Activists today peacefully protested against a planned mega dam project in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Austrian company Andritz, one of the global leaders in technology for hydroelectric dams. The São Luiz do Tapajós-dam would be built in the Tapajós River, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.
In the early morning, 50 Greenpeace activists from Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Austria and France constructed a 10-meter replica dam in front of the doors of the Congress Graz building in Austria where the AGM is taking place. Together with representatives of the Indigenous Peoples – the Munduruku – they greeted the arriving shareholders and passers-by with yellow banners which read, “Andritz, hands off the Amazon!” The Austrian company has indicated interest in participating in the mega dam in Brazil, a project that would have catastrophic consequences for the Munduruku people and delicate ecosystems of the region.
Lukas Meus, Amazon spokesperson for Greenpeace Austria, said:
“Mega dams in sensitive ecosystems like the Amazon can be environmentally and socially destructive. If Andritz decides to supply turbines and generators to the São Luiz do Tapajós-dam they will become partly responsible for the devastating impacts this mammoth project will inflict upon the people and ecosystems of the fragile Amazon rainforest.”
The more than seven kilometres broad São Luiz do Tapajós-dam would involve a 729 square kilometre reservoir – an area roughly double the size of Vienna, Austria´s capital. To make way for the dam, huge areas of rainforest would need to be logged and many lakes and islands destroyed. The diverse animal population of the Tapajós Valley – including jaguars, river dolphins, endangered Terekay turtles and hundreds of species of fish and birds – would fall by the wayside. Many of these issues were not even factored-in to the environmental impact assessment.
The construction of the mega dam would have similarly catastrophic consequences for the region’s largest indigenous population, the Munduruku. The Tapajós River is their lifeline. Building the dam would involve flooding part of their homelands and destroying both their fishing grounds and their sanctuaries.
Arnaldo Kabá, spokesperson for the Munduruku, said:
“We have come to Austria to demand from Andritz that they respect our human rights. Neither Andritz nor any other company must take part in projects that might destroy our land.”
This is not the first time that Andritz has been criticized for their involvement in environmentally-destructive projects. The Belo-Monte mega dam, currently the subject of wide-ranging corruption investigations in Brazil, is just one of these projects. This dam has caused the forced relocation of between 20,000 and 40,000 people. In the case of the controversial Ilisu dam in Turkey, Andritz even took over the contracts of other companies – after States, banks and companies withdrew from the project due to the catastrophic environmental, cultural and social consequences.
“These irresponsible projects must stop! Andritz must not participate in the São Luiz do Tapajós dam and should publicly distance themselves from the project,” added Meus.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
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