Best of our wild blogs: 29 Jun 11

Small Croc at SBWR
from Life's Indulgences

Prismatomeris glabra: A shrub called Haji Samat
from Flying Fish Friends

An Interview with Mr Tan Ming Kai – discoverer of a new species of katydid in Singapore from Raffles Museum News

Monday Morgue and The Green Corridor
from Monday Morgue and Domestic Cat and Domestic Dog

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Indonesia encourages ASEAN members to ratify Nagoya Protocol on Biodiversity

Antara 28 Jun 11;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia as the current chair of ASEAN is encouraging other Southeast Asian nations to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization.

"As the current chair of ASEAN, we always encourage ASEAN member states to ratify the Nagoya Protocol soon," Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta told a discussion at the Press Council building here Tuesday.

Indonesia is among the 24 countries signing the protocol on May 11, 2011. The protocol will be put into force only if it has been ratified by 50 countries.

Thank God, a number of developed countries such as Spain and Japan had also signed the protocol, he said.

Arief Yuwono, deputy for environmental destruction and climate change control to the environment minister said the ministry was making approaches to the House of Representatives (DPR) and other relevant parties to enact a law ratifying the protocol.

He said the protocol gave a number of benefits to Indonesia among others it confirmed the country`s sovereignty to its biodiversity sources and protect its genetic sources and traditional knowledge.

The Nagoya protocol was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

Indonesia is the world`s second largest mega biodiversity after Brazil.

ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

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Reducing Food Waste: Making the Most of Our Abundance

Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planetteam emphasizes reducing food waste as a means to meet the needs of a growing human population, alleviate hunger, and conserve resources.
Worldwatch Institute 28 Jun 11;

According to staggering new statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), roughly one-third of the food produced worldwide for human consumption is lost or wasted, amounting to some 1.3 billion tons per year. In the developing world, over 40 percent of food losses occur after harvest—while being stored or transported, and during processing and packing. In industrialized countries, more than 40 percent of losses occur as a result of retailers and consumers discarding unwanted but often perfectly edible food.

At a time when the land, water, and energy resources necessary to feed a global population of 6.9 billion are increasingly limited—and when at least 1 billion people remain chronically hungry—food losses mean a waste of those resources and a failure of our food system to meet the needs of the poor. The Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project (, a two-year evaluation of environmentally sustainable agricultural innovations to alleviate hunger, is highlighting ways to make the most of the food that is produced and to make more food available to those who need it most.

According to Tristram Stuart, a contributing author of Worldwatch’s State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet report, some 150 million tons of grains are lost annually in low-income countries, six times the amount needed to meet the needs of all the hungry people in the developing world. Meanwhile, industrialized countries waste some 222 million tons of perfectly good food annually, a quantity nearly equivalent to the 230 million tons that sub-Saharan Africa produces in a year. Unlike farmers in many developing countries, however, agribusinesses in industrial countries have numerous tools at their disposal to prevent food from spoiling—including pasteurization and preservation facilities, drying equipment, climate-controlled storage units, transport infrastructure, and chemicals designed to expand shelf-life.

“All this may ironically have contributed to the cornucopian abundance that has fostered a culture in which staggering levels of ‘deliberate’ food waste are now accepted or even institutionalized,” writes Stuart in his chapter, “Post-Harvest Losses: A Neglected Field.” “Throwing away cosmetically ‘imperfect’ produce on farms, discarding edible fish at sea, over-ordering stock for supermarkets, and purchasing or cooking too much food in the home, are all examples of profligate negligence toward food.”

Nourishing the Planet researchers traveled to 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, meeting with 350 farmers’ groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists. “This amount of loss is shocking considering that many experts estimate that the world will need to double food production in the next half-century as people eat more meat and generally eat better,” says Danielle Nierenberg, Nourishing the Planet project director. “It would make good sense to invest in making better use of what is already produced.”

"Humanity is approaching -- and in some places exceeding -- the limits of potential farmland and water supplies that can be used for farming," notes Worldwatch Institute Executive Director Robert Engelman. "We're already facing food price spikes and the early impacts of human-caused climate change on food production. We can't afford to overlook simple, low-cost fixes to reduce food waste."

Nourishing the Planet offers the following three low-cost approaches that can go a long way toward making the most of the abundance that our food system already produces. Innovations in both the developing and industrialized worlds include:

Getting surpluses to those who need it. As mountains of food are thrown out every day in the cities of rich countries, some of the poorest citizens still struggle to figure out their next meal. Feeding America coordinates a nationwide network of food banks that receive donations from grocery chains. Florida’s Harry Chapin Food Bank, one of Feeding America’s partners, distributed 5.2 million kilograms of food in 2010. In New York City, City Harvest collects some 12.7 million kilograms of excess food each year from restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms and delivers it to nearly 600 New York City food programs. Similarly, London Street FoodBank utilizes volunteers to collect unused food items from London businesses and get them to food banks around the city.

Raising consumer awareness and reducing waste to landfills. Those who can easily afford to buy food—and throw it away—rarely consider how much they discard or find alternatives to sending unwanted food to the landfill. In 2010, however, San Francisco became the first city to pass legislation requiring all households to separate both recycling and compost from garbage. By asking residents to separate their food waste, a new era of awareness is being fostered by the initiative. Nutrient-rich compost created by the municipal program is made available to area organic farmers and wine producers, helping to reduce resource consumption in agriculture. The Love Food Hate Waste website—an awareness campaign of the U.K.-based organization Wrap—provides online recipes for using leftovers as well as tips and advice for reducing personal food waste.

Improving storage and processing for small-scale farmers in developing countries.In the absence of expensive, Western-style grain stores and processing facilities, smallholders can undertake a variety of measures to prevent damage to their harvests. In Pakistan, the United Nations helped 9 percent of farmers cut their storage losses up to 70 percent by simply replacing jute bags and mud constructions with metal grain storage containers. And Purdue University is helping communities in rural Niger maintain year-round cow pea supplies by making low-cost, hermetically sealed plastic bags available through the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) program. Another innovative project uses solar energy to dry mangoes after harvest; each year, more than 100,000 tons of the fruit go bad before reaching the market in western Africa.

State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planetis accompanied by informational materials including briefing documents, summaries, an innovations database, videos, and podcasts, all available at The project's findings are being disseminated to a wide range of agricultural stakeholders, including government ministries, agricultural policymakers, and farmer and community networks, as well as the increasingly influential nongovernmental environmental and development communities.

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Greenland ice melts most in half-century: US

Slim Allagui AFP Yahoo News 29 Jun 11;

Greenland's ice sheet melted the most it has in over a half century last year, US government scientists said Tuesday in one of a series of "unmistakable" signs of climate change.

"The world continues to warm," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a briefing paper for reporters.

"Multiple indicators, same bottom-line conclusion: consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans."

An annual climate survey, which includes work by scientists from 45 countries, said that ice sheet in Greenland melted at its highest rate since at least 1958, when similar data first became available.

Arctic sea ice shrank to its third smallest area on record, while the world's alpine glaciers shrank for the 20th straight year, the study said.

In line with previous studies, the survey said that 2010 was also one of the hottest years on record.

Last year was either tied for the hottest or the second hottest on record, depending on methodology. But all methodologies used showed the temperature to be at least 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius) above the average recorded in the three decades through 1990.

The survey noted that 2010 was exceptional for its extreme events, including a deadly heat wave in Russia, floods in Pakistan that displaced more than 20 million people and record snowfall in several US cities.

A series of studies have voiced alarm at the rapid pace of melting in the Arctic Ocean, which could lead to a rise in sea levels that threatens low-lying coastal areas and islands.

The Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program said in May that warming in the Arctic was on track to lift sea levels by up to 5.3 feet (1.6 meters) by 2100, a far steeper jump than predicted a few years ago.

Many environmentalists have been disappointed at the pace of diplomacy to fight climate change, with few expecting a major agreement at the next major UN-led talks opening in South Africa in late November.

Former US vice president Al Gore recently accused President Barack Obama of failing to show leadership on climate change, saying that poor coverage of the media had given credibility to skeptics of global warming.

Global warming continues as greenhouse gas grows
Randolph E. Schmid AP Yahoo News 29 Jun 11;

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world's climate is not only continuing to warm, it is also adding heat-trapping greenhouse gases even faster than in the past, researchers said Tuesday.

Indeed, the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average every month for more than 25 years, they said at a teleconference.

"The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm," Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center, said in releasing the annual State of the Climate report for 2010.

"There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans," added Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University.

Carbon dioxide increased by 2.60 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2010, which is more than the average annual increase seen from 1980-2010, Karl added. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas accumulating in the air that atmospheric scientists blame for warming the climate.

The warmer conditions are consistent with events such as heat waves and extreme rainfall, Karl said at a teleconference. However, it is more difficult to make a direct connection with things like tornado outbreaks, he said.

"Any single weather event is driven by a number of factors, from local conditions to global climate patterns and trends. Climate change is one of these," he said. "It is very likely that large-scale changes in climate, such as increased moisture in the atmosphere and warming temperatures, have influenced — and will continue to influence — many different types of extreme events, such as heavy rainfall, flooding, heat waves and droughts.

The report, being published by the American Meteorological Society, lists 2010 as tied with 2005 for the warmest year on record, according to studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. A separate analysis, done in Britain, lists 2010 as second warmest.

Deke Arndt, chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NCDC, noted that every month since early 1985 has been warmer than the 20th century average for the month.

Even more willing to attribute extreme weather events to climate change were speakers at a second briefing organized by the Pew Center on Climate Change.

"Scientists have concluded just recently that the link between climate change and extreme weather is not so much theoretical anymore as it is observational," Fred Guterl , executive editor of Scientific American magazine, said at that teleconference.

"Climate change is a risk factor for extreme weather just as eating salty foods is a risk factor for heart disease," said Jay Gulledge, director of the Science & Impacts Program at the Pew Center. "That doesn't mean we can predict the next flood in Iowa or drought in Georgia ... but it means they are more likely."

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado said the Earth is getting thicker around the middle due to ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. "If you imagine the Earth is like a soccer ball and you push down on the North Pole, it would bulge out at its 'equator,'" said CIRES fellow Steve Nerem, co-author of the study.

At the NOAA briefing, Karl added that the Greenland ice sheet lost more mass last year than any year in the last decade. Melting of the land-based ice sheets in places like Greenland, Antarctica and other regions has raised concerns about rising sea levels worldwide.

"The arctic is changing faster that most of the rest of the world," added Walt Meier, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado. "This has long been expected." In addition, he said, the September Arctic sea ice extent was the third smallest in 30 years, older, thicker sea ice is disappearing, there is a shorter duration of snow cover, and the permafrost is melting.

Thorne added that the conclusion that the earth is warming does not rest on a single type of data.

The 2010 report adds information on lake surfaces and permafrost temperatures for the first time, bringing the total number of climate indicators considered to 41. The report involved 368 researchers from 45 countries.

Other findings of the report:

—Alpine glaciers shrank for the 20th consecutive year.

—Even with a moderate-to-strong La Nina during the latter half of the year, which is associated with cooler equatorial waters in the tropical Pacific, the 2010 average global sea surface temperature was third warmest on record and sea level continued to rise.

—Oceans were saltier than average in areas of high evaporation and fresher than average in areas of high precipitation, suggesting that the water cycle is intensifying.

—A strong warm El Nino climate pattern at the beginning of 2010 transitioned to a cool La Nina by July, contributing to some unusual weather patterns around the world and impacting global regions in different ways.

—Tropical cyclone activity was below normal in nearly all basins around the globe, especially in much of the Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic basin was the exception, with near-record high North Atlantic basin hurricane activity.

—Heavy rains led to a record wet spring (September to November) in Australia, ending a decade-long drought.

—The Arctic Oscillation affected large parts of the Northern Hemisphere causing frigid arctic air to plunge southward and warm air to surge northward. Canada had its warmest year on record while Britain had its coldest winter at the beginning of the year and coldest December at the end of the year.

—An atmospheric pattern related to the strength and persistence of the storm track circling the Antarctic led to an all-time maximum in 2010 of average sea ice volume in the Antarctic.

National Climatic Data Center:
State of the Climatet:

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