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... There is an urgent need for an environmentally friendly recycling plant to effectively manage the abundance of plastic tossed about our communities. The utility of such an investment is not only in terms of monetary profits, but also in protecting the environment. This in itself will allow businesses to give back to society.
Imagine how different our communities would look if we could only remove the plastic bottles and other non-biodegradable materials from our environment. Imagine the impact such an environment would have on everyone’s neighbourhood and community.
Twenty years ago this month, Brazil helped globalize the environmental movement by hosting an Earth Summit, cast against the backdrop of its vanishing Amazon rain forest. It was "a historic moment for humanity," U.N. environment chief Maurice Strong said at the time, raising hopes that world leaders really could solve big environmental problems like climate change, deforestation or whaling.
After two decades of fits and starts, though, international progress has stalled on several of these fronts, perhaps most notably U.N. climate talks. Any afterglow from the 1992 Earth Summit faded years ago, leaving the environmental community with little reason for optimism. Yet despite the bleak outlook, an array of activists, entrepreneurs, diplomats and dignitaries are back in Brazil this month, hoping to recapture some of the '92 magic and prove that environmental diplomacy isn't dead.
Art and science are joining forces in Indonesia to help educate on issues at the heart of social development through the work of an imaginative foundation called the House of Natural Fibre (Honf).
Based in Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, Honf works as a forum to bring artists and scientists together to solve some of Indonesia's biggest technology development challenges in sectors such as health and the environment.
"Indonesia is hindered by inadequate infrastructure and improper use of technology. We want to use art and science to educate people to use technology in better ways," said Irene Agrivine, who, along with Vincentius Christiawan and Tommy Surya, established Honf in 1999.
What are the two types of ecocide?
Human-made ecocide and naturally occurring ecocide. Human-made ecocide includes the loss of the Amazon, mining, the Athabasca tar sands in Canada and a nuclear war. Naturally occurring ecocide includes rising sea levels, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes. Human ecocides can be prevented, naturally occurring cannot. By creating a law of ecocide, business, banks and nations will be under a legal duty of care to ensure that profit, money and policy does not support mass damage and destruction of the earth by humanity.
What will a law of ecocide do? ...
As the climate gets warmer, so do the rivers and lakes that power plants draw their cooling water from. And that is going to make it harder to generate electricity in decades to come, researchers report.
Some 15 million to 60 million jobs could be created worldwide over the next two decades if nations took better care of the planet, according to a U.N. study released Thursday ahead of an international summit on sustainable development.
Air over a forested area, for instance, contains different chemical levels than that over tundra, which is different from air over sea ice, or open water.
In the 18 years he's been an atmospheric chemist at Purdue University, Paul Shepson has visited the Arctic many times, and through many countries. Now the head of the chemistry department, Shepson made "a trip of a lifetime" to Barrow this March.
Shepson's lab will take years to digest and decipher the multitude of data collected during more than a month in the Arctic, but they did make some initial observations that surprised them, he said.
"We saw lots of this weird chemistry that involves sea salt in the air over the North Slope when we expected to only see it over sea ice," Shepson said. Basically, they were seeing the salty evidence of bromine and chlorine over the tundra, an occurrence they hadn't expected.
Project Pressure, a collaboration of photographers, scientists, web developers and cartographers, is working to document the terminal decline of many of the world's glaciers as they slowly melt away. Here they trek to the slopes of the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Nothing says "lunch time" to an American kid quite like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Slices of deli meat might be a close second. Unbeknownst to most parents who pack school lunch boxes, however, both of these favorites could expose kids to toxic chemicals.
In a new study of popular products purchased from grocery stores in Dallas, Texas, researchers found that nearly half of the sampled peanut butter and cold cuts, as well as turkey, fish, beef and other fatty foods, contained traces of a flame retardant commonly used in the foam insulation of building walls.
"This is not good news. Here's yet another toxic chemical that can be found in many of the foods we buy at our supermarkets," said Dr. Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health and an author of the study published on Thursday. "Food does not need to have flame retardants."
Environment Canada scientists have observed evidence of toxic contamination of wildlife upstream from Alberta's natural bitumen deposits that coincides with the oilsands industry's expansion, Environment Minister Peter Kent was told last summer.
According to internal documents obtained by Postmedia News, the government was urged to investigate recent scientific observations of a 40 per cent increase of mercury in bird eggs, considered to be a key environmental indicator of contamination of the natural ecosystems.
The world’s air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.
Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn’t quite a surprise, because it’s been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.
So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.
“The fact that it’s 400 is significant,” said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. “It’s just a reminder to everybody that we haven’t fixed this and we’re still in trouble.”
Environmental LeaderIs Wall Street Beginning to 'Get' Sustainability?Environmental LeaderMany of us in the sustainability profession look at the voluminous sustainability and CSR reports produced by public companies and wonder who reads them.
Some of the most compelling evidence comes from a rigorous academic study conducted by faculty members at the Harvard and London Business Schools. The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations suggests that analysts have gone from believing a few years ago that a focus on CSR and sustainability was a net negative influence on financial performance to believing now that the reverse is true, and are factoring it into their investment recommendations accordingly. They also discovered that it is the senior analysts who have followed firms and industries for the longest time and have the best track records that are leading this change in thinking.
Millions of poor people in Bangladesh are risking their lives, homes and land because they are forced to live along constantly changing river systems. Christian Aid highlights their plight on World Environment Day and ahead of the Earth summit in Rio this month, where world leaders will meet to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development.
World Environment Day has arrived on Tuesday this year spreading public awareness of global environmental concerns.
Celebrated every year on June 5, this year marks the 40th observance of the event, organized by the United Nations in 1972. World Environment Day is for initiating solutions on environmental issues.
Widely known as Environmental Day, the event boosts knowledge about preserving our biodiversity. Every year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) selects a theme which draws attention to specific ecosystem management.
This year's theme is "Green Economy: Does it involve you?" The UNEP explained that a green economy is "one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive," according to the official website.
with World Environment Day on June 5, Rwanda's role between economy and environment is an essential balancing act to promote proper development, the Government says.
"Environment always goes with economics. When you have a woman who has to walk five or six hours to get drinking water instead of going to school, that has an impact," says Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA). ...
With Rwanda's population growing and the use of resources increasing, environmental protection is the only way to uphold the economy and make sure the boom doesn't crash the environment.
"We don't have any right to destroy the environment," REMA's DG says. "If we don't pay attention, we are going to be in trouble."
Researchers in Britain and Finland studied an area of 38,600 sq. mi (100,000 sq. km) in what’s known as the northwestern Eurasian tundra, which stretches from western Siberia to Finland. Surveys of vegetation in the region using both satellite data and local observations from reindeer herders showed that in 8 to 15% of the territory willow and alder shrubs had grown into trees over 6.5 ft. (2 m) tall over the past 30 to 40 years. That’s a period of time when temperatures in the Arctic have increased significantly, even faster than other parts of the planet.
An apparent rise in ticks crossing Canada’s southern border has the local health unit urging residents to use caution in wooded areas. Some ticks carry Lyme disease, an illness that can cause serious heart and neurological problems in humans if not treated quickly.
Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area is one of seven areas in Ontario where ticks are commonly found. Last year, six ticks — five from Prince Edward County, one from Belleville — were found to carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
By the time you finish reading this article, at least five children will have died because of diseases borne by dirty water.
Studies show that by 2025 half the world’s population will not have enough water to meet its needs. Already a billion people do not have access to clean water, and more than two billion lack adequate sanitation. And as scarcity increases, farmers are finding it more difficult to feed the world’s growing population, which could reach nine billion by 2050.
A water crisis is happening now, and it compromises our efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development.
This year China experienced its worst drought in half a century, affecting millions of acres of farmland and causing power shortages. In northern Africa, the encroaching desert has been forcing people to resettle and has exacerbated tensions between farmers and herders. And the famine in the Horn of Africa has served as a horrific reminder of the effects of drought and poor water management.
It does not have to be this way – there are solutions.
Water containing acids and metals is leaking into the environment from dozens of closed mines around Finland. Emissions from mines can continue for centuries after they are closed down.
At the same time as politicians and the business community are trumpeting mining as a "new Nokia" for Finland, some areas are still seeing the impact of the last mining boom in the 20th century.
The effects on the environment are evident, for example at Outokumpu in North Karelia, which was the site of what was probably the most significant mining complex in Finland's past. A memento of those times is the high levels of sulphate, iron and manganese in the groundwater that makes it unusable in large parts of the city of Outokumpu.
It has come as a surprise to many that the source of the biggest sulphate emissions in the region of North Karelia is the Hammaslahti mine, a facility that was closed down almost 30 years ago. According to the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, every 24 hours 1.5 tonnes of sulphate flow out of the old mine into the Iiksenjoki river. As a result, the acidity of river waters is rising.
The Green Revolution set in motion an international agricultural research system focused largely on improving the productivity of the major staples, at the expense of local varieties. One result has been that staples are the most affordable for the world’s poorest, whereas nutritious fruits and vegetables are more expensive due to the lower degree of research on them, according to Bonnie McClafferty, director of the Agriculture and Nutrition program at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
Nutrition’s elevation on the food security agenda will also have to entail a rethinking of the comparative advantage theory that has been pushed by international financial institutions.
As part of the structural adjustment programs imposed by international financial institutions in the 1980s, African countries were encouraged to orient their agricultural systems for export and generate the capital to purchase food on global markets. But this left them vulnerable to high global food prices and to the price volatility of the commodities they were selling. The export-driven approach continues to this day in the form of integrating African smallholder farmers into global agribusiness supply chains, which diverts land from growing the food crops crucial for local nutrition.
The campaign against short-lived climate pollutants is being won in the developed world. In Asia, Latin America, and Africa, however, the situation is much grimmer. Those regions account for 75% of global black carbon emissions, said Sasser. Marc L. Fischer, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, noted (PDF) that the increase in global methane emissions had slowed dramatically for about a decade (roughly from 1996-2006).
No longer. From 2006, the trend line rockets upwards. The growth is disturbing not just because methane is the third-largest global warming agent but because, as Fischer said, over a 20-year period methane has a warming potential 70 times greater than CO2.
It’s well known that Americans consume more resources on a per capita basis than citizens of other developed countries. In fact, research shows that if people in all nations used as many resources as the average American, we would need five Earths to meet this global resource demand.
For Speth, inequality is the debilitating result of weak governance and the corrupting influence of corporations in politics. Specifically, he argues that the U.S. government’s failure to build on the foundations established by the New Deal prevented social and economic equality from continuing; instead the U.S. government began to favor corporations. The emergence of “corporate-consumerist capitalism” weakens the country’s democratic institutions and abandons the public interest, as corporations seize control of the political and economic spheres. This rampant expansion of market mechanisms erodes communities and common values.
Speth details the steps necessary to restore opportunity and equality to America, through a complete transformation of society. Not only will a new indicator for economic progress be necessary, but Speth also states that systemic social changes are required for future stability. He outlines the need for new values, for a society where individuals, corporations, and government no longer discount future generations or glorify violence; and where Americans have a powerful sense of community and heightened equality.
SMOS Images Europe's Dry Soils From SpaceRedOrbitImage Caption The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission makes global observations of soil moisture over Earth's landmasses and salinity over the oceans.
The trend of below-average rainfall across Europe has continued into the first months of 2012. ESA’s SMOS water mission has revealed the negative consequences of this recent bout of ‘good’ weather.
Western Europe is experiencing a severe lack of water because of this trend. Concern about the deficit of water is rising across European countries and their respective water agencies, in particular in Spain, France, Germany and the UK.
The trend of low precipitation in Europe continued into the first months of 2012, reflected in readings from ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission.