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Antarctic Ocean Alliance Calls for Overdue Southern Ocean Conservation Commitments

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The Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) called on the 25 member countries gathering today for the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to finally agree on lasting and significant Southern Ocean protection.

CCAMLR previously pledged to establish two marine protected areas by 2012, but, because of a lack of consensus, member states have failed to reach agreement on two major proposals on four separate occasions. The Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species, including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds, and colossal squid, as well as the commercially targeted Antarctic toothfish, known in many retail outlets as Chilean sea bass.

Since they were introduced, both proposals have undergone a number of iterations, and several significant compromises have been negotiated among CCAMLR members, including reduction in the size of the protected areas. (Please see attached map infographic.)  The international nongovernmental organisations that make up AOA are calling for the immediate designation of both proposals rather than risk any further erosion.

A joint proposal of the United States and New Zealand to designate a Ross Sea marine protected area (MPA) of 1.25 million square kilometres—with 1.14 million square kilometres proposed as “no take”—has been under consideration since 2011. The Ross Sea, one of the most pristine oceans remaining on Earth, is often referred to as “the Last Ocean.”

Likewise, Australia, France and the EU are once again proposing the creation of an MPA to protect 946,998 square kilometres of East Antarctic waters that has been under consideration since 2010. This proposal would allow exploratory and research activities within the MPA if they are consistent with its objectives. The region’s unique oceanographic and seafloor features coupled with its biological value to seabirds, seals, and other animals, make the East Antarctic coastal region a prime area for protection.

“CCAMLR members have a clear task to complete: to work together to create the marine protected areas that Antarctica’s waters and wildlife need,” said Mark Epstein, executive director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition.  “CCAMLR promised that this protection would come by 2012, yet the process has been stalled for the last four meetings. Global leaders—many of whom are CCAMLR members—have a responsibility to take action now, ensuring these marine protected areas come into force at this meeting.”

“As Russia steps into the chairmanship role of CCAMLR this year, it has the opportunity to make history in the Antarctic region yet again,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ global penguin conservation program.  “Two hundred years after discovering the continent, Russia can lead member countries to a consensus decision on establishing large and permanent marine protections in the Ross Sea and the waters off East Antarctica.”

The two-week CCAMLR meeting precedes December’s 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.  AOA believes the role of the oceans in attaining this goal cannot be ignored.

“Antarctica is one of the world’s last untouched wildernesses and is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for monitoring the impacts of climate change.  Fully protected marine reserves are the single most powerful tool that CCAMLR has for fulfilling its mandate and protecting the astounding array of Antarctica’s marine life and enabling the Southern Ocean ecosystem to best withstand the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification,” added Maritza Schaefer, Greenpeace International’s global campaign leader for oceans.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance partners are attending the CCAMLR meeting in Hobart, where they will work to ensure that delegates step up to the challenge and designate the Ross Sea and East Antarctica proposals.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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