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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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As I’m sure you would know it’s not the easiest to grow your own food in some climates due to lack of rain or not enough sunlight but that wasn’t the situation for the McClung family

In 2007, the McClungs decided they wanted to change how they lived. “Our goal sounded simple,” McClung wrote on his blog, “to live as self-sufficient as possible by January 2012.” They achieved that and then some. They began to build what they soon would call “The Garden Pool.”

By doing this they save money on food every week and it’s more environmental friendly. It took them only two days to set up and cost around $1,5000 and the Garden Pool has an an aquaponic farming system using a tilapia pond, which uses 80 percent less water than traditional farming and the resulting vegetables and herbs get grown in reusable clay pellets, which require no tilling.

This idea has spread very quickly around the world with thousands of families looking to cut their costs on food every week and become more self-sufficient. In 2012, The Garden Pool became an official nonprofit, tasked with teaching people the ways of sustainable backyard agriculture.

“The Garden Pool has evolved from an empty swimming pool into a movement,” McClure says. Their main objective will continue to be about feeding the family self-sufficiently, but what started off as a simple idea has now grown well beyond its original scope. This is an inspiring story of choosing to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Renan

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.

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.

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

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…..

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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