9 Benefits Provided by Forests

forest

Thailand is not the only country in the world losing forestsDeforestation is also happening in our backyard. The real estate booming back in the day is to blame.

According to a recent map released by World Resources Institute, the top 10 Counties Losing Forest to Development in the US South. These counties “converted approximately123,000 acres of forest to development over 5 years.”

The 10 counties that are mostly located in the South, are prone to drought and putting forest at risk: Harris (Houston), Gwinnett (Atlanta), Fulton (Atlanta), Wake (Raleigh), Montgomery (Houston), Meckleburg (Charlotte), Bexar (San Antonio), Duval (Jacksonville), Jefferson (Birmingham), Cobb (Atlanta).

Forests provide so many benefits to humanity.

Just to revisit some of the benefits provided by forests, here are the 9 benefits, via CBD: 

1. Forests provide food and a vast array of materials for medicinal, cultural and spiritual purposes, as well as building materials and firewood.

2. They store and purify drinking water.

3. Protect watershed.

4. Mitigate natural disasters.

5. Control erosion.

Continue reading “9 Benefits Provided by Forests”

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20 Sustainability Learning Resources

FOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. These are some of the sites where you can learn and dig deeper on sustainability. Whether you’re an employee, business owner, professional, or even executive and career changer, the information available through these sites is priceless. The best part is, most of the resources it’s either available for free or for a small subscription fee.

The resources below provide you with the knowledge, the kind of information that includes things that would affect the sustainability of your business, i.e. climate change, energy efficiency, nature conservation, biodiversity, water efficiency, and more. It is by no means they are the only twenty sources out there. There are literally more than hundreds (probably thousands) sources globally! However, for the purpose of learning, we’re going to start one chunk at a time. It’s good enough to spin your head.

FOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. These are some of the sites where you can learn and dig deeper on sustainability. Whether you’re an employee, business owner, professional, or even executive and career changer, the information available through these sites is priceless. The best part is, most of the resources it’s either available for free or for a small subscription fee.

The resources below provide you with the knowledge, the kind of information that includes things that would affect the sustainability of your business, i.e. climate change, energy efficiency, nature conservation, biodiversity, water efficiency, and more.  It is by no means they are the only twenty sources out there. There are literally more than hundreds (probably thousands) sources globally! However, for the purpose of learning, we’re going to start one chunk at a time. It’s good enough to spin your head.

Continue reading “20 Sustainability Learning Resources”

Rainforests are an Important Prop to Continental Water-Cycles

The Economist’s last week issue had an in-depth look into “The World’s Lung,” that is our forests. How deforestation in one country like Brazil could have an impact across the Americas.

A must read.

In most rich countries the pressure on forests has eased; but in many tropical ones—home to around half the remaining forest, including the planet’s green rainforest girdle—the demand for land is increasing as populations rise. In Congo, which has more rainforest than any country except Brazil, the clearance is mostly driven by smallholders, whose number is about to double. Rising global demand for food and biofuels adds even more to the heat. So will climate change. That may already be happening in Canada, where recent warm winters have unleashed a plague of bark beetles, and in Australia, whose forests have been devastated by drought and forest fires.

Clearing forests may enrich those who are doing it, but over the long run it impoverishes the planet as a whole. Rainforests are an important prop to continental water-cycles. Losing the Amazon rainforest could reduce rainfall across the Americas, with potentially dire consequences for farmers as far away as Texas. By regulating run-off, trees help guarantee water-supplies and prevent natural disasters, like landslides and floods. Losing the rainforest would mean losing millions of species; forests contain 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. And for those concerned about the probable effects of climate change, forests contain twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, in plant-matter and the soils they cover, and when they are razed and their soils disturbed most is emitted. If the Amazon went up in smoke—a scenario which a bit more clearance and a bit more warming makes conceivable—it would spew out more than a decade’s worth of fossil-fuel emissions.

via the Economist

 

Yes, You Can.. Restore Fragile Ecosystems

This story is an example of triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. I stumbled into this TED talk by Willie Smits, who is a conservationist. Willie and his team were able to restore fragile ecosystems in Kalimantan (that’s what the Indonesians called it) or Borneo (as it known around the world). In fact, he has found a way to re-grow a clearcut rainforest, save local orangutans and create jobs for the local people. 

What they have done, is just fascinating. Transforming the community that was bare, no trees (because of deforestation) and no jobs into a sustainable community. People have jobs. Improve the climate where there’s no more flooding, no more fires and huge development of biodiversity. They’ve got over 1,000 species, 137 bird species, and 30 species of reptiles. 

This is one man’s idea that can be multiplied across the globe. Just watch video how he did it below.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Global 10 Risks Facing Businesses

Ernst and Young recently released its Business Risk Report 2010 based on interviewed with a panel of more than 70 industry executives and analysts from 14 sectors.

If you look at the snapshot of the top 10 global risk across the 14 industries they cover below, you’ll see how a number of risk listed is associated with the sustainability factors of your business.

For example, in the business of green, there are regulations and compliance apply to business of any size. Literally, there are dozens of environmental regulations apply to small businesses, from environmental permits, air quality regulations, cleanup, ecosystem protection, fish and wildlife regulations, and more.

Eventhough, radical greening risk dropped from number 4 in 2009 to 8th in 2010, environmental regulation, consumer trends and strategic responses – remains a long term issue.

The snapshot below is what they called ‘risk radar.’ These are the drivers that might affect how you do business and at the same time, how it can help you position into the future. Compliance is associated with politics, law and regulations. Financial is the kind of risk associated with the economy and market ups and downs. Strategic is associated with customers, competitors and investors. Operational risk affects the processes, systems, people and those in the value chain.

Global 10 business risks:

Top_10_business_risks_2010

– click on the image for larger view

The table below shows on the relative importance the top 10 business risks across the 14 sectors they studied.

Risk_impact_matrix_ernst_and_young_2010

For more details, you can download the ‘Business Risk Report 2010’ here.

images: EY

Interesting Environmental Statistics

Real-time global environmental statistics. So numbers might change after this post have been published.

6,008,485   

Hectares of forest loss this year

3,201,918   

Hectares of arable land lost due to soil erosion

74,033   

Species that have gone extinct (this year)

5,224,428    

Tons of toxic chemicals released by industries into air, land, and water

2,237,850   

Billion liters of water consumption this year

2,692,155     

Deaths due to water related diseases this year

 1,389,211,286   

People with no access to drinking water

These are statistics that impacted our everyday life. For example, toxic dumps into the air can cause severe illness, poisoning, birth defects, disease or death. Water is another one. We tend to take water for granted over here when people on the other side of the world have no access to drinking water.

On the other hand, there are opportunities for different kind of business models and to innovate.

Okay, nuff said. There’s more real-time statistics that you can dig in at Worldometers.