Sustainability and Environment Headlines - 1 September, 2005
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Solutions and Sustainability
Green China Overview
...To a very great degree, whether or not we as a planet manage to win the Great Wager depends upon China. ...
Even more intriguing are the efforts China is making -- through the government, universities and commercial industries -- to promote a rapid shift to non-fossil fuel vehicles.
Electric bikes and scooters substantiallly out-sell private automobiles, with over 10 million put on the road this year, compared to 3 million new cars. Perhaps more importantly, China is moving to the cutting-edge of battery and fuel cell vehicle design.
Cleaner production and cleaner cars are important, but with the speed at which China is growing, so is cleaner living. To that end, China is pushing the adoption of sustainable urban revival strategies and green building regulations. And they're starting to think big, too.
Calling in famed sustainable designer William McDonough, China is building new, more sustainable megacity developments like the Huangbaiyu Cradle to Cradle Village: ...
(29 August 2005)
Clean, green and organic, in the middle of the city
Julie Besonen and Andrea Kannapell, NY Times
THE shift toward local, seasonal and sustainable agriculture makes sense for the taste buds, the body and the planet. But there's a next step: making home kitchens just as environmentally sound as those pastoral organic farms.
Keeping a green kitchen circa 2005 doesn't mean renouncing cocktails for organic wine and Cheetos for soy crackers, or stashing worms under your sink. The green kitchen lies at the intersection of good cooking and common sense, and coexists with - nurtures, even - individualistic quirks that make your kitchen yours alone.
"Once you make the leap into understanding it's better to shop organically and locally, it's a natural step to think about how you store and prepare the food," said Mindy Pennybacker, the editor of The Green Guide, an online newsletter devoted to environmentally friendly options for the home (thegreenguide.com).
We two East Villagers, possessed of wee kitchens and budget-conscious minds, have been gradually turning green over the last 10 years, focusing on everything from better produce shopping to safer household cleaning. Our guiding principles, including the ones here that focus on food, play no favorites. They work just as well in old-world Tuscan kitchens and stainless steel models of ultra-modernity as in our cramped kitchenette
(31 August 2005)
Many hints about "green" food preparation. This is a surprisingly important idea, which has previously passed under the radar screen. In countries like the UK, US and Australia, 25-40% of food is regularly thrown out, so reducing waste in the kitchen can have dramatic benefits. -BA
Wetlands erosion raises hurricane risks
Natural storm 'speed bump' around New Orleans now missing
Bob Sullivan, MSNBC
The very technology that protects New Orleans from flooding has backfired, environmental experts say.
They say the levees that ring the city have led to the rapid decay of nearby wetlands during the past century, removing a crucial buffer zone that once protected the area from hurricanes.
Hurricanes quickly lose force when they hit land, but New Orleans is now vulnerable to violent storms because the land around it has been rapidly disappearing. Today, New Orleans is almost completely exposed to the Gulf of Mexico, said Val Marmillion, a consultant for the America's Wetland group, which is lobbying for the Louisiana coast area.
"There are almost open water conditions around New Orleans now," Marmillion said. "Because of wetland loss some areas of Louisiana are no longer protected at all."
Wetlands act as a "speed bump," slowing down storms almost like dry land does, said Kip Patrick, spokesman for America's Wetland. "They take some of the brunt of the force of the hurricane, weakens the storm like any land mass would."
(29 August 2005)
Lake Victoria Dying - Report
Kelvin Nsangi, The Monitor (Uganda)
Mukono - SCIENTISTS have discovered that Lake Victoria is dying. The Research Officer at the National Agricultural Research Organisation, Dr Fred Wanda, warned that the lake was "dead" and needed urgent attention.
He was speaking at a workshop on water quality and fisheries organised by the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) in Mukono on Monday.
...[Ugandan Minister of Water, Lands and Environment, Kahinda Otafiire said,] "Increasing population pressure had brought about greater urbanisation and industrialisation, intensified agriculture malpractices leading to overgrazing, deforestation, soil erosion and greater use of pesticides," he said. "As a result, we are experiencing increased land degradation and deterioration of water quality coupled with increased misuse of the natural resources due to poor exploitation and processing practices."
Otafiire said the Lake Victoria basin was an economic growth zone in East Africa and the vast catchment areas of the lake were rich in natural resources and economic activities generating up to $12 billion annually in East Africa.
The scientists' report on fisheries said 200 fish species had disappeared from Lake Victoria in the last 40 years due to water pollution. It said the lake's commercial fishery resources had reduced to three species of fish namely the Nile Perch, Tilapia and Dagga. The report said the size of fish in the lake was growing smaller. ...
(17 August 2005)
See also 'DDT Contaminates L. Victoria'.
Peru's glaciers in retreat
Hannah Hennessy, BBC
...Soon [Pastoruri], like many other glaciers in Peru, will have disappeared almost completely. At about 5,000m, or just over 16,000ft, it is one of the glaciers worst affected by climate change in Peru. And Peru, in turn, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change in the world.
Sitting between the tropics, where the sun is particularly fierce, and home to more tropical glaciers than anywhere else, this South American country is especially vulnerable to rising temperatures.
Experts predict all the Peruvian glaciers below 5,500m will disappear by 2015. This is the majority of Peru's glaciers.
(25 August 2005)