Category Archives: Eco Warriors

10/10/10 Global Work Party: What Are You Doing?

Today is the Global work party, in 188 countries world over people are getting together to make  a difference, responding to Bill Mackibben’s call “Circle 10/10/10 on your calendar,” reads the invitation. “That’s the date.The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community.” We did do an earlier post on the Global Work Party, you can read it here

The Science of 350

What does a day mean in making a difference?, well it is a beginning and grass root movements are where major changes can start flourishing. So what are you doing today? In my case I have not decided what I will do, my option for a community meet would be – A harvest celebration: In our community there is a community harvest celebration planned – Harvesting vegetables, watering plants, tending to the plots of seeds of hope etc… If I am unable to get there I will be working on the garden patch in our backyard getting it ready for winter. Each of us who are unable to get to a work party has a choice of doing something on our own, check item #10 in the list below or follow the link for ideas.

Join me at http://www.350.org

TOP 10 IDEAS FOR A GLOBAL WORK PARTY FROM 350.org

#1 Organize a Tree Planting

Planting trees is fun, friendly, and a great way to engage the community. And each one you plant will be a little carbon-sequestering machine for years to come. Try to shoot for planting 350 trees or more in one day! Check out this tree-planting guide from our friends at the Green Belt Movement for some tips.

#2 Go Solar
Working on a solar project is a great way to demonstrate the clean energy future right in your community. Whether its installing a solar panel on a local school, building a solar cooker for your community, or putting a solar hot water heater on your house–it is a great way to work with the planet, not against it.

#3 Work on a Community Garden or an Organic Farm
To get to 350, we’ll need to rethink the way we produce food on the planet–moving away from industrial agriculture powered by fossil fuels, and towards small-scale, local, organic farming. Think about using your work party as a day to model this new system–maybe you can break ground on a new community garden. Or simply help out harvesting at a local farm. For more info, visit 350.org/foodandfarm


#4 Go For a Ride:
Biking is a great way to get out and be visible in your community. It also demonstrate the need for improved infrastructure for our alternative modes of transportation. Think about setting up a bike repair workshop, or painting bike lanes in your community. Maybe an awareness ride of 350 miles (or kilometers) if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious?

#5 Harness the Wind
A local wind project can show that you’re serious about building the clean energy economy. Putting up a turbine is a big project though, so you’ll want to start planning this one early…

#6 Get Efficient:
Energy Efficiency is often considered “low hanging fruit” when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. It’s often easier and cheaper than installing renewable energy, so why not start here? Whether it’s installing more efficient LED or CFL lightbulbs in your MPs office, insulating your basement, weatherizing your church or temple, or doing an energy audit on your school, efficiency can help get us on the path to 350 as soon as humanly possible.

7 Start a Transition Town:
The Transition Towns project is designed to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. By raising awareness of sustainable living and building local resilience in the near future, making your community a “transition town” can provide a solid framework for sustained action at the local level. There is even a whole existing network of communities working as Transition towns that you can connect with to learn what they are doing: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/

#8 Faith Work
Connections between the world’s diverse religions and the issue of global warming are numerous and strike a strong moral chord. This is a great way to gather people together who already have a community in which they discuss the big questions — now is the chance to add global warming to the list and harness the network to start working on the solutions.

#9 Trash Clean Up
Sadly, some of our iconic places aren’t as pristine as we’d like. Why not leave the place better than you found it? By recycling the garbage you find, you can ensure that the embedded energy in the products gets reused–instead of decomposing over the years and sending a stready stream of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

#10 Reduce your own emissions 10%
By working together, we can achieve a 10% cut in carbon emissions in a single year, starting in 2010. Our focus is on immediate, practical action–350.org’s focus is on uniting local actions for systemic change on a global level. We’re working hard to show that through hard work, we can achieve 10% reductions on the personal and community level.

Find More Ideas Here

The options are many and if we all take small steps, it will make a difference. Good luck world! Let this be the beginning of a bold new Green revolution!

A Day For the Tiger

Today the 27th of September 2010 is International Tiger Day, it has  been set aside by all those who care about the Big Cats to highlight the state of the Tiger in the Wild. It was in Russia that International Tiger Day was started nine years ago by The Phoenix Fund, a non-governmental organization founded by Russian and U.S. conservationists.

Panthera is an organization which focuses entirely on conservation and education efforts to protect the big cats has been actively speaking out for the tigers. Panthera’s president is Mr.Alan Rabinowitz a leading cat expert who has traveled the world on behalf of wildlife conservation and over the years has studied jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, tigers, Sumatran rhinos, bears, leopard cats, raccoons, and civets. He has also authored many articles and books on the subject.

Panthera’s Tiger Program director is Dr.Joe Smith who is working on Panthera’s “Tigers Forever” Program. If you have been following us, you might remember reading in our last part of the Disappearing Stripes series about the new study which suggested focusing on the key sites across Asia which were more viable to the Tiger’s survival. Panthera’s Tigers Forever program is working with the Wild life conservation Society that aims to increase tiger populations in key sites by at least 50% over the next years.There is a detailed interview with Dr.Joe in the National Geographic, you can read it here.

Tigers Forever is mitigating direct killing of tigers and their prey by:

  • Enhancing law enforcement patrols through rigorous training to protect tigers, their prey and habitat in and around core areas,
  • Using informant networks to investigate and apprehend poachers and others conducting illegal activities, and
  • Training of government and other NGO staff to carry out the best scientific methods on the ground.

Tigers Forever is currently being carried out in six countries:

  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Lao PDR
  • India
  • Myanmar

So What Threatens the Tiger?

The largest cats in the world! What could be threatening them?

  • Wild tigers are directly hunted both to meet the demands of the illegal wildlife trade market, and due to human-tiger conflict, where local people take retaliatory measures to protect themselves and their livestock.
  • Tiger habitat is either being destroyed due to conversion for agricultural purposes and human development, or fragmented, leaving only isolated ‘postage-stamp’ size areas that are not sufficient for the long term survival of wild tigers.
  • Tiger prey, like deer and wild pigs, have been overhunted by people either for subsistence or for sale on the black market. Lack of wild prey increases the chance of tigers feeding off of livestock, which in turn fuels human-tiger conflict.

Check out Panthera’s tiger report card HERE

2010 is the Year of the Tiger, but less than 3,500 tigers exist in the wild today. You can help by making a contribution to Panthera now to ensure the future of the world’s endangered tigers.HERE

Tigers Need our help now before it is too late.

Below is the trailer for the BBC movie – The Lost Land Of the Tiger (it follows Panthera’s President Alan Rabinowitz and a team of scientists as they search for tigers in the kingdom of Bhutan.

Sources –

Panthera Website

NatGeo

A Road Trip to Reignite The White House Solar Project

Today morning at 9AM EST Bill McKibben the founder of 350.org will lead a group of Unity College students to meet White House representatives about Solar Installations on the White house roof. The team started a road trip from Maine on the 7th of September with the intent to reignite the solar installation project in the white house which was started by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and dismantled by Ronald Reagan. The team will be carrying one of the original Carter panels from Maine as a symbolic gesture.

You can ask the President to Fix his roof here 🙂

Bill McKiben’s aim is to get solar panels on the roof of the white house; in his words “as visible as the White House Garden”. Any worthwhile environmental legislation has been shot down or watered down by the Fossil Fuel industry and its allies without breaking sweat. Putting Solar panels on the White house roof is something the President can make a decision on without being worried about a filibuster proof majority.

When the most powerful Country’s Government is dragging its feet when it comes to action on climate and environment, how can we expect other countries to take measures easily?

What I found interesting is the fact that President George W Bush did add some solar panels to the roofs of a maintenance shed, the presidential Spa and Cabana! Sad part is it did not get the coverage it deserved as it was not popularized. When President Carter put in the Solar panels for a water heating in 1979 he believed that it would be there until 2000 providing every president with hot water! The panels taken down by President Ronald Reagan were taken and used by the Unity college where it has provided hot water for 3 decades now!

The team is hoping for 10/10/2010 as the date when the panels will be installed on the White house roof. It is the Global Work Party day, the date is 10/10/10. The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community. New Zealand has plans for giant bike fix-up day, Uganda plans to plant thousands of trees, Bolivia plans to in install solar panels to negate their carbon foot print. The Hope is to see our president helping his home go solar for the entire world to see.

Wondering whether the tax payer will have to foot the bill for these panels? No need to worry, Sungevity Solar a California based solar manufacturer has promised to provide them free of cost provided they will be mounted visible to the public.

China has more than 60 million solar water heaters installed! The White House leading the way will make a push for Solar unlike any other by reigniting the “Green Movement” which was allowed to wither away 3 decades back. The Global climate depends on each one of us doing our bit to get away from using fossil fuels, lesser fossil fuel we consume better it will be for the environment and our planets future.

Waiting for the meeting today and hope we get a positive outcome out of it.  Seeing Solar Panels on the roof of the most powerful home in the world, what can be more symbolic and Green.

Watch the coverage on Democracy Now:

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi “We must be the change that we want to see in this world”

Go 350.org! Go Eco Warriors! you make me proud to be a follower! Live Green!

Sources:

Put Solar On it

Unity College
350.org

NYtimes

UPDATE:

The meeting with White house officials sadly did not produce any positive result and the write up by McKibben can be read here . The Carter Panel will stay in Washington albeit not in the White house, and the 10/10/10 Global Work Party is going ahead full steam. May be President Obama will rethink about fixing his roof sooner than later.

Global FootPrint Network: Keeping Tabs On Our Consumption

August 21st was EarthOvershoot Day! Wondering what that means? So did I. That is when I found this organization “Global Footprint network”.

So what is the Global footprint? In articles about reducing consumption we have all come across the term Carbon Foot print; when that is taken to a global scale it becomes the Global footprint for all inhabitants of our planet.

Every year, Global Footprint Network calculates nature’s supply in the form of biocapacity, the amount of resources the planet generates, and compares that to human demand: the amount it takes to produce all the living resources we consume and absorb our carbon dioxide emissions. Earth Overshoot Day, a concept devised by U.K.-based new economics foundation, marks the day when demand on ecological services begins to exceed the renewable supply.

This year August 21st is the day on which we exhausted our ecological budget for the year, with 4 months remaining in the year.

How is Earth Overshoot day Calculated?

Earth Overshoot Day shows the day on which our total Ecological Footprint (measured in global hectares) is equal to the biocapacity (also measured in global hectares) that nature can regenerate in that year. For the rest of the year, we are accumulating debt by depleting our natural capital and letting waste accumulate.

[ world biocapacity / world Ecological Footprint ] x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day Day

What is Happening?

As with everything else in the environment being aware and reducing consumption and waste will go a long way in reducing our impact on the environment. Global climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges; addressing it is key to our long-term well-being and the continued vitality of our societies.

I had a conversation with my friend about program on NatGeo about Human population explosion and how that could lead to chaos due to inadequacies of resources vs. population… Scary but possible unless Governments world over pay heed to the burgeoning population in its urban centers. In 2008 according to data collected most number of people worldwide were residing in urban areas; their populations were calculated to be around 6.6 Billion and this was estimated to grow by 1.5Billion by 2030! Our role in shaping the Earth is powerful, and the human footprint continues to expand.

What Can Be Done?

The Global Footprint Network aims at creating a world where everyone can live well, within the means of one planet, and it is going to take all of us pulling together toward this common goal.

The scale of our challenge is enormous. Nothing short of a revolution in our economies, societies, energy choices and lifestyles is required.

At Global Footprint Network our programs are designed to influence decision makers at all levels of society and to create a critical mass of powerful institutions using the Footprint to put an end to ecological overshoot and get our economies back into balance.
Check out this video on the importance of ecological footprints

Check out your Ecological Footprint here very interesting almost like an FB game! This is my Ecological Footprint! 4.7 planets is everyone lived like me!!

And you come away with the knowledge of what each of your actions cost.

Keep in mind we are already accruing a debt this year, be conscious of your consumption.

Live Green!

Sources:

Global Footprint Network

World Governments Fail to Deliver on Biodiversity Promises

Suggested Reading from Amazon:

Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth (New Catalyst Bioregional Series) (Paperback)

Sharing Nature’s Interest : Ecological Footprints as an Indicator of Sustainability

7Million Trees Planted Would You Care To Add One More?

When one looks around for a cause to support there is no dearth for causes and I find it really tough when the times got tougher economically to choose which charities to support etc… I try to do a lot of research when I decide where I want my money to go and my criteria are pretty simple and straight forward: I want max utilization of each dollar, I want to see results and yearly updates as to what got done. If these two criteria are met I mostly follow my heart and pay up what I can to support the cause.

Now one of my favorite causes has been protection /sustenance of the environment and on that front one of my favorites has been The Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees Initiative.  

One Dollar One Tree One Planet what says it better and simpler than that? This is one of those endeavors am truly passionate about and wish that each of us could partake in. The Nature Conservancy began the Plant a Billion trees Initiative because the Atlantic forests have been so depleted that only 7% of it’s original area is left. The aim of the project is to plant 1 Billion trees in 7 years time to re-forest 2.5million acres of land! and till date they have managed to plant 7,054,098 trees. The trees being planted are indigenous and native only to these forests e.g the Guapuruvu tree

What can 1 Dollar buy in today’s world?

(as per a 2005 report from the World Resources Institute )
  • Bangladesh (Chittagong) 1 Dozen Eggs
  • Kenya 8 Cups of Milk
  • Ghana 2 1/3 Bottles of Palm Oil
  • Ghana 4 1/3 Bottles of Coke
  • Philippines 4/5 of a Big Mac
  • USA 1/3 of a Starbucks Tall Latte
  • Uganda 1/46 of a Bicycle
  • Bangladesh 1/3 of a Sari
  • Ghana 1 1/2 Pairs Rubber Sandals
  • Bangladesh 7 Bars of Soap
  • Ghana 87 Tablets of Penicillin
  • India (Andhra Pradesh) 1/2 Unit of Blood for a Transfusion
  • USA 1/150 of the Average Daily Cost of Nursing Home Care
  • Tanzania (Nzanza) 1/3 of a Liter of Pesticide
  • Ghana 4 1/3 Rolls of Toilet Paper
  • Ecuador (Quito) 1/500 of a Washing Machine
  • India (Andhra Pradesh) 2-3 Pieces Bamboo for Building
  • Uganda (Mbale) 1/1500 of the Cost of Building a New Home
  • India (Mumbai) 1/3 of a Regular Price Evening Movie Ticket
  • In the US the first thing for a dollar that comes to mind is a candy bar..
Bangladesh (Chittagong) 1 Dozen Eggs
Kenya 8 Cups of Milk
Ghana 2 1/3 Bottles of Palm Oil
Ghana 4 1/3 Bottles of Coke
Philippines 4/5 of a Big Mac
USA 1/3 of a Starbucks Tall Latte
Uganda 1/46 of a Bicycle
Bangladesh 1/3 of a Sari
Ghana 1 1/2 Pairs Rubber Sandals
Bangladesh 7 Bars of Soap
Ghana 87 Tablets of Penicillin
India (Andhra Pradesh) 1/2 Unit of Blood for a Transfusion
USA 1/150 of the Average Daily Cost of Nursing Home Care
Tanzania (Nzanza) 1/3 of a Liter of Pesticide
Ghana 4 1/3 Rolls of Toilet Paper
Ecuador (Quito) 1/500 of a Washing Machine
India (Andhra Pradesh) 2-3 Pieces Bamboo for Building
Uganda (Mbale) 1/1500 of the Cost of Building a New Home
India (Mumbai) 1/3 of a Regular Price Evening Movie Ticket

and if you spare that 1 dollar you can plant a tree which can:

Picture Courtesy Mauroguanandi

  • Trees are carbon sinks – A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. To produce its food, a tree absorbs and locks away carbon dioxide in the wood, roots and leaves. Carbon dioxide is a global warming suspect. A forest is a carbon storage area or a “sink” that can lock up as much carbon as it produces. This locking-up process “stores” carbon as wood and not as an available “greenhouse” gas.
  • Trees Clean the Soil -The term phytoremediation is a fancy word for the absorption of dangerous chemicals and other pollutants that have entered the soil. Trees can either store harmful pollutants or actually change the pollutant into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage and farm chemicals, reduce the effects of animal wastes, clean roadside spills and clean water runoff into streams.
  • Trees Control Noise Pollution -Trees muffle urban noise almost as effectively as stone walls. Trees, planted at strategic points in a neighborhood or around your house, can abate major noises from freeways and airports.
  • Trees Slow Storm Water Runoff -Flash flooding can be dramatically reduced by a forest or by planting trees. One Colorado blue spruce, either planted or growing wild, can intercept more than 1000 gallons of water annually when fully grown. Underground water-holding aquifers are recharged with this slowing down of water runoff.
  • Trees Clean the Air – Trees remove this air pollution by lowering air temperature, through respiration, and by retaining particulates.
  • Trees provide shade and keep temperature cooler – Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for. Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. In winter, trees break the force of winter winds, lowering heating costs. Studies have shown treed areas and bare areas can have up to 12 degrees difference in temperature during hot summer days.
  • Trees fight soil erosion and also add to your property value!

These are just some of the positives of planting a tree from the human perspective. Trees also provide shelter and food to myriad living beings from birds to rodents and insects. They are virtually small ecosystems. So if you have a dollar to spare do check out this LINK and make a donation. Nature conservancy is aiming to remove 10 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with this ambitious project, which will be equivalent to taking off 2 million cars off the road! The effects of this endeavor will make a positive impact locally as well as globally. The aim is to protect the 10 critical watersheds in the Atlantic Forests which provide water and hydro power to a population of 70 million! and as a result of this landmark endeavor they hope to create 20,000 direct jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs for them.

Atlantic Forests What and where are they? According to the biodiversity hot-spots websiteThe Atlantic Forest of tropical South America boasts 20,000 plant species, 40 percent of which are endemic. Yet, less than 10 percent of the forest remains. More than two dozen Critically Endangered vertebrate species are clinging to survival in the region, including three species of lion tamarins and six bird species that are restricted to the small patch of forest near the Murici Ecological Station in northeastern Brazil. With almost 950 kinds of birds occurring in this hotspot, there are many unique species including the red-billed curassow, the Brazilian merganser, and numerous threatened parrot species.

At a dollar a tree there can be no excuse if one really cares about the environment and wants to do something, it is time for action and we need to all make an effort now to make this a resounding success. Lets plant trees under whose shades we will never sit, so that the coming generations will have the shade and the cover they need to thrive in this blue planet we call home.

I have made my pledge I hope you will too… Giving up one or a couple of candy bars… a cup of starbucks coffee… it is a pretty simple choice if you ask me, a tree will keep on giving and It’s one of the best deals I have found that is so valuable yet costs so little… Live Green!

Check out Nature Conservancy’s video about Plant a billion trees project