Guyana

South American Guyana to open forest talks thanks to Welsh support

An indigenous group based in the forests of Guyana, South America are hopeful that their land will be officially recognised by the government thanks to the support of the people of Wales.

The Wapichan people have been living in and using their forests sustainably for generations, yet the government only officially recognises the group’s legal rights to a small portion of their ancestral home. The community have called for fair and effective actions to title the full extent of their collective land since Guyana’s independence in 1966.

Their forest territory, made up of beautiful primary rainforest, is 1.4million hectares (3/4 the size of Wales at approx. 2 million hectares). Size of Wales, a unique Welsh climate change charity, has been supporting work to secure legal rights for this land. Once recognised the group wish to establish a large community owned Wapichan Conserved Forest to protect the precious eco-system.

Now the government may be listening. The President of Guyana has agreed to hold formal discussions with Wapichan representatives on the next steps to legally secure their territory. This action has been applauded and preliminary discussions with the government are expected to happen in the coming weeks.

Elizabeth Andre, an elder of Aishalton Village, said “Since I was a little girl I used to hear my daddy talking about the land… (and) the need to have our land rights respected. I never believed that after all this time, which is nearly 60 years now, that nothing would have been done to properly protect our territory.”

“My mother is very elderly. I want her to see our territory legally recognized so she may die peacefully, knowing that our people and our future generations are secure on our collective land. We look to our new government to take action now. We have waited long enough.” she continued.

 

 

Welsh support through Size of Wales has been vital for this project. Since 2011 it has helped the community map their traditional lands, develop plans for a large community conserved forest, and create sustainable management plans. New technology is supporting this endeavour; the group recently built a drone to monitor threats of illegal logging and mining within their lands, and are currently developing a community managed website.

International pressure has helped push for a change of stance from the Guyanese government. Nicholas and Faye Fredericks from the community recently raised awareness for their plight by attending the UN’s climate conference COP21 in Paris last December.

 

Guyana

 

Whilst there the group were awarded the UN’s Equator Prize which recognises outstanding local community initiatives and solutions to climate change. Size of Wales also attended the COP21 conference to raise awareness for tropical forests and highlight Wales’ positive impact on climate change.

Tropical forests are crucial in the fight against the changing climate – they absorb nearly a fifth of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions every year. Size of Wales helps protect these precious environments by supporting an area of tropical forest the size of Wales as part of a national response to climate change.

Size of Wales supports the work of Forest Peoples Programme and South Central Peoples Development Association. You can support this project by visiting sizeofwales.org.uk. Any donations made will be doubled by Size of Wales’ generous match fund.



How are eco issues driving the direction of today’s global economy?

Ecological concerns are becoming a major driving force in today’s global economy. The population’s growing understanding of issues such as climate change, carbon emissions and the urgency of seeking an answer to the reduction of fossil fuel reserves have clearly made consumers more discerning when it comes to choosing which products to buy and which to avoid. Here is a guide for business owners focused on what they should be considering in order to be counted among the green-friendly firms that are expanding worldwide while simultaneously reducing their costs.

Reviewing business practices

A good place to start is with a review of standard business practices. Here are some basic ideas for things to look out for to help benefit the planet and also improve customer relations:

  • Always print on both sides of paper and use misprinted paper for notes to avoid waste.
  • Audit the components of the workspace – look for furniture made from recycled materials, replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents and LED desk lamps, plus make the most of natural daylight.
  • Also audit the use of paper (e.g., for letters) as opposed to digital alternatives (such as emails).
  • Check how the organization purchases supplies of pens, pencils, ink cartridges, soap and paper towels and whether all of these are manufactured from recycled materials – as all of them can be.
  • Double-check if the organization is saving the energy it should be.
  • Consider the sourcing of the paper that the business decides is absolutely necessary.
  • Encourage employees to bring healthy lunches to work in reusable containers and supply reusable cutlery, napkins and plates.
  • Encourage employees to consider alternative methods of commuting to work, such as walking, cycling, using public transport or car sharing.
  • If the company receives a lot of packaged goods try to reuse the packaging when possible.
  • Improve air quality with good ventilation.

Advising businesses about reducing their carbon footprint is a highly specialized field, and when environmental consultants eco advisor ERM sold to Charterhouse Capital Partners, it was evident that global companies in this field (ERM works in 40 countries) are set to make a huge impact on the economy worldwide.

Major leaps forward

The rise in the production of biofuels, wind turbine installations and electric cars can only be taken as positive signs that eco issues are really making an impact on the global economy. As consumers continue to ask questions about how products are sourced, they are influencing many businesses to reconsider their business practices and to improve them in terms of their environmental impact.

Smart businesses that opt to go green can share good practice tips with colleagues; for example, consider purchasing carbon offsets for business travel by car or plane and switch to fair trade products such as coffee for staff breaks. There’s no reason why your employees can’t bring in a mug, glass or cup from home for drinks, and the use of small recycling bins is as easy as standard ones. Tune in to the current eco issues and help save the planet as well as keep your customers.



PM responds to Labour’s claims over RBS bonuses

David Cameron has quickly responded by pressure over the Royal Bank of Scotland that Labour has been pursuing by stating that all cash bonuses given out to employees and CEOs will be at the maximum £2,000. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, has been making calls in the House of Commons to make sure that the bank it not able to give its senior staff members bonuses that are worth twice as much as their salaries. He said that he can confirm that limits have been placed on what the cash bonuses can be at RBS this year, and that they plan to limit cash bonuses next year too.

The Prime Minister added that he will also veto any thing that the Royal Bank of Scotland might try to do in order to increase its bonus bill or overall pay. Chris Leslie, the Labour Treasury Spokesman, stated that capping the bill is not the same thing as saying that individual share bonuses cannot be given out. He explained that the PM did not address giving out share award bonuses. He said that this is a red herring because capping remuneration is not going to stop share holders from taking large bonuses.

It is expected that the RBS is going to bring up an EU clause that will let it pay staff bonuses that are double their salary if the shareholders were to approve. The bonus cap laws outlined by the EU declare that shareholders have to approve all bonuses. Therefore, since the Government owns 80% of the shares of RBS the Chancellor can veto a decision when it comes to the bonuses. The Chancellor has taken to the courts to debate the cap stating that it will not prevent bankers from getting money.



PM blames the rotten British weather on climate change

David Cameron has associated the bad weather and widespread floods affecting the UK to climate change saying that he has no doubt that the occurrence is causing additional irregular weather events. The Prime Minister told MPs that they are experiencing weather that is more irregular and that whether or not they argue about the linking of the irregular weather events to climate change, he still thinks that climate change is the main cause.

The environment secretary, Owen Paterson has been under accusations by Labour of being blinded by his climate change skepticism to the risks caused by flooding.

As a response to a question posed by Tim Farron MP, the Lib Dem president who said that the extreme conditions affecting their communities were an inevitable and destructive effect caused by partly the climate change.

The Prime Minister therefore said that they should all invest in flood defenses, mitigation and to inform the people as this is what makes sense and not the different views that people have concerning climate change. He also said that he was supportive of the climate change targets made by Britain and that the 2008 Climate Change Act would not have been accepted without conservative support.

Climate experts are usually cautious of linking the specific weather events to climate change while on the other hand academic studies show that all the frequent heat waves and flooding are associated to climate change. The Prime Minister’s comments on his association of the abnormal weather to climate change are one of the clearest views he has concerning this issue.

During last year, the Prime Minister said that there was substantial evidence that showed that climate change was the cause of things such as Typhoon Haiyan, which caused devastation to the Philippines. He added that he will leave the scientists to speak for themselves concerning the association between severe weather events and climate change though he thinks that the evidence concerning the link was growing. He went on to say that as a politician, he thinks that the best thing is to take mitigating and preventive measures.



Why Eco Friendly Cars are set to continue to grow in popularity

It may surprise you to learn that personal motoring accounts for more than 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Given the high price of fuel, road tax and the congestion charge enforced to enter the city of London, it seems even more incredible that it is this high.

Thankfully, a solution to this problem is not hard to find. In fact, an eco friendly car can address all of the problems raised here and offer resolutions in the form of hybrid technology – but how?

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases are those which contribute towards the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. It is widely accepted that it is this effect which is responsible for global warming and the potentially severe harm to our environment and habitats the world over.

The carbon emissions of a hybrid vehicle are over 25% lower than those of a traditional petrol car. The electric motor of a hybrid vehicle runs the car whenever possible so the amount of fuel burned by the engine is far lower, meaning the emitted gases are reduced too.

The green cars UK market has placed an increasing focus on the hybrid, with plenty of environmentally friendly models becoming commercially available. These cover a range of different styles and shapes, ensuring that everyone from families to youngsters can get their hands on an efficient vehicle.

Fuel costs

For many people, paying a high price for fuel is considered unavoidable. Reducing the amount of time spent driving can help lower costs but ultimately fuel prices will be affected by taxation and wholesale prices for oil, making it uncontrollable.

This is where eco friendly cars once again come into play. Hybrid vehicles cost less to run because they use less fuel than traditional vehicles for the same journeys as their electric motor takes some of the strain off of the engine. Modern technology has also seen innovative technologies developed to ensure cars are as efficient as possible, offering numerous benefits to drivers.

Associated costs

As the government continues to focus on environmental preservation, those driving cars with low carbon emissions will benefit from taxation relief. This means that the road tax you pay on a hybrid or electric vehicle will be very low; if you pay any at all.

Vehicles emitting less than 100g of CO2 per kilometre won’t have to pay the London Congestion Charge either. This is a message from the government urging road users to be responsible with their car use. When it’s necessary to drive, ensure that the car you drive does as little damage as possible and you will soon reap the benefits.

It is therefore clear that eco friendly cars are the best choice for the modern motorist. On top of the aforementioned benefits, these vehicles are also available in numerous forms thanks to pioneering manufacturers such as Honda, meaning that there is bound to be a hybrid or electric vehicle which is perfect for you.