The rapid expansion of cities is putting nature and the resources it provides at risk. Yet nature can help urban planners to make cities more sustainable and reduce costs, while improving the well-being of their citizens.
Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable’
Vienna, VA (PRWEB) April 07, 2013
Global ecotourism concierge Greenloons has designed four unique and responsible family summer vacation experiences in the United States, Central America and Europe for those families who seek travels that respect the world, its cultures, and the future.
“As the popularity of environmentally friendly products has grown over the years, consumers have been conditioned to believe that green goods or eco products equate to more expensive merchandise and false environmental claims,” says Irene Lane, visionary founder of Greenloons. “With regard to authentic ecotourism, this is simply not the case. It is possible to participate in ecotourism and stay well within your vacation budget.”
“Genuine green travel that incorporates the values of social empowerment, economic viability and environmental responsibility helps families have more meaningful journeys. Best of all, with options ranging from luxurious to the bucolic, you don’t have to compromise your standards for a responsible travel experience,” adds Lane.
Each of its sustainable, exotic summer vacations range from 4 to 6 days and are listed under $ 1,800 per person inclusive of accommodations, transport, activities and meals as indicated.
Costa Rica Highlights Wonders is specially designed for the first-time visitor to Costa Rica. Families will experience ecotourism luxury at its best. Activities include hiking through La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Arenal Volcano National Park, rafting down the Pacuare River and relaxing at a luxurious beach eco-resort near Manuel Antonio National Park. (6 days; flexible departures; from $ 1,200 per person including accommodations, transport, activities, and some meals.)
Zen and Active in the Burren adventure coincides with some of The Gathering Ireland 2013 events designed to help people explore and enjoy their Irish roots. Participants hike across Europe’s most extensive karst landscape, listen to traditional music, explore cultural heritage, and enjoy organic, vegetarian meals. There are optional activities (ceramics, kayaking) as well as healing therapies and horseback riding available at affordable rates. (6 days; June 9 – 14 departure; $ 1,099 including accommodations, meals, entertainment, transport, and guided activities.)
Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge sits on a Native-owned wildlife sanctuary and offers views of Pedersen Glacier in Alaska. The rugged beauty of Alaska’s spectacular seacoast and abundant marine wildlife including Steller sea lions, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, humpback and/or orca whales, bald eagles, puffins and a myriad of other birdlife are woven into the creature comforts of private cabins, a cozy main lodge and hearty gourmet meals. Other activities include sea kayaking and interpretive nature walks. (4 days; flexible departures; $ 1,795 per adult, $ 1,495 per child including accommodations, meals, activities, and transportation.)
Swedish Timber Raft Adventure has it all over on Tom Sawyer, rafting through Sweden’s southerly wilderness. Guests, under supervision, build their own log rafts before going down the river Klarälven where they pass small villages or just hear the sounds of the spruce forest along the way. Evenings are either in camps or in lodges (guest choice). Other activities include canoeing, photography, fishing, camping and adventure sightseeing. (5 days; June – August departures; minimum age 6 and able to swim; from $ 1,793 per adult, $ 1,488 per child up to age 15).
Greenloons is a premier online travel resource dedicated to inspiring people to think different, be different and travel different – in ways that help to ensure a more sustainable planet. An advocate of social empowerment, financial viability and environmental preservation, Greenloons connects mindful travelers with unique, meaningful and eco-certified travel experiences all over the world.
Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to offer its passengers the world’s greenest in-flight meals.
Already, the Sustainable Restaurant Association has helped well over 1,200 UK restaurants to source sustainable food supplies and operate more eco-efficiently. Now, it’s doing the same for one of the UK’s major commercial airlines and, according to Virgin officials, the tie-up is a world first within the air travel industry.
In months ahead, the Sustainable Restaurant Association will give star ratings to Virgin Atlantic caterers the world over. On completion of these Virgin airline meal ratings, the association will then advise the carrier on how it can improve.
Virgin In-Flight Meals
The ultimate goal is for Virgin’s in-flight meals to be the most sustainable offered by any airline and it’s highly conceivable that, following its lead, other carriers will also now start evaluating the calibre of the food they serve.
Given Virgin Atlantic’s global presence, this sustainable food quest involves factors not associated with traditional restaurants, which typically use a trusted and, above all, localised supply network. In Virgin’s and other airlines’ cases, global food production trends, especially growing seasons, have much more of an impact.
“There are catering facilities in some regions where running water is in low supply”, a Virgin spokeswoman was quoted by Business Green as having said. “Countries on either side of the equator will have different seasons and produce different products.”
Sustainable Virgin Airline Meals
“Our adventurous spirit means we’re not afraid to push boundaries in following our sustainability agenda which is why we approached the Sustainable Restaurant Association to work together on this project”, stated customer experience director, Reuben Arnold, in a press release on the sustainable Virgin airline meals.
“Value for money and quality of product are of course hugely important factors, but our passengers now rightly demand that we look beyond that and ensure we are making the most sustainable choices. The SRA ratings will allow us to understand how we and our global suppliers are performing on this front, and how to work closely together to drive improvements.”
More efficient cooking stoves were designed for communities around Lake Junín as a way of encouraging a better use of the high Andean peatland, or champa, an important habitat for migratory birds. Certified models of the cooking stove, adapted to local conditions, were built by members of the Management Committee and the local community. To date, 30 cooking stoves have been given to members of the community who are committed to the conservation of the area. The experience has been very successful and many more inhabitants expect to receive the stoves. The effects of the 30 new stoves on the use of the champa are yet to be evaluated quantitatively, however, a reduced use of this ecosystem has been perceived, given that these 30 families now extract less peat for cooking.
Lake Junín – importance for human wellbeing
Lake Junín, also known as Chinchaycocha, is located in the Central Andes of Peru at more than 4100 m above sea level. It was declared a protected area in 1974 with the aim of protecting and conserving its wild flora and fauna, as well as its scenic beauty. It was recognised as a Ramsar site in 1997, and as an Important Bird Area (IBA) in 2008.
The wetland provides habitat to important populations of threatened, endemic and migratory birds, including the Critically Endangered Junin Grebe Podiceps taczanowskii, the Endangered Junin Rail Laterallus tuerosi, and migratory species such as Blue-winged Teal Anas discors, Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica, Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes, Wilson’s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor, Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii and Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca.
Junín National Park, including the lake’s ecosystem, is not only recognised for their beauty, but also for the resources and services provided to the local community, region and country. One of the most important is providing water for the largest reservoir in the country, responsible for 50% of electricity generation in the country. However, due to demands of the current economy, natural resources in Junín have decreased, and their unsustainable exploitation has negatively affected the quality and quantity of resources at the site.
Peat, or champa is used as energy to cook or heat homes among the local communities inhabiting the area around Lake Junín. Its extraction is regulated by the local administrative body of the protected area and extraction is performed once a year, in an intensive campaign at certain sites. However, poor practices can cause the loss of grassland and soil, and reduce the land’s capacity for rearing livestock, with detrimental effects on the local peasant economy. The resulting change in land cover also represents a loss of habitat for migratory and resident birds.
Therefore, part of the activities within the projects funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, aim to create a programme which not only provides alternatives for grassland conservation and integrated management, but also reduces the impact of poor resource management, offering viable economic alternatives to the local peasant communities. Agreements and training programmes have been established with local communities to create recovery areas for champa, and reduce the area under exploitation, given the implementation of more energy efficient alternatives, such as the improved cooking stoves.
Improved cooking stoves promote an adequate use of champa
The improved design of the new cooking stoves not only provides a way to reduce peat consumption by approximately 50%, but also reduces gas emissions, therefore decreasing air pollution and respiratory illnesses.
Working together with National Park personnel, awareness has been created among the community on the sustainable use of champa. Support was also provided to the community to help them follow existing regulations surrounding the use of peat. These activities could not have been achieved without a complementary environmental education programme, and with the collaboration of the peasant communities, who played a vital part in the construction of the new cooking stoves.
The next stages of the project at Lake Junín include a review of the region’s Contingency Plan by the Local Management Committee, using information compiled in another project on endemic and migratory species. This plan establishes guidelines for priority conservation actions at the lake, with special emphasis on the Junin Grebe and Junin Rail.
- More information on the project:
Constantino Aucca Chutas [email protected] President, Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos – ECOAN
Air Pollution, Among Top Global Killers, Is Critical Climate Target Combined Benefits for Health, Crops, and Climate Promote Sustainable Development
Washington, DC – Indoor air pollution is the fourth leading global risk factor for death according to the Global Burden of Disease study produced by 488 researchers from 50 countries. This puts air pollution behind poor diet and high blood pressure, and about the same as tobacco smoke as a preventable risk for early mortality, globally.
The study was published online this week by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington with interactive graphics that allow policymakers and public health officials to compare “modifiable” causes of death and disability among countries, and over time. The effort was funded by the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation.
In South Asia, which includes India, indoor air pollution was the leading risk factor for burden of disease in 2010, while in Eastern, Central, and Western Sub-Saharan Africa it ranked second, and in South East Asia it ranked third. The study calculates that indoor and outdoor air pollution together are responsible for more than six million deaths annually, including 3.5 million deaths from household air pollution from solid fuel pollution, 3.1 million deaths from the ambient particulate matter pollution, and 0.2 million deaths from the ambient ozone pollution. In addition, the percentage of global disability-adjusted life years (DALY’s) attributed to air pollution is 4.5% from household air pollution from solid fuels, 3.1% from ambient particulate matter pollution, and 0.1% from ambient ozone pollution in 2010.
“Reducing air pollution, which includes black carbon soot pollution, can save millions of lives a year, reduce crop losses significantly, and cut the rate of global warming in half and the rate of warming in the Arctic by two-thirds over the next few decades,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “With this combination of benefits—healthier citizens, higher crop yields, and half the rate of climate change—reducing air pollutants should be a top priority for sustainable development.”
Black carbon soot, which is one of a group of four climate pollutants known collectively as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), due to their relatively short atmospheric lifetimes, is the second leading cause of global warming behind CO2. The other three SLCPs are methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. Fast action to reduce SLCPs has the potential to cut the rate of climate change in half, slowing global temperature rise by up to ~0.6°C by 2050, while preventing 2.4 million air pollution-related deaths per year, and avoiding around 30 million tonnes of crop losses annually.
Due to the heightened effects of black carbon and tropospheric ozone near their emissions sources, these benefits, including much of the climate mitigation benefits, are enjoyed largely by the regions making the cuts. For example, eliminating emissions of black carbon from traditional solid biomass stoves with improved cook stoves would have a major impact in reducing black carbon direct climate effects over South Asia (by about 60%).
The Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet is here.
The IGSD’s Primer on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants is here.
Contact Info: Erin Tulley, (202) 338-1300, [email protected]
The Nabukelevu Site Support Group (SSG) was set up in 2007 to promote the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Mount Nabukelevu, Kadavu, Fiji. The group has gone from strength to strength in protecting their IBA, developing alternative livelihoods and providing for their future. The SSG are currently selling honey from the IBA and investing the profits in their children’s education.
Nabukelevu is an Important Bird Area (IBA FJ12) and supports four species and eight subspecies endemic to Kadavu. The SSG is made up of youth, men and women representatives from the four villages surrounding the mountain.
“A portion of the land in Mt Nabukelevu is community protected through an agreement by 11 landowning clans who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BirdLife International to protect over 1,000 hectares of forests for 20 years”, explained Mere Valu from NatureFiji-MareqetiViti.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti are now supporting the community following the recent merger with the BirdLife Fiji Programme.
The youth have begun 2013 with the harvest and sale of honey which will contribute to the revenue earned in the past two years. These 750ml bottles are currently been sold for FJ$ 10.00 and the hives will be harvested again in February to ensure that honey supplies continue to be available for interested individuals.
“In support of village initiatives, the SSG and the youth group have contributed a portion of their revenue to a childrens’ trust fund which was set up in Lomati village in 2012″, said Mere.
“The SSG will continue to oversee conservation initiatives in the IBA and are anticipating a great year through the sale of their honey, pineapples and sandalwood”.
Release Date: 02/22/2013
Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Austin Vela, 214 665-2200 or [email protected]
EPA to Co-Host Austin Sustainable Materials Management Workshop
(DALLAS – February 22, 2013) The Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with the City of Austin and the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) to help organizations think about materials management sustainably. The three agencies will host a workshop, Sustainable Materials Management: Bringing Everyone and Everything Together. Sustainable materials management promotes using and reusing materials most productively and sustainably throughout their life cycles.
Experts from the EPA, STAR, and Austin Resource Recovery will be there to facilitate discussion about achievements in sustainable materials management, as well as what works, what doesn’t and what tools are available for anyone interested in getting involved.
Prior registration is not required, but media members are asked to check in at the registration area upon arrival.
WHO: Environmental Protection Agency
City of Austin Resource Recovery
- State of Texas Alliance for Recycling
WHEN: Monday, February 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 26 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon
WHERE: Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Road
More information on the conference: http://www.trainex.org/offeringslist.cfm?courseid=1450&all=yes
More information on sustainable materials management: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/smm/
More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.htm
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Working as part of an EU research consortium, The Paint Research Association (PRA) has developed a food packaging coating product, called PlantPack, which can replace current packaging coatings based on petrochemicals which are bad for the environment.
PlantPack is an eco-friendly food packaging coating product made from seaweed extracts and starch. It can be applied to paper and cardboard as a spray.
Ian Claris, director of PRA says: “PlantPack is a real breakthrough for packing technology as it means at last there is a cost effective, sustainable alternative to petroleum derived coatings products. And because it’s a biodegradable product, it can be composted and recycled easily. So it’s better for the environment and performs at least as well as the existing products. We expect there to be a big demand for it from day one.”
Food packaging coatings are used on paper wraps, cartons and cardboard. Coatings provide physical barriers which protect food products in the packaging container during storage and transportation.
Although seaweed extracts have previously been used to develop sustainable barrier materials for food and pharmaceuticals products, they have never been applied as a coating for packaging products as they haven’t been as flexible or strong. To overcome these physical limitations, the scientists working on the project blended seaweed extracts with starch and starch derivatives (which have good flexibility and strength) so it could be applied to paper packaging.
Current packaging coatings are based on petrochemical derived waxes and polymers. However, with increasing petroleum costs and recent instability and volatility in some oil producing countries, the food packaging sector is searching for an alternative reliable and sustainable package coating product.
PRA is working with a consortium of European partners with funding from the European Commission under the Framework Programme Seven (from the Research Executive Agency).
The partners are:
ITENE – (Spain) Spanish packaging, transport and logistics research centre www.itene.com
Mantrose UK Ltd – (UK) world leader in edible coatings and specialty products for the pharmaceutical, confectionery, agricultural, food and industrial industries http://www.mantroseuk.com/
Altin Gidas – (Turkey) Turkish producer of meat, meat coating products, ready meals and delicatessen products http://www.altingida.com.tr/
Alexir Packaging Limited – (UNITED KINGDOM) manufacture and produce a wide range of industrial and commercial packaging, mainly cartons and cardboard. http://www.alexir.co.uk/
Yanko SP. Z.o.o – (POLAND) Yanko’s speciality is in paper packaging for the food industry www.yanko.com.pl
Seaweed Canarias (SPAIN) – Seaweed Canarias is a biotechnology company which provides solutions based on algae products for industry in the field of agriculture, nutrition, animal health and cosmetics http://www.seaweedcanarias.com/
For more information please contact:
Note to editors:
Paint Research Association
PRA is the world’s most complete surface coatings advisor. PRA’s mission is to connect the global surface coatings community throughout the supply chain by providing independent knowledge based services in support of innovation and growth of our members
PRA operates internationally with a network of partners and associates, and is part of Pera Technology.
Every year, Pera Technology helps hundreds of companies across Europe and beyond to harness the potential of science and technology to create new and valuable products and processes to create sustainable, valuable businesses.
Pera Technology has extensive in-house capabilities with over 300 analysts, scientists and engineers providing idea and concept generation, business intelligence, IP research and management, technology and project risk minimisation.
On Wednesday 30 January green NGOs, including BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, the EEB and FERN, organized the conference “How Sustainable is Scandinavian Biomass?” an issue relevant not only to countries with many forests such as Scandinavian countries, but also to all European countries as renewable energy is on everyone’s agenda in one way or another.
Biomass can be any kind of organic material that permits to produce energy. Biofuels are one example of a type of fuel derived from biomass such as sugar, wheat, or vegetable oil such as rapeseed. However, other forms of bioenergy derived from biomass also exist, such as the energy produced by burning wood.
In 2009, by adopting the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU committed to sourcing 20% of its total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. This legislation has been translated by Member States as adding half of the 20% under a form of biomass for electricity, heating or road fuels.
Many countries with large forest sectors already see an increase of the extraction of biomass for energy, heating and fuel purposes. Yet, existing regulations have proven to be insufficient to guarantee the maintenance of forest biodiversity and the sustainability of forest management.
Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe said “Scandinavian forests provide European markets with the majority of forest-based products. Researches show that forest biodiversity both in Sweden and in Finland are declining.”
He added “as the use of woody biomass for energy purposes will increase to 10% of EU energy consumption the pressure on European forests will increase, deteriorating forest ecosystems even more if sustainable standards are not put in place”.
Although a transition away from fossil energy is much needed in order to reduce Europe’s CO2 emissions, there are significant risks associated with disproportionately increasing bioenergy use, particularly from woody biomass. The target originating from the RED was put in place without any form of assurance as to its sustainability. There is currently no guarantee that biomass used for energy production comes from sustainable sources and no guarantee that it is not competing for land used to produce food (indirect land use change) and no guarantee that biomass use will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Ariel Brunner concluded, “The current biomass gold rush is damaging to both biodiversity and climate. We urgently need a sustainability framework that also protects our forests. Scandinavian governments should support the framework instead of boycotting it.”
The organizing green NGOs hope that the event, that brought together key EU and national institutions and civil society’s representatives, will foster constructive dialogue around the establishment of a mandatory sustainability framework to regulate the increased use of biomass for energy purposes, and guarantee a reduction of CO2 emissions as well as limit unwanted indirect land use change (ILUC).
For further information please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communication Assistant at BirdLife Europe