“Las 10 Ciudades más sustentables”

El crecimiento de la civilización ha causado que las ciudades consuman por lo menos un 80% de la energía producida y generen la mayoría de los gases de efecto invernadero.

Si viéramos el globo terráqueo desde arriba podríamos ver que el 55% de la tierra está ocupada por ciudades y se espera que aumente hasta el 70% para 2050. La pregunta que se me viene a la mente es ¿Para el ritmo que vamos, podrán existir más ciudades? O ¿Por fin serán las futuras civilizaciones capaces de crecer y al mismo tiempo ser responsables con el planeta? Un rayo de esperanza se asoma entre éstas dos preguntas, aunque sabemos que no es tarea fácil, el índice de ciudades preocupadas por el medio ambiente ha ido en aumento, se ha comenzado con una iniciativa sustentable en varias regiones del planeta.

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Navegando por la red y con esta pequeña inquietud, nos encontramos con una lista de Arcadis, que es un grupo de diseño holandés que se basa en tres conjuntos de datos, para darnos una lista de las ciudades más sustentables del mundo.

Dentro de los datos que toman en cuenta son: las medidas en materia de salud, educación, igualdad de resultados y balance entre el trabajo y la vida personal, así como los espacios verdes. El consumo de energía, los niveles de contaminación, el índice de riesgo y la salud en los desastres naturales, y la tercera comprende los beneficios en relación con el entorno empresarial, el rendimiento económico y el ingreso per cápita.

La clasificación se compone de un total de 50 ciudades (de las que sólo estamos presentando los primeros 10 lugares).

1.- Frankfurt

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2.- Londres

2-London

3.- Copenhague

Copenhagen, Denmark

4.- Ámsterdam

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5.- Rotterdam

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6.- Berlín

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7.- Seúl

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8.- Hong Kong

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9.- Madrid

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10.- Singapur

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“Noruega, la ciudad que importa residuos”

¿Podrían imaginárselo? Una ciudad que ¡importa residuos!

Somos una cantidad impresionante de personas sobre la tierra que tratan de satisfacer sus necesidades, generamos cantidades exageradas de basura y explotamos recursos como si fueran a ser eternos. Aún con las contingencias y desastres naturales, existen personas que insisten en decir que “El calentamiento global es un mito” en pleno siglo XXI hay personas en el mundo que creen éstas barbaridades ¿Mito? ¿En serio? Pero bueno, creo que nos ilumina un rayo de esperanza el enterarse que existen personas que se toman el tiempo para buscar alternativas, y ese es el caso de Oslo, Noruega.

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Oslo, Noruega, es una ciudad sustentable, sí así es ¡sustentable! Noruega ha sido reconocida por sus métodos como la prohibición de automóviles y su importación de residuos desde el 2009, a ciudades como Italia y Reino Unido para mantener sus centros de energía y mantener a las ciudades funcionando.

Pero esto no se logró de la noche a la mañana, este proceso inició con la participación activa y comprometida de sus ciudadanos que a través de campañas de reciclaje, aprendieron a separar basura y hacerse responsables de los desechos que generaban, pero no solo eso, sino que el gobierno realmente se tomó el tiempo para instruir a personas y clasificar los desechos, para aprovechar al máximo y sacar ventaja de los desechos producidos.

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De esta manera, se inició el proceso de clasificación de residuo en diferentes bolsas de colores, cada color era para diferente tipo de residuo que es identificado fácilmente y separado por los ciudadanos, y así facilitar el reciclado. Con este proceso, se mejora el aprovechamiento de cada material, lo que le da un segundo mejor uso.

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Por ejemplo, en las bolsas azules se separa el plástico para crear nuevos productos, verde son los residuos orgánicos que se pueden utilizar como fuente de energía y bolsas blancas están destinados a tener el resto de la basura.

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La basura de las bolsas blancas se quema y el vapor que se produce se utiliza para la electricidad, y esa es la forma en la que casi la mitad de la ciudad se provee electricidad ¡Por medio del vapor de lo que se quema! ¿Increíble no?

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¿Y qué hay de los desechos sanitarios? Eso se encuentra enterrado junto con otra basura que se genera y no puede ser reutilizada. Actualmente la ciudad recicla 410.000 toneladas de basura al año y el proyecto sigue creciendo.

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Noruega es el ejemplo perfecto de lo que una sociedad comprometida con su entorno puede lograr ¡Imagínate que todas las ciudades tuviéramos una estructura similar! Los resultados podrían cambiar el destino de la especie humana.

 

 

Monstanto, an evil monopoly

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The Monsanto Company, based in St. Louis, MO USA, is practically making money not only by selling its genetic modified organisms (GMO), primarily plant seeds (maize, soybean and cotton) all over the world, but also their herbicides.

In India, they have been getting away with looting farmers. In addition to illegal royalties, the firm owes the families of ‘prime aged’ working Indian farmers approximately $1.764 trillion.Farmers, first of all, are breeders. They might not have the lab coats that have come to define modern plant breeding, but their wisdom, knowledge and contribution is unquestionable. To be able to continue breeding, using their own seed, is their first right, their first freedom and their first duty. This right has been recognized in India’s Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Rights Act:

39 (iv) A farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act

All seeds bred by the public sector or by private corporations are based on varieties bred by farmers. For the last two decades, Monsanto has forcefully monopolized the cottonseed sector with its Bacillus thuringiensis (o Bt) GMO cotton seeds, which is a soil bacterium that lives in the soil and whose toxin Cry is used as a pesticide. This monopolization has taken placed through illegal, illegitimate and corrupt means. Monsanto controls 95 percent of the cotton seed supply and collects royalties in the form of technology fees even though it does not have a valid patent – because Monsanto introduced Bt cotton into India illegally, before India changed its patent laws, and when Indians did amend their patent act they introduced clause 3 (j) clearly defining that biological processes are not inventions.

Article 3(j) excludes from patentability:

“plants and animals in whole or in any part thereof other than microorganisms; but including seeds, varieties, and species, and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals”.

Knowing that Monsanto was collecting illegal royalties, and that there is an epidemic of farmers suicides (3,00,000 farmer suicides due to a debt trap created by costly seeds and chemicals) the government has failed to act.

The government failed to break Monsanto’s illegal monopoly, and it failed in its public duty to ensure a supply of safe, reliable, renewable seed for our farmers.

A Right To Information (RTI) request submitted by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) to the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) in Nagpur revealed that CICR has not released a single variety of cotton for the farmers of Vidarbha since Monsanto entered India’s cotton seed market.

Suddenly, after 20 years of slumber, there is a flurry of activity – in the press, in the agriculture ministry – to rush the introduction of a straight variety of Bt cotton by the CICR, claiming that it will serve the farmer. “Straight” is a word used to describe renewable varieties which are selections from farmers’ varieties. These farmers’ varieties have been bred in the commons and belong to the commons.

Could this sudden rush be a desperate attempt by the biotech industry and government to use the public sector as a Trojan horse to dilute and dismantle India’s biosafety regulations? Could this be an attempt by big biotech to bypass the Indian judiciary by bypassing the pending Supreme Court Case on GMO field trials? The biotech industry is using the public sector as a mask.

There are legal aspects related to GMO seeds. First is the issue of royalty collections. The second is the issue of biosafety. Monsanto has violated both sets of regulation in India and must be held accountable for breaking the country’s laws. While Bt in straight varieties of cotton addresses the issues of seed costs for the future, it does not negate Monsanto’s prior violations, nor is it any different from Monsanto’s Bt when it comes to biosafety. According to our field studies, at least 84 per cent of the cases of farmers suicides in Vidarbha are related to debt and failure of Bt cotton crop. If the government is committed to protecting farmers’ rights and bringing justice to the farmers, it must force Monsanto to compensate farmers for illegal royalties collected on the basis of an imaginary patent, and make reparations for the hundreds of thousands of farmers it has killed by collecting these illegitimate and illegal royalties.

Insurance statisticians have put the life of a “prime aged worker”, in the US, where Monsanto is based, at a median value of USD 7 million. 84 per cent of 3,00,000 suicides, 252,000, are directly attributed to Monsanto’s Bt Cotton. By this calculation, Monsanto, in addition to the illegal royalties collected, owes the families of “prime aged” working Indian farmers an amount of USD 1.764 Trillion.

Unless action is taken on this front, the talk of straight Bt varieties is a distraction from Monsanto’s criminal actions against the farmers and seed businesses of India, and the country at large. It is also an attempt to use Indian tax payers’ money and public institutions to open the flood gates for GMOs beyond cotton into our food – dismantling and weakening India’s biosafety – without corporate liability.

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How Big Is Your Eco-Footprint?

We know it’s hard to know which our footprint is.

So we’ll leave you this quiz, that we found of the book “365 Ways to Live Green” by Diane Gow MicDilda.

We hope it helps you:

QUIZ 

So, just how “green” are you?

Most people want to tread lightly on the planet, but they really aren’t sure how big an impact they are making. If you are curious to see if you are a help or hindrance to the planet, take this quiz and find out.

Just pick the answer that best suits your lifestyle.

How often do you recycle?

a) I am a recycling nut. I recycle everything I can: paper, aluminum, printer cartridges, you name it.

b) I recycle when it’s convenient as long as it doesn’t require any excessive thought or effort on my part.

c) I don’t have the time or the patience to recycle. I’m a busy person.

Do you use recycled products?

a) I try to reduce what I need, but when I do have to make purchases, I opt for recycled products when ever possible.

b) If I remember to look for the recycle triangle logo, I will usually buy that product.

c) So that’s what they’re doing with all the stuff other people recycle?

How many of your appliances have the energy star label?

a) Every single one of them that’s available with Energy Star Label. I only bury products that are energy-efficient.

b) When I’m out shopping, I look for Energy Star Label. I try to purchase efficient appliances, but I won’t sacrifice what I ultimately want.

c) I buy the appliances I want and need regardless or whether they’re efficient. If there’s an Energy Star Label on one of my appliances, it’s pure coincidence.

How much of your house is made form sustainable materials?

a) My entire house is made of recycled or sustainable materials. In fact, it is LEED certified.

b) My house wasn’t built using sustainable materials, but every time I renovate, I use sustainable and recycled materials.

c) I leave all the purchasing decisions to the builders. If they want to use sustainable or recycle materials, they can, It doesn’t matter to me.

Do you use any form of renewable energy in your home?

a) I purchase renewable energy from the local utility that’s generated from landfill gas. Otherwise, I’d have a windmill or solar cells.

b) I’m evaluating different options. My local utility just started a renewable energy option. It costs a little more, but it’s worth it. I’m also looking at adding solar cells to the house.

c) I think I heard something about the local utility using renewable energy, but I think it costs more, so I don’t think I’ll sign up for it.

 

How often to do you eliminate car trips?

a) I don’t own a car. My primary means of transportation are my feet. My bike, and mass transit.

b) I try to eliminate at least one car trip a day by riding my bike or walking. I also try to carpool when car trip are really necessary.

c) My car is an extension of me. I wouldn’t think of using any other kind of transportation.

How often do you eat meat?

a) I really don’t eat meat. On rare occasions, I’ll have a taste.

b) I eat it regularly, buy I try to buy local meat raised organically.

c) I eat meat like Cookie Monster eats cookies.

What kind of seafood do you eat?

a) I rarely eat seafood, but when I do, it’s usually clams or mussels.

b) I eat seafood every couple of weeks, and it’s usually shrimp that’s been caught in the wild or farmed in the United States.

c) I love Atlantic halibut flounder and eat it every chance I get.

What kind of pet do you have?

a) I got two dogs form the local animal shelter. I got my cat from a purebred rescue group.

b) My dog came form the animal shelter, but I really wanted a purebred cat with papers, so I bought from a breeder.

c) I checked, but my local animal shelter didn’t have Amazon parrots, so I went online. I had a boa constrictor, but it got big so I let it go.

 

SCORING:

For every A answer, give yourself 2 points.

For every B answer, give yourself 1 point.

For every C answer, give yourself 0 points.

 

HOW BIG IS YOUR FOOTPRINT?

20 to 15 points You have a petite and delicate footprint. Earth needs more inhabitants like you.

14 to 9 points Your footprint shows potential. Jus a few more eco-friendly acts and you’ll be reducing your shoe size.

8 to 0 points Your footprint rivals that of Sasquatch. You are hereby challenged to stop stomping around on the planet.

 

Your carbon footprint

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What is your carbon footprint? It’s the effect that you (or your family, organization or business) have on the climate in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases you produce (usually measured in units of carbon dioxide).

It´s very important to know what your carbon footprint is because if you want to help with the global warming crisis you have to know how your lifestyle is contributing to the acceleration of climate change. Once you know this information, you could say that your number one step to helping our planet is complete.

There are many ways in which you leave carbon emission on a daily basis mostly when using energy that comes from non-renewable resources such as coal, oil and natural gas. You regularly generate carbon emissions when heating or cooling your home and office, when you turn on lights, when you use any electrical appliances, when you drive, among others. You also generate carbon emissions indirectly when purchasing food, clothing, cosmetics and household products. Carbon dioxide is generated with the production of most manufactured goods but it becomes greater when the product is transported long distances. Deforestation is an important factor contributing to the increase of levels of carbon dioxide because trees help to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. It is important to know which foods and paper products contribute in a negative way to climate change in our planet.

In EcoFanatics we want you to know the impact that you and your family cause to the environment and the easiest way to do this is by using online calculators. We recommend the following:

By calculating your carbon emission footprint it will give you a good approximate total of the impact you’re causing so once you´ve completed this step you can be proud of yourself because you have accomplished the first step of helping our environment.

Personally this helped me create conscience about the environment when I did my carbon emission test, I found out I was actually causing a lot of damage to our planet by not recycling paper products and plastic. Form now on I tend to use sheets of paper on both sides when writing and printing.

“Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites”. ~William Ruckelshaus.