Safeguarding Biodiversity – The Conference of Parties on Biodiversity, Hyderabad, 2012

Today, the CoP on Biodiversity Convention of 2012 starts in Hyderabad. To last till 19th October 2012, the CoP is going to be one of the largest activities in the world to safeguard and promote bio-diversity. The World at Risk! Life on Earth can be as simple as a fly, or as complex as an ecosystem of coral reefs. The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Tragically, today biodiversity is disappearing at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human civilization. As human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the biodiversity crisis will only get worse as more people consume more resources. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve – the loss of one can impact many. The major causes of biodiversity decline are Habitat loss and destruction, Global climate change, Invasive alien species, Over-exploitation, Pollution and contamination. Even our …

3 Steps to Achieving Zero Waste

By Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice As more and more organizations set ambitious environmental performance goals, a new trend among North American organizations has been on the rise–100 percent waste diversion–that is, quite literally, becoming landfill free and diverting all waste from a landfill end-point. Organizations who have either achieved zero-waste or are in the midst of a zero-waste initiative share suggestions and advice for other companies considering undertaking this eager goal. Experts from Waste Management, Zero Waste Alliance, and RecycleMatch chime in with their insights: 1)    Setting and defining a goal.  2)    Engage Employees 3)    Audit-and Tackle-Your Waste Stream Rural Action, makes a solid point: “In this new cultural paradigm, waste no longer has an end point; it is not seen as something that just goes away. Rather, waste is a part of a closed loop system that mimics natural cycles.” Read what the experts suggest in the original story…

Why Efficiency Won’t Solve Our Water Problems

Source: triplepundit.com The drought of 2012 has reminded us that water is a scarce resource, even though we pay fractions of a penny per gallon for it and expect that it’ll be there every time we turn on the tap. We depend on it not only for our drinking and washing and especially for the food we eat, but also for generating the electric power on which our economy depends. There’s no doubt that we can use water more efficiently and that this would be socially and ecologically desirable. But this week, as I’ve being participating in the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Portland, I’ve started to doubt whether efficiency will really solve our drought and water problems. The reason is that for another vital resource — the land — efficiency doesn’t seem to be enough. The hypothesis that using land to produce food more efficiently — that is, increasing agricultural yields — will “save” more land for nature, is called “land sparing” and is often associated with the famous crop …

Pepsi Water Efficiency Wins Plaudits

Source: Environmentalleader.com PepsiCo’s more than 20 percent improvement in global water efficiency since 2006 has won it the Stockholm Industry Water Award during World Water Week. Pepsi received the award for its water conservation efforts including: Conserving about 16 billion liters of water in 2011, from a 2006 baseline, by using water-saving equipment and technologies, creative recycling and re-use, and by deploying a water management system throughout its manufacturing facilities. Reducing water- and energy-related costs by more than $45 million in 2011, compared to 2006. Implementing agricultural practices and technologies around the world designed to reduce water use in farming through new irrigation techniques, and introducing tools that help farmers deliver fertilizer and water to their crops at the most efficient time. Providing access to safe water for more than 1 million people with the PepsiCo Foundation and other partners. Pepsi has reduced its water and energy use through a series of water management practices including direct seeding in India and its web-based farming tool i-crop. Initial i-crop trials, which ran from …

Worrying water footprint

Source: Thehindubusinessline.com Water footprint varies from country to country, depending on each region’s consumption. It also depends on the climatic conditions and water usage in areas where consumer goods are produced. The water footprint is an indicator of both the direct and indirect use of water by a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. Let us analyse the water footprint in India and the challenges around it. The country’s water footprint was 987 billion cu metres a year during 1997-2001, which means 980 cu metres a year per capita (Source: Hoekstra and Chapagain, 2008). POOR ACCESS TO FRESHWATER Water supply and sanitation remain inadequate, despite longstanding corrective efforts at various levels of government and community. Investment in water and sanitation is very low in India, compared to international standards. However, compared to the past, access to water has increased significantly. For instance, in …

Report from Stockholm – World Water Week

Source: sustainability.com Last week I was in Stockholm once again for World Water Week. This is the second year in a row that I have attended the mega-conference at the request of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to moderate a session covering various water management tools. The theme of this year’s conference was Feeding a Thirsty World, focusing on water and food security. A publication developed for the conference The Water and Food Nexus: Trends and Development of the Research Landscape begins with a succinct, simple set of statistics regarding the food/water challenge: 70% of all fresh water use is for irrigation About 20% of the world’s cropland is irrigated, yet irrigated agriculture supports 40% of all food production Drought is the no.1 threat to food supply in high-population developing countries By 2050, the planet could have nearly 3 billion additional people to feed, with virtually no new cropland and no new sources of water Add to those compelling facts that nearly one billion people currently suffer from hunger or malnutrition, and you …

Dams the latest culprit in global warming

Source: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com Researchers have documented the role dams play in global warming and the surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down. Bridget Deemer, doctoral student at Washington State University (WSU)- Vancouver, Canada, measured dissolved gases in the water column of Lacamas Lake in Clark County and found methane emissions jumped 20-fold when the water level was drawn down. A fellow WSU-Vancouver student, Maria Glavin, sampled bubbles rising from the lake mud and measured a 36-fold increase in methane during a drawdown, according to a university statement. Methane is 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And while dams and the water behind them cover only a small portion of the earth’s surface, they harbour biological activity that can produce large amounts of greenhouse gases. There are also some 80,000 dams in the US alone, according to its Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams. “Reservoirs have typically been looked at as a green energysource. But their role in greenhouse gas emissions has been overlooked,” …

Walking the energy beat: Cuffing carbon for smaller buildings

Source: Greenbiz.com In the classic cine-crime series Dragnet, fast-talking Los Angeles detective Joe Friday is well known for the trademark line “Just the facts, ma’am.” In other words: “Let’s dispense with the distractions and get to the point.” So it is with small and midsize enterprise energy-efficiency projects — theory turned to practice speaks louder than words. Projects are rendered in fact and this is the action in the neighborhood of great potential. But walking the efficiency beat can be messy and complicated. It requires management; no one wants to pay for audits or analyses or anything else, for that matter. Decisions are not driven by the return on investment. Contractors are lax, contracts vague, incentive programs counter-productive. And projects can take longer than you think they should for a myriad of unfathomable reasons, not the least of which is “human factor.” So, if you’re going to pursue these projects you need to be patient, thorough, respectful and patient. The simple purpose of listing the successful efficiency projects you’ll find …

Australia, Europe Link Emissions Trading Systems

Source: Environmentalleader.com European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Australian climate change minister Greg Combet today announced that Australia and Europe will link their emissions trading systems, which will allow businesses to use carbon trading units from either trading scheme for compliance under either system. A full two-way link between the two cap and trade systems — the first full international linking of emission trading systems — will begin no later than July 1, 2018. Together, the linked Australian and European emissions trading systems will be the world’s largest carbon market, according to the EU and the Australian government. As an interim arrangement, a partial link will allow Australian businesses to buy and use European Union Emissions Allowances to meet up to 50 percent of their liabilities under the Australian scheme from July 1, 2015 until the full link takes effect. Australia’s carbon tax, which took effect July 1, requires about 300 companies to pay A$23 (US$23.50) per metric ton of carbon emissions. To facilitate linking, the Australian government has said it will …

Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days

Source: Guardian.co.uk Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in “dramatic changes” signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before ice begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record – currently set in 2007 – within days. “Unless something really unusual happens we will see the record broken in the next few days. It might happen this weekend, almost certainly next week,” Julienne Stroeve, a scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, told the Guardian. “In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly.” Because ice thickness, …

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