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3rd Global CSR Summit Awards New Winners in Cebu City

3rd Global CSR Summit Awards New Winners in Cebu City | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

EDNP Pres. Bert Guevara was in Cebu City last Aug. 11 to witness the awarding of the 3rd Global CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Summit, held in Marriott Hotel. Sen. Manny Villar was the guest of honor.

 

Isa sa apat na judges si Bert Guevara na humatol sa limang kategorya ng mga nagwagi sa paligsahan ng Corporate Social Responsibility activities.

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June A. Yasol's comment, August 20, 2011 12:21 AM
Nice thing you did here,EDNP Prex Bert Guevara! More news...
June A. Yasol's comment, August 20, 2011 12:23 AM
For the latest in ARE Technology, visit:
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Exposing Fields of Filth ("no longer a secret, record number of pigs & chicken = record waste")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via SustainOurEarth
Bert Guevara's insight:
Big ideas smart small. Check this out!
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Digging a bit deeper - Sustainable Food Trust ("soil must be treated as an ecosystem in own right")

Digging a bit deeper - Sustainable Food Trust ("soil must be treated as an ecosystem in own right") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Sustainable Food Trust, founded by Patrick Holden, is a global voice for sustainable food systems, aiming to empower communities with sustainable ideas, and push for government policy changes.

In what is possibly the first ever report on soil health by a UK Parliamentary committee, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has highlighted the threat to society and future food security if soils continue to be managed unsustainably. It calls for Defra to ensure that its upcoming 25-year environment plan puts soil protection at its heart. The report states that “we must move away from viewing soil merely as a growth medium and treat it as an ecosystem in its own right”, a view which lines up closely with the concerns of many farmers and campaigners in the UK and around the world. 

The report focuses on four aspects of soil health: contamination, soil carbon loss including peat, soil erosion caused by incentives to grow maize for energy generation instead of food production, and the lack of a national soil monitoring scheme to monitor nationwide trends in soil health adequately. 

The report leads on the issue of contaminated former industrial land, which in the UK covers an area of 300,000 hectares. It correctly criticises Defra’s decision to reduce funding for contaminated land remediation and calls for this funding to be restored. 

The committee received evidence from a large number of soil scientists and NGOs, including the Sustainable Food Trust. The SFT strongly endorses the report’s call for “action to improve soil organic matter”, particularly the acknowledgement of the importance of the Paris COP21 initiative – to increase soil carbon levels by 0.4% per year – to which the UK Government signed up. It also welcomes the committee’s recommendations on the need to do more to protect soils overall and soil biota and soil structure specifically.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Sustainable management of soil resources is at the heart of food security. Unfortunately, soil is being taken for granted.

"The report states that “we must move away from viewing soil merely as a growth medium and treat it as an ecosystem in its own right”, a view which lines up closely with the concerns of many farmers and campaigners in the UK and around the world. 
"The report focuses on four aspects of soil health: contamination, soil carbon loss including peat, soil erosion caused by incentives to grow maize for energy generation instead of food production, and the lack of a national soil monitoring scheme to monitor nationwide trends in soil health adequately."
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This World Environment Day, let’s spread the word on bringing an end to illegal wildlife trade. How and where do we start?

This World Environment Day, let’s spread the word on bringing an end to illegal wildlife trade. How and where do we start? | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 to raise awareness about environmental issues. This year’s theme is ‘Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade’. What does wildlife trade mean?

Whenever people sell or exchange wild animals and plant resources, it is called wildlife trade. International trade of wildlife that does not threaten their survival is legal, and is protected by the United Nations Convention called CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Timber and seafood are the most important categories of wildlife trade. This is usually done to provide food, fuel, fodder, building materials and so on. But when done stealthily against local and international laws, it is termed as illegal wildlife trade. This is unsustainable and uncontrolled, and affects local ecosystems, often leading to the extinction of animals and plants. 

Did you know that between 1970 and 2000, wildlife species declined by 40 per cent? The main reasons for this are habitat destruction and illegal wildlife trade. 

Illegal wildlife trade is big business and estimated to be worth millions of dollars and is increasing. For example, rhino poaching in South Africa alone has gone up from 13 in 2007 to 1,004 in 2013 — that is a rise of 7700 per cent! 

You must have heard about the poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks, rhinos for their horns and tigers for their skins and bones — all of these are part of the illegal wildlife trade. Additional reasons include exotic pet trade, use in traditional medicines, exotic food meat such as shark fin etc.

Bert Guevara's insight:
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 to raise awareness about environmental issues. This year’s theme is ‘Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade’.

"Did you know that between 1970 and 2000, wildlife species declined by 40 per cent? The main reasons for this are habitat destruction and illegal wildlife trade. 
"Illegal wildlife trade is big business and estimated to be worth millions of dollars and is increasing. For example, rhino poaching in South Africa alone has gone up from 13 in 2007 to 1,004 in 2013 — that is a rise of 7700 per cent!"
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Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss ("why we still need to do composting")

Manure applications elevate nitrogen accumulation and loss ("why we still need to do composting") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for plant growth, and nitrogen fertilization -- including the application of manures -- is a major management strategy in agriculture across the globe. However, the overuse and misuse of manures has resulted in the accumulation of surplus N in soil and its eventual migration to soil layers and groundwater. The authors of a new study found that the environmental risks of manure applications in high-input greenhouse environments may outweigh the benefits, and recommend that the role of manures be reexamined. 
The study, published in the November 2015 issue of HortScience, reports on a 3-year experiment conducted in greenhouse soil rotationally planted with cucumber or tomato and lettuce with and without manures. Scientists investigated the spatial (vertical) and temporal dynamics of nitrate, extractable organic nitrogen (EON), and total nitrogen in soil, and estimated the leaching-dominated N loss based on N balance in soil. 
Results showed that application of manures slowed acidification but accelerated salinization of the fertile greenhouse soil, and did not significantly enhance the aboveground fresh biomass and biomass N in most of the vegetable seasons during the 3-year experiment. The experiments also indicated that high-rate application of manures resulted in high accumulation of not only nonextractable N but also leachable N (including nitrate and EON), consequently intensifying leaching-dominated N loss. "Our study showed that enhanced accumulation of mobile N induced by excessive manure input could exceed the need of plant uptake but be subject to downward migration and leaching-dominated loss," the authors wrote. 
The researchers recommended that the role of manures in high-input agricultural ecosystems be reexamined to balance the economic benefit and the environmental risks of enhanced nitrogen loss.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Going organic is not a simple case of replacing chemical fertilizer with animal manure. Here are some scientific facts.

"Application of manures slowed acidification but accelerated salinization of fertile greenhouse soil, and did not significantly enhance aboveground fresh biomass and biomass N in most vegetable seasons. High-rate application of manures resulted in high accumulation of nonextractable N and leachable N, consequently intensifying leaching-dominated N loss."
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New York parks using goats as chemical-free weed control alternative ("ask grandpa how they did it back then")

New York parks using goats as chemical-free weed control alternative ("ask grandpa how they did it back then") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Goats, which naturally like weeds such as poison ivy and can eat up to 25 pounds a day, are cleaning up Prospect Park with no negative environmental impact

Later this week, Prospect Park has arranged a wine and cheese reception so the public can formally meet the goats, which range from Nubian to Angora and Pygmy breeds. Tickets have already sold out. While the press photographers jockey for space with toddlers, the goats seem unfazed by the attention, posing for photos or placidly dozing off in sunny spots on the hill. 

The impeccable behavior of the goats is no accident. The goats have to represent us in public, says Ann Cihanek – who owns the goats with her husband, Larry. 

The Cihaneks run Green Goats from their farm in Rhinebeck, New York, which rents goats for weed control in steep or difficult to weed areas. Goats naturally like weeds such as poison ivy, and a single goat can eat up to 25 pounds of roughage a day, Cihanek says. The goats provide a chemical-free weed removal service with no negative environmental impact. The Cihaneks have a number of clients, and the best behaved goats get to weed the historic Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, New York, Cihanek says. 

The goats will live in Prospect Park until around September, with the Cihanek’s coming down to visit them at least twice a week. Visitors will get the chance to see the goats busy at work, though they will always be behind a fence to keep them munching on the areas that need weed clearance only.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Using goats for chemical-free weed control - old method, good idea! For the younger generation, it's a novel approach.

"While Prospect Park has never used goats before, the practice is actually catching on with everyone from Google to the congressional cemetery in Washington using goats for difficult weed clearance. Even Amazon has gotten in on the act, providing a goat rental service in some areas."
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Poor countries to bear brunt of climate change despite emitting least carbon dioxide ("injustice!")

Poor countries to bear brunt of climate change despite emitting least carbon dioxide ("injustice!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
New findings published in Environmental Research Letters show that the poorest fifth of the global population will be the first to experience more frequent heat extremes -- despite cumulatively emitting the least amounts of CO2. 
Countries including those in the Horn of Africa and West Africa are likely to be worst affected. 
The study is the first to examine the link between cumulative CO2 emissions and more frequent hot days. 
Dr Manoj Joshi from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences said: "Many of the poorest people in the world live in tropical latitudes, while many of the world's wealthiest people live in mid-latitude climates. 
"We know that low latitude regions have much less variability in day-to-day temperatures when compared with the mid-latitudes, which means the 'signal' of climate change emerges quite quickly, and because of this, the frequency of extreme hot days increases rapidly too." 
Lead author Luke Harrington, a PhD student at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute (NZCCRI), said: "Previous studies have shown a link between rising global temperatures and increases in the frequency of local heat extremes, while others have shown a clear relationship between the total amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere and rising temperatures.
"This study is the first to use climate models to simulate the end-to-end link between cumulative CO2 emissions and people experiencing more frequent hot days." 
The team used state-of-the-art climate models to estimate cumulative CO2 emissions and subsequent changes to extreme local daily temperatures over the 20th and 21st century.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Poor nations to get hit with the brunt of extreme weather, even if they do not emit as much carbon. The sad part is that poorer citizens, like Filipinos, have less coping mechanisms.
The irony is that we are still building more than 20 coal-fired power plants, thinking that we are emitting less than industrialized countries.

"Our results show much fewer cumulative emissions are required for the poorest fifth of the global population to experience a robust increase in the number of extreme hot days, when compared with the wealthiest population quintile."
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Big Oil Abandons $2.5 Billion in U.S. Arctic Drilling Rights ("low oil prices make drilling unviable")

Big Oil Abandons $2.5 Billion in U.S. Arctic Drilling Rights ("low oil prices make drilling unviable") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery.

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery. 

The pullout comes as crude oil prices have plummeted to less than half their June 2014 levels, forcing oil companies to cut spending. For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decision to abandon Arctic acreage was formalized just before a May 1 due date to pay the U.S. government millions of dollars in rent to keep holdings in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska. 

The U.S. Arctic is estimated to hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, but energy companies have struggled to tap resources buried below icy waters at the top of the globe. 

Shell last year ended a nearly $8 billion, mishap-marred quest for Arctic crude after disappointing results from a test well in the Chukchi Sea. Shell decided the risk is not worth it for now, and other companies have likely come to the same conclusion, said Peter Kiernan, the lead energy analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit. 

"Arctic exploration has been put back several years, given the low oil price environment, the significant cost involved in exploration and the environmental risks that it entails," he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The math has changed and the environment wins.

"There are only so many companies that are going to be interested in the Arctic," he said by phone. "To the extent they are, they can look at other jurisdictions. With regulatory uncertainty and price uncertainty, you start looking at other opportunities -- and you re-rank what your longer term, more frontier prospects look like. That’s what’s happening."
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Floating urban greenhouse produces clean energy and organic food ("a cool concept, an eco barge!")

Floating urban greenhouse produces clean energy and organic food ("a cool concept, an eco barge!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Salt & Water created the ambitious Eco Barge, a multifunctional floating greenhouse that generates clean energy and grows organic food on the Danube River.

With land costs skyrocketing in cities, it’s more important than ever to take creative space-saving approaches to urban design. That’s why design studio Salt & Water created the ambitious Eco Barge, a multifunctional floating greenhouse that generates clean energy and grows organic food on the Danube River. In addition to producing energy and food, the floating structure could also serve as a platform for education and community building.

Salt & Water designed the conceptual Eco Barge as an eco-friendly learning hub for the citizens of Belgrade. The floating structure comprises a greenhouse with vertical gardens on one end and a small building on the other. Solar panels and wind turbines generate renewable energy and power a water-efficient irrigation system that provides moisture to the plants using recycled water.

“This eco barge was designed as a place where citizens of Belgrade could get acquainted with vertical gardens, special kinds of irrigation systems and alternative ways of growing organic food in urban areas with usually limited space,” wrote the designers.

Bert Guevara's insight:
We should be ready for anything now-a-days. When land becomes too expensive or too dangerous, living on a self-sustaining barge may make sense.

"The floating structure comprises a greenhouse with vertical gardens on one end and a small building on the other. Solar panels and wind turbines generate renewable energy and power a water-efficient irrigation system that provides moisture to the plants using recycled water."
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Wildfire, Forests and Climate Change ("although part of the natural cycle, it's more frequent now")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The problem, as always, is other human behavior, including the use of pesticides and artificial lighting and the destruction of firefly habitat. Fireflies — or lightning bugs — thrive in meadows, woods, and along bodies of water, all of which are shrinking because of our sprawl. Urbanization, it seems, is killing the firefly."
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From Floating Food Forests to Vacant Lot Crops, Urban Farming Is Taking Root Across America

From Floating Food Forests to Vacant Lot Crops, Urban Farming Is Taking Root Across America | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

More than 1,500 community gardens have been started on vacant land in Detroit alone in recent years.

A growing movement is spreading throughout U.S. cities that is feeding people, providing jobs, and helping the environment—urban farming. 

This is a lot bigger than putting some tomato and zucchini plants in your backyard. These are local efforts, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, to convert vacant land in America’s cities into small farms. 

Sometimes it’s not even vacant land. In New York City, for instance, there are plans this summer for a floating food forest on a barge going up and down the Hudson River that will let people come and pick produce—for free. 

Other urban farms are on rooftops. Some are along traffic median strips. Some are indoor vertical farms. Some are mobile farms that go from vacant lot to vacant lot, moving when land is developed and the garden must move to another open spot. Others are intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations. And some stretch over acres of urban land, like a project in Seattle that invites residents to work together to plant and harvest—all for free.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Sadly, the trend in Metro Manila is to use vacant lots as parking lots, dump sites and squatting areas. Let's wake up to the fact that urban dwellers need edible landscaping more than those in the rural areas. 
If we are fighting hunger, this is the right way to go.

"This is a lot bigger than putting some tomato and zucchini plants in your backyard. These are local efforts, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, to convert vacant land in America’s cities into small farms."
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A switch to ecological farming will benefit health and environment – report ("bring back the balance")

A switch to ecological farming will benefit health and environment – report ("bring back the balance") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The world needs to move away from industrial agriculture to avoid ecological, social and human health crises, say scientists

A new approach to farming is needed to safeguard human health and avoid rising air and water pollution, high greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, a group of 20 leading agronomists, health, nutrition and social scientists has concluded. 

Rather than the giant feedlots used to rear animals or the uniform crop monocultures that now dominate farming worldwide, the solution is to diversify agriculture and re-orient it around ecological practices, says the report (pdf) by the International panel of experts on sustainable food systems (IPES-Food). 

The benefits of a switch to a more ecologically oriented farming system would be seen in human and animal health, and improvements in soil and water quality, the report says. 

The new group, which is co-chaired by Olivier De Schutter, former UN special rapporteur on food, and includes winners of the World Food prize and the heads of bio-science research groups, accepts that industrial agriculture and the global food system that has grown around it supplies large volumes of food to global markets. 

But it argues that food supplies would not be greatly affected by a change to a more diverse farming system. 

The group’s members, drawn from rich and poor countries with no affiliations to industry, say that industrial agriculture’s dependence on chemical fertilisers, pesticides and antibiotics to manage animals and agro-ecosystems, has led to ecological, social and human health crises.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Biodiversity is the new name of the agricultural game. 

“Today’s food and farming systems led systematically to negative outcomes and vulnerabilities. Many of these problems can be linked specifically to the industrial-scale feedlots and uniform crop monocultures that dominate agricultural landscapes, and rely on chemical fertilisers and pesticides as a means of managing agro-ecosystems,” the group says. 
"In place of an intensive global food system they propose that agriculture diversifies production and optimises biodiversity to build fertile, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods.
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Remarkable Forest Hotel Takes Green Architecture to a Whole New Level

Remarkable Forest Hotel Takes Green Architecture to a Whole New Level | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Mountain Forest Hotel in Guizhou, China's Wanfeng Valley is a carbon-sucking, sky-high marvel created by Milan-based architect Stefano Boeri.

Boeri is the visionary behind similar plant-covered structures, such as Bosco Verticale in Milan and The Tower of the Cedars in Lausanne, Switzerland that features trees and plants on every floor. 

“It’s a symbol of restitution,” Boeri told TIME of the Mountain Forest Hotel that’s opening fall 2017. “Buildings have to take care of nature.” 

The 31,200-square-meter development was designed in collaboration with Chinese artist and interior designer Simon Ma for the Hong Kong-based Cachet Hotel Group. In addition to rooms and suites, additional hotel amenities will include two restaurants and lounges and recreation facilities such as a swimming pool, spa and a fully equipped fitness center. 

The developers point out on their website that the hotel was inspired by the site’s original topography and ecosystem, which is also known as the Forest of Ten Thousands Peaks. 

“The design aims to restore the landscape, by reconstructing a former existing hill that was flattened years ago, in this way emulating the past and present hills,” Boeri’s group said. 

“Symbiosis is the goal. Sustainability not only depends on energy conservation, but on a wider biodiversity. The symbiosis between man, architecture and nature is the real sustainability.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
We’ve heard of vertical gardens but what about vertical forests?


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Barcelona is turning its streets into "citizen spaces" ("superblocks idea in 1867 now making sense")

Barcelona is turning its streets into "citizen spaces" ("superblocks idea in 1867 now making sense") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The city's iconic chamfered blocks will become superblocks the size of small towns.

In 1867 an unknown engineer in Barcelona, Ildefons Cerdà, essentially invented urbanism with his General Theory of Urbanization. His ideas were extreme and unprecedented; he wanted gardens in the middle of each block, equal access to services for the rich and the poor, and wider streets. Marta Bausells, writing in the Guardian, describes his success and prescience:

Eixample remains a prominent part of Barcelona’s image today: the octagonal blocks, chamfered in the corners, were his unique idea to deal with traffic, allowing drivers to see more easily what was happening to the left and right. Cars hadn’t even been invented yet – but when Cerdà discovered railways: “He realised there would be some sort of small machines moved by steam that each driver could stop in front of their house,” Permanyer explains. Even today, this design makes traffic circulation infinitely easier in Eixample.

Alas, that traffic circulation is almost too easy. Now the roads are full of cars, pollution and noise. In most cities, there are main arteries and quieter side streets, but in Barcelona they are almost all the same.

The objectives are ambitious; by implementing these strategies at once, the city wants to reduce car use by 21% over the next two years and increase mobility by foot, bike and public transport. Superblocks will be complemented by the introduction of 300km of new cycling lanes (there are currently around 100km), as well as an orthogonal bus network that has already been put in place, whereby buses only navigate a series of main thoroughfares.


Bert Guevara's insight:
So now they are going to be turned into “superblocks” with a hierarchy of streets, with each superblock surrounded by higher speed streets where cars and trucks can travel at 50 km/hr (About 30 MPH) while within the blocks, cars and trucks are limited to a measly 10 km/hr or 6 MPH- really a crawl.
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Palawan is Conde Nast poll’s best island in the world ("Boracay 15th; Cebu 19th; more fun in Phil")

Palawan is Conde Nast poll’s best island in the world ("Boracay 15th; Cebu 19th; more fun in Phil") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Manila Bulletin, the nation's leading newspaper, brings you the latest news and current events in the Philippines and abroad daily, since 1900.

Palawan topped Conde Nast Traveler’s annual poll, Reader’s Choice Awards 2015, with a rating of 85.937. The clean-and-green western Philippine island also received the same accolade in 2014; winning the poll two years in a row. 

128,000 took part of last year’s poll. Two other idyllic Philippine islands were included in the Top 20 list: Boracay, placing 15th with a rating of 80.856; and Cebu, placing 19th with a rating of 80.404. 

The travel magazine has, once again, invited travelers to cast their votes for the 2016 poll. Pollsters are advised to give their choices through cntraveler.com/vote on or before June 1 at 11:59 pm (EST). 

The full results of the 2016 poll will be announced in November. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
Be a local tourist and enjoy the best of the Philippines!
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Heatwave shuts more than 250 Malaysian schools: reports ("a new cause for no classes - heat wave!")

Heatwave shuts more than 250 Malaysian schools: reports ("a new cause for no classes - heat wave!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - More than 250 Malaysian schools were closed on Monday due to a heatwave brought on by the El Nino weather phenomenon which is severely affecting food production and causing chronic water shortages in many countries.

Authorities ordered schools in the states of Perlis and Pahang to shut after temperatures soared above 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over a 72-hour period, according to local reports. 

The education ministry said the decision was made to protect the health of some 100,000 students, the official news agency Bernama reported. 

The sweltering heat in Malaysia has reportedly slowed vegetable production, leading to price hikes. 

Paddy fields and rubber plantations have been also been affected by the severe temperature rise. 

January and February 2016 smashed global temperature records, the World Meteorological Organization said in March, attributing the highs to the "unprecedented" advance of climate change. 

Many parts of Asia have been affected by the strong El Nino dry spell which has also hit agriculture in Thailand and the Philippines. 

El Nino is triggered by a warming in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. It can cause unusually heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought in others. 

But Malaysia's Meteorological Department said the current heatwave was expected to ease soon. 

"The worst is over because the inter-monsoon season started last week and more rain is expected," director-general Che Gayah Ismail told AFP.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Typhoons and flooding were the main weather causes of class suspensions in the Philippines. Now, a new trend may add another cause - heat waves!
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Five islands just completely disappeared due to rising sea levels ("due to sea level rise & erosion")

Five islands just completely disappeared due to rising sea levels ("due to sea level rise & erosion") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Rising sea levels and erosion have caused five islands in the South Pacific to completely disappear, researchers have said.

A further six islands have been partially destroyed by erosion and the phenomenon is already causing human displacement, pushing people out of their coastal communities and further inland.

Researchers, writing in The Conversation, said that while rumours and speculation have abounded about problem for some time, their study had now produced the first scientific evidence for land being lost to the seas. 

The lost islands ranged in size from one to five hectares and supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. 

"They were not just little sand islands," lead study author Simon Albert told AFP news agency. 

In addition, Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 houses washed into the sea since 2011, according to the study, which was published in Environmental Research Letters.

The researchers believe similar problems are expected across much of the Pacific after 2050 as a result of human-induced sea-level rises. In all but the most optimistic scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions, many Pacific islands will experience long-term rates of sea-level rise similar to those already experienced in the Solomon Islands.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The disappearance of islands will be common news in the future. So will many coastal areas be eroded by rising sea levels. Living by the sea has now become risky.

"Numerous communities have been displaced and fragmented by the threat from rising seas, and generations-old settlements have been abandoned in favour of moving further inland."
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