WED 2013: Megawasted Opportunity?

WED 2013 - Raxa Collective

On June 5, we’ll celebrate World Environment Day. This year UNEP focuses on the theme Food waste/Food Loss. At Raxa Collective we’ll be carrying out actions and sharing experience and ideas. Come and join us with your ideas and tips to preserve foods, preserve resources and preserve our planet.

When I tell people that it’s possible to grow highly nutritional food on agricultural waste products with almost zero technology, I usually get a blank look. On a good day, someone will demand an explanation. Why would such a process, if existent, be so obscure if it could help solve malnutrition in underdeveloped communities? While I’m sure there is a logical explanation for this, it remains a mystery to me at present.

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WED 2013 : Learning To Finish That Meal…

WED 2013 - Raxa Collective

On June 5, we’ll celebrate World Environment Day. This year UNEP focuses on Food waste/Food Loss. At Raxa Collective we’ll be carrying out actions and sharing experience and ideas. Come and join us with your tips to preserve foods, preserve resources and preserve our planet.

As a child, I was always told to finish eating my meals because there were starving children in poor and faraway lands that would gladly trade places with me.  I could not exactly picture what that meant, and the rebelious part of me always wanted to stick a postage stamp on my plate and send it to these children.  No one who grew up with such abundance, I think, could trade the fresh memory of a full meal for a clear picture of hunger.

Being from Texas (and proud of it, so don’t mess with that), with its long “bigger and better” history and wonderful mythology of abundance and its can-do certainty, I did not “get it”.  Now, the hazy memories of those dinners and parental wisdom are coming into perspective with my ability to follow and understand news from around the world.

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Europe’s Green Capital

So I’ve left behind the wild, lush landscape of the Costa Rican rainforest and arrived in Strasbourg, France, to find a completely different kind of green.

Costa Rica is one of those countries the climate change debate focuses on – it’s the epitome of natural diversity and everywhere you turn there is some species or habitat that could be gone in 20 years’ time. Or 10 years’ time. From the rainforests I hiked through to the sloth sanctuary my mum and I visited, everything there seems at once so wild and so fragile. The conservation efforts we see there are direct, tackling the specific problems the land faces: protected areas are being designated, turtle-watching programmes are being set up to monitor and protect the species, and the people at Aviarios sloth sanctuary provide education for locals as well as caring for the animals.

Places like the Manuel Antonio National Park have to concentrate on the effects of climate change.

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Carbon Emissions Series: Air Travel Efficiency

One of the more interesting responsibilities of my current internship here in DC is to peruse news articles and company/NGO reports that relate to corporate social responsibility. Last week, one particular report caught my eye because of its relevance to travel and tourism. Brighter Planet, a sustainability research and reporting company, recently published a white paper on airline efficiency. The paper, titled “Air Travel: Carbon and Energy Efficiency,” struck me as ironic. Air travel is a highly emissions-intensive mode of transportation and seemingly incompatible with sustainability. It accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a large number for a single industry.

Brighter Planet’s report, however, did not seek to justify flying. It instead analyzed a decade’s worth of data on a host of fuel consumption metrics on all major airlines. What the research found was intriguing and useful. The efficiency of a flight that you take is influenced by countless factors, but there are five main “efficiency drivers” that most significantly impact the GHG emissions of a flight: aircraft model, seat density, load factor, freight share, and distance. I’ll do my best to explain each of these briefly. Continue reading