TAG: Environment

Lessons from Niger Delta

Niger Delta, Africa

The Niger Delta is an oil-rich part of Nigeria. Oil prospecting and extraction operations have been undertaken by multinational companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, which was part of the controversial case The Social and Economic Rights Action Centre and another v Nigeria (“SERAC case”) which was heard by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In a nutshell, the SERAC case was a lawsuit where the plaintiffs argued that the government of Nigeria was directly involved in oil production through the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company in a joint venture with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, and that… read more

Privatizing Water Sources

Privatizing Water Sources

Water is increasingly becoming a very important commodity, the depletion of fresh water sources around the globe has led to the belief that the next world war may be over fresh water. This may seem an exaggeration, however, the impression of the gravity is no hyperbole. There is a big debate as to whether water should be privatized and thus not be controlled by government. For purposes of this article, the main question is whether owners of land must also be the legal owners of all water and water sources within their land. I would like to submit that from… read more

Paperless Society

Paperless society

We live in a world where paper has formed such an integral part of our lives that it may be hard to imagine a world without paper. The use of paper is so commonplace that most people have never considered the all important question, “do we need so much paper in the world”? One imagines that an attempt to curb the use of paper, especially in our places of work, would have very slow and unsatisfactory results. The truth of the matter is that no civilised government would attempt to outlaw the use of paper. That would be a ludicrous… read more

Green Roofs of Norway

Green roofs of Norway

Time and again we see pictures surfacing on the web of these adorable green roof topped house with a mesmerizing scenery that are located in Norway. It is probably true that many people just assume it is some type of green technology, pin it, and move on with their day.  This is actually not a modern invention.  Norwegians have been planting greenery atop their roofs for hundreds of years.  During the time of Vikings or the Middle Ages, majority of the houses had sod roofs.  This allowed for more warmth in the home rather than some of the modern materials… read more

Greener Homes Required

Green architectural designs

Be it sun-lit mansions, garden duct cooling or solar heating. All these words sounded lame and too fictional a few years back. But now, due to awareness for the environment, houses are designed in order to reduce to the maximum wastage and dependence on non renewable energy and adopt use for the natural sources of energy. Reduction in housing spaces in cities and the ever increasing demand for power has forced people to design their houses to give them comfort without compromising the “green” factor for their house. For this, the easy and practical option is to switch over to… read more

Telling Green from Dirty

The language of 'green'

How can consumers recognize fact from fiction amongst the plethora of environmental claims that soak the market? Adapted from The Greenwash Guide produced by Futerra Sustainability Communications, here are the top ten signs to watch out for when considering the purchase of “green” products or services: Puffery: If the language is vague, chances are the environmental benefits are light on the ground as well. “Eco-friendly”…what on earth does that mean? Silly symbolism: Using suggestive pictures is all well and good, but cute and irrelevant images don’t cut it.  Cartoon flowers floating skyward from a car’s exhaust? C’mon, give us a… read more

Culture and Environment

Umhlanga Reed Dance, Africa

If Swaziland were a ship, culture would be her anchors. Even though change and modernisation have permeated into society, strong cultural values remain unchanged in the Swazi people. So important is culture to Swaziland, that there are holidays reserved for cultural events. One such event is the Umhlanga Reed Dance. This particular day generally involves a large number of girls marching for miles to harvest reed which is used to build beautiful huts at the royal residences. The large number which may be up to 80 000 maidens gives one an idea of the amount of reed collected. The environmental… read more

Disposing of Chemicals

Harmful household chemicals

Hazardous chemical waste is more prevalent than one may think.  Look around your home and see how many of these items you may have.  The items include: paints, polishes, batteries, thinners, gasoline, anti-freeze, motor oil, transmission, brake and steering fluids, thermometers, fluorescent bulbs, fertilizers, solvents, pesticides, and herbicides.  So, how do you go about disposing of these harmful chemicals? Hazardous waste should be taken to a disposal facility because they contain chemicals that are a danger to human health and the environment.  Do not simply pour any chemicals down the drain.  Sewage treatment plants will not extract any of the… read more

Hydrofracking Threat

Clearing land for hydrofracking

Hydrofracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, is a gas extraction mechanism that involves pumping large amounts of water, sand and chemicals underground to unearth natural gas from rock formations. This new mechanism is economical for companies in gas extraction, for the environment it can spell devastation. The environmental threats from hydrofracking are numerous, an overview as to how the mechanism works is thus necessary to appreciate the gravity of the overall potential for disaster. Hydrofracking requires large quantities of water which is either transported to the extraction site or pumped from a nearby water sources. The water is then mixed… read more

Mass Soybean Production

Soybean Farming

Is mass production of soybeans sustainable? Evidence from South America suggests that the answer is “no.” Making way for soy farms requires not only clearing the land needed to grow the beans, but also the development of infrastructure to transport inputs and harvested produce. To make matters worse, most soy farms grow genetically modified crops, which present additional risks to the environment. When soybean farms take over, natural ecosystems are destroyed and biodiversity is diminished. Massive monocultures displace diversified subsistence farms, leaving local people short of food and afflicted with pesticide-induced health problems. Government funds are diverted to subsidize soybean… read more