The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Simple Ways to Go Zero Waste

Erin Rehm takes every opportunity to educate others about reducing waste.

At December’s IDEAS For Us Hive, a monthly meeting where community members brainstorm climate change solutions, she spoke to a room of 50-some individuals about the importance of adopting a zero waste philosophy. Our garbage, and, yes, that includes materials rejected from recycling facilities, is outpacing landfill capacity. What’s more, China—once known as the world’s dumping ground, processing more than 40% of all U.S. recyclables—has issued a recent import ban on reusable items, in an effort to crack down on the country’s pollution. As a result, hundreds of recycling systems in American cities are collapsing.

At the event Erin offered five simple tips for novice zero wasters. You can find them here.


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What is Sustainable Development

I remember so distinctly standing in the middle of the “bullpen” shortly after our annual sales meeting and thinking the company’s new “growth targets” were ridiculous. Their targeted 15% annual growth in a mature market was unrealistic. It dawned on me then that, on a larger scale, the idea of growth year over year over year to infinity was impossible. We live in a finite world. Why couldn’t businesses be structured in a way that was sustainable instead of running on some illusory perpetual growth model? What would a sustainable model look like and how could it be applied?

In his February, 2019 post at IDEAS For Us Akari Giraldo takes on the issue of sustainable growth. He notes that ” One of the longest ongoing debates in the world of economic trade, politics, and human growth involves the evolution of sustainable development.” 

In 2005, the World Summit on Social Development identified the three cores areas of sustainable development, called The Three Pillars of Sustainability. The pillars are economic development, environmental development, and social development, also informally known as profit, planet, and people. These three cores vary in basis, but, are similar in collective goal and place each other into consideration.

 


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Fair Trade and Climate Justice

Please take a moment to join the Fairtrade fight against the climate crisis. Add your name to the petition at The Fairtrade Foundation and spread the word to your family, friends and associates.

Fairtrade is more than a Mark on a product. It’s a call for change.

With the next UN Climate Summit taking place in Glasgow in November 2020, it’s critical we all make sure producers’ voices are heard in the UK and beyond. That is why the Fairtrade Foundation is part of the Climate Coalition, a group of over 130 organisations across the UK, working towards a truly green and sustainable world.


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Zimbabwe Adopts Plan to Protect Rights of Small Farmers

Jeffrey Gogo’s latest piece in The Herald outlines how the Plan for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) “aims to ‘catalogue, protect and promote’ cultivated indigenous crops as well as wild plants and fruits” in Zimbababwe.

The National Strategy and Action Plan for Plant Genetic Resources For Food and Agriculture is based on protection of farmers’ rights…“This (national strategic and action plan) will create an enabling legal and institutional environment that promotes research and capacity development for conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in Zimbabwe,” Mudzindiko told The Herald Business.

Through Zimbabwe’s National Strategy and Action Plan on Plant Genetic Resources,  however, corporate monopoly might find it difficult to steamroll smallholder farmers’ seed rights.

That’s because the plan considers farmer seed independence as crucial to avoiding food losses that are linked to climate change.

By breeding their own seed, farmers are able to create varieties that are suitable for their specific regions and climates, helping them cope better with the increasing shifts, say scientists.

“Climate change is one of the reasons why as a nation we are now seeking to promote these traditional/ indigenous varieties,” Mudzindiko opined.


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Women’s Day Special

The World Fair Trade Organization is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of podcasts featuring Fair Trade Enterprises started and run by women.

Allison Havens founded Yabal Handicrafts in Guatemala to keep alive indigenous weaving techniques and create livelihoods for local women. Today, the women producers are becoming the main income earners in their family and challenging gender norms. Her story unpacks what it means to truly prioritize local producers over increasing profits – getting to the heart of what makes an enterprise mission-led.

 

Bethlehem founded Entoto Beth in Ethiopia as a social enterprise. Today, her enterprise gives opportunities for 200 women in marginalized communities. She upcycles bullet-casings and has adopted Fair Trade to create jewelry and bags for global markets.

 


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Nobel laureates call for a revolutionary shift in how humans use resources

Reposted from theguardian.com,

Amazon deforestation
Deforestation is among a growing list of planetary ailments, the Nobel laureates warn. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

 

Eleven Nobel laureates will pool their clout to sound a warning, declaring that mankind is living beyond its means and darkening its future.

At a conference in Hong Kong coinciding with the annual Nobel awards season, holders of the prestigious prize will plead for a revolution in how humans live, work and travel.

Only by switching to smarter, less greedy use of resources can humans avert wrecking the ecosystems on which they depend, the laureates will argue.

The state of affairs is “catastrophic”, Peter Doherty, 1996 co-winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, said in a blunt appraisal.

He is among 11 laureates scheduled to attend the four-day huddle from Wednesday – the fourth in a series of Nobel symposia on the precarious state of the planet.

From global warming, deforestation and soil and water degradation to ocean acidification, chemical pollution and environmentally-triggered diseases, the list of planetary ailments is long and growing, Doherty said.

The worsening crisis means consumers, businesses and policymakers must consider the impact on the planet of every decision they make, he said.

“We need to think sustainability – food sustainability, water sustainability, soil sustainability, sustainability of the atmosphere.”

Overlapping with the 2014 Nobel prize announcements from 6-13 October, the laureates’ gathering will focus on the prospect that global warming could reach double the UN’s targeted ceiling of 2C over pre-industrial times.

Underpinning their concern are new figures highlighting that humanity is living absurdly beyond its means.

According to the latest analysis by environmental organisation WWF, mankind is using 50% more resources than nature can replenish.

“The peril seems imminent,” said US-Australian astrophysicist Brian Schmidt, co-holder of the 2011 Nobel physics prize for demonstrating an acceleration in the expansion of the universe.

The threat derives from “our exponentially growing consumption of resources, required to serve the nine billion or so people who will be on planet Earth by 2050, all of whom want to have lives like we have in the western world,” said Schmidt.

“We are poised to do more damage to the Earth in the next 35 years than we have done in the last 1,000.”

Ada Yonath, an Israeli crystallographer co-awarded the 2009 Nobel for chemistry, said sustainability should not just be seen as conservation of animals and plants.

Humankind should also be much more careful in its use of other life-giving resources like antibiotics.

The spread of drug-resistant bacteria through incorrect use has become a key challenge in “sustainability for the future of humankind”, she stressed.

Several of the laureates suggested a focus on energy.

Dirty fossil fuels must be quickly phased out in favour of cleaner sources – and, just as importantly, the new technology has to spread quickly in emerging economies.

If these countries fail to adopt clean alternatives, they will continue to depend on cheap, plentiful fossil fuels to power their rise out of poverty.

“This will lead to major climate change in the future, and might well destabilise a large fraction of the world’s population due to the change of [climate] conditions,” warned Schmidt.

The climate impact of Asia’s rapid urbanisation will be one of the meeting’s focus areas.

Another concern aired by laureates was the need to strip away blinkers about the danger, while remaining patient in explaining to people why change would be to their advantage.

George Smoot, co-awarded the 2006 physics prize for his insights into the big bang that created the universe, gave the example of LED lighting, a low-carbon substitute for inefficient incandescent bulbs.

“A great innovation is not enough,” he said. “It must be adopted and used widely to have major impact and that starts with general understanding. But until people move from old incandescent bulbs to the new ones, the impact is much less.

“So we need the solutions, for authorities to authorise or encourage their use through regulation, and for people to adopt them.”

And that could only work once everyone understands the benefits for humanity as a whole, but also for themselves, said Smoot.

 

 

 


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FAO Announces International Symposium on Agroecology

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will host an International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition on September 18 and 19, 2014. The symposium, at FAO headquarters in Rome, will explore recent scientific research and knowledge around agroecological practices, promote open dialogue, and showcase existing experiences and programs on agroecology. Food Tank is excited to be participating in this event.

The event will bring together international experts in the field of Agroecology and falls within the new FAO Strategic Framework, which aims to “increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in a sustainable manner.”

The symposium will provide a forum for taking stock of the current state of science and practices of agroecology. Discussions will focus on current initiatives underway around the world contributing to the development of an international framework for research on agroecology, with consideration of economic, social and environmental aspects in industrialized and developing countries.

The symposium aims to produce an action plan for a follow up process in Africa and Asia including potential activities in the context of the FAO Strategic Framework. Following the symposium, the FAO will release scientific proceedings and other informational media content for online sharing.

Registration is now open for interested participants.

Maia Reed holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from McGill University and recently received her Permaculture Design Certificate.