Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto

 

EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Staff, EcoSikh, ecosikh.org

 

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EcoSikh has been invited to make a presentation on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at a key academic conference on Sikhism and Gender at the University of Toronto on October 1, 2011.

The SAFAR: Our Journeys conference will feature over 30 speakers including Sikh feminist scholars, theologians and leaders, including keynote speaker Nikky-Guninder Kaur author of The Birth of the Khalsa: A Feminist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity.

Bandana Kaur of EcoSikh will be presenting a paper on Sikh women and biodiversity conservation in Punjab, the birthplace of the Sikh religion.

In her paper, titled “Women Farmers of Punjab: Forgotten Voices from the Plains”, Bandana will examine the Green Revolution from the perspective of Sikh women living in the Malwa region of Punjab, an area recognized for the challenges posed to the farming community. Her paper examines the historical relationship between women and agricultural biodiversity in Punjab, and contemporary efforts by rural Sikh women to revive agricultural biodiversity today.

“Sikh women engaged in agricultural biodiversity conservation can help inform a new approach to agricultural development in Punjab that recognizes complex and interrelated systems in: the content and diversity of what is produced, the inputs both human and technical used to produce these goods, and the knowledge systems upon which choices are based.”

A special issue of the academic journal Sikh Feminist Review will be devoted to the conference proceedings. This public record of Sikh feminist research will serve as one of the first accessible domains to privilege Sikh feminist scholarship.

 

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http://www.ecosikh.org/ecosikh-presents-on-sikh-women-and-biodiversity-at-safar-conference-toronto/

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Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari

Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari

Wangari Maathai

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Editor, Vanguard, vanguardngr.com

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ON Sunday, September 25, 2011, one of the most famous African women in modern times took her exit from the planet earth which she served with distinction.

Her name was Professor Wangari Muta Maathai (April 1, 1940 to September 25, 2011). She succumbed to the scourge of cancer in a Nairobi hospital.

Since her transition was announced by her family, tributes have poured from various quarters, high and low from around the world. From President Barack Obama of the USA to the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon; from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to former US Vice-President, Al Gore all the way down to many non-governmental interest groups devoted to earth conservation, such as the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, The National Geographic organisations and the so many websites and blogsites committed to conservation, the world has been unsparing in its tributes to the first female Nobel Laureate from Africa.

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Achim Steiner, “Wangeri Maathai was a force of nature. While others deployed their power and life force to damage, degrade and extract short-term profit from the environment, she used hers to stand in their way, mobilise communities and to argue for conservation and sustainable development over destruction.”

Wangari was an extraordinary woman, who ensured that her high quality education was not just for her own benefit but for the rural communities in her native Kenya and the world at large. She was an evangelist for the preservation of the environment. As far back as the early 1970s when she was but a young woman, she founded the Green Belt Movement, with which she mobilised thousands of women to plant trees and raise environmental consciousness. The Movement enlisted over 900,000 women to establish tree nurseries and over the years planted about 45 million trees.

She was also a women rights activist. As the first East African woman to be awarded the Ph.D. when she graduated from the University College of Nairobi in the field of Anatomy, she was a female pioneer in most of the posts she worked. While she taught in the university, she fought for equal status for both male and female staff of the university and would have formed the first academic staff union (similar to our own Academic Union of Universities, ASUU) in the institution had the courts not turned the effort down.

She was a fierce force against the long dictatorship of Daniel Arap Moi, who made sure she never emerged as the President of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) until one of her opponents favoured by Moi, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, suddenly withdrew for her to emerge unopposed. She went on to join partisan politics and win a seat as a member of her country’s parliament. Her Right Livelihood Award of 1984 served as an appetiser for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 2004.

Unfortunately, Prof. Wangari Maathai fell victim to cancer, one of the major consequences of pollution and deforestation, which she fought against in over 40 years of her lifetime.

The life lived by this amazing woman is worthy of emulation, especially by other African women. In spite of her divorce a few years into her marriage, she devoted the rest of her life to battles to save the earth, banish autocracy from her country and advance the cause of women.

Africa will honour her memory adequately if African countries take seriously the challenge of continuing the struggle to save the environment, especially in the face of rapid advance of the Sahara Desert, intensification of coastal erosion and gradual disappearance of fresh water resources around the continent and the globe at large. Africa must join hands to make the continent “the last man in defence” against deforestation by massive planting of trees, especially economic trees.

It is heroes and heroines of Africa like Prof. Maathai Wangari that we want our leaders to honour (not sit-tight dictators) as we celebrate a life of uncommon achievements.

Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari Maathai. Rest in peace.

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http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/adieu-earth-mother-wangari/

Damage to shale-gas well pit investigated

 

Damage to shale-gas well pit investigated

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Posted22 September 2011, by Sam Kusic, The Indiana Gazette, indianagazette.com

 

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CHERRYHILL TOWNSHIP — State police in Indiana are investigating what may be an act of sabotage at a controversial shale-gas well near Yellow Creek State Park.

According to police, someone punched holes in the plastic lining of a containment pit at the Marcellus shale well sometime between 4 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Wednesday, causing an estimated $3,500 in damage.

Mike Knapp, president of Knapp Acquisitions and Production, land agent and public liaison for the well owner, Kittanning’s MDS Energy, said that whoever is responsible appeared to have blasted about a half-dozen holes in the liner with a shotgun. He or she also pulled up stakes that were holding up a safety fence and used them to punch another half-dozen holes, Knapp said.

The pit is meant to hold the powdery drill cuttings from the bore hole, not the water produced through the hydraulic fracturing process. Knapp said the pit contained some cuttings from when the company began drilling the well earlier in the year — drillers reached a depth of about 380 feet before having to stop — and some rainwater that had collected in it.

Knapp said the company has notified the state Department of Environmental Protection and is awaiting word on how the agency wants the company to proceed.

He said they are taking the incident as a message from someone, given the timing of the incident.

“I would certainly assume (the person responsible is) someone who is not happy about this project,” Knapp said.

On Sept. 9, the Indiana County Zoning Hearing Board issued MDS a special-use permit to drill the well, an approval it needed to resume operations.

The company needed the board’s approval because the well, on a piece of privately owned farmland off Ray Road in Cherryhill Township, falls within a conservation zone around Yellow Creek State Park.

The zone, established under the county’s Special Recreation and Zoning Ordinance, is designed to protect the area around the park from detrimental land uses and industrial encroachment. While gas wells are permitted in conservation zones, they can be drilled only with the board’s approval.

Not realizing that the well was in a conservation zone, or that the zone even existed, MDS began work on the vertical well without the permit. When county officials learned of the operation, they ordered the company to cease until it obtained approval.

This is the first shale-gas well being drilled in one of the conservation zones, and it has tested the ordinance, which was written in the 1970s, well before shale-gas wells were on the horizon.

But despite opposition from county residents and environmental organizations, the board awarded the permit to the company, as long as it follows several conditions it laid out.

Considering that a shotgun appears to have been used, Knapp said the company is worried about the safety of its employees and the landowner. He said the company has hired a security officer who will guard the well site during off hours.

 

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http://www.indianagazette.com/a_police_courts/article_3ff8f1df-caeb-5abb-b857-f55dd15e4772.html

Learn about beneficial rain gardens at free workshop

 

Learn about beneficial rain gardens at free workshop

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Posted20 September 2011, by Brenda OReilly, West Lake/Bay Village Observer, westlakebayvillageobserver.com

 

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A rain garden is an attractive landscaped area planted with perennial native plants which don’t mind getting “wet feet.” Built in a bowl shape, a rain garden is designed to increase infiltration allowing rain and snowmelt to seep naturally into the ground. Benefits of rain gardens are multiple: they recharge groundwater supply, prevent water quality problems, provide habitat for birds and butterflies and are great-looking landscape features.

Amy Roskilly of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and the Bay Village Green Team are partnering to sponsor a FREE rain garden workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Bay Community House, 303 Cahoon Rd. To register, call Amy at 216-524-6580, ext. 22, or email aroskilly@cuyahogaswcd.org.

Recent studies have shown that up to 70% of the pollution in our streams, river and lakes is carried there by run-off from practices we carry out in our own yards and gardens. Some of the common “non-point source pollutants” from our yards that end up in our local waterways include soil, fertilizers, pesticides, pet wastes, grass clippings and other yard debris.

Planting rain gardens is an effective way to help our communities “bloom,” as we work to protect the health of our watersheds. Learn about the importance of planting a rain garden and how to site it for your yard in this workshop as we work through the Rain Garden Manual for Homeowners.

For more information, please visit the Events section at www.bayvillagegreenteam.com.

Brenda OReilly, Co-Chair of the Bay Village Green Team

 Read More on Nature & Environment

 

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http://www.westlakebayvillageobserver.com/read/2011/09/20/learn-about-beneficial-rain-gardens-at-free-workshop

Retrofitting The Auckland Bioregion

 

Retrofitting The Auckland Bioregion

19 November

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Posted21 September 2011, by Staff, Auckland Permaculture Workshop, aucklandpermacultureworkshop.co.nz

 

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Tutor – Gary Marshall, Finn Mackesy and Rilke de Vos

 

“The question Where are we? has a deep, sustaining ring to it. It is a simple question with a deceptively complex answer”(Robert Thayer). This workshop asks participants to explore what it means to live locally in the Auckland bioregion. Through a series of discussions and design exercises, participants will investigate concepts and design strategies that seek to enrich their neighbourhoods and bioregion. The workshop includes a site visit to an on the ground example of a bioregional design and development initiative and talk with people involved.

Course content

Introduction to – Bioregionalism and Life Place theory; Bioregional and neighborhood audit and stocktake; Design strategies for retrofitting bioregions and neighbourhoods;Re-localization and Transition Culture – the Transition framework and the 12 Touchstones; Local, national and international best practice examples; Integrated Catchment Management, landscape ecology and settlement design.

Learning objectives

  • Develop a deepened understanding of the Auckland bioregion
  • Develop an understanding of the key principles of sustainable design and retrofitting
  • Develop strategies for living locally, enriching and retrofitting the Auckland bioregion for a sustainable and resilient future
  • Develop an understanding of retrofitting existing structures
  • Apply the day’s learning to a practical design activity
  • Identify opportunities and challenges to applying the day’s learning

 

Eco-retrofitting… means modifying buildings and/or urban areas to improve allover human and environmental health, and to reduce resource depletion, degradation and pollution – if not expand the ecological base. It implies an integrated and eco-logical design approach, instead of the mere addition of energy-saving equipment. It also implies a planning strategy that considers not just buildings but whole suburbs, cities and urban infrastructure”  \\ Janis Birkeland

\\ LINKS+ REFERENCE MATERIAL

Life Place, Bioregional Thought and Practice
Robert L. Thayer, 1999
A Field Guide to Auckland: Exploring the Region’s Natural and Historic Heritage
Cameron, Hayward and Murdoch, 2008
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built
Stewart Brand, 1994

 

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http://www.aucklandpermacultureworkshop.co.nz/retrofitting_the_Auckland_bioregion.php

Tutor – Gary Marshall, Finn Mackesy and Rilke de Vos

“The question Where are we? has a deep, sustaining ring to it. It is a simple question with a deceptively complex answer”(Robert Thayer). This workshop asks participants to explore what it means to live locally in the Auckland bioregion. Through a series of discussions and design exercises, participants will investigate concepts and design strategies that seek to enrich their neighbourhoods and bioregion. The workshop includes a site visit to an on the ground example of a bioregional design and development initiative and talk with people involved.

Course content

Introduction to – Bioregionalism and Life Place theory; Bioregional and neighborhood audit and stocktake; Design strategies for retrofitting bioregions and neighbourhoods;Re-localization and Transition Culture – the Transition framework and the 12 Touchstones; Local, national and international best practice examples; Integrated Catchment Management, landscape ecology and settlement design.

Learning objectives

  • Develop a deepened understanding of the Auckland bioregion
  • Develop an understanding of the key principles of sustainable design and retrofitting
  • Develop strategies for living locally, enriching and retrofitting the Auckland bioregion for a sustainable and resilient future
  • Develop an understanding of retrofitting existing structures
  • Apply the day’s learning to a practical design activity
  • Identify opportunities and challenges to applying the day’s learning

\\ LINKS+ REFERENCE MATERIAL

Life Place, Bioregional Thought and Practice
Robert L. Thayer, 1999
A Field Guide to Auckland: Exploring the Region’s Natural and Historic Heritage
Cameron, Hayward and Murdoch, 2008
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built
Stewart Brand, 1994

Religion and ecology among China’s Blang people


Religion and ecology among China’s Blang people

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Posted20 September 2011, by Staff (Queen’s University), PhysOrg, physorg.com

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James Miller, a professor in Queen's University's (Ontario, Canada) School of Religion and the Cultural Studies program, and An Jing, a visiting research student in the School of Graduate Studies, found a distinct link between the strong religious culture of the indigenous Blang people of southwest China and their region’s economic and ecological development. Credit: Queen's University

Fieldwork conducted by two Queen’s researchers could help develop culturally appropriate conservation efforts and environmental education programs in a remote mountainous area of southwest China where deforestation is a major environmental issue.

James Miller, a professor in the School of Religion and the Cultural Studies program, and An Jing, a visiting research student in the School of Graduate Studies, found a distinct link between the strong religious culture of the indigenous Blang people and their region’s economic and ecological development.

“Our research provides clear evidence of religion playing an influential role in managing the relationship between the Blang people and their local ecosystems,” says. Dr. Miller. “Their religious life is not a matter of private belief or personal spirituality, but a cultural system that clearly intersects with ecological and economic systems.”

Previously subsistence farmers, Blang villagers have now turned almost exclusively to producing tea leaves, which when processed becomes a highly valuable finished product. Since China began its economic and landholding reforms in the 1980s, the villagers have been steadily converting their lands to the production of tea, with tea bushes now dominating the steeply-terraced mountainsides.

Interestingly, the researchers observed that recent economic development from tea production in the village is contributing to a resurgence of religion, new temple construction and lavish religious activities. But while the economy is benefiting, deforestation is impacting biodiversity preservation and water management in the local area.

However, during a three-month annual Buddhist festival that marks the beginning of the rainy season, there is a prohibition on cutting down large trees. While in traditional times the trees might have been cut down for building houses, these days they are cut down to increase the land available for tea production. Observance of the tree-cutting injunction has a positive effect on the local ecology by slowing the tree removal. It also demonstrates how indigenous and culture can be an ally in promoting conservation efforts.

More information: For more information, visit Dr. Miller’s research blog at http://www.sustain … echina.info/

Provided by Queen’s University (news : web)

 

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http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-religion-ecology-china-blang-people.html

Website on marine reserve impact launched

 

Website on marine reserve impact launched

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Posted 19 September 2011, by Kimberlee Meier, Port Lincoln Times (Fairfax Media), portlincolntimes.com.au

 

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THE launch of a new website by the fishing industry aims to help address misconceptions about the health and sustainability of resources regarding the commonwealth’s marine reserve network planning process.

The National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA) has launched a website that identifies the impacts on the fishing industry of the proposed South-West marine bioregional planning process.

The South-West region includes the waters off Port Lincoln heading west all along the coast into Western Australian waters.

The website has information about the sustainability of Australia’s fisheries and the communities that rely on fishing and aquaculture, fisheries management and the marine environment.

Fishers believe the government’s plan for marine parks will exclude them from lucrative fishing grounds, and make them move to new grounds outside of the proposed reserves, putting pressure on new grounds.

Locals such as leather jacket fisherman Paul Claughton and rock lobster fisher Daryl Spencer are two of the people whose stories feature on the website, outlining the impacts the proposed marine parks would have on their livelihood.

Wildcatch Fisheries SA chair Jonas Woolford said lots of information could be found on the website, including the South-West’s industry submission about the proposed marine marks.

“This is our way of saying this is our proposal and these are the reasons why,” Mr Woolford said.

“We still achieve all of the conservation objectives that they’re (government) are after … and have the least disruption to our fishing activities.”

National Seafood Industry Alliance chair Katherine Sarneckis said the website provided facts “rather than fiction,” about fisheries and the proposed marine reserve network.

“As the Commonwealth marine bioregional planning process continues around Australia, it will be updated to include information on the industry approaches, social and resource impacts of proposals, and management of our fisheries and marine ecosystems in those areas,” Ms Sarneckis said.

The new NSIA website can be found at www.SeafoodforAustralia.com.au

 

 

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http://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/website-on-marine-reserve-impact-launched/2297911.aspx