Richmond Vale

What are the 12 Permaculture Principles after all?

[caption id="attachment_5578" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Geograph.uk Permaculture is men's way of acknowledging the wiseness of Mother Nature. It consists in simulating the natural processes of ecosystems in controlled environments to make the latter self-sustaining. Over the years permaculture has revolutionized how people see, use and interact with nature. It is truly a culture; and features certain ethical aspects which are key to its survival. This ethical base consists of three pillars: earth care, people care and fair share, which form the foundation for permaculture design. A set of 12 permaculture principles has been modeled after these ethics, to help people regulate self-interest and ensure long-term cultural and biological survival. Read on for these 12 permaculture principles that will give you a better understanding of this life philosophy. THE 12 PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES [caption id="attachment_5427" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Based on the three ethical principles of permaculture, a list of 12 permaculture principles were developed to guide new and old practitioners OBSERVE AND INTERACT The first of the permaculture principles promotes a deeper understanding of earth care. [caption id="attachment_5577" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Permaculture depends on the understanding you have of your garden and the local conditions. Timberpress.com recommends devoting an entire year to observing your garden and the influence nature has on it. At the end of this year, you will understand the changing microclimates of your...
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Richmond Vale

The Dummies' Guide to Industrial Revolution

We live in the era of change. Every year, we discover and invent new, marvelous things in every possible field. We have developed new fabrics, new agriculture techniques, means of travel, medical procedures and so on and so forth. It seems like we can improve everything, and if not, we create something anew! What a brilliant time to be alive. But it wasn't always like this. In fact, how we live now is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. Let's see how. [caption id="attachment_5558" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: KidsKonnect LIFE IN THE PRE-INDUSTRIAL ERA Source: Pre-industrial Society Throughout pre-industrial history, people did everything by hand. They helped themselves by using some basic mechanisms and tools, but the bulk of their effort relied on their shoulders. This remained unchanged for centuries. In fact, the lives of English peasants in 1750 was hardly different from the lives of their ancestors! Rural families mixed work with social life, as they lived in small plots of land. They grew crops for home consumption and tended to farm animals with the same purpose. Before the Industrial Revolution, commoners led an agrarian lifestyle. They thought God made humans sick to purify their souls. Pre-industrial folks had no healthcare, no education and no hygiene. They were also dying. A lot. [caption id="attachment_5556" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty, war, plague and poor hygiene...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: What Africa's Drought Responses Are Teaching Us

Some parts of the world have been able to undergo climate change with relatively little damage. Others, such as the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia, are already feelings its full-blown effects. [caption id="attachment_5504" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Namibia and Botswana are two of the many countries in the arid regions of Asia and Africa that are facing the full-blown effects of climate change. They chose to act on them - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Countries like Namibia and Botswana are pioneers in battling the effects of climate change . These countries are facing now what could become the new normal for the world in a few years time. So what do we do? We listen, we analyze and we learn. The unique socio-political and environmental circumstances of Namibia and Botswana have only been worsened by climate change. This calls for effective, long-lasting solutions. Both countries are involved in the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project. THe ASSAR initiative focuses on minimizing vulnerability and developing adaptation responses mainly through vulnerability and risk assessment workshops. In these workshops, people from all walks of life identify the issues and hazards of most concern and generate adequate responses. Read the entire article from The Wire below: WHAT AFRICA'S DROUGHT RESPONSES TEACH US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE HOTSPOTS The world may still argue about whether or not climate change is for real....
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Richmond Vale

List of Developing Countries in 2016

Developing countries is an umbrella term —with no universal definition— for low and middle-income countries with lower industrialization and human development rates than other —developed— countries. [caption id="attachment_5495" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The term developing countries is problematic because it disregards the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Due to widespread acceptace of the term, especially by official statistics, this article lists low-income and lower-middle income economies (World Bank) as developing countries - Photo Credit: Flickr DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: DEFINITION AND PROBLEMATIC NATURE Developing countries are typically defined through their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year. A definition by the World Bank (2013) lists them as countries with a GNI of $11,905 or less. However, the use of this term is highly problematic and is being challenged today. In fact, some organizations — the World Bank included — have discarded it from their data vocabulary. The main reason is that using this term and parameter to group countries together ignores the heterogeneous nature of the global community. Further motives include the implication of inferiority of “developing countries” in comparison to “developed ones” and the use of a Western definition for development some countries do not identify with.  Moreover, the term “developing countries” suggests mobility, which is not an accurate depiction of some economies, namely those of the African countries devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. [caption id="attachment_5496" align="aligncenter"...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Tanzania's Maasai Facing Impacts of Climate Change

[caption id="attachment_5487" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia As temperatures continue to rise all over the world and flooding becomes commonplace in certain areas, the human race is already facing the impacts of climate change . The Maasai people of Tanzania, a nomadic cattle herder tribe who has lived in the country since the XV century, is being pushed to the brink of survival. While weather in Tanzania's Serengeti region has always been harsh; historically, the Maasai have been able to thrive by relocating to places with more suitable conditions. However, in recent times, land restrictions consequence of increasing demands for agriculture products and tourism have restricted the Maasai's land range. Nowadays, the live a semi-sedentary life and are struggling to find food for their cattle and themselves. Read below for the full article by Emma Hutchinson on Climate Central : TANZANIA'S MAASAI FACING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE The air across the plain sizzles in the 95-degree heat, blurring the image of the huts in the distance. There’s a 23-year-old Maasai warrior named Lekoko beside me and a group of 35 American tourists behind me. Despite having only spent three months learning English, Lekoko gives us a seamless tour of his boma, a circle of five clay huts surrounding a livestock pen. He explains that the Maasai have lived in present-day Tanzania since the 15th century, and...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Study Quantifies Climate-Change-Related Deaths

For many, the present and future implications of climate change go unnoticed. Many climate change deniers and other members of the global community still cannot grasp the consequences this issue can entail for them, mainly because they are largely presented using indirect impact measures. Rising average temperatures over land and ocean may make people think of turning up their air conditioners. But do they make them think of an impending global crisis? Probably not. [caption id="attachment_5482" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A new study links hundreds of deaths from the 2003 European heatwave to man-made climate change - Photo Credit: Wikipedia That was until now. A study published in Environmental Research Letters quantified the number of deaths caused by climate change during the 2003 European heatwave. Directly linking losses to climate change is expected to be a more effective measure in showing people the devastating effects of this problem. Aside from statistics on the proliferation of tropical diseases , the occurrence of more extreme weather events, etc; showing people that climate change can carry fatal consequences perhaps will be an eye-opener for many. Read the full article from National Geographic below: STUDY QUANTIFIES CLIMATE-CHANGE-RELATED DEATHS A study in Environmental Research Letters suggests a fifth of premature deaths during a 2003 heatwave in Europe are linked to human-caused climate change . “We are now able to put a number on...
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Richmond Vale

Effects of Urbanization On Poverty

[caption id="attachment_5475" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Among the effects of urbanization on poverty is the birth of slums, product of weak management policies, insufficient and unaffordable housing - Photo Credit: Wikipedia According to the United Nations, over half of the population of developing countries will live in cities by 2020. This is perceived by many as a huge step forward, for developing countries and humanity in general. But is it? With urbanization slowly but steadily winning over rural settlements, theories about possible economic development have surfaced. In the backdrop, urban slums like those seen in El Cairo, Caracas, México City and Mumbai cloud the promising landscape. As seen above, the possible effects of urbanization on poverty pose two strikingly different outcomes. With the United Nations and the global community vowing to halve the amount of people living in poverty by 2030 , there is an inevitable question to ask: Is urbanization the key to poverty alleviation or does it merely displace rural poverty for one of its own ? WHAT IS URBANIZATION?   As defined by the Joint Urban Studies Center (2006), “in terms of a geographical place, urbanization means increased spatial scale and/or density of settlement and/or business and other activities in the area during a specific period of time”. Urbanization can occur because of natural population growth or due to migration of the population, namely from...
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Richmond Vale

9 Signs that Global Warming is no longer a debate

Global warming is real No, that was not a wacky idea from a self-proclaimed alarmist. It is a fact with which the vast majority of the scientific community agrees. Still, so many people around the world are nitpicking at best —and flat-out disbelieving at worst —the scientific evidence on the matter. There are a number of reasons why a person could choose to believe that global warming is not happening at all. Two of the main ones are misinformation and disinformation. Which end up being the same, really. So, if you are a frequent reader, or a new one (Welcome!), looking to be convinced, here are 9 signs that global warming is real . 1. ECOSYSTEMS ARE GOING CRAZY Sources: Ecological Impact of Climate Change (NOAA), Climate Impact on Ecosystems (EPA) If you are cheering for longer summers, you may want to think twice. Changes in climate, soil and other factors caused by global warming are disrupting ecosystems. Animals —and in general, all forms of life— are very closely related to the space they inhabit, hence why even small changes in it can wreak havoc in any bionetwork. In this post we cited the up-hill migration of Andean tree species to find cooler areas that support their existence. One of the main effects of global warming on ecosystems is the disruption of their habitat ranges —the...
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Richmond Vale

Permaculture: A Miracle System for the Survival of the World

Permaculture is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere . It incorporates knowlege, tools and resources to create a regenerative, self-substaining society in both the physical and social sense. WHAT IS PERMACULTURE? It is understood as the design and life philosophy of working with nature and not against her. Permaculture creates human systems inspired in natural ecosystems , from which it draws inspiration for design and patterns to follow in the construction of environmentally sound, self-reliant spaces with the goal of meeting human needs. Permaculture tries to simulate natural conditions with farming purposes. It consists on taking the natural processes found in ecosystems and emulating them in a controlled environment; in order to make the latter self-sustaining. Well applied, it could provide food for people around the world with a low maintenance cost and very little impact on the environment. In short, permaculture is a positive, effective solution to the current world crisis, in which climate change , hunger and poverty are running rampant. [caption id="attachment_5421" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Claire Gregory's permaculture garden: a suburban permaculture garden with different layers of vegetation - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Permaculture was originally conceived as "permanent agriculture" and focused on methods to ensure sustainable food production. Imagine having a piece of land and developing a way for it to produce healthy fruits...
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Richmond Vale

Wealth and Income Inequality: This Will Make You Question Everything

At one point or another, we all have wondered why some people have more money than they could ever spend, while others do not have enough to secure even the most frugal of meals. Why some countries are lit with fireworks that their citizens look at from gravity-defying skyscrapers while others are crippled with ongoing epidemics. Why, if in theory we all have access to the same opportunities, there is such disparity among and within countries? What is being done to remedy it? The issue of wealth and income inequality is perhaps one of the most heavy-hitting ones in current society, and it is also among the most obvious. [caption id="attachment_5393" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: YouTube As the developed world lines up for the purchase of the new smartphone, somewhere in a developing country a woman is burning firewood to light up her home, which lacks electricity. From access to basic services to opportunities for life improvement, justice and possession of power, in the world, historically, wealth and income have been decisive factors on whether a person will be able to fulfill their potential or not. It is imperative, then, to understand the workings of wealth and income inequality in order to close the widening gap between the earnings and net worth of the top 1% and the rest of the world, disregarding ethnic background, sex,...
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Richmond Vale

Sustainable Development: Everything you need to know

[caption id="attachment_5389" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Pixabay As an increasingly obvious need for change fixes itself at the forefront of people’s minds, sustainable development is becoming the hot topic of the global community. The concept itself is not new: the most widely used definition for sustainable development dates from 1987, when Norway’s then Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland spoke of it as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” . However, the hype surrounding the consolidation of the sustainability defined by Brundtland as the path to follow in global development is fairly recent. According to Werbach (2009), until the 1980s the word sustainability was seen as a company’s ability to increase its earnings steadily. After Brundtland and in the face of factors such as widespread conflict, poverty and climate change , it has become evident that it is not sufficient to ensure a growing flow of income, but that true sustainability tackles social, economic, environmental and cultural issues, in hope of shifting the world “onto a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development” ( Clark , 2015). Currently, there are heaps of information regarding sustainable development on the internet. And while this information is precious in understanding how and why sustainability should be the common north of the human race in all fronts,...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: India's Solar Plans Receive Billion Dollar Boost

[caption id="attachment_5376" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Wikipedia India has been granted a $1 billion loan by the World Bank to fulfill its ambitious solar power goals. Framed in the UN Climate Summit in Paris, the Asian country seeks to triple its use of renewable energy by 2030. The measure, which many countries —including Germany and the United States— have shown support for would transform India's energy industry and have major impact in the worldwide fight against climate change and global warming . India's Prime Minister, Narendra Mori, is at the forefront of the initiative, which comes as no surprise given the disastrous impact climate change has had on the country. A recent study has shown a link between man-made climate change and the increasingly erratic and unpredictable monsoon , which is vital for the agricultural crops over 70% of India's population depend on for subsistence. Furthermore, t he severe heat waves that have driven the temperatures upwards of 50C in some places have caused the death of many and compromised the livelihoods of over 330 million people. Read the full article from Climate Change News below: INDIA'S SOLAR PLANS RECEIVE BILLION DOLLAR BOOST World Bank loan comes off back of major funding pledges from US and Germany as major economies try and wean Delhi off coal. The sun is shining a little brighter on Delhi's ambitious...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: Climate Change Is Speeding Up The Spread of Lyme Disease

[caption id="attachment_5373" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The deer tick carries the parasites for Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Warmer winters and longer summers are allowing the proliferation of deer ticks in North America, says Katharine Walter, a graduate student at Yale University. 35 years ago, the ticks —which carry the parasites for Lyme disease and deer tick encephalitis, among others— were only found in a small area of Wisconsin and a hotbed in the Long Island Sound. Now they cover 45% of the United States and have migrated as far as North Canada. The spread of the deer tick, Walter found, has been significantly aided by man-made climate change. Warmer temperatures permit the survival of more ticks and accelerate their life cycle, causing them to mature more quickly and thus begin questing for blood sooner. [caption id="attachment_5372" align="aligncenter" width="354"] The life cycle of a deer tick - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Other vector-born diseases in different parts of the world are thriving in the warmer temperatures set off by climate change . The yellow fever mosquito, which also carries dengue, chikungunya and the zika virus is expected to spread along several areas, including North America and South Asia. Read the full article, as posted on the journal STAT , below: CLIMATE CHANGE IS SPEEDING UP THE SPREAD OF LYME DISEASE N ymphs questing through...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: ExxonMobil Backs Carbon Tax

[caption id="attachment_5366" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Flickr In a move that may seem surprising to many, oil giant ExxonMobil has been lobbying for the implementation of a carbon tax to curb greenhouse gas emissions. It is rumoured that the the company has chosen this path to stay clear of more restrictive oil and gas regulations, that could come as consequence of complete intransigence regarding climate change efforts. The initiative, which is also backed by independent economists, provides a window of opportunity for Exxon, who could benefit from both the good press and a price on carbon. The oil supermajor has been involved in incessant media and legal scrutiny regarding its alleged cover-up of scientific evidence —going back three decades— that climate change has anthropogenic roots or that it is happening at all . Moreover, a set price on carbon could  put Exxon's natural gas business front and center on the list of alternatives to coal-powered power plants. Read the full article from OilPrice.com below: EXXONMOBIL BACKS CARBON TAX FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ExxonMobil is one of the top targets of environmental activists, pursued because of its alleged misinformation campaign on climate change over the past few decades. It may come as a surprise to many then that ExxonMobil is actually pressing U.S. legislators to pass a carbon tax in the name of addressing climate change. The Wall...
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Richmond Vale

FLASHBACK NEWS: 1-On-1 With Stina Herberg

Stina Herberg, the present principal of Richmond Vale Academy is a force to be reckoned with. At age 20 she started a series of world travels that would take her to over 50 countries in the following years, finally leading her to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as part of the RVA staff, in attempts to make of the island a climate compliant nation . Stina has worked in projects that directly tackle  poverty , sustainable development and climate change , in countries as different from each other as Mozambique and the United States. We have unearthened a one-on-one with Stina that the Caribbean News Service published a couple of years back but is still relevant today. [caption id="attachment_5321" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Stina Herberg, current principal of Richmond Vale Academy, talks about the causes that are dearest to her, her future goals, what and who inspires her in this interview with Caribbean News Service - Photo Credit: Liberty Trainers Network Here we have a person who is passionate about creating a more equal, healthier and better world not only for humans, but for all creatures that wander this Earth. Stina has an incredibly vast pool of knowledge that she has gathered during her trips and volunteer work, and shares a snippet of it in the article that you'll find below, check it out!: KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Oct. 06, 2014 – Stina Herberg...
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Richmond Vale

Poverty Facts: Insight On Mankind's Biggest Issue

[caption id="attachment_5255" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Check the article below for a compilation of poverty facts in fields such as education, health, economics and the environment - Photo Credit: Wikipedia Poverty is a complex, multidimensional issue that goes beyond the lack of income that characterizes it . It affects how, what and when people eat, how they manage their health, the basic resources they have access to, the people they associate with and how they interact with them, and even their way of thinking . Moreover, prolonged, severe poverty can be a crippling problem for families for generations on end and it can be very difficult to escape. But however disastrous poverty can be for millions and millions of people worldwide, their better-off peers still feel very detached from it. It is often as if instances where people live on less than a dollar a day and children starve to death only happen in a galaxy far, far away and not in the same country, or region, or continent. If you identify with the type of person described above, this post is for you. Below you will find poverty facts, which will hopefully be useful in providing you with insight on poverty, its causes , complexity  and why it is so important to eliminate it. POVERTY FACTS: CHILDREN [caption id="attachment_4458" align="aligncenter" width="460"] Poverty facts: In 2013, 51 million...
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Richmond Vale

Leaders by Ammon

If we were born in this world with the concept of "Good" or "Bad" is different depending on your country, religions or culture. In some part of the world eating beef is an offence, while in other parts of the world it's part of their culture, with this simple example we can see the differences between us. But can this difference explain why we are what we are today? Today we are living in a world that has already begun to collapse, we use more than what we have, with change climate water becomes scarce, it is winter when it used to be summer and this everywhere. Today we have discussions about how many people can live on this world? [caption id="attachment_5205" align="alignright" width="400"] Photo Credit: Quora This is the world that we are living in, our world cannot feel the connection because we are so different, with different cultures and different ways of belief, because of this it is very difficult to fix the problems we have in our world. This is the perfect excuse to do nothing, for us to unconsciously think that the task of changing the world is not for us, we think this is the work for superior people, almost like a superhero that can unite and fight evil. Someone who is morally superior, able to guide us on the path...
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Richmond Vale

SVG’s ‘Treelympics’ win International Award

“ Treelympics SVG ”, the local arm of a worldwide tree planting competition has won the Austria-based Energy Globe National Award 2016 for St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The project, implemented by Richmond Vale Academy , resulted in 1,500 trees being planted in SVG since 2014. Treelympics SVG was among 1,700 submissions from countries across the world. The Energy Globe Award was founded in 1999 by the Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and is one of today’s most prestigious environmental awards. The award aims to present successful sustainable projects to a broad audience. Projects that conserve and protect natural resources or that employ renewable energy can participate. National (country) Energy Globe Awards distinguish the best project submission from a country. National winners receive an Energy Globe certificate, which is presented by partner organisation (if available) in the respective countries. SVG Treelympics formed part of the broader Environment Online (ENO) pledge at the Rio+20 Summit to plant 100 million trees by 2017. As a part of their pledge, ENO launched the Treelympics campaign, a worldwide competition in tree planting for schools and community organisations. More than 100 countries have participated. In 2014, Richmond Vale Academy mobilised 99 per cent of the schools in SVG to plant trees, making St. Vincent the winners of the Golden Medal for the world’s most active country. In the fall of...
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Richmond Vale

Who are we and what do we do?

The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference has been established in 2012 to run for 10 years. During this time, it is the objective of Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) to make the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines climate compliant, i.e. self-sufficient food and energy-wise, as well as resistant to natural disasters. This will be ensured both by implementing material projects (tree-planting, infrastructure building, creating vegetable gardens) and by educating the public – both youth in schools and adults through various actions. The Conference participants are climate activists (or future activists) from all over the world – as well as from St. Vincent – who come to RVA to learn by doing and teaching. Ideally, those activists then go back home to teach others about climate change and sustainable living – either by giving presentations etc. or leading by example. RVA starts 6-month teams 3 times a year to ensure the continuity of the Conference and longer projects around the island, while each team prepares and realizes their own shorter projects from start to finish. Besides organising practical actions both in school and in local communities, the participants take the time to study issues pertaining to climate change, its causes and consequences around the world. Everyone is strongly encouraged to give presentations to the school on the topics they find most interesting, although prior knowledge...
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Richmond Vale

NEWS: CO2 Turned Into Stone To Fight Climate Change

The future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies A new study conducted in the Hellisheidi power plant in Iceland has found that carbon dioxide can be turned into stone much more quickly than previously thought, thus reducing the plant's emissios and helping in the fight against climate change . [caption id="attachment_5198" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The Hellisheidi geothermal power plant has used basalt to capture underground its carbon dioxide emissions. -Photo Credit: Wikipedia A team of scientists pumped the plant's carbon dioxide emissions, and other gases, to a depth of 400-500m in a soil rich in basalts. The results: the basalts react with carbon dioxide, creating carbonate minerals which make up limestone. The whole process takes two years, compared with the few thousands that were previously estimated. Turning carbon dioxide into rock gets rid of the leakage concerns from storing it as gas underground and of separating CO2 from other gases before sequestering it. Moreover, basalts are found in many places around the world, including sea beds and in very pollutant countries, such as the United States and India, which would make the implementation of this form of CCS in those countries very cost-effective. On the downside, this technology uses excessive amounts of water, needing 25tonnes of it per every tonne of carbon minerals produced. As proposed by the scientific team who conducted the study, the required amount of...
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