5 Tips to Green Your Home From Organic Architect Eric Corey Freed

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Jill Fehrenbacher

Fecha: 08/02/2011

Greening your home can provide numerous financial, health and environmental benefits; frommaking your air healthier, to cutting down your energy bill, to lowering your carbon footprint. Most people like the idea of “greening” their home, but many are daunted by complex technical information and don’t where to begin. Happily, eco architect and green building expert Eric Corey Freed has stepped in to distill the process of greening your home into 5 easy stepsincreasing insulationget a thermostatconserve water through smart technologyoverhaul your roof andupgrade your lighting. We sat down with this organicARCHITECT to take notes on his 5 steps to a greener home – read on for the full scoop!

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TIP 1: Wrap Your Home in Insulation – “The More, The Better!”

Proper insulation is probably the most important factor you can control in creating an energy-efficient home. I always say insulation is like chocolate, the more you have, the better! On average, ½ of your home’s heating and cooling will escape through walls (35%), windows (25%), floor (15%) and roof (25%). Therefore, the first thing you should do to determine where insulation is needed is to scan your home with a thermal radiometer or infrared scanner in order to detect where your home is leaking heat. (You could hire a professional energy auditor to come out and do an infrared scan of your house and produce pretty rainbow color pictures, like the one above, or you could do it yourself with a cheap spot radiometer like this Black and Decker Thermal Leak Detector).

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Once you’ve determined where you are leaking heat, you can patch up your insulation in a number of different ways. The location of the leaks will determine which type best suits your needs, but whatever you do, it’s a good idea to hire an expert to help you determine what type of insulation is best for your climate and where to put it. For attics and roofs I prefer blown-in cellulose insulation, which is basically shredded/recycled newspaper. When adding additional insulation to your walls, my favorite type of insulation is a soy-based spray foam called BioBased. While I like the organic and eco-conscious qualities of Bonded Logic recycled denim insulation and wool insulation, I find that when you are looking for the highest R-value and the tightest seal, spray foam just can’t be beat, and BioBased is my favorite green option in that department.


As much as 25% of a home’s heat is lost through its windows, so when replacing windows get the most energy-efficient model you can afford. If you have old single-pane windows and you live anywhere where it gets cold, you need to replace those windows pronto with double-pane glass. If you have really large windows and live in a cold climate, it also might be worth considering super-insulated windows with triple panes, argon in between panes, and really tight seals around the edges. Or, if you want to take it to the next level, Marvin Windows now makes a triple pane with a krypton/argon/air gas mix in between the panes, this window ups the thermal performance by 0.03 beyond the U-factors of a tripane with argon, which Marvin also offers.

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TIP 2: Manage Your Heating and Cooling Intelligently with a Thermostat

All the insulation in the world won’t make a difference in cutting energy costs if you aren’t smart about how you heat and cool your house. This may sound blindingly obvious to some, but you can cut your heating bill in half if you are strategic about WHEN your heating and cooling is running. Without a thermostat to guide them, most heating/cooling systems are dumb and blind and will consume loads of energy keeping your bedroom nice and toasty during the day (when you are not home), or warming your living room at night (when you are asleep). If you connect your heating and cooling system to a programmable thermostat, you can heat/cool different rooms at specific times during the day when people will be in those rooms (such as between 6-8pm in the evening, after work). Many brands of thermostats (check out Honeywell) even have smart phone apps that allow you to program your heating and cooling on the fly, remotely.

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TIP 3: Conserve Water Through Smart Technology

Because water seems plentiful and is all-around us, most Americans have no idea about thecoming water crisis. Our water infrastructure is crumbling in this country and potable water shortages are going to become commonplace within 10 years. You can get a jump on tackling this looming problem by installing some water-saving appliances in your house, such as low-flow shower-heads and water-saving toilets. I’m a big fan of the AQUS grey water toilet, which recycles grey water from your sink to flush your toilet!

60% of the average American’s water use takes place outside the home (in irrigating water-sucking lawns), so ditch the 1950′s Cleaver-style lawn and consider “xeriscaping” – planting native foliage that doesn’t need high maintenance watering and fertilizing.

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TIP 4: Overhaul Your Roof To Cool Your House, Neighborhood & Your Carbon Footprint

If you really want to green your home, you need to green your roof! If your roof isn’twhite/reflectivegreen, or covered in photovoltaic tiles, you’ve got room for improvement!

The Urban Heat Island Affect, Providence, Rhode Island, Nasa Images, global warming, green design, sustainable design, satellite image


Dark colored roofs soaks up the sun’s energy and make your home and the surrounding area hotter. That’s why tons of dark roofs clustered together in one spot can warm up an entire city to create the “urban heat island effect” – an effect which causes cities to be significantly warmer (sometimes up 10 degrees warmer) than surround natural landscapes. Do your neighbors and your electricity bill a favor and make your roof a ‘white roof’. By reflecting the sun’s rays, you can lower the temperature of your house and save on your cooling bills by up to 40%.

Green roof, greenroof, green roofs, on top of Singapore School of Art and Technology, School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore


Installing a green roof on your home requires a bit more effort, but they have the same cooling effect as white roofs plus lots of added benefits such as producing oxygen, absorbing carbon and mitigating storm water runoff pollution. An easy way to get started with green roofs is to look for a turnkey, modular green roof system like GreenGrid. One thing to consider when deciding if a green roof is right for your home is that weight can be a concern, so make sure your home’s structure is strong enough to withstand the added poundage on the roof. Green roofs are a great way to add insulation to your home while adding more greenery and oxygen to your local environment.


If you’re feeling even more ambitious, putting photovoltaic panels up on your roof is a great way to generate your own energy and save an enormous amount of money on your monthly energy bill – in many areas you can even get money back each month from your local energy company! Installing solar panels is not an inexpensive or simple endeavor, but there are tax breaks in many states that make it an easier pill to swallow, and your investment will pay off eventually, through tax breaks and energy-bill savings, over many years. Dsireusa.org is a great resource to find the solar tax incentives in your local area. Getsolar is a great place to find solar installers and consultants in your area.

Eco friendly lighting, green lighting, daylighting, skylights, skylighting, solar tubes, daylight, natural light

TIP 5: Upgrade Your Lighting To Improve Your Energy Bill and Your Outlook on Life

Most people don’t realize that lighting is responsible for at least 1/3 of the energy used in the average home. There are several different ways you can transform your current situation to reduce the energy used by lighting and the cost of your electric bill by nearly 25%. Start by switching the types of bulbs you use to energy-efficient LEDs, and get creative with natural daylight – it will make a significant difference!


These days there’s more than one type of bulb on the market that claims to be “eco-friendly,” but not every “green” bulb is created equally. In recent years we’ve been encouraged to leave the archaic incandescent bulb behind and switch to newer technology such as fluorescents. Although CFLs are more energy-efficient than incandescents, LED bulbs don’t have the nasty problem of mercury in their bulbs. Now, more than ever before, with the release of products like these square LED alternatives, LED lighting is quickly becoming the most efficient and convenient form of indoor lighting on the market. The cost of LED bulbs will continue to drop.

skylight, sky light, daylight, daylighting, natural light, green light, eco-friendly lighting, green lighting, green design


Even though the sun is 93 million miles away, the benefits it can provide to your well-being and your carbon footprint are innumerable. From strategically placed windows and new approaches to the concept of “skylights”, such as solar tubes and fibe roptic sunlight transport devices, getting creative with natural daylight can reap big benefits for your health and your energy bill.

Sundolier Sunlight Collector, sunlight transport device, solar lighting device, solar indoor lighting, solar collector, solar tracker


Whether you have floor-to-ceiling windows or you stare at a brick wall through a porthole, you can still use natural daylight to light your space. New solar illumination technology that utilizes mirrors and fiber optics such as solar tubes and sunlight transport devices can collect sunlight on your roof and pump it into your interior space through small cables. A great example of this is a product called the Sun-Tracker made by Ciralight Global. This skylight works by tracking the sun with a set of mirrors that redirect light into the interior of your space through fiber optic cables.


So by now you know that having strategically placed windows and/or skylights is great in terms of flooding your home with natural light – making you peppy and cutting your energy bill. The downside to this, of course, is that while additional solar radiation can be a boon in the winter when you are trying to keep warm, it can be a real problem in the summer when you are trying to cool your home, and the sun keeps heating it back up again! Fortunately there are many great tricks and tips to cut solar radiation in the summer and maximize it in the winter, such as positioning your windows correctly, placing overhangs over your windows, and placing trees in front of your windows (in summer leaves will shade the windows, while in the winter, bare branches will let sunlight into your windows). This collection of tried and true natural methods for heating and cooling your house using the sun is called ‘Passive Solar Design’ and it is a powerful and fascinating discipline that is worth studying.

Eric Corey Freed, LEED AP, Hon. FIGP, is the Principal of organicARCHITECT, an architecture and consulting firm in California, with nearly 20 years of experience in green building.

He was the founding Chair of Architecture for The San Francisco Design Museum and one of the founders of ecoTECTURE: The Online Journal of Ecological Design. He is a regular contributor for Sustainable Industries Journal, Luxe, Natural Home, Metropolitan Home and dozens of other publications. Eric lectures around the country at 40+ conferences a year, and his work has been featured in Dwell, Metropolis, Town & Country, Natural Home and Newsweek. He has been seen on television on Fox News, HGTV, The Sundance Channel and PBS.

Eric is the author of four books, including “Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies”, a best seller with over 100,000 copies in print. His latest books, “Sustainable School Architecture” and“Green$ense for your Home” were just released in 2010.


Los hoteles de Riviera Maya, contra el cambio climático

Fuente: www.expreso.info

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 20/02/2011

Hotel en Riviera Maya
La Riviera Maya –México- mantiene un compromiso firme contra el cambio climático. Más de cincuenta hoteles de esta región han plantado cara a este
problema ambiental aplicando herramientas de medición de los gases de efecto invernadero que se producen a diario en el sector de la industria hotelera.
Se trata de la segunda fase de una iniciativa promovida por el Sistema de Administración Ambiental MARTI, que desde 2006 trabaja con la infraestructura hotelera de Riviera Maya.MARTI es un proyecto conjunto en el que participan Conservación Internacional (CI), Amigos de Sian Ka’an, CORAL Reef Alliance y la Asociación de Hoteles de la Riviera Maya (AHRM). Su reto es implantar en el sector turístico de este destino ‘Buenas Prácticas Ambientales’ y ‘Sistemas de Administración Ambiental’, además de promover la planeación, diseño y construcción sostenible de futuros desarrollos turísticos.
Esta segunda fase de la Iniciativa MARTI proporcionará a los hoteles una herramienta de medición y compensación de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI), principales causantes del cambio climático cuyos desastrosos efectos inciden en la vida de millones de personas alrededor del mundo.
A través de esta herramienta, los hoteles de Riviera Maya podrán cuantificar la cantidad de gases de efecto invernadero que son arrojados a la atmosfera en su actividad diaria y, una vez conocidos estos resultados, podrán definir objetivos y las políticas de reducción de emisiones más efectivas, así como asumir medidas de compensación a través de la adquisición de los llamados ‘bonos de carbono’.
Tras la huella de carbono
Concretamente, la fase II de la Iniciativa MARTI comprende diversos pasos: cálculo de las toneladas de bióxido de carbono equivalente (CO2) que se desprende de la actividad del hotel, recomendaciones y propuestas de mejora, diseño de un Plan de Acción para lograr estos objetivos de mejora, compensación de la huella de carbono a través de la adquisición de bonos de carbono y la optimización del uso de recursos naturales y materiales, entre otros.
De esta manera, los hoteleros de la Riviera Maya mantienen su compromiso con el turismo sostenible y con la conservación de los recursos naturales de Quintana Roo. El objetivo: mantener este paraíso para el disfrute de las próximas generaciones.

Turismo intoxica cuevas submarinas y arrecifes de la Riviera Maya

Fuente: www.yucatannoticias.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 19/02/2011

En pleno auge, la industria turística mexicana que se extiende a lo largo de la Riviera Maya y de Cancún contamina el mayor sistema de cuevas submarinas del mundo e impacta en el cercano arrecife coralino, denuncia un nuevo estudio.

Productos farmacéuticos, residuos de cocaína, champú, crema dental, pesticidas y desechos químicos que se deslizan desde las carreteras fueron hallados en el inmenso entramado de ríos y acuíferos subterráneos del sur de la ciudad turística de Cancún, ubicada en la costa caribeña del sudoriental estado de Quintana Roo.

“Hay pocas dudas en cuanto a que los contaminantes que detectamos se originen en las actividades humanas a lo largo de la región costera”, dijo Chris Metcalfe, investigador del Instituto para el Agua, el Medio Ambiente y la Salud de la Universidad de las Naciones Unidas.

La revista británica Environmental Pollution publicará el 7 de este mes el estudio de este instituto titulado “Contaminants in the coastal karst aquifer system along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula” (Contaminantes en el sistema acuífero de las cavernas submarinas a lo largo de la costa caribeña de la península de Yucatán).

Letrinas, tanques sépticos, filtraciones en el recorrido de las alcantarillas y canchas de golf son las fuentes más probables de los productos que dañan las aguas subterráneas, dijo Metcalf.

Esas corrientes transportan buena parte de estos desechos a la zona costera y a la barrera de coral mesoamericana, la segunda mayor del mundo.

La contaminación terrestre es apenas uno de los impactos sobre los arrecifes costeros, señaló Metcalf.

La pesca por encima de los límites establecidos, enfermedades y el cambio climático también han contribuido con una pérdida de hasta 50 por ciento de los corales desde 1990.

“Sin dedicarse seriamente a impedir la contaminación del agua subterránea, el desarrollo turístico matará a la gallina de los huevos de oro”, puntualizó Metcalf.

Es posible que eso ya esté ocurriendo. Algunos buzos han observado una reducción en los arrecifes de la zona, dijo a Tierramérica el experto David Placencia, coordinador del Programa de Monitoreo de Arrecifes del Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), una organización no gubernamental de esta localidad, ubicada 100 kilómetros al sur de Cancún.

Los buzos entienden que los arrecifes no se van a regenerar, agregó.

Investigaciones del CEA concluyeron que una especie constructora de arrecifes, la Montastraea annularis, se ha reducido drásticamente. Hace 12 años constituía 45 por ciento de los arrecifes ubicados en torno a Akumal, pero el año pasado disminuyó a menos de nueve por ciento, afirma.

Los nutrientes y contaminantes derivados de las aguas servidas promovieron el crecimiento de algas que asfixian a los corales, explicó Placencia.

En el área no hay tratamiento de esas aguas, así que van directamente a las napas freáticas. “Definitivamente hubo un gran cambio en los arrecifes de aquí”, añadió.

El estado de Quintana Roo es único porque no hay cursos fluviales en la superficie, dado que la región está constituida por piedra caliza muy porosa. Pero bajo la misma corre la mayor red mundial de ríos de este tipo, además de acuíferos y cuevas llamadas cenotes. Buena parte de esta agua dulce fluye a través de la costa y hacia el mar Caribe.

Es probable que todos estos problemas empeoren de cumplirse el pronóstico del exponencial aumento de la población mundial, según el estudio de Metcalf y sus colegas.

Cuando se creó el estado de Quintana Roo en los años 70, la región era pura selva y manglares costeros, con algunas pequeñas aldeas mayas. Entonces la ciudad de Cancún estaba deshabitada, pero ahora residen unas 700 mil personas, recibe entre dos y tres millones de visitantes cada año y el desarrollo turístico de la zona ya se extiende por 130 kilómetros hacia el sur, hasta Tulum.

El estudio de Metcalf tomó muestras de agua subterránea en cinco puntos entre Playa del Carmen y Tulum, lejos de los mayores emprendimientos turísticos.

“Los niveles de contaminantes hallados están por debajo de los que constituyen un peligro para la salud humana”, aclaró. Uno de los motivos de esos registros escasos es el gran volumen y rápido flujo de las aguas bajo tierra.

Sin embargo, como la mayor parte del agua va a la zona costera y a los arrecifes, estas bajas concentraciones de contaminantes se acumulan allí, explicó el investigador.

Al buscar residuos de cafeína, metabolitos de nicotina e ingredientes de productos de aseo personal, el estudio demuestra que los desechos de origen humano se cuelan en el suministro hídrico subterráneo de la región.

Un sitio de pruebas cercano a una pequeña cancha de golf contenía pesticidas y herbicidas utilizados en el cuidado del césped, dijo Metcalf.

También se hallaron productos derivados del petróleo, cuya fuente probablemente sea la principal autopista que atraviesa la región, junto con otras carreteras y estacionamientos de vehículos, agregó.

“Estas conclusiones subrayan claramente la necesidad de contar con sistemas de control que determinen con exactitud de dónde vienen estos contaminantes de acuíferos”, destacó.

“Este estudio es sólido”, aseguró Brigitta van Tussenbroek, del Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Su propia investigación detectó grandes concentraciones de nitrógeno y fósforo procedentes de aguas residuales en la laguna arrecifal de Puerto Morelos y en el sistema lacustre de Nichupté, en Cancún.

Van Tussenbroek declaró a Tierramérica que aprueba las recomendaciones contenidas en el informe de Metcalf sobre la necesidad de construir una infraestructura adecuada para el tratamiento de aguas residuales y poner fin a las inyecciones de desechos tratados en agua salada debajo del acuífero de agua dulce.

Debajo de las canchas de golf y de otras áreas con césped deberían instalarse revestimientos impermeables para evitar las filtraciones de contaminantes, así como canales de drenaje impermeabilizados y revestidos, estanques de retención y sistemas para tratar los desechos, planteó.

“Esos revestimientos se necesitan especialmente bajo los sitios de vertido de desechos domésticos”, apuntó Van Tussenbroek.

Metcalf, a su vez, señaló que es difícil evaluar los controles ambientales o del gobierno local, porque hay pocos datos disponibles. Tampoco está claro hasta qué punto se aplican las normas existentes.

El turismo es fundamental en Quintana Roo, donde normas y regulaciones se ignoran en favor de nuevos proyectos, denunció Placencia.

Aunque es ilegal destruir manglares costeros por su rol clave en el mantenimiento de la salud de los arrecifes, esto ocurre muy a menudo.

Sin buenos mapas de ecosistemas que identifiquen dónde están los manglares, los constructores les pasan con sus aplanadoras por encima y luego argumentan que esa vegetación nunca existió, señaló.

“Y si se los acusa de delitos ambientales, simplemente pagan la multa y siguen construyendo”, añadió Placencia.

What Do Zip Lines, Yoga, The Economy in San Pablo and Tourism All Have in Common?

Fuente: theticotimes.wordpress.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 20/02/2011

Bob and Jill Ruttenberg

Bob and Jill – Owner / Operators of Amatierra Retreat & Wellness Center

“Bridges,” answers Jill Ruttenberg of the Amatierra Yoga and Wellness Centernear the village of San Pablo de Turrubares, “and the people here can ill afford to be cut off from working in Orotina or Turu Ba Ri Park.  No buses can pass from the tiny towns on this side of the river to Orotina, and workers in Orotina going to the tour park can’t get there, either.  Have the people not suffered enough, losing 5 residents in the tragic accident in October 2009? “

In a double dose quirk of fate, the floods of last November took out the temporary Bailey bridge that was put across the river to replace the suspension bridge that collapsed a year earlier, until a permanent, two lane bridge can be built.  Meanwhile, a small boat takes people across the swiftly flowing river, although it cannot transport goods of any kind.  This has killed the once thriving day tour business of the Turu Ba Ri Park, eliminating 110 jobs from this small community and millions of dollars of revenue for the park alone.  Tourists from San Jose would frequent the thousand acre park, as well as hundreds of tourists from cruise ships each time one would dock in Puntarenas.

“Our friend, Oscar Saborio, owner of the Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park, desperately worked with us to try to convince the government to fix the bridge to save his very livelihood and life long investment, and to save the jobs of more than 110 people who worked at the park, all local ticos. We attended meetings, wrote letters, and were told there were other priorities in more touristy areas, and that they wanted to wait and make a 2-lane, solid bridge this time.  Well, fortunately, now MOPT scrambles to complete another one lane Bailey Bridge by this Sunday, as the new highway will be closed for repairs.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” continues Jill.

In the meantime, this message appears on the home page of the turubari.com web site: Dear Customer: Given the confirmation of the Minister of Public Works and Transport of Costa Rica, that will not be possible to build a bridge within a short term, we feel the need to proceed with the indefinite cessation of operations of the park. We appreciate all the support over the years and hope for your understanding in this.

The “new highway” is the Highway #27, the Alta Pista del Sol Ruta Caldera toll road from Escazu to Caldera that will be closed for one month for extensive repairs between Atenas and Orotina.   If the new Bailey bridge does not open when the highway closes, that means that the residents of of San Pablo and the Turrubares Canton, as well as the guests of Amatierra Yoga Retreat will have to drive 3 hours or more.  The detour would be down through Puriscal, Ciudad Colon, Alejuela, then up the old Aguacate road to Atenas and then over to Orotina.  The new temporary Bailey bridge would make that trek just a 20 minute drive.  “The first Bailey bridge, the one that went down last November, took 3 weeks to complete, and we’re all hoping this one will be finished soon,” says Jill.

The Amatierra Yoga and Wellness Center The yoga, spa and wellness center at Amatierra boutique hotel 

“Don’t get me wrong”, Bob says, “We love Costa Rica, our business here, and the opportunity to live in the tranquil countryside, but our clients and tourists do need to get to our boutique hotel and yoga retreat!”  Remembering when they first arrived, Bob continues, “We were escaping a frustrating political scene in the U.S. in 2005 and watching people there get more and more stressed out, and wanted to offer them a refuge to rest and rejuvenate with yoga and wellness treatments.  Granted, Amatierra is in an area with few North Americans and no popular tourist draw, a bit of old Costa Rica, which is exactly what we found so charming.  San Pablo de Turrubares is the canton at the western edge of San Jose province, and is the poorest of the cantons. Only 5,000 people live here, 1000 in the county seat of San Pablo village.   We’re really in the country, and we love that.”

The Amatierra Foundation for conservation and eco-tourismJill, staff and guests involved in the Amatierra Foundation 

Since Bob and Jill arrived 5 years ago, the Amatierra Retreat & Wellness Center has been awarded the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism by the ICT, and they have worked to help the local community with employment, and introduced some rudimentary elements of sustainability to an area used to getting by with no trash collection, and spraying “veneno” (poison) on ripening papaya fruits.  “Where do I take my recycled trash?” Jill naively would ask when the Ruttenbergs first arrived.  The answer would come three years later when Amatierra Foundation started a recycling program.  The foundation was the dream of their daughter, and the stated charter is to “Promote Sustainable Community Development and Cultural Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica.”  This all blends in well with Jill’s background and credentials as a Certified Herbalist, hence Amatierra being a Wellness Center.

Guests having meals at the Amatierra Yoga Retreat and Wellness CenterAmatierra guests and healthful, nutricious home cooked meals 

Jill continues, “The good news is that people do come here even though the bridge is out, as most stay for multiple days.   We manage to get them here–whole groups of people doing yoga , meditating, hiking the trails, eating amazing gourmet healthy foods, and learning about sustainable gardening.  Spirits get lifted here, people transform, receive individualized health care from a professional herbalist, pamper themselves with massages, and clear out the toxic stress of their fast paced lives while the frogs and toucans sing in the trees.  Nature and peace do work!  The scarlet macaws just this month are flying their babies over the roof of the octagonal yoga studio, a troop of white faced monkeys are waiting patiently for the mangos to get ripe, and Amatierra’s guests remain in awe of the exquisite beauty of the land we all love. Heck, maybe it’s okay that it isn’t easy to get to Amatierra.  After all, Costa Rica is for adventurers, right?   But, it’s not about us; it’s about the community, and we do need the bridge.”

It seems incongruent that the number one industry in Costa Rica is Tourism, and the ICT has opted for full color posters in New York subways to bring people here, but there is not a bridge in place so that people can get to the zip line and Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park –  a local Costa Rican Abuelo grocery mogul’s lifelong dream to create and manage.

“We’re hoping once there is a good bridge in place, so that buses from the cruise ships that the Turu Ba Ri Park depends on can pass , that the Park will reopen. “  Bob says, adding that the Adventure Park  was their guests’ favorite place to visit.  “It would help if MOPT could put up a sign or two from the new highway , or from Puriscal, so more people could find this beautiful piece of Paradise.  But, most importantly, fix the bridge.”

For Eagles, a Winning Mix of Wind, Biodiesel and Solar

Fuente: www.nytimes.com

Autor: Ken Belson

Fecha: 17/11/2010

Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles and SolarBlue. Another rendering of Lincoln Financial Field, scheduled to be completed by September 2011.

Sports arenas and stadiums are all about getting the most number of people to spend the maximum amount of money in the shortest amount of time possible.

But a growing number of sports buildings from Boston to Los Angeles are becoming efficient in other ways, by saving energy and reducing waste with solar panels, low-flush toilets and composting.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eaglesannounced perhaps the most ambitious green initiative yet: the installation of about 2,500 solar panels, 80 20-foot-high wind turbines and a generator that runs on natural gas and biodiesel so that Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles’ home, will be the first stadium capable of generating all its own electricity.

Becoming self-sufficient in energy is the latest in a string of environmentally friendly measures the Eagles have taken since they opened their stadium in 2003. (Coincidentally, the team’s primary color is green.) Since then, many teams have introduced similar efficiency programs, and the four major sports leagues have set up programs to help their teams share information about how to use less energy, reduce waste and save money.

As large as they are, sports stadiums consume just a sliver of the nation’s energy and produce a fraction of its waste. But they are seen and used by millions of Americans every day, which has helped leagues counter the perception that sports teams are wasteful enterprises and in fact can convey socially responsible messages to fans of all political and economic stripes.

The Eagles’ green efforts “underscore the position that we are all very visible and can make a significant effort in our communities,” said Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L. “We think it’s smart business and the right thing to do.”

To become self-sufficient, the Eagles have hired Solar Blue, a Florida-based company that will spend more than $30 million to install the solar panels, wind turbines and dual-fuel co-generation plant by the start of next season. Solar Blue chose vertical wind turbines because they produce less noise than bladed ones. They will also capture energy at night. The panels and turbines will meet about 25 percent of the stadium’s energy needs, with the generator covering the remainder, and will be visible to fans in the stadium, on television and to drivers passing by.

The Eagles will pay Solar Blue fixed amounts for their energy with increases of 3 percent a year over 20 years, which gives Solar Blue a guaranteed buyer and the Eagles a predictable source of renewable energy without worrying about erratic spikes in prices. The Eagles expect that their alliance with Solar Blue will help reduce their energy costs by almost 25 percent in the first year. Solar Blue can sell any excess energy it creates to the local utility, PECO.

“This is an opportunity to not be the stereotypical sports franchise that is not on the cutting edge,” said Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Eagles, who, with his wife, Christina, created a Go Green sustainability program in 2003. “We’ve read a lot that excellent environmental practices are too expensive or not wise for a company. We challenged that.”

In some ways, stadiums and arenas are ideal for green initiatives because they typically have large roofs for solar panels and ample space for other equipment. Teams and their fans also consume vast amounts of energy, food and beverages, metals and paper goods that can be reduced or recycled.

Sports facilities are also where Main Street and Wall Street collide. Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans watch sports live at arenas where companies from caterers to chemical makers have their goods on display. Teams are increasingly using their leverage to force these suppliers to go green with them.

“When sports say we’re going to go solar or waterless, that sends an enormous message to the supply chain,” said Allen Hershkowitz, who leads the Natural Resources Defense Council’s sports greening initiative.

For example, the Eagles asked Aramark, the food service and cleaning contractor at Lincoln Financial Field, to use nontoxic cleaning supplies and to switch to more environmentally friendly cups and dinnerware. All toilet paper, tissues and towels at the team’s facilities are made from 100 percent recycled fibers, which has helped the team recycle nearly 32 percent of its waste, twice as much as in 2008.

The team composts more than 25 tons of organic waste, and more than 10,000 gallons of grease and used kitchen oil last year were sent to processors that converted it into biodiesel. These and other measures, including halving the amount of water used by urinals, have helped the team save more than $3 million since 2005. The Eagles, like other teams, have been able to generate new revenue by selling sponsorships to companies interested in being linked to their green initiatives.

The Eagles are not alone in setting lofty goals. AEG, which operates the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Rose Garden Arena in Portland and more than 100 other buildings, said Monday that by 2020, it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, use renewable energy to meet 15 percent of its electricity need and cut waste sent to landfills by 25 percent.

At New Meadowlands Stadium, which opened this summer, 83 percent of the construction waste was recycled and 92 percent of the materials from the demolished Giants Stadium were recycled.

On the energy side, the stadium’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems use up to 50 percent less energy than older equipment. The installation of low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads and faucets, as well as the stadium’s synthetic turf, are part of a plan to use 9 million fewer gallons of water per year.

In St. Louis, the Cardinals have shaved 30 percent off their $100,000 annual trash hauling bill by composting their organic waste and selling their glass, aluminum and paper to recyclers. By installing motion sensors, better insulation and other measures, much of it subsidized by the local utility, the team has reduced its $2 million utility bill by 10 percent since 2008.

“The pressure to cut budgets is always there,” said Joe Abernathy, vice president for stadium operations for the Cardinals.

In Seattle, the Mariners have cut their electric, gas, water and sewer bills by more than $1.2 million since 2006 by, among other things, adding new controls to the hot water heaters, air conditioners and water faucets, weatherstripping windows and simply persuading employees to shut garage doors and turn off lights.

“Imagine what it’s like for mom and dad with three kids running around telling them to turn off the lights,” said Scott Jenkins, the vice president for ballpark operations for the Mariners. “Now imagine what it’s like with 1,800 employees and 40,000 guests.”

How to Make Your Business Greener (and Save Money)

Fuente: www.nytimes.com

Autor: Jim Witkin

Fecha: 02/02/2011

Joe Santana, head of operations at Mi Rancho, a tortilla producer in San Leandro, Calif., estimates the steps the company has taken to save energy and cut waste will quickly pay for themselves.

While Joe Santana does not presume to understand all of the latest climate science, he has his own opinions about global warming. But as head of operations at Mi Rancho, a family-owned tortilla producer in San Leandro, Calif., he understands the importance of saving money.
After attending a series of workshops on sustainable business practices, Mr. Santana recently put into action a number of energy-efficiency and waste-reduction measures that he estimates will save Mi Rancho about $100,000 a year and pay for themselves well within the first year. “And if that’s good for the planet,” he said, “all the better.”

“Sustainability” and “going green” are buzzwords that get overused, but many business owners are discovering that looking at their operations through a green lens can help them reduce costs, rethink long-held business practices and open doors to new opportunities.

Here are some tips on getting started.

START AT THE TOP The commitment to make a business greener has to come from top management, said Dan Bramblett, an executive at Estes Heating and Air Conditioning, a contractor based in Atlanta: “There are many things employees can do to start the process, but driving this through the company culture must start at the top.”

At the same time, he added, “engaging employees is key to getting everyone on board.” Mr. Santana advised setting up internal green teams, consisting of volunteers from management and staff who meet on a regular basis. At Mi Rancho, the sustainability group meets once a month to review strategy, check progress and identify energy-saving actions. Some of the best ideas come from the front lines.

TAKE INVENTORY To begin, Mr. Bramblett said, analyze the business operations with an eye toward reducing energy consumption and waste: “Look at those places where you spend the most money.” Common areas to consider are lighting, powering your equipment, heating, air-conditioning, transportation and water use.

For Estes, the company’s biggest expense after personnel costs was transportation and fleet maintenance. As part of its energy audit, Estes learned that eight of its full-size trucks were assigned to sales people who did not need them to make business calls. The company started to swap out the trucks for Ford Fusion hybrid sedans, increasing gas mileage to 40 miles a gallon from 18 miles a gallon, and saving money in the process.

Look also at the waste produced by the business. Disposing of this material often incurs a cost. For example, Estes typically generates hundreds of pounds of scrap cardboard and metal at each job site. Before starting its green initiative, the company would pay for a Dumpster to hold the waste. This was an expense, and the material generally ended up in a landfill. Now Estes works with a recycling contractor that hauls the material away without charge — saving the company about $1,000 a month, according to Mr. Bramblett’s estimates.

At the end of this planning process, establish a baseline of your energy use and costs, said Tom Bowman, president of Bowman Design Group, a design firm based in Signal Hill, Calif. Most utility companies will come to your property to perform an energy audit, or you can use the information from your utility bills. “Having a well-defined starting point allows you to track and measure your progress,” he said.

DO THE EASY STUFF Find steps you can accomplish almost immediately, said Mr. Bowman, and then build from there with actions that cost nothing or very little to apply. As an example, you might shut down electronics at night, turn off overhead lights during daylight hours and open windows to get natural ventilation instead of running the air-conditioning. These steps, he said, are “largely about educating employees and changing old habits.”

Adam Prochaska, a partner at the law firm Harding & Shultz in Lincoln, Neb., is trying to change some old habits by getting his colleagues to reduce their paper use. Mr. Prochaska has calculated that his firm buys 1,600 reams of copy paper each year. A portion of that paper is used to print e-mails, which are stored in client files. He and a handful of other lawyers have started to store those e-mails electronically instead. He figures that if all of the lawyers in the firm were to adopt this practice, they could save at least $8,000 a year in paper, printing, labor and storage costs.

For a very minimal investment, Community IT Innovators, an information technology infrastructure company based in Washington, greatly reduced the energy used by the firm’s computers, servers and printers. An inexpensive software program puts the company’s computers in sleep mode when not in use, reducing their energy consumption by about 50 percent. While the initial cost of this software was $432, it reduces the company’s energy costs about $900 a year, said David Deal, the company’s chief executive. These changes, along with increasing awareness among employees about turning off lights when not in use, have reduced the firm’s electricity consumption by 35 percent, he said.

TRACK AND REPORT As with any business initiative, review your results periodically, said Sarah Kate Fishback, who is director of operations at the Institute for Sustainable Development. She suggested “measuring the things you can measure — energy, waste, water use — and then try to quantify the business impact of taking action on these fronts.” Showing positive financial gains, she said, will keep the process on track.

Sharing the results with the staff also keeps everyone motivated, said Mr. Deal. He maintains a simple spreadsheet to track the company’s progress toward its goals. But just as important, he shares the results with his staff “to show them we are committed and this is not a passing fancy.”

LOOK FOR REBATES Once the easy stuff is done, the next step is investing in energy-efficient equipment: heating systems, air-conditioners and other office gear. But before starting down this road, check out the incentive programs and rebates available through the utility and local city government, as well as state and federal agencies.

Mi Rancho recently replaced more than 200 overhead lights with energy-efficient fixtures in its warehouse and production facility, a project that Mr. Santana described as a “no-brainer” based on the quick payback. With rebates from the local utility and city of San Leandro, the retrofit cost Mi Rancho $14,000 but will yield a yearly energy savings of about $32,000, according to Mr. Santana’s estimates.

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY After adopting a sustainability policy, many businesses are eager to start waving the green flag as part of their marketing messages. But be wary of overstating or misrepresenting your accomplishments and earning the dreaded “greenwashing” label. “Be honest and clear about the steps you’ve taken to improve performance, and acknowledge it’s part of an ongoing process,” Mr. Bowman said. “The goal is to show that the company takes the challenge seriously and is working the problem.”

Ms. Fishback encourages clients to avoid using green to describe what they do: “Instead, sharing specific actions taken — on your Web site, at your place of business, in marketing materials — is the best practice. Put your green practices in plain language for all to read. It’s not greenwashing if it’s true and verifiable.”

Mr. Santana agreed: “I don’t want to say, ‘We are a green company.’ I think we have taken steps in that direction but we are not there yet.” But he has discovered, “when you start looking at your operations through the sustainability lens, you are able to see opportunities to reduce costs that you may have missed before. And isn’t continuous improvement the most important part of any business?”

WBCSD: Ecosystems Key to Future Corporate Competitiveness. WBCSD expert outlines benefits of ecosystem valuation

Fuente: www.wbcsd.org

Autor: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Fecha: 17/02/2011

Tokyo, February 17, 2011 – Companies that understand and value their ecosystem Impacts, dependence and holdings will have a major advantage over their competition, according to a key presentation by The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) at an international symposium on biodiversity today.

«Corporations need to recognize that critical ecosystem services like fresh water, food and fiber and natural hazard protection avoided by forests and wetlands are an integral part of a company’s assets,» said James Griffiths, managing director of Ecosystems at WBCSD. «Understanding the risks and opportunities that ecosystems provide for a business will be key to their success in a more carbon- and resource-constrained world and will significantly contribute to future public policy decisions to combat biodiversity loss.»

In order to address these issues, the WBCSD is preparing the Corporate Ecosystem Valuation Guide that will provide a framework for companies to assess and value their specific ecosystem impacts and dependence. «Companies who use their enhanced understanding to prepare and recognize their advantages will gain an edge over their competitors,» Griffiths said.

The valuation guide, which WBCSD will release later this spring, will help businesses implement the goals and solutions proposed by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, a major international initiative by the G-8 environment ministers to analyze the global economic benefits of biological diversity and the costs of its loss.

Griffiths said with the ecosystem valuation in hand businesses could:

  • Explicitly account for the full value of ecosystem impacts and inputs, including costs associated with ecosystem loss;
  • Link ecosystem service risks and opportunities more directly to the bottom line;
  • Provide clarity, consistency and guidance in approaches and techniques used; and
  • Facilitate more objective decision-making to better align financial, ecological and societal benefits;
  • Manage ecological risks and develop new business solutions.

The day-long symposium followed up on the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10) held in Nagoya last year. The symposium was held at U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University, Tokyo and was organized by Tohoku University Ecosystem Adaptability Global COE Consortium of Environmental Organizations, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies and Nikkei BP EcoManagement.

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
The WBCSD is a CEO-led, global coalition of some 200 companies advocating for progress on sustainable development. Its mission is to be a catalyst for innovation and sustainable growth in a world where resources are increasingly limited. The Council provides a platform for companies to share experiences and best practices on sustainable development issues and advocate for their implementation, working with governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The membership has annual revenues of USD 7 trillion, spans more than 35 countries and represents 20 major industrial sectors. The Council also benefits from a network of 60 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.


Turismo responsable: llevate los plásticos

Fuente: www.losandes.com.ar

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 13/02/2011

Turismo responsable: llevate los plásticosLos envases se reciclarán para hacer juegos infantiles para una escuela.

En el Año Internacional de los Bosques, las áreas de Turismo y Ambiente de la Municipalidad de Esquel y Parques Nacionales lanzan una campaña de recolección solidaria de envases en el Parque Nacional Los Alerces. La meta es concientizar a los visitantes acerca de la basura y contribuir a su reciclaje.

El parque, con sus 263.000 ha de bosques, está recibiendo un récord histórico de visitantes, con picos diarios de más de 9.800 ingresos. Por ello la campaña es de vital importancia.

La idea es comprometer a los visitantes a llevarse consigo los envases plásticos para depositarlos en los contenedores especialmente preparados para tal fin ubicados en la población Villa Futalaufquen. De allí la basura es trasladada a la Planta de Tratamiento de Residuos donde es compactada para su posterior reciclado.

«La campaña tiene una función educativa: que las personas visualicen el volumen de plásticos que se genera en su estadía. La iniciativa está funcionando bien. Tanto visitantes como pobladores se están involucrando en la recolección. Esta semana se incorpora la Escuela 25 de Villa Futalaufquen», explica Marcelo Cora, responsable de comunicación institucional del Parque Nacional.

Si tenemos en cuenta que cerca del 50 % del total de los residuos que se generan en Los Alerces corresponde a envases plásticos, la acción resulta realmente favorecedora para conservar la limpieza de los lugares de uso público y para concientizar acerca del alto impacto ambiental de este tipo de residuos.

Llevate los Plásticos es la consigna elegida para estimular a los visitantes a colaborar y así resolver al mismo tiempo la higiene del parque, la recogida selectiva de basura y el depósito en el punto correspondiente para su reciclaje.

«La Planta de Tratamiento de Residuos se encuentra a 20 kilómetros de Esquel. Allí el plástico es compactado en fardos de 200 kilos que contienen aproximadamente 500 envases. El objetivo es convertir ese plástico en juegos infantiles para la Escuela 25», finaliza Cora.

¿Conocés tu basura?

Los envases de plástico no son biodegradables, son difíciles de reciclar debido a la diversidad de plásticos existentes e implican un alto costo de recuperación. Por tanto, además de colaborar con la recogida selectiva para su posterior reciclaje, también es imprescindible disminuir su consumo.

Si elegimos productos que hacen un uso racional de los envases, contribuimos notablemente a reducir este tipo de basura ya que el 30% del plástico que consumimos proviene de envoltorios. También es esencial dar una segunda utilidad a nuestros plásticos, reutilizarlos para que no tengan una vida útil tan corta.

Buenos hábitos contra el plástico

1.REDUCIR: usar racionalmente los embalajes.
2.REUTILIZAR: encontrar una segunda utilidad a los envases.
3. RECOGIDA SELECTIVA: separar la basura.
4. RECICLAR: llevar al punto de recogida correspondiente.

El turismo responsable, turismo sostenible

Fuente: www.pysnnoticias.com

Autor: Pueblo y Sociedad Noticias

Fecha: 20/02/2011


turismo responsable, turismo sostenible.

Todas las actividades humanas afectan el medio ambiente en el que se efectuaron las aportaciones para mejorar, es de esperar, no producen cambios significativos o daños a un mayor o menor grado. En todas partes el hombre que marca el paso de su presencia y la naturaleza se ve obligado a adaptarse al cambio, no siempre sin problemas.

Cada industria tiene sus consecuencias para el planeta, se destacan en el entorno de las chimeneas vertedero generación de residuos o el humo. Podía entender que el turismo es la industria sin chimeneas no produce todos estos inconvenientes, sin embargo, es buscar en las principales atracciones turísticas en el mundo para ver que nada ha sido proporcionada por los visitantes masiva pasar desapercibido.

turismo en los últimos años se ha convertido en una de las actividades con más seguidores, y lo que más ha contribuido a cambios importantes en las comunidades y los ecosistemas que se ha mantenido sin cambios durante miles hasta los años se convirtió en una actividad popular.

Pensando en un viaje, cálidas playas o en lugares remotos ayuda a superar la rutina diaria del trabajo y el estrés, y el viaje es pasar tiempo con su familia, amigos ya uno mismo , disfrutando de las diversas actividades del resto del año.

viaje puede ser una forma de unos días, varios modos múltiples, pero sea cual sea el presupuesto o la fantasía de bajo, hizo el viaje en sí tiene un impacto directo sobre el medio ambiente es visita y sus habitantes.

Con el constante crecimiento de pasajeros en los últimos años se ha dado cuenta la importancia de la protección de la naturaleza y sus comunidades para que los cambios no se deben a la pérdida de cualidades y actividad puede ser sostenida en el tiempo y beneficiar al medio ambiente.

En las primeras décadas del siglo XX, el auge del turismo, que sólo tenían acceso a la clase propietaria, se basó en la idea de que lo que importa es el dinero que queda el visitante, con independencia de que la presa de safaris en África o locales si los miembros de la comunidad trabajan en condiciones de esclavitud y servidumbre.

no genera ningún beneficio beneficio del medio ambiente y sus habitantes y sus consecuencias se han visto en la media hora.

Afortunadamente hoy en día, ser conscientes de la importancia de mantener un medio ambiente sano, el turismo también se ha comprometido a los cambios en la reformulación de nuevos conceptos y maneras de practicar esta actividad.

nacido y el ecoturismo, que apunta a la práctica del turismo sostenible, respetuoso del medio ambiente, que satisface las necesidades de las comunidades donde se realiza y es rentable.

De acuerdo con el Código de Ética para el Turismo es “reducir los efectos negativos del turismo sobre el medio ambiente y el patrimonio cultural que se aprovechan de los beneficios del turismo para promover el desarrollo sostenible.

Para lograr este objetivo se debe pensar en un turismo planificado para ayudar a mantener y mejorar la diversidad biológica y cultural, utilizando los recursos de una juiciosa, reducir el consumo y los residuos.

Cabe señalar que la existencia de un área silvestre o una interesante diversidad de los ecosistemas no es garantía de una empresa de ecoturismo. Se debe tener los medios y procedimientos para minimizar la impacto que los visitantes puedan producir en el medio ambiente, logrando así mantener su actividad en el tiempo.

Pero si bien la regulación y aplicación de las normas y seguir las mismas por la comunidad local es importante, en última instancia, el éxito del ecoturismo depende de los propios turistas son conscientes de su importancia y hacer que los viajes responsables, tratando de respetar el medio ambiente y la comunidad receptora de modo que mantengan su cualidades.

En el Hotel La Casona del Camino Real, se ha comprometido a educar a los clientes presentan las siguientes recomendaciones para ayudar al medio ambiente, no sólo en el caso de los viajes, sino que se aplican a en su entorno debe también proteger

Las “Diez recomendaciones para un turismo sostenible” />
1 -. Al planificar su viaje, elegir a los proveedores que ofrecen garantías de calidad y el respeto de los derechos humanos y el medio ambiente

2 -.. El uso de los recursos naturales como el agua y la energía con moderación Recuerde, ellos son escasez de

3 -. Trate de minimizar la generación de residuos son una fuente de contaminación />
4 -.. Cuando tenga que deshacerse de los residuos , hacerlo en el más limpio de la oferta de su destino

5 -.. En un intento natural por la impresión de que dejé atrás como los zapatos

6 – Si visita ecosistemas sensibles como los arrecifes de coral o selvas, aprender cómo hacer el menor impacto posible y no se degradan />
7 -. Cuando regalos y recuerdos Compra de comparar productos que son la expresión de la cultura local Promover la economía de la gente que dio la bienvenida y la diversidad cultural

8 -.. No compre la flora y la . silvestres protegidas por el Convenio sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Amenazadas de Fauna y Flora Silvestres (CITES), o los derivados de estas especies es un delito y contribuye a su extinción

9. – disfrutar de la cultura de su destino, las costumbres, la gastronomía y las tradiciones de la población local, sígalas y llegar a ellos, tienen mucho que decir />
10 -.. Trate de contribuir al desarrollo de su presencia un turismo responsable y sostenible, la construcción de su viaje un planeta sano y la solidaridad.
Las recomendaciones siguientes diez turistas ayudar a conservar la riqueza biológica de la Tierra y mejorar las oportunidades de desarrollo de muchos

El ecoparque de La Nucía permitirá reciclar 30 tipos de residuos distintos

Fuente: www.diarioinformacion.com

Autor: Raquel López

Fecha: 20/02/2011

Ripoll pone la primera piedra de la infraestructura, que contará con un aula y zona de exposiciones

El presidente de la Diputación de Alicante, José Joaquín Ripoll, asistió en la mañana de ayer a La Nucía a colocar, junto con el alcalde de la localidad, Bernabé Cano, la primera piedra del ecoparque de l’Alberca, en un acto que congregó a más de mil vecinos. La infraestructura permitirá reciclar más de 30 residuos diferentes para todos los vecinos que lo deseen de la comarca, y pretende servir además para difundir la cultura del reciclaje a través de talleres y exposiciones, y de divertimento al contemplar la creación de una gran zona de ocio en un entorno natural.

El proyecto, que según explicó el alcalde nuciero, integra una planta de reciclaje, un área de pedagogía y un parque de ocio con barbacoas y actividades al aire libre como son las tirolinas o pasarelas, y todo el recinto estará realizado íntegramente con materiales «que promueven la cultura del reciclado».
Su construcción, según informó, supone una inversión total de 690.000 euros, de los que un 65% (550.000 euros) serán subvencionados por la Diputación de Alicante.
La parcela en la que estará ubicad tiene una extensión de 20.000 metros cuadrados y está situada en el polígono industrial que hay a la entrada del núcleo urbano. De dicho área, 4.000 metros cuadrados serán ocupados por la instalación del ecoparte en sí, donde además de los contenedores habrá un aula, una sala de exposiciones, y una zona administrativa.
Los 16.000 metros restantes se dedicarán a zona de ocio en la naturaleza, con áreas adaptadas para minusválidos, una gran zona de barbacoas, aseos públicos, zona de recepción y bar, «a fin de convertir esta parcela en un ecoparque de verdad y no en una explanada de contenedores», según explicó Bernabé Cano.
En este sentido, el presidente de la Diputación de Alicante, José Joaquín Ripoll, destacó cómo «esta infraestructura trata de integrarse en el entorno y de potenciar una zona medioambiental que fomente la sostenibilidad». Además destacó que «el objetivo es que los ciudadanos se conciencien de la importancia ade reciclar, al tiempo que disfrutan de un espacio abierto y verde donde realizar diversas actividades en contacto con la naturaleza».
Como muestra del carácter didáctico del proyecto, ayer 30 niños participaron en el acto mostrando los materiales que podrán ser tratatados en la nueva planta nuciera. Desde aceite doméstico usado, a tubos fluorescentes, medicamentos caducados, cartuchos de tinta, radiografías, disolventes, envases fitosanitarios, metales y chatarras, escombros, y toda la lista de elementos que no han de ir a parar a la basura normal fueron expuestos junto a la maqueta del futuro ecoparque.

Monsanto’s Superweeds Come Home to Roost

Fuente: generationgreen.org

Autor: Charles Margulis

Fecha: 26/10/2010

There’s been much recent news about Monsanto paying farmers to use its competitors’ herbicides, in what many see as a last ditch effort to address the spread of superweeds created by the company’s “Roundup Ready” (RR) GMO crops.

Environmental scientists warned even before Monsanto’s “herbicide tolerant” GMO crops were approved that they would hasten the evolution of resistant weeds. For these scientists, the issue was obvious: introduction of high doses of a single chemical year after year would result in the exact conditions needed to breed resistance: weeds with resistance genes would be the only weeds that could survive and breed, leading to superweeds that are unaffected even by massive herbicide spraying.

Of course, Monsanto denied these early warnings. In a 1997 paper, Monsanto scientists claimed that weed resistance was such a complex genetic phenomena that RR crops would be unlikely to lead to resistant weeds.  What’s even more troubling, though, is that Monsanto continued to ignore the spread of superweeds for years, and worked to persuade and threaten farmers against strategies to avoid resistance – since those strategies would have cut into the company’s sales of Roundup and RR crops.

For example, in a 2003 report, a Monsanto “Roundup technical manager” advised against crop rotation and warned farmers that using chemicals other than Roundup with RR crops would only add an unnecessary expense. Farmers have been growing Roundup Ready soy continuously for eight years, he said, without any resistance problems. Weeds were not resistant, he said, but were exhibiting “differential tolerance.”

Which means, he said, farmers should simply use more Roundup to kill resistant weeds, because “if it’s a dead weed, it won’t produce seed.”

Which is funny, because two years earlier, scientists in Delaware reported that ten times the recommended amount of Roundup was ineffective on a resistant weed strain (perhaps they should have tried 100 times the label amount).

In fact, Monsanto was spreading their “use more Roundup, because dead weeds don’t seed” line far and wide. In a 2003 pamphlet on “managing weed resistance” it sent to thousands of farmers, the company advised the growers to use maximum doses of Roundup and warned that switching to rotations with non-GMO crops would cost farmers money.

The Monsanto propaganda was so offensive to weed scientists that one inducted the company’s flyer into his “Herbicide Ad Hall of Shame,” stating that “Almost all weed scientists agree that the evolution of resistant biotypes is inevitable with the current use pattern of glyphosate.  Increased adoption of rotations relying solely on RR crops will greatly enhance the rate that resistance evolves.”

But while Monsanto was telling farmers, “don’t worry be happy” about resistant weeds, behind the scenes the company was preparing to profit from farmers’ weed troubles. In 2001, Monsanto received a patent on mixing herbicides with Roundup for use on RR fields with resistant weeds.

Eventually the increasing weed problems across the country forced Monsanto to drop its public opposition to weed management with other toxic chemicals in addition to Roundup. While it is certainly news that Monsanto is paying farmers to spray other companies’ chemicals, what most recent reports fail to note is that as early as 2005 Monsanto and others were regularly recommending spraying older, more toxic herbicides on RR crops, as outlined in this chart I put together at that time (a list of additional toxic chemicals recommended for use with RR crops would certainly be even longer today).

So the dramatic recent increases in resistant weeds have occurred despite years of urging farmers to use additional chemicals to avoid resistance. Weed scientists now say that superweeds from GMO crops infest over 11 million acres of US farmland – nearly five times more acreage than just three years ago – at a cost to US farmers of $1 billion a year.

What irks many farmers facing superweed problems and rising costs (not to mention consumers facing the prospects of more chemicals sprayed on our food and environment) is that Monsanto markets the use of a single herbicide as the main benefit of its GMO Roundup Ready crops. Even after all the publicity about this GMO failure, the “Council for Biotechnology Information,” a front-group funded by Monsanto and other GMO crop producers, continues to put forth this now laughable claim. The Council’s “Frequently Asked Questions about Biotech Soybeans” website states that in the bad old days,

Farmers had to use several different kinds of herbicides to control weeds. [But now], biotech soybeans allow farmers to spray less often with a single herbicide, which saves time, money and helps steward the environment.

In fact, superweeds from Monsanto’s RR crops create more pollution while costing farmers time and money. Thanks to resistant weeds from GMOs, farmers have been forced to return to mechanical tillage: a 2006 report noted that resistant weeds on cotton farms had resulted in a 40% drop in the percentage of Tennessee cotton farms that use conservation tillage. Farmers are even back to hand-weeding, adding more time and labor costs. And of course, thanks to Monsanto, we all face the environmental costs from increased use of chemicals on GMO crops.

But superweeds do create new opportunities for the pesticide companies that make GMO crops. Given Monsanto’s history, it makes you wonder if superweeds are just an unexpected problem from GMOs, or was creating the problem the plan all along?

¡Pasa de pulseritas y conoce el turismo comunitario!

Fuente: www.canalsolidario.org

Autor: Antonio Santos/Aipc Pandora

Fecha: 21/06/2010

¡Pasa de pulseritas y conoce el turismo comunitario!La foto es de Luiz Baltar en Flickr 

Si no te gustan los “todo incluido” adulterados, no estás hecho para los complejos hoteleros y quieres disfrutar de unas vacaciones sin olvidarte de tu conciencia, conoce una nueva forma de hacer turismo que también puede convertirse en una herramienta de desarrollo.

Nadie mejor que las personas que han poblado desde siembre una tierra para mostrar a los visitantes sus excelencias; nadie mejor que ellos, que viven en ella y de ella, para proteger con todo su cuidado el entorno y respetarlo al máximo. Guardianes de su cultura y sus tradiciones, invitan a quienes les visitan a compartir unos días con ellos, sin masas, programas medidos al segundo, o pulseras de “todo incluido”.

Esa es la idea del “turismo comunitario”, una manera de emplear los atractivos turíticos de una zona para estimular el desarrollo local. Una nueva forma de relación entre una comunidad y las personas que la visitan, en la que la perspectiva intercultural es la gran protagonista, y el manejo adecuado de los recursos naturales está garantizado. Así como los derechos culturales y territoriales de las nacionalidades y pueblos.

Con este respeto como base (ellos mismos son parte de aquello que muestran), entra en juego la gran baza de este tipo de turismo: el desarrollo comunitario. Los beneficios que se generan a través de estos visitantes se queda en la propia comunidad, no se evapora a través multinacionales o intermediarios. La razón es sencilla: no existen.

Como ejemplo muy positivo de todo esto encontramos al pueblo Saraguro, uno de los pueblos de origen inca más antiguo de Ecuador, y cuna de la étnia considerada más pura de América. La población de indígenas saraguros se calcula en unos 15.000 en la provincia de Loja (al sur del país), a los que habría que sumar otros tantos en la provincia de Zamora Chinchipe, en la amazonía ecuatoriana.

A través de la Fundación Kawsay, con quien AIPC Pandora desarrolla dos microproyectos de cooperación este verano, el pueblo Saraguro ha creado en los últimos años la Red de Turismo Comunitario Saraguro Rikuy y laOperadora de Turismo Saraurku. En un primer momento se estudiaron las capacidades de instalación y los productos más atractivos (cultura, música, artesanía, historia…) y se detectaron las comunidades que mejor podían cumplir estos requisitos. Con ello, se empezaron a adecuar infraestructuras (alojamientos, un hostal, etc) y se capacitó a las familias del proyecto en temas como atención al cliente, guía turítico, preparación de alimentos, manejo de desechos, microempresas familiares, etc.

El objetivo general de potenciar las riquezas turíticas de la región impulsando un desarrollo sostenible de los recursos naturales y culturales para ayudar a mejorar las condiciones de vida de la población, se cumple así combinándose con la línea maestra siempre presente de no crear una dependencia económica de las familias hacia esta actividad. El turismo comunitario se erige así como una fuente complementaria de ingresos, que abre nuevas vías de formación a sus participantes, fortalece su identidad social y cultural, y mejora las infraestructuras básicas del entorno con el mayor respeto hacia el medio ambiente.

Las instituciones locales, regionales y estatales, cuya participación fue muy escasa o casi nula en los inicios, han reconocido el valor de estas iniciativas incluyendo en sus planes de acción para el futuro el desarrollo y apoyo al turismo comunitario levantado en Saraguro.

Pero hay aún otro beneficio más, menos evidente si acaso, pero de gran importancia. La promoción de una red de turismo comunitario de calidad se fundamenta en presentar y ofertar productos que atraigan a los turistas, por lo que las comunidades se esfuerzan en conservar su medio ambiente, al tiempo que aseguran la transmisión de sus costumbres ancestrales y buscan nuevas alternativas de desarrollo sustentable y equitativo.

El turismo comunitario es una herramienta de desarrollo capaz de impedir que muchos jóvenes emigren hacia las grandes capitales en busca de oportunidades, ya que ahora tienen la posibilidad de encontrarlas en su propia tierra desarrollando alojamientos, paquetes de visitas, guías de viaje, etc. Con su permanencia se asegura la transmisión de las costumbres y tradiciones de padres a hijos, evitando que la emigración las acabe matando cuando desaparezcan las generaciones más mayores, algo de lo que tenemos numerosos ejemplos, incluso sin salir de España.