Paris Climate Summit: A platform for a bigger change?

By Pooja Mishra

While leaders of 196 nations were discussing key policies in Paris to save earth from global warming, death toll continued to rise at various places because of natural cataclysm.

Rising temperatures are affecting our life on a daily basis. It affects our food, our surroundings, and all the work we do. Most cities in the world are experiencing a much warmer winter this year. Toronto celebrated the warmest Christmas Eve recorded in the last 175 years. Today climate change is like a ticking time bomb; the greatest threat people all over the world face.

In recognition of the growing problems of climate change, over 40,000 people gathered in Paris from November 30th to December 11th to take some corrective actions. The main objective of this conference was to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

After two weeks of negotiations, the Paris climate change agreement was signed. To make this agreement successful all nations volunteered to make cuts in their carbon emission to relatively safe level of 2C degree with an aspiration of 1.5C and also to participate in a program of regular assessment and adjustment every five years starting 2020. Leaders made bold promises to save the earth from climate change.

This was the biggest gathering of world’s leaders, who came together for a single purpose. It was a historic moment for all the countries. Developed nations pledged not only their commitment but promised to provide help to developing and poor nations to cut down their emissions.

We all hope this summit will provide a good platform to come together to make our resources more sustainable. But given the gravity of the situation, it is high time we join in this effort and take a pledge to start bringing changes from our home. Each individual needs to look at their contribution to climate footprint and if needed, modify some of their lifestyle choices. That’s what Paris is all about, changing our lifestyle, before it leads us towards complete disaster. It calls for a an acknowledgement and action at all levels.

Footnote

The key measures in the agreement included:

  • To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
  • To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
  • To review progress every five years
  • $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.

A Growing Storm

By Hannah Gartner

Source NASAOn October 23rd
Hurricane Patricia made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Thishurricane, which was the strongest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, narrowly missed causing severe damage despite reaching wind speeds of 200 mph. A week later no deaths have been reported and the damage is limited to flooding and mudslides within rural Mexico. This is due to a few factors, namely the fact that Patricia avoided a direct hit to more populated areas such as Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and that once on land it lost power very quickly. An excellent response from the government also made a huge difference in mitigating the damage.

This storm is just the latest to be added to the list of record shattering weather events. Although the research is ongoing, there is indication that global warming will cause an increase in storms to this caliber. Last August The Weather Channel published a list of the top ten most powerful hurricanes to ever occur within the Atlantic. Five of these storms have taken place since 2000, and only two occurred before 1950. It seems that the intensity of storms is on an upward trend. Some climate scientists even predict that we will have a storm on the level of Hurricane Katrina every two years.

Source Boston.comOther natural phenomena are also on the rise due to global warming. California is currently entering its forth year of draught and has been consistently recording its highest on average temperatures. On the other end of the spectrum, the record shattering snow in New England last winter has been attributed the disruption of the Arctic polar vortex which is occurring through global warming. These two examples only scratch the surface of the many instances of changing weather.

After Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013, Yeb Sano, the country’s climate change representative, said the following words in front of the United Nations: “We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons become a way of life.” After seeing his country destroyed by this storm he knew he had experienced climate change first hand. Action must be taken to slow down, stop, and reverse the degradation of the natural world or these storms will become the norm. We cannot count on the luck that Mexico received last week. There is hope, but only if business does not continue as usual.

Water Fact Sheet

By Marcelo Kawanami

Lately, major cities such as Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Los Angeles in the US have suffered from severe drought. As the problem increases worldwide, people are more concerned towards the water topic. Thus, we developed a simple infographic fact sheet with data that showcases how important water conservation is.

 

Don’t be Sorry! Make a Change!

By Mieke Schipper and Marcelo Kawanami

Activist and spoken word artist Prince Ea has released his newest video, “Dear Future Generations: Sorry,” to urge young people to take immediate action to stop climate change. His previous videos have become viral sensations and his latest is no different. It was released on April 20 to coincide with Earth Day and garnered 28 million views on Facebook in the first two days. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please check it below.

Like the video says, let’s not accept this future because an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. This is a powerful quote, so don’t be sorry.

Earth Day Every day!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Yesterday, Gamiing hosted its annual Earth Day event where participants from all ages had the chance to learn about the importance of nature through interactive and fun games!
Earth Day official day is actually April 22. And do you know the origin of this date? On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets for ’60s-style demonstrations and marches, calling attention to the perilous pollution of America’s land, air and water. Ten thousand flocked to the Washington Monument for a folk music concert featuring Pete Seeger and U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie.

From this date, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and it became a global event with over 1 billion participants from 192 countries. Earth Day events will be held throughout the week. You can check all events at the Earth Day Network site: http://www.earthday.org/greencities/events/

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015

By Marcelo Kawanami

On March 20 2015, United Nation released its 2015 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2015), titled Water for a Sustainable World. The report brings a throughout analysis on the importance of the water as a vital resource for life. It also describes the challenges for accessible and clean water from three dimensions: poverty and social equity, economic development, and ecosystems.
I selected some key findings from the report that I believe were quite interesting (and concerning):

Picture1– Around the world, 748 million people lack access to an improved drinking water source, while billions more lack drinking water that is really safe. In 2012, 2.5 billion people did not have access to an improved sanitation facility.

– Groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimate 20% of the world’s aquifers being over-exploited (Gleeson et al., 2012), leading to serious consequences such as land subsidence and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas (USGS, 2013).

– Achieving more efficient water use is crucial considering that production and consumption of agricultural products alone account for over 70% of water withdrawals in many developing countries.

If you like to download the full report, please United Nation World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) homepage: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/wwdr/2015-water-for-a-sustainable-world/

I am Water

By Marcelo Kawanami

Last week, charity: water, a non-profit organization focused on the fund of water projects in developing nations, posted a powerful short video showcasing the importance of water and the impact that this essential natural resource has in the life of our planet.

One of my favorite statements of the video: “It takes a great wall to hold me back, but I can be held by a human hand”.

Environment and Building Technologies Webinar

By Marcelo Kawanami

Due to my professional background, I’m always tracking top research and consulting firms to check their latest reports. Just few of them have aregular practice to publish reports within the environmental, nonprofit, and social sectors.F&S Analyst Briefing

Frost & Sullivan isa global research firm with a specific division dedicated to environmental topics and related markets. The company will host a free webinar titled “Future Trends and Economic Implication of Enhanced Oil Recovery in North America” on March 24th 2015 at 10:00 am – 11:00 am EST. This briefing will analyze and investigate the changing environment in enhanced oil recovery across North America and its impact on the environment.

To register, please click in the following link: http://ww2.frost.com/event/calendar/future-trends-and-economic-implication-enhanced-oil-recovery-north-america/?eID=664

Great interview with Linda Skilton from Fleming College!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! This is our first post of 2015, and it could not be better! I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Linda Skilton, PhD, Dean and Principal of Frost Campus at Fleming College. Gamiing Nature Centre and Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences (SENRS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further develop and strengthen our relationship. Due to this reason, I wanted to know from Linda her opinion on the benefits of this partnership and also her point of view regarding environmental trends.

Gamiing: The School of Environmental & Natural Linda SkiltonResource Sciences (SENRS) atFleming College has a focus on active, outdoor, and hands-on learning. What are the main benefits that you believe that the partnership with Gamiing Nature Centre will bring to your students?

Linda: The students at the Frost Campus have been involved with many activities at Gamiing including course work in the Ecosystem Management program through the Credit for Product course, field placement in various programs and so on. The formalized partnership MOU that was signed in December 2014 will ensure our involvement with Gamiing in the future and lead to more activities for our staff and students.

Gamiing: According to a recent article from McKinsey, there is a chronic under-investment in leadership development within the fast growing social sector (which includes environmental organizations). What are the main attributes that you believe that the future leaders of these organizations need to have and that are being developed on SENRS students?

Fleming CollegeLinda: From the time that our students enter our programs at SENRS, we assist them in developing their leadership skills. These skills are developed through a number of courses and the applied activities that students participate in throughout their program of study. Many assignments include project/team work where the students are expected to demonstrate their leadership skills. Future leaders in the environmental sector need to be knowledgeable, critical thinkers, innovators and possess excellent communication skills. It is not only important to have the technical knowledge but it is critical that graduates can are able to communicate with those who may not have environmental knowledge. There are big environmental problems in need of big solutions and leaders who can contribute to the change necessary to address these problems. Colleges are investing in leadership development and our graduates are demonstrating these skills in a variety of careers in the environmental sector.

Gamiing: Partnerships with community stakeholders including the private sector, universities, and government are key to drive the growth of nonprofit organizations. In your point of view, how can we increase the engagement of community stakeholders and promote partnerships like the one between SENRS and Gamiing?

Linda: SENRS has over 100 partners including Kawartha Conservation, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Trent University. Our partners are both public and private sector, local, provincial, national and international. Partners bring opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to engage in applied activities and joint ventures that would not be possible to do on our own. Our partnerships are always growing and expanding with the goal of working collaboratively to achieve goals that contribute to positive change in our world. Increased engagement comes naturally when people rally around and are passionate about the things that matter. What matters to our staff, students and partners are clean air and water, social justice, food safety and security and the protection of our natural resources. Our shared goal is on the overall health and sustainability of our planet.

Using the celebrity status for a good cause!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! It’s been a while that I do not write here, but the end of the year is always busy. But this is not an excuse. I was browsing the new publications and insights developed by top strategic consulting firms today – as this is part of my daily job as a market researcher and consultant – and I crossed a very interesting interview that actor Matt Damon and Gary White gave to Mckinsey & Company.

Making Water Flow

In addition to his successful acting career, Matt Damon is also the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Water.org, that works on projects to find sustainable solution to solve the global water and sanitation crisis.

This interview was published on April 2014, and  it is very interesting to see both interviewees debating about the importance of water in the world, the current impact of lack of access to water and sanitation, and their strategic approach to tackle this global issue, which they make very clear that is not charity.

You can click the video above to watch the interview of the following link: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/winning_in_emerging_markets/making_water_flow_an_interview_with_matt_damon_and_gary_white