Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weather Forecast: Climatic Change Brings More Hunger

From the UN World Food Programme website where extreme meteorological events and conditions often cause hunger. Food for thought. You can help, head over to their website to learn how.
Extreme weather conditions almost always produce more hunger.
(Copyright: WFP/Sven Torfinn)

World leaders are currently meeting in Copenhagen in a bid to work out a new UN pact to address climate change. It’s an issue WFP understands only too well thanks to decades spent fighting climate-related hunger.
ROME -- For more than 40 years, WFP has been helping people whose lives depend on the vagaries of the weather. For these people, the accelerated changes in climate in recent decades have spelt misery, loss and hunger. Example?

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran explained the impact of weather-related hunger in central Copenhagen on Tuesday at the opening of "Humanitarian Day" at the UN Climate Change Conference.

WFP is in Copenhagen to take part in the debate on climate change, contributing our valuable experience and expertise in the area of climate-related hunger.

Learn more:

Kenya: Conserving water in Turkana
The number of natural disasters in the world has doubled since the mid-1990s and WFP -- the UN agency that responds first when these disasters strike -- has seen its work intensify. In this sense, we see the human face of climate change every day. Climate is a key element in hunger emergencies such as the one in the Horn of Africa.
WFP brings food assistance when weather and climate create emergencies. But that’s not all. We also help vulnerable people to adapt and prepare. This is crucial because, amidst an increasingly unpredictable climate,  many people's access to food is at risk.
Here are three examples of how we help:

Working with the Ethiopian government, WFP showed poor farmer Mulualem Tegegn how to exploit every drop of rain that falls on his land in the parched Amhara highlands. Thanks to the MERET project, he and his family are now self reliant for food.

A WFP-supported project in Haiti is giving people food as an incentive for them to build gullies and walls on the bare hillsides around Gonaives. This should lessen the amount of rain water that floods into the city when the storm season comes.

It’s hard for poor people to build livelihoods that will allow them to escape hunger if their houses keep getting washed away by floods. Julekha, a poor Bangladeshi woman, has finally raised her house out of the reach of floodwaters thanks to a course run by the government and WFP.

View the original article here

Monday, September 27, 2010

Climate change reform - The Way We Think

Global warming. What comes to mind? Scam, fraud control, new world order!

These are the things that come to my mind. I assume that the biggest problem I have is the fact that the Earth has always been changing, desert were once the oceans, dinosaurs once roamed the Earth, the Mighty Colorado River was once.... mighty. Our Earth has been warming since the end of the last ice age. I do not believe that humans have played a significant role in this trend, but that is actually what the discussion is all about.

Conservation efforts must be for the sake of conservation. Why should people be facing potential destruction before doing anything about taking care of our environment? Having less pollution in itself is good. Trying to recycle our waste and reuse materials such as plastics and metals instead of simply burying them underground should be good, isn't it? Isn't it better to dispose an old car down and retrieve, remelt and fabricate steel and plastic from them than to  simply mine for additional resources?

Better Gas Milage, greater efficiency on our devices, better insulation in our homes... who can possibly be against all this? Americans. Not all but a lot of Americans don't like being told what to do. Our embrace and concept of freedom needs to be tempered by reality that the Earth cannot maintain a constant supply of all the resources we consume. Crude Oil is not a renewable resource. It takes millions of years to make and best estimates show that the oil left that is yet to be easily extracted by current technology can supply us for the next 60 years. This alone should force us to look for alternative energy resource and develop new technologies to efficiently use current resources, global warming or not.

As the world population grows to 9 billion from the current estimate of 5 to 6 billion, we will put a strain on the planet. Greater sensitivity to the eco-system will be needed in the near future. Our homes can be a starting point to reduce our impact on our environment. The future could be where each home produces enough energy to sustain itself and is no longer dependent on a grid infrastructure. Isn't this a good thing to have? Global warming or not? 

Who doesn't want to be independent? Americans. Some Americans, although not all, will always want someone else to do things for us. We want to simplify our lives and what's easier than having to pay bills automatically?
Convenience and the American way of life are big hurdles we have to confront with regards to addressing the problems to our Environment. There is no a question whether or not we have an impact on our planet! The important debate in this country is whether or not someone can come up with a way to make these conservation methods easy. Until that happens we will continue to conveniently deny that we have anything to do with Climate Change.
Convenience, it's what we Americans are good at.

By: David Reyes


Basically, it's not only Americans but also other people in the world that impact on the environment. It is time to take responsibility for all our actions. It may take some time for some of us to change our habits due to our culture and way of life, but with all the information given to us, let us take action in our own little way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clean Air in Makati City, Philippines

Makati City, the premier business district of the Philippines recently announced improved ambient air conditions over the city. Unfortunately, if the efforts to reduce air pollution will only be done individually, in this case, one city out of 15 and 2 municipalities comprising Metropolitan Manila, such efforts will not make any significant inroads in improving Manila's ambient air conditions. A collective effort is needed. The restrictions imposed in the use of cars by private individuals help. In addition, the anti-smoke belching ordinance will need to be consistently and strictly enforced. There may be other measures that need to be taken collectively by authorities to ensure that the air we breathe in the city will not bring further harm to those who live here.

Makati is just one component city of Metropolitan Manila. When the wind blows, the air and pollution spreads. Below shows the smog that envelops the Makati Central Business District (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4CcKFncMGQ). Numbers may show improvement in air conditions but what we see is still smog that hinders a clear view of the impressive Makati Skyline.

In contrast, immediately after rainshowers or later in the day, the skyline is clear (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogYB7nxHlwo). Wish we can always have this condition. It will be good for the Philippines to strive to address pollution problems but we must always consider things before we set about making laws to address this problem. We should balance things that would address our development needs and at the same time address social and environmental issues.

A developed country can readily afford to implement first class solutions to these pressing concerns. Taking baby steps in addressing the issues is a way forward. Enforcement of laws and ordinances consistently and strictly needs collective will. The Philippines is not there yet but hopefully it will.