A score of coastal communities in El Salvador are staking their bets on sustainable development as a form of life that does not overexploit natural resources diminished by years of government neglect and a lack of environmental awareness, using instruments ranging from ecological cookstoves to mangrove reforestation.
"Biogas is worth gold to us, we can no longer live without it," Claudete Volkswey, a poultry farmer in the municipality of Toledo, in the southwestern state of Paraná, Brazil, said enthusiastically about the new source of energy that has allowed her to get a good night’s sleep again, because she no longer has to get up to stoke the fire every two hours.
As the world looks to address issues of gender equity, development and climate change, the importance of increasing the participation of women in the energy sector is gaining attention. To date, this topic has generally been framed around the underrepresentation of women in the energy workforce.
Residents of Ngadirejo village in Sukaharjo regency, Central Java province, had often found themselves helpless when their wells dried up or water flooded through their homes. But thanks to a national campaign called Program Kampung Iklim
, known by its acronym ProKlim
, they now have solutions to this flooding that generally occurs because of a lack of adequate water catchments.
In neighbourhoods like Tehuixtitla in southern Mexico City, rain brings joy, because it provides water for showering, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking, by means of rainwater harvesting systems (RHS).
As the sun sets over the canopy of Albizia amara trees, a thin blanket of fog begins to descend over the forests of the Malai Mahadeshwara Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies roughly 150 km south of the Indian city of Bangalore.
Not so long ago, plumes of smoke would rise from the hamlets dotting the forests as women busily cooked dinner for their families over wood stoves. But tonight, dinner will be a smokeless affair in dozens of villages as communities have opted for the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a clean burning fuel that has given a boost to the health and safety of both the forest and its people thanks to a unique conservation project.
Salvadoran villager Maria Luz Rodriguez placed the cheese on top of the lasagna she was cooking outdoors, put the pan in her solar oven and glanced at the midday sun to be sure there was enough energy for cooking.
Indigenous farmers on communally owned lands have blocked since 2016 a private solar farm in the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatan by means of legal action, due to the company’s failure to hold consultations with local native communities and the risk of environmental damage.
Thousands of families in the Venezuelan capital have dipped into their savings or gone into debt, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in this country since the 19th century, so that their building has access to a well that will supply the water that has stopped running from the faucet.
Crises, as the one we saw across the US and Mexico last week originated by Winter Storm Uri, provide ample material for reflection. This is particularly clear from a distant viewpoint and when benefitting from the fact of not being directly affected, as strong emotions and reactions that often bias our judgements are absent.
With the construction of aqueducts, water purification and desalination plants, and investments to upgrade hydraulic infrastructure, Cuba is seeking to manage the impacts of droughts and floods that are intensifying with climate change.
The past year is one that few of us will forget. While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have played out unevenly across Asia and the Pacific, the region has been spared many of the worst effects seen in other parts of the world. The pandemic has reminded us that a reliable and uninterrupted energy supply is critical to managing this crisis.
The forest is the main resource in the Chaco, a vast plain shared by Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. And how to use it sustainably is the most difficult question. Two recently inaugurated power plants fired by forest biomass provide a possible answer, although they are not free of controversy.
On Sunday morning, Feb. 7, as most of the working-class in India’s Himalayan State of Uttarakhand went about their chores, the glacier-fed Rishi Ganga river started rising. Two hours later, swollen with rock debris and snowmelt, its waters rose 53 feet — the height equivalent of a five-storey building.
In December 2020, the “El Aromo” solar energy project was approved in coastal Manabí province, Ecuador. Operated by the Spanish company Solarpack, the project is expected to transform national solar output. El Aromo will occupy 2.9km2 of land that was previously cleared to build a multi-billion dollar oil refinery, plans that have since been abandoned. While El Aromo holds symbolic significance, it remains uncertain whether the project will mark a significant step toward more environmentally sustainable energy development in Ecuador.
Mexico is seeking to mitigate water shortages in part of its extensive territory by resorting to seawater, through the expansion of desalination plants. But this solution has exorbitant costs and significant environmental impacts.
Most beginnings are rocky and sometimes the obstacles seem insurmountable, before they are finally overcome. This was certainly the case for the Finca Marta, a farm in Cuba that had to begin by digging a well in search of water and with the hard-scrabble work of clearing an arid, stony and overgrown plot of land.
A government-backed coalition of international advisors to the Belt and Road Initiative
(BRI) has recommended that China apply more stringent environmental controls over its overseas investments. If adopted, this would be a major departure from China’s usual approach of deferring to host country rules, many of them inadequate, for regulating its overseas investments.
2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.
But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.
Throughout its history, San Salvador has faced the danger of landslides - mud and rocks that slide down the slopes of the volcano at whose feet the city was founded in 1525.
"We are no longer familiar with the Xingú River," whose waters govern "our way of life, our income, our food and our navigation," lamented Bel Juruna, a young indigenous leader from Brazil´s Amazon rainforest.