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.