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Save our Food Biodiversity - Slow food ("vs Fast food, a choice for long life and biodiversity")

Save our Food Biodiversity - Slow food ("vs Fast food, a choice for long life and biodiversity") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Save our Food Biodiversity
Slow food
Biodiversity is our insurance policy for the future, allowing plants and animals to adapt to climatic changes, attacks by parasites and disease, or the unexpected.

Biodiversity is our insurance policy for the future, allowing plants and animals to adapt to climatic changes, attacks by parasites and disease, or the unexpected. A system that is biologically varied is endowed with the antibodies to counter dangerous organisms and restore its own equilibrium. A system based on a limited number of varieties, on the other hand, is very fragile. The small-scale farmers, shepherds, fishers that know and respect the fragile balance of nature are the earth’s last true custodians. If biodiversity disappears, together with wild flora and fauna, many domesticated plants and animal breeds will also disappear. Today 60% of the world’s food is based on just three cereals: wheat, rice and corn. Not on the thousands of rice varieties selected by farmers, once cultivated in India and China, or on the thousands of varieties of corn that used to be grown in Mexico, but on the few hybrid varieties selected and sold to farmers by a handful of multinationals. 
Slow Food’s mission has always been focused on the defense of biodiversity: domesticated, edible biodiversity. Meaning not just pandas and polar bears, but also Gascon chickens and Alpago lambs; not just edelweiss and rainforests, but also violet asparagus from Albenga and traditional Swiss plum orchards. Biodiversity is not some abstract concept. It’s all around us, and it’s endangered too. 

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Science-based ecotourism: What the Philippines can learn from Malaysia  ("more income than logging")

Science-based ecotourism: What the Philippines can learn from Malaysia  ("more income than logging") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Here's why the Philippines should follow Malaysia's example, taking advantage of a booming birdwatching industry to boost tourism and environmental awareness. 

Today, the lighthouse's strategic value is to the global race for ecotourism. Forty kilometers southwest of the lighthouse is Pulau Rupat in Sumatra, Indonesia, making this spot the shortest crossing point between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia. Since migrating birds of prey generally avoid wide expanses of water, they tend to seek the narrowest crossing points between land masses. This makes Tanjung Tuan an ideal spot to observe raptors and promote ecotourism.

This year, from February 14 to March 29, MNS counted more than 48,000 raptors streaming in from Sumatra into Tanjung Tuan. The five most common migratory raptors observed at Tanjung Tuan are Crested Honey Buzzard, Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus), Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes), Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) and Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis). Events like RaptorWatch increase awareness about the natural world and help in protecting Malaysia's natural heritage, said Henry Goh, president of MNS at the opening of RaptorWatch 2015. RaptorWatch helping draw attention to the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, which is a sanctuary for many non-avian animals such as squirrels, macaque monkeys, civet cats and dusky leaf monkeys.Compared to Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia, raptor migration research in the Philippines is just starting, according to Alex Tiongco of the Raptor Study Group of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. However, the knowledge growth has "been phenomenal" in the past few years, stated Tiongco.For instance, thanks to the Raptor Study Group's efforts, we can safely assume that among the most common migratory raptors in the Philippines are Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis), Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus), Crested Honey Buzzard, Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), said Tiongco.  The group has also identified key crossing points for raptors in the country, although more research is needed, he said.
Bert Guevara's insight:

There are several birdwatching eco-tourism sites that can be developed in the Philippines. We can learn from the Malaysian experience.


"In the past three years of serious field research, the group has discovered three major crossing points: Cape San Agustin in Davao Oriental, Barangay Cross in Sarangani and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. These areas have the potential to become the Philippines' version of Tanjung Tuan," he said.

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10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture ("many farmers are giving up; we need new breed")

10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture ("many farmers are giving up; we need new breed") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Facing climate change and nine billion mouths to feed by 2050, experts shared their thoughts on the future of food security

In a recent live chat, a panel of experts joined readers online to discuss the future of sustainable agriculture in the face of changing weather driven by climate change and increasing competition for food. Here are 10 things we learned:

 

1. We shouldn't just "accept" climate change

2. We don't need to "accept" a world with 9.6 billion people by 2050

3. Switching crops is the future

4. Research breakthroughs need more investment

5. Cultivating trees on farms can boost crop yields

6. Small-scale farmers are vital to domestic food security

7. Urban farms suit tomatoes, not cows

8. Meat is off the menu

9. The definition of a "good" farmer is culturally complex

10. Everyone has a role to play

 

Everyone needs to eat, so be it reducing food loss and waste, eating lower-impact diets or investing in sustainable production - countries, companies, and consumers can make a difference. Surrounded by abundance, the challenge is making consumers care. On this, Liz Bowles, head of farming at the Soil Association, points out that if everyone tried to grow their own vegetables it would bring home just how difficult food production is.

Bert Guevara's insight:

City-dwellers take it for granted that there are enough farmers and enough agriculture to feed all of us. That is no longer the case.

Farmers are quitting; farmlands are drying up; investors are losing; distribution is becoming expensive.

This is part of the green agenda that must be tackled by everyone.

 

"Everyone needs to eat, so be it reducing food loss and waste, eating lower-impact diets or investing in sustainable production - countries, companies, and consumers can make a difference. Surrounded by abundance, the challenge is making consumers care. On this, Liz Bowles, head of farming at the Soil Association, points out that if everyone tried to grow their own vegetables it would bring home just how difficult food production is."

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Conservatives Upset At Pope's 'Green Agenda' ("climate issues become part of morality")

Conservatives Upset At Pope's 'Green Agenda' ("climate issues become part of morality") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
NEW YORK (RNS) The Vatican is set to host a major conference on climate change this month that will feature leading researchers on global warming and an opening address by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The meeting, which the Vatican detailed...

The Vatican is set to host a major conference on climate change this month that will feature leading researchers on global warming and an opening address by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The meeting, which the Vatican detailed on its website late Tuesday (April 14), is another sign of Pope Francis’ “green agenda” and another potential red flag for conservatives who are already alarmed over an expected papal teaching document on the environment that is scheduled for release this summer.

Another goal, says a statement on a Vatican website, is to highlight “the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people — especially the poor, the excluded, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, children, and future generations.”

Others simply believe that Francis — who signaled that environmental protection would be a hallmark of his papacy when he took the name of the unofficial patron saint of ecology, Francis of Assisi — should not be weighing in on issues that touch on technical and scientific matters that some contend are still debatable.

Francis “is an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist,” Maureen Mullarkey wrote in an especially trenchant column at the conservative journal First Things about what she called the pope’s’ “premature, intemperate policy endorsements” on the environment.

Though his two immediate predecessors, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II, also spoke out strongly on the Christian duty to protect the environment, Francis has done so more frequently and forcefully, and at a time when climate change has become a hot-button political issue.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is another strong push for climate action. The Catholic Church includes climate issues in its moral teachings. The message simply connects love for the environment with love for neighbor and love for God.

My favorite quote is "One cannot say he loves God while destroying His Creation."


"Another goal, says a statement on a Vatican website, is to highlight “the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people — especially the poor, the excluded, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, children, and future generations.”

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Filipino scientist lauded for disaster research ("a lot of actual data in a vulnerable country")

Filipino scientist lauded for disaster research ("a lot of actual data in a vulnerable country") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Lagmay received the award for his research focusing on volcanic hazards, earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and landslides in the Philippines. 

Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) project, has been awarded the 2015 Plinius Medal by the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Lagmay received the award for his research focusing on volcanic hazards, earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and landslides in the Philippines. Lagmay also received the Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award for 2013.

 With more than 12,000 international members, the EGU is a non-profit international union established in 2002 focusing on geosciences and planetary and space sciences. The EGU awards the Plinius Medal to scientists that work on natural hazards research. Project NOAH was launched in 2012 in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s call to implement a responsive disaster prevention and mitigation program. Some of Project NOAH’s component projects include the Hydromet Sensors Development, DREAM-LIDAR 3-D Mapping Project, Flood NET-Flood Management Modeling Project, Hazards Information Media, and Strategic Communication Intervention. A Project NOAH app is also available for Android smartphones. It provides real-time weather information and notifications can be set up for automatic weather alerts during specified intervals. Programs like Project NOAH are especially important in the Philippines, a country that’s consistently been among the most disaster-prone countries in the world for multiple years.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) project, has been awarded the 2015 Plinius Medal by the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Lagmay received the award for his research focusing on volcanic hazards, earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and landslides in the Philippines. Lagmay also received the Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award for 2013.

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7 Products You Didn’t Know Come from Trees ("one of God's greatest gifts to man expands usefulness")

7 Products You Didn’t Know Come from Trees ("one of God's greatest gifts to man expands usefulness") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Forests give us so much—fresh air, clean water, wildlife and tranquil surroundings. But—as some of you probably know—the trees that grow in these forests also provide us with many products we use in our everyday life. From paper towels and toilet paper, t

While almost everyone knows that wood and paper products come from trees, folks may not be as aware that many other products we use on a daily basis come from trees. We often forget the wooden handles from our brooms and the containers that hold our ice cream also come from the forest.

WWF is working to address the threats to forests so we can sustain nature’s diversity, benefit our climate and support human well-being—including continuing to responsibly produce products that come from trees. Those products are easy to find. They have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label. The label means the product was created with material from a responsibly-managed forest. The FSC—which WWF helped create nearly 20 years ago—has the best standards for assessing which forests are properly managed.

Next time you use the following products, take a moment to think about the amazing trees that helped create them, or helped them get their start:

Bert Guevara's insight:

Did you know that these items came from trees?


1. Latex Rubber Gloves

2. Sponges 

3. Wine Corks

4. Chewing gum

5. Car wax

6. Hair Dye

7. Chocolate

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Launch of Largest Global Citizen Consultation on Climate and Energy ("reaching out to masses on the ground")

Launch of Largest Global Citizen Consultation on Climate and Energy ("reaching out to masses on the ground") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
On June 6, beginning at dawn in the Pacific Islands and ending at dusk in the West Coast of the United States, citizens around the world will take part in the largest ever public consultation on climate change and energy.
 This unique World Wide Views Day is in support of an ambitious new, universal climate change agreement that the nations of the world will conclude under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, in December.
Organizers Make Final Preparations to Bring t…

Next week in Paris, on April 13 and 14, national organizations in the World Wide Views Alliance will meet at the European Space Agency HQ to discuss and continue their preparations for the main event.

On the day itself, June 6, groups of hundreds of citizens reflecting the demographic diversity of their countries will attend day-long meetings to discuss climate change and energy issues, express their views and make up their minds about what they want their governments to do to ensure a sustainable future.

The results from the global event will be ready in June, giving everyone from policy makers to businesses, from civic leaders to investors a unique and timely insight into the views of citizens worldwide on the key issues that governments need to address in order to reach an effective new climate change agreement.

The results from World Wide Views will also be presented at the Paris COP21 UNFCCC climate change conference. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the of the UNFCCC, said:

"We are very excited that the World Wide Views on Climate and Energy is being organized and happy to collaborate with such an important initiative. Bringing forward the views and the voices of citizens from across the globe can only contribute to a positive new universal climate agreement in Paris in December. In supporting this unique and novel approach, we believe we are also making an important contribution to Article 6 of the Convention as it relates to education and public awareness."

Bert Guevara's insight:

Do you want to take part in a global consultation on climate and energy using the web on June 6. World Environment Day?

 

"This is the third time that partners in the World Wide Views Alliance have organized a global citizen consultation, but World Wide Views on Climate and Energy is on track to be the largest ever. Partners around the world are still signing up and over 50 countries are expected to participate. 

"The initiative has received France’s official COP21 label, and French President François Hollande praised it in his yearly speech to the French constitutional bodies, last January.

"The project is initiated by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation, Missions Publiques, the UNFCCC Secretariat and the French National Commission for Public Debate in partnership with World Wide Views."

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BusinessWorld | Manila Bay study could start by end-Sept. 2016 ("science will now guide approvals")

BusinessWorld | Manila Bay study could start by end-Sept. 2016 ("science will now guide approvals") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
THE CONSULTANCY that will bag the contract to produce a comprehensive study of the Manila Bay area, which will serve as the guide for future reclamation projects, will likely be allowed to start actual work on the ground as early as the third quarter of 2016, said the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

“We’re already mapping out the next steps with our bids and awards committee. This is preparatory to the issuance of the Request for Proposals (RFP) within the last quarter of the year,” PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Joselito D. Gonzales said in a recent phone interview.
The agency had said in January that it will commission the project, which will cover Manila Bay’s north shore in Pampanga down to Cavite. It will be bid out to consultancy firms with experience in reclamation and environmental study.
The project’s output will serve as a decision support system (DSS) in the form of a computer program that the PRA will use to “counter-check” proposed reclamation projects.
“If someone proposes to reclaim a portion of the area, we will find out -- in one click of a button -- what will be its effects on Manila Bay. Will there be flooding? What will be the water flow?” Mr. Gonzales explained in a separate interview at the PRA office recently in Makati City.
The DSS, described as a “very high-tech” and “extraordinary kind of procurement,” will also have an environmental component and hydrological modeling, and will provide the socioeconomic profile of the settlers and the fisherfolk in the area involved, among others.
After the issuance of an RFP, the deadline for submission of bids will be set within 30 to 60 days, said Mr. Gonzales. It will be followed by the awarding of contract “at least three months from the submission of bids.”
“We will follow the maximum allowable time under the procurement law. It depends on prospective bidders if they will request for extension... to meet eligibility requirements, such as if a foreign firm still needs to scout for a local partner, and we will evaluate reasonably,” he said.
“If all goes well, then conservatively, we can issue the notice to proceed by the end of third quarter or up to the fourth quarter next year,” Mr. Gonzales added.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As the two sides to the Manila Bay reclamation issue trade arguments, maybe this project may introduce more scientific bases into the debates and produce sound decisions.

"The project’s output will serve as a decision support system (DSS) in the form of a computer program that the PRA will use to “counter-check” proposed reclamation projects.
“If someone proposes to reclaim a portion of the area, we will find out -- in one click of a button -- what will be its effects on Manila Bay. Will there be flooding? What will be the water flow?”

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Unique Earth Day Traditions To Start As A Family (earth day everyday, everywhere, for every one")

Unique Earth Day Traditions To Start As A Family (earth day everyday, everywhere, for every one") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
When trying to raise young stewards of the planet, it's never too early. Here are 4 unique Earth Day traditions you can start this year as a family.

1. Think outside the tree

Many people choose to plant a tree to honor Earth Day, and this is an honorable and beneficial tradition, of course, especially if your city or town organizes a tree-planting event at a local park. However, your family can take this idea to another level by starting a garden on Earth Day that can be tended to by the entire family year round. 

2. Start a neighborhood or school recycling program

Spearhead a block-wide or even school-wide recycling initiative by going door to door as a family to enlist neighbors who are willing to cans, glass or plastic water bottles. Or speak with your kids’ school administration about placing recycling bins in the classrooms and cafeteria.

3. Make a green pact - as a family

Bond through your earth-friendly efforts by make a concerted effort to "go green" as a family this Earth Day. Gather together and decide which go-green tasks most interest each member of the family.

4. Make an earth friendly dinner

Little kids may not fully understand the significance of Earth Day, but they can certainly be part of a simple family tradition this April 22 — a special meal. Bring the family together for dinner honoring Earth Day. The ingredients of this meal should be conscious of the environment in any way possible. For example, make a meatless meal or use ingredients bought entirely from a local farmers market. Instead of scraping remnants into the trash or even thecompost heap, turn the leftovers into a second creative meal for the following night. This Earth Day meal can be the very beginning of a new tradition to make every meal just a little bit more earth-conscious.

Bert Guevara's insight:

April 22 is International Earth Day.

"Learning how to be green not just on Earth Day but every day is a wonderful way to bond with your family while making a very beneficial impact on our planet day after day."

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17 Cotabato villages affected by drought ("no escaping el niño's wrath; whole country drying up!")

17 Cotabato villages affected by drought ("no escaping el niño's wrath; whole country drying up!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Cotabato City Agriculture Office on Friday said more than P15 million worth of crops have been damaged due to drought.

The city has been suffering from the dry spell since January.

Seventeen villages were affected by the dry spell, with 245 farmers and 319 hectares of rice and corn fields affected by the drought.

Agriculture Secretary Proseso Alcala is schedule to visit Cotabato City on Saturday to launch the "Ulat sa Bayan Peace Caravan Campaign."

Alcala will conduct an ocular inspection on the newly-built "state of the art" halal slaughterhouse in Barangay Tamontaka, Cotabato City. The project is worth P33 million.

A farmers' forum will also be conducted in the area to identify the problems encountered by farmers and fisherfolks in the city.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

For 2015, agriculture in the Philippines will suffer from drought brought about by the El Niño phenomenon. This kind of dry news will continue. Cloud seeding can only offer a "band aid" solution.

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Want to fix the climate? First, we have to change everything ("a call to take the plunge into new paradigm")

Want to fix the climate? First, we have to change everything ("a call to take the plunge into new paradigm") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Gar Alperovitz worked within the systems that helped pass civil rights legislation and launch Earth Day. Today, he says, those systems are closed for business.

Helping head this up is the historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz, 78, former legislative aide to Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who helped spur Earth Day into reality in the late 1960s. Alperovitz was around for that and also the halcyon era of the 1960s and ’70s when Congress was able to pass effective civil rights and environmental legislation. More recently, he helped start the Democracy Collaborative, “a research center dedicated to the pursuit of democratic renewal, increased civic participation, and community revitalization.”

With the Next System, Alperovitz is hoping to shepherd discussions around what new systems and institutions can be created to help heal what political and corporate systems have desecrated. He also seeks to elevate the new systems that are already in place but could use some scaling up.

One major focus of the project is on expanding business models that grant company ownership to workers. It’s actually similar to the kind of thinking behind what Jay-Z is seeking for Tidal: granting musical artists the opportunity to help generate more wealth for themselves, rather than companies, when we stream their music online. It’s a sign that people aren’t only waking up, but are also trying to do something about the fact that current business models aren’t empowering laborers.

If millionaires like Jay-Z are the wrong example for this, then consider instead what Cesar Chavez sought to achieve for farmworkers: more rights, better compensation, ownership. These are the kinds of discussions Alperovitz wants to build upon through the Next System.

“Sophisticated discussions,” though, said Alperovitz, when I met with him at his home in D.C. last month. “No slogans.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is how to think OUT OF THE BOX. We need people who are willing to come out and feed another Earth Day movement. Read this article and check if you can make the paradigm shift in your own life.

"Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power. If we are to address the manifold challenges we face in a serious way, we need to think through and then build a new political economy that takes us beyond the current system that is failing all around us. However difficult the task, however long it may take, systemic problems require systemic solutions."

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World's Tallest Buildings Will Purify The Environment ("designing with nature is good architecture")

World's Tallest Buildings Will Purify The Environment ("designing with nature is good architecture") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Two of the world's tallest buildings will purify the environment. To be built in Wuhan, China, the buildings will clean the air and water around them.

Designed by London-based Chetwoods Architects in partnership with HuaYan Group, the project is to consist of two buildings, representing the male and female dual aspects of Chinese culture. The taller ‘Feng’ tower will have 100 floors for residential living, offices and retail space and the slightly smaller ‘Huang’ tower will contain what is described as “the world’s tallest garden.”

The eco-aspects of the super-skyscraper include a complex mechanical system to simultaneously filter Wuhan’s water, collect solar, wind and hydrogen power, provide produce from a massive vertical garden, harvest rainwater, and boil biomass. In other words, it is intended to become the region’s “lungs,” purifying the air and water around it.

Chetwoods Architects’ founder Laurie Chetwood said: “In China, if you come up with a slightly mad idea, it’s almost not mad enough. It’s the opposite of the UK. It was blatantly iconic. They wanted to take the Eiffel Tower experience on a stage further. It doesn’t just stand there and become an iconic symbol of Wuhan. It has to do a job. We’ve applied as many environmental ideas as we possibly could to justify the shape and the size of them.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

They should start teaching these concepts in architecture and engineering schools. The world needs bright and daring ideas.

"The eco-aspects of the super-skyscraper include a complex mechanical system to simultaneously filter Wuhan’s water, collect solar, wind and hydrogen power, provide produce from a massive vertical garden, harvest rainwater, and boil biomass. In other words, it is intended to become the region’s “lungs,” purifying the air and water around it."

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10 crazy things Republicans said that are not April Fools' jokes ("don't let politicos mess w/science")

10 crazy things Republicans said that are not April Fools' jokes ("don't let politicos mess w/science") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Unfortunately, GOP politicians actually believe this stuff.

1. “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.” — Former Rep. Steve Stockman (Texas)

2. “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” — Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)

3. “Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.)

4. “The government can’t change the weather. I said that in the speech. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather.” — Sen. Mark Rubio (Fla.)

5. “The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth.” — Rep. John Shimkus (Ill.)

6. “It wasn’t just a few years ago, what was the problem that existed? It wasn’t global warming, we were gonna all be an ice cube. We’re not ice cubes.” — Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.)

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is an example of why I believe that science should be left to scientists and politics should be left to politicians.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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Sustainable Construction Technologies to Save the Earth ("it is no longer an option to go green")

Sustainable Construction Technologies to Save the Earth ("it is no longer an option to go green") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
With green building becoming a critical part of today’s world, more and more new construction technologies are being developed to keep up with demand.

Without a doubt, green building is on the rise as global trends attest. According to the World Green Building Trends survey, 51 percent of respondent firms committed to incorporating sustainability into more than 60 percent of their work by 2015. The same report also identified the benefits of green building that draw these businesses into sustainable construction: Greater health and productivity topped the list of social reasons for companies going green in their construction. On the other hand, energy saving led in the environmental reasons, with water use reduction, lower greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource conservation placing second in different regions.

With green building becoming a critical part of today’s world, more and more new construction technologies are being developed to keep up with this escalating shift to sustainability. From maximizing the use of renewable resources to minimizing carbon footprint, whether in constructing a new sustainable building or greening existing infrastructure, these seven construction technologies aim to save the planet.

Going green brings in a host of advantages that businesses simply cannot ignore. While some green construction technologies cost more upfront, companies reap benefits in the long run. What’s more, sustainable construction technologies are constantly being developed for wide-scale and more affordable distribution, what with the increasing demand for green buildings that underpin the optimistic outlook for the future of green building.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Lower costs in the beginning may cost more to the building user in the long run. The "green" design criteria becomes critical in this time of global warming.


"Going green brings in a host of advantages that businesses simply cannot ignore. While some green construction technologies cost more upfront, companies reap benefits in the long run. What’s more, sustainable construction technologies are constantly being developed for wide-scale and more affordable distribution, what with the increasing demand for green buildings that underpin the optimistic outlook for the future of green building."

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30 great ways to celebrate Earth Day every day ("a billion small acts of green can make a big diff")

30 great ways to celebrate Earth Day every day ("a billion small acts of green can make a big diff") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Don't wait for April 22! Here is a month-long list of eco-awesome activities you can do to celebrate the planet every day.

 

1. Plant a tree.

2. Plant a garden.

3. Pick up litter in your favorite local park.

4. Go for a hike.

5. Go for a picnic.

6. Reduce. Give the Earth and your wallet a break this month and pass on that new shirt or DVD.

7. Reuse. 

8. Recycle. If it's not already a habit, make it one this month. 

9. Go ahead.  Hug a tree.

10. Go meat-free. (Find great recipes to get you started here.)

11. Volunteer with your local environmental club or at a nearby state park.

12. Run or walk a 5K. 

13. Go for a hike.

14. Make eco-art.

15. Turn out the lights.

16. Step away from the car and walk or ride your bike instead.

17. Host an eco-swap.  Get together with friends and neighbors to swap your gently used spring cleaning discards.  

18. Take shorter showers.

19. Hit your local Green Festival to learn more about eco-happenings in your area.

20. Read an eco-book to your kids.

21. Read an eco-book to yourself.

22. Go for a bike ride.

23. Break the plastic water bottle habit.  

24. Break the plastic bag habit.

25. Donate to a worthy eco-cause.  

26. Support your local wildlife.

27. Build a birdhouse.

28. Build a rain barrel.

29. Buy local.

30. Get outside.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"Earth Day Everyday, Everywhere, for Everyone" 

A billion (small) acts of green can make a big difference if done every day, all over the world.

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Environmental Activists Killed in Record Numbers in 2014 ("Phl gov't forest guards not yet counted")

Environmental Activists Killed in Record Numbers in 2014 ("Phl gov't forest guards not yet counted") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
At least 116 deaths globally were tied to disputes involving natural resources.

A majority of deaths were tied to disputes over hydropower, mining and agri-business

The killing of environmental activists jumped by 20% in 2014, with at least 116 deaths around the world tied to disputes involving land and natural resources, the London-based advocacy organization Global Witness claimed this week.

“[That’s] almost double the number of journalists killed in the same period,” its report said. “Disputes over the ownership, control and use of land was an underlying factor in killings of environmental and land defenders in nearly all documented cases.”

According to How Many More?, the majority of deaths took place in Central and South America; Brazil topped the list with 29 cases followed by Colombia with 25.

Global Witness dubbed Honduras as “the most dangerous country per capita to be an environmental activist,” where during the past five years 101 individuals have been killed in relation to their advocacy work.

The organization urged governments across the globe to take bolder measures to tackle the issue ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference that will be held in Paris later this year.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Earth Day message: protect the nature defenders. In the Philippines, DENR forest guards are being killed by illegal loggers.


“Environmental and land defenders are often on the frontlines of efforts to address the climate crisis and are critical to success,” said the report. “Unless governments do more to protect these activists, any words agreed in Paris will ultimately ring hollow.”

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The science of why you really should listen to science and experts ("it's how we control biases")

The science of why you really should listen to science and experts ("it's how we control biases") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
All humans are biased. But some humans are less biased than others.

It’s no secret that Americans have trouble with scientific authority. We are, after all, a country nearly half composed of creationists who think humans have been around for only 10,000 years or less.

And experts don’t just suffer at the hands of religious and political ideologues — they also get flak from their own presumed academic allies. A group of scholars sometimes dubbed “postmodernists” — no longer trendy, but they were in the 1990s — has delighted in pointing out that scientific experts themselves nourish all kinds of biases, and can be quite closed-minded in their own way.

But just as it was once academically fashionable to dis experts, the worm is now turning, and many are now standing up for them again. And to that trend, we can now add empirical evidence in experts’ favor, thanks to a fascinating new study out by Yale law professor and science communication researcher Dan Kahan and a team of researchers and legal scholars (including one judge).

Nonetheless, the study also found that judges polarized quite predictably, along ideological lines, in their views on the issues of climate change and marijuana legalization. So it isn’t that judges aren’t political — it’s just that in certain cases where they are applying learned expertise, that expertise supplants any gut political leanings.

“Judges of diverse cultural outlooks—ones polarized on their views of the risks of marijuana legalization, climate change, and other contested issues — converged on results in cases that strongly divided comparably diverse members of the public,” the study concluded. (It wasn’t so kind to law students, though: “Students enjoy an immature form of the professional judgment that fully trained and experienced lawyers possess,” the researchers observed.)

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

In the hi-tech age of information, the ability to extract wisdom is best exercised by people who have the "expertise." Sometimes, the ability to filter biases is best exercised by those with more experience.

"The conclusion of all of this research, then, is that there really does seem to be something called “expertise.” Moreover,  there are certain habits of mind learned by experts — especially those possessed of the right, nuanced personality disposition — that render them quite good guides to reasoning about topics where for non-experts, political passions get in the way.

"So experts really do exist, and they really are different from non-experts. Now, all we have to do is listen to them."

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Ex-Cebu mayor, 7 others indicted for illegal mining ("the sad reality of public officials cashing in on illegal mining")

Ex-Cebu mayor, 7 others indicted for illegal mining ("the sad reality of public officials cashing in on illegal mining") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
MANILA -- The Office of the Ombudsman ordered on Tuesday the filing of charges against former Mayor Avelino Gungob Sr. and seven job order employees of Consolacion, Cebu for illegal mining of limestone quarried in November 2009. Gungob, Glecerio Galo, Leonardo Capao, Joeboy Dayon, Juanito Gerundio, Beda Comeso, Nicarter Yray and Dionito Mangilaya are facing a criminal charge for Theft of Minerals under Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

An investigation revealed that members of the Cebu City Police Office have apprehended three municipal dump trucks driven by Gerundio, Comeso and Mangilaya loaded with limestone or diorite while Yray, Capao and Dayon were caught in the act of quarrying the minerals without permit.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that Gerundio and others were following the instructions of Galo who acted upon Gungob’s order to quarry and transport the minerals.

Section 43 of Republic Act 7942 requires a quarry permit before extraction of minerals can be done.

"Good faith in ordering the extraction of limestone for the purpose of completing municipal projects cannot absolve [Gungob, Sr.] of any criminal liability under the special law,” the Ombudsman said.

Gungob was also found guilty of simple misconduct and meted out the penalty of suspension without pay for three months with accessory penalties.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What a brazen display of abuse of authority to perform illegal mining! They even used municipal dump tucks for transport.

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Gov’t acts vs El Niño | Tempo - News in a Flash ("as usual, too little too late; same press release")

Gov’t acts vs El Niño | Tempo - News in a Flash ("as usual, too little too late; same press release") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
-*+The government has stepped up strategies to mitigate the impact of the El Niño phenomenon in farmlands and ensure a stable food production in the country.

Among the government relief measures are possible cloud seeding operations, release of rice varieties tolerant to drought, and initiatives on water management, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“Patuloy na pinaiigting ng pamahalaan ang mga paghahanda upang labanan ang epekto ng El Niño sa bansa at masiguro ang katatagan ng produksyon ng pagkain, partikular ang palay, sa iba’t ibang bukirin at sakahan,” Coloma said.

“Kumikilos na ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura upang bigyan ng karampatang tulong ang mga magsasaka at manggagawa sa kabukiran, tulad ng pamamahagi ng mga drought resistant na punla ng palay, maging ang pagsasaayos ng kanilang mga cropping season upang maiwasan ang mga tinaguriang disaster-prone na mga buwan alinsunod sa inilatag na El Niño mitigation and adaptation plan,” he added.

Coloma said the Agriculture department is working with the National Irrigation Administration to improve irrigation systems in the face of the decreasing water level in dams.

“Handa namang magpatupad ang pamahalaan ng iba pang mga hakbang, tulad ng cloud seeding operations kung kinakailangan, lalo na sa mga lugar na nakakaranas ng matinding panunuyo ng pananim,” Coloma said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Why the (same) press releases, only now?

These proposals should have been started 6 months ago when El Niño was being anticipated by PAGASA.

"Among the government relief measures are possible cloud seeding operations, release of rice varieties tolerant to drought, and initiatives on water management, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr."

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Inside the war to save Africa's elephants - CNN.com ("a tusk for a tusk; a war to save")

Inside the war to save Africa's elephants - CNN.com ("a tusk for a tusk; a war to save") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Ninety-six elephants are killed each day in Africa. But this group of park rangers in Chad are ready to die to protect their herd from destruction.

"Conservation is war," they say, and nowhere is that clearer than in Zakouma National Park.

Every day, in this remote wildlife refuge in the Salamat region of southeastern Chad, park rangers risk their lives to protect elephants that have managed to survive the poaching massacres of the last decade.

Before the Labuschagnes and African Parks took over the 3,000-plus-square-kilometer area, the territory suffered huge losses.

In 2002, an estimated 4,300 elephants lived in Zakouma. A decade later that figure had plummeted by 90 percent, most of them slaughtered by poachers for their ivory. The elephants were in danger of being wiped out.

About 450 elephants make Zakouma their home today -- roughly half the entire elephant population of Chad, says the park's field operations manager Darren Potgieter. It's a far cry from the 50,000 elephants that roamed the country's savannahs and scrublands 50 years ago.

The statistics for the region are equally dire. As recently as 1970, Potgieter says, 300,000 elephants roamed a Texas-sized area that included southern Chad, eastern Central African Republic, southwestern Sudan, and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Today, only small pockets of elephant populations remain, and they remain under threat.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

96 elephants are killed every day in Africa. These men are willing to die to make it stop. But why?

 

"Poaching, shrinking habitats, human-animal conflict, war and a seemingly insatiable appetite for ivory in Asia -- particularly in China -- have all contributed to the disappearing populations of elephants and many other species. Zakouma is no exception."

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Woman builds 186 sq. ft. modern tiny home to bypass unaffordable housing market ("real estate effect")

Woman builds 186 sq. ft. modern tiny home to bypass unaffordable housing market ("real estate effect") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Tired of renting and of roommates, this Vancouver woman decided to get a relatively spacious tiny home custom-built instead.

Faced with this dilemma, Mori got a tiny home builder, John McFarlane of Camera Buildings, to build her a custom-designed tiny house. Mori spent about CAD $39,000 (USD $30,995) to create a home that is well-lit, and packed with lots of transformer furniture for her and her two cats. A sense of financial security -- without having to shell out a fortune for a condo -- was her top priority, as Mori told The Province:

Basically, I was looking for some kind of housing security in Vancouver — which we all know is hard to find — and also not having a lot of money to go out and buy something. I was having to seriously think about looking at what’s going to happen to me.

It's one of the better designed tiny homes we've seen: the elongated layout, with the galley kitchen to one side, and the full wall of slatted windows to the other side, makes it feel much more spacious. The home has two levels, with the entry, closet and kitchen on the lower level, and up a couple of steps is the mezzanine, which has a lovely workspace, another closet and a 6-foot by 27-inch washroom with shower and composting toilet (the kitty litter box is in here too, with kitty poo smells vented out with the help of a computer fan).

One of the best parts of the design is the awesome pull-out bed, which is hidden under the mezzanine level. It solves that head-conking problem with conventional tiny home gabled roofs, with the exposed steps also serving as extra storage.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The housing backlog is further strained by rising real estate prices all over the world. Architecture can beat the real estate monster by designs such as this.

"Punctuating it with a lot of adorable Japanese knick-knacks, Mori loves her new home so far and has dubbed it "Thousand Crow." It's currently parked on rented land in an RV park, but Mori can easily move it anywhere she wants to in the future -- one of the perks of living tiny."

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Pesticides Linked to Honeybee Deaths Pose More Risks, Euro Group Says ("where will man be w/o bees?")

Pesticides Linked to Honeybee Deaths Pose More Risks, Euro Group Says ("where will man be w/o bees?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The finding could have repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic for the companies that produce the chemicals, which are already banned in Europe.

An influential European scientific body said on Wednesday that a group of pesticides believed to contribute to mass deaths of honeybees is probably more damaging to ecosystems than previously thought and questioned whether the substances had a place in sustainable agriculture.

The European Commission in 2013 banned the use of three neonicotinoids— clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — on flowering plants after a separate body, the European Food Safety Authority, found that exposure to the chemicals created “high acute risks” to bees.

Pesticides are thought to be only one part of the widespread deaths of bees, however. Other factors are believed to include varroa destructor mites, viruses, fungi and poor nutrition.

A growing body of evidence shows that the widespread use of the pesticides “has severe effects on a range of organisms that provide ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control, as well as on biodiversity,” the report’s authors said.

Predatory insects like parasitic wasps and ladybugs provide billions of dollars’ worth of insect control, they noted, and organisms like earthworms contribute billions more through improved soil productivity. All are harmed by the pesticides.

 


Bert Guevara's insight:

When a choice has to be made, it has to be for the long-term future. Obviously, neonicotinoids are for the short term. The survival of bees will far outweigh the immediate agricultural benefits of using these "bee-killing" pesticides.

"Neonicotinoids are absorbed by a plant so that the neurotoxic poison spreads throughout its tissues, including the sap, nectar and pollen. Far more deadly to insects than to mammals, they do not discriminate between harmful pests and beneficial pollinators.

"But the pesticides are also among the most effective insecticides available to farmers. Proponents argue that they are essential to food security, and note that many of the chemicals they replaced were worse in important respects."

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Leave mangrove forests, squatters told ("the long-term survival of cities demands respect for nature")

Leave mangrove forests, squatters told ("the long-term survival of cities demands respect for nature") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A majority of these encroachments are in Colaba and Cheetah Camp reserved mangrove forests.

To save mangrove forests — the last of the untouched green spaces in the city — the mangrove cell has issued over 700 eviction notices to illegal structures inside the forests.

A majority of these encroachments are in Colaba and Cheetah Camp reserved mangrove forests. Mumbai city has 4,000 hectares of reserved mangrove forests, which is under the jurisdiction of the state forest department’s mangrove cell. Of these, around five hectares have been encroached upon and the cell is working on restoring them.

“These structures are mainly pre-existing ones, which were present on the land before the mangrove forest were transferred to the cell. But these are still illegal structures and we are trying to protect as much of the mangrove forest as we can,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forests, mangrove cell. The encroachments have around 90 families, according to officials.

Apart from hosting a variety of marine and avian species, mangrove forests act as a natural barrier against floods, protect the shoreline from soil erosion, and absorb almost eight times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other ecosystem.

To rid the mangrove forests of all encroachments and regenerate them in the city by the year-end, the cell has intensified operations and has sought police protection for the demolition.

Bert Guevara's insight:

When co-existence is not possible, then a choice has to be made. In this case, environment takes priority. But deciding in favor of the environment is for man's general welfare.

"To rid the mangrove forests of all encroachments and regenerate them in the city by the year-end, the cell has intensified operations and has sought police protection for the demolition.

"In the next phase, the cell will construct fences and are working on a scheme to re-channelise tidal waters to these erstwhile encroached areas to promote regeneration of mangroves. “In places where such channelling is not possible, we will simply plant mangrove saplings after removing all the garbage and debris,” added Vasudevan."

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48 hours that changed the future of rainforests ("using the language of economics changed his mind")

48 hours that changed the future of rainforests ("using the language of economics changed his mind") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Inside the high-stakes negotiations with the world's largest palm oil corporation.

Glenn Hurowitz sat down for his Thanksgiving meal discouraged. He’d spent 2013 flying halfway around the world to cultivate a fragile relationship with Kuok Khoon Hong, CEO of the world’s largest palm oil corporation, Wilmar. Kuok was the linchpin, Hurowitz believed — a single person who might turn the entire palm oil industry around. Wilmar buys palm oil from 80 percent of the world’s suppliers. If Kuok committed to buying only from farmers who promised not to cut down the rainforest, it would set off a chain reaction that might save hundreds of species from extinction and squelch one of the world’s biggest sources of carbon emissions. But after months of progress, the signals he’d been getting from Kuok were not encouraging.

Hurowitz knew that wasn’t going to happen. Negotiations had been proceeding for years and had consistently failed to stop the chainsaws. He fired back an email with a picture of protesters holding banners outside the Kellogg’s headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich. (Kellogg’s bought oil from Wilmar.)

“Every one of your customers’ headquarters is going to look like this,” Hurowitz remembers writing. “This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself.” Then he waited. There was no immediate response from Kuok. “That was a good sign, because usually if he was mad he’d fire something right back.” Two hours later, Kuok sent an email telling Hurowitz they would talk over dinner.

Within 48 hours, Wilmar had signed a sweeping commitment that went further than any other company in the industry. Wilmar not only promised to stop cutting down forests; it pledged to ensure that all the farmers it bought from did the same.

Many other companies had insisted such a pledge was impossible. Yet one year later, every other major palm oil trader had followed Wilmar’s lead.


Bert Guevara's insight:

This conviction agrees with my personal style of environment advocacy -- keep the communication channels open and speak the right language and do not be prescriptive! There are many ways of engaging the enemy.

"This is a story about how change happens. It happens for big reasons: economic shifts, political winds, technological revolutions. But it also happens for small reasons: individual people making very personal choices."

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Pope Francis Says Protecting the Environment Is 'Ultimate Pro-Life, Pro-Poor ... - Christian Post

Pope Francis Says Protecting the Environment Is 'Ultimate Pro-Life, Pro-Poor ... - Christian Post | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Pope Francis is set to release an encyclical letter which calls the environment the "ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family" issue that Christians are called to engage in.

Catholic News Service reported that Pope Francis is finishing up his encyclical on the environment, set for publication early in the summer, which is set to build on the statements of his predecessors who have urged Christians to focus more on preserving and caring for the environment.

"When Pope Francis says that destroying the environment is a grave sin; when he says that it is not large families that cause poverty but an economic culture that puts money and profit ahead of people; when he says that we cannot save the environment without also addressing the profound injustices in the distribution of the goods of the earth; when he says that this is 'an economy that kills' — he is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism," Cardinal Turkson said about the upcoming encyclical.

"He is rather restating ancient biblical teaching."

Francis said in a speech in the Philippines in January: "We need to see— with the eyes of faith — the beauty of God's saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person," Francis said in a speech in the Philippines in January.

In December, Francis said at the major U.N. climate change summit in Peru that the consequences of environmental change represent a "serious ethical and moral responsibility." He warned that the time for action is running out, and said that "we can find solutions only if we act together and agree."

Francis urged a collective response that is free from political or economic influences, one that overcomes mistrust and promotes a culture of solidarity and dialogue.

The Vatican leader has also argued that people have an obligation to respect the natural order, comparing the traditional family unit with ecology.


Bert Guevara's insight:

A Holy Week message for reflection.

Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his 2009 encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" that a lack of respect for the environment is related to a lack of respect for the natural family.

"If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology," he wrote.

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