Posts

5 Ways You Can Help The Environment In The Next Hour — Without Leaving Your Desk

5-ways-help-environment-hour-leaving-desk

The internet: The world’s arena for catching up on news, binge-watching TV, and replaying adorable videos . And with a little know-how, you can also use it as a tool for quick, meaningful environmental action.

These days, switching over to solar power and ditching plastic are just a few clicks away, and you can majorly cut down on your footprint without even leaving your desk. Here are five ways to help out the environment from the comfort of your home. Altogether, they’ll take less than an hour and leave you feeling majorly accomplished.

1. Calculate your carbon footprint

Carbon calculators make it easy to quantify your environmental impact in a matter of minutes. Answer a few questions about your transportation habits, energy use, and consumption patterns to get a better idea of where you’re acting in an eco-friendly way and where you could use a little improvement. Then, let these insights inform your habits moving forward.

2. Offset your next plane trip

While reducing your emissions should always be your first priority, offsetting is basically a way to press tare on your environmental impact. You can donate money to initiatives that take carbon out of the environment—like tree plantings and renewable energy projects—to balance out the carbon you’re putting into it with your daily routine. Offsetting your flights is a good place to start, since plane travel is a major emitter but one that most of us can’t realistically give up altogether.

3. Pledge to give up straws

The Lonely Whale Foundation, a nonprofit that uses clever campaigns to clean oceans, recently launched the #StopSucking challenge. By accepting, you’re committing to saying no to single-use plastic straws when drinking on the go.  Take the pledge, share on social, and challenge other individuals and companies in your area to do the same, all in under five minutes.

4. Tell your representative what you care about

If hopping on the phone to call your representative isn’t your thing, environmental groups have made it super easy to write to your congressional representative online using a pre-populated form. Just sign your name,  add a quick personal message at the end and you’re good to go.

5. Check to see if you can switch over to renewable energy

You don’t need to deck out your roof with solar panels or move closer to a wind farm to switch over to renewable energy in your home.  For example, in certain parts of the United States, Green Mountain Energy lets you switch over to renewables on the spot without changing energy providers. Just input your ZIP code and see if it’s a possibility for you.

Follow the link to learn morehttps://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/help-the-environment-in-the-next-hour

These drones can plant 100,000 trees a day

large_wv1ZxHX8ttWQWg5XnPeTIC_A6Cue71Z0Iim_JJVYMy4

It’s simple maths. We are chopping down about 15 billion trees a year and planting about 9 billion. So there’s a net loss of 6 billion trees a year. Hand planting trees is slow and expensive. To keep pace with the tractors and bulldozers clearing vast areas of land, we need an industrial-scale solution.

For example, a drone that can plant up to 100,000 trees a day.

BioCarbon Engineering, a UK-based company backed by drone manufacturer Parrot, has come up with a method of planting trees quickly and cheaply. Not only that, trees can also be planted in areas that are difficult to access or otherwise unviable.

Planting by drone

First a drone scans the topography to create a 3D map. Then the most efficient planting pattern for that area is calculated using algorithms.

A drone loaded with germinated seeds fires pods into the ground at a rate of one per second, or about 100,000 a day. Scale this up and 60 drone teams could plant 1 billion trees a year.

The system’s engineers estimate that their method is about 10 times faster and only 20% of the cost of hand planting. And because there is no heavy machinery involved, it’s possible to plant in hard-to-reach areas that have no roads or steep, inaccessible terrain.The BioCarbon team has tested its technology in various locations and recently trialled reseeding historic mining sites in Dungog, Australia.

Elsewhere, a similar idea is being used by Oregon start-up DroneSeed, which is attempting to create a new era of “precision forestry” with the use of drones to plant trees as well as spray fertilizer and herbicides.

Agriculture is one of the biggest drivers for deforestation, with vast swathes of forest cleared to make way for the cultivation of crops including soy, palm oil and cocoa, as well as for beef farming.

At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this year, Norway announced a $400 million fund to kick-start investments in deforestation-free agriculture in countries that are working to reduce their forest and peat degradation. It is estimated that the world loses between 74,000 and 95,000 square miles of forest a year – that’s an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute.

You can find the article here: (The World Economic Forum): https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/drones-plant-100000-trees-a-day/?utm_content=bufferb212b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Floating Tar, Dead Fish: Oil Spill Threatens Greek Beaches

15greece-oil6-master675

The Greek authorities scrambled on Thursday to clean up fuel leaked by an oil tanker that sank near Athens, putting popular beaches off limits to swimmers and raising fears of environmental damage.

The Agia Zoni II, a 45-year-old oil tanker, sank near the island of Salamis, about seven miles from the country’s main port, Piraeus. It was carrying more than 2,500 metric tons of fuel oil and marine gas oil.

Though the leak was initially thought to be contained to the area of the shipwreck, it soon expanded to the coastline area known as the Athens Riviera.

Evaggelia Simou, a resident of Salamina, on the island, denounced the authorities for not tackling the oil spill more quickly and fully.

“We drove by the Selinia beach on Sunday night, and were alarmed because of the suffocating smell of oil,” Ms. Simou said.

When she and her husband went to the beach, they were shocked to see that a thick coat of oil had blackened the water. “Huge pieces of floating tar were burdening the waves, dead fish floated on the surface,” Ms. Simou said. They were surprised to see no cleanup workers, she said.

George Papanikolaou, the mayor of Glyfada, said he got a phone call from the Piraeus harbor master warning of the spill only a few hours before the black ooze washed up.

Since then, three private antipollution vessels have cleaned up more than 180 metric tons of fuel from Glyfada’s four beaches. Just this summer, one of the beaches had been recognized by the Foundation for Environmental Education as a Blue Flag beach, a certification of water quality.

It’s tragic that it happened now, after all four beaches have gotten so beautiful,” Tima Vlasto, 51, an American who has lived in Glyfada for six years, said in a phone interview. “Seeing this makes you want to leave. If I can’t swim here, what’s the point of living in Glyfada?”

Mr. Papanikolaou said that emotions were running high in his community. “We’re angry”, he said. “It’s just such a shame that all this hard work can be destroyed in a split second.”

Some ecologists have called the oil spill an environmental disaster, with immediate and potential long-term effects.

The full extent of the pollution and its effects are not yet clear; areas like uninhabited rocky islets are also thought to be affected.

The Hellenic Register of Shipping, an independent organization that oversees shipping safety, said that the tanker had not been certified as seaworthy, although its owner, Fos Petroleum, said that it had all of the proper credentials. The Greek Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy did not respond to several requests for information.

Read here the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/14/world/europe/greece-oil-spill.html?mcubz=1

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people

4584

Extreme heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike parts of the Indian subcontinent unless global carbon emissions are cut sharply and soon, according to new research.

Even outside of these hotspots, three-quarters of the 1.7bn population – particularly those farming in the Ganges and Indus valleys – will be exposed to a level of humid heat classed as posing “extreme danger” towards the end of the century.

The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.

The revelations show the most severe impacts of global warming may strike those nations, such as India, whose carbon emissions are still rising as they lift millions of people out of poverty.

“It presents a dilemma for India between the need to grow economically at a fast pace, consuming fossil fuels, and the need to avoid such potentially lethal impacts,” said Prof Elfatih Eltahir, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US who led the new study. “To India, global climate change is no longer abstract – it is about how to save potentially vulnerable populations.”

Heatwaves are already a major risk in South Asia, with a severe episode in 2015 leading to 3,500 deaths, and India recorded its hottest ever day in 2016 when the temperature in the city of Phalodi, Rajasthan, hit 51C. Another new study this week linked the impact of climate change to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers.

Read here more information: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/02/climate-change-to-cause-humid-heatwaves-that-will-kill-even-healthy-people

Coral Reefs Could Be Gone in 30 Years

01-iucn-coral-reef.ngsversion.1498257025282.adapt.676.1

The world’s coral reefs, from the Great Barrier Reef off Australia to the Seychelles off East Africa, are in grave danger of dying out completely by mid-century unless carbon emissions are reduced enough to slow ocean warming, a new UNESCO study says. And consequences could be severe for millions of people.

The decline of coral reefs has been well documented, reef by reef. But the new study is the first global examination of the vulnerability of the entire planet’s reef systems, and it paints an especially grim picture. Of the 29 World Heritage reef areas, at least 25 of them will experience twice-per-decade severe bleaching events by 2040—a frequency that will “rapidly kill most corals present and prevent successful reproduction necessary for recovery of corals,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization concluded. In some areas, that’s happening already.

By 2100, most reef systems will die, unless carbon emissions are reduced. Many others will be gone even sooner. “Warming is projected to exceed the ability of reefs to survive within one to three decades for the majority of the World Heritage sites containing corals reefs,” the report says.

Reefs, often referred to as the rainforests of the oceans, occupy less than one percent of the ocean floor, but provide habitat for a million species, including a fourth of the world’s fish. They also protect coastlines against erosion from tropical storms and act as a barrier to sea-level rise.

Follow the link to learn more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/coral-reef-bleaching-global-warming-unesco-sites/

Europe’s extreme June heat clearly linked to climate change, research shows

4424

Human-caused climate change dramatically increased the likelihood of the extreme heatwave that saw deadly forest fires blazing in Portugal and Spain, new research has shown.

Much of western Europe sweltered earlier in June, and the severe heat in England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland was also made significantly more likely by global warming. Such temperatures will become the norm by 2050, the scientists warned, unless action is taken to rapidly cut carbon emissions.

Scientists combined temperature records and the latest observations with a series of sophisticated computer models to calculate how much the global rise in greenhouse gases has raised the odds of the soaring temperatures. They found the heatwave that struck Portugal and Spain was 10 times more likely to have occurred due to global warming. In Portugal, 64 people died in huge forest fires, while in Spain 1,500 people were forced to evacuate by forest blazes.

The intense heat was made four times more probable in central England, which endured its hottest day since 1976, and in France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, where emergency heatwave plans were triggered.

The analysis was carried out by World Weather Attribution (WAA), an international coalition of scientists that calculates the role of climate change in extreme weather events. “We found clear and strong links between June’s record warmth and human-caused climate change,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and part of WWA.

Heat can be deadly – especially for the very young and the elderly,” said Friederike Otto, at Oxford University and also part of WWA. “This extreme event attribution analysis makes clear that European heatwaves have become more frequent, and in the South of Europe at least 10 times more frequent. It is critical that cities work with scientists and public health experts to develop heat action plans. Climate change is impacting communities right now and these plans save lives.”

Click here for more information: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/30/europes-extreme-june-heat-clearly-linked-to-climate-change-research-shows

If you drop plastic in the ocean, where does it end up?

shanghaitrash-compressor

It is estimated that between four and 12m metric tonnes of plastic makes its way into the ocean each year. This figure is only likely to rise, and a 2016 report predicted that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the sea will outweigh the amount of fish.

A normal plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down completely, so the components of a bottle dropped in the ocean today could still be polluting the waters for our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren.

A lot of plastic debris in the ocean breaks down into smaller pieces and is ingested by marine life, and it is thought that a significant amount sinks to the sea bed. But a lot of it just floats around, and thanks to sophisticated modelling of ocean currents using drifting buoys, we can see where much of it ends up.

Oceanographer Erik van Sebille, who works at Imperial College London and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, has shown that thanks to strong ocean currents known as gyres, huge amounts of plastic end up in six “garbage patches” around the world, the largest one being in the north Pacific.

As can be seen in the image above, a bottle dropped in the water off the coast of China, near Shanghai, is likely be carried eastward by the north Pacific gyre and end up circulating a few hundred miles off the coast of the US.

Follow the link to find more examples about different countries: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/if-you-drop-plastic-in-the-ocean-where-does-it-end-up

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

deforestation_2074483b

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

_96067914_21f3ca15-032f-47cf-b38c-cb661a0af403

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.

Follow the link to learn more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39931042

 

 

Arid Zone Afforestation – Who we are

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAldAAAAJDYyOGUzYzg1LTA5MTEtNDczYi1hNTI5LTYyMjdlMzZmYzVkNw

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

Resources

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.

Follow us to learn more about our mission and our projects:

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/aridzoneafforestation/?_rdr

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AridZonAfforest

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arid_zone_afforestation/

Pinterest: https://gr.pinterest.com/aridzoneaffores/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aridzoneafforestation/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AridZoneAfforestationOrg