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Pesticide Free Farming ("join the movement to smart agriculture, it's more profitable")

Pesticide Free Farming ("join the movement to smart agriculture, it's more profitable") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A revolutionary experiment in sustainable agriculture is showing impressive results in south India.

Around two million farmers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have ditched chemical pesticides in favour of natural repellants and fertilisers, as part of a growing eco-agriculture movement.

The sustainable techniques are spread through a network of women's self-help groups, and over 10 percent of the state’s farmland is now being cultivated without chemical pesticides.

Farmers make natural pest repellents from ingredients such as neem tree leaves, chilli and cow urine - which is over 70 percent cheaper than using chemicals.

They also promote beneficial insects, use compost, and plant crops that fix nitrogen into the soil. Since it began in 2004 the scheme has improved soil health and biodiversity, reduced costs and upped yields. 

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COP 12 - Convention on Biological Diversity begins in Seoul ("onward in decade of biodiversity")

COP 12 - Convention on Biological Diversity begins in Seoul ("onward in decade of biodiversity") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Some 20,000 government officials, environmentalists and businesspeople from around the world gathered in the eastern city of Pyeongchang on Monday for a U.N. environmental convention on biodiversity, the environment ministry said.

The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, dubbed COP 12, kicked off with a ceremony for a 19-day run, with about 20,000 representatives from 194 countries attending, the ministry said.

During the conference themed "Biodiversity for sustainable development," the participants will address agenda items that include a midterm evaluation of a 2011-2020 strategic plan for biodiversity and the application of the biodiversity goals to the post-2015 U.N. sustainable development goals.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), informally known as the Biodiversity Convention, was adopted at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNECD) held in Brazil in 1992 to address environmental problems facing the planet.

The multilateral treaty handling all aspects of biological diversity, including genetic resources, species and ecosystems, is one of the three U.N. conventions aimed at protecting the environment along with the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We hope that this conference achieves better results for the survival of the species on this planet, including mankind.

"South Korea will make it an eco-friendly conference and a chance to enhance the value of preserving biological diversity in the world," said Kim Sang-hoon, director general of the Korean Secretariat of the U.N. Biodiversity Conference 2014.

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U.S. joins other nations in deforestation accord at UN summit ("but where is China, India and Brazil?")

U.S. joins other nations in deforestation accord at UN summit ("but where is China, India and Brazil?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Moving to halt a powerful contributor to climate change, the United States has joined more than 110 corporations, civil society groups and governments to launch a global initiative to reduce deforestation sharply over the next 15 years, with the goal of eliminating the practice by 2030.

The “New York Declaration on Forests,” unveiled at the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, would reduce between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to the United Nations Development Program. The effort would be equal to “removing from the road every car in the world, or not burning a trillion pounds of coal, or turning off every smokestack and tailpipe” in the U.S., the UNDP said.

Crafted as a marquee initiative at a summit long on rhetoric but short on concrete steps, the new deforestation initiative goes further than previous efforts, in the scope of participation and targets. Besides the U.S., participating states include wealthy nations that could help fund reforestation efforts, such as Canada, European Union members, Norway and the United Kingdom. Countries where deforestation is widespread, such as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have also signed on. Corporate participants include Walmart, McDonald's, Danone, L’Oreal, agricultural giant Cargill and Asia Pulp and Paper, which until recently had been responsible for widespread deforestation.

Yet from the outset, problems in the initiative have emerged. China and India, two of the three largest carbon polluters in the world, have not signed on, though other participants can join later. Brazil, where deforestation is on the upswing after years of decline, has also declined to participate.

Bert Guevara's insight:

All that is needed now is political will.

"The effort would be equal to “removing from the road every car in the world, or not burning a trillion pounds of coal, or turning off every smokestack and tailpipe” in the U.S., the UNDP said."

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Philippines sets new tree-planting world record - YouTube (3 million trees in 1 hour vs climate change)

The Philippines grabbed the world record from India according to the number of trees planted in an hour through "tree-volution." This is done in whole Mindanao to prevent climate change.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

3M trees planted in one hour in Mindanao!

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PIA | DENR sets out roadmap to inclusive growth via biodiversity conservation ("more partners needed")

PIA | DENR sets out roadmap to inclusive growth via biodiversity conservation ("more partners needed") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Philippine Information Agency, the development communication arm of the Philippine government, member of the Presidential Communications Group

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), which was launched recently at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City, is a strategic plan that highlights key initiatives that the department will aim to complete within the next 15 years, with the help of its partners and stakeholders.

The roadmap sets "clear directions on how we can achieve sustained growth but with clear warning signs if we overstep our so-called development activities," Paje said during the launch, which was attended by environmental advocacy partners from both public and private sectors, as well as by Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on environment.

Paje described the PBSAP as a plan that identifies the need for ecosystem approach; recognizes humans as an integral component of many ecosystems; balances the values of conservation, sustainable use, and the fair equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources; and considers all forms of relevant information including scientific and indigenous local knowledge, innovations and practices.

According to the environment chief, the PBSAP is consistent with the "Philippine Development Plan chapter on sustainable and climate-resilient environmental and natural resources, which points to inclusive economic growth that is not at the expense of our natural wealth."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Biodiversity is as important as Climate Change. The survival of the species cannot be set aside in the name of "development."

"He said the roadmap includes four additional themes to address ecosystem concerns. These are agrobiodiversity, urban biodiversity, access and benefit sharing, and invasive alien species (IAS)."

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Climate-proofing rice farming in Vietnam - YouTube ("it's sad that they had to resort to GM rice")

It’s flood season in the lower Mekong Delta. Yet while the 17 million farmers living on the Delta in Vietnam’s southern-most tip - where 60 percent of the co...

Increasing salt water intrusion affects the operation of sluice gates, and infrastructure projects like sluice gates and dykes intended to protect rice crops from rising water levels. It also increases river pressure. By 2030, it is projected that salt water could contaminate 41 percent of the entire Delta. Switching crops is not an option for many farmers who have grown rice for generations. Rice is also a central food security crop and export earner in Vietnam – with 6.7 million tons exported in 2013, fetching around US$2.9 billion in earnings. Using a scientific process known as marker assisted back-crossing, researchers have identified favorable traits, such as high-yielding, well-adapted rice varieties, and combined them with other favorable traits to create more robust, elite rice varieties.

Based on project reports, in total, 36 single and multiple crosses have been made to combine submergence, salinity tolerance, stagnant flood tolerance, and high grain quality into high-yielding genetic backgrounds. Dr Nguyen Thi Lang, professor at the Delta’s Cuu Long Rice Research Institute, another research partner, explains, “We release the improved rice varieties to local breeding and agricultural extension centers which multiply and provide them to farmers in their areas.” 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Vietnamese are already adapting to predicted Climate Change impacts to their rice industry. They have created a rice variety that can survive the anticipated impacts. (In the Phil., we are still deliberating on the National Zoning Law because landowners want to convert agricultural lands to residential, commercial and industrial.)

"Based on project reports, in total, 36 single and multiple crosses have been made to combine submergence, salinity tolerance, stagnant flood tolerance, and high grain quality into high-yielding genetic backgrounds."

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Ambitious plan to end forest loss announced at UN Climate Summit ("there is also a need to reforest")

Ambitious plan to end forest loss announced at UN Climate Summit ("there is also a need to reforest") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A massive public-private partnership pledges over $1 billion to cut deforestation and mitigate climate change.

The ambition of this plan matches the importance of protecting forests, which is an important factor in curbing carbon emissions. Forest clearing is responsible estimated for emitting over 4.5 billion tons of carbon every year. Stopping deforestation has emerged as a particularly cost-effective means of reducing emissions.

A coalition of indigenous leaders from Asia, Africa, Central America and the Amazon Basin pledged to protect the over 400 million hectares of tropical forests under their jurisdiction, a carbon sink worth over 70 gigatons. Peru, Chile, Indonesia, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are among the 31 countries endorsing the declaration.

Just as importantly, a significant number of companies also support to the agreement, which means eliminating products associated with deforestation from their supply chains by 2020. Some companies have set their targets even sooner, like Unilever’s promise to be deforestation-free by 2015.

“Business will be increasingly held to a higher level of accountability,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman yesterday at an event held by the Climate and Land Use Alliance. “I’m encouraged by the number of companies who are signing up.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

"A new partnership between governments, businesses and indigenous leaders aiming to reduce forest loss was announced at today’s UN Climate Summit in New York City. The “New York Declaration on Forests” aims to cut the rate of forest loss in half by 2020 and end deforestation by 2030."

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

The people want to be heard!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Join a CSA program

2. Shop at a farmers’ market

3. Buy the whole animal

4. Plan your menus

5. Use the whole vegetable

6. Dine out at local restaurants

7. Go for seconds

8. Teach your kids to eat everything


Bert Guevara's insight:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

The positive side of Climate Change action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

If you lack ground space, try planting on walls! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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Cargill promises to stop chopping down rainforests. This is huge. ("corp giants make solid pledge?")

Cargill promises to stop chopping down rainforests. This is huge. ("corp giants make solid pledge?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The agribusiness giant signs a pledge to stop contributing to deforestation worldwide -- if they're successful, the reductions in carbon pollution are on par with taking all the cars in the world o...

The first notice was a press release from the Rainforest Action Network informing me that Cargill, the agribusiness giant, had pledged “to protect forests in all of Cargill’s agricultural supply chains and to endorse the New York Declaration on Forests.” Cargill has a big handprint — they have soy silos in Brazil and palm oil plants in Malaysia. So as of now, if you want to carve a farm out of the jungle, you’re going to get the cold shoulder from a company that is a prime connector to world markets.

And this isn’t limited to hot-button crops like soy and oil palm. Here’s what Cargill’s CEO Dave MacLennan said at the U.N.: “We understand that this sort of commitment cannot be limited to just select commodities or supply chains,” said MacLennan. “That’s why Cargill will take practical measures to protect forests across our agricultural supply chains around the world.”

It’s not just Cargill. Kellogg’s, Unilever, Nestle, Asia Pulp and Paper, General Mills, Danone, Walmart, McDonalds, and many other corporations have committed to the New York Declaration on Forests. But, here’s why Cargill is interesting: It’s making a concrete pledge, while the actual declaration is pretty mushy at this point. The declaration calls for ending forest loss by 2030.

Bert Guevara's insight:

It’s not just Cargill. Kellogg’s, Unilever, Nestle, Asia Pulp and Paper, General Mills, Danone, Walmart, McDonalds, and many other corporations have committed to the New York Declaration on Forests. ...

"Of course, Cargill could say all these nice things and then do nothing. But that would be a lousy PR strategy. If it doesn’t follow through, it goes from being just another business-as-usual foot-dragger in the crowd to a recalcitrant liar that put a spotlight on itself. Activists have been pressuring Cargill for years, and now that it’s made itself news, journalists like me are going to be watching its environmental progress."

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World Tourism Day (WTD) 2014 | Politics | The Earth Times ("theme: tourism & community development")

World Tourism Day (WTD) 2014 | Politics | The Earth Times ("theme: tourism & community development") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Celebrate your holiday to distant parts or plan one based on the ideas of World Tourism Day !

When we celebrate an international day or a UN special day, the usual call is for help or protection. In the case of vacations and tourism, it represents the major industry of many nations with an income of $1.4 trillion in export earnings. Our interest lies in eco-tourism however, which certainly needs more advertising in the more remote and unknown parts of the earth. The key is development, which usually destroys communities and wildlife, but can be harnessed to conserve and protect land ownership or human rights.

The World Tourism Organisation is now a UN entity, involving 156 countries, and therefore bends to different annual themes. This year Tourism and Community Development became the dominant idea, trying to empower people with the skills to change their local environment in the way they wish. That would certainly be something to celebrate today, given the awful alternatives.

Taleb Rifai s the Secretary General of this UN organisation and he puts it this way: “Tourism is a people-based economic activity built on social interaction, and as such can only prosper if it engages the local population by contributing to social values such as participation, education and enhanced local governance. At the same time, there can be no real tourism development if such development damages in any way the values and the culture of host communities or if the socio-economic benefits generated by the tourism sector do not trickle down to the community level“. Last year Cintia Oliva from Chile won a first blogging competition for thee UNWTO, talking about the ancient Bribri culture of Costa Rica and their adaptation to modern life. Nguyen Thi Ba from Vietnam has his contribution here too as- How Tourism Changed My Life.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"This year Tourism and Community Development became the dominant idea, trying to empower people with the skills to change their local environment in the way they wish. That would certainly be something to celebrate today, given the awful alternatives."

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Why Are Christians so Bad on the Environment Issue? Because We Have No Spirituality of Creation

Why Are Christians so Bad on the Environment Issue? Because We Have No Spirituality of Creation | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Wendell Berry says "There are no sacred and unsecured places, there are only sacred places and desecrated places." Christians should be leading the way on the stewardship of the earth's resources. Instead we are leading the charge, exploiting the earth to meet our limitless human desires. The problem is that we have no spirituality of creation.

We have to become students of our societies, and understand what our contemporary industrial world is doing to the planet. This coincides to the call for Israel’s king to remain a student of the law.

Read up on the environment. Watch movies. Read articles and books. And, as you read try not to pivot to your favorite political ideology. Above all, involve the scriptures. Here are four quick issues you could focus on.

Population growth: In 1804 there were 1 billion people on the earth. Today there are 7 billion. Five out of seven billion lack basic things like food, water, shelter, education, healthcare, and peace.Depletion of Natural Resources: Our world runs on fossil fuels. Trace anything you do back up the line and at some point you will find a fire. Fossil fuels will one day run out. There are other natural resources that are being dissipated as we speak. Learn about the forests, the ocean, animal habitats, the atmosphere,Waste disposal: Manufacturing, packaging, consumption, planned obsolescence it all produces waste. We are slowly running out of safe places to put it that are safe. Chemicals from manufacturing, refrigeration, propellants are building up in groundwater. Learn about it.Climate Change: The world is getting hotter… this is the most serious problem of them all. The planet is changing. Dramatically. Rapidly. Some say the problem is man made, some say isn’t. But for the Christian, it shouldn’t matter. Our job is to be faithful whether or not it makes a difference on Global Warming.

These 3 disciplines—Sabbath, simplicity, study—could form the beginning of aSpirituality of creation. These simple spiritual practices can train us to participate in our God given vocation to care for creation.

Bert Guevara's insight:

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” We could use with more sacred places & fewer desecrated places, yeah?

Christians should be leading the way on this, shifting from exploitation to stewardship; not for political reasons, but as a matter of stewardship. Every day is a chance to shift toward stewardship & discipline in terms of the way we care for creation. Our presence in any place, our stewardship of that place becomes an act of worship, making that place the place of a sacred encounter with the creator.

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How Crop Rotation can Surpass GMOs in the Agriculture ("let's go back to basics: crops grow in season")

How Crop Rotation can Surpass GMOs in the Agriculture ("let's go back to basics: crops grow in season") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Genetically modified foods are grown under the mono-cropping agricultural model, but crop rotation is a more viable and effective way of farming.

Mono-cropping causes increased plant disease, the doubling over of pests, and the intensive application of commercial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides to grow anything. It also relies on heavily mechanized farming methods and requires lots of water -a precious commodity. Our world is now covered with GMO soy, rice, corn, and other ‘staple’ foods grown in a mono-crop environment. but this isn’t the only way. Crop rotation has been used for centuries as a more viable and effective way of farming, and it doesn’t require GMO seed.

Large scale, commercially driven agriculture is poisoning the planet. It has no regard for public health, but feeds the bottom line of several small companies that have monopolized the agricultural landscape.

Crop rotation has been practiced since at least 6000 BC. Our planet has a long history of feeding its people – even with drought, floods, and other weather anomalies – without GMOs. The Roman Empire, was in fact, very successful in feeding its growing population utilizing crop rotation.

There are very simple reasons for practicing crop rotation:

Crop rotation keeps the soil fertile without having to use commercial fertilizers.It improves harvest quantities and the quality of the food harvested.Crop rotation reduces pests naturally. 
Bert Guevara's insight:

Since there is such a thing as crops in season, why do we not rotate the planting of crops and follow the laws of nature.

This will happen if consumers will also respect the seasonal availability of crops. The commercial demand for year round availability of crops puts pressure on suppliers and growers to override the laws of nature.

Aside from commercial-scale plantations, the temptation to alter the genetic make-up of cash crops to satisfy the consumers.

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Liberia in 'trees for cash' deal ("Norway will pay this country $150m to stop deforestation by 2020")

Liberia in 'trees for cash' deal ("Norway will pay this country $150m to stop deforestation by 2020") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Liberia is to become the first nation in Africa to completely stop cutting down its trees in return for development aid.

There have been fears that the Ebola crisis would see increased logging in a country desperate for cash.

Norwegian officials confirmed details of the deal to the BBC at the UN climate summit in New York.

Liberia's forests are not as big as other countries but the country is home to a significant part of West Africa's remaining rainforest, with about 43% of the Upper Guinean forest.

It is also a global diversity hotspot, home to the last remaining viable populations of species including western chimpanzees, forest elephants and leopards.

But since the civil war ended in 2003, illegal logging has become rife.

"The partnership's commitment to respecting and protecting community's rights with respect to forests is laudable."

Experts believe that Liberia has turned to logging as a way of raising cash in difficult times. With the current Ebola outbreak having a significant economic impact on the country, the Norwegian deal is timely.

"Our hope is that the situation there now will be contained and resolved," said Mr Frolich Holte.

"But we also need to give Liberia a long term hope for development and that is what this rainforest money will provide for them, a long term vision for a country with reduced poverty and reduced deforestation."

With widespread corruption and a government struggling to impose its authority, campaigners recognise that stopping all the logging in Liberia will not be easy.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Paying off the illegal logger to stop cutting trees?

"There is the potential for this to go wrong, both Norway and Liberia will have to make sure that this deal does not get affected by corruption, but I am cautiously confident it can be done," said Patrick Alley, the director of campaign group Global Witness.

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THANK YOU ("the voice of the people is the voice of God; vox populi, vox Dei")

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

Remembering our own local environment heroes.... 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

Forest recovery efforts are still being overtaken by deforestation!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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