Climate change is turning Antarctica green, say researchers


Antarctica may conjure up an image of a pristine white landscape, but researchers say climate change is turning the continent green. Scientists studying banks of moss in Antarctica have found that the quantity of moss, and the rate of plant growth, has shot up in the past 50 years, suggesting the continent may have a verdant future.

“Antarctica is not going to become entirely green, but it will become more green than it currently is,” said Matt Amesbury, co-author of the research from the University of Exeter.

“This is linking into other processes that are happening on the Antarctic Peninsula at the moment, particularly things like glacier retreat which are freeing up new areas of ice-free land – and the mosses particularly are very effective colonisers of those new areas,” he added.

In the second half of the 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula experienced rapid temperature increases, warming by about half a degree per decade. Plant life on Antarctica is scarce, existing on only 0.3% of the continent, but moss, well preserved in chilly sediments, offers scientists a way of exploring how plants have responded to such changes.

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«Wind Power: Advantages and Disadvantages»


Wind power is the ability to make electricity using the air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. In other words, is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanically power generators for electric power.

Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land. Specifically, harnessing energy from the wind and turning it into renewable electricity has many advantages, not only for the environment, but also for the area itself.

Here, some advantages of wind power:

  • Wind power is a clean fuel source:

Wind power doesn’t pollute the air, like the use of coal or oil. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that increase health problems like asthma or create acid rain or greenhouse gases. As a result, wind energy lessens our reliance on fossil fuels from outside nations as well, which helps our national economy and offers a variety of other benefits as well.

  • Wind power is cost-effective:

It is one of the lowest-cost renewable energy technologies available today. Wind turbines can give energy to numerous homes, and people can buy their power from a service organization that offers wind energy for a specific area.

  • Wind power is inexhaustible:

Wind is actually a form of solar energy. Specifically, winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.

  • Wind turbines can be built on existing farms or ranches:

This benefits the economy in rural areas, where most of the best wind sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of the ground. Also, wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land, providing landowners with additional income.

  • Wind power increases energy security:

By using wind energy to generate electricity, we are reducing our dependency on fossil fuel alternatives such as coal, oil and gas. In many cases, these natural resources are often sourced from other countries, which can fluctuate the price and cause serious economic problems or supply shortages for some countries. By using renewable energy sources, a country can help to reduce its dependency on global markets and increase its energy security.

  • Job Creation:

The wind energy industry has helped to create jobs all over the world. Jobs have been created for the manufacture of wind turbines, the installation and maintenance of wind turbines and also in wind energy consulting. This is an element very important for the economy of the region.

However, there are also some disadvantages that should be mentioned:

  • Threat to Wildlife:

Wind turbines pose a threat to wildlife, especially for birds and other flying creatures that may be in the area. So, this is a serious problem, because wind turbines are contributing to mortality rates among bird and bat population.

  • Noise and Visual pollution:

One of the disadvantages of wind turbines is the noise pollution, that they generate. A single wind turbine can be heard from hundreds of meters away. For example, wind turbines make a sound that can be between 50 and 60 decibels.

Also, there is the problem of visual pollution. Many people think that the wind turbines remain unattractive, as they have concern that it may tarnish the beauty of landscapes.

  • Expensive to set up :

The installation of a wind turbine is considered expensive. If we add also the cost of the supplies that will be need, the problem is becoming greater.

So, taking into consideration all the above, it is clearly understood that this new source of energy has both, advantages and disadvantages. As a result, we have to be careful and to make the best choices.

What do you think about it? Do we have to follow the example of wind power on not?

Dipla Aikaterini (Arid Zone Afforestation)





“The problem of Deforestation: causes, effects and possible solutions”


Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Through agriculture and logging, mining and climate change, humans are wiping out irreplaceable forests – and the life that depends on them, face a lot of problems. We are losing not only our primeval forests, which regulate our climate and water resources, but also the amazing range of species that call them home.

For example, the biggest driver of deforestation is “agriculture”, where the farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Also, “logging operations”, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, cut countless trees each year. As a result, the problem is becoming more and more serious and the people are not trying to do something, in order to deal with it.

It is very important to understand “how serious the problem is”, especially in terms of the environment.  To make it clear, it is widely accepted that one of the most dramatic impacts is the loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. They lose their habitat and are forced to move to a new location, while some of them are even pushed to extinction. So, our world has lost so many species of plants and animals in last couple of decades.

In addition to the loss of habitat, the lack of trees also allows a greater amount of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere.  In other words, with constant deforestation, the ratio of green house gases in the atmosphere has increased, adding to our global warming woes. As a result, not only the humans are facing a lot of health problems, but also we observe a deterioration of the problem of global warming.

Further effects of deforestation include soil erosion, because with the clearance of tree cover, the soil is directly exposed to the sun, making it dry. Here, we have to add also the problem of “floods”. In particular, when it rains, trees absorb and store large amount of water with the help of their roots. When they are cut down, the flow of water is disrupted and leads to floods in some areas and droughts in other. 

So, the question is “what we can do to prevent deforestation”?

Some possible solutions:

  • Law and regulations

The best solution to deforestation is to curb the felling of trees, by employing a series of rules and laws at governmental and organizational levels. Laws on timber, wood fuel, farming, and land use among other forest resources must be advanced and enforced to limit deforestation.

  • Replanting – Reforestation

People, communities, governments, and organizations are all active actors. Reforestation involves selecting and dedicating large tracts of land mainly for the purpose of cultivating forests. For instance, in local communities and urban centers, it can be done around market areas, or within city parks.

  • Green Business

Green methods of production and utilization of resources can immeasurably reduce deforestation. Particularly, it’s the focus on re-using items, reducing the use of artificial items, and recycling more items.  By focusing on recycling paper, plastics, and wood products, it means there will be less dependence on the natural resources and trees.

  • Sensitization and Educative Campaigns

By organizing a campaign so as to inform the public, we can achieve positive results. In this way, people will be able to detect the causes, effects, and ways of counteracting deforestation. In addition, sharing information with people including family, friends, colleagues, and the entire community on deforestation and its effects, is an appropriate measure of standing up in unison to combat the clearing of forests.

So, it is very important to understand the seriousness of the problem and, by extension, to take action. It is not obligatory to follow the above ways of dealing, but you can alone discover new methods and contribute in a better future.

Take action! Be positive! Change the world! 

Dipla Aikaterini (Arid Zone Afforestation)

Remote island has ‘world’s worst’ plastic rubbish density


An uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world, according to a study. Henderson Island, part of the UK’s Pitcairn Islands group, has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches. The island is near the centre of an ocean current, meaning it collects much rubbish from boats and South America.

The joint Australian and British study said the rubbish amounted to 671 items per square metre and a total of 17 tonnes. “A lot of the items on Henderson Island are what we wrongly refer to as disposable or single-use,” said Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania. In addition to fishing items, Henderson Island was strewn with everyday things including toothbrushes, cigarette lighters and razors.

The condition of the island highlighted how plastic debris has affected the environment on a global scale, Dr Lavers said. “Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste,” she said. “There’s not really any one person or any one country that gets a free pass on this.” Plastic was devastating to oceans because it was buoyant and durable.

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Arid Zone Afforestation – Who we are


Arid Zone Afforestation (AZA) is a non-profit organization that acts to combat desertification on a local and global level, in arid, semi-arid, and deserted regions, where rainfall is limited or non-existent, by the use of innovative, environmentally friendly planting technologies, such as the Safe Tree planting system.

Our Mission

  • Reforestation and afforestation of arid areas and deserts
  • Research to combat desertification and soil erosion
  • Planting of fruit trees and trees for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use
  • Experimental tree planting in deserts
  • Research and experimental planting to regenerate corroded and deserted areas
  • Protection of the environment and combating climate change by any means
  • Any activity directly or indirectly related to the realisation of the above
  • Reforestation of burned land


All of AZA’s income assets and resources are derived exclusively from

  • Subscriptions and contributions of the organization’s partners and supporters
  • Donations and sponsorships
  • Inheritances and bequests

Your contribution is vital to further promote the public support and more the movement forward.

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Ατμοσφαιρική Ρύπανση: επιπτώσεις και τρόποι αντιμετώπισης


Ένα από τα σημαντικότερα προβλήματα της δημόσιας υγείας διεθνώς, αποτελεί «η ρύπανση του αέρα», η οποία στη σύγχρονη εποχή είναι κυρίως αποτέλεσμα της ανθρώπινης δραστηριότητας. Συγκεκριμένα, κύρια πηγή της περιβαλλοντικής αέριας ρύπανσης είναι οι βιομηχανίες, οι καυστήρες θέρμανσης, τα μέσα μεταφοράς, καθώς και τα τεχνικά έργα.

Η ρύπανση της ατμόσφαιρας αποτελεί ένα σοβαρό υγειονομικό, περιβαλλοντικό, κοινωνικό και οικονομικό πρόβλημα, γιατί τα αέρια που τη ρυπαίνουν, όπως το διοξείδιο του άνθρακα, έχουν σοβαρές συνέπειες, όπως την υπερθέρμανση της γης, αναπνευστικά προβλήματα και άλλα προβλήματα υγείας.

Ειδικότερα, η ατμοσφαιρική ρύπανση γίνεται κυρίως από:

  • Το διοξείδιο του θείου (SO2), το οποίο παράγεται κατά την καύση στερεών και υγρών καυσίμων, ενώ παράλληλα, μεγάλες ποσότητες διοξειδίου του θείου ελευθερώνονται στον αέρα και κατά τις εκρήξεις των ηφαιστείων.
  • Τα οξείδια του αζώτου, τα οποία παράγονται κατά τη λειτουργία των βενζινοκινητήρων. Με την επίδραση της ηλιακής ακτινοβολίας, από τα οξείδια του αζώτου παράγεται και όζον, που είναι ερεθιστικό αέριο.
  • Το μονοξείδιο του άνθρακα (CΟ), το οποίο προέρχεται κυρίως από τις καύσεις στους κινητήρες των αυτοκίνητων και είναι δηλητήριο.
  • Το διοξείδιο του άνθρακα (CO2), το οποίο παράγεται κατά την καύση στερεών και υγρών καυσίμων.
  • Διάφοροι υδρογονάνθρακες, οι οποίοι είναι συστατικά των καυσίμων που διαφεύγουν στην ατμόσφαιρα, χωρίς να καούν και είναι πολύ βλαβεροί.
  • Αιωρούμενα σωματίδια, όπως για παράδειγμα η αιθάλη (σκόνη άνθρακα, κάπνα) και η σκόνη, που προέρχονται κυρίως από τα τεχνικά έργα και τα ηφαίστεια.

Όπως είναι γνωστό, η περιβαλλοντική ρύπανση είναι άμεσα συνυφασμένη με την εξέλιξη της τεχνολογίας και της επιστήμης, η πρόοδος των οποίων εκτός από σημαντικά οφέλη που προσφέρει στην ανθρωπότητα, έχει επίσης και δυσμενείς επιπτώσεις στο περιβάλλον και κατά συνέπεια στην υγεία των ανθρώπων.

Για παράδειγμα, η ατμοσφαιρική ρύπανση μπορεί να διαβρώσει τα υλικά και να καταστρέψει ιστορικά αλλά  και σύγχρονα κτίρια και μνημεία, με κύρια υπεύθυνη για αυτές τις καταστροφές την όξινη βροχή. Επίσης, μπορεί να ξεράνει τα φυτά ή  να περιορίσει την ανάπτυξή τους, όπου πάλι, ο μεγαλύτερος κίνδυνος προέρχεται από την όξινη βροχή, αλλά σε αυτή την περίπτωση σημαντική  είναι και η συνεισφορά  από τους ρύπους  που υπάρχουν στον αέρα. Παράλληλα, άλλη μία συνέπεια της ατμοσφαιρικής ρύπανσης είναι η αιθαλομίχλη, η οποία μειώνει την ορατότητα, ενώ όσον αφορά την ανθρώπινη υγεία, το κυριότερο σύστημα που προσβάλλεται στον ανθρώπινο οργανισμό είναι το αναπνευστικό και το καρδιαγγειακό.

Λαμβανομένων υπόψη όλων των παραπάνω, κρίνεται αναγκαία η λήψη μέτρων για την αντιμετώπιση αυτού του φαινομένου, όπως είναι: η βελτίωση της ποιότητας των καυσίμων, η χρήση εναλλακτικών  καυσίμων όπως το υδρογόνο και η αιθανόλη, ο έλεγχος των καυσαερίων και ειδικά των εκπομπών τους στα αυτοκίνητα και στις βιομηχανίες, η αξιοποίηση της τεχνολογίας αντιρύπανσης, όπως είναι τα φίλτρα καυσαερίων, η βελτίωση των μέσων μαζικής μεταφοράς ώστε να περιοριστεί η κυκλοφορία των ΙΧ  αυτοκινήτων, η σωστή συντήρηση των κινητήρων των αυτοκινήτων και των καυστήρων των καλοριφέρ, η δημιουργία περισσότερων πάρκων και χώρων πρασίνου με δεντροφύτευση όλων των ελεύθερων χώρων στις πόλεις και αναδάσωση στα βουνά για την παραγωγή οξυγόνου και τη μείωση του διοξειδίου του άνθρακα.

Εν τέλει, γίνεται κατανοητό ότι για την αντιμετώπιση του συγκεκριμένου προβλήματος, δεν απαιτείται μόνο η λήψη σημαντικών μέτρων, αλλά κυρίως η σωστή εφαρμογή τους, και κατ’ επέκταση η ευαισθητοποίηση των ανθρώπων, οι οποίοι αποτελούν και  τη βασική πηγή πρόκληση της ατμοσφαιρικής ρύπανσης.

Αρθρογράφος: Δίπλα Αικατερίνη (Arid Zone Afforestation)



Η σημασία των δασών και ο ρόλος του ανθρώπου


Όπως όλοι γνωρίζουμε, η προστασία του Περιβάλλοντος αποτελεί ένα ζήτημα ύψιστης σημασίας, παρά την εκάστοτε αδιαφορία που δείχνουμε κατά καιρούς. Συγκεκριμένα, το φυσικό περιβάλλον μέσα στο οποίο ζει ο άνθρωπος, είναι πρωταρχικής σημασίας, τόσο για την υγεία του, όσο και για την ανάπτυξη και ευημερία του.  Ωστόσο, παρατηρείται μία παράλογη καταστροφή του περιβάλλοντος, με υπεύθυνο τον ίδιο τον άνθρωπο. Η άγνοια, η αδράνεια, σε συνδυασμό με τις διάφορες δραστηριότητες του, οδηγούν στην καταστροφή του περιβάλλοντος.

Μολονότι, με την έννοια φυσικό περιβάλλον εννοείται η φύση γύρω μας, τα δέντρα, το νερό, ο αέρας, το φως και γενικότερα όλα αυτά τα στοιχεία που είναι πολύ σημαντικά για να ζήσει ο άνθρωπος, παρατηρείται μια καταστροφή αυτού του «μεγάλου σπιτιού», κάτι που θα πρέπει να αλλάξει, διότι τα θετικά στοιχεία τα οποία μας παρέχονται είναι πολύ σημαντικά.

Ένα από τα πιο σοβαρά ζητήματα είναι η «καταστροφή των δασών». Κάθε χρόνο, παρατηρείται μία αύξηση των περιστατικών, όπου τεράστιες εκτάσεις δασών εξαφανίζονται, είτε λόγω πυρκαγιών, είτε από εκκοπή ξυλείας, είτε από εκχερσώσεις για οικόπεδα, αεροδρόμια κτλ.

Γι’ αυτό το λόγο, θα πρέπει να συνειδητοποιήσουμε ότι το δάσος είναι ένα σύνολο πολυσύνθετο με δική του ζωή και με ξεχωριστή θέση, ρόλο και σημασία μέσα στη φύση και με τεράστιες δυνατότητες, που θα πρέπει να αξιοποιηθούν σωστά.

Ειδικότερα, τα δάση παίζουν πολύ σημαντικό ρόλο, διότι παράγουν το απαραίτητο και αναντικατάστατο για την ζωή μας οξυγόνο, και συγχρόνως δεσμεύουν το επικίνδυνο για την ζωή διοξείδιο του άνθρακα, ενώ αποτελούν και πηγή τροφίμων, φαρμάκων και καθαρού νερού, απαραίτητο στοιχείο για τον άνθρωπο και κατ’ επέκταση για τη διαβίωσή του. Επιπρόσθετα, παρέχουν ένα ευρύ φάσμα περιβαλλοντικών υπηρεσιών, συμπεριλαμβανομένης της διατήρησης της βιοποικιλότητας, την υδροδότηση, τον έλεγχο των πλημμύρων, καθώς και την προστασία από τη διάβρωση του εδάφους και της απερήμωσης. Παράλληλα, συμβάλλουν στη διατήρηση ενός σταθερού κλίματος του πλανήτη και του περιβάλλοντος, ενώ είναι και ζωτικής σημασίας, όπως προαναφέρθηκε, για την επιβίωση και την ευημερία των ανθρώπων.

Ο άνθρωπος συνδέθηκε με το δάσος από την πρώτη στιγμή της εμφάνισής του πάνω στη γη και μάλιστα στενότατα, καθώς, του εξασφάλισε τροφή, στέγη, προστασία, ψυχαγωγία και εργασία. Του πρόσφερε την απαραίτητη ξυλεία, τα καυσόξυλα και τα άλλα δασικά προϊόντα (καρπούς, ρετσίνι κ.ά.) για τη διαβίωση και την πρόοδό του, ενώ του έδωσε επίσης και ευκαιρίες και δυνατότητες για κοινωνικές, θρησκευτικές, καλλιτεχνικές και άλλες εκδηλώσεις και απασχολήσεις για την πνευματική, κοινωνική και πολιτιστική του άνοδο.

Το δάσος, στο πέρασμα των αιώνων, συνεχίζει να προσφέρει όλα αυτά τα θετικά στοιχεία, παρά τη συμπεριφορά του ανθρώπου, γεγονός που μας υπενθυμίζει ότι θα πρέπει να αξιοποιήσουμε με τον καλύτερο τρόπο αυτή την πολύτιμη και αστείρευτη φυσική πηγή ζωής, συμβάλλοντας στην προστασία του και κατ’ επέκταση παίρνοντας σημαντικά μέτρα για τη διασφάλισή του, ξεκινώντας με την ενημέρωση του κοινού για τη σημασία και την προσφορά των δασών, αλλά και γενικότερα, όλου του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος.

Αρθρογράφος: Δίπλα Αικατερίνη (Arid Zone Afforestation)

Humans on the verge of causing Earth’s fastest climate change in 50m years


A new study published in Nature Communications looks at changes in solar activity and carbon dioxide levels over the past 420 million years. The authors found that on our current path, by mid-century humans will be causing the fastest climate change in approximately 50 million years, and if we burn all available fossil fuels, we’ll cause the fastest change in the entire 420 million year record.

The study relates to a scientific conundrum known as the faint young sun paradox – that early in Earth’s history, solar output was 30% less intense than it is today, and yet the planet was warm enough to have a liquid ocean. A stronger greenhouse effect due to higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may be one explanation.

Over time, solar output has grown stronger, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have fallen due to an effect known as “weathering” of rocks and an increase in plant life. The authors of this study found that over the past 420 million years, the slow heating of the sun and slow decline of the greenhouse effect have roughly offset each other, leading to a fairly stable long-term global climate.

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How solar became the world’s best hope for a post-fossil fuel energy system

Seville, Spain, July 11th 2016: Solar Impulse is flying over the Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant, which is partially owned by Masdar, Solar Impulse’s host partner in Abu Dhabi, after taking off from Seville to Cairo, Egypt with André Borschberg at the controls. Departed from Abu Dhabi on march 9th 2015, the Round-the-World Solar Flight will take 500 flight hours and cover 35’000 km. Swiss founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg hope to demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world. The duo will take turns flying Solar Impulse 2, changing at each stop and will fly over the Arabian Sea, to India, to Myanmar, to China, across the Pacific Ocean, to the United States, over the Atlantic Ocean to Southern Europe or Northern Africa before finishing the journey by returning to the initial departure point. Landings will be made every few days to switch pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

Just a few years ago experts the world over, bemoaned the prohibitive cost of solar power. But today it is widely considered to be the best and most affordable hope for decarbonising the world’s energy system.

Solar prices are down 62% in the last eight years, according to a recent Bloomberg analysis, and on track to beat the cost of coal within a decade. In fact, it’s already achieved that milestone in more than 30 countries, according to the World Economic Forum.

“All aspects of solar power generation are getting cheaper with scale,” says Dr Jonathan Marshall, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

“A larger market means there is more enthusiasm to improve module technology, that there is more research taking place to increase invertor lifetimes and that ‘soft’ costs such as financing, site planning and installation are tumbling as experience grows.” This is echoed by Professor Keith Barnham of Imperial College London, who singles out the Chinese government for “funding bigger production lines and new supply chains.”

The enormous fall in silicon solar panel prices at the beginning of the decade was, according to Professor, “mainly down to Chinese government and investors funding bigger production lines and new supply chains.”

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Millions of native oysters to be returned to the Solent


New project aims to restore what was once Europe’s largest oyster fishery, off the south coast of England. Millions of native oysters are to be put into the Solent, once the site of Europe’s largest oyster fishery.

The five-year project aims first to restore a thriving oyster population to the waters between the south coast and Isle of Wight. Oyster beds provide habitat for many other species and the shellfish filter vast volumes of water – 200 litres per oyster – helping to clean up pollution. Once re-established, significant oyster fishing could resume.

A million young oysters will be put into the Solent in 2017, in places where they cannot be legally fished. A further 10,000 are being put in special cages in harbours, from where they can send out larvae.

Oysters have been fished in the UK since at least Roman times and at its peak in the 1920s 40 million oysters were eaten each year, with the abundance leading to the mollusc being known as a poor man’s food. But by the 1960s this had fallen to 3 million oysters a year.

The population in the Solent crashed again recently, with the annual catch falling from 200 tonnes in 2007 to just 20 tonnes in 2011 – about 250,000 shells – and oyster fishing was banned in the Solent in 2013. “It’s a perfect storm of overfishing, habitat destruction, dredging, climate change, disease, invasive species and quite possibly pollution,” said Preston, a marine biologist at the University of Portsmouth who is monitoring the project.

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