Friday, January 29, 2016

Respect


RESPECT
By Anton Antonio
January 30, 2016

This beautiful and moving photo was posted by my friend, Ed Finlan, yesterday on his Facebook page.  (Please see accompanying photo.)  It is a picture of a man with his fist raised (seemingly in protest) as he welcomes the morning sun.  It made me feel somewhat nostalgic as it brought back memories of the early days of our pro-environmental advocacy and activism.

We used to run the streets to do surveys and studies to determine the awareness level of people on environmental issues and concerns… and people looked at us as if we were from a different planet.  We used to talk about the sad state of our environment in social gatherings… and people showed us obvious disconnect, apathy and gave us cold shoulders.  We use to join public forums to defend Mother Earth… and we will be brushed away as if we were dysfunctional.  We used to talk to government officials about alternative initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change… and we were treated in a very condescending manner.  We definitely were not treated well and fairly before.  And this was largely the way pro-environmental advocates and activists all over the world were treated.

Last year, however, when two world leaders --- Pope Francis of the Holy See and President Barack H. Obama of the United States of America --- spoke on the realities of climate change… and the world paused and listened.  And after the Paris Climate Talks last December (2015), people and the world now view and treat pro-environment advocates and activists with a little bit more respect.

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, January 28, 2016

International Tropical Timber Organization


INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER ORGANIZATION
By Anton Antonio
January 29, 2016

One of the underlying messages at the Earth Summit in 1992 was the concept of sustainable development.  The World Bank defines “sustainable development” as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.”  Sustainable development contains two key concepts: (1) the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and, (2) the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.

The concept of “sustainable forest management”, on the other hand, is also anchored on the same sustainable development concept as popularized at the Earth Summit.  Popularizing and promoting sustainable forest management is the primary objective of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).

“The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is an intergovernmental organization that promotes conservation of tropical forest resources and their sustainable management, use and trade.  The organization was established under the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), which was sponsored by the Unites Nations Conference on Trade and Development and was ratified in 1985.  Its mandate was renewed by the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 1994 and again by the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, which aims to promote sustainable management and legal harvesting of forests that produce tropical timber, and to promote expansion and diversification of international trade in timber from these forests.  The governing body is the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC).  Half the votes on the ITTC are assigned to producing countries and half to consumers.  Within each block, votes are assigned based on market share.  The ITTO was at first primarily a commodity organization, regulating the international trade in tropical timber.  The original mandate mentioned conservation but did not give any details.  In 1990 the ITTC proposed that by 2000 all exports of tropical timber would come from sustainably managed sources, and this goal was adopted.  In 1987 the ITTO commissioned the Harvard Institute for International Development to prepare a review of current knowledge of multiple-use management of tropical forests.  Of interest was the potential for non-timber forest products and services that could assist in sustaining the forest.  HIID compiled the study in 1988 and issued updated versions in 1990 and 1992.  The ITTO publishes a quarterly newsletter, Tropical Forest Update (ISSN 1022-5439), available also online.” (Wikipedia)

Although the ITTO is an intergovernmental organization and international in scope, the success of sustainable forest management largely depends on the individual country’s institutions and systems that protect the forest.  Weak systems and institutional structures, however, will most likely result to poor implementation of the goals and objectives of the International Tropical Timber Organization.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2016). “International Tropical Timber Organization”.  Retrieved on January 29, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Tropical_Timber_Organization


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Biosequestration


BIOSEQUESTRATION
By Anton Antonio
January 28, 2016

“I have often been asked this question:  “If you were to recommend just one initiative or solution to the different environmental problems, what will it be?”  After a three-year academic study in environmental science, I’ve come to realize that environmental problems are so diverse and multifarious that conceptualizing a single cure-all solution will practically be like formulating a single pill (a “wonder drug”) that could cure all conceivable medical problems of man.  It’s a tough call but there should be one.  I would always answer, often automatically, “reforestation”.” (Antonio, 2016)  My reason for choosing reforestation is without basis.  Please read the following researched material on biosequestration which only trees and plants can perform…

“Biosequestration is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by biological processes.  This may ne by increased photosynthesis (through practices such as reforestation / preventing deforestation and genetic engineering); by enhanced soil carbon trapping in agriculture; or by the use of algae biosequestration to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions from coal, petroleum (oil) or natural gas-fired electricity generation.  Biosequestration as a natural process has occurred in the past, and was responsible for the formation of the extensive coal and oil deposits which are now being burned.  It is a key policy concept in the climate change mitigation debate.  It does not generally refer to the sequestering of carbon dioxide in oceans or rock formation, depleted oil or gas reservoir, deep saline aquifers, or deep coal seams or through the use of industrial chemical carbon dioxide scrubbing.  After water vapour (concentration of which humans have limited capacity to influence) carbon dioxide is the most abundant and stable greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.  Methane rapidly reacts to form water vapour and carbon dioxide.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased from about 280 ppm in 1750 to 383 ppm in 2007 and is increasing at an average rate of 2 ppm per year.  The world’s oceans have previously played an important role in sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide through solubility and the action of phytoplankton.  This, and the likely adverse consequences for humans and the biosphere of associated global warming, increases the significance of investigating policy mechanisms for encouraging biosequestration.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20 percent of the overall greenhouse entering the atmosphere.  There are four primary ways in which reforestation and reducing deforestation can increase biosequestration.  FIRST, by increasing the volume of existing forest. SECOND, by increasing the carbon density of existing forest at a stand and landscape scale. THIRD, by expanding the use of forest products that will sustainably replace fossil-fuel emissions. FOURTH, by reducing carbon emissions that are caused from deforestation and degradation.  Land clearing reduction, the majority of the time, create biodiversity benefits in a vast expanse of land regions.  Concerns, however, arise when the density and area of vegetation increases the grazing pressure could also increase in other areas, causing land degradation.”  (Wikipedia)

Biosequestration is a unique process that captures and stores carbons.  “Unique” because the process goes beyond not only converting carbon dioxide into oxygen but permanently capturing carbon as well.  This is the most environmentally helpful function of biosequestration.

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/)

REFERENCES:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Biosequestration”.  Retrieved on January 24, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosequestration

Antonio, A. C., (2016). “Reforestation”.  Retrieved on January 28, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2016/01/reforestation.html


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I.U.C.N. Red List of Threatened Species


I.U.C.N. RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES
By Anton Antonio
January 27, 2016

There are certain species of plants and animals that are endemic (meaning: native or restricted to a certain country or area) to a specific area.  This makes awareness on these animals and plants practically nil in other parts of the world.  The extinction, therefore, of these flora and fauna species may not be noticed at all.  Based on this condition, a general list of animal and plant species, which are considered threatened by extinction, must be made.  Towards this end, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) took the challenge in coming up with such a list. 

The following is a researched material on this matter…  “The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.  The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species.  A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.  The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.  These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world.  The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction.  According to IUCN (1969), the formally stated goals of the Red List are (1) to provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level, (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity, (3) to influence national and international policy and decision-making, and (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.  Major species assessors include BirdLife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC).  Collectively, assessments by these organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.  The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluates every five years if possible, or at least every ten years.  This is done in a peer reviewed manner through IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, which are Red List Authorities responsible for a species, group of species or specific geographical area, or in the case of BirdLIfe International, an entire class (Aves).”  (Wikipedia)

In spite of the IUCN accounting of the threatened and endangered species, possible extinction of species still persist.  Coming up with the Red List, therefore, is not the final solution to the problem.  Success has to do with enforcement from the local level.  If not, the listing will not work and it will just be a worthless exercise.  Let’s support this initiative… the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2015).  “IUCN Red List”.  Retrieved on January 27, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IUCN_Red_List


Monday, January 25, 2016

Thank You


THANK YOU
By Anton Antonio
January 26, 2016

After publishing my 666th blog yesterday, I came across some revealing and interesting statistics.  Out of 23,490 readers, 33% are from the Philippines, 25% come from the United States, 6% come from Russia, and 36% from other parts of the world.  The readers from these three countries (the Philippines, the United States and Russia) represent a significant portion of my blog readers --- at 64%.

It is not surprising that Filipinos turned out to be the majority of the readers since most of the articles refer to the Philippine socio-political and environmental setting and the human interest stories are mostly about Filipinos as well.  The one-fourth share of the United States in the total blog readership is also not surprising since (1) the blog is in the English language and (2) it is influenced by the fact that there is a substantial number of Filipinos living in the U.S. and most are even U.S. citizens or permanent residents there.  Quite surprising is the number of readers from Russia.  The Russians do not share a lot of commonalities with Filipinos… history, creed, religion, culture and tradition.  And the Philippines was never colonized by Russia neither.

The top three most-read blogs are: (1) “Achievements of the Earth Summit” – published on April 13, 2014; (2) “ Types of Environmental Resources” – published on January 19, 2015; and, (3) “Laws of Tolerance and Limiting Factor” – published on February 1, 2015.

To all my dear readers, especially my fellow Filipinos, Americans and Russians, who took interest in and continuously read my blogs, please allow me to appreciate your patronage by saying THANK YOU!

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/)


Sunday, January 24, 2016

666


666
By Anton Antonio
January 25, 2016

Today, I am publishing my 666th article in my blogsite, http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/.  The number 666 is quite a controversial one as the following researched information would reveal…

In mathematics, 666 (six hundred sixty six) is the natural number following 665 and preceeding 667.  In religion, folklore and popular culture, 666 is called the “number of the beast” in Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. 

In the Textus Receptus manuscripts of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation (13:17-18) cryptically asserts 666 to be “man’s number” or “the number of man” associated with the beast, an antagonistic creature that appears briefly about two-thirds into the apocalyptic vision.  In modern popular culture, 666 has become one of the most widely recognized symbols for the Antichrist or, alternatively, the devil.  The number 666 is purportedly used to invoke Satan.  References to the number occur both among apocalypticist Christian groups and in explicitly anti-Christian subcultures.  References in contemporary Western art or literature are, more likely than not, international references to the Beast symbolism.  It is common to see the symbolic role of the integer 666 transferred to the digit sequence 6-6-6.  Some people take the Satanic associations of 666 so seriously that they avoid things related to 666 or the digits 6-6-6.

Here are more references to the integer 666:
  1. In the Bible, 666 is the number of talents of gold Solomon collected each year;
  2. In the Bible, 666 is the number of Adonikam’s decendants who returned to Jerusalem and Judah from the Babylonian exile;
  3. In the Bible, there may be a latent reference to 666 in the name of the great 6th century BC king of Babylon and Neron Caesar;
  4. In Kabbalistic Judaism, 666 is the number which represents the creation and perfection of the world;
  5. 666 is the magic sum, or sum of the magic constants of a six by six magic square, any rows or column of which adds up to 111;
  6. 666 is the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel (0 through 36);
  7. 666 was the winning lottery number in the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal, in which the draw machine was tampered to favor a 4 or 6 as each of the three individual random digits;
  8. 666 was the original name of the Mcintosh Seven Dust computer that was discovered in 1998;
  9. 666 is a frequently visual element of Aryan Brotherhood tattoos;
  10. Aleister Crowley adopted the namesake “the Great Beast 666”.  As such, 666 was also associates with him, his work, and his religious philosophy of Thelema:
  11. The most common carbon isotope (Carbon-12), is the basis of all known life on earth, consists of 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons; and,
  12. In China, the number is considered to be lucky and is often displayed in shop windows and neon signs which can mean “everything goes smoothly.”

666 may stand, represent, mean and signify a wide variety of facts or fiction; but to me (in this particular blog/article) stands for nothing more but antonantonio@blogspot.com Article No. 666.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “666”.  Retrieved on January 25, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/666_(number)


Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Philippine Clean Air Act


THE PHILIPPINE CLEAN AIR ACT
By Anton Antonio
January 24, 2016

News articles must always carry complete information about their particular subject matter.  If it is about energy initiatives, the news article should clearly reflect the technology being used and the advantages and disadvantages too.  Let’s take the following news article as an example.  With a renewed awareness on environmental issues, people are more interested to know whether the new energy initiative is acceptable and environmentally sound.  Please read…

“ECIJA TURNING INTO CAPITAL OF “GREEN” ENERGY IN PH
By: Anselmo Roque
January 21, 2016

SAN JOSE CITY – Businessmen in Nueva Ecija are investing billions of pesos in renewable energy plants to make the province the center of an industry that produces electricity with minimal impact on the environment.  The frenzy to put up green energy plants was started by the San Jose City “i” Power Corp. (SJC-iPower).  The company partnered with the Union Energy Corp., owned by businessman Lucio Co, to set up a P1.2-billion rice hull-powered system that is now generating 12 megawatts of electricity, 10.8 MW of which feed the Luzon grid.  The SJC-iPower is building another rice hull facility in Barangay Tulat here.  The firm buys about 300 tons of rice husk per day at P1 a kilogram.  Joselito Blanco, chief operating officer of the V-Mars SolarEnergy Corp., said a power plant to be fuelled by bana grass will be built in Lupao, Nueva Ecija, about 15 km north of here.  Bana grass, said Blanco, is similar to sugarcane.  In nearby Talavera town, the power plant of Green Innovation for Tomorrow (Gift) is schedules to operate in two to three months.  The plant in Barangay Bakal II will produce 10.8 MW of electricity for the Luzon grid.  Pantabangan town hosts a hydroelectric plant which was completed in 1977, and the Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plant.  The plants’ combined output is 132.5 MW.  In Rizal town, a mini-hydroelectric plant that can generate 10 MW of electricity is nearing completion.” (Inquirer)

The use of the terms “renewable energy plants” and “green energy plants” in this news item is quite deceiving. “Renewable” and “green” energy, in this particular case, are environmental initiatives that use furnaces in the energy production process. The burning of rice hull and bana grass will certainly produce pollution in the atmosphere.  The reference to hydroelectric power , at the end of the article, seems to dilute the original subject which is green and renewable plants being established in Nueva Ecija.  Besides, establishing a bana grass plantation in Talavera will only put more pressure on food security. 

News reports are primarily intended to educate and inform the public… therefore; (a) What is this technology all about? (b) What is the production process? (c) What are the inputs necessary? (d) What are the socio-economic benefits? (e) Is this initiative sustainable? (f) What are the environmental impacts of this initiative?... and a bunch of other relevant questions.  Another question that this news item failed to answer is: Are these Nueva Ecija energy initiatives violative of Republic Act No. 8749, otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act?

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/)

REFERENCES:

Inquirer.net, (2016).  “Ecija Turning into Capital of Green Energy in PH”.  Retrieved on January 24, 2016 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/757321/ecija-turning-into-capital-of-green-energy-in-ph


Friday, January 22, 2016

Water Convention


WATER CONVENTION
By Anton Antonio
January 23, 2016

Inland water bodies such as lakes have traditionally been hard to manage especially when two or more countries border these water bodies.  To harmonize and unify initiatives and proper management of these water bodies, the Water Convention was conceptualized.

Here is a researched material on the Water Convention… “The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary and International Lakes, also known as the Water Convention, is an international environmental agreement and one of the UNECE’s negotiated environmental treaties.  The purpose of this Convention is to improve national attempts and measures for protection and management of transboundary surface waters and ground waters.  On the international level, Parties are obliged to cooperate and create joint bodies.  The Convention includes provisions on: monitoring, research, consultations, warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance and access as well as exchange of information.  It was opened for signature in Helsinki on 17 March 1992 and entered into force on 6 October 1996.  As of July 2015, it had been ratified by 41 parties, which includes 40 states and the European Union.  It has been signed but not ratified by the United Kingdom.  Some of the UNECE’s water related problems are of water quantity and water quality, high water stress and overexploitation of water resources, increasing droughts and floods, contaminated water resulting in water-related diseases, etc.  These issues are even harder to solve due to transboundary nature of water sources in UNECE region.  More than 150 major rivers and 50 large lakes are either shared or are situated along the borders of two or more countries.  The Water Convention approaches its issues in a holistic way, equally emphasizing the importance of ecosystems, human societies and economies, and stressing integrated water management instead of the previously used focus on specific localized problems.  In 2003, the Water Convention was amended, allowing countries outside the UNECE region to join the Convention, and thus benefit from its legal framework and experience; the amendment entered into force in 2013.  This is especially beneficial for countries bordering UNECE regions.”  (Wikipedia)

There are many international environmental accords that have been beneficial to most nations all over the world.  One such initiative is the Water Convention.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watersources and International Lakes”.  Retrieved on January 23, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Protection_and_Use_of_Transboundary_Watercourses_and_International_Lakes


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Deteriorating Moral Values


OUR DETERIORATING MORAL VALUES
by Anton Antonio
January 22, 2016

Is there a direct relationship between environmental degradation and our deteriorating moral values?  If not, what then is causing environmental degradation?  If yes, which among our set of moral values that directly or indirectly contributes to environmental degradation?

Moral values are directly related to ethical standards.  Ethics is a set of moral principles that govern a person’s or a group’s behaviour.  Ethical standards are principles, that when followed, promote values such as trust, good behaviour, fairness, and/or kindness.  There is not one set of standards that the citizens of a particular country follow; although each country/race is bestowed with the right to develop ethical standards that could have positive meaning to their society.  Ethical standards, however, may not always be easily enforceable as they are frequently vaguely defined and open to individual interpretation.  Besides, ethical standards are the result of continuous practices (traditional or new) that become part of a developed culture.  In fact, some moral standards apply well to some races/societies but have negative impacts to others.  On the other hand, moral values are moral, ethical, righteous, noble mean that conform to a standard of what is right and good.  Moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong.

A lot of socio-environmental scientists closely relate moral values to the actual state of the environment.  They have also indentified the causes of environmental degradation to concepts that are social or societal in nature.  These are:  GREED – Described as the inordinate desire to possess wealth and material possessions of abstract value with the intention to sustain oneself far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort.  There are also those who have a high degree of desire for status and power which leads them to be greedy.  The Philippine political system does a lot in contributing to and encouraging people to embrace greed as a way of life;  APATHY – Defined as the lack or absence of feeling, emotion, interest or concern from people.  An apathetic person has an absence of interest in or concern about the emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and physical life of people around him… and also the physical elements (the world in general and the environment in particular).  Most people prefer not to get involved and stay away from contemptuous issues such as the environment simply because it is more convenient; and, LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS – Ignorance and naivete are two of the most destructive characters of man and, because of this, it becomes hard for him to understand negative environmental implications.  It is openly said that sometimes people don’t realize the wrongs they do and cause simply because they do not know or (at the very least) aware that they are doing wrong.

Greed, apathy and the lack of knowledge and awareness can only result to intellectual and real poverty.  Poverty is a condition where people’s needs for food, clothing and shelter are not being met.  There are generally two types of poverty:  (1) Absolute poverty is synonymous with destitution and occurs when people cannot have adequate resources to support a minimum level of physical health; and, (2) Relative poverty which occurs when people do not enjoy a certain minimum level of living standards as determined by a government.  Relative poverty, however, varies from country to country but is said to be increasing and could never be eradicated.

Social scientists often use the state of a country’s environment as a yardstick to measure the level of their moral values.  The Philippines, hardly a developing country and one of the first to be affected by climate change-related disasters, has given less attention and concern to its environment and has abused and exploited its natural resources.  Philippine urban centers are good models on how to pollute land, air and water and mismanage the ecosystem.  Is this also a sign of our deteriorating moral values?

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/)

REFERENCE:

Antonio, A. C., (2014). “Intangible Causes of Deforestation”.  Retrieved on January 22, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/04/intangible-causes-of-deforestation.html




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification


U.N. CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION
By Anton Antonio
January 21, 2016

Desertification may not be a concern for tropical countries like the Philippines.  But droughts (on account of protracted El NiƱo phenomena), land use conversion and inappropriate agriculture practices, which are common in our country, can also lead to desertification.  Desertification, therefore, should also be a serious concern.

“The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, UNCCD is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.  The Convention, the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21, was adopted in Paris, France on 17 June 1994 and entered into force in December 1996.  It is the only internationally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.  The Convention is based on the principles of participation, partnership and decentralization – the backbone of Good Governance and Sustainable Development.  It has 196 parties, making it truly global in reach.  In 27 March 2013, Canada became the first country to announce its intention to withdraw from the convention.  To help publicize the Convention, 2006 was declared “International Year of Deserts and Desertification” but debates have ensued regarding how effective the International Year was in practice.  The UNCCD has been ratified by 195 states plus the European Union.  All member states of the UN are parties to the Convention.  The convention does not apply to Aruba, Caribbean Netherlands, Curacao and Saint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands), or to Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, or Jersey (United Kingdom).  The only non-UN member states that have ratified the convention are the Cook Islands and Niue.  The Holy See and and the states with limited recognition are non-parties.” (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, desertification (meaning: the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2015).  “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification”.  Retrieved on January 21, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_to_Combat_Desertification


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Mindanao Power Problem


THE MINDANAO POWER PROBLEM
By Anton Antonio
January 20, 2016

“The power problem in that island (Mindanao) needs to be solved… and solved ASAP.”  (Antonio, 2016)  In a recent blog, titled “Decision Making”, I highlighted the fact that the power crisis in Mindanao cannot be treated as an environmental problem alone.  “There really are certain dynamics (political, social, cultural, economic and environmental) in Mindanao that we, who live in Luzon, do not know nor understand.” (Antonio, 2016)  Please read the following researched material…

“NGCP: MINDANAO GRID TO COLLAPSE IF BOMBING CONTINUES
By Ace June Rell S. Perez
January 8, 2016

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said Wednesday that there is a possibility for the Mindanao grid to collapse if bombing incidents continue.  With this situation, NGCP is now taking extra security measures to protect the safety of the towers and lines in order for the transmission services to remain uninterrupted.  “We need to extra guard those towers and lines that are uninterrupted because we cannot afford to lose another one, especially we only have one line remaining to deliver power from the Agus Hydro Complex which is the Maramag-Bunawan 138-kV line and if this is in any way compromised, no power will flow from the remaining Agus hydro facilities to south of Mindanao where the bulk of power demand is located,” NGCP corporate communications officer for Mindanao, Milfrance Q. Capulong, said.  As of December 28, a total of 16 towers were already bombed, nine of which were totally toppled and now restored by Emergency Restoration Structure (ERS).  NGCP data showed the three other lines connected to Agus Hydro Complex are Agus 2 – Agus 1 – Kibawe 138 kV lines, both are now out of service because of right-of-way (ROW) issues while the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 kV line in Ramain, Lanao del Sur is currently out of service because Tower NO. 25 was bombed last December 24.  Adding more weight to the problem for NGCP is the uncooperative landowners hindering them in restoring the bombed Tower No. 25.  “We are still trying to look at other ways on how to access the Tower No. 25 because landowners are not cooperative claiming that the government failed to pay their claims long ago,” she said, adding that power stakeholders and the NGCP partners including National Power Corporation (Napocor), Department of Energy, Mindanao Development Authority, Transco, and the local government unit of Lanao del Sur will meet to discuss the matter.  In a press statement released Wednesday, NGCP appealed to local community leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions.  NGCP is continuously coordinating with the military, LGU and even the residents to build an intelligence network to secure the safety of the NGCP’s facilities vital to continue transmission services.  The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) already committed to NGCP in stepping up security to protect the power transmission facilities.  “It is only in 2015 where we experienced these bombing incidents.  Since we started, the operations in the transmission of power last 2009, we haven’t experienced this only now, and only us here in Mindanao,” Capulong said.  She added that motives were not yet determined behind the bombing incidents.  Meanwhile, NGCP placed Mindanao power grid back on a yellow alert since contingency reserve is less than the highest power unit online after it announced Wednesday that the island is on a red alert or zero reserve power.  “The power situation is very precarious here in Mindanao, reserve is highly needed and usually the ideal reserve must be equal to the highest power plant online,” she said.  As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, January 7, the power situation outlook of NGCP showed that Mindanao has a total of 98 megawatts power reserve.” (Sun Star Davao)

In the month of January (2016) alone, two transmission towers have already been bombed… the latest of which was Tower No. 23.  This makes one feel that no matter how much the government does in terms of providing renewable or non-renewable energy resources-powered electricity facilities, in partnership with the private sector, nothing could provide any form of power and energy relief to the people of Mindanao.  A dozen more solar, wind and/or coal plants could solve the energy crisis if the transmission lines are not secure and are bombed and destroyed regularly.  The people of Mindanao should begin to realize that they also need to stand against this problem and not just leave this concern to government security forces.  Political and security reasons, over socio-economic and environmental reasons, are the real causes of the Mindanao power problem.

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/)

REFERENCES:

Antonio, A.C. (2016). “Decision Making”. Retrieved on January 20, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2016/01/decision-making.html

Sunstar.com.ph, (2016).  “NGCP Mindanao Grid to Collapse if Bombing Continues”. Retrieved on January 20, 2016 from http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/business/2016/01/08/ngcp-mindanao-grid-collapse-if-bombing-continues-450559


Monday, January 18, 2016

The Waste Hierarchy


THE WASTE HIERARCHY
By Anton Antonio
January 19, 2016

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are three great and doable ways that can eliminate all forms of waste and protect our environment… or, at least, minimize solid waste.  Waste, and whatever way we choose to manage it, affects our country’s and the world’s environment… it is not “us” per se, but “all of us”.  And the environment is everything around us including air, water, land, flora and fauna, and even man-made things.  If left unchecked, waste and garbage can and will eventually overrun our planet.

Unthinkable amounts of waste and garbage, from a consumption-driven and overpopulated society ushered in the concept of systematic waste management.  To promote such movement, the phrase “reduce, reuse and recycle” was introduced.  This phrase or slogan is a constant reminder to us (consumers) to take definitive actions to minimize the impact of the waste we create.  The 3R’s is also called “the waste hierarchy”.  Reducing waste as much as possible for today, reusing waste whenever possible for today and recycling waste into useable goods for tomorrow are the prime considerations in this concept.

Here is a researched material on the 3R’s…

“Reduce, reuse and recycle (R3) are the three essential components of environmentally-responsible consumer behaviour.  R3 is sometimes called the waste hierarchy.  Here’s how that hierarchy might apply to computers:

·         The concept behind the first R, reduce, is that you should limit the number of purchases that you make in the first place.  So, for example, you might limit your household to a single computer.
·         The concept behind the second R, reuse, is that you should reuse items as much as possible before replacing them.  For example, it generally makes more environmental sense to update your computer rather than get rid of it and buy a new one.  However, if you do replace your computer, you should ensure that it, or its components, are reused.  Many charitable organizations welcome donations of second-hand computers.
·         The concept behind the third R, recycle, is that you should ensure that items or their components are put to some new purpose as much as possible.  If your computer is not fit for reuse as is, you can donate it to one of several organizations, such as StRUT (Students Recycling Used Technology), which will refurbish it or recycle its components.” (TechTarget.com)

There is a lot of environmental sense in reducing, reusing and recycling… the waste hierarchy.

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/)

REFERENCE:

WhatIs.TechTarget.com, (2016).  “Reduce Reuse Recycle”.  Retrieved on January 19, 2016 from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Reduce-reuse-recycle-R3


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reforestation


REFORESTATION
By Anton Antonio
January 18, 2016

I have often been asked this question:  “If you were to recommend just one initiative or solution to the different environmental problems, what will it be?”  After a three-year academic study in environmental science, I’ve come to realize that environmental problems are so diverse and multifarious that conceptualizing a single cure-all solution will practically be like formulating a single pill (a “wonder drug”) that could cure all conceivable medical problems of man.  It’s a tough call but there should be one.  I would always answer, often automatically, “reforestation”.

Here is a researched material that supports reforestation as the generic solution to most environmental problems.  “Reforestation is the natural and intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation.  Reforestation can be used to improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the sir, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forest facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber.  The term reforestation is similar to afforestation, the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests that may have existed long ago but were deforested or otherwise removed at some point in the past.  Sometimes the term re-afforestation is used to distinguish between the original forest cover and the later re-growth of forest to an area.  Special tools, e.g. tree planting bar, are used to make planting of trees easier and faster.  Forests are an important part of the global carbon cycle because trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.  By removing the greenhouse gas from the sir, forests function as terrestrial carbon sinks, meaning they store large amounts of carbon.  At any time, forests account for as much as double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.  Even as more anthropogenic carbon is produces, forests remove around three billion tons of anthropogenic carbon every year.  This amounts to about 30% of all carbon emissions from fossil fuels.  Therefore, an increase in the overall forest cover around the world would tend to mitigate global warming.  There are four major strategies available to mitigate carbon emissions through forestry activities: (1) increase the amount of forested land through a reforestation process; (2) increase the carbon density of existing forests at a stand and landscape scale; (3) expand the use of forest products that will sustainably replace fossil-fuel emissions; and (4) reduce carbon emissions that are caused from deforestation and degradation.” (Wikipedia)

A honest-to-goodness reforestation program, however, will never work as long as the illegal harvesting of timber and other forest resources remains unchecked.  At present, there are sufficient laws that protect forests… it is, however, in the aspect of enforcement that epic failures happen.  The continued illegal harvesting of forest resources will render useless any effort at reforestation.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Reforestation”.  Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reforestation


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Vienna Convention


VIENNA CONVENTION
By Anton Antonio
January 17, 2016

The ozone layer or ozone shield refers to a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  It contains high concentrations of ozone (O3) relative to other parts of the atmosphere, although still very small relative to the other gases in the stratosphere.

“The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a Multilateral Environmental Agreement.  It was agreed upon at the Vienna Conference of 1985 and entered into force in 1988.  In terms of universality, it is one of the most successful treaties of all time, having been ratified by 197 states (all United Nations members as well as the Holy See, Niue and the Cook Islands) as well as the European Union.  It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer.  However, it does not include legally binding reduction goals for use of CFCs, the main chemical agents causing ozone depletion.  These are laid out in the Montreal Protocol.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, the protection of the ozone layer --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Vienna Convention.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2015).  “Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer”.  Retrieved on January 17, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_for_the_Protection_of_the_Ozone_Layer


Friday, January 15, 2016

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


HOW TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
By Anton Antonio
January 16, 2016

Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular individual or a particular group of people.  A “carbon footprint” is defines as: “The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and/or indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).  A carbon footprint is historically defines as “the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or individual”.  The total carbon footprint, however, cannot be accurately calculated because of the very large amount of information and date required and the fact that carbon dioxide can also be produced by natural occurrences.  Having stated this, --- if accurately calculating carbon footprint --- the best way, therefore, to manage our carbon footprint is to concentrate on initiatives to reduce it.  But how exactly can this be done?

Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), or greenhouse gasses, we release into the atmosphere or the environment (in general) through our daily activities.  Natural gas, electricity and transportation are some of the generic things that primarily contribute to our carbon footprint.  By making conscious changes in our lifestyle, we can make a big difference.  Here are some examples:
  1. Alternative to using motor vehicles.  Whenever possible, walk or ride the bicycle in order to avoid carbon emissions completely.
  2. Get a low carbon vehicle.
  3. Improve our driving style and behaviour.
  4.  Avoid traffic.
  5. Diligently maintain our vehicles… even simple maintenance practices like regularly checking tire pressure, etc.
  6. Purchase energy-efficient home appliances.
  7. Turn off lights, appliances and other electronic gadgets when they are not in use.
  8. Configure your gadgets (computers, smart phones, etc.) to power saving mode.
  9. Line-dry laundry than using electric dyers.
  10. Participate in carpools.
  11.  Minimize use of air conditioners and maximize use of electric fans.
  12. Use less paper at the workplace.
  13. Prefer the laptop over the desktop computer which consumes less electricity.
  14. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg… I am very sure there are more ideas out there on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

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, January 14, 2016

Decision Making


DECISION MAKING
By Anton Antonio
January 15, 2016

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed some doubt over the use of renewable energy.  “Magtatayo ka ng wind; paano kung walang hangin?  Kung solar, paano kung makulimlim?  Lilinawin ko lang po: Naniniwala rin ako sa renewable energy at suportado natin ito, pero dapat ding may mga baseload plant na sisigurong tuloy-tuloy and daloy ng kuryente sa ating mga tahanan at industriya.” (Aquino, 2013)  Later that year (November), Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan), a Category 5 typhoon, brought 315 kph winds and storm surge in the Central Visayas that killed over 6 thousand people.  This was the game-changer that perhaps changed the mind of the president.  So in the COP21/Paris Climate Talks in December 2015, President Aquino committed to reduce Philippine carbon emissions by 70%.  However, a month after the Paris Climate Talks, the president inaugurated a coal-fired plant in Davao.  All these events seem to point to and characterize incoherence and/or a mind swinging like a pendulum.

Some environmental advocates and activists cannot seem to square up to the choice of the President in making coal-fired power plants as the central piece of his administration’s energy initiatives with renewable energy playing supportive and peripheral roles.  While I agree that renewable energy forms have uncertainties, they still do not have the certainty of negative impacts to the environment like fossil fuels which has already been proven to be one of the primary contributors to climate change.  But thinking deeper… although environmental issues are fairly different from socio-economic issues, they also have a unique and dynamic interplay and interrelationship… especially in the case of Mindanao.  I am also of the opinion that the power crisis in Mindanao cannot be addressed with long-term sustainable/renewable energy solutions alone but with “quick fix” alternatives (such as fossil fuels like coal) as well.  The power problem in that island needs to be solved… and solved ASAP.

I am willing to give the President the chance to make this formula work --- “coal first, then wind and solar to follow”.  There really are certain dynamics (political, social, cultural, economic and environmental) in Mindanao that we, who live in Luzon, do not know nor understand.  Not like us, the President has socio-economic and environmental intellectuals and technocrats who advise him on complex matters like Mindanao.  Let us support him by not questioning his energy initiatives in Mindanao for now… although we must remain vigilant with future energy projects and continuing programs there.  We have the luxury to criticize without the responsibility of making decisions or even propose alternatives.  This is the hard part of leadership… decision making.

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/)

REFERENCES:

www.gov.ph, (2013). “Benigno S. Aquino III Fourth State of the Nation Address July 22, 2013”.  Retrieved on January 14, 2016 from http://www.gov.ph/2013/07/22/benigno-s-aquino-iii-fourth-state-of-the-nation-address-july-22-2013/

Youtube, (2016). “SONA 2013”.  Retrieved on January 15, 2016 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shto-6KCBqw[/youtube


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ramsar Convention


RAMSAR CONVENTION
By Anton Antonio
January 14, 2016

Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season.

“The Ramsar Convention (formally, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.  It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran where the Convention was signed in 1971.  The convention was developed and adopted by participating nations at a meeting in Ramsar, Mazandaran, Iran, on February 2, 1971, hosted by the Iranian Department of Environment, and came into force on December 21, 1975.  The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance now includes 2,208 Sites (known as Ramsar Sites) covering over 210,734,269.41 hectares.  The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom at 170 and the country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia, with over 140,000 square kilometers.  The Ramsar definition of wetlands is fairly wide, including “areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters” as well as fish ponds, rice paddies and salt pans.  Presently there are 169 contracting parties, up from 21 initial signatory nations in 1971.  The state parties meet every three years as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the first held in Cagliari, Italy in 1980.  Amendments to the original convention have been agreed to in Paris (in 1982) and Regina (in 1987).  There is a standing committee, a scientific review panel, and a secretariat.  The headquarters is located in Gland, Switzerland, shared with the IUCN.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Ramsar Convention.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2015).  “Ramsar”.  Retrieved on January 14, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsar_Convention



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Montreal Protocol


MONTREAL PROTOCOL
By Anton Antonio
January 13, 2016

“The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designated to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.  It was agreed on 16 September 1987, and entered into force on 1 January 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989.  Since then, it has undergone eight revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2007 (Montreal).  As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antactica is slowly recovering.  Climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2015 and 2070.  Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as a example of exceptional international co-operation, with Kofi Annan quoted as saying that “perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol”.  In comparison, effective burden sharing and solution proposals mitigating regional conflicts of interest have been among the success factors for the Ozone depletion challenge, where global regulation based on the Kyoto Protocol has failed to do so.  In case of ozone depletion challenge, there was global regulation already being installed before a scientific consensus was established.  As well in comparison, lay people and public opinion were more convinced about possible imminent risks.  The two ozone treaties have been ratified by 197 parties, which includes 196 states and the European Union, making them the first universally ratified treaties in the United Nations’ history.”  (Wikipedia)

There are several international agreements --- that are aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change… and, in this case, a protocol on substances that cause the depletion of the ozone layer --- have already been passed and agreed upon by a majority of participating countries.  The next set of blogs/articles will be devoted to these international accords to increase the level of awareness on their history, aims and objectives.  One such international accord is the Montreal Protocol.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Montreal Protocol”.  Retrieved on January 13, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol




Monday, January 11, 2016

International Union for Conservation of Nature


INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE
By Anton Antonio
January 12, 2016

“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.  It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.  IUCN’s mission is to “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”  Over the past decades, IUCN had widened focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to gender equity, poverty alleviation and sustainable business in its projects.  Unlike other international NGOs, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation.  It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information an advice, and through lobbying and partnerships.  The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.  IUCN has a membership of over 1,200 governmental and non-governmental organizations.  Some 11,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis.  It employs approximately 1,000 full-time staff in more than 60 countries.  Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.  IUCN has observed and consultative status at the United Nations, and plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity.  It was involved in establishing the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Monitoring Center.  In the past, IUCN has been criticized for placing the interests of nature over those of indigenous peoples.  In recent years, its closer relations with the business sector have caused controversy.  IUCN was established in 1948.  It was previously called the International Union for Protection of Nature (1948 – 1956) and World Conservation Union (1990 – 2008).  Its full legal name is International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.”  (Wikipedia)

Nature protection and conservation is quite a daunting task especially so when the socio-economic aspects of this particular initiative are not considered.  We have to realize that environmental programs must be holistic since there is a dynamic interplay between living creatures and nature in general… plus the survival needs of man.  This should seriously be considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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/)

REFERENCE:

Wikipedia, (2015).  “International Union for Conservation of Nature”.  Retrieved on January 12, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Union_for_Conservation_of_Nature


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gothenburg Protocol


GOTHENBURG PROTOCOL
By Anton Antonio
January 11, 2016

“The 1999 Gothenburg Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (known as the Multi-effect Protocol or the Gothenburg Protocol) is a multi-pollutant protocol designated to reduce acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone by setting emissions ceilings for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and ammonia to be met by 2010.  As of August 2014, the Protocol had been ratified by 26 parties, which includes 25 states and the European Union.  The Protocol is part of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.  The Convention is an international agreement to protect human health and the natural environment from air pollution by control and reduction of air pollution, including long-range transboundary air pollution.  The geographic scope of the Protocol includes Europe, North America and countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA).  On May 4, 2012, at a meeting at the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Parties to the Gothenburg Protocol agreed on a substantial number of revisions, most important are the inclusion of commitments of the Parties to further reduce their emissions until 2020.  These amendments now need to be ratified by Parties in order to make them binding.  Because pollutants can be carries many hundreds of kilometers by winds, pollutants emitted in one country may be deposited in other countries.  Deposition of pollutants in a country can far exceed the amount of such pollution produced domestically due to pollution arriving from one or more upwind countries.  In 1976, the environment ministers from the Nordic countries proposed a European convention on transboundary air pollution that emphasized sulphur compounds (Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP)).  After negotiations, 34 countries and the European Commission signed this Convention in 1979 in Geneva.  The convention came into force in 1983, and has now been ratified by 47 European countries, two North American countries (Canada and the United States) and Armenia.  The CLRTAP now includes eight protocols that identify specific obligations to be taken by the Parties.  The Gothenburg Protocol was signed on 30 November 1999 in Gothenburg, Sweden, to support the CLRTAP.  The Gothenburg Protocol entered into force on 17 May 2005.”  (Wikipedia)

ASEAN has already adopted a multilateral accord called the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.  This is a fair start but it can also be expanded to a multi-pollutant protocol designated to reduce acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone by setting emissions ceilings for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and ammonia.  The ASEAN Integration is a good opportunity to adopt an agreement in the mould of the Gothenburg Protocol.

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/)

REFERENCES:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Multi-effect Protocol”.  Retrieved on January 11, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-effect_Protocol

Antonio, A.C., (2015). “ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution”.  Retrieved on January 6, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2015/12/asean-agreement-on-transboundary-haze.html


Organic Farming


ORGANIC FARMING
By Anton Antonio
January 10, 2016

“Wow!... genetically modified flora and fauna?  This is not nature’s way… nor God’s way.  Call me old school (meaning: refers to someone or something that is old-fashioned or traditional) but I’m absolutely opposed to genetically modified organisms.” (Antonio, 2016)  This was my closing statement in a previous blog titled “Genetically Modified Organisms” to express my strong opposition to GMOs.  This closing statement, however, may not be all that fair since it came short of suggesting any kind of alternative to GMOs.  As a follow up, allow me to suggest Organic Farming or Organic Agriculture as an alternative course of action.

“Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.  Depending on whose definition used, organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) if they are considered natural (such as bone meal from animals or pyrethrin from flowers), but it excludes or strictly limits the use of various methods (including synthetic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides; plant growth regulators such as hormones; antibiotic use in livestock; genetically modified organisms; human sewage sludge; and nanomaterials) in pursuit of goals including sustainability, openness, independence, health, and safety.  Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforces by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM0, an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.  The USDA definition as of April 1995 is: Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.  It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.  Since 1990 the market for organic food and other products has grown rapidly, reaching $63 billion worldwide in 2012.  This demand has driven a similar increase in organically managed farmland that grew from 2001 to 2011 at a compounding rate of 8.9 per annum.  As of 2011, approximately 37,000,000 hectares (91,000,000 acres) worldwide were farmed organically, representing approximately 0.9 percent of total world farmland.”  (Wikipedia)

With too many pollutants present in our environment (air, water and land) today, human health can only be maintained through the consumption of healthy nutritious food.  This is what organic agriculture can provide.  As a means to sustainable food production, the present and future generations will be best advised to adopt and practice organic 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/)

REFERENCES:

Wikipedia, (2016).  “Organic Farming”.  Retrieved on January 10, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming

Antonio, A.C., (2015). “Genetically Modified Organisms”.  Retrieved on January 10, 2016 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2016/01/genetically-modified-organisms.html