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Cities or Suburbs, Which is Better for the Environment? ("architects & planners, check this out!")

Cities or Suburbs, Which is Better for the Environment? ("architects & planners, check this out!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
It's a question that comes over environmental issues like suburban sprawl and conservation. Which is really better for the environment, cities or suburbs?

A study conducted by the University of California Berkeley has found that cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than suburbs in the United States. So how does that work?

City life isn’t exactly “clean” per se, as crowding millions of humans together results in incredible amounts of trash, smog, and traffic. But it turns out that people living in American cities are actually contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions than their counterparts in the suburbs. In fact, the greenhouse gas emissions from the suburbs count for about 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the America, even though less than half of the American population actually live in the suburbs.

So what’s going on here? It is simple really; people who dwell in cities have access to public transportation (even if it is kinda crappy), and often live within walking distance to their most visited destinations. Also the raw square footage of a home in the city is much smaller than one in the suburbs, which means less energy needed to heat and cool living spaces. Suburbanites tend to rely on multiple gas using vehicles for a number of needs (think cars to riding lawn movers) and live in larger houses, while many urbanites don’t own a car, and certainly not a lawn mower. Some city dwellers never visit a gas station at all.

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Heartless Poachers Attack Rhino ORPHANAGE. Rhinos Killed. Staff Beaten. ("true inhuman savagery")

Heartless Poachers Attack Rhino ORPHANAGE. Rhinos Killed. Staff Beaten. ("true inhuman savagery") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

As if it wasn’t enough that poachers brutally kill adult rhinos, they have now stooped even lower… attacking a rhino orphanage in South Africa. Allison Thomson, founder of Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching, said she feels heartbroken. “Totally gutted #STOPTHEMADNESS #HEARTBROKEN #SENDINGLOVE. No words left �����.” It is increasingly difficult for those who care …

It is increasingly difficult for those who care and have been trying to fight the war against rhino poaching, to carry on under these circumstances. Conservationists, private rhino owners, rangers, anti-poaching staff and vets have all revealed the heartbreak and tears behind their struggle. 

Now more than ever before, the country and its wildlife need the South African government to truly step in – to adopt a zero tolerance policy, to employ the armed forces as has happened in other countries fighting poaching… and to root out alleged corruption within the court system. This is a plea to anybody reading this who can help – to please help. 

Allison said: “Last night one of our rhino orphanages was attacked by poachers. I cannot give you more info now except that some rhinos were killed. 

“One had to be euthanized this morning. The staff were apparently beaten. I cannot give you more info than this right now. 

“Please keep all of them in your thoughts.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Poaching has reached the level of pure evil and heartlessness!

"As if it wasn’t enough that poachers brutally kill adult rhinos, they have now stooped even lower… attacking a rhino orphanage in South Africa."
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High resolution West Valley Fault maps launched ("be prepared and know where you are on the fault")

High resolution West Valley Fault maps launched ("be prepared and know where you are on the fault") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Disaster officials say detailed maps showing danger zones will help Metro Manila and surrounding provinces prepare for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake expected within our lifetime

Cities and towns traversed by the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault, may experience earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.2. On the other hand, areas traversed by the shorter 10-kilometer East Valley Fault are due for, at most, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake. (WATCH: #TalkThursday: Metro Manila earthquake scenarios) 

The affected cities and towns are as follows:  


West Valley Fault 

Quezon City 

Marikina 

Makati 

Pasig 

Taguig 

Muntinlupa 

Bulacan (Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzgaray, San Jose Del Monte City) 

Rizal (Rodriguez) 

Laguna (San Pedro City, Biñan, Sta Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba) 

Cavite (Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez, Silang) 


East Valley Fault 

Rodriguez, Rizal 

San Mateo, Rizal


Disaster and local government officials vowed to use the atlas to protect citizens. 

"The Valley Fault System Atlas will play a critical role in our programs for preparedness," said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Alexander Pama. 

He gave assurances that the atlas will be used by the NDRRMC and its regional offices as a tool for minimizing risk and casualties during an earthquake. 

The handbook will serve as a "solid reference" for the placement of evacuation centers, roads, and houses, he added.

Bert Guevara's insight:
If you live near the West Valley Fault, check out these latest detailed maps. It pays to know. I suggest that you download the maps for future reference.

"The atlas took 2 years to complete, said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. 
Such a map is critical given that the Valley Fault System (VSF) is due for a big earthquake within the next 50 years."
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What DENR chief Lopez found in Surigao mining sites ("mining devastation is ghastly appalling!")

What DENR chief Lopez found in Surigao mining sites ("mining devastation is ghastly appalling!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez inspects several mining sites in Surigao. 


Bert Guevara's insight:
How much is nature worth? When is the massacre of nature a crime?
I watched this aerial video and I can't believe my eyes at how blind the previous administrations (10 years+) have become!
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The Rare African Park Where Elephants Are Thriving ("just leave them alone and they will multiply")

The Rare African Park Where Elephants Are Thriving ("just leave them alone and they will multiply") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park were supposed to have been wiped out by now. Instead their numbers are growing.

Poaching has ravaged Africa’s elephants, largely to feed the appetite for ivory in China and elsewhere in Asia. Between 2007 and 2014 poaching contributed to a 30 percent decline in savanna elephant populations. In Zakouma the killing began earlier than in most places, and the losses were more terrible. In 2002 the park was home to more than 4,000 elephants, but by 2010 that figure had plummeted to a mere 400—a 90 percent drop. Experts predicted that Zakouma’s remaining elephants would be gone within two or three years if the situation stayed unchanged.

Desperate for a solution, in 2010 the Chadian government called in African Parks, a South Africa-based nonprofit that specializes in rehabilitating failing protected areas around the continent. Relying on a mix of expertise, luck, and trial and error, Rian and Lorna Labuschagne, the South African husband-and-wife team who took over management of the park, have turned things around. Under their watch poaching has been dramatically reduced, and the elephant population is growing for the first time in years.

The impact these changes made was almost immediate: In 2011 Zakouma lost just seven elephants. Government officials who previously opposed outside involvement began to come around, providing more support. “At first, I was not enthusiastic about this African Parks thing, especially their model of taking the responsibility of managing the park from the government,” says Dolmia Malachie, with Chad’s Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and the coordinator of the country’s National Elephant Action Plan. “But when Rian came, he did a fantastic job. I don’t know of any other park manager who has been able to do as great a job as he did.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Mother Nature just has to be left alone and its citizens will multiply. God save the elephants!

"Desperate for a solution, in 2010 the Chadian government called in African Parks, a South Africa-based nonprofit that specializes in rehabilitating failing protected areas around the continent. Relying on a mix of expertise, luck, and trial and error, Rian and Lorna Labuschagne, the South African husband-and-wife team who took over management of the park, have turned things around. Under their watch poaching has been dramatically reduced, and the elephant population is growing for the first time in years.
“Zakouma’s recovery is extraordinary,” says Chris Thouless, a strategic advisor at Save the Elephants, a Kenya-based nonprofit. “The elephant population was definitely on the way out, and African Parks has saved it.”
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Why Doomsday Is Closer Than You Think ("too busy w/ self-preservation while blind on planet life")

Why Doomsday Is Closer Than You Think ("too busy w/ self-preservation while blind on planet life") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Doomsday Clock was moved 30 seconds closer to midnight, to reflect the growing threat of nuclear war, climate change—and Donald Trump

Two and a half minutes to midnight. That's the new setting of the Doomsday Clock, the iconic symbol that attempts to show just how close humanity is to inadvertently ending the world. In an announcement this morning, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—which runs the Doomsday Clock—moved the hands of the clock 30 seconds nearer to midnight, the closest it has been since 1953, when the Soviet Union and the U.S. exploded their first hydrogen bombs and the threat of worldwide nuclear annihilation seemed very real. And the decision was made in part because of the words of a man who has been President for less than a week: Donald Trump.

"Words matter a lot, especially when the risk of nuclear accidents is so high," said Thomas Pickering, the co-chair of the International Crisis Group and a veteran U.S. diplomat, at a Washington press conference this morning. "Nuclear rhetoric is now loose and destabilizing."

The Doomsday Clock was first unveiled 70 years ago, when the artist Martyl Langsdorf was asked to create the first ever magazine cover for the Bulletin, an academic journal that covers global security and technology. When it was published, less than two years after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, atomic war was by far the biggest threat to the planet, and the Clock—with its ominous implication that humanity was in a race against time to save itself—reflected that.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Do we have time to bother asking why the "Doomsday Clock" moved 30 seconds closer to midnight? Do you want to know the complex answer?

"None of this is to say that climate change isn't an existential threat—just a very different one than a nuclear holocaust. While the nature of nuclear war makes it an either/or threat, climate change presents a range of outcomes that will depend on our actions today, tomorrow and every day after. It's a wickedly complex problem—even more so than nuclear game theory."
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Bandila: Pagkasira ng halos 1 ektaryang mangrove, nadiskubre sa Palawan ("dapat hulihin!")

Iniimbestigahan ngayon ang malawakang pagsira sa mangrove area sa Barangay San Manuel sa Puerto Princesa City. Hinala ng mga taga-barangay, may ilan
Bert Guevara's insight:
This is an example of the the mindless destruction of mangroves by people who are ignorant of the consequences. This has to stop!
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Built on stilts: Brick house rises on on jacks during floods

Built on stilts: Brick house rises on on jacks during floods | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Whatever happened to "form follows function"?

The great American architect Louis Sullivan wrote: 

It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.

Then there is this, discovered on Inhabitat; a boxy brick house weighing 71 US tons that rises up five feet above the ground when there is a flood. Being built by Larkfleet, a british builder, it theoretically could open up new development sites. 

Karl Hick, CEO of The Larkfleet Group of Companies, said: “The elevating house effectively eliminates the risk of flood damage to homes so that more land across the country can be approved for future home building. This will help to tackle the ‘housing crisis’ that is being caused by the demand for new housing far exceeding the supply.” 

The house will have flexible water and sewage connections and solar power so it could keep going for a while in a flood. However the builders expect that the owners would “pack up, lock up and jack up the home before taking refuge in temporary accommodation on higher ground elsewhere”. 

But it looks so odd, a big heavy brick house sitting up there on jacks. Why not have form follow function? Why not design a lighter house? Why not just build it on stilts five feet up in the first place? Look at what some of our best architects have built on stilts, on sites that can flood.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Climate resilient architecture, anyone?

"But it looks so odd, a big heavy brick house sitting up there on jacks. Why not have form follow function? Why not design a lighter house? Why not just build it on stilts five feet up in the first place? Look at what some of our best architects have built on stilts, on sites that can flood."
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World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns ("what have we done?")

World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns ("what have we done?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact.

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends. 

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders. 

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.

The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Who is defending animal rights against human abuse? Whether directly or indirectly, we have something to do with this carnage.

"The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends. The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame."
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Why world's climate response 'will be won or lost in cities' ("spotlight is now on urbanization")

Why world's climate response 'will be won or lost in cities' ("spotlight is now on urbanization") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

In Quito, Ecuador, a UN conference on cities reveals global momentum to seek lower-carbon urban living patterns. But blending emission cuts with economic growth is a daunting challenge, especially in the Global South.

This week in Ecuador, as an anticipated 45,000 people gather for a sequel, things are playing out on a very different track. 

Heading into the meeting known as Habitat III, participating nations have prepared a document reflecting the urgent belief that cities will be ground zero for mitigating and adapting to climate change. While the document itself is light on short-term implementation methods, experts hope the adoption of the document this week will be a launching pad in the battle for sustainable development that the UN has declared “will be won or lost in cities."

But if the world's response to climate change is growing, so are its cities – particularly in the Global South. Between 1950 and 2050 the world’s urban population is projected to increase from under one-third to about two-thirds of the total population, with 52 and 21 percent of that population living in Asia and Africa respectively. 

With more than half the human population already living in cities, urban areas are now disproportionately responsible for the planet’s emissions. While they cover less than 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, they consume 78 percent of its energy and produce 60 percent of its CO2 emissions.

But this is why some urbanists are so worried about the vagueness in the headline document of Habitat III: the New Urban Agenda. 

Although the Agenda is binding – unlike the declarations of past Habitat conferences – critics are frustrated that it didn’t include more specifics on how people living in cities are supposed to make these changes happen, instead leaving those practical details to be grappled with at the conference itself and beyond.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A new climate battleground site has been declared!
"... the battle for sustainable development that the UN has declared “will be won or lost in cities."

“Previous Habitats were more generally about human settlements. This is focused on urbanization,” said Ms. Moreno. “This not an excluding conversation, it’s a focusing conversation on big challenges humanity is facing.”
“This idea of actually getting services to everyone as a path towards growth and environmental sustainability is a departure from what we’ve traditionally believed in,” he said.
“Cities don’t change overnight, so their decisions over roads, over land use, that they make today will impact them over [decades],” he added. “Quito [needs to] be the beginning of the conversation and not end of the conversation.”
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Bees added to US endangered species list for the first time ("a biodiversity crisis that affects man")

Bees added to US endangered species list for the first time ("a biodiversity crisis that affects man") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Seven types of the yellow-faced or masked bees once found in great numbers in Hawaii are under threat, federal officials say.

Seven types of bees once found in abundance in Hawaii have become the first bees to be added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species. 

The listing decision, published on Friday in the Federal Register, classifies seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees as endangered, due to such factors as habitat loss, wildfires and the invasion of non-native plants and insects. 

The bees, so named for yellow-to-white facial markings, once crowded Hawaii and Maui but recent surveys found their populations have plunged in the same fashion as other types of wild bees – and some commercial ones – elsewhere in the United States, federal wildlife managers said.

Pollinators like bees are crucial for the production of fruits, nuts and vegetables and they represent billions of dollars in value each year to the nation’s agricultural economy, officials said. 

Placing yellow-faced bees under federal safeguards comes just over a week since the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed adding the imperilled rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once found in the upper midwest and north-eastern United States, to the endangered and threatened species list. 

One of several wild bee species seen declining over the past two decades, the rusty patched bumble bee is the first in the continental United States formally proposed for protections.

Bert Guevara's insight:
In many parts of the developed world, bees are disappearing or diminishing in a massive scale. For those who understand their major role in nature, this is a major crisis in our ecosystem.
To those living in the city, have you seen a bee lately?

"The bees faced a variety of threats including “feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas”, Jepson told Associated Press."
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Royal Navy Admits Causing Whale Deaths ("bomb testing rattled the whales to confusion & death")

Royal Navy Admits Causing Whale Deaths ("bomb testing rattled the whales to confusion & death") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Three 1,000lb bombs detonated underwater by the Royal Navy were to blame for the mass stranding and deaths of a pod of pilot whales on the north coast of Scotland in 2011, it has emerged.   A report released by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday cited the explosions as a significant factor in the whales' deaths.  

The report relates to events which took place on 22nd July 2011, when 70 long-finned pilot whales in the Garvie Island Bombing Range, Cape Wrath, were exposed to the effects of bomb detonations in the sea near the Royal Navy's Northern Diving Group. 

Despite attempts by experts to save the 39 whales left stranded, 19 ended up dead. 

Cape Wrath is owned by the Ministry of Defence and large parts are used as a military bombardment range.

"The magnitude, frequency and proximity of the multiple detonations in the day prior to the stranding, and the single high order detonation shortly after the beginning of the mass standing were plausible sources of significant disturbance to any neighbouring marine mammals."

The report criticises the Royal Navy’s visual checks for whales before bombs are exploded as “insufficient”, and recommends improved monitoring. It also highlights the routine use of devices elsewhere in the world that burn out rather than detonate bombs. 

The MoD said that it accepted the findings of the report. “It identified a number of possible factors that may have influenced events, one of which was the detonation of underwater explosives,” said a spokesman.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The military is treating the ocean as its playground, as if they had the right to use it as they pleased. After the mass killing of whales, they wake up to a greater reality that the world has other inhabitants.

"Three 1,000lb bombs detonated underwater by the Royal Navy were to blame for the mass stranding and deaths of a pod of pilot whales on the north coast of Scotland in 2011, it has emerged.
"The resulting noise damaged their sensitive hearing and navigational ability, causing confusion amongst the pod, and resulting in them accidentally travelling towards the beach where they ultimately died."
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Russia's Red River Another Sad Chapter for One of the Most Polluted Cities on Earth ("human wreck!")

Russia's Red River Another Sad Chapter for One of the Most Polluted Cities on Earth ("human wreck!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Norilsk Nickel​, the world's largest nickel manufacturer, admitted responsibility for turning Daldykan River in Russia bright red. For the city of Norilsk,

The city of 175,000, which was founded in 1935 as a slave labor camp, was named one of the world's most polluted places on Earth by the Blacksmith Institute. WikiTravel advises potential visitors that "a substantial stay could jeopardize your health." 

Norilsk owes its unfortunate accolade and its economy to some of the largest deposits of nickel on Earth. Mining began in the 1930s, and by 1953 was producing 35 percent of the Soviet Union's total nickel output, 12 percent of its copper, 30 percent of its cobalt and 90 percent of its platinum group metals. Today, it produces 20 percent of the world's nickel and 50 percent of its palladium. 

Norilsk Nickel's 1942 Plant, named for the year it began operations, produced about 120,000 metric tons (132,000 U.S. tons) a year. The plant was decommissioned on Aug. 26.

The company, headquartered in Moscow, which recently rebranded itself as Nornickel, issued a statement Monday attributing the Daldykan River event to abnormally heavy rains in the region that caused a dam containing tailings to overflow. 

"Short-term river color staining with iron salts presents no hazards for people and river fauna," the statement declares. 

Others are not so sure. Greenpeace Russia spokesman Alexei Kiselyov told Agency France-Presse (AFP), "You can't just say that it's no big deal." He noted that the remote area made any investigation more difficult and that the company controls access to the area. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has opened an investigation.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is an example of irresponsible mining and industrialization that is killing its people. Who got rich in the process?

"The now-shuttered plant was responsible for more than 4 million tons of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc released into the atmosphere every year. The effects of decades of pollution are stark. Vegetation can't grow within a 20-mile radius. Acid rain covers an area the size of Germany. Heavy metal pollution is so great that the soil itself can be mined. 
"Life expectancy is 10 years less than in other regions of Russia, the risk of cancer is two times higher and respiratory diseases are widespread," reports the Daily Mail. The city's polluted air may be responsible for 37 percent of child deaths and 21.6 percent of adult mortality."
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10 more mines recommended for suspension – DENR ("audit teams see a lot of technical violations")

10 more mines recommended for suspension – DENR ("audit teams see a lot of technical violations") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Senior Undersecretary for Environment Leo Jasareno says the names of the 10 mines will be disclosed after evaluation

Audit teams of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have recommended the suspension of 10 more mines, according to a top environment official. 

"The audit teams have recommended for suspension 10 more mines. This is for evaluation by the DENR," Senior Undersecretary for Environment Leo Jasareno told Rappler in a text message on Thursday, September 22. 

He added that more information, including the names of the 10 mines, will be disclosed after the evaluation, which may be on Monday, September 26. 

To date, the DENR has already suspended the mining operations of 10 firms: 

- BenguetCorp Nickel Mines 

- Incorporated Eramen Minerals Incorporated 

- LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated 

- Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation 

- Berong Nickel 

- Citinickel 

- Claver Minerals 

- Ore Asia Mining Development Corporation 

- Mt Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corporation 

- Emir Mineral Resources Corporation 

During the DENR's budget hearing at the House of Representatives on September 5, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez revealed her department had completed its audit on all existing mines in the country. 

She vowed then to "definitely" suspend more mining operations, including large-scale ones, based on "technical" reasons that are "backed by scientific data." 

Bert Guevara's insight:
10 more mining companies miss the cut - looking forward to suspension of operations.

"During the DENR's budget hearing at the House of Representatives on September 5, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez revealed her department had completed its audit on all existing mines in the country. 
"She vowed then to "definitely" suspend more mining operations, including large-scale ones, based on "technical" reasons that are "backed by scientific data."
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Environmental lawyer murdered in Philippines: police ("112 dead in 15 years; 12 under current admin")

Environmental lawyer murdered in Philippines: police ("112 dead in 15 years; 12 under current admin") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A Philippine lawyer who specialised in investigating crimes against the environment has been ambushed and shot dead, police said Friday. The murder on Wednesday of Mia Manuelita Mascarinas-Green deepened concerns that the Philippines is one of the world's most dangerous places for environmental

Four motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire after surrounding a van being driven by Mascarinas-Green -- with her children and nanny in the vehicle -- near her home on the central island of Bohol, the authorities said. 

Mascarinas-Green was pronounced dead at a hospital but her children were unharmed, regional police spokesman Senior Inspector Reslin Abella told AFP. 

"The victim is a known environmental lawyer. Investigators are checking whether the attack had any link to the cases she had handled in relation to environmental issues," Abella told AFP by telephone. 

"They now have the identity of at least one of the perpetrators and a hot pursuit operation is ongoing," she said without naming the suspect. 

Abella said police were at the moment unaware if Mascarinas-Green had been threatened previously in relation to her work. 

Her children are twins, aged two, and a 10-year-old daughter, according to local media reports. 

Her death brings to 112 the number of environmental campaigners murdered in the Philippines over the past 15 years, according to Filipino environment monitor Kalikasan. 

This includes 12 since President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven months ago, Kalikasan said. 

"Most of these cases remain unresolved as the government continues to ignore the threat against environmental defenders," Clemente Bautista, its national coordinator told AFP.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Defending the environment may mean staking one's life for the cause, when needed. It's a high price to pay but the cost of destruction is equally heavy.

"Those who cause environmental destruction are resorting to savage measures and deplorable acts to stop communities and people who are standing up to protect our imperilled environment," Sano said.
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Environmental Justice a Growing Concern Among Landscape Architects | Sustainable Cities Collective

Environmental Justice a Growing Concern Among Landscape Architects | Sustainable Cities Collective | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The equitable growth of cities and the flow of displaced populations are issues that must be addressed, said Jordanian Senator Mahadin, who was a landscape architect before becoming a politician.
Senator Mahadin believes environmental justice must begin with education. Speaking passionately, he reminded us we all share the same ethics; that we need to be good to our neighbors and feed our poor. Plant trees and create a high quality of life for everyone. The small things landscape architects do can make a difference.
And going a step further, Senator Mahadin, perhaps unsurprisingly, made a pitch for more landscape architects to confront the issues environmental justice through politics. “Lead by example. Save and protect our water resources and national parks.”
“Landscape is a human right,” began Schjetnan, landscape has the ability to de-marginalize people and integrate them into society.
Environmental justice, and access to resources are especially critical to developing countries, which are “not developing, so much as developing too quickly through accelerated urban growth. Four-fifths of the world is like this,” he added, “neither developed nor undeveloped – just growing too quickly.”
In Schjetnan’s Mexico City, and many other exploding cities, there are major problems with inequality, congestion, natural resource depletion, water and waste management, all which present landscape architects and designers not only big challenges but also big opportunities.
Landscape architecture is a “medium to create well-being” through green public space, said Schjetnan. To rehabilitate unjust places, we must focus on environmental justice and make sure everyone has access to these spaces.
Bert Guevara's insight:
I am a Landscape Architect and this is our mission.

"Landscape architecture is a “medium to create well-being” through green public space, said Schjetnan. To rehabilitate unjust places, we must focus on environmental justice and make sure everyone has access to these spaces.
"The equitable growth of cities and the flow of displaced populations are issues that must be addressed, said Jordanian Senator Mahadin, who was a landscape architect before becoming a politician. ...
“Landscape is a human right,” began Schjetnan, landscape has the ability to de-marginalize people and integrate them into society. 
"Environmental justice, and access to resources are especially critical to developing countries, which are “not developing, so much as developing too quickly through accelerated urban growth. Four-fifths of the world is like this,” he added, “neither developed nor undeveloped – just growing too quickly.”
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Trial Begins: This Man Faces 30 Years in Prison for Shutting Down a Pipeline ("the price of truth")

Trial Begins: This Man Faces 30 Years in Prison for Shutting Down a Pipeline ("the price of truth") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The trial began on Monday for Ken Ward, a climate activist and co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, who risks spending 30 years in prison for shutting down a pipeline carrying tar sands crude last October.

At the time, 59 year old Ward, who shut down the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline in Anacortes, Washington, said his actions were "to avert climate catastrophe and stand with the Standing Rock water protectors. We must stop the fossil fuel industry in its tracks."

Ward participated in the #Shutitdown action which targeted tar sands pipelines in different states, including Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota.

The county judge made the comments last week when Ward's legal team were requesting to present a "necessity defense" in court. They wanted to argue that non-violent direct action was justified to stop climate change, after a legal precedent was set last year by a judge in Washington state in the trial of the Delta Five anti-oil train activists. 

Ward told the Guardian about Judge Rickert's refusal to allow such a defense to proceed to full trial: "I thought it was shocking and deeply worrisome for my case. We are in the late stages of global collapse and to have someone who is presumably as knowledgeable and aware as a judge should be blithely dismissing the biggest problem facing the world is chilling."

But that will not stop Ward making the case about climate change from the witness stand, no matter what the Judge has ruled. "I am going to talk a little bit about climate science," Ward told Reuters. "I spent 30-some-odd years following only legal approaches. It's only been in recent years that the scale of the problem and lack of a political solution leaves no choice but direct action."

Bert Guevara's insight:
There are times when your conviction requires a steep price. This man is showing us what that means.

"At the time, 59 year old Ward, who shut down the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline in Anacortes, Washington, said his actions were "to avert climate catastrophe and stand with the Standing Rock water protectors. We must stop the fossil fuel industry in its tracks."

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Time To Take The ‘Urban’ Out of Urban Design? | Sustainable Cities Collective ("changing designs")

Time To Take The ‘Urban’ Out of Urban Design? | Sustainable Cities Collective ("changing designs") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

For a while now I’ve had an issue with both the term and the definition of ‘urban design’.  What exactly is it?  Compare it to architecture or planning, which are professions that are easy to define and identify, even to a child’s mind.  At its most simple level, architects design buildings, while planners design cities.  We understand those roles because they have boundaries and actions that give them a clear identity. But not so for urban design.

We can all identify a well-designed space when we see it, but what part of this is due to good contemporary design? Did it come about due to robust planning policies that encouraged a vibrant mix of uses? Was it due to the active participation of community groups? For most projects, it is probably of all the above… and then some more. What we understand to be urban design involves a broad spectrum of disciplines, such as landscape architects, planners, architects, engineers, etc. In addition, there is the involvement of the public, government agencies, and developers. It’s clearly a ‘team effort’ to produce good urban design interventions.

There is a misnomer that urban design is limited to city environments or suburban schemes. However, the principles of urban design can and do operate in rural or natural settings. As we strive for sustainable cities and look at issues such as green space preservation, food production, flood mitigation, it is obvious that there is no urban exclusivity or defined boundary in the process of urban design. Everything is connected.


Bert Guevara's insight:
The dichotomy between urban and natural has become less distinct because of the changing environment. Design concepts are calling for greater proximity to nature.

"There is a misnomer that urban design is limited to city environments or suburban schemes. However, the principles of urban design can and do operate in rural or natural settings. As we strive for sustainable cities and look at issues such as green space preservation, food production, flood mitigation, it is obvious that there is no urban exclusivity or defined boundary in the process of urban design. Everything is connected."
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This plant-covered Singapore skyscraper is the tropical building of the future ("closer to nature")

This plant-covered Singapore skyscraper is the tropical building of the future ("closer to nature") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

WOHA Architects designed Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, a plant-covered skyscraper that offers a new model for tropical buildings, for Far East Hospitality.

Steel and glass skyscrapers may work in the climates of New York City or San Francisco, but in tropical Singapore they heat up fast. So WOHA Architects designed the 30-story Oasia Hotel Downtown as a green vision for better tropical towers. Plants creeping across the facade and several sky gardens cool the structure naturally.

20 species of plants and flowering vines crawling across the aluminum mesh exterior afford the hotel located in Singapore’s Central Business District a lush appearance. Eventually the entire building should be covered with the plants. For now, guests can stay in one of 300 rooms and explore sky gardens in the tower.

The architects behind the project planted the greenery in a manner that wouldn’t require too much maintenance, as it’s hard to find “laborers who are both Spiderman and gardeners,” according to WOHA Architects co-founder Richard Hassell. And while the client’s goals weren’t necessarily sustainability or energy efficiency – they primarily wanted a stunning building – Hassell said he thinks the building design will offer significant energy savings.

He believes the Singapore hotel could offer a model for other tropical skyscrapers around the world, which could green up city skylines. He told Curbed, “What’s interesting is the emotional appeal it has for people all over the world…Examining the central business districts of so many cities is like looking at the moon from the Earth; one is filled with life, the other is just this collection of dead stone. With Oasia, we’ve seen so many birds and insects flying around the building. People respond so well to seeing a hummingbird flying right outside their office window.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
What if a city had all their buildings designed this way - eh di WOW!

“What’s interesting is the emotional appeal it has for people all over the world…Examining the central business districts of so many cities is like looking at the moon from the Earth; one is filled with life, the other is just this collection of dead stone. With Oasia, we’ve seen so many birds and insects flying around the building. People respond so well to seeing a hummingbird flying right outside their office window.”
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Turning cropland into forest ("big consequences of wrong policies reversed country policy on forests")

Turning cropland into forest ("big consequences of wrong policies reversed country policy on forests") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

First the land was baked dry, then the torrential rains came – sweeping away homes, crops, forests and human lives. 

In 1997, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate event (among other factors) brought a 267-day drought to China’s Yellow River Basin, and the following year floods poured across vast swathes of the country as the Yangtze, Songhua and Pearl rivers broke their banks. As many as 3,600 people were killed, and 13.2 million were left homeless. 

The impacts didn’t stop there – the floodwaters swept a new way of thinking into Chinese policy, the effects of which are still being felt today. 

Logging in state forests and smallholder agriculture on steep hillsides were blamed for causing soil erosion and increasing the flood risk, and China’s government radically reoriented national forest policy away from a focus on timber production – and towards forest conservation and restoration. 

More recent research has questioned the role of forests in preventing large-scale floods – and forest loss and degradation has been widespread in both ancient and contemporary China. But the extreme weather events of the late ’90s, and the deteriorating environment, galvanized the government into action.

In 1998, logging in natural forests was banned in the upper reaches of the Yangzte and Yellow rivers, and in 1999 the government brought in the Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program (CCFP) – a massive afforestation scheme aimed at reducing both erosion and poverty by encouraging farmers to plant trees on sloping and ‘barren’ lands. 

They were given money to buy saplings and seeds, as well as a subsidy to compensate for lost agricultural income. The payments were conditional on the trees surviving – 70 to 85 percent of them, depending on local criteria.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Wrong government environment policies, like expanded timber production and increased agricultural lands, led to disastrous results. Now, the nation has repented and is going in the right direction of reforestation.
State-sponsored community nurseries and tree-planting efforts have a 70% success rate. The Philippines should not renege on its own National Greening Program, even if the initial results were a failure and a victim of corruption.

"The CCFP has been implemented in 25 Chinese provinces, at a cost of $US 50 billion – and almost 30 million hectares of land have been converted into forest. It’s now been running for 17 years. 
“Broadly speaking, land use changes brought about by the CCFP have been positive,” Gutiérrez Rodríguez says. “The forest cover has increased fast in all CCFP implementation areas.”
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These women protect the trees that protect Ecuador – Human Nature... ("women lead win-win setup")

These women protect the trees that protect Ecuador – Human Nature... ("women lead win-win setup") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Mangroves do more than protect coasts — they're also lifelines for nearby communities.

These are Ecuador’s mangrove forests, which cover about 157,000 hectares (388,000 acres) in the floodplain where the South American country’s coast meets the Pacific Ocean. Despite all the benefits mangroves provide to coastal communities, Ecuadorian mangroves have experienced huge losses in recent decades as many acres were converted to shrimp ponds. To reverse this trend, Ecuador started a mangrove concession program that grants communities exclusive rights to use nearby mangrove areas for fishing, tourism or other livelihood needs. The program has enabled thousands of traditional mangrove users to continue their way of life.

According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, almost 67,000 hectares (166,000 acres) of Ecuador’s mangroves are protected through 68 community-based concessions. Conservation International (CI) Ecuador has worked closely with the Ministry of Environment to increase the number of agreements to ensure the effective conservation of these mangroves and sustainable use of their resources.

These concessions have mostly secured livelihood sources for men, who have traditionally been the ones extracting mangrove resources to make a living. However, a handful of women living in mangrove communities around the Gulf of Guayaquil are starting to challenge those gender roles, and their actions are helping to level the playing field between men and women. To encourage this shift, CI Ecuador is working to increase female participation in fishery associations and decision-making processes.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Sustainability successes in mangrove preservation show that this is replicable in many other parts of the world, including the Philippines.

"One hectare of them can store up to seven times as much carbon as a hectare of tropical forest. Standing strong on the muddy shores of the Gulf of Guayaquil, they can reduce the force of waves pounding the shore by 98 percent. Their trees provide habitat for many rare and threatened species, as well as more plentiful, lucrative ones like the red crab, an important source of sustenance and income for coastal communities.
"These concessions have mostly secured livelihood sources for men, who have traditionally been the ones extracting mangrove resources to make a living. However, a handful of women living in mangrove communities around the Gulf of Guayaquil are starting to challenge those gender roles, and their actions are helping to level the playing field between men and women. To encourage this shift, CI Ecuador is working to increase female participation in fishery associations and decision-making processes."
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Eleven Spectacular Birds From the 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards ("natural art pics")

Eleven Spectacular Birds From the 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards ("natural art pics") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

An owl in mourning, a parakeet in battle, and a mud-covered flamingo are among the winning images.

In 1965, a photograph of an owl clutching a songbird in its beak won CVR Dowdeswell the first-ever Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, presented by a young David Attenborough. That year, only 500 photographers entered the contest, which the Natural History Museum in London, England has hosted since 1984. Fast forward to today when thousands of photographs, each displaying the beauty and fragility of the natural world, pour in from almost 100 countries to vie for the top prize: about $12,000 and the prestige that comes with winning one of the world's biggest wildlife media competitions. 

This week, the museum announced the winners and finalists from this year's contest, with 13 different categories for adults and youth. Field biologist and photojournalist Tim Laman took home the grand prize with an image of an orangutan clinging to the trunk of a fig tree high above the forest canopy in Indonesia's Gunung Palung National Park. Laman told USA Today that while he's thrilled to see his work shared internationally, he's more motivated by the chance "to try and make a difference for orangutan conservation." 

A gallery featuring about 100 of the top images opened at the museum today—a traveling exhibit will start touring internationally in 2017—with many of the masterpieces paying homage to birds. Scroll through our eleven picks for the best bird images, along with captions from the contest. And if you're a photographer, get ready: Next year's competition will accept entries from October 24 until December 15, 2016.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Feast your eyes to natural art.

A gallery featuring about 100 of the top images opened at the museum today—a traveling exhibit will start touring internationally in 2017—with many of the masterpieces paying homage to birds. Scroll through our eleven picks for the best bird images, along with captions from the contest. And if you're a photographer, get ready: Next year's competition will accept entries from October 24 until December 15, 2016.
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Oslo Is Creating The Model For How Cities Can Solve Climate Change ("they are within target")

Oslo Is Creating The Model For How Cities Can Solve Climate Change ("they are within target") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

To cut its emissions drastically, the city has started to fundamentally rethink how a city should work.

Oslo is taking a different approach. The city plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, compared to 1990 levels, in only four years. It's faster than any city or country has made changes in the past. When France shifted to nuclear power from fossil fuels, they reduced emissions by about 5% a year. 

But experts say that's the pace needed if we want to try to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the most ambitious goal countries agreed to at the Paris climate talks, and the target that most scientists say is safest if we want to keep the climate—and all of the systems that humans rely on for survival—stable.

The city has different challenges than some others. Electricity comes from hydropower, and though recent research suggests some dams aren't quite as clean as they seem, they're still better than relying on fossil fuels. Rather than revamping electricity, Oslo will have to focus most on problems like pollution from waste disposal or transportation.

In 2015, the city decided to ban private cars from the city center; the new plan builds on that goal. Taxis will stop using gas by 2020; public transit will also go fossil-free. New infrastructure will help reduce freight emissions. The city is also rolling out new parking restrictions, tools, and building more bike lanes.

Unsurprisingly, there has been some resistance. "Like every country, I guess, people are addicted to their cars, so it would be really tough to reduce," says Peters. Adding bike lanes also means taking out parking spaces, which has caused waves of annoyance.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Hey ma, where have all the cars gone?

"Because there's no parking, there's basically no cars in the street," he says. "So I take the kids to day care in the morning, and there's a stream of bikes going down the hill on the way to work. I basically don't see any cars. You don't have to worry about the kids getting run over, and it's quiet. It's just like walking down a car-free street. I think people will see that and think, 'Oh, it's actually quite nice not to have cars coming down the street.'"
"The ambitious plans were possible because of a shift in political power; Greens and other left-wing parties won a majority of seats in the city council in 2015, and immediately went into action. Other cities may not see such rapid changes as politically or technically feasible. But if Oslo succeeds, that may change."
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Car-free cities might be catching on. ("instead of more roads, try car-less streets where man's free")

Car-free cities might be catching on. ("instead of more roads, try car-less streets where man's free") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

This week, cities mark World Car-Free Day, an annual event to promote ways to get around sans motor vehicles.

Car-free cities might be catching on. This week, cities mark World Car-Free Day, an annual event to promote biking, walking, mass transit, and other ways to get around sans motor vehicles (Solowheel, anyone?). 

Technically, World Car-Free Day was Thursday, September 22, but participating cities are taking the “eh, close enough” approach to get their car-free kicks in on the weekend. Said cities include Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Brussels, Bogotá, Jakarta, Copenhagen, and Paris, where nearly half the city center will be closed to vehicle traffic on Sunday. 

But going car-free, municipally speaking, is becoming more of a regular trend than an annual affair: Mexico City closes 35 miles of city streets to cars every Sunday; the Oslo city government proposed a ban on private vehicles in the city center after 2019; and in Paris, the government is allowed to limit vehicles if air pollution rises above health-threatening levels. 

But even if your city isn’t officially participating in World Car-Free Day, you can be the change you want to see in your own metropolis. And by that, we mean: Just leave your keys at home. Horrible, no good things happen in cars.

Bert Guevara's insight:
While the world's cities are debating on how to solve traffic congestion, some cities are trying a new paradigm - car-less streets. 
If only streets are safe, I would rather walk if pedestrian zones were designed to make walking a pleasant experience.

"But even if your city isn’t officially participating in World Car-Free Day, you can be the change you want to see in your own metropolis. And by that, we mean: Just leave your keys at home. Horrible, no good things happen in cars."
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Invasive predators are eating the world's animals to extinction – and the worst is close to home

Invasive predators are eating the world's animals to extinction – and the worst is close to home | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Cats, rats, foxes and other mammal predators have been implicated in 60% of the world's animals extinctions.

Our study revealed that invasive predators are implicated in 87 bird, 45 mammal and 10 reptile extinctions — 58% of these groups’ contemporary extinctions worldwide. 

Invasive predators also threaten 596 species classed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List. Combined, the affected species include 400 birds, 189 mammals and 149 reptiles. 

Twenty-three of the critically endangered species are classed as “possibly extinct”, so the number of extinctions above is likely to be an underestimate. 

Until now, these shocking statistics have been unknown, and the heavy toll of invasive predators on native biodiversity grossly underappreciated. Species extinctions attributed to invasive predators include the Hawaiian rail (Zapornia sandwichensis) and Australia’s lesser bilby (Macrotis leucura).

We found that three canids (including the red fox and feral dogs), seven members of the weasel family or mustelids (such as stoats), five rodents, two primates, two mongooses, two marsupials and nine species from other families negatively impact threatened species. Some of these species, such as hedgehogs and brushtail possums, don’t immediately spring to mind as predators, yet they are known to prey on many threatened species. 

Feral cats threaten the most species overall (430), including 63 that have become extinct. This equates to one-quarter of all bird, mammal and reptile extinctions – making the feral cat arguably the most damaging invasive species for animal biodiversity worldwide.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This what happens when the world's balance of animal populations are disturbed -- extinction. Not only are these predators in our oceans, they are all over the lands as well.

"Our research, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that these predators – cats, rats and foxes, but also house mice, possums and many others – have contributed to around 60% of bird, mammal and reptile extinctions. The worst offenders are feral cats, contributing to over 60 extinctions."
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Germany converting 62 unused military bases into nature preserves ("wise move to give back to nature")

Rare and threatened species will find reprieve in these new wilderness sanctuaries located west of the Iron Curtain.

Germany is converting 62 former military bases into wildlife preserves, encompassing more than 76,600 acres and offering a quiet reprieve for species living in the forests, meadows and marshes of the zones. These creatures include the lesser spotted eagle, middle spotted woodpecker, bats, beetles and other ecologically important species. 

"The fortified borderlands that separated communist and capitalist Europe became accidental nature reserves during the Cold War. Many of these areas are now part of the European Green Belt , a chain of habitats that runs from Norway to Turkey," reports The Huffington Post. 

"We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion — many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes," said Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. "We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature."

Bert Guevara's insight:
Besides ocean conservation, there are land areas that are better left to nature. Man is better off maintaining a balance in land development for long term sustainability and biodiversity.
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