Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pope Francis stresses 'right to environment' in UN speech


Pope Francis has urged a large gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in New York to respect humanity's "right to the environment".
He also called on financial agencies not to subject countries to "oppressive lending systems" that worsen poverty.
In an allusion to the Church's teachings on sexual minorities, he called for respect for the "natural difference between man and woman".
He went on to visit the 11 September memorial for a multi-faith service.
After a silent prayer, the pontiff met relatives of some of the victims of the attack in 2001.
Pope Francis later visited a Catholic school in the heavily Hispanic New York neighbourhood of East Harlem.
The crowd in the gym of Our Lady Queen of Angels School included more than 100 immigrants, who greeted Francis with songs.
One eyewitness wrote on Twitter: "He's (Pope) having a blast in Harlem. Big smile. #PopeinNYC".

'Ideological colonisation'

In a wide-ranging speech at the UN, the Pope said the universe was "the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator" and that humanity "is not authorised to abuse it, much less to destroy it."
He said he hoped a forthcoming summit on climate change in Paris would produce a "fundamental and effective agreement".
He addressed topics including girls' education and drug trafficking. He welcomed the deal between Iran and world powers on its nuclear deal, calling it "proof of the potential of political goodwill".
He also condemned "ideological colonisation by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people's identity" in what was understood as a reference to Western support for gay and transgender rights in other countries.

At a memorial service at the September 11 Memorial Museum, he prayed for those killed in the attacks and for healing for their relatives.

Catholics in America:

  • 80 million baptised as Catholics
  • Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic
  • 31% of the US Congress (22% general population)
  • One Catholic president (JFK) and one vice-president (Joe Biden) in the history of the US
  • Six Catholic Republicans running for 2016 presidential nomination, the most ever
Source: New York Times

About 80,000 people are expected to watch the procession as he makes his way to Mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Nearly 20,000 are set to attend the service at the major sporting and concert arena.
Thousands lined Fifth Avenue on Thursday evening as the Argentine pontiff made his way to St Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayers.
The Pope arrived in New York from Washington, where he delivered the first-ever papal address to the US Congress.
In the speech, he urged a humane response to migrants, an end to the death penalty and better treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.
Next he will go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he will speak in front of Independence Hall and celebrate Mass at a Catholic families' rally.
content courtesy : BBC

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How reusable bags change shopping decisions



Taking reusable bags to the supermarket can help identify the environmentally friendly shopper but a new study has now discovered the products they are more likely to buy.

New research in the Journal of Marketing reveals unsurprisingly that shoppers who take their own bags are more likely to purchase organic food – and more surprisingly, junk food as well.

The study describes: "Grocery store shoppers who bring their own bags are more likely to purchase healthy food. But those same shoppers often feel virtuous, because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way.

“That feeling easily persuades them that, because they are being good to the environment, they should treat themselves to cookies or potato chips or some other product with lots of fat, salt, or sugar."

The study by Uma R. Karmarkar of Harvard University and Bryan Bollinger of Duke University is one of the first to demonstrate that bringing reusable grocery bags causes significant changes in food purchasing behaviour.

The authors collected loyalty cardholder data from a single location of a major grocery chain in California between May 2005 and March 2007. They compared the same shoppers on trips for which they brought their own bags with trips for which they did not.

Participants were also recruited online from a national pool and were randomly assigned one of two situations: bringing their own bags or not bringing their own bags. Depending on the situation, participants were presented with a certain scenario and a floorplan of the grocery store and were asked to list the ten items they were most likely to purchase on the trip.

The researchers found that when shoppers brought their own bags, they were more likely to purchase organic foods. At the same time, bringing one's own bags also increased the likelihood that the shopper would purchase junk food. And both results were slightly less likely when the shopper had young children: parents have to balance their own purchasing preferences with competing motivations arising from their role as parents.

Content Courtecy :enn

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification


Heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium), pesticides and herbicides (such as DDT) and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (PCB’s and BPA’s) do not readily biodegrade. These are fat-soluble substances that are stored in organisms and are not quickly broken down by bacteria or other decomposers. Bioaccumulation is the process by which persistent pollutants accumulate in the fatty tissues of organisms. These pollutants are absorbed at a greater rate than they are released and therefore build up within the individual organism. Biomagnification is the process by which persistent pollutants increase in concentration up a food chain. So secondary and tertiary consumers have higher concentrations than producers and primary consumers.

This phenomena has been observed with DDT, causing the thinning of eggshells in raptors, such as the threatened Peregrine Falcon. Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and conservationist,  made the American public aware of the environmental problems caused by synthetic pesticides, such as DDT, in her famous book, “Silent Spring”. DDT is now prohibited in most developed countries.

Mercury has been shown to bioaccumulate in marine food webs, affecting higher order consumers, such as dolphins, sharks and swordfish. As such, Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand recommend that the intake of certain types of fish is limited.

Content Courtesy : vceenviroscience

Monday, July 21, 2014

Safeguarding Our Future Water & Energy Systems-INFOGRAPHIC


As the Energy Department pursues our important mission areas of climate change, energy security and environmental responsibility, we must take into account dynamic interactions among our energy system, the population, the economy, other infrastructure systems and natural resources. One crucial interaction is that between our present-day energy and water systems, reports the DOE.

The interdependencies between our water and energy systems are clear — and becoming more prominent. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation, and energy is required to extract, convey and deliver water, and to treat wastewaters prior to their return to the environment.

The Energy Department’s new report – The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities – examines this interaction, and lays out several technical and operational challenges at local, regional and national scales. The report notes that water scarcity, variability and uncertainty are becoming more prevalent, potentially leading to vulnerabilities within the U.S. energy system. Changes brought on by population growth, technological advances and policy developments are increasing the urgency for informed action.

When severe drought affected more than a third of the United States in 2012, limited water availability constrained the operation of some power plants and other energy production infrastructure. When Hurricane Sandy struck that same year, we saw firsthand the major problems that arise when vital water infrastructure and facilities lose power.

And the recent boom in domestic unconventional oil and gas development, brought on by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has added complexity to the national dialogue about the relationship between energy and water resources.

What’s more, the effects of climate change only amplify the need to manage our interdependent water and energy systems more mindfully. As the release of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment made clear last month, climate change is affecting every region of the United States and key sectors across our economy.

Even as the Energy Department is taking strong steps to cut carbon pollution and work with our international partners to build a more sustainable energy future, we must prepare for the effects of climate change we are already seeing.

The Energy Department’s longstanding leadership in modeling and technology research and development makes it uniquely suited to meet the national need for data-driven and empirical solutions to address these challenges. This report is just the beginning.

The Department of Energy looks forward to working with our partners, including other federal agencies, state and local governments, members of Congress, foreign governments, private industry, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and citizens, to develop and pursue a shared vision of more resilient coupled energy-water systems.

This integration and collaboration will enable more effective research, development and deployment of key technologies, harmonization of policies where warranted, shared datasets, informed decision-making, and robust public dialogue.

A key part of that dialogue is our ongoing meetings to gather public comment on the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a four-year process to identify key threats, risks and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security.

 Last week in San Francisco, Dr. John Holdren — Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy — led a discussion with regional stakeholders about the water-energy nexus and lessons learned that could be applied broadly across this issue area. Future opportunities to provide input to the QER process remain.

Content Courtesy: energy.gov

Monday, July 14, 2014

We can do this: 10 reasons there's hope for our climate


Feeling pessimistic about our ability to turn the corner toward climate stability before it is too late?

"We're in the race of our lives," Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said this week at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, explaining that he understands why some are losing hope. “The science is scary, the politicians are polarized and the impacts are increasing.”

But Fred delivered a profoundly optimistic message based on a range of compelling and tangible successes, trends, and truths that – taken together – stand as powerful evidence that, yes, we can overcome polarization and inertia. We can reduce emissions in time to avert the worst impacts of global climate change.

As leaders from around the world listened, Fred shared the Top 10 reasons why he has renewed hope that we can get national and international climate solutions back on track.

Following the model of the master, Late Show host David Letterman, he presented them starting with number 10:

10. Solar and wind prices are dropping – dramatically

We’re talking about a 75-percent drop in the price of panels since 2008, and the United States added more solar capacity in the past 18 months than in the previous 30 years combined. In some parts of the country, wind is already becoming cost competitive with coal and gas.

9. The American economy has moved in the right direction.

Between 2005 and 2012, the U.S. reduced its carbon dioxide emissions from energy by 12 percent. Our economic system is demonstrating its capacity to reduce emissions.

8. China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is on the move toward a cleaner future.

Recognizing the need to act, China has set up seven pilot cap-and-trade areas, covering nearly 250 million people. They recognize the need to act, and are reaching out to partners such as EDF and the State of California for advice.

7. The United States, the world’s second-biggest emitter, is also moving to limit carbon pollution from its largest source, the power sector.  

The Clean Power Plan, supported by two-thirds of Americans, will cut billions of tons of pollution and drive investment in clean energy.

6. President Obama has required big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from cars, doubling gas mileage by 2025.

Even so, car sales rose by more than a million vehicles per year between 2009 and 2013 as average fuel economy increased. Not for nothing, but electric cars are getting cool, too.

5. We are starting to bring that same technological leap into our homes.

A world in which people generate, store, and even sell their own electricity is already becoming reality. And imagine having an electric bill of just 3 dollars a month. That’s a clean energy revolution everybody can support.

4. Methane is 84 times more dangerous to our climate than carbon in the short term.

Why is this good? Here’s a major contributor to climate change that we can fix cheaply. Consider this: We can stop almost half of methane leakage and the cost of a thousand cubic feet of natural gas would go from just $4.50 to $4.51.

3. Politically, the future belongs to those who support climate action.

Seventeen out of 20 young voters support climate action, which means being on the right side of this issue is a matter of long-term political survival for both Democrats and Republicans.  

2. We have a plan.

Working with our allies, we’ve figured out how to cut 6 gigatonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions a year by 2020 – enough to begin turning the corner toward climate stability. We'll be posting the details of this plan very soon.

1. The two largest emitting countries haven’t yet adopted the most powerful tool we have: A price on carbon.

When it doesn’t cost to pollute, you get a lot of pollution. But when there’s a price to pay, industry will have an incentive to find low-cost carbon solutions. The first nine reasons for hope on climate are the reason we can get to this last one, as difficult as it may sound.

You’ll find more details about each of these reasons in the full video of Fred’s speech.

“[Oberlin College] Professor David Orr taught me the difference between optimism and hope,” Fred noted in a Q&A session on Facebook earlier this week, also part of the Aspen event.

“Optimism is a prediction everything will be ok, hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. I actually am not only hopeful, but also optimistic that if people join the fight we can turn this around.”

Content Courtesy: edf.org