Eco International
Dispatches on global ecological issues, activism and consciousness from our international correspondents and guest writers.
Peat Forests: The Green Gold of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Saturday, 08 November 2014 00:00  |  Written by André Oosterman | Blog Entry

Burning Peatswamp in Indonesia photo by WakxAbout eight years ago, I worked for several weeks in Palangka Raya, a small provincial capital in Indonesia. My job was to help the provincial government prepare a master plan for the rehabilitation of the world’s largest peat-forest area. On the day of my arrival, the local newspaper ran an article about the “Green Gold of Central Kalimantan.” I soon discovered that the newspaper was talking about an intangible form of gold. By rehabilitating its peat swamp forests, the provincial government of Central Kalimantan hoped to reduce CO2 emissions from these forests, and sell these reductions to overseas buyers through REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD is a carbon finance mechanism that is under development by the international community. What follows is a short lesson in modern alchemy: how to turn improved peat-forest management into gold. Read on…

 
Masdar City: Beacon in the Desert, Glimpse into the Future
Monday, 07 July 2014 00:00  |  Written by Guest Contributor | Blog Entry

Solar Panel photo by Oregon DOTEven though the fallout from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station disaster has almost completely disappeared from the headlines, catastrophe-proof renewable energy continues to be thrust into the spotlight as a safe, long-term energy alternative. And, as if on cue, on the edge of the Arabian Desert, an experiment is unfolding with a grand vision for a clean-energy future: It’s called Masdar City and it seeks to be the most sustainable city in world history. Read on...

 
Israel's Disappointing Brand of Environmentalism
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Shira Siegel | Blog Entry

Israeli Desert photo by Fred NienaberFor a young country that has transformed itself, despite scant resources, from proverbial no-man’s-land to thriving slice of the Middle East in 60-odd years, Israel and its people place environmental concerns and recycling surprisingly close to the bottom of their priority lists. Israel is a politically fragile state; people are more concerned about security, religious politics and whether or not they’ll be blown to pieces in a suicide bombing or rocket attack than about lobbying their municipalities for recycling collection or composting. Read on…

 
No Car Required: The World’s Top Public Transit, Pedestrian and Bike-Friendly Cities
Monday, 19 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Evan Miller | Blog Entry

Biking Culture in Copenhagen, Denmark photo by Spacing MagazineWith global warming a growing concern, anything that spews CO2—a major cause of climate change—is a no-no. Cars are responsible for about 35% of all CO2 emissions, so it’s fortunate that some forward-thinking cities have used urban planning to provide attractive alternatives to the automobile—primarily transport by foot, bike, bus and train. Not only are these better for the environment, but they make us healthier, save time and increase our bank accounts. Read on…

 
A Sweet Alternative: In Brazil, Cars Run on Ethanol from Sugarcane
Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00  |  Written by Victoria Cho | Blog Entry

Brazilian Sugarcane Farmer and Crop photo by Trees For The FutureBrazil has become the first country to incorporate sustainable fuel on a national scale and as a result is nearly energy self-sufficient. By capitalizing on its indigenous cane sugar crop, it has minimized carbon emissions and alleviated its dependence on oil. Currently, the country mandates that all fuel blends incorporate at least 20% of the sugar-derived ingredient. These strict regulations maintain Brazil’s leadership in the biofuel movement and draw admiration and envy from other countries, including the oil-addicted USA. Read on…

 
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Eco Tip

Lower your thermostat temperature in winter and raise it in summer. In winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees or less during the day (and wear a sweater) and 55 degrees or less at night (and add an extra blanket). Wear less or use a fan instead of air-conditioning on all but the hottest summer days. When you must use air-conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or more.  More tips...

Eco Quote

Away, away, from men and towns, / To the wild wood and the downs, — / To the silent wilderness, / Where the soul need not repress / Its music. - Percy Bysshe Shelley, (1792-1822), "To Jane, The Invitation," c.1820  More quotes...