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Our many-coloured planet: Largest earth-observing satellite shows off best pictures from 10 years orbiting our planet

Our many-coloured planet: Largest earth-observing satellite shows off best pictures from 10 years orbiting our planet | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The eight-tonne Envisat had a planned lifetime of five years, but the European Space Agency has celebrated its tenth anniversary with a gallery of the unforgettable imagery captured by its ten sensors.
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Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
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THANK YOU ("the voice of the people is the voice of God; vox populi, vox Dei")

156 Countries, more than 2.600 events arround the World. The largest march against Climate Change in the history. Thank you, people of the World. Let´s keep…

Around 570,000 people took part in marches around the world yesterday calling for action on climate change. By far the largest event was in New York City, which had been dubbed the biggest climate march in history weeks before. Organizers estimate that 400,000 people showed up to the march in Manhattan, shattering a prediction of 100,000. The marches are meant to add political pressure before a high level UN Summit held in New York City on Tuesday. 
"I'm here primarily for my children. I want to see the leaders of the world hear the will of the people and begin to implement 100 percent renewable energy for 100 percent of the people," actor and activist, Mark Ruffalo, told the New York Daily News. 
Along with Ruffalo, other marchers included former Vice President Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, actor and UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCapri, and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who will be heading up the UN Summit tomorrow. 
"I am overwhelmed by such a strong power, energy and voice of people," Ki-moon said at the march. "I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on September 23rd. Climate change is [a] defining issue of our time and there is no time to lose. If we do not take action now, we will have to pay much more." 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Vox populi, vox Dei - the voice of the people is the voice of God!

The people have spoken loud and clear, so has God.

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Religions for the Earth: Redefining the Climate Crisis ("call for a new moral imperative")

Religions for the Earth: Redefining the Climate Crisis ("call for a new moral imperative") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The climate crisis is not just a scientific and political challenge--it is an urgent moral imperative.

At Union Theological Seminary, a remarkably diverse group of more than 200 religious and spiritual leaders will gather for the Religions for the Earth conference. Representing Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Pacific nations and the Arctic, these leaders will bring a much-needed moral perspective to the climate crisis. They represent billions of people of faith.

In meeting after meeting, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Durban, politicians and technocrats have been thwarted, because at its core, climate change is not just about science, or zero-sum financial negotiations between emitters: it’s about values. It relates profoundly to the meaning of life rather than just its mechanics—to the essence of how we experience our being, share our resources, and regard one another across space and time. It has implications for the existence of the world itself, and humanity’s place within it.

It will take a values-driven conversation to change the materialistic and consumer-oriented culture that assigns worth only to financially quantifiable things. The unchecked profit-driven model of maximum production devours what we care most about: clean air, clean water, and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable families. We need a new moral equation.

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Challenging the economics of climate solutions — The Daily Climate ("so we can have it both ways")

Challenging the economics of climate solutions — The Daily Climate ("so we can have it both ways") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

In an effort to shape next week's United Nations Climate Summit, the group of high-ranking executives and officials detailed how countries can grow their economies at the same time they act to halt global warming.

The recommendations of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, led by former Mexico president Felipe Calderon, include ideas long part of the climate action agenda: Build more compact cities with better mass transit, restore degraded land, stop deforestation, phase out fossil fuel subsidies, set a price on carbon. But the commission aimed at garnering new and broader support by compiling evidence that the steps also can drive positive economic transformation.

"There is a general perception that taking responsible efforts to tackle climate change could reduce economic growth, could reduce the creation of jobs," said Calderon in a conference call prior to the report's release. "Our conclusion is that you can have economic growth and tackle climate change, but that will require structural changes in the coming years."

"The perception that many leaders – both of business and country – still have that it would be nice to act on climate but it's costly, and we may have to wait before we move forward is a wrong understanding," Steer said. "In fact, what we need to do to get the world economy to grow and prosper is exactly the same as what we need to do to move towards a lower carbon economy.

"It's not the old-fashioned notion of assessing costs and benefits and going forward cautiously," he said. "It's actually good economics, and it can even be good politics for a mayor or for a corporation to act boldly."

Bert Guevara's insight:

The best positive formula that many want to hear. The only BUT is "CHANGE".

"Our conclusion is that you can have economic growth and tackle climate change, but that will require structural changes in the coming years.""

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#AMNC14 - IdeasLab - Peter Edwards clip - YouTube ("climate resiliency sounds simple yet complicated")

http://www.weforum.org/
Bert Guevara's insight:

This man makes the issue of climate-resilient cities sound so easy, and yet it is a very complex issue. As more and more of our populations live in larger cities, the task becomes more daunting for local governments.

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‘Cordillera Heroes’ | The mountains’ vast, true wealth « Bulatlat ("their lives are worth reflecting")

‘Cordillera Heroes’ | The mountains’ vast, true wealth « Bulatlat ("their lives are worth reflecting") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Philippines news and commentary, politics, human rights, economy

As we commemorate the imposition of Martial Law this month, it is timely to read the book Cordillera Heroes, which compiled 23 of these great lives of activists. Most of the subjects were indigenous peoples who started during the Martial Law era, while the rest were “Martial Law babies” – the generation who grew up during the Marcos era.

They had different backgrounds – a farmer, pangat (peace pact holder), mombaki (indigenous priest and healer), teacher, lawyer, paralegal, miner, unionist, NGO worker, student leader, campus journalist, artist – but their lives flowed into each other, like tributaries of the Chico river, as they became part of what became the mass movement in Cordillera.

It was this movement that defended the ancestral domains and the rich natural resources of the region against destructive projects, resisted state repression and fought for the right to self-determination.

There was Ama (father) Macliing Dulag, who united the indigenous communities against the Chico dam project, so successfully, that the military had to stop him, through assassination, on April 24, 1980. His tandem with Pedro Dungoc Sr., a Kalinga teacher, proved crucial as they wrote letters and petitions and brought their fight to Tagalog-speaking Manila. After Ama Macliing was assassinated, Dungoc and other elders, such as Ama Lumbaya, took up arms and joined the New People’s Army (NPA).

The mountains are a natural refuge for rebels, but what made the armed struggle prosper in the Cordilleras is the tribal cooperation, the indigenous collective courage of the people to fight for their land, their way of life.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Remembering our own local environment heroes.... 

"During the dark days of Martial Law and up to the present, the mountains and rivers of the Cordilleras have been a flowing source of inspiration and hope, because of heroes who dedicated their lives to defend the right to life, land and self-determination."

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Amazon deforestation up 29% in 2013 – Brazil ("when will this end? 5891 sq.km. lost in 1 year alone!")

Amazon deforestation up 29% in 2013 – Brazil ("when will this end? 5891 sq.km. lost in 1 year alone!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The figure reverses several years of decline despite being the second lowest annual increase since records began in 1988

Deforestation in the Amazon rose 29% between August 2012 and July of last year to 5,891 square kilometers (2,275 square miles), Brazilian officials said Wednesday, September 10, posting an amended figure.

Last year, authorities indicated a slightly lower figure of 5,843 square kilometers for a 28% rise.

That reversed several years of decline despite being the second lowest annual increase since records began in 1988.

The official Institute of Special Investigations (INPE) unveiled the amended figure showing Para state in the north and the central western state of Mato Grosso as the worst affected areas.

The worst year on record was 2004, with 27,000 square kilometers of forest destroyed.

Since then, Brazil has cut the annual rate by 79%, according to the INPE.

Deforestation in the Amazon River basin region, the world's largest rainforest, fell to a low of 4,571 square kilometers (1,765 square miles) in 2011/2012.

The rise across 2012/13 coincided with the passing of a reform of Brazil's forestry code reducing the amount of forestry cover landowners are required to maintain, infuriating environmentalists.

The INPE is set to publish the August 2013-July 2014 data by year's end.

First indications based on monthly satellite observations through to July of this year are that deforestation increased by 9.8% for a second straight year. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Forest recovery efforts are still being overtaken by deforestation!

In the Philippines, I am unsure if the 3% forest cover has improved under the National Greening Program and the Total Log Ban of the Aquino Administration.

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10M Pinoys unable to meet food needs - Manila Standard Today ("yet we keep converting agri land")

10M Pinoys unable to meet food needs - Manila Standard Today ("yet we keep converting agri land") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
ONE in every 10 Filipinos can’t afford to eat.

That means 10 million Filipinos “do not have income adequate enough to meet basic food requirements,” says the latest government economic data on how the country is moving toward achieving the targets set by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals or MDG.

The MDG aims to raise the poor’s living standards next year, or by 2015. The first MDG target is to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the people living on less than $1.25 a day and halve the proportion of the people who suffer from hunger.

The Philippines will meet its targets on food poverty but needs to “double or triple” its efforts to meet the targets on income poverty, says Arsenio M. Balisacan, director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, the agency that released the figures.

And agriculture is “highly sensitive to weather disturbances,” he says.

The country will also have to double or triple its efforts to meet the targets on nutrition and dietary energy requirement, says Balisacan, the economic planning secretary.

He says the prevalence of underweight children under five years old decreased by only 0.4 percentage points, or from 20.6 percent in 2008 to 20.2 percent in 2011.

“To meet the MDG target of halving the number of underweight children by 2015, we will need to reduce this figure by 6.6 percentage points, or about 1.65 percentage points per year from 2011 to 2015,” Balisacan said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Where is the problem, Mr. President? Isn't the government getting lost again in its priorities?

"The proportion of Filipino households with inadequate calorie intake decreased from 74.2 percent in 1990 to 57 percent in 2006. From 2003 to 2008, however, the proportion increased by 9.9 percentage points—far from the 2015 target of 37.1.

“To reach the MDG on halving the levels of hunger in 2015, we need to reduce this number by 4 percentage points per year,” Balisacan said."

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UNODC adopts new 'Global Programme for Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime' ("it's time to gang up")

UNODC adopts new 'Global Programme for Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime' ("it's time to gang up") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Web Site

In response to the worsening levels of illicit trafficking of fauna and flora, a new 'Global Programme for Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime' has been adopted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Global Programme will be implemented over the next four years and is an important step towards building Government capacity to prevent and combat wildlife and forest crime on a regional, national and local basis. It will also raise awareness to contribute to the reduction of demand for wild fauna and flora.

The development of the Global Programme comes amid increasing recognition that responding to the threat posed to wildlife and forests is no longer purely a conservation issue. With a growing understanding that organized crime is a key factor driving the unprecedented growth of this cruel and illicit trade, the need to tackle it from this angle is ever more urgent. In this regard, and drawing on UNODC's ability to assist with law enforcement and criminal justice concerns, the Global Programme will support a number of areas such as building legislation to address this crime, strengthening investigative, prosecutorial and judicial capacities, and combating related issues of money-laundering and corruption. It will also support Member States in their efforts to introduce livelihoods to affected communities.

"The emergence of this Global Programme shows just how much this critical issue has come to the fore in recent years," commented UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov. "It highlights a serious and growing problem and one which UNODC is in a unique position to help fight. By working in a coordinated, global manner that allows us to complement existing initiatives by our partners, I am confident that we can help contribute to real change at both the supply and demand side."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Mass murder of wildlife needs to be stopped!!!

"Wildlife and forest crime present a particularly devastating form of organized crime. The number of tigers in the world, for example, have plummeted from about 100,000 a century ago to approximately 3,000 today, and they continue to fall with an average 110 tigers killed every year. The rhino population is also under threat with three of the five living rhino species listed as 'critically endangered' on the  Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of Africa's rhino population, 1,004 rhinos were killed in 2013 - a devastating climb from 2003 when 22 rhinos were killed. Meanwhile across Africa it is estimated that over 20,000 elephants are poached annually for their ivory."

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PIA | Group addresses biodiversity situation in Central Panay ("focus on 5 threatened endemic species")

PIA | Group addresses biodiversity situation in Central Panay ("focus on 5 threatened endemic species") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Philippine Information Agency, the development communication arm of the Philippine government, member of the Presidential Communications Group

Members of the Iloilo Biodiversity Partnerships Project Local Project Site Committee recently met to discuss solutions to the worsening condition of the natural resources and biodiversity in Central Panay Mountain Ranges (CPMR).
A DENR-6 press release said that Central Panay has globally significant biodiversity and the remaining lush forest of the CPMR is a haven of threatened endemic species called the “BIG Five”.
These species are Walden’s Hornbill (Dulungan), Visayan Warty Pig (Baboy Talunon), Spotted Deer (Usa), Mabitang and Rafflesia.
Conrado B. Marquez, regional technical director for protected areas, said these five species are considered indicator species for the local government unit to declare an area within their municipality as a Critical habitat.
Marquez said that these committees have to be supported and strengthened by the declaration of the CPMR as protected area, establishment of Critical habitats by all 16 local government units covered by the CPMR and the setting of directions and action plans for September until December 2014.
DENR Regional Director Jim O. Sampulna said that the members need to put their acts together to succeed in the conservation efforts for the CPMR, which is host to diverse flora and fauna with interesting endemic species. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Biodiversity conservation efforts in the Philippines needs to go beyond lip service. These 5 wildlife species need a home where they can be undisturbed by humans.

A DENR-6 press release said that Central Panay has globally significant biodiversity and the remaining lush forest of the CPMR is a haven of threatened endemic species called the “BIG Five”.
These species are Walden’s Hornbill (Dulungan), Visayan Warty Pig (Baboy Talunon), Spotted Deer (Usa), Mabitang and Rafflesia. 

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Moving a Forest: As climate changes, ecosystems will need to shift ("human assisted gene flow")

Moving a Forest: As climate changes, ecosystems will need to shift ("human assisted gene flow") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Projections for northeastern Minnesota predict warmer and possibly drier conditions — bad news for the boreal species such as white spruce, balsam fir and paper birch.

TNC is anticipating a day soon — within the lifespan of a tree — when a changing climate may make the forest unsuitable for some tree species and varieties that now live there. Projections for northeastern Minnesota predict warmer and possibly drier conditions — bad news for the boreal species such as white spruce, balsam fir, and paper birch that have defined the forest here for centuries. But a warmer, drier climate would likely make the area better suited for species such as oaks.

“Our goal is to maintain a forest going forward,” says Meredith Cornett, TNC director of conservation science for Minnesota and the Dakotas. “We run the risk of losing forest cover because we don’t have a suite of species that is resilient to climate change — that they won’t be able to hang in there or keep pace with the rate of climate change.”

TNC is jump-starting the future forest to protect not only the forest, but also the goods the forest provides, such as clean water, wildlife habitat, tourism, logs and pulpwood. “We care about that because our livelihoods up here really depend on that,” says Cornett.  

Bert Guevara's insight:

With a changing climate, even tree planting and the definition of indigenous species needs to be revisited.

"TNC isn’t alone. It’s joining an international conversation about lending a helping hand to trees and other plants that are rooted in place in order to populate new, more suitable areas as climate shifts. Strategies include “assisted gene flow,” which refers to moving varieties within a species’ range, and “assisted migration” (also called “managed relocation” or “assisted colonization” to avoid confusion with seasonal migrations), which means moving a species or population to help it expand outside its native range."

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Govt body prepares mining roadmap - Manila Standard Today ("can mining be responsible? or a menace?")

Govt body prepares mining roadmap - Manila Standard Today ("can mining be responsible? or a menace?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A multi-sectoral committee, composed of various government agencies, is pushing for a mining roadmap that will guide the development of a more viable downstream...

A multi-sectoral committee, composed of various government agencies, is pushing for a mining roadmap that will guide the development of a more viable downstream industry for gold, nickel, chromite, iron and manganese.

The Minerals Industry Coordinating Council tasked a group of mining consultants to prepare the mining roadmap, based on documents.

The multi-sectoral committee is composed of the Trade, Environment, Science and Finance Departments, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

It began preparations for a broader mining roadmap after the technical working group on the copper industry roadmap successfully created a viable downstream industry plan to reinvigorate copper-based industries in the country.

The Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp., the country’s lone copper smelter, led the crafting of the copper industry roadmap which aims to increase exports by at least 15 percent to $2.45 billion by 2030 starting 2015.

Pasar president Angel Veloso, who is also the head of the copper industry roadmap technical working group, said the industry roadmap envisioned a fully integrated copper industry from mining to manufacturing by 2030.

The industry’s short-term plan until 2016 includes the operation of one or two world-class copper mines. Within the medium term or by 2022, the world-class copper mines should be working at full capacity while new mines are being developed.

Copper wire rod casting plants should have been established and fully operational as well by 2030.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The country is waiting if there can be a responsible and beneficial mining industry for the Philippines.

"The multi-sectoral committee is composed of the Trade, Environment, Science and Finance Departments, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

"It began preparations for a broader mining roadmap after the technical working group on the copper industry roadmap successfully created a viable downstream industry plan to reinvigorate copper-based industries in the country."

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"Adorably Cute" Tiny Primate Discovery Illuminates Biodiversity of Philippines Island

"Adorably Cute" Tiny Primate Discovery Illuminates Biodiversity of Philippines Island | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Meet the Dinagat-Caraga tarsier, a distinctive evolutionary lineage of primate that has just been discovered from the southeastern Philippines by an international team of biologists working with th...

The tarsier—which is technically not a monkey—is known only from the small island of Dinagat, and the adjacent northeast corner of the larger island of Mindanao to the south, says a news statement about the research published today in the open access science journal PLoS ONE.  ”With its giant eyes, fuzzy face, and prominent ears, the discovery will no doubt attract attention as an adorably cute new ecotourism focal point—much like its furry cousin on Bohol Island,” says the statement released by the Biodiversity Institute of the University of Kansas on behalf of the institutions involved in the study. 

The discovery identifies an important new example of a “conservation flagship species” that has the potential to increase public awareness of the Philippines’ astounding resident biodiversity, says National Geographic grantee and project leader Rafe Brown, of the University of Kansas. “If protected by the Philippine government, [it may] extend protection like an umbrella to the many species of unique birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, plants, and invertebrates that share its rain forest home.”

The findings will restructure conservation targets in Philippine tarsiers, placing much greater urgency on the populations of Dinagat Island, and nearby Mindanao Island’s Caraga Region, in addition to the already protected populations in other parts of the species’ range, Brown predicted.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The tarsier is an icon of biodiversity in the Philippines.

"... Whereas before, tarsiers from the Philippines are viewed as a single species wherever they are found and thus receive the same conservation attention.  With the results of this study, the survival of the three genetically distinct variants of the tarsier needs to be ensured through targeted conservation programs, including the establishment of critical habitats.”

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Elephant deaths reach tipping point ("more killed than born; 35000 lost last year; gone in 100 years")

Elephant deaths reach tipping point ("more killed than born; 35000 lost last year; gone in 100 years") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Africa's elephants have reached a tipping point, where more are being killed each year by poachers than are being born, a study suggests.

Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the continent.

They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years.

The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author George Wittemyer, from Colorado State University, said: "We are shredding the fabric of elephant society and exterminating populations across the continent."

The illegal trade in elephant tusks has soared in recent years, and a kilogram of ivory is now worth thousands of dollars. Much of the demand has been driven by a rapidly growing market in Asia.

"If this is sustained, then we will see significant declines over time.”While conservationists have long said the outlook was bleak, this study provides a detailed assessment of the impact this is having on Africa's elephants.

The researchers have found that between 2010 and 2013, Africa lost an average of 7% of its entire elephant population each year.

Because elephant births boost the population by about 5% annually, this means that overall more of the animals are being killed than are being born.

Julian Blanc, who also worked on the study, from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), said: "If this is sustained, then we will see significant declines over time.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"In terms of concrete actions, we need to move to focus on the front-line and tackle all links in the illegal ivory trade chain - improve local livelihoods (for those living with elephants), strengthen enforcement and governance and reduce demand for illegal ivory. "

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Over half a million people march for climate action worldwide, shattering turnout predictions

Over half a million people march for climate action worldwide, shattering turnout predictions | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Around 570,000 people took part in marches around the world yesterday calling for action on climate change. By far the largest event was in New York City, which had been dubbed the biggest climate march in history weeks before. Organizers estimate that 400,000 people showed up to the march in Manhattan, shattering predictions.

"I am overwhelmed by such a strong power, energy and voice of people," Ki-moon said at the march. "I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on September 23rd. Climate change is [a] defining issue of our time and there is no time to lose. If we do not take action now, we will have to pay much more." 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The people want to be heard!!!

"Organizers said there were 2,646 events across 161 countries yesterday. 

"The march came on the same day that the Global Carbon Budget estimated CO2 emissions rose 2.5 percent in 2013 and are set to hit a new record of 40 billion tonnes this year."

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FEATURE-Climate-smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket ("rewriting agri books")

FEATURE-Climate-smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket ("rewriting agri books") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Thousands of farmers are learning to adapt to climate change, boost soil fertility and reduce their carbon emissions

Erratic weather, rising temperatures, declining water resources and labour shortages are threatening India's bread basket state of Haryana, forcing farmers to abandon age-old practices and adopt technology to ensure food supplies for millions.

Using machines which sow rice directly, devices to inform when to irrigate and phone messages warning of infestations, thousands of farmers are learning to adapt to climate change, boost soil fertility and reduce their carbon emissions.

"But over the last four years, through these technologies, we have learnt to save water and fertilisers, cut our costs for hired labour, improved the resilience of our crops and also reduced pollution by not burning crop residues."

Singh is from one of 12,000 farming households across 27 villages in Haryana's Karnal district working with scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to pilot climate smart techniques aimed at sustaining one of the country's most fertile belts.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

In India, global warming is forcing farmers to go "techy" and to overhaul their traditional agricultural practices. How about farmers in the Philippines, what are they doing to adapt to a warming world?

 

"On his sprawling 90-acre farm, Harpreet Singh crouched down amongst his rice paddy stalks and checked his tensiometer, a device planted in the ground to measure moisture content.

"Singh said over the last four years, his income has increased by 15 percent due to savings made on electricity for irrigation, diesel for residue burning, labour and fertilisers. But it is the saving on water which satisfies him the most.

"Day by day, the ground water levels are going down and down. If we continue like this, its only a matter of time before we don't have water to drink, let alone to farm," he said.

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8 ways to help build a better food system ("consumers can make a difference, focus your spending")

8 ways to help build a better food system ("consumers can make a difference, focus your spending") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Shop intelligently and vote with your dollars to make a big difference.

“If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year. Keeping our money circulating grows those dollars to $3.6 billion and creates 10,000 new jobs.” (The Ontario Table)

It’s easy to forget the power of individual dollars, but they do add up. The local food movement that is currently sweeping the United States and Canada is the direct result of consumer choices and will continue to grow as long as consumers commit to supporting it. Here are some ways to get involved and help grow a more sustainable food economy in your own neighbourhood.

1. Join a CSA program

2. Shop at a farmers’ market

3. Buy the whole animal

4. Plan your menus

5. Use the whole vegetable

6. Dine out at local restaurants

7. Go for seconds

8. Teach your kids to eat everything


Bert Guevara's insight:

I have always advocated for mass climate-action by consumers to make a difference for the planet. We begin by focusing our own consumer spending and buying preferences. Multiplied by the hundred thousands, these individual decisions make more positive impacts than short-lived government programs.


"Residents of Ontario, Canada, have been challenged to allocate $10 of their weekly grocery budget toward local food. Ten bucks may not seem like a lot, but it can have a hugely positive effect in the long run."

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How fighting climate change could save the planet–and rebuild the economy ("the positive paradigm")

How fighting climate change could save the planet–and rebuild the economy ("the positive paradigm") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A new report argues that governments can slow global warming and boost economic growth by redirecting expenditures they have to make anyway.

Such an approach would not only reduce global warming, it could also provide the technological spark to ignite global economic growth:

A central insight of this report is that many of the policy and institutional reforms needed to revitalise growth and improve well-being over the next 15 years can also help reduce climate risk. In most economies, there are a range of market, government and policy failures that can be corrected, as well as new technologies, business models and other options that countries at various stages of development can use to improve economic performance and climate outcomes together.

These opportunities, the report says, require new policies in three key areas:

1. An end to fossil fuel subsidies, imposition of new taxes on carbon and the adoption of new rules to encourage the growth of renewable energy, such as wind and solar.

2. Financial innovations to encourage governments and the private sector to invest in badly needed upgrades of public infrastructure, which are likely to be more energy-efficient. And

3. More support for low-carbon innovators, including strong patent protections and more public spending on research and development.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The positive side of Climate Change action:

The UN report says: "This would mean building more compact, connected, coordinated cities rather than continuing with unmanaged sprawl; restoring degraded land and making agriculture more productive rather than continuing deforestation; scaling up renewable energy sources rather than continued dependence on fossil fuels.

"With the right signals to the market, we can get important outcomes without the climate risk,"

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Peru Investigates the Killing of an Environmental Advocate ("illegal logging costing lives")

Peru Investigates the Killing of an Environmental Advocate ("illegal logging costing lives") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The advocate, Edwin Chota, and three other men were killed in a remote part of the Amazon jungle on their way to meet with leaders of another village in the region.

The authorities here are investigating the killing of an environmental advocate and indigenous leader who died along with three other men in a remote region of the Amazon jungle that he had sought to protect from illegal logging.

It took several days for villagers to discover the killings and make the trip by river to the regional capital, Pucallpa, to report the crime.

“What we have is the statements of the widows and the village leaders that the community was threatened on many occasions by people associated with logging in the area,” said Patricia Balbuena, a vice minister of culture in charge of indigenous issues, reached by telephone in Pucallpa on Wednesday.

Ms. Balbuena said investigators were preparing to fly by helicopter to the area where the killings occurred in the hope of recovering the bodies.

She said that the authorities would station police officers in the village because villagers said they were still receiving threats.

Mr. Chota had often talked about receiving death threats prompted by his resistance to loggers, who he said were illegally cutting trees on tribal lands near the Brazilian frontier.

“The law does not reach where we live,” Mr. Chota said last year in an interview with The New York Times. “They could kill us at any time.”

When he was interviewed by The Times, Mr. Chota was asking prosecutors to investigate his claims of illegal logging. He had tracked a large load of logs to Pucallpa and had persuaded a prosecutor who specializes in environmental crimes to impound the logs at a local sawmill.

But the prosecutor was unable to persuade the local military authorities to take him by helicopter to the remote village to verify Mr. Chota’s claims. The prosecutor was then fired and the investigation appeared to languish.


Bert Guevara's insight:

After the reported 29% increase in logging activities in the Amazon for 2013, it is impossible to surmise that there is no resistance.

In Peru, just like in the Philippines, the list of environmental martyrs and heroes grows longer. The ruthlessness of the powers behind illegal logging continues. Where is the military?

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Making farming work in the big city ("bring agri where hungry people are; plant anywhere there's soil")

Making farming work in the big city ("bring agri where hungry people are; plant anywhere there's soil") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
'In gardening, you realize that everything in life is connected to the soil. You get a deeper understanding of life. You get your hands dirty to create something beautiful and useful.'

Unknown to many, right smack in the middle of the Quezon Memorial Circle, rows of vegetables line the 1,500-square-meter space.

This main demo farm is just one of the many sites under Quezon City’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program launched in 2010 by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. Until today, the program tries to spread green thumbs among city-dwellers.

From 3 pilot farms, the city now has 84 – of varying sizes – scattered across barangays, public elementary schools, daycare centers, parishes, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“We’re slowly trying to make people adapt to the idea of growing their own food to partially fulfill their needs,” Belmonte said. “We’re also working with provinces like Nueva Vizcaya for farmer-to-consumer projects to help them get better income and access.”

In the future, Quezon City plans to cover all barangays and more schools, including high schools.

“Urban farming is not impossible,” Perez said. She clarified that farming is “doable” even in limited spaces. “Just be creative and smart about it.”

Perez urges Filipinos to break the old notion that farming is only for provinces. “In fact, we get visitors from the LGUs of Isabela and Pangasinan interested in urban farming,” she added.

Bert Guevara's insight:

If you lack ground space, try planting on walls! 

“The main goal is to improve nutrition, while also trying to reduce poverty,” Raul Norbe, program agriculturist, said. The program teaches families to start farming in their own backyards – which can provide them food security or extra income.

"Norbe added that urban farming also promotes organic agriculture, “We don’t’ use chemical fertilizers to protect the environment and to make crops safer.” Although organic fertilizers are more expensive, Norbe advised LGUs to invest in them."

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New rules for biodiversity ("new mining rules a win for environment, farmers and industry?")

New rules for biodiversity ("new mining rules a win for environment, farmers and industry?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
CHANGES announced to biodiversity offsets policy for major state projects include allowing landholders to be paid for managing biodiversity or biobanking their land and not requiring 'like-for-like' offsets if they are not available.

Currently developers or mining companies are required to find ‘like-for-like’ biodiversity offsets but the changes will allow them, if they cannot find suitable land, to fund other conservation work of equal or higher conservation priorities. 

It will also enable mining companies to use rehabilitated sites at the mine as part of their offsets strategy where there are good prospects of biodiversity being restored.

The changes were announced yesterday by the NSW Government and will come into effect on October 1 for a transitional period of 18 months, after which it is proposed legislative changes will be made to formalise the new arrangements.

Minister for Planning Pru Goward said the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects introduces - for the first time - clear, state-wide guidance on how to deal with the biodiversity impacts of major projects.

“The policy will cut red tape throughout the planning process and encourage sustainable investment in NSW because it provides certainty for  stakeholders,” Ms Goward said.

“It is a win for the environment, farmers and industry.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

A swap deal for mining damage is on an 18-month experiment -- a fair deal?

"Environment minister Rob Stokes said changes would give landholders the opportunity to receive payments for managing biodiversity on their land through a fund paid into it by developers to ‘offset’ the impacts of large projects.

“A new fund will be set up, to enable stewardship payments to landholders wishing to participate in the biodiversity protections for major projects,” Mr Stokes said.

“Our aim is to use offsets as an opportunity for landholders to diversify their income and ensure they are a genuinely integrated part of the landscape."

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Small Scale Organic Farming CAN Save and Enrich our Soil ("small organic efforts can save our planet")

Small Scale Organic Farming CAN Save and Enrich our Soil ("small organic efforts can save our planet") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Commercial farming damaging soil, leading to various farming issues. Small-scale, on the other hand, leaves the soil intact and enriched, a study shows.

The trend isn’t only taking place in the U.S., but in Britain too, where a new study indicates these smaller food producers are leaving the soil much healthier than their large-scale counterparts.

The research comes from the British Ecological Society. It says that commercial farming results in damaged soil, with declines in necessary carbon stocks, damaged soil structure, and a reduction in the ability to retain water and nutrients. Small-scale growing, on the other hand, with its diverse planting and organic methods, leaves the soil intact and enriched.

In certain areas, British citizens are able to apply for allotments, plots of land where they are allowed to grow food in otherwise urban settings. Currently, there is a waiting list of more than 90,000 people attempting to grow on these allotments. This latest study calls on the government to expand the program in the interest of both health and soil conservation.

So what’s happening in these small-scale gardens that isn’t happening in the large ones? The small growers are tending to the land. They are growing for a smaller population and growing much less food, able to treat each plant and row of plants with greater care and attention. They are utilizing crop rotation. They aren’t rolling the field with large machinery (leading to soil compaction), spraying large quantities of pesticides, or creating a monoculture of crops that deplete the soil.

Bert Guevara's insight:

For the sake of the planet, small organic agriculture provides sustainability versus large commercial farming, which damages our farmlands.

“We found remarkable differences in soil quality between allotments and arable fields,” she says. “Our study shows how effectively own-growers manage soils, and it demonstrates how much modern agricultural practices damage soils.”

“Using urban land, including domestic gardens, allotments and community gardens for own-growing is an important and often overlooked way of increasing productivity whilst also reconnecting urban dwellers with food production."

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Climate change deniers 'have to answer' for this, Hillary says ("her position on climate gives hope")

Climate change deniers 'have to answer' for this, Hillary says ("her position on climate gives hope") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Hillary Clinton called out climate change “deniers” at a clean energy conference in Las Vegas Thursday evening.

“Aside from the deniers and the special interests and all the other folks who want to pretend we don’t have a crisis is the fact that we are leaving money and jobs behind,” she said. “For those on the other side, they have to answer to the reality they are denying peoples’ jobs and middle class incomes and upward mobility by their refusal to look to the future.”

Clinton has several hard choices to make on what her energy policy will look like if she decides to run for president, but — not surprisingly — she left those decisions up in the air on Thursday.

In her remarks, Clinton noted that the clean energy future she envisions is not “some kind of a dream,” pointing to Nevada as an exemplar. Just today, the electric car manufacturer Telsa announced it had selected the state for a massive new battery factory that will be powered by wind and solar energy, she noted.

Clinton touted other states’ work as well, including Iowa, perhaps raising a few eyebrows since that state hosts the first major primary events for the presidential elections. “This is a reality that can be brought to scale,” she said.

On climate regulations, Clinton praised Obamas’ use of executive authority through the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gasses, but said more needs to be done. “Now we have to step up and build on that success,” she said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate change is declared a 98% man-made phenomenon, but climate denial is also a man-made escape from reality. Hillary Clinton makes her position clear on climate denial, but not yet very clear on how to address the problem.

“Hard Choices,” calling for “smart regulations” which may include “deciding not to drill when the risks are too high.”

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Mangrove planting to save twin rivers - Inquirer.net ("using mangroves to manage rivers")

Mangrove planting to save twin rivers - Inquirer.net ("using mangroves to manage rivers") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Mangrove planting to save twin rivers Inquirer.net In yet another attempt to stop two rivers from flowing freely into the center of Lucena City, more than 15,000 mangrove propagules were planted along the banks of the heavily polluted water bodies...

In yet another attempt to stop two rivers from flowing freely into the center of Lucena City, more than 15,000 mangrove propagules were planted along the banks of the heavily polluted water bodies recently.

Mayor Roderick Alcala says the massive planting is part of the Lucena Twin Rivers Development Program (LTRDP), which aims to convert the Iyam and Dumacaa rivers into another tourist attraction, and would be followed by cleanup and dredging activities in the shallow areas.

“Once the rehabilitation and beautification of the rivers are completed, we plan to put up a floating restaurant,” he says, adding that investors have already showed interest in bankrolling the project.

Lucena’s city proper is wedged between the Dumacaa on the east and the Iyam on the west. The major waterways meet on the southern portion of the capital and flow to Tayabas Bay.

Alcala disclosed plans to put up ecoparks and other projects along the riverbanks to provide livelihood opportunities to riverside residents. “I envision local fishers aboard their boats selling their fresh catch to tourists,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

15,000 mangroves may save the rivers. 

"Attempts to rehabilitate the rivers had failed, compounded by the indifference of residents.

"After the massive mangrove planting, Tessie Villapando, president of the neighborhood association along the bank, has vowed to protect the propagules.

“The plants will not only beautify the river but will also protect us from floods in case of heavy rains,” she says.

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Winged Warnings: Built for survival, birds in trouble from pole to pole — Environmental Health News

Winged Warnings: Built for survival, birds in trouble from pole to pole — Environmental Health News | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Birds are the planet’s superheroes, built for survival. But for all their superhuman powers, they are in trouble.

Globally, one in eight – more than 1,300 species – are threatened with extinction, and the status of most of those is deteriorating, according to BirdLife International. And many others are in worrying decline, from the tropics to the poles.

“If birds are having issues, you have to think about whether humans are going to have issues too,” said Geoff LeBaron, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society based in Massachusetts and international director of the Christmas Bird Count.

While birds sing, they also speak. Many of their declines are driven by the loss of places to live and breed – their marshes, rivers, forests and plains – or by diminished food supply. But more and more these days the birds are telling us about new threats to the environment and potentially human health in the coded language of biochemistry. Through analysis of the inner workings of birds’ cells, scientists have been deciphering increasingly urgent signals from ecosystems around the world.

By the late 1980s, zoologist Theo Colborn, then at the World Wildlife Fund, began examining the Great Lakes studies to see if she could discern a big picture. She recalls reading through stacks of academic papers and tracking the findings in a chart.

The results were stunning: The Great Lakes’ top 16 or 17 bird predators were vanishing. The problem stemmed from assaults on the endocrine system, which controls hormones and reproduction. And that, in turn, was linked to manmade substances in the water and prey. So, birds’ ability to reproduce crashed in multiple ways: Young failed to hatch; babies were deformed; male young were feminized; female young were more masculine; chicks’ immune systems were impaired; parents forgot how to parent. The concept of the “endocrine disruptor” was born.

“The birds really told the story, elegantly,” said Colborn, who co-authored the 1996 book Our Stolen Future, which chronicled the threats of hormone disruption.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Bird die-off has a message to humans. What can we learn?

"When it comes to chemicals and broad planetary changes, birds have shown us that they are in a unique position to tip us off to health threats. ... Looking at birds gives humans the unsurpassed ability to identify and quantify chemical threats across time and space around the globe, noted Christy Morrissey, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Saskatchewan. “Birds can tell us a lot about what’s going on around us that we might not be able to see,”

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Air conditioning has changed America and will change the world; It is the design issue of our time.

Air conditioning has changed America and will change the world; It is the design issue of our time. | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Mini-split is the new symbol of modernity.

Over the years we have made many of the same points on TreeHugger. I have been seriously criticized for being against air conditioning. I am not. I am against bad designthat forces you to use air conditioning all the time; things like floor to ceiling glass, no cross-ventilation, or lack of shading because as Cameron Tonkinwise put it,

The window air conditioner allows architects to be lazy. We don't have to think about making a building work, because you can just buy a box.

Or as I have put it in response to a controversial article by Brian Merchant (but nobody read that far before yelling at me in comments:)

In the end, it is all about moderation; about designing our homes better so they don't need as much air conditioning, if any. It's about reinforcing the cultural aspects of where we live instead of hiding inside. It's about having a discussion, not a culture war.

In China, almost every single apartment has a mini-split air conditioner hanging on the wall outside the unit. There are hundreds of millions of these things, absolutely indispensable because the air is so foul that you can't open the windows, because of the pollution caused by the coal-fired power plants that are making the electricity needed to run the air conditioning. Call it a luxury or a necessity; the fact is, it is the design issue of our time.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Man has made a mess of the environment and is relying on air-conditioning as a way of escaping some of the consequences. But some are criticizing the excessive reliance on air-conditioning and are blaming "modern" architecture and other "modern" designs for the 'escapist' approach.

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