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Natural Factories of Mother Nature, the Cornerstones of Human Economy

Natural Factories of Mother Nature, the Cornerstones of Human Economy | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Our world economy always talks about gains in the form of raw value earned.

 

Isang magandang pananaw ang pagtingin sa kalikasan bilang mga pagawaan ng mga likas yaman na kailangan ng mundo. Bakit natin wawasakin ang mga pagawaang ito na nagbibigay sa atin ng hangin, tubig, pagkain, kahoy, atbp. ng libre?

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Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
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Why not learn from the best? 10 great transportation ideas from 10 great cities! ("rethinking urban")

Why not learn from the best? 10 great transportation ideas from 10 great cities! ("rethinking urban") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
if most cities decided to invest more in that type of infrastructure rather than more car parkings, pollution would go down and health and happiness would go up a lot.

Below are 10 great ideas from 10 great cities. I'm not quite sure about the outdoor escalators, but everything else is pretty awesome. Not every one of those ideas would fit everywhere (some ideas are better in hilly areas, others in flat areas), but if most cities decided to invest more in that type of infrastructure rather than more car parkings, pollution would go down and health and happiness would go up a lot.

Check out the video for the 10 great ideas from 10 great cities (well, the last one isn't exactly a city, but it's a great idea!), and if you want more one any one city, just keep scrolling down!

Bert Guevara's insight:

Take time to watch these videos of new transportation ideas from around the world. Many may be applicable to the Philippines.

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Obama rejects Keystone XL bill - CNN ("environment in political hands; safe for now")

Obama rejects Keystone XL bill - CNN ("environment in political hands; safe for now") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
President Barack Obama, exercising his veto power for the first time in five years, rejected on Tuesday a measure green-lighting the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama's signature denying the Keystone bill kicks off what's expected to be a flurry of vetoes on measures that Republicans will send to the White House now they control both chambers of Congress. The President has already threatened to reject 13 GOP-sponsored pieces of legislation, including bills rolling back the Affordable Care Act and reversing his executive action on immigration.

On Keystone, it appears unlikely GOP lawmakers will be able to reverse Obama's veto. The threshold for overriding a President's veto is a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress.

After the President's official veto message was received in the Senate at about 3:30 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the veto override will happen no later than next Tuesday.

The measure, which passed the Republican controlled House and Senate earlier this month, would have bypassed an administration review of the oil pipeline project, which if completed would transport oil from tar sands in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The reality that politics controls our environmental welfare is a scenario which needs urgent concern. The tide can turn against the environment any day!

"Obama himself has downplayed the economic benefits of the pipeline, saying America's energy strategy should encompass more than a single project.

"Let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline," he said during January's State of the Union address.

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New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact - National Geographic

New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact - National Geographic | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
National Geographic New US Dietary Recommendations First to Consider Environmental Impact National Geographic The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issued its recommendations today, calling on Americans to eat less meat, watch their sodium...

"The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains," the report says.

One critical detail is that the committee, for the first time, is including "the impact of food production, processing, and consumption on environmental sustainability" in its recommendations.

"Linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security," the committee says.

After intense lobbying by representatives of the U.S. meat industry and other special interest groups, the language calling on Americans to eat less red meat was softened somewhat by a footnote saying that lean red meat can be part of a healthy diet.

Dietary recommendations like these don't come around all that often. The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases them only every five years. A lot of science and politics can change in that time, and someone always has a beef with what ends up in the final document.

Despite some debate about saturated versus unsaturated fats, with some research suggesting that saturated fats aren't as bad as once thought, most dieticians and health experts are generally pleased with the recommendation to limit saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Food and the environmental impact, they go together.

"The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains," the report says."

One critical detail is that the committee, for the first time, is including "the impact of food production, processing, and consumption on environmental sustainability" in its recommendations.

"Linking health, dietary guidance, and the environment will promote human health and the sustainability of natural resources and ensure current and long-term food security," the committee says.


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8 'biodiversity-friendly' products from PH forests - Rappler ("your purchasing choices can support biodiversity")

8 'biodiversity-friendly' products from PH forests - Rappler ("your purchasing choices can support biodiversity") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Supporting these products can save biodiversity and provide income for forest-dependent communities who make them

The forum was organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility.

Fulfilling the requirements of a biodiversity-friendly business, all these enterprises use non-timber forest products – products which do not necessitate the cutting of trees.

Their business operations extract forest products in ways that do not harm the forest ecosystem and, in some cases, even strengthen the resilience of the ecosystem.

The government hopes that boosting these businesses will encourage forest communities to see economic value in protecting their forest.

If they become very lucrative, these communities may be weaned from pursuing economic activities that destroy the forests they live beside – activities like unsustainable agriculture, logging, unsustainable charcoal-making, hunting for endangered wildlife, and more.

These products are not only eco-friendly but promise to be unique products Filipinos can be proud of.

Here are some of the businesses and products featured at the forum:

1. Tiger grass woven products from Negros

2. Bakong plant handicrafts from Cagayan

3. Lubeg wine from Cagayan forests

4. Pandan products from Palawan

5. Nito and bamboo crafts from Antique

6. Bayong from Cagayan

7. Almaciga resin from Mount Hamiguitan

8. Coffee from Quirino Protected Landscape

Bert Guevara's insight:

These products are not found in malls. Our indigenous brothers need support for them to sustain our forests. Check out the products in this article.

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DeKalb residents effort to protect virgin forest ("subd's vs forests - the development threat")

DeKalb residents effort to protect virgin forest ("subd's vs forests - the development threat") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

County neighborhoods are trying to keep some forest land out of a developer's clutches.
Richard Marion, the president of the Briarlake Community Forest Alliance, balks at the idea of razing 21 lush acres of undisturbed forest for an Arrowhead Real Estate Partners plan to build a new subdivision with 43 upscale homes.  The property is at the intersection of Briarlake Road and Amberwood Drive. 
"This is one of the last tracts of 21 acres of virgin forest," he says.  "These trees, in some cases, are over 200 years old." 

preserved for greenspace.  They plan to show up in force at Wednesday evening's meeting of the DeKalb County Planning Commission in the Maloof Auditorium at 6:30 p.m., and lobby to preserve at least some of the forested area.  Even if a developer planted saplings, neighbors tell WSB, none of the residents would live to see the trees grow to the majestic heights of the current ones.  
"You make a mistake here, it's gone forever.  No doubt about it," says Wilson. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Earth Citizens standing up for the environment vs real estate development -- the intangible vs real-time profit! 

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Shigeharu Shimamura teams up with GE to grow lettuce indoors faster, cleaner and cheaper - YouTube

A 2300 square meter former semiconductor plant has become the world's largest indoor vegetable farm, thanks to Shigeru Shimamura and special LED lights from ...

At 25,000 square feet, the farm can yield up to 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. That’s 100 times more per square foot than traditional methods. One of the major obstacles to making indoor farming cost-effective was lighting. General Electric (GE) who partnered with Mirai, reports, “plant factories have typically used fluorescent lamps for artificial illumination, which has low initial costs.” But these fluorescent lights didn’t increase yields enough to cover the energy costs.

Then, GE and Mirai developed LEDs that “generate light in wavelengths adapted to plant growth. While reducing electric power consumption by 40 percent compared to fluorescent lighting, the facility has succeeded in increasing harvest yields by 50 percent.” Since the plants grow twice as fast with 40 percent less power, 80 percent less food waste and 99 percent less water usage than outdoor fields, Mirai has been able to recover the initial cost of the LED lights and make the cost of artificial lighting worth it.

For now, it is only half automated because various tasks including harvesting the lettuce are done by hand. Shimamura, however, predicts the emergence of harvest robots, who can seed, transplant, harvest and package the products.

Indoor agriculture takes out many of the risks inherent in outdoor crop production. By controlling light exposure, temperature, humidity and watering levels, you can grow food very efficiently. Indoor farming has the potential to produce food with less energy, less water, less waste and in less space than traditional methods. Because agriculture has such a significant impact on the environment, indoor farming offers solutions to many of the current problems. It could eliminate land conversion and habitat loss, wasteful water consumption andsoil erosion and degradation, just to name a few.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Indoor agriculture can start small; some begin with the idea of urban agriculture. These are all efforts towards adapting to climate change.

"If done correctly, indoor farming has the potential to be the best of both worlds. Mirai is by no means the only indoor farming operation in the world. There are more like this one in Chicago. 

Says Shimamura: “Finally, we are about to start the real agricultural industrialization.”

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Air pollution messes with our DNA ("that's scary! slow mutation?")

Air pollution messes with our DNA ("that's scary! slow mutation?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Researchers find small but significant changes in participants' genetic makeup after exposure to smog-like pollution.
For the study, participants sat in smog rooms for two-hour periods. They reportedly knew what they were doing and what they were getting into — although one has to wonder why anyone would subject themselves to the very thing so many of us seek to avoid, even in the name of science. Researchers took two blood samples from the participants, one after the participants had been in the aquarium breathing filtered air for two hours and again when they had been in the room for two hours when it was filled with pollution. The study found that while the DNA in each participant's sample pair was identical, the DNA methylation patterns — the layer of methyl molecules over DNA that work to turn genes on or off — changed after the volunteers sat in the smog-filled room.Researchers were quick to point out that it is unclear what long-term effects this change in the methylation pattern could have on human health. It could have no effect at all, or it could be the tipping point in a process that triggers cancer, asthma, inflammation or behavioral disorders. The results may have been subtle, but researchers note that the results were consistent, and statistically significant. Roughly 400 of the 50,000 genes examined were methylated differently after the participants were exposed to the pollution. It may not seem like a lot, but then again, this was after only two hours of exposure to simulated pollution.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Still too early to tell, but definitely air pollution alters our quality of life in both short and long term. 

"The next step for researchers will be to look at each of those altered gene patterns and try to understand what effect the change might have on human health. If they can unlock that mystery, they might finally begin to understand the effect that the air we breathe has on our very DNA."

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England's environment 'in decline' ("now it can be said; economy needs natural capital to rise")

England's environment 'in decline' ("now it can be said; economy needs natural capital to rise") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
England's natural environment is in decline and its deterioration is harming the economy, an independent advisory group warns.

The Natural Capital Committee says pressures will rise with population growth and has called for a 25-year investment plan.

Its report said measures like investing in improved air quality and greener cities would bring economic benefits.

Defra said it had set "long-term goals" to halt "decades of decline".

The committee also advised that creating hundreds of thousands of hectares of woodland and wetlands would lead to multi-million pound benefits, including avoiding flooding and improving health.

It says the government, businesses and society as a whole should be involved in the 25-year strategy to protect England's "natural capital" - its assets which include forests, rivers, land and wildlife.

Committee chairman Professor Dieter Helm said in the introduction to its third and final report: "There is now a great opportunity to improve the wellbeing and prosperity of both urban and rural populations and restore some of the natural capital that has been lost.

The report calculates that health costs can be reduced by cleaning up dirty air; floods can be tempered by creating new wetlands; and better green spaces in cities can tempt people outdoors to improve their physical and mental well-being.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Are they teaching this in business schools today? Long term sustainability and overall growth cannot remove nature in the equation.

"Good value investments include saving on health spending by cleaning up dirty air, preventing floods by restoring peat bogs and creating wetlands, improving fisheries and improving green spaces in cities to get people outdoors and improve their mental and physical health."

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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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Three questions about India’s “smart cities” ("smartly managed cities that use resources wisely")

Three questions about India’s “smart cities” ("smartly managed cities that use resources wisely") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
India wants to build 100 "smart cities". Nobody really knows what it means - but Jon Kher Kaw says it's the ambition that counts; the detail can come later.

While “smart cities” is not a new concept, it is nonetheless a loosely-defined moniker that often conjures up images of technologically-integrated and meticulously-planned cities that rely on information technology as panacea for many of their problems – from the use of sensors to smart grids and data analytics that allow city infrastructure and services to meet citizen demands efficiently and reliably. For many, this ambition remains elusive in the Indian context, given that the basic amenities and infrastructure in many existing cities such as water supply, sanitation, sewerage, electricity and traffic management are generally not in place.

But ironically, this is also precisely why India desperately needs a system of smart(er) cities. India’s cities are growing faster than its capacity to manage them. Therefore, city models with smarter approaches to city planning and management, which not only depart from business-as-usual activities but are also able to leapfrog and transform India’s cities through modernization and good urban management, are critically needed.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The global movement of people to urban centers should give rise to smarter cities. Firstly, we have to elect smart leaders, otherwise urban decay will continue.

"Going forward, India’s 100 smart cities must similarly strive to differentiate themselves so as to become India’s model for urban development and growth, that is all at once – “innovative”, “sustainable”, “ecologically-friendly”, “resilient”,  “livable” and, of course, “smart.”

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Agriculture Must Be Central to Climate Deal, Experts Say - Voice of America ("smart agriculture needed")

Agriculture Must Be Central to Climate Deal, Experts Say - Voice of America ("smart agriculture needed") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Bigger droughts, more frequent flooding, more devastating storms — these are some of the effects that climate change is already having on our planet. And farmers, many of them small, famil...

And farmers, many of them small, family growers in developing countries, are on the front lines. They'll have to feed a world population that is expected to climb from just over 7 billion today to about 9.6 billion in 2050.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, said agriculture must become more sustainable, more resilient and more inclusive to respond to climate change — and to ensure that the poorest people have access to food.

"Always, the poorest and the smallest are the most vulnerable," he said, "starting from the fact they are already in marginal awareness, so they are the first to be affected by a drought or a flooding that are the current, ongoing impacts of climate change."

The FAO chief spoke Friday at an international meeting in Paris looking at the impact of climate change on agriculture. The city, which opened its yearly international agricultural show Saturday, will host a major U.N. climate conference in December intended to reach an international deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

If "climate-smart" agriculture is the key; then we need "climate-smart" farmers!

"It's one thing just to send out an alarm that there are going to be weather pattern changes," she said. "But what is important for the farmer is how is a farmer going to be able to survive. So resilience is going to be a key word — and that, of course, goes with innovations."

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8 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Climate Movement in 2015 » EcoWatch ("on a roll; looking good")

8 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Climate Movement in 2015 » EcoWatch ("on a roll; looking good") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this December may be our best opportunity to solve the climate crisis before it’s too late. In Lima last year,

The People’s Climate March in New York City last September was among the most diverse actions I’ve ever been to. An estimated 400,000 people joined the march and frontline communities were front and center. People of color have long occupied the frontlines in confronting climate change, but now it seems climate justice advocates are receiving long overdo recognition as movement leaders. Low income youth of color will be the most affected by the changing climate, so it’s about time our climate movement embraces more frontline voices. We still have long way to go in the struggle for climate justice, but I believe in 2015 we’ll see another big leap forward in the support of frontline leadership.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be huge for the climate movement. Here are my top eight reasons to get excited about what we are building together.

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Infographic: What the net-zero homes of the future will look like ("we can do it one step at a time")

Infographic: What the net-zero homes of the future will look like ("we can do it one step at a time") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Net-zero homes are becoming more feasible for the average home owner. So what will the future of net-zero living look like?

While previously the purview of a very niche (and often expensive) housing market, net-zero homes are quickly becoming both an economically sound and sustainable proposal. The average price of an installed solar-power systems has declined more than 50% since 2010 and in 42 out of 50 of America’s largest cities, fully-financed, typically-sized solar system costs less that local utility energy. Right now, only 370 homes certified as ‘net-zero energy ready’ by Department of Energy, but demand continues to rise considerably. So what will the future of net-zero living look like? Check out the infographic below to see.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Attention Architects and Real Estate Developers:

It's about time we prioritize sustainability and ecological parameters when designing and building homes.They may cost a little more at start-up, but definitely economical in the long-run.

Building "green" or eco-friendly homes is for everyone's interest.

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Would you buy a 'biodiversity-friendly' product? - Rappler ("time to identify & support them")

Would you buy a 'biodiversity-friendly' product? - Rappler ("time to identify & support them") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The government hopes to enforce a certification scheme that will tell consumers if products conserve biodiversity and promote the welfare of indigenous peoples

Soon, consumers may find Philippine products labeled with a sticker certifying them as "biodiversity-friendly."

The government is hoping to launch a certification scheme to promote this new green label for products and enterprises in the Philippines.

A Joint Administration Order (JAO) between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, then Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Tourism (DOT) is now in the works and is set for release within the year, said Joy Reyes Eugenio of the Biodiversity Partnerships Project under the DENR.

"It will distinguish these products above the rest as safe for biodiversity. It's like you're putting a premium on the product. There's already a niche market for eco-friendly products," Eugenio told Rappler.

A draft of the JAO obtained by Rappler defines "biodiversity-friendly" enterprises as enterprises that "promote the sustainable use of biological resources; create wealth and value; and open opportunities for the equitable sharing of benefits among stakeholders."

Bert Guevara's insight:

What are BD-friendly businesses?

1. Business that rely on forest or marine resources as raw materials but have practices that replenish biodiversity

2. Businesses that divert communities from using up forest or marine resources

3. Businesses that generate fees that encourage maintenance and protection of biodiversity

4. Businesses that use non-timber forest products or marine resources that are still abundant

 

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Wild birds 'may spread flu virus' ("we can't stop bird migration; but we can stop the flu")

Wild birds 'may spread flu virus' ("we can't stop bird migration; but we can stop the flu") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Migratory birds may be spreading viruses that cause bird flu around the world, say scientists.

Wild birds with long migratory routes should be monitored for exposure to H5N8 and control measures in poultry should be updated, as they appear to be "insufficient", they added.

Scientists are also investigating other ways that bird flu viruses can spread around the world, including through illegal poultry trade and contamination of vehicles or equipment.

Experts said there were no known direct migration routes from East Asia to Europe, but infected migratory birds from East Asia could in theory pass the virus on to other species at breeding and stopover places in Eurasia.

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu.

"This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.

"I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises."


Bert Guevara's insight:

This is the downside of bird migration. But this should not sway our attention from the vanishing migration stops that are vanishing all over the world due to development.

"The British response to bird flu is oriented towards agriculture - that's fine because of course we need to protect our poultry industry - but in order to really understand bird flu we should also study it in its natural setting," he told BBC News.

"Then we'll have a better 'early warning system' for what might be a threat to agriculture in the future."

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Farming Now Worse For Climate Than Deforestation | Climate Central ("shifting aim to agriculture")

Farming Now Worse For Climate Than Deforestation | Climate Central ("shifting aim to agriculture") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Farming is now the leading source of land-based greenhouse gas pollution as deforestation has slowed.

A new study describes how this trend has seen agriculture overtake deforestation as the leading source of land-based greenhouse gas pollution during the past decade. While United Nations climate negotiations focus heavily on forest protections, the researchers note that delegates to the talks ignore similar opportunities to reform farming.

The research shows that the recent climate-protecting gains in forests are being nearly canceled out by efforts to satisfy the world’s growing appetite — particularly its appetite for meat. Greenhouse gases released by farming, such as methane from livestock and rice paddies, and nitrous oxides from fertilizers and other soil treatments rose 13 percent after 1990, the study concluded. Agricultural climate pollution is mostly caused by livestock. Cows and buffalo are the worst offenders — their ruminating guts and decomposing waste produce a lot of methane. They produce so much methane, and eat so much fertilized feed, that livestock are blamed for two-thirds of agriculture’s climate pollution every year.

“We’re seeing an expansion of agricultural lands in some areas because of the growing global population,” Jackson, who is a co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, which studies the global carbon cycle, said. “We’re also seeing intensification of agriculture.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Environment advocacy priorities change: yesterday it was deforestation, today it's agriculture.

 

"... agriculture’s climate impactscould be reduced without taking food off tables. Reducing the overuse of fertilizers, protecting the organic content of soils by changing farming practices, and keeping rice paddies flooded for fewer weeks every season could all contribute to a climate solution, he said.

"The biggest opportunities for reforming agriculture’s climate impacts can sometimes be found miles from where any food is grown. Reducing waste where food is sold, prepared, eaten and, in many cases, partly tossed in the trash as uneaten leftovers or unsellable produce, reduces the amount of land, fertilizer and equipment needed to feed everybody. “Shifting consumption toward less beef and more chicken, and reducing waste of meat in particular, are what seem to have the biggest potential,”

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How concerned are CEOs about climate change? Not at all ("profits higher as temp warmer; who cares?")

How concerned are CEOs about climate change? Not at all ("profits higher as temp warmer; who cares?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
In an annual PwC survey of chief executives, global warming didn’t even make the list of key concerns or priorities this year, falling far below regulation and taxation

In a critical year for action to prevent runaway climate change, one would hope the issue would rank high on chief executives’ list of business risks to worry about.

So it comes as a shock to discover that climate change appears so low on their list of concerns that professional services group PricewaterhouseCoopers did not even bother to include it in its global survey of business leaders.

PwC’s 18th annual global CEO survey, released Tuesday to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, failed to even ask 1,322 business leaders about their global warming concerns after only 10% registered concern the previous year.

A spokeswoman for PwC said that climate change did not make it into the top 19 risks CEOs were questioned about because of their lack of interest in the subject.

At a time when sustainability experts are calling for tougher regulation to drive climate action, the PwC survey shows that overregulation leads the list of CEOs’ perceived risks, with 78% saying it threatens their organisation’s growth prospects.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is it time to review the curriculum of business schools?

"More evidence that CEOs are not engaged on climate change comes from the responses to a question about their top priorities for government. Only 6% of respondents listed reducing the risk of climate change as a priority, putting it at the bottom of the list."

 

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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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