Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Acting for Climate Change

A lil late for Blog Action Day but nonetheless! This year's theme is on climate change and for this whole week, the topic has been high on my attention. Mostly because I was attending a launch of the video "High Stakes" at British High Commission on Tuesday and attending a talk by lecture by James Leape, Director General of WWF on COP15 on Wednesday.

The video "high stakes" is a visual summary of the ADB report on the "Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review". I suppose it's really handy when people could not sit through reading a dry report on the topic. Instead, the short film explained using visuals, graphics, dialogues and interviews.

After the film screening is a talk by Mr James Hardy who founded the Green School in Bali. The school is built entirely of bamboo and engages local artisan craftsman to help build just about everything in the school! To add to that, the curriculum of the school involves both conventional English Math Science syllabus as well as an ecological environmental science component and learning creative arts! Sounds like my dream school. After the presentation, I cannot stop thinking about moving to Bali to teach in the school and be part of this wonderful project. To learn more about the school, visit their website. Interestingly, Mr John Hardy was interviewed in this Reuters article today.

Being involved full time in a wonderful project like that, living and working in an effort to make this world more sustainable, for and with our future generation, now that's action!

Read full article here

Friday, October 09, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

It's time for taking action through your blog again!

Every year on 15 October is Blog Action Day where the bloggosphere aligns its conversation for a day towards a particular cause by talking about the same thing on the same day. This year's cause is "Climate Change". Very timely since the treaty succeeding the Kyoto Protocol will likely be adopted at this year's COP15.

For the last 2 years, Midnight Monkey Monitor has been taking part in Blog Action Day. 2009 will be no different. I have registered my blog. So far 31 blogs from Singapore are listed. Are you one of them? Will you be joining in the action? Register your blogs now!

"Saving forests five times better than carbon capture for climate action"
7 Oct 2009, WWF Sweden

WWF Sweden is urging its government — holding the current EU Presidency - to get behind an effective international agreement on halting forest loss as a key and highly cost effective measure on climate change.

"Sweden should follow the examples set by its northern neighbors in developing systems to halt deforestation," said WWF CEO General Lasse Gustavsson.. "One Swedish krona to stem deforestation results in the same emissions reductions as five kronor for the controversial carbon capture and storage technique."

Gold in Green Forests, a report issued today by WWF-Sweden, says that next to energy efficiency halting forest loss and degradation is the most cost-effective method for mitigating climate change.

The annual loss of natural forests in developing countries is equivalent to one third of Sweden’s surface area. Forest fires, the conversion of forests to agricultural land and the cultivation of energy crops are responsible for the high rate of forest loss.

A program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is currently being discussed in the negotiations for a global climate deal. REDD aims to make it worthwhile for developing countries to maintain their forests, as opposed to cutting them down.

In order for REDD to succeed it needs a suitable framework and international finance, including aid to developing countries will be required. Potential investors recently surveyed by WWF said they would be ready to support a forest carbon market if certainty and support were forthcoming from the international community and key national

"prioritise solutions that are best for both the environment and our wallets"

In Indonesia, where large areas of forests are cut down and prepared for palm oil plantations, 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation. Halting deforestation would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but would also secure the livelihoods of people living in these forests.

”We should always prioritize solutions that are best for both the environment and our wallets, especially during the ongoing financial crisis. Sweden’s cautious attitude in this area is therefore very surprising,” said Gustavsson, who calls for the government to take action during the ongoing climate change conference in Bangkok and secure a system to finance the protection of the world’s forests.

”Norway, Finland, Denmark and Germany have already guaranteed financing for REDD between 2010 and 2012. It's time for the Swedish government to take action - both domestic and as EU President,” he said.

If parties are able to come to an agreement on a new climate deal in Copenhagen, it will not enter into force until 2013. Meanwhile deforestation will continue to accelerate in large parts of the tropics.

“Time is passing and the possibility of reaping the positive climate effects that a stop in the loss of forests entails is decreasing rapidly. Complex social, economic and ecological are involved which is why a global cooperation for REDD must be carefully prepared,” says Stefan Henningsson, Climate Director, WWF Sweden.

WWF negotiators in Bangkok are urging a an insitutional structure for REDD which guarantees transparency, effectiveness and longterm financing from developed countries in support of measures in developing countries. In financing, WWF is seeking the equivalent of $US 42 billion per year after 2013, a key element of an estimated financing requirement of $US 160 billion annually for climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

The scheme would aim for a goal of zero net deforestation by 2020, with WWF also emphasising that forestry and climate projects must also contribute to the conservation of biological diversity and respect the rights of local and native populations.

Read full article here

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wet and Wild in Sep-Oct 2009!

As some of you may know, this monkey is no longer a full time graduate student but is now a gainfully employed member of the workforce since August 2009. Still, that is no excuse for my silence on the blog front. Just some updates on what I have been up to since my last post!

4 Oct 2009: Really Really Free Market
Been waiting 2 months to give away clothes at the Really Really Free Market, held monthly at Post-Museum, Rowell Road. Everything at RRFM is free and people can freely take and give. There are also a lot of indian workers in the vicinity who takes the clothes to give their family and partners. I brought down 4 big bags of clothes and items which were all taken by the end of 4 hours! There were about 10 pieces of leftovers which were collected by one kind soul who sent them to a disaster relief collection point. I hope all the clothes went to good use and good homes.

3 Oct 2009: Guided GE2221 Nature & Society Students at Chek Jawa
Had a wet and wild afternoon with students from the NUS geography module "Nature & Society" at Chek Jawa, talking about conservation and development in the pouring rain. Despite being drenched, I had a thoroughly good time and I hope they did too! More photos here.

2 Oct 2009: The Naked Truth and other Sluggish Affairs
After a 2 months hiatus, we kick started activities at The Leafmonkey Workshop with Chay Hoon's naked workshop on slugs and other naked molluscs. Read more about what happened on the newly revamped The Leafmonkey Workshop website! Photos can be found here.

Revamp of The Leafmonkey Workshop Website
To celebrate our upcoming 1st year anniversary of The Leafmonkey Workshop, I recently revamped the website to a user-friendly version with a new logo to commemorate our first milestone. One young, tender leaf to mark our first year.

28 Sep 2009: "Kelongs Vanishing fast in Singapore"
I was recently contacted and quoted in a ST article on "Kelongs Vanishing Fast in Singapore" (28 September 2009)

Ms November Tan, who runs environmental workshops islandwide, acknowledges that aquaculture is a popular solution for food sustainability: 'Food security will be easier met with fish farming,' she said, but added that there are environmental problems with aquaculture.

'There are issues with water pollution due to faecal waste and risk of disease due to fish overcrowding.'

The best solution, she said, is to cut down on consumption so the natural population in the sea can replenish itself.

'It boils down to consumer choice,' she said. 'Singaporeans almost never ask where our fish come from. We seem to think there is a never-ending supply. That is not the case.'

Read full article here