Environment Forum

from Photographers' Blog:

An aerial view of Sumatra Island

I joined a Greenpeace tour flying over Sumatra Island to take pictures of their protest over forest destruction.

Five photographers and a TV cameraman set off early in the morning, while it was still dark, in a new, single-propeller aircraft. No one told me it would be nearly three hours to get to Jambi on a small plane with no toilet. Luckily for me I had an empty bottle as an emergency measure.

This was the first time I’ve taken aerial shots, so I took so many types of pictures. I took every single detail that caught my eye -- forest, reflected light from the sun during sunrise, palm oil plantations, river, sea,  houses, everything.  When we started to take pictures, all five photographers jostled around one opened window. The wind blew very hard, pushing the glass against my face. After one hour, one of the other photographers gave up, and had to take a rest after throwing up all his breakfast. That made me happy – more room for me to take pictures.

Photographers and cameramen crowd around an open window to take pictures over Sumatra Island August 4, 2010.  REUTERS/Beawiharta

In the afternoon when we flew back to Jakarta, I checked my pictures and the dominant images I had were of deforestation, palm oil plantation and acacia forest for paper.  One image stands out to me, a  clearing in the tropical rain forest in a heart shape, my heart is broken for the loss of the tropical rain forest.

An aerial view of a clearing at a forest in Indonesia's Sumatra island, August 5, 2010. Indonesia and Australia launched a A$30 million project to fight deforestation in Sumatra as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost a planned forest-carbon trading scheme on March this year. Indonesia, like Brazil, is on the front line of efforts to curb deforestation that is a major contributor to mankind's greenhouse gas emissions that scientists blame for heating up the planet. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Acacia forest and palm oil plantations dominated my pictures. So that’s how it remained in my mind: Sumatra had recently become just palm oil plantations and acacia forest.

from Mario Di Simine:

Is there a climate conference going on?

Walking through the Copenhagen airport, it's pretty much impossible to miss the signs that illustrate the city's focus is squarely on the climate. Those signs, literally, are everywhere, with advertisements adorning the walls on the walk from the flight ramp through to baggage claim and off into the arrivals area.

Big companies from Siemens to Shell are making sure you know they care.

siemens pic

shell

Those are nice, but to really get a message across the big conglomerates may want to contact the ad guy for Greenpeace and its NGO alliance. The environment group has plastered the airport walls with a campaign "to mobilize civil society and to galvanize public opinion" to help bring about a new climate deal. The ad series features unflattering photos of world leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel (pictured in the ad below), President Obama,  and others beside this quote: "We could have stopped catastrophic climate change" followed by the subtext "We did ... nothing". Whether you agree with the group and the alliance of NGOs participating in the ad, you gotta admit it's pretty striking.

merkel

There was another ad from Accenture that caught my eye as I strolled toward the baggage claim area, although it had nothing to do with the climate conference.  I just like irony:

A green Nobel Peace Prize next week? Or one too many?

Will the guardians of the Nobel Peace Prize make another green award in 2009 to encourage sluggish talks on new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen?

Or is it too early after environmental prizes in both 2004 and 2007?

The five-member Nobel panel likes to make topical awards to try to influence the world – a prize announcement on Oct. 9 linked to climate change could hardly be better timed since 190 nations will meet in Copenhagen in December to agree a new pact for fighting global warming.

And the Nobel prize will be formally handed over at a ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of the death of founder Alfred Nobel – giving any winner a global loudspeaker during the the Dec. 7-18 meeting in Copenhagen.

March of the beetles bodes ill for American forests

MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL FOREST, Wyoming – From the vantage point of an 80-foot (25 meter) tower rising above the trees, the Wyoming vista seems idyllic: snow-capped peaks in the distance give way to shimmering green spruce.

But this is a forest under siege. Among the green foliage of the healthy spruce are the orange-red needles of the sick and the dead, victims of a beetle infestation closely related to one that has already laid waste to millions of acres (hectares) of pine forest in North America.

“The gravity of the situation is very real,” said Rolf Skar, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace.

from MediaFile:

Nokia retains top spot on Greenpeace list

Nokia has retained the top spot in Greenpeace's latest ranking of 17 consumer electronics companies over their environmental practices, while Philips and Apple made strides up the list.

Philips leaped to 4th place from 11th and Apple moved up to 10th place from 14th -- best among the top 5 PC makers -- in Greenpeace's latest "Guide to Greener Electronics" report. Companies are ranked based on a number of criteria related to chemicals, e-waste and energy, and Greenpeace uses the report to help pressure companies to change.

Samsung moved up to second place from fourth, while Sony Ericcson dropped a spot to third. Sony rounded out the top five.

from Davos Notebook:

Even in crisis, NGOs pull no punches in Davos

Though a financial crisis and global recession have left many of the world's biggest companies uncharacteristically humbled, that didn't stop NGOs from taking shots at a few of them at the World Economic Forum.

U.S. gold company Newmont Mining and Swiss utility Bernische Kraftwerke picked up a couple of pretty dubious honors from Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration.

Newmont received two awards -- the Global Award and People's Award -- for its mining project in eastern Ghana. According to the NGOs, Newmont "is ignoring the environmental and social damage" the planned mine will create.

On Antarctic safaris, remember to bring a microscope

Many people hope to come back from a wildlife safari with close-up pictures of lions or elephants – this picture below is my best attempt from a search for the largest land animals in Antarctica.

If you look hard you can see a reddish blob at the tip of the thumb — it’s Antarctica’s most aggressive land predator, an eight-legged mite known as Rhagidia.

Pete Convey, a biologist at the British Antarctic Survey (that’s his thumb), says that such tiny creatures evolved in Antarctica over tens of millions of years — they can freeze their bodies in winter in an extreme form of hibernation.

from MediaFile:

CES: “Green” envy on Day 2

Fuji EnviroMAX batteries

Several exhibitors took up the “green” theme at CES 2009 as the “Pre” party continued. Any chance Dell had to upstage Palm disappeared in a cloud of secrecy with the “Adamo” laptop it briefly presented, but gave no details about.

Fuji said its EnviroMAX alkaline batteries were made of more than 90 percent recycled materials, had no mercury, cadmium and were PVC free.

Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies said their “HydroPack” water-activated and portable power system HydroPak could provide 4 to 5 hours of 50 watt emergency power without pollution or noise.

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