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Climate-Change Risks: Lawmakers From Nato Allies Demand Ambitious Response

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Faced with mounting security threats related to climate change, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) is urging Allied governments to back an ambitious, legally-binding global agreement in the run-up to and during negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris this December (COP 21).

A resolution is expected to pass today at the NATO PA’s annual session in Stavanger. Norway has urged governments of the 28 Alliance members to secure an ambitious and legally-binding deal at Paris, while also more fully recognizing climate-change risks and stepping-up their foreign and security policies in response.

The lawmakers also call upon NATO to improve strategic awareness of the security threats increasingly posed by climate change in the form of natural disasters; increased competition for natural resources such as food and water supplies; heightened migration pressures; and growing impacts on public health.

The resolution states that “climate-change related risks are significant threat multipliers that will shape the security environment in areas of concern to the Alliance.” In a clear call to action, the resolution also urges NATO member governments to enhance planning for climate risks; make a greater commitment to green defence policies; and intensify co-operation with partners in the Arctic, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and other regions particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“If the world wants to stop irreversible damage to the planet, all governments must agree in Paris to clear, fair, and ambitious targets to reduce emissions,” said French Parliamentarian Philippe Vitel, who drafted the resolution as the NATO PA’s Special Rapporteur of the Science and Technology Committee.

Lord Jopling, Vice-President of the NATO PA and former UK Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, stressed that “we need legally binding rules with regular reviews to encourage states to raise their ambitions. Far too often, governments promise grand commitments, but when you examine them later, very little is done about it.”

“In Paris, our governments must take actions that they will not regret in a few years’ time. We cannot have a repeat of Copenhagen 2009. And that means we need a real commitment to keep the rise in global average temperature to below 1.5° or 2°C above preindustrial levels,” says Baroness Ramsay, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee and Member of the UK House of Lords.

Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, in response to the NATO Parliament Assembly resolution on climate change and international security, explains: “Addressing the pressing security challenges NATO is facing today, especially around the southern and eastern flanks of the Alliance, must be the immediate priority. But, at the same time, to be an effective security organisation there needs to be an eye to future threats. Amongst these threats is the impact of a changing climate, including the risks posed to geopolitical stability and global wellbeing. Indeed, there is compelling evidence to show that a prolonged period of extreme drought has contributed to the current conflict in Syria, with the attendant mass movement of people within the region and beyond.”

“Now is the time for alliance members to demonstrate, both collectively and as individual nations, their commitment to reducing the security risks posed by a changing climate. Paris provides NATO members with the opportunity to show leadership in addressing one of the greatest challenges that we face in the 21st century. Failure to act will likely result in a more unstable world, one that will require NATO forces to be deployed, not just in a humanitarian role but also conflict prevention and, ultimately, conflict resolution.”

Climate change has been rising on the NATO agenda. As Allies observed in the 2010 Strategic Concept and reaffirmed at the 2014 NATO summit, climate change has the power to shape the Euro-Atlantic security environment, with “the potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations.” Building on this momentum, the Allied lawmakers are now calling on NATO to take the next step and “increase the frequency of military and political consultations on climate change within NATO.”

Although non-binding for Alliance governments and NATO itself, the Assembly’s resolutions are influential in shaping policy. Jens Stoltenberg, who was UN Special Envoy on Climate Change until being appointed NATO Secretary General, will lay out in writing his thoughts on the resolution by the end of 2015.

“The security of Alliance members is at stake,” insists Vitel. “Climate change is increasing the risk of violent conflict by exacerbating known sources of conflict, like poverty and economic shocks. The time to act is now.”

Besides the resolution, he authored a detailed report on the international security implications of climate change for the NATO PA’s Science and Technology Committee in Stavanger. It warns that “climate change is arguably the most critical and difficult challenge of the 21st century.”

The emphasis on climate change at the NATO PA’s Annual Session as part of its comprehensive agenda reflects a growing international understanding of the threat it poses from a security perspective. In April this year, the G7 Foreign Ministers recognised that climate change “poses a threat to the environment, to global security and economic prosperity”. As a result, the ministers set up a working group exploring the recommendations submitted by a consortium of think tanks in the G7-commissioned report “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks”.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly brings together more than 250 senior members of parliament from Allied nations, plus more than 20 associate and observer delegations. It serves as a vital bridge between voters and NATO leadership and is a critical forum for inter-Allied parliamentary discussions. The NATO PA has consistently urged concerted global responses to climate change challenges and has repeatedly called for the inclusion of climate change in NATO’s political agenda.

Lieutenant General Tariq Waseem Ghazi, a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) and former Defense Secretary of Pakistan, welcomed today’s NATO PA resolution: “The call to NATO members by its Parliamentary Assembly comes at a key time as world leaders prepare to decide upon a collective response to climate change. Growing competition for natural resources, heightened migration pressures, erratic water and food availability, and increasingly frequent natural disasters are just a few of the ways that humanitarian impact from climate change is transforming the security agenda. Exacerbating conflict, changing livelihoods and forcing people into poverty, its bite is already being felt. It is imperative that we see a strong, coordinated response across borders.

“The UN’s climate summit at the end of November is the time for action to ensure we have a lasting, just and meaningful global deal on climate action. World governments have varying but shared responsibilities to ensure not just the conservation of our planet, but also prosperity for their people. Just as NATO’s leaders have been urged to demonstrate the leadership required, so too should militaries around the world more fully recognise the significance of security risks from climate change. If future conflicts due to pressures created by climate change events are to be prevented, global initiatives need to be put in place now.”

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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