The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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The Transvida Cooperative

This article on the RioOnWatch site really caught my attention. It shows how even the poorest communities can benefit by forming a cooperative.

Cooperativa Transvida Promotes Recycling and Environmental Awareness

In 2011, then engaged in various projects through her church, Oliveira saw a group of residents picking through trash in the community in search of recyclable material. Looking for a way to help them, she ended up proposing: “Guys, don’t you want to form a cooperative?”

In the beginning, nobody knew anything. We only knew how to separate the trash and assess the value of the different types of material,” says Rozeno. “In fact, the only things we were missing were organization and administration.” Thanks to Oliveira’s volunteer-help in developing the administrative side of the organization, the Transvida Recycling Cooperative was able to begin its journey, with four volunteers and about 20 trash collectors.

…despite it being a tiring job, “people are learning how to sort waste, learning how to take care of the environment.” Residents talk to one another about the positive results of the cooperative’s work, and “this is opening minds in our community,” concludes Rozena. So, in addition to bringing in income for trash collectors and their families, Transvida promotes environmental awareness, especially in relation to waste treatment within the community.

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Titi Monkeys Use Sentence-Like Order

Titi monkey-talk has just been deciphered, with researchers now comparing the communication of these small primates to those of humans. The study, published in the latest issue of Biology Letters, notes that titi alarm calls specify the type of predator, such as caracara (predatory bird) or oncilla (mammalian hunter). The calls also mention where the predator is located, such as in flight or stalking on the ground.

The calls are emitted in an orderly sequence, similar to how humans construct sentences. Lead author Cristiane Casar of the University of St. Andrews and her colleagues report it’s “the first demonstration of a sequence-based alarm call system in a non-human animal that has the capacity to encode both location and type of predatory threat.”


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Greenpeace exhorts FDA to stop misleading the public

Greenpeace calls on the FDA to stop feeding the public propaganda about the safety of eating GM products:

‘The FDA should stop feeding the public with propaganda. They are not truthful in saying that GMOs are safe for consumption. There is no scientific proof that GMOs pose no danger to human health and the environment. Even the scientific community is divided on whether GMOs are safe,’ said Daniel Ocampo, sustainable agriculture and genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The group sent a letter this week to the state agency urging it “to be more forthright in providing public information on the propagation of GMOs by disclosing that 80 percent of the GMOs in the world are planted only in four countries, namely the (United States), Canada, Brazil and Argentina.”

Amid a growing debate on its consumption, the FDA announced last week that eating GM foods is safe, citing the Codex Alimentarius or the United Nations’ regulations on the safety of eating them.

Greenpeace said these are just protocols for risk assessments of GMOs and that there are no set standards in the consumption of food with GM ingredients.

‘…We call on the FDA to maintain its role as a regulator and to protect the welfare and health of the people by being more discerning in assessing the safety of GMOs. We ask that the FDA retract its statement about GMOs being ‘safe’ and to stop making conclusive statements that may mislead the public into thinking that the safety of GMOs has already been established,’ Ocampo added.

The entire article by Jovan Cerda in The Phillipine Star can be found here.

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Telecoupling – A Holistic Understanding of Sustainability

Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability highlights a recent study by  led by Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Michigan State University’s Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability:

In the new issue of Ecology and Society, Liu, director of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS), and his colleagues lay the groundwork to understand how an action on one side of the world has enormous socioeconomic and environmental consequences thousands of miles away – and how it doesn’t stop there. Telecoupling shows how environmental and socioeconomic actions lead to reactions and feedbacks – and then to more repercussions that reverberate globally.

The study posits that, “Sustainability can be understood better when different types of interactions are integrated across multiple coupled human and natural systems.”

The [study’s] authors use the trading of soybeans as an example of the far-reaching complexities that result.

Soybeans are a booming commodity in China – used for food, vegetable oil and animal feed. The telecoupling framework uses five components (systems, agents, flows, causes, and effects) critical to assembling the whole picture.

Systems are where humans and nature interact. Explosive growth and increasing urbanity has sent the Chinese shopping elsewhere for soybeans. Brazil has stepped up to the plate to meet the demands and has suffered environmental consequences as delicate rainforests are converted to farmland. China, on the other hand, has been converting farmlands back to forests.

The entire study can be found at Ecology and Society.