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World Environment Day 2013

World Environment Day 2013. Photo: Think.Eat.Save

“Think, Eat and Save”, this is today’s celebration theme for the World Environment Day 2013, promoted by the United Nations (UN). This year’s event is an anti-food waste and loss campaign with the objective to raise awareness of the impacts of food waste and loss to the environment and encourage us to reduce our food print.

According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted every year. This amount is equivalent to roughly one third of the world’s food production for human consumption. Additionally, food waste is a drain of the world’s natural capital, as food depends on many resources, such as fresh water and others, to be produced.

Given these facts, the UN invites us to take action and rethink our lifestyles. “Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference”, said the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

You can register individual or group activities done in order to help the environment on a special mural dedicated to the World Environment Day 2013.

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2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands. Photo: A Critica

2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands. Photo: A Critica

Scientists and members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gathered throughout last week in Manaus with the objective to create a methodology to measure greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands. The team produced a document that should be finalised by July this year and posteriorly sent to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for approval.

The Wetlands Supplement seeks to expand the methodological guidance on wetlands emissions covered in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, as it contains gaps in relation to wetlands management. According to the IPCC, the final document will be available to the public at the end of October 2013, when the 37th Session of the IPCC takes place, in Georgia, in the United States.

Nadja da Cunha, member of the National Institute for Amazonian Research (Inpa) who participated in the meetings, says that the developments of this event is particularly important for the entire Amazon Region, as at least 30% of the region is flooded most of the year.

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On the 17th of May, the Human Milk Bank in Amazonas (Banco de Leite Humano do Amazonas), from the Ana Braga Maternity Hospital, in Manaus, in the Amazonas State of Brazil, officially launched a new campaign to encourage women to donate milk.

The organisation provides milk to approximately 200 children every month. Human breast milk has proven to be crucial for the survival of those babies, providing them with proper nutrients and help preventing diseases.

According to Elizabeth Hardman, nurse and coordinator of the project, the main objective of the campaign is “to save the lives of thousands of children through the donation of human milk, encouraging breastfeeding and helping to reduce infant mortality rates.”

The Human Milk Bank was founded in 2004, and works collecting, treating, and distributing human breast milk. The main people benefited from the donations are mothers in hospitals that, for some reason, are not able to breastfeed their newborns.

In 2012, the institution was able to distribute more than 700,000 litres of milk. The slogan for the campaign starting today is “donate mother´s milk and help nurturing healthier Brazilian children”.

Donation
Celestial Green Ventures is donating R$ 5,000 (five thousand Reais) for the campaign. The donation is being made through Instituto Amazônia Livre, a not-for-profit organisation which is CGV´s main partner in Brazil, and which is helping to raise the funds for the campaign.

“Last month, during a visit to Manaus, I met the team working with the Human Milk Bank, and I was impressed with the dedication of the staff, and the number of children that they have been able to help throughout the years,” recalls Ciaran Kelly, CEO of CGV.

The Human Milk Bank is supported by the Amazonas State Government. For more information on how to help the organisation, please call +55 92 36474234.

Ciaran Kelly, CEO of Celestial Green Ventures (4th from the right), with the team from the Human Milk Bank, in Manaus, last April

Ciaran Kelly, CEO of Celestial Green Ventures (4th from the right), with the team from the Human Milk Bank, in Manaus, in April

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A bleak global reality is painted in this introduction to REDD+ Talks video, which explains the multitude of climate change related issues which we are now facing. They describe themselves as America’s first symposium on Global Warming and the vital role of REDD+. They believe that “it is essential to provide fundamental information on REDD+ as a viable climate change mitigation strategy, and this is the reason for having organized REDD+ Talks.”

They also explain that they hope that “after hearing from corporate leaders and experts on global warming, REDD+ and climate change policy, you will be inspired to accelerate your emissions reduction programs by supporting REDD+ projects that serve to protect the world’s vital forests and biodiversity while uplifting impoverished communities.”

While these may seem like lofty ambitions, which are difficult to achieve; here at Celestial Green Ventures we have the same ambitions with our own REDD+ Forest Conservation and Community Development Projects. You can find out more about our REDD+ projects here.

You can see their introductory video here…..

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Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services are provided to us free by nature and contribute invisible or unaccounted for economic value to our global economy, including such simple things as clean air, clean water and the ability to grow crops.

Inspired by the 2006 Stern Review for Climate Change, the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative, a G8+5 commissioned project, has taken on the challenge to draw attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity, and highlight the growing cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

TEEB provides guidance to important policy makers, national governments, local governments and regional decision makers, to help them internalise the value of nature in proper policy making frameworks, in order to properly account for these valuable services.

The top 3,000 businesses are estimated to have externalities of almost $2.1 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.5% of global GDP, every year. These significant externalities can be described as third party (or external) effects arising from the production and/or consumption of goods and services, for which no appropriate compensation is paid.

It is believed that accounting for these externalities and our preciously-limited Natural Capital now, will result in significant cost savings in the future. If we continue our current consumption levels of these valuable services, without accounting for them, the cost of replicating them once they have been exhausted, is almost incalculable.

To find out more, see this video where the TEEB Study Leader and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Special Adviser introduces and explains the project.

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Research by the Centre for International Climate & Environmental Research in Oslo, has addressed the conflicting goals of protecting the Amazonian Rainforest and the consumption of agricultural products, leading to more deforestation. They looked to the reasons why these trees are being cut down.

The paradox of some countries both paying for the Amazon Rainforest to be maintained and proving the catalyst for its loss due to increased buying and consumption of agricultural products, which result in detrimental land use change occurring, is now sadly evident.

Lead author, Jonas Karstensen explains that, “Countries are putting more and more pressure on the Brazilian Amazon by consuming agricultural products; and by doing this they are undermining efforts of protecting that same forest. This needs to change. Brazil’s problem is now our global problem.”

They concluded that approximately 30% of deforestation has been a result of trade, in particular the demand for Brazilian soy beans and beef, which dominate the country’s agricultural sector.

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The Awá Indigenous Tribe from the Amazon rainforest is considered one of the most endangered groups in the world, according to Survival International (survivalinternational.org). The tribe caught the world’s attention last year after actor Colin Firth added his recognisable voice to a campaign by Survival International, to help preserve both the tribe and their indigenous culture & traditions.

After numerous generations thriving in areas almost entirely isolated from the outside world, and our own ‘Westernised Society’, they have found a way to live a contented hunter-gatherer lifestyle in harmony with their natural surroundings. Although, now this existence is being threatened by external influences, driven by aggressive and extensive land use change.

The triple threat of logging companies, livestock breeders or ranchers and settlers has taken its toll; and according to the video published by Deutsche Welle in August 2012, which you can see below, they have lost approximately 30% of their state and federal protected land, and may even face extinction, as a result of this cultural encroachment and the use of intimidating pistoleros.

Professor Wolfgang Kapfhammer, an expert in South American Indigenous Cultures, from Marburg University in Germany explains that “ecologically, contrary to popular belief, the Amazon contains relatively little food, which is often sparsely located across large areas. This means that the nomadic Awá tribe require large areas in which to survive.” Due to outside influences, the tribe’s ability to continue this traditional way of life is increasingly under threat.

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