Deforestation could wipe out over 50 percent of species in Haiti

January 16, 2019 by  
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According to new research from Temple University scientist Blair Hedges, the Caribbean island nation of Haiti is undergoing a mass extinction event, and the country is close to losing its rich biodiversity. Hedges — who has spent decades in Haiti’s rain forests — says that the results of his latest study are shocking. In a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hedges and his co-authors revealed that Haiti , which was once full of lush trees and teeming with wildlife, has now lost almost all of its virgin forests because of deforestation, and is at risk of loosing more than half of its species by 2035. “Up until this analysis, nobody had any idea it was that bad,” Hedges said. “Haiti is in the middle of a mass extinction, and it’s already lost a large number of species because entire areas where unique species exist are no longer present.” Hedges and his colleagues used NASA satellite imagery to analyze Haiti’s current landscape and found that the country has about one percent of its primary forest left since people have resorted to cutting trees down in order to make way for farming and charcoal production needed for cooking. Related: Deforestation in South America causes extinction of 8 bird species He also explained that no one on his research team expected the forest to disappear so quickly. The team of researchers realize that Haiti is at a forefront of a global mass extinction as the country’s species are disappearing at the alarming rate of 100 to 1,000 times the normal rate. Haiti’s loss of wildlife and forestry is largely due to habitat destruction (cutting down trees), but that is just one component in worldwide mass extinction. Other factors across the globe include climate change , invasive species and other human-related activity. Hedges says people often associate deforestation as just removing plants and trees, but in reality everything is being removed. Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University, says that Hedge’s study is a “tragic and brutal” instance of the lengths of human destruction. Primm added that Haiti’s story should resonate, and should be a lesson that everyone should heed when managing wild areas, watersheds and rivers. Via Whyy.org Image via 753tomas

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Deforestation could wipe out over 50 percent of species in Haiti

10Power aims to tap energy potential in this ‘stand-out’ island nation

December 27, 2018 by  
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In Haiti, solar energy and electric vehicles need to scale now, and fast. Here’s where CEO Sandra Kwak’s mission fits in.

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10Power aims to tap energy potential in this ‘stand-out’ island nation

Timberland transforms recycled plastic bottles into shoes, bags

March 3, 2017 by  
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For its latest collection, Timberland is turning to the bottle—the plastic bottle, that is. The outdoor-wear maker has teamed up with Thread , a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based manufacturer of sustainable fabrics, to transform plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti into a dapper collection of footwear, bags, and T-shirts. The Timberland x Thread collaboration goes “beyond environmental sustainability,” according to Timberland. Not only does the partnership turn an ecological blight into a resource but it also creates social value in the form of cleaner neighborhoods and job opportunities for one of the planet’s poorest nations. “The Timberland x Thread collection is incredible proof that style and sustainability can go hand-in-hand,” Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland, said in a statement. “This collection delivers good with every fiber, not just by recycling plastic bottles that would otherwise end up littering the streets, but also by creating job opportunities and cleaner neighborhoods in Haiti. Related: Take a first look at Timberland’s new boots and bags made out of recycled plastic “Consumers can feel good about pulling on their Timberland x Thread boots or backpack, and know they are making a positive impact in someone else’s life,” she added The Timberland x Thread capsule comprises five styles of men’s shoes and boots, a duffel bag and a backpack, and one T-shirt. All incorporate Thread’s “Ground to Good” fabric, which the certified B Corp. spins in the United States using 50 percent post-consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate , better known as PET. Thread says that every yard of fabric can be traced throughout the supply chain, from bottle collection to textile creation and delivery to the manufacturer. The “bottle to boot” process employs more than 1,300 bottle collectors, entrepreneurs, and manufacturing employees in Haiti alone. “At Thread, we believe that dignified jobs cure poverty—and our fabric creates those jobs,” said Ian Rosenberger, founder and CEO of Thread. “Our partnership with Timberland marks a seismic shift in the fashion industry, combining Timberland’s large supply chain and loyal customer base with Thread’s responsible, transparent approach to creating premium fabrics and vital jobs in the developing world. The Timberland x Thread collection is a major step towards improving the way our clothes are made.” + Timberland + Thread

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Dramatic disintegration of Canada permafrost threatens huge carbon release

March 3, 2017 by  
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Permafrost , or frozen soil , is rapidly collapsing across a 52,000 square mile area in northwest Canada – about the size of the entire state of Alabama. New research from the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) finds the permafrost thaw is intensifying, a dramatic disintegration that could speed up climate change . When these slabs of Arctic permafrost collapse, they send silt and mud rich in carbon into waterways. The research shows the decay is resulting in landslides that could alter large swaths of landscape. Similar phenomenon have been noted in Scandinavia, Siberia, and Alaska. The new study sought to measure permafrost decay in Canada using satellite images and other data – and Steven Kokelj of NTGS, lead author of a paper published in February by Geology , said “things have really taken off” in the face of climate change. Scientists from universities in New Zealand and Canada also contributed to the research. Related: Alaskan permafrost could melt in the next 55 years, says world’s leading expert The scientists observed permafrost disintegrating in 40- to 60-mile stretches of the terrain, revealing “extensive landscapes [that] remain poised for climate-driven change.” Other research has suggested thawing permafrost could lead to the collapse of coastlines or creation of new lakes or valleys. All that silt and mud could affect fish and other species living in the waterways, limiting development of aquatic plants, but scientists still need to determine how exactly this added mud might impact fish. Also up for debate is how quickly the carbon in melted permafrost becomes carbon dioxide (CO2). Scientist Suzanne Tank of the University of Alberta told InsideClimate News the carbon in permafrost becomes coarse particles that don’t become CO2 right away. But Swedish researchers conducted a study suggesting soil particles are in fact converted rapidly to CO2 when the soil is carried along to the sea. Via InsideClimate News Images via Wikimedia Commons and U.S. Geological Survey on Flickr

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Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

March 3, 2017 by  
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Plastic is a plague on this planet, but it doesn’t have to be. A group of Egyptian researchers is developing a kind of plastic won’t languish in landfills for hundreds of years – made with dried shrimp shells. Just six months into a two-year project, the team is already seeing some success. Scientists at Nile University clean and chemically treat shrimp shells, then ground them up and dissolve them in a solution that dries to form plastic. The researchers have utilized chitosan , a polymer made from the compound chitin commonly found in crustacean shells, to make their clear, thin plastic prototype. They’re able to obtain the shells inexpensively, sourcing them from local supermarkets, restaurants, and fishermen at low prices. Project researcher Hani Chbib told Reuters Egypt imports some 3,500 metric tons of shrimp, and is left with 1,000 metric tons of shrimp shell waste. So the project could help alleviate waste and reduce plastic pollution . Related: Harvard Scientists Create Super Strong Degradable Bioplastic from Shrimp Shells The Egyptian researchers are collaborating with a team from Britain’s University of Nottingham , where the professor overseeing the project, Irene Samy, conducted post-doctoral research and began exploring the idea of converting shells into plastic. Samy told Reuters, “If commercialized, this could really help us decrease our waste…and it could help us improve our food exports because the plastic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.” The team envisions the biodegradable plastic might be used for packaging and plastic bags . They said their technique could potentially work for large-scale industrial production, and while so far they’ve only made small samples, are working to enhance properties like durability and thermal stability so the product could be widely used. The United Kingdom side of the team plans to approach packaging manufacturers in their country. Via Reuters Images via screenshot

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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

October 4, 2016 by  
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Late season hurricanes can be just as forceful as mid-summer storms, and Hurricane Matthew is no exception. The storm made landfall on Haiti’s southwestern coast early Tuesday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph. Haiti officials are bracing for the worst as high winds and storm surges threaten the impoverished nation, where homes are not typically built to withstand such an event. Still moving on its north-northwesterly path, Hurricane Matthew will continue to batter Haiti over the course of the day before heading toward the eastern coast of Cuba late this afternoon. Although many Atlantic hurricanes suffer a loss of energy when making landfall, Hurricane Matthew hasn’t slowed its pace, in part due to the small size of the islands it is traveling over. This is Haiti’s strongest hurricane in nearly a decade, and after a long reprieve, local officials are concerned that residents have become complacent about hurricane preparation. Rather than stocking up on essentials like food, bottled water, and batteries, some fear that many residents will be ill-equipped to handle the full extent of Hurricane Matthew’s visit to the struggling nation. So far, one Haitian fisherman has drowned in the storm surge, but no other major damage has been reported. Related: Earthquake-resistant orphanage is a welcoming ray of hope in Haiti The people of Haiti are still struggling to recover from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2010. That disaster killed 230,000 people and caused millions of dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure. The island nation’s last major disaster was Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which did not make landfall in Haiti, but grazed it closely enough that the high winds and torrential rains killed 75 people and left $250 million in damages in its wake. The disaster kicked off a cholera outbreak that infected some 5,000 people in one of the nation’s largest public health emergencies in history. The National Hurricane Center in Miami is keeping a close eye on the powerful storm, which is on track to tickle Cuba’s eastern coast, which is sparsely populated. Hurricane Matthew is then expected to travel north over the Bahamas where the storm is predicted to lose some power and drop to a Category 3. The storm’s path then leads it northward off the east coast of Florida until potentially makes landfall in southern North Carolina this weekend. Via USA Today Images via National Hurricane Center

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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba

What off-grid countries can teach us about clean power

September 19, 2016 by  
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10Power, Sigora Haiti and Greenlight Planet offer lessons from bringing electricity to Haiti, India and sub-Saharan Africa.

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What off-grid countries can teach us about clean power

Architectural Association School of Architecture bamboo workshops in Haiti teach post-disaster construction techniques

December 17, 2015 by  
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The AA School is working with Quisqueya University , the Wynne Farm and ARUP through short workshops to design and build architectural projects contextualized for the climate of the Caribbean and the cultural vernacular of Haiti using bamboo. The country is plagued by a lack of lightweight materials in the built environment, the legacy of disastrous deforestation, and bamboo is a solution to the building supply shortage as well as the damaged ecology. Read the rest of Architectural Association School of Architecture bamboo workshops in Haiti teach post-disaster construction techniques

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Enèji Pwòp Program Sends Life-Changing Hanging Solar Lights to Impoverished Haitians

November 27, 2013 by  
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Clean energy company Enèji Pwòp is on the mission to transform Haiti with renewable energy. The firm hopes to enhance quality of life within the country’s borders through a program that allows immigrant Haitians purchase clean energy products like solar lights to send to their loved ones at home. Read the rest of Enèji Pwòp Program Sends Life-Changing Hanging Solar Lights to Impoverished Haitians Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: EarthSpark International , eco design , Enèji Pwòp , green design , green lamps for Haiti , Haiti renewable energy , hanging solar lights , lighting up Haiti , renewable energy lamps for Haiti , renewable lamps , saving haiti , solar lamps , sustainable design , sustainable lighting solutions        

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Enèji Pwòp Program Sends Life-Changing Hanging Solar Lights to Impoverished Haitians

Beijing Cracks Down on Over 300 Barbecues to Reduce Pollution

November 27, 2013 by  
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Following up on their recent ban of outdoor barbecues in Beijing , city officials have destroyed more than 300 of the outdoor eateries as part of a three-month long campaign to slash smog. The barbecues, which are a common feature across the city and a source of livelihood for many, have been blamed by officials to be a leading cause of harmful levels of pollution. But local citizens are ridiculing the exercise, suggesting authorities should focus on bigger sources of poor air quality – like coal, perhaps ? Read the rest of Beijing Cracks Down on Over 300 Barbecues to Reduce Pollution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Beijing air pollution , Beijing city officials , beijing confiscates outdoor barbecues , beijing cuts barbecues , Beijing outdoor barbecues , fuel pollution tax , Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs , Ma Jun , Matt Hope’s Breathing Bicycle , Smog-Sucking Vacuum Cleaner , ????        

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