Fashola urges Lagosians to protect environment

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has called on the people of the state to support the government’s efforts in curbing flood and ensuring safety of the aquatic habitat.

Fashola also enjoined residents to maximise the benefits inherent in nature to their advantage and for the well-being of the state.

The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on the Environment, Dr. Taofeek Folami, and the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, made this remark on Saturday, at the State House, Marina, during the 2014 Walk for Nature event themed ‘Small Island Developing States: Focus on Coastal Areas’.

The event, which was marked in partnership with Nigerian Conservation Foundation, was aimed at encouraging and promoting healthy living among Lagosians.

He said, “This offers us another opportunity to focus on our environment and rededicate ourselves to its sustainability. It is high time we had a rethink and reviewed our strategies towards the management of coastal and marine issues, realign our implementation plans and partnership as well as redirect our efforts towards new set of goals.”

In his address, Bello stated that Lagos as a coastal city was beset with several challenges such as illegal land reclamation and sand mining activities which had threatened sustainability of the coastlines.

He said illegal dredging had caused surges and flooding in some parts of the state.

He identified other environmental consequences of dredging as physical alterations, destruction of coastal habitats, flooding and pollution. He urged Lagosians to support the government in preserving nature by embracing the message of the Walk for Nature programme.

He added, “When we walk for nature, we get closer to nature, we reduce vehicular emissions which contribute to global warming; as more vehicles will stay off roads, we experience world class bird watching, learn about the varied habitats, understand the management effort needed to develop and discover more about nature through our lively interpretation.”

The commissioner, however, noted that the government was committed to ensuring a proper management of environments and called on people to complement the government’s efforts

He said, “To encourage walking and stem the climate change challenge, the state government had created several walkways on major roads in Lagos, in addition to greening and landscaping of open spaces.

“We are making steps to restore scattered wetlands in the state by promoting their identification and mapping.

“We should, as a way of life, engage in exercising, either within our immediate environment or register with clubs in order to keep fit.”

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Article source: http://www.punchng.com/news/fashola-urges-lagosians-to-protect-environment/

Volvo: Environment Prize-Winner Uses Satellites to Reveal Human Impact

GÖTEBORG, Sweden–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Volvo (STO:VOLVA) (STO:VOLVB):

The 2014 winner of the Volvo Environment Prize, Professor Eric Lambin, is a remote sensing pioneer using advanced data collection and satellite images to understand land use and the influence of humans on the planet.

Satellites catch sweeping images of Earth, every hour, day and night. Eric Lambin, who divides his time between Stanford University in California, and Université Catholique de Louvain in his native Belgium, has for decades developed methods of analyzing these satellite images by linking them to socioeconomic data. By doing that, he and his research colleagues can track land use changes on the impact of trade and demand for biofuels or food crops. His research has focused on trying to bridge two disparate communities – remote sensing scientists and human ecologists.

This technique, sometimes called the people-to-pixels approach, can, with faster computers and improved data, make it possible for businesses, NGOs and governments to better monitor in almost real-time environmental impacts from human activities.

A world without forests would challenge life on earth. Deforestation was earlier mostly perceived as a result of population growth. In his research, Professor Lambin has demonstrated that it is not as simple as that. In reality there are intricate and complex patterns, even cascade effects of human activities that affect the forests and other natural resources. Eric Lambin points to statistics showing successful reforestation in Vietnam.

“It seemed like a success story. But when we looked at all the data and compiled all information locally and nationally, we discovered that use of wood had simply shifted to imported wood, increasing deforestation in neighbouring Cambodia and Laos.”

This type of research is vital in planning for a transition to sustainability and is a focus area for this year´s Volvo Environment Prize laureate. Eric Lambin adopted the people-to-pixels approach as young doctoral student in Sub-Saharan Africa in the mid-1980s and has expanded it throughout his career.

In the words of the Jury, “Eric Lambin has successfully bridged social, geographical and biophysical disciplines in order to advance the global understanding of land use change and what it means for human wellbeing”.

Besides his academic research Eric Lambin is also reaching out to broader audiences. His most recent book, “An Ecology of Happiness”, asks us to take a look at the impact of nature on ourselves, rather than the conventional approach of discussing human impact on the planet. The natural world, he argues, is essential for human wellbeing and pleasure-seeking. Preserving nature is not only good for a portfolio of ecosystem services; it is essential for us in order to be happy.

Eric Lambin is professor at the Earth Life Institute and School of Geography, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and at Environmental Earth System Science, School of Earth Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, California.

The Volvo Environment Prize was founded in 1988 and has become one of the world’s most prestigious environmental prizes. It is awarded annually to people who have made outstanding scientific discoveries within the area of the environment and sustainable development. The prize consists of a diploma, a glass sculpture and a cash sum of SEK 1.5 million and will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on 26 November 2014.

For more information about the 2014 laureate and the Volvo Environment Prize: www.environment-prize.com

October 20, 2014

For more information about the Volvo Environment Prize and this year’s winner, please contact Jury Chairman Professor Will Steffen, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, e-mail: will.steffen@anu.edu.au

Phone: +61 2 6125 4588

For more stories from the Volvo Group, please visit http://www.volvogroup.com/globalnews.

The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs about 110,000 people, has production facilities in 18 countries and sells its products in more than 190 markets. In 2013 the Volvo Group’s sales amounted to about SEK 270 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden. Volvo shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more information, please visit www.volvogroup.com or www.volvogroup.mobi if you are using your mobile phone.

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/volvo-environment-prize-winner-uses-071400123.html

Nature Fest teaches attendees about environment

TEMPLE — Earth, wind, fire and water were the broad areas of learning available during the Central Texas Nature Fest on Saturday at Bend of the River in Temple. If you only visited four of the 50 exhibitor booths, you could roll seed balls, fold origami pigeons, cast for plastic fish and learn the benefits of prescribed land burning.

“This accounts for science for a whole semester,” Linda Lindberg, of Temple, said of the Nature Fest. She home-schools two of her children, Theresa, 9, who was at the event, and Andrew, 10, who was away on a canoeing trip.

Her daughter, Rebecca, 17, a senior at Holy Trinity Catholic High School, also was at the event.

Rebecca said she was impressed by the water-cycling booth.

“I didn’t realize the water stays in the ocean a long time,” she said.

Organized by the Central Texas Master Naturalists, the event drew exhibitors from all over the state and had about 140 volunteers on hand, said Zoe Rascoe, of Temple. She was hoping for 1,000 people to attend.

Mike Fuller, a Temple native who lives near Fort Worth, brought his daughters, Ruth, 10, and Lauren, 7, to the Texas prairies booth. Phillip Quast, program director for the Native Prairies Association of Texas, talked about preserving natural lands and showed the girls how to make seed balls. They mixed clay, compost, seeds and water with their hands.

“It’s squishy,” Ruth said.

The clay helps bind everything together and keeps the seeds — a mixture of seeds of native plants — from blowing away, Quast said.

The girls made balls about the size of a dime and put them in plastic bags.

At home, they’re supposed to let them dry out, then take them out where no one mows the grass, Quast said.

Ursula Nanna, of Harker Heights, angler education area chief for the Master Naturalists, said they were teaching six “docks” at the Nature Fest: fishing safety, knots and tackle, baits and lures, casting, marine debris and fish habitat. She said age was not a factor.

“We’ve had kids 2½ years old who wanted to cast,” she said. “As long as you can stand, you can cast, and you can fish. It’s just wonderful to see how happy it makes people to fish.”

Doug Phillips, of Austin, a private land biologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was promoting the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

“We use fire as a tool to help restore our ecosystems,” he said.

Fire helps to manage the brush and invigorates the grass, Phillips said.

Article source: http://kdhnews.com/news/science/nature-fest-teaches-attendees-about-environment/article_4a76b1b6-5721-11e4-9934-001a4bcf6878.html

Backpacking? Try a Tarp for Shelter

 

For many people, the thought of backpacking conjures visions of physical hardship and heavy, cumbersome gear. It’s a grueling challenge of man vs. nature, a battle in which each contender fights to overcome the other.

It doesn’t have to be.

Imagine this scenario. Your total pack weight, with food and water, is well under twenty pounds, and you save money doing it. I typically carry just seven pounds of equipment. No longer are you competing with nature, but you’re traveling lightly and living in harmony with you environment.

Ultra-light and minimalist backpacking has taken off in recent years for a number of reasons. Most importantly, less gear and lighter weights means it’s easier than ever to skip out for a weekend in the woods. The first step in lightening your load is to consider your shelter.

A Tarp for Minimalist Backpacking

Using a tarp, instead of a conventional tent, will cut your pack weight considerably.

Tarps, when pitched properly, offer complete protection from the elements and will cut pounds from your pack weight. For most three-season (spring, summer, and fall) backpacking your shelter is meant to do one thing, and one thing only, keep you and your gear dry. With that in mind, there is therefore no reason to involve yourself with zippers, fancy poles, or multiple layers of fabric or netting of a brand-new feature packed free-standing tent.

Anything from a conventional “blue” tarp bought at the local hardware store, to a contoured sil-nylon tarp, to a high-end cuben fiber tarp will do. It may take a little more effort pitching your tarp, but consider the effort you have saved in carrying a lighter shelter.

Tips for Tarping

The following are a few tips for those hardy folks ready to consider tarping:

Location is crucial. Unlike a fully enclosed tent, tarps are more easily affected by the terrain they are pitched upon. Look for sheltered or protected areas to decrease the effects of wind and ensure your tarp will stay put throughout the night.

Assess the weather. Depending on your specific set up, it is likely that you will have a leading edge and an exposed opening to your tarp. Be certain to pitch your leading edge into the wind in order to block any precipitation. Having to re-pitch your tarp in the middle of the night is not fun.

Carry a ground cloth. Because a tarp does not have a floor built into it, you will want to carry a ground cloth to keep you and your gear out of the mud if it does rain. Thin plastic painters ground cloth is cheap and works great.

Tarps will not protect you from bugs. If it is mosquito season you may wish to consider another shelter. At the very least, bring a head net!

Practice makes perfect. It is highly recommended that you practice pitching your tarp before taking it on its maiden voyage. As with all outdoor gear, your tarp will only work if you know how to use it.

Still not sure if you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of tarping? You may be able to pitch your existing tent using only the rain-fly. This compromise will save you from carrying the physical tent body, but still allow you the comfort of a familiar pitch. Best of all, it won’t cost a dime!

With these tips in mind and a willingness to forgo the advice of the salesmen at your local outfitter, you’ll be well on your way to a lighter pack and hopefully a greater outdoor experience.


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Article source: http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/backpacking-try-a-tarp-zbcz1410.aspx

Plastic Particles Harm Freshwater Organisms Too

Scientists have become increasingly worried that plastic pollution threatens marine life in the world’s oceans, and now new research shows that they have reason to fear it can harm freshwater organisms, too.

“The main sources of plastic are on land, so it is important to also look at the effects of plastic on land,” Professor Bart Koelmans, leader of the Wageningen University and the IMARES research group behind the study, said in a statement.

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Previous studies have shown that microplastics - microscopic particles of plastic debris – can harm marine life due to their potential physical risks and possible toxicity. But these plastics, as well as plastic nanoparticles, which this recent study focuses on, can impact organisms not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies, too.

For example, these particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication between small organisms and fish, according to the researchers.

This study, published in the latest issue of Environmental Science and Technology, is the first time that such effects of plastic on freshwater organisms have been studied.

The researchers exposed water fleas to various nanoplastic concentrations. Not only did algae growth decline at higher concentrations, but the water fleas were smaller in size after being exposed to the plastic particles, and their offspring displayed various malformations.

“These are the first malformations that have been seen in freshwater organisms and we do not yet know how big the problem really is,” said researcher Ellen Besseling.

Not to mention that it seems some organisms, like fish, can send out a sort of warning system to other freshwater species that these particles are present. Fish can emit chemical substances called kairomones that can warn water fleas of a threat. The researchers found it intriguing that the effect of the kairomones appeared to be stronger in the presence of nanoplastic. Researchers believe then that the fish can detect disturbances in the water at low concentrations not easily seen by humans.

And with humans generating 32 million tons of US plastic waste back in 2012, it’s important to realize how this pollution may result in changes to the food web in exposed ecosystems over time.

Article source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/9671/20141017/plastic-particles-harm-freshwater-organisms-too.htm

Nature Fest teaches attendees about environment

TEMPLE — Earth, wind, fire and water were the broad areas of learning available during the Central Texas Nature Fest on Saturday at Bend of the River in Temple. If you only visited four of the 50 exhibitor booths, you could roll seed balls, fold origami pigeons, cast for plastic fish and learn the benefits of prescribed land burning.

“This accounts for science for a whole semester,” Linda Lindberg, of Temple, said of the Nature Fest. She home-schools two of her children, Theresa, 9, who was at the event, and Andrew, 10, who was away on a canoeing trip.

Her daughter, Rebecca, 17, a senior at Holy Trinity Catholic High School, also was at the event.

Rebecca said she was impressed by the water-cycling booth.

“I didn’t realize the water stays in the ocean a long time,” she said.

Organized by the Central Texas Master Naturalists, the event drew exhibitors from all over the state and had about 140 volunteers on hand, said Zoe Rascoe, of Temple. She was hoping for 1,000 people to attend.

Mike Fuller, a Temple native who lives near Fort Worth, brought his daughters, Ruth, 10, and Lauren, 7, to the Texas prairies booth. Phillip Quast, program director for the Native Prairies Association of Texas, talked about preserving natural lands and showed the girls how to make seed balls. They mixed clay, compost, seeds and water with their hands.

“It’s squishy,” Ruth said.

The clay helps bind everything together and keeps the seeds — a mixture of seeds of native plants — from blowing away, Quast said.

The girls made balls about the size of a dime and put them in plastic bags.

At home, they’re supposed to let them dry out, then take them out where no one mows the grass, Quast said.

Ursula Nanna, of Harker Heights, angler education area chief for the Master Naturalists, said they were teaching six “docks” at the Nature Fest: fishing safety, knots and tackle, baits and lures, casting, marine debris and fish habitat. She said age was not a factor.

“We’ve had kids 2½ years old who wanted to cast,” she said. “As long as you can stand, you can cast, and you can fish. It’s just wonderful to see how happy it makes people to fish.”

Doug Phillips, of Austin, a private land biologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was promoting the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

“We use fire as a tool to help restore our ecosystems,” he said.

Fire helps to manage the brush and invigorates the grass, Phillips said.

Article source: http://kdhnews.com/news/science/nature-fest-teaches-attendees-about-environment/article_4a76b1b6-5721-11e4-9934-001a4bcf6878.html

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar slams Congress for blocking environment related projects

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar today slammed the previous UPA regime for allegedly blocking environment related projects and said the Narendra Modi Government gave clearance to several critical and strategic project after coming to power.

In an apparent reference to his predecessor and former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, Javadekar, who is the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, charged him with blocking several infrastructure projects.

Responding to a question during an interaction at the Foreign Correspondents Club here, on whether reservations by environment ministry controlled by previous UPA government hampered growth, Javadekar said, “Unfortunately, yes.”

“I met (former PM) Dr Manmohan Singhji at a function. He, as a PM, had short-listed some 17 strategically important projects for clearance. For 17 months the 17 projects were pending. I told him, we had a meeting and have given clearance to 17 projects.

“My predecessor who is also my friend put no-go board. There were too many no-goes…so where would they go,” the minister said in an apparent reference to Ramesh.

Javadekar added that after the change of guard at the Centre, the “negative” approach policy has turned into “positive”.

He said his Ministry is focusing at decentralisation so that major decisions could be taken at the regional level with participation of states.

“Not a single rule of ‘caring nature’ has been changed. But those in the name of ‘caring nature’ which was stopping progress… because we think progress and environment protection of nature is simultaneously possible and both can go hand in hand,” the minister said.

Javadekar said that after taking over he cleared important proposals like giving clearance to 35 coast guard chowkies, which were falling under the CRZ regulation and also started online process of granting clearance under which 200 applications are already being processed.

“Clearance was given to important projects like border roads, those increasing connectivity and those with strategic importance,” the minister said.

Article source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/union-minister-prakash-javadekar-slams-congress-for-blocking-environment-related-projects/articleshow/44861941.cms