Nature Conservancy in the Amazon

TheNatureConservancyNature Conservancy is an NGO (www.nature.org), which works with the indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest. The indigenous people now have a say and a right to their land, which makes up 20% of the Amazon rain forest. Nature Conservancy works with these people to help them develop their forests sustainably. They involve the whole community.

Their projects usually start with ethno mapping, which is when the local people point out and map natural resources, villages, where illegal hunting is taking place, mining or logging, on a satellite image. This process also helps distinguish the borders between tribes to avoid conflict.

In 2006, a trading centre opened in Manaus, on the Rio Negro, in Brazil. It trains 15 students, local people, at a time to manage their land and resources. They are taught how to use geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing techniques, natural resource and indigenous management, environmental legislation for 5 months.

Nature Conservancy works across the globe, in Africa, Oceania, America, Europe and the Caribbean, supporting local communities and doing environmental work to help animals and habitats for future generations.

“We work around the world to protect nature and preserve life for future generations.”
- Nature Conservancy

Mining for Gold and Copper in Indonesia

Gold is an extremely precious metal. Everyone knows it. It’s used everyday, from appliances such as phones and laptops, to jewellery and bracelets. Nearly as unreactive is copper, used in wiring. Both of these metals can be found in the easternmost islands and tropical rainforests of Indonesia, in New Guinea.

Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company, one of the worlds largest producers of copper and gold, mines an area of 3.6 million hectares in this part of Indonesia. It owns 76.6% of Grasberg, Papua province. The effects of mining in these areas have very severe consequences on the land and on the indigenous people.

Due to the golds proximity to the surface, companies use a method known as open-pit mining to dig into the ground. This means that they first have to destroy the rainforests that cover the land. Deforestation leads to loss of habitat for many animals, and loss of biodiversity we can’t begin to imagine. Once the land has been cleared, these companies begin to dig into the ground. The pollution caused by this leads to further harm to wildlife, in particular, the saltwater crocodile, native to these areas, and tortoises. 285,000 tonnes of untreated mining waste is dumped into the river Aghawaghon every day. If my maths is correct, that’s about 285,000,000 bottles of coke. Still quite hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it. Consider that this waste is poisoning the fish and the animals which drink from this river. It kills plants and more importantly, it affects the indigenous people who use this water everyday, who eat the fish from this river and who drink it to survive.

If that’s not enough to make you question these companies and their effects on these lands, then ask yourself who works in these mines? Who slaves away, working for less than US$2 for every 10 hour day? Exploitation of local people is a problem that needs to be solved. Companies take advantage of the indigenous people and use them as cheap labour.

So next time you buy a laptop or a new necklace, stop for a moment and consider where it’s come from.

Grasberg Mine, West Papua:

grasberg mine, papua

Antarctic Floods

Six BILLION tonnes of water have possibly been drained into the ocean due to a huge amount of flooding under Antarctica. The cause: a crater lake, covering about 260 square kilometres, almost 70m deep, of area that used to be layered  in a sheet of ice 2.7 km thick. The ice slumped as the water from the lake exited, in an area located towards the east of the continent, thus rendering the effect visible to satellites in orbit. Scientists estimate that at its peak, the flow of the water would’ve equalled twice that of the River Thames and the amount of water was more than is contained in the famous Lock Ness.

At the moment, Antarctica is losing mass at a rate of nearly 50-100 billion tonnes a year. This lake alone represents 5-10% of this figure. This is adding to the rise in sea levels, causing places such as the Maldives, to be evacuated due to their proximity to sea level. Holland is currently below sea level as well._68499321_68496473

 

UK STOP!

imgresThe United Kingdom is targeted to miss its carbon emission targets for the 2020′s. Advisors warned the government that according to reports last year, the carbon emissions rose by 3.5%. At the moment, 543 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are caused by manufacturing and consumption industries and 150 million for homes.

Although the UK claims to be the leading country in reducing carbon emissions, this is not actually true and its numbers have in fact been rising in the past year. They are actually importing goods from other countries, good which produce carbon emissions in order to be manufactured. It is actually the second largest country in the world to import ‘embodied’ emissions. Over the past two decades, the overall trend has been increasing by, on average, 10% because the CO2 cuts in the UK have been unbalanced by the imported ‘embodied’ emissions.

Green Deal was another scheme set up in the UK where people can set up greener technology in their homes with no up-front cost. They can install roof and wall insulation for example. However stats show that the scheme seems to have had the opposite effect. The amount of people installing insulation has dropped since Green Deal was created.

So how can the UK change its methods in order to reduce carbon emissions by 2020? That’s what we’re interested in finding out.

 

KL Haze

Over the past week in South East Asia, you will no doubt have noticed the heavy haze hanging over cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the effects of which have been placing countless numbers of people in hospital and closing schools all over the place.

The cause of this haze can be traced back to companies in Sumatra using slash and burn techniques to burn the rain forests down, rain forests home to over 10,000 plant species, and more than 200 mammals (UNESCO world heritage site – a 2.5 million hectare reserve alone.). Slash and burn is used by farmers in small areas of the forest, but it is currently being used by bigger palm oil industries in order to create palm oil plantations. However, the fires have been spreading and the Sumatran fire department is having trouble keeping them under hand. The fires are releasing countless numbers of carbon emissions into the atmosphere as well.

The result of which means that the smoke and haze is being blown up by a south west wind, falling directly over Singapore and KL. The quality of air, at its worst was 746 on the API scale. Also, June and July are some of the driest months of the year, and the lack of rain means the haze lingered. The annual KL marathon has had to be pushed back to September due to the unsafe quality of air.

I will, however, admit, that many student (including myself) were very happy about the extra 3 day holiday we got due to the haze!

Twin towers and central KL in haze

Twin towers and central KL in haze

How to save the earth

Going green is easier than you think. There are little things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment.Here are a few steps to save the earth. 1.­ Pay attention to how you use  water.The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re doing something good.2. Leave your car at home. If you can stay off the road just two days a week, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds per year.Combine your errands — hit the post office, grocery store and shoe repair place in one trip. It will save you gas and time.3. Walk or ride your bike  to work, school and anywhere you can. You can reduce greenhouse gases while burning some calories  and improving your health. If you can’t walk or bike, use a bus  or carpool. Every car not on the road makes a difference.Lastly,Recycle.You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. If you’re trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging.

The Eco Ark

The Eco Ark is a building designed by an architect named Arthur Huang. It was designed for the Taipei International Floral   Exposition. The Eco Ark is not an ordinary building. It has a steel skeleton and the walls are made out of 1.5 million recycled bottles. The bottles are fed into a machine and are transformed into a shape inspired by the honeycomb design of the beehive. This way they fit very nicely into each other. However, there were many problems when it came to convincing the board to go forward with this idea and in construction. Arthur Huang and his team had to buy a second hand machine, as there was no time to build one from scratch, to mould the bottles into the correct shape. The team also had to create their own moulds. There were many problems with the bottles itself as well. It took many attempts before the bottles were strong enough to support the Eco Ark. A benefit of the Eco Ark is that it can be taken apart and put together again easily, a bit like Lego bricks, so that it can be moved from country to country easily.Eco Ark on Channel News SEco Ark on Channel News AsiaEco Ark on Channel News Asia

Earth Hour

Earth Hour was on Saturday 26th March 2011 and is where every one all over the world turns off their lights for one hour. It is so simple to do and hardly affects your life. Over 126 countries did this. Unfortunately, I couldn’t because I wasn’t at home. Although WWF takes credit for it, another guy invented Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia by turning of his lights, which started the trend.

Earth Hour Logo

Did you know that if everyone did this, then a lot less fossil fuels, which are used to make electricity, will be burnt. Burning of these fuels creates greenhouse gases and global warming.  Turning off your lights will result in less global warming.  Oil, which is a major fossil fuel, is non-renewable and  we should preserve it. Did you know, we will run out of oil in 70 years? Which means no more cars or electricity!! When that happens, its back to the Dark Ages!

The Internet is harmful to our environment.

Everyday, we use the Internet, which is now as normal as driving a car, or eating at a restaurant. However, the Internet is in fact, harmful to our environment.

Every time the Internet is being used, Co.2 (Carbon Dioxide) is produced. Although the amounts are small, since at least 2 billion people use the Internet and very often too, that’s a lot of Carbon Dioxide your looking at.

Did you know, that 1 google search produces the amount of Co.2 equivalent to driving your car 3 inches (0.2 grams of carbon dioxide). And with the minimal amount of 260,000 Google per month = O_o

However, spam messages are even worse. Not only are they very annoying, and dangerous, every time a spam message is sent, 0.3 grams of carbon dioxide is produced, and with the unfortunate amount of 62 trillion spam messages being sent each year, that’s about 19.6 trillion grams of carbon dioxide being produced.

Hopefully, in the near future, scientists find a cheap and reliable way to make the internet carbon dioxide free, and to destroy spams forever.

Hi! Sk Jalan Empat (Jeps)

Hi im from Sk Jalan empat (Jeps) And my team got first place for the competition! YAY!! I thought the invention we made was kinda simple! but looky here! my team got First Place! I wanna say thanks to Raphaelle Tseng and Mr. Oliver. YAY!!!!!!

oh yeah the invention we made is a self watering container. juz simple!