When I stepped out of the U.S. Forest Service SUV after nearly a two-hour scenic autumn drive from Taos, New Mexico to the Carson National Forest, we were standing in an expansive valley so big that huge cows below us looked like mere dots in the distance. We had finally arrived at Valle Vidal, a massive grassy meadow with vistas as far as the eye could see and elevations reaching close to 13,000 feet in Carson National Forest. Even though Valle Vidal is overwhelmingly beautiful to take in its environmental impact is being increasingly hampered by major stream and groundwater degradation that needs immediate remedying in order to protect fish and wildlife as well as to store more ground water for communities downstream.
I was in New Mexico visiting the Carson National Forest with Coca-Cola North America’s sustainability team last week to learn about their water restoration efforts in northern New Mexico as well as the company’s overarching nationwide partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest Foundation that replenished 1 billion liters of water to nature and communities reaching 60 million people in the United States. Coca-Cola also recently announced that it has successfully reached one of its principle global sustainability milestones ahead of schedule to effectively balance its water usage in its beverages and production. Coca-Cola has reached its goal five years ahead by replenishing 191.9 billion liters of water across the globe in 71 countries. In the United States, Coca-Cola North America has pledged to double the 1 billion liters of water that it has already replenished by 2018.
Continue reading How and Why Coca-Cola is Restoring Water to Our National Forests
The National Park Service is celebrating its 99th anniversary on August 25, 2015. On that day all national parks in the United States will be fee-free.
To celebrate the upcoming centennial of NPS in 2016, the National Park Foundation (NPF) launched its Find Your Park campaign to encourage everyone to get up, get out, and #FindYourPark.
Everyone is encouraged to share their favorite park with family and friends on social media with #FindYourPark.
Continue reading How to Celebrate the National Park Service’s 99th Birthday
By Mike Muller, University of the Witwatersrand
Inadequate infrastructure is widely recognised to be holding back Africa’s development and lowering the quality of life of its citizens. The traffic jams of Nairobi, the power cuts of Nigeria or the water shortages that currently afflict Harare and Bulawayo are some of these.
The same is true in fast-growing regions of Latin America and many parts of Asia. It is widely agreed from Addis Ababa to Brasilia, New Delhi and beyond that infrastructure investment is a priority.
But what kind of infrastructure is needed? Developed countries that enjoy a legacy of decades of infrastructure investment are trying new approaches. Since their cities and populations are growing slowly, their primary concern is now simply to maintain and improve what is already in place and make it more sustainable.
So, there is growing interest in using what they call green infrastructure – such as natural systems like wetlands – to provide services such as water storage and treatment.
Continue reading Why Promoting Green Infrastructure in Africa May Be Bad for Development
Coleen Vogel, University of the Witwatersrand
When it comes to climate change Africa is in the eye of the storm. This is partly because of human factors – but the continent’s climate also makes it extremely vulnerable.
Africa is faced with a number of interlinked challenges. These include land degradation, poverty and climate change. These are referred to as “wicked problems” since they are complex and caused by a number of factors, many of which have global dimensions.
In the case of climate change, Africa is vulnerable because it is exposed to damaging climate risks including extreme droughts, flooding and storms.
The continent also has low adaptive capacity making it particularly vulnerable and exposed
because of high rates of poverty, financial and technological constraints as well as a heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture.
Solving these challenges can seldom be achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Continue reading Why Africa is Particularly Vulnerable to Climate Change
It has been three months since the earthquake in Nepal. Over 9,000 people lost their lives and several more were injured. The latest figures state that over 117,000 people are displaced from their homes and over two million children have been affected. Like many countries at this time, Nepal is in great need of humanitarian assistance and help in rebuilding efforts. However, disaster relief is a short-term issue. The fate of the country in the long term must be considered by the international community.
Nepal was already listed as one of the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake, and moving forward they will not be able to break from their rank anytime soon. However, the country does have the means to be self-sufficient with the right help.
Nepal has many natural resources, particularly minerals like zinc and copper, but they are in limited supply and hard to get to. Agriculture is the largest source of income for the country and employs the most people. Many crops grow in the region but the most popular now are rice and corn. There is great potential for agriculture in the country if they can gain access to newer methods of farming and education. Agriculture will not only help Nepal feed its people, but boost international trading potential.
Continue reading The Status of Nepal: The Course for Moving Forward