THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mount Aspiring believed to be under threat from the NZ National Government's mineral stocktake plans...

En route Christchurch to Invercargill - Mount ...Image via Wikipedia
Is the NZ Govt planning to mine Mt Aspiring?

 Claims that another national park could be opened up for mining have put the Nw Zealand Government under more pressure. It has recently been highly criticised for its general support for more mining on conservation estates around the country.

ONE News  obtained documents suggesting Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is looking at allowing mining in the Mount Aspiring National Park, despite public assurances it remains a "no go" area.

"The government has, for its own reasons, decided that Kahurangi and Mount Aspiring are no-go areas," Brownlee had said back in March.

The recently obtained plans are on a government map that conservationists think show that it is under discussion for mining.

"These maps are drawn to close off permitting for this area because there is a survey being undertaken and therefore it suggests that the government does have an interest in mining these areas," says Quentin Duthie of Forest & Bird Society. Maps obtained suggest strong consideration for the Mount Aspiring National Park area, despite the government's denial. It is obvious that the New Zealand Government is deadly serious about raiding more of the country's highest value conservation lands over time.

The Government revealed a proposal back in March of this year, 2010, to remove 7000 hectares of  land from  Schedule 4 protection, but had said then that Mount Aspiring itself would remain protected. But it had posted a notice on its website that applications for mining large tracts of land - including Mount Aspiring National Park, and parts of other national parks - would be closed for the nextnine months while a mineral stocktake was carried out. This stocktake had now been carried out.

The website indicated the NZ Government's intentions were bigger than the public discussion paper disclosed. The Governmen's intentions were still not clear and above board. Forest & Bird would ask the government for more specific details.

The maps are on the website for the agency helping Brownlee with his minerals stocktake. The minister has declined interview requests today.

In March, Brownlee signed an official notice telling mining companies not to bother applying for permits in areas where his officials are about to spend $4 million assessing if there's enough gold and other minerals there to make it worth discussing mining potential. That notice includes Mount Aspiring.

"There is a chance that there is an innocent explanation. But it does seem that this matches government's earlier intentions to mine in this area so there could well be information that is being kept from the public here," says Duthie.

The minister's spokesman had denied this, saying that simply no-one in government thought it was worth ruling a more complicated line on the maps, and that the park remains off limits for mining.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Take action - wake up or become human clones New Zealand...

Take action - wake up or become human clones New Zealand!

Okay, perhaps the headline is a tad sensationalist but after yesterday’s announcement that the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has approved genetically modified goats, sheep and cows at AgResearch’s Ruakura research facility I wouldn’t be surprised if human cloning was on the cards soon.

I’m also not surprised that this consent was given considering ERMA’s rubber stamp approval of past applications. In the nearly 15 years since ERMA was formed it has yet to decline a single GE application. Talk about a lap dog for GE interests.

And yes, I can hear people say ‘but this application is different’ and ‘it will save people’s lives’. But human cloning is different, I guess.

I say ‘bollocks’. Yes, I know they say these GE applications will not be used for commercial interests in terms of developing milk. But, my sense is, that is exactly where this will lead. Along with the recent pro-GE grass articles these applications are for the commercial interests of big agri-business.

You may think, how cynical, but this is a subject close to my heart. Two of my siblings have muscular dystrophy. Several years ago there was a proposal to genetically engineer sheep to increase muscle mass up to four times. It was argued this process could be used to help people with muscular dystrophy. My siblings and I talked about this and we agreed that it seemed to be more about dollars in terms of ‘more muscle on sheep more dollars made in selling the meat’ than a genuine proposal to end muscular dystrophy. And where did that experiment end up? Nowhere and no cure in sight.

Greenpeace is not against GE for medical reasons. We believe that it should be kept in the lab and not out in our paddocks.

Plus, the Royal Commission (held in 2001 to determine whether GE should be allowed in NZ) recommended to use synthetic rather than human genes, and not use animals that could find their way into the food chain. Due to this and many other environmental and economic reasons this application should have been declined.

This government would support it friends in big business making money from cloning; even human cloning?

Greenpeace New Zealand

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green Infastructure and Green Spaces

Clinton FoundationImage via Wikipedia

Guest writer today: Jack from Everythingleft: "Supporter of all things green and progressive."

Green Infrastructure and Green Spaces...

Land conservation, clean water, obesity, and "green spaces" are amongst the most popular topics of early 2010. In particular, the addition and/or substitution of green spaces has been quite controversial as of late. Senior resident of Urban Land Institute Ed T. McMahon states "Green space adds value to property." Not only do areas of conservation drive economic trends upward, but they also improve the overall health of the community surrounding. For example, substituting things like golf courses for conservation areas would essentially increase surrounding property value while diminishing overpriced maintenance fees. The same holds true for airports and other large acre-eating developments. Recent findings have driven people like McMahon and fellow conservationists to investigate further into upgrading and expanding green infrastructure efforts.

Opponents state that this would ultimately drive up costs in the short term, however the return on investment would be substantial in the long term. The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(3)(c) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everybody. It’s one of the many organizations playing its role in this progression.

With recent green discussion on space travel/fossil fuel emissions, deforestation and land conservation, it’s important that we as individuals/citizens stay up-to-date on important global issues like warming. As larger organizations like the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative), AFH (Architecture for Humanity), and the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) conducts sustainability campaigns and enforce strict green constraints, our world will continue to become a better, cleaner place.

Another great example is the work being done by CEO Niranjan Shah and GEC (Globetrotters Engineering Corporation); they're underway with green building projects in Chicago, IL. Despite these few national examples, green infrastructure, particularly in places like Haiti, has become an integral part of restoration and construction.

This aligns with the implications of "economic viability" and long term sustainability, posing the questions, "Can Haiti really make it through all the costs of repair and reconstruction?" Infrastructure can take a toll on any economy, especially if the funds aren't there. This goes hand in hand with meeting modern day LEED standards and approaching this in a "greener" sense. Organizations like Architecture for Humanity will make this possible. Architecture for Humanity (1999) is a nonprofit design services firm building "a more sustainable future through the power of professional design." It was formulated through a group of building professionals whose overwhelming passion for construction drove them to provide a way for underdeveloped, suffering countries to rebuild. Through their dedication and hard work, these people will be able to not only create new buildings and infrastructure, but make them bigger, better, and greener.

To touch on just some of the things that AFH covers:

• Alleviating poverty and providing access to water, sanitation, power and essential services

• Bringing safe shelter to communities prone to disaster and displaced populations

• Rebuilding community and creating neutral spaces for dialogue in post-conflict areas

• Mitigating the effects of rapid urbanization in unplanned settlements

• Creating spaces to meet the needs of those with disabilities and other at-risk populations

• Reducing the footprint of the built environment and addressing climate change

As polluters continue to buy their way out of Carbon Cuts globally, and large organizations
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Earth Day Tips from RecycleBank...

Image representing RecycleBank as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

Earth Day Tips from RecycleBank

RecycleBank is offering tips all month in celebration of the 40th annual Earth Day:

You'll be more likely to recycle consistently if you set up a recycling area

in your kitchen or utility room. Post a list nearby of the items that are

accepted for recycling in your local community.

Reuse or recycle as many of your empty health and beauty product containers

as you can. If you can’t reuse them at home, containers such as your empty

vitamin or supplement bottles can be recycled with your home recycling.

Other cosmetic and toiletry tubes, bottles, and jars (from any brand) can be

taken back to retail stores including Origins and MAC.

Choose toilet paper made from 100% recycled fibers. According to the Natural

Resources Defense Council, if every household in the U.S. replaced one roll

of virgin fiber toilet paper with 100% recycled ones, we'd save 423,900


When decorating your home, choose items made from reclaimed materials - for

example, a recycled glass vase from RecycleBank rewards partner Uncommon

Goods, a rug made from old cotton t-shirts, or a basket made from telephone

wire. It saves resources and extends the useful life of the materials.

Find out how to recycle items that you can't place in your curbside bin like

batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and plastic bags. When in doubt,

call your local solid waste management agency or go to

Leave grass clippings on the lawn after you mow rather than bagging and

throwing them away. This saves energy and landfill space and the grass will

decompose and return nutrients to the soil.

Got an old fur coat or hat in the attic that you inherited and never wear?

Donate it to the Humane Society of the United States' Coats for Cubs program

so wildlife rehabilitators can reuse it as bedding for injured or orphaned


After birthday and holiday celebrations, save gift bags and boxes, ribbons,

and tissue paper to reuse.

Recycle plastic packing peanuts by saving them for the next time you send a

package, taking them to any UPS Store location, or calling the Plastic Loose

Fill Council's 24-hour Peanut hotline (800-828-2214) to find other drop-off

sites near you.

Invest in a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger for powering your

digital camera, portable music player, remote control, and other gadgets.

You'll reduce waste, save resources like steel, and save money in the long run

Acknowledgements: Compliments of Barbara Mathieson -RecycleBank

Recycle tips 5 Ways to Get Paid for Being Green (

readbud - get paid to read and rate articles
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