THE PLANET WE LOVE
There is a World to take care of

by Jordi Teixeira May 2017 SPECIAL FEATURES Read in PDF format N13/2017
THE PLANET WE LOVE WORMS THAT EAT PLASTIC, DRONES THAT MONITOR TROPICAL RAINFOREST TO STOP ILLEGAL LOGGING, MILLIONS OF TREES WITH WHICH TO REFOREST THE JUNGLE... DESPITE THE THREATS, NEW INITIATIVES AND COMMITMENTS ARE BRINGING HOPE TO THE PLANET

We’re experiencing a period of terror intermixed with hope. While deforestation continues to decimate the Amazon, palm oil cultivation poses a threat to Indonesia’s tropical rainforest, and rising levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere are exacerbating global warming, there remain some little rays of hope on the landscape. Th e International Conference on Climate Change was held in Paris at the end of 2015. For the fi rst time, some of the world’s most polluting countries joined voices and unifi ed their positions in a binding declaration, pledging to contain emissions and awaken a new global conscience. What some call the 21st century is also known as “the century of the great test”, in which industrialism is forced to reinvent itself with profound, revolutionary structural reforms. Despite the catastrophic visions and in spite of the United State’s new Trump administration, which has named climate change denier Scott Pruitt as head the Environmental Protection Agency and continues to promote the oil and carbon industry, it is an undeniable fact that we are witnessing the emergence of a new green consciousness which is taking good intentions and turning them into actions. Is the world ending? It might be, but let’s focus on the positive news that is promising to create a new ecological landscape that will help prevent humans from committing environmental suicide.

CHINA AND THE PANDA BEAR 

In addition to containing their emissions, the Asian giant is passing successful policies to protect panda bears. Th e giant panda is in serious danger. There are just 1,000 specimens living in the wild. Nevertheless, last year zoologists managed to obtain a record number of births in captivity, enough to have panda bears removed from the list of endangered species. Th is is a signifi cant fact for a special animal whose critical situation even made it a symbol of the NGO WWF. While the planet continues to lose forest cover, with Brazil at the head, Europe and China are carrying out policies to recover forests, and these are starting to result in some positive data. Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador all have forest conservation projects that are based on off ering economic incentives. In Nicaragua, for instance, Ortega’s government has proposed recovering 4.5 million hectares of forest cover over the next 10 years; and in Tanzania, cutting-edge companies like Conservation Drones are introducing technology to help monitor illegal deforestation. Th e company Topher White is doing something similar. Rainforest Connection is a sound monitoring system for tropical rain forests that uses old smartphones to “listen” to suspicious noises in the jungle and warn of any irregularities. Th e destruction of habitats, the industrial exploitation of large tracts of land, pollution and climate change are some of the main causes of the irreversible loss of biodiversity on a global scale. Scientists are talking about the sixth extinction, with species being lost at a rate 100 times faster than during the 20th century, a rate comparable to the end of the dinosaur era.

MICROORGANISMS TO THE RESCUE

Japanese scientists have discovered a hitherto unknown bacteria and a type of wax moth larvae capable of digesting and assimilating plastic, as well as a microbe that eats methane and iron. Although as there is no known scientifi c application thus far, it seems there may be scientifi c solutions to apparently unsolvable problems.

GREEN CONSTRUCTION

Contemporary urbanisation and developmentalism are having an irreversible ecological impact on the environment. Poorly designed buildings are squandering biological resources and contaminating their immediate surroundings. At a time when energy costs are soaring and the environment is quickly deteriorating, there is an overriding need for sustainable and energetically efficient architecture. The book “Green” (Taschen) analyzes various bioconstruction solutions and projects the hope of a new green, organic and sustainable architecture, with proposals from architects and urban planners such as Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban and Zaha Hadid.

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