Drone Built By A Small Tribe Is Protecting Land

We Built a Drone from Digital Democracy on Vimeo.

In Guyana there are a lot of illegal mining and logging operations that the government doesn’t pursue due to a lack of evidence. To protect their lands from such activity a small tribe, the Wapichan community, have built a drone to record the damage being done. They used videos on YouTube to find out how to build the drone and designed their drone to be repairable using locally found products (like discarded plastics). It’s a good story about how access to technology and knowledge by small groups can have a big impact!

“With the drones, we can go into really inaccessible areas,” Fredericks told Quartz. Using its footage, the Wapichan are assembling a “living map” to document their customary land use—and to demonstrate to the government how outside interests were impinging upon lands the Wapichan have safeguarded for centuries.
Their drone confirmed what the Wapichan had long suspected: In the south, close to the border with Brazil, illegal loggers were harvesting trees in lands that were supposed to be protected. And the gold mine at Marudi Mountain, to the southeast of Shulinab, appeared to be leaching pollution into the headwaters upon which the Wapichan depend.

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How We Can Fend Off Drought

In this TED talk David Sedlak explores options that can be used to fend off drought in cities. The last century saw massive developments that treated water in a very unsustainable way (from dams to pathetic water policies). This century we will have to correct the mistakes of the past and focus on changing how we approach water as an ecological system.

As the world’s climate patterns continue to shift unpredictably, places where drinking water was once abundant may soon find reservoirs dry and groundwater aquifers depleted. In this talk, civil and environmental engineer David Sedlak shares four practical solutions to the ongoing urban water crisis. His goal: to shift our water supply towards new, local sources of water and create a system that is capable of withstanding any of the challenges climate change may throw at us in the coming years.

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Green Roofs Are An Urban Paradise


Green roofs are pretty great because they assist in flood prevention and can grow crops. Indeed, green roofs are growing in popularity around the world because they are great for cleaning air and cooling cities too! It’s almost as if many urban problems can be solved by converting unused space into usable green environs.

In Chicago green roofs are being planted throughout the city and are proving to be very beneficial. The New Republic decided to reveal the mini-paradises that these small roofs can create.

By 2050, 2.5 billion more people are projected to leave the countryside for the city; in the United States alone, urban land will more than double by 2100. Faced with what scientists call “the urban heat island effect,” cities around the world are encouraging the development of roof gardens. These blankets of wildflowers, grasses, and sometimes even vegetables reduce water runoff, absorb carbon dioxide, and lower temperatures. Chicago is home to the world’s largest rooftop farm: The two acres of land atop a soap factory supply a million pounds of vegetables a year.

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It’s Time To Divest

The use of coal to generate electricity is coming to an end, and one of the many reasons coal’s time is up is thanks to divestment. Divestment of fossil fuels has been argued on university campuses for years and started largely as a moral argument that we shouldn’t profit off the reckless destruction of the panel. Since then the movement has evolved to the world of large investment companies because it also makes economic sense.

As global consciousness of the threat of climate change increases there is more and more reason to not invest in the fossil fuel industry. What’s more is that the low price of oil and the successes of renewable energy sources has made the case for divestment stronger.

The divestment movement shares a name and even a bit of the same emotional urgency as the campaign decades ago to get business to pull out of South Africa to press for change in the country’s apartheid system.

“I think that divestment can play the role of accelerating the development that we really need — we really need as fast as possible to get the carbon out of the energy system and divestment is one tool of doing it,” Reverend Henrik Grape of the Church of Sweden said on the sidelines of a conference in the European Parliament. The Church of Sweden decided in 2008 to get rid of its fossil fuel assets.

The movement today can count heavyweight investors like Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, insurance giants Axa and Allianz, major European universities, cities and churches among its supporters. All have made some form of commitment to pull cash from coal assets and, in some cases, other fossil fuels too.

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Thanks to Delaney!

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