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Assessing the future of water for agriculture - MIT News ("smart water policies needed urgently")

Assessing the future of water for agriculture - MIT News ("smart water policies needed urgently") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Assessing the future of water for agriculture
MIT News
Strzepek and his colleague Brent Boehlert of Industrial Economic, Inc. of Cambridge wrote a commentary on the future threats to water availability for agriculture.

Strzepek and his colleague Brent Boehlert of Industrial Economic, Inc. of Cambridgewrote a commentary on the future threats to water availability for agriculture.  Their research shows that by 2050 population growth, increasing water use, extreme weather and rising temperatures will significantly threaten water resources.
“Unfortunately, unless broad changes are made to the way environmental and water resources are governed, we predict conflicts over water for agriculture will increase significantly by the middle of the twenty-first century,” Strzepek says.
In their report, Strzepek and Boehlert recommend a series of water governance measures that can be used to better manage and allocate water for agriculture. Policy and management measures include assigning an economic value to water resources to encourage efficiency, switching to more sustainable and drought resistant crops, improving rain-fed irrigation infrastructure, and more equitably distributing water resources.
“There is no one-size fits all solution to this problem,” says Strzepek. “But it is important — and essential — that water planning efforts be coordinated and integrated across sectors to prepare for a changing climate in the future.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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Thailand Restores Organic, Sustainable Farming Practices ("my kind of military rule; move Big-Ag")

Thailand Restores Organic, Sustainable Farming Practices ("my kind of military rule; move Big-Ag") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
The new military-led government in Southeast Asia’s Thailand has unveiled plans to support organic agriculture and sustainable agricultural reforms.

Following a May 22nd coup in Southeast Asia’s Thailand, the new military-led government has unveiled plans to support organic agriculture and sustainable agricultural reforms. This is an unprecedented departure from the unsustainable populist subsidies that proceeded it in Thailand, one which can be found in various degrees of malfunction around the globe.

The new military aims to support farmers who were cheated by the ousted regime’s failed subsidy program that left nearly a million rice farmers unpaid for rice they turned into government warehouses. General Prayuth says that he will replace the subsidized programs with a system that replaces Big-Ag, and localizes agriculture – making it more sustainable.

Furthermore, the new regime promises to:

Invest in failing national infrastructure.Build new irrigation channels.Use media outlets to broadcast pertinent information to farmers.Prevent exploitation of labor through ending land renting schemes.Install heavier taxes for wealthy land owners and speculators that leave land unused when it was meant for agricultural use.Help farmers produce healthier products for consumers.Reducing subsidies for unwanted produce that ends up rotting in warehouses instead of allowing farmers to grow what consumers really want.
Bert Guevara's insight:

This agricultural policy shift became possible in a military rule. Move aside Big-Agri. 

"The amended framework is based on the Thai King’s “New Theory” or “self-sufficiency economy,” and mirrors similar efforts found throughout the world attempting to break the back of the oppression and exploitation that results from dependence on a globalized system dominated by multinational corporate monopolies. This includes biotech monopolies over seed, and undue influence in government systems everywhere.

"It’s time we all focus on organic, self-sustaining farms to feed ourselves and the world."

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World Bank: Fighting Climate Change Would Boost Global Economy Up To $2.6 Trillion A Year ("let's go!")

World Bank: Fighting Climate Change Would Boost Global Economy Up To $2.6 Trillion A Year ("let's go!") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
A new World Bank report concludes that just a few key policies would boost the global economy up to $2.6 trillion a year by 2030 while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The Bank finds that if all six embrace three sets of policies for clean transportation plus energy efficiency in industry in buildings, “the annual benefits of just these policies in 2030 include an estimated GDP growth of between $1.8 trillion and $2.6 trillion.” Furthermore, the report found that “these policies alone would account for 30 percent of the total reduction needed in 2030 to limit global warming to 2°C [3.6°F].”

The overall benefits are staggering, as these policies avoid 94,000 premature pollution-related deaths and 8.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. They save nearly 16 billion kilowatt-hours of energy — roughly equivalent to taking 2 billion cars off the road.

This finding matches that of the recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, “Energy Technology Perspectives.” The IEA found that an aggressive effort to deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency (and energy storage) to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2°C would be astoundingly cost-effective, “resulting in net savings of $71 trillion” by 2050.

And both reports are in line with the latest finding by the world’s scientists and governments that stabilizing at 2°C would have a net effect on growth of 0.06 percent per year — essentially no effect at all compared to the staggering amount of climate damagesavoided.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Using the language of banking, it pays to spend on climate change action because it will translate to positive economics.

"Anyone who claims that avoiding catastrophic climate change would entail high net costs or significant economic losses is, well, simply denying what we know about economics and climate solutions."

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10 reasons to go green starting NOW ("our personal choices, though small, have a global impact")

10 reasons to go green starting NOW ("our personal choices, though small, have a global impact") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Have you been looking for a reason to go green? Look no further because we've got ten reasons lined up for you!

1. Real food is fuel for the body -- and the planet.

2. The average woman absorbs more than 4 pounds of cosmetics during her lifetime. Guys, you're not off the hook.

3. Making stuff takes lots (and lots and lots) of energy.

4. Clean, renewable power is already available to everyone.

5. Better transportation means less global warming.

6. Nature Recycles Everything. So Should People.

7. Your clothing choices impact more than just your appearance.

8. Water is not a renewable resource.

9. Greener goods are more humane.

10. There's nothing corny 'bout peace, love, and understanding.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The world is smaller than you can imagine -- there is no 'far away' place that has no impact on us.

"The truth is that everything single thing we do every day has an impact on the planet -- good or bad. The good news is that as an individual you have the power to control most of your choices and, therefore, the impact you create: from where you live to what you buy, eat, and use to light your home to where and how you vacation, to how you shop or vote, you can have global impact."

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Ghana environment pay cost of illegal mining ("small scale illegal mining wreck havoc to waterways")

Huge swathes of land and 75 percent of country's waterways have been polluted by unauthorised gold mining. Ama Boateng reports Subscribe to our channel http://bit.ly/AJSubscribe Follow...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Small-scale illegal mining, with poverty as an excuse, can cause irreparable damage to the environment. This video is a prime example of what is happening in many parts of the world, including the Philippines.

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How the insurance industry sees climate change ("extra premiums mean CC is not a hoax but so real")

How the insurance industry sees climate change ("extra premiums mean CC is not a hoax but so real") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago, I interviewed Frank Nutter, then and now president of the Reinsurance Assn. of America, on the threat climate change posed to the $2-trillion-plus global property and casualty insurance industry.

"It is clear," he said back then, "that global warming could bankrupt the industry."

But in the two decades since, the industry mostly limited itself to talk, sponsoring innumerable reports on the threat. Now a major insurance company has moved to protect itself, and it may be the most important milestone yet in the struggle to contend with global warming.

FOR THE RECORD:
Climate change: A June 17 Op-Ed article accurately reported on nine class-action lawsuits filed by insurance company Illinois Farmers against cities and counties for failing to take steps to prevent losses related to climate change. Farmers has withdrawn the lawsuits, saying it believes that its "policyholders' interests will be protected in the future" and that it hopes to continue "constructive" conversations with the cities and counties. The Op-Ed said Farmers is owned by Zurich Group. It is not; Zurich Group owns Farmers Management Co., which provides administrative oversight to Farmers. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

If insurance companies are charging for risks due to climate change, how can it be a hoax?


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Mangroves of E. Visayas need protection ("scientific approach needed for long-term")

Mangroves of E. Visayas need protection ("scientific approach needed for long-term") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
In the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), the government allocated P347 million, since then increased to P1 billion, to rehabilitate mangroves in devastated areas.

Observations

1. The dominant naturally occurring mangrove species in Eastern Samar are “pagatpat” (Sonneratia alba) facing the open sea, “bakhaw” (Rhizophora apiculata and R. stylosa) behind pagatpat or along the leeward margin of islands; and “saging-saging” (Aegiceras floridum), and in Leyte are pagatpat and “piapi” (Avicennia marina, A. officinalis).

Plantations in both provinces are of bakhaw and nipa (Nypa fruticans) varieties.

2. Most of the mangrove stands in the 14 locations showed only partial to minimal damage, based on the presence of new shoots on defoliated branches and on branchless trunks of trees, to none at all.

3. Fringing mangroves (lining the shore) showed a pattern of greater damage in a) seaward (vs landward) plots; b) western (vs eastern) side; and c) planted (vs natural) stands.

4. Damage caused by factors other than Yolanda are:

* Encroachment of settlements of marginalized coastal dwellers who have no means to purchase land;

* Mangrove conversion to ponds which is illegal (under Republic Act No. 9171), e.g., in Ormoc City;

* Conversion to nipa plantations; and

* Reclamation (filled in with soil) in Carigara.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As in many environmental interventions by man, a scientific assessment is needed to achieve long-term success. This article makes significant recommendations which the government has to consider. We can't afford mistakes at this time.

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UN expecting to feed 6.5 million Ethiopians this year ("this is just one country getting hit by CC")

UN expecting to feed 6.5 million Ethiopians this year ("this is just one country getting hit by CC") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
The country has been hit by locusts, war in neighbouring South Sudan and sparse rainfall

The World Food Programme will help to feed nearly 6.5 million Ethiopians this year, the U.N. agency said on Tuesday, with the country hit by locusts, neighbouring war and sparse rainfall.

"We are concerned because there is the beginning of a locust invasion in the eastern part of the country, and if it's not properly handled it could be of concern for the pastoralist population living there," WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

"And in the northern part of Ethiopia there has been less rain than average for the third or fourth consecutive year."

Ethiopia is also dealing with growing refugee numbers due to the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan, sapping WFP's budget for feeding new arrivals in the country, which is at risk of a shortfall as soon as next month.

More than 120,000 South Sudanese have crossed over into Ethiopia in the past six months, mostly women and children who are arriving "famished, exhausted and malnourished", WFP said in a statement.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With many countries experiencing vulnerability to Climate Change, the donor fatigue scenario is very real. How much more can the U.N. shoulder? The worse scenario is when the DONOR countries also become victims to Climate Change.

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Ecotourism projects eyed for Tawi-Tawi’s Turtle Islands ("pushing eco-tourism w/o disturbing habitats")

Ecotourism projects eyed for Tawi-Tawi’s Turtle Islands ("pushing eco-tourism w/o disturbing habitats") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Ecotourism projects eyed for Tawi-Tawi’s Turtle Islands - an Official Gazette PH Special Section

Ecotourism projects aimed to protect endangered marine species and help sustain community-based tourism enterprises are being developed on Turtle Islands, one of the world’s major nesting sites of marine turtles and located in the country’s southernmost frontier.

Turtle watching lounges, elevated wooden boardwalks, and several wooden cottages are among the ecotourism facilities that are considered on the islands of Taganak, Bakkungan, and Baguan, three of the six major islands that comprise the municipality of Turtle Islands.

The wooden boardwalks and turtle watching lounges will protect the green sea turtles from tourists who visit the islands to watch the reptiles lay their eggs at night. The facilities will also allow watchers to observe this rare experience without bothering the nesting creatures.

“Through these initiatives, the residents of Turtle Islands can earn sustainable livelihood by promoting this famous attraction, while ensuring the protection of the endangered species and their nesting sites,” said Luwahati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Eco-tourism shouldn't interrupt green turtle habitat.

"In a protected sanctuary on Baguan Island in the Municipality of Turtle Islands, green sea turtle hatchlings struggle their way to the sea. In 2012, protection and conservation efforts in the province of Tawi-Tawi helped produce a total of 1.44 million green turtle eggs from approximately 14,000 nests. Hatchlings face huge risks throughout their lives in the ocean with a survival rate (up to sexual maturity) of only one percent." 

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Let's Stop Searching For A "Messiah" And Build A Movement ("let's learn from the enemy's success")

Let's Stop Searching For A "Messiah" And Build A Movement ("let's learn from the enemy's success") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
The Right put its resources into long-term movement building ... and the Left puts theirs into candidates.

The Koch brothers, other billionaires and corporate groups have been remarkably successful in pushing Congress to pass legislation that helps their interests while hurting the rest of us. How did they do it? ...

The Kochs, other billionaires and the corporations put their money into think tanks, communication outlets, publishers, various media, etc. with a long-term plan to change the way people see things. This “apparatus” has pounded out corporate/conservative propaganda 24/7 for decades.

You can’t get away from it. The conservative movement rewards its friends and punishes, smears, intimidates, bullies, discredits and otherwise “neutralizes” its opponents. That is how they were able to get Congress to lower taxes on the rich and corporations, break unions, defund schools and the rest of the things that have made them so much money and wreaked havoc on the rest of us. The money was not for politicians who run for office today (not all of it, anyway); it was to build organizations to execute long-term strategies to get what they want tomorrow.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is a school of thought which says that environmentalism can gain more ground if it builds a movement, rather than dwell on politics. Does this make more sense in the Philippines?

Finally, Rev. William Barber II gave a moral vision, talking about a “fusion” movement of black, white and all types of people coming together to fight for the things regular people need. “The movement is about the moral fabric of our society,” he said, and “I don’t want people to go left or right, I want them to go deeper into who we are called to be.”

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Nature now dictates the terms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bert Guevara's insight:

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

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3 Steps to Using Containers if You Want to Garden W/O Land ("urban containerized agriculture anyone?")

3 Steps to Using Containers if You Want to Garden W/O Land ("urban containerized agriculture anyone?") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Want to plant a garden, but don't have much space? Container gardens can be budget- and space-friendly, while providing a bountiful harvest.

Most of the fruits and vegetables in your grocery store have traveled thousands of miles to reach you. In fact, the average plate full of food on an American table travels 1500 miles on average before being eaten.

In order to survive the journey, they’ve been sprayed and bred to withstand bumps, drops, and extra-long transit times. One of the side effects of this is they taste nothing like they should. The more out of season your fruit or vegetable is for your geographic region, the further it’s had to travel and the more likely it’s faced some sort of treatment to survive the journey.

You can seek out only in-season produce and even buy from stores that support local growers, but nothing quite compares to produce you can grow yourself.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Urban containerized agriculture, anyone? It is worth it especially in a period of agricultural uncertainty in the regions.

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Pope calls exploitation of environment a sin of our time - Chicago Tribune ("we need Pope on our side")

Pope calls exploitation of environment a sin of our time - Chicago Tribune ("we need Pope on our side") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Pope calls exploitation of environment a sin of our time Chicago Tribune Francis, who took his name from Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint seen as the patron of animals and the environment, is writing an encyclical on man's relationship...

In an address at the university of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, Francis said the Earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited.

"This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall.

"When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks.

Francis, who took his name from Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint seen as the patron of animals and the environment, is writing an encyclical on man's relationship with nature.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is the type of modern-day prophecy I've been waiting to hear from the Church.

"Pope Francis called for more respect for nature on Saturday, branding the destruction of South America's rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times."

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7 Topics to Tackle This Earth Day – And Every Day » Global Green Blog ("3/7 are food related")

7 Topics to Tackle This Earth Day – And Every Day » Global Green Blog ("3/7 are food related") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it

1. Food Access

The big picture: 

Food Desert: A low-income census tract where a significant number of residents live more than one mile from the nearest supermarket.

23.5 million Americans live in food deserts—areas that are often inundated with liquor stores and fast food restaurants, but offer little or no access to fresh produce.

Urban agriculture presents an opportunity to take food access issues into the hands of residents. From home gardens to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), urban farming can be an effective method of bringing fresh and healthy produce into food deserts.

2. Food Waste

The big picture: 

Food Scrap Emissions: Every year, Americans send 34 million tons of food scraps to the landfill – 95% of all the food scraps produced. According to EPA data, diverting those food scraps from the landfill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to shutting down seven coal-fired power plants with no loss of energy.

After construction and demolition debris, food scraps are the largest municipal waste stream in the country, typically accounting for 30-50% of a city’s landfilled waste. When food scraps go to the landfill, they release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than CO2.

Composting not only diverts food scraps from landfills, but also returns nutrients to soil and helps soils, especially sandy soils, retain water.

- See more at: http://globalgreen.org/blogs/global/?p=7916#sthash.jf20ymPu.dpuf

Bert Guevara's insight:

What are the Earth Day issues that we should tackle everyday? Check out these 7 issues.

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Ex-special operations sniper explains why he created the International Anti-Poaching Foundation

Ex-special operations sniper explains why he created the International Anti-Poaching Foundation | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Here's something you don't see everyday!

Damien Mander is a former naval special operations sniper for the Australian Defense Force who, after 12 tours of duty in Iraq, ended up in Africa witnessing the horrors of poaching and decided to using his very special skillset to do something about it. He sold everything he had an started theInternational Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) with the goal of better training the rangers who are the only thing between well-equipped poachers and endangered species.

What does the IAPF do? In its own words, it develops, implements and manages: Anti-poaching ranger training, conservation security plans, anti-poaching operations, wildlife crime information systems, specialist technology and systems for anti-poaching operations, and field equipment procurement and supply.

It's sad that it has come to this, but the reality is that poachers use military technology and tactics, and if the people who try to protect wildlife don't have similar technology and training, they don't stand a chance of catching them.

Since IAPF took over security operations in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, not one rhino has been poached and the population of critically endangered black rhino has increased by 133% since 2010. IAPF currently covers more than 1 million acres and support 28 other initiatives.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Bullet-for-bullet approach vs poaching.

This is where it will end up to as the enemies of the environment get more violent and deadly. 

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More calamity-fighting trees for planting with P5-B release ("more needed to maintain until maturity")

More calamity-fighting trees for planting with P5-B release ("more needed to maintain until maturity") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
More calamity-fighting trees for planting with P5-B release - an Official Gazette PH Special Section

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P4.99 billion to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the continued implementation of the National Greening Program, which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees across 1.5 million hectares nationwide by 2016.

The program aims to cover approximately 300,000 hectares annually from 2014 until 2016.

The fund release—charged against the FY 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA)—will support actual seedling and planting activities for the year, as well as site maintenance and the protection of planting areas already established in previous years.

“Our funding support for the National Greening Program is well-timed, given that the season’s regular rainfall will allow seedlings to grow faster. This year, the DENR’s tree-planting efforts will give particular attention to areas with high poverty levels, as well as regions that are susceptible to natural disasters,” Secretary of Budget Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Planting trees is a priority climate change mitigation measure. We just hope the funds are spent properly.

“The Aquino administration is definitely looking at all viable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. We’re not just looking at these options and twiddling our thumbs over them. We’re taking active steps to implement our disaster risk management programs,” he emphasized.

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When it comes to housing, small is the new big ("green cities & green design for climate adaptation")

When it comes to housing, small is the new big ("green cities & green design for climate adaptation") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it

There is a whole generation that is going through a massive downsizing; here is what I am doing.

Over at Inhabitat, Peter Grisby writes Why Small Homes Make Better Homes, and makes some very good points about the benefits of smaller homes. They use less energy (if properly built) they reduce your consumption (because you have nowhere to put anything), You will spend more time outdoors (because you have so little room indoors). He is right, but the future of small homes isn't in single family houses. It is in apartments, low rise buildings, back lanes and house conversions.

But in the end, Kelly and I will be occupying a third of the house. We will have an income stream from our tenants that will cover the cost of the renovations. We have a renovated, insulated and stable house that will not need a lot of maintenance over the years to come. We will have a heating system that works.

This is an option that many baby boomer aged home owners could consider as a way of staying in their homes; it is surprising how many house designs can be converted easily, how many basements can be turned into decent housing, how many back yards on back lanes can be occupied with small houses. There are thousands of residential units that can be created all over our cities if people would realize that small really is the new big.


Bert Guevara's insight:

As part of climate change mitigation, the trend towards smaller dwellings is a welcome trend. The digital lifestyle makes the world smaller and the proliferation of good cafes and meeting places makes big offices secondary for budding enterprises.

Check out this article about the advantages of smaller dwellings.

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Farming Cuba: Urban Agriculture from the Ground Up ("no longer a mere hobby but a main source")

Farming Cuba: Urban Agriculture from the Ground Up ("no longer a mere hobby but a main source") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Courtesy of Russel Fernandez/ Princeton Architectural Press The following is an excerpt from Carey Clouse's Farming Cuba: Urban Agriculture from the

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Cuba found itself solely responsible for feeding a nation that had grown dependent on imports and trade subsidies. With fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides disappearing overnight, citizens began growing their own organic produce anywhere they could find space, on rooftops, balconies, vacant lots, and even school playgrounds. By 1998 there were more than 8,000 urban farms in Havana producing nearly half of the country’s vegetables. What began as a grassroots initiative had, in less than a decade, grown into the largest sustainable agriculture initiative ever undertaken, making Cuba the world leader in urban farming. Featuring a wealth of rarely seen material and intimate portraits of the environment, Farming Cuba details the innovative design strategies and explores the social, political, and environmental factors that helped shape this pioneering urban farming program.

Cuba’s food crisis highlighted many of the deeply entrenched and largely invisible structural problems within the country’s food system. Flaws in agricultural infrastructure, community-engagement process, modes of knowledge transfer, production methods, and urban planning were plainly exposed with the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. Architectural theorist Mark Wigley links these larger systems failures to design, suggesting that these “crises always appear as the failure of a spatial system, a failure of architecture.” In this sense, periods of extreme breakdown can also act as agents of physical change: according to Wigley, “crises produce new forms.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Urban agriculture - no longer for hobbyists; but a potential main source of sustainable food supply in the city. Let us learn how the Cuban crisis bore a unique victory in urban farming.

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Brazil Leads World in Reducing Carbon Emissions by Slashing Deforestation ("reprogrammed progress")

Brazil Leads World in Reducing Carbon Emissions by Slashing Deforestation ("reprogrammed progress") | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Brazil leads the world in reducing carbon emissions by slowing deforestation in a process that saw continued growth of beef and soy industries.

The country has reduced deforestation by 70 percent and kept 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, because forests use carbon as they grow and release it when they are removed, often through burning. That makes Brazil's the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of any country in the world; the cut is more than three times bigger than the effect of taking all the cars in the U.S. off the road for a year.

"For the first time in history, we are stopping the process of forest loss on a frontier before it gets seriously depleted, while continuing to develop economies that still have substantial forest cover," says McGrath.

Globally, deforestation is responsible for about 10 percent of all climate emissions, says a study released Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. That's down from 17 percent of emissions in the 1990s, thanks to falling rates of deforestation.

In a tough regulatory approach called "critical counties," the Brazilian government also removes incentives for all the agricultural producers in a county if there's a lot of deforestation going on there. There has been rising opposition to this program, but it has been effective, says McGrath. "It increases internal pressure to make everybody fall in line."

The Brazilian government has also created new protected reserves of forest in the Amazon, especially along frontier areas where deforestation had started. Managing these new areas has effectively stopped its tree loss, says McGrath.

 


Bert Guevara's insight:

So it can be done!

Let us learn from the Brazil model of how to arrest deforestation without depriving farmers of the chance to develop their agriculture.

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8 Things You Should Know About The Biggest Thing A President’s Ever Done On Climate Change

8 Things You Should Know About The Biggest Thing A President’s Ever Done On Climate Change | Earth Day Everyday Everywhere | Scoop.it
Currently, there are no national limits on the carbon pollution that power plants emit into the atmosphere. With Monday's proposed rule, that will change.

- This is the most significant move any U.S. president has made to curtail carbon pollution in history.

- There is room for improvement, and time to improve it.

- The EPA is just doing what Congress (and the Supreme Court) told it to do many years ago.

- States will have huge amounts of flexibility to comply.

- Coal was on its way out and this speeds up the transition.

- This is one rule in a long string of carbon-cutting actions since President Obama took office.

- The rule won’t come into effect overnight.

- It’s not just fossil fuel companies and conservative groups that have a voice in this process.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"On Monday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency released its proposed rule to limit the amount of carbon pollution that existing power plants can dump into the atmosphere. This is the most significant move President Obama has made to address thedirect causes of climate change."

What does this mean?

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