DAVID SUZUKI: Green Personality of October 2018

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Name: David Takayoshi Suzuki

Date of Birth: 18 March 1936

Nationality: Canadian

If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.
— David Suzuki

EDUCATION

Suzuki received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1958 from Amherst College in Massachusetts where he first discovered genetics study, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961.

OCCUPATION/CAREER

From 1961 to 1962, Suzuki worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. From 1962 to 1963, he was an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. He was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia for almost forty years, from 1963 until his retirement in 2001, and has since been professor emeritus at a university research institute.

Since the mid-1970s, Suzuki has been known for his television and radio series, documentaries and books about nature and the environment. He is best known as host of the popular and long-running CBC Television science program The Nature of Things, seen in over 40 countries. He is also well known for criticizing governments for their lack of action to protect the environment.

ADVOCACY/ACHIEVEMENTS

A longtime activist to reverse global climate change, Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, to work "to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us". The Foundation's priorities are: oceans and sustainable fishing, climate change and clean energy, sustainability, and Suzuki's Nature Challenge. The Foundation also works on ways to help protect the oceans from large oil spills such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Suzuki has also served as a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association from 1982 to 1987.

Suzuki was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2009. His 2011 book, The Legacy, won the Nautilus Book Award. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2004, David Suzuki ranked fifth on the list of final nominees in a CBC Television series that asked viewers to select The Greatest Canadian of all time.

_The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened._ (2).jpg

PUBLICATIONS

Suzuki is the author of 52 books (nineteen for children), including David Suzuki: The AutobiographyTree: A Life StoryThe Sacred BalanceGenethicsWisdom of the EldersInventing the Future, and the best-selling Looking At Senses a series of children's science books.

  • Sciencescape - The Nature of Canada (1986) - with Hans Blohm and Marjorie Harris

  • Pebbles to Computers: The Thread (1986) - with Hans Blohm and Stafford Beer

  • Metamorphosis: Stages in a life (1987) ISBN 0-773-72139-8

  • Genethics: The Clash between the New Genetics and Human Values (1990)

  • It's a Matter of Survival (1991) ISBN 0-674-46970-4

  • Time to Change (1994)

  • The Japan We Never Knew: A Journey of Discovery (1997) - with Keibo Oiwa

  • The Sacred Balance (1997)

  • From Naked Ape to Superspecies: A Personal Perspective on Humanity and the Global Ecocrisis (1999) - with Holly Dressel. ISBN 0-773-73194-6

  • From Naked Ape to Superspecies: Humanity and the Global Eco-Crisis, (2nd edition 2004) - with Holly Dressel. ISBN 1-553-65031-X

  • Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet (2001) - with Holly Dressel. ISBN 0-773-73307-8

  • More Good News (2003)

  • More Good News: Real Solutions to the Global Eco-Crisis (Revised ed. 2010) - with Holly Dressel. ISBN 1-553-65475-7

  • David Suzuki: The Autobiography (2006)

  • David Suzuki's Green Guide (2008) - with David Boyd

  • The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet (2009) - with David Taylor

  • The Legacy: An Elder's vision for a sustainable future (2010) - with foreword by Margaret Atwood

  • Letters to My Grandchildren Greystone Books (2015) ISBN 978-1771640886

  • Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (2010), 93 minute documentary DVD (210616DV)

Babcock Seminar

 On the 20th of September, Dr Adenike Akinsemolu honored the invitation from the microbiology department of Babcock University, one of the leading University in Nigeria, where she gave a Seminar presentation titled  The Role Of Microorganisms In Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals  at the department. During the presentation she demonstrated to the students how and what a Seminar Presentation should look like, and various strategies to engage and capture the attention of the Audience. The Presentation lasted for about 30 minutes with the Questions and answers session Inclusive.

On the 20th of September, Dr Adenike Akinsemolu honored the invitation from the microbiology department of Babcock University, one of the leading University in Nigeria, where she gave a Seminar presentation titled The Role Of Microorganisms In Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at the department. During the presentation she demonstrated to the students how and what a Seminar Presentation should look like, and various strategies to engage and capture the attention of the Audience. The Presentation lasted for about 30 minutes with the Questions and answers session Inclusive.

Cradle to Cradle: The School Of Science Seminar

  Summary: The Role of Microorganisms in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals   Harmful practices such as arbitrary use of chemicals, increased usage of non-renewable energy sources and uncontrolled generation of industrial waste has posed a great threat to the sustainability of the environment. The way forward is to embrace sustainable measures, cleaner production and green technologies in order to conserve the ecology of the earth for future generations and this is achievable through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is sponsored by the United Nations (UN). These goals are divided into five sub-groups namely; People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.  Dr Adenike Akinsemolu, in her presentation, defined microorganism as living things that cannot be seen with the ordinary eyes. Microorganism play important roles in green processes and technologies. If microorganisms are used legally and well, they can contribute to the sustainable development goals. The advantages of microorganisms in this context is, in spite of this, often underestimated. The presenter discussed how microorganisms can be deliberately used to play fundamental roles in achieving the SDGs.  The usages of some microorganisms in actualizing the SDGs were highlighted at the seminar. Production of Gobar gas, also referred to as Bio-gas, by methane-producing organisms such as  Methanomonas , yogurt (using  Lactobacillus delbruekii subsp bulgaricus ), prebiotics and probiotics (using  Lactobacillus acidophilus ) and other organisms can be harnessed to achieve the goals under the people sub-group of the SDGs.  Botryococcus  can store up to 50% of the biomass in the form of long-chain hydrocarbons for the generation of electricity,  Eremothecium ashbyii,  used in riboflavin fermentation and  Pseudomonas  as well as  Rhizobia  used in the production of bio-fertilizers can facilitate the realization of the prosperity sub-group of the SDGs. Microorganisms used in bioremediation and Algae like  Saccharomyces  or modified  Escherichia coli  can be used for third-generation biofuel production in actualizing the goals of the planet sub-group of the SDGs. Microbial forensics can be used to trace perpetrators and sources of biohazard in combating bioterrorism while capacity building on trade-related aspects of microbes and microbial technology can help in achieving the goals of peace and partnership sub-groups of the SDGs respectively.  Dr Akinsemolu recommends that, to effectually achieve the targets of sustainable development, the most important actions are to be taken by the government through legislations and policies. Government should improve funding for research and development in order to promote micro-based industries. She also recommends that researchers should not only focus on the health benefits of using microorganisms, but also on other significant applications like production of fermented foods, microbial electricity and biocontrol agents among others.

Summary: The Role of Microorganisms in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Harmful practices such as arbitrary use of chemicals, increased usage of non-renewable energy sources and uncontrolled generation of industrial waste has posed a great threat to the sustainability of the environment. The way forward is to embrace sustainable measures, cleaner production and green technologies in order to conserve the ecology of the earth for future generations and this is achievable through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is sponsored by the United Nations (UN). These goals are divided into five sub-groups namely; People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

Dr Adenike Akinsemolu, in her presentation, defined microorganism as living things that cannot be seen with the ordinary eyes. Microorganism play important roles in green processes and technologies. If microorganisms are used legally and well, they can contribute to the sustainable development goals. The advantages of microorganisms in this context is, in spite of this, often underestimated. The presenter discussed how microorganisms can be deliberately used to play fundamental roles in achieving the SDGs.

The usages of some microorganisms in actualizing the SDGs were highlighted at the seminar. Production of Gobar gas, also referred to as Bio-gas, by methane-producing organisms such as Methanomonas, yogurt (using Lactobacillus delbruekii subsp bulgaricus), prebiotics and probiotics (using Lactobacillus acidophilus) and other organisms can be harnessed to achieve the goals under the people sub-group of the SDGs. Botryococcus can store up to 50% of the biomass in the form of long-chain hydrocarbons for the generation of electricity, Eremothecium ashbyii, used in riboflavin fermentation and Pseudomonas as well as Rhizobia used in the production of bio-fertilizers can facilitate the realization of the prosperity sub-group of the SDGs. Microorganisms used in bioremediation and Algae like Saccharomyces or modified Escherichia coli can be used for third-generation biofuel production in actualizing the goals of the planet sub-group of the SDGs. Microbial forensics can be used to trace perpetrators and sources of biohazard in combating bioterrorism while capacity building on trade-related aspects of microbes and microbial technology can help in achieving the goals of peace and partnership sub-groups of the SDGs respectively.

Dr Akinsemolu recommends that, to effectually achieve the targets of sustainable development, the most important actions are to be taken by the government through legislations and policies. Government should improve funding for research and development in order to promote micro-based industries. She also recommends that researchers should not only focus on the health benefits of using microorganisms, but also on other significant applications like production of fermented foods, microbial electricity and biocontrol agents among others.

  Mr Kafaru Simileoluwa

Mr Kafaru Simileoluwa

Summary: Cradle to Cradle

The second speaker Mr Kafaru Simileoluwa spoke on the need to rethink the way we make things. He established the fact that Recycling, Reducing, Reuse and Regulating is not enough to solve the present environmental threats faced by the world today; ranging from Climate Change, to pollution and also resource depletion. He stated that the mother earth should not be treated as merely a tool for mans progress, but man should see a need to actively interact with nature in a mutually benefitting manner.

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He emphasized that there is a need to go back to the very foundation of all products and bring out a design that would interact safely with the environment, a world where the word WASTE only exists as a source of natural resource for man and equally nutrient for the environment.

AUGUST 2018 NEWSLETTER

Civilians are #NotATarget

"15 years ago, on 19 august, 22 humanitarian aid workers were killed in a bomb attack on the canal hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. This World Humanitarian Day, we’re shining a light on the millions of people whose lives are being destroyed by wars. Explore their stories, then join the movement to demand action from world leaders. Civilians are #NotATarget."


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SCHOOL OF SCIENCE SEMINAR SERIES

Join us as Dr. Akinsemolu discusses the numerous positive functions microbes perform in the environment and a need to explore the microbial world astutely as it can contribute tremendously to sustainable development. The seminar is open to the general public but limited seats are available. 


_The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened._ (1).png

DAVID BELLAMY: Green Personality of August 2018

David Bellamy is the President of the British Institute of Cleaning Service (BICSc) and a strong supporter of the BICSc plan to educate young people to care for and protect the environment. Also, he runs the David Bellamy Awards program as a competition designed to encourage schools to be aware of and act positively towards environmental cleanliness


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TEDx ELIZADE UNIVERSITY

On 28th June, Founder of the Green Institute, Adenike Akinsemolu featured on a TEDx event titled Shaping The Future, where 12 speakers within 12 minutes spoke on various fields of study spanning across agriculture, music, poetry, social and biological environment.


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NAME: Ageratum conyzoides

COMMON NAMES: Goat weed, Billygoat-weed, chick weed, whiteweed

LOCAL NAMES: Imi-esu, Ula ujula, Urata, Ahenhen, pig feces, macela 

USEFUL PART(s):  Whole plant, leaves, root


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THE SCIENTIFIC AFRICAN LAUNCHED ON ELSEVIER

Currently, only two percent of all global scientific research comes from Africa. A new scientific journal has been launched in Africa in an effort to increase research output from the continent, which currently provides just two percent of all global research publications. We encourage young African researchers to publish in this new scientific journal.


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Call for Chapter Contribution

Our ultimate goal is to elevate the dialogue about the challenges of sustainable development as an inclusive approach to solving pressing global problem.

We invite experts, academics and students to submit chapter contributions and innovations for collectively addressing the contemporary challenges facing the anthroposphere, in which the environment is a pivotal constituent.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

THINGS YOUSHOULD KNOW

You can get a Nano Degree in various courses at the Green Institute:

  1. Agriculture, Nutrition and Sustainability. CLICK HERE
  2. Early Childhood Education for Sustainability. CLICK HERE
  3. Principles of Green Science. CLICK HERE
  4. Culinary Arts. CLICK HERE

DAVID BELLAMY: Green Personality of August 2018

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Full name: David James Bellamy

Date of birth: 18 January, 1933

Nationality: British

Residence: County Durham, England

Family: He married Rosemary Froy in 1959 and they had 5 children together

Global warming is part of natural cycle and there’s nothing we can actually do to stop these cycles. The world is now facing spending a vast amount of money in tax to try to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist.
— David J. Bellamy

EDUCATION

He attended Chatsworth Road Primary School, Cheam; Cheam Road Junior School and Sulton County Grammar School; all in England.
He originally wanted to study English Literature and History but later changed to study Botany, Physics and Chemistry in the sixth form. Thus he studied Botany for a bachelor degree at Chelsea college of science and Technology which is now part of University College, London. Also, he got his PhD at Bedford College (now part of the University of London) in 1960.

OCCUPATION/CAREER

In 1960, David Bellamy became a lecturer in Botany Department of Durham University, after having worked as a laboratory assistant at Ewell Technical College, London and before becoming a graduate. However, it was his environmental consultancy work on the Torrey Canyon oil spillage in 1967 that brought him into prominence as a result of his write up in a leading scientific journal named “Nature”.

Also, he wrote many books for TV series in the 1980’s, especially for children’s enjoyment and education. In 1980, he released a musical single entitled ‘Brontosaurus Will You Wait For Me?’. It reached number 88 in the charts then.
Besides, Bellamy worked for the New Zealand Tourism department’s unique program for foreign journalists. While in New Zealand, he also worked on a documentary series known as “Noah’s Ark” which was released in 1990.

Moreover, he is one of the originators of the Ford European Conservation Awards. Significantly, David Bellamy has worked on and presented hundreds of television programs on Botany, ecology, environmental and other issues. Examples of such include “Bellamy on Botany”, “Bellamy Britain”; “Bellamy Europe”; and “Bellamy Backyard Safari”.

ADVOCACY/ACHIEVEMENTS

In 1983, Bellamy was jailed for blockading the Australian Franklin River in a protest against a proposed dam. On the 18th of August, 1984, he jumped from the pier at St. Abbs Harbor into the North Sea and thereby Voluntary Marine Reserve, the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve.

In the late 1980’s, he staged a campaign in Jersey, Channel Islands, to save Queen Valley from being turned into a reservoir because of the presence of a rare type of snail, but he was unable to stop it. Besides, David Bellamy is the President of the British Institute of Cleaning Service (BICSc) and a strong supporter of the BICSc plan to educate young people to care for and protect the environment. Also, he runs the David Bellamy Awards program as a competition designed to encourage schools to be aware of and act positively towards environmental cleanliness.

In 2004, David Bellamy wrote an article in the Daily Mail in which he described the theory of human-made global warming as ‘poppycock’. He also expressed his opinions on global warming in other newspapers magazines and scientific journals, particularly between 2005 and 2007.

_The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened._ (1).png

PUBLICATIONS

  • Bellamy on Botany (1972) ISBN 0-563-10666-2
  • Peatlands (1973)
  • Bellamy's Britain (1974)
  • Life Giving Sea (1975)
  • Green Worlds (1975)
  • The World of Plants (1975)
  • It's Life (1976)
  • Bellamy's Europe (1976)
  • Botanic Action (1978)
  • Botanic Man (1978)
  • Half of Paradise (1978)
  • Forces of Life (1979)
  • Bellamy's Backyard Safari (1981)
  • The Great Seasons (with Sheila Mackie, illustratorHodder & Stoughton, 1981)
  • Il Libro Verde (1981)
  • The Mouse Book (1983)
  • Bellamy's New World (1983)
  • The Queen's Hidden Garden (1984)
  • I Spy (1985)
  • Bellamy's Bugle (1986)
  • Bellamy's Ireland (1986)
  • Turning The Tide (1986)
  • Bellamy's Changing Countryside (1987)
  • England's Last Wilderness (1989)
  • England's Lost Wilderness (1990)
  • Wilderness Britain? (1990, Oxford Illustrated Press, ISBN 1-85509-225-5)
  • Moa's Ark (with Brian Springett and Peter Hayden, 1990)
  • How Green Are You? (1991)
  • Tomorrow's Earth (1991)
  • World Medicine: Plants, Patients and People (1992)
  • Blooming Bellamy (1993)
  • Trees of the World (1993)
  • The Bellamy Herbal(2003)
  • Fabric Live: Bellamy Sessions (2004)
  • Jolly Green Giant (autobiography, 2002, Century, ISBN 0-7126-8359-3)
  • A Natural Life (autobiography, 2002, Arrow, ISBN 0-09-941496-1)
  • Conflicts in the Countryside: The New Battle for Britain (2005), Shaw & Sons, ISBN 0-7219-1670-8

RESOURCES

TEDx Elizade University: Shaping The Future

On 28th June, the Green Institute featured on a TEDx event titled Shaping The Future, where 12 speakers within 12 minutes spoke on various fields of study spanning across agriculture, music, poetry, social and biological environment. Some of the speakers include Walter Spearheart (multi-instrumentalist), Olushola Amusan (Curators), Professor Theophilus Fadayomi (Acting Vice Chancellor, Elizade University), Tade Ajiboye (Virtual Reality Developer) and others.

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The event took place in Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Akure, Ondo Nigeria. Among the speakers was Dr. Akinsemolu Adenike (Founder of the Green Institute) who was accompanied by a few representatives of the Green institute, where she gave a presentation titled “Selling the Green Idea”. 

With a time limit of 12 minutes, she gave an orientation about what the Green Institute is involved in, what it means to go green, the need for environmental sustainability and also implored the audience to take the green pledge.

BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION: WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2018

Pollution is posing a great threat to the existence of life on this planet. Plastic pollution magnifies this problem. The number of plastic waste disposed on a yearly basis can go around the earth three times and over. Unfortunately, the final destination of most of these plastic wastes are the oceans as 8 million plastics are estimated to get into the ocean yearly.

Plastic pollution poses challenges to wildlife, plants and even humans. Since 2004, about 4 billion plastics have been produced. The extensive use of plastics in clothing, automobiles, electronic gadgets, storage facilities, food packages shows how important the use of plastics can be which accounts for such a rise in production. Sadly, they play a vital role in polluting the environment as they are not biodegradable since they are meant for durability. It is established that 78% of hazardous wastes are plastics. Apart from the threat which improper management of plastics pose to our ecology, our health is also at risk. Plastics, a product of refined crude oil containing Bisphenol-A -a chemical functioning as plasticizers, responsible for the flexibility and durability of the material poses health risks when in contact with food.

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Africa is no stranger to pollution. The continent has battled with garbage disposal issues for many years. The use of plastic bags account for a large number of landfill dilemmas. The Nile and Niger have been listed amongst the chief culprits of disastrous pollutions of the environment by a recent study conducted in 2017. The large populations living on the river banks are responsible for why the rivers entry points of plastics into the ocean.

The devastating effects of poor waste management are so evident in the continent. In Lagos, Nigeria, only 40% of 10,000 tonnes of waste are collected. Nigeria has also had an estimated 349 oil spills, and has lost 80% of the country's forest.

The expansion of the middle class in the continent has seen the consumption of more plastics and items contained in plastics than any other time in the history of the continent. Mismanaged wastes from maritime and shipping activities in the continent also find its way into the oceans. Polystyrene buoys that form significant amounts of plastic debris from agricultural processes also end up in oceans or beaches.

Other factors identified to influence the movement of plastics into the oceans include human behaviour such as littering, wind, water flows, vehicular transport. The primary sources found to be caused by human practices.

Beating plastic pollution

In a bid to address the alarming rise of plastic wastes, many countries have adopted different policies. Many African countries are banning the use of plastic bags. After losing 70% of its livestock to the ingestion of plastics, Mauritania was the first African country to ban plastic wastes. Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania have followed suit, while South Africa and Cameroon placed taxes for its use.

Retail serves as a great opportunity by which plastic pollution can be beaten. Plastic wastes are being transformed into marketable products for retail. For instance, plastic bags are transformed into school bags for kids; tires are turned to shoes and plastic bottles are being recycled for further use by appropriate agencies.

Trash for education is another concept in play to beat plastic pollution. This process involves tapping into informal waste collection and exchanging it for educational vouchers which can be redeemed for online/offline courses or educational materials. The heavier the weight of the trash, the higher the value of the educational voucher awarded to the student. The scheme which is designed by Green Campus Initiative creates value for participants by generating revenue through recycling and reuse of materials, which serves as an employment avenue. To what effect? Let's consider a case study of Grace, a Gambian-born Nigerian living in the western part of the country.

 Grace Otemuyiwa

Grace Otemuyiwa

Like every other fresher preparing for resumption, Grace had prepared a lengthy list of needs for her first year in higher institution. Grace whose childhood dream has always been to become a Civil Engineer hopes to build sustainable buildings in local communities. Though her farmer dad and her trader mum can be said to be lower middle-class, they have strongly influenced and supported her ambitious dreams.

Determined to prepare herself in the best possible way, she made an exhaustive list of items needed to excel in her studies. In a quest to assist her parents as she knew they might not be able to afford all she needed, she enrolled in a paid internship with Green Campus Initiative (GCI). It was during the internship she learnt about the ‘Trash for Education’ programme; a system designed to reward people who trade their valuable wastes and other unused materials with formal education, educational materials and vocational training.

That waste could serve as a substitute for money seemed foreign to Grace. However, she saw this as an opportunity to get some items off her list of needs; waste is everywhere, after all! Her parents were super excited when they heard as well. She signed up for the programme. Grace and her parents did not break a sweat fetching the amount of waste that will get her the most coveted item on her list – the Calculus TextBook. Beyond the bargain, Grace was also presented a solar lamp to enable her read at night. Grace vowed to be a vanguard of Trash for education, as she truly believes it is a great scheme that can provide access to education, especially for those struggling to afford it.

 Grace exchanging her plastic bottles

Grace exchanging her plastic bottles

Why the need to beat plastic pollution arises

Plastic pollution affects the food chain as microorganisms become poisoned from ingestion. This poses a bigger problem when fishes and larger animals feed on them which brings plastic poisoning further up the food chain. Clean drinking water is also at risk as plastic poisoning can find its way to humans. This can be due to the interaction of plastics with water in landfills which seeps underground, degrading the water quality. The burning of plastic also releases poisonous chemicals into the atmosphere which leads to respiratory problems when inhaled by humans and animals.

The effects of the improper management of plastic wastes are far-reaching, and it is imperative that we start acting fast to curb these effects for the ultimate good of sustaining life and making it better for the planet. We all need to get involved in the process of managing plastic waste. Recycling is an excellent point to start, but it cannot be done solely by a section of society. The world's environmental day gives us a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves to stand up and make more moves in cleaning the planet. We all have a role to play in ensuring that government legislations and independent environmental initiatives come to a realisation. Then and only then, can we truly have a cleaner, safer and better earth.

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VANDANA SHIVA: Green Personality of June 2018

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Full names: Vandana Shiva

Date of Birth: 5th November 1952

Place of Birth: Dehradun, India

Nationality: Indian

Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.
— Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis

Education

She was educated at St. Mary’s School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Dehradun.

Also, Shiva read Physics for both bachelor and Masters Degrees at Panjab University in Chandigarh, graduating in 1972 and 1974 respectively. Moreover, she studied for and got an MA in Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1977.

Furthermore, Shiva studied for and bagged a PhD in Philosophy of Physics at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978.

Finally, she later proceeded for interdisciplinary research in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the India Institute of Science and the India Institute of Management, both in Bangalore, India. Thus, Vandana Shiva is a complete and prolific technocrat and a celebrated environmentalist.

Career

Though Vandana Shiva is a well-trained and Certificated Pure Scientist, she makes a living as an author of various innovative books on green education and as a conference speaker.

Residence

Vandana Shiva lives in India.

Advocacy

Vandana Shiva is a prolific advocate of women rights and sustainable living. She is also an ever-ready and indefatigable activist of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge.

Thus, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) in 1982, which later led to the forming of what is known as “Navdanya” in 1991.

Navdanya means ‘Nine seeds’ or ‘New Gift’, which is a means of educating farmers of the immense advantages in the practice of having various and individualized crops rather than receiving offers from mono-culture food producers. The initiative brought about the establishment of over 40 seed banks across India for diversified agriculture. Shiva also set up ‘Bija Vidyapeeth’ which is an international College for sustainable living, in Doon Valley, in 2004. He first book entitled ‘Staying Alive’ was published in 1988 and it helped redefine perceptions of Third World Women. Also, Shiva has written copious reports for FAO and the UN on mainly women rights issues and sustainable agriculture and even manufacturing. Besides, she has worked for the Promotion of biodiversity in agriculture to increase productivity, nutrition and farmer’s incomes. It is for this work that Time magazine recognized her as an ‘Environmental Hero in 2003. In an interview with David Borsamian, Shiva argues that the Seed-Chemical Package promoted by Green revolution agriculture had depleted soil, destroyed living ecosystems, and negatively impacted people’s health. In her work, she cites data allegedly demonstrating that today there are over 1400 pesticides that may enter the food system across the world because only 1% of pesticides sprayed act on the target pest. Vandana Shiva, alongside her sister, Dr Mira Shiva, argues that the health costs of increasing pesticide and fertilizer use range from cancer to kidney failure to heart disease. Also, on what she calls ‘biopiracy’, Shiva has fought against and won attempted patents of several indigenous plants in India, such as basmati by the US Department of Agriculture and the Corporation WR Grace. Moreover, her activitism included the struggles against the promotion of the Sale and consumption of ‘Golden rice’ (a breed of rice that has been genetically engineered to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A) in India by GMO corporation of India, around 2013. However, there have been several and severe criticisms of Vandana Shiva’s views and methods by some reputed solid analysists notably investigative Journalist Michael Specter of the New Yorker in an article on 25 August, 2014 entitled ‘Seeds of Doubt’ and journalist Kerth Kloor in an article published in ‘Discover’ on 23 October, 2014 entitled ‘The Rich allure of a Peasant Champion. Notwithstanding, all the criticisms have not reduced the personality and achievements of Vandana Shiva as a first-rate, world-class environmentalist.

 Vandana Shiva and Adenike Akinsemolu, the founder of the Green Institute

Vandana Shiva and Adenike Akinsemolu, the founder of the Green Institute

Achievements of Sustainable Development and Environmentalism

The setting up and continuing operation of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) in 1982, the initiative, promotion and benefit of ‘Navdanya’ in India since 1991; the winning of a 10-year legal battle against biopiracy the US Department of Agriculture and other organizations in 2005; the recognition by Time magazine as an ‘Environmental Hero’ in 2003; the establishment and continuing operation of an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley, (i.e. Bija Vidya peeth) in 2004; etc

_The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened._.png

PUBLICATIONS

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

http://vandanashiva.com/

World Migratory Bird Day!

Today is World Migratory Bird day (WMBD)! 

2018 is an important transition year in the history of World Migratory Bird Day - unifying the planet’s major migratory bird corridors, or flyways: the African-Eurasian flyway, the East Asian-Australasian flyway, and the Americas flyways. Celebrated from now on twice a year, on the Second Saturday in May and in October, WMBD aims to reach out to a broader audience and amplify its message for bird conservation. As a new global platform that unifies efforts worldwide, WMBD will be reinforcing education and awareness-raising about the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats - at all different levels, in all parts of the world.
— www.worldmigratorybirdday.org
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Rufous Hummingbird / Selasphorus rufus

  • This tiny migratory pollinator breeds in western Canada and the U.S. It spends the non-breeding season primarily in Mexico, but has also have been increasingly documented as wintering in the southeastern U.S.
  • The Rufous Hummingbird is known as one of the “feistiest” hummingbirds in North America, aggressively defending nectar at feeders and flowers.
  • This species breeds farther north than any other hummingbird, all the way to Alaska. Its migratory pattern is unusual, with most following the Pacific Coast north and the Rocky Mountains south, as one of the earliest fall migrants at backyard feeders.
  • Their declining population may be due to changes in the timing of flowering as temperatures warm, pesticide applications, or loss of habitat. To help these brilliantly colored birds, plant native flowers that bloom throughout the season.
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Golden-winged Warbler / Vermivora chrysoptera

  • Changing habitats are impacting this striking bird with bright yellow markings.
  • The Golden-winged Warbler prefers nesting sites with sparse shrubs and trees in wetlands or in upland areas. As this habitat matures to forest or is developed, numbers of this species have declined steeply.
  • This species usually nests on the ground.
  • Conservation efforts are focused on implementing management practices to increase breeding habitat in wetlands and shrublands, and on collaborating with partners to protect their wintering grounds in Central and South Am
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Red Knot / Calidris canutus

  • Traveling as many as 19,000 miles each year from non-breeding sites in South America to nesting sites in Canada, in as few as six days, it faces challenges throughout its journey.
  • During spring migration this species stops over in Delaware Bay to feed on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. Such sites where they refuel for their long flights are important to protect.
  • One of the biggest contributors to the declines in Red Knot populations is a warming climate, which is reducing the tundra where they nest, intensifying storms during their migration, and warming sea waters which affects the shellfish they need to survive.
  • Helping to protect migratory birds from climate change impacts starts at home. Weatherizing your home, using energy-efficient lights and appliances, and reducing your use of fuel are small steps, but when multiplied across the planet they can have a big impact.

Jeffrey Sachs: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Project: a personal perspective

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The Millennium Village Project (MVP) was initiated in 2005 as a means to implement the recommendations of the UN Millennium Project at a local scale in rural Africa. The main conclusion of the UN Millennium Project was that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be achieved if the high-income donor nations increased their official development assistance (ODA) to the long-standing UN target of 0·7% of gross national income (GNI). The evaluation of the MVP published in The Lancet Global Health reinforces the main message of the UN Millennium Project, and is relevant for the era of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a small amount of funding goes far to achieve bold goals to alleviate the multidimensional burdens of rural poverty.

The MVP was implemented under three over-riding principles: (1) an integrated rural development approach, with interventions spanning agriculture, environmental restoration, primary education, primary health care, and local infrastructure (water, sanitation, energy, and connectivity); (2) an incremental donor investment aiming at $60 per person per year; and (3) community- based delivery, with a focus on inclusive services for the community (farmer cooperatives, health systems, public education, and local infrastructure) rather than private income transfers or credits for individuals or for businesses. The focus, in short, was on grant financing for community-based capital. The project was undertaken in impoverished rural areas in 10 countries in sub- Saharan Africa with the cooperation of national and local governments and the communities.

All ten Millennium Village (MV) sites operated for the entire 10 years of the project, during which investments and systems were successfully implemented in a phased manner. A multisector approach proved to be feasible in all the sites and a small lead team of around five local staff ensured support and continuity across hundreds of interventions spanning the major categories of farming, environment, health, education, and infrastructure. In no cases did the complexity of the project prove to be logistically or procedurally overwhelming. This was true even as donor funding for the MVP was limited to a mere $25 per person per year during the second phase.

The project achieved significant gains in MDG-related outcomes, and significant impacts compared with matched sites on 30 of the 40 MDG-related targets. When grouped by major MDG-related category (poverty, nutrition, education, health, and infrastructure), significant impacts were found for every major category. The largest consistent gains were in health and agriculture.

The outcomes on poverty were mixed, with no discernible impact on consumption-based poverty, and yet a positive effect on asset ownership. One plausible explanation for this finding is that most farm families seem to have directed increased incomes— from practices  such as  increased use of  fertilisers and improved seeds, and strengthening of farmer-based organisations and cooperatives—mainly into durable assets (eg, latrines, piped water, better roofing or flooring materials) rather than non-durable consumption. We observed this same outcome in another project setting (northern Ghana) outside of the ten sites. In that site, too, households saved their incremental income as durable assets.

This explanation is necessarily provisional given uncertainties in the data. As is typical in rural settings, we had difficulty for several reasons in obtaining precise measurements of household income and consumption: inaccuracy of recall on surveys, high seasonality of consumption flows, irregular purchases of capital assets, and under-reporting of incomes by households. We regard the data on assets to be more reliable than the data on incomes and consumption spending, as household assets were directly observed by the survey teams.

The project achieved around a third of the MDG- related targets and fell short on two-thirds, although with at least some progress towards most of the targets. However, even when impacts were favourable, they were often insufficient to reach the ambitious targets. I suspect that there are four main reasons for this shortfall.

First, the MVP inherently lacked economies of scale—a point we of course recognised from the start. Because of the lack of scale economies, the benefits to an MVP site of receiving $60 per person per year were smaller for the MVP community than if the entire nation had received the same $60 per person per year. The MVP could build a local road, or a local micro-grid, but without the benefit of a national road network and power grid, the impact was restricted. The MVP could control a local disease outbreak, but not prevent its reintroduction from a neighbouring community.

Furthermore, the international community utterly failed to follow through on its commitment to raise ODA to 0·7% of GNI. For the 29 donor countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) taken as a group, the total ODA as of 2016 was a mere 0·32% of the combined GNI, signifying a shortfall in aid from these donor countries of roughly US$170 billion per year. Lacking adequate ODA, the interventions advocated by the UN Millennium Project could not be implemented at national scale in low-income Africa, and Africa as a whole fell short on the MDGs, with inevitable adverse consequences within the MVs as well. The MVP was meant to offer guidance on national scale-up, but the national scale-ups were generally constrained by limited ODA.

Second, and related, the MVP focused on only one of the three pillars of national poverty reduction. The MVP focused on rural development, not on urban development nor on national infrastructure (roads, rail, power, fibre) connecting rural and urban areas. Most importantly, the MVs did not benefit from complementary donor spending to boost urban jobs and incomes. Given the tiny sizes of many rural farms (often below 1 hectare), and the still rapidly growing rural populations, rural poverty will not end without the rapid growth of urban job opportunities alongside the higher productivity and incomes of farm households.

Third, as an island of relative prosperity in the midst of poverty, the MVP’s resources inevitably were shared beyond the MVs to the neighbouring areas, thus diminishing the spending per person and impact within the MVs. Partly, this sharing occurred as individuals from neighbouring communities came to the MVs to use the clinics, schools, and other expanded facilities. Partly it resulted from the tendency of local authorities to direct incremental budgetary resources towards non-MVP areas. This dilution of the MVP investments was natural, unpreventable, and inevitable.

Fourth, the MVP was underfunded in the second phase. In 2005, the project began as a 5-year effort, but by 2007 the MVP leadership team realised that the communities would need the full 10 years to 2015 to achieve the MDGs. Yet the MVP was able to raise only half of the $60 per capita for the second phase, and thus per force implemented a ramp-down of project funding between 2011 and 2015, which averaged $25 per person per year during the second 5-year interval.

As is widely recognised, there are important synergies across investments in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure. Healthier children learn better and attend school more reliably; schools teach health-promoting activities; infrastructure such as electrification and clean water enhance both health and education. It used to be supposed that complex, multisector projects might be too hard to implement. We found that this was not the case: there were not only synergies in outcomes, but also important synergies in implementation across sectors. One of the most important means by which the MVP achieved such synergies was by instituting an effective real-time information platform. The MVP built a monthly information system based on local vital events reporting (births, deaths, and cause of death), reports from health workers and clinics, reports from schools, and additional data. Building a common information platform took time, and gained a high degree of performance only after the widespread uptake of smartphones (2012 in the MVs).

Other synergies emerged in the project’s interactions with the local and national governments, local and foreign universities, the business sector, and UN agencies. These counterparts were themselves working across several sectors, so the MVP, as an integrated development project, found an important multisector interface with these counterparts regarding information exchanges, partnerships, staffing, funding, and technical support to and from the project.

The MVP looked very different in 2015 from its launch in 2005. Fortunately, the project was not based on testing the effects of a specific and fixed set of interventions. It was instead based on reaching a specific set of targets. Throughout the project, the available technologies to achieve those targets improved rapidly. The project adjusted accordingly, regularly upgrading the interventions deployed in the MVs in line with the global technological progress. Consider briefly the case of malaria, one of the priority targets of the MVP. At the start of the MVP, malaria diagnoses and treatment were largely facility-based, with trained microscopists reading blood smears. The newly available artemisinin-based treatments were gradually being introduced via clinics. Mothers had to carry febrile children long distances to reach the clinic, and many did not make it in time. Most bednets as of 2005 still required frequent retreatments with insecticides in order to maintain their efficacy, and many nets were left untreated. Overall bednet coverage was very low. By 2015, all this had changed. Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria were now available. Community health workers (CHWs) used these at the household level, and carried artemisinin-based treatments. The CHWs were supported by supervisors and by expert systems on smartphones. The bednets were redesigned to maintain the insecticide for the lifetime of the net. The MVP was an early adopter of each new antimalarial technology (long-lasting insecticidal bednets, rapid diagnostic tests, artemisinin-based treatments at household level, CHW deployments, smartphone applications, real-time data- based adaptation of interventions and management), and the MVP experience accelerated the adoption of these effective control measures at both national and global levels.

Similar ongoing advances are now available for other aspects of rural health care (telemedicine, teledentistry, remote monitoring, expert systems), education (online curriculum, linked classrooms), infrastructure (solar and wind microgrids, solar-powered irrigation, remote monitoring  of  infrastructure),  agriculture  (precision farming, soil moisture monitoring, etc). In all cases, the MVP endeavoured to keep abreast of the latest technologies and to provide a base for their rapid uptake.

The SDGs call for bold advances in living standards by 2030, including the end of poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2), universal health coverage (SDG 3), universal completion of secondary education (SDG 4),
gender equality (SDG 5), universal access to water and sanitation (SDG 6) and electricity (SDG 7), as well as several environmental goals related to climate (SDG 13), pollutants (SDG 12), urban environment (SDG 11) and biodiversity (SDG 14, 15). To achieve these bold goals, governments will need to implement integrated rural and urban development plans over a period of a decade or more, and to do so at all levels of government, from local communities to the national government.

The lessons from the MVP are highly pertinent. Multisector planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation are feasible and necessary. Information platforms can be created for multisector plans and programmes. Computer technologies, including artificial intelligence and big data (responsibly managed), offer new cutting-edge solutions.

The lessons of the MVP suggest the following key steps. (1) Set clear targets to 2030. (2) Identify key interventions and budgetary needs. (3) Form teams from national to local level prepared to work in an integrated manner. (4) Establish real-time information systems. And (5) don’t expect a quiet life! Rapid changes in technology, and even in geopolitics, will force considerable innovations, systems changes, and improvisation, between now and 2030.
 
Jeffrey D. Sachs
Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025, USA sachs@columbia.edu
I was the Director of the Millennium Project

1. UN Millennium Project. Investing in development: a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. http://csd.columbia.edu/publications/un-millennium-project-reports/      

2. Mitchell S, Gelman A, Ross R, et al. The Millennium Villages Project:
a retrospective, observational, endline evaluation. Lancet Glob Health 2018;6: e500–13.
http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/langlo/PIIS2214-109X(18)30065-2.pdf

3. Jeffrey D. Sachs. Lessons from the Millennium Villages Project: a personal perspective.

Source: UNSDSN

JAMES LOVELOCK: Green Personality of the Month of May 2018

 Originator, Gaia theory and inventor of the electron capture detector

Originator, Gaia theory and inventor of the electron capture detector

Names: James Ephraim Lovelock

Birth: He was born on 26 July, 1919

Place of Birth: Letchworth Garden City, in Hertfordshire, England.

Nationality: British

I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change.
— The Guardian (2010)

Education

He attended Strand School, London, and Birkbeck College as a part-time evening student as a result of having started work early in life in a photography firm. He later studied Chemistry at the University of Manchester and also had his PhD in Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Also, he worked as a research fellow in both the College of Medicine, Yale University, and the Medical School, Harvard University, USA.

Occupation/Career

Lovelock is best described as ‘an independent scientist, inventor, and author’, because he has invented and made copious science tools and materials, such as electron capture detector, an instrument for the creation of microwave oven, instruments for NASA’s planetary expeditions, etc. He is most reputed for his development of the Gaia hypothesis.

Residence

Lovelock lives in Dorset, England.

Advocacy

Lovelock initially postulated that, as a result of global warming, ‘billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable’ by the end of this century. However, in April 2012, interview which was aired on MSNBC, he eventually agreed that he had been ‘alarmist’. That was due to emerging facts and developments on what he had predicted would happen. Now, Lovelock advocates what he terms ‘sustainable development’ which he does not directly support. By ‘retreat’, he means ‘… changing where we live and how we get our food;… making plans for the migration of people from low-lying regions like Bangladesh into Europe … admitting that New Orleans is a goner and moving the people to cities better positioned for the future.’ The concept promotes the use of resources in such a way as to meet human needs with lower levels and environmentally harmful types of resources.

James LoveLock_Green_Institute

Achievements on Sustainable Development and Environmentalism

In September 2007, Lovelock and Chris Rapley suggested constructing oceans pumps to pump water up from below the thermocline to ‘fertilize algae in the surface waters and encourage them to bloom ‘. The purpose was to cause the acceleration of the transfer of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the ocean by increasing primary production and enhancing the export of organic carbon to the deep ocean. It is noteworthy that despite widespread media attention and criticism on this proposal by Lovelock, a commercial company was already working independently on similar ideas as at that time. This idea is now known as Geo-engineering or Climate engineering. Also, Lovelock now favours ‘fracking’ as a low-polluting alternative to coal.

Publications/Awards and Honours

  1. Fellow of the Royal Society (1974)
  2. Tswett Medal (1975)
  3. American Chemical Society Award in Chromatography (1980)
  4. Norbert Gerbier – MUMM Award (1988)
  5. Dr AH. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences (1990)
  6. Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1990)
  7. Volvo Environment Prize (1996)
  8. Companion of Honour (2003)
  9. Wollaston Medal (2006)
  10. Arne Naess  Chair in Global Justice and Environment (2007)
  11. Lovelock has copious articles in leading science journals.

Official Website

http://www.jameslovelock.org/

 

PUBLICATION: Ecotoxicological Dynamics of the Coastal Soil Ecosystem of Oil Producing Regions of Ondo State, Nigeria

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Authors: Adenike A. Akinsemolu, Felix A. Akinyosoye, Daniel J. Arotupin

Abstract

The industrial revolution marked the beginning of unprecedented anthropogenic growth and technological advancement that also inadvertently led to acute environmental degradation. This technological advancement was driven by the use fossil fuels such as crude oil. Crude oil extraction through drilling has resulted in widespread environmental pollution and deterioration of natural habitats. The Ondo State region in Nigeria presents one such expanse where large scale crude extraction operations have caused hazardous environmental pollution and toxic substance contamination. This study is a comprehensive and holistic study of the terrestrial soil ecosystem aimed towards elucidating the potential ecotoxicity that may have adversely affected the area. The results indicated that the terrestrial soil ecosystem was largely acidic (~pH6) and the organic matter content ranged from 6% to 12% indicating the soil was hydric. The results also indicated that the terrestrial soil environment was contaminated with toxic heavy metals including cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb) and arsenic (As). The toxic heavy metal concentration of the soil ecosystem was higher during the dry season. The Cr concentration in the soil samples was >3 ppm in most of the sampling sites, which exceeded WHO maximum permissible limit. Mean concentrations of the heavy metals in the soil samples in both seasons were of the order: Cr > Pb > Cd > As. The soil ecosystem was also characterized by a diverse and large population of microorganisms including bacteria like Enterobacter, Escherichia coli, and several species of fungi.

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic Growth;
  • Crude Oil Extraction;
  • Ecotoxicity;
  • Toxic Heavy Metals;
  • Ilaje.

Introduction

Over the past several decades, uncontrolled anthropogenic growth has led to overutilization and exploitation of natural resources as well as widespread environmental pollution and degradation. One of the more significant damaging effects of this unrestrained growth has been the uncontrolled assembly of excess waste materials, which is contaminated with a wide range of noxious substances as well as toxic heavy metals and various detrimental materials [1] [2] [3]. Reckless discharge practices for such waste products added an additional environmental burden to natural ecosystems and had resulted in hazardous consequences [4] [5]. This waste disposal has mostly affected terrestrial soil ecosystems, turning the useful soil systems into wastelands [6]. According to a report published by the United Nations Environment Program [7] on the Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland, such soil contamination not only affects the socio-economic life of the inhabitants of the affected region but also it has an adverse effect on the drinking water quality. Therefore, regulation and reversal of this colossal degradation of natural ecosystems necessitate an appropriate socioeconomic valuation of natural resources, along with an efficient and sustainable utilization of these natural resources and employment of responsible waste treatment technologies [8].

The extraction of crude oil and natural gases has had hazardous consequences on natural environments. Kvenvolden and Cooper [9] reported that crude-oil seepage is about 600,000 metric tons per year. Crude oil extraction through drilling in terrestrial, marine or coastal environments has been a source of significant concern. This drilling often leads to industrial accidents such as spillage and acute environmental degradation due to irresponsible waste expulsion practices.

This study has focused on the terrestrial soil ecosystem of the Ondo state region in Nigeria. This region is a major site for offshore and mainland crude oil drilling operations that are carried out by several multinational oil corporations [10]. Furthermore, due to the lack of adequate wastewater treatment facilities in the region, a substantial amount of the wastewater produced in the region flows through the network of rivers into the area under investigation and frequently contaminates the surrounding natural environment [11].

Soil samples were collected and studied to examine the nature and degree of potential environmental pollution in the natural environment of the region. To this end, several standard soil quality parameters, as well as physicochemical parameters, were analyzed in samples that were collected from several different sampling regions. Toxic heavy metals are generally defined as metals or metalloids that have relatively high density, occur in multiple oxidation states, and cause extreme toxic effects on living organisms even upon exposure to low concentrations [12] [13]. The toxic heavy metals are found either naturally in a given area or can accumulate in the region as a result of anthropogenic activities. They have the ability to interact and bind to cellular components and can inhibit metabolic functions and activities of living cells [14].

There have been several studies which sought to determine the extent and causes of toxic heavy metal distribution in various parts of the world [15] [16] [17] [18]. The results of Manta, Angelone, Bellanca, Neri and Sprovieri [15] demonstrated that in parts of Italy, the source of Pb, Zn, and Hg in topsoil could be traced to anthropogenic pollution, while other metals like Mn and Ni among were thought to be primarily naturally occurring metals. Lin, Teng and Chang [16] demonstrated that in Taiwan, urbanization and industrialization had led to the contamination of natural soil environments with toxic heavy metals. Arora et al. [18] , demonstrated that in parts of India, use of irrigation water contaminated with toxic heavy metals led to bio-accumulation within vegetables that were being consumed by the general population. Li, Ma, van der Kuijp, Yuan and Huang [17] summarized that mining activities and irresponsible mining waste discharge practices across several provinces of China led to toxic heavy metal pollution in the region.

Microorganisms are the keystone of any natural ecosystem as they regulate vital nutrient cycles in a natural environment and hence the microbial population dynamics of the terrestrial soil environment were also analyzed. Therefore, this study presents a comprehensive picture of the terrestrial soil ecosystem and reveals several facets of the natural environment that can lead to widespread pollution and environmental degradation with devastatingly hazardous consequences.

'The water's not going anywhere' - Louisiana confronts climate threats

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In storm-battered New Orleans, preparation for disasters "has become the norm, not the exception"

Sitting on his porch in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Otis Tucker cuts a lone figure on a street punctuated with large empty spaces - the shadows of homes lost to Hurricane Katrina.

Tucker lives in the part of the Louisiana city most devastated by the powerful storm and its aftermath in 2005, when levees designed to protect the city from flooding failed.

Many residents of the poor neighbourhood have struggled to return after fleeing Katrina.

Lack of funds to come home and rebuild, coupled with developers swiftly moving in, and gentrification of this predominantly black, lower-income area, have left scars.

Today, broken windows and overgrown weeds pepper abandoned homes, and the angry barking of a dog interrupts the silence.

"There were families here, there were kids in the street playing football, and there were neighbours," said Tucker, who was born and bred in the neighbourhood. "And that went away overnight. It just got washed away."

Since being battered by Katrina – which killed more than 1,800 people and destroyed or damaged about 800,000 homes - New Orleans has started adapting to extreme weather, which scientists predict will worsen as the planet warms.

Arthur Johnson, chief executive officer of the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development in the Lower Ninth Ward, said disaster preparation "has become the norm, not the exception".

Evacuation centres have been built, homes have been raised higher, and solar panels installed on roofs.

The center teaches the community here to create "rain gardens" that capture rainwater for re-use. And with much of the soil still contaminated by toxic chemicals such as arsenic post-Katrina, local people are shown how to grow orchards and plant seeds in troughs above the ground.

WORKING WITH WATER

On a larger scale, New Orleans-based architects Waggonner and Ball have played a lead role in developing the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan.

Funded by the Louisiana Office of Community Development, the plan addresses flooding from heavy rainfall, as well as ground subsidence caused by pumping out storm water.

Company president David Waggonner, who travels extensively to share his experiences, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the city has much to learn from Amsterdam.

New Orleans has relied on an outdated method of pumping out excess water, and needs to rethink if it is to survive, he explained at his desk, which sports a model of the city's streets and extensive pump stations.

"The city needs to learn to live with water - creating a space for water to fall and gradually go into the soil and back into the sky," he said.

One way to do this is by creating "aesthetic blue ways and green ways", he added.

These include the Mirabeau Water Garden in Gentilly district - 25 acres (10 hectares) that will be designed to divert water from canals and capture storm runoff - as well as other green infrastructure such as new parks and redesigned streets with trees, grassy areas and ponds.

COASTAL MASTER PLAN

New Orleans is the state's largest city, with a population of just under 400,000, but Louisiana as a whole is responding rapidly to ongoing land loss and an increased risk of flooding.

According to a study released by the U.S. Geological Society, Louisiana is suffering loss of its wetlands at a rate of a football field an hour.

"After Hurricane Katrina, people started to get really serious about coastal issues," said Denise Reed, research professor at the University of New Orleans and a key technical advisor on the state-led Coastal Master Plan.

The first such master plan was mandated by the state legislature following Katrina, but earlier versions were more of a "wish list", Reed said.

The latest plan - drawn up by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and approved in 2017 - outlines priority projects requiring investment of $50 billion.

The money is needed to rebuild barrier islands and wetlands, move water and sediment from the Mississippi River to make new marshes, construct levees and flood gates, raise houses, and in some cases buy property so homeowners can move to a safer place.

"We all have to be creative with expenditure," Reed told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"In the area where I live, we've passed a sales tax, so every time you go to the store to buy something, a penny or two goes into a pot used for building a levee."

SINKING LAND, RISING SEAS

In a boat heading to the marshlands off the coast of Cocodrie, a shrimping and crabbing village in southeast Louisiana, Alex Kolker, associate professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, pointed to large industrial structures protruding from the water.

"Something in the order of 20 to 30 percent of the nation's oil infrastructure is in the Gulf of Mexico," said the oceanologist and coastal geologist. "It's a multi-billion, if not multi-trillion investment - and much of it is at, or very near, sea level."

The extractive industry is at risk from rising seas and storms, but is also a key reason why Louisiana is subsiding, he explained. When oil and gas are taken from the ground, a vacuum is created and the land sinks into it.

Research by Kolker and others shows that much of the subsidence affecting Louisiana's coast relates to these patterns of oil and gas withdrawal.

In the last century, most of the increase in the water level was due to the ground sinking, but as global sea levels rise, that is changing.

"The biggest variable for the future of Louisiana is sea level rise," said Kolker. He pointed to predictions the United States will see an average increase of about 1 cm (0.39 inches) a year by 2050.

"Those are the kind of rates that we experienced at the end of last Ice Age. That would be very, very disruptive - to New York, to London and Tokyo," he said.

Against that background, lessons being learned in Louisiana will be invaluable for the rest of the world, Kolker believes.

Back in New Orleans, Tucker's community has already experienced the full force of wild weather.

Even though he is aware that those with fewer means may struggle to be as resilient as wealthier residents, he is determined not to be cowed by the growing threat.

"I know that the water's not going anywhere," he said. "But politicians, developers, poor people, rich people, people with many resources, people with little - we're all in this together."

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Michael Bloomberg to write $4.5 mln check for Paris climate pact

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President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of the agreement, making the country the only one opposed to the pact.

Former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday he will write a $4.5 million check to cover this year's U.S. financial commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of the pact, making the country the only one opposed to it.

Bloomberg, in a CBS interview, said he hopes by next year Trump will have changed his mind.

Bloomberg will continue to provide money for the pact if the United States does not rejoin the agreement, according to a news release from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charity he founded.

"Our foundation will uphold our promise to cover any cuts to UN climate funding by the federal government," Bloomberg said in the statement.

Trump staunchly opposes the agreement and his administration has rolled back a number of environmental regulations. (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Malaria in conflict zones threatens global progress against the disease

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Africa accounts for about nine in ten deaths and cases, with more than a third concentrated in two countries - Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Global gains in the fight against malaria could be reversed unless countries control the disease in conflict zones, where deaths and infections are rising, experts said on Tuesday.

The number of malaria cases worldwide increased in 2016 after 15 years of decline, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Global leaders seek to reignite fight against deadly malaria

Royals, celebrities, scientists join renewed call to tackle malaria

Africa accounts for about nine in ten deaths and cases, with more than a third concentrated in two countries - Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo - where conflict has forced millions to flee their homes, WHO data shows.

Tackling malaria in such places requires new strategies since those used elsewhere - such as distributing bed nets - do not work, said Richard Allen, head of The Mentor Initiative, an organisation focused on disease control in humanitarian crises.

"All too often we try to make the wrong tool fit the context," Allen said in an interview ahead of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria's (MIM) pan-African conference this week.

"Where is a displaced person going to hang a net?" he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Researchers presented possible solutions at the conference in Senegal's capital Dakar, such as insecticide-treated plastic sheeting that can be used for shelters, and giving health workers mini malaria kits in a backpack.

WHO's global malaria programme director, Pedro Alonso, said the right tools were being used but noted that malaria surged in conflict zones for other reasons.

"Whenever there is an emergency, if the country is endemic for malaria (then) disruption of health services, movement of people and malnutrition ... all lead to malaria," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Malaria killed twice as many people as Ebola during West Africa's Ebola crisis, and is responsible for the majority of deaths in war-torn South Sudan and in parts of Nigeria battling Boko Haram, Alonso said.

Global funding for the disease has levelled off while populations have grown, meaning the amount of money per capita to fight malaria in at-risk countries has dropped, he added.

Alonso said urgent action was needed.

"We either remain where we are or we start going backwards," he said.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

How a Bizarre Nazi Military Machine Left a Lasting Mark on the Environment

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VIENNA —The Tirpitz was the Nazis' most imposing warship and the largest battleship ever built by a European navy. It should have been an easy target for bombers, but this massive vessel could hide in plain sight.

Hitler's navy used a toxic artificial fog to conceal the ship when it was stationed in a Norwegian fjord. And, according to new research, this ephemeral smoke left a lasting mark on some of the living witnesses of World War II: the trees.

"The effects of one military engagement during World War II are still evident in the forests of Norway, 70 years later," said Claudia Hartl, a tree-ring researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Hartl, who presented her findings here during the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, didn't set out to study "war dendrochronology." Rather, she was taking core samples from pine trees around Kåfjord, near the northern edge of Scandinavia, to reconstruct a record of yearly temperatures for the past 2,000 years. (The trees can live for dozens or hundreds of years, and even older stumps can be found preserved in frigid lakes.)

"Trees are limited by temperature there, so if you have a cold year, trees form a narrow ring, and if you have a warm year, then you have wide ring," Hartl explained.

At a site near the fjord, Hartl and her colleagues found trees that didn't produce rings in 1945. This "exceptional stress response" didn't fit with the researchers' climate reconstructions, so they had to look for another explanation. And they learned that the Tirpitz had been stationed at Kåfjord, and was finally sunk by Allied bombs, in 1944.

Nicknamed "The Lonely Queen of the North" by Norwegians and "The Beast" by Winston Churchill, the battleship had been moored at Kåfjord to threaten Allied ships bringing supplies to the Soviet Union. Part of the Nazis' defense was to release chlorosulfuric acid into the air, which attracts moisture and can create a smoke screen. Hartl said there is not much in historical records about the environmental impact of the fake fog. The substance is known to be corrosive, and the group of soldiers responsible for producing this smoke had to wear special protection suits.

The researchers sampled pine trees from six sites near the fjord. Trees farther away from the Tirpitz's mooring were less affected by the fog. But at the site closest to the location of the battleship, 60 percent of the trees didn't produce a ring in 1945, and some of the trees didn't grow for several years after the war. Hartl's team thinks the trees lost their needles due to the fog, which harmed their ability to photosynthesize.

War dendrochronology could join other nascent fields like "bombturbation" (the study of how bombs alter landscapes) as scientists begin to investigate the environmental impact of war.

"What I think is very interesting is the human impact on ecosystems," Hartl told Live Science. "If you have a drought event, the trees also show a growth decline, but you can also see that these trees recover, and usually, it doesn't take longer than five years. But in northern Scandinavia, through this Second World War impact, it took the trees 12 years to recover. That's a really strong impact."

Source: Live Science.

REPORT: THE HBKU’S MAKERSPACE INITIATIVE

The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) organized the first Makerspace initiative in Qatar recently, and I participated in the life-enriching and fantastic programme. This report presents what took place at the wonderful event, the benefits of such an innovative initiative and its prospects for the world.

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INTRODUCTION

My team and I at the Green Institute have been facing, the usual challenges faced by innovators and pacesetters in breaking new grounds of knowledge or bringing new and novel ideas into an environment that is vastly used to stereotypes. The questions people usually ask include “What is green education? How is it different? What can it do for me?” However, HBKU’s Makerspace initiative is a quintessence of the benefits of green education, and I know that writing and presenting this report as a speaker, will give the readers a fascinating view of some the benefits and prospects of green education in the world today. The events took place at the Education City, Student Center, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Qatar for one week. Below are snapshots of the events.

For clarity purpose, the body of this report is presented in the following order:

1.       The Initiative

2.       The Facilitators

3.       The Content

4.       The Output

1.  THE INITIATIVE

The HBKU’s Makerspace Initiative was organized by an Assistant Professor in the College of Islamic Studies, Dr. Mohammed Evren Tok. It was a collaborative space where the public could explore and learn about ‘Green Economy, Business and Entrepreneurship in Qatar’ and the world at large. It involved, inter alia, exhibitions, workshops, and short talks.

 A student of CIS with Dr. Mohammed Evren Tok and the Dean, College of Islamic Studies

A student of CIS with Dr. Mohammed Evren Tok and the Dean, College of Islamic Studies

2. THE FACILITATORS

The facilitators are leading and accomplished scholars and academics who were drawn from reputable tertiary institutions and organizations across the globe, on the recommendation of some international and distinguished academics and authorities and based on the works the former are known to have done or been doing in respect of the focus of the Makerspace Initiative. Thus, I was invited as a Young Green leader and the Founder of the Green Institute in Ondo state, Nigeria.

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The facilitators were grouped into three panels, conceptually named the ‘Young Green leaders’. I was in Panel 3 which also included Ayansola Oluwayemisi, Wecyclers, Anael Bodwell, Queen’s Young leader 2018 and  Jason McSparren, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA. The keynote speech was given by Totan Kuzenbaev, a renowed architect. Also, students, organizations and members of the public in Qatar were invited to participate in the programme. Here are some snapshots of the participants:

3. THE CONTENT

The main content of the programme was divided into six aspects, namely:

  1. Recycling Ring: This entailed members of the public bringing materials such as plastic, bags, paper, plastic bottles and caps, and textiles that were recycled during the events.
     
  2. Living off the Land Exhibition: This showcased how people rely on nature for a sustainable living either out of choice or as necessity demands, with the hope of creating an awareness of and inspiring the possibilities of sustainable lifestyles.
     
  3. Theatre: This involved giving of short talks by selected local and international speakers on their insights into environmentally sustainable initiatives in Qatar and worldwide. Panel 1 members discussed the Frameworks for environmentally sustainable lifestyles in Qatar and the World at large; members of Panel 2 highlighted its Ethics and Panel 3 members (where I belonged) gave insights into prospects.
     
  4. Production Zone: This included workshops for the education of future generation about possibilities in recycling and upcycling and visitors to the workshops witnessed how waste materials collected at the events were repurposed into art and clothes.
     
  5. Makeathon: This was a four-day design competition in which the participants were grouped into five teams and provided with fabrication tools and mentorship from Ibtechar (such as microcontrolling kits, 3D printers and CNC routers.) and also other resources found at the events.
     
  6. Experiential Zone: This comprised Botanical Garden, Greenhouse, Entrepreneurial Exhibitions, and local startups and businesses in Qatar demonstrated practices of sustainable farming, recycling of electronic and waste management.

4. THE OUTPUT

 The week-long programme produced the under listed results and benefits:

  1. Practical demonstrations of recycling and upcycling;
  2. Concrete evidence of sustainable lifestyles;
  3. Practical demonstrations of environmentally sustainable principles and methods;
  4. Production of clothes and other useful materials from the so-called waste products;
  5. Practical demonstrations of the products of green education (e.g. building of a plastic house)
  6. Practical demonstration of sustainable farming, and,
  7. Proper and beneficial waste management

Of course, the whole programme was not about work only. For leisure, during the events, Ms. Fatima Al-Khalifa, the Director of Qur’anic Botanical Garden of Qatar received Dr. Joel Guello, Professor of Biological Systems Engineering in the University of Arizona, USA and myself at the Qur’anic Botanical Garden. We enjoyed the goodness and beauty of nature while discussing future collaborations.  We also visited and explored the provisions of the Desert of Qatar, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Pearl (which is an old market with traditional buildings in Qatar), Katara Beach and of course, the Mall of Qatar which is known as Souq Waqif. The experiences we had by visiting these masterpieces of nature were fascinating, elevating and long-lasting.

THE CONCLUSION

In fact, by the end of the programme, members of the public in Qatar and all international visitors were utterly convinced of the limitless opportunities in and benefits of green education. Are you green yet?


ADENIKE AKINSEMOLU writes from Ondo, Nigeria.

REPORT: THE GREEN INSTITUTE GRADUATES ITS FIRST SET

INTRODUCTION

APRIL 6, 2018, marks a significant turning point in the history of education in Nigeria, particularly in Ondo state. This is because the first set of students who have acquired a novel and unique kind of education known as ‘green education’, graduated on that day. The convocation ceremony took place inside the beautiful hall of the Green Institute which shares the same facility with Homaj Secondary School, Ondo-Akure Road, Itanla, Ondo State, Nigeria.

The graduating students, each of whom was awarded a nano degree in Early Childhood Education Sustainability, are Elizabeth Adeyemo and Temilade Adegbite. It was a fascinating story of innovation, intellectual creativity, entrepreneurship and career sustainability.

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS AT THE OCCASION

The special guest was Dr. Oyinloye from Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo. The other prominent guests included Mr. T.J. Falowo (Wesley University, Ondo), Mr. Charles Adeyemi (Elizade University), Ms. Akinseye (Adeyemi College of Education) and Ms. Fabunmi (Federal University of Technology, Akure).

The other guests in the audience were students from tertiary institutions, professionals, parents and guardians and well-wishers of the graduating students.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE CEREMONY

The convocation ceremony began at about 11:30 am with the showing of two fascinating TED talks on ‘The importance of Relationship in Educating Children’ and ‘What Makes a Good Teacher Great?’ respectively. Each of video clips ran for about 15 minutes. The amiable and ever-smiling anchorperson for the ceremony, Miss Odunayo Aliu of The Green Institute prompted the attentive audience to either ask questions or pass comments on the TED Talks. This opened a barrage of elevating critical comments especially from the guests on the high table, led by Dr. Afolabi. He opined that most of the solutions proffered by the TED speakers might not be applicable to the Nigerian situation because of some peculiar hindrances. By and large, everybody finally agreed that sound ‘relationship’ between a teacher and the students he/she teaches is a necessity for the achievement of learning objectives in schools.

After that, Miss Odunayo called on the special guest of the day in the person of Dr. Afolabi (aka ‘Baba Bimbo’) to deliver the keynote address. He was greeted by the whole house with thunderous applause, apparently because he is a respected and popular teacher and academic who is loved by his students especially those in ACE. He presented a paper on “Early Childhood Education for Sustainability”. It was very educative and expertly presented.

THE HIGH POINT OF THE EVENT

The high point of the day was the presentation of their research project by the graduating students. Thus, Miss Elizabeth Adeyemo was called, and she came up and did her presentation on ‘Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities for Sustainable Development‘. It was fantastic, and she got general applause for it.  Then came the turn of Miss Temilade Adegbite whose research work was on ‘Early Childhood Education Curriculum into Prenatal Care Program: A Suggestive Approach‘. She presented it confidently and got the commendation of all.

Of course, as the students were doing the presentations, they were being assessed by a team of distinguished academics who were also on the high table for the purpose. Their assessments would form a part of the final grade of the graduating students. However, after the students finished presenting their research works, the anchor person requested the guests, especially those on the high table, to pass their comments on the performances.

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Subsequently, Dr. Afolabi praised the graduating students for their elegance, confidence and determination. He pointed out areas that the students should improve on in their skills and presentations. He also commended the Founder and Director of The Green Institute, Adenike Akinsemolu, for a job well done on the students and prayed that God should give her more power and grace to fulfil the mission of the Institute

Also, Madam Oloyede, the representative of Dr Oyinloye, similarly commended both the founder and the students for their efforts. Other invited dignitaries and members of the audience too did the same.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Founder and Director of The Green Institute, Adenike Akinsemolu, was called to the podium to give her speech. The speech was short and direct. She briefly pointed out that it was hard to start and continue such a novel idea as The Green Institute in such a challenging environment but that because of her focus, determination and committed Team, the dream is finally a reality. She promised that more was still to come. She finally thanked everybody for honouring the invitation to grace the occasion, particularly the special guest and all distinguished guests on the high table.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Finally, it was time for taking pictures. It started with group photograph of distinguished guests and the graduates of the day.

CONCLUSION

With what the first convoked students of The Green Institute, Ondo, displayed on the day of their convocation, and with the kind of comments passed on them and the institute by eminent scholars and academics who witnessed the occasion, I am confident that the institute has started charting a new and availing path for the proper education and equipment of students and the youth for sustainable personal, social and economic development in Nigeria.


TUNDE TIJANI

(B. Ed & M.A English)

Call for Abstracts, 6th International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD)

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The Global Association of Master's in Development Practice Programs (MDP), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), will hold the Sixth Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) on 26-28 September, 2018, at Columbia University in New York City.

If you would like to present at the conference, please submit an abstract as directed below. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2018. The conference is also open to observers (i.e. non-presenters). Simply register on the conference website to join us!

The conference theme is Breaking Down Silos: Fostering Collaborative Action on the SDGs. The aim of the conference is to bring together persons involved in research, policy, practice, and business. Participants will share practical solutions for achieving the SDGs at local and national levels. Abstracts should be directly relevant to one of the following Topics:

  1. Linking Policy, Operations, and Workforce toward Meeting Global Health Goals
  2. Opportunities of Marine Natural Capital for Sustainable Blue Growth
  3. Metrics and frameworks for assessing Sustainable Urban Development
  4. Ensuring Public Engagement and Accountability for Sustainable Urban Development
  5. Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Towns and Small Cities
  6. Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Building in Agriculture
  7. Economics and Demography of Natural Disasters
  8. Clean and Affordable Energy as a Keystone for Sustainable Development
  9. Globalization, Value Chains and Decent Work
  10. Indigenous Approaches to Understanding and Practicing Sustainable Development
  11. Mainstreaming Gender in Agenda 2030: Interlinkages between Sustainable Development Goals
  12. Breaking Down Silos in Government Administration
  13. Breaking Down Silos in Universities: Imaginative Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainable Development Research, Education, and Practice
  14. Collaborative Arts & Culture to Help Achieve the SDGs
  15. What's Law Got to Do With It? Legal Preparedness for Delivering the SDGs

Interested presenters should submit an abstract of at least 300 words but not exceeding 500 words, in English, by 1 May, 2018, via the conference website. Each abstract may only be submitted once and under one Topic. Failure to answer questions on the submission form or the submission of the same abstract under multiple topics is likely to result in the abstract being declined.

We're here for you if you have questions! Write to info@ic-sd.org

The Pioneers Class of 2018 Seminar Presentation for a Nanodegree in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability

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The Pioneer set of the Early Childhood Education Nanodegree program presented their seminar topics at the Green Institute Auditorium, Ondo kingdom. The Keynote address was delivered by Dr F.O Afolabi on the theme of the seminar, Early Childhood Education for Sustainability.  The event was witnessed by over fifty individuals across the country.

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The presentation was moderated by erudite scholars from various universities across Nigeria.

The graduating students, Adeyemo Elizabeth and Adegbite Temilade spoke on “Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities for Sustainable Development” and “Inculcating Early Childhood Education Curriculum into Prenatal Care Program: A Suggestive Approach” respectively.

The moderators applauded the students for a job well done and urge the students to make necessary corrections to strengthen the credibility of their work further. Dr Afolabi commended the Green Institute member of staff for educating young people to be social and environmental change-makers in their communities.

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