Connect with us


The Young Woman Who Is On A Mission To Fight Climate Change In Bolivia




Mirna Ines Fernández Pradel is 27 years old and she cares for the environment and is passionate about protecting it.

Mirna, who lives in Bolivia, became a Girl Guide when she was just six and it’s a movement that’s inspired her to stand up for what she believes in. That’s why she’s determined to make the fight against climate change a priority.

“In Bolivia, there are many ecosystems and people depend on them to survive. Unfortunately, the impact climate change is having on the ecosystem is being felt most by the poorest
communities who are finding it the hardest to deal with,” says Mirna Ines Fernández Pradel, 27, from Bolivia.

The issue of c limate change now affects every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. It’s costing people, communities and countries a great
deal. Unless measures are put in place, the situation will only get worse – and it will affect girls disproportionately.

Among the poorest communities, girls are most vulnerable.

Mirna says, “Girls often have to drop out of school to take care of their siblings and to do the housework. As the effects of
climate change worsen, it’s the girls who will have to shift activities to help their communities. This means they might have to drop out of school to help address issues associated with
climate change, such as collecting water or becoming farmers to help families make ends meet, leaving them more vulnerable to early marriage.”

Having grown up in Bolivia, Mirna knows the difficulties girls face. She became part of the Bolivian Girl Guides Association when she was six. Now, she’s a leader and, as part of her
role, she is focusing on the Global Goal 13: Climate Action, and campaigning to ensure change happens.

Launched a year ago, the Global Goals are a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change for everyone, and it’s a notion that’s at the forefront of
Mirna’s mind.

“We can use the Global Goals to push decision-makers to move towards the change the planet needs, so the current challenges we are facing can be addressed,” says Mirna. “They
also bring hope, reminding us it is possible to reach a consensus over all the intercultural and political differences.”

A committed campaigner, Mirna is also educating her fellow Girl Guides about why climate change needs to be tackled, through a range of non-formal education programmes.

“I want to influence as many people as possible to care about biodiversity related issues. At a grassroots level, I want to keep motivating my Girl Guides to work on environmental issues. At a national and global level, I want to network with young people from different regions focusing on biodiversity, as well as bringing solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Her campaign work is going well and it’s clear girls in Bolivia are passionate about the topic.

“The group of Girl Guides who want to learn more about the environment is increasing. At the beginning I was the only one in my group working on environmental issues, now there are many more who want to learn about it.”

As well as pursuing a Masters in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Mirna has also represented the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) at a range of
high-level conferences, including the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

“For a young woman’s voice to be heard at these high-level conferences is a life-changing experience and it’s a responsibility we all take very seriously,” she says.

“It’s crucial girls and young women’s voices are heard. Empowering them through education and decent job opportunities means more resilient communities will be created, ensuring the coming generations will be aware and capable of how to build a better future.”

The Girl Guide and Girl Scout movement has been integral to Mirna’s journey, helping her to shape her values and beliefs.

“I owe a lot of my values, including the environmental ones, to the Girl Guiding Movement. My commitment towards nature comes from the outdoor activities I enjoyed as a Girl Guide. Being a Girl Guide leader helped me understand some of the world’s biggest challenges, such as poverty, sustainability and inequality, while I was able to develop my knowledge on environmental issues thanks to the non-formal education program,” says Mirna.

“Finally, my best friends, young women that I admire a lot, come from the movement, and I am still able to work with them. Now, as we come together to mark International Day of the Girl, it’s important to realise our full potential and to recognise that we don’t need to wait to grow up to make a big differences in the world. Change can happen now.”


Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?



self-driving cars for green environment
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Zapp2Photo |

Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?

But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?

The Big Picture

The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.

That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.

Driver Reduction?

One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.

As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.


Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.

Make and Model of Car

Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.

On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.

The Bottom Line

Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?

Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.

Continue Reading


Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family



Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace --

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

Continue Reading