Earth Citizens Pe...
Follow
Find
10.3K views | +11 today
 
Scooped by Bert Guevara
onto Earth Citizens Perspective
Scoop.it!

Mini(mize) Carbon Olympics - Metro students battle carbon emissions - EDNPI

Mini(mize) Carbon Olympics - Metro students battle carbon emissions - EDNPI | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

To highlight this year’s theme: “Earth day everyday, everywhere for everyone,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Earth Day Network Philippines Inc. (EDNPI) kicked off Monday (April 22) a different kind of competition among Metro Manila high schools and colleges.

Celebrating Earth Day at the Quezon Memorial Circle, the Mini(mize) Carbon Olympics was launched to pit students of 47 secondary and tertiary private and public schools against pollution.

“If they would be competing against each other, it would only be for bragging rights,” EDNPI executive director Voltaire Alferez told the Inquirer.

He said the olympics would tap schools in Metro Manila, the pilot area, to educate them in ways to reduce carbon emission through energy-saving measures and efficient solid waste management.

“They (schools) would basically be competing with themselves on improving their existing environmentally sound practices as a way of addressing climate change,” he said, adding that during the activity, the schools would be taught how to “audit” greenhouse gas emissions and their energy consumption.

more...
Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

If you lack ground space, try planting on walls! 

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

15,000 mangroves may save the rivers. 

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

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees ("the pesticides did it!!! -- bee genocide")

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees ("the pesticides did it!!! -- bee genocide") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods we would lose if all our bees continue to perish.

Apples

Mangos

Rambutan

Kiwi Fruit

Plums

Peaches

Nectarines

Guava

Rose Hips

Pomegranites

Pears

Black and Red Currants

Alfalfa

Okra

Strawberries

Onions

Cashews

Cactus

Prickly Pear

Apricots

Allspice

Avocados

Passion Fruit

Lima Beans

Kidney Beans

Adzuki Beans

Green Beans

Orchid Plants

Custard Apples

Cherries

Celery

Coffee

Walnut

Cotton

Lychee

Flax

Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements

Macadamia Nuts

Sunflower Oil

Goa beans

Lemons

Buckwheat

Figs

Fennel

Limes

Quince

Carrots

Persimmons

Palm Oil

Loquat

Durian

Cucumber

Hazelnut

Cantaloupe

Tangelos

Coriander

Caraway

Chestnut

Watermelon

Star Apples

Coconut

Tangerines

Boysenberries

Starfruit

Brazil Nuts Beets

Mustard Seed

Rapeseed

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Cabbage

Brussels Sprouts

Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)

Turnips

Congo Beans

Sword beans

Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers

Papaya

Safflower

Sesame

Eggplant

Raspberries

Elderberries

Blackberries

Clover

Tamarind

Cocoa

Black Eyed Peas

Vanilla

Cranberries

Tomatoes

Grapes

Bert Guevara's insight:

If one of your favorites is on this list, you should consider becoming a bee activist.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Is the gov't reforestation program planting the right trees? ("matter of what country needs in future")

Is the gov't reforestation program planting the right trees? ("matter of what country needs in future") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Civil society organizations point to corruption and the wrong mindset as threats to the success of the National Greening Program

Groups like the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation Inc (PTFCF) and Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), civil society partners of the DENR, said a majority of trees being planted are exotic trees like mahogany, gmelina, and rubber – trees that are fast-growing but less adaptive to the Philippine environment.

"We were alarmed with the breakdown of what species would be planted. They told us because they are fast-growing. Second, that there are no planting materials. On both counts, we challenged them," said Jose Andres Canivel of PTCFC.

Here's why native trees are better, according to Canivel.

They are better adapted to local climate conditions since they naturally grow in the country in the first place. This makes them stronger and more resilient in the long run.They have higher resistance to pests and typhoons. In Albay, exotic trees fell after Typhoon Yolanda passed through. The native trees lost many of their leaves but remained standing.They are more effective in promoting biodiversity. Some types of birds don't make nests on exotic trees. In some cases, undergrowth do not grow where exotic trees are planted. Native animals are also more likely to eat the fruits of indigenous trees.Many Philippine native trees are high-value trees which can command good market prices, eventually aiding in the poverty alleviation component of the NGP which seeks to provide livelihood for communities through forest products.Native trees are the types of trees planted by most indigenous peoples and community groups. If the NGP prioritizes native trees, these groups will get the benefits. In comparison, exotic trees are usually sourced from commercial suppliers.


Bert Guevara's insight:

If native species are better, why is the DENR planting mostly exotic trees?

"It's clear that in the commodity roadmap of the NGP, we have timber to cater to the wood demand for the future, fuel wood species for the households, high value crops like coffee, cacao, rubber, bamboo, fruit trees, mangrove and endemic or native species. Remember that NGP is not just for reforestation but also for economic development and livelihood for the upland farmers."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Delay Action on Climate Change by 10 Years and Costs Rocket 40%: Report

Delay Action on Climate Change by 10 Years and Costs Rocket 40%: Report | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The longer the U.S. holds off action to mitigate climate change, the more costly the effort will become, a new report shows

A new report estimates the cost of mitigating the effects of climate change could rise by as much as 40% if action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is delayed 10 years — immediately outweighing any potential savings of a delay.

The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. President Barack Obama’s source for advice on economic policy, compared over 100 actions on climate change laid out in 16 studies to extract the average cost of delayed efforts. Released Tuesday, the findings suggests policymakers should immediately confront carbon emissions as a form of “climate insurance.”

“Events such as the rapid melting of ice sheets and the consequent increase of global sea levels, or temperature increases on the higher end of the range of scientific uncertainty, could pose such severe economic consequences as reasonably to be thought of as climate catastrophes,” the report reads. “Confronting the possibility of climate catastrophes means taking prudent steps now to reduce the future chances of the most severe consequences of climate change.”

The report also found that any increase in climate change amid that delayed action would gravely exacerbate the problem; a rise to 3°C above preindustrial temperatures would mean mitigation costs would increase by about 0.9% of global economic output year on year. (To put this into perspective, 0.9% of U.S. economic output is estimated at $150 billion for 2014.)

Bert Guevara's insight:

The message has been the same for several years now -- time is running out; the longer we delay, the greater the cost to undo.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Climate Change Solutions: Architects Look To Slums As Models For Sustainable Living ("model from poor")

Climate Change Solutions: Architects Look To Slums As Models For Sustainable Living ("model from poor") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The word "sustainable" isn't often associated with slums. But planners say densely populated poor neighborhoods could be used as models for green living.

As such, large, densely populated, impoverished neighborhoods are in many ways on the cutting edge. Innovation comes of necessity, not because it's trendy, and due to the likelihood the future will bring larger, more densely populated slums, an unusual realm of urban planning has begun to take shape -- one that looks at making slums sustainable, rather than simply blights to be eradicated.

One of the reasons such slums are useful to study is  they are indicative of what a consumer society forced to grapple with declining resources could look like. And because the slums consume less than more affluent districts, residents' demands for transportation and water supply infrastructure are often easier to address. 

Urban renewal experts say while slums have obvious problems, including poor sanitation, disease and a lack of potable water, they provide cheap rent, close-knit communities, an escape from rural poverty and opportunities for employment. A growing sect of architects and urban designers like Brillembourg sees slums not as impediments to development but as places that should be embraced and improved.  

Bert Guevara's insight:

Learning sustainability from the poor who know how to live on very little.

“These areas need to be upgraded,” Brillembourg told International Business Times. But, he added, it would be a mistake to simply see slums "as problems, when in fact they’re the solution.”

What Brillembourg calls an “acupuncture” approach to development encompasses small-scale infrastructures like the gondolas of South America, which he said “can have a tremendous impact on an area.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Brazil Announces Dengue Fever Emergency in GMO Mosquito Trial Areas ("this is insane tampering!")

Brazil Announces Dengue Fever Emergency in GMO Mosquito Trial Areas ("this is insane tampering!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Groups in a Brazil town where GMO mosquitoes were released are alarmed at an increase in dengue incidence, leading to a declare of an emergency decree.

Brazilians were promised that the GM mosquitoes would end dengue fever, but results from field trials conducted in Bahia, Brazil were never published and did not evaluate the relation between Aedes aegypti mosquito populations and the occurrence of dengue.  According to a Cambridge University study:

“. . . the targeted mosquitoes may simply move to another area and/or a different species of mosquito (Aedes albopictus) which also transmits dengue can move into the area. Complex immune responses to the four types of dengue virus mean that a partial reduction in mosquito numbers can reduce cross-immunity to the different serotypes and increase the number of cases of the severe form of the disease, Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, which is more likely to be fatal.”


While it is understandable that municipalities with high dengue sickness rates would be interested in lessening the disease, it seems that biotech has once again fooled government agencies into polluting the environment with untested, unsafe, genetically manipulated organisms.

The Brazilian press even lauded the new weapon to combat dengue, but failed to print information that Jacobina’s mayor, a locality where the GMO mosquito trials took place, issued a decree in February 2014 renewing the state of emergency “due to the abnormal situation characterized as a biological disaster of dengue epidemic.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Mosquito vs mosquito - and the winner is THE MOSQUITO!!! (Dengue KOs GMO)

"The latest state of dengue emergency can be linked to the GMO mosquitoes, since the instance of disease is greatest in areas where they were released. The Brazilian National Agency of Sanitary Vigilance (ANVISA) is now in charge of registering and monitoring the product. Over 10 million GM mosquitoes are suggested for release for every 50 thousand inhabitants by the makers of the latest GM atrocity."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

The Weird And Wonderful World Of Indoor Farming ("climate change adaptation for agriculture")

The Weird And Wonderful World Of Indoor Farming ("climate change adaptation for agriculture") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Imagine walking into a grocery store, walking to the back, and plucking your tomatoes right off the vine.

While it looks just like any industrial park, anywhere in the U.S., inside of this particular one is a small wonder. Walk inside, through the unfurnished offices, and you’ll enter a vast room — 120 feet by 120 feet, 30 feet tall — full of towers of giant tubs, where everything is glowing pink. Welcome to Green Sense Farms.

“Green Sense Farms is the largest commercial indoor vertical farm in the U.S,” explains Robert Colangelo, the company’s founding farmer. “We’re also the largest user of LED grow lights. We specialize in growing fresh, nutritious leafy greens — lettuces, microgreens, herbs, and vegetables — and we distribute those locally in a five state area: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.”

The farm shows a new type of agricultural experimentation: Taking plants out of their volatile outdoor environments and moving them inside, to a controlled situation where farmers can assure they’re growing the best produce in the most sustainable way possible, beyond the grasps of crop disease, drought, and extreme weather.

“We’ve created groundhog day in there,” Colangelo said. “Every day is the same.”

Dr. Dickson Despommier, an indoor farming devoteeand Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University, says that when it comes to growing food inside, “you have to treat crops as you treat patients in the intensive care unit at a hospital.” While on the one hand that notion rightfully causes alarm, Despommier means it as a good thing.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Indoor farming addresses food production, but it cannot solve the agricultural conditions caused by a damaged environment. This is a fascinating way of addressing some climate change and pollution issues.

"In the age of demand for the artisanal, the hand-crafted, and the local, vertical farming may be a more reassuring way to achieve the kinds of foods that trendy urban consumers are demanding."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

Mass murder of wildlife needs to be stopped!!!

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

The tarsier is an icon of biodiversity in the Philippines.

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Abundance vs austerity ("change of eco-paradigm; not survival with less but living in abundance")

Abundance vs austerity ("change of eco-paradigm; not survival with less but living in abundance") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Abundance is the natural state of the world and we can improve the lot of all humanity while also allowing the biosphere to thrive

The problem is that the global economy itself is not conscious. In a very real sense it is insane – we trade the living land for dead money and sit clutching our coins waiting for the reaper. If we work in this economy unquestioningly are we insane too? If we choose another way, what options are available to us?

Transition Towns, New Earth Communities and other conscious communities worldwide are demonstrating new ways to live and organise ourselves. They advocate for us to move away from notions of fear and scarcity and the hoarding that come with them, and build new economies that are more abundant, equitable and ecological.

The New Economics Foundation details how such economies could work. For example, they just published a book cataloguing diverse research that shows how a shorter working week would help tackle urgent problems that beset our daily lives – from overwork, unemployment and low wellbeing, to needless high-carbon consumption and the lack of time to live sustainably. Less work for purely economic gains would allow us more time to care for our families and communities, grow more food ourselves and, slowing the economy, give Gaia a break.

In a less competitive economy where people are happier, we might also vote for a Universal Citizen’s Income that would redistribute to the poorest and stimulate creativity across society. Freed from the bondage of the endless growth economy, what else might we do?


Bert Guevara's insight:

Time to step back, sit down and ponder deeply. Aren't we progressing the wrong way?

Is industrialization, consumerism, capitalism killing the very source that sustains life? Check out this article.

"The energy and food crises that threaten to topple our teetering, skyscraper civilisation are human constructs. Our way out is re-imagining how we live, not doing more of what we were doing to cause the problems. A much greater proportion of the population being involved in the production of the food and energy they consume addresses multiple challenges. We can create life-sustaining employment and disempower the corporate behemoths chewing up nature."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Urban landscapes becoming increasingly bird-unfriendly - Smithsonian Science ("killed by the millions")

Urban landscapes becoming increasingly bird-unfriendly - Smithsonian Science ("killed by the millions") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Tasty and easy to find, the heath hen was a favorite dish of America’s colonial settlers. This beautiful little bird, however, was no match for …

Today, the new urban infrastructure spreading across the American landscape represents bird hazards the colonists never dreamed of, such as skyscrapers, power lines and speeding cars. In addition, the danger has spread to a wider range of species, not just those that humans find tasty or of economic use.

Tall buildings and bright city lights are one lethal combination that today is killing hundreds of millions of migrating birds each year, saysBrian Schmidt, an ornithologist at the Natural History Museum. During spring and fall migrations, city lights interfere with a bird’s ability to navigate at night by the moon and the stars.

“They can’t see the skies,” Schmidt says. “Bright lights attract birds, especially in the early mornings, and when the lights reflect off of buildings birds can’t tell solid windows from open sky, so they fly right into them. They usually collide with so much force that it causes blunt force trauma or a concussion that kills them.”

In a second similar study published in May in the Journal of Wildlife Management, the scientists took a comprehensive look at bird deaths caused by collisions with cars in the United States. Previous estimates of these deaths had been based on a single study done in Great Britain. Their new estimate of between 80 million and 340 million auto-strike bird deaths annually in the U.S. is based on some 20 mortality rates taken from 13 independent studies.

Other causes of bird mortality that are being studied include pesticides, radio towers, cats and wind turbines.


 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our urban landscapes were built for man with little regard for other inhabitants, like birds. Gone are the forests, bushes and swamps. The result is bird deaths by the millions and their non-reproduction. For those in the cities, haven't you noticed fewer and fewer birds roaming the air.

“Many bird populations are resilient. If they have habitat where they can breed, they will find it and they will reproduce and keep coming back. As urban sprawl grows, forests are moved and that has a great impact on bird populations. If they don’t have a place to live they can’t reproduce.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Living on Earth: The Pope and the Sin of Environmental Degradation ("look forward to green encyclical")

Living on Earth: The Pope and the Sin of Environmental Degradation ("look forward to green encyclical") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Pope Francis has called environmental exploitation the sin of our time. He is working on an encyclical about humanity’s relationship with nature. Christiana Peppard, Assistant Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics at Fordham University and author of the book Just Water, discusses the Pope’s call to “care for God’s creation” with host Steve Curwood.

Well, one of the things that we’ve really seen with this papacy is that Francis is trying as hard as he can under the circumstances of his elevated post to remain pretty close to the ground. So he was known back when he was in Argentina for spending a pretty good amount of time in various impoverished communities. He’s known now for, you know, driving a relatively humble Pope-mobile and not wearing fancy Prada shoes, and living in not too fancy quarters in the Vatican.

I think that his experience in South America, seeing the ways in which extractive industries and environmental degradation often have negative impacts for people living in situations of poverty, has informed a lot of his comments on the economy and on ecology more broadly. But I also think he understands his role as a kind of moral compass. There has not yet been an encyclical explicitly about the environment. There have been encyclicals that deal with the environment, sort of at this nexus of social justice, environmental degradation and economic development. And environmental degradation really is one of the signs of the times that no moral leader, or in this case theological faith leader, can afford to ignore.

It is a really strong statement. I mean for a Pope to say that deforestation and ecological destruction are the sins of our times is really throwing down a gauntlet. It prompts Christians, especially in the U.S., to think about how we understand sin and how we understand responsibility. So much of Western moral tradition, whether theological or philosophical, has really been based upon a very individualistic paradigm wherein I commit some kind of action, usually intentionally, and it's seen as wrong or sinful. In some sense we can ascribe a clear cause, a clear effect—there’s someone who can repent for it, someone who is affected; there might be some mode of remediation. What's really interesting about applying the language of sin to environmental destruction is that there is not necessarily one person who is the sole cause of things. Causality is much more complex. It has to do with patterns of global economy, of governance, of incentive, of poverty, of the need for arable land and subsistence. And how we think about sin and in that context is complicated, and I appreciate that he's trying to complicate the picture.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Catholic Church can be a valuable ally in clearing the air about eco-morality.

"While the Church may not be an expert in matters of policy, it is an expert in matters of humanity. The Vatican is not a policy-advocating arm, but at the same time, I think the Vatican has really started to throw its weight behind initiatives that can be seen to have global human relevance, and this tends to happen at the United Nations. I think the biggest example is actually with regard to the human right to freshwater."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

What Could Climate Change Mean for Agriculture? ("will never be like it used to")

What Could Climate Change Mean for Agriculture? ("will never be like it used to") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
GLOBAL – World agriculture must create short and long term adaptation strategies to cope with climate change accelerating the water cycle.
Coping With Less Water

• Long term solutions will need to continuously adapt farming to water supply conditions against a backdrop of population growth, climate change and increasing urban demand.

• Shorter term measures need to cope with ‘intra-seasonal volatility' of water supply. This means reallocating water for efficient use through the growing season.

- Coping strategies include more risk management, compensation and insurance, which will provide a ‘major role’ in managing the risk of floods and droughts, the report said.

- Improved irrigation techniques, water storage and more resilient crop and livestock systems must adapt to other water users. This means fitting in with industrial and urban uses, as well as ecosystems.  

OECD analysts stressed open trade as an ‘important vehicle’ to reflect the changing competitive advantage of economies as climate alters.

This will ensure that yield losses can be offset through imports.

Similarly, adaptive storage may evolve to ‘buffer’ through commodity volatility, of both output and prices.

The report said: “Considering agricultural water management without taking into account climate change is not a realistic option.

“Beyond water efficiency in agriculture, the challenge also resides in building agricultural systems that are less dependent on water resources on the whole.”

 

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Nature now dictates the terms!

“The land itself has been altered by ploughing, enclosure, herding and other human interventions. We may feel that we have tamed Nature. Reports like this new one from the OECD remind us of our ignorance and warn us about our arrogance.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Bert Guevara
Scoop.it!

Spare the trees as much as possible – Singson ("the difficult task of balancing progress and ecology")

Spare the trees as much as possible – Singson ("the difficult task of balancing progress and ecology") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
As much as possible, spare the trees. That’s coming from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the agency heavily criticized for the cutting of trees to make way for the road widening...

Singson admitted, though, that in most cases “tree-cutting happens in implementing a national road specification for public safety reasons.”

“We try as much as we can to work within the parameters of the law. There’s an executive order that stops tree cutting except for road right-of-way requirements. It is a decision of bringing development and affecting houses rather than trees,” he pointed out.

Singson referred to the Executive Order (EO) 23 that was issued in February 1, 2011. The EO bans the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests, except for the clearing of road right-of-way by the DPWH.

He assured that the agency is trying to follow the rules by applying for tree-cutting permits with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It also complies with the DENR requirement of planting 100 trees, three-feet in height, for every tree that is cut.

To implement better quality roads and bridges, we end up cutting trees. We try our very best to avoid cutting trees but sometimes they are really just unavoidable. I fully realize that we have contractors who in their desire to finish projects, do not go through proper processes of seeking local permits from concerned LGUs (local government units) and with DENR for the cutting of trees. We have many instances that we tried our best to work around, Singson said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is there a simpler way of solving this conflict of priorities?

more...
No comment yet.