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Renewable Energy Investment To Double Globally By 2020 - But Is Just One-Third Of What's Needed

Renewable Energy Investment To Double Globally By 2020 - But Is Just One-Third Of What's Needed | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Even with doubling renewable energy investment over the next decade, and a near tripling by 2030, just over 15% of energy use will come from clean sources.

 

Magandang balita: magiging doble na ang puhunan sa renewable energy sa susunod na sampung taon, at magiging triple sa susunod na dalawampung taon.

Masamang balita: 15% lang ito na kabuuang pangangailangan ng mundo sa enerhiya.

Mas-masamang balita: May limang taon na lang ang nalalabi sa mundo upang bumitaw sa langis bago talagang lumala ang nagbabagong klima.

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The Countries Likely to Best Survive Climate Change ("check out your own country's vulnerability")

The Countries Likely to Best Survive Climate Change ("check out your own country's vulnerability") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
This map shows the counties likely to be impacted most by climate change according to data from the Global Adaptation Index.

Climate change is here, and it will affect every country as it worsens. But the harsh reality is that its effects won’t be felt equally.

The map below highlights that while climate change is caused primarily by rich, technologically advanced nations, its impact will hit the poorest nations hardest. Most European and North American countries are relatively better prepared and less vulnerable to the effects of climate change, while many countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East exhibit a dangerous combination of high vulnerability and low preparation.

The map, by the Eco Experts, visualizes data from the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaption Index. The index, published annually since 1995, analyzes 192 countries on 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure.

The index is built on two variables: ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness,’ for which a country gets a separate mark for each. These scores tally up to produce an overall total indicating how the nation would fare.

The findings highlight the need for richer countries to do more to support poorer nations, helping them prepare for the severe impacts of climate change.

Ultimately, there will be no winners from the effects of climate change. Take, for example, the United States: Despite ranking fairly well in the index, fortifying itself against rising ocean levels could cost more than $1 trillion, according to the U.S. EPA’s sea-level experts. Meanwhile, increased heat waves, droughts and extensive downpours are all expected to wreak havoc on many parts of the country.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Philippines used to be in the Top 10 of this list of most vulnerable countries to climate change. It has since been overtaken by many African countries.

"Eight out of the top 10 countries considered most at-risk from climate change by the index are located in Africa. Hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and flooding are all real dangers for some of these areas, and this is compounded by a lack of national strategy to counteract the effects. Chad ranked lowest in the index, suggesting it will be the country hardest hit by climate change."

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Underground and on rooftops, farms set roots in big cities ("makes a lot of sense + benefits")

Underground and on rooftops, farms set roots in big cities ("makes a lot of sense + benefits") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
From the UK to China and India, innovative urban agriculture projects aim to feed the world's booming cities

In the coming decades, cities in rich and poor countries alike are set to swell and cause ever more pollution by transporting food from rural areas. Two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, versus just over half now, according to UN forecasts.

"Thirty million meals are served a day in London. We've got to get all that stuff into the city, along with all the packaging needed to bring it in. So if you can bring any food production into the city, then that's good," said Dring.

Zero Carbon Food started farming in an abandoned World War II bomb shelter in Clapham North, an upper-middle-class neighbourhood, in January 2014. The company has been growing salad leaves and root vegetables in a small test plot, using LED lights instead of sunshine and perlite crystals or thin fibre matts instead of soil.

"There's a lot of misconceptions (such as) that there's no space, which isn't true," said Thadani. "For every building in Bombay, you have that square footage of flat roof."

Gardens of Abundance, a project in Hyderabad, a southern Indian city of 8.7 million people, has likewise set up 10 organic rooftop vegetable gardens since 2012. It has held workshops at 20 apartment blocks over the past year.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Smart Agriculture requires a paradigm modification in the way we source our food. There is so much wasted space in a city that needs to feed millions daily.

"Aside from cutting food miles - the distance it takes food to get from the grower to the plate - urban farming can have other benefits that are harder to measure, such as giving city-dwellers more knowledge about and control over their food."

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The Year's 7 Most Telling Images From Space | Climate Central ("man's tracks captured from space"

The Year's 7 Most Telling Images From Space | Climate Central ("man's tracks captured from space" | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Satellites and astronauts have provided some of the amazing imagery of our planet this year.

As of July this year, there were 1,235 satellites in operation by countries around the world tracking everything fromcarbon dioxide to the weather. Throw in the International Space Station and you’ve got one heck of an Earth-observing system circling this fair planet.

The images and data from that system provides a perspective on the natural processes that shape the world and reveals the ways that humans are altering it. And they can make even everyday things look otherworldly. Like lightning. Lightning is even cooler from space.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Take a look at our changing planet from space and find out what we are doing to the planer.

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Global warming blamed for Pacific coral bleaching ("pacific areas suffering the most bleaching")

Global warming blamed for Pacific coral bleaching ("pacific areas suffering the most bleaching") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The Marshall Islands is experiencing its worst-ever coral bleaching as global warming threatens reefs across the entire northern Pacific, scientists said Monday. Marine researchers said an El Nino weather pattern had been developing in recent months, raising ocean temperatures and stressing delicate coral reefs. "The worst coral bleaching event ever recorded for the Marshall Islands has been occurring since mid-September," Karl Fellenius, a Majuro-based marine scientist with the University of Hawaii told AFP.

Fellenius said coral bleaching was a naturally occurring phenomenon but not on the scale currently being seen.

"While bleaching can occur on very hot days in pools of water with little circulation (such as) very low tides on reef flats, it has become a global problem due to greenhouse gas emissions causing elevated temperatures under climate change."

He said sea surface temperatures had been on average half to a full degree Celsius higher than normal for months, adding: "This does not seem like a lot but it makes a big difference to corals."

Fellenius said the last major bleaching event was in 1997, when an exceptionally strong El Nino system affected about a quarter of the world's coral reefs.

He said indications were that the latest episode had affected up to 75 percent of smaller corals and 25 percent of the larger varieties at some sites in the Marshalls.

He said the bleached coral was becoming covered with algae, hindering its chances of recovery.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) raised the alarm about rising sea temperatures this month on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Lima, saying 2014 was set to be the hottest year on record, consistent with man-made climate change.

"What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface," WMO chief Michel Jarraud said.

The Asian Development Bank warned last month that widespread coral bleaching would have a major impact on Pacific island nations, many of which are heavily reliant on tourism.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The extra warming of the planet is being cushioned by the oceans, but not without consequences to its corals.

Coral bleaching wrecks more damage to countries in the Pacific regions.

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Let nature play a role in climate adaptation, experts urge: TRFN ("nature has its own solutions")

Let nature play a role in climate adaptation, experts urge: TRFN ("nature has its own solutions") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
LIMA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When the rainy season comes and floods the fields, poor families in northwest Bangladesh once cut trees to survive or went hungry. Now, however, they are raising fish

Such “ecosystem-based adaptation”, which protects both communities and the environment, will be vital to helping a growing world population survive climate change impacts without destroying the natural world, experts said at the U.N. climate talks in Lima.

Such adaptation is cost-effective, he said, and can be implemented with local people, rather than relying on engineering solutions that sometimes can damage ecosystems, he said.

“For example, instead of using heavy construction material and machinery to tackle land erosion or landslides, ecosystem-based adaptation techniques such as increasing vegetation cover and planting (more) trees can help address these problems with local communities' involvement and at lower cost,” he explained.

Kit Vaughn, environment and climate change director for CARE International, said many governments consider dams the only means of effectively managing floodwater. But forests and wetlands, lakes and riverside floodplains can also act as natural sponges, he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Countries are discovering smarter ways of using nature to adapt to a changing climate. Read and understand how they do it.

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Ex-NFL star finds new passion in farming - YouTube ("a man found the real treasure & made a choice")

As part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman meets Jason Brown, who quit the NFL to tackle a new field, literally.

Dropping a $37 million contract and a lifestyle in professional sports, a major NFL center has now chosen to feed his community with sustainable farming over the pursuit of millions through passes and fumbles. And he says he is much happier with the decision.

In a move that shows the origin of fulfillment does not always come from money, St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown went against the wishes and warnings of his agent and forfeited his professional football career in order to launch a mission of feeding North Carolina locals with real food — something that is highly needed around the world. Acquiring the tools to feed the struggling individuals in his state on a major yet sustainable scale, Brown secured 1,000 acres of farm land to prepare his new harvesting operation centered around crops like sweet potatoes and cucumbers.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Remember the parable of the man who finds a treasure in a field and decides to bury the treasure, goes home and sells all that he has and buys the field. Well this true story of an ex-football player comes close.

Watch the video of how he gave up his $37M contract and goes on to become a farmer with a cause.

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House to probe disappearance of Phl rare crop varieties ("victim of commercialization? act now or it disappears")

House to probe disappearance of Phl rare crop varieties ("victim of commercialization? act now or it disappears") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The House committee on agriculture and food will look into reports that some rare, indigenous varieties of rice and other agricultural products from Cordil

The probe was prompted by House Resolution 1598 filed by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who said there is a need to find out why these endangered plant and animal varieties are disappearing.

Rodriguez asked the panel to invite representatives of the Department of Agriculture and other resource persons to shed light on the matter.

He said there are over 300 varieties of rice in the Cordillera including the traditional Javanica and Indica subspecies.

The rare rice varieties in the Cordillera are called chong-ak, imbuucan and ominio.

“These endangered food varieties should be preserved and protected to ensure they are continuously grown in the country,” he said.

The lawmaker said among other agricultural products that are disappearing from the market are the alamid coffee, which is produced from the droppings of a local palm civet; the sinarapan, the country’s smallest fish found only in Bato and Buhi lakes in Camarines Sur; the kabog, a tiny cereal plant known as millet in other countries; and the budbod kabog, a native cake made from kabog.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The downside of commercial farming - the loss of crop varieties. Now the government is asking what happened!

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Increased immunity in weeds may threaten U.S. crops - YouTube ("immuned monster weeds? bad for agri")

On Saturday, NewsHour Weekend traveled to Iowa to explore the widespread issue of herbicide-resistant and hard-to-control weeds. Millions of acres of farmlan...

Roundup use exploded in the mid-90’s with the introduction of new genetically modified crops that dominate the market today. The crops were engineered to withstand Roundup. So farmers could just spray an entire field, and the herbicide would kill the weeds, but not the crops.

Owen says it’s no mystery why this happened – it can all be explained by evolution. In Iowa, one of the weeds that’s evolved to be resistant is called “waterhemp.”

This is giant waterhemp, a weed we have down in southwest Iowa that’s become more tolerant. This plant, when it’s mature, will be, can get 5 to 6 feet tall, where it’s very heavy, you can have yields cut in half, 50 percent losses.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Not only is GM corn rejected an export product, they are beginning to develop a problem of herbicide-resistant weeds. I hope our own DA is not suckered into propagating these GM crops in the Philippines.

"The weeds are not just a problem in Iowa. In one survey, almost 50 percent of farmers across the U.S. reported herbicide-resistant weeds in their fields. The problem is worst in the south, where some cotton fields can’t be farmed. But the threat is creeping north into the corn and soybean belts."

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Tar Sands: Canada's First Nation Communities Are Paying the Price - YouTube

Dr. John O’Connor, a family physician in northern Alberta, is fighting to help the local First Nations battle the adverse health impacts of living in the sha...

In May, the United Nations called on the Canadian government to launch a special inquiry into the treatment of its First Nations. The U.N. said that more than half of all native people on government reserves face health risks due to contaminated drinking water. Environmental Defence, a Canadian environmental action group, has estimated that the tar sands tailings ponds are leaking a combined three million gallons of toxic sludge into the Athabasca River—every day.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Although far from the Philippines, this development has a negative global impact on the environment. The real price is too high to pay for cheap oil.

“The native people are dying,” musician Neil Young, an Ontario native, declared at a press conference in Washington, D.C. “All the First Nations people up there are threatened.”

The title of my Outside piece is “The High Cost of Oil.” It’s a price we might all pay, if the tar sands are fully developed and our climate faces the consequences. But for now, the First Nations of northern Alberta are covering the costs for the rest of us. 

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Judit Urquijo's curator insight, November 16, 2014 3:10 PM

Canadá ha pasado en unos años de héroe a villano en temas medioambientales.

Su retirada en 2011 del Protocolo de Kioto alegando que era preferible invertir en el propio país a cumplir las obligaciones impuestas por un marco regulatorio internacional que consideran que no sirve para nada, marcó un antes y un después que certifican ahora con su política de explotación de recursos naturales.


Canadá es una de las principales potencias energéticas del mundo, pero el gran problema que tiene es que el crudo que almacena el subsuelo canadiense está en forma de arenas bituminosas. Gran parte de las explotaciones se concentran en la provincia de Alberta, al NO del país, más concretamente en la cuenca del río Athabasca.


Desde que empezó la extracción industrial de estos recursos energéticos (1967), los casos de cáncer han aumentado de forma exponencial en la zona, ocupada en gran medida por comunidades nativas. Las explotaciones han transformado el área de un atractivo enclave natural a un paisaje desolado más propio de Hiroshima, como denuncia uno de sus habitantes en este extenso artículo (no os perdáis las imágenes que ilustran el mismo).


¿El destino de estas arenas bituminosas? Pues gran parte de las mismas van a alimentar el polémico oleoducto Keystone, que unirá Alberta con Nebraska, de donde será transportado a las refinerías de Texas. 

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Invest now or face 'irreversible' effects of climate change, U.N. panel warns ("the I word's alarming")

Invest now or face 'irreversible' effects of climate change, U.N. panel warns ("the I word's alarming") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Climate change cost will only climb if industrialized nations fail to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.N. panel warns.

The consequences of climate change go far beyond warming temperatures, which scientists say are melting the polar ice caps and raising sea levels. Click through the gallery for a look at 10 other key effects of climate change, some of which may surprise you.

Drought: In the coming decades climate change will unleash megadroughts lasting 10 years or more ...

Wildfires: There's not a direct link between climate change and wildfires, exactly. But many scientists believe the increase in wildfires in the Western United States is partly the result of tinder-dry forests parched by warming temperatures. 

Coral reefs: Scientists say the oceans' temperatures have risen by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century. It doesn't sound like much, but it's been enough to affect the fragile ecosystems of coral reefs, which have been bleaching and dying off in recent decades.

Food prices: A U.N. panel found in March that climate change -- mostly drought -- is already affecting the global agricultural supply and will likely drive up food prices. 

Pollen allergies: Are you sneezing more often these days? Climate change may be to blame for that, too. 

Deforestation: Climate change has not been kind to the world's forests. 

Mountain glaciers: The snows capping majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, once inspired Ernest Hemingway. Now they're in danger of melting away altogether. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The word IRREVERSIBLE is coming closer to reality - that is alarming!

"The Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, but that global economic growth would not be strongly affected," it said.

"Ban said it is a myth that fixing climate change will be expensive. Inaction will have large financial and societal costs, he said.

"He pointed to renewable energy and increased efficiency as two ways to address the issue."

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If we want to make climate action happen we need to hear about the solutions ("proclaim the good news")

If we want to make climate action happen we need to hear about the solutions ("proclaim the good news") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Mal Chadwick: Reports show the biggest threat to progress on climate change is cynicism. That’s why 10:10’s #itshappening project showcases positive action happening around the world now

As the RSA identified in a recent report, the real barrier to action on climate change is not climate scepticism but a sense that we can’t really do much to help. The biggest threat to progress is cynicism – resigning ourselves to climate change because we don’t think we’re up to the task of fixing it.

10:10’s #itshappening project offers a brighter view, showcasing positive practical climate action taken by people and communities around the world, as well as ambitious solutions being rolled out on a grand scale by government and businesses. The goal: to restore a sense of possibility to the climate debate, countering fatalism and isolation with hope and a feeling of shared endeavour.

Alongside concern about the consequences of inaction must come an optimistic sense that taking a low-carbon path is not just possible but often better; and that we are part of a global community walking it together. Polling we commissioned from ComRes showed that two out of three people would be more inclined to support climate action if they heard more about the solutions. And 71% say people are less likely to take action on climate change because they’re unsure of the difference their actions will make.

Bert Guevara's insight:

One major problem with climate action is reporting. As the media bombards us with the bad news, there is little momentum on the other side.

"There are many more stories out there. Nothing would make us happier to see the internet full of people sharing exciting carbon cutting projects we’ve completely missed."

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Salt Poisoning Costs Agriculture $27 Billion Every Year - Nature World News ("downside of irrigation")

Salt Poisoning Costs Agriculture $27 Billion Every Year - Nature World News ("downside of irrigation") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Imagine once healthy farmland rich with the signs of life reduced to a barren wasteland. Even as you walk across it, a strange white crust crunches under your feet, reminding you of the root of the problem: salt.

A team of international experts has now found that salt poisoning costs the world an additional 2,000 hectares of agricultural soil every day, and while some of this is natural, a large part can be blamed on irrigation.

Salt is naturally present in most soil already. However, if left to accumulate with the help of irrigation, increasingly high levels of salt can cut crop yields by 15 to 70 percent, and eventually render entire swaths of farmland unusable.

Now, a new agriculture assessment from the United Nations has found that salt poisoning is affecting more than a fifth of the world's irrigated soil, and is leading to a gradual loss in productive farmland.

The study, described in the journal Economics of Salt-induced Land Degradation and Restoration, was based on data compiled in an international effort by researchers from Canada, Jordan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Paying special attention to instances of salt poisoning among irrigated cropland, agricultural and economic experts found that salt poisoning is costing the world a whopping $27.3 billion (USD) in lost crop production.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

With 2000 hectares of agricultural land "salted" everyday, this problem will just blow up in our faces one day,

"However, the authors are quick to add that "salt-affected lands are a valuable resource that cannot be neglected nor easily abandoned."

"To feed the world's anticipated nine billion people by 2050, and with little new productive land available, it's a case of all lands needed on deck," principal author Manzoor Qadir said in a statement. "We can't afford not to restore the productivity of salt-affected lands."

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The Fifth Estate | Bio-diversity and greening the cities “next big thing” ("building eco-systems")

The Fifth Estate | Bio-diversity and greening the cities “next big thing” ("building eco-systems") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Environmental sustainability news and discussion forum

A company that manages voluntary carbon offsets for a range of developers, councils and corporates, says “green infrastructure” or greening our cities and understanding the value of natural capital is the “next big thing”.

Wayne Wescott, chief executive of Greenfleet, has challenged developers, particularly those who work on the urban fringe, to come to grips with the need for biodiversity and green infrastructure.

These developers, he says, need to be part of a broader debate on the economic value of biodiversity and green infrastructure, and the role of forests in both carbon emissions abatement and in greening our urban environments.

“The [property] sector needs to meet and drive that. That’s leadership, and it needs to take that to the next level, looking at bigger ecosystem impacts and be part of the solution. I don’t suggest this is easy at all, but that’s what leadership is about.”

The organisation is undertaking work with Blue Carbon on examining the role of mangroves and seagrasses both in carbon mitigation and in terms of the value these types of coastal vegetation have in protecting coastal development for the impacts of natural disaster.

Wescott says the degree to which Phuket in Thailand was protected from the worst impacts of tsunami is a demonstration of the bottom-line value nature can add in terms of buffering areas.

“I’m unusual in that I’m quite optimistic, I’m optimistic that the fundamentals haven’t changed about the importance of biodiversity. I don’t think we translate the language of biodiversity very well, and I still think the struggle for us is to make sure decision-makers understand the value of ecosystem services.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Real estate development is beginning to come to grips with the inevitable role of biodiversity and green infrastructure in sustainable development. We can no longer confine development with steel and concrete.

"These developers, he says, need to be part of a broader debate on the economic value of biodiversity and green infrastructure, and the role of forests in both carbon emissions abatement and in greening our urban environments."

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Polar Bears Are Migrating To Areas With Longer Lasting Ice ("animals can be climate refugees too")

Polar Bears Are Migrating To Areas With Longer Lasting Ice ("animals can be climate refugees too") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
By Steve Quinn JUNEAU, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Some polar bear clusters have slowly moved to islands north of Canada's mainland that are retaining the Arctic ice for longer, according to a new scientific study that predicts the migration...

Bear clusters from Canada's eastern Arctic area and a marine area off eastern Greenland and Siberia are journeying to the Canadian Archipelago, also known as the Arctic Archipelago, where ice is more abundant, the study found.
The channels through the islands, known as the Northwest Passages, have come to be seen as a potentially valuable shipping route as Arctic ice melts.
The region that has attracted a larger number of polar bears sits north of the Canadian mainland, close to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It is comprised of more than 36,000 islands and covers more than 550,000 square miles (1.4 million square km).
The migration has occurred during the last one to three generations of the predators, or between 15 and 45 years, U.S. Geological Survey researcher Elizabeth Peacock, the study's lead author, said in a statement.
The bears choose this area because that is "where the sea is more resilient to summer melt due to circulation patterns, complex geography and cooler northern latitudes," Peacock said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The poor polar bear is now a climate refugee.

"The Canadian Archipelago could serve as a future refuge for polar bears, who rely on Arctic ice to cross between land masses, to forage and to mate, according to the researchers.
"Since 1979, the spatial extent of Arctic sea-ice in autumn has declined by over 9 percent per decade through 2010, the researchers said, adding that recent modeling predicts that nearly ice-free summers will characterize the Arctic before mid-century."

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Two new spider species found in Makiling ("we have barely identified yet we destroy")

Two new spider species found in Makiling ("we have barely identified yet we destroy") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Two new spider species have been discovered in Mt. Makiling, the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Museum of Natural History (MNH) recently reported.  

Two new spider species have been discovered in Mt. Makiling, the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Museum of Natural History (MNH) recently reported.

Curators of the MNH's entomology section, Dr. Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo and Dr. Alberto T. Barrion, reported their discovery of the orb-weaver spider Prolochus junlitjri and the comb-footed spider Chrysso makiling in two scientific journals.

According to an article published in the Philippine Entomologist, the Prolochus junlitjri was found in Molawin Creek in Mt. Makiling. The Prolochus was said to be a new distinct genus from the subfamily Dolichognathinae of family Tetragnathidae.

Meanwhile, Chrysso makiling is identified as a Theridiidae or comb-footed spider.

According to the Asia Life Sciences Journal, the C. makiling spider was found from small trees and shrubs of dipterocarp trees near the mudspring area of Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve.

MNH director Ireneo Lit, Jr. said the discovery of the two species in Mt. Makiling further strengthens the need to preserve the Makiling Forest Reserve.

"The discovery of the two species of spiders in Mt. Makiling even further fortifies the importance of the Makiling Forest Reserve as a key biodiversity conservation area," Lit said.

"Spiders also deserve to be conserved and protected especially because they help farmers maintain the populations of pest species below economically damaging levels," he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is so much biodiversity waiting to be discovered, yet we are causing their extinction even before we have named many of them.

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Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches ("glad he is on our side")

Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches ("glad he is on our side") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Pontiff hopes to inspire action at next year’s UN meeting in Paris in December after visits to Philippines and New York

In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate change action is now in line with God's will!

"According to Vatican insiders, Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the general assembly in New York in September, when countries will sign up to new anti-poverty and environmental goals."

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soils-2015 | 2015 International Year of Soils ("composting is a good way to start; let's do it!")

soils-2015 | 2015 International Year of Soils ("composting is a good way to start; let's do it!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

"Soils constitute the foundation of vegetation and agriculture. Forests need it to grow. We need it for food, feed, fiber, fuel and much more."

"We must manage soils sustainably. There are many ways to do this. Crop diversification which is used by most of the world’s family farmers is one of them: this gives time for important nutrients to regenerate."

"We now have adequate platforms to raise awareness on the importance of healthy soils and to advocate for sustainable soil management. Let us use them."

Bert Guevara's insight:

It's time for the basics of our existence - the soil. What are we doing to nurture it? Do composting.

"Soils constitute the foundation of vegetation and agriculture. Forests need it to grow. We need it for food, feed, fiber, fuel and much more."

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'It's war!' Peru-Brazil indigenous people pledge to fight Amazon oil exploration ("no compromise!")

'It's war!' Peru-Brazil indigenous people pledge to fight Amazon oil exploration ("no compromise!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Peru - host of the COP20 UN climate conference now under way in Lima - is facing rebellion by a 3,500 strong indigenous people deep in the Amazon committed to fighting oil exploration in their forest territory, writes David Hill, following the government's failure to consult Matsés communities or respect their rights.

The Matsés have publicly opposed operations by Canada-based firm Pacific Rubiales Energy for at least five years, but they say that neither the company nor Perupetro, the government body which granted the licences to two oil concessions in Peru, are taking any notice.

"It seems that the [Peruvian] state is a child", says Dora Canë from the most remote Matsés village on the Peruvian side of the border, Puerto Alegre. "It doesn't listen. We say no, but it just carries on. It wants to extinguish us."

"We have told the company no, but it isn't listening", says Nestor Binan Waki, another Puerto Alegre resident. "Our patience is running out. We have nothing more to say. The only thing we have is our spears."

"They should respect indigenous peoples' rights, but in my view they're not doing so", says Lorenzo Tumi, also from Puerto Alegre. "We've been saying no for many years. The only weapon we have is to kill one of them. We could kill one of the company."



Bert Guevara's insight:

When enough is enough!

"We don't want this, but if there is a lot of anger it could happen", he says. "My message to the companies is that they respect our decision and understand we've lived here for a long time and want to live in peace. We didn't come from any other place. We're from here."

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Pope Francis backs global efforts to tackle climate change ("affects the poor and the weak")

Pope Francis backs global efforts to tackle climate change ("affects the poor and the weak") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
NEWS: Head of Roman Catholic church says global warming is a "social justice" issue, confirms encyclical on environment due in 2015

Pope Benedict was dubbed the first green pontiff because of his sermons on protecting the environment and installation of solar panels at the Vatican.
His successor Pope Francis appears keen on maintaining this relatively new tradition, telling the UN’s lead climate official Christiana Figueres that the environment will be one of his priorities for 2015.
In a meeting with Figueres at the Vatican, the pope confirmed he will deliver a Papal Encyclical on the environment and climate change next year.
“They discussed the challenge of climate change… which he sees as a social justice and human rights issue,” Figueres’ spokesperson Nick Nuttall said.

This type of intervention from the Vatican is not invested with infallible authority but challenges certain high profile climate sceptics who are also Catholic.

These include Cardinal Pell, an Australian now charged with running the Vatican’s budget; John Boehner, Republican leader of the US House of Representatives and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Catholic church has tried to influence the climate debate.

In 2009 ahead of the Copenhagen UN climate summit Pope Benedict called on leaders to “promote a joint development based on human dignity and for the common good.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

"...  the pope reminded MEPs they were “stewards, but not masters” with a responsibility to protect the planet for future generations.

“Our earth needs constant concern and attention,” he said. “Each of us has a personal responsibility to care for creation, this precious gift which God has entrusted to us.

“This means, on the one hand, that nature is at our disposal, to enjoy and use properly.”

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Robert Redford is The Redwood — Nature Is Speaking ("when humans arrived, all hell broke loose!")

Robert Redford is The Redwood — Nature Is Speaking ("when humans arrived, all hell broke loose!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

He’s been around longer than humans—will you listen? Robert Redford is The Redwood. www.natureisspeaking.org/redwood #NatureIsSpeaking

Bert Guevara's insight:

Listen to words of wisdom from the trees.

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Biotech Hit With Billion Dollar Lawsuit for 'Ruining Corn Industry' ("China rejects US corn exports")

Biotech Hit With Billion Dollar Lawsuit for 'Ruining Corn Industry' ("China rejects US corn exports") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Biotech giant Syngenta may have ruined the US corn industry with their GMO corn variety, and now they face billion-dollar class action suits.

Syngenta released its variety of GMO corn prior to it being approved for sale in China while making US farmers think it was going to be accepted. 

This billion dollar lawsuit comes on the heels of another. Cargill, the Big Ag giant, filed a lawsuit against Syngenta for $90 million this past September for damages against export trade losses due to China’s refusal of more than 1.4 million metric tons of corn when regulators there found traces of GMO Agrisure Viptera (MIR162), designed to create its own insecticide. 

The full complaint of the most recent lawsuit against Syngenta is as follows:

“(1) Syngenta’s release of Viptera corn into the U.S. corn and corn seed supply, which has destroyed the export of U.S. corn to China and caused depressed prices for all domestic corn; (2) Syngenta’s materially misleading statements relating to the approval status of MIR162 in China and the impact the lack of approval would have on the market; and (3) Syngenta’s widespread contamination of the U.S. corn and corn seed supply with MIR162, which will continue to foreclose the U.S. export market to China in future years and will continue to lead to lower corn prices per bushel in the U.S. market, as a result.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a serious lesson for the Philippine government, which is still entertaining GMO crops: GMO corn exports to China were rejected, bringing the US corn industry to a near collapse.

Let's get serious DA. First it was chemical fertilizers, now its GMO. Who wants to import crops grown from chemical fertilizers and pesticides or GMO?

Go ORGANIC!

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How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests ("another tale of greed and exploitation")

How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests ("another tale of greed and exploitation") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
'From 1967 to 1970, logging concessions covering over 53 million hectares were virtually gifted to global logging companies.'

Indonesia was once the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world (after the Amazon), a position it has relinquished to the rainforests of the Congo.

The flora of Borneo has about 15,000 species — richer than the whole continent of Africa, which is 40-times larger.

As many as 315,000 orangutans lolled in the branches of the giant dipterocarp forests in Borneo. Now it is estimated only 27,000 orangutans are left.

A comprehensive study of logging in Indonesia showed that in 3 years from 1967 to 1970, logging concessions covering over 53 million hectares were virtually gifted to global logging companies.

Mirroring practices honed in the Philippines, companies such as US Wyerhauser and Georgia-Pacific, and Japanese Mitsubishi were guaranteed the free repatriation of profits and tax holidays while, between 1969 and 1974, the export price of Indonesian logs rose 600%.

By 1979, Indonesia was the world’s leading producer of tropical logs, with 40% of the global market.

Apkindo flooded the world’s plywood export market. By 1987, Apkindo’s predatory pricing strategies had captured three quarters of the American import market, and 67% of the global market for tropical plywood with immense profits channeled to Hasan and Suharto’s inner circle.

By 1994 Hasan was one of the richest men on earth.

It was only at the turn of this century that someone finally looked at what was happening to Indonesia’s forest estate. The 2002 report "Where have all the forests gone" by Derek Holmes was shocking. It shows graphs of forest cover that slope inexorably toward zero.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This country is following the history of the Philippines in 20th century deforestation.

"Extrapolated downward, the slopes show no lowland rainforest for Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) by 2010, and no forests at all by 2035. In 2014 it’s not quite as bad as Holmes predicted but it’s pretty bad.

"Nearly 60% of Kalimantan’s lowland forest is gone, and any rainforest that remains is being cleared faster than ever to feed consumer demand for paper and oil palm."

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China reveals “magic” land treatment success. | Pollution | The Earth Times ("is harvest edible?")

China reveals “magic” land treatment success. | Pollution | The Earth Times ("is harvest edible?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Little is known of the most highly-developed bacterial action against some heavy metals. Against organic toxins in oil they have been tried for decades, but extra safety precautions will be essential before crops can be used for human consumption. We have had enough of Minamata disease.

The worst pollution at the moment in China is caused by heavy metals: cadmium, mercury and copper, associated also with arsenic, contaminating 50 million hectares. The microbes are able to fix these poisons so that they are not available to plants, and reside in the soil just like the miniscule amounts in rock. With many farms closed down for this treatment, there must be worries that the treatment will work in the long-term, after flooding or if other bacteria reverse the process. However, the companies involved are in most cases capable of this bioengineering.

Earth Times is having a close look at the secretive technology. The closest we have is the rock-breathing bacterium, that can be used for this kind of function, although it is better known for oil spill clean-ups. It is related to iron bacteria, sulphur bacteria, nitrogen bacteria and other chemosynthesisers.

Farm production will rise by between 15 and 80% if the crops can be safely eaten. Even more land from oil-spill pollution could also be recovered in a similar way. Even there, though, there have been concerns that enough time needs to pass before bioremediation effectively removes enough toxins from the environment. New Zealand vets have reservations about food safety there, following oil contamination. With 12 million tonnes of rice and other staples polluted each year, the highly toxic heavy metals pouring into the Yangzi and other rivers also have to be stopped, of course.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With so much pollution contaminating agricultural land, China is attempting "bioremediation" or cleaning up the mess and replanting on them. But are their harvest safe to eat? (That's why I don't trust their exports.)

"The Chinese vice minister of land and resources, Wang Shiyuan, said that 3.3 million hectares of arable land is contaminated land, in grain-producing areas. We just hope he'’s willing to eat all his rice from there, when it is declared safe for human consumption."

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Giant Tortoises Are Back From Near Extinction ("human intervention can make positive results")

Giant Tortoises Are Back From Near Extinction ("human intervention can make positive results") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
There were only 15 about 50 years ago.

Between 1963 and 1974, conservationists brought the 12 female and three male surviving giant tortoises into captivity. Over 1,500 of their offspring have since been released onto the island, and the species’ survival no longer requires human intervention, scientists said.

“The population is secure. It’s a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction,” said James P. Gibbs, the study’s lead author and a professor of at the State University of New York’s Environmental Science and Forestry, in a press release.

Reintroducing the giant tortoise population not only promotes biodiversity but also restores their position as “ecosystem engineers” who disperse seeds and other organisms, according to the report. While the population is stable, the number of Espanola giant tortoises is not likely to increase substantially until other problems in the environment, such as the overgrowth of woody plants, are resolved.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Good news for biodiversity! Humans can make positive impact on the environment, and this is one of them.

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Surge In Hydroelectricity Could Spell Disaster For Biodiversity - OilPrice com ("siting woes")

Surge In Hydroelectricity Could Spell Disaster For Biodiversity - OilPrice com ("siting woes") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
With around 3,700 hydroelectric dams under construction or in the planning stage worldwide, researchers have warned about the possible effects on biodiversity

Until recently there’s been a flattening trend globally in building hydroelectric dams, but now governments and utilities are building or planning about 3,700 major dams, most in the developing and emerging economies of Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Zarlf, of Tubingen University, cautions that the surge of development has a serious downside: The projects could reduce the number of the world’s free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent, threatening freshwater biodiversity, especially in these regions, which include some of the world’s key areas of freshwater biodiversity.

The study found, for example, that the greatest number of dams are planned for in India’s Ganges-Brahmaputra basin, and the Yangtze basin in China, both of which have among the highest rates of biodiversity in the world.

According to Zarlf, “It is vital that hydropower dams do not create a new problem for the biodiversity in the world’s freshwater systems, due to fragmentation and the expected changes in the flow and sediment regime.”

Zarlf said the purpose of the IGB study was not to oppose new hydroelectric dams, but to help evaluate where to build them and how so that they can be operated sustainably.

Klement Tockner, the director of the IGB project, agreed. “When building new dams, it is important to follow a systematic management approach that considers the ecological, social, and economic consequences of multiple dams within a river basin,” he said.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The merits of hydropower to clean energy may be pulled down by biodiversity consequences. Building megadams is the culprit because its mere size affects the ecosystem of the area in so many ways.

“It is vital that hydropower dams do not create a new problem for the biodiversity in the world’s freshwater systems, due to fragmentation and the expected changes in the flow and sediment regime.”

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