Earth Citizens Perspective
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Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
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A New NASA Tool Tracks The Slow Destruction Of Our Trees

A New NASA Tool Tracks The Slow Destruction Of Our Trees | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
It’s the holy grail for those hunting illegal logging: a satellite tool to find deforestation anywhere in the world around the clock.

NASA researchers at Ames laboratory in California teamed up with the environmental news and watchdog site, Mongabay, to create the tool: the Global Forest Disturbance Alert system. Every three months, the system compiles data from the entire Earths’ surface for signs of forest loss down to five square kilometers. Anyone can get this free, timely comprehensive look at the 50,000 square miles of forest lost each year.

What are you tracking exactly?

[We] measures changes in vegetation cover on a quarterly basis. The tool was developed for Mongabay by researchers at NASA Ames. It only picks up large-scale change, like new plantations or clear-cutting, rather than smallholder activity (with a resolution of 5 KM).

We plan to roll out an alert system which would enable a user to subscribe for a regency, protected area, province, or the entire country, and then be alerted if deforestation is detected. We’re also hoping to make the tool monthly, rather than quarterly in the near future.

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UK forests 'under unprecedented threat from disease' - the planet is sick with no competent doctor.

UK forests 'under unprecedented threat from disease' - the planet is sick with no competent doctor. | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The EU plant health regime is no longer fit for purpose in preventing fatal plant diseases, says the Forestry Commission...

The discovery of the ash dieback fungus in East Anglia last week is just the latest invader to pose a serious threat to UK trees, but the government ecologists say that more than 3 million larch trees as well as thousands of mature oaks and chestnuts have been felled in the past three years to prevent similar fatal plant diseases from spreading out of control.

"We are under an unprecedented level of threat from a range of exotic pests and diseases, a lot associated with the international trade in live plants," said the Forestry Commission. "There are protections in place but the EU plant health regime is no longer fit for purpose. Too many pests and diseases are still getting through."

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Smart Agriculture - Zimbabwe turns to drought-resistant crops - AlertNet

Smart Agriculture - Zimbabwe turns to drought-resistant crops - AlertNet | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
As rainfall becomes more irregular, the government is finally moving to help hard-hit farmers cope (RT @alertnetclimate: Drought-hit Zimbabwe finally turning to resistant crops http://t.co/frZ6FycF...

But this could soon change, thanks to progress by government scientists researching faster-maturing and drought-tolerant seed varieties, holding out the hope of much-needed relief for thousands of farmers across the country.

The Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC), in partnership with the University of Zimbabwe and Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) has developed a drought-resistant variety of maize seed called Sirdamaize 113.

Farmers have had to wait between 150 and 180 days before harvesting their traditional maize crop, but the centre says the new seed takes only 136 days to mature.

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Global Climate Action Map - What actions are countries taking on climate change?

Global Climate Action Map - What actions are countries taking on climate change? | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
So what countries are taking action on climate change? A new, interactive map by The Climate Institute shows who's doing what. ("What actions are countries taking on #climate change?
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Feed your soil — and the rest will follow

Feed your soil — and the rest will follow | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
What absorbs water, nutrients, and CO2, while helping even the biggest corn and soy farms hurdle many of the most pressing climate obstacles? Healthy soil, that's what.
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Earthquakes Triggered by Dams (Besides underground water extraction)

Earthquakes Triggered by Dams (Besides underground water extraction) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
RT @americanrivers: New research: earthquakes can be induced by dams.

In a paper prepared for the World Commission on Dams, Dr. V. P Jauhari wrote the following about this phenomenon, known as Reservoir-Induced Seismicity (RIS): "The most widely accepted explanation of how dams cause earthquakes is related to the extra water pressure created in the micro-cracks and fissures in the ground under and near a reservoir. When the pressure of the water in the rocks increases, it acts to lubricate faults which are already under tectonic strain, but are prevented from slipping by the friction of the rock surfaces."

Given that every dam site has unique geological characteristics, it is not possible to accurately predict when and where earthquakes will occur. However, the International Commission on Large Dams recommends that RIS should be considered for reservoirs deeper than 100 meters.

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Rice agriculture accelerates global warming: More greenhouse gas per grain of rice

Rice agriculture accelerates global warming: More greenhouse gas per grain of rice | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Rice agriculture accelerates global warming: More greenhouse gas per grain of rice (sciencedaily): Share With Fr...

Methane in rice paddies is produced by microscopic organisms that respire CO2, like humans respire oxygen. More CO2 in the atmosphere makes rice plants grow faster, and the extra plant growth supplies soil microorganisms with extra energy, pumping up their metabolism. Increasing CO2 levels will also boost rice yields, but to a smaller extent then CH4 emissions. As a result, the amount of CH4 emitted per kilogram of rice yield will increase. Rising temperatures were found to have only small effects on CH4 emissions, but because they decrease rice yield, they also increase the amount of CH4 emitted per kilogram of rice. "Together, higher CO2 concentrations and warmer temperatures predicted for the end of this century will about double the amount of CH4 emitted per kilogram of rice produced.,"

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Deadly 2011 earthquake linked to groundwater extraction (man-made quakes?)

Deadly 2011 earthquake linked to groundwater extraction (man-made quakes?) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An earthquake that killed nine people in Spain last year may have been triggered by decades of pumping water from a nearby natural underground reservoir, suggesting human activities (RT @leblancetienne: Issh RT @Lactu_Borde:...

The study's lead author, Pablo Gonzalez of the University of Western Ontario, said he and his colleagues reckoned that the quake was related to a drop in the level of groundwater in a local aquifer, which can create pressure at the Earth's surface.

To test that theory, they used satellite data to see how the terrain was deformed by the earthquake, and found that it correlated to changes in the Earth's crust caused by a 273-yard (250-metre) drop in the natural groundwater level over the last five decades due to groundwater extraction.

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Crop Rotation Generates Profits without Pollution (or, What Agribusiness Doesn’t Want You to Know) - The Equation

Crop Rotation Generates Profits without Pollution (or, What Agribusiness Doesn’t Want You to Know) - The Equation | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Over a period of nine years (2003-2011) on the Marsden Farm at Iowa State, the researchers replicated the conventional Midwestern farming system—a highly simplified rotation of corn and soybeans on the same fields on a two-year cycle, with copious additions of chemical fertilizers and herbicides. Alongside it, they grew two multi-crop alternatives: a 3-year rotation incorporating another grain (triticale or oats) plus a red clover cover crop, and a 4-year rotation that added alfalfa (a key livestock feed) into the mix.

In addition to incorporating more crops, the longer rotations at the Marsden Farm also brought animals back into the mix. The authors note that:

Reintegration of crop and livestock production, as represented by the forage legumes and manure applications present in the more diverse systems, is not simply another aspect of cropping system diversification. Instead, it embodies an important principle in sustainable agriculture: system boundaries should be drawn to minimize externalities.


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Philippines puts Xstrata mine on hold

Philippines puts Xstrata mine on hold | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A $5.9-billion mining project by Swiss giant Xstrata in the Philippines may not begin operations in 2016 as scheduled owing to delays in getting environmental clearance, the government said Wednesday.

President Benigno Aquino said Wednesday the government was prepared to risk losing "temporary gains" rather than allow fresh mining projects to proceed before the new law was put into place.

"I don't have that confidence at this point in time that the existing laws do adequately protect our environment or do adequately share the resources that belongs to the people of this country," he told a press forum.

"So that's the name of the game. Do I risk the environment, the health of our people, the loss of our resources for some temporary gain at this point in time?"

Sagittarius Mines Inc, Xstrata's local unit that is developing the Tampakan project, had set a timetable of 2016 to begin operations.

It has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the project, but further work has been stymied by a ban from local authorities on a planned giant open pit.

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25 primate species reported on brink of extinction

25 primate species reported on brink of extinction | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
RT @the_hindu: 25 primate species reported on brink of extinction http://t.co/jd4Jd01T...

Twenty-five species of monkeys, langurs, lemurs and gorillas are on the brink of extinction and need global action to protect them from increasing deforestation and illegal trafficking, researchers said Monday.

Six of the severely threatened species live on the island nation of Madagascar, off southeast Africa. Five more from mainland Africa, five from South America and nine species in Asia are among those listed as most threatened.

Primates, mankind’s closest living relatives, contribute to the ecosystem by dispersing seeds and maintaining forest diversity.

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A dramatic picture taken by Michael Nolan has been...

A dramatic picture taken by Michael Nolan has been... | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A dramatic picture taken by Michael Nolan has been dubbed the face of Mother Nature crying on a canvas of melting ice and cascading water on a Norwegian Glacier. Randy Schutt discovered this amazing photo which shows a crying face in an ice cap located on Nordaustlandet, in the Svalbard archipelago of Norway. The tears of this natural sculpture were created by a waterfall of glacial water cascading from one of the face’s eyes, thus painting an alarming picture warning the world about the effects of global warming. Michael Nolan is a marine photographer and environmental lecturer. He has captured this picture while on an annual voyage to observe the glacier and surrounding wildlife. It’s best to quote Nolan’s words on this:

“This is how one would imagine mother nature would express her sentiments about our inability to reduce global warming. It seemed an obvious place for her to appear, on a retreating ice shelf, crying.”

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Private sector to manage mangrove forest | The Jakarta Post

Private sector to manage mangrove forest | The Jakarta Post | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Daily English language newspaper in Indonesia (Wow//#Indonesia Private sector to manage mangrove forest via@JP http://t.co/YAoqYen3 http://t.co/20o1BW6b...)...

The investor has been given permission to build 75 temporary wooden gazebos in the area for accommodation, as well as a restaurant. The area will also be opened up for fishing and water sports. However, strict requirements are applied to ensure the investor maintains the mangrove forest’s ecosystem.

Wiranatha denied that the governor’s decision would damage the mangrove forests. He said the investor had only been given the right to build temporary buildings on empty spaces without cutting down mangroves.

“Only 10 percent of the total area of the forests can be built on. They must keep the remaining forest natural,” Wiranatha said.

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Pakistan leader's mangrove-to-metropolis dream (There goes the mangroves and the wetlands!)

Pakistan leader's mangrove-to-metropolis dream (There goes the mangroves and the wetlands!) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
SHAH BANDAR, Pakistan — In his dreams, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari sees a spectacular metropolis rising up from the vast stretches of mangrove swamp and sea-salted wasteland along the mighty Indus River Delta.

 

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A Big Storm Requires Big Government (This formula works well, even in the Philippines.)

A Big Storm Requires Big Government (This formula works well, even in the Philippines.) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
But Mitt Romney wants to give FEMA’s central emergency responsibilities to 50 flailing states.

Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.

 

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Is This The World's First 100% Organic, Chemically Free Nation?

Is This The World's First 100% Organic, Chemically Free Nation? | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

October 24, 2012 | Wake Up World

The tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan serves as home to just 738,000 people—about the population of Alaska. But this tiny landlocked nation is on track to make one of the biggest pro-organic moves in the world.... http://wakeup-world.com/2012/10/24/is-this-the-worlds-first-100-organic-nation/

 

-October 3, 2012 - Common Dreams

Bhutan Pledges to be First 100% Organic, Chemically-Free Nation

The small nation of Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas between China and India, is committed to becoming the first "hundred percent organic" "chemical-free" nation within decade.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/10/03-4


Via pdjmoo, Digital Sustainability
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Environment: Antarctic ozone hole getting smaller - Summit County Citizens Voice

Environment: Antarctic ozone hole getting smaller - Summit County Citizens Voice | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Examiner.comEnvironment: Antarctic ozone hole getting smallerSummit County Citizens VoiceSuomi NPP is a bridging mission leading to the next-generation polar-orbiting environmental satellites called the Joint Polar Satellite System, will extend...

This is the first year growth of the ozone hole has been observed by an ozone-monitoring instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. The instrument, called the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite (OMPS), is based on previous instruments, such as the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument (SBUV/2). OMPS continues a satellite record dating back to the early 1970s.
In addition to observing the annual formation and extent of the ozone hole, scientists hope OMPS will help them better understand ozone destruction in the middle and upper stratosphere with its Nadir Profiler. Ozone variations in the lower stratosphere will be measured with its Limb Profiler.

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Filling Our Landfills (From 18,500 in 1979; only 1754 left in 2006) - "Time for 3Rs"

Filling Our Landfills (From 18,500 in 1979; only 1754 left in 2006) - "Time for 3Rs" | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Landfill statistics show that in 1979, approximately 18,500 landfills were available to receive trash all across the United States. In 1990, just 11 years later, this number was drastically decreased by almost 60%. According to the landfill statistics given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 1988 there were 7,924 landfills available in the US. In 2006, there were only 1,754 left. This continued decrease in available landfill space is relative to the amount of trash that has been increasing in great proportions.

At present, the biggest landfill in the US is located in Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada. This location alone received 3,824,814 tons of trash in 2007. The second largest is located in Puente Hills, Whittier, California that received 3,756,718 tons of trash in the same year.

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Seeds of hope amidst Philippine floods: Rice that can survive underwater - this is "smart" agriculture!

Seeds of hope amidst Philippine floods: Rice that can survive underwater - this is "smart" agriculture! | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Amidst horrendous flooding around Manila and major rice-growing across Luzon in the Philippines, some good news has emerged for rice farmers -- Submarino rice -- rice that can survive around two weeks of being under water.

Submarino rice was bred by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and can survive floods if they occur before flowering. The latest Submarino variety was released in the Philippines in 2009 and disseminated and promoted by the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to help rice farmers in times of floods and typhoons.

Philippine Secretary of Agriculture Proceso Alcala said, "IRRI is one of our partner agencies that studies and promotes the propagation of Submarino rice varieties that can recover even after being submerged for 14 days."

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Double dose of pesticide poses new danger for bumblebees

Double dose of pesticide poses new danger for bumblebees | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The combination of two pesticides commonly used on UK fields can have damaging effects on the behaviour of bumblebees and cause their colonies to collapse, new research by British scientists has found.

The findings, which come from a Government-funded study, represent the fifth major piece of research to appear this year linking the worldwide and worrying declines of bees to pesticides, and in particular to the use of the relatively new nerve-agent pesticides, the neonicotinoids.

This new study is considered particularly important because bees forage widely so are likely to encounter more than one type of pesticide.

Published last night in Nature online, the study reports that exposure to two commonly used pesticides, one a neonicotinoid and the other from a different pesticide family, a pyrethroid, at concentrations approximating what might be found in the field, impaired the natural foraging behaviour of bumblebees. This led to increased numbers of deaths and in some cases the failure of colonies. The compounds involved were made by major agrochemical manufacturers: the most widely used neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, manufactured by Bayer and already implicated in problems with bees in earlier studies, was one, while the pyrethroid was lambda-cyhalothrin, originally developed by Syngenta.

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Panel recommends 10-year moratorium on Bt crop trial - The Economic Times

Panel recommends 10-year moratorium on Bt crop trial - The Economic Times | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A panel of scientists set up on the orders of the Supreme Court has recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all genetically modified or Bt food crops.

The panel unanimously recommended a moratorium until specific sites for conducting field trials have been designated and certified, and sufficient mechanisms for monitoring the trials put in place. The experts have said that a panel of scientists, qualified in evaluation of the biosafety data of GM crops must be appointed to scrutinise and analyse safety data. They suggest mandatory inclusion of preliminary bio-safety tests prior to field trials, including sub-chronic toxicity in small animals.

Addressing concerns over the impact on health, environment and other social-economic consideration, the panel's interim report called for a moratorium on field trials of herbicide-tolerant crops. The moratorium should be in place until an independent committee of experts and stakeholders "has examined and assessed the potential impact of herbicide tolerant technology and its suitability in the Indian context", the report said.

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Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering

Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Contrary to claims by seed companies, GM crops actually give lower yield, disturbs the plants’ genetic structure and do not assure safety, according to a section of scientists (RT @GMWatch: Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering

In April 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published a report ‘Failure to Yield’ confirming that “after 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialisation, GM crops have failed to increase yields” and that “traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down”.

In a letter written to the Prime Minister of India in 2009, as many as 17 distinguished scientists from the U.S., Canada, Europe and New Zealand pointed out that the claims relating to higher yield and protection of environment made for GM crops are absolutely false.

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allAfrica.com: Africa: Vital Economic and Environmental Role of Wetlands Must Be Recognized to Avoid Further Degradation and Losses

allAfrica.com: Africa: Vital Economic and Environmental Role of Wetlands Must Be Recognized to Avoid Further Degradation and Losses | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Global and local water cycles are strongly dependent on healthy and productive wetlands, which provide clean drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, and flood regulation, as well as supporting biodiversity and propping up industries such as fisheries and tourism in many locations.

Yet, despite the high value of these ecosystem services, wetlands continue to be degraded or lost at an alarming pace, according to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands report, released for consultation today at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention for Biological Diversity.

Half of the world's wetlands were lost during the twentieth century - due mainly to factors such as intensive agricultural production, unsustainable water extraction for domestic and industrial use, urbanization, infrastructure development and pollution. The continuing degradation of wetlands is resulting in significant economic burdens on communities, countries and businesses.

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UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013 | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Combination of record low grain stocks, extreme weather, and rising food prices threaten disaster and unrest (RT @Peepsqueak: #UN warns of looming worldwide #foodcrisis in 2013 | http://t.co/tkGm0vUG...

"We've not been producing as much as we are consuming. That is why stocks are being run down. Supplies are now very tight across the world and reserves are at a very low level, leaving no room for unexpected events next year," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.

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Australia Plants World's Largest Pallet Garden

Australia Plants World's Largest Pallet Garden | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Giant cube of edible plants is awesome!...

The Great Crate is an art installation commissioned for the City of Sydney’s Art & About public art festival. A couple hundred plastic shipping crates were used to create this four-sided vertical edible garden in the shape of a cube.

The Great Crate garden is 100% recyclable. After the art festival has run its course it will be dismantled and the crates will be put back to use with the plants distributed back into the community. In preparation for the installation, the team behind The Great Crate distributed broad bean seeds throughout the community and asked people to grow the plants for the giant cube.

Containers and bottles that would normally have ended up in the trash were upcycled as seed starters and planters by participants who were eager to be part of the creation of this art piece.


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