Archive for the ‘Amazonia’ Category

Amazon Climate Change -Thomas Stelzer

Thomas Stelzer, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs. Photo: A Critica

“Globally speaking, if the Amazon region lost its ability to capture carbon, it would be more difficult to control climate change, which is the world’s biggest challenge today”, said the United Nations (UN) Official Thomas Stelzer to A Critica, a local newspaper in Brazil.

According to him, this subject affects the environmental arrangements throughout the world, as the Amazon rainforest plays an important role in the global weather regulation for the large amount of carbon it can absorb from the atmosphere. From that, the need to protect the Amazon is essential.

Stelzer visited Manaus, city located in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, to participate in the celebrations of the 2013 Environment Week. He visited research institutions and debated actions designed to promote sustainability and development in the Amazonas State of Brazil.


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Renan Albuquerque Rodrigues, with his Ph.D. thesis on the consequences of the construction of the Balbina dam

The impact of the construction of hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon was the theme for the Ph.D. thesis of Renan Albuquerque Rodrigues, journalist, lecturer, and collaborator of Instituto Amazônia Livre, Celestial Green Ventures’ partner in Brazil.

Rodrigues, a researcher from the Federal University of the Amazonas State, wrote about the impacts of a specific dam, named Balbina, located in the central area of the Brazilian Amazon.

In an interview to our blog,  Rodrigues talked about the main aspects of writing his thesis, the challenges of work on the ground (including contracting malaria!), and the panorama for academic research in the Brazilian Amazon region.

CGV Blog | For how long were you researching the subject?

Renan Albuquerque Rodrigues | I did four years of my Ph.D. Program in Society and Culture in the Amazon. The ethnography research (on the ground) took me two years.

CGV | Why did you choose to study the impacts of this specific hydroelectric plant?

Rodrigues | Balbina is the worst hydroelectric plant in Brazil, and surely one of the top ten worst in the world, if you compare the energy generation with the area flooded in the affected region. The interest in this subject arose from the fact that the current Brazilian government plans to build more than 60 large-scale hydroelectric plants on rivers in the Amazon. This will affect loads of people, and can generate several issues, such as with food supply, habitation and transportation, besides dividing traditional territories in the area. That was actually one of the reasons why we forwarded a copy of the thesis to the Justice Department, to help avoiding the construction of this type of dams.

CGV | What were the main challenges you had to face during your research?

Rodrigues | The main challenge was crossing the borders from Pará State (eastern Amazon) to the central area of the Amazon (closer to the capital of the Amazonas State, Manaus). There are more than 500 kilometres between those areas, in only one leg of the journey. Imagine doing all that by boat, most of the time, and then another part by bus. It took me 2.5 days to travel through the rivers, plus 10 hours by bus, just to reach the dam area. I also contracted malaria, and in other occasion I had to be admitted in hospital with infections in both arms and legs caused by mosquitos’ bites.

CGV | What is the current panorama for scientific production in the Brazilian Amazon area?

Rodrigues |  The LBA (Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon), from Inpa (National Institute for Research in the Amazon), increased scientific production related to the Amazon, especially in the fields of land science, agriculture and biology. Up to the 80s, 20% of the studies about the Amazon were conducted by scientists from abroad. Nowadays, there is almost a balance in that number, with more Brazilian researchers. We have been able to see several papers published in the last ten years, in high-quality global journals.

In human areas, however, the scenery is a bit different. Academic research is not as good, and we still have a long way on the search for partnerships – such as the one between Instituto Amazônia Livre and Celestial Green Ventures. The idea is to strengthen bonds between organisations, to encourage the production of sociological studies that will help understanding the impacts of REDD projects, for example.

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As cars are one of the biggest air polluters and greenhouse gas producers, the law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused to by these vehicles to the environment. Photo: The Guardian

The law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused by these vehicles to the environment. Photo: The Guardian

A new law approved in Manaus, capital of the Brazilian State of Amazonas, aims to turn the city greener and less polluted. Local car dealerships will have to plant a tree for every brand new car sold, under the penalty of a fine and other binding measures, as determined by the Law 1730, sanctioned on the 15th May this year by the Mayor Arthur Virgilio Neto.

As cars are one of the biggest air polluters and greenhouse gas producers, the law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused to the environment by these vehicles. The new legislation is expected to come into force within 90 days, while the local City Council studies how it must be correctly executed in relation to inspection, monitoring, fines and other measures.

According to the law, the local City Council will be responsible to map and define the areas to receive the trees, but the car dealerships must cover the expenses with the purchase of the seedlings and the planting. Whoever fails to comply with this legislation may be fined with R$ 39, 800 (around € 15,000). In case of repeated violation, the infractors may pay twice this amount and have their activities suspended.

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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”.

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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Jadav Payeng Walking through the Forest he Created. Source: paperblog.com

Jadav Payeng Walking through the Forest he created.
Source: paperblog.com

Do you think you could grow your own forest? It sounds impossible right? But Jadav “Molai” Payeng, a 47-year-old man from India, devoted his life to forestry and planted his own 1,360-acre forest over 30 years.

It all started way back in 1979 when he was only 16. Jadav found a location nearby that was covered in dead reptiles along the coast, due to too much sunlight and inadequate shelter to protect them.

“I wept over the dead snakes and I wanted to do something about it so I got in contact with the forest department to ask could I grow trees there. The replies I got, said nothing will grow there. They suggested that I try to grow bamboo, so I did; although it was very tough having to do it on my own, eventually I did it.”

It took some time for Jadav to do what he did and it didn’t take long for the animals to benefit from his hard work, Jadav even transplanted ants to his burgeoning ecosystem to bolster its natural harmony. As a result of his years of dedication, this forest and ecosystem now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deer, rhinos, tigers and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss.

Jadav Payeng now, after some much-deserved R&R, is pledging to devote the rest of his life to planting another forest all by himself.

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Indigenous Solar Observatory. Source: G1/ Musa

Indigenous Solar Observatory. Source: G1/ Musa

A study carried out with different indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon verified that climate changes have affected their astrologic predictions, made in order to determine the best season to plant, harvest, hunt and perform religious rituals. As a part of the native spoken culture, monitoring the stars help them better understand nature and its phenomena. As a result, many of their activities are based on astrological knowledge.

Coordinated by Germano Afonso, Doctor of Astronomy and Celestial Mechanics, and hired by the Foundation for Research Support in the State of Amazonas (Fapeam), the research contrasted the predictions of seven Amazonian ethnicities (Tukano, Tupé, Dessana, Baré, Tuyuka, Baniwa and Tikuna) with the meteorological forecasts for the regions where they live to identify the flaws in their estimates.

“With this analysis we noticed that some phenomena caused by climate change were distorting their predictions, as expected rain came early or was delayed by phenomena, such as El Niño and deforestation”, explained Afonso. The Greenhouse gas effect, environmental pollution and the construction of dams in the middle of the Amazon forest were also pointed out by the expert as key influencing drivers to changing the indigenous calculations.

Source: G1

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Source: G1

Cyanogaster noctivaga, the transparent fish species found in the Negro River. Source: G1

Cyanogaster noctivaga, a transparent fish measuring 2cm in length, was captured at night in different locations of the Negro River, in the vicinity of the Municipality of Santa Isabel do Rio Negro, 846 km away from Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian State of Amazonas.

The fish attracted the attention of the researchers by its size and transparency. As reported by Ralf Britz, one of the Biologists in the expedition, when the flashlight hit the body of the fish swimming in the river, it reflected a shiny blue colour.

Source: G1

The animal attracted the attention of the researchers by its size and transparency. Source: G1

In order to register an image of the new discovery, the researchers had to take a special fish pond to the shore of the river as the small fish was considered to be fragile and highly vulnerable to die after even few seconds outside the water.

“The amount of fish species found in the Amazonas River is huge, and there are still many to be discovered. It is important to preserve this biodiversity as the future of the planet is extremely dependent on the human relationship with the environment”, said the Biologist Manoela Marinho.

Source: G1

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