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Greedy Lying Bastards: US filmmaker attacks oil industry | Leo Hickman

Greedy Lying Bastards: US filmmaker attacks oil industry | Leo Hickman | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Craig Rosebraugh's new documentary highlights the 'influence, deceit and corruption' of fossil fuel industryProvocative, frank and impossible to ignore.
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With hydraulic stilts and solar power, this ‘hurricane-proof’ home defies nature ("fantastic architectural concept but let's bring down the price")

With hydraulic stilts and solar power, this ‘hurricane-proof’ home defies nature ("fantastic architectural concept but let's bring down the price") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

As ocean temperatures rise, we can expect stronger hurricanes. That said, Arkup's floating prototype is designed to weather a hurricane.

After a decade of relatively tranquil seas, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was literally one for the books. Nearly two months after Irma ravaged Puerto Rico, more than half of the country is still without electricity — a true testament to the power of this storm system. Unfortunately, as surface ocean temperatures continue to rise, we can only expect more powerful storms in the future. With this in mind, perhaps this ingenious floating “hurricane-proof” home will allow humanity to better weather the challenges of a more tempestuous planet.

Architect Koen Olthuis and housing startup Arkup recently unveiled a series of “livable yachts” at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Olthuis’ architectural firm, Waterstudio, has produced floating structures for the past decade. We’ve covered flood-proof homes in the past, but these floating structures have been designed to handle not only rising waters but also the powerful winds (up to 156 miles per hour) associated with Category 4 hurricanes. 

A hydraulic system allows the unit to rise more than 40 feet during a surge, and a series of rooftop solar panels will enable each of these floating homes to operate completely off the power grid. These glorified houseboats will also incorporate a rainwater collection and filtration system, allowing them to fulfill basic plumping needs in situ. Currently, Olthuis and the team anticipate these hurricane-proof homes will cost somewhere between $2 million or $3 million, with the first prototype set hit the Miami River in 2018.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Architect Koen Olthuis and housing startup Arkup recently unveiled a series of “livable yachts” at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Olthuis’ architectural firm, Waterstudio, has produced floating structures for the past decade. We’ve covered flood-proof homes in the past, but these floating structures have been designed to handle not only rising waters but also the powerful winds (up to 156 miles per hour) associated with Category 4 hurricanes. 
A hydraulic system allows the unit to rise more than 40 feet during a surge, and a series of rooftop solar panels will enable each of these floating homes to operate completely off the power grid. These glorified houseboats will also incorporate a rainwater collection and filtration system, allowing them to fulfill basic plumping needs in situ. Currently, Olthuis and the team anticipate these hurricane-proof homes will cost somewhere between $2 million or $3 million, with the first prototype set hit the Miami River in 2018.
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U.S. approves plans to release weaponized mosquitoes — for your own good ("nature-tampering")

U.S. approves plans to release weaponized mosquitoes — for your own good ("nature-tampering") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a plan to release lab-grown mosquitoes to hunt down other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Announced this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially signed off on an unorthodox plan to use lab-grown mosquitoes, developed by the Kentucky-based biotech company MosquitoMate, as insect assassins to hunt down disease-carrying wild mosquitoes. It’s part of a project called “Adam,” in which male mosquitoes (the ones that don’t bite, since male mosquitoes feed only on flower nectar) are used as vehicles to deliver a potent mosquito insecticide, thereby reducing mosquito populations.

“MosquitoMate has developed a novel mosquito control tool for the Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which we call ZAP,” Corey Brelsfoard, team leader for the Adam project, told Digital Trends. “ZAP mosquitoes are a non-biting, male Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that carry a bacterium named Wolbachia. Wolbachia is common throughout insects worldwide, with scientists estimating that over half of all insects naturally carry the infection. When ZAP males are released and mate with naturally occurring Asian Tiger mosquito females, the resulting eggs do not hatch, decreasing the number of the biting mosquito population and potentially impacting disease transmission.”

MosquitoMate’s early laboratory experimental work started as early as 2004 at the University of Kentucky. The company was then spun off in 2010 and has taken an additional seven years to gain its current EPA approved status. The lab-grown mosquitoes will first be deployed close to home in Lexington, Kentucky, although the EPA has given the greenlight for a total of 20 states — provided that the company registers with each individual state prior to releasing its buzzing cargo.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Man has genetically-engineered a non-biting male mosquito that bears the "kiss of death." What if this mosquito morphs into something else? 

"When ZAP males are released and mate with naturally occurring Asian Tiger mosquito females, the resulting eggs do not hatch, decreasing the number of the biting mosquito population and potentially impacting disease transmission.”
“MosquitoMate has performed field trials using the ZAP technology in Kentucky, California, and New York,” Brelsfoard said. “MosquitoMate has also performed field trials using similar technology targeting the Yellow Fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, in California and Florida.”
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Vertical forests are returning nature to cities, one skyscraper at a time ("a new green revolution?")

Vertical forests are returning nature to cities, one skyscraper at a time ("a new green revolution?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Two architects are designing areas for plants and forests on the tops and faces of skyscrapers. They’re also inspiring others to do the same.

LIFE IS SWEET IN THESE “VERTICAL FORESTS” IN MILAN, ITALY 

One of these projects is already complete. The Bosco Verticale (“Vertical Forest” in Italian) is a dual skyscraper project designed by Stefano Boeri that is covered in more than 21,000 plants—a level of greenery equivalent to more than five acres of forest spread over more than 1,200 square meters.

The project has just been named one of the best tall buildings in the world. It’s a completely green design that even supports its own moderate ecosystem, including more than 20 species of birds. The massive amount of vegetation helps reduce Singapore’s moderate pollution and carbon dioxide, cleaning up the air. The plant life also diminishes noise, boosts oxygen in the air, and helps regulate the temperatures between the two towers. Internally, a complex irrigation system directs “used” water back onto the forested terraces to sustain the vegetation and reduce waste.

“Vertical Forest is a model for a sustainable residential building, a project for metropolitan reforestation contributing to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory,” Boeri noted on his website. “It is a model for vertical densification of nature within the city. Vertical Forest increases biodiversity, so it becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous re-colonization of the city by vegetation and by animal life.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Who on Earth decides to plant a forest on the side of skyscrapers? Architects, that’s who. 

"... Two bold designers working on opposite ends of the planet are actively designing farms, gardens and forests designed to live on massive residential buildings. Far from simply putting a few houseplants in the office, these ambitious designs are meant to clean the air, reduce energy use to net zero, and maximize food production and quality of life."
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Tree-planting drones hope to fight deforestation - CNN Video ("brillant way of using technology")

Tree-planting drones hope to fight deforestation - CNN Video ("brillant way of using technology") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A British startup has designed a system that uses drones to plant trees by shooting biodegradable seedpods into the ground or scattering them in the air.


Bert Guevara's insight:
A British startup has designed a system that uses drones to plant trees by shooting biodegradable seedpods into the ground or scattering them in the air.
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American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why ("the new trend changes the standard thinking") 

American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why ("the new trend changes the standard thinking")  | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Climate change explains only 20 percent of the movement.

There are a patchwork of other forces which could cause tree populations to shift west, though. Changes in land use, wildfire frequency, and the arrival of pests and blights could be shifting the population. So might the success of conservation efforts. But Fei and his colleagues argue that at least 20 percent of the change in population area is driven by changes in precipitation, which are heavily influenced by human-caused climate change.

Fei and his colleagues don’t know if the westward trend will continue. We may have already seen the peak of westward movement, and northward expansion may soon outrank it. “When the result came out that trees are moving westward, our eyeballs opened wide. Like, ‘Wow, what’s going on with this?’ The results seem to show that moisture plays a much more significant role in the near-term, which is very intriguing,” he told me.

“This is not a modeling exercise, there are no predictions, this is empirical data,” said Fei. “This study is looking at everything everywhere in the eastern United States.” 

What concerns the team is that—if deciduous trees are moving westward while conifers move northward—important ecological communities of forests could start to break up in the east. Forests are defined as much by the mix of species, and the interaction between them, as by the simple presence of a lot of trees. If different species migrate in different directions, then communities could start to collapse. 

“If you have a group of friends, and people move away to different places—some go to college in different places, and some move to Florida—the group is … probably going to fall apart,” Fei said. “We’re interested in whether this tree community is falling apart.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Climate change is affecting tree growth in a way that defies standard thinking. This suggests that the science textbooks have to be rewritten to better equip our scientists.

"What concerns the team is that—if deciduous trees are moving westward while conifers move northward—important ecological communities of forests could start to break up in the east. Forests are defined as much by the mix of species, and the interaction between them, as by the simple presence of a lot of trees. If different species migrate in different directions, then communities could start to collapse. ...
"Any tree’s range represents “a legacy of historical migrations and battles lost against other species or disturbances. With climate change however, their capacity to keep pace with the fast-changing climate is a major issue.”"
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Hong Kong authorities seize 'record' ivory haul ("the number of mutilated elephants is staggering")

Hong Kong authorities seize 'record' ivory haul ("the number of mutilated elephants is staggering") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

World’s ‘largest ever’ seizure of 7.2 tonnes of ivory has street value of £7m, officials say.

If the size of the haul is verified, it will replace the current record held by Singapore for a seizure of 7.138 tonnes of ivory tusks in 2002. 

The EU’s environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella, told the Guardian: “The authorities of Hong Kong did a great job with this massive ivory seizure. It indicates that ivory trafficking continues at shocking levels. But it showcases how coordinated enforcement action brings results. Our EU action plan against wildlife trafficking is a significant part of this coordination. 

“Arresting wildlife criminals is a priority for us and we will continue to work with countries all over the world to clamp down on these transnational criminal activities.”

Ivory hauls of 500kg or more are thought to indicate involvement of organised crime gangs, according to Cites guidelines, and Hong Kong has long been viewed as a hub of smuggling activity, partly because of its legal “worked” ivory-carvings market, which smugglers can infiltrate.

A review of the territory’s wildlife crime laws is under way, with a phase-out of the domestic ivory trade within five years being debated by Hong Kong’s legislative council. China has said that it will end domestic ivory trading before 2018.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The massacre of the African Elephant goes on for the sake of profit, and even increasing! How much more can the elephant population take? 

"Between 2014 and 2015, imports of worked ivory pieces from the EU rose from 1,572 to 10,671 pieces, according to data from the Hong Kong government’s agriculture, fisheries and conservation department. 
"Daniela Freyer, of the Pro Wildlife campaign group, said the seizure announced today was “an alarm call for the immediate shutdown of Hong Kong’s ivory markets once and for all.
“Further delays of a ban on ivory would be deadly for Africa’s elephants,” she added.
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Why Bacteria Are More Threatening Than Ever ("the world is not ready for the next pandemic")

Why Bacteria Are More Threatening Than Ever ("the world is not ready for the next pandemic") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

More bacteria are resistant to existing antibiotics than ever. As a result, superbugs are popping up in hospitals and the outside world.

The stories are harrowing: people with simple cuts who get exposed to bacteria can end up with life-threatening, and sometimes even life-ending, infections. Antibiotics were supposed to prevent these infections and deaths. But in the U.S., about two million people become infected with bacteria that can’t be treated by antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die from those infections every year.

The bacteria behind these infections, once common. have mutated to become resistant to the dozens of antibiotics developed to wage war against them. (See exactly how that happens in the video above.) That's a problem of our own making. Public health experts say that the superbugs are the result of years of overusing and misusing antibiotics, either by dispensing them in too-high doses or using them against minor infections or inappropriate conditions like the flu, which doesn’t respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics are also overused in farming—not just to keep infections at bay, but also as a way to encourage animals like chickens, pigs and cattle to grow larger and produce more meat. With so many antibiotics circulating in people and in animals, bacteria mutate to find ever more clever ways of becoming resistant to the drugs.

The only way to get ahead of antibiotic-resistant superbugs is to outsmart them. In recent years, doctors have been cutting back on prescribing the drugs, and some hospitals require registries for antibiotics so they can keep track of how much are being used. Educational programs have sprung up designed to teach people about when antibiotics are appropriate, and when they aren’t. In order to fend off superbugs, we have to be as persistent as they are.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The world is not ready for the next pandemic.

"Antibiotics were supposed to prevent these infections and deaths. But in the U.S., about two million people become infected with bacteria that can’t be treated by antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die from those infections every year.
"The bacteria behind these infections, once common. have mutated to become resistant to the dozens of antibiotics developed to wage war against them."
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IUCN welcomes first-ever UN report acknowledging healthy ecosystems as human right ("it's about time")

IUCN welcomes first-ever UN report acknowledging healthy ecosystems as human right ("it's about time") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, welcomed a recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Environment and Human Rights, 

Prof. John Knox, which highlights how biodiversity and ecosystems are essential to human rights.

This is the first-ever UN report acknowledging that the loss of biodiversity undermines human rights, for example by reducing agricultural and fisheries outputs, negatively affecting health or removing filters from the water cycle. By conserving biodiversity, states therefore also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on food security, health and water, among others.

IUCN has long been addressing the links between conserving biodiversity and achieving human rights. In 1994, the Union issued Caring for the Earth: A strategy for sustainable living, where it declared that “we have a right to the benefits of nature, but these will not be available unless we care for the systems that provide them.” 

Through its work, such as the development of guidelines and policy frameworks for government engagement with indigenous peoples and local communities, IUCN highlights the threats from environmental change and degradation to those directly dependent on ecosystems.

The UN report’s recognition of the link between human rights and biodiversity should promote collaboration between the conservation, human rights and development communities to achieve the objectives of sustainable development.

Bert Guevara's insight:
In the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights will have its hands full. 

"The UN report’s recognition of the link between human rights and biodiversity should promote collaboration between the conservation, human rights and development communities to achieve the objectives of sustainable development. 
"The report also called on states to recognise defenders of biodiversity as defenders of human rights. IUCN has been calling for increased efforts to protect environmental activists from the growing threats and persecution they face."
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In race to curb climate change, cities outpace governments ("mayors more sensitive & more decisive")

In race to curb climate change, cities outpace governments ("mayors more sensitive & more decisive") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Cities from Oslo to Sydney are setting goals to curb climate change that exceed national targets, causing tensions with central governments about who controls policy over green energy and transport and construction.

More than 2,500 cities have issued plans to cut carbon emissions to the United Nations since late 2014, setting an example to almost 200 nations that reached a Paris Agreement in December 2015 to fight global warming. 

Although there are no officially collated statistics available, many city targets are more ambitious than those set by governments under the Paris accord, which imposes no obligations on cities, regions or companies to define goals. 

Just over half the world's population lives in urban areas, meaning municipalities will help to determine whether the historic shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy agreed in Paris succeeds or fails. 

But as many cities become more assertive, governments are reluctant to cede control. 

"Cities are starting to encroach past their boundaries on policies at a national level," said Seth Schultz, director of research at the New York-based C40 climate group that includes most of the world's megacities, from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

The trend is clearest in rich cities, which are more able to cut emissions to meet the demands of affluent, environmentally-conscious voters than fast-expanding cities such as Bangkok, Nairobi or Buenos Aires.

In a sign of city power, a 2016 study projected that climate plans by cities and regions could cut an extra 500 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 - equivalent to the emissions of France - beyond cuts pledged by governments.

Bert Guevara's insight:
While some nations are dragging their feet on climate action, the more affluent cities are leading the way and in many cases, overstepping their authorities.

"But as many cities become more assertive, governments are reluctant to cede control. 
"Cities are starting to encroach past their boundaries on policies at a national level," said Seth Schultz, director of research at the New York-based C40 climate group that includes most of the world's megacities, from Tokyo to Los Angeles.
"The trend is clearest in rich cities, which are more able to cut emissions to meet the demands of affluent, environmentally-conscious voters than fast-expanding cities such as Bangkok, Nairobi or Buenos Aires."
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9 Philippine Native Trees Better Than Cherry Blossoms ("philippine flora waiting to be rediscovered")

9 Philippine Native Trees Better Than Cherry Blossoms ("philippine flora waiting to be rediscovered") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
Cherry blossoms in the Philippines? They may look great on photos, but we really don't need exotic trees. Our native ones are as beautiful, if not more.
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India planted 50 million trees in one day – smashing the world record ("my type of WR; amazing!!!")

India planted 50 million trees in one day – smashing the world record ("my type of WR; amazing!!!") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours in order to fight climate change.

As development in India has raced ahead, demand for firewood, pasture and land for building has destroyed vast tracts of forest. 

In fact, since 2013, more than 2,500 square kilometres of very dense and mid-dense forests have been wiped out, according to India Today. 

Despite this, the Indian government reports that the total area of forested land has increased and new efforts are being made to expand them even further. The ultimate aim is 33% forest cover.

As part of the reforestation initiative, 800,000 volunteers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set a new world record: they planted 50.4 million trees in just 24 hours. The previous world record, set by Pakistan in 2013, was 847,275 trees.

The mass planting was put in motion as part of a strategy by the Indian government to tackle climate change. The effort was part of India’s commitment to the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. In that agreement, India agreed to spend $6 billion to regrow forests on 12% of the country’s land and bring total forest cover up to 29%.

"The biggest contribution of this tree-planting project, apart from the tokenism, is that it focuses on the major issues," Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow with the Center for Global Development, told the Telegraph. "It addresses many of the big issues for India: pollution, deforestation and land use."

Bert Guevara's insight:
Fantastic Effort!!! This is my type of world record.

"As part of the reforestation initiative, 800,000 volunteers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set a new world record: they planted 50.4 million trees in just 24 hours. The previous world record, set by Pakistan in 2013, was 847,275 trees."
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Environmental lawyer murdered in Philippines: police ("112 dead in 15 years; 12 under current admin")

Environmental lawyer murdered in Philippines: police ("112 dead in 15 years; 12 under current admin") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

A Philippine lawyer who specialised in investigating crimes against the environment has been ambushed and shot dead, police said Friday. The murder on Wednesday of Mia Manuelita Mascarinas-Green deepened concerns that the Philippines is one of the world's most dangerous places for environmental

Four motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire after surrounding a van being driven by Mascarinas-Green -- with her children and nanny in the vehicle -- near her home on the central island of Bohol, the authorities said. 

Mascarinas-Green was pronounced dead at a hospital but her children were unharmed, regional police spokesman Senior Inspector Reslin Abella told AFP. 

"The victim is a known environmental lawyer. Investigators are checking whether the attack had any link to the cases she had handled in relation to environmental issues," Abella told AFP by telephone. 

"They now have the identity of at least one of the perpetrators and a hot pursuit operation is ongoing," she said without naming the suspect. 

Abella said police were at the moment unaware if Mascarinas-Green had been threatened previously in relation to her work. 

Her children are twins, aged two, and a 10-year-old daughter, according to local media reports. 

Her death brings to 112 the number of environmental campaigners murdered in the Philippines over the past 15 years, according to Filipino environment monitor Kalikasan. 

This includes 12 since President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven months ago, Kalikasan said. 

"Most of these cases remain unresolved as the government continues to ignore the threat against environmental defenders," Clemente Bautista, its national coordinator told AFP.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Defending the environment may mean staking one's life for the cause, when needed. It's a high price to pay but the cost of destruction is equally heavy.

"Those who cause environmental destruction are resorting to savage measures and deplorable acts to stop communities and people who are standing up to protect our imperilled environment," Sano said.
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Environmental Justice a Growing Concern Among Landscape Architects | Sustainable Cities Collective

Environmental Justice a Growing Concern Among Landscape Architects | Sustainable Cities Collective | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
The equitable growth of cities and the flow of displaced populations are issues that must be addressed, said Jordanian Senator Mahadin, who was a landscape architect before becoming a politician.
Senator Mahadin believes environmental justice must begin with education. Speaking passionately, he reminded us we all share the same ethics; that we need to be good to our neighbors and feed our poor. Plant trees and create a high quality of life for everyone. The small things landscape architects do can make a difference.
And going a step further, Senator Mahadin, perhaps unsurprisingly, made a pitch for more landscape architects to confront the issues environmental justice through politics. “Lead by example. Save and protect our water resources and national parks.”
“Landscape is a human right,” began Schjetnan, landscape has the ability to de-marginalize people and integrate them into society.
Environmental justice, and access to resources are especially critical to developing countries, which are “not developing, so much as developing too quickly through accelerated urban growth. Four-fifths of the world is like this,” he added, “neither developed nor undeveloped – just growing too quickly.”
In Schjetnan’s Mexico City, and many other exploding cities, there are major problems with inequality, congestion, natural resource depletion, water and waste management, all which present landscape architects and designers not only big challenges but also big opportunities.
Landscape architecture is a “medium to create well-being” through green public space, said Schjetnan. To rehabilitate unjust places, we must focus on environmental justice and make sure everyone has access to these spaces.
Bert Guevara's insight:
I am a Landscape Architect and this is our mission.

"Landscape architecture is a “medium to create well-being” through green public space, said Schjetnan. To rehabilitate unjust places, we must focus on environmental justice and make sure everyone has access to these spaces.
"The equitable growth of cities and the flow of displaced populations are issues that must be addressed, said Jordanian Senator Mahadin, who was a landscape architect before becoming a politician. ...
“Landscape is a human right,” began Schjetnan, landscape has the ability to de-marginalize people and integrate them into society. 
"Environmental justice, and access to resources are especially critical to developing countries, which are “not developing, so much as developing too quickly through accelerated urban growth. Four-fifths of the world is like this,” he added, “neither developed nor undeveloped – just growing too quickly.”
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Milwaukee is Showing How Urban Gardening Can Heal a City | Civil Eats ("this idea vastly excites me")

Milwaukee is Showing How Urban Gardening Can Heal a City | Civil Eats ("this idea vastly excites me") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Milwaukee boasts a vibrant network of urban agriculture efforts—and the most farmers’ markets per capita—and it's paying off, although challenges remain.

It’s a chilly spring morning in Milwaukee; rain falls softly from a pigeon-gray sky. Yet here, in a parking lot in a rundown section of town, a couple dozen volunteers have assembled for the Victory Garden Initiative‘s (VGI) ninth-annual “Blitz.” They will spend this soggy Saturday building raised-bed gardens in yards across town—from the suburbs to the urban core. Over the course of the two-week event, they will prepare more than 500 beds, adding to the 3,000 gardens VGI has already installed throughout the city.

This is what community gardening looks like in Milwaukee, a Rust Belt city that has become a hive of urban agriculture over the last few decades.

In addition to a multitude of backyard plots, this city of nearly 600,000 residents boasts 177 community gardens, 30 farms, and 26 farmers’ markets—more, per capita, than any other American city. Thanks to city council legislation, residents can sell produce they grow in their home gardens at farm stands and markets and are allowed to keep chickens and bees in their yards. Concurrently, a half-dozen “farm-to-table” restaurants have sprung up in the last decade.

Milwaukee’s vibrant food culture is a bright spot in a city that’s working hard to reinvent itself. Like much of the industrial Midwest, Milwaukee has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs since the 1960s. Almost 30 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty—twice the rate for the nation as a whole.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The more I think about this kind of advocacy, the more I realize the potentials it has in decaying cities in the Philippines. There are many scattered believers that need to be organized, but by who?
Will the church be a good catalyst to free it from politics? Will NGOs do better?

"Milwaukee’s vibrant food culture is a bright spot in a city that’s working hard to reinvent itself. Like much of the industrial Midwest, Milwaukee has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs since the 1960s. Almost 30 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty—twice the rate for the nation as a whole."
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Forests and SDGs: Taking a Second Look | World Resources Institute ("we can't move on without them")

Forests and SDGs: Taking a Second Look | World Resources Institute ("we can't move on without them") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it
This week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City gives denizens of “Development World” the chance to update their mental maps of how forests contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As argued in our book, Why Forests? Why Now?, there’s good reason to do so: forests are an overlooked and undervalued asset in the struggle to achieve these goals. Here’s why.

More Familiar Forest Contributions to SDGs 
Most people are already familiar with the contributions of forest products to local welfare and the role of forest services in meeting global objectives. Wild fruits, nuts, mushrooms and bush meat supplement diets (SDG 2), and medicinal plants are often a first recourse for illness (SDG 3). Forest products supply more than 20 percent of the household income for local families (SDG 1), and tropical forests shelter most of the world’s terrestrial biological diversity (SDG 15). And, as a safe, natural means of carbon capture and storage, forests are increasingly recognized as an essential element of any strategy to stabilize our climate (SDG 13).

Less Familiar Deforestation Risks to SDGs
While many attempts have been made to mobilize forest goods and services as a pathway out of poverty for rural communities, not enough attention has been given to deforestation as a highway to pauperization. Conversion of forests to other land uses eliminates income from wild products, and leaves landscapes less resilient to landslides, floods and other natural disasters―events that can damage brick-and-mortar infrastructure (SDG 11) and set back income growth for decades (SDG 1). 
Deforestation also affects agricultural productivity, a key weapon in the fight to end hunger (SDG 2). Forest-based birds, bats and bees provide essential pollination and pest control. Forested watersheds provide water for irrigation, and help maintain the aquatic habitat for the inland fisheries that nourish millions. Loss of tree cover also affects the water cycle, threatening to dry up the “flying rivers” that transport water vapor from forest transpiration and fall as rain on faraway agricultural fields.
Bert Guevara's insight:
In the Philippines, our forest lands are raped twice. First by illegal loggers. Next, by those who claim to replant trees. Billions of pesos have been lost to corruption in the name of reforestation or replanting of trees.
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Coastal Cities Are Increasingly Vulnerable, & So Is Economy that Relies on Them ("Ph is example too")

Coastal Cities Are Increasingly Vulnerable, & So Is Economy that Relies on Them ("Ph is example too") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Miami is a perfect example.

There was a time a decade or two ago when society could have made a choice to write off our massive investment in a fossil fuel-based economy and begin a policy driven shift towards a cleaner renewable infrastructure that could have forestalled the worst effects of climate change. But the challenges of collective action, a lack of political courage, and the power of incumbent pecuniary interests to capture the levers of power meant we did not. The bill is now coming due.

That means that many of our great, low-lying coastal cities are what we call “stranded assets.” GreenBiz founder Joel Makower defines a stranded asset as “a financial term that describes something that has become obsolete or nonperforming well ahead of its useful life, and must be recorded on a company’s balance sheet as a loss of profit.” Makower was talking about Exxon and other companies that built their businesses on the combustion of climate changing fossil fuels, not cities. But the concept easily transfers from businesses built on carbon to cities threatened by carbon’s impact.

Consider Miami. An invaluable, irreplaceable cultural jewel that will be stranded, both figuratively and literally, by climate change.

How can an entire metropolis that encompasses the lives, culture, and wellbeing of millions be considered “nonperforming?” The physical installations, infrastructures, and architecture upon which Miami are founded were built on what we now can see as a flawed assumption. An assumption of permanence. That the sea’s surface would stay as it had for the entirety of human experience. That Atlantic hurricane season would send infrequent storms of knowable magnitude that we could prepare for and ride out. It was that perception of permanence and predictability that underlay urban planning and shaped of tens of thousands of investment decisions that fostered billions of dollars of wealth in Miami. As long as nothing disturbs that perception, value will continue to accrue on paper. But if the perception of permanence that underlies those expectations is undercut, market value will disappear. Value is in the eyes of the buyer… until its not.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The Philippines is as vulnerable to extreme weather as Miami.

"How can an entire metropolis that encompasses the lives, culture, and wellbeing of millions be considered “nonperforming?” The physical installations, infrastructures, and architecture upon which Miami are founded were built on what we now can see as a flawed assumption. An assumption of permanence. That the sea’s surface would stay as it had for the entirety of human experience. That Atlantic hurricane season would send infrequent storms of knowable magnitude that we could prepare for and ride out. It was that perception of permanence and predictability that underlay urban planning and shaped of tens of thousands of investment decisions that fostered billions of dollars of wealth in Miami. As long as nothing disturbs that perception, value will continue to accrue on paper. But if the perception of permanence that underlies those expectations is undercut, market value will disappear. Value is in the eyes of the buyer… until its not."
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Planet has just 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal, study says (90% chance of 2C temp rise")

Planet has just 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal, study says (90% chance of 2C temp rise") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Researchers find that economic, emissions and population trends point to very small chance Earth will avoid warming more than 2C by century’s end.

There is only a 5% chance that the Earth will avoid warming by at least 2C come the end of the century, according to new research that paints a sobering picture of the international effort to stem dangerous climate change.

Global trends in the economy, emissions and population growth make it extremely unlikely that the planet will remain below the 2C threshold set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the study states. 

The Paris accord, signed by 195 countries, commits to holding the average global temperature to “well below 2C” above pre-industrial levels and sets a more aspirational goal to limit warming to 1.5C. This latter target is barely plausible, the new research finds, with just a 1% chance that temperatures will rise by less than 1.5C. 

“We’re closer to the margin than we think,” said Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington academic who led the research, published in Nature Climate Change. “If we want to avoid 2C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.” 

Governments settled on the 2C threshold partly through political expediency but also because scientists have warned of severe consequences from sea level rise, drought, heatwaves and social unrest should the temperature rise beyond this.

Bert Guevara's insight:
It appears the world is busy with many other concerns, while little attention is given to meeting the Paris Climate goal. This is just another warning that we cannot take for granted.

"According to the University of Washington study, there is a 90% likelihood that temperatures will rise between 2C and 4.9C by 2100. This would put the world in the mid-range warming scenarios mapped out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It negates the most optimistic outcome as well as the worst case, which would see temperatures climb nearly 6C beyond the pre-industrial era."
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A Sense of Duty to Teach Climate Change ("climate science subjects over economics and politics")

A Sense of Duty to Teach Climate Change ("climate science subjects over economics and politics") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The New York Times asked teachers how they are approaching the subject of climate change in their classrooms.

Since my story about the clash between teenage climate skeptics and their high school science teacher ran earlier this month, several hundred teachers across the country have responded with their own stories of teaching on climate. After the initial flurry of replies, I wanted to get a handle on a broader range of teacher experiences, so I requested more stories.

Climate change, of course, is a politically fraught topic in the United States, where Republican politicians and representatives of the fossil fuel industry have sought to cast doubt on the established science of human-caused global warming. 

Even most states that have adopted the scientific consensus as part of their education standards — and many have not — so far do not require assessments of whether students understand it. And one recent survey suggests that some science teachers simply skim over the topic. But many of the teachers I heard from, including those in conservative strongholds, described efforts to impart the reality of climate change whether or not it was an official part of the curriculum.


Bert Guevara's insight:
The role of the academe in saving the planet cannot be taken for granted. Bringing climate change in the discussion is not easy, considering the current resistance presented by deniers.
But in the Philippines, ask the simple farmer or fisherman and he will tell you that the climate is not as normal as it used to be.

"Climate change, of course, is a politically fraught topic in the United States, where Republican politicians and representatives of the fossil fuel industry have sought to cast doubt on the established science of human-caused global warming."
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There's a New Antibiotic You Should Know About ("but why is there a problem in the first place?")

There's a New Antibiotic You Should Know About ("but why is there a problem in the first place?") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Promoting the judicious use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture is an important way to combat superbugs, but developing new antibiotics to treat infections is also critical. Although few pharmaceutical companies are currently developing new antibiotics, scientists from Rutgers University-New Brunswick report an important finding that could help lead to a new drug down the line. 

In the journal Cell, the researchers report they’ve discovered a new antibiotic called pseudouridimycin that appears to work well in animal models. The antibiotic comes from a microbe that was discovered in Italian soil as part of an effort to discover new drug compounds.

Beyond the discovery, the researchers were able to test the antibiotic and show that it acts against drug-resistant bacteria in test tubes and appears to combat infections in mice models. The way the antibiotic targets bacteria is different from similar drugs on the market and makes it less prone to developing resistance, the researchers say. “I think pharma made a mistake in leaving this space,” says study author Richard H. Ebright, Board of Governors professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Ebright says that he and his research team will likely spend 1-3 more years trying to make it even more effective. “We can make small tweaks to the chemical structure that would make it a bit more potent,” says Ebright.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Is this the face of modern medicine? 
Older vaccines that created "superbugs" now need to be solved by another anti-superbug vaccine. Then how do we attack the super-superbug in the future, by a stronger anti-super-superbug vaccine?
Isn't this the alarm bell for going back to basic natural healthy living? We cannot go back if the environment is not switched back to NORMAL. Make a choice for LIFE.
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Look Back: The 1996 Marcopper mining disaster ("never again to reckless mining; ecology too important")

Look Back: The 1996 Marcopper mining disaster ("never again to reckless mining; ecology too important") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

(UPDATED) On March 24, 1996, the Philippines saw one of the biggest mining disasters in Philippine history, which led to a drastic change in the country's mining policy

On March 24, 1996, the drainage tunnels of Marcopper Mining Corporation’s open pit ruptured and spilled millions of tons of mine waste that smothered the Boac River in Marinduque, inundating villages and killing marine life. 

Let’s review the disaster that drastically changed the country’s mining policy.

As time passed by, the dam was being filled with mine tailings. This brought pressure to the tunnel, causing seepage of the mine waste. La Viña said Marcopper was aware of the leaks, and they had been trying to figure out what to do with them. 

Then, a minor earthquake happened. A week after, the tunnel was ruptured. 

Marcopper blamed the earthquake for the damage, saying that the rupture was caused by an “act of nature.”

The incident saw 2 to 3 million tons of mine waste spilling into the Boac River. 

It caused flash floods that buried villages. About a third or 20 out of 60 villages had to be evacuated with approximately 20,000 people affected.

As the agricultural and marine life got severely affected, the government declared Boac River dead. Nearby villages lost one of their major sources of livelihood. 

Despite glaring damages and reports of sickness, Marcopper claimed that the spills were non-toxic. 

Eventually, the company closed and the mining operations stopped.

Bert Guevara's insight:
21 years after and this mining disaster remains a disaster. Instead of owning up to the responsibility, this mining company blamed God by declaring it was an "act of nature".

"Some 98% of Philippine mineral production is exported for use by other countries’ steel industries while the country has none despite its being one of the world’s top producers of gold, copper and nickel," the statement said. 
“If the risks are great, you should not allow mining. If the risks are less than the benefits, then you can allow mining – but make sure that mining companies set aside money to pay for the risks,” he explained.
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The Nature Conservancy ("architects design a bat barn that even batman will be glad to live in")

The Nature Conservancy ("architects design a bat barn that even batman will be glad to live in") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

The Conservancy and Arch Nexus partner together to design a first-of-its-kind bat barn in Utah to provide vital habitat for bats at the Great Salt Lake.

In October of 2016, the Utah Chapter of the Conservancy announced the beginning of a unique and ambitious project: the construction of a first-of-its-kind bat barn at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. After a colony of bats were excluded from their roost in the attic of a local business, the Conservancy teamed up with Architectural Nexus to design a new home for these misunderstood creatures. 

But as it turned out, no ordinary bat box would do, especially for the large colonies of bats that migrate to the Great Salt Lake to feast on its bounty of insects. Some bat species, like the Mexican free-tailed bat, need ample fly space, plenty of baffles on which to perch, and a drop-off at least 20-feet high in order to gain enough momentum to take flight. 

With the specific needs of Utah’s bat species in mind, Architectural Nexus donated their time and expertise to the Conservancy to design a customized bat barn with enough space to comfortably hold large bat colonies and lure the evicted bats to better-suited habitat at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.

The “house” portion of the winning design is simple and modular, wrapped in marine-grade rope to screen sunlight and help regulate temperature. This component will be attached to the “exoskeleton,” a towering wooden log structure to designed hold the house high above the ground. 

This particular plan also complements the nature-inspired design of the boardwalk and existing pavilions at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, while also allowing the house to be easily modified in the future.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Welcome Batman! Check out your new bat barn!
Proud architects design out-of-the-box habitat for bats. Amazing.

"As the architects themselves learned, when it comes to bats, there is a lot to be thankful for. Every hour, bats are capable of consuming more than one thousand insects. Without their crucial ecological services, farmers would be evermore troubled by agricultural pests and more humans bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes."
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DENR eyes 4,000 hectares for bamboo plantation ("just hope they get serious with the NGP this time")

DENR eyes 4,000 hectares for bamboo plantation ("just hope they get serious with the NGP this time") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

 The government is eyeing increased bamboo plantation as it targets nearly 4,000 hectares in Western Visayas.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau is beefing up bamboo plantation in Aklan, Antique Capiz, Iloilo and Guimaras. 

“Bamboo is considered to be the best conservation material because of its low maintenance compared to other plantations aside from the fact that there is a high return on investment and faster payback in bamboo,” ERDB executive director Henry Adornado said. 

This is in line with the DENR’s nationwide goal of planting bamboo on a total of one million hectares by 2022 as required under the National Greening Program.

The enhanced NGP will rehabilitate the remaining 7.1 million hectares of denuded areas in the country using bamboo. 

“This is also in line with the government’s goal of reducing poverty, mitigating climate change, rehabilitating watersheds, and conserving biodiversity,” Adornado said.

Bamboo is considered as high-value for mitigating climate change given its fast biomass production and renewability.

The ERDB is also partnering with the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Trade and Industry on value adding and marketing of bamboo products.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The new darling of the DENR.

“Bamboo is considered to be the best conservation material because of its low maintenance compared to other plantations aside from the fact that there is a high return on investment and faster payback in bamboo,”
"Bamboo is considered as high-value for mitigating climate change given its fast biomass production and renewability.
"Studies showed that bamboo has the capacity to sequester 400 percent more carbon per unit area and gives off 35 percent more oxygen than other trees. 
"Bamboos can also stabilize embankments and prevent erosion brought about by sea level rise, which is one of the identified impacts of climate change."
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Taliban leader urges Afghans to plant more trees ("while fighting a war, they want to plant trees")

Taliban leader urges Afghans to plant more trees ("while fighting a war, they want to plant trees") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Hibatullah Akhundzada says more trees are needed "for the beautification of Earth".

In a statement, he called on civilians and fighters to "plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah's creations". 

Afghanistan has a severe problem of deforestation. Trees are cut down for heating and illegal timber sales. 

Statements from the Taliban on environmental issues are rare. 

Akhundzada, who became leader of the Taliban last May, has a stronger reputation as a religious leader than a military chief. 

Sunday's "special message", carried on official Taliban outlets, was in stark contrast to the more familiar fiery rhetoric against the Afghan government and its Nato coalition backers.

"Tree plantation plays an important role in environmental protection, economic development and beautification of earth," the Taliban leader said, in a report carried by the Afghan Taliban Voice of Jihad website.

"Planting trees and agriculture are considered actions which hold both worldly good and benefit as well as immense rewards in the hereafter."

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Shah Hussain Murtazawi, described the statement as an attempt to deceive public opinion and to distract from the Taliban's "crimes and destruction".

The Taliban is more usually associated with Afghanistan's illicit production of opium, which it taxes in areas under its control.

The group ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until it was toppled by a US-led coalition in 2001.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Even the Taliban have not forgotten the value of trees, in the middle of a long-drawn war.

"In a statement, he called on civilians and fighters to "plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah's creations".

"Tree plantation plays an important role in environmental protection, economic development and beautification of earth," ...

"Planting trees and agriculture are considered actions which hold both worldly good and benefit as well as immense rewards in the hereafter."

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Heartless Poachers Attack Rhino ORPHANAGE. Rhinos Killed. Staff Beaten. ("true inhuman savagery")

Heartless Poachers Attack Rhino ORPHANAGE. Rhinos Killed. Staff Beaten. ("true inhuman savagery") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

As if it wasn’t enough that poachers brutally kill adult rhinos, they have now stooped even lower… attacking a rhino orphanage in South Africa. Allison Thomson, founder of Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching, said she feels heartbroken. “Totally gutted #STOPTHEMADNESS #HEARTBROKEN #SENDINGLOVE. No words left �����.” It is increasingly difficult for those who care …

It is increasingly difficult for those who care and have been trying to fight the war against rhino poaching, to carry on under these circumstances. Conservationists, private rhino owners, rangers, anti-poaching staff and vets have all revealed the heartbreak and tears behind their struggle. 

Now more than ever before, the country and its wildlife need the South African government to truly step in – to adopt a zero tolerance policy, to employ the armed forces as has happened in other countries fighting poaching… and to root out alleged corruption within the court system. This is a plea to anybody reading this who can help – to please help. 

Allison said: “Last night one of our rhino orphanages was attacked by poachers. I cannot give you more info now except that some rhinos were killed. 

“One had to be euthanized this morning. The staff were apparently beaten. I cannot give you more info than this right now. 

“Please keep all of them in your thoughts.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Poaching has reached the level of pure evil and heartlessness!

"As if it wasn’t enough that poachers brutally kill adult rhinos, they have now stooped even lower… attacking a rhino orphanage in South Africa."
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High resolution West Valley Fault maps launched ("be prepared and know where you are on the fault")

High resolution West Valley Fault maps launched ("be prepared and know where you are on the fault") | Earth Citizens Perspective | Scoop.it

Disaster officials say detailed maps showing danger zones will help Metro Manila and surrounding provinces prepare for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake expected within our lifetime

Cities and towns traversed by the 100-kilometer West Valley Fault, may experience earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.2. On the other hand, areas traversed by the shorter 10-kilometer East Valley Fault are due for, at most, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake. (WATCH: #TalkThursday: Metro Manila earthquake scenarios) 

The affected cities and towns are as follows:  


West Valley Fault 

Quezon City 

Marikina 

Makati 

Pasig 

Taguig 

Muntinlupa 

Bulacan (Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzgaray, San Jose Del Monte City) 

Rizal (Rodriguez) 

Laguna (San Pedro City, Biñan, Sta Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba) 

Cavite (Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez, Silang) 


East Valley Fault 

Rodriguez, Rizal 

San Mateo, Rizal


Disaster and local government officials vowed to use the atlas to protect citizens. 

"The Valley Fault System Atlas will play a critical role in our programs for preparedness," said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Alexander Pama. 

He gave assurances that the atlas will be used by the NDRRMC and its regional offices as a tool for minimizing risk and casualties during an earthquake. 

The handbook will serve as a "solid reference" for the placement of evacuation centers, roads, and houses, he added.

Bert Guevara's insight:
If you live near the West Valley Fault, check out these latest detailed maps. It pays to know. I suggest that you download the maps for future reference.

"The atlas took 2 years to complete, said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. 
Such a map is critical given that the Valley Fault System (VSF) is due for a big earthquake within the next 50 years."
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