Peruvian city emergency pollution

Is this Peruvian city the most polluted on earth?

Source BBC.

Residents of Cerro de Pasco, a city high in the Andes, say the soil is harming their children. Peru’s government has declared a health state of emergency for the region on three separate occasions, but has not accepted that mining activity is to blame…

Video by Grace Livingstone and Jasmin Souesi.

In the aftermath of Maria

Stories of Resilience Courage and Spiritual Transformation

In the aftermath of Maria, Caribbean students at St. Thomas University create short story collection.

On April 23, St. Thomas University will be unveiling a rich and diverse short story collection “Student Narratives on Hurricane Maria” written by Caribbean students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Nineteen students, mostly from Puerto Rico and one from the Dominican Republic, came together to share their stories of resilience and courage before, during, and after the hurricane devastated their homeland.

This past October, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Thomas acted quickly to make sure students in the Caribbean could continue their studies uninterrupted and regain a sense of normalcy. Not only were the Islands left without power or infrastructure, but all businesses and institutions were closed. By taking in these students, immediately in October 2017, they were able to continue their academic careers and find a safe, supportive environment to live in.

The Stories of Resilience, Courage, and Spiritual Transformation is a compilation of student essays written by Puerto Rican students who fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and moved into the arms of St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. The narratives captured in this book accurately chronicle the impact this natural disaster had on their lives. These are stories of survival shared by a courageous and resilient group of young adults.

Each student describes the devastation they experienced – days without food, water, gas and the means to communicate. Each one expressed the apprehension they felt about leaving their families and loved ones. For some, this would be the first time venturing out on their own.

Reading these essays will move you to experience a diversity of emotions. Each student will take you on a journey; one filled with uncertainty, fear, anxiety, courage, resilience, and hope for a better future. >> Amazon.


Vlaanderen investeert in expertise in blauwe en diepe energie

De Vlaamse regering maakt 735.400 euro vrij voor het project Blue Accelerator in Oostende. Er komt een testplatform op zee in de nabijheid van de haven van Oostende dat breed inzetbaar zal zijn voor het testen van golf- en getijdenenergie, offshore wind en ondersteunende technologieën zoals drones en rov’s (remotely operated vehicles of onderwaterrobots).

POM West-Vlaanderen: “De Noordzee is een unieke productieomgeving voor energie. Wind, getijden en golven zorgen voor een continue stroom aan kracht. Tegen 2020 zijn er acht windturbineparken in de Noordzee operationeel. Deze windturbineparken zullen on- en offshore heel wat jobs creëren èn opportuniteiten voor zowel de technologische ontwikkeling van de windturbines als de bouw en het onderhoud nadien.”

Europa legt 1,5 miljoen euro op tafel. Daarnaast dragen ook de Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (Pom) West-Vlaanderen, de provincie West-Vlaanderen, het Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, Universiteit Gent, de Technische Universitaire Alliantie West, Vives hogeschool en de Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek hun steentje bij.

“Blue Accelerator speelt in op deze nood door een living lab te creëren, waar testen mogelijk zijn in real life zeecondities. Het geeft bedrijven en wetenschappers de kans om hun kennis en positie in deze groeisector te versterken. Bovendien krijgen zo ook geïnteresseerde kleine en midddelgrote ondernemingen de kans om op de kar van de blue energy te springen.”, zegt Bert Mons, algemeen directeur van bedrijvenkoepel Voka West-Vlaanderen.


Climate of Hope

The 2016 election left many people who are concerned about the environment fearful that progress on climate change would come screeching to a halt. But not Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope.

Bloomberg, an entrepreneur and former mayor of New York City, and Pope, a lifelong environmental leader, approach climate change from different perspectives, yet they arrive at similar conclusions. Without agreeing on every point, they share a belief that cities, businesses, and citizens can lead – and win – the battle against climate change, no matter which way the political winds in Washington may shift.

In Climate of Hope, Bloomberg and Pope offer an optimistic look at the challenge of climate change, the solutions they believe hold the greatest promise, and the practical steps that are necessary to achieve them. Writing from their experiences, and sharing their own stories from government, business, and advocacy, Bloomberg and Pope provide a road map for tackling the most complicated challenge the world has ever faced. Along the way, they turn the common line of thinking about climate change on its head: from top down to bottom up, from partisan to pragmatic, from costs to benefits, from tomorrow to today, and from fear to hope.

Bloomberg and Pope explore climate change solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous. They aim to begin a new type of conversation on the issue that will spur bolder action by cities, businesses, and citizens – and even, someday, by Washington. >>



Using water to create resilient cities

Source: UToday.

European project CATCH, with the UT as one of its partners, wants to prepare cities for climate change and resulting extreme weather events – by putting water in the center of urban design. It’s starting with seven pilot cities, where new climate adaptation measures are being tested. Enschede is one of them. >>

Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation

Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation Now ‘Critical’, Undermining Well-Being of 3.2 Billion People

Source: Ipbes.

Worsening land degradation caused by human activities is undermining the well-being of two fifths of humanity, driving species extinctions and intensifying climate change. It is also a major contributor to mass human migration and increased conflict, according to the world’s first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation and restoration.

The dangers of land degradation, which cost the equivalent of about 10% of the world’s annual gross product in 2010 through the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, are detailed for policymakers, together with a catalogue of corrective options, in the three-year assessment report by more than 100 leading experts from 45 countries, launched today.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the report was approved at the 6th session of the IPBES Plenary in Medellín, Colombia. IPBES has 129 State Members.

Providing the best-available evidence for policymakers to make better-informed decisions, the report draws on more than 3,000 scientific, Government, indigenous and local knowledge sources. Extensively peer-reviewed, it was improved by more than 7,300 comments, received from over 200 external reviewers. >>

Arctic’s powerful climate message

The Arctic is sending us a powerful message about climate change. It’s time for us to listen.

Source:  World Economic Forum.

Arctic scientists aren’t usually afraid of a little cold. Windy conditions don’t usually get us howling. The beasts we pay attention to are usually polar bears. But last week’s “Beast from the East” triggered a few anxious conversations.

Social media memes aside, our problem isn’t this one extreme weather event per se. Our key fear is that the Beast isn’t really from the East – its birthplace was farther north.

“Is it fair to say that the Arctic is a barometer of global risk? We think so because it all comes down to physics – a warmer Arctic means thinner sea ice, an earlier melt, a later freeze-up, and a greater likelihood of extreme weather events throughout the Northern hemisphere. And that brings more trouble down the road.”

Global CO2 emissions increase

The Global Carbon Project (GCP) studies the integrated picture of the carbon cycle and other interacting biogeochemical cycles, including biophysical and human dimensions and their interactions and feedbacks.

This broad objective is covered by three themes: a) Diagnostics – Patterns and variability of natural and anthropogenic carbon sources and sinks; b) Vulnerability – Processes and feedbacks of the biophysical-human system; and c) Low Carbon – Carbon management and policy.

The organization was founded to quantify global carbon emissions. Today it simultaneously published its annual findings, the Global Carbon Budget report.

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry have increased every decade from an average of 3.1±0.2 GtC yr-1 (11.4 GtCO2) in the 1960s to an average of 9.4±0.5 yr-1 during 2007-2016 (34.4 GtCO2). Emissions in 2016 were 9.9±0.5 (36.3 GtCO2) with a share of coal (40%), oil (34%), gas (19%), cement (6%), and flaring (1%). Global emissions in 2017 are projected to increase by 2% (+0.8% to +3.0%) after three years of almost no growth, reaching 10.0±0.5 GtC (36.8 GtCO2), a new high record.

Rotterdam Awarded GCECA

By Arnoud Molenaar.

In early 2017, The Netherlands announced it would work with Japan and UN Environment to establish a Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) to help countries, institutions and businesses adapt to a changing climate. And now, we are excited to share that this international knowledge centre will be hosted in two Dutch cities: Rotterdam and Groningen. The cities were chosen based on factors such as the cities’ location, expertise on the impact of climate change, and innovative office buildings.

Rotterdam’s location in the Dutch delta and the innovative planning tht has required and inspired, have brought it international recognition for its climate adaptation initiatives and its international accessibility. Continuing with this ground-breaking work, the city is currently exploring the possibility of building a new climate-neutral floating office building for the climate centre staff.

As Chief Resilience Officer for Rotterdam, I am confident that … >>

The Urban Resilience Strategy of Rotterdam

Source: 100 Resilient Cities.

Rotterdam formally published its resilience strategy on the 16th of May 2016. The executive summary is very clear about the new concept of approaching city management and public governance and the ambitious goals for the near future.

“We must come together in a holistic way to face our challenges and take actions that can enhance resilience going forward”.

Some of our biggest challenges and transitions include: a changing economy driven more by sharing and technological innovation; a different climate resulting from predicted climate change; and changes in society and democracy driven by a move away from top-down hierarchy to a more bottom up approach with much greater levels of community and citizen involvement.

In 2030, Rotterdam will be a city where:

  • Strong citizens respect each other and are continuously developing themselves
  • The energy infrastructure provides for an efficient and sustainable energy supply in port and city
  • Climate adaptation has penetrated into mainstream of city operations and water has added value for the city and our watermanagement system is cyberproof
  • The underground is being used in such a way that it supports the growth and development of the city
  • We have embraced digitization without making us dependant, and we have ensured a best practice level of cyber security
  • Self organization in the city gets enough room and a flexible local government supports if really needed
  • Resilience is part of our daily thinking and acting.

Explore online or download Rotterdam Resilience Strategy.

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