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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Isaac Omoyele: Green Personality of the Month of April 2018

Isaac Omoyele is a passionate young man who will inspire you to pursue your dream and live a life of impact. He has helped hundreds of children living in slums back to school, build healthy self-esteem, to realise their dreams and aspirations and also empowered the ‘vulnerables’ in the society to be self sustainable. He is one of the few people the world needs, he is a world changer. We had an interview session with him, here is what he said.

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If you had one minute to sell yourself to a potential investor, how would you introduce yourself?

My name is Isaac Success Omoyele, I make the dreams of people living in the slum to become a reality through an initiative I founded “dreams from the slum empowerment initiative”

DREAMS FROM THE SLUM, how did you come about that name?

I grew up in the slum and my dreams and aspiration almost crashed when I dropped out of school while growing up; hence I was inspired to make dreams of people living in the slum to become a reality, making the world know that people who live in the slum have got valid dreams.

How long have you been running this programme and what inspired you to start?

Dreams From The Slum (DFTS) was established in 2013 based on three convictions.

  1. To ensure that regardless of social status ; every child has access to quality education.
  2. That whoever ‘CHASES’ his/her dream, no matter how or where you are born, either in the slum, rural community or a remote and desolate area; you will definitely become it.
  3. Your background doesn’t have the right to make your back be on the ground. “You may be born in the slum, but the slum is not born in you”.

Since its inception, DFTS has pioneered innovative strategies to achieve this through the following approach:

  • Education
  • Empowerment
  • Mentoring.

Through our approach on Education, we provide children with the opportunity to borrow books and read in our library facility and we have adopted over 1000 out of school children back into school in Nigeria by providing scholarship opportunities and access to basic school materials such as notebooks, bags, shoes etc.

Also, to enhance the quality of education in the slum , our teachers readiness program trains educators in low cost primary schools in rural communities, and we are extremely excited about the effect this is having on learners through their academic performance.

Through our approach via Empowerment, we provide teenage pregnant girls with livelihood skills so that they can be self reliant and live purpose driven lives; knowing that they have the potential to contribute meaningfully in our society, not minding their dreams and aspirations been delayed due to their misinformed choices. However, we make them realize they have a second chance to rewrite the outcome of their life through our ‘Young mothers Academy’

Other women are not left behind especially the parents of the beneficiaries as we get them engaged through livelihood skills so they can be self employed and meet the basic needs of their children.

Through our Mentoring approach, we provide career guidance to children and teenagers by helping them discover their unique abilities and passion, revolutionize the way they learn and get them exposed.

They are also exposed to self discovery and leadership training programmes as we are committed in developing their self esteem.

What are some of your achievements so far?

We have reduce the high number of “out of school” children living in the slum area of Ajegunle by adopting then back to school. We have held the government accountable on educational policy by reporting corrupt head teachers which reduced the high extortion rate in government schools in Lagos State.  We have empowered women with no income to be self employed so they will better cater for the needs of their children and we also set up a library in the slum to enable children have access to books because we believe that “Readers are Leaders”.

What are the major challenges and how have you been able to pull through?

The major challenge we have faced and still facing is funding.  

We leverage on individual donors to access funding for our projects.

How do you get people to support you especially non-family members?

We sell the vision, share our story and how we are changing lives.

What other areas do you think you need support?

We want to acquire a property where we can have our centre for children which will include a standard school for them but we need support to make this dream come to reality.

If you have the opportunity to change anything about the Nigerian Education System what would it be?

To ensure children go to school without monetary restrictions.

What is it about you that people do not know?

I have loads of children and I am not married, I call them my adopted kids.

What's your advice to young people aspiring to contribute positively to their community?

When you find your place, everything will fall in place for you and you will become the master of that place – FIND YOUR PLACE

How can people reach you and learn more about your work?

www.dreamsfromtheslum.org

info@dreamsfromtheslum.org

08064222169 , 08179586733

www.facebook.com/dreamsfromtheslum

www.instagram.com/dreamsfromtheslum

Land degradation drives mass migration, climate change - experts

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By Anastasia Moloney

Land degradation could force hundreds of millions of people to migrate in the coming decades

BOGOTA, March 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Billions of people live on farmland that is deteriorating and producing less food, and this situation could force hundreds of millions of people to migrate over the next three decades, a major report said on Monday.

The study, which is backed by the United Nations, said climate change and worsening land quality could see crop yields halve in some regions by 2050, and warned that larger tracts of degraded land meant conflict over resources was more likely.

"Decreasing land productivity also makes societies more vulnerable to social instability – particularly in dryland areas, where years with extremely low rainfall have been associated with an increase of up to 45 percent in violent conflict," said Robert Scholes, the report's co-author.

The report was written by more than 100 experts from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a global scientific group.

The body said that as degraded land becomes less productive - through deforestation, overgrazing, flash floods or drought - people, many of them poor farmers, are forced to migrate to cities or abroad.

And, it warned, when arid, semi-dry or dryland areas degrade further, deserts spread - which means lower crop yields.

"In just over three decades from now, an estimated 4 billion people will live in drylands," Scholes said in a statement.

"By then it is likely that land degradation, together with the closely related problems of climate change, will have forced 50-700 million people to migrate," he said

Read more

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Launching the 2018 Youth Solutions Report’s Call for Submissions

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About

We are in the midst of an era of unprecedented transformation. Be it in the context of the rapid modifications of the global economy, in the difficulties our societies face in coping with massive technological and other societal changes, or in the dramatic ways in which our ecosystems are adapting and reacting to increased anthropogenic pressures, the world is calling for solutions that can embark us upon a trajectory of sustainable development.

Yet, worryingly, we seem to have lost the notion that it is young people who are the best positioned to analyze and solve this sort of novel challenges. Young men and women between the ages of 15 and 30 today represent the best-educated generation ever; are more intelligent than the average of the adult population, and are far more knowledgeable about new technologies. In addition, and mainly as a consequence of these other characteristics, younger generations also have a grasp of uncertainty and complexity that other age groups often lack. On the one hand, this leads to a better understanding of the synergies and trade-offs involved in addressing the cross-sectoral challenges enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On the other, it allows young people to think of institutional arrangements and innovations that confront the many forms of path dependency which exist in international organizations, governments, and businesses and usually lead to inefficient, inequitable and unsustainable outcomes.

For the first time in history, young people from different countries and regions often share the same objectives and grievances, usually linked with the negative impacts of globalization and poor governance, and are increasingly part of a common culture as well. This goes beyond the usual notion that “all young people are idealistic”, even though idealism itself is everything but a negative word, in the context of the major challenges we are facing. Rather, it speaks of the incredible, untapped potential of 1.8 billion global citizens who largely hold the same ideas about how to transform our societies for the better through innovative forms of problem-solving along the four dimensions of sustainable development.

At SDSN Youth, we believe that failing to partner with young innovators and change-makers would represent the biggest waste of human capital in the history of mankind. This is why we are proud to announce that we will be launching the second edition of our Youth Solutions Report in July 2018.

Like its 2017 predecessor, this year’s Report also seeks to identify and celebrate 50 youth-led solutions that are succesfully contributing towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in business, charity, education and research. However, the new Report comes with a wider scope and greater ambitions, aiming to inform the policies and actions of all stakeholders through in-depth research and analysis, with a view to substantially increase the support that young innovators receive in their countries and communities.

In 2017, with the first edition of the Youth Solutions Report, we offered young innovators the opportunity to present their solutions and take part in international conferences and events, including the UN High-Level Political Forum, the International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), EXPO 2017 Astana, COP23, the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, and UNLEASH Lab 2017. We also helped youth-led solutions become more visible online, not just through our media channels but also with collaborations with websites and media outlets including National Geographic, Impakter, Virgin Unite, and Connect4Climate, among others. Lastly, we shared funding and mentoring opportunities, matched innovators with interested experts and supporters, and launched the first edition of our Investment Readiness Program in collaboration with Babele.co in January 2018.

With this year’s Report, we are confident that we will significantly build on our past successes, establish new meaningful partnerships with UN Agencies, NGOs, companies and media outlets, and overall step up our support to youth-led initiatives in their quest to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through holistic and innovative approaches.

“Young people not only have a stake because they will be the ones implementing the SDGs and because their well-being will depend on achieving them. They also have a stake because they are part of the most educated generation in the history of the world, and through their skills, creativity, and enthusiasm they are uniquely positioned to deliver transformative change across multiple sectors of society.”

Submissions to the 2018 Youth Solutions Report are open until April 30, 2018, at this link.  

Source: Youth Solution Blog

Millions more hungry in 2017 amid famine, conflict, and numbers rising -report

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“We are clearly seeing a trend now, from 80 million to 108 million, from 108 to 124 million, people literally marching to the brink of starvation around the world”

By Thin Lei Win

ROME, March 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Conflicts and climate disasters, particularly drought, drove the number of people facing crisis levels of hunger up by about 15 percent last year and the situation is getting worse, a report said on Thursday.

Last year 124 million people in 51 countries faced crisis levels of hunger compared to 108 million people in 48 countries in 2016 and 80 million in 2015, according to the Food Security Information Network (FSIN).

The FSIN is a global project set up to strengthen food and nutrition security information systems that is sponsored by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

“We are clearly seeing a trend now, from 80 million to 108 million, from 108 to 124 million, people literally marching to the brink of starvation around the world,” said David Beasley, WFP’s executive director.

“We will never address the issues of the day until we end some of these conflicts,” he added at the report’s launch.

The FSIN report said the rising numbers in 2017 were largely due to new or intensified conflicts in Myanmar, north-east Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen.

In 2018, “conflict will remain a primary driver of food security”, it said, while severe dry weather is expected to affect crop and livestock production and worsen hunger in many parts of Africa.

Yemen,  where a proxy war between a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi movement has displaced more than 2 million people since 2015, would remain “the world’s most concerning food crisis”, the report said.

Read More

Source: Thomson Reuter Foundation News

Brighton Chama, GCI Campus Representative For Copperbelt University, Zambia Meets Konkola Trust School Environmental Club.

On March 20, 2018, our Zambian representative was invited to speak on Environmental Sustainability to the students of Konkola Secondary Trust School, Zambia. He spoke extensively about the work of the Green Campus Initiative in ensuring that Eco-conscious children are raised all over the world.

 

The training is in resonance with the vision of the school which made the School authority propose collaboration between the Green Campus Initiative, Copperbelt Chapter and Konkola Trust School, Zambia. This is to actively drive their school to becoming a Green School by adopting the Green Practices designed by the Green Campus Initiative.

Carbon prices too low to protect SE Asian forests from rubber expansion - report

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The price of carbon credits must rise drastically if they are to help protect Southeast Asia's tropical forests against rubber plantation expansion, according to researchers.

Individuals, companies and countries purchase carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.

Putting a cost on carbon emissions provides an incentive to do business more sustainably, and a disincentive to engage in environmentally damaging activities - like clearing forests.

But researchers found that credits bought and sold on international markets would need to rise from $5-$13 per tonne of carbon dioxide to $30-$51 per tonne if they are to safeguard Southeast Asian forests from rubber.

At current prices, carbon credits cannot compete with the profits to be made from felling forests and developing rubber plantations, according to the report published this month in the journal Nature Communications.

"We looked at rubber as an economic driver of deforestation," said Eleanor Warren-Thomas, the lead researcher who was at Britain's University of East Anglia when she worked on the study.

"What kind of profits can you make from rubber plantations, and what kind incentive (to preserve forests) do you need to provide through carbon finance?"

Such a large study has not been done before, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Most forest conservation efforts in the region tend to focus on palm oil expansion, and the growth of rubber plantations has received little attention, said Warren-Thomas.

Rubber demand rose over the last 20 years, as emerging markets like China and India became wealthier and more people were able to buy cars and motorcycles.

Rubber plantations cover about 11 million hectares around the world, two-thirds of which are in Southeast Asia, while annual expansion rates roughly doubled between 2003-2013, said Warren-Thomas.

Converting forests to rubber plantations results in net carbon emissions, as the carbon stored in the cut-down trees is released into the atmosphere - but that is not widely recognised in the industry, the researchers said.

"Rubber is (from) trees, and so it looks like you've replaced one kind of forest with another," said Tom Evans, an Oxford-based conservation director at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which was involved in the report.

"But really you've replaced a high carbon system that provides a lot of other ecosystems services with a much lower carbon ecosystem."

Zero-deforestation pledges made by governments and large tyre companies, as well as the enforcement of forest protection laws, are crucial to curb rubber expansion, the report said.

Besides higher carbon credit prices, it also recommended further development of synthetic alternatives to natural rubber and improvements in recycling of natural rubber.

The researchers focused on forests in Cambodia, but those in China, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are also under threat from rubber, Warren-Thomas said.

Source: Thomas Reuters Foundation News

High School Student Nicknamed ‘Trash Girl’ by Bullies Refuses to Stop Collecting Litter

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Many people may not want to think about our plastic pollution problem, but it’s imperative that we do. Every year, we produce 300 million tons of plastic and around 8.8 million tons of it get dumped in the oceans, threatening countless animals, many of which are on the verge of extinction as a result. If that wasn’t bad enough, it’s now estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

As one of the greatest threats to our oceans and the animals that we share the planet with, we need to rethink every single aspect of how much waste we produce and how we deal with it. That’s why 12-year-old Nadia Sparkes decided to take matters into her own hands. The high schooler has been picking up trash along the two-mile route from her school to her home for months now, using the basket of her bike to bring the trash home. In just the short amount of time that she has been picking up trash, Nadia has already accumulated more than two recycling bins worth of plastic.

Despite her green intentions, some of the kids at Nadia’s school have dubbed her “Trash Girl” and have bullied her for her noble efforts to help the planet. It would be easy to succumb to mean comments and stop picking up trash, but on the contrary, Nadia is more determined than ever to clean up her community.

“I’m doing something to protect the world they also live in. It’s everyone’s job. We are all responsible for keeping this world safe, instead of believing that it’s always someone else’s job,”  Nadia said about the bullies. 

 

“I told her she had two choices, she could either stop collecting rubbish, stop drawing their attention and hopefully they would leave her alone. Or she could own “trash girl,” Paula Sparkes, Nadia’s mom, said about the bullies.

As a result of the media attention Nadia has received, she now has created a Facebook group aptly named “Team Trash Girl” where she shares updates on her efforts. Positive comments have poured in, all in support of Nadia, advocating for her to ignore the negative. “Nadia, I think you’re truly awesome! Own that nickname and don’t give up. The bullies are ignorant and should be ashamed. I wish more people were just like you,” Emma Whitmore said.

Local artists have also shown their support by creating original artwork that boldly says “ Team Trash Girl.” 

If you’d like to stay up to date on Nadia’s work to rid her community of trash, you can join the “Team Trash Girl” Facebook group. At a time when our plastic pollution has become a full-blown environmental crisis, Nadia’s efforts are important now more than ever. We need more people like Nadia to proudly stand up for what they believe in!

What You Can Do! 

A staggering 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide, according to the Earth Policy Institute. Plastic bags are made out of non-renewable resources like petroleum and natural gas, and because they take hundreds of years to decompose, when plastics do eventually degrade, they don’t biodegrade. Instead, they photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller fragments and easily soak up toxins, which then contaminate waterways, soil, and animals upon digestion of the plastic materials.

If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans. Achieving a 100 percent waste-free lifestyle is challenging, but it is certainly not impossible. Just take a look at Lauren Singer, the 25-year-old who can store all the waste she’s produced in the past few years in just a single mason jar!

As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefits from the items you use every day while having minimal impact.

If you’re ready to start, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Source: One Green Planet

With bottle walls and a recycled ship, Kenya’s coast takes on plastic waste

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WATAMU, Kenya, March 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Like many places in the world, Kenya's coast faces challenges with waste plastic, from used shopping bags that block drains to throw-away water bottles that litter streets and wash into the sea.

But this Indian Ocean resort village, best known for its tropical beaches and Swahili history, is taking on plastic waste, turning it into homes, furniture – and maybe even a ship capable of sailing all the way to South Africa to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

Sammy Baya, for instance, one resident of the coastal community, now owns a house with walls made of stacked glass and plastic bottles.

"It just like living in any other house but this one, unlike other ordinary houses, allows more light to enter the house and therefore I don't use my solar (panels) for lighting when there is a full moon," Baya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Read More

Source: Zilient

Adenike Akinsemolu interviewed over the shutting down of Olusosun Dumpsite

Dr Adenike Akinsemolu

Dr Adenike Akinsemolu

1. What is your take on the move by the Lagos State government to shut down the Olusosun dump site?

The Olusosun dumpsite was built in 1992, when Lagos’ population was about 7 million. The dumpsite used to be located far outside town, which at the time did not need to be shut down since it did not pose any health hazard to the residents. But now that the population has grown to about 21 million and Lagos State has expanded far beyond the dumpsite; it puts Olusosun right at the heart of the city, with a hospital on one side and a school on the other, now posing serious health and sanitation risks for the people living around the area. However, you do not throw away the baby with the bath water.  I believe proper management is the major issue here. Lagos State government should take concrete steps in ensuring proper management of the dump site with the possibility of expanding it to take care of the increased volume of refuse. However, if there is no possibility of expanding the capacity of the place, then the government can relocate it to an entirely different location, preferably a nonresidential area.

2. What are the implications of having a waste dumpsite around a residential area?

Aside from the threat of a potential fire, which could kill the residents, toxic waste could affect the residents’ health. Landfills produce large amounts of methane gas, along with leachate, a toxic liquid that comes out of compressed trash. Leachate is composed of organic and inorganic pollutants such as phenols, dioxins, chlorinated pesticides, heavy metals and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Besides, studies have shown possible increased risks of certain types of bladder and brain cancer including leukaemia for people living near dumpsites or landfills. Also, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine discovered that babies born from mothers living near dumpsites have a heightened risk of congenital disabilities.

3. What are the positive and negative environmental implications of shutting down the dumpsite?

If it were shut, the dump site would no longer lead to outbreak of fire and health hazard to the residents. For instance, improper waste disposal creates devastating epidemics of mosquito-borne malaria, yellow fever and other potentially fatal diseases yearly. Last year, Lagos had two outbreaks of Lassa fever, a potentially deadly virus that comes from rodent urine and faeces, which is linked to poor sanitation. On the other hand, it may lead to indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the community which will eventually result in pollution of the environment.  Also, from an economic standpoint, it could hurt the livelihood of the scavengers who make their living off collecting valuables or recyclable waste.

Fig;  Olusosun Landfill    source:exporedia.com

Fig; Olusosun Landfill

source:exporedia.com

4. Rating the level of efficiency of Lagos waste control and management, how effective will you say the Lagos State waste management system is?

Waste management is a global problem, which has not been resolved. I believe the Lagos State waste management system is trying, but it has yet to attain optimum efficiency. This is evident in the fact that Olusoosun dump site has resulted in fire outbreak twice, which means there are still pressing issues to work out. I believe change must come from within: people, especially near the dumpsites, need to be better educated in terms of what improper dumping of waste can do to their health and what safety precautions should be taken to alleviate this pressing problem.

Overall, I do not think the waste control and management in Lagos is efficient. I even remember one time as I was driving to my hotel room I had seen a waste bin that read "Cleaner Lagos" and all around the waste bin were mounds of trash scattered everywhere. It is ironic to see how our intentions are not backed by action.

5. What ways could the environmentalist/policy makers help to promote the Lagos State waste management system?

The best way to help promote effective waste management system is by educating future generations to be more mindful of the earth and the place they live in.  The Green Institute in Ondo state has made history in Nigeria by graduating its first set of students who have gone through a special kind of education known as 'Early Childhood Education for Sustainability.' This kind of education equips practitioners with the requisite skills to impact youngsters in solving environmental problems by coming up with sustainable alternatives.

An example is the trash for education model recently introduced by the Green Institute. This model rewards people who trade their valuable wastes and other unused materials with formal education, educational materials, and vocational training. This is a win-win situation as the people are getting education and also saving the planet.

The trash problem is not just a government problem or a concern for only environmentalists; it is every person's problem. And so if everybody were to be more responsible with their waste disposal, things will change for the better. We need the government to follow suit and incorporate green education in schools, teaching future generations the immeasurable benefits of living in a clean and green world not overrun by rubbish. 

For instance, this is already being practice in Homaj secondary school located in Ondo State. Lagos State should emulate this style of education.

We can also adopt the practice in developed countries like Japan that has found ways to turn trash into energy through high-intensity incineration. Refuse Paper and Plastic Fuel (RPF) are now being used as coal alternatives. There are ways to actualize this in Nigeria, with enough will from both the government and its people.

6. What measures will you advise the state government to take in ensuring that the fire incident which occurred at the Olusosun dump site does not repeat itself at other dumpsites?

Fires are caused by toxic material mixed with the rubbish found in dumpsites. Proper recycling and sorting of waste are crucial in minimising health hazards such as fires and toxic leaks. Scavengers or trash pickers actually help in the sorting of trash. The government should find a way of incorporating these people into the waste management system to ensure efficiency. Recycling plants should be set up in non-residential areas where people could work under safer conditions.

7. What is your take on the involvement of “Vision Scape” to handling waste disposal in Lagos State?

While I believe that the intent is good, I do not believe that one should look outside for answers. Lagos problems are best known to its people and not to companies abroad. My question to the government is, are you getting what you paid for? At 750 million Naira a month, are you seeing the improvement you are expecting? If not, then you are being ripped off.

8. What role does recycling play in the waste management system of Lagos State?

Recycling plays a significant role in waste management. What scavengers and trash pickers do is a form of recycling. For as long as there are dumpsites, there will be people trying to scavenge for recyclables. We need to support them by incorporating them into the government waste management system either by permanent employment or contractual agreement. In doing so, we are killing two birds with one stone - we improve their quality of life and simultaneously generate jobs that help to achieve a ‘Cleaner Lagos’.

Tolulope Adetunji: Green Personality of March 2018

Our Green Personality for the month of March goes to Ms. Tolulope Adetunji, Lead Volunteer of “I BAKE FOR LIFE”. She’s known for her exceptional skills in baking, magnanimously. She has touched the lives of many children and adults by partnering with some NGOs such as the Love Letters Child Support Initiative, by organising bake sales where the proceeds go to support the work of the benefiting organisations.

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Her work is beautiful. We thought it might inspire you. Check this out!

If you had one minute to sell yourself to a potential investor, how would you introduce yourself?

I am Tolulope Adetunji, Creative Head at WonderInspired Cakes, a celebration Cake-House in Ibadan and Lead Volunteer at I Bake For Life, a bake sale outreach in support of Kingdom projects and other God-glorifying, worthy causes.

You run an organisation called "I BAKE FOR LIFE, why that choice of name?

I Bake For Life is actually an inspired name.

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Tell us more about your Organisation?

I Bake For Life is a bake sale outreach I was inspired to embark on in 2015 but it commenced in 2017. It is actually rooted in deep Christian convictions and so we work with the "Still Small Voice" on what project to support per time.

How long have you been running this programme and what inspired you to start?

A year on 26th February.

What are some of your achievements so far?

I love to call the projects we support "Love Labours". To date, we have had four Bake sale outreaches to support four different Love Labours in our own way. We will be having the next one on 25th March, 2018.

What are the major challenges and how have you been able to pull through?

From reaching out to total strangers whose work I am inspired to support, to raising funds to run the sales; it has been quite challenging but it is an assignment that I have made a decision to keep running with for as long as it is purposed to be. I draw strength largely from my Source, the one who sent me on this errand. I am blessed to have a very strong support system in my husband, parents and siblings. I have also been cheered on by family and friends.

How have you been able to fund your organization?

Personal funds mostly with support from my inner caucus and a few persons (family and friends).

What was your ambition while growing up?

I had quite a few (laughs). At first it was to be a Computer Engineer then later a Chemical Engineer. I ended up being a Food Scientist and I don't regret it one bit.

What is it about you that people do not know?

I have been placed in the "serious people" category from time to time but my close circle know I have a very good sense of humour and can leave you in stitches in no time when I am in my elements.

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What's your advice to young people aspiring to contribute positively to their community?

Have a sound relationship with "The Source". If something has been impressed upon your heart to do and you have peace about it, just do it. Don't wait for everything to be in place. Also invest in your relationship bank, both vertical and horizontal. Genuinely care about and reach out to people around you. They know when you are real. They may not show it, trust me, they do.

How can people reach you and learn more about your work?

For now, we can be reached on Instagram @ibake4life
via email: ibakeforlife@gmail.com and on 07033260924.

Environmental Journalism Workshop

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The subject of environmental sustainability is fast dominating the news; this has made the term Environmental Journalism popular.

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The Environmental Journalism Workshop organised by The Green Institute and hosted by Civic Media Lab located at 13A Isaac John, GRA Ikeja Lagos was an eye opener for budding environmental journalists. Speaking at the event were Adenike Akinsemolu; Founder of The Green Institute and Wana Udobang; a journalist, poet and filmmaker. The event was anchored by Odunayo Aliu, the Campus Director of the Green Campus Initiative.

Adenike Akinsemolu

Adenike Akinsemolu

Adenike Akinsemolu elaborated on the science of climate change and how the scientific jargons can be translated into everyday language of the people. She spoke on how journalism can help win the battle of climate change using practical examples. Wana Udobang spoke extensively on the importance of writing a story that is relevant. She walked the participants through the basics of Journalism and also highlighted the ethics of the profession.

Wana Udobang

Wana Udobang

Bankole Temitayo; a spoken word artist presented his piece titled ‘My Dreams’.

Temitayo Bankole

Temitayo Bankole

Working in groups of four; each participant developed stories on these four major environmental issues: Pollution, Deforestation, Waste and Flooding. As reinforcement, best stories will be published on the Institute’s website.

Check out the pictures here

Romance with the Environment 2018

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The annual Valentine’s Day does not go unnoticed; millions of people around the world find it an accurate opportunity to celebrate their loved ones. The peak of the day’s activity is usually marked with the ritual of gift sharing and lovemaking, sadly, that’s not always as good as it sound. Like most Holi-Day, waste is the highlight of the season. Many people often ignore Mother Nature on this love sharing day, while the larger bulk of people gift her with tonnes of waste.

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At Green Campus Initiative, Valentine’s Day is a time to #RomancewithEnvironment, a time to reflect on the beauty and loveliness of our Mother Earth. As usual, on Wednesday, February 14, our ambassadors took out time to celebrate with Mother Earth by wiping away some of the dirt that litters her crust. There was a general clean-up event which started about 2pm and lasted for almost two hours.

This may not be particularly a big deal to many people, but we know that mother earth consider it a great show of love. So we invite you to join us as we take #Climateactions to the next level. Stay connected to nature!

 

#CleanNigeriaNow

Are you in a 'Toxic Relationship?' Break up now! Start a new relationship with the Environment. #CleanSeas

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

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Author: Adenike A. Akinsemolu

Publisher: Elsevier

Highlights

  • Microorganisms can contribute tremendously to achieving the 17 sustainable development goals.
  • The literature on microorganisms and sustainability is enormous but fragmented.
  • This review seeks to unify microorganisms with social, economic and environmental growth.
  • The costs of the industrial set-ups remain a major hindrance in sustainable microbial processes.
  • A global partnership is vital for a cost-effective cleaner production and a sustainable ecosystem.

Abstract

In January 2016, the 2030 goals for sustainable development were set by the United Nations for achieving environmental, social and economic growth through green methods and cleaner production technologies. The most significant targets of these goals are the fulfillment of basic human needs and desires, since essential human necessities like food, cloth, shelter and health care are still not accessible to a majority of the people despite the great pace in the world's economy. Increased waste products and continuously depleting natural resources have diverted human attention towards efficient green and clear production technologies. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim at providing these fundamental necessities to everyone through the intelligent use of sustainable science. In this perspective, microorganisms, which are vital to the maintenance of life on earth, can play a major role. Although most people focus primarily on the disease-causing capabilities of microorganisms, there are numerous positive functions that microbes perform in the environment and hence, a need to explore the microbial world astutely as it can contribute tremendously to sustainable development. In this review, the integration of microbial technology for the achievement of SDGs is being put forth. The scope of the use of microorganisms, points of their control, methods for their better utilization and the role of education in achieving these targets are being discussed. If the society is educated enough about the ways that microbes can affect our lives, and if microbes are used intelligently, then some significant problems being faced by the world today including food, health, well-being and green energy can be adequately taken care of.

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Keywords

  • Sustainable development goals;
  • Green technology;
  • Microbes and sustainability;
  • Sustainable science;
  • Cleaner production;
  • Green growth

Introduction

Our current practices, including the indiscriminate use of chemicals, increased employment of non-renewable sources of energy and uncontrolled generation of waste products in every possible industrial process, has posed a large threat to the sustainability of the environment. The world now has a greater responsibility to adopt sustainable measures, cleaner production and green technologies so that the ecology of the Earth may be conserved for future generations.

“We don't have a Plan B, because there is no Planet B” says Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General in 2016 during the United Nation's (UN) 22nd conference on climate change in Marrakesh, Morocco (Ki-moon, 2016).

To collaboratively make an effort in this direction, 193 countries agreed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which is a UN's sponsored effort for a sustainable economic development of the world (Costanza et al., 2016). These goals have been classified into five (5) subgroups -People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships (Fig. 1). The SDGs aim at developing the solutions which can enable economic and societal development, but not at the expense of environmental damage. Rather, these efforts emphasise on the environmental protection by preventing and controlling the unlawful exploitation of natural resources (United Nations, 2016a).

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Microorganisms have colossally diversified. They play important roles in the environment, as well as being crucial in series of green processes and cleaner technologies, ranging from biogeochemical cycles to various industrial productions. If microorganisms are used judicially, they can contribute significantly to the sustainable development (Kuhad, 2012) (Table 1). A common goal of the world now is the use of cleaner production and green technologies, as well as the preservation of natural resources. Surprisingly, despite the overwhelming advantages of microorganisms in the various contexts of sustainability, it is often trivialized in the discourse of operationalizing the SDGs. Against this background, this paper argues that microorganisms play a fundamental role in achieving the SDG and thus, the paper aims to demonstrate these roles and importance.

Read More...

New Study Finds 86% of Teenagers Have Harmful BPA in Their System

According to the latest research, Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound used in manufacturing certain types of plastic, can now be found in 86 percent of teenagers in the UK. The chemical has been linked to, among other things, hormone and cardiovascular problems – but it has become increasingly difficult to avoid.

BPA can be found in some water bottles, receipts, can liners, and bottle tops … but it can also show up in processed foods, IBTimes UK reports. The risk of ingesting BPA is higher when the products are exposed to high temperatures or are being reused, like in the case of plastic water bottles.

The substance has been found to disrupt the endocrine system which controls the release of hormones into the body. It has similar properties to estrogen and can change how the body circulates sex hormone levels. It can also disrupt development and has been linked to cardiovascular disease and liver enzyme abnormalities.With this in mind, you can see how dangerous this can be, especially to developing teens.

Sadly, attempts to reduce BPA exposure by avoiding certain food packaging were not effective as the chemical has become so ubiquitous. Participants also reported that they were unlikely to keep up a BPA-free diet because of the lack of labeling of foods that contain the substance.

Experts are now calling for BPA content of packaging to be clearly labeled on products so consumers are fully aware of what does and what does not contain the chemical.

The actual effects of exposure to BPA on human health are not fully understood. In 2015, the European Food Safety Authority stated that the exposure was not a health concern and the quality ingested by the average person does not pose any significant health risk. The American Food and Drug Administration agreed with the stance, concluding that BPA is safe at the levels that occur in some foods.

“There’s continued uncertainty about what might happen at lower exposure concentrations, because it’s quite hard to do these studies,” Tamara Galloway, Professor of Ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter, told IBTimes. “While uncertainty remains, official guidance is to try to reduce one’s exposure by avoiding heavily packaged or processed diets, tinned foods, eating fresh produce and not heating meals in containers that might contain BPA. This is seen as a precautionary approach.”

As with many of the products and chemicals we are exposed to today, there is not ample scientific evidence to prove or disprove their safety. Unfortunately, rather than err on the side of caution, manufacturers continue to use chemicals that have the potential to cause harm in favor of saving some money.

As consumers, we have to stand up for our right to know what is in the food we consume and the products we buy. Please share this post and encourage others to learn more about BPA. For more information on how to avoid this chemical, click here.

Image source: Petras Gagilas/Flickr

Source: One Green Planet

Mosquito-packed drones could give extra bite to Zika fight

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TEPIC, Mexico, Jan 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Spraying thousands of chilled, sterile mosquitoes from specially adapted drones could prove a cost-effective way to slash numbers of the insects and curb the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, say the backers of the technology.

WeRobotics, a non-profit trialling the method, plans to start mosquito-release tests shortly in Latin America.

It has recently piloted ways to transport medicines and medical samples in Peru's Amazon region and the Dominican Republic using the unmanned aerial vehicles. But this time the cargo will be sensitive insects that must survive the process.

"It makes no sense to release mosquitoes that are 90 percent dead or damaged - we need to make sure the quality of the mosquito is very high so they can compete for females," said drone maker Adam Klaptocz, co-founder of WeRobotics, which is based in Switzerland and the United States.

"The ultimate goal is to integrate drones into future vector control campaigns," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Mosquito-control programmes using sterile insects often rely on trucks to disperse the bugs, or people releasing them from backpacks. Both of these are time-consuming methods unsuited to hard-to-reach places.

With aerial dissemination, the sterilised insects must be cooled down before they are packed into the container of the drone which would then expel them at altitude, said Klaptocz.

In the trial, the mosquitoes will be marked, trapped and inspected to see how they fare and how far they are dispersed, he said. The drones cost around $5,000 each.

If successfully released, the sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes would compete with wild insects to breed with females, eventually suppressing numbers and helping stop the spread of diseases including Zika, Klaptocz explained.

Pregnant women infected with Zika risk having babies with the birth defect microcephaly, which is defined by an unusually small head and can result in developmental problems and other severe brain abnormalities. The Zika epidemic that hit Brazil in 2015 affected thousands of babies.

Usually found in urban and semi-urban areas, the Aedes aegypti also transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

Two or three drones could control mosquitoes across an entire city, replacing a few hundred trucks and the staff needed to run the operation, Klaptocz said.

"It's beneficial to a larger population if you have this (drone) technology," he said.

WeRobotics, which is working with the U.S. development agency USAID and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is awaiting final approval for its upcoming drone test, before announcing where it will be held, he added.

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ASK FIRST

Besides legal permission, a local laboratory is needed to sterilise the insects using radiation. Obtaining community "buy in" is also key, by explaining the method to local leaders and health authorities, said Klaptocz.

"You never go in, fly drones, drop mosquitoes and ask questions later," he said. "It's not about technology, it's not about drones; it's about people getting less sick - and that's very understood by communities."

Repeatedly blitzing an area with sterile mosquitoes could help suppress populations within months, said experts.

When sterile males are introduced, "they're like little heat-seeking missiles, looking for females that will then induce a population crash," said Conor McMeniman, assistant professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is not involved in the project.

Releasing sterile insects has previously helped suppress pests including fruit and tetse flies, said the IAEA, which is also working with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to reduce malaria with sterile Anopheles mosquitoes.

But the drone method would need to be combined with other controls such as fumigation and stagnant water removal, as the Aedes aegypti can lay its eggs in any sources of standing water, from used car tyres to rubbish and even soda-bottle caps, said McMeniman.

BLOOD TESTS

Aside from mosquito dispersal, drones have huge potential to help people living in remote places with limited access to hospitals, said Klaptocz of WeRobotics.

In Peru's Amazon region, recent trials have used drones to fly supplies - including anti-venom for snake bites - to isolated communities, and transport blood samples from patients who would otherwise have to travel hours by river to hospital.

"If instead you could take their blood, put it in a drone and then send it to a hospital 50 km (30 miles) away, it gets there in an hour, the blood gets tested (and) the results get sent back by SMS," said Klaptocz.

In the Dominican Republic, WeRobotics and its local partners have used drones to test deliveries of medical supplies.

Elsewhere, the unmanned craft have mapped and identified disaster-prone parts of Haiti, Nepal and Tanzania.

Training local pilots is essential to the long-term viability of any drone programme, said Klaptocz.

"We're very focused on technology that makes sense and lasts beyond the end of our project," he added.

Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling.

Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Source: Zilient.org

Astronomers Detect a Swarm of Tiny Objects Orbiting an Alien Sun

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There are tiny comets orbiting foreign suns. And human beings can detect them.

Six times, about 800 years ago, dark things passed between the bright-yellow dwarf star KIC 3542116 and Earth. They were small in cosmic terms, about 330 billion tons (300 billion metric tons). That's about the size of Halley's Comet, or just one-245 millionth the mass of Earth's moon.

But they were big enough. They blocked a fraction of a fraction of the light that was streaming outward from that star. Eight hundred years later, the sensitive lens of the Kepler Space Telescope — a nearly meterwide piece of precision-cut glass floating in the darkness of space — detected that dimming as KIC 3542116's ancient light reached this solar system. [The 9 Most Brilliant Comets Ever Seen]

The star seemed to dim quickly, though nearly imperceptibly, as the small dark things passed in front of it (from Earth's perspective) six times between 2009 and 2013. Three times it dimmed deeply, and three times it dimmed faintly, at irregular periods over those four years.

This is a familiar signal to astronomers, the same sort of dimming that has allowed them to spot most of the 3,728 exoplanets discovered as of Feb. 2. But the small dark things acted like tiny planets only in the beginning of their trek. As they continued their journey across the plane of their star, the star only regained its brightness slowly, over the course of about a day.

That's not how exoplanets (basically great symmetrical orbs) look to Kepler. But it is how a comet, with its long dusty tail, would appear. In fact, it's how a team of astronomers predicted such comet passersby would look way back in 1999.

In a study due for publication Feb. 21 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (and first released in 2017 on arXiv), a team of researchers report that these dark objects are the first "exocomets," or comets in another star system, ever discovered.

The team wrote that they're not sure exactly how many comets there were, casting shadows on Kepler's lens during that period. It might have been six individuals, each making a single close pass to their star that showed up in Kepler's data. Or there may have been a smaller cluster, with some comets making multiple crossings.

Perhaps just one comet was orbiting its star very tightly, they suggest — though they were unable to fully figure out the orbit of a single comet that would have produced the six irregularly timed shadows.

The astronomers spent more than five months of hunting through more than 201,250 Kepler images before they found these six transits, and in all that time they found only one other likely comet shadow crossing another star. KIC 11084727, also a yellow dwarf, dimmed once, faintly, just like KIC 3542116 where the six shadows were found.

Those two stars are "near twins," the astronomers wrote. Both are very bright, and of similar size and magnitude. And they're somewhat unusual in the Kepler dataset, they wrote, which tends to target "cooler, sun-like stars." Perhaps, they suggested, comets (or at least comet transits visible from Earth) are more common around stars of this type.

Regardless of where more might be found in the future, these comets are the smallest objects humans have ever detected in alien solar systems. Previously, the authors wrote, the smallest thing ever spotted passing in front of its star was Kepler-37b. That tiny exoplanet is just 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers) wide, or just a bit bigger than Earth's moon.

Originally published on Live Science.

Organic food and drink sales rise to record levels in the UK

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In a sixth year of consecutive growth, organic sales rose by 6% to a record £2.2bn, driven largely by independent outlets and home deliveries.

Sales of organic food and drink in the UK rose by 6% last year to a record £2.2bn, fuelled by strong growth through independent outlets and home delivery which outpaced sales in rival supermarkets.

Almost 30% of all organic sales now take place online or on the high street, according to a new report from Soil Association, the trade body which licenses organic products and promotes organic farming.

In a sixth year of consecutive growth, sales have bounced back after plummeting following the recession. Last year’s £2.2bn figure – up from £2.09bn in 2016 – beats the pre-recession all-time high of £2.1bn in 2008.

The organic market is still dwarfed by the size of the overall food and drink sector – the largest manufacturing segment in the UK and now worth £112bn according to the the Food and Drink Federation. However, non-organic sales edged up by only 2% over the same period, the report says.

Sales of organic products in supermarkets rose by 4.2% to £1.5bn, while independents – delis, fine food stores, health shops, farm shops, farmers’ markets and retailers such as Whole Food Markets and Planet Organic – enjoyed a 9.7% sales jump to £359m. Home delivery services including box schemes saw a jump of 9.5% to £286m.

Consumers are also buying more organic items in non-food categories, snapping up beauty products, where sales rose 24%, and textiles, where sales soared by 25%.

“We know shoppers are putting increasing value on trust, transparency and traceability when making their purchasing decisions,” said Clare McDermott, business development director, Soil Association Certification.

“Organic delivers on those values and is also increasingly seen as the healthy and ethical choice thanks to mounting evidence of the difference between organic and non-organic, both in terms of nutrition and environmental impact. This stamp of assurance will only become more important as understanding of organic increases and we look toward the formation of new trade deals post-Brexit.”

Burgeoning consumer demand is also driving increased availability of organic ranges in the catering and restaurant sector, with sales in 2017 rising 10.2% to reach £84.4m.

Source: The Guardian

A Ticking Time Bomb of Mercury Is Hidden Beneath Earth's Permafrost

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When the mercury's rising in your thermometer, it may also be rising in the ocean.

According to a new study published Feb. 5 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, theremay be more than 15 million gallons (58 million liters) of mercury buried in the permafrost of the Northern Hemisphere — roughly twice as much mercury as can be found in the rest of Earth's soils, ocean and atmosphere combined. And if global temperatures continue to rise, all that mercury could come pouring out.

In geology, permafrost is defined as any soil that has been frozen for more than two years. In the Northern Hemisphere, permafrost accounts for about 8.8 million square miles (22.79 million square kilometers) of land — or roughly 24 percent of exposed Earth, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Over time, naturally occurring compounds in the atmosphere, such as mercury and carbon dioxide, can bind with organic material in the soil and be frozen into permafrost, potentially remaining trapped underground for thousands of years before it thaws, the new paper said. [5 Deadly Diseases Emerging From Global Warming]

 

In the study, researchers drilled 13 permafrost soil cores from various sites in Alaska between 2004 and 2012. Then, they measured the total amounts of mercury and carbon in each sample, which proved consistent with thousands of other soil cores taken from other sites around the world, the paper said. Using the mercury contents of their 13 cores as a springboard, the researchers estimated the total amount of mercury sealed away below North American permafrost to be roughly 793 gigagrams — or more than 15 million gallons.

"There would be no environmental problem if everything remained frozen, but we know the Earth is getting warmer," study author Paul Schuster, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. "This discovery is a game-changer."

Researchers have already observed climate-change-induced permafrost thawing, and there is likely more on the way: According to a 2013 study, the Northern Hemisphere will lose anywhere from 30 to 99 percent of its permafrost by 2100, assuming current human greenhouse-gas emissions continue unabated.

Previous studies have attempted to account for the billions of tons of carbon dioxide, methane and even "zombie pathogens" that could be loosed into the air and the oceans by melting permafrost. The environmental impact of a large-scale mercury leak, however, remains an unpredictable problem.

One major concern is that this trapped mercury could seep into nearby waterways and transform into methylmercury, a toxin that can cause motor impairment and birth defects in animals, Edda Mutter, science director for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, said in a statement. Such contamination could travel swiftly up the food chain from microorganisms to humans, said Mutter, who was not involved in the new study.

"Rural communities in Alaska and other northern areas have a subsistence lifestyle, making them vulnerable to methylmercury contaminating their food supply," Mutter added.

The researchers are currently working on a follow-up study modeling the release of permafrost due to climate change, according to the statement.

It is time to create a world with low or no carbon emissions!
The rise in temperature is obvious, and now it is inflicting pain on us and the environment. Still, we are yet to take actions.
Let's create a "world without waste", reduce our carbon footprint, and be conscious of our immediate environment.

Originally published on Live Science.