Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Prophets of Doom

By Anton Antonio
October 28, 2015

Environmental scientists, researcher, advocates and activists are often called “prophets of doom” because they are the most vocal personalities against global warming, climate change and other environmental destruction.  They certainly could not be faulted for knowing what they know from years of diligent research and development work.  They simply are sharing their findings as they genuinely care for the present and future generations.  Here goes another dooms day scenario report…

By Joby Warrick
October 26, 2015

The region that gave birth to civilization six millennia ago could soon witness a grim milestone in the history of urban development: the first cities to experience temperatures too extreme for human survival.  A scientific study released Monday predicts that parts of the Persian Gulf could see lethally hot summers by the end of the century, thanks to human-induced global warming that is already contributing to soaring temperatures around the globe.  The report’s authors say coastal cities from Dubai to Iran’s Bandar Abbas could experience summer days that surpass the “human habitability” limit, with heat and humidity so high that even the healthiest people could not withstand more than a few hours outdoors.  Other Middle Eastern cities could approach the lethal threshold, including the Saudi holy city of Mecca, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year, according to the report in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.  Scientists have long maintained that parts of the planet could experience extreme temperatures if global warming continues at current rates.  But the suggestion that major world metropolises could cross the “habitability” threshold in the 21st Century surprised some climate experts.  “The threats to human health may be much more severe than previously thought, and may occur in the current century,” Christoph Schaer, a physicist and climate modeller at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, said in a commentary on the study’s conclusions.  The nature study used high-resolution climate models of the Persian Gulf to examine different scenarios for climate change over the coming decades.  The authors, a pair of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Loyola Marymount University, focused on a key heat measurement known as the “wet-bulb temperature,” which includes humidity and evaporation rates, averaged over several hours.  A wet-bulb temperature of 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) is regarded as the survivability limit for healthy people.  “It is an upper limit to adaptability to climate change due to heat stress,” MIT researcher Elfatih Eltahir told reporters at a news conference called to discuss the findings.  The analysis showed that, at current rates of warming, inhabitants of Persian Gulf cities could experience a combination of heat and humidity so high that the human body is no longer capable of shedding the excess heat through perspiration.  The worst impacts would be felt in low-lying areas from Iran’s southern coast to the great metropolises of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.  “Our results expose a regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,” the authors wrote in the study.  As travellers to the region can attest, the Persian Gulf region is already notorious for oppressive heat, with temperatures regularly surpassing 110 degrees F in the summer and heat-index values that contribute to high rates of heatstroke among outdoor workers.  The study’s authors say the worst impacts could be avoided if the world’s countries can find the will to curb emissions of greenhouse-gas pollutions.  In any case, urban planners will soon have to plan for major infrastructure changes as temperatures approach the lethal 35-degree threshold.  “Although it may be feasible to adapt indoor activities in the rich oil countries of the region, even the most basic outdoor activities are likely to be severely impacted,” the report stated.  The study comes on the heels of other reports predicting more intense heat waves for the United States, Europe and other parts of the world because of rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday issued a policy statement warning of a greater health risks to children because of human-induced global warming.  The statement, published in the journal Pediatrics, said children face great risks from heat-related illnesses and greater susceptibility to being injured in weather-related disasters such as floods and extreme storms.  “Children are uniquely at risk to the direct impacts of climate change,” said lead author Samantha Ahdoot.”

Let us assume, for a moment, that pro-environment people are real dooms day mongers.  Who really wants to play this type of role in society?  There is absolutely nothing in it for them but curses and disdain from climate change non-believers.  But there must be something they want us to realize… perhaps the message is for all of us to realize that something should be done to mitigate the impact of climate change.  Or, do we really think that they are plain, simple and good-for-nothing prophets of doom?

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Monday, October 26, 2015


By Anton Antonio
October 27, 2015

“Fracking” is really not a misspelled obscene word that most of us are familiar with.  No need to call the attention of MTRCB on this one.  The term “fracking” is shorthand or slang for hydraulic fracturing and refers to how deeply embedded ground rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals.  Other terms associated with fracking are “frac job” (the actual work being done) and “frac unit” (the people doing “frac jobs”).

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling down into the earth using a high-pressure water mixture directed at the rocks to release the gas inside them.  It is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by pressurized liquid.  Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.  The process involves the high-pressure injection of fracking fluid, composed of water, sand and other proppants suspended with the aid of thickening agents, into the wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum and brine will flow more freely.  When hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open.

Hydraulic fracturing began as an experiment in 1947 and the first commercially successful application followed in 1950.  As of 2012, 2.5 million “frac jobs” had been performed worldwide on oil and gas wells, over a million of those in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing is highly controversial in many countries since, according to environmental groups opposed to fracking, the potential environmental impacts out-weigh the economic benefits, which include risks of ground and surface water contamination, air and noise pollution, and potentially triggering earthquakes, not to mention the consequential hazards to public health and the environment in general. 

At present, there are three major concerns on fracking as a means to produce fossil fuel, these are: (1)The huge amount of fresh water requirement which will impact on agricultural productivity; (2) The possible carcinogenic contamination of groundwater around the fracking site which may lead to wider health issues for those living in the periphery of fracking sites; and, (3) The small tremors or earthquakes of 1.5 to 2.2 magnitude that the production system and technology produces which has destructive effects on aquifers.  Fracking industry proponents, however, suggest that environmental and pollution problems are the result of bad practices rather than an inherently risky production technique.  Pro-environment advocates and activists, on the other hand, say that, with the advent of global warming and climate change, the fracking industry will have to look for green and alternative power sources which are renewable.  The use of materials such as lead, uranium, mercury, ethylene glycol, radium, methanol, hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde makes a lot of people frown and question the propriety of the use of these chemicals and materials which may cause a lot of health problems.

The real issue is the relative economy by which 300,000 barrels of natural gas produced daily in the largest fracking operation in the U.S. alone as opposed to the displacement of the entire industry caused by a sudden shift to renewable energy.  One question that should be answered by the fracking industry is the sustainability of the practice of hydraulic fracking.  Climate change is real and the fracking industry will have to also sacrifice for us to be able to avert and mitigate the ill effects of global warming.  Change does not necessarily have to be sudden; gradual will be acceptable so long as change is programmed.  All fossil fuel production technologies will have to really be reviewed (for our sake and the future generations)… including the practice of fracking.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


BBC.com, (2015). “Fracking”. Retrieved on October 27, 2015 from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alternative Forms of Energy

By Anton Antonio
October 26, 2015

As we move forward, we are now becoming more aware that global warming and climate change are caused primarily by fossil fuel emission.  Environmental scientists say that alternative energy is the answer to our climate crisis and that fossil fuels will not last forever as they are finite, steadily becoming limited and non-renewable.  Perhaps the question to ask is: “What are the alternative forms of energy that could replace fossil fuels?”  Here is a researched material on alternative energy sources…

”WIND POWER AND SOLAR POWER – The most popular and most well-known among the alternative forms of energy are wind power and solar power.  Nowadays, you could easily get solar panels or small wind turbines installed on your home, company or local area.  With the latest the latest technology, wind mills are silent and efficient.  Moreover, recent breakthroughs in solar energy have also made it not only more efficient, bit more affordable as well.  In an effort to change its environmental record, China has recently become one of the greatest manufacturers of solar panels, a main reason for its rapid decrease in price.  Solar and wind power are the main sources of renewable energy that I would recommend for your home (geothermal energy works well in certain areas too); the other sources of energy are still worth looking into however.  It should also be mentioned that large fields of solar panels and wind mills built by corporations can power entire cities.  Great progress is being done in this domain.  However, as aforementioned, there are numerous other sources of alternative energy that you should be aware of.

HYDROELECTRICITY – Hydroelectricity allows a great amount of electricity to be generated without using up any fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, although hydroelectricity is renewable, it is actually quite hazardous to the environment.  For instance, entire forests are cut down and dangerous chemicals are released through its construction.  Furthermore, the construction itself takes up a lot of resources and can’t be reused (as opposed to solar panels and wind mills).  Notably, the Three Gorges Dam in China has displaced about 1.3 million people and caused numerous landslides.  As a matter of fact, numerous protests have ensued in the hopes of stopping the construction of hydroelectric dams.

TIDAL POWER AND WAVE POWER – Tidal power works in similar fashion as hydroelectricity but does not have such negative effect on the environment.  Essentially, it is situated in oceans and converts the energy of tides into electricity.  In addition, wave power is the transport of energy caused by ocean surface waves.  Hence, wave power turbines are also located in the ocean and will not require huge reservoirs that inundate entire forests.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY – Geothermal energy is yet another recent breakthrough in green technology.  In essence, it converts thermal (heat) energy from the Earth into power.  In fact, geothermal energy is not only used to generate electricity but can also be used for district heating, space heating, spas, industrial processes, desalination and agricultural applications.  This revolutionary form of energy is highly popular in Iceland and its technology continues to improve over time.  Moreover, geothermal energy can be harnessed in hot springs or in locations with notable volcanic activity.  As you may guess, not many places are suitable for this type of energy and it is fairly expensive to develop.  Nonetheless, like solar panels, the price and availability of this type of renewable energy will improve in time.

NUCLEAR POWER – Nuclear power is technically renewable because, theoretically, the uranium stored should continuously produce power.  In France, nuclear power works very well and generates much of its electricity.  However, some nuclear power plants have wrongfully disposed of its nuclear waste and this is a very serious environmental problem.  In fact, due to its nuclear waste, many environmentalists have not coined nuclear power as renewable energy and are actually demanding the closure of certain power plants along with cancelling future projects.  Incidentally, the very real possibility of nuclear meltdown (such as the one in Chernobyl) will cause many to not support nuclear power.

HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS – Hydrogen fuel cells offer the possibility of vehicles to release only water vapour and will be 2 to 3 times more energy efficient than gasoline or diesel.  Basically, hydrogen is pumped into the tank of a car or bus, like gasoline.  Many automakers have already set plans for the commercialization of hydrogen powered cars by 2015.  Hydrogen power will not only ensure a healthy environment but will also reduce fossil fuel dependence which can seriously harm a nation’s economy.  Although hybrids will reduce greenhouse gases, they will not be as good as hydrogen fuel cells or electric cars.  However, it should be noted that the production of fuel cells or batteries (in the case of electric cars) are not completely green although they are still better than their alternatives.  Therefore, taking public transit, walking, cycling, and even carpooling will ultimately be more environmentally friendly.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS – Alternative fuels include algae fuel, biofuel and biomass. These green fuels will have less of an environmental impact than the conventional gasoline or even diesel.  However, not all alternative fuels are equal; some pose less harm to the environment than others.” --- Climate Change Guide

The future seems bright with environmental scientists tirelessly finding ways to make alternative forms of energy affordable and sustainable.  We could also trust that new and groundbreaking forms of energy will soon be discovered.  In the meantime, if we really want to cushion the impact of climate change, fossil fuels must be disregarded for alternative forms of energy.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Climate Change Guide, (2015). “Alternative Energy”.  Retrieved on October 26, 2015 from http://www.climate-change-guide.com/alternative-energy.html

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bad Girls: Patricia and Yolanda

By Anton Antonio
October 25, 2015

Two of the most powerful storms that ever made landfall are Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) which hit the Philippines and Hurricane Patricia which hit Mexico just yesterday.  But why the confusing terminology: hurricane and typhoon?  Hurricanes are storms that frequently form in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Atlantic Ocean as far east as the Cape Verde Islands.  A typhoon is an extremely large, powerful and destructive storm that occurs in the region of the Philippines or the China Sea.  Hurricanes and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon although we use different names for these storms depending on their place of origin.  In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used.  The same type of weather disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon”.  Another disturbance, a “cyclone” occurs in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Filipinos are very much aware of what a super typhoon is all about after Yolanda (Haiyan) hit in November 8, 2013.  Yesterday, Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Mexico... and we know how it feels.  Please read the following researched news report…


Meteorologists say heightened sea temperatures due to El Niño and global warming explained how the storm caught them by surprise.  Hurricane Patricia – now the strongest hurricane ever recorded – surprised meteorologists as it transformed over the course of a day from a run of the mill tropical storm to a monster with sustained winds of up to 200 miles per hour.  Now, meteorologists are pointing to heightened sea temperatures due to El Niño and global warming to explain how the storm caught them by surprise.  “Our models all showed it would become a fairly big hurricane but none of them got close to what was actually measured,” said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  “We’re going to be scratching our heads for a long time about this storm.”  Surface temperatures across the Pacific Ocean have been elevates in recent months due to El Niño – a climate phenomenon that affects weather patterns across the globe – by as much as 4 degrees Celsius, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The El Niño effect follows decades of increased water temperatures due to global warming.  A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that the surface levels of the world’s oceans warmed by about 4% between 1971 to 2010.  Warmer water increases the strength of storms by causing ocean water to evaporate.  The increased water vapour in the air creates a fuel of sorts that allows storms to grow and travel.  The location of the storm may have also played a key role in allowing it to grow so strong, according to Emanuel.  Every region of the ocean has a “speed limit” that a storm’s winds can’t exceed due to a number of factors related to the physics, and this storm happened to develop in an area of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean with a particularly high speed limit.  In other areas, such a strong storm would have been impossible.  “There’s a speed limit to hurricane wind speeds that varies from place to place and time to time,” said Emanuel.  “Very few storms make it.  Patricia is right at that speed limit.”  While experts can explain after the fact how the storm got so powerful, they say storm predictions still need work.  Current models aren’t great at forecasting how and when a storm will intensify.  In this case, the strongest winds only extend 15 miles or so around the eye of the storm, making it difficult for devices in the ocean to pick up on the strength.  In the future, tropical residents should expect more frequent hurricanes on this scale.  No individual storm is caused solely by climate change, but experts warn that the frequency of such large scale storms is likely to increase due to continued warming in the future.  This year has already seen 22 category 4 or 5 hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere, breaking the previous record of 18 in 1997 and 2004.  Most of those storms have steered clear of the U.S., instead venturing out to sea.  Wilma, which made landfall in 2005, was the last major hurricane to hit the U. S.  The scale of devastation caused by the storm will depend on which community it hits on the western seaboard of Mexico, but experts say that communities should expect 10 to 15 foot storm surges, flooding and mudslides.  Tour hotspots like Puerto Vallarta are among the threatened areas that have begun evacuating.  Typhoon Haiyan, a comparably sized storm, led to more than 6,000 deaths when it hit the Philippines in 2013.  “This is the kind of thing that’s going to become statistically more likely as we go forward,” said Sean Sublette, a meteorologist at Climate Matters.  “What we’re seeing here is not just breaking some records by a little bit, but breaking them by a fair bit.” --- Time.com

These “bad girls”, Yolanda and Patricia, can be considered as the drum-beaters for worsening weather conditions in the light of global warming and climate change.  Mankind must heed their warnings and resolve to dramatically bring down fossil fuel emission which is the principal reason for global warming and climate change.  Otherwise, as expects are now predicting, we should expect more of these bad girls: Patricia and Yolanda.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Time.com, (2015). “Hurricane Patricia”. Retrieved on October 25, 2015 from http://time.com/4085361/hurricane-patricia-storm/

Friday, October 23, 2015

Blind Man Gets Driver's License

By Anton Antonio
October 24, 2015

The traffic situation in Philippine urban centers such as Metro Manila, Cebu City, Baguio City and Cagayan de Oro City is not only an economic problem (the manhours lost while our workforce is caught in traffic) but an environmental problem as well (the amount of carbon uselessly being emitted to the atmosphere).  There are already been numerous recommendations on how to solve the traffic problem --- from truck bans to color-coding to odd-even scheme to ride-sharing to barring people (who do not have parking spaces in their homes) from acquiring vehicles.  The last one (disallowing people to buy vehicles), however, may infringe on a right of citizens to acquire property guaranteed under our Constitution. 

But what is the primary cause of traffic?  Studies upon studies made seem to point to the following common causes: (1) Inadequate infrastructure; (2) The lack of mass transport systems; (3) Too many new vehicles being introduced to the same road network; (4) Road encroachment; and, (5) A driving culture which is largely offensive and undisciplined.  Item No. 5 (lack of discipline) is caused by drivers and pedestrians alike… and the twisted system by which drivers are able to get licenses even if they do not have the slightest idea of traffic rules and regulations and what driving courtesy is all about.  There are some who are of the opinion that if these undisciplined and unknowing drivers are not given driver’s licenses, this may also be another measure to limit vehicles on the road and ease traffic congestion.

Lately, however, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will be implementing stricter requirements for the grant of driver’s licences to applicants.  Please read the following researched news item…

By Emmie Abadilla
October 23, 2015

Effective middle of next month, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is implementing its revised rules for drivers’ licenses, with more strict requirements for professional drivers, at the same time rewarding those with no record for reckless driving with longer licenses, as part of its agency-wide reform.  “The revised rules will ensure the fitness and capability of license card holders to drive on the country’s streets. They will also streamline the application process and make it more convenient for the public,” Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya said.  Next week, the LTO will publish five Administrative Orders (AOs) to take effect 15 days after publication. The orders cover all four types of LTO-issued licenses from professional driver’s licenses or PDLs and non-professional driver’s licenses (NPDLs) to student’s permits (SPs) and conductor’s licenses (CLs).  Significantly, the LTO is imposing higher standards and requirements for professional driver’s license (PDL) applicants to restrict this category to truly qualified drivers.  Specifically, applicants for PDLs to operate light vehicles must have had a valid SP for at least 6 months prior to the application. In cases of heavy vehicles, PDL applicants must have either a valid NPDL for at least 1 year prior to the application, or a valid PDL to operate light vehicles for at least 6 months prior to the same.  At the same time, the agency is tightening its eligibility criteria by disqualifying PDL applicants who have had two or more citations for reckless driving during the validity period of their existing license. This is meant to reward disciplined, law-abiding and orderly driving among would-be PDL applicants.  These restrictions will apply to the four types of PDL examinations: those for tricycles, for light vehicles, for heavy vehicles, as well as for conductors.  For the convenience of applicants, the LTO will begin accepting medical certificates issued by any duly-licensed and practicing physician, instead of restricting these to accredited doctors stationed at LTO offices.  This will allow applicants to have themselves examined by a doctor of their own choosing, at a time and place convenient to them. However, the revised rules require that a medical certificate submitted during application should have been issued no more than 15 days prior. Thus, the LTO will not accept medical certificates which are over 15 days old.  For uniformity, the LTO will provide a Medical Certificate form which will be free of charge and will be available for downloading from the DOTC and LTO websites. It should state, among others, that the applicant is physically and mentally fit to drive, as well as what the condition of his/her eyesight and hearing is.  The LTO will also implement a merit system to encourage good behavior and disciplined driving among license holders. Currently, licenses have a 3-year validity period reckoned from the holder’s date of birth.  Under this new system, a PDL or NPDL holder who has not committed any violation during the 3-year validity period will be entitled to a 5-year validity period for his next license upon renewal. Those with violations will be eligible for the regular 3-year validity period only upon renewal.  LTO will no longer conduct lectures or seminars prior to the written and practical examinations. Instead, the agency will release reviewers containing all possible questions to the public. The reviewers will be given to those who are issued SPs, and will be made available to anyone at LTO offices and on the websites of the DOTC and the LTO.”

This seems to be great news!  Finally, a stricter system is being adopted to make sure that only qualified applicants are issued driver’s licenses.  But wait, here is another researched news item related to the issuance of a driver’s license and emission testing.  Please read…

By Luz Baguioro, The Straits Times
September 24, 2005

A few years ago, officials of the Land Transportation Office were left red-faced when a local television station showed how a blind man was able to obtain driver’s license.  Despite the embarrassing episode, fixers at the agency continue to enjoy brisk business.  Most driver’s license applicants prefer to pay bribes rather than go through the hassle of sitting for a written exam on traffic rules and procedures, a practical exam on driving, drug test and a police clearance.  Just pay a fixer 1,200 pesos and within an hour, a genuine license with proper receipt for the driver’s fee of 257.80 pesos and a drug test fee of 250 pesos – will be in your hand.  If you have a million pesos to spare, you can buy permit to operate an emission testing center from corrupt officials at DOTC.  The permit will ensure a constant stream of revenue because all vehicles have to pass an annual emission test before their vehicle registration is renewed.  But many of these centers, vehicle owners simply cough up a bribe and an emission test fee of 300 pesos and the matter is settled.  No need even to take the vehicle down to the center.  Suspension orders for testing centers caught giving emission test certificates without carrying out actual test can also be lifted in exchange for huge bribes – of around 100,000 pesos – to higher-up officials.”

Graft and corruption, which has permeated in the LTO, is nothing new.  It is the same system that allowed a legally blind man to acquire a driver’s license.  Will the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Land Transportation Office be able to sustain a graft and corruption-free program to weed out unqualified drivers and therefore limit the number of vehicles on the road?  Will the DOTC and LTO be able to keep smoke belchers away from the road? Can the DOTC and LTO be effective guardians of air pollution and the environment?  Or will another banner headline scandal happen again… that says: a blind man gets driver’s license.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Manila Bulletin, (2015). “LTO to Implement Stricter Requirements for Drivers License”. Retrieved on October 24, 2015 from http://www.mb.com.ph/lto-to-implement-stricter-requirements-for-drivers-license/

Tsikot.com, (2014).  “Blind Man Gets Drivers License”.  Retrieved on October 24, 2015 from http://tsikot.com/forums/miscellaneous-talk-163/blind-man-gets-drivers-licence-22655/

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wind Power

By Anton Antonio
October 23, 2015

What is wind power?  “Wind power is extracted from air flow using wind turbines or sails to produce mechanical or electrical power.  Windmills are used for their mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping, and sails to propel ships.  Wind power as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, and uses little land.  The net effects on the environment are far less problematic than those of non-renewable power sources.  Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network.  Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electricity, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants.  Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land, and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are considerably higher.  Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide electricity to isolated off-grid locations.  Wind power is very consistent from year to year but has significant variation over shorter time scales.  It is therefore used in conjunction with other electric power sources to give a reliable supply.  As the proportion of wind power in a region increases, a need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur.  Power management techniques such as having excess capacity, geographically distributed turbines, dispatchable backing sources, sufficient hydroelectric power, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas, using vehicle-to-grid strategies or reducing demand when wind productions is low, can in many cases overcome these problems.  In addition, weather forecasting permits the electricity network to be readied for the predictable variations in production that occur.  As of 2014, Denmark has been generating around 40% of its electricity from wind, and at least 83 other countries around the world are using wind power to supply their electricity grids.  Wind power capacity has expanded to 369,553 MW by December 2014, and total wind energy production is growing rapidly and has reached 4% of worldwide electric usage.” (Wikipedia)

The preceding researched literature on wind power can be backed up by yet another researched report on wind power.


Wind power will blow your carbon footprint away!  In fact, it is a renewable source of energy that emits virtually no greenhouse gases.  Unlike hydroelectricity and nuclear power, it will not seriously harm anyone and will not disturb precious ecosystems.  It is also cheaper, easier to build/install, easier to maintain and safer for workers.  For thousands of years mankind has used the power of wind for sailboats and for centuries, humanity has been greatly aided by the power of windmills for agriculture.  Now, wind will play a vital role in building a sustainable future.  Many critics of this form of alternative energy declare that wind turbines cause a lot of noise which is not true, especially for newer models.  Home owners are currently installing wind turbines on their rooftops and farmers have hundreds of them across their fields.  It is truly a myth to say that they cause too much noise pollution.  In fact, they make much less noise than power plants operating on fossil fuels and surely less noise than the huge machinery operating in the Tar Sands of Alberta.  In the United States, farmers generally get between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars per year in rental income from each turbine installed on their land.  These farmers continue to grow cattle and crops as they always did.  This helps support the costs of agriculture and its electrical needs.  Home owners could not only completely cut down their electricity bill, but they could also tell their surplus electricity to companies through their electrical lines.  Moreover, in a case of a neighbourhood blackout, these homes will continue to have electricity.  Currently, this form of renewable energy accounts for 2.5% of the world’s electricity.  Europe alone accounts for 48% of this.  The countries Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Greece and Austria are its largest producers.  In Texas, a land greatly marked by the oil industry, wind turbines have become part of a multi-billion dollar industry in an effort to fight climate change.  Clearly, the winds of change are sweeping across the globe.  In fact, 83 countries are using this form of energy on a commercial basis.” --- Climate Change Guide

There is so much potential in wind power initiatives in the Philippines.  The fact that it is an archipelago, and therefore a total of more than 7,100 islands and a coastline of 36,289 kilometers, provides the ideal locations for wind farm construction… as opposed to off-shore wind farms which are more expensive to construct and maintain.  The pioneering coastline wind farm in the country could be found in Bangui, Ilocos Norte.  This wind farm project in the northernmost province of the Island of Luzon is testimony that this source of energy has a place in the country’s future… electric power from wind power.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Climate Change Guide, (2015). “Wind Power”.  Retrieved on October 23, 2015 from http://www.climate-change-guide.com/wind-power.html

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


By Anton Antonio
October 22, 2015

Member-countries to the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) have expressed concern over the spread of haze in the ASEAN region.  The haze, emanating from Indonesian forest fires, has now reached the Philippines.  To understand the origin, causes and nature of haze, please read the following researched literature and news report about this atmospheric phenomenon.

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky.  The World Meteorological Organization manual of codes includes a classification of horizontal obscuration into categories of fog, ice fog, steam fog mist, haze, smoke, volcanic ash, dust, sand and snow.  Sources for haze particles include farming (ploughing in dry weather), traffic, industry, and wildfires.  Seen from afar (therefore, approaching airplane) and depending upon the direction of view with respect to the sun, haze may appear brownish or bluish, while mist tends to be bluish-grey.  Whereas haze often is thought of as a phenomenon of dry air, mist formation is a phenomenon of humid air.  However, haze particles may act as condensation nuclei for the subsequent formation of mist droplets; such forms of haze are known as “wet haze.”  The term “haze”, in meteorological literature, generally is used to denote visibility-reducing aerosols of the wet type.  Such aerosols commonly arise from complex chemical reactions that occur as sulphur dioxide gases emitted during combustion are converted into small droplets of sulphuric acid.  The reactions are enhanced in the presence of sunlight, high relative humidity, and stagnant air flow.  A small component of wet haze aerosols appear to be derived from compounds released by trees, such as terpenes.  For all these reasons, wet haze tends to be primarily a warm-season phenomenon.  Large areas of haze covering many thousands of kilometers may be produced under such favourable conditions each summer.  Haze often occurs when dust and smoke particles accumulate in relatively dry air.  When weather conditions block the dispersal of smoke and other pollutants they concentrate and form a usually low-hanging shroud that impairs visibility and may become a respiratory health threat.  Industrial pollutions can result in dense haze, which is known as smog. (Wikipedia)

“INDONESIA HAZE REACHES CITIES IN MINDANAO…  Monsoon winds blowing northeast from Indonesia has brought haze to Davao and other parts of Mindanao.
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Haze has reached the Davao region since Monday morning, October 19.  Ben Rosales of state weather bureau PAGASA in Davao said monsoon winds blowing northeast from Indonesia carries the smog to Davao and other parts of Mindanao.  The haze from Indonesia’s forest fires may have worsened after Typhoon Lando (Koppu) hit the Philippines on Sunday.  The Environmental Management Bureau earlier conducted tests in Visayas and Mindanao to determine the quality of air samples after Cebu and General Santos City reports the occurrence of unusual atmospheric conditions.  It has yet to release its findings.  But local health officials have already issued bulletins for residents to take precautionary actions, especially those with respiratory problems.  Dr. Antonietta Odi, officer in charge at the General Santos City health office, said in a local TV interview that haze carries ozone and other gas particles which “irritates the nose, throat, airways, the skin and the eyes.”  She said people prone to respiratory and pulmonary infections should limit their outdoor activities and stay indoors as much as possible until an advisory is released that the air in the city is already safe for them.  Instead of dissipating, the haze that was first observed in General Santos City has spread to Iligan and other cities in Mindanao.  Dante Arriola, head of the weather bureau in General Santos City, earlier said the haze caused by the forest fire in Indonesia is visible early morning and late afternoon.  He also said it will continue to prevail over the city in the coming weeks, but could disappear by November.  Visibility, however, continues to be affected by the haze that appears to have worsened since it was first reported the first week of October.  Photographer Jaysan Lawa of Maasim in Sarangani said, “A big hot red ball is visible at 4 in the afternoon with light so diffused you can stare at the sun like a red full moon.”  Journalist Bobby Timonera said the haze was first observes Sunday in Iligan City while photojournalist Rene Lumawas began posting photos last week when the thick haze also began blanketing Davao City.  Morning joggers and early market goers in General Santos also noticed an unusually thick morning fog with the naked eye able to stare at the sun in the horizon.  The hazy horizon in General Santos went unnoticed late in September until local television station ABS-CBN reported it in its newscast.  The choking smoke, caused by Indonesian slash-and-burn farming, has been a problem in Southeast Asia for weeks.  The forest fires have affected 10 countries in the ASEAN region, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.  It has also raised alarms in Singapore and Malaysia as smoke delayed flights and raised the pollution levels in these countries.  Last week, Indonesia deployed 32 planes and helicopters to back up 22,000 personnel to fight the fires smothering Southeast Asia – its biggest operation to date.” --- Editha Caduaya and Edwin Espejo, with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Although the haze problem is the primary concern and responsibility of Indonesia, it is now the problem of the entire ASEAN region.  And as a regional problem, it also needs corresponding regional collaborative action.  It is probably time for all ASEAN-member nations to pull together resources to solve this problem.  An example of such action is the Philippines sending foresters, forest fire fighters and volunteers to help quell the forest fires in Indonesia.  Otherwise, if left unchecked, this problem may cause widespread respiratory and pulmonary health issues throughout the entire ASEAN region.  The Philippines’ proximity to and distance from Indonesia (compared to other ASEAN countries) is not a guarantee that we will not be affected by this haze.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Rappler.com, (2015).  “Indonesia Haze Reaches Cities in Mindanao”.  Retrieved on October 22, 2015 from http://www.rappler.com/nation/110051-indonesia-haze-cities-mindanao-philippines?utm_content=buffer8c6af&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nature Knows Best

By Anton Antonio
October 21, 2015

Barry Commoner is one of the most respected minds in environmental science.  He was an American biologist, college professor, politician and a leading ecologist and one of the founders of the modern environmental movement.  Commoner ran for president of the United States in the 1980 U.S. presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket.  As a writer and publisher, he served as editor of Science Illustrated magazine.

One of Barry Commoner’s lasting legacies is his four Laws of Ecology as written in The Closing Circle in 1971.  His four Laws of Ecology are as follows:
  1. Everything is connected to everything else;
  2. Everything must go somewhere;
  3. Nature knows best; and,
  4. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

The recent weather events in the Philippines could be attributed to Barry Commoner’s 3rd Law of Ecology --- Nature knows best.  The El Niño phenomenon was poised to wreak havoc on agricultural productivity, food security and water supply.  However, as if to balance the needs of man from the scourge of a protracted El Niño, Mother Nature gave us Typhoon Lando which delivered a good dose of rainfall and water that filled most dams in Luzon.  This will somehow ease the problems the El Niño phenomenon is anticipated to bring.

The Philippines, being a predominantly Catholic or Christian country, will most likely be divided as to who actually provided Lando… was it Mother Nature or God?  As a Roman Catholic, I will always say it was God.  But an environmental science guru, however, will say that it was Mother Nature.  This contradiction should provide for a lengthy debate that will most likely end in a tie.  But if we gave Barry Commoner the prerogative to break the tie or speak his mind, he will most certainly say: “Nature knows best.”

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lando Versus El Nino

By Anton Antonio
October 20, 2015

“Lando versus El Niño” sounds like a world class boxing match, doesn’t it?  But it really isn’t what you think.  Lando and El Niño are hardly boxers’ names and this is not a sports spectacle.  These are two different weather systems.  El Niño is a regularly-recurring weather phenomenon while Lando is a typhoon with an international name Koppu.

El Niño is an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years, characterized by the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December.  On the other hand, “a typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean between 180 degrees East.  This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world’s annual tropical cyclones.  Within the northwestern Pacific there are no official typhoon seasons as tropical cyclones form throughout the year.  Like any tropical cyclone, there are six main requirements for typhoon formation and development: (1) sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures, (2) atmospheric instability, (3) high humidity I the lower to middle levels of the troposphere, (4) enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center, (5) a pre-existing low level focus or disturbance, and (6) low vertical wind shear.  The majority of storms form between June and November while tropical cyclone formation is at a minimum between December and May.  On average, the northwestern Pacific features the most numerous and intense tropical cyclones globally.  Like other basins, they are steered by the subtropical ridge towards the west or northwest, with some systems recurving near the east of Japan.  The Philippines receive the brunt of the landfalls, with China and Japan being impacted slightly less.  Some of the deadliest typhoons in history have struck China.  Southern China has the longest record of typhoon impacts for the region, with a thousand-year sample via documents within their archives.  Taiwan has received the wettest known typhoons on record for the north Pacific tropical cyclone basin.” (Wikipedia)

From the foregoing discussion it is apparent that these two weather systems are different.  Their diversity, however, can also be complimentary.  Please read the following researched material…


MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Lando (international Codename Koppu) has supplied much needed water to several Luzon dams, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.  In fact, at least 3 dams in Luzon have already opened gates to release water supplied by the weaker but slow-moving typhoon which is still affecting provinces in Northern Luzon and Central Luzon.  The Ambuklao and Binga dams in Benguet each have two gates opened at I meter, PAGASA said in its 10an dams water level update on Monday, October 19.  Meantime, the reservoir water level if Magat Dam has already reached 193.83 meters or 0.83 meters over the 193-meter spilling level.  Seven gates are opened at 20 meters to release water.  National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Alexander Pama said in a press briefing Monday that Government is closely monitoring Angat Dam in Bulacan and Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija.  Referring to dams that have released water, Pama explained: “Ang good news po nito wala naman pong namimiligro… Wala naman pong dapat ikabahala rito at binigay po natin yung mga ulat sa mga dadaanan.”  (The good news here is that there is no risk… There is nothing to worry about, and we relay the news to areas where the released water will spill into.)” --- Rappler.com

From the preceding news report, it is obvious that the anticipated water crisis brought about by an extended El Niño phenomenon that is expected to occur in the last quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year has somehow been solved.  The water crisis should be averted by the large volume of rain that Typhoon Lando brought.  The Filipino, being an avid boxing fan, may be a little bit disappointed but this world-class boxing match may prove to be favourable to us anyway: Lando versus El Niño.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Worried Shitless

By Anton Antonio
October 19, 2015

Social media, compared to mainstream media (television, radio and newspapers), gives netizens an alternative means at spreading what could be considered small-town community concerns.  These news items have no national appeal but are very important to a given locality.  In Tarlac City, there exists a Facebook community popularly known as LTCKK (Laking Tarlac City Ka Kung).  In this community page, Tarlaqueños found a means to socialize, renew friendships, and make new friends… as well as allow them to exchange ideas and opinions on present-day socio-political and economic affairs and concerns.

One such concern is the Tarlac River Dike that was breached some two months ago.  Tarlaqueños posted their collective concern via the LTCKK community page with some even offering possible solutions.  Personally, I posted two articles: (1) “The Tarlac City Dike” on September 2, 2015, link: http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-tarlac-city-dike.html; and, (2) “Please Share This Post” on September 4, 2014, link: http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/09/please-share-this-post.html.  These articles were designed to increase the level of awareness among Tarlac City netizens that the dike, if let unattended, posed a potential problem in the city.  These blog and Facebook posts were supposed to nudge concerned local government officials into positive action.

Yesterday, Typhoon Lando dumped an abnormally large volume of rain on the Sierra Madre and Zambales mountain ranges and the plains between them --- Central Luzon.  Like the province of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac was not spared.  As a result, the Tarlac River system had to again accommodate and convey a larger volume of rainwater.  The breached portion of the Tarlac City dike (some two months ago) which remained unrepaired albeit sandbagged as a “band aid” solution, stood no chance against the raging river.  Today, Tarlaqueños woke up to the grim reality that the breached portion of the dike has expanded and who knows if the dike is just about ready to totally collapse. 

The uncertainly that shrouds the Tarlaqueños stems from the failure of local government authorities to clearly communicate the solutions they are crafting for this particular problem… if indeed they have one.  While they are busy posturing and even prematurely campaigning for next year’s election, their constituents are worried shitless.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Antonio, A. C., (2015). “The Tarlac City Dike”. Retrieved on October 19, 2015 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-tarlac-city-dike.html

Antonio A. C., (2015). “Please Share This Post”. Retrieved on October 19, 2015 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/09/please-share-this-post.html

Photo credit: Ms. Diana Barredo

Sunday, October 18, 2015

El Niño (Part 2)

EL NIÑO (Part 2)
By Anton Antonio
October 19, 2015

El Niño has been a phenomenon that has been with us since time immemorial.  That being so, why should be alarmed by the one that supposed to hit the Philippines in the last quarter of 2015 and is projected to extend up to the first quarter of 2016.  Well… this one is abnormally for a longer period of time and, paired with global warming, it could wreak havoc on Agricultural productivity.  The Philippines, being a predominantly agricultural country, depends largely on agriculture to spur economic development and, more important, food security.  A food security problem may not be the concern of the few rich and upper middle class but will definitely impact severely on the lower middle class and poor sector of Philippine society.  I hasten to add that the latter sector of our society translate to about 70% of the population.

North Cotabato, one of the poor provinces in the country, could be a microcosm of the kind of problem El Niño possible brings.  Please read this researched material…

September 7, 2015

NORTH COTABATO – A retired agriculturist in Barangay Kiwanan in Midsayap town, North Cotabato owns a backyard lot where she plants a variety of vegetables and sells it in the market.  To ensure the quality of vegetables, she uses a technique called mulching.  Mulching is a protective covering, usually using organic matter such as leaves or straws, to prevent water evaporation.  This helps retain the soil moisture especially during summer season.  Rufino de Guzman, one of the backyard caretakers, says it takes three weeks for the soil to dry up.  Mulching protects their plants especially now that El Niño is fast approaching.  In the meantime, other businessmen in North Cotabato have been adding more generator sets amid the rotational brownout in some parts of the province due to still a limited power supply.  They also began using LED lights as power rates also increased.  Rolly Sacdalan, who owns a grocery and department store in Midsayap town, said that if the El Niño phenomenon will be as bad as that took place in 1997, their sales may be affected.  This means they might have to cut certain costs and layoff employees.”

Environmental scientists and environmental science practitioners and experts have been mouthing a dooms day scenarios on the impact an extreme and protracted El Niño occurrence.  Government and the agricultural industry should have an alternative program to mitigate the impact of El Niño.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


abs-cbnnews.com, (2015). “Farmers, Businesses in North Cotabato Brace for El Nino”. Retrieved on October 19, 2015 from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/09/07/15/farmers-businesses-north-cotabato-brace-el-nino

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Urban Container Farming

By Anton Antonio
October 18, 2015

Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements.  As a social movement, it should not only be confined to group or community initiatives alone.  We should realize that shared and similar individual initiatives, taken collectively, translate to a group and/or community initiatives as well. 

Urban dwellers are often discouraged in embark on any form of environmental initiative because of the urban environment they find themselves in.  An urban infrastructure should not prevent city dwellers from environmental initiatives.  Please read the following researched material…

By Carlo P. Mallo
April 10, 2014

Who needs a hectare of land or even a garden to grow vegetable?  Here’s a step-by-step guide to container farming.  The rising global healthy lifestyle movement has driven entrepreneurs to benefit from the growing demand for natural and nutritious produce amid the challenges of shrinking farmland and mass volume food suppliers.  A creative solution to this conundrum is container farming, or the practice of growing plants, particularly vegetables and herbs, in containers instead of directly planting them on the ground.  Waya Uy, owner of Cebu-based container farming business Green Organics, says, “this is suitable for people who like to have their own vegetable gardens but have limited or no space for one, especially in urban areas.”  Vegetables are at their freshest when harvested from container farms, says Uy.  Warmed by the sun, washed by the rain, and without pesticides, they can be eaten on the spot, she says, adding that vegetables grown in containers are tastier and have higher anti-oxidant levels.  This practice however requires the right conditions in the environment and the right disposition by the farmer to thrive.  Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your own container farm.
  1. Determine whether you are fit for container farming by asking yourself the following questions: (a) Do you have the time to tend your plants every day? (b) Can you bear the heat of the sun on your back for several hours a day? (c) Are you particular with measurements? (d) Do you easily manage failure?  If your answer to all of these questions is yes, container farming may be for you.  Hard work and coping with failure are some of the traits that are requires from container farmers.
  2.  Evaluate environmental conditions to know if container farming is viable in your area.  (a) Sunshine – Plants need at least six hours of sun a day.  And they need it direct from the sun, and not just reflected sunlight or any artificial form of light.  (b) Water – Water helps carry nutrients from the soil to the various parts of the plant, so supply them with enough water.  (c) Soil – Good soil is especially critical to plants in containers as they need to get more from so little.  Loamy soil is best as it’s considered the healthiest.  Loam is airy and looser, making it easier for the plant to expand its roots, yet porous enough to hold and store water without drowning the plants.  (d) Compost – Plants vary in the kind of trace minerals and nutrients they need.  The cheapest yet more effective way of keeping your plants healthy is by adding compost to the soil on a regular basis.  The eggshells you often see in gardens are not for aesthetics, but a source of calcium for plants.
  3. Research about the plants you want to grow to learn whether your setup and the environment in your area could sustain them.  Some crops may be sown directly in the container, while others need to be transplanted to the containers after germinating elsewhere.  Your garden materials and implements will also depend on the crops you’re planting and tending.  Basically, any container can be used, but the most popular are PET bottles.  With PET bottles, you can create an efficient draining system for the plant.
  4. Growing herbs and vegetables through container farming allows you to transfer them from one location to another, in search of the right conditions or to give room for expansion.

“The rewards that you reap during harvest make up for all the hard work, sweat, and sunburn that you go through,” says Uy, “but there are times when the plants do not only fail to bear fruit, but also die in the process.”  Here are some common problems in container gardening and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. PROBLEM: Plants wilt even with regular watering.  CAUSE: Insufficient drainage and aeration.  SOLUTION: Use lighter soil mix, increase number of drainage holes, use mix with higher percent of organic matter.
  2. PROBLEM: Leaf edges turn dry and brittle.  CAUSE: High salt content.  SOLUTION: At regular intervals, water the plants so the water will leach away the salt content through the drainage holes.
  3. PROBLEM: “Leggy” plants, spindly and unproductive.  CAUSE: Not enough light, too much nitrogen.  SOLUTION: Relocate plants to area receiving more light;  Apply fertilizer less often and allow water to drain through drainage holes.
  4. PROBLEM: Plants yellowing from bottom; Lack vigor and have poor color.  CAUSE: Too much water; Soil’s not fertile enough.  SOLUTION: Water less frequently and check for good drainage; Use fertilizer with high level of nutrients.
  5. PROBLEM: Leaves with spots or powdery and rusty areas.  CAUSE: Grown at temperature that is too low; Low phosphate level; Plant diseases.  SOLUTION: Move container to a warmer area; Use fertilizer with higher concentration of phosphate; Remove diseased portion of the plant and use fungicide; If the problem is severe, discard entire plant and replace soil.
  6. PROBLEM: Leaves with small holes or of irregular shape.  CAUSE: Insect damage.  SOLUTION: Use insecticide suited to the insect causing the damage.”

Urban farming not only conforms with good waste management practices --- recycling of plastic bottles --- but is also a healthy and economical alternative to commercially produced agricultural products.  Environmentalism, as a social movement, can also be promoted through urban container farming.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


The World's Biggest Plastics Dumpers

By Anton Antonio
October 17, 2015

The most basic pro-environmental initiatives are waste management and tree planting.  Unfortunately, these initiatives are being brushed off as mundane and people even think they are “run-of-the-mill”.  These initiatives, however, are the most doable from the individual and household levels.  But why is waste management seemingly a dismal failure in spite of the many local, national and even international laws, protocols and conventions that are against waste dumping?  Please read the following researched article…


Irresponsible garbage hauling companies and the presence of open dump sites near rivers are two reasons why the Philippines is among the world’s top ocean polluters, according to a new study.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has among the highest trash collection rates in Southeast Asia yet it’s the world’s 3rd biggest source of plastic leaking into the ocean.  A new report on plastic pollution by international group Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment looks into this alarming discrepancy.  The study, released to media on October 1, looked at 5 of the world’s biggest contributors of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.  China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam contribute over half of all plastics that end up in the seas, according to the study.  What so these 5 countries have in common?  They are all benefiting from economic growth, reduced poverty, and improved quality of life.  But this new-found economic power has led to “exploding demand for consumer products that has not yet been met with a commensurate waste-management infrastructure,” reads the report.  The Philippines was ranked the 3rd top source of plastic leaking into oceans in a February 2015 study.  The country generates 2.7 million metric tons of plastic garbage each year, 20% or 521,000 ton of which ends up in the ocean.  Yet the country reported one of the highest garbage collection rates in the region – with a national average of 85% and nearly 90% in some dense urban areas.  So why the discrepancy?  The study found that 74% of the plastics leaking into the ocean from the Philippines come from garbage that has already been collected by haulers and garbage trucks.  This amounts to 386,000 tons of plastic trash.  Only 26% or 135,000 tons of plastics in seas actually comes from garbage that is not collected.  The study attributed the leakage of collected garbage to two factors: illegal dumping by garbage-hauling companies, and open dump sites located near waterways.  Based on interviews with local government officials and environmental groups, the study found that waste leakage in the Philippines often happens while the garbage is transported from the collection site (households, village material recovery facilities) to the dump sites.  Some private garbage hauling companies unload their trucks on their way to disposal sites in order to cut costs.  “Waste is usually dumped at roadside, at informal deposit sites, or directly into waterways in locations where it is convenient to do so,” reads the report.  This saves haulers time and money.  The reduced garbage load can even reduce fuel consumption.  The second major source of leaked garbage after collection is open dump sites which are typically near waterways.  The fact that the Philippines is an archipelagic country and with an elaborate network of rivers does not help matters, says the study.  The study specifically names as an example the open dump site of Dagupan City in Pangasinan which is located right on the coastline.  The decision by local governments to put dump sites near waterways is often due to financial considerations.  “Land adjacent to rivers tends to be cheaper than in other parts of the country, and waste will intermittently be carries away by heavy rains or currents, refreshing the capacity of the dump site to receive more waste,” reads the report.  Open dump sites are illegal in the country under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.  But there are still around 600 of them in the country.  Sanitary landfills, the only type of disposal site allowed by law, number only around 70.  Sanitary landfills are a type of disposal site in which garbage is isolated from the environment, usually by being buried in a large hole lined with thick plastic or a layer of clay.  It also often involves a network of pipes to prevent liquids generated by the garbage from leaking into the ground.  But sanitary landfills are costly to construct, Local governments in the Philippines often lack either political will or the budget to construct such facilities.  “Waste management is technical and very expensive.  We have no land, no money, and a sanitary landfill is hard to run,” Dagupan City mayor Belen Fernandez to Rappler.  The National Solid Waste Management Commission, the agency tasked with overseeing waste management in the country, also lacks funding.  “All we can do is remind all mayors to close open dump sites.  Then if they don’t comply, we tell the Ombudsman,” said the agency’s executive director, Eli Ildefonso.  So how can the Philippines plug these two sources of plastic leaks?  To fix the first problem, illegal dumping by waste haulers, the Philippines should first make the process of procuring garbage hauling services more transparent.  In many cases, contracts are distributed at the sole discretion of local government officials, leaving room for corruption.  A more transparent procurement process “fosters competition between bidders and is based upon clearly laid-out performance criteria.”  Such a system should penalize illegal practices by the haulers through dumping fines or even cancellation of contracts.  The haulers can be monitored carefully through GPS tracking of garbage trucks to ensure the trucks complete their designated route with their full load of waste.  To reduce leaks from open dump sites, the study still recommends full closure or physical sealing of open dump sites near waterways and the establishment of more sanitary landfills.  But given the cost and difficulty posed by these solutions, the study also suggests simpler, faster and cheaper solutions for the short term.  These include creating a perimeter around the dump and its access road to help limit the size of the dump.  The perimeter can be made of old tires, concrete rubble, or even discarded appliances.  Using a bulldozer, excavator, or front-end loader, garbage can also be compacted and periodically covered with soil to form layers that will not easily escape into waterways.  Such equipment, along with one or more dump trucks, basic fencing, and a small guard house or office can be procured for $300,000 to 500,000 (P14 million to 23 million) per dump site, depending on the size of the dump.  Just addressing the two major sources of plastic leaks could reduce the country’s total leakage by 26%.” --- Rappler.com

We are a democracy and governed by laws.  A review of the local laws and ordinances against garbage and waste dumping seems to indicate that the penalties are not severe enough.  Perhaps it’s time to criminalize waste dumping on the pretext that offenses against Mother Nature and the environment will also cause health problems and even death to human beings.  Throw-in a serious implementation of existing laws and legislation (both local and national), people will begin to become more judicious in their actions.  When an offense entails a stiff fine and a jail term, people will be more than willing to abide.  Perhaps the Philippines will, by then, be delisted from the scroll of the world’s biggest plastics dumpers.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/EarthCrusader/)


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sea Level Rise (Part 2)

By Anton Antonio
October 16, 2015

Disciples of environmental science are often branded as doomsday loudmouths whenever they talk about global warming and climate change.  But who can blame these people who put so much effort in studying, researching and analyzing environmental patterns in the last few decades.  Let’s take the “sea level rise” issue for example.  Here is a researched material on this subject matter…


Making extreme carbon cuts and moving to renewable energy could save millions of people living in iconic coastal areas of the United States, according to a new study.

MIAMI, United States – Say goodbye to Miami and New Orleans.  No matter what we do to curb global warming, these and other beloved US cities will sink below rising seas, according to a study Monday, October 12.  But making extreme carbon cuts and moving to renewable energy could save millions of people living in iconic coastal areas of the United States, said the findings in the October 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.  Scientists have already established that if we do nothing to reduce our burning of fossil fuel to the year 2100, the planet will face sea level rise of 14-32 feet (4.3-9.9 meters), said lead author Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central.  The big uncertainty is the issue of when.  “Some of this could happen as early as next century,” Strauss told the Agence France-Presse.  “But it might also take many centuries,” he added.  “Just think of a pile of ice in a warm room.  You know it is going to melt, but it is harder to say how quickly.”  To bring this issue home for people in the United States, the study pinpoints at-risk land where more than 20 million people reside.  The authors projected business-as-usual carbon emissions, in addition to the complication of the melting West Antarctic ice sheet, a process some experts fear is irreversible.  They also considered what might happen if the world were to make a big turnaround, reaching peak carbon emissions by 2020.  This radical scenario would have to occur far earlier than the current aim of some world powers to peak by 2050, said Strauss.  An online tool at http://choices.climatecentral.org allows users to see the impacts on various US cities.  A global version is expected in the next month, Strauss said.  The tool shows which US cities may face “lock-in dates beyond which the cumulative effects of carbon emissions likely commit them to long-term sea level rise that could submerge land under more than half of the city’s population,” said the study.  “Norfolk, Virginia, for example, faces a lock-in date of 2045 under a scenario of unabated carbon emissions.”  For cities like Miami and New Orleans, the limits are already exceeded.  “In our analysis, a lot of cities have futures that depend on our carbon choices but some appear to be already lost,” Strauss said.  “And it is hard to imagine how we could defend Miami in the long run.”  Miami’s low elevation and porous limestone foundation mean that sea walls and levees will not help, he said.  The state of Florida has the most number of big cities at risk from sea level rise, holding 40 percent or more of the US population living on potentially affected land.  After Florida, the nest three most affected states are California, Louisiana and New York.  One beloved American city, New Orleans, home to jazz music and some of the nation’s most beloved cuisine, is already sinking.  “New Orleans is a really sad story,” Strauss said.  “It is a lot worse looking than Miami.”  New York is also in peril, and under a worst-case scenario, the city could be consigned to an un-liveable future by the year 2085, according to the study.  But strong action – the kind that would reduce carbon emissions in the year 2050 to levels that more closely resemble those seen in 1950 – could make a difference.  A total of 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents could avoid locking in this century, including Jacksonville, Florida; Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach in Virginia; and Sacramento and Stockton in California.  “We were really trying to show what the consequences of our carbon choices are going to be,” said Strauss, whose study was co-authored by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and edited by renowned NASA climate scientist and author James Hansen.  According to earth scientist Michael Mann, a well-known author on climate change, the latest findings are a “useful contribution to the literature.”  The study provides a “better quantification of the detriment impacts of the magnitude of sea level rise we may commit to in the decades ahead if we continue with business-as-usual policies of fossil fuel burning,” said Mann, who was not involved in the research.” --- Kerry Sheridan, AFP/Rappler.com

The findings of environmental scientists and experts as reported in the October 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, are not plain doomsday prophecies but backed by scientific studies and extensive historical data.  These, however, do not come as ultra negativism but also with plausible solutions such as reducing fossil fuel emission to pre-industrial revolution levels.

If the most advanced economy (the United States) in the world is worried, one could just imagine what will happen in the Philippines which is a archipelago.  How do we really deal with sea level rise?

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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