Amid all the festivity, shopping, hustling and bustling, redecorating and cleaning, let us give a thought to our environment which is very special and important to our health and wealth. Let us be charitable, not only to our friends and families, but also to the environment!
There are many things that we can do to prepare for a ***green*** or eco-friendly holiday season that reduces our negative impacts on our beautiful environment and health.
One easily doable thing is to keep in mind the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and use them in our holiday preparations. This would go a long way towards improving the aesthetics of the environment, conserving our resources and keep our economy strong.
Eco-friendly and nature inspired décor will bring a natural and unique touch to your home, that is true to the festive nature of the season. So let us make a difference in our lives and our country this holiday by trying simple preparation tips for a holiday with less waste and better use of materials around us. Here are some to start you off:
* Look for the ozone friendly label on products before you buy.
* Make use of natural cleaning agents such as vinegar and baking soda.
* Keep materials that are recyclable and in good condition as you will see the need for it in the future.
Decorating the house
* Use natural or recycled materials to make decorations.
* Wrap old jars with coloured paper and place candles inside.
* Use low energy (LED) fairy lights.
* Cut down on energy use – use candles for Christmas dinner.
* Reuse old Christmas cards for gift tags, decorations etc.
* Put sweets or other goodies in old jars and set them on the table or give as gifts.
* Make Christmas decorations – bring out the glue guns, old papers, paints, old décor and old clothing to create crafty projects this season.
* Buy recyclable or reusable products for the home and as gifts.
* Buy goods in bulk – you will save more money and time.
* Instead of buying new clothing for the holiday, make your own or you reuse your old clothing and mix them in different ways.
* Do not impulse shop – you will save more (you will need that money next year).
* Make Christmas cards (be creative).
* Make gifts, example: flower baskets or fruit baskets.
* Reuse wrapping paper.
Best wishes for the holiday season from the Environmental Protection Agency!
You can share your ideas and questions by sending your letters to: “The Earth Our Environment”, C/O EIT Division. Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, Georgetown or email us at email@example.com.
The festive end-of year season is here again. House-cleaning is well on its way, decorations are out, and the usual hustle and bustle of the season is quite evident. It is also a time that provides you with a great opportunity to be mindful of your actions and how they can affect our health, pocket and the environment.
As the end of 2013, the ‘International Year of Water Cooperation’ draws near; it is a good time to reflect on how invaluable water is to our health and prosperity. It is necessary for everyone to work together to ensure that this precious resource is conserved and protected, because how we treat it could very well affect quality of life in 2014 and beyond. Here are some tips to help you do your part:
While you’re eating:
* Avoid food waste: Food waste tends to increase in the holiday season. This impacts our water resources indirectly – all the water and resources put into the growing, manufacturing, and selling of our food goes to waste if the food ends up in the bin.
* Plan your meals properly and thaw meats naturally, well in advance, instead of placing them in water to thaw.
* Create a compost pile with certain food scraps instead of using a garbage disposal.
* Consider rinsing over a tub when washing vegetables and fruits for dinner; you can reuse the water for your holiday plants.
* Use more homemade juices. This takes less water to make; take what you need and avoid wastage.
* Eat more vegetables and less meat. Did you know that it takes approximately 50,000 litres of water to provide you with one pound of beef?
* Don’t run the tap when washing dishes. Plugging the drain, filling the sink with soapy water, and scrubbing and rinsing from there can reduce how much water you use cleaning all those holiday pots, pans, and dishes.
While you’re cleaning/washing:
* Use damp newspapers instead of water to clean your window, they give a much better shine and uses far less water.
* Soak your flowers down for a while and then fill up a tub or large container and rinse them. It’s much more effective than washing directly under the pipe.
* Save water (and make that pile of laundry disappear a little faster) by only washing full loads every time, and using the appropriate setting on your machine to the size of the load you’re washing.
* Sun-dry your laundry as far as possible instead of drying in the washing machine.
While you’re shopping:
* Take your own reusable bottle with water when you go shopping and avoid buying small bottles of water which will also increase the amount of waste you produce.
* It might seem outlandish, but water-efficient appliances can make great gifts! Reusable water bottles, low-flow showerheads and even a rain barrel could also be a great gift to help your loved ones conserve water.
* Consider dry flower or fruit arrangements instead of filling large vases with water for fresh flowers.
* Use reusable wrappings for gifts such as a tea towel, table cloth, or scarf – this saves energy and waste products as well as water, and is a practical part of the gift as well.
At this period of the year, many persons take the opportunity to do renovations, repairs or even upgrade items within their home. Ensure water conservation and protection is on your to-do list. Repair or replace all leaking pipes, invest in low-flow shower heads and toilets and a buoy for your outdoor storage tank. Remember, less than one per cent of the water on earth is fresh, so it’s not as abundant as you might think!
You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O EIT Division, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, Georgetown; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persons who are found guilty of littering will now be charged under the Litter Enforcement Regulations, 2013, which will be enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency through its recently established Enforcement and Compliance Division.
The Litter Regulations address among other aspects; litter offences, penalties and the power of the local authority to enter premises and to remove derelict vehicles. In this article, we will look at the litter offences and penalties under the litter regulations, while in a subsequent article, we will examine the powers ascribed to the local authority.
It is an offence to litter in a public place
Under the litter regulations, it is an offence to litter in a public place, particularly:
To deposit litter in a public place;
To deposit litter from a moving vehicle unto a public place; and
To cause or permit persons to commit offences one and two above.
Any person/persons found guilty of any of these offences under the litter regulations shall be liable to a fine of between 50,000 to 100,000 dollars or three months imprisonment. The absence of a waste receptacle is not an excuse under the law.
Allowing litter to enter a public place from a vehicle whether it is a bus, car, truck or trailer is an offence and any person found responsible for such an act will be fined the sum of $50,000. If the person that committed the offence cannot be determined, then the driver of the vehicle will be held responsible. If it is a company or organisation committing such an offence, then it shall be fined $100,000.
It is an offence not to provide a
receptacle for litter in public transportation
It is required, that the owner of every bus, taxi and every other mode of public transportation while his vehicle is plying for hire, provides in a convenient place within the vehicle, one or more receptacles for the deposit of litter. Failure to adhere to this requirement is an offence with a penalty of $15,000.
It is an offence to cause littering from a moving vehicle or trailer
It is an offence for a person to transport in or on a motor vehicle or trailer along any motorway, road, street, alley, lane, mall or thoroughfare, any substance or material in a manner which makes it likely to fall off or blow off the motor vehicle or trailer. As such, it is required that material being transported be:
Sufficiently secured as to prevent it from falling off the motor vehicle or trailer; and
Adequately covered as to prevent it from blowing off the motor vehicle or trailer.
A person who is found guilty of this offence is liable in the case of an individual to a fine of $50,000; or in the case of a company or organisation to a fine of $100,000.
It is an offence to litter on another person’s premises
A person who litters any premises owned or occupied by another without the consent of that other person is guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of $30,000 or six months imprisonment.
The regulations also prescribes an increase in penalty for persons found guilty of repeat offences. Specifically it states that the fines will be double the maximum for any offence repeated.
Look out for more on the Litter Enforcement Regulations, in next week’s article.
The environment is everybody’s business. Let’s keep it clean – Do not litter.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) – Part 3 (Guyana’s approach)
In previous articles, we examined how Guyana has been approaching REDD+ and the use of its forests in addressing climate change. This week we will continue to explore Guyana’s actions.
Guyana has embarked on a number of key initiatives, activities and partnerships to support capacity building for REDD+ as part of the wider implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
The governments of Guyana and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 9, 2009 regarding cooperation on issues related to the fight against climate change, in particular those concerning REDD+. Under the agreement, Guyana is being paid for its performance through an incentive structure that rewards the country for keeping deforestation below an agreed reference level, as well as avoiding increased forest degradation.
Norway has committed to providing Guyana up to USD$250 million to 2015, depending on the country’s delivery of results as measured against two sets of indicators. The country has earned US$115 million in payments for forest climate services through this partnership – making it the second largest Interim REDD+ arrangement in the world.
Guyana is the first country in the world to implement national scale action on REDD+. Because there is no agreed UNFCCC REDD+ mechanism, the Guyana Interim REDD+ mechanism has been built from nine key building blocks, which seek to model a likely REDD+ mechanism. There are two core functions of this mechanism:
1. Earning payments – Guyana is paid based on independently verified delivery of forest climate services, against two sets of proxy indicators:
REDD-plus performance indicators: Guyana is paid US$5t/CO2 for avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-related indicators, relative to a reference level that seeks to be compatible with a global halving of deforestation by 2020, and which seeks to provide an incentive for historically low deforesting countries
Indicators of enabling activities: Recognising the need to embed social and broader environmental objectives into the sale of forest carbon, Guyana and Norway set out a series of enabling indicators to act as proxies for UNFCCC safeguards.
2. Managing payments – Pending the creation of an international climate finance mechanism for REDD+ payments, the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) is acting as the proxy for a REDD+ financial intermediary function. The GRIF is channelling REDD-plus payments from Norway and other potential contributors to the implementation of Guyana’s LCDS.
By 2015, Guyana aims to develop each building block to a level of quality which, cumulatively, creates the elements of an expected REDD+ mechanism.
Guyana is investing heavily in supporting the forestry sector’s ability to trade in the global market place through the provision of three key capabilities:
* REDD+ Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS);
* EU-FLEGT VPA Agreement; and
* Independent Forest Measurement (IFM).
Progress against reducing emissions and enhancing removals of carbon in Guyana’s forests will in time be measured through the MRVS. An MRVS Roadmap has been developed and it details the steps towards a full MRVS being implemented by building national capacities – to establish a comprehensive, national system to monitor, report and verify forest carbon emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in Guyana.
At this stage significant progress has been made in mapping forest degradation. Work has also progressed in the area of forest carbon stock assessment and in the design of the forest carbon monitoring system.
Other activities that will be done include the design of a long-term monitoring plan for forest carbon and assessment of drivers/processes affecting carbon impact, emission factors and key category analyses. Additionally, work has been advanced in the area of a REDD+ demonstration project, with the launch of a Community MRVS project.
Further technical assessments have been completed in the area of reference level setting and exploration of ecosystem services within the MRVS. Guyana is working with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) process, which is the chosen multilateral route for preparing for REDD+. A key means to support efforts has been the development of a REDD Secretariat at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) which conducts work on the key technical aspects of REDD+.
There are many other key actions being taken to support Guyana’s REDD+ actions (refer to the website below for further information or visit: http://forestry.gov.gy/)
Next we will continue to examine key elements of Guyana’s LCDS.
For additional information, please contact the Office of Climate Change, Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown on telephone number 223-5205, email email@example.com or website www.lcds.gov.gy.
In 1945 with the ratification of the UN Charter by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. However, since 1948, October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations (UN) Day.
The purpose of the United Nations is to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people. It affords the opportunity for countries to balance global interdependence and national interests when addressing international problems. This has been achieved by setting up various organisations such as UN-Water, UNESCO, UNICEF, and UNAIDS.
Commonly known as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), this arm of the UN came into existence in 1945 to improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural populations, and contribute to global economic growth.
Goals of the FAO:
Help eliminate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition;
Make agriculture, forestry, and fisheries more productive and sustainable;
Reduce rural poverty;
Increase the resilience of livelihoods from disasters.
According to the UN, the vast majority of population growth takes place in developing countries. FAO projects that; world food production needs to increase by approximately 60 per cent to feed a growing world population.
Water and agriculture
Freshwater is literally the lifeblood of agriculture. Since the majority of the worlds freshwater is used to irrigate crops, the two are intertwined, hence, the management of the resource and the sector should be interconnected.
Agricultural water use will be a key element for increasing food production, especially in many developing countries, where water is often scarce. Currently around 800 million people in developing countries are chronically undernourished. While there is no global water crisis, the serious water and food security problems in some developing countries and regions need to be urgently addressed. One in five developing countries will face water shortages by 2030.
According to trends, the world’s population will grow from around seven billion people today to more than eight billion by 2030, an additional two billion people need to be fed within the next 30 years. This will significantly increase the pressure on our water resources. Additionally, agriculture is also one of the largest contributors to water pollution whether from chemicals or poor farming practices.
Did you know that? FAO estimates that the world uses 70 per cent of its freshwater for agriculture alone.
Agriculture contributes significantly to water pollution through the release of organic matter such as animal waste, and run off of excessive nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
This often results in fish kills, contamination of drinking water supply, creation of dead zones in water bodies, and poisoning of humans (cancer and blue baby syndrome).
A call is therefore made to all persons involved in agriculture whether on a small, medium or large scale to be mindful of how you use our precious water resources.
Employing simple measures such as; harvesting of rainwater and watering your plants in the cool of the day can go a far way. The onus is on us to strike the balance between water use and food production.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) – Part 2 (Guyana’s approach)
In the previous article, we discussed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) and provided an overview of the key developments under REDD+ at the international level. This week we will examine how Guyana has been approaching REDD+ and the use of its forests in addressing climate change.
Guyana has about 15 million hectares (80 per cent of the country) under pristine forest cover. With historically low rates of deforestation, Guyana has placed the conservation and sustainable management of its forests as a major national priority.
In 2008, the government of Guyana facilitated a study by the McKinsey Group which sought to estimate the economic value of Guyana’s forests to the nation (EVN) if it were to follow a rational development path, deploying its forested areas to generate income and employment. The study found that if Guyana chose to pursue this form of development, the likely estimate of the value would be US$580 million annually. The study also assessed the Value of Guyana’s Forest to the World (EVW), taking into account the role that forests play in carbon sequestration and protecting biodiversity. Conservative valuations of the EVW provided by Guyana’s forests suggest that, left standing, they can contribute up to US$40 billion in value for global ecological services each year.
Guyana has recognised that the two objectives of protecting rainforests and pursuing economically rational development can be reconciled by offering its standing forests for REDD+ payments and using those payments to invest in green economic activities.
At this stage there is no market for forest-based ecosystem services, nor any global REDD+ scheme for results based payments. In these circumstances, countries such as Guyana face real pressures to deforest.
As discussed in the previous article, a REDD+ mechanism is being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and reward countries for the carbon sequestration and storage services provided by forests.
Guyana has made considerable progress internationally in negotiating its position on REDD+ through the UN and other major processes. Guyana, along with likeminded countries, has been successful in obtaining a broadening of the scope of REDD+ to include the circumstances of countries like Guyana with high forest cover and low deforestation rates (HFLD), and effecting the inclusion of forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
The country is currently negotiating alongside other rainforest countries for the scaling up of financing for results based REDD+ actions, and is also advocating a move away from the fragmented system of REDD+ financing entities which have their own individual rules and standards, and move towards a global REDD+ architecture under the UNFCCC that will ensure coordination and coherence in financing, and also ensure equitable access to financing and equity in disbursement.
Guyana also supports in parallel the establishment of robust measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, reference levels, and safeguards which are approved by the UNFCCC.
Even while the details of a global framework to address REDD+ are being worked out, Guyana has moved ahead domestically to develop a workable approach to addressing the use of its forests in mitigating climate change.
This is embodied in an avoided deforestation strategy, which is a major component of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), launched in June 2009 and updated in 2013.
The LCDS sets out how Guyana can avoid significant emissions of GHG from deforestation that would occur following an economically rational development path, by attracting payments for forest carbon through a REDD+ mechanism. In its model of avoided deforestation, Guyana has proposed that, given appropriate incentives and safeguards, almost all of Guyana’s forests could be placed under long-term protection. The appropriate incentives would be payments for carbon services that equal or exceed, in the long term, the EVN of the forests.
To support capacity building for REDD+ as part of the wider implementation of the LCDS, Guyana has embarked on a number key initiatives, activities and partnerships.
Next week we will continue to explore these and other actions Guyana has taken as they relate to REDD+ and the use of its forests in addressing climate change.
For additional information, please contact the Office of Climate Change, Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown on telephone number 223-5205, email firstname.lastname@example.org or website www.lcds.gov.gy.