Green Cities on the Rise in Africa and the Middle East

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This is the fourth in series of guest blogs by the Earth Day Network.

Across the Middle East and Africa, cities are doing their part to become more sustainable. From green transportation to renewable energy, these cities are taking innovative strides toward a greener future.

Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, is in the process of designing an entire city to be completely carbon neutral.  Masdar City, as it will be called, will be a two-square-mile, zero waste to landfill, car-free city with its own highly efficient “personal rapid transport” system that will also be emission-free.  The city will also be designed to encourage walking whenever possible, and will eventually be home to 1,500 businesses, 40,000 residents, and 50,000 commuters.

Masdar City

According to Masdar City’s website, “It is a community where cutting-edge clean tech research and development, pilot projects, technology testing, and construction on some of the world’s most sustainable buildings are all ongoing.”

Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa

Also making strides toward a greener future is Johannesburg, South Africa.  Johannesburg recently introduced a new fleet of 134 biofuel powered city buses, drastically reducing emissions and offering a way to recycle much of the city’s waste through the production of the biofuel.  Johannesburg is also working on changing its transportation infrastructure by adding walking and biking lanes along certain busy corridors in the city.

Meanwhile, cities in Ethiopia are turning to renewable energy. The Ashegoda Wind Farm — located 18 kilometers outside the city of Mekelle — is officially open for business. The 120-megawatt wind farm contains 84 turbines and is expected to contribute 400 million kilowatt hours of energy to the grid each year. Ashegoda is the continent’s largest wind farm.

As Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, and Mekelle have shown, green cities are on the rise in Africa and the Middle East.  Hopefully, more cities in the region will follow their lead.

This entry reflects the views of the Earth Day Network and does not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State. 

Songdo, Bhubaneswar & Adelaide: Taking Steps Towards Sustainability

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Songdo_South Korea_Flickr_by elTrekero

Songdo in the Republic of Korea. (CC) Flickr

This is the third in a series of guest blogs by the Earth Day Network.

Throughout Asia and Australia, cities are taking steps to make their buildings, transportation, and energy infrastructure more sustainable.

The city of Songdo in the Republic of Korea is at the forefront of this movement. What used to be a vast wasteland of mudflats is now being built up as a completely green city, with 100% of its buildings set to meet LEED certification requirements and 40% of its land space to be reserved for parks and green space. It is being designed as a completely walkable city, so that cars will be almost completely unnecessary.  Songdo has also designed a revolutionary waste management system that will recycle most trash and 40% of wastewater.

Songdo_trees_river

A park in Songdo

Another prime example is Bhubaneswar, India.  Bhubaneswar recently put into place several initiatives to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and encourage its residents to save energy.  Not only did they install 20 kilometers of a bike path through the city, but city officials also facilitated the move of street vendors to areas near the path to encourage more people to use it, and convinced many street vendors to install more efficient lighting systems.  On top of that, Bhubaneswar passed a mandate requiring all buildings with water heating systems to install solar-assisted water heating systems, and set up an information center in the city to inform people about climate change and environmental issues.

Bhubaneswar_AP

Bhubaneswar, India

Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, is also joining the effort against climate change by introducing the world’s first completely electric, solar-powered bus.  The bus – named the Tindo after an aboriginal word for “sun” – transports residents of Adelaide completely free of charge and is expected to save 70,000 kilograms of carbon from being released into the atmosphere and 14,000 liters of diesel fuel from being used.

Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide, Australia

Whether it’s through redesigned public transit systems, energy efficiency measures in buildings, or more walkable streets, cities in Asia and Australia are doing their part to not only fight climate change, but also to propel the world into a more energy efficient and healthy future.  The examples they’ve set should be widely replicated.

This entry reflects the views of the Earth Day Network and does not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State.

 

Heart of the City: Green Buildings

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The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington

This is the second in a series of guest blogs by the Earth Day Network.

Cities all around the world are striving to become greener and more sustainable. In North America, a few major cities are leading the way in green buildings.

Seattle’s Bullitt Center — considered the greenest commercial building in the world — is a testament to this trend. The Bullitt Center is brainchild of Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day and board chair of Earth Day Network. It seeks to meet the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous rating system for sustainability.

The building’s roof is adorned with solar panels, helping it to achieve net-zero energy. All rainwater is collected in a large cistern, and all wastewater is treated onsite. In fact, the building operates independently from municipal water and waste systems. The building is also able to effectively gauge exterior conditions – including temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind – and adjust accordingly, opening and closing windows, turning the heat up or down, etc.

A view from a floor inside the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Ben Benschneider)

A view from a floor inside the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Ben Benschneider)

Don’t plan to park there – it’s close to public transportation and has bike racks, but no parking spaces. Heating is partially accomplished with geothermal power, and all of the building’s wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

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People walk on the Vancouver Convention Centre West roof, one of the largest green roofs in North America: a six-acre behemoth bigger than four football fields. (C) AP Images

People walk on the roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre, one of the largest green roofs in North America — a six-acre living roof bigger than four football fields. (C) AP Images

Meanwhile, 150 miles north in Vancouver stands the Vancouver Convention Center. Opened in 2009, the facility achieved LEED Canada Platinum Certification—the first time a convention center has done so—and received a COTE 2011 Top Ten Green Project Award.

What makes the building so green? For one, it’s home to a six-acre living roof — the largest of its kind in Canada. The roof houses 400,000 native plants grasses and 240,000 bees. It serves many functions, including acting as an insulator to maintain indoor temperatures, and helping to effectively utilize stormwater.

The building also makes use of low-volume flush and flow fixtures to reduce potable water consumption by 73 percent, and 100 percent of the building’s greywater and blackwater is treated through a wastewater treatment plant that provides all the building’s irrigation needs.

As for heating and cooling, the building uses a sea water pump to cool the building during the summer and heat the building during the winter. The building is almost entirely covered in glass, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Radiant flooring is used wherever possible, allowing for superior air circulation.

The Vancouver Convention Center at night. (CC) Wikimedia Commons/by Bobak Ha'Eri

The Vancouver Convention Center at night. (CC) Wikimedia Commons/Bobak Ha’Eri

Seattle and Vancouver are proving that more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings are at the heart of green cities. Here’s hoping other cities follow their lead.

This entry reflects the views of the Earth Day Network and does not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State. 

Earth Day & Green Cities

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Green-Cities-cover-image

This is the first in a series of guest blogs by the Earth Day Network in honor of Earth Day 2014.

The first Earth Day – on April 22, 1970 – was the birth of the modern environmental movement. Twenty million Americans took to the streets in cities all over the country to demand that something be done about the destruction of the environment. The events of that day led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Since then, Earth Day and the global environmental movement have grown exponentially. Today, more than a billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day-related activities. It is the largest civic observance in the world.

The theme of Earth Day 2014 is “Green Cities.” Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. As the urban population grows and the effects of climate change worsen, our cities have to evolve.

It’s time for us to invest in efficiency and renewable energy, rebuild our cities and towns, and begin to solve the climate crisis. With a focus on transportation, green buildings, and clean energy, the Green Cities campaign will mobilize a global movement to accelerate this transition.

How will we do this? First, we will work to find and highlight best practices from green cities all around the globe. These success stories — from energy-efficient buildings to public transportation infrastructure to microgrids — will make up a catalog of replicable policies and initiatives for other cities to emulate. Over the course of the next week, in the lead-up to Earth Day, we’ll share some of our favorite green city success stories from every corner of the globe.

We’ll also work closely with a handful of spotlight cities, including Jackson, Mississippi and Santa Fe, New Mexico, to help them become more sustainable. Specifically, we’ll work with them to transition to LED streetlights, improve the solar permitting process, and implement a green buildings plan.

And finally, as always, we’ll work with cities and partners around the world to plan and execute events on Earth Day — everything from trash clean-ups to rallies to tree-plantings.

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.earthday.org/greencities.

This entry reflects the views of the Earth Day Network and does not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of State.   

 

Designing Inclusive, Resilient Cities

By Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution

The El Mirandor footbridge connects the La Francia neighborhood to the Andalucia MetroCable Station, Medellín, Colombia. Medellín MetroCable and Northeast Integral Urban Project: © Steven Dale (Urban Development Corporation EDU Medellín, City of Medellín, Empresa de Transporta-Metro de Medellín Ltda and the Center for Urban and Environmental Studies, University Urbamar EAFIT. (Fig 2))

The El Mirandor footbridge connects the La Francia neighborhood to the Andalucia MetroCable Station, Medellín, Colombia. (Medellín MetroCable and Northeast Integral Urban Project: © Steven Dale. Urban Development Corporation EDU Medellín, City of Medellín, Empresa de Transporta-Metro de Medellín Ltda and the Center for Urban and Environmental Studies, University Urbamar EAFIT. (Fig 2))

In the world today, there are over 400 cities with one million people, more than 20 cities with ten million people, and three cities with at least twenty million people.[i]

Of those living in cities, there are close to one billion living in informal settlements, commonly called slums, favelas or squatter communities.[ii] That number is projected to double by 2030. Most of the growth will take place in Africa and Asia, in an increasingly climate-challenged world.[iii]

Current slum populations are represented as orange squares over black squares, which show overall population. Future population projections are in light orange for slum growth and gray for overall population. (Informal Settlement World Map -  Designers: Christian Werthmann, with Elizabeth Randall and Fiona Luhrmann, Harvard Graduate School of Design: © Christian Werthmann (Fig 1))

Current slum populations are represented as orange squares over black squares, which show overall population. Future population projections are in light orange for slum growth and gray for overall population. (Informal Settlement World Map – Designers: Christian Werthmann, with Elizabeth Randall and Fiona Luhrmann, Harvard Graduate School of Design: © Christian Werthmann (Fig 1))

This massive urban migration signals a historic shift in our civilization. It led, in part, to the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, exhibition - Design with the Other 90%: CITIES in 2011, which explored a range of design solutions and strategies for this massive urban migration – a leading challenge for this century. Over 60 projects, products and proposals were included at the initial display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. They ranged in scale from the entire city of Medellín, Colombia (Fig 2) to a mHealth initiative developed in Uganda to fight the spread of HIV (Fig 3).

Text to Change quiz on a mobile phone, part of an incentive-based mHealth (or mobile health) education program, focused on AIDs awareness, Uganda. (Text to Change SMS Behavior Change Campaign; Designers: Bas Hoefman, Hajo van Beijma. Partners: Aids Information Center, Airtel Uganda. Mbarara, Uganda: © Text to Change. (Fig 3))

Text to Change quiz on a mobile phone, part of an incentive-based mHealth (or mobile health) education program, focused on AIDs awareness, Uganda. (Text to Change SMS Behavior Change Campaign; Designers: Bas Hoefman, Hajo van Beijma. Partners: Aids Information Center, Airtel Uganda. Mbarara, Uganda: © Text to Change. (Fig 3))

In preparation for the exhibition, I travelled to 16 cities in Africa, Asia and South American to meet with people living and working in the settlements. I found that some of the more innovative solutions are a “hybrid” that engage both the formal and informal parts of the cities – increasingly required because local and regional authorities cannot keep up with the rapid growth. For example, one private utility in Manila designed a solution that provides an underground water pipe right to the edge of the settlement and connects it to a cluster of meters (Fig 5). The residents are provided materials to make their own connections direct to their households. The result was improved public health due to a decrease in contaminated drinking water – at one-fifth the cost!

A young resident showers with water from an individual house pipe after upgrading, Baybay Sapa informal settlement, Anitpolo City, Rizal province, Philippines. Water for Low Income Communities (Tubig Para sa Baranagay) Program; Designers: Manila Water Company, with Manila-area informal settlement community. Metro East Zone, Manila, Philippines.

A young resident showers with water from an individual house pipe after upgrading, at the Baybay Sapa informal settlement, Anitpolo City, Rizal province, Philippines. (Water for Low Income Communities (Tubig Para sa Baranagay) Program Designers: Manila Water Company, with Manila-area informal settlement community. Metro East Zone, Manila, Philippines. (Fig. 5))

Millions around the world, especially in rural Africa, live miles from a reliable source of clean water, leaving them vulnerable to water-borne diseases. A simple design solution from South Africa – the Q Drum, a durable container designed to roll easily – can transport 75 liters of clean and potable water (Fig 4).

The Q Drum is a durable container designed to roll easily and transport 75 liters of clean potable water. Q Drum; Designers: P.J. and P.S. Hendrikse, South Africa

The Q Drum is a durable container designed to roll easily and transport 75 liters of clean potable water. (Q Drum Designers: P.J. and P.S. Hendrikse, South Africa: © 2006 P.J. Hendrikse (Fig 4))

The projects included in Design with the Other 90%: Cities showed how we can create new social, spatial, and economic structures in response to rapid urbanization. Traditionally, professional designers have only focused on 10 percent of the world’s population, but that is changing as designers, architects, engineers and entrepreneurs work directly with communities who have limited resources, collaborating across sectors to provide solutions and improved access.

It is critical we find ways to share this information — the urban success stories, ways to implement and sustain these efforts, and their impact over time. This will require a more inclusive urban design; responsible economic and environmental policies; establishing new institutions; transparent governance; improved equity and security; and land reform for a more just and humane urban world.

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This guest blog contains excerpts from Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, Designing Inclusive Cities essay by Cynthia E. Smith, © Smithsonian Institution.

You can learn more about the Design with the Other 90% exhibition series – and the innovative design approaches and solutions included – on the Design Other 90 Network (and upload your own design work there too!). 

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Footnotes:

[i] 2009 statistics: 376 cities between 1– 5 million; 32 cities 5–10 million; 21 cities with at least 10 million; 3 cities with at least 20 million (Tokyo, Delhi, São Paulo). “Urban Agglomerations 2009,” in United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.

[ii] . Pietro Garau, Elliott D. Sclar, and Gabriella Y. Carolina, A Home in the City: UN Millennium Project, Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers (London: Earthscan, 2005): 12.

[iii]Slum Dwellers to Double by 2030: Millennium Development Goal Could Fall Short,” in UN-HABITAT: Twenty-first Session of the Governing Council, April 16–20, 2007.

[iv] “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2009 Revision,” in United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division 9, 9–10.

[v] Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (London: Verso, 2006): 26.

Green Cities, Green People

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As we get ready for Earth Day on April 22nd (just three weeks away!), we’ll be exploring the topic of “Green Cities” – from the viewpoint of how local governments and individual activists are making a greener difference in their city, country, and around the world.

From being the subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary (“An Inconvenient Truth”) to winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it,” environmental activist and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is one of those people.

Even as he celebrates his 66th birthday this week, Mr. Gore continues to talk about the risks posed by climate change and how recent extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan, have been a “game changer” for public awareness.

Al_gore_presentation_Wiki_Flicr_Alex de Carvalho

At the same time, he’s aware that people might be tired with his warnings or may feel “powerlessness as to what any one individual can do to affect what appear to be vast, unchangeable trends,” reports the Kansas City Star.

“Do we really have to do this and — if the answer is yes — can we do it?” Gore said, repeating two questions he routinely hears.

“The answer to both of those questions — spoiler alert — is ‘yes.’ ”

As Secretary Kerry, commenting on the IPCC’s new report, stated: “The more we delay, the greater the threat. Let’s make our political system wake up and let’s make the world respond.”

How will you urge your leaders to respond?

Beatrice Karanja: “We cannot let our iconic species disappear”

This post was written by the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and highlights the work of Beatrice Karanja of the African Wildlife Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya.  The photo is courtesy of CBFP.

African Voices Make Themselves Heard

awf_bus_12172013IMG_12116When people benefit from wildlife, they will protect and defend their wildlife. And Africans do benefit from their wildlife, if tourism numbers are any indication: According to a 2013 World Bank report, “Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Improved Growth and Livelihoods,” tourism contributed nearly 3 percent—about US$36 billion—to the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa in 2012. With Africa’s share of the global tourism market having increased from 3 percent in 1980 to 5 percent in 2010, the continent could soon be edging out other international tourism hotspots as a must-visit destination.

Poaching threatens this future, however. Wildlife is a key tourism draw, but currently about 35,000 elephants are being killed each year in Africa. As 2013 drew to a close, more than 800 rhinos were poached in South Africa.

Disney-Animal-Kingdom-Rhinos-Wikimedia_Loadmaster

AWF is thus launching “African Voices for Wildlife,” a pan-African call to arms for Africans from all walks of life to end the senseless slaughter of elephants, rhinos, and other endangered wildlife. From heads of state to local farmers, the campaign will give Africans the chance to take ownership of the anti-poaching message and be an active part of wildlife conservation discussions—and decisions.

Serengeti-African-Elephants_Wikimedia

“In the history of conservation, the African voice has never been heard,” observed Beatrice Karanja, awareness campaign manager for AWF and herself a Kenyan. “Tourism is No. 1, 2, or 3 of the GDP for many African countries. Africans should care about elephants and rhinos being killed. We cannot let our iconic species disappear on our watch.” Karanja added, “Yes, poaching affects the park warden, but it’s other sectors of society, too. There’s the mechanic who fixes tour buses; the woman growing tomatoes for a nearby hotel. Their livelihoods are gone if wildlife disappears.”

The campaign will be a multi-faceted campaign that will use media – digital and mainstream, advertisements, policy and advocacy strategies to amplify the African Voice and place in at the core of the conversation on conservation.

“As we move towards the launch of the campaign, I urge the people of Africa to take a stand and add their own voice to the defense of one of Africa’s most important natural resources, its wildlife,” said Karanja.

Fresh Water: Renewable, But Not Infinite

The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, which forms a natural border between the U.S. and Mexico. Photo courtesy: World Wildlife Fund

The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, which forms a natural border between the U.S. and Mexico. (Photo courtesy: World Wildlife Fund)

This guest blog was written by Karin KrchnakDirector of the Freshwater Program at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Fresh water is the world’s life blood. It keeps us clean and healthy. It feeds us through crop irrigation and fishing. It provides energy by growing biofuels, cooling plants, and delivering hydropower. It fuels industry. And it houses an incredible range of biodiversity.

Yet while water is a renewable resource, it is not infinite. Of all the water on the planet, only one percent is fresh (not salty) and available (not frozen). This one percent is under siege, threatened by pollution, dams, overuse, climate change and other impacts.

Since we all need water—people, businesses and nature—we all need to work together to protect it. This is why we at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are committed to a basin-wide, collaborative approach to conserve fresh water.

The Rio Grande flows 1,885 miles through New Mexico, Texas and Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the freshwater source for over 13 million people living in one of the driest, most arid regions of the Americas.

The Rio Grande flows 1,885 miles through New Mexico, Texas and Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the freshwater source for over 13 million people. (Photo Courtesy: World Wildlife Fund)

Nowhere is this more obvious than the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, the natural border between the United States and Mexico. Called the Rio Grande in the United States and the Rio Bravo in Mexico, the river rises in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and flows 1,885 miles through New Mexico, Texas and Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is the freshwater source for over 13 million people living in one of the driest, most arid regions of the Americas.

In 2001, for the first time in recorded history, the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo failed to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Exploitation of water resources is the most serious problem facing the basin. Despite water scarcity, municipal and industrial water use in the area is increasing. Hundreds of dams and thousands of miles of canals disrupt the river and divert water to support the agricultural industry. Two highly invasive species, salt cedar and giant cane, absorb large quantities of water from the river, reducing water flow and degrading native habitat and water quality. Alarmingly, the river has already lost half of its native fish, and many of its species are endangered or have already gone extinct.

We at WWF quickly began gathering public and private sector organizations on both sides of the border to ameliorate and protect the precious river basin. While we saw some successes, our work truly took off in 2007, when The Coca-Cola Company and WWF selected the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo as a key focus of our transformational partnership. Together, we worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local nonprofits to help save the endangered silvery minnow, engaged local communities around habitat conservation and water management, and even identified a new species, the Julimes pupfish, which lives in the 114 degree hot springs and is known as the hottest fish in the world. To protect this unique fish, the partnership helped establish a local NGO of area farmers who protect its habitat and the area around the springs.

Some of the most impressive work comes through collaboration with the parks responsible for both shores of the river—the U.S. Big Bend National Park and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP)—as well as local, bi-national implementers. We continue to overcome difficult logistical (including coordinating passports and visas so we can work on both sides of the river) and physical challenges (such as high heat and hard labor) to rid sections of the river of highly invasive species. In doing so, we improve river conditions through integrated management and increased environmental flows that support healthy ecosystems.

The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo is the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, a key conservation area, and one of the most at-risk rivers in the world. But so many rivers, lakes and streams around the world need help. Because water is a shared resource and because the issues impacting it are so grand, we need to work together to secure fresh water for people and nature. Learn what you can do to help, and join us on Twitter on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 for a #WaterTalk.

As noted in her WWF bio, Ms. Krchnak “is passionate about connecting the links between communities’ access to clean water and the role that individuals, especially women, can play in conserving the world’s freshwater resources. She has devoted much of her career to exploring how the sustainable management of rivers can benefit both people and nature.”

 

 

Female Environmental Leader Profile: Ms. Julie Gagoe

This profile was written in conjunction with the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which “brings together some 70 partners, including African countries, donor agencies and governments, international organizations,  NGOs, scientific institutions and the private sector, working to coordinate efforts to sustain forest resources in the Congo Basin.”  All photos below are courtesy of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership.

Sub-products derived from the valuation of the Allanblackia Florubundia by Women Platform of the Campo Ma'an Model Forest.

Sub-products derived from the valuation of the Allanblackia Florubundia by Women Platform of the Campo Ma’an Model Forest.

Ms. Julie Gagoé of the African Model Forests Network works to develop and promote Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to provide communities in the Congo Basin with economic alternatives that value natural ecosystems.  Here are several direct quotes from Julie and other female environmental leaders about Non-Timber Forest Products and the importance of supporting women and the environmental movement.

“The valuation of NTFPs and the creation of small businesses managed by women gives dignity and autonomy to women” – Melanie Leboh, Director of the Centre for Development Support for Women

“[To] succeed is the ability to develop mechanisms to face the trials and overcome them” – Julie Gagoé, Coordinator of Partnerships and Studies Program in African Model Forest Network

“The belief that nothing lasting for the welfare of African local communities can’t be done without my contribution is what allows me to brave the daily trials and not to yield to discouragement” – Julie Gagoé

“Supporting local women’s initiatives and enterprises is to contribute to the growth and the emergence of rural communities” – Julie Gagoé

“My greatest pride in life is to impose myself and succeed as a woman in all my activities” – Marthe, member of the women’s platform of Campo Ma’an Model Forest

 

Water: “Our Planet’s Most Precious Shared Resource”

“On World Water Day, let us pledge to develop the policies needed to ensure that sustainable water and energy are secured for the many and not just the few.” – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Water_is_energy_Flickr

Happy World Water Day! This year, the focus of this special day is on the links between water and energy – and climate change.

As United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted in his remarks leading up to World Water Day 2014, water and energy “interact with each other in ways that can help – or hinder – our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all.”

This is a theme that’s also been noted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who stated: “Water security requires global cooperation to ensure people have the water they need, where they need it, when they need it, reliably and sustainably.”

On Friday, March 21, 2014, as part of Secretary Kerry’s commitment to water security, the U.S. Department of State invited several U.S. companies to share their innovative water technologies and solutions to this global challenge:

What do you think of these solutions for sustainable water and energy? Let us know in the comments!

Read more about the present and future of water innovation on DipNote.