What is Revegetation and Why is it Important?

Revegetation is a vital step in facilitating a successful soil restoration in disturbed lands. It can occur naturally through plant succession and colonization or accelerated human-driven land changes meant to repair damage caused by severe events like floods, wildfire, or mining. The original technique involved applying fertilizer and seeds to vulnerable lands.

For those unfamiliar with revegetation, you’ll want to review its benefits to prevent soil erosion successfully, reduce wind erosion, and boost soil’s ability to soak up water that runs off the surface. Without employing revegetation-based erosion control strategies, plant communities and delicate habitats may sustain avoidable damage.

revegetation

Benefits of revegetation

Unlike the normal tree planting process, revegetation requires pre-planning activities like land designing. In the designing phase, you’ll outline which type of plants to use in specific areas and perform soil compatibility studies. Proper environmental and landscape analysis are the key to successful revegetation. Proper planning ensures that you allocate money and resources wisely and fare a better chance of achieving your goals and earning a profit.

Some native plants can only grow in specific areas, so it’s essential to identify which plant types can endure your region’s climate. Homeowners complete the revegetation process for various reasons, including its ability to benefit governments, private individuals, communities, and companies, alike.

If you need a solid Colorado seed company that provides conservation and reclamation seeds, check out Granite Seed; they’ve been implementing soil erosion control measures and distributing products across North America for more than 30 years. For optimal results, consult the professionals.

Soil erosion control

Revegetation is crucial, as the risk of erosion damage increases when the land is bare or contains little vegetation cover. Plants offer a protective barrier and prevent soil erosion by slowing down water runoff and encouraging more water to seep into the ground. Additionally, the roots hold the soil intact while protecting the plant itself from powerful rushing water that can wash it away. This plant life also assists in stabilizing slopes and embankments, lowering the terrain’s susceptibility to landslides.

Trees, grass, crop residue, and plants offer ultimate soil coverage and intercept all falling raindrops, acting as the most effective soil erosion control measure. Mulch provides additional protection from wind and rain before the newly-planted seeds take root while minimizing soil moisture loss during prolonged dry periods.

Mulching is crucial in halting destructive erosion and establishing vegetation in places with severe exposure to natural and human-driven erosion. Experts advise utilizing hydromulching in such conditions. The absence of windbreakers like crop residue, trees, and shrubs leads to more soil displacement, thus increasing erosion and abrasion.

Conservation

One of the primary roles of revegetation is to connect lost patches of natural habitat. It serves as a crucial tool in areas that have suffered extensive natural vegetation clearances like urban environments. Research shows that revegetation can facilitate the restoration of significant urban bird populations by connecting the existing habitat with new patches, enhancing bird species diversity.

Developing large habitat patches is an effective method of increasing bird abundance. Therefore, revegetation plans should carefully consider how to connect the new vegetation patches with the existing habitats for the sanctity of bird populations. Revegetating agricultural zones, in specific, can encourage breeding.

For the most part, revegetation favors thriving and common species of birds over declining, rare types. Despite its favoritism, revegetation provides a home to millions of species like small mammals, insects, and birds, when successful.

Soil fertility restoration

Activities like mining lead to extensive topsoil damages as reinstatement, stripping, and stockpiling causes soil degradation. This damage occurs through accelerated soil erosion, soil structure loss, soil PH reduction, organic matter depletion, compaction, reduced microbial activity, and heavy metal accumulation. Topsoil management is essential for restoring fertility and minimizing nutrient losses.

Revegetation via forest vegetation restores soil fertility by improving the capacity to exchange cations, organic matter, and available nutrients while sustaining biological activities and improving physical conditions.

This method is beneficial, but it takes prolonged periods to regenerate the soil to its original state. Some of the ideal trees for revegetating mined lands are grasses, legumes, trees, and herbs N-fixing species. The favorable tree species are Leucaena, Acacia, and other acid-tolerant legume trees, which provide the soils with substantial organic matter.

Pollution reduction

Revegetation and reforestation play a significant role in minimizing pollution. The net carbon release from deforestation was estimated at 1-2 billion tonnes in 1980 and between 1.5- 3 billion in 1989. There’s enough evidence to verify a significant increase in deforestation since 1980 in multiple tropical areas. Revegetation offers a long term solution to sequestering carbon (IV) oxide because as trees mature, they eliminate Carbon (IV) oxide, thus slowing down carbon buildup in the atmosphere.

Beautifies the landscape

Besides purifying the air by filtering pollutants and harmful dust and gifting human beings with life-supporting oxygen, vegetation also makes the environment beautiful. Revegetating bare land makes it attractive, restores its appearance, and can even boost its value.

college-green

If you notice your yard is looking dull or lifeless, vegetation can add color to a property’s outdoor living spaces. For example, trees bear beautiful flowers, magnificent leaves, and fruits, which can sprinkle vibrant accent colors throughout your back and front yard. For more information on how to keep your trees healthy, check out this article.

It would be best to seek an expert before embarking on your revegetation project, as it can be a meticulous process. A revegetation expert will offer expert insight and advice on how to proceed.

Sustainability Standards in Oil Palm Industry: An Overview

The palm oil industry is particularly involved in the development of sustainability standards. Driven by growing global demand, palm oil production has expanded rapidly in the last few years. Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil in the world, and its popularity has grown even more with the emergence of new market opportunities in the biofuels sector, in addition to its traditional food and oleochemical uses.

This strong growth has unquestionably contributed to the economic development of the main producer countries – Indonesia and Malaysia – which account for 87% of global production. Palm oil cultivation provides income for many smallholders, whose produce accounts for around 40% of world palm oil output.

Environmental and Socio-economic Concerns

However, the expansion of palm oil cultivation has also generated serious environmental concerns. It results in tropical deforestation and thus has a major impact on biodiversity loss, with the decline of emblematic species such as orangutan in Southeast Asia. It contributes to climate change through deforestation, but also through the conversion of peatlands, which are of vital importance in soil carbon sequestration.

The huge forest and bush fires in recent years in Indonesia which are associated with clearing lands for agricultural or forestry plantations caused severe air pollution and public health problems across the sub-region. In addition, industrial plantations are sometimes responsible for polluting waterways, into which chemical inputs and processing plant waste are dumped.

Moreover, this expansion has sometimes resulted in social abuses and human rights violations, in the form of land grabbing by plantation companies at the expense of local and indigenous communities or of the exploitation of plantation workers.

Sustainability Standards in Oil Palm Industry

Condemnation of these abuses by NGOs and growing consumer awareness of the adverse impacts of the expansion of palm oil plantation have driven the development of sustainability standards. Such standards are aimed at transforming production practices in order to mitigate their adverse environmental and social effects.

The expansion of palm oil cultivation in Southeast Asia has also generated serious environmental concerns.

In 2001, representatives of the food processing and distribution sector launched a dialogue with WWF and plantation companies, leading to the creation in 2004 of the first voluntary sustainability standard in the sector, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

There are now 2.41 million hectares of RSPO-certified plantations, while sustainable palm oil accounted for 20% of world trade in this product. Meanwhile, several other initiatives proposing a vision of palm oil sustainability have emerged, positioning themselves as either a complement or an alternative to RSPO.

New Challenges to Overcome

The development of these initiatives demonstrates the growing awareness among producers, the industry and the public authorities of the need to transform the sector to enable it to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But this proliferation of sustainability standards itself poses new challenges, even though the environmental and social problems that motivated their emergence remain unresolved.

At the institutional level, the proliferation of sustainability initiatives since the creation of RSPO reflects a real fragmentation of the regulatory framework. This proliferation also raises the question of the articulation of these voluntary standards with the public regulations and national sustainability standards that producer countries have adopted.

Finally, measures to ensure the sustainability of palm oil cultivation need to bolster their credibility by guaranteeing better inclusion of the millions of smallholders, and by contributing in an effective, measurable way to mitigating the adverse social and environmental impacts of growth in palm oil cultivation. In this field, the role of collaborative and multidisciplinary research in providing strong evidence-based impact evaluation of standards is crucial.

Is Bioenergy the Future of Sustainability?

Bioenergy has emerged as a viable competitor in the race for a sustainable energy future. It provides an environmentally friendly alternative to standard fossil fuels, a significant step forward. Bioenergy, derived from organic resources such as plants, agricultural wastes, and organic waste, can potentially decrease greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the effects of climate change. The issue, however, comes in finding an equilibrium between fulfilling the expanding global need for energy and guaranteeing the sustainability of bioenergy production.

bioenergy and sustainability

Bioenergy – The Potential Future

Bioenergy has been used by mankind for ages in various ways, ranging from the combustion of wood to provide heat to the harnessing of the power of biomass for the transmission of electricity. Because the carbon dioxide emitted during burning is accounted for by the carbon absorbed during the development of the organic materials, bioenergy sources are considered carbon-neutral compared to fossil fuels. The fact that bioenergy is carbon neutral by its nature makes it a vital element in the process of transitioning to a low-carbon energy future.

Biomass and Biofuels

It is possible to obtain a wide variety of bioenergy from biomass, which is derived from both plant and animal sources. In addition to being directly used for heating purposes, it can also be turned into biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The problem comes in sustainably obtaining biomass to prevent challenges regarding land usage and deforestation. New technologies, such as second-generation biofuels that are created from non-food crops and agricultural leftovers, are being developed to solve these concerns about the environment.

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas

During anaerobic digestion, organic materials are broken down in the absence of oxygen, which results in the production of biogas that is abundant in methane. This biogas can potentially be used as a clean cooking fuel or to generate electricity. Suitable feedstocks for anaerobic digestion include municipal solid waste, agricultural residues, and treatment plants for wastewater. These feedstocks contribute to the reduction of waste while simultaneously contributing to the generation of sustainable energy.

Weather API Integration

Since weather conditions majorly affect bioenergy production, incorporating weather APIs becomes very important. The meteorological data that is collected in real-time can be of assistance in optimizing energy production, foreseeing the availability of resources, and enhancing overall efficiency. Facilities that generate bioenergy can improve their operational planning, lower the risks associated with unfavorable weather occurrences, and ensure a more dependable and consistent energy output if they include weather predictions in their energy production processes.

bioenergy and net zero

The Problem of Long-Term Sustainability

Even though bioenergy is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional energy sources, there is an important concern over the sustainability of the technologies used to produce it. A lack of fairness in the use of land for the cultivation of bioenergy crops may destroy forests, cause the loss of biodiversity, and cause competition with food crops. Achieving the optimal equilibrium necessitates implementing severe sustainability requirements, promoting responsible land-use practices, and encouraging the production of energy crops in marginal areas to prevent the compromise of food security.

Advancements in Technology

The development of more efficient and environmentally friendly bioenergy technology is important. The future holds exciting biotechnological advancements, such as crops modified to have a greater energy content as well as higher rates of conversion. Further, combining artificial intelligence and precision agriculture can optimize land usage, water consumption, and resource utilization in bioenergy production.

Policy Frameworks and Global Collaboration

International cooperation and coherent policy frameworks are essential for bioenergy’s long-term viability. Responsible bioenergy production, equitable land-use policies, and novel, long-term bioenergy technology development need concerted efforts by governments, businesses, and academic institutions.

Conclusion

Bioenergy is the way to go when it comes to meeting global energy demands and reducing the impact of climate change. Through a meticulous examination of sustainability and demand, along with the use of new technologies, we could delve into the capabilities of bioenergy to establish an energy system that is cleaner and more robust. Bioenergy has the potential to play a pivotal role in the worldwide shift towards a low-carbon future if we prioritize ethical practices, technical innovation, and international collaboration.

Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources

From the vast oceans that cover most of the Earth’s surface to the rivers and lakes that crisscross continents, water resources are fundamental to the survival of all living organisms. However, this vital resource is under threat, not from scarcity, but from the changing dynamics of our planet’s climate.

As we witness a shift in global climate patterns, the impact on Earth’s water resources becomes a topic of paramount importance. These changes are altering the very fabric of our water systems. This post aims to shed light on how climate change is reshaping our water resources, influencing everything from the availability of freshwater to the health of our oceans. It’s a journey into understanding one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and its profound implications for life on Earth.

Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources

The Science of Climate Change and Water Cycle

The Water Cycle: Earth’s Vital Circulatory System

Imagine the Earth as a living organism, with the water cycle as its circulatory system, constantly moving and recycling water through its veins – the atmosphere, land, and oceans. This cycle begins with the evaporation of water from the surface, forming clouds as it cools and condenses in the atmosphere. These clouds eventually release their stored water as precipitation, which either replenishes the Earth’s surface waters or is absorbed into the soil, recharging groundwater reserves. The cycle is complete when this water eventually finds its way back to the oceans, ready to begin its journey anew.

Global Warming: A Disruptor of the Water Cycle

Enter global warming – the wrench in the works of this finely tuned system. As the Earth’s temperature rises, primarily due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases, the water cycle is experiencing a seismic shift. Warmer air holds more moisture, which can lead to more intense and frequent storms and heavier rainfall in some regions. Conversely, other areas experience prolonged dry spells, as the altered atmospheric patterns disrupt traditional weather systems.

The increased evaporation rates due to higher temperatures also mean more water is being pulled from soil, rivers, and lakes, exacerbating drought conditions in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, in colder regions, the warmer temperatures are causing earlier snowmelt, altering the timing and distribution of freshwater flows.

The Ripple Effect on Ecosystems and Human Life

This disruption of the water cycle has far-reaching consequences; the impact on entire ecosystems, agricultural productivity, and the availability of potable water for human consumption. The balance of life, intricately tied to the rhythm of the water cycle, is being thrown off-kilter, presenting challenges that ripple through every aspect of our environment and society.

Melting Glaciers and Rising Sea Levels

The Great Thaw: A Global Phenomenon

Picture the Earth’s polar regions and high-altitude areas, home to vast expanses of ice and glaciers. These frozen reservoirs, having stood sentinel for millennia, are now in a state of retreat. The culprits? Rising global temperatures and climate change. As these glaciers and ice caps melt, they’re sending an immense volume of water into the world’s oceans, contributing significantly to rising sea levels. It’s a process akin to a slowly filling bathtub – gradual but relentless.

Rising Seas: More Than Just Higher Water

The rising sea levels are not a distant, abstract phenomenon; they’re a tangible reality with profound implications. Coastal ecosystems, which have evolved over thousands of years, are facing inundation. Saltwater intrusion is altering habitats, affecting both plant and animal species that are integral to these ecosystems. Mangroves, coral reefs, and wetlands – natural barriers against storms and erosion – are under threat, potentially altering the ecological balance.

Human Settlements: The Rising Tide of Challenge

For human settlements, particularly those in coastal and low-lying areas, the rising sea levels pose a formidable challenge. Cities and towns are facing increased risks of flooding, storm surges, and coastal erosion. This isn’t just about waterlogged streets or eroded beaches; it’s about the potential displacement of millions of people, the loss of homes, and the disruption of livelihoods. The economic impact is staggering, with costs related to infrastructure damage, loss of land, and the need for adaptation measures.

Impact on Freshwater Availability

The Shifting Sands of Freshwater Sources

In the grand theater of our planet’s changing climate, one of the most critical acts is the impact on freshwater availability. This isn’t just a subplot in the larger narrative of climate change; it’s a central theme with far-reaching consequences. Particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, the changes in the water cycle are not merely altering landscapes; they’re reshaping lives.

Arid Regions: The Deepening Thirst

Consider the arid regions, where water is already a precious commodity. Here, the reduced rainfall and prolonged droughts are not just inconveniences; they are existential threats. The rivers and lakes that have been lifelines for centuries are receding or drying up. Groundwater levels are plummeting as the recharge rates can’t keep up with the extraction. Places like the Middle East and parts of Africa, which have long battled with water scarcity, are finding this battle increasingly harder.

Semi-Arid Regions: The Uncertain Future

In semi-arid regions, the situation is equally dire. These areas, which typically experience moderate rainfall, are now facing unpredictable weather patterns. The rains, when they come, are often too little or too much, disrupting the delicate balance needed to sustain agriculture and livestock. Regions like the southwestern United States and parts of South America are witnessing this unsettling shift, where the uncertainty of water availability is becoming a constant concern.

Communities at the Crossroads

For communities in these regions, the impact is profound. Agriculture, the backbone of many such societies, is under threat, jeopardizing food security and livelihoods. The scarcity of water is also leading to social and political tensions, as communities and countries vie for this dwindling resource. The very fabric of these societies, woven around their water sources, is being unraveled.

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies

Innovative Water Treatment Solutions

As we delve into strategies for tackling the water crisis, an essential component is the advancement in water treatment technologies. In the face of changing climate conditions, traditional water purification methods may fall short in ensuring a safe and sustainable water supply. Innovative water treatment solutions become crucial, especially in areas where climate change has severely affected water quality or availability.

Adapting to New Realities with Advanced Treatment

Advanced water treatment technologies, such as reverse osmosis, UV purification, and desalination, are becoming increasingly important in areas facing severe water scarcity or contamination. These technologies can transform previously unusable water sources, like seawater or polluted water, into safe, potable water. This adaptation is particularly vital for arid regions and places where traditional water sources have become compromised due to climate change.

cyber threats to water systems

Ensuring Sustainable Practices in Water Treatment

While implementing these advanced water treatment methods, it’s also crucial to consider their environmental impact. Sustainable practices in water treatment involve energy-efficient processes, minimizing chemical use, and ensuring that the treatment methods themselves do not exacerbate the water crisis. The goal is to create a closed-loop system where water treatment and conservation go hand in hand, contributing to a more sustainable water management approach.

Public-Private Partnerships in Water Treatment Initiatives

Collaboration between governments, private entities, and local communities in developing and implementing water treatment projects can lead to more effective and sustainable outcomes. These partnerships can facilitate the sharing of knowledge, resources, and technology, ensuring that water treatment solutions are accessible and affordable for all, especially in regions most affected by climate change.

Conclusion

The choices we make today, the policies we implement, and the practices we adopt will shape the future of our water resources and, by extension, the future of our planet. It’s a responsibility that falls on all of us – governments, communities, businesses, and individuals. Each action, no matter how small, towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water, and protecting our natural ecosystems, contributes to a larger effort to combat the effects of climate change.

In this pivotal moment in our history, let’s come together to write a different story – one where we meet the challenges posed by climate change with resilience, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to preserving our planet’s most precious resource. The sustainability of life on Earth depends on it, and the time to act is now.

How Does ESG Bring Value To A Company?

Have you ever wondered why certain companies perform better than others? The answer has three letters, and it is ESG.

Whether you are a startup or an established business organization, ESG reporting and investment is the framework to stay relevant to the current industry trends and practices.

Furthermore, you can even compare the ESG to the radar system that encapsulates everyone in the ecosystem.

What is ESG?

ESG is the abbreviation of Environmental, Social, and Governance. These three are the key components that refer to the factors measuring the sustainability and the ethical impact of the businesses and companies.

How Does ESG Bring Value To A Company?

 

Most investors who seek to invest in companies look at the ESG scale of the company. Therefore, if the company fails to pass the ESG standards, it fails to win over investors for the company.

If we go with the definition, ESG is a generic term used in the capital market. It is commonly used by investors to evaluate the behaviors and future potential of the company.

What falls under ESG?

1. Environmental

It examines how the business performs to safeguard the natural environments. 

It focuses on:

  • Resource depletion.
  • Waste and pollution.
  • Greenhouse gas emission.
  • Climate change.
  • Deforestation.

2. Social

It looks at the social behavior of the company and how it treats other people.

  • Employee relations and diversity.
  • Healthy & Safety.
  • Working conditions.
  • Conflicts.
  • Local communities.

3. Governance

It examines the credibility of the company policies and how the business operations are governed.

  • Executive remuneration.
  • Tax strategy.
  • Donations and political lobbying.
  • Corruption & Bribery.
  • Board diversity & structure.

If you are a company and would like your company to be ESG compliant, contact Diginex. They are an award-winning agency that ensures your company gets ESG complaints.

How Can ESG Bring Value To Your Company?

When it comes to ESG, corporations are looking at it as a business opportunity. These include new markets they can open and sell to, cost reduction, and integrated risk management.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive into it.

1. Top-Line Growth

A strong ESG proposition allows the companies to tap into new markets and expand themselves into the existing market. When the government authorities find that you are doing something for society, they are more likely to be awarded the license, access, and approvals to grasp opportunities for growth.

In addition, ESG can also drive consumer preference. If the consumer finds that the company they are dealing with or investing in is taking action to protect nature and society, consumers show more interest and are willing to pay more to go green.

2. Cost Reduction

Among the many advantages of ESG, one of the major advantages is that it can help you with cost reductions. In addition, executing ESG effectively can help the organization combat rising expenses.

climate change in sustainability reporting

With the ESG, you can see the flow of the expenses and put a lid on unnecessary expenses. This will close the finance lease and significantly reduce business operating costs.

3. Reduce Regularities

A stronger external value proposition can help the organization achieve greater strategic freedom and help ease regulatory issues.

We have seen that most business actions are put to a halt by the government authorities because of many reasons. However, with the ESG compliant business operation, companies can reduce the risk of adverse government action.

4. Boost In Employees Productivity

Just paying a high salary package will not ensure you with talented employees. It is the company’s belief and principle that attracts talented individuals. A strong ESG proposition can help you attract talented employees to the organization.

A recent study shows that positive social action correlates with job satisfaction. With the ESG, you can ensure that your employees feel that they are giving something back to society, making them feel satisfied by what they are doing.

ESG For The Long Term

ESG is a long-term solution for companies that are finding it hard to expand their business. Although ESG alone might help develop your business, it will certainly help remove the restriction from your business.

Australia’s Environmental Stewardship: Navigating the EPBC Act for Sustainable Conservation

Australia, renowned for its stunning biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes, has long been committed to the preservation of its natural wonders. At the forefront of these conservation efforts stands the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This legislative cornerstone, enacted on July 16, 2000, serves as Australia’s primary environmental legislation, reflecting the nation’s dedication to protecting and managing matters of national environmental significance. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the depths of the EPBC Act, unravelling its significance, implications, and practical applications in safeguarding Australia’s natural heritage.

EPBC Act for Sustainable Conservation

The Scope and Reach of the EPBC Act

The EPBC Act stands as a formidable framework within Australia’s legislative landscape. Its influence, far-reaching and global, extends beyond national borders, reflecting a commitment to address environmental threats on a worldwide scale. Matters of national environmental significance, as defined by the Act, include a diverse array of elements such as World Heritage areas, Commonwealth Heritage places, wetlands of international importance, listed threatened species, migratory species, and nuclear actions.

What sets the EPBC Act apart is its unique global jurisdiction, operating not only within Australia but also extending its purview to actions taken by Australian Government agencies worldwide and those impacting Commonwealth heritage places overseas. This expansive reach underscores the Act’s all-encompassing approach to addressing environmental threats across various domains, showcasing a commitment to global environmental stewardship.

Environmental and Biodiversity Protections

Central to the EPBC Act is an unwavering commitment to safeguarding matters of national environmental significance, which encompasses ecosystems and species vital to Australia’s rich biodiversity. The Act plays a pivotal role in conserving the nation’s unique plants and animals, preserving habitats, and managing crucial natural and cultural sites. By identifying and protecting these matters, the EPBC Act makes a substantial contribution to the preservation of Australia’s diverse ecosystems.

The Act serves as a safeguard for Australia’s unique and diverse ecosystems, offering a range of protections designed to preserve its natural heritage. Key provisions, including the protection of critical habitats, conservation of species and ecological communities, extension to Commonwealth marine areas, and safeguarding of World Heritage Sites, underscore the Act’s comprehensive approach. These provisions collectively contribute to the intricate tapestry of environmental protections woven by the EPBC Act, emphasising the interconnectedness of various elements in maintaining ecological balance.

relationship between nature and mental health

Impact on Development Projects and Industry Operations

While the EPBC Act is a cornerstone of environmental conservation, its impact on development projects cannot be overlooked. The Act introduces a meticulous referral and assessment process for projects with potential impacts on protected matters. Those undertaking such projects are obligated to refer them to the government for assessment, with the environment minister determining whether a project qualifies as a controlled action under the Act. This stringent process ensures consistent, fair, and transparent decision-making, preventing undue harm to the environment.

Decisions at various stages, including referral, assessment, and approval, involve meticulous consideration of potential environmental impacts. The Act empowers the government to attach conditions to approvals, including the requirement for offsets and environmental management plans. These mechanisms not only control the movement of plants and animals but also provide a structured approach to balancing development with environmental conservation.

Critics argue that the Act’s assessment procedures can be cumbersome, leading to delays and inefficiencies, particularly in the renewable energy sector. However, proponents assert that the Act’s regulatory role is crucial in fostering ecologically sustainable development, regulating natural resource utilisation, and encouraging responsible practices. The ongoing discourse surrounding the EPBC Act reflects a collective dedication to striking a balance between development and conservation, ensuring sustainable progress.

Criticism and the Road to Reform

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, while a crucial instrument in Australia’s environmental governance, has not been without its share of valid criticisms according to the Independent Review of EPBC Act. Addressing these concerns head-on, Australia is embarking on a transformative journey of reform, recognizing the need to fortify the Act’s effectiveness and responsiveness to contemporary environmental challenges.

Inadequate Enforcement

A persistent criticism revolves around the perceived inconsistency in enforcing the EPBC Act, allowing certain activities to proceed without the depth of scrutiny necessary for robust environmental protection. Critics argue that without stringent enforcement measures, the Act’s intended safeguards may fall short.

In a proactive response, proposed reforms are designed to establish clearer and more rigorous environmental standards for assessing project impacts. This strategic move seeks to inject a higher level of scrutiny into the approval process, reinforcing the Act’s enforcement mechanisms and ensuring more effective protection of matters of national environmental significance.

Lack of Timely Decision-Making

Delays in the approval process have been a persistent source of concern, particularly for developers in sectors such as renewable energy, where timely approvals are paramount. The argument here is that prolonged decision-making processes can hinder economic growth and impede innovation.

Australia’s reform agenda addresses this challenge by contemplating measures to streamline and expedite the approvals process. The intent is to strike a delicate balance between efficiency and environmental safeguarding, acknowledging the urgency of timely decisions without compromising the Act’s fundamental principles.

Limited Transparency

Transparency issues have cast a shadow on the effectiveness of the EPBC Act. The lack of accessible information on approvals and decision-making processes has been a point of contention, raising concerns about public trust and the ability for informed public discourse.

Initiatives within the reform package are explicitly aimed at enhancing transparency. By making the approval process more accessible to the public, Australia seeks to not only address concerns about information availability but also actively involve the public in environmental decision-making processes, fostering a sense of shared responsibility.

Inadequate Funding

Insufficient funding has been identified as a significant hurdle, limiting the EPBC Act’s efficacy in fulfilling its conservation goals. Adequate financial resources are essential for the Act to achieve its intended impact in protecting matters of national environmental significance.

environmental stewardship in Australia

Acknowledging the critical role of funding, the reform proposals include dedicated efforts to allocate additional resources. This commitment to increased funding signifies a proactive stance to overcome financial constraints, demonstrating a clear dedication to reinforcing the Act’s implementation and enforcement capabilities.

The Next Steps

Australia’s commitment to environmental conservation is encapsulated in the multifaceted instrument that is the EPBC Act. From its broad scope and rigorous environmental protections to its tangible impact on development projects and ongoing reforms, the Act remains a linchpin in shaping the nation’s environmental policies. As the country moves forward in its pursuit of sustainability, with more stringent climate change targets, the popularity of sustainable excavation methods like non-destructive digging and much more, the ongoing discourse surrounding the EPBC Act reflects a collective dedication to preserving Australia’s natural identity for generations to come.

This comprehensive exploration serves as an enlightening resource for environmental professionals, policymakers, students in environmental studies, conservationists, and anyone intrigued by Australia’s environmental law and conservation efforts. It underscores the intricate balance between development and conservation, with the term ‘non-destructive dealing’ symbolising a proactive and sustainable approach to environmental stewardship. In navigating the complex terrain of environmental safeguarding, the EPBC Act stands as a testament to Australia’s resolve to protect its irreplaceable natural heritage and position itself at the forefront of global environmental stewardship.

The Rising Appeal of ESG Investments

The focus of both individual and institutional investment portfolios has shifted in recent years, with greater emphasis being placed on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) stance of companies. This signals the rise in responsible investing where profits are no longer put before the planet and the well-being of its inhabitants.

According to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence, global ESG assets could surpass $50 trillion by 2025, accounting for as much as one-third of the projected total assets under management globally. As investors continue to place their money into more sustainable business models, this article seeks to uncover some of the reasons behind this growing trend.

ESG investment trends

Influence of Younger Generations

Much of the growth in ESG-investing is being spurred on by younger generations of millennials and Gen Z who are socially and environmentally conscious and concerned with building a better future.

This generational shift is highlighted by an in-depth survey carried out by asset management firm Amundi in collaboration with the Business Times which found that 82% of young millennials surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34 were ‘engaged’ ESG investors. This figure rose to 93% of Gen Z people who were aged between 21 and 24 years old, making them the highest amongst all age groups. With ESG matters being of such strong concern to the younger generations, investment in these areas is only set to grow.

Mitigation of Risks

Failure to take adequate notice of ESG factors can come with considerable risks for investors. Aside from the negative perception in the eyes of the public which can do untold reputational damage to a business’s brand and share price, the increasing regulatory burden associated with ESG factors can become crippling.

Companies have various ESG management and reporting requirements to which they must adhere including those mandated by the  Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Investors use these reports to track benchmarks and compliance with issues such as carbon emission levels, labor practices and the composition of board directors.

According to a PwC investor study that surveyed 325 investors globally, 79% reported that  ESG risks are an important factor in their investment decision-making with almost 50% stating their willingness to divest from companies that do not take sufficient action on ESG issues.

How Does ESG Bring Value To A Company?

Better Returns

The misconception that companies that focus on sustainable and socially ethical business practices yield lower returns has been dispelled in recent years. According to findings by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), these two aims are not mutually exclusive as a clear correlation was found to exist between strong sustainability practices and company performance. Some other key findings from their report include the following:

  • Stock price performance is often linked to strong governance and environmental practices.
  • Companies with high ESG ratings typically outperform the market in the medium and long term.
  • Strong ESG practices result in better operational performance.
  • Businesses that focus on sustainability also handle environmental, reputational, and financial risks more effectively, helping to stabilize cash flows.

With findings like these, the trend toward ESG investing looks poised to continue well into the future, enhancing both returns for investors as well as the overall welfare of our world.

Australia: A Climate Crisis

The world, as we know, is getting warmer and warmer. Weather across the globe is changing significantly, and it’s all down to climate change. From increasing sea levels, the melting of polar ice caps and not forgetting constant reports on hurricanes and heatwaves, the world is going through a climate crisis, and there isn’t long left to attempt to reverse the changes that have been made to our environment.

 

Evan following the huge European heatwave recently, and mass historical data showing that there’s ‘no doubt left’ regarding global warming, one place, in particular, is expected to be hit harder than any other.

That place is Australia.

Australia’s Climate

Due to Australia being located within the southern hemispheres, the seasons are opposite of North America and Europe and feature an abundance of diversity. This includes everything from golden sandy beaches and tropical rainforests to a rich coral reef, filled with diverse marine life, huge, sparse deserts and equally as vast grazing lands.

As you may know, the majority of the population in Australia is confined to the edges of the country, with most people living within the cities and larger towns.

While Australia is warm, and known to be an extremely hot country, 2018 was the third-warmest since records began, with the mean temperature sitting and 1.14°C above average.

While this may not seem much considering the already warm nature of Australia, it’s quite an alarming statistic. Alongside this, the warmth was persistent throughout the year with many of the months recording temperatures within each month’s top ten.

Rainfall was also down, standing at 11% below the average when compared to 1961 – 1990. You can find the rest of the stats here.

Continuing issue

These shocking figures have continued into 2020.

During May, Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Brisbane were all facing water restrictions. This was due to dams only being 50% full, or lower, as a result of higher temperatures and low rainfall.

The statistics for Sydney are considerably alarming. As the lowest dam percentage since 1940, the 11 dams were at a combined capacity of 55%, which itself was down by 18% in the year from May 2018.

Measured through high tech devices, similar to ones available from RS Components, Sydney went on to receive its first water restrictions in more than a decade as drought gripped New South Wales.

Meanwhile, high temperatures and low rainfall are expected to continue according to The Bureau of Meteorology.

The future

As you can guess from the warnings issued to the population of the world as a whole, climate change is only going to get worse unless something is done, and this applies greatly to Australia.

Back in 2015, it was reported that by 2090 it was predicted that the temperatures would rise by up to 5.1 degrees Celsius in Australia alone. As you can see, this is already happening, with significant rises just three to four years after the comprehensive report was put together.

Alongside this, sea level rises were also expected to increase significantly too. This was projected to be between 26 – 55 cm under low emission scenarios, whereas high emissions scenarios could see rises between 45 – 86 cm. This was estimated based on relative data between 1986 and 2005. If scenarios were worse, then sea level rises could be between one and three metres after 2100.

With the majority of the population living in built-up areas on the edge of the country, which is where much of its tourism comes from too, things could get worse for Australia in more ways than first imagined. With a climate crisis dangling above us, the time to act on it is now to prevent these scenarios from happening or worse, happening quicker than first thought.

6 Common Reasons Why Sidewalks Are Seldom Used

One of the common neighborhood problems is how people walk on the streets instead of sidewalks. Going to and from work or school, they find it more convenient to walk on the streets because it is free from obstruction. At the same time, the space is wider compared to the human traffic experienced in walking on sidewalks. Sidewalks are often dominated by vehicles limiting the volume of people they can cater to.

Not using the sidewalks may provide convenience at some point but it compromises the safety of the people. In building a community, one of the most important considerations is easy and safe means of transport. Allow the sidewalks to give the people a reason to walk instead of hopping on a bus or taking a cab. These 6 reasons will give you a clearer view on why people seldom use sidewalks.

(Image Source: https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/04/las-vegas-gamble-with-pedestrian-powered-streetlights-solar-kinetic-energy/476292/)

1. The Lighting Design is Poor

Lighting design is one of the considerations in order to maximize the utilization of sidewalks even at night. This does not just make them visible at night. Lighting also helps in making the people feel more secured. There are a lot of people who walk home at night. Walking in a dark sidewalk makes a person more cautious about the surroundings. There is the feeling of worry about how walking in a dark sidewalk alone will compromise their safety.

Most urban designers think highly of the lighting design of the streets. Apart from the fact that it compromises safety, this is the most common reason why few people choose to walk on sidewalks at night. There are a lot of all-in-one solar street lights with an innovational design that brings out the essence of well-lit sidewalks. Apart from the fact that it is energy-efficient, these street lights are also providing direct and vibrant light on the streets.

2. The Vehicles Dominate the Sidewalk

Instead of being able to pass through smoothly, small vehicles are parked on the streets. Being able to dominate the sidewalk limits the space where people can pass through. Spaces designated for small vehicles should be provided for the people to maximize the space designated for them. Most people park their bikes and motorcycles on sidewalks because there are limited spaces for them. This may seem like a small issue but it constitutes to why people choose not to walk on sidewalks.

3. The Space is Limited

In planning urban or rural sidewalks, the designated space depends on the volume of people. This is the primary consideration making it possible for the sidewalk to cater to the population. Know that not all have the means of transporting through bus or cab. Most people choose to walk block by block. When the space is limited, it will take time to walk from one block to another because you keep bumping on people.

Sidewalks with limited space are more likely not to be prioritized by people. This is one of the urban and rural issues which should be provided with a long term solution. Most people choose to walk on the side streets. Apart from the fact that it’s convenient, the human traffic is manageable compared to the ones in the sidewalk. Convenience and walkability feature is what the sidewalk should feature.

4. The Obstructions Affect Human Traffic

One of the best examples of sidewalk obstruction are trees that are too big for the sidewalks. With the limited space provided for the sidewalk, the growth of trees become uncontrollable. In choosing the landscapes for the sidewalks, the space it should be consuming ten to twenty years from now should be taken into consideration. Most landscape architects and designers choose large-scaled landscapes not for aesthetic purposes but for the natural sun-shading feature it provides.

5. The Sidewalks are Poorly Planned

When a sidewalk is highly utilized, they are more likely to undergo several planning and research for development. Not because there is a space designated for a sidewalk doesn’t stop the responsibilities of the planners. They have a lot of design considerations for sidewalks to consider before building, designing, and landscaping. These sidewalks are a life-long solution to people violating the rules and regulations.

6. The Sidewalks are Unfriendly for Pedestrians

Unfriendly sidewalks result to poor utilization. They are not used based on their fundamental function. Instead, they are used as an alternative designated for parking, portable toilets, alfresco for restaurants, and other means. When pedestrians find sidewalks friendly, they tend to maximize its utilization. They should be designated for people and not for any other purpose. This will not just manage the human traffic but most people will comply with pedestrian rules and regulations.

Conclusion

In order to come up with a walkable sidewalk, they should be designed according to what the users need. They need convenience and assurance that these are safe for utilization at any time of the day. Sidewalks should be friendly for people for them to consider walking instead of using public transportation. Moreover, a highly utilized sidewalk will constitute to less vehicular and human traffic.

Waste Management Outlook for Nigeria

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with population exceeding 182 million people, is grappling with waste management issues. The country generates around 43.2 million tonnes of waste annually. By 2025 with a population of 233.5 million, Nigeria will be generating an estimated 72.46 million tonnes of waste annually at a projected rate of 0.85 kg of waste/capita/day. This means that Nigeria annual waste generation will almost equal its crude oil production which currently stands at approximately 89.63 million tonnes per year.

waste-nigeria

Also, at an estimated annual waste generation figure of 72.46 million tonnes, Nigeria will be generating about one-fourth of the total waste that will be produced in the whole of Africa. This is scary and if proper attention is not paid to this enormous challenge, Nigeria might become the “Waste Capital of Africa”.

Waste is a Resource for Nigeria

Nonetheless, this challenge can be turned into a blessing because waste is a resource in disguise. If its potential is properly tapped, waste management can create employment, enable power generation, create a waste-based economy and contribute to economic diversification which Nigeria. There is no doubt that this is achievable because we have examples of countries already utilizing their waste judiciously.

Some good examples of sustainable waste management systems that can be implemented in Nigeria includes

  1. Shanghai (China) which turn 50% of the generated waste into power generation electrifying 100,000 homes;
  2. Incheon (South Korea) where its Sudokwon landfill receives about 20,000 tons of waste daily which is converted into electric power, has a water recycling and desalination facility, and has created more than 200 jobs;
  3. Los Angeles (USA) which produces electric power enough for 70,000 homes in its Puente Hills landfill;
  4. Germany whose sophisticated waste processing systems through recycling, composting, and energy generation has already saved the country 20% of the cost of metals and 3% of the cost of energy imports;
  5. Austria, though a small country, is doing big things in waste management especially through recycling;
  6. Sweden, whose recycling is so revolutionary that the country had to import waste; and
  7. Flanders, Belgium which possesses the best waste diversion rate in Europe with 75% of their waste being reused, recycled or composted. An interesting fact is that per capita waste generation rate in Flanders is more than twice that of Nigeria at 1.5 kg/day.

Waste Management Outlook for Nigeria

Below are some of the major things the government need to do to judiciously utilize the free and abundant resource available in the form of trash in Nigeria:

Firstly, attention needs to be paid to building the human resource potential of the country to build the required capacity in conceptualizing fit-for-purpose innovative solution to be deployed in tackling and solving the waste challenge.

While knowledge exchange/transfer through international public private partnership is a possible way in providing waste management solution, it is not sustainable for the country especially because there is already an unemployment problem in Nigeria. Hence, funding the training of interested and passionate individuals and entrepreneurs in waste management is a better way of tackling the waste crisis in Nigeria.

Olusosun is the largest dumpsite in Nigeria

The Federal Government through the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) of the Ministry of Communication currently sponsor students to study oil and gas as well as information technology related subjects in foreign countries in the hope of boosting manpower in both sectors of the economy. The same approach should be used in the waste management sector and this can be handled through the Federal Ministry of Environment.

Interestingly, waste generation is almost at par with crude oil production in Nigeria. Therefore, equal attention should be paid to waste-to-wealth sector. Needless to say, this is important as there is no university in Nigeria currently offering waste management as a stand-alone course either at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

The Rationale for National Waste Strategy

Secondly, there is an urgent need for a strong National Waste Management Strategy to checkmate the different types of waste that enters the country’s waste stream as well as the quantity of waste being produced. To develop an effective national waste strategy, a study should be carried out to understand the country’s current stream of waste, generation pattern, and existing management approach. This should be championed by the Federal Ministry of Environment in conjunction with State and Local Government waste management authorities.

Once this is done, each State of the Federation will now integrate their own individual State Waste Management Plan into that of the Federal Government to achieve a holistic waste management development in Nigeria. By so doing, the government would also contribute to climate change mitigation because the methane produced when waste degrades is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas known to many and contributor to global warming).

The Need for Financial Incentives

Finally, the government needs to support existing waste management initiatives either through tax-holiday on major equipment that need to be imported for their work and/or on their operation for a certain period of time. Also, if workable, the government can float a grant for innovative ideas and provide liberal subsidies in waste management to jumpstart the growth of the sector.

Lastly, the Government of Nigeria can raise a delegation of experts, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, academia, and youngsters to visit countries with sound waste management strategy for knowledge sharing, capacity-building, technology transfer and first-hand experience.

Note: The unedited version of the article can be found at this link