Archive for February, 2012
Sustainability is an ambitious goal for humans. We do however have a chance to create a sustainable environment that will allow the human race to endure infinitely. To achieve this we must start with sustaining the earth. The earth provides the raw materials, which become commodities, which are used in the development of everything essential to life, including food, water, and shelter. Water, land and air, are the basic foundations of life that can also serve as representative of our resource depletion and sustainability efforts. The intangible coexistent requirement for future sustainability is a strong social or culture environment that will be responsible for developing processes, policies, laws and other mechanisms that will support sustainability. In 1991, Mohan Munasinghe and Ernst Lutz said:
“Sustainable development is an approach that will permit continuing improvements in the quality of life with a lower intensity of resource use, thereby leaving behind an undiminished or even enhanced stock of natural resources and other assets.”
Our goal should be to work toward restoring and maintaining their function and integrity so that their services and human uses can be sustained over the long term. This can be done by incorporating triple bottom line in our personal lives. According to Lozano (2007) the dominant socio-economic paradigm, has led to behaviors that are increasingly pervasive in our society today. We as individuals should set goals that will help restore our global ecosystem, foster healthy living and reduce our impact on the local environment. We should look at our activities and consider some of the not-so-positive ways in which we impact the future and the globe. We should view in a new way the daily decisions we make about energy use, water consumption, recycling, transportation and food.
The first green revolution was considered a failure in terms of environment because did not work alongside nature. It failed because of bad governance. The small farmers were eventually left behind and were not able to get assistance with their farms. Their voices were not heard. The voices of the people who bought the larger farms were heard instead. Alongside this new pollutants arrived such as pests, petroleum, fertilizers, etc… the green revolution turned out to be a failure, they did not listen and take heed to nature and the local farmers.
Green 2 revolution is a good idea because hopefully they have learned from past mistakes and are more keen to understanding and realizing what truly needs to be done to sustain. Perhaps this time they will work alongside nature. According to Rogers there are five elements for the new green 2 revolution. They are:
“1. A redistributive policy that favors the poor by providing them access to land and modern inputs.
2. Increased public funding for less favorable agricultural land.
3. Increased attention to the needs of small holder farms and landless laborers, including credit.
4. Increased investment in rain fed agricultural areas in both Asia and Latin America.
5. Decentralized agricultural research, development, and extension systems focusing on particular issues such as soil and water management”(Rogers, 2008)These are very sound elements and if put to use correctly should be very successful. They need to work alongside nature as well as the local people…what will sustain the environment yet sustain the people too!
According to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the purpose of environmental sustainability is to “foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of the present and future generations”. To achieve this goal, it is vital for us to always apply the triple bottom approach. Nowadays, living a “green” life is the talk of the day as many people are beginning to realize the consequences of our actions to the environment. Despite all the growing scientific evidence of the detrimental effects of some of our social and economic activities to the environment, a significant number of people continue to deny the effects of global warming for ideological reasons. For us to achieve the goal of sustainability, we all need to look past our ideological differences and focus on the scientific evidence presented before us.
The Green Revolution is a concept that was employed to increase the produce of farmers in developing countries, so as to fight the famine that was a plaque to some developing countries in the world. Despite the fact that it improves the social and economic status in those countries like India and Mexico through an increase in food production, it had its drawbacks on the environment. The use of fertilizers and pesticides led to an increase in soil and water pollution. These countries depended on primitive water sources for drinking and irrigation like “wells”, streams, and rivers. These water sources got polluted by the chemicals for the fertilizers and pesticides, thereby destroying marine life and other elements of the ecosystem like the nitrogen fixing bacteria which are essential in recycling some of the elements required to sustain human life. Repeated use of the same piece of farm coupled with the chemicals and land slide due to irrigation led to soil infertility; “shifting cultivation” wasn’t practiced anymore. The use of a few genetically engineered seeds and chemicals led to decrease in crop diversity.
As a consequence of the Green Revolution, there is a steep increase in the world’s population today. The new challenge to the world is to sustain this rapidly growing population. To do so, we need to explore the field of research and technology which is the main idea behind the Green II Revolution. I believe we can handle these challenges by implementing the concepts of Green II Revolution. To me, Green II Revolution is a good idea. Besides the fact that it minimizes the drawbacks of the Green Revolution and to cope with the demands of the rising population, effective investment in research and biotechnology will create jobs and other social and economic benefits to the people and the community as a whole. By constantly striving for better techniques and production of more humane and environmentally friendly pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation methods, we can sustain our environment. Knowing that the ecosystem is dynamic, and that every action we take has its pros and cons, we can maintain the welfare of humans without destroying our environment by maintaining a balance between our social, economic, and environmental activities.
The Green 2 revolution is a good idea to prevent the destruction of our environment due to increase food production. The Green Revolution was an agriculture movement in south Asia which was initiated to combat starvation in the region. The Bangladesh imported fuel to run irrigation pumps but the small farmers were turned away the subsidized prices and were forced to buy more expensive private prices. Bad governance hurt small farmers. As Spangenberg suggests, sustainable Development is based on economic, environmental, social and institution. The institutional part was lacking in the first green revolution. Bangladesh small farmers with little political influence were also unable to “seeds, fertilizers, roads, and communal storehouses.”Both circumstances lead to the larger farmers benefitting more greatly from the green revolution than small farmers and overall increased the gap between the wealthy and the impoverished. (Rogers 2008).
Tags: economic paradigm, ernst lutz, mohan munasinghe, sustainability efforts, water land and air
The coal industry spans across the Philippines’ landmass particularly in Northern Region, so has a big impact on all environmental concerns in the country. The practices of coal fired power plants and coal mining companies can either have a positive impact on our economy or can have a detrimental impact on our natural environment.
Its adverse effects to our environment
Coal industry particularly coal burning greatly contributes to what they call environmental phenomenon global warming. This global warming involves greenhouse effect process by which radiative energy leaving a planetary surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases thus warming the earth’s surface. The reason why coal burning contributes to global warming is that coal emits greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and others. In some regions where coal burning is abundant, it has caused acid rains which contaminate vegetation soil and groundwater supply.
Aside from harmful emissions of coal burning, coal mining applications ruin forests and local wildlife. Just take for example in the Cordillera Philippines, where coal mining activity is mostly done in this region, the Cordillera forest that used to be watershed protecting the Northern Luzon has been ruined by mining applications. Based on DENR-CAR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Cordillera Administrative Region) data the region’s forest cover is now critically below 40% of the total land area of 1.8 million hectares. The ideal forest cover should be 40% or higher of the land area. Moreover, according to elders in that region, reforestation is even useless to save the watershed areas since these were now all replaced by mining applications.
As with many industries there were some historical practices that we now look back on and find it hard to believe that people thought they were doing the right thing. For example, the clearing of large parts of native vegetation in Cordillera lead to some severe examples of environment degradation. The government actually permitted foreign investors to put up mining applications and coal fired power plants without considering its adverse effects to our environment with the belief of leading the country to energy sustainability. Of course this didn’t turn out the way they thought it to be and if coal industry had continued this way it would ultimately risk the environmental and economic sustainability of the entire country. The Filipino community has suffered already and this should not add to their burdens anymore.
What is the sustainable way of generating energy?
Environmental sustainability for the energy industry means that the demand for energy has been met without risking our natural environment and balance of nature is maintained. The revolutionary biosphere technology answers both concerns while helping clean up our environment. It is a waste to energy system wherein it can destroy and convert waste materials into marketable end products like green energy. The technology uses gasification process thus significantly eliminates wastes without harming our environment. It has passed all U.S. and European atmospheric emissions standards including the latest EPA regulations.
For many years the Philippine government has been managing the twin challenges of energy sustainability, at the same time environmental conservation. The good thing, Spectrum Blue Steel Corporation (SBSC) has introduced the biosphere technology to various cities and municipalities in the country. Hopefully this technology will soon replace all the coal fired power plants in the country to significantly improve the condition of the Philippine environment.Tags: coal fired power plants, coal mining companies, cordillera philippines, environmental phenomenon, nitrogen oxides
As we commit ourselves in saving the environment, relying on green solutions begins from our home through our business in our daily lives. Innovative green technologies improve our lifestyles and our planet. Most of these technologies allow us to meet our necessities in an eco-friendly manner without depleting our natural resources. These technologies diminish energy consumption from oil and fossil fuel generated electricity, decontaminates our land, water and air from hazardous component that we indirectly or directly emit.
Environmental preservations and innovations aims to conserve our natural resources and providing new solutions towards energy generation. Green solutions allow us to find alternatives that could address most of our growing problems today. These one of a kind technologies provides us with sustainable energy that does not deplete our natural resources. Upon developing clean and sustainable energy, it gives us the potential to conserve and restructure our planet in an environmental sound aspect of living.
More and more individuals are investing towards green and clean energy initiatives which are offered by renewable energy companies. These companies rely on green technologies that would provide them with efficient techniques and innovations towards generating sustainable and cost efficient renewable energy source. This campaign leads to the path to a cleaner planet that maximizes our chances of battling climate change.
Green solutions and technologies expedite our way towards creating a better impact to our environment. The new innovations that are incorporated with these advancements avert our environment. Clean and efficient energy has the capability to meet the needs of the community by providing a sustainable and cost efficient renewable energy source. It ensures the technologies and process meets the set environmental standards.
Companies that are dedicated in providing individuals and business alternative and green solutions that secures a responsible impact to the environment. These green technologies provide us a fresh selection of trends towards energy and resource conservation. They also provide us with efficient and sustainable energy sources that could help us save money and present optimistic solutions towards the environment. Green technologies and solutions created a bond that allows balancing environmental impact and the performance that they endow.
Green solutions helps individuals to become aware of how much battering our planet has been receiving for the past few years as our technologies progress. Now this new innovations implements green living methods in nurturing our planet back to health. It allows us to address some of our growing concern in an eco-friendly manner that promotes sustainability for the environment.Tags: energy initiatives, green solutions, new innovations, renewable energy companies, renewable energy source
There are as many definitions of “green” as there are shades of color. Wikipedia defines a green building, also known as a sustainable building as “ a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner.”
Dade County Florida’s Website reads that, “Sustainable building practices go beyond energy and water conservation to incorporate environmentally sensitive site planning, resource efficient building materials and superior indoor environmental quality.” The website lists five key benefits of sustainable construction that seems to concisely capture the “spirit” of the green building concept.
- Lower electric and water utility costs
- Environmentally effective use of building materials
- Enhanced health and productivity
- Long-term economic returns
- Reduced environmental impact
The need to reduce costs associated with energy production and importing building materials, the importance of conserving water and natural resources and minimizing environmental impact are challenges that are even more paramount within our island communities. Green initiatives provide excellent benefits but carry a pricetag asociated with implementation. We’ve looked at the benefits and the challenges, but what are the affordable solutions?
Lower Eletric and Water Utility costs
Thin-film solar and Atmospheric Water Generation are two affordable technolgies that fit expectioannly well in the Caribbean region. With the abundance of sunshine we receive intermingled with overcast days, it is still estimated that a solar radiation of 4-5 hours per day is typical for the region. Using lighweight thin-film solar, with a capacity of an estimated 5 watts/sq ft. a typical 1,200 sq ft home could easily support a roof laminted 3,000 Watt solar power system. A system of this size would generate an estimated 12-15kWh per day. By reducing electiical lighintg, cooling, and appliance loads to less than 4k the solar system can also be recued in size.
How do we reduce our electrical load calculations? Design and retrofit with L.E.D. Lighting, A typical home using high efficiency L.E.D. lighting would use just under 250 Watts for the entire lighting circuit and provide equal or higher lumen output than convenienal incandescent or CFL lighting systems. Heat pump water heating technologies provide an estimates 7,000 btu output and a max water temp of 135 while using less than 800 watts nominal. Air Conditioning units using proven ductless-split DC Inverter technologies provide remote controlled zoned cooling while using as little as 1,200 watts for a 11,000btu system. Energy efficient appliances are readily available and help to reduce overall electrical loads
A very natural solution for clean water production in the Caribbean has been around since the beginning of time. Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) systems use the natural humidity in the air to produce up to 6gallons per day of pure filtered drinking water without the need for any plumbing or realated infrastructure. Dispensing 99.9% pure water, the AWG system can be operated directly from solar power or plugs into a standard household outlet. With a built in water heating element the units dispense hot or cold water on demand without the need for maintaining an inventory of bottled water. Production costs are estimated between .06 -0.14 per gallon of water.
Environmentally Effective use of Building Materials
What’s needed is a building system that can resist high winds, is versatile, structural, provides a high level of insulation, minimim waste and is affordable. Concrete Structural Insulated Panels (CSIP) provide an excellent alternative to conventional concrete block construction in the Caribbean. Proven and accepted throughout the United States, CSIP’s are pre-designed, pre-cut, professionally engineered, insulated, provide a strucural frame and exterior and interior concrete fire resistant surfaces for finishing. These lighweight concrete panels are produced by manufacturers that are members of the Unites States Green Building Council (USGBC) such as T.Clear Corp of Hamilton Ohio. Their ProTec® CSIP building system provides less skilled labor, reduces wall construction time to a matter days verses months and is competitively afforadble when compared to block or conventioanl construction techniques. The company literature states the panels are “framing, sheathing, insulation and interior wall surface all in one. This equates to building more homes in les time with fewer associated costs and waste.
Enhanced Health and Productivity
Clean water, fresh air, low VOC and no off-gasing products should be the benchmark for homes built under the “green” design concept. Energy conservation and eco-friendly homes do not happen by accident, it takes planning and design guidelines to ensure homes provide comfort, style and are also affordable. Choosing off the shelf products that are eco-friendly minimize costs and help descrease the time required to source specialized products that add time and expense to the construction process. Despite the misconception, “green homes” can be stylish, affordable and built on a reduced timeline.
The Protec® Building System is currently used by HDC Development Corp within the Bahamas to build as it describes, “Net Zero Energy Homes”. Recently receing apporavel from The Bahamas Ministry of Works, the Protec Building System® is meticuoslesy engineered to design loads of up to 150 mile per winds. According to the information from the company’s website, these “Net Zero Energy Homes” gerernate more energy than they consume, have minimal environmental impact, resist high winds and are very compatiable to developers seeking higher construction productivity rates.
Long-term Economic Returns
Unfortunately, when green initiatives are initially introduced into some regions for the first time, typically there exists an entense amount of resistance as traditional stakeholders, with entrenched concepts and methods are challenged by the new technology. However, for the greater good of the entire Caribbean region, traditional beauracratis “red tape” needs to be pierced so that a new generation may benefit from the advances in proven technology and ensure our regions continued success in the renewable energy amd sustainable development sectors.
Openminded acceptance of proven “green technologies” will bring investment, trainig, jobs and prosperity to the Caribbean region. The region is ideal to capture the full potential of clean solar and wind power generation. Long-term economic growth is the fruit that’s harvested when we plant the seeds of green initiavtes today.
Reduced environmental impact
Waste reduction, resource conservation and matinainting pure water inventories are important issues that face any region, but even more so here in the Caribbean islands. As our population grow so does the need to pay more strict attention to the subject of waste management and recycling. Education and acceptance of recycling is the key. Conservation is an adopted lifestyle and the population must see it as a benefit in order to embrace it. Tangible incentives such as reductions in Waste Collection rates for househgolds that recycle, reduced utility rates for homes with Solar or wind Power Generation systems and reduced municipal water rates for households with Atmospheric Water Generators would go a long way to helping the large public adopt and embrace “going green”.
Lets hope the islands of the Caribbean region can by careful and wise use of our startegic natural resources become the worldwide leader in the adoption and implemntation of proven green technologies. It is clear we have the most to gain and success will equate to increased toursim, investment, training, jobs and prosperity for our region.Tags: dade county florida, importance of conserving water, overcast days, shades of color, solar power system