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Greenpeace leads war against coal

Greenpeace leads war against coal | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Greenpeace leads war against coal (RT @bencubby The biggest environmental campaign in Australian history: green groups battle against #coal http://t.co/Dor0Xyle #climate...)...

Ang isa sa pinakamatinding kalaban ng pagbabago ng klima sa mundo ay ang industriya ng uling. Bagaman ito ang pinakamurang panggatong daw, ito ay napabalitang nagmamahal na din. Pero kung susumahin ang pangkalahatang pinsala nito sa kalikasan, ito ang pinakamahal na panggatong. Masyado lang makitid ang pananaw ng mga nagsusulong nito. Pera lang ang binibilang.

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Leaders of European cities make pledge to tackle climate change ("preferential buying policy will make a change")

Leaders of European cities make pledge to tackle climate change ("preferential buying policy will make a change") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Representatives of 30 cities gather in Paris to sign declaration that will also commit them to use their €10bn purchasing power to buy eco-friendly

Leaders and representatives of 30 European cities will gather in Paris on Thursday to declare their commitment to “clean” policies to fight climate change.

Officials will also sign a declaration agreeing to use their collective purchasing power – estimated at around €10bn (£7.4bn) a year – to buy eco-friendly.

The gathering comes eight months before Paris hosts the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21, aimed at achieving a binding, universal and international agreement on climate for the first time in more than 20 years of UN negotiations.

In a joint statement signed by 26 European mayors, including London’s Boris Johnson, city representatives said they hoped combining forces to favour green and low-carbon industries for procurement contracts would have a “leverage effect on the private sector that very often aligns its own requirements with the public sector”.

“[The] time has now come for European capitals and metropolises to pool our efforts to tackle climate change. This requires a closer dialogue between cities through a more regular exchange of expertise and good practices,” they declared.

The mayors will arrive at Paris’ city hall in electric Autolib’ cars, from the city’s car-sharing service, decorated in the colours of their country.

The summit comes a week after Paris was declared the most polluted city on the planet after a choking cloud almost obscured its most symbolic monuments including the Eiffel Tower and left the city of light looking more like the capital of smog.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The money trail goes a long way in influencing climate change policies and actions. Commercial activity will always respond to where the money is.

This decision of government leaders to purchase only "eco-friendly" products gives a positive incentive for climate action.

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The bizarre way that we justify actions that waste energy and are bad for the environment

The bizarre way that we justify actions that waste energy and are bad for the environment | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Meet the rationalizations that researchers have dubbed "compensatory green beliefs."

These ideas — the notion that one good health-related behavior justifies or offsets a bad one – are called “compensatory health beliefs” in the research literature. And they appear to be common — and often, pernicious. Studies have linked this mode of thinking to adolescents having a harder time quitting smoking, people being less likely to get a flu shot and, of course,breaking diets.

This idea that we can “justify” a little bad with an intended good and thereby balance the scales — or that after doing something bad, we can cleanse our sins with something good — seems to be a very human thing. It’s classic rationalization and self-justification. It lessens cognitive dissonance, making us feel better.

We don’t know the extent to which this actually happens. But in a recent study in the journal Environment and Behavior, a group of researchers at Derby and Sheffield universities in the UK began an effort to change that. They set out to try to measure what they called “compensatory green beliefs” and how they affect behaviors. Their results suggested that these beliefs certainly might be something to worry about.

What’s more, the study also found statistical relationships between endorsing compensatory beliefs and not only being less environmentally conscious, but also engaging in fewer green behaviors, such as driving a more fuel-efficient car. Indeed, endorsement of these compensatory beliefs also showed a link with being a skeptic of climate change and being less concerned about the problem.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Being green is not simply a game of offsetting a negative with a positive action and feeling good about it.

"This style of thinking might seem trivial and all too human. But think of what would happen if everybody thought they could trade off one environmental plus for one environmental negative — that one green “A” offsets one “F” — and followed through on that logic. It’s hard to see how the consequence could be anything other than this — a world that, overall, consumes more energy and suffers more environmental consequences."

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Study reveals value of zoos and aquariums in boosting biodiversity understanding ("it's educational")

Study reveals value of zoos and aquariums in boosting biodiversity understanding ("it's educational") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Zoos and aquariums around the world have a crucial role to play in helping people understand how they can protect animals and their natural habitats, new research from the University of Warwick, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and Chester Zoo has found.

Dr Jensen, who is an internationally recognised expert on public engagement with wildlife, explained: "Zoos and aquariums are in a unique position to contribute to the goal of raising understanding of biodiversity conservation. Indeed the majority have an institutional and, in some cases, legal commitment to public education.

"But because these establishments tend to be viewed as providers of entertainment by the public, it has been unclear to what extent zoos' educational messages are effective and, as there has been no previous global evaluation of their impact, it has been impossible to assess their importance on this scale - until now."

The study found there was an increase in respondents demonstrating some positive evidence of biodiversity understanding from pre-visit (69.8%) to post-visit (75.1%). Researchers also found an increase in respondents who could identify something they could do to help protect biodiversity from pre-visit (50.5%) to post-visit (58.8%).

"For the first time, there is strong evidence that many people leave these attractions not just with greater awareness but also a better understanding of biodiversity and conservation," added Dr Jensen.

"But the challenge for zoos and aquariums now is how to use these findings to directly improve the conservation of biodiversity, because it's important to remember that an increase in knowledge does not necessarily lead to a change in behaviour.

"The next equally important step should be to build on this knowledge to promote pro-conservation behaviour and social change."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Let's bring more kids and adults to visit them.

"The United Nations has a target that everyone should be aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably by 2020 at the latest.

"Our findings highlight that zoos and aquariums have an extremely important role to play if this goal is to be reached and if we are to eventually reverse the loss of biodiversity on the planet."

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8 ways you’re killing the environment without even realizing it ("discover and do something about it")

8 ways you’re killing the environment without even realizing it ("discover and do something about it") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Many everyday items that we take for granted have a significant impact on Mother Earth. Here are a few humble household supplies that hurt the envorinment more than you’d expect:

 

1. Anti-bacterial soap ... Research shows that small quantities of triclosan persist after being flushed down the drain, and even after water is treated at sewage plants.

 

2. Lawn mowers Mowing the lawn is actually terrible for the environment. According to a Swedish study, a lawn mower produces nearly the same amount of oily air pollution as a 100-mile car trip.

 

3. Tea bags Most of the tea brewed in America is made with tea bags, which means that an average tea drinker consuming 5 cups a day gets through about 13 sq meters of perforated paper every year.

 

4. Plastic bottles About 50 billion bottles of water are consumed every year,

 

5. Microbeads Found in everything from toothpaste to exfoliating face washes and body scrubs, microbeads actually wreak havoc on the environment.

 

6. Disposable razors

 

7. Paper cups

 

8. Wooden chopsticks from restaurants About 3.8 million trees are torn down to produce a staggering 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks every year, ...

Bert Guevara's insight:

In case you aren't aware yet, simple things we do and use everyday pose a problem to the environment. Read and find out.

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Why people with disability need to be included in disaster planning ("otherwise, they are left out or put last")

Why people with disability need to be included in disaster planning ("otherwise, they are left out or put last") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
People with disability are twice to four times more likely to be killed or injured in natural disasters than the general population.

During natural disasters, the daily inequalities that people with disability face are amplified. As the first to be left behind and the last to be rescued, their rights to protection and safety are often denied.

People with disability are twice to four times more likely to be killed or injured in natural disasters than the general population. Deaf people may not hear early warning systems. People who cannot see, who have trouble walking, or who rely on wheeled mobility might find it difficult to flee and find protection.

In emergencies, equipment that helps them move or communicate might be left behind. Life-sustaining supports and technologies may not function.

In natural disasters, people with disability are also less likely to receive aid. They have greater difficulty coping during recovery from natural disasters. Inaccessible emergency shelters and inadequate services further increase their risk.

To reduce their vulnerability during natural disasters, people with disability should be included the planning and preparation for disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Policymakers have largely ignored the potential for people with disability to contribute to DRR planning and preparation. Without this input their specific needs are often unmet.

To find out how to fulfil these needs, practical solutions should come from people with disability themselves. To do so, they should be included in all phases of planning, response and recovery from natural disasters.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

It is time we include PWDs in disaster planning so that they are not neglected during the actual disaster operations.

"Policymakers have largely ignored the potential for people with disability to contribute to DRR planning and preparation. Without this input their specific needs are often unmet.

"To find out how to fulfil these needs, practical solutions should come from people with disability themselves. To do so, they should be included in all phases of planning, response and recovery from natural disasters."

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Kristymay's curator insight, March 28, 5:42 AM

During times of disasters, vulnerable communities are always disadvantaged. This article focuses on people with disabilities and the daily disparities of a person with a disability, which are intensified during times of disaster. The articles states that people with a disability are two to four times more like to be seriously injured or killed than the general population in a disaster event. This article states that people with disabilities need to take a lead role in the planning, preparation and recovery phase and to look at strategies that need to be implemented for people with a disability, so they can have the same advantage as the general population. I have chosen this article as I am studying a Bachelor of Emergency Service and I believe in the equity of all people to have the basic human right to have similar privileges in their environment. People with disabilities are more disadvantaged and I completely agree with this article that people with a disability need to be instrumental in the preparation, planning, response and recovery phases. As we are faced with larger populations and widespread vulnerabilities within the community, it is imperative that these people be included in risk analysis pertaining to disaster preparedness. I believe the only way to fully appreciate and respect how we can prepare for people with a disability, is by those people being involved in all steps along this process.

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Gov’t execs won’t touch mining case ("trouble at the mining front; untouchables unstoppable?")

Gov’t execs won’t touch mining case ("trouble at the mining front; untouchables unstoppable?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Government agencies are now in a quandary on which among them should pursue the case against three controversial mining firms in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, which had operated as small-scale mines but which the Supreme Court found to be liable of over-extraction.

An antimining group, Caraga Watch, had accused the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of protecting the mining firms because these are owned by supporters and a leader of the party.

In a decision made in June last year and released only in December, the Supreme Court found SR Metals Inc. (SRMI) and its two sister companies—San R Mining and Galeo Equipment and Mining Corp.—of violating ore extraction limits set for small scale mining operators.

It meant SRMI and its subsidiaries illegally hauled and sold shiploads of nickel ore in quantities more than what is allowed by law.

The case stemmed from a 2006 cease and desist order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against the three firms, then operating as small-scale mines, after finding that they had already extracted over 177,000 metric tons (MT) of ore in less than a year of operation. The law allows small-scale miners only 50 MT per year.

Environmental advocates and religious groups have called on government agencies to initiate plunder charges against the controversial mining firms, owned by the Guttierez family and Caloocan City Representative Edgar Erice, an LP stalwart.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Untouchable miners unstoppable?

"Vargas said SRMI’s case is proof that laws on mining are being used as a “tool” by the ruling LP to protect its benefactors in the mining industry.

"Vargas said government agencies, like DENR, should pursue the case. Inaction, he said, would be taken as a deliberate scheme to cover up.

“Nothing has been done. Is it because their owners are closely affiliated with the Liberal Party?” Vargas said.

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Hundreds of koalas killed in Australia ("poor animal; not enough nature to feed them - euthanized!")

Hundreds of koalas killed in Australia ("poor animal; not enough nature to feed them - euthanized!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Victorian Environment Minister Lisa Neville said close to 700 koalas were euthanized in the Cape Otway area in 2013 and 2014 due to overpopulation, starvation

"The intervention was necessary to prevent suffering of koalas because they weren't able to find enough food," Neville said in a statement.

"Population densities were reaching up to 20 koalas per hectare at Cape Otway."

Neville said a total of 686 koalas were found to be in poor health and were humanely put down by veterinarians in consultation with koala experts and animal welfare personnel.

The minister said she was seeking expert advice on how to manage the issue and wanted to be open with the community on the process, but has not ruled out further culls.

"Experience suggests that moving these koalas does not work and that can in fact cause even greater suffering," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"(The number of animals) continues to increase and that's why we need to have a look at a koala management strategy to see whether we can reduce that population growth which continues at a very fast pace."

"The whole of the cape smelled of dead koalas. It smelled like death," he told the ABC, adding that the animals had stripped the trees in the area bare in the hunt for food.

"You should come and look at the trees. There are hundreds of acres of dead trees."

Thought to number in excess of 10 million before British settlers arrived in 1788, the Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are now less than 100,000 in the wild.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is this how man fulfills its role as the steward of creation?

"Thought to number in excess of 10 million before British settlers arrived in 1788, the Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are now less than 100,000 in the wild.

"The foundation said koala numbers at Cape Otway were the result of "gross mismanagement".

"The Australian government should hang its head in shame, for allowing a secret cull of koalas," it said in a statement on its website."

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Three questions about India’s “smart cities” ("smartly managed cities that use resources wisely")

Three questions about India’s “smart cities” ("smartly managed cities that use resources wisely") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
India wants to build 100 "smart cities". Nobody really knows what it means - but Jon Kher Kaw says it's the ambition that counts; the detail can come later.

While “smart cities” is not a new concept, it is nonetheless a loosely-defined moniker that often conjures up images of technologically-integrated and meticulously-planned cities that rely on information technology as panacea for many of their problems – from the use of sensors to smart grids and data analytics that allow city infrastructure and services to meet citizen demands efficiently and reliably. For many, this ambition remains elusive in the Indian context, given that the basic amenities and infrastructure in many existing cities such as water supply, sanitation, sewerage, electricity and traffic management are generally not in place.

But ironically, this is also precisely why India desperately needs a system of smart(er) cities. India’s cities are growing faster than its capacity to manage them. Therefore, city models with smarter approaches to city planning and management, which not only depart from business-as-usual activities but are also able to leapfrog and transform India’s cities through modernization and good urban management, are critically needed.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The global movement of people to urban centers should give rise to smarter cities. Firstly, we have to elect smart leaders, otherwise urban decay will continue.

"Going forward, India’s 100 smart cities must similarly strive to differentiate themselves so as to become India’s model for urban development and growth, that is all at once – “innovative”, “sustainable”, “ecologically-friendly”, “resilient”,  “livable” and, of course, “smart.”

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Agriculture Must Be Central to Climate Deal, Experts Say - Voice of America ("smart agriculture needed")

Agriculture Must Be Central to Climate Deal, Experts Say - Voice of America ("smart agriculture needed") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Bigger droughts, more frequent flooding, more devastating storms — these are some of the effects that climate change is already having on our planet. And farmers, many of them small, famil...

And farmers, many of them small, family growers in developing countries, are on the front lines. They'll have to feed a world population that is expected to climb from just over 7 billion today to about 9.6 billion in 2050.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, said agriculture must become more sustainable, more resilient and more inclusive to respond to climate change — and to ensure that the poorest people have access to food.

"Always, the poorest and the smallest are the most vulnerable," he said, "starting from the fact they are already in marginal awareness, so they are the first to be affected by a drought or a flooding that are the current, ongoing impacts of climate change."

The FAO chief spoke Friday at an international meeting in Paris looking at the impact of climate change on agriculture. The city, which opened its yearly international agricultural show Saturday, will host a major U.N. climate conference in December intended to reach an international deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

If "climate-smart" agriculture is the key; then we need "climate-smart" farmers!

"It's one thing just to send out an alarm that there are going to be weather pattern changes," she said. "But what is important for the farmer is how is a farmer going to be able to survive. So resilience is going to be a key word — and that, of course, goes with innovations."

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8 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Climate Movement in 2015 » EcoWatch ("on a roll; looking good")

8 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Climate Movement in 2015 » EcoWatch ("on a roll; looking good") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this December may be our best opportunity to solve the climate crisis before it’s too late. In Lima last year,

The People’s Climate March in New York City last September was among the most diverse actions I’ve ever been to. An estimated 400,000 people joined the march and frontline communities were front and center. People of color have long occupied the frontlines in confronting climate change, but now it seems climate justice advocates are receiving long overdo recognition as movement leaders. Low income youth of color will be the most affected by the changing climate, so it’s about time our climate movement embraces more frontline voices. We still have long way to go in the struggle for climate justice, but I believe in 2015 we’ll see another big leap forward in the support of frontline leadership.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be huge for the climate movement. Here are my top eight reasons to get excited about what we are building together.

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Infographic: What the net-zero homes of the future will look like ("we can do it one step at a time")

Infographic: What the net-zero homes of the future will look like ("we can do it one step at a time") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Net-zero homes are becoming more feasible for the average home owner. So what will the future of net-zero living look like?

While previously the purview of a very niche (and often expensive) housing market, net-zero homes are quickly becoming both an economically sound and sustainable proposal. The average price of an installed solar-power systems has declined more than 50% since 2010 and in 42 out of 50 of America’s largest cities, fully-financed, typically-sized solar system costs less that local utility energy. Right now, only 370 homes certified as ‘net-zero energy ready’ by Department of Energy, but demand continues to rise considerably. So what will the future of net-zero living look like? Check out the infographic below to see.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Attention Architects and Real Estate Developers:

It's about time we prioritize sustainability and ecological parameters when designing and building homes.They may cost a little more at start-up, but definitely economical in the long-run.

Building "green" or eco-friendly homes is for everyone's interest.

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Would you buy a 'biodiversity-friendly' product? - Rappler ("time to identify & support them")

Would you buy a 'biodiversity-friendly' product? - Rappler ("time to identify & support them") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The government hopes to enforce a certification scheme that will tell consumers if products conserve biodiversity and promote the welfare of indigenous peoples

Soon, consumers may find Philippine products labeled with a sticker certifying them as "biodiversity-friendly."

The government is hoping to launch a certification scheme to promote this new green label for products and enterprises in the Philippines.

A Joint Administration Order (JAO) between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, then Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) is now in the works and is set for release within the year, said Joy Reyes Eugenio of the Biodiversity Partnerships Project under the DENR.

"It will distinguish these products above the rest as safe for biodiversity. It's like you're putting a premium on the product. There's already a niche market for eco-friendly products," Eugenio told Rappler.

A draft of the JAO obtained by Rappler defines "biodiversity-friendly" enterprises as enterprises that "promote the sustainable use of biological resources; create wealth and value; and open opportunities for the equitable sharing of benefits among stakeholders."

Bert Guevara's insight:

What are BD-friendly businesses?

1. Business that rely on forest or marine resources as raw materials but have practices that replenish biodiversity

2. Businesses that divert communities from using up forest or marine resources

3. Businesses that generate fees that encourage maintenance and protection of biodiversity

4. Businesses that use non-timber forest products or marine resources that are still abundant

 

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Wild birds 'may spread flu virus' ("we can't stop bird migration; but we can stop the flu")

Wild birds 'may spread flu virus' ("we can't stop bird migration; but we can stop the flu") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Migratory birds may be spreading viruses that cause bird flu around the world, say scientists.

Wild birds with long migratory routes should be monitored for exposure to H5N8 and control measures in poultry should be updated, as they appear to be "insufficient", they added.

Scientists are also investigating other ways that bird flu viruses can spread around the world, including through illegal poultry trade and contamination of vehicles or equipment.

Experts said there were no known direct migration routes from East Asia to Europe, but infected migratory birds from East Asia could in theory pass the virus on to other species at breeding and stopover places in Eurasia.

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu.

"This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.

"I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises."


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is the downside of bird migration. But this should not sway our attention from the vanishing migration stops that are vanishing all over the world due to development.

"The British response to bird flu is oriented towards agriculture - that's fine because of course we need to protect our poultry industry - but in order to really understand bird flu we should also study it in its natural setting," he told BBC News.

"Then we'll have a better 'early warning system' for what might be a threat to agriculture in the future."

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PH needs P392B to carry out biodiversity action plan – UNDP | Manila Bulletin | Latest Breaking News | News Philippines

PH needs P392B to carry out biodiversity action plan – UNDP | Manila Bulletin | Latest Breaking News | News Philippines | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said the government needs between P336 billion and P392 billion to implement the Philippine Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (PBSAP).

The UN agency has placed a yearly budget for the PBSAP at P34 billion.

The Philippine government crafted the PBSAP in partnership with the UNDP with the objective to restore and rehabilitate by 2027 the country’s biodiversity.

Citing UNDP environmental and business specialist Lorenzo Cordova, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), noted that “the [Philippine] government will need a funding of P336 billion to P392 billion with an annual budget requirement of P34 billion” for the PBSAP.

Lorenzo said one-half of the amount will go to forestry and terrestrial ecosystems, 20 percent for inland and wetlands, while the rest of the budget will go to the coastal and marine and urban ecosystem.

PCAARRD also stressed that owing to the limited budget there is a need to either prioritize the projects or look for funds from external sources.

PCAARRD described the PBSAP as “the country’s contribution to the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP), which require countries to prepare a national biodiversity strategy that will be mainstreamed to the planning and activities of involved sectors.”

Of the government agencies, it was said the DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have the biggest budget for biodiversity projects.

In the case of PCAARRD, the agency said it will look into the NBSAP’s priority areas “and to determine how these relate to the Council’s Industry Strategic Plan on biodiversity” as well as determine venues for complementation in funding priority projects.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It is sad that long-term plans like this often get low priority in budget allocations. If ever they get funded, it is another story if the money is spent properly. Biodiversity programs need serious focus from both the private and public sectors.

"Lorenzo said one-half of the amount will go to forestry and terrestrial ecosystems, 20 percent for inland and wetlands, while the rest of the budget will go to the coastal and marine and urban ecosystem."

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With Fins Now Off Many Menus, A Glimmer of Hope for World’s Sharks by Ted Williams: Yale Environment 360

With Fins Now Off Many Menus, A Glimmer of Hope for World’s Sharks by Ted Williams: Yale Environment 360 | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
For decades, the slaughter of sharks – sought after for their fins and meat – has been staggering. But bans on finning and new attitudes in Asia toward eating shark fin soup are leading to optimism about the future for these iconic ocean predators.

Sharks can’t bounce back like other fish. Most give birth to dog-size litters, and those that lay eggs don’t spew big numbers. Sandbar sharks mature at age 16, then bear eight to 12 pups every other year at most. Embryos of the sand tiger swim around in each of two uteri, attacking and consuming siblings until only two survive. Duskies don’t mature until age 20, then deliver three to 16 pups every third year. 
The shark crisis began with the economic boom in China and other East Asian nations. Before that most Asians couldn’t afford shark fin soup. 
The slaughter has been staggering. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East aren’t involved in global management treaties and, even if they were, lack resources to keep track of what shark species get killed in what quantity. Some countries with those resources are “playing games, cooking the books, and fishing illegally,” to borrow the words of shark biologist Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. 

Global fin trade is declining. During the last two years China, Hong Kong and Malaysia have banned shark fin soup at government functions. Five hotel chains have promised not to serve shark fin soup, and 26 airlines have agreed not to transport fins. WildAid reports that at least 76,000 people in Malaysia and 70,000 people in Hong Kong have signed its “I’m FINished with Fins” pledge.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Sharks are still being killed, although in lesser quantities now, it seems. Are you still ordering shark-fin soup?

"The good news has encouraged and inspired, but it seems also to have created some Pollyannaism. Marine scientist Demian Chapman of New York State’s Stony Brook University says the decline in fin traffic is real but that it’s exaggerated by the media. “Rerouting from Hong Kong to Vietnam might account for some of it,” he submits. And, while a study published in the April 2015 issue of Biological Conservation demonstrated that global fin trade has dropped by about 25 percent over the last decade, co-author and shark expert Shelley Clarke warns that the demand for shark meat is increasing."

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The Fate of Trees: How Climate Change May Alter Forests Worldwide ("trees may not recover fast enough")

The Fate of Trees: How Climate Change May Alter Forests Worldwide ("trees may not recover fast enough") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
By the end of the century, the woodlands of the Southwest will likely be reduced to weeds and shrubs. And scientists worry that the rest of the planet may see similar effects

From a tree's perspective, excessive heat may be as deadly as lack of water. To photosynthesize, a tree opens pores in its leaves called stomata and inhales CO2. Solar-charged chemical reactions then transform the CO2 into carbohydrates — the raw stuff of leaves and wood. During this process, a fraction of the tree's internal water supply evaporates through its stomata, creating the negative pressure that pulls water from the soil into the tree's roots, through its trunk and up to its canopy. But heat juices the rate at which trees lose moisture, and that rate escalates exponentially with temperature — so small temperature increases can cause a photosynthesizing tree to lose dangerous amounts of water. "Forests notice even a one-degree increase in temperature," says Williams.

In the death scenario, the sky sucks water from the leaves faster than it can be replaced by water in the soil, and the resulting partial vacuum fatally fractures the tree's water column. If a tree closes its stomata to avoid this, shutting down photosynthesis, it risks starvation. Ultimately, the tree's cellular chemistry will fail, but it will often die before that, as its defenses fall; the complexly toxic sap that repels predatory insects dries up. Many insects can detect diminished sap levels within tree bark by scent — they smell drought stress and pheromonally broadcast news of deteriorating tree health. Other defenses – against microbes, for example — may also be compromised. A hotter climate generally means more insects. It also means more, and more intense, wildfires.

At the hottest, lowest edge of the local ponderosa pine range, where trees already lived at the limit of what they could tolerate, the future seemed to have arrived. "Watching those trees die, I was aware I was also watching that species' geographic distribution change," Williams told me. "It looked slow to me, but on the time scales that these trees work on, the transition was a flash, like a border being suddenly constructed, and the few unlucky ones on the wrong side being sentenced to death."

Bert Guevara's insight:

The scenario is not good when damaged or lost forests are not replanted or reforested in time. Climate change aggravates the problem. Read this splendid article and find out why.

"That's a critical question, because forests cover more than a quarter of the planet's land, and they help stabilize the climate by pulling immense quantities of CO2 out of the air. Of the 36 billion metric tons of CO2 humans emit annually, about 50 percent rises into the atmosphere and about 25 percent falls into the oceans, but around the time that Williams began deriving the FDSI and McDowell was clinically enfeebling trees, no one knew exactly how much of the remaining 25 percent forests drank in.

"The answer turned out to be virtually all of it."

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Garry Rogers's curator insight, March 17, 11:09 AM

Continued harvest (logging and livestock grazing)  will work with wildfires to remove long-lived species.  This is already visible in arid regions.

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In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global CO2 emissions have stalled, but ("it didn't decrease")

In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global CO2 emissions have stalled, but ("it didn't decrease") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
While that's encouraging, it shouldn't lead the world to lose focus in its fight against global warming.

New data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is showing that last year, for the first time in four decades, global CO2 emissions have "stalled," remaining at about 32 billion tonnes, the same number as in 2013. "This is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one," said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. "It provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth."

But while that's encouraging, it shouldn't lead the world to lose focus in its fight againstglobal warming. The reason is simple: While the rate has stopped increasing, it doesn't mean that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will stop increasing. 

All that the IEA news about 2014 means is that last year, we didn't open the faucet more, it just keeps filling the tub at the same rate as in 2013.

Said like that, it doesn't sound so great, uh? But it's still a good sign. I'd much rather see the rate stabilize, and eventually start to go down than to keep going up as it has been for decades. Hopefully it's an early sign that we are decarbonizing our civilization, andturning more to clean sources of energy.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The situation merely stopped increasing, but the emissions continued at the same rate, as in 2013. It's like a 20-second timeout in basketball.

"An important factor could be that China's coal consumption fell in 2014, driven by their efforts to fight pollution, use energy more efficiently and deploy renewables.

"Efforts to reduce emissions elsewhere will have played a role, but there are also more random factors such as the weather and the relative price of oil, coal and gas." 

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Baguio lawmaker indicted for destroying forest ("tree cutting in a forest reserve is illegal")

Baguio lawmaker indicted for destroying forest ("tree cutting in a forest reserve is illegal") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of criminal charges against Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr. and three private contractors for occupying and destroying the forest on Mt. Sto. Tomas in Tuba, Benguet.

In a resolution dated Jan. 30, Benguet provincial prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra charged private contractors William Go, Romeo Aquino and Bernard Capuyan for sending heavy equipment to flatten three hectares of forest reserves, the area being claimed by Aliping.

Mt. Sto. Tomas has been declared as a forest reserve by the government since the 1940s.

The case against Aliping stemmed from a complaint filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Benguet last year.

Environment groups filed petitions deploring the cutting of at least 300 pine trees and saplings to pave the way for the construction of a road leading to Aliping’s property.

Aliping said the road was a project of the Department of Public Works and Highways, but the DPWH belied his claims.

Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Pacamarra said they found probable cause to charge Aliping for the destruction of the forest, based on his letter to Tuba Mayor Florencio Benitez assuming responsibility for the damage to the Amaliang spring reserve.

The damage affected the water supply in areas served by the Baguio City Water District.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's time forest protection is taken seriously.

"If found guilty, the lawmaker may be sentenced to a maximum penalty for forest destruction and banned from holding public office for life.

"Aliping's case was referred to the Office of the Environmental Ombudsman, based on an agreement signed by the anti-graft agency and the DOJ."

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Scientists have captured an incredible drone video of 5,000 birds nesting on a beach in Argentina

Scientists have captured an incredible drone video of 5,000 birds nesting on a beach in Argentina | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
VIDEO: What a view.

This stunning drone video shows 5,300 nesting Patagonian seabirds off the coast of Argentina.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In this scenario, who owns the beach? Forget the titles and man-made rights. By natural law, this beach belongs to these birds and man has to respect this law.

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Why not learn from the best? 10 great transportation ideas from 10 great cities! ("rethinking urban")

Why not learn from the best? 10 great transportation ideas from 10 great cities! ("rethinking urban") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
if most cities decided to invest more in that type of infrastructure rather than more car parkings, pollution would go down and health and happiness would go up a lot.

Below are 10 great ideas from 10 great cities. I'm not quite sure about the outdoor escalators, but everything else is pretty awesome. Not every one of those ideas would fit everywhere (some ideas are better in hilly areas, others in flat areas), but if most cities decided to invest more in that type of infrastructure rather than more car parkings, pollution would go down and health and happiness would go up a lot.

Check out the video for the 10 great ideas from 10 great cities (well, the last one isn't exactly a city, but it's a great idea!), and if you want more one any one city, just keep scrolling down!

Bert Guevara's insight:

Take time to watch these videos of new transportation ideas from around the world. Many may be applicable to the Philippines.

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Obama rejects Keystone XL bill - CNN ("environment in political hands; safe for now")

Obama rejects Keystone XL bill - CNN ("environment in political hands; safe for now") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
President Barack Obama, exercising his veto power for the first time in five years, rejected on Tuesday a measure green-lighting the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama's signature denying the Keystone bill kicks off what's expected to be a flurry of vetoes on measures that Republicans will send to the White House now they control both chambers of Congress. The President has already threatened to reject 13 GOP-sponsored pieces of legislation, including bills rolling back the Affordable Care Act and reversing his executive action on immigration.

On Keystone, it appears unlikely GOP lawmakers will be able to reverse Obama's veto. The threshold for overriding a President's veto is a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress.

After the President's official veto message was received in the Senate at about 3:30 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the veto override will happen no later than next Tuesday.

The measure, which passed the Republican controlled House and Senate earlier this month, would have bypassed an administration review of the oil pipeline project, which if completed would transport oil from tar sands in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The reality that politics controls our environmental welfare is a scenario which needs urgent concern. The tide can turn against the environment any day!

"Obama himself has downplayed the economic benefits of the pipeline, saying America's energy strategy should encompass more than a single project.

"Let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline," he said during January's State of the Union address.

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New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact - National Geographic

New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact - National Geographic | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
National Geographic New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact National Geographic The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issued its recommendations today, calling on Americans to eat less meat, watch their sodium...

"The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains," the report says.

One critical detail is that the committee, for the first time, is including "the impact of food production, processing, and consumption on environmental sustainability" in its recommendations.

"Linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security," the committee says.

After intense lobbying by representatives of the U.S. meat industry and other special interest groups, the language calling on Americans to eat less red meat was softened somewhat by a footnote saying that lean red meat can be part of a healthy diet.

Dietary recommendations like these don't come around all that often. The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases them only every five years. A lot of science and politics can change in that time, and someone always has a beef with what ends up in the final document.

Despite some debate about saturated versus unsaturated fats, with some research suggesting that saturated fats aren't as bad as once thought, most dieticians and health experts are generally pleased with the recommendation to limit saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Food and the environmental impact, they go together.

"The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains," the report says."

One critical detail is that the committee, for the first time, is including "the impact of food production, processing, and consumption on environmental sustainability" in its recommendations.

"Linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security," the committee says.


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8 'biodiversity-friendly' products from PH forests - Rappler ("your purchasing choices can support biodiversity")

8 'biodiversity-friendly' products from PH forests - Rappler ("your purchasing choices can support biodiversity") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Supporting these products can save biodiversity and provide income for forest-dependent communities who make them

The forum was organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility.

Fulfilling the requirements of a biodiversity-friendly business, all these enterprises use non-timber forest products – products which do not necessitate the cutting of trees.

Their business operations extract forest products in ways that do not harm the forest ecosystem and, in some cases, even strengthen the resilience of the ecosystem.

The government hopes that boosting these businesses will encourage forest communities to see economic value in protecting their forest.

If they become very lucrative, these communities may be weaned from pursuing economic activities that destroy the forests they live beside – activities like unsustainable agriculture, logging, unsustainable charcoal-making, hunting for endangered wildlife, and more.

These products are not only eco-friendly but promise to be unique products Filipinos can be proud of.

Here are some of the businesses and products featured at the forum:

1. Tiger grass woven products from Negros

2. Bakong plant handicrafts from Cagayan

3. Lubeg wine from Cagayan forests

4. Pandan products from Palawan

5. Nito and bamboo crafts from Antique

6. Bayong from Cagayan

7. Almaciga resin from Mount Hamiguitan

8. Coffee from Quirino Protected Landscape

Bert Guevara's insight:

These products are not found in malls. Our indigenous brothers need support for them to sustain our forests. Check out the products in this article.

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DeKalb residents effort to protect virgin forest ("subd's vs forests - the development threat")

DeKalb residents effort to protect virgin forest ("subd's vs forests - the development threat") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

County neighborhoods are trying to keep some forest land out of a developer's clutches.
Richard Marion, the president of the Briarlake Community Forest Alliance, balks at the idea of razing 21 lush acres of undisturbed forest for an Arrowhead Real Estate Partners plan to build a new subdivision with 43 upscale homes.  The property is at the intersection of Briarlake Road and Amberwood Drive. 
"This is one of the last tracts of 21 acres of virgin forest," he says.  "These trees, in some cases, are over 200 years old." 

preserved for greenspace.  They plan to show up in force at Wednesday evening's meeting of the DeKalb County Planning Commission in the Maloof Auditorium at 6:30 p.m., and lobby to preserve at least some of the forested area.  Even if a developer planted saplings, neighbors tell WSB, none of the residents would live to see the trees grow to the majestic heights of the current ones.  
"You make a mistake here, it's gone forever.  No doubt about it," says Wilson. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Earth Citizens standing up for the environment vs real estate development -- the intangible vs real-time profit! 

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Shigeharu Shimamura teams up with GE to grow lettuce indoors faster, cleaner and cheaper - YouTube

A 2300 square meter former semiconductor plant has become the world's largest indoor vegetable farm, thanks to Shigeru Shimamura and special LED lights from ...

At 25,000 square feet, the farm can yield up to 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. That’s 100 times more per square foot than traditional methods. One of the major obstacles to making indoor farming cost-effective was lighting. General Electric (GE) who partnered with Mirai, reports, “plant factories have typically used fluorescent lamps for artificial illumination, which has low initial costs.” But these fluorescent lights didn’t increase yields enough to cover the energy costs.

Then, GE and Mirai developed LEDs that “generate light in wavelengths adapted to plant growth. While reducing electric power consumption by 40 percent compared to fluorescent lighting, the facility has succeeded in increasing harvest yields by 50 percent.” Since the plants grow twice as fast with 40 percent less power, 80 percent less food waste and 99 percent less water usage than outdoor fields, Mirai has been able to recover the initial cost of the LED lights and make the cost of artificial lighting worth it.

For now, it is only half automated because various tasks including harvesting the lettuce are done by hand. Shimamura, however, predicts the emergence of harvest robots, who can seed, transplant, harvest and package the products.

Indoor agriculture takes out many of the risks inherent in outdoor crop production. By controlling light exposure, temperature, humidity and watering levels, you can grow food very efficiently. Indoor farming has the potential to produce food with less energy, less water, less waste and in less space than traditional methods. Because agriculture has such a significant impact on the environment, indoor farming offers solutions to many of the current problems. It could eliminate land conversion and habitat loss, wasteful water consumption andsoil erosion and degradation, just to name a few.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Indoor agriculture can start small; some begin with the idea of urban agriculture. These are all efforts towards adapting to climate change.

"If done correctly, indoor farming has the potential to be the best of both worlds. Mirai is by no means the only indoor farming operation in the world. There are more like this one in Chicago. 

Says Shimamura: “Finally, we are about to start the real agricultural industrialization.”

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