Ignorance breeds Damage

Illegal road repair in Africa

In Swaziland, we have a saying that goes “ignorance is akin to blindness”. The same can be said of people who unwittingly cause damage to the environment by engaging in activity which may appear harmless, when in actual fact will have adverse long term consequences. One such activity is occurring in numerous rural communities in Swaziland. In a bid to generate some income, many young men in Swaziland have been effecting road repairs on damaged gravel roads in their communities. What typically happens is that these young men will remove soil from the side of the road to fill up… read more

Recycling’s Dark Side

Recycling’s Dark Side

Bangladesh houses one of the world’s largest ship dismantling yards. Located in Chittagong, this vast area along the coast holds enormous vessels no longer in service that are waiting to be taken apart and recycled. Some of the largest maritime vessels retire here, awaiting their exhaustive tear down and reprocessing phase. When seeing the sheer scale of some of these floating giants, it would be unimaginable if they were not reclaimed. The metal and every part possible from the ships are recycled and sold in markets and to companies. There are reportedly thousands of laborers that work at this particular shipyard which… read more

Deadly Trinkets

Loggerhead_sea_turtle

In the days when buffalo still roamed the plains freely, they were viewed as sacred by the Native Americans. Though they hunted the buffalo, they thanked them for providing them with clothing and nourishment, and a sense of respect prevailed over their harvests. While there is no need for such harvests in developed countries, especially with the constant threat posed to a majority of animal species, hunting still takes place on a large scale. With animals often hunted not for the survival of human predators, but to be used as trophies and a means of commercial trade. Many times these… read more

A Bookless Library?

ebook library

A bookless library; what will I read? The first public, bookless library is set to open this fall in San Antonio, Texas. The new book-free library, called “BiblioTech,” is intended to open in the fall an\[d is part of an entire bookless public library system planned for the entire county of Bexar (Texas). You do not have to take your own device. The library will actually lend out e-readers (of an unspecified brand) for two weeks at a time. It will be all computers and e-readers. Academic libraries have been experimenting with libraries with a lot fewer books for a… read more

The Need for Urban Farms

New_crops-Chicago_urban_farm

Currently, half the world’s population lives in cities and by 2030 the number of urban dwellers is expected to reach 70 percent of the entire population. Because of the constant population growth, in total cities will swell up to well over 9 billion. Meanwhile there is an ever persistent need to feed this growing population. This can pose problems in dense areas of limited space. As we come closer to realizing this reality, urban farming becomes more than experiment in sustainability and will soon be a necessity if we wish to have a balanced flow of the consumption and production… read more

Cottage Food Industry

Home Baked Is Best

On January 1st, 2013, California enacted its Homemade Food Act which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2012. The act makes California the largest state with a cottage food law covering anything produced by the state’s more than 11.5 million home kitchens and marks a high point for a movement that got seriously underway with the recession four years ago. We’re talking homemade cookies and brownies, jams, jellies, fruit pies, mixed nuts, flavored vinegars, dried teas, roasted coffee, and other yummy stuff that’s already legal in more than 30 other states including Oregon, Washington, Texas, and… read more

Slow Food Movement

Farming local produce

By the second half of the 20th century the world was already moving at a fast pace, with a majority of people living fast, driving fast, and eating fast. Then, as now, you couldn’t turn onto any major highway without a billboard, sign or restaurant promising cheap, fast food uprooted alongside every exit. But these fast-food chains did more than frequent busy stretches of traffic, as soon they were beginning to invade sacred sections of the built-environment. During the 1980s in Italy, the fast food industry went so far as to propose the construction of a new McDonald’s next to… read more

Wind Tax Credit Extended

Wind tax credits extended

As part of the midnight deal resolving some of the tax issues dubbed the “fiscal cliff,” Congress extended the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) for one year. More importantly, the bill’s tax extenders package granted the $0.022 per kilowatt-hour tax credit to the electricity wind projects generate over the first ten years of their production service to wind farms which are “under construction” by the end of 2013. The same debate will have to happen in a year, but the wind industry could definitely utilize the extra time. This is a critical change from the previous language in the PTC… read more

Abandoned Property

Abandoned properties

Owners of immovable property in suburban areas have a legal duty to ensure that such properties are in good stead and comply with municipal by laws relating, inter alia, their upkeep and maintenance. There are owners of immovable property who have failed to maintain their property. Abandoning properties in suburban areas is usually unintentional in that when the owners acquire such property, they do so with the intention of either improving an existing structure or erecting a new structure on it. What then happens is that for one of a variety reasons, the owner decides to postpone any developments indefinitely…. read more

Quality Partner Program

QPP Farming

The Quality Partner Program, also known as QPP, is a unique cocoa sustainability program developed by Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, and our subsidiary Societé Africaine de Cacao (SACO) in Ivory Coast. QPP supports cooperatives in their efforts to serve the needs of their cocoa farmer members. It enables and encourages farmers to grow and produce cocoa in a sustainable, responsible way. Farmer Field Schools are used to help train the modern cocoa farmer. Farmers learn how to increase the productivity of their farms and how to improve the quality of their cocoa. They learn about… read more