Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats

The Guardian, Damian Carrington, Monday 29 September 2014

Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast
 to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world
heritage site. Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon

The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.

“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.

The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.

“We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.

If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.

A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources. Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.

The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.

The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.

As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.

But while freshwater species such as the European eel and the hellbender salamander in the US have crashed, recoveries have also been seen. Otters were near extinct in England but thanks to conservation efforts now live in every county.

The number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970. From forest elephants in central Africa, where poaching rates now exceed birth rates, to the Hoolock gibbon in Bangladesh and European snakes like the meadow and asp vipers, destruction of habitat has seen populations tumble. But again intensive conservation effort can turn declines around, as has happened with tigers in Nepal.

Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular. Hunting, the destruction of nesting grounds and getting drowned in fishing nets have seen turtle numbers fall by 80%. Some birds have been heavily affected too. The number of grey partridges in the UK sank by 50% since 1970 due to the intensification of farming, while curlew sandpipers in Australia lost 80% of their number in the 20 years to 2005.

The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.

Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries, said Norris. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all. But 2015 – when the countries of the world are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals – presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends.

“We all – politicians, businesses and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”

Related Articles:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sudden volcanic eruption leaves dozens stranded in Japan

A volcano in central Japan has erupted, leaving over 250 people stranded and up to 32 people seriously injured. The eruption of the 3,067-meter-high Mount Ontake took climbers by surprise.

Deutsche Welle, 27 Sep 2014

Mount Ontake took mountain climbers by surprise on Saturday when it erupted and covered the area in up to 20 centimeters of ash, according to media reports.

Rescue workers were inhibited by the ash and tried to reach the stranded lodgers on foot because conditions were too dangerous for helicopters.

Over 200 people managed to reach the foot of the mountain, Reuters news agency reported, but around 40 were still trapped at the summit and would spend the night in shelters.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that 32 people had been seriously injured.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the military to rescue the trapped hikers. Authorities have restricted entry to hiking paths.

Abe orders rescue attempts

"We have confirmed that there have been injuries," Abe told reporters. "I ordered (government officials) to do their best to secure the safety of mountain climbers."

The Japan Meterological Agency recorded volcanic plum on the southern slope of the 3,067-meter mountain, stretching more than three kilometers and rising up to one kilometer high.

The agency forecast further eruptions and warned that debris could settle within a four-kilometer radius.

Saturday hike turns dark

Eyewitnesses told media there had been a sudden, loud thunder-like explosion and that the sky turned dark, leaving no visibility on what had been a clear Saturday noon.

Ash, rocks and steam continued to spew from the volcano nine hours later.

The last major eruption of Mount Ontake, which lies between the Nagano and Gifu prefectures in central Japan, occurred in 1979.

sb/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP)
Related Article:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Greenpeace Skeptical of Firm’s Deforestation Claim

Jakarta Globe, Sep 24, 2014

In this photograph taken on July 28, 2013, a worker load harvested palm oil fruits on
 a palm oil plantation in Blang Tualang village in Aceh province, Sumatra. (AFP Photo/
Sutanta Aditya)

Jakarta. Greenpeace Indonesia has welcomed an announcement by the Royal Golden Eagle Group’s oil palm plantation company Asian Agri and palm oil trading arm Apical that their new sustainability policies aim to tackle their impact on Indonesia’s forests, but the environmental group notes that other companies in the group are still destroying the country’s forests.

Monday’s announcement of new environmental commitments by Asian Agri and Apical, palm oil businesses owned by Sukanto Tanoto, come as his family’s pulp companies, APRIL and Toba Pulp Lestari, continue to destroy Indonesia’s rainforests, Greenpeace said in a press release on Tuesday.

On Padang Island in Sumatra, bulldozers are continuing to clear forests on deep peatland, it said.

Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s Indonesian forests campaign, said that while he welcomed the announcement, he saw it as a missed opportunity by the RGE Group to address its real impact on the rainforests of Indonesia.

“We note the announcement of new commitments by Asian Agri and Apical, but why are RGE’s pulp companies, including APRIL and Toba Pulp Lestari, allowed to continue with deforestation? Questions also remain about how these new palm oil policies will apply to minority shareholdings, third-party suppliers and new acquisitions,” Bustar said in Jakarta.

Greenpeace has called on RGE to immediately implement no-deforestation commitments that apply to all pulp and palm oil businesses that are owned or controlled by the Tanoto family.

Separately on Tuesday, Asia Pulp and Paper announced in a press release that it had signed the New York Declaration on Forests at the UN Climate Summit to help tackle climate change.

Teguh Ganda Wijaya, the APP chairman, joined a number of officials from other companies, governments and NGOs to sign the New York Declaration on Forests at an event at the UN Climate Summit 2014.

The declaration is an unprecedented international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change, the group said.

The signatories said they had committed to a vision of slowing, halting, and reversing global forest loss while simultaneously contributing to economic growth, poverty alleviation, rule of law preservation, food security, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.

Teguh said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had done the planet and some of its most critical ecosystems a great service in convening the ground-breaking meeting of governments, global business leaders and NGOs.

“Business can take the lead in delivering these commitments, but we must work closely with all stakeholders, including governments and NGOs, to truly tackle deforestation and climate change. One of the most effective ways to do this is by conserving forests, planting trees,” he said.

The declaration highlights that reducing emissions from deforestation and increasing forest restoration are key to tackling climate change, the signatories said.

All participants must strive to at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and end natural forest loss by 2030.

At the same time they plan to restore 150 million hectares of degraded landscapes and forestlands by 2020. They also aim to significantly increase the rate of global forest restoration thereafter, which would restore at least an additional 200 million hectares by 2030.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Britain's panda pregnancy fails

Yahoo – AFP, 22 Sep 2014

Tian Tian, the female panda at Edinburgh Zoo, relaxes in her compound
on August 9, 2013

Britain's only female giant panda has suffered a failed pregnancy, her second in two years, Edinburgh Zoo said on Monday.

Edinburgh said its 10-year-old panda Tian Tian, who is spending a decade in the Scottish capital on loan from China with her male companion Yang Guang, was on course to carry to full term, but "sadly this did not happen".

"She is no longer pregnant," said Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

"Panda reproduction and biology is complex. All data gathered since conception took place pointed to a pregnant panda likely to carry to full term. Sadly this did not happen."

"There is no evidence she has had a miscarriage, so late reabsorption of the foetus could have occurred," he said.

Tian Tian ("Sweetie") was artificially inseminated on April 13 after repeated attempts to make her mate with Yang Guang ("Sunshine"), and her pregnancy was announced in August.

Edinburgh is paying around $1 million (750,000 euros) a year to Chinese authorities for Tian Tian and Yang Guang -- the only pair of giant pandas in Britain -- who arrived in 2011.

Related Article:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Zoos in dilemma amid rising costs of panda

Want China Times, Hung Chao-Chun and Staff Reporter 2014-09-21

Tian Tian, a female panda loaned to Edinburg Zoo with her male partner Yang
Guang, enjoys bamboo shoots in their residence. (Photo/ Xinhua)

The possible pregnancy of the female panda Tian Tian in the Edinburg Zoo has brought to light discussions of "pandanomics," as the cost to maintain giant pandas have surged over the years, reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily.

Britain's The Guardian compared giant pandas with Premier League footballers — they both cost a fortune to purchase and maintain but can guarantee crowds. If Tian Tian gives birth soon, the zoo's finances will be secured because the cub will draw millions of visitors. But if the animal is not pregnant, then the zoo will face declining public interest, coupled with rising costs and financial difficulties.

The couple in the zoo, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, arrived in 2011. Since then, the number of visitors has increased by over four million. Nevertheless, from the experience in other zoos in the world that earnings will decline if no cubs pop out on a Chinese panda loan.

The Edinburg Zoo pays 600,000 (US$978,000) a year for the 10-year rent of the pair and spent 300,000 (US$489,000) building a home for the pandas. The costs for fresh bamboo shoots, which are imported from France, have gone up 40% since 2011.

Cubs born must be returned to China after two years. Should any one die due to human factors, the zoo must pay 300,000.

Washington, Atlanta, Memphis and San Diego Zoos are said to have spent more on keeping the pandas than what they received from exhibiting them.

It may be time that zoos worldwide rethink their giant panda rentals with China.

The latest research by Oxford University has concluded China's recent panda loans were all linked to trade. According to The Guardian, the Edinburg deal coincided with a 2.6 billion (US$4.3 billion) contract on petrochemical and renewable technology, Jaguar cars and salmon businesses between the two countries.

Panda pairs were loaned to Canada and Australia following uranium, oil, and minerals deals. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Macao received their pandas after signing free-trade agreements with China, said the report.

Related Article:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Indonesia Ratifies Asean Haze Agreement

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Sep 16, 2014

The Marina Bay Sands casino and resort is pictured on a hazy day in
Singapore June 18, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Edgar Su)

Jakarta. The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to ratify a regional agreement on cross-border haze as fires ripped through forests in west of the country, choking neighboring Singapore with hazardous smog.

Officials in Singapore and Malaysia have responded furiously to Indonesian forest fires, which have intensified and become more frequent in recent years.

Singapore’s air pollution rose to unhealthy levels on Monday as the Indonesian government failed to control fires in Sumatra island’s vast tracts of tropical forest.

The parliament’s decision has been passed into law.

The agreement obliges the government to strengthen its policies on forest fires and haze, actively participate in regional decision-making on the issue and dedicate more resources to the problem, regionally and domestically.

Indonesia signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution 12 years ago and has been under increasing pressure to ratify the document, beginning deliberations in earnest in January.

“Indonesia has already carried out operations for the prevention, mitigation of forest fires and haze, and recovery activities, at the national level,” the House said in a statement.

“But, to handle cross-border pollution, Indonesia and other ASEAN nations recognize that prevention and mitigation need to be done together,” it said.

While Singapore and Malaysia are smothered in haze from Indonesian forests every year, fires in June last year caused the region’s worst pollution crisis in a decade, renewing calls for action in the archipelago.

Authorities have said most of the fires are deliberately lit to clear land for commercial plantations, such as paper and palm oil, and have arrested people caught in the act.

The June 2013 haze crisis sparked a diplomatic row with Indonesia claiming Malaysian and Singaporean companies with plantations on Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo were among those starting the fires.

Singapore last month passed a bill that gives the government powers to fine companies that cause or contribute to haze up to Sg$2 million ($1.6 million), regardless of whether they have an office in Singapore.

Agence France-Presse

South African charity refunds Dutch rhino poaching prevention cash, Monday 15 September 2014

A South African charity has refunded €1.5m to the Dutch Postcode Lottery after admitting its campaign to inpregnate rhino horns with poison and dye to make them unpopular with poachers is not working.

Animal protection groups told the NRC earlier this year they had doubts about the effectiveness of the project.

'We were naive and too enthusiastic in our belief that horn infusion would help,' Peace Parks Foundation chairman and billionaire Johann Rupert told the Sunday Times. 'It was a mistake, not misrepresentation.'

The Postcode Lottery has confirmed the repayment and has placed the money in a different account until there is more clarity about what methods do work, the NRC says.

The Postcode Lottery gave €14.4m to the foundation in February. During a gala celebration, prime minister Mark Rutte described horn infusion as the 'key' to combating rhino poaching.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bangladesh meet begins to save endangered tigers

Yahoo – AFP, 14 Sep 2014

The wild tiger population has declined to just 3,200 in 2010 from 100,000 a 
century ago, according to wildlife conservationists (AFP Photo)

Dhaka (AFP) - Some 140 tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries met in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Sunday to review progress towards an ambitious goal of doubling their number in the wild by 2022.

The nations, including the 13 where tigers are still found in the wild, had vowed at a landmark meeting in 2010 in the Russian city of St Petersburg to double the population of critically endangered wild tigers.

Experts say the number declined to as few as 3,200 in 2010 from 100,000 only a century ago. But since then, poaching has reached critical levels and has emerged as the greatest threat to wild tigers.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 
addresses the Global Tiger Recovery
Programme (GTRP) in Dhaka, on Sep 14, 
2014 (AFP Photo)
Statistics from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, show that a minimum of 1,590 tigers were seized between January 2000 and April 2014. That represents an average of two per week.

Officials, however, listed some progress in the four years since the St Petersburg summit, including a rise in the wild tiger population in major "tiger range" nations -- countries where the big cats are found in the wild.

"There has been some increase in the number of tigers in significant countries such as India, Nepal and Russia," said Andrey Kushlin, programme manager of the Global Tiger Initiative.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the conference, saying efforts to conserve the wild cats have reached a "turning point".

But her own government has been under fire from experts at home and abroad for setting up a giant coal-fired power plant on the edge of the Sundarbans mangrove forests, home to one of the largest tiger populations.

Local experts fear the 1,320-megawatt power plant now being built will pollute the water of the world's largest mangrove forest, jeopardising its delicate biodiversity and threatening the tiger population.

Bangladesh says some 440 Bengal tigers live in its part of the Sundarbans -- a figure disputed by local experts who say the number will be less than 200.

Kushlin said at the conference the 13 range nations are expected to agree by 2016 to provide an accurate census of their wild tiger populations.

"We need accurate figures so that we know where we stand," said Kushlin, who also works for the World Bank.

The 13 tiger range countries are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the tiger as critically endangered. Poaching, encroachment on its habitat and the illegal wildlife trade are blamed for the declining number.

The conference will end Tuesday with the adoption of a Dhaka Declaration, which will set actions for the remaining eight years of the goal.

Related Article:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mount Lokon Erupts in North Sulawesi

Jakarta Globe, SP/Rully Satriadi, Sep 13, 2014

Photo of erupting Mount Lokon via BeritaSatu.

Jakarta. Mount Lokon erupted on Saturday early morning in North Sulawesi, sending a column of  ash 600 meters into the air and prompting local authorities to set up an exclusion zone around the volcano.

“The eruption must be monitored closely because… the ash fell on the eastern part of the mountain, Mandolang, Tombariri and East Tombariri district in Minahasa, and Manado has also been affected,” local resident Feri Rismawan said on Saturday.

In Malalayang, a subdistrict of the provincial capital of Manado, people wore facemasks to protect themselves from the respiratory effects of the ash.

Minahasa district head, Jantje Sajow, said the government had advised people not to venture outside without a mask. The local disaster management agency followed this up by distributing masks free of charge, while the local government set up a 2.5-kilometer radius around the crater which local people were not allowed to cross.

The 1,580-meter Mount Lokon is one of Indonesia’s more active volcanos. It erupted in 1991, killing a Swiss tourist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Two More Elephants Found Dead in Aceh, Police Suspect Poachers

Jakarta Globe, Nurdin Hasan, Sep 08, 2014

A dead Sumatran elephant with its tusks removed was found in Aceh
Jaya district. (Antara Photo/Anwar)

Banda Aceh. Police in Aceh are on the hunt for suspected poachers after two more elephants were found dead with their tusks brutally removed.

The grisly find at a palm oil plantation in East Aceh district on Sunday, the same day an elephant was found dead in Aceh Jaya district, brings the total number of elephants found dead in the province this year to six.

The Aceh Jaya elephant was also found with its tusks removed.

Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo said officers were on the site where the two dead animals were found by residents, about 200 meters apart, at a plantation in Jambo Reuhat village, Banda Alam subdistrict.

Gustav said the police strongly suspected the elephants were killed for their tusks.

“Looking at the horrible condition of the elephants and the fact that their tusks are missing, this strongly suggests they were intentionally killed,” Gustav said.

Idris, a resident, said the elephants seemed to have been shot before their tusks were removed.

“There were gunshot wounds in the elephants’ necks,” Idrus said.

The elephants were found some eight kilometers from the nearest village.

Gustav said Aceh Police were committed to solving the case, adding that in April officers had to release several suspected poachers because of a lack of evidence of their involvement in the killing of an elephant in Teupin Panah village, in Aceh Besar district.

Genman Suhefti Hasibuan, head of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said on Sunday that only about 450 to 500 elephants still live in Aceh.

Elephant habitats have increasingly come under threat in the province, where enormous swaths of land are being cleared for industrial use. Villagers cite elephants’ encroachment on plantation areas as an aggravating factor in often violent responses.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

UN’s Ban Ki-Moon Meets Young Eco-Warriors at a Bali School

A green school makes the effort in nurturing its students' potential in becoming green leaders

Jakarta Globe, Nadia Bintoro, Sep 07, 2014

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon greets young students in Sibang Kaja,
Bali on Aug. 28, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Green School Bali)

Putting theoretical discourse into real action, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Green School in Sibang Kaja, Bali, on Aug. 28, to learn about and witness firsthand sustainable education from a group of future leaders.

Accompanied by several significant figures in the political movement for climate change, including Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Morten Hoglund; Ambassador of Norway to Indonesia Stig Traavik; founder of the Green School Bali, John A. Hardy; and head of school John Stewart.

Ban and the delegation were warmly welcomed by 412 students of Green School, from pre-kindergarten to high-school level.

Equally excited to salute the secretary general on stage was Green School’s own deputy secretary general of the campus’ Model United Nations Club, Clover Horan.

The 10th grader leads the Green School’s own version of the UN, which aims to expand students’ knowledge on international issues and policy making.

Together with Ban, the delegation took the stage to give their remarks on the importance of young leaders to create a more sustainable future ahead.

In his opening speech, the UN secretary general shared his amazement over Green School’s commitment in molding the younger generation into future green leader of the world.

“This is the most unique and impressive school I have ever visited. Thank you very much for your strong commitment and vision to [making] this world green,” Ban said.

Recognizing the alarming threat climate change poses on the development and betterment of the world’s poorest communities, Ban noted that around today’s world leaders have had “though choices to make,” especially in the months leading up to the Sept. 1-4 Climate Summit and its post-2015 Development Agenda.

Onlookers as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the school
on Aug. 28, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Nadia Bintoro)

He encouraged his young audience to take an active part in the world’s ongoing efforts to combat climate change by developing into global citizens.

“Tomorrow you are going to be [our] leaders. And today, we need to be together working very hard to make the world of tomorrow much better for all its people,” Ban appealed to the crowd of enthusiastic students.

He especially congratulated “Bye Bye Plastic Bag,” an initiative led by Green School students Isabel and Melati Wijsen, which aims to collect one million signatures to ban the use of plastic bags in Bali. Ban said he hopes children all over the world could have the drive and passion to start a similar campaign.

During his visit, the secretary general also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Green School Bali, the National Redd+ Agency and the United Nations Office for Redd+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNorcid).

The joint endeavor, called “Green Schools for Sustainable Development,” details a collaborative framework between the three parties involved for the implementation of sustainable development in Indonesia’s schools and other educational institutions.

The MOU will serve as a guide for facilitation and development of green schools across Indonesia.

The three signatories are committed to recruiting one million Green Youth Ambassadors in schools across the archipelago by 2017.

“The Green School is an outstanding proof of concept. The next step is to achieve proof of scale. Supporting [the development] of green schools and strengthening environmentally sensitive educational curricula are two of the ten imperative actions of the National Redd+ Agency in 2014,” said Heru Prasetyo, head of the Indonesian National Redd+ Agency (BP Redd+).

The international delegation’s visit continued with a tour around Green School, showcasing several of the institution’s efforts to promote sustainable living and green education.

The event came to an end with the secretary general and his wife releasing two Bali starlings, which were bred by the Begawan Foundation — located within the school’s premises — to limit the risk of the species’s extinction.

As the magnificent white birds soared into the blue Bali sky, so did the hopes of those in attendance that day, for a greener and better future.

UN Secretary General Ban was in Bali on Aug. 28-29 for the Alliance of Civilizations’ Sixth Global Forum, which this year carried the theme of “Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Diversity for Common and Shared Values.”

Renowned conservationist Jane Goodall was the star of a recent conference
in Bali on sustainability. (Photo Courtesy of Green School)

Related Article:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Council chiefs call for a ban on wild animals in circuses, Wednesday 03 September 2014

Executives from 24 Dutch councils, including Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, are urging the economic affairs ministry to ban circuses from using wild animals.

The council officials have written to junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma urging her to bring in a ban as soon as possible, in line with the coalition agreement of 2012.

Councils are not currently able to ban circuses which have wild animals from their jurisdiction and need national legislation to make it possible.

Wild animals in circuses have ‘little room to live in, spend a large part of the day in a cage or chained up… Entertainment involving animals gives the audience, children in particular, a bad example about how to treat animals,’ news agency ANP quotes the letter as saying.

The letter was drawn up by Joost Eerdmans who has animal welfare in his portfolio in Rotterdam. Other signatories come from Almelo, Gouda, Haarlem and Schiedam.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiger Dies After Rescue From Indonesian ‘Death Zoo’

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Sep 02, 2014

In this file photo taken on April 17, 2013, an ailing critically endangered Sumatran
 tiger named Melani is fed from an enclosure at the Surabaya Zoo. The emaciated
Sumatran tiger, whose plight drew attention to the horrific conditions at an Indonesian
zoo, has died a year after being rescued from the centre where hundreds of animals have
perished, an official said on Sept. 2, 2014. (AFP Photo/Juni Kriswanto)

Jakarta. An emaciated Sumatran tiger, whose plight highlighted horrific conditions at an Indonesian zoo, has died a year after being rescued from the center where hundreds of animals have perished, an official said on Tuesday.

Pictures of painfully thin tigress Melani in an overgrown enclosure, with her fur matted and dull, caused shock when they were published last year and increased calls for action to be taken against Surabaya zoo.

It has been dubbed the “death zoo” as so many animals have died there prematurely in recent years owning to neglect, including several orangutans, a tiger and a giraffe.

After the pictures of Melani were published and officials warned the critically endangered tiger was on the brink of death, she was taken from the zoo to a safari park south of the capital Jakarta in July last year.

She was suffering from a serious digestive disorder after being fed tainted meat at the zoo on the main island of Java.

The 16-year-old was placed in a special enclosure with a vet assigned to care for her.

But more than a year of specialist care was not enough to save her, and she died in her sleep last month, Tony Sumampau, chief of Indonesia’s zoo association, told AFP.

The zoo association originally wanted to put her down in September last year but they changed their minds after a protest by activists.

“But she was truly suffering. You could see it in her face. … It was pitiful,” Sumampau said.

There are estimated to be only several hundred Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

Agence France-Presse

Surabaya Zoo, which is home to almost 3,000 animals, has come under fire
 for its gross negligence and mistreatment. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Animal
Aid Network).

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