Saturday, October 06, 2007

New job, new possibilities

Dear readers of Earth Echoes blogg,

There has been precious little information posted here lately. That has to do with the fact that I have gotten a new job and moved to Norway. In the process of settling in in a new country, a new job, finding a new place, etc. the blogg has unfortunately suffered. Once I am settled in I will start with regular postings again. So please do not forget EarthEchoes.

Best regards and have a splendid autumn everyone,
Trond Lovdal

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rich nations accused of 'green imperialism'

Now the developed world is accused og "green imperialism" by sevarl developing nations. Thi subject touches to high degree on several issues previously brought up in EarthEchoes. EarthEchoes has argued that the environmental destruction and fast growing CO2 emissions one sees in the developing world is to a large extent correlated with the developed world's increased speed of consumerism and hunger for ever cheaper products.

Now the developing nations are coming to a similar conclusion. However, in this is an inherent dilemma as these nations' growth are heavily dependent on this "environmental degradation", which if not could not have made China the land of millionaires and one of the world's fastest markets for luxury goods. So where does this bring the discussion next?

Rich nations accused of 'green imperialism'

Singapore - Asian business and government leaders accused rich countries of hypocrisy, saying they run polluting industries with cheap labour in China and then blame the country for worsening global warming and climate change.

"This is green imperialism," Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Malaysia's deputy finance minister, told a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a two-day conference in Singapore.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A conservation success story in Zambia's hinterland

"MPIKA, Zambia: It is easy to dismiss this part of the world as hopeless. Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest mortality rates, the lowest literacy rates, the worst unemployment, the most tenacious, soul-eroding poverty on earth. The problems are so vexing, so widespread, that the question is not so much what to do as where to begin."

And that is what this article in the International Herald Tribune is all about. It illustrates so well what a few dedicated people facing the worst kind of challenges can achieve when they are pulling together towards a common vision.

A conservation success story in Zambia's hinterland

Smuggled Alcohol Used As Fuel in Sweden

Associated Press Writer
June 29, 2007 - 9:57am

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Smugglers trying to sneak alcohol into Sweden are unwittingly helping fuel the country's public transport system and reducing its greenhouse emissions.

Read the full story here: Smuggled Alcohol Used As Fuel in Sweden

The ever inventful Swedes have come with a new brilliant idea on how to reduce the country's carbon foot print. This is an idea that would be easy for other countries' customs departments to emulate.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Landmark Law Saves Rainforest in Indonesia

Indonesia’s new Ecosystem Restoration Decree will stop the logging of the 110,000 hectare Harapan rainforest. Uniquely, this major change in the law, which could be adapted by other countries, permits the management of forests to obtain benefits labelled ecosystem services. These include storing carbon, controls on pollution and protection for wildlife.

This news is reported by Positive News - from around the world which is a very good and interesting newsportal. Read the full story on how this landmark law is saving huge forest tracts in Indonesia here: Landmark Law Saves Rainforest

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sweden: Going Green

Now this is something for the countries in the region and for that matter the rest of the world to emulate. Sweden has for many years been in the forefront of eco management and green solutions to overcoming global warming. Again we see how the Swedes are actively putting into practice what they preach and coming up with real solutions to real problems. Now we need to push our own governments to follow suit and to take the global environment seriously.

For the full article please visit: Common Dreams - Sweden: Going Green

by Louise Williams

VAXJO, Sweden - In the cool forest region of southern Sweden, the city of Vaxjo has turned off the heating oil, even on the darkest, snowbound days of winter. Coal, too, is gone and next on the fossil fuel hit list is petrol. In the underground car park of the local government offices there are no private vehicles, just a communal car fleet.

Staff, who cycle or take the local biogas buses to work, book ahead to use vehicles in the fleet, and fill up on biogas or E85, a blend of 85 per cent renewable ethanol. Petrol is still readily available to the public, but carbon emissions in Sweden are heavily taxed. Drivers pay about 80 cents a litre extra at the bowser for the privilege of spewing out carbon dioxide.

Vaxjo is chasing a fossil fuel-free future, and it’s almost halfway there without having sacrificed lifestyle, comfort or economic growth. When local politicians announced the phase-out in 1996, it was little more than a quaint curiosity. Oil prices were hovering around $US20 a barrel and global warming was still a hotly contested debate.

Today, at least one international delegation a week - mainly from China and Japan - beats a path to Vaxjo to see how it’s done.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

This is incredibly good news and sets a precedent for how the world can save important forests and biodiversity. Now the industrialized nations of this world must show that they care and respond in kind. They must make sure that Congo will have the resources and capacity to follow up with their groundbreaking decision. Or else the whole experiment will fall apart. This could be the way of the future for biodiversity and tropical rainforest conservation. Let us do what it takes to ensure its success.

This could also show the way in cases like Mabira Forest in Uganda (which has been highlighted to a great extent in this blog). It could possibly be the way forward.

Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

By Joe Bavier

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congo is ready to cancel more than half its timber contracts to protect the world's second biggest tropical forest but it wants more aid from foreign governments to help do so, the environment minister said.

Read the full article here: Reuters - Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The heat is on

For Earth Echoes American readers:

Please vote for the candidate that takes the global climate change crisis seriously.

Climate change and the fight for resources 'will set world aflame'

By Steve Bloomfield in Nairobi

Climate change has become a major security issue that could lead to "a world going up in flames", the United Nations' top environment official has warned. From rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean to the increasing spread of desert in Africa's Sahel region, global warming will cause new wars across the world, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Read the full article here: The Independent - Climate change and the fight for resources 'will set world aflame'

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

We need to some more great local action like this.

Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

SEIJOSA, JUNE 19 (IANS): Heads of 16 villages bordering a tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh have joined hands to form a committee to protect the reserve where hunting of wild animals illegally has been a common practice.
The 16-member committee in conjunction with the forest department is to work for protection of the Pakke Tiger Reserve, about 250 km from the Chinese border.

The committee, locally called as "Ghora Aabhe", recently passed a resolution listing penalties for wildlife violations of 17 different wild species ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.30,000.

"Following this initiative, about 32 illegal locally made guns were seized from poachers. Many of the poachers have now promised to work for protection of the reserve," said Tana Tapi, divisional forest officer, who helped the villagers to form the committee.

A conservation organisation, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which is supporting the "Gaon Burahs" - village heads - with honorariums to carry out conservation actions, said villagers have been keeping a strict vigil in the reserve, which has led to the recovery of arms.

The 862-sq km Pakke Reserve in East Kameng district is home to many rare and endangered wildlife species, such as tiger, leopard, wild dog, Himalayan black bear and elephant.
Although wildlife trade is not prevalent here as in other parts of the country, hunting for food has been a major threat to wildlife.
"The reduction in hunting, particularly of prey species of the tiger, will help tiger conservation in the long run," said P.C. Bhattacharjee, professor at Gauhati University.

The committee would work to strengthen intelligence networks, enforcement activities and create awareness for conservation among the people. Repeated seizures would also act as a deterrent for likely offenders, Tapi said.

"The Gaon Burah's role is crucial since they can persuade people for sustainable use of natural resources," said Bhattacharjee.
"This initiative can be a role model elsewhere in the country where problems of hunting for food and trade are widespread. Fringe villages adjoining huge unmanned wildlife sanctuaries can play a stellar role in conservation," said Rahul Kaul, director conservation of WTI, who is supervising the project in Pakke.

"The Pakke Reserve, which is contiguous with the Nameri Tiger Reserve of Assam, is an important habitat for the big cats. This move by the villagers is an important step forward particularly in the light of the present tiger crisis in the country," he said.

For full article please visit Nagaland Post at: Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Link of the Month: The Center for Ecosystem Survival

The Center for Ecosystem Survival is this month's Earthechoes link because they do a world of good for earth's ecosystems. Please visit their website and help them get a $5,000 grant from Patagonia in Palo Alto, California.

The Center for Ecosystem Survival (CES) is dedicated to
creating global partnerships to inspire broadbased participation in the preservation of biological diversity through ecosystem protection worldwide.

CES works in partnership with schools, universities, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, natural history museums, and science centers worldwide to protect wildlife and nature.

China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

It is finally official. China has now overtaken the USA as the world's largest emitter of Carbon Dioxide, the main contributor to greenhouse gasses and thus climate change.

The Guardian UK reports that "China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year."

Read the full story here:China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No news is good news!

Dear readers,

The ditor has to apologize for the long absense. Due to unforeseen circumstances the editor had to go on a two week trip on very short notice and has not been able to update the blog. The blog will be updated on a regular basis again now. So please keep reading it and be informed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

END TIGER TRADE, The eyes of the world are watching

Photo copyright:

Groups Release TV Spot to Reject Tiger Trade

LONDON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In advance of the world's largest wildlife trade meeting next week, 35 organisations have launched a powerful, 4-minute television spot urging China to keep its ban on tiger trade.

One of the UK's leading actors, Martin Jarvis, lent his voice to the spot, which details the consequences that reopening legal trade would have on wild tigers. The public service announcement can be viewed at:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An introduction to the No Impact Man

Now the No Impact Man has become a good friend of mine. He exemplifies what can be done in terms of reducing one's impact on the environment, even when living in a huge metropolis like New york. One does not have to move to the countryside or into a one room flat to live with low or no environmental impact.

Read his wonderful blog and learn about his won experiences in trying to live a NO IMPACT LIFE! It has become one of my favorite blogs.

About the No Impact Man:

No Impact Man is my experiment with researching, developing and adopting a way of life for me and my little family—one wife, one toddler, one dog—to live in the heart of New York City while causing no net environmental impact. To do this, we will decrease the things we do that hurt the earth—make trash, cause carbon dioxide emissions, for example—and increase the things we do that help the earth—clean up the banks of the Hudson River, give money to charity, rescue sea birds, say.

In mathematical terms, in case you are an engineer or just a geek who likes math, we are trying to achieve an equilibrium that looks something like this:

Negative Impact + Positive Impact = Zero.

No net impact. Get it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You have seen his movie, now read his book

Al gore never tires of speaking up for the global environment. He made an award winning documentary (An Inconvenient Truth) and now he has written a book titled: The AUSSULT ON REASON".

You can buy the book here:

A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason.
At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism.

We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.

How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste.

Gore's larger goal in this book is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason's enemies, to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds, and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.


And you can read another great review of it here: AlterNet - Al Gore's New Book Examines 'The Assault on Reason'

"In his new book, Al Gore explores why reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions and what we can do to change that."

This story was written by Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, and Matt Corley.

American public discourse is increasingly "vulnerable to the kind of rope-a-dope strategies that Exxon Mobil and their brethren have been employing for decades now," argues Al Gore. For example, a recent survey of 21 nations found that Americans are "among the least anxious" about global warming, "even though their nation is the top source of greenhouse gases."

Major Rainforest Victory: Mabira Rainforest in Uganda Saved

This is really good news! And it goes to show that online activism has a role to play. Save the Mabira Rainforest has been featured here on EarthEchoes as the Action Alert of the Month, for March 07.

News from the Rainforest portal:

Whoo, whoo a major rainforest victory! Uganda's cabinet has suspended a proposal to give away part of the Mabira rainforest near its capital and on the shore of Lake Victoria [more | search]. The significance of the protection remaining on this important Ugandan rainforest from sugar cane production (possibly for biofuel) lies not in the extent of the area -- some 7,000 hectares were to be removed from the area -- but more in the cooperation between local and international civil society to bring about the victory. Local activists organized boycotts of the sugar company that was to expand into the area. And Ecological Internet internationalized the issue, with 8,627 Earth Action Network participants generating 1,833,279 protest emails to the parliament that has now blocked the project.

Full Story here: The Rainforest portal - VICTORY: Ugandan Protected Rainforests Saved from Clearing for Plantation

Tiger Farms in China and Animal Abuse

Xiongsen is the world's biggest battery farm for rare animals, including 1,300 tigers. The stock is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in China, where consumers pay high prices for remedies, tonics and aphrodisiacs made from rare animals. Until now there has been a ban on tiger products, but that could be about to change. After a decade of lobbying by Xiongsen, China is preparing to call for a lifting of the ban. Jonathan Watts documents what life is like for the captive-bred animals.

See the full photo documentary here: Guardian Limited: Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village

There has been a lot of spot light recently on attempts by certain groups in China who wants to lift the ban on trade in tigers and other rare and endangered animal body parts pureley for financial gain. When will humans stop to think about that which is greater than themselves, human dignity, awe for nature and caring for our environment? Never it seems. We treat life, other animal species and whole ecosystems in a fashion that cares nothing about the pain and losses inflicted on them, and in the end on us. Our actions reverbarates and hit us back like a boomerang. Except we don't see it because of our short term sight of profits at all costs.

We must stop this negative spiral and start appreciating our envioronment and fellow species, for our own dignity and survival as much as theirs.

Please also read this story from anothet Chinese Tiger Farm: - Tigers feast on live cow in zoo show

On May 11, 2007 EarthEchoes featured the plight of the Tiger with two movie clips. The May Action Alert of the Month was also Tiger related. See the result here: Thousands Ask China to Keep Tiger Trade Ban. It Really helps to take action. Everything you do have an impact.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CBD: International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2007

Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22). We should all and everyone think about how our actions directly and indirectly impacts the Web of Life or Biodiversity as it is also called.

Vist the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to learn more: The International Day for Biological Diversity: Biodiversity and Climate Change, 22 May 2007

See the video prepared by CBD here: CBD Video on Biodiversity and Climate Change

Monday, May 21, 2007

Greening China!

By Mara Hvistendahl for

China is now undergoing a green revolution. However, the government is still struggling with how to bets deal with the issues of the environmental protection and its staggering growth rates that are working at cross purposes. Read this very informative and interesting article from on how China is now trying to formulate policies to tackle serious environmental problems without having to compromise too much on its economic growth ambitions. The China Experiment is well written and Mara Hvistendahl has certainly done her research.

Photo credit:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Earthechoes offline until May 21

On May 12 the Operating System crashed on my computer. I have been trying to get it up on and running myself, but finally had to give up. The Apple Powerbook is now being restored professionally. Earthechoes hope to start posting again within a few days (by May 21 or 22). Then Earthechoes will have some great news and even greater links, so please check back soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The San Francisco Compact - Stop unnecessary consumption

Here is a follow-up to EarthEchoes' most recent blog about the mum who is doing her part to stop climate change and help the global environment. Her action is much inspired by a group of individuals in San Francisco who started a "Compact" and made promises not to buy into consumerism any longer.

You can read more about them in this article by the San Francisco Chronicle - Out of the retail rat race: Consumer group doesn't buy notion that new is better

Here are some very good and useful links on healthy and ethical shopping:

Sustainable Enterprises
The Simple Living Network
Ethical Shopping
10 Giant Steps to a Simpler Life
Earth Education
The Simplicity Forum

Read those links and get inspiration on how you can live a simpler life, save money and help save the earth from certain environmental disaster. The money you save can be spent on pro-earth activities such as buying solar panels, getting yourself a composter, plant trees, help pay for the extra that organic foods and other healthy alternative products cost (there is not critical mass yet to make these products competitive with other similar, but unhealthy alternatives), support your favorite environmental organization/activity, and lots of other environmentally friendly products and services, or simply get yourself a well deserved massage (relaxes your body and mind and gets you in the right frame to tackle changes in life as a result of your healthy liveing make-over). This way the economy keeps growing, but in a healthy and sustainable way. It fosters green and ethical capitalism and consumerism as well as economic practices that value the importance of natural eco-systems and healthy people working in a productive and ecological sound economy. Start on a new path to a simpler, more sustainable and healthier way of life today!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What one mum is doing to help improve earth's environment

Inspired by the San Francisco Compact Becky Sheaves set out to live a non-consumer lifestyl for 4 months, hoping to extend it for a year after the first trial. Excerpts from this store below, and read her full story online here: The Daily Mail - The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?

All of us can be equally inspired and work for the betterment of our environment. Consumerism is one of society's major ills, but we just don't see it. If we all spent less on silly consumption and paid more attention to what really matters, quality of life, not quantity of consumer articles. We can all do with a lot less. And we are all of us usually far better off for it.

Photo copyrights/credit: The Daily Mail.

The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?

It's the latest way to save the planet, but could our writer survive for months without buying anything new? Yes, until the ironing board broke, her clothes ripped and - horrors! - her make-up ran out

A new sustainable living experiment has sparked a movement copied around the world. Known as the San Francisco Compact, it requires members to reject consumerism, and re-use, borrow and recycle instead.

They undertake not to buy anything new, ever (except for food, underwear and medicines). So is it possible? We challenged a spendaholic mother to become a Compacter.

Becky Sheaves, 39, who lives in Devon with her husband John, 48, and their six children, describes how her attempt to help save the planet went.

Be isnpired! Read the full story here: The Daily Mail - The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?