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

JEPS talk and Competition

On the 9th November, I went to Jeps (Jalan Empat Primary School) in Bangi, where Carrier International Sdn Bhd, the Air Conditioner company, had organised an Eco friendly competition. KFE was invited to give a talk about the dangers of plastic bags. I was also invited to be one of the judges for the competition. The students had to get into a group and make an original, eco-friendly, useful object. The entries ranged from photo frames made from magazine pages cut and rolled up, to a motorized scooter made from a painted board and a broken scooter. The 3 winners were: an electric fan made from a basket and wires, a self watering plant and a house made from all sorts of different recycled materials. I had the honor of planting a tree for Kids For Earth in the school and signing the plaque! All in all it was a great day for Kids For Earth and thank you very much to Carrier, Rico, JEPS and ALL the students for making it such a great experience!

Farting Cows

Most of you already know that cows are contributing to global warming with their incredible amounts of farts. Some scientists say that to stop this, the human population should stop eating so much meat and become vegetarians. Others suggest that we feed cows oregano (an aromatic herb, part of the mint family) based products. According to dairy scientist Alexander Hristov, feeding cows oregano based products reduces their methane emissions by 40%. Not only that, but it also boosts the cows milk production.  Methane, with  21 times more heat trapping and global warming potential  than Carbon Dioxide is a gas we should fear too. In 2006, the UN’s report showed Methane as the second most important Green house effect. So if you’ve got a Dad going around the house farting every second or two, feed him some oregano based products and tell him it’s for the good of our Earth.

Climate Change Week YTL

Climate change week is finally here, happening on the 19th June. Our official Billy the Plastic Bag book will be launched along with the opening of our ‘Bring Kids For Earth to your school’ Workshop. If  you want to take part, contact me at raphaelletseng@kidsforearthasia.com. You have to get a team of 4 or 5 kids from the ages 10 to 15 to come. 19th June is a Saturday and the workshop/launch will start at 11.00am. Hope to see some of you guys there!

Oh yeah, there is also going to be an eco bazaar running throughout most of the day. Kids For Earth will be selling bags and books there.

Astro TVIQ talk in SK Sri Petaling

Astro TVIQ organised a workshop in SK Sri Petaling and made plans for Kids For Earth to present our Billy the Plastic Bag presentation. Isaac, Gautam, our newest member Idris and myself, stayed the whole morning and took part in some of the activities. At the end of the workshop, the members of Kids For Earth judged sketches of why not to use plastic bags and how to ban them. We all learnt about how a proper workshop should be run and this gave us some ideas for future workshops.

Astro TVIQ Workshop in SK Sri Petaling

Issac Lee, Raphaelle Tseng, Idris Bin Azim, Gautam Jethwani

Talk for ISKL Green Week

Grade 4 listening to Raphaelle's presentation

ISKL had their ‘Green’ week from the 19th to the 23rd April. To kick-start the week, they asked Kids For Earth to come and do the Billy the Plastic Bag Presentation for the Grade 4’s or Year 5. The 6 classes added up to about 120 kids. We asked them to design a poster for the competition and their response was quite enthusiastic so we are hoping to get some pretty good posters.

The dead line is May 14th and Poster need to be handed back to Mr Ward.


The 3 winners will get a Billy the plastic bag book and a cotton bag!