Global Insights: Middle East

By Marcelo Kawanami

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The lack of fresh water is an increasing global concern for many cities and villages. Thisconcern is aggravated in deserted areas such as the Middle East. Nevertheless, they are studying sustainable and smart ways to overcome the dryness of the area and use the local resources to build a magnificent oasis in the middle of the desert.

To discuss this topic, I would like to share some insights and pictures brought by Raquel Laé, a close friend and world traveler. Raquel is a content editor and web writer who is always searching for new adventures across the world.

1) Tell me about your recent experience in the Middle East.

It was an incredible experience. I was very impressed with their urban development and how they manage their resources in order to maintain and improve the landscape of the city. Walking through cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, I realized how critical water is to these thriving countries. One of the local projects that deserves attention is the seawater desalination. With the UAE’s growing economy and rising population, it is crucial that they identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet their long-term water needs.

Picture 22) Could you share some insights regarding this project?

They are partnering with global research centers and universities in order to find renewable and energy-efficient solutions for their desalination process. Just for you to have an idea, the Gulf region represents 50% of the world’s desalinated water. They have already started to run some pilot plants with renewable sources with the aim of building a full-scale plant by 2020. It is undeniable though that they still have a lot of work to do once the desalination process requires huge amounts of energy and leaves behind hazardous waste.

3) What are the main challenges that they still need to overcome in order to achieve a sustainable development system?

From my point of view, the main challenge is to change the mindset of locals that are very accustomed with the abundance of this precious resource despite the lack of the same in the region. When you drive through Dubai, the lack of a water control is outright on the gigantic shopping malls that boast not only the requisite air conditioning, but also waterfalls, ice rinks, fountains, and event an indoor ski hill and an aquarium.

I would like to thank Raquel for providing these amazing pictures and this insightful interview. For more information on her world trips, check her blog: viagenslegaisebaratas.com.br

Events & Workshops!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Ow the spring! It has finally arrived. And with that Gamiing is ready for a full season of events and workshops. Next Saturday, we are hosting our annual Easter EcoEgg Hunt. We have prepared tons of activities for the entire family, including forest Bingo and Hunting with Your Senses!

Gamiing Nature Centre property - great infrastructure and natural space for fun and education

The admission for this event is by donations which will support our Eco Guardian programs. Apart from our annual events, Gamiing has also prepared a calendar of workshops for the spring. Some of our already famous and well known workshops are in the agenda such as the Wild Edibles and the Tree Identification.

The workshops are a great opportunity to visit Gamiing`s space and also increase your knowledge on relevant topics regarding our fauna and flora. Additionally, it is a moment to relax, interact and learn!

Please check our workshop calendar in the following link: http://www.gamiing.org/Workshops.php

Special thanks: I also would like wish Katie Clapham all the best on her new endeavor! Thank you!!!

Global Insights: China – Part II

By Marcelo Kawanami

China indeed attracts a lot of attention from around the world. A prove of this is the number of visitors that we received from our latest article on China. The country is fast emerging as a global economic power but is still failing in managing sustainable growth.

China Pollution

The lack of reliable information due to banned and controlled media and social networksavailable in the country can sometimes misinform the population and the global community. Nevertheless, this reality is changing. China’s new leaders, including President Xi Jinping, haven’t embraced environmental protection by choice. They’ve been compelled by a new political reality: an informed Chinese public. Throughout 2011 and 2012, American Embassy officials in Beijing measured and tweeted the true levels of hazardous pollutants in the capital.

Today I selected some organizations that are fighting for the environmental protection in China. It is no surprise that many of China’s NGOs try to avoid tackling sensitive issues: not only their legal status but also their channels for funding rely directly on authorization from the government. As long as it remains risky for NGOs to contradict the official stance on environmental problems, the amount of pressure they can put on the government to implement environment-friendly policies will be seriously limited.

Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.cn/english/E_index.php
WWF China: http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/wwf_offices/china/wwf_china_conservation/
Greenpeace East Asia: http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/
Wilson Center: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/program/china-environment-forum

And we reached over 200 fans!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Like!

Last week, the Facebook page of Gamiing Nature Centre achieved over 200 fans! This is a milestone to celebrate. Through the effort of Gamiing’s staff and volunteers who are constantly posting news and relevant information, we reached a significant and loyal base of fans who are constantly following our posts. Social media platforms are key nowadays in order to communicate with communities and interact with other organizations.

Gamiing has already shared its social media content with global organizations such as WWF, David Suzuki Foundation, China Environmental Forum, among others. And we cannot forget to mention the great organizations that are always liking and following our posts such as Ontario Trails, Discover Play and Stay, The Green Party of Haliburton, and many many others!

We would like to thank all fans that already like and follow Gamiing’s Facebook page. Please share our page with your family and friends as well! Let’s spread our words and leverage a bigger and better community focused on a better future to our planet.

Global Insights: China

By Marcelo Kawanami

China has rapidly emerged as a global super economic power. Nevertheless, the country’s environment is significantly suffering with this fast development. Without proper environmental policies and regulations, China has accumulated huge environmental debts that will have to be paid back.

Fishermen row a boat in the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province

Lack of waste removal and proper processing has exacerbated the problem; almost 90% of underground water in cities and 70% of China’s rivers and lakes are now polluted. Combined with negligent farming practices, the water crisis has turned China’s arable land into desert, which today claims around 27.5% of China’s total land mass.

Some 400 million Chinese lives are affected by desertification, according to the government, and the World Bank estimates that the overall cost of water scarcity associated with pollution is around 147 billion RMB, or roughly 1 percent of GDP. exacerbated the problem; almost 90%of underground water in cities and 70% of China’s rivers and lakes are now polluted. Combined with negligent farming practices, the water crisis has turned China’s arable land into desert, which today claims around 27.5% of China’s total land mass.

Pond filled with dead fish on the outskirts of Wuhan, central China's Hubei provinceThe water pollution of rivers and lakes in China is critical and is severely affecting villagers that rely on these natural sources to survive. Just to have an idea, a recent report conducted by WHO (World Health Organization) estimated that nearly 100,000 people die annually from water pollution-related illnesses in China.

The lack of environmental regulations coupled with economic development of emerging countries is significantly impacting the nature. Increasing the awareness towards this topic is the first step to take the first action!

A disaster not to forget

By Marcelo Kawanami

In November 2013, typhoon Hayan slammed the Philippines. It was the strongest storm to hit land in recorded history, killing more than 5,000 people (UN estimate to date), and affecting around 13 million (UN estimate), whose homes and lives have been swept away by the powerful storm. Global organizations and the media grouped together on a combined effort to support the country and its population.

This disaster served as an alarm bell to the long debated climate change issue. The Philippines is part of the Coral Triangle, a highly biodiverse marine area in the Asia Pacific region, whose countries are one of the most vulnerable to climate change. Filmmaker Casey Neistat had $25K to produce a marketing video for a film and he chose to use it on Haiyan aid. Check the video he released below!

The alarming global warming has disastrous impacts on the overall environment and communities, specially affecting populations living in the borders of seas, lakes and rivers. Based on this, we cannot forget this disaster once the population still need our support.

Many organizations are still supporting local communities with food, shelter, water, household items, and healthcare. Gamiing Nature Centre supports this cause by promoting these organizations.

Oxfam International: http://www.oxfam.org/en/haiyan-response

Disaster Emergency Committee: http://www.dec.org.uk/node/3641

We are friends of the osprey!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Distribution of osprey in Canada

Today I would like to share with you an interesting organization from the Kawartha regionand its incredible work. Called Friends of the Osprey, it is a volunteer organization for the Kawartha Lakes region that focuses on the osprey, which is an indicator species for the health of the Kawartha Lakes environment.

Ospreys are very important as an umbrella species, which reflects the health of an aquatic ecosystem. Being the Kawartha lake region an important aquatic system for Canada, we can easily understand the importance of the ospreys for our ecosystem.

Picture1Ospreys are good indicators of the health and abundance of the fish stocks they hunt, and can alert us to the impending threats to that fish stock in the form of harmful pollutants such as DDT and DDE.

Friends of the Osprey work we do involve osprey nest building, workshops and visits to elementary schools to teach young people about the importance of the osprey. If you want to learn more about this amazing organization, please visit their website: http://www.friendsoftheosprey.org/index.html

Nature Horoscope? Good vibrations for 2014!

By Marcelo Kawanami

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As skeptic a person can be, many cannot avoid reading some predictions that the universe might have planned for the year ahead. And for the first post of 2014, we are bringing you a great article written by Stephen Bede Scharper, associate professor of environment and religious studies at the University of Toronto, for The Star publication in which he predicts some positive insights within the environmental field for 2014. I would like to thank Mieke Schipper, volunteer executive director of Gamiing Nature Centre, for recommending this article for the blog!

According to Scharper, environmentalists, which tend to be very pessimists, can have some reasons for smile in 2014. From the new pope to a wave of young activists, there’s plenty of cause for hope that this year will be the beginning of a new age of environmentalism.

Picture2One of his big hopes relies on the new environmental bill passed in Bolivia called The Pachamama law. Bolivia’s new environmental law is part of a larger movement growing in Latin America, the most bio-diverse region in the world, concerned with the protection of the environment. Despite having little historical responsibility in terms of gas emissions and environmental damage, a number of new, often revolutionary, initiatives have been implemented in the region. In 2011 Ecuador put forward the first ecological project in which it gathered money to not exploit the oil reserves it discovered under Yasuní, its largest national park.

Scharper also mentions Pope Francis as another good sign for the environment in 2014. He is positioning himself as an environmentalist through his speeches and calls. Pointed as one of the most influential persons in the world, he is constantly making Planet Earth a key component of his messages on masses and ceremonies.

To read the full article and more detailed predictions made by Scharper for 2014, please click in the following link: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/29/environmentalists_have_reason_for_hope_in_2014_scharper.html

Happy Holidays!

By Marcelo Kawanami

The end of the year is a good time to revisit all the good things that passed. And indeed we do have a lot to celebrate. When I started writing to Gamiing’s blog, I was very glad to be part of a motivated and engaged team, which was ready to leverage its work and actions in order to protect the environment and bring the community closer to the nature.

Since then, the blog significantly increased the number of visitors. Over 100 people visit Gamiing’s blog every month! Canadians are not the only readers. We have loyal visitors from the US, France, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, South Korea and India.

Winter in the Kawarthas

This year Gamiing Nature Centre has also remodeled its website, bringing a more organize layout and easier access to information. We also promoted many activities in our facilities including Volunteer Days, Wild Edibles workshop, Interpretive Trail Walk, among others.

Additionally, the year ended with the news of a grant that we received from Sir Sandford Fleming College to go towards the construction of a sustainable washroom. We are ready for a new year full of great things and many achievements.

Happy Holidays to everyone!!!

Gamiing Nature Centre receives $750.00 grant from Sir Sandford Fleming College

By Marcelo Kawanami

Gamiing Nature Centre is pleased to announce the receipt of a $750.00 grant from Sir Sandford Fleming College, which will be invested towards the construction of a sustainable washroom in order to improve our facility and infrastructure.

As part of the Leadership in the Environment course, all first semester students at the Frost Campus, in partnership with C-Links, explore the relationship between community and the environment. Working in teams, students choose a non-profit organization in the City of Kawartha Lakes area and an issue or project that this agency is involved with. This project supports students to better understand the role that community organizations play in relation to caring for and contributing to a healthy environment. The best presentation is awarded a $750.00 grant that goes to the students chosen organization in order to help the funding of the projected researched by students.

The Community Leadership Project Final Presentations

The group of students who chose to work with us were Austin Carmichael, Mathew Fitzgerald, Lee Scholl, and Ryan Wheatley. The project was to research sustainable washroom designs, choose the best/most feasible design, and delegate the best way of spending the grant money. These students went well above and beyond the duties of this project and won first place in the Community Leadership Project Finals.

Gamiing Nature Centre would like to thank these students very much for their hard work and dedication. We are very excited for the opportunity to move forward with this project. Check our Website (www.gamiing.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gamiing) for future updates on our progress.