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Alberta Tar Sands Blowout Threatens Boreal Forest, Wasn't Disclosed Until ... - De Smog Blog (blog)

Alberta Tar Sands Blowout Threatens Boreal Forest, Wasn't Disclosed Until ... - De Smog Blog (blog) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Alberta Tar Sands Blowout Threatens Boreal Forest, Wasn't Disclosed Until ...

Tar sands oil has been spilling in Alberta’s boreal forests for months, and according to a government scientist, neither industry nor government knows how to stop it. Four "oil blowouts"  left 34 tons of vegetation covered in oil, dozens of animals dead, and two-foot-high coats of oil on tree trunks.
So far, cleanup efforts have removed 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water - at least 4,500 barrels of pure bitumen in total. The impacts on groundwater are unknown.

First reported in the Toronto Star (with photos) and Mother Jones, the information was leaked by a Canadian government scientist who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job.

According to the scientist,

"Everybody (at the company and in government) is freaking out about this. We don’t understand what happened. Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place."

The spills are located at Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd.’s Primrose bitumen emulsion site in Cold Lake, Alberta. Two of the underground spills began in May, but the Alberta Energy Regulator kept the information silent for nine weeks. A third spill, reported on June 8, is believed to have been leaking for months. None of the previous three spills were reported to the public until the fourth spill on July 18.

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7 Rules for Designing Safer Cities ("with human & car populations rising, our cities become dangerous")

7 Rules for Designing Safer Cities ("with human & car populations rising, our cities become dangerous") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
As a part of its EMBARQ Sustainable Urban Mobility initiative, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities has created...

Causing over 1.24 million deaths annually, traffic fatalities are currently estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death worldwide, a ranking that is expected to rise to the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. 

With these staggering numbers in mind, the Cities Safer by Design guide discusses ways to make cities less dangerous, particularly with its section entitled, “7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City.”  Learn what the 7 concepts are, after the break. 

1) Avoid Urban Sprawl

2) Slow down road traffic

3) Ensure main streets are safe for everyone, not just cars.

4) Create dedicated spaces for pedestrians.

5) Provide a safe, connected network for cyclists.

6)  Ensure safe access to high-quality public transport.

7)  Use data to detect problem areas.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Is there hope for Metro Manila to be safe again?

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Human Civilization at Risk of Ending, Scientists, Governors, and Pope Agree ("can they be all wrong")

Human Civilization at Risk of Ending, Scientists, Governors, and Pope Agree ("can they be all wrong") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
"We're talking about extinction."

“We don’t even know how far we’ve gone, or if we’ve gone over the edge,” saidCalifornia gov Jerry Brown, at an international meeting of mayors convened at the Vatican, in the wake of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment. “There are tipping points, feedback loops. This is not some linear set of problems that we can predict. We have to take measures against an uncertain future which may well be something no one ever wants. We are talking about extinction. We are talking about climate regimes that have not been seen for tens of millions of years. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way.”

Dire! An exaggeration, perhaps? Politicians stand to profit from the specter of doom, sure, if they can cast themselves as saviors. But here’s James Hansen, once NASA’s preeminent climatologist, summarizing the findings of his most recent (though not-yet-peer-reviewed) paper, co-authored by 16 other top scientists:

“We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”

Which sounds suspiciously like the plot of a disaster movie, so just let us escape into this fiction, a mere possibility, an alternate reality, unless there is of course some certified expert on action filmography who might be able to serve as an authority on the matter.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The state of the planet "alarm bells" continue to be sounded in unison by prominent world leaders. Can they be all wrong, or are we all missing the signs of the times?


“The Earth, our home,” goes one of the encyclical’s most famous lines, “is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

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Vertical Farm Takes Food Production to New Heights ("you can take advantage of so many elements")

Vertical Farm Takes Food Production to New Heights ("you can take advantage of so many elements") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
In Newark, New Jersey, Aero Farms will build a new $30 million corporate headquarters in an abandoned steel mill, which will include a vertical farm.

Goldman Sachs and Prudential Financial are partners in the project. When complete, the 69,000-square-foot facility will grow roughly 2 million pounds of baby greens and herbs, creating 78 new jobs in an area with an unemployment rate that is twice the national average. Aero Farms claims that its sustainable farming model, which uses no pesticides, grows 75 times more food per square foot and consumes 95 percent less water than traditional methods.

This facility will be the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The crops will be grown in what are called “growing rooms,” which look like giant warehouse racks. The soil-free farm will utilize so-called “aeroponic farming,” where seeds are sprouted atop a cloth medium, fed by misters below and illuminated by proprietary LED lighting from above.

Aero Farms was established in 2004, in upstate New York. Its innovative, patented growing technology was developed by former Cornell Cooperative Extension director, Ed Harwood (now chief science officer). The company’s mission is to “build and operate responsible farms throughout the world enabling local production at scale to grow safe, nutritious and delicious food.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The idea of urban gardening is catching up, but vertical farming is becoming a cooler idea.

 

"With this classic case of disruptive innovation, the company eliminated the need for all of the classic requirements for farming: land, sun and water, and substituted completely controllable elements in their place. This opens the possibility of food being grown in places where it could never have been grown before. It will certainly be interesting to see if this model can succeed and if it can be replicated at other locations around the world."

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Farming ferns, protecting the forest ("providing alternative livelihood sources diverts destruction")

Farming ferns, protecting the forest ("providing alternative livelihood sources diverts destruction") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Today, members of the association have high hopes on farming the lowly fern, locally called pakô, for food and medicine, on top of keeping their jobs as tourist guides and producers of abaca fiber.

Mier speaks of the forest in the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park (BTLNP), an 8,000-hectare park established in 2000 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 414. 

The forest is inhabited by a large number of wild animals, including flora and fauna, such as endemic Tarictic Hornbills and Visayan Wart Pig. The four mountains surround the Balinsasayao Lake and Danao Lake, two crater lakes formed more than 10,000 years ago.

Like most healthy forest and watershed, the BTLNP’s surrounding forests and the lakes have been threatened by destructive human activities, threatening its rich biodiversity. “Before we were organized, we were the ones hunting animals and cutting trees for firewood and to make charcoal,” he said.  Like most upland dwellers, he said people heavily rely on the forests’ bounty before.

With the help of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) the group was organized in 2006 to help protect the forests, by enhancing the capacity of the people to find sustainable source of income and livelihood.

FPE provides funding support to local non-governmental organizations and people’s organizations for various projects for the protection of the environment. For Negros Oriental’s famed twin lake, FPE helped establish the fern farm within the park in partnership with Siliman University Angelo King Center for Environmental Management, which is conducting research and development on the pharmaceutical value of ferns grown in the farm.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Forest protection needs alternative livelihood programs for people who are living in the mountains. Here is one such program.


"According to Mier, unlike before, members of their association are now contented in protecting the forest, providing tourism service, planting abaca and helping nurture their small fern farm.

"But the threats and challenge to save the park remains. “The forest is vast and wide. We can’t stop them all unless they have alternative sources of income,” he said. He said farmers who live near the lake work as tourist guides but not all may work in the tourism center in the park because of the cost."

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CBCP pushes community-based stewardship of environment in wake of Laudato Si ("rely on people power")

CBCP pushes community-based stewardship of environment in wake of Laudato Si ("rely on people power") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Monday pushed for community-based stewardship of the environment in line with Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato Si'.

"(M)ore direct and immediate action can and should also be taken. Our parishes and Basic Ecclesial Communities can make, as the theme of their collective discernment, situations in the locality that scientists have found to be contributory to deleterious changes in the environment as well as to the disruption of the ecosystem," it said in the statement signed by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop Socrates Villegas. "Mining, incineration and landfills are among the local concerns that immediately come to mind. Here, advocacy of Church communities in behalf of the common good should influence policy makers and translate itself into community action as well," it added. The CBCP also welcomed the holding of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. During this gathering, state-parties will endeavor to arrive at legally binding measures addressing the challenge of climate change. "From a broader perspective, the Paris Negotiations will be a welcome attempt to reach a consensus on responsibility for the future of the Earth and for generations yet to come. It is not some futuristic matter with which state representatives and negotiators will be concerned, but with nothing less than social justice," it said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With the unclear prospect of a Paris agreement on climate action in December, the Church brings its case directly to the people.We cannot underestimate the power of the people when it comes to their survival. 

Calling on all Christian communities! The time for faith and love to be put into action is now.

 

"The CBCP also stressed that the climate change issue is an intergenerational responsibility, with no less than the Supreme Court having characterized concerns of this category as matters of “intergenerational responsibility.”"We are not owners of the Earth. We are its stewards, to keep and cherish and nurture its resources not only for ourselves but for future generations," it said."

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Why equality matters in Southeast Asia's climate change fight ("also an economy booster strategy")

Why equality matters in Southeast Asia's climate change fight ("also an economy booster strategy") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Mary Ann Lucille Sering says leaders in developing Southeast Asia need to recognise that, in addition to developed countries, they too must act on global warming, for the good of their poor and economies

A central goal of developing countries over the past decade has been to spread the gains of our economic growth to reduce inequality. By hurting the poor most, climate change now threatens to unravel those efforts. A report last month for the Asian Development Bank, "To Foster Inclusive Growth, Tackle Inequality and Climate Change", found that the poor were hit first and hardest when natural disasters strike.

However, we must also be climate leaders. Southeast Asia must seize its chance for a strong Paris agreement on climate change, for two reasons. First, as we have seen, our countries lie in harm's way, now from typhoons, and increasingly from crop failures, sea level rise, damage to coral reefs and acidifying oceans. Second, economists, investors and engineers are ever more convinced that a low-carbon economy can also be more prosperous.

Like many Asian economies, the Philippines still depends on fossil fuels. This is changing, however. Last year, we more than doubled our installed wind capacity, and ranked third in all Asia for new wind power projects, behind China and India. An even greater revolution beckons in solar power.

The fight against climate change is a fight for human justice, innovation and, most of all, cooperation. Yes, developed countries bear more responsibility, but this is also our fight, for our people. As President Benigno Aquino said last year in New York: "Together, we must face these challenges and surmount them, or together we will suffer the consequences of inaction."

Bert Guevara's insight:

The strategy of helping climate disaster victims, especially the poor, is a good economy booster. There is a prevailing belief that by investing in nationwide climate action, this will result in economic gains across the economic classes.


"The fight against climate change is a fight for human justice, innovation and, most of all, cooperation. Yes, developed countries bear more responsibility, but this is also our fight, for our people. As President Benigno Aquino said last year in New York: "Together, we must face these challenges and surmount them, or together we will suffer the consequences of inaction.""

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To sustain its forests, Asia needs to invest in local people: experts - Yahoo News - Yahoo News

To sustain its forests, Asia needs to invest in local people: experts - Yahoo News - Yahoo News | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Asia has a unique opportunity to fight climate change and lift many more people out of poverty if it invests more in the communities living in its forests, experts said.

More than 450 million people in the region rely on forests for income and food, but forest dwellers often struggle to make a living as rural poverty, deforestation and climate change threaten their livelihoods.

"If we truly want to sustain Asia's forests, we need to address inequality and poverty by investing in people living in the forests," said Tint Lwin Thaung, executive director of RECOFTC, which promotes community forestry in Asia.

The Asia-Pacific region's forests, which account for almost 20 percent of the world's forested area, play a big role in fighting climate change because of trees' ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2).

Studies have shown that strengthening community forest rights can cut CO2 emissions by reducing deforestation, and improve forest health.

Trevor Abrahams, secretary general of the World Forestry Congress, said Asia had a unique opportunity to ensure that its forests were managed in a more sustainable way, as attention focuses on global leaders' adoption of new development goals in September.

"But the question is not just how do we manage forests in a sustainable way, but how do we make sure that the people living in them are at the center of decision making," Abrahams said.

The World Forestry Congress, the largest global gathering of the forestry sector, will take place in Durban, South Africa, in September.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

A new paradigm in the economy of ecology.

 

"If we truly want to sustain Asia's forests, we need to address inequality and poverty by investing in people living in the forests," ...

"Studies have shown that strengthening community forest rights can cut CO2 emissions by reducing deforestation, and improve forest health."

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Adapting Landscape Architecture to the Anthropocene ("should include climate subject in curriculum")

Adapting Landscape Architecture to the Anthropocene ("should include climate subject in curriculum") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
As the effects of humans accelerate the changes occurring on the planet, landscape architects and planners alike will need to take into account ways that civilization can adapt to a lack of stability.

Brent Milligan writes a refreshingly accessible academic exploration of landscape migration—the process by which environments shift and change. Landscape migration is accelerated by the impacts of human civilization (as evidence of theAnthropoceneera) and landscape architects are beginning to "focus their practice on designing for adaption to change," as Milligan describes it.

Milligan opens the essay up by acknowledging that the commonly accepted definition of the word migration is too small—pertaining only to the movement of humans and animals.

The problem with that definition, according to Milligan: "We know that environmental conditions are always changing, but we allow ourselves the fiction of background stability. When we limit our thinking in this way, our political and design responses are circumscribed. (Allot water rights. Designate a wildlife refuge. Build a wall.) Not surprisingly, they often fail."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Landscape Architecture has a new design mission in the light of climate change issues. The profession has become an important player in the climate mitigation and adaptation measures.


"With a new definition of migration in place (i.e., " patterned movement across space and time"), Milligan examines several case studies for the implication of this to landscape architecture practice. Case studies include the Klamath River in Oregon and California and the salmon habitat destroyed by engineering of the river for water supply, the "Sand Engine" in Buckhorn City in the Rotterdam-Hague region of the Netherlands, the migration of the Mississippi River throughout the Mississippi Basin, and shrinking cities such as Detroit."

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1st environment friendly bio-toilet commissioned - Economic Times ("someone's got to do something")

1st environment friendly bio-toilet commissioned - Economic Times ("someone's got to do something") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Tamil Nadu's first environment friendly bio-toilet has been commissioned at Kappalur Panchayat in the district.

The bio-toilet was introduced under a state government scheme to eradicate open defecation. Kappalur was chosen as the first village to have the facility, an official release said. 

Rural Development Agency Director Rohini Ramdoss said the facility, designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, would have six toilets, three for men and three for women. Bacteria is used to convert human waste into vapour and gas, which can be easily disposed. There would be no foul smell and the septic tank would last much longer, she said. 

Bio-gas from the tank could be used for various purposes. Depending on the success of the bio-toilet, the facility would be extended to other areas, she said. 

She said one panchayat in every district would have a bio-toilet, which would cost around Rs 4.5 lakh. The director said integrated sanitary complexes were set up at village level throughout the state. Besides 1.71 lakh individual toilets had been planned, she added.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A very basic requirement such as a toilet is not common in many countries. Humans can't just do IT anywhere.

In Metro Manila, the Pasig River and creeks become large open toilets. We need sanitary solutions like this set up in many parts of the city to save our rivers and waterways.

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Amazon tribe creates 500-page traditional medicine encyclopedia ("wisdom of the ages documented")

Amazon tribe creates 500-page traditional medicine encyclopedia ("wisdom of the ages documented") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
In one of the great tragedies of our age, indigenous traditions, stories, cultures and knowledge are winking out across the world. Whole languages and mythologies are vanishing, and in some cases even entire indigenous groups are falling into extinction. This is what makes the news that a tribe in the Amazon have created a 500-page encyclopedia of their traditional medicine all the more remarkable.

"The [Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia] marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words," Christopher Herndon, president and co-founder of Acaté, told Mongabay in an interview. 
The Matsés have only printed their encyclopedia in their native language to ensure that the medicinal knowledge is not stolen by corporations or researchers as has happened in the past. Instead, the encyclopedia is meant as a guide for training new, young shamans in the tradition and recording the living shamans' knowledge before they pass. 
"One of the most renowned elder Matsés healers died before his knowledge could be passed on so the time was now. Acaté and the Matsés leadership decided to prioritize the Encyclopedia before more of the elders were lost and their ancestral knowledge taken with them," said Herndon. 
Acaté has also started a program connecting the remaining Matsés shamans with young students. Through this mentorship program, the indigenous people hope to preserve their way of life as they have for centuries past. 
"With the medicinal plant knowledge disappearing fast among most indigenous groups and no one to write it down, the true losers in the end are tragically the indigenous stakeholders themselves," said Herndon. "The methodology developed by the Matsés and Acaté can be a template for other indigenous cultures to safeguard their ancestral knowledge." 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Shouldn't this documentation of ancient tribal medicine be done here in the Philippines too? We are fast losing our indigenous cultures to modernization and it is high time for someone from the academe to attempt this in the Philippines.

With the dying out of native medicine men using natural healing methods, so too are the rain forests that contain the wisdom of the ages.

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Watch – Green Treasure of the Sahel ("switching to indigenous species and organic composting")

Watch – Green Treasure of the Sahel ("switching to indigenous species and organic composting") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
In Burkina Faso, in West Africa, deforestation has reduced income and livelihoods. Simple steps have helped families deal with the loss of trees and brought their farms back to life. Green Treasure of the Sahel travels with one family as they go on a journey of discovery across the country to find out how they too can bring life back to their land.
Bert Guevara's insight:

The changing climate, loss of forests, poor soil quality and scarcity of water all point to a need for smarter agriculture. Watch this video of how other towns have shifted to indigenous planting and organic composting (to bring back the soil quality).

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Germany turning 62 military bases into nature reserves | mb.com.ph | Philippine News

Germany turning 62 military bases into nature reserves | mb.com.ph | Philippine News | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Germany’s Environment Ministry says 62 former military bases and training areas are being turned into nature reserves, providing some 77,000 new acres of protected land for wildlife.

The ministry said Friday that the land will be considered protected immediately, even though details are still being worked out on who will look after the wildlife areas and also how to ensure munitions and other military materials have all been cleared away.

The tracts vary in size and are scattered across the country. They became available as Germany moves ahead with downsizing its military from a Cold War footing of some 250,000 to a smaller fighting force.

Germany’s military abandoned conscription in 2011 and is undergoing a long-term reform plan toward a professional service of 170,000 and some 15,000 short-term volunteers.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Switching the resources of battle to another battlefront!

From military action to climate action.

If this were the Philippines, probably these military bases will be turned into commercial centers or condos.

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Global warming as seen through the glorious life work of a singular man | Bella Bathurst

Global warming as seen through the glorious life work of a singular man   | Bella Bathurst | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Ron Naveen has spent 30 years charting the decline of penguins of Antarctica and sees only one cause

Over the next few days, I watched Naveen in penguin colonies throughout the Antarctic peninsula. All the time, he talked to camera about the different breeds and the survival issues that they faced. He talked about corners of the Antarctic continent where few people had ever been, the challenges posed by increased tourism and the temperamental life cycle of the penguins’ main food source, krill.

Naveen counts penguins for a living. He and his colleagues spend a significant chunk of each year reaching difficult bits of the Antarctic and walking round with manual clickers, ticking off nests, one by one.

He has spent the last 30 years compiling a definitive record of the geological, botanical and oceanographic features on 40 islands surrounding the peninsula, and without him, this place would most probably have remained a scientific terra incognita.

Unsurprisingly, his profession is not a crowded one. In fact, since penguins can now be counted from space, Naveen and his colleagues pretty much hold the worldwide monopoly on manual nest-clicking. Over a 30-year period, he calculates that he has probably spent more time in the Antarctic than almost anyone else, about five years in total. Partly because of that, he’s become the man who provides the data on which governments rely.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

He counts penguins for a living and lives with them in the Antarctic. The future he sees for these penguins is not good and he knows who is responsible.

 

"Year after year, he is pushed back and back to the Antarctic by a swelling sense of urgency. Partly because he is aware that at some time in the future he will have to stop. Partly because all the data he has collected so far seems to point towards global warming on a catastrophic scale."

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Crisis: life saving apps | Philippine News ("try these apps if you think they can help in disasters")

Crisis: life saving apps | Philippine News ("try these apps if you think they can help in disasters") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Manila Bulletin, the nation's leading newspaper, brings you the latest news and current events in the Philippines and abroad daily, since 1900.

History has fascinating stories of how archaeologists have discovered lost cities or those that have been buried under water. These cities were once upon a time rich in culture, architecture and were populated with people; but all those were gone because of natural calamities and disasters such as flood and earthquake that were out of their control. Looking back, if they had been informed, educated and prepared, their cities would have still been wiped out but the people could have managed to stay alive.

 With the advent of the disaster and calamity preparedness that is being done in the local and national level, here are six apps that are helpful in times of disasters and calamities:
Bert Guevara's insight:

History has fascinating stories of how archaeologists have discovered lost cities or those that have been buried under water. These cities were once upon a time rich in culture, architecture and were populated with people; but all those were gone because of natural calamities and disasters such as flood and earthquake that were out of their control. Looking back, if they had been informed, educated and prepared, their cities would have still been wiped out but the people could have managed to stay alive.

With the advent of the disaster and calamity preparedness that is being done in the local and national level, here are six apps that are helpful in times of disasters and calamities:

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Nepal Festival Bans Sacrifice, Saving Half a Million Animals ("let's revisit our traditions")

Nepal Festival Bans Sacrifice, Saving Half a Million Animals ("let's revisit our traditions") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Gadhimai festival sees some 500,000 animals sacrificed every five years.

The announcement comes on the heels of an international movement against the event, which led the Indian Supreme Court to prohibit animals from being shipped or shepherded across the border to be killed as offerings.

“With your help, we can ensure the festival in 2019 is free from bloodshed,” chairman of the temple trust Ram Chandra Shah said in a statement announcing the ban. “Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life.”

Gauri Maulekhi, consultant for Humane Society International/India (HSI) and trustee for People for Animals Uttarakhand, who was among the petitioners in the Supreme Court case, called the move a “tremendous victory for compassion” but acknowledged that the hardest task is still to come. Maulekhi said the HSI would spend the three and a half years until the next festival in 2019 educating would-be celebrants in the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal about the temple’s decision.

HSI estimates that more than 500,000 goats, chickens and buffalos, along with other animals, were decapitated at Gadhimai in 2009. The festival, which dates back about 265 years and which some say has even more ancient roots, is based on a dream founder Bhagwan Chowdhary had featuring Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power. In the dream, Gadhimai demanded a sacrifice after freeing Chowdhary from prison, promising power and prosperity in return. Chowdhary prepared an animal offering, establishing a legacy of tradition and blood that would last nearly three centuries.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Where did this religious tradition come from? Can't we apply more compassion in the name of religion?

 

"The festival, which dates back about 265 years and which some say has even more ancient roots, is based on a dream founder Bhagwan Chowdhary had featuring Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power. In the dream, Gadhimai demanded a sacrifice after freeing Chowdhary from prison, promising power and prosperity in return. Chowdhary prepared an animal offering, establishing a legacy of tradition and blood that would last nearly three centuries."

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WATCH: ‘Amazing saging’ trees in Pangasinan attracting passersby ("1000+ fruits per strand")

WATCH: ‘Amazing saging’ trees in Pangasinan attracting passersby ("1000+ fruits per strand") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Four banana trees bearing an extraordinary number of bananas are attracting passersby in Santa Barbara town in Pangasinan province.

Their unusual number of fruits have earned the trees the nickname "Amazing Saging," GMA Dagupan's Jette Arcellana reported.

The Aguilar family, on whose lot the four trees are growing, decided to transfer the trees near the road so passersby can see them.
"May dumadaan nga nagpapa-picture. Ang joke namin sana kasama rin kami kasi kami may-ari at makilala rin kami," said Marlyn Aguilar.
She said they tried to count the number of fruits per tree but stopped when their count exceeded 1,000.
"Ito hanggang lupa naman, pinutol na namin kasi sagabal sa daan na namin," neighbor Sheryl Flores said.
As for the bananas' taste, Aguilar said they tasted like latundan bananas. "Hinihingi na nga ng iba, binibigay na lang namin. Tanim nila, ang lasa parang latundan," she said.
But local agriculturists cautioned residents against eating the fruit.
"May mga dikit-dikit din yung bunga, kaya kung minsan yung saging may abnormalities sa variety," said municipal agriculturist Cirila Capua.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Fantastic!

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BusinessWorld | Resort islands near Iloilo try container gardening own food ("sustainability upstart")

BusinessWorld | Resort islands near Iloilo try container gardening own food ("sustainability upstart") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
ILOILO CITY -- Households in the province’s coastal islands are being assisted by the local government to go into container gardening for food supply, additional livelihood and help in environmental conservation.

The Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) introduced the container gardening project last year to the islands of Gigantes and Tambaliza, both popular beach destinations. 

“Bottles scattered in the area can be used to plant vegetables. 

Through urban gardening, we teach them to plant vegetables for their consumption, and they could also make it as their business and sell them in resorts,” Dr. Ildefonso T. Toledo, PAO chief.

The island resorts source their vegetables mostly from the Iloilo mainland.

Mr. Toledo said the gardening program has also been expanded to involve local and foreign tourists, allowing them to visit the sites and help the communities by making organic fertilizer.

“Gigantes Island is a tourism spot… if not properly managed, its beauty will be destroyed,” he said.

A non-government organization also started last year a rehabilitation project for the areas coral reefs, which were destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) in December 2013.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Urban container gardening of edible food, for resorts consumption, supported through waste recovery and composting, is a laudable program which should be further developed.

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EU Climate Chief Says “No Plan B” for Paris Climate Talks ("warning signals raised; what are chances?")

EU Climate Chief Says “No Plan B” for Paris Climate Talks ("warning signals raised; what are chances?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
EU Climate Chief Miguel Cañete urges world leaders to force their ministers to agree a deal.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Miguel Cañete, commissioner for climate action, said he was very concerned about the lack of negotiating time remaining before the conference.

Cañete, who will lead the EU’s 28 member states in the talks, said that if governments did not reach agreement, there was “no plan B – nothing to follow. This is not just ongoing U.N. discussions. Paris is final.”

For it to be a success, he said, heads of government – most of whom are not expected to attend the talks in person – must urgently instruct their negotiating ministers to come forward with plans for a deal that would involve cutting emissions, rich countries providing the poor with financial assistance, and putting in place sweeping new measures to help poor nations adapt to the ravages of global warming.

Cañete said the EU would reject any deal he thought was not ambitious enough in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a key sticking point in the talks. “For us, it’s very important to have a deal – but not any kind of deal.”

The commissioner’s tough talking marks a new line from the EU, which has previously been seen as dovish, trying to smooth over differences among developing and developed countries. Cañete is embarking on an exhausting round of visits to developing country capitals, from Latin America to Papua New Guinea, to try to garner support for a Paris agreement.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is no more time for "flavored" discussions. There is a limit to negotiations. If there is no serious agreement reached in Paris, the future may become what we are all avoiding to even consider. The alarmists may have the "last laugh".

 

"Cañete said the EU would reject any deal he thought was not ambitious enough in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a key sticking point in the talks. “For us, it’s very important to have a deal – but not any kind of deal.”

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Seabirds suffering massive population declines ("70% drop since 1950s; marine ecosystems really bad")

Seabirds suffering massive population declines ("70% drop since 1950s; marine ecosystems really bad") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Global seabird numbers have dropped 70 percent since the 1950s due to overfishing, pollution and climate change, study says

A bird that mates for life and flies over 6,000 miles for food, the albatross has seen profound population declines over the past several decades. It appears now as though a harbinger for its own demise.

Or take the Fiji petrel, a black, tube-nosed bird that spends almost its entire life skimming the oceans. The petrel, the albatross and other birds suffer when the oceans are polluted and overfished and a new study in PLOS One suggests they are paying a heavy price. Since the 1950s, the study concludes that seabird numbers have dropped by nearly 70 percent.

"Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems," said University of British Columbia's Michelle Paleczny, a co-author of the study and a researcher with the Sea Around Us project. "When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we're having."

For the study, the researchers compiled information on more than 500 seabird populations from around the world, representing 19 percent of the global seabird population. They found overall populations had declined by 69.6 percent or the equivalent to a loss of about 230 million birds in 60 years.

Bert Guevara's insight:

230 million birds lost in 60 years! What is happening to our marine ecosystems? Isn't this a warning to humans?


"Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems," said University of British Columbia's Michelle Paleczny, a co-author of the study and a researcher with the Sea Around Us project. "When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we're having."

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Two Maps Show Greenland’s Sudden Melt Season Onset ("30% of global sea level rise is from GL ice melt")

Two Maps Show Greenland’s Sudden Melt Season Onset ("30% of global sea level rise is from GL ice melt") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Greenland's melt season started slow but is suddenly speeding up due to warm weather and dark ice.

This year’s sudden uptick doesn’t necessarily portend a similar monster melt. But rising temperatures and a corresponding increase in wildfire activity could make 2012-level melt happen yearly by 2100. More dust has also been accumulating on the ice in recent years as spring snow recedes early in the Northern Hemisphere.

With 684,000 cubic miles of ice, the complete disappearance of the ice sheet isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But any speed up in the melting could have major global consequences.

The ice sheet’s fate is intimately tied to sea level rise. Its melt is responsible about 30 percent of observed sea level rise since the 1990s. Over the past two decades, Greenland has seen its contribution to sea level rise increase.

That trend is projected to continue as the planet warms and could put coastal cities at risk and cause trillions of dollars in damage.

In addition to sea level rise, the influx of freshwater could also be slowing the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, a crucial ocean current that transfers heat from the tropics poleward. If that pattern stalls out, it could reduce nutrients in the North Atlantic and alter circulation in other parts of the world’s oceans.

Bert Guevara's insight:

So what?

 

"The ice sheet’s fate is intimately tied to sea level rise. Its melt is responsible about 30 percent of observed sea level rise since the 1990s. Over the past two decades, Greenland has seen its contribution to sea level rise increase."

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Environmentalists Attacked for Protecting One of the Ocean's Most Endangered ... - TakePart

Environmentalists Attacked for Protecting One of the Ocean's Most Endangered ... - TakePart | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Poachers threaten a group guarding sea turtle eggs in Costa Rica.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Who is the worse animal?

The dark side of poaching threatens not only wildlife, but also human lives who protect the wild. This is not an isolated case; it is happening in many places in the world.

 

"Costa Rica touts itself as a leading destination for eco-tourism. So why isn’t the government doing more to protect sea turtles and their eggs—and the people who are trying to save them?"

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NGOs: Boracay threatened by overdevelopment - YouTube ("killing the goose that lays the golden eggs")

Boracay is world-famous for its white-sand beaches but environmentalists warn, the island could lose its appeal due to overdevelopment. - ANC, The World Toni...
Bert Guevara's insight:

The warnings have grown louder, but the profit-motivated officials and businessmen haven't had it so good. But if you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, what will happen in the future? The profiteers will just surely move on and lay to waste a natural treasure.

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Negros Occidental's Sustainable Agriculture Programs 2015 - YouTube ("so much happening in Phil agri")

A compilation of the Province of Negros Occidental, Philippines Agriculture Programs presented during the visit of Department of Agriculture Secretary Procy ...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Negros is now a single province, but it is worth highlighting the agricultural achievements of Negros Occidental.

Watch and learn.

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What makes a city green? | Environment ("the trend begins with an amazing idea that is replicable")

What makes a city green? | Environment ("the trend begins with an amazing idea that is replicable") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A new European Green Capital has been announced: Essen in Germany. Located in a former coal-mining region, it's reinvented itself as a "green city." But what makes a city green - and why is this worth the effort?

The European Commission has awarded the title of "European Green Capital" for the year 2017 to Essen, in western Germany.

Every year, the award showcases achievements in environmental sustainability, including local efforts to improve the urban environment and promote sustainable growth. Since 2010, the title is granted to one European city with a population of more than 100,000 each year. Winners are announced two years in advance.

In this year's contest to select the 2017 winner, 's-Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Umea in Sweden were also shortlisted from 12 entries across Europe.

Essen, a former coal-mining city in the heart of the Ruhr region, was particularly recognized for overcoming its challenging industrial history to reinvent itself as green, thus becoming a leading example for other cities.

Lykke Leonardsen, head of Copenhagen's climate unit, echoed the sentiment that ingenious thinking must go hand-in-hand with "making it fun."

Copenhagen, Bristol's predecessor as the European Green Capital, has an even more ambitious climate goal: To be carbon-neutral by 2025. And over the past decade, Copenhageners have already reduced their carbon footprint by 40 percent.

This has come through efforts including building up renewable energy - and bicycling infrastructure. Such infrastructure is not necessarily physical.

Leonardsen described Copenhagen's "bike butler" program: When people park their bicycles in inconvenient spots, the butlers remove the bike. But when the cyclists come to pick up their ride, they're not punished with a fine, rather greeted with a friendly face - and their bike has a freshly oiled chain and pumped up tires.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What's the big deal with "green cities"?

 

"The idea is if cities can become a laboratory for change, they can then spread the whole benefit across Europe," Ferguson said.

"One city alone is not going to change the world. But if we share these ideas, and we share our problems, and we share the answers, then we can change the world."

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BusinessWorld | Wild bees are unpaid farmhands worth billions ("$3251/ha. bee share in agri")

BusinessWorld | Wild bees are unpaid farmhands worth billions ("$3251/ha. bee share in agri") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
WILD bees provide crop pollination services worth more than $3,250 (€2,880) per hectare per year, a study reported Tuesday.

Over three years, researchers followed the activities of nearly 74,000 bees from more than 780 species.
The team looked at 90 projects to monitor bee pollination at 1,394 crop fields around the world.
They found that on average, wild bees contribute $3,251 per hectare ($1,315 per acre) to crop production, ahead of managed honey bee colonies, which were worth $2,913 per hectare.
The probe adds to attempts to place a dollar figure on “ecosystem services” -- the natural resources that feed us -- to discourage environmental plundering.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 80% of flowering plant species are pollinated by insects, as well as by birds and bats.
At least one third of the world’s agricultural crops depend on these unpaid workers, the UN agency says on its Web site.
Crops which require pollination include coffee, cocoa and many fruit and vegetable types.
The economic value of pollination was estimated in a 2005 study at €153 billion, accounting for 9.5% of farm production for human food.

Bert Guevara's insight:

How much are bees worth to the economy?


"According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 80% of flowering plant species are pollinated by insects, as well as by birds and bats.
"At least one third of the world’s agricultural crops depend on these unpaid workers, the UN agency says on its Web site.
"Crops which require pollination include coffee, cocoa and many fruit and vegetable types."

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