Environment: Energy and Conservation News from Blogs around the world

In this post from GV environment, we check in with bloggers around the world who are writing on diverse topics; from ornithology, energy efficiency to forest preservation.

The Bahraini ornithologist blog Bahrain Obs posts pictures and gives an update on bird migration.

The migration is in full swing now – the Swallows on the wires have now been joined by European Bee-eaters, Sand Martins, and the odd Red-rumped Swallow which are putting in a very early appearance.

Image courtesy of Bahrain Obs.

On the Carbon Smart blog, Rory discuses recent news on conversion of biofuels to hydrogen, and also considers the implications of energy efficiency and cost reduction on transportation systems.

The writer of Changing Climates blog posts a video collating photos from their travels during their fellowship. The shots span from Fiji, Vietnam, Thailand, Namibia, Mozambique to Egypt.

Do you recycle? Ever had to sort rubbish 34 ways and wash the bottles thoroughly? Justin McCurry writes on ChinaDialogue, of a Japanese town called Kamikatsu where recycling and reuse is mandated in a quest for zero-waste by 2020.

An hour's drive from the nearest city and about 600 kilometres from Tokyo, the town was forced to change the way it managed its waste in 2000, when strict new regulations on dioxin emissions forced Kamikatsu to shut down its two incinerators.
“We were no longer able to burn our rubbish, so we thought the best policy was not to produce any in the first place,” said Sonoe Fujii of the town's Zero Waste Academy, a non-profit organisation that oversees the scheme.
Despite initial opposition, the zero-waste declaration, passed by the village assembly in 2003, has spawned an unlikely army of eco-warriors.

The Environmental Justice Foundation(EJF) has written about illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing operations or ‘pirate fishing’ in African waters, particularly in the SADC region (Southern African Development Community composed of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar). The article by EJF gives details on how the pirate fishing occurs, particularly in Guinea, and gives steps that can be taken to end this practice.

An update from The Electricity Governance Initiative indicates that EGI has been launched in South Africa;

…a new effort in South Africa with the aim of improving governance of the electricity sector. The initiative will analyze government and regulatory capacity to create the right conditions for the promotion of renewable energy, efficiency, and social equity, in line with sustainable development and public interests.
Electricity issues are high on the political agenda in 2008 as South Africa confronts a crisis where reserve margins are unprecedentedly low, resulting in inadequate power supply to meet demand. The crisis presents an opportunity for improved integration of clean energy into South Africa’s energy mix – yet robust governance frameworks will be necessary in order to help manage tradeoffs between environmental, social, and financial considerations.

The Ethical Co-op blog writes about the sale of rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) business by Monsanto to the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, noting that

In some senses it’s a perfect fit. Genetically-modified rBGH is associated with a host of ailments, including, amongst other things, diabetes. Diabetes drugs are a highly profitable line for Eli Lilly. Monsanto also used to profit financially from diabetics, as one of their creations, aspartame, is used by some as a sugar-replacement.
But of course that may all be coincidence. Naturally, the first thing you see on Eli Lilly’s website is their commitment to helping people ‘live longer, healthier and more active lives’.
If you’re looking to replace refined sugar in your diet (and you should be!), there are much better options to use in moderation, such as honey, dates and xylitol.

The Green Prophet writes about the the announcement by Israel's ministry of Tourism, that it would ‘go green’ for 2009, and also looks at how private businesses like Avis Israel are making eco-friendly decisions that are part of the tourism industry. Karen cites several examples of the initiatives undertaken.

When you book your car rental with Avis, one of the leading car rental companies in Israel and worldwide, you now have the option of paying a little bit extra to neutralize the effects of your driving on the environment by planting trees. To date, Avis, its staff, and its customers have planted over 200,000 trees together. Avis also claims that its fleet of cars is highly efficient, which hopefully makes the fuel consumption more efficient as well. (Of course, its no fleet of hybrid cars such as the Prius… but baby steps.)
And if you don’t trust Avis’s carbon neutral tree planting but would like to offset your car rental emissions yourself, consider planting some trees through Keren Kayemeth L’Israel (KKL) – it’s very easy and you can even do it online.

What can five little raisins teach you about values and sustainability? La Marguerite finds out and writes about differing values as it relates to food resources.

Last but not least, an uplifting post from Omar of Safarinotes about Mt.Elgon forest remaining as such after President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda rejected plans to carve off 7500 hectares for human settlement.

Reducing forest cover on and around Mount Elgon will certainly affect the ecological system of the area and gradually have a devastating effect on the Mount Elgon zone. Already, Mount Elgon is directly succumbing to the effects of Global Warming. And human encroachment is only increasing to the destruction. Trees are being cut in large numbers for: charcoal, wood fuel, lumbering and illegal settlement. The Mount Elgon area, normally cool and green, is gradually changing for the worse; mosquitoes, once rare around the area – have now found a breeding ground in swamps created by human activity. And that means more and more cases of Malaria.

Most of Uganda has abundant and very fertile land; people can and should be settled in other parts. Not in an ecologically delicate place such as around Mount Elgon. For leaders and politicians to appease people and attract votes using such tactics, as some are doing now by trying to give away a part of Mount Elgon – is dangerous and short sighted. Hopefully, the Ugandan leadership and government will protect and conserve Mount Elgon's wilderness and environment.

Picture courtesy of Safari Notes.


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