Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Climate change in the Amazon basin

Scientific American has an interesting review of a report in Nature describing climate changes in the Amazon area resulting from human activity. Clearly there could be similar effects here in Guyana, if the deforested areas here get large enough, and the climate changes in the central Amazon could also indirectly affect the weather in southern Guyana which is on the edge of the Amazon basin.
From the article:
"The dry season is growing longer in areas where humans have been clearing the trees... Multiyear and more frequent severe droughts, like those in 2005 and 2010, are killing trees that humans don't cut down as well as increasing the risks of more common fires (both man-made and otherwise)."
"The trees are also growing fast — faster than expected for a "mature" rainforest..."
"On the whole, cutting down trees so that the Amazon covers only roughly 80 percent of the land it once did seems to have tipped the rainforest from being a sink for global CO2 emissions to a net source, although this calculation remains highly uncertain, the scientists noted."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A sustainable future?

A BBC news item on a recently released UN report entitled "Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing " from the UN High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability reviews the report in some detail. Summarising it comments:

"Growing inequality, environmental decline and "teetering" economies mean the world must change the way it does business, a UN report concludes."

There are many recommendations (56), many of which are straight forward. Here are a few that stood out to the writer and looked relevant to us:

  • "Governments should accelerate the implementation of commitments to advance gender equality and women’s rights, including through the repeal of discriminatory laws and removal of formal barriers, the reform of institutions and the development and adoption of innovative measures to address informal and cultural practices that act as barriers.
  • Government and non-governmental entities should promote the concept of sustainable development and sustainable consumption, and these should be integrated into curricula of primary and secondary education.
  • Governments should work with appropriate stakeholders to provide citizens, especially those in remote areas, with access to technologies, including universal telecommunications and broadband networks, by 2025.
  • Measures should be taken to strengthen the interface between policymaking and science in order to facilitate informed political decision-making on sustainable development issues. Representatives of the scientific community could be included as members or advisers in relevant national or local bodies dealing with sustainable development issues."

And another noteworthy report, reported in a Wired news item, is the report "Towards a Circular Economy" by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

According to the news item:
"As the report states: "The essence of the circular economy lies in designing goods to facilitate disassembly and re-use, and structuring business models so manufacturers can reap rewards from collecting and refurbishing, remanufacturing, or redistributing products they make.""

Makes sooo much sense.