Newsletter 219


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Newsletter 219

  1. 1. SOUTH AMERICA ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH NEWSLETTER219 t h issue, February 11, 2013 GUYANA: U.S Ambassador Launches Second Series of Guyana Shines In this issue: School Visits and S&T Contest for High School Students On February 1, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, D. Brent Hardt, officially launched the second series GUYANA: U.S. Ambassador Launches of school visits in the ‘Guyana Shines’ project at St. Joseph’s High School, Woolford Avenue, with “Guyana Shines” and S&T the support of other diplomatic partners, civil society organizations and the Ministry of Education, Contest. among others. Launched on Earth Day last year, the Community Clean-up Challenge works with Forests: Innovative communities to restore Guyana’s natural shine. Ambassador Hardt said, “I firmly believe that Partnership Between U.S. educating young people is one of the best ways to transform the attitudes of an entire country.” and South American Universities. The Ambassador said he looks forward to visiting each and every school so that together they can COLOMBIA: “No Car Day” Passed by Between deepen the commitment of the young people of Guyana to take care of their environment. He said Bicycles and Jams. that through Guyana Shines, his team - including representatives of Embassies and High Conservation: Radio Commissions, reached out to some 15 schools across Georgetown, during last year. There, they Program to Protect Marine delivered presentations to increase awareness of the harmful effects of littering and pollution, and Species. to encourage students to make environmentally friendly decisions and, most importantly, to take Forests: New Analytic action to be part of the solution. This year, they hope to reach 50 more schools across the city. Methods Reduce Uncertainty in Forest- Meanwhile, school presentations for this year have been modified to leave students with concrete Carbon Relationship. information about opportunities for recycling in Guyana and where they can send their waste in Science: Space Food return for cash. They will be taught to make compost heaps and most importantly how to spread History. awareness and inspire others to care about the environment, the Ambassador said. Next events: The 2013 Innovation and Creativity Contest: ‘Looking for New Ways to Reduce our Ecological Footprint’. Another important feature at this ceremony was the announcement of this contest for February 13, 2013 high school students by Ambassador Hardt. American Society for Tropical Medicine and The ‘2013 Innovation and Creativity Contest’ is open to students ages 12- 16 throughout South Hygiene Conference, Lima, America. Students are invited to submit research proposals, offering innovative solutions to Peru March 22, 2013 environmental problems, such as waste disposal, recycling, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, World Water Day renewable energy, water conservation and biodiversity. The contest will focus on innovation and March 23, 2013 creativity, as fundamental traits in the application of science to the world’s environmental Earth Hour challenges. This contest runs until April 30. Winners of April17-19, 2013 the contest will be announced on June 5, World International Fair of Environment Day. Additional information can be found Technologies Energy, on the U.S. Embassy’s official website at http:// Santiago, Chile, their Facebook site, and April 22, 2013 Earth Day June 5, 2013 World Environment Day Read more at: option=com_content&view=article&id=55006:us-ambassador July 10-12, 2013 -launches-second-series-of-guyana-shines-school- Eolica, Buenos Aires, visits&catid=2:news&Itemid=3 Argentina Ambassador Hardt greeting students at St. Joseph School. The information contained herein was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so. For questions or comments, please contact us at * Free translation prepared by REO staff.
  2. 2. F O R E ST S: In n o va t i ve Pa r t n e r s h i p B e t we e n U .S . A n d S o u t h A m e r i c a nU n i ve r s i t i e s t o A d d r e s s A n d e a n A m a z o n C o n s e r va t i o nTo combat deforestation in the Andean Amazon, four U.S. universities have been awarded funding bythe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through Higher Education for Development(HED) to partner with South American universities to enhance local biodiversity conservation and sus-tainability.Announced today, these partnerships in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will strengthen regionalacademia and train local people in the Amazon, including those from indigenous communities, to im-plement conservation best practices. This nearly $3 million project over two-and-a-half years is part ofthe Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), USAID’s biodiversity program to protect Photo by Wilheln Fyles (flickr user). Under Creativeand manage precious natural resources that are threatened by deforestation. "Leveraging the biodi- Commons License.versity expertise of universities will foster the next generation of experts and help get university prac-titioners in the field to work directly with communities on the toughest conservation challenges,” said Lawrence Rubey, director, USAID’sOffice of Regional Sustainable Development for Latin America and the Caribbean. “These partnerships are critical to strengthening theability of local actors to protect the Andean Amazon.”The universities will engage the private and public sector at the local and regional levels, indigenous communities, and non-governmentalorganizations to strengthen local capacity through training opportunities. They will participate in joint research, develop higher educationcourses, and fund new scholarship and fellowship opportunities to identify and recommend new, sustainable approaches to managingthreats to biodiversity. Bolivia: The University of Florida will team up with Universidad Amazónica de Pando to develop a program in natural resources man- agement. Colombia: Florida International University will work with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana to develop a research collaboration network. Ecuador: The University of North Carolina and Universidad San Francisco de Quito will launch a new certificate program in Amazonian Studies. Peru: The University of Richmond and Universidad Nacional de Ucayali will integrate an applied interdisciplinary, science-based certifi- cate program.“The partnerships that make up the ICAA II Higher Education Partnership Program have put forth strong plans that are as inclusive as theyambitious. With goals to learn and teach, these partnerships are now on the way to strengthening capacity of local universities for long-term improvements,” added Tully R. Cornick, HED’s executive director.The partnerships illustrate the valuable role that universities play in tackling biodiversity challenges and their ability to advance regionalconservation.Read more at: No Car Day” Passed by Between Bicycles and Car Jams*Through Twitter, Mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro sent a survey to find out if people want more days with no cars this year.He received different reactions. For bicycle lovers such as Andrés Vergara from “Better in Bikes” group “Car-dependants should thankcyclists because the city collapses when they use their cars”, he explained.On the other hand, Eduardo Behrentz, expert on sustainable transportation from Universidad de los Andes, considers that this initiative isover. "It is a good civism exercise, but it does not enhance air quality or auditive pollution, because buses, taxis and motorcycles increasetheir activitiy”, he pointed out. For Behrentz the message is not the right one: “the campaign tone is negative, as it prohibits. It shouldpromote best practices”, he insisted.However, the Environtment Secretary reported that smoke and pollution lowered by 6% and carbon diox-ide by 2% in comparison to a regular day.El Tiempo newspaper went to different areas in the city to know citizens’ opinions. "It is a blessing. Thereshould be at least one day a month with no cars. People become kinder and that is gold”, said Juan Ortiz, aguard working north of Bogotá. Another citizen, William Gutierrez, who uses to ride his bicycle to the jobeveryday, said that he saw six times the usual number of biclycles.But those who live and work in opposite sides of the city just found full buses. No-car Day in Bogotá. Photo by Patton (flickrRead full article at: user). Under Creative Commons License.
  3. 3. CONSERVATION: Radio Program to Protect Marine Species Founded in 1995, ProDelphinus is a not-for-profit Peruvian organization based in Lima, committed to the conservation of threatened and endangered marine fauna, such as sea turtles, marine otters, cetaceans, seabirds and sharks. These species are either permanent residents to Peruvian waters or just temporary visitors as they continue along their migration routes. Studies of the interactions be- tween these species and Peruvian fisheries and the ways to prevent it, form a major component of ProDelphinus’ current research. The ProDelphinus Radio Conservation Program is a novel new tool, used to communicate in real time with fishermen at sea to help reduce marine fauna bycatch. The program begun in 2008 with sup-Photo by Ryan Espanto (flickr user). Under CreativeCommons License. port from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration/South West Fisheries Science Center (NOAA-SWFSC), is supported currently with funds from the International Seafood Sustainabil-ity Foundation (ISSF) through The Ocean Foundation (TOF). Using their high frequency radio base station in Lima, they are able to com-municate with fishermen at sea in Peru and as far away as Ecuador and Chile.They provide fishermen with valuable environmental data like current, wind and sea temperature data that can help them as theyfish. They also talk to them about their interactions with sea turtles, seabirds and small cetaceans, taking these opportunities to help in-form fishing crews how to safely release any bycaught animals and what they can do to reduce captures in the future. The program hashelped us to reach out hundreds of fishing boats and crews throughout the Southeast Pacific and is a powerful tool as they work to betterunderstand and reduce seabird, sea turtle and small cetacean bycatch.You can find them at radio frequencies North 8.281.2 and South 10.695.0.Read full article at: New Analytic Methods Reduce Uncertainty in Forest-Carbon Relationship By Tiffany SteckerAs temperatures rise and extreme weather events like droughts become more frequent, forests will adapt either by dying off or bygrowing smaller, meaning less carbon can be absorbed. The carbon absorption rate could be high in one, wet, year and low in thenext, dry year. "Its the way that forests are responding to climate variation," Cox said.There is still a range of uncertainty in this figure of about 17 billion metric tons, after considering the year-to-year measurements. Butthat range is much smaller than the 39 billion-metric-ton range of uncertainty found when the researchers simply used the long-termprojections.James Randerson, a professor of earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, wrote an article in this weeks Naturehighlighting the work of Cox and his team and calling the approach "exciting" to scientists eager to reduce the uncertainties that areassociated with climate change models.Scientists are "very much interested in trying to understand the magnitude of these climatefeedbacks," he said. "Theyre trying to better understand future changes in the carbon cy-cle."While the findings dont have a direct application to forest conservation efforts like theU.N.-backed Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)mechanism -- because REDD is driven by human-caused deforestation -- the two are linked,Randerson said. "I think [looking into how] theyre related is a really important next step,"he said. "We have to better introduce land-use change."As temperatures rise and extreme weather events like droughts become more frequent,forests will adapt either by dying off or by growing smaller, meaning less carbon can beabsorbed. The carbon absorption rate could be high in one, wet, year and low in the next,dry year. "Its the way that forests are responding to climate variation," Cox said.There is still a range of uncertainty in this figure of about 17 billion metric tons, after con-sidering the year-to-year measurements. But that range is much smaller than the 39 billion-metric-ton range of uncertainty found when the researchers simply used the long-termprojections.Read more at: Photo by Wim Vandenbussche (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.
  4. 4. SCIENCE: Space Food History The food that NASAs early astronauts had to eat in space is a testament to their fortitude. John Glenn, Americas first man to eat anything in the near-weightless environment of Earth orbit, found the task of eating fairly easy, but found the menu to be limited. Other Mercury astronauts had to endure bite-sized cubes, freezedried powders, and semiliquids stuffed in aluminum tubes. Most agreed the foods were unappetizing and disliked squeezing the tubes. Moreover, freeze- dried foods were hard to rehydrate and crumbs had to be prevented from fouling instruments. The astronauts complained and on the Gemini missions eating improved somewhat. The first things to go were the squeeze tubes. Bite-sized cubes were coated with gelatin to reduce crum- bling, and the freeze-dried foods were encased in a special plastic container to make reconstitut-Early Project Mercury food tube and dry ing easier. With improved packaging came improved food quality and menus. Gemini astronautsbite-sized snacks with gelatin coating. had such food choices as shrimp cocktail, chicken and vegetables, butterscotch pudding, and apple sauce, and were able to select meal combinations themselves.By the time of the Apollo program, the quality and variety of food increased even further. Apollo astronauts were first to have hotwater, which made rehydrating foods easier and improved the foods taste. These astronauts were also the first to use the "spoonbowl," a plastic container that could be opened and its contents eaten with a spoon.The task of eating in space got a big boost in Skylab. Unlike previous space vehicles for astronauts, Skylab featured a large interiorarea where space was available for a dining room and table. Eating for Skylabs three-member teams was a fairly normal operation:footholds allowed them to situate themselves around the table and "sit" to eat. Added to the conventional knife, fork, and spoonwas a pair of scissors for cutting open plastic seals. Because Skylab was relatively large and had ample storage area, it could featurean extensive menu: 72 different food items. It also had a freezer and refrigerator, a convenience no other vehicle offered.The Shuttle Food SystemThe kinds of foods the Space Shuttle astronauts eat are not mysterious concoctions, but foods prepared here on Earth, many com-mercially available on grocery store shelves. Diets are designed to supply each Shuttle crew member with all the RecommendedDietary Allowances (RDA) of vitamins and minerals necessary to perform in the environment of space. Caloric requirements aredetermined by the National Research Council formula for basal energy expenditure (BEE). For women, BEE = 655 + (9.6 x W) + (1.7x H) - (4.7 x A), and for men, BEE = 66 + (13.7 x W) + (5 x H) - (6.8 x A), where W = weight in kilograms, H = height in centimeters,and A = age in years.Shuttle astronauts have an astonishing array of food items to choose from. They may eat from a standard menu designed around atypical Shuttle mission of 7 days, or may substitute items to accommodate their own tastes. Astronauts may even design their ownmenus. But those astronaut-designed menus must be checked by a dietitian to ensure the astronauts consume a balanced supplyof nutrients.The standard Shuttle menu repeats after 7 days. It supplies each crewmember with three balanced meals, plus snacks. Each astronauts food isstored aboard the Shuttle and is identified by a colored dot affixed toeach package.Food PreparationOn the Space Shuttle, food is prepared at a galley installed on the or-biters mid-deck. The galley is a modular unit that contains a water dis-penser and an oven. The water dispenser is used for rehydrating foods,and the galley oven is for warming foods to the proper serving tempera-ture.Read more about this topic at: “S99-05103 (20 April 1999) --- Astronaut Brian Duffy, STS-92 mission commander, samples a beverage during a crew food evaluation session in the food laboratory at the Engineering and Applications Development Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center (JSC)."