The New York Times reports that although Cuba’s commitment to environmental protection has never been tested, or tempted, it will be if trade and travel barriers with the U.S. fall. The Times reports Cuba’s green sensitivities evolved as much out of necessity as ideology.
“The collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991 and the continued isolation by the United States forced the country to fend for itself. With the tools of big agriculture — fuel for heavy machinery, chemical fertilizers, pesticides — out of reach, farming moved away from the increased sugar production that characterized the Soviet era, turning more to organic techniques and cooperatives of small farmers.”
Yale University’s environment 360 reports on the important work constructed wetlands do filtering drugs and chemicals from drinking water. Writer Carina Storrs points out despite Southern California’s 96-mile long Santa Ana River river being treated at several dozen wastewater treatment plants, unwanted residue from pharmaceuticals and herbicides still remained, posing threats to endocrine activity, metabolism, and development in humans.
A year-old pilot project at the Prado Wetlands, operated by the Orange County Water District, now channels river water through a series of ponds allowing sunlight and bacteria to degrade the harmful pharmaceuticals and other man-made chemicals before the river reaches the city of Anaheim. This filtering is becoming critical as scientists fear that the more humans are exposed to antibiotics, the greater the threat antibiotic-resistant bacteria becomes.
A baseline assessment can best be described as the basis by which to judge the success of any action taken to conserve, protect, enhance or restore water resources or habitats. Monitoring, when properly executed, continues to evaluate the health of the resource after any action is taken in order to track results in a meaningful way. This is the critical feedback loop to insure successful restoration and prudent adaptive resource management.
Trout Headwaters Inc performs baseline assessments to meet a variety of objectives, and to guide all restoration planning, design and installation. New technologies have made the assessment process quick and low cost – certainly the best investment toward a successful enhancement or restoration project.
Assessments can do the following:
Reveal ecological potential and challenges;
Answer project feasibility questions;
Uncover hidden problems before you renew, repair or restore;
Provide baseline data for permitting and for comparison over time;
This eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is common to eastern North America. This land dwelling bright orange juvenile, known as a red eft, paid a visit to a Trout Headwaters technician during recent site work in North Carolina. The newts frequent small lakes, ponds, and streams or near-by wet forests. They can coexist in an aquatic environment with small, noncarnivorous fish, as their skin secretes a poisonous substance when the newt is threatened or injured. They have lifespans of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and may grow to five inches in length.
Dan Upham from Environmental Defense Fund writes recently that environmental progress may come in many forms, “from grassroots political action to international emissions reduction targets. But if you want to make major changes on a grand scale in a relatively short amount of time,” he says “the marketplace offers some attractive possibilities.”
A recent report from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides a detailed glimpse into the positive economic impacts resulting from environmental restoration activities. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program has contributed $18.6 million to local economies, leveraging $142 million with partner contributions, for a combined total of $161 million spent on PFW program projects. “For every dollar spent by the PFW and Coastal Programs, $7 to $9 of restoration work is happening on the ground,” according to the report.
Looking at only at a single year (FY 2011) for example, the “total economic stimulus created by the PFW program amounted to $292 million in output and 3,500 new jobs” notes the report.
In a recent interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund points out that what gets measured, gets managed. By serving markets increasingly interested in green goods and services, the advent of big data presents opportunities for businesses to improve their bottom line and the environment, he says. >Read Full Story
Trout Headwaters, Inc. has pioneered big data systems for industry and private users enabling comprehensive analysis of various environmental data sets across a broad range of ecosystem services and markets. Leveraging the capability to relate many, many, layers of complex data will continue to provide unique insights for our firm and our customers. Get your interactive tools today! >Learn more about EcoBlu Analyst
It was my pleasure recently to spend the afternoon with Doug La Follette, Secretary of State in Wisconsin for a tour of some of his work and achievement. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia, has worked as Public Affairs Director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and has been board member of Friends of the Earth and other nonprofits. He was a member of the 1970 National Earth Day organization and continues to speak about the importance of our environment.
As La Follette shared some of his photos and memories with me in his Madison, WI office recently, it became clear that his interests are centered on the outdoors. Nature is the strong current that flows through his seemingly divergent world-wide adventures. It follows that La Follette’s “The Survival Handbook – A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth” would remain a pertinent outline for those wishing to help their state (or the Earth) improve its natural, healthy condition. And despite the 25 years since first published, the environmental issues and approaches in the book remain some of the most significant of our day.
While Doug La Follette would be the first to tell you that some of the specifics of his book may be dated, much remains sadly the same for planet Earth. This carefully crafted discourse on the true meaning of ecology, its connection to the economy and humanity’s dependence on a healthy environment deserves a place on every community leader’s bookshelf. Buy via Amazon.com