Richmond Vale

NEWS: Japan Contributes US$ 1.8 Million To Jamaica's Climate Change Fight

Japan will contribute 220 million Jamaican dollars to the country's efforts in fighting climate change. The initiative is framed in the Japan-Caribean Climate Change Partnership, which will see the Asian country spend US$ 15 million in eight Caribbean countries. The project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and will benefit Belize, Suriname, Guyana, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Jamaica. [caption id="attachment_4856" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A street in Montego Bay, Jamaica - Photo Credit: Wikipedia The Japan-Caribbean cooperation is a success within the establishment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The entirety of Agenda, and specifically Global Goal 13 and Global Goal 17 , call for international cooperation in building capacity and resilience in the wake of increasingly severe weather. Read the full article by the Jamaica Observer below: JAPAN COMMITS $220 MILLION TO ASSIST JAMAICA IN CLIMATE CHANGE FIGHT The Japan Government has earmarked approximately US$1.8 million ($220 million) through the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) to provide assistance to Jamaica in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Approximately $73 million of that sum will be provided to support on-the-ground work to help communities’ efforts to cope with the effects of climate change. Another portion of the money will be allocated at the national level to address barriers to the implementation of climate-resilient technologies and to build Jamaica’s own capacity...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Climate Change Is Threatening Canada's Indigenous Communities

Climate change is increasing the number and severity of natural disasters in Canada, says a secret briefing to the country's Indigenous Affairs Minister. Catastrophes like the May wildfires that affected Fort McMurray and Saskatchewan are particularly harmful to indigenous people living in remote reserve communities. Contrary to declarations from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau —who said the Fort McMurray fires were not exacerbated by climate change— secret advice to the Indigenous Affairs Minister  cites indigenous communities being at a greater risk for experiencing natural disasters. This would be a consequence of extreme weather in the Canadian north, which has been fueled by climate change. [caption id="attachment_4847" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The catastrophic wildfires that took place this may burnt 581,695 hectares between Fort McMurray and Saskatchewan. The fires destroyed an approximate of 2,400 homes and buildings and affected the Athabasca oil sands opperations. The 2016 Fort McMurray's wildfires are the costliest wildfires in the area as of yet - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Indigenous communities have been vocal about the insufficient measures taken by the government in prevention and mitigation of natural disasters in reserve territory, despite recent public investments in First Nations "resilience" and infrastructure. Read the entire post from Canada's National Post below: FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES SUFFERING 'MORE INTENSE' IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, SECRET BRIEFING SAYS OTTAWA — Secret briefings to Canada’s indigenous affairs minister warn that...
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Richmond Vale

Top 10 Environmental Celebrity Activists

1.Leonardo DiCaprio [caption id="attachment_4826" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Flickr The Oscar-winning actor and one of the most notorious  environmental activists , created the Leonard DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 “to support organizations and initiatives dedicated to securing a sustainable future for our planet”  ( WWF , W/D) . Ever since, DiCaprio has been engaged with pressing environmental issues, such as access to clean water , disaster relief, preservation of biodiversity and the Earth’s oceans , among others. DiCaprio currently sits at the board of important environmental organizations, like the World Wildlife Fund, NDRC, Global Green USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. In addition to this, the actor has produced two short movies (Water Planet and Global Warming) to raise awareness on environmental topics. DiCaprio also used his production company, Appian Way, to write, narrate and produce his critically acclaimed documentary: The 11 th hour. The film was four years in the making and provides the public with an overview of Earth’s problems, as well as exciting solutions for them. 2.Robert Redford [caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Flickr Undoubtedly, Robert Redford is one of the –if not the sole- pioneer in celebrity environmentalism. Without Redford and a small group of other people, the United States would have surrendered the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to commercial hands. Redford’s advocacy kept the 1.7 million-acre out of the...
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Richmond Vale

What Is An Environmental Activist?

Based on the definition of “environmental activism” that appears on TheFreeDictionary.com, one can define an environmental activist as a person who advocates for, or works towards, protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution. But really, an environmental activist is not more than a responsible person with a conscience. [caption id="attachment_4820" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Today, Earth is the only home we have. Humans, animals and plants — all of us — are bound to dwell on this planet for as long as it will have us. And that time might very well end soon. Human activities have damaged Earth so deeply that the planet might be inhospitable by the turn of next century . It is more disturbing yet that harm is still being done, despite numerous hints at what is to come. April 2016 was the seventh month in a record-breaking streak of the hottest months ever documented . All over the world, lakes and other water sources are drying up , maiming the water and food supply for countless people —while in other parts, precipitations have put entire cities under water . Places like the Death Valley in Arizona are inhospitable after a certain time of the day and China is importing fresh air from Canada as its own air becomes unbreathable. Yet, climate change deniers are having a field-day with allegations that...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Guilt Is Not Very Effective For Getting People Involved with Climate Change

A new study by Nick Obradovich and Scott M. Guenther has found that guilt-tripping people into thinking of climate change is not a very effective way to get them to care about it. The study, posted on the scientific journal Climatic Change, is based on two experiments conducted on members of the Audubon Society and of Mechanical Turk. In the experiments, people were sorted into three groups, each with different instructions. They were to write about either their personal contribution to climate change, the general causes of this issue or their daily oral hygiene rutine. As incentive, the writers were told they were on to win $100 and subsequently asked how much of it they would donate to climate change-related causes. [caption id="attachment_4811" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: Pixabay Surprisingly, those who wrote about their personal contribution to climate change donated a similar amount to those who wrote about their oral hygiene. Both groups donated less than the individuals who wrote about the general causes of climate change. The answer? No one likes to feel guilt, and getting people to care about climate change by making them feel they hold the sole responsibility is counterproductive. Instead, people are more likely to engage in cleaner practices and support climate change research if they feel they are contributing to solving an issue that affects us all. These results are consistent...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: World Heritage Sites At Risk From Climate Change

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a report on the impact climate change has had on World Heritage sites. The report, aptly titled "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate", was mentioned in yesterday's NEWS post , after Australia censored it citing potential harm for tourism. [caption id="attachment_4804" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Cartagena, in Colombia, is among the most vulnerable World Heritage Sites, according to Un report - Photo Credit: Wikipedia UNESCO seeks to highlight and inform the general reader about the terrible consequences sea-level rise, increasing temperatures and melting ice —among other climate change effects— can carry for World Heritage Sites, which are considered to have "Outstanding Universal Value". The report, which covers places like Cartagena, Venice and the Galapagos Islands, is also a call to decouble environmentally harmful practices and tourism. Read the full news article, as published by the UN , below: WORLD HERITAGE SITES AT RISK FROM CLIMATE CHANGE —JOINT UN REPORT 27 May 2016 – Some 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries across the world are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, a new report released by the United Nations has found. The World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate report documents climate impacts including increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, intensifying weather events, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons, at iconic...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Report on Great Barrier Reef Disaster Censored by Australian Government

It was mentioned in this article from last week that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is experiencing its worst episode of bleaching. Ever . The combined action of climate change and weather phenomena have caused warm waters to severely damage 93% of the corals in the area. Moreover, half of the corals in the northerm part of the Reef have allegedly died. [caption id="attachment_4789" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Bleached Acropora coral. Keppel Islands, Great Barrier Reef - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Such a tremendous blow to biodiversity at the hands of man-induced climate change would naturally appear in the UNESCO's "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate" report, right? Wrong. As the report was being reviewed, the Australian Government objected on the grounds that: "Recent experience in Australia had shown that negative commentary about the status of world heritage properties impacted on tourism", and thus, any mention of Australia in the report was scrubbed from it. The Guardian has since posted the censored Australia section of the report, which you can read here . For the full article, also by The Guardian, on the censorship, please read below: AUSTRALIA SCRUBBED FROM UN CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT AFTER GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION Exclusive: All mentions of Australia were removed from the final version of a Unesco report on climate change and world heritage sites after the Australian government objected on the grounds...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 17: Revitalize The Global Partnership For The Goals

“We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race” —Cicero The content of this post intends to provide a general overview of Global Goal 17 —more specifically, what it encompasses and why it is important to achieving the rest of the Sustainable Development Goals . If you have read other articles in our Global Goals series, you will have noticed that the achievement of all previous goals is based upon international cooperation and the development of solid alliances between neighboring countries, and those who share a specific problem. This is Global Goal 17 in a nutshell —however, said goal is more clearly defined below, using information from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . GLOBAL GOAL 17: STRENGTHEN THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND REVITALIZE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT [caption id="attachment_4773" align="alignright" width="287"] Global Goal 17: Revitalize the partnership for the goals - Photo Credit: GlobalGoals.org Global Goal 17 is, perhaps, the one that best reflects the ambitious nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and thus, the one that best reflects the sheer amount of work that is needed to accomplish all targets contemplated in it. All 16 Global Goals that have been reviewed until now have a specific focus —however, since the target of Goal 17 is cooperation, it spans a wide action...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

As defined by Corruption Watch , corruption is “the abuse of public resources or public power for personal gain” . It can be classed as grand, petty or political depending on the monetary losses and the sector in which it happens. Disregarding any classification, however, corruption is deadly for the short and long term development of any country.  It undermines the pillars upon which society is built, namely “sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice” ; it also deteriorates the institutions and values of democratic systems. Furthermore, corruption is linked to a higher incidence of violence and it discourages local and foreign direct investments. This is hardly a surprise, considering that a country where money gets stolen from the public coffers does not represent an attractive business partner for public and private investors. [embed]
[/embed] Corruption affects the weak and vulnerable. If an individual, for any given reason, depends on government aid to subsist, a lack of governance and the mismanagement of public funds will cause delay in the service delivery. Moreover, deviating funds takes away from the money that is meant to be destined to improving services like healthcare, education, housing and security. This is especially important because without the proper management and maintenance, public infrastructure may be severely damaged. Sustainable economic development will not be achieved until transparency is the common rule, not only on...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: How Carbon Farming Can Reverse Climate Change

Carbon farming encompasses a series of practices that allow to reduce carbon emissions by sequestering said carbon underground. These practices, such as crop rotations and agroforestry can be implemented strategically to maintain or increase yields while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of plantations. This is especially important given that the agricultural industry is one of the main contributors to GHG emissions worldwide. [caption id="attachment_4728" align="aligncenter" width="500"] oung soybean plants thrive in and are protected by the residue of a wheat crop. This form of no till farming provides good protection for the soil from erosion and helps retain moisture for the new crop. - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Sequestering carbon underground is nothing new and in fact, it is part of the carbon cycle, a part of nature that fuels life. However, technology on carbon sequestration is still in its early stages --as mentioned in this previous post-- . The jury is still out on whether it can carry adverse consequences of not, but the little research done on the topic has given promising results. EcoWatch wrote an interesting article on how carbon farming can reverse climate change. You can read it below: HOW CARBON FARMING CAN REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE Are there agricultural practices that might offer more potential than the ones commonly discussed in the “ carbon farming ” conversation? In a  companion post , I wrote about...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: China's CTG Plants Pose a Threat For The Planet

CTG —which stands for coal-to-gas— technology encompasses expossing coal to controlled amounts of heat and limiting the oxygen so it breaks apart chemically rather than burning. The outcome of this process is syngas —short for synthetic natural gas—, which would reduce the air pollution generated by power plants accross the country. However, there's a catch in China's attempt to clear their black skies: coal-to-gas plants require more water and release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than coal burning does . On the long run, implementation of CTG technology would increase China's greenhouse gas emissions between 36 an 82%, which would have disastrous consequences for the environment. [caption id="attachment_4723" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia On a brighter note, CTG is quite costly, a factor that has significantly influenced the failure of this enterprise in other countries, such as the United States. It was discussed in a previous post that the North American country has contemplated the use of coal-to-gas technology as an alternative to thermoelectric plants that rely on burning coal. However, only one plant is operating. This means that, although China has three plants running and several others in the planning and approval stages, the jury is still out on whether they will be built or not. Read the full article by Vox down below: CHINA'S LATEST IDEA FOR CLEANING UP AIR POLLUTION COULD BE HORRIBLE FOR...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 15: Conserve And Sustainably Use Life On Land

Humans have always exploited the resources available to them, whether for subsistence or for trade. Sadly, mankind has a history of doing so in unsustainable ways that can cause great harm to their surroundings. The impact of human activities on marine ecosystems was succinctly discussed in a previous post about Global Goal 14 –however, it doesn’t stay there. As you will see in this post, atrocious practices such as poaching, deforestation and the introduction of invasive alien species into land and water ecosystems have taken a massive toll on the planet. [caption id="attachment_4712" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Deforestation is closely linked to population growth and human activities such as development and agriculture - Photo Credit: Wikipedia According to the Population Reference Bureau ( 2004 ), human activities such as logging, development and agricultural expansion caused the deforestation of 12,000 kilometers in the two decades prior to their study. However, natural re-growth and reforestation could only regain 10% of the area. The study remarks that deforestation is closely related to population growth, which is backed up by a study Population Action International conducted in 2010 . Said growth does not necessarily have to be geographically close, says the PRB, as “external forces such as demand for timber or cattle in other parts of the country or world can lead to deforestation”. This is especially evident in zones of the...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Global Warming Record Streak Hits Seven Months

April is the seventh month in a streak of record breaking temperatures, reports Market Watch. The article, which uses data from the NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, says that last month was the hottest April on record, with an average global temperature increase of 1.11 °C over the 1951-1980 average. April 2016 is also the third month in a row to break temperature records for the biggest margin ever. [caption id="attachment_4718" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia The effects of temperature rises are already being felt around the world. 93% of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching, which can be deadly if the sudden surge of temperatures does not die down. While this can be mitigated by changing conditions, it is expected that this natural wonder will not recover. Further implications of global warming can be seen in this article.  For the full piece by Market Watch , please read below: GLOBAL WARMING RECORD STREAK HITS SEVEN MONTHS IN APRIL If April felt unusually warm, that’s because it was. The string of record-breaking global temperatures recorded this year continued last month, according to the latest figures from NASA. It was the hottest April on record, the data showed, with the average temperature 1.11 degrees Celsius warmer than average for the period stretching from 1951 to 1980, a period...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 14: Conserve And Sustainably Use The Life Below Water

Oceans comprise three quarters, or 75%, of the Earth’s surface. They also contain 97% of the water in the planet and represent 99% of the living space on it. Furthermore, oceans absorb roughly 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, which buffers the effects of climate change. There is no doubt that life on the planet is possible because oceans exist. The water cycle the planet relies on starts and ends in them; also, the weather, climate and coastlines are all directly affected by currents and temperatures in the oceans. Moreover, nearly half of the global population depends on the oceans for their daily protein intake and the fishing business employs more than 200 million people worldwide. They also serve as a way of communication, and for trade. [caption id="attachment_4706" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Shrimp fisheries generate 5.7 kg of bycatch per every kilogram of shrimp - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Despite the obvious importance of the oceans and the species that dwell in them, it is estimated that 40% of the oceans in the world are facing the impacts of direct or indirect human actions. Sea temperatures are rising because the oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere -as the ice-sheets melt, their reflective surface shrinks and the heat is absorbed by the dark waters. This, in addition to the acidification of the water is setting the...
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Richmond Vale

The Situation of Children in Ecuador

Under the law System of Protection and Equity (art. 46), the Government of Ecuador guarantees special attention and protection to girls, boys and teens in situations of abuse, violence, sexual exploitation, drug, and alcoholism —as well as priority attention in cases of disaster and war. There is also a clear prohibition on labour exploitation for children under age 15, although exceptions are admitted on instances where said labour does not involve harmful practices or compromises the child's education. These provisions were made in theory —in reality, the opposite is happening.  In big villages, the figure of child labour is present at nearly all times , especially in communities that depend on farming as a mean of subsistence. Boys are called to help during the crop season, which means that they often do not attend school in a prolongued time. In the poor villages of Ecuador the people are very machista —the family is under control of the father, who is considered the sole breadwinner. The women are in charge of the house chores, most of the time they get married after they've graduated secondary school and birth three children in average. Farming is very common —if not the only way of living— in these villages, and the craft is passed along from the father to his eldest son, who must go with him and learn the skills in...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 13: Urgent Climate Actions

Mankind has the potential to make of Earth a virtually inhospitable place. 50 animals and plants have already disappeared thanks to climate change and 1274 were listed as critically endangered by it as of March, 2016. The trees in the Andean region are trying to reach higher places to find cooler areas where they can exist -and the millenary trees in Tasmania’s Gondwana Forest have been turned to ashes by bushfires –once again- caused by climate change ( Richmond Vale , 2016). China is buying clean air because of the perpetual polluted fog over its cities and flashfloods, such as those in Houston , are becoming increasingly common. In other parts of the world, however, lakes are drying up and water is scarce. It is safe to say that climate actions until now have not been very effective. [caption id="attachment_4270" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A reduction of 80% on the surface area of Urmia Lake has threatened the food production and water supply of people who live in the area - Photo Credit: Wikipedia According to this article on the UN’s Chronicle, it took the global community seven years to implement the Kyoto Protocol, which is often called the most influential of climate actions so far. By signing it, industrialized countries were pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5% between 2008 and 2012. However, global emissions...
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Richmond Vale

Life at RVA - Breaking Cultural Paradigms - by Jocelyn

At RVA we are part of something bigger than just one traditional school, we also have we join different programs as well, the two larger programs we have are “Fighting Poverty” and “Climate Compliance”, we have classes and presentations, the life in the school it's based on the community, that means we share in the same way different classes, where we need to learning different skills, not just theory, we are learning about gardening, cooking, environmentally friendly cleaning, and a lot of other different things we must to do together, and in this process we start to learn about our different cultures, history, and way of life. Here at RVA you will often meet people from different continents, so you can see how different just the way you clean something is. To start to understand each other and the world is not just you and your way in this world, it is so much more. Like how we learn about each other, we need to live together, share space together, we talk about life together, and sometimes it is not easy, you are with the same people all the time, and you may get upset and want to be alone, but in time we can understand and accept each other and the situation. In general we have this idea of a perfect world, but we are...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption And Production Patterns

Not too long ago, The Lorax, a book by Dr. Seuss, warned the world about the dangers of unsustainable production and consumption patterns. The colorful children’s book tells the story about a boy who, living in a walled town where people pay for clean air, goes on a quest for answers on how his town’s demise came to be. What little Ted found is not too different from what is happening today: natural resources are being used at a higher pace than they can be restored and mankind is producing more things than it can possibly consume. Sustainable consumption and production patterns are in order to, if not fix, at least diminish the adverse effects mankind’s toxic practices have had on the environment. [embed]https://youtu.be/akG_50JwUJQ[/embed] The implementation of sustainable consumption and production promotes resource and energy efficiency, as well as the development of resilient, sustainable infrastructure, access to basic services and the creation of quality jobs that do not harm the environment. Sustainable consumption and production are also about battling the consumerism ingrained in current-day society. As put by this UN post, it’s about “doing more and better with less”. Global Goal 12, cited below, encompasses a series of targets that comprise a sustainable consumption and production plan for the world, set to be achieved by 2030. GLOBAL GOAL 12: ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS Source:...
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Richmond Vale

Global Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Half the world’s population —or 3.5 billion people— currently lives in cities. These urban settlements bring people closer and open up a window for many opportunities, such as commerce, social interaction and development; and close contact with innovation, science and culture ( UN , 2015). But the cities people dwell in today are not sustainable cities, which are direly needed if the world wants to keep moving forward. Let’s see why. Currently, 828 million people live in slums —overcrowded urban areas inhabited by the chronically poor—. Taking into consideration that 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban settlements by 2030; on a business-as-usual mindset, the number of people living in slums is set to increase as well. The adverse effects on society of the expansion of slums are obvious, but the solution is even more so. [embed]
[/embed] Sustainable cities are needed to harbor rapidly-growing masses of people with minimum impact on the pre-existing society and the environment. Current cities occupy only 3% of the world’s surface, but they make up 60-80% of the global energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. Moreover, their rapid growth is putting a strain on existing basic services and the resources available to them. The development of sustainable cities takes this into account and incorporates strategic planning so the needs of all citizens can be met while making...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Akwa Ibom State Will Host Climate Change Mega Summit in July

Akwa Ibom, a Nigerian State, will be the first sub-national government to sponsor and host a Post-COP21 National Dialogue. The event, with theme "Charting A Road Map For Sustainable Environment And Creation Of Green Jobs In Akwa Ibom State", wil be held between July 26th and July 28th, 2016 and will end with a golf tournament for climate change on July 30th. The summit is set to take place at Le’Meridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom. [caption id="attachment_4653" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Akwa Ibom State, in Nigeria, is the first sub-national state to host a climate change national dialogue post COP21 - Photo Credit: Wikipedia The summit, which will see "experts, intellectuals and major stakeholders in the environment" brainstorm to provide solutions for the climate change issue in the area, is of great importance for Akwa Ibom. Climate change and global warming have had serious impact in the nigerian state on social and bio-physical levels. Moreover, several coastal communities in Akwa Ibom are already relocating due to sea level rise and excessive flooding. Read the full article from Today Nigeria below: AKWA IBOM HOSTS FIRST CLIMATE CHANGE, CLEAN ENERGY MEGA SUMMIT The government of Akwa Ibom State, through the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Water Safety Initiative Foundation, Africa Clean Energy Summit and the Environment Communications Limited, is set...
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