aggregation and results in hardpan formation, which reduces the productivity of the following wheat crop. 

Sustainable intensification aims to increase the productivity of labor, land and capital. Conservation agriculture (CA) relies on practices such as minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and the use of crop rotation to maintain and/or boost yields, increase profits and protect the environment. It also helps improve soil function and quality, which can improve resilience to climate variability.

Dry seeding of rice (DSR), a practice that involves growing rice without puddling the soil, can save up to 25 percent of the water needed for growing the crop and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. However, the old fluted roller drills used for DSR do not guarantee uniform plant-to-plant spacing and break the rice seeds, requiring farmers to purchase more seed than otherwise needed.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Like I said, we have to rewrite our agriculture textbooks and re-educate our farmers. Have you heard of "dry seeding of rice"?
The Philippines has its SRI.

"Dry seeding of rice (DSR), a practice that involves growing rice without puddling the soil, can save up to 25 percent of the water needed for growing the crop and reduces greenhouse gas emissions."
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'Healing' detected in Antarctic ozone hole - BBC News ("still bad but actions taken are correct")

'Healing' detected in Antarctic ozone hole - BBC News ("still bad but actions taken are correct") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Researchers say they have found the first clear evidence that the thinning in the ozone layer above Antarctica is starting to heal.

The scientists said that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million sq km smaller than it was in the year 2000 - an area roughly the size of India. 

The gains have been credited to the long term phasing out of ozone-destroying chemicals. 

The study also sheds new light on the role of volcanoes in making the problem worse.

One finding that puzzled researchers was the October 2015 reading that showed the biggest ozone hole on record over Antarctica. 

The scientists believe that a key contributor to the record hole was volcanic activity. 

"After an eruption, volcanic sulphur forms tiny particles and those are the seeds for Polar Stratospheric Clouds," Prof Solomon told Science in Action. 

"You get even more of these clouds when you have a recent major volcanic eruption and that leads to additional ozone loss." 

"Until we did our recent work no-one realised that the Calbuco eruption in Chile, actually had significantly affected the ozone loss in October of last year." 

The study has been hailed as "historically significant" by some other researchers in the field. 

"This is the first convincing evidence that the healing of the Antarctic ozone hole has now started," said Dr Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany. 

"Right now the state of the ozone layer is still really bad, but I find it very important that we know the Montreal Protocol is working and has an effect on the size of the hole and that is a big step forward."

Bert Guevara's insight:
Even if the signs show positive trends, there is no reason to relax. The ozone hole is still there, although no longer growing - so they say.

"Right now the state of the ozone layer is still really bad, but I find it very important that we know the Montreal Protocol is working and has an effect on the size of the hole and that is a big step forward."
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Exposing Fields of Filth ("no longer a secret, record number of pigs & chicken = record waste")

Exposing Fields of Filth ("no longer a secret, record number of pigs & chicken = record waste") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

North Carolina boasts the nation’s second biggest hog farming industry, worth $3 billion in hog and pig sales in 2012 alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It ranks third among the states for poultry production.

North Carolina boasts the nation’s second biggest hog farming industry, worth $3 billion in hog and pig sales in 2012 alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It ranks third among the states for poultry production. 

Over two decades alone, North Carolina’s swine population has nearly doubled, from 5.1 million in 1992 to 9.5 million by 2012, according to the USDA Census of Agriculture. During the same period, the state’s broiler chicken production increased by 60 million, to 148 million animals. 

This boom in production has delivered financial benefits, but also dire environmental consequences to North Carolina’s verdant backcountry and the people who live in it. 

Simply put, the more animals you have, the more waste you have to deal with.

A new analysis by EWG and Waterkeeper Alliance shows that wet waste, primarily from pigs, in North Carolina's industrial agricultural operations produce almost 10 billion gallons of fecal waste yearly, enough to fill more than 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. 

Thousands of poultry feeding operations housing more than 200 million birds create 2 million tons of dry waste per year (EWG-Waterkeepers 2016).

Bert Guevara's insight:
Simply put, the more animals you have, the more waste you have to deal with.
Below are some of the newly available, alarming results generated from the EWG – Waterkeeper maps: 
- 10 billion gallons of wet animal waste (swine and cattle) produced each year in North Carolina, the equivalent of 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. 
- Annually, poultry operations in the state produce more than 2 million tons of dry animal waste. 
- 4,145 waste pits make up 6,848 acres of North Carolina's countryside. 
- 37 waste pits are within a half mile of a school. 
- 288 waste pits are within a half mile of a church. 
- 136 waste pits are within a half mile of a public water well. 
- 170 waste pits are within the state’s 100-year floodplain. 
- Poultry housed in CAFO facilities outnumber residents by 20 to 1.

A new analysis by EWG and Waterkeeper Alliance shows that wet waste, primarily from pigs, in North Carolina's industrial agricultural operations produce almost 10 billion gallons of fecal waste yearly, enough to fill more than 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Thousands of poultry feeding operations housing more than 200 million birds create 2 million tons of dry waste per year (EWG-Waterkeepers 2016).
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Climate-triggered pest and disease invaders threaten US$5 billion cassava industry in Asia | CIAT Blog

Climate-triggered pest and disease invaders threaten US$5 billion cassava industry in Asia | CIAT Blog | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
More intense dry spells and rain are favoring the spread of pests and diseases that could threaten Southeast Asia’s multi-billion dollar cassava industry and food security, according to a new study published in Pest Management Science. 
The third largest source of calories after rice and maize in Southeast Asia, cassava supports the livelihoods of an estimated 40 million people in the region. The crop also underpins a US$5 billion regional market in starch, which is used to produce products from paper to biofuel. Southeast Asia is currently the world’s largest trader of cassava starch, with much of the crop produced by smallholder farmers. In Indonesia, cassava is also a key food crop. 
The new study contains the most up-to-date assessment of pest and disease threats in the region’s cassava fields. Scientists gathered data from 430 sites across the region to track progress of pests and diseases, estimating the scale of the threat, and the likely drivers. 
“Our data suggests that a number of factors have triggered an explosion in pests and diseases in Southeast Asia’s cassava fields, including globalization, climate variability and the changing frequency of droughts,” said Dr. Kris Wyckhuys, an entomologist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). “We also found that some pests and diseases are far bigger problems than we previously thought, and alarmingly, they’ve already spread further than we thought.” 
“It’s vital we act now to safeguard food security, farmer welfare and the long-term sustainability of rural industries.” While its ability to tolerate harsh conditions and poor soils means cassava is an important crop for smallholders, it is particularly prone to pest and disease outbreaks. Two in particular are posing a severe threat in Southeast Asia, the study says.
Bert Guevara's insight:
After the coconut disease, now its cassava!

We also found that some pests and diseases are far bigger problems than we previously thought, and alarmingly, they’ve already spread further than we thought.” 
"Cassava Witches’ Broom disease has already reached the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Presumed to be spread by an as-yet unknown insect, it causes leaves to discolor and to proliferate, in a distinctive bunch reminiscent of a witch’s broom. The scientists found symptoms of the disease in two-thirds of fields."
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Soil Degradation Threatens Nutrition in Latin America | Inter Press Service ("it's becoming worse")

Soil Degradation Threatens Nutrition in Latin America | Inter Press Service ("it's becoming worse") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Curbing soil degradation is essential for ecological sustainability and food security in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
“Everyone knows how important water is, but not everyone understands that soil is not just what we walk on, it’s what provides us with food, fiber and building materials, and it is where water is retained and atmospheric carbon is stored,” said Pilar Román at the regional office of the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). 
More than 68 percent of the soil in South America is currently affected by erosion: 100 million hectares of land have been degraded as a result of deforestation and 70 million have been over-grazed. 
For example, desertification plagues 55 percent of Brazil’s Northeast region – whose nearly 1.6 million sq km represent 18 percent of the national territory – affecting a large part of the staple food crops, such as maize and beans. 
In Argentina, Mexico and Paraguay, over half of the territory suffers problems linked to degradation and desertification. And in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, between 27 and 43 percent of the territory faces desertification. 
An especially serious case is Bolivia, where six million people, or 77 percent of the population, live in degraded areas. 
The situation is not much different in Central America. According to the 2014 Soil Atlas of Latin America and the Caribbean produced by the EUROCLIMA program, erosion affects 75 percent of the land in El Salvador, while in Guatemala 12 percent is threatened by desertification. 
FAO stresses that as much as 95 percent of the food consumed worldwide comes from the soil, and 33 percent of global soils are degraded. 
In Africa, 80 percent of land is moderately to severely eroded, and another 10 percent suffers from slight erosion. 
To alert the global population about the dangers posed by desertification and soil degradation, the world celebrates the World Day to Combat Desertification on Jun. 17, under the theme this year of “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People”. 
“Without a long-term solution, desertification and land degradation will not only affect food supply but lead to increased migration and threaten the stability of many nations and regions,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on the occasion of the international day this year.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Most of us thought that good soil was easy to find. Not anymore. The situation has become so bad that in some areas, soil is turning into deserts. 
Even in the Philippines, desertification is happening today.

"The expert said the fight against desertification is a shared responsibility at the national and international levels. 
"Román concurred and proposed that the prevention of soil degradation should be carried out “in a holistic manner, based on adequate information and training and awareness-raising among communities and decision-making agents on protection of the soil.”
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The prosecutor who lassoed deforestation ("we need more dedicated lawyers like him to save nature")

The prosecutor who lassoed deforestation ("we need more dedicated lawyers like him to save nature") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

In late January, reporters with Brazilian publication ((o))eco left on a journalistic expedition to the state of Pará. Their goal was to discover the origins and the main effects of the so-called “Zero Deforestation Beef Agreement” signed between the Federal Public Ministry and major slaughterhouses operating in the Amazon, which forced the slaughterhouses to fight deforestation in the farms where they bought cattle for slaughter.

Azeredo’s first step was to study the causes behind the clearing of the forest. Experts pointed to cattle ranching as a major culprit. Work by the NGO Institute of Man and Environment in the Amazon (Imazon), for instance, had shown that livestock accounted for 80 percent of total deforestation in the Amazon. 

“We spent one year and a half investigating business dealings of the livestock chain to be able to prove that the cattle produced on illegally deforested areas in the region was being sold in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other major cities of Brazil,” Azeredo said. “And it was also being exported and used by major companies worldwide.”

The next step was to sue ranchers and slaughterhouses caught selling cattle raised on deforested land. Then the MPF sent more than 200 supermarket chains a “Recommendation” — a legal term for the warning that precedes a lawsuit — not to buy beef from suppliers that had caused illegal deforestation.

That was when Azeredo had an idea that even the staunchest ruralist opponents have recognized as brilliant. The state of Pará has about 250,000 ranches, and there are hundreds of supermarket chains with more than 80,000 stores spread across the country. But the link between those cattle ranches and the supermarkets is formed by just a few dozen medium and large slaughterhouse operators that are responsible for butchering the cattle and distributing the resulting “cattle products” – companies such as JBS, Bertin (later bought by JBS), Marfrig, and Minerva. 

Azeredo’s plan was to turn those slaughterhouse operators into guardians against deforestation.

Prosecutor Daniel Azeredo’s idea was simple and effective. The MPF had caught slaughterhouses buying deforestation cattle and applied fines totaling two billion Brazilian real (about $500 million). But an even more powerful instrument of pressure was the fear that buying illegal beef provoked in large supermarkets, such as Pão de Açucar and Walmart. With the possibility of being sued, they would rather avoid beef from Pará, which would be perhaps a fatal blow to the state’s slaughterhouses.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A brilliant lawyer made the right analysis of the deforestation problem and found a legal way to fight it. Read the long article to appreciate the strategy, which may be applied in other parts of the world.

"Prosecutor Daniel Azeredo’s idea was simple and effective. The MPF had caught slaughterhouses buying deforestation cattle and applied fines totaling two billion Brazilian real (about $500 million). But an even more powerful instrument of pressure was the fear that buying illegal beef provoked in large supermarkets, such as Pão de Açucar and Walmart. With the possibility of being sued, they would rather avoid beef from Pará, which would be perhaps a fatal blow to the state’s slaughterhouses."
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These Are the Most Inspiring Nature Photographs of 2016 ("simply awesome and original")

These Are the Most Inspiring Nature Photographs of 2016 ("simply awesome and original") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A selection of the best nature photographs from North American Nature Photography Association members submitted in 2016.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of Nature Photography Day. The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) designated the day as a time to “promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide.” 

Here, we present a selection of the best nature photographs from NANPA members submitted in 2016. 

Every year, NANPA members submit images to be considered for the NANPA Showcase. Out of the approximately 2,600 images submitted for 2016, judges selected 250 to be published in the Showcase gallery in five categories: Mammals, Birds, Scapes, Altered Reality, and Macro, Micro and All Other Wildlife. 

If you’re feeling inspired, NANPA encourages you to explore the natural world with your camera today, read about the work of naturalists and pioneers in nature photography, and ask yourself how your images can bring positive change to the world. Enter their photo contest and you could even win a prize yourself!

Bert Guevara's insight:
Check out these beauties of nature before they disappear.
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Bangladeshi Inventor Creates Electricity-Free Air Conditioner Out of Plastic Bottles

Bangladeshi Inventor Creates Electricity-Free Air Conditioner Out of Plastic Bottles | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Bangladeshi inventor Ashis Paul has figured out how to repurpose plastic bottles into a low-cost, easy-to-make, electricity-free air conditioner that can help the country's poorest better tolerate the sweltering summer heat. 

 The science behind the Eco-Cooler is based on the idea that the bottleneck becomes a funnel that compresses and cools the air that runs through it by about five degrees, according to the Eco-Cooler website. It's the same principle that governs blowing air through pursed lips — the air comes out cooler despite the body's 98-degree-Fahrenheit temperature.

Via SustainOurEarth
Bert Guevara's insight:
Big ideas smart small. Check this out!
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SLIDESHOW: Land won back from mining ("victory of the people vs irresponsible mining")

SLIDESHOW: Land won back from mining ("victory of the people vs irresponsible mining") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The people of Sta. Cruz, Zambales have reason to celebrate the change in government from President Aquino to President Duterte.

The people of Sta. Cruz, Zambales have reason to celebrate the change in government from President Aquino to President Duterte. 

New Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has suspended several large-scale mining operations in Sta. Cruz and other nearby municipalities. 

The closure order came after the Supreme Court issued a Writ of Kalikasan on June 21, 2016. The writ is a legal remedy that implores the state to protect the right of the people to a healthy environment. 

But behind the sweet victory of the people against large-scale mining is a bitter reality that Sta. Cruz town will never be the same again. Damage has already been done to the ecology: mountains have been exhausted, and marine life has been disturbed. 

The diverse ecology is now scarred, and this is evident not just in the environment but in the lives of the people of Zambales. 

This initial victory was won through the collective efforts of anti-mining advocates and the people of the province. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is a major victory for the people of Zambales. 
After winning a Writ of Kalikasan from the Supreme Court in June 2016, the DENR issued suspension orders to several mining companies for their destructive mining operations.

"The people of Sta. Cruz, Zambales have reason to celebrate the change in government from President Aquino to President Duterte. New Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has suspended several large-scale mining operations in Sta. Cruz and other nearby municipalities. 
"The closure order came after the Supreme Court issued a Writ of Kalikasan on June 21, 2016. The writ is a legal remedy that implores the state to protect the right of the people to a healthy environment."
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Meet 10 Bizarre and Beautiful Creatures from the Deep ("rare species that live far away from humans")

Meet 10 Bizarre and Beautiful Creatures from the Deep ("rare species that live far away from humans") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Photos and gifs of deep sea creatures from one of the last relatively pristine marine ecosystems on the planet.

On July 10, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Okeanos Explorer completed a 69-day, 3-stage expedition of previously unknown and poorly understood deepwater habitats. 

The first leg, exploring the southern half of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, wrapped up on May 11. See some of their incredible finds here: 10 Stunning Undersea Creatures From the Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas 

This last leg explores the northern half of these protected marine areas. Scientists captured images and video of many of the incredible creatures that live at these extreme depths, some of them never seen before or found thriving in unexpected places. 

Due to its remote location, this area remains one of the “last relatively pristine marine ecosystems on the planet,” reports NOAA.

Bert Guevara's insight:
10 awesome life forms from the deep that you have never seen before.
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Tree Management Plans are Essential for Sustainable Cities ("for short and long term care")

Tree Management Plans are Essential for Sustainable Cities ("for short and long term care") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

For the greener cities of the future, a tree management plan for the urban environment becomes a practical discipline that includes tree planting, selection, protection and care. The overall management of trees could be seen as a more collective resource. Let's take San Francisco, for example.

Without a detailed and comprehensive vision for what you want to accomplish, the future of the street trees of your city will be uncertain. You have to create a long-term plan that will look at the health of the trees and how it will impact the neighborhood. Without ongoing urban tree planting efforts, your city will lose its natural beauty. As stated before, San Francisco has around 105,000 trees, and they pride themselves on being a green city, but unfortunately, they also have one of the smallest tree canopies of any large city within the United States. They have 17 percent fewer trees than Chicago, 21 percent fewer than Los Angeles and 24 percent fewer than New York City. What's worse is that they are on the decline. With the new plantings not keeping pace with tree mortality and tree removals, there is plenty of space being opened. Do not let your city lose that lustrous look that trees can provide.

Green urban planning has importance because it will help to make your city more beautiful. In addition, if you are in the real estate business, the trees in a neighborhood can increase the number of ADL forms that are filled out. Street and park tree management should be the first element considered with managing an urban forest. Without an adequate plan for action, taking care of your city's urban forests will not prove effective. Before you begin, you want to establish and clarify your key objectives and priorities. After you have done that, you can communicate with the rest of your team and set a guideline that becomes a healthy resource for everyone to take advantage of. Without clear objectives at the beginning of the planning process, you do not know what you are attempting to accomplish.

Bert Guevara's insight:
If we fully understand the value of trees, especially in a city, then they should have a TREE MANAGEMENT PLAN. What is that all about?

"Whenever designing the plan, you want to address the key players of your plan. You should have both short-term and long-term goals for both the street and park trees because this will keep your city stay green and lushly beautiful for years to come. Examining these issues is important because what affects one group of stakeholders may not affect another group of people. Therefore, you want to uncover the shared elements that will tie each group together for better understanding and development."
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'Shocking images' reveal death of 10,000 hectares of mangroves ("the worst kind of mangrove dieback")

'Shocking images' reveal death of 10,000 hectares of mangroves ("the worst kind of mangrove dieback") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Ten thousand hectares of mangroves are dead across a stretch of coastline reaching from Queensland to the Northern Territory, and an international mangrove expert believes it is linked to climate change.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Really bad! This 10k hectare mangrove dieback coincided with what happened in the space of a month late last year -- the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. What's happening to Australia?

"We're talking about 10,000 hectares of mangroves were lost across this whole 700 kilometre span," Dr Duke said. 
"It's not only unprecedented, it's extensive, it's severe and it's noticeable. 
"I have not seen such imagery anywhere before, from all over the world. I work in many places around the world and I look at damaged mangroves as part of my work all the time. These are the most shocking images of dieback I've ever seen."
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Anti-coal activist murdered in the Philippines ("another attempt to silence the environment defenders")

Anti-coal activist murdered in the Philippines ("another attempt to silence the environment defenders") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

On July 1, two gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed anti-coal activist, Gloria Capitan, inside her karaoke bar in Mariveles, Bataan in the Philippines.

On July 1, two gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed anti-coal activist, Gloria Capitan, inside her karaoke bar in Mariveles, Bataan in the Philippines. 

Capitan, 57, sustained three gunshot wounds, two in the neck and one in the arm, local media reported. Her eight-year-old grandson reportedly suffered injuries from a stray bullet that grazed his arm. 

Capitan was a president of Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin, a community-based organization, and she led her community in a series of protests against pollution from an open coal storage facility close to her neighborhood, and demanded its permanent closure. The storage facility is run by Sea Front Shipyard Services, Inc, a subsidiary of Limay Bulk and Handling Terminal. Capitan also fought actively against the expansion of coal plants in Bataan province. 

“If this is a message to silence other anti-coal activists like her, then they are mistaken,” Val De Guzman, a campaigner for the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, said in a statement. “Because on the ground where Ate Glo’s [Capitan’s] body fell, where the blood from her body flows more anti-coal activists will sprout. Instead of silencing us, it will only strengthen our convictions, that the evil menace of coal must end. And we will persevere in this fight and see to it that our children and the children of our children will be free from it.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
“Gloria Capitan, like many other environmentalists killed before her, sacrificed her life to defend the rights of the powerless and vulnerable,” Ramon San Pascual, Director of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH)-Asia, said in a statement. 
“Her murder demonstrates how abuses to our environment cause insurmountable damages not only to our surroundings but to people’s lives, especially the poor. Whilst defending people’s environmental and human rights, the irony is that defenders themselves need to be protected. 
At the end of the day, Capitan’s death and many others’ underscore the need for our government, especially the new administration, to protect them from the very harms from which they selflessly protect us.”
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Greener cities the key to happier, healthier, stress-free lives ("people need touch of nature daily")

Greener cities the key to happier, healthier, stress-free lives ("people need touch of nature daily") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A 'daily dose of nature' via green open spaces and roof gardens is needed to support people's wellbeing, a new study says.

People are biologically wired to need to be close to nature, with more green open spaces and roof gardens needed to support their wellbeing, a new study says. 

A lack of access to greenery could play a role in stress and overall poor health, with experts calling on architects and urban planners to provide more green, open spaces in built-up areas. 

Curtin University professor Peter Newman, author of the paper Biophilic Architecture: Rationale and Outcomes, said including vegetation as part of building design has been absent in many cities and needs to be given more prominence.

"What biophilic designers see as the missing evolutionary element in modern cities is the need to re-establish an innate connection to nature in everyday life," he said. 

He added that a "daily dose of nature" - as originally prescribed by Tim Beatley, a US professor in sustainable communities - was necessary for people's mental wellbeing. 

"As biological beings, humans have not adapted physiologically, emotionally, or psychologically to the current sterile urban technological cities," he said. 

"This mismatch, where the environment that humans occupy is so removed from the one in which humans have evolved, could be the disjuncture that has led to much of modern stress and mental health issues." 

Bert Guevara's insight:
The highest value of real estate is reached when people can live in a stress-free, close-to-nature setting, and not merely in maximized built-up areas.
We need to see more greens!

"In an increasingly urbanising world, small, short-lived public green spaces such as pop-up parks may be counted among the few options that human city-dwellers in dense urban areas will have to engage with nature."
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Just 5 Common Foods Produce More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Nearly All Countries ("no escape?")

Just 5 Common Foods Produce More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Nearly All Countries ("no escape?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A new report from Oxfam America stresses that food producers must be a more vocal part of the climate solution.

Think about the last time you ate something that included wheat, soy, corn, rice, or palm oil. 

As some of the most common commodity crops in the world, it’s likely that your last meal contained at least one of these ingredients, even if you weren’t aware of it. Palm oil can hide in things like sandwich bread or pizza dough, while soy can find its way into everything from cereal to canned soups. 

That means that, knowingly or not, your last meal probably helped contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution that is driving global climate change. According to a new report from Oxfam America, the production of these five commodity crops emits more greenhouse gases annually than each of the world’s countries, save for the United States and China. 

A lot of those emissions occur on the farm, released from eroded soil or overgenerous amounts of fertilizer. Specific crops also contribute to climate change in unique ways: rice production is especially dangerous to climate because it generates methane, while crops like palm oil and soy contribute to global warming through deforestation. But emissions from food also extend well beyond the field, from the trucks it takes to ship the goods from warehouses to stores, to the methane that is released when those products end up in landfills. 

That’s a problem, the report argues, especially if the world really wants to stick to the goal of limiting the world to well below 2 degrees Celsius of warming agreed on in Paris last December. In order to fully achieve the vision set in Paris, Aditi Sen, Oxfam America’s senior policy adviser for climate change, says that food companies need to play a major role, which involves stepping up their commitment to climate action. 

“It’s impossible to reach [the Paris] goal unless food and agriculture [emissions] reductions are made,” Sen told ThinkProgress. “The food sector absolutely needs to be part of the solution.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
These facts support my theory that agri textbooks have to be rewritten to incorporate its climate change impacts, and its vulnerability to these very impacts.

'Food, and food production, has a particularly unique relationship with climate change. Agriculture is a major contributor to the problem, accounting for 13 percent of global emissions in 2011 — making it the second-largest industry contributing to climate change, behind the energy sector. But agriculture is also extremely vulnerable to the kind of climatic shocks that runaway climate change could spur, from shifting precipitation patterns to rising sea levels. A growing body of studies suggests that climate change could be really bad news for agriculture — it could make crops poisonous, make crops less nutritious, and make crops more difficult to grow, among other consequences.'
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Wildfire, Forests and Climate Change ("although part of the natural cycle, it's more frequent now")

Wildfire, Forests and Climate Change ("although part of the natural cycle, it's more frequent now") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Climate impacts on forests include a wildfire season that has increased by nearly 80 days since 1970. Fires are more frequent and intense.

In the southwest of North America, record heat has spawned an early an aggressive start to the 2016 fire season. One consequence of a warming world is the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires. With increasing heat, fires burn more intensely over a steadily increasing wildfire season signaling a regime shift in global forests . A 2015 study published in the journal Nature Communications indicates that burn season has increased 20 percent from 1970 to 2013. In the U.S. fire seasons are now 78 days longer than in 1970. 

It’s easy to count off recent record-breaking fires that confirm this trend: the Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada; the Butte and Lake fires in northern California; the Okanogan fire “complex” in Washington, the largest to date in the state’s history. In Australia, a string of bushfires are among the costliest and most deadly the nation has ever seen. The list goes on. 

Wildfire is an essential component of a healthy, functioning ecosystem. In the U.S., a century of fire suppression has altered the natural cycle of burn and regrowth, ironically increasing the risk of wildfire. “Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem,” explains Dr. Timothy Mihuc explains, a professor of environmental science at the State Univesity of New York, Pittsburg.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Large wildfires are, of course, not new. They are a part of nature. But with human intervention, first through deforestation and mismanagement, and then from accelerating climate change, that natural balance becomes increasingly skewed. 

"A healthy planet depends on healthy forests, so when they do burn, they regenerate and thrive. The intensity and frequency of wildfire we now see are not part of that natural cycle, but a sign that our forests are in trouble.
"Wildfire is an essential component of a healthy, functioning ecosystem. In the U.S., a century of fire suppression has altered the natural cycle of burn and regrowth, ironically increasing the risk of wildfire. “Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem,” ...
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This Mammal Has Been Wiped Out Due to Climate Change ("documented extinction has begun a trend?")

This Mammal Has Been Wiped Out Due to Climate Change ("documented extinction has begun a trend?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Scientists find no trace of the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that was the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef.

Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location. 

It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change. 

An expert says this extinction is likely just the tip of the iceberg, with climate change exerting increasing pressures on species everywhere.

The rodent, also called the mosaic-tailed rat, was only known to live on Bramble Cay, a small coral cay just 1,100 feet long and 500 feet wide off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, which sits at most 10 feet above sea level. 

It had the most isolated and restricted range of any Australian mammal, and was considered the only mammal species endemic to the Great Barrier Reef.

But the melomys were last seen in 2009, and after an extensive search for the animal in 2014, a report has recommended its status be changed from “endangered” to “extinct.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Mammal extinction is a serious consequence of climate change, and it has begun!
You guessed it -- sea level rise is to blame.

"But the melomys were last seen in 2009, and after an extensive search for the animal in 2014, a report has recommended its status be changed from “endangered” to “extinct.”
"In their report, co-authored by Natalie Waller and Luke Leung from the University of Queensland, the researchers concluded the “root cause” of the extinction was sea-level rise. As a result of rising seas, the island was inundated on multiple occasions, they said, killing the animals and also destroying their habitat."
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Killings of environmentalists up 60%; Philippines ranks 2nd ("33 martyrs in Phil; where is justice?")

Killings of environmentalists up 60%; Philippines ranks 2nd ("33 martyrs in Phil; where is justice?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

SAO PAULO -- A London-based advocacy group said Monday it documented 185 killings of environmental activists around the world last year, nearly 60 percent more than in 2014 and the highest since it began collecting data dating back to 2002. In a newly released report, Global Witness said Brazil topped the 16-country list with 50 environmental defenders slain in 2015, followed by the Philippines with 33 and Colombia with 26. The group said 116 were slain worldwide in 2014.

Last year "was the deadliest year on record for killings of land and environmental defenders — people struggling to protect their land, forests and rivers," the report said. 

Conflicts involving mining, agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and logging are behind most of the killings, which average more than three a week, it added. 

Those who oppose such projects are "finding themselves in the firing line of private security companies, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers," Global Witness said. 

Firefights and killings around land disputes are common. Last week, an indigenous land activist was killed and several others were injured in Brazil's southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul when their camp was attacked by armed farmers, authorities said. The group had set up a camp to demand that claims to ancestral lands be recognized by the government. 

The 50 environmental defenders killed in Brazil last year is nearly double the number slain in the country in 2014. Most of the killings occurred in the Amazon states of Maranhao, Para and Rondonia, where "agribusiness companies, loggers and landowners hire hit men to silence local opposition to their projects," the report said. 

Brazil's Justice Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace in Brazil, attributed the killings to a lack of government presence in areas where land conflicts and deforestation are taking place. 

"I believe that we will continue leading this ranking until the government solves the problems in the region," Astrini said. "Threats against defenders of the environment and those who represent rural workers and indigenous people will continue to grow, and I fear more will be murdered."

Bert Guevara's insight:
OMG, the Philippines had 33 martyrs for the environment! Did they get justice, or will their names remain part of a long list of unsolved crimes?

"In a newly released report, Global Witness said Brazil topped the 16-country list with 50 environmental defenders slain in 2015, followed by the Philippines with 33 and Colombia with 26. The group said 116 were slain worldwide in 2014."
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Land Degradation Neutral World ("beyond real estate dev't is soil sustainability")

SDG 15: Life on Land. On 25 September 2015, 193 countries came together in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on 17 June (first declared by the United Nations in 1994) advocates the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the SDGs. 

Without a long-term solution, desertification and land degradation will not only affect food supply but lead to increased migration and threaten the stability of many nations and regions. This is why world leaders made land degradation neutrality one of the targets of the SDGs, saysUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. 

17 June 2016: Land in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) touches everyone. The food we eat, the clothes we wear and the houses we live in all stem from land resources. Achieving land degradation neutrality is therefore key in order to “leave no one behind” as proclaimed in the SDGs. 
This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on 17 June (first declared by the United Nations in 1994) advocates the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the SDGs. 
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Fireflies are disappearing. Here’s why — and what you can do to help ("casualty of urbanization & CC")

Fireflies are disappearing. Here’s why — and what you can do to help ("casualty of urbanization & CC") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Experts worry human activity is causing a decline in the world's 2,000 species of fireflies.

But now, fireflies are disappearing on a much larger scale. For years, The New York Times noted in 2014, scientists have “been warning that the world’s estimated 2,000 species of fireflies are dwindling.” And it’s not because of awful kids. 

The problem, as always, is other human behavior, including the use of pesticides and artificial lighting and the destruction of firefly habitat. Fireflies — or lightning bugs — thrive in meadows, woods, and along bodies of water, all of which are shrinking because of our sprawl. Urbanization, it seems, is killing the firefly.

They’re not only being harmed directly by human development, but indirectly by the effects of human-caused climate change. Invasive species that thrive in a warmer climate and drought destroy even more of their habitat.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When was the last time you saw a firefly? Have your kids seen one lately or never?

"The problem, as always, is other human behavior, including the use of pesticides and artificial lighting and the destruction of firefly habitat. Fireflies — or lightning bugs — thrive in meadows, woods, and along bodies of water, all of which are shrinking because of our sprawl. Urbanization, it seems, is killing the firefly."
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