Earth Citizens Perspective
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Earth Citizens Perspective
Developments affecting the environment worldwide
Curated by Bert Guevara
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Biotech Bacteria Could Convert Methane to Liquid Diesel | Environment News Service

Biotech Bacteria Could Convert Methane to Liquid Diesel | Environment News Service | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
%environment_news_service% (Biotech Bacteria Could Convert Methane to Liquid Diesel | Environment News Service http://t.co/PPO9ANxD)

The University of Washington is taking the lead and focusing on genetically modifying microbes called methanotrophs that grow naturally on methane. They have a natural ability to make fats, or lipids, from the gas. ...

“The product that we’re shooting for will have the same fuel characteristics as diesel,” said principal investigator Mary Lidstrom, a UW professor of chemical engineering and microbiology. “It can be used in trucks, boats, buses, cars, tractors – anything that diesel does now.”

The amount of natural gas flared or vented from oil wells globally is equal to one-third of the amount of petroleum used in the United States each year. And methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Every molecule of methane vented to the atmosphere in that process has the global-warming capacity of 12 molecules of carbon dioxide.

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Barack Obama 'seriously considering' hosting climate summit

Barack Obama 'seriously considering' hosting climate summit | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Campaign groups say US president could use bipartisan summit to launch a national climate strategy (RT @guardianeco: Barack Obama 'seriously considering' hosting #climate change summit http://t.co/0RUYih1O)...

They say the White House has given encouraging signals to a proposal for Obama to use the broad-based and bipartisan summit to launch a national climate action strategy.

"What we talked about with the White House is using it as catalyst not just for the development of a national strategy but for mobilising people all over the country at every level," said Bob Doppelt, executive director of the Resource Innovation Group, the Oregon-based thinktank that has been pushing for the high-level meeting. He said it would not be a one-off event.

"What I think has excited the White House is that it does put the president in a leadership role, but it is not aimed at what Congress can do, or what he can do per se, so much as it is aimed at apprising the American public about how they can act."

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Citizens, Not Consumers, Are Key to Solving Climate Crisis | Q&A | BillMoyers.com

Citizens, Not Consumers, Are Key to Solving Climate Crisis | Q&A | BillMoyers.com | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Annie Leonard, director of The Story of Stuff, says reusable water bottles and canvas shopping bags are not enough.

Each of us has two different roles we play in society, almost like two muscles: a consumer muscle and a citizen muscle. Our consumer muscle is spoken to and validated constantly. We’re called upon to use it every day and, as a result, we’re really good at it. It’s overdeveloped so much that being a consumer is our primary role in society so much that the words “consumer” and “person” are used interchangeably. At the same time, our citizen muscle has atrophied. So when we’re faced with problems as gigantic as disruption of the global climate, we stick with the familiar consumer muscle. We buy green products, switch our lightbulbs, reject bottled water, carry a reusable bag to the store. Now, don’t get me wrong – those are all very good things to do. But those are not about making transformative change like we need right now. To do this, we need to step out of our consumer role and into our citizen role and work together, through our democratic structures, to achieve big bold change. Perfecting our day to day eco-choices can be a step in the right direction, or it can be a distraction if we’re deluded into thinking that we’ve done our part since we shopped at Whole Foods. That’s why the subtitle of our last movie is “Why citizens, not shoppers, hold the key to a better world.” We need to start excersizing our citizen muscles again.

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How Monoculture Threatens the Future of Food

How Monoculture Threatens the Future of Food | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
A recent NPR article highlights the frightening effect of monoculture to our food system.

The "faster, bigger, cheaper" approach to food is slowly draining dry our planet's resources and compromising your health. The Earth's soil is depleting at more than 13 percent the rate it can be replaced. We have already lost 75 percent of the world's crop varieties over the last century.  Over the past 10 years, we've had 100 million tons of herbicides dumped onto our crops, polluting our soil and streams... And genetically engineered (GE) crops are now speeding up the destructive process by completely altering the composition of soil bacteria in the fields where such crops are grown.

It’s imperative to understand that agriculture is a complete 'system' based on inter-related factors, and in order to maintain ecological balance and health, you must understand how that system works as a whole. Any time you change one part of that system, you change the interaction of all the other components, because they work together. It is simply impossible to change just one minor aspect without altering the entire system, and this is in part why GE crops are not a viable alternative.

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Earth Day Network Phil receives recognition from Coke for Agos Ram Pump project

Earth Day Network Phil receives recognition from Coke for Agos Ram Pump project | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Bert Guevara's insight:

In a formal event to mark the 100 Years of Coke in the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay, awards a plaque of recognition to Earth Day Network Phil. President Bert Guevara. This is one of the two projects given special recognition that evening at the New World Hotel, Makati City.

The Agos Ram Pump project is a joint endeavor of Earth Day Network (EDNP), Coca-Cola Foundation and Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI), to build 100 ram pump systems in 100 locations all over the country, to assist upland communities with their household and agriculture water supply. The system delivers water 24/7 to communities, more than 100 meters above the water source, without the use of electricity or fuel.

Coca-Cola Foundation provides the funding, AIDFI is the installer of the system, while EDNP does the social preparation for the donee communities.

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30 Biggest Stories of the Year in Animal Conservation and Extinctions

30 Biggest Stories of the Year in Animal Conservation and Extinctions | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The good, the bad, and the we-can-fix-its of the year all gathered up in one place.
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China to flatten 700 mountains for new metropolis in the desert

China to flatten 700 mountains for new metropolis in the desert | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Lanzhou new area plan to begin with 'mountain-moving project', but financial and environmental wisdom of project questioned (RT @Colvinius: Environment? What environment?

In what is being billed as the largest "mountain-moving project" in Chinese history, oneof China's biggest construction firms will spend £2.2bn to flatten 700 mountains levelling the area Lanzhou, allowing developers to build a new metropolis on the outskirts of the north-western city. ...

In an email interview, a China Pacific Construction Group spokeswoman dismissed criticisms of the project as unjustified. "Lanzhou's environment is already really poor, it's all desolate mountains which are extremely short of water," said Angie Wong. "Our protective style of development will divert water to the area, achieve reforestation and make things better than before."

Yan's plans could be considered "a protective style of development, and a developmental style of protection", she said, adding: "I think whether it's England or America, or any other country, no one will cease development because of resource scarcity caused by geography."

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Sustainable Development - Infographic: Inclusive Green Growth

Sustainable Development - Infographic: Inclusive Green Growth | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

As countries grow and urbanize, we must design energy, transportation and agricultural systems that facilitate commerce while limiting environmental impacts.Today's 2.6 billion urban dwellers will be 4 billion by 2030. Sustainable energy is one opportunity for green growth. There are others.

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To Fight Climate Change, College Students Take Aim at the Endowment Portfolio

To Fight Climate Change, College Students Take Aim at the Endowment Portfolio | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Students are demanding that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks in hopes of bringing climate change onto the national political agenda.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda. ...

Students who have signed on see it as a conscious imitation of the successful effort in the 1980s to pressure colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid.

A small institution in Maine, Unity College, has already voted to get out of fossil fuels. Another, Hampshire College in Massachusetts, has adopted a broad investment policy that is ridding its portfolio of fossil fuel stocks.

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You Can't Fight Climate Change Without Rethinking The Economy

You Can't Fight Climate Change Without Rethinking The Economy | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
For all the talk of solar panels and electric vehicles, we can't escape the fact that growth-at-all-costs is no longer viable.

These charts come from an important talk by Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the Tyndall Center, University of Manchester. But it is Anderson's thoughts on the economic implications of emissions that are most striking—we cannot afford to pursue the growth-at-all-costs model of economic development any longer. In fact, he says, any truly realistic approach to keeping our climate stable must involve contemplating a planned economic contraction for the rich nations.

This isn't a return to the dark ages though. And it is not a rejection of the power of business. From James Murray's call for a New Environmentalism to Alex Steffen's vision of zero carbon cities, many claim there is plenty of money to be made in our descent to a fossil fuel free future. But most sensible voices in this debate recognize that alongside reimagining our cities, our building codes, our energy systems and our transportation networks —we must also learn to think about the economy and economics a little differently.

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Protection of environment begins with simple habits - The Star Online

Protection of environment begins with simple habits - The Star Online | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Protection of environment begins with simple habitsThe Star Online“If these practices are continually carried out, we will contribute towards environmental conservation and help to prevent energy waste,” he said when launching the state-level...

“Conservation requires cooperation, involvement and concerted efforts from everyone to ensure that the environment will be preserved for current and future generations,” he said.

He also said environmental issues were now becoming more complex and challenging, requiring greater commitment from all parties to address them.

“Environmental problems range from all kinds of pollution to uncontrolled or illegal logging and depletion of natural resources.

“Landslides, flash floods, haze, global warming and climate change are the results of imbalance in the ecosystem caused by uncontrolled development,” he said.

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New San Francisco legislation will jump-start urban farming

New San Francisco legislation will jump-start urban farming | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
On Tuesday, San Francisco passed game-changing legislation that should cement the city’s role as a national leader in urban food production.

City supervisors approved legislation Tuesday that will help grassroots farming groups replace barren concrete and forests of weeds on vacant land and rooftops with veggie gardens, chicken coops, and honeybee hives. And the move cements San Francisco’s role as a national leader in urban food production.

“[San Franciscans] are thought of as foodies, and environmentalists,” said Laura Tam, a policy director at the nonprofit San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), which helped push the new rules forward. “This is a marrying of our sustainability objectives with the reputation that we have in the world.”

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Can forests and agriculture work together to tackle climate change & food insecurity? | ReliefWeb

Can forests and agriculture work together to tackle climate change & food insecurity? | ReliefWeb | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
RT @CIFOR_forests: Can forests + agriculture work together to tackle climate change & food insecurity?

With food prices soaring and land available to grow new crops scarce, experts will gather on the side-lines of the U.N. climate summit to debate one of the most pressing issues facing policymakers: Can the world’s forests and farms work together to tackle pressing food security challenges and climate change?

Agriculture has often been portrayed as the enemy of forests. Land clearing for crops and cattle ranching is already responsible for 80% of deforestation and 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The cost of staples such as wheat and maize may double by 2030, and as multinational conglomerates snap-up large tracts of land for cattle ranching and biofuel production, land available for food crops is increasingly in short supply.

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Half of world's food 'is wasted'

Half of world's food 'is wasted' | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
As much as half of the world's food - amounting to two billion tonnes worth - is wasted, a UK-based report claims.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world's growing population - as well as those in hunger today.

"It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

"The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers."

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Prince Charles Wants a Cleaner Environment for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Child

Prince Charles Wants a Cleaner Environment for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Child | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The heir to the British throne doesn't want his grandchild to be welcomed into an "increasingly dysfunctional world" (Prince Charles Wants a Cleaner Environment for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Child - Yahoo!

"I've gone on for years about the importance of thinking about the long term in relation to environmental damage, climate change and everything else," Charles, married to Camilla Parker Bowlessince 2005, said on ITV's This Morning Jan. 7. "We don't, in a sensible world, want to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren, to leave them with the real problem."

He added, "I don't want to be confronted by my future grandchild and have them say, 'Why didn’t you do something?' " Charles went on to state, "So clearly now that we will have a grandchild, it makes it even more obvious to try and make sure we leave them something that isn't a total poisoned chalice."

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Heroes of the Environment - TIME ("we need to clone leaders like him")

Heroes of the Environment - TIME ("we need to clone leaders like him") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Papua's Governor aims to combat poverty by protecting the region's unrivaled biodiversity (Barnabas Suebu - Heroes of the Environment - TIME http://t.co/oZmCinDP)...

Since taking office in July 2006, Suebu has made plans to declare a moratorium on log exports and recommended that no new logging concessions be granted to timber companies. The Papua native has also begun talks on trading carbon credits to help protect the province's forests, which extend over an area estimated at 77 million acres (31 million hectares). If a deal with the Australia-based company Carbon Conservation goes through, Suebu says Papua can generate far more revenue by trading credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange than it currently gets from logging. "Why would we cut down trees if people are going to pay us to protect them?" he asks. "We can prevent deforestation and also use the money to reforest the areas in critical condition." More money in public coffers would help improve education, health and sanitation for the province's 2 million people, 80% of whom live in poverty. Suebu, Papua's first directly elected Governor, has made easing their plight the main focus of his five-year term.

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Anita Woodruff's curator insight, January 2, 2013 2:33 PM

I wish him the best. Preventing environmental degradation and alleviating poverty at the same time is true ecojustice.

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15 Signs That The Ring Of Fire Is Waking Up As We Head Into 2013

15 Signs That The Ring Of Fire Is Waking Up As We Head Into 2013 | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Is the Ring of Fire becoming more active, increasing in volatility from California and up the coast line through Oregon and Washington?

Most people don’t realize that approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire. The entire west coast of the United States sits along the Ring of Fire and a massive network of faults runs underneath California, Oregon and Washington.  Fortunately, the west coast has not experienced any devastating seismic events in recent years, but scientists assure us that will change at some point.  So it is important to sit up and take notice when there are reports of increasing activity along the Ring of Fire. Unfortunately, most Americans cannot even tell you what the Ring of Fire is.

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An appeal to people who plant trees

An appeal to people who plant trees | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Rhea Madarang explores the dark side of Bohol’s Bilar Manmade Forest.

Mahogany, not being a native species to Philippine soil, is basically an alien; thus, native organisms do not recognize those trees and do not thrive in such forests.
“Didn’t you notice there are no birds?” she told me. “It’s so pretty but it’s a silent and dead forest.”
There are no birds, no insects, only a nearly dead soil due to the lethal chemicals that leak from the rotting leaves (emphasis mine). Native species are rarely found as seedlings beneath the canopy, and so, most significantly, there is no future for ten hectares of mahogany.”
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Over 40 Percent of Fukushima Children Have Thyroid Disorders

Over 40 Percent of Fukushima Children Have Thyroid Disorders | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
About 41 percent of 57,000 children tested positive for signs of thyroid cancer, and four out of five evacuees are experiencing thyroid abnormalities.
While it’s true that fish captured near the now inoperative nuclear plant do show 258 times what the government deems the “safe” level of radiation, radiation levels exceeded evacuations zones beyond Tokyo late last year. If aquatic life throughout the Pacific has suffered and radioactive isotopes have been found in California topsoil, it’s a safe bet that the people complaining of incurable diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, and more in Tokyo aren’t just eating too much seafood. In fact, cesium-37 isotopes have longer half-lives than iodide isotopes, both of which affect thyroid glands. ...
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Five degrees hotter?

Five degrees hotter? | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The average global temperature, for night and day, is now 19 degrees. If that doesn't sound much, consider it this way: an average day on Earth is 35 per cent hotter than it was during the 20th century.

The best scientific estimates suggest that the last time it was this hot was during the Eocene, more than 30 million years ago, and long before humans turned up. Back then, temperatures rose gradually over many thousands of years. We've watched it happen in 100.

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Extreme weather the 'new normal', UN chief says (Raising the white flag too early?)

Extreme weather the 'new normal', UN chief says (Raising the white flag too early?) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Extreme weather is the new normal and poses a threat to the human race, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he sought to revive deadlocked global climate change talks.

"If anything, the science is telling us it's now getting warmer quicker than we had previously expected," said Ed Davey, British energy and environment minister. "Our actions as a world are going slower than we had previously hoped."

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Altered Food, GMOs, Genetically Modified Food - National Geographic

Altered Food, GMOs, Genetically Modified Food - National Geographic | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Want disease-free grapes? Add a silkworm gene. How about vitamin-enhanced rice? While technology promises new ways to help feed the world, some see risks to the land and to human health.

Scientists continue to find new ways to insert genes for specific traits into plant and animal DNA. A field of promise—and a subject of debate—genetic engineering is changing the food we eat and the world we live in.

In the brave new world of genetic engineering, Dean DellaPenna envisions this cornucopia: tomatoes and broccoli bursting with cancer-fighting chemicals and vitamin-enhanced crops of rice, sweet potatoes, and cassava to help nourish the poor. He sees wheat, soy, and peanuts free of allergens; bananas that deliver vaccines; and vegetable oils so loaded with therapeutic ingredients that doctors "prescribe" them for patients at risk for cancer and heart disease. A plant biochemist at Michigan State University, DellaPenna believes that genetically engineered foods are the key to the next wave of advances in agriculture and health.

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Can human waste boost agriculture in Africa? - AlertNet ("Good paradigm shift"!)

Can human waste boost agriculture in Africa? - AlertNet ("Good paradigm shift"!) | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
In Ghana, an innovative project to turn human waste into fertilizer could help sustain local food production while making money out of muck (Great ? by @AlertNet -- we need to think about all the reuse options though, esp.

The project is looking to harness human waste and turn it into safe, hygienic fertilizer pellets that are suitable and safe for application by farmers.

If successful, this fertilizer will help farmers increase the organic content and nutrient levels of their poor soils, which in turn can increase the water-holding capacity and crop yields of their farming land.

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Under Attack: Lions Are Becoming an Endangered Species

Under Attack: Lions Are Becoming an Endangered Species | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Big Cats May Need Protection Under the Endangered Species Act, No Thanks to U.S.

Today, these big cats are greatly imperiled. Over the last three decades, the number of African lions has declined 50 percent, and their range has shrunk to a handful of African countries. Fewer than 35,000 lions are left in the wild. ...

Last year, five conservation groups filed a petition asking that lions be listed under the ESA because of threats to the population posed by U.S. trophy hunters.

Between 1998 to 2008, over 7,000 wild lion parts were traded around the world. The U.S. is by far the largest importer of lion parts, accounting for 64 percent of the lions killed for trophies.

Thousands of wild lion parts, including skulls, claws, and hides, are commercially traded in the U.S., and the numbers are growing, according to the petition.

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Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?

Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis? | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Philipp Saumweber is creating a miracle in the barren Australian outback, growing tonnes of fresh food. So why has he fallen out with the pioneering environmentalist who invented the revolutionary system?

Growing food in a desert, especially in a period of sustained drought, is a pretty counterintuitive idea and Sundrop's horticultural breakthrough also ignores the principle that the best ideas are the simplest. Sundrop's computerised growing system is easy to describe, but was complex to devise and trickier still to make economically viable.

A 75m line of motorised parabolic mirrors that follow the sun all day focuses its heat on a pipe containing a sealed-in supply of oil. The hot oil in turn heats nearby tanks of seawater pumped up from a few metres below ground – the shore is only 100m away. The oil brings the seawater up to 160C and steam from this drives turbines providing electricity. Some of the hot water from the process heats the greenhouse through the cold desert nights, while the rest is fed into a desalination plant that produces the 10,000 litres of fresh water a day needed to keep the plants happy. The water the grower gets is pure and ready for the perfect mix of nutrients to be added. The air in the greenhouse is kept humid and cool by trickling water over a wall of honeycombed cardboard evaporative pads through which air is driven by wind and fans. The system is hi-tech all the way; the greenhouse is in a remote spot, but the grower, a hyper-enthusiastic 27-year-old Canadian, Dave Pratt, can rather delightfully control all the growing conditions for his tonnes of crops from an iPhone app if he's out on the town – or even home in Ontario.

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Simon Orchard's curator insight, March 20, 2015 5:58 PM

Sundrop farm is an example of using modern construction technologies to reinvent agriculture in areas previously deemed undesirable. Projects such as these could have great benefit in meeting the needs for our ever growing populations. Areas such as the middle east would benefit from these new technologies.