World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of water and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
Theme of this year’s campaign is “The World Is Thirsty Because We Are Hungry” and raise awareness about water consumption for food production.
“The world is thirsty because of our needs for food. Today, there are over 7 billion people to feed on the planet and this number is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. To be able to feed everybody, we first need to secure water, in sufficient quantity and adequate quality. We will also need to produce more food using less water, reduce food wastage and losses, and move towards more sustainable diets”
All information about WWD2012 could be find on the official web site http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/. Greener supports WWD2012 and next days will be dedicated to water.
New Year and Christmas led me to think about “how much food is thrown unnecessarily?”. Usually we prepare food in large quantities, because the human eye is greedy and the table should be full (overfull) no matter that only half of what is served will be eaten, and the rest will end up in garbage bins. Let’s not forget that while we behave irresponsibly with food many people barely manage to get one meal per day.
Have you ever wondered how much food is throw it in the world daily? This is what data says – in America just in 2010 are throw away 34 million tonnes food and only 3% from that are recycled or reuse, remaining 33 million tons ended up in landfills or in ovens for destruction. In addition the above figures, the average American family unnecessarily throws usually 600$ from its budget by unused food that ends up as waste. This is something which forces me to think about … what about you?
The situation in the EU is worrying, too. Figures show that in EU 89 million tons of foods, which is 179 kg per capita, are thrown away annually. The EU institutions aware of the magnitude of the problem has already taken steps to overcome it. The European Parliament called in a resolution adopted on 01/19/2012 for urgent measures to halve food waste by 2025 and to improve access to food for needy EU citizens.
Today, food represents the largest percentage of solid waste, which is normal because there is no life without food. If we approach to this problem with bigger awareness and change our habits we will have both environmental and economic benefit. Food waste will be significantly reduced if we do our buying with plan for necessary stuff for next few days not by grabbing everything we see on the markets. At the same time, more money will remain in our wallets that could be spent for other purpose or need.
But let me going back to the thought and the problem. Food should not necessarily end up in trash bins along with the overall waste. For example:
- food can be given to those who need it, certainly if still usable. In our country there are many poor families and public kitchens where such food may well be used.
- food could be used for production of quality compost without pesticides and other chemical. With proper treatment can prepare high quality food without additives for domestic animals. Previously we have written post how to prepare compost.
- you could extend foods shelf life through processing. For example:
1. if the tomatoes have started to soften in refrigerator, don’t wait to rotten but crumble them in minor pieces and cook them. That is how you will prepare tomato sauce which can be used in preparation or as a dressing for other meals.
2. by the rice that you have prepared as a side order for lunch could be prepared delicious and nutritious meal with simple adding of vegetables and some spices.
Such examples are so many, our grandmothers and mothers used them quite often in the past, but unfortunately we are forgetting this. It is easier for us to get rid of food by throwing it in the trash.
It would be nice if examples what I mention could reach people from commercial facilities, too, and food what is prepared in restaurants daily or food with close deadlines – from the shelves of supermarkets and retail markets, will not became a part of the municipal waste.
Therefore, in future, when you will go to purchase some food think if it is really necessary to buy that food that or you could go home without it, or if you have some food leftovers how would you treat it and where it will end.
Taking Just A Moment … to make the right decision … to replace the bad habits that cause negative effects on the environment with new green habits …
Today is 11.11.2011 and we suggest 11 green moments:
- Buy decorated glass or ceramic bottle for liquid soap. To cut down on plastic bottle waste from your home buy liquid soap in bulk and decant into your beautiful bottle.
- Use a water filter. Stop purchasing cases of bottled water and use a water filter. This can save you money and reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our landfills.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. Eating vegetarian cuts down considerably on the effects of global warming, because meat and dairy production creates more carbon emissions than all those cars and trucks on the road.
- Use cloth grocery bags. Buy beautiful cloth grocery bag from natural materials (linen, jute, cotton) and keep it close when prepare to go on shopping. That will save your money and will reduce the amount of waste that you create every day.
- Cancel the subscription of “papers” that you do not need. If you have changed you interests or your “paper” could be find online, simply cancel the subscription. This will reduce the amount of paper that ends the daily landfill.
- Beware of heat. Set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees. When baking, do not preheat your oven for more than 10 minutes. If everyone reduced their oven time by an hour per year, we would save enough energy to bake a billion cookies.
- Watch your water consumption. The simple replacement of existing taps with new models with lower flow will reduce the amount of used water by 30%. You can also count on the amount of water collected from your air conditioner to use to clean the house or watering the flowers.
- Walk. For short realtions, rather than sit in a car, choose a walk – walking is free, saves fuel, does not contribute to expanding the ozone hole and helps you to stay in good condition.
- Help the environment. Plant local plants in your garden or balcony, get involved in the actions of planting trees, do not tear flowers, do not fracture the branches of trees, do not trample the grass – more green plants means bigger Earth filter .
- Don‘t be greedy. Use things completely, if possible, several times, before throw them away. Think before you buy any stuff, whether you can do without it. Otherwise you just add quantity to the existing waste.
- Holidays without waste. Wrapping paper is a key source of waste during the holidays (decorative papers, decorative bags, ribbons). Reuse old paper and old packagings, or buy recycled materials. Be creative and unique.
What green moments can you share with us?
From 24.10 to 28.10.2011 in Valjevo, Serbia, was held training entitled “Building CSOs capacities on EU Nature related policies” organized by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and it partners Ecologists’ Movement of Macedonia , Greens of Montenegro, Bird Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina (Serbia). It aim was to strengthen civil society organizations in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in order to increase their role in the implementation of key EU enviromental policies and strategies.
This training is part of the EU funded project “EU Environmental Policies and Strategies in South Eastern Europe: Capacity Building for the Implementation of EU Environmental Policies and Strategies in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia”.
Training participants had the opportunity to contribute on the topics:
• Ecological networks
• Green Infrastructure: development policy and practice implications
• Impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment of the environment
• NATURA 2000
• Policies for Rural Development
The accession to EU is not a smooth process for Western Balkan countries, but a long journey with a number of challenges on the way. The process includes synchronization of the national legislation with the EU one, ensuring its implementation by introducing new acts at national level, genuine involvement of all stakeholders in the process of decision-making, improvement of regional cooperation etc. Additionally, raising awareness and capacity building for the implementation of the EU policies and strategies are of the utmost importance for a successful accession process.
CSOs are seen as the driving force for transformation of the society in the Western Balkans countries and establishing close cooperation and a functional network of skilled and knowledgeable CSOs is essential for achieving the above aim.
Written by Kylie Walker, an active blogger who is passionate about the environment, healthy living, and innovative technology that will help create a cleaner world.
Follow him on Twitter – @WalkerKylie
Green. It is more than a color, name, or a term used to describe vegetables and foliage. It is also slang for paper currency. More important, it is a popular political movement. “Going green” is a phrase that society uses to describe a crusade to promote global environmental social responsibility, peace, bio-regionalism, and protection. Common words that are associated with the Going Green movement are “re-cycling,” “re-purposing” and “re-using.” However, we can do so much more than re-purpose, re-cycle, and re-use. Today’s technological advancement in green living has brought about opportunities to more efficiently manufacture vehicles, produce medical improvements and construct homes and buildings.
Individual people are becoming more conscious of the need to protect the environment, and whole neighborhoods are gathering to reduce their carbon footprint. Some communities are fortunate and have been given the opportunity to “go green” cost-free while others must pay for the experience and privilege of living energy efficient.
For example, British Gas recently initiated a part of the movement, “Green Streets”, and installed a ground source heat pump and placed a solar roof on the village hall at Tackle, Britain. Residents replaced appliances and received energy saving light bulbs to use. Because of the costly project — the gift of free energy saving equipment worth £150,000 — the community was able, overall, to produce their own power with these devices and save on energy costs.
Other neighborhoods are not as fortunate as the Tackley community, but are still benefitting from green homes. Build San Antonio Green (BSAG) has formed a partnership with a construction company, KB Homes, based in Los Angeles but working in San Antonio, Texas. They have agreed that the homes they build in San Antonio will be energy efficient. Even though BSAG is a non-profit organization, it demands superior standards even above the municipal code’s energy efficiency specifications. BSAG homes are, on average, about 15% more energy efficient than other homes. Indoor air quality, water and energy are all more efficient due to technology. HVAC systems have been revolutionized, insulation has been augmented, windows have been replaced with dual panes, and roof tops exhibit solar panels. The total elimination of monthly electricity bills is the objective of KB Homes as they build houses based on BSAG principles.
Greg Powell, owner of Powell Construction Services LLC, built Cottages at Harbor Shores Hideaway on the shores of Lake Michigan. Powell, like BSAG, is seeing an increase in green home purchases. He is building energy efficient homes with high performance levels that are also attractive and elegant. The Digital Journal reports that seven homes have been built and seven more are under construction. The homes are constructed to comply with the standards of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The homes that have been built and those under construction have and will receive a Gold Standard rating from Green Built Homes. The year round Michigan weather was taken into consideration as Powell made sure the homes would withstand the harsh weather conditions — the extremes of cold temperatures and the warm summers.
Furthermore, a bill currently in Congress would compel the three largest mortgage agencies – the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to take energy costs into consideration in every loan they purchase, insure or guarantee. They would also be required to advise appraisers, when factual information is available on energy-efficiency savings, to adjust property valuations upward.
The bipartisan bill was introduced October 20, 2011, jointly sponsored by Republican Johnny Isakson from Georgia and Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado. The Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act will include the estimated energy-consumption costs for the house, in addition to the standard principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) computations as a compulsory new underwriting determinant.
Millions of dollars will be thrust in energy efficiency investment by the SAVE Act. No subsidy or new government decree is required, SAVE simply fixes the artificial barrier that recent banking rules have created. The bill will:
- help home buyers pay the up-front cost of an energy efficient home
- since a primary source of air pollution, oil consumption and high electricity demand, SAVE will help protect the environment
- reduce foreclosures by more precise underwriting, thus helping lenders
- help homeowners fund their home efficiency improvements and assist in reflecting those improvements when the home is resold
There are two things that people strive for and ultimately want to accomplish: saving money and living comfortably. Researchers are constantly working toward that conclusion while enabling people to dwell energy efficiently. Even more innovative technologies will soon be appearing in our homes because the biotechnology field is rapidly increasing. The biotechnology field is growing rapidly, and it will not be long until even newer technologies make it into our lives, outside of the home as well. Researchers like Winston Wong and Dr. Leroy Hood are pioneers in the biotech industry, creating the first Biofuel Ice Vehicle and an Automated DNA sequencer, respectively. The increase in biotechnology is helping shape our lives in every aspect for a greener future.
* This post is written by guest author – represents the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Greener.