Why you must know how an EIA can affect your life.

Recently a young man reading my blog post entitled Japan uses Climate Finance to fund coal-fired power plants”, wrote to me and said “I am really unclear about the functions of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), does it even make sense?” Can you help me to understand the importance of an EIA?

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Well an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to the UNESCO-IHE is an important planning tool whose sole purpose is to give the environment its due place in the decision-making process by clearly evaluating the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making, consequences of a proposed activity at the design states.

Strategic assessment must be undertaken prior to an EIA which considers environmental objectives at a higher level of decision-making facilitating consultations between authorities on policy, planning and programs formulation, it strengthens and streamline projects for an EIA by analyzing accumulative and indirect effects of projects and activities. It aims also to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment, and present the predictions and options to decision makers.

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But more than that in my own honest opinion an EIA provides environmental activist the unique opportunity to stop environmental harm before it occurs and sometime an opportunity to work along with governmental agencies to solve, reverse and mitigate environmental damage after it has happen.

EIA essentially gives us the opportunity to affect environmental decisions, by rejecting projects that can be harmful to the environment before it happens, mitigate measures needed and make recommendations how they should be incorporated into the project design and the appropriate monitoring and evaluation activities that are required to ensure that mitigating measures are implemented and any future problems avoided.

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The importance for undertaking an EIA :

  • An environmental impact Assessment, assist in outlining the necessary areas to consider how an organization will need to change or implement new laws in order to ensure environmentally sustainable development.
  • The implementation necessary measures to mitigate or monitor that may often have an impact on the work of one or several institutions. It will therefore be necessary to recommend precisely the structure and role of new units within an organization or the restructuring of existing units, so that the proposed measures can be implemented effectively.
  • Evaluate the environmental impacts of a proposed development or project and how it can threaten people’s lives and livelihoods. The environmental impact of a project should be considered at the earliest possible stage of the planning cycle, preferably at the project inception phase.

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  • Screening: deciding if an EIA is required based on information collected;
  • Scoping: gathering environmental intelligence through consultation with relevant agencies and experts and a review of applicable laws and regulations;
  •  Impact assessment: identifying and evaluating alternatives for achieving the objective, and the associated environmental impacts of each alternative;
  • Mitigation measures: reviewing proposed actions to prevent or minimize the potential adverse effects of the project;
  • Action: incorporating the mitigation measures in project design and implementation; and

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An EIA essentially should give recommendations on local capacity building and while it is understood that economic, social and environmental changes are inherent to development it should aim to bring about positive change but it can lead to a number of severe conflicts, it is worth noting that economic growth springboards increased well-being but any development thrust with little sensitivity to adverse social or environmental impacts must be addressed in an EIA.

The need to avoid adverse impacts and to ensure long-term benefits led to the evolving concept of sustainability. This has become accepted as an essential feature of development if the aim is increased well-being and greater equity in fulfilling basic needs are met for this and future generations.

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Detox myth – Trust your body and stop wasting money

Are you thinking about all the junk you consumed over the weekend and how you could get rid of the waste piling up in your body? Looking for a quick fix or did someone tell you about a new rave cleanse, it is the only way to a healthy life? Well keep reading before you make the decision to detox your body with some unknown substance.

Detoxification is the process in which the body breaks down and eliminates toxins from the system according to Organic Nutrition while Dr. Frank Lipman author of Revive: Stop feeling spent and start living again and world renowned lecturer on internal medicine claims that detoxification is a key component of what the body does naturally to neutralize, transform or get rid of unwanted materials or toxins, this is a primary function constantly working and interacting with all other functions of the body.

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So if your body naturally cleanses itself what exactly do you need a detox or cleanse for?

Nutritionist and detox experts Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman states that our diets are filled with toxins, chemicals and a host of other bad, bad, bad elements for our body, that needs to be cleansed out the solution is to eat raw food cleanse or eliminate meat from our diet for a period of time and in some extreme cases indefinitely. Now, as you guys are quite aware herbal cleanse / detoxing has in recent years skyrocketed to fame, Dr. Josephine Briggs Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine stated that over $34 billion is spent in the United States yearly on Alternative Medicine, this includes a range of health practices from promising and sensible to potentially harmful.

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The human body is extremely fascinating  it can take anything we eat such a sugar, alcohol or even fast foods which could become very toxic when consumed in high quantities but did you know also oxygen, salt and even water in high enough quantities are all poisonous to our bodies.  This is the function of the liver and kidneys.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that extract waste from blood, balances body fluids, form urine and aids in other important functions of the body, residing in the back muscles of the upper abdominal cavity, sitting opposite each other on either side of the spine. The kidneys are multi-functional powerhouses of activity, but the core function as it relates to our topic is waste excretion, with all the different things we eat that the body does not need inside of it, the kidneys filters out toxins, excess salt and urea a nitrogen-based waste created by cell metabolism. Urea is synthesized in the liver and transported through the blood to the kidneys for removal, while the liver clears the blood of drugs and other harmful substances, produce bile which helps to carry away waste and breaks down fats in the small intestine during digestion and resist infections by producing immune factors and remove bacteria from the bloodstream.

In reality the human body comes with structures designed to specifically clean and filter the blood and digestive system, the liver and kidneys does a great job at filtering out actually toxins and send them out of our body as waste and bacteria from the blood and chemically neutralizes toxins in addition to synthesizes and secreting bile in which the liver is famous for, by converting them into substances that can be eliminated by the kidneys. Dr. Lipman claims that detox actually decreases the amount of toxins we put into our bodies while at the same time supporting our bodies natural detoxification and elimination system with nutrients it needs to function properly through internal cleansing, and that detox is currently ignored by our current medical system, let’s explore why.

According to the Guardian and Harvard Medical  a detox does not really help the kidneys and liver to function any better, fight off disease, increase energy and lift the spirits, but these diets actually turn a blind eye to nutritional health and that detox kits are often designed to make you feel that you are getting superior value for your money even though you are not, this point is further cemented by British Diabetic Association that stated detox is non sense and that DNA testing is quite inadequate for analyzing botanical products that have gone through a lot of processes from leaf to tablet.

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According to experts prolonged fast can put blood sugar levels out of whack, with a threat for those with diabetes, heart and kidney disease, user of these detox can also experience sodium, potassium and chloride deprivation,  so call detox are not accomplishing anything because what they do is simply take out the fluid in your intestines, you will not get rid of fats or supposed toxins only water weight.  Harvard Medical School in its Healthbeat newsletter examined the Master Cleanse and found it “lacking in protein, fatty acids and other essential nutrients. Carbohydrates supply all the calories, which is extremely low, daily laxative regimen causes dehydration, deplete electrolytes and impair normal bowel functions. A person who goes on the famous Master Cleanse diet used by stars such as Beyonce and Naomi Campbell risk developing metabolic acidosis, depletion of the body’s acid base balance and acidity in the blood. This can lead to coma and death.

There is no sufficient scientific evidence to support herbal remedies and its safety for human consumption, research determines reliability and while one person may take a cleanse that seem to work for them, this in no way states that this cocktail of drugs will be safe for consumption by the general population.

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In general all medication, let’s just say every single thing we consume is detoxified by the liver and eliminated by the kidneys, by taking a cleanse, there are great risks of damaging both the kidneys and liver and should be avoided, the Department of Health and Human Services say that most commercial detox diets are nutritionally unsubstantiated, unnecessary and unable to support claims that they cure disease and medical conditions.

The reason behind drug testing by the United States Food and Drug Administration is to ensure safety, and cannot determine whether the potential medical treatments offer benefits to patients until clinical research on the treatment is completed. Clinical trials are an integral part of new product discovery and development and are required by the Food and Drug Administration before a new product can be brought to the market, determining the quantities they should be used, with cleanse we don’t truly know how they will affect the individual, if it will clash with other medication being used or if it will negatively enhance other medication causing it to become toxic, while risking medication becoming either increase or decrease where the prescribed drug stays in the body longer or is eliminated to quickly affecting the overall therapeutic effect.  According to the Food and Drug Administration people think detoxes are cleared but in fact they do not need proof of safety or effectiveness to go on the market.

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Remember we are all different and with the seemingly infinite array of detox diets currently available the fundamental question to ask oneself before embarking, is it worth the unknown risk? Detox are generally not recommended, University of Guelph, researchers used DNA fingerprinting to find that 1/3 of 44 supplements tested contained no trace of the plant listed on the label is that enough to deter you? Instead try to stop smoking, cut back on alcohol, eat a balanced diet, drink more water, get more fiber in your diet and avoid processed foods.  Let me know in the comments if you have ever taken a cleanse or detox and if you received the desired results.

Pause on the causeway as Ann Makosinski unleashes Thermoelectric Power

This great news actually warrants a complete stop, at least I did when I stumbled upon this awesome article yesterday, while browsing the 1 Million Women website. 17 year old Ann Makosinski an aspiring scientist of Canada discovered a way we can now enjoy a hot drink and recharge our phone’s battery through green energy solution.

Ann created a mug with a USB connection called the E-drink, that connects your phone to your freshly brewed hot chocolate or green tea as a source of powder. Now get this its not young Ms. Makosinski’s first sustainable design, in 2013 she attended and won the Google Science Fair and won landed her a place on the Times Magazine 30 people under 30 changing the world at the age of 15 years old with her invention called The Hollow Flashlight this human powered flashlight uses body heat to light up.

Ann Makosinski at Google Science Fair (Photo by BETAKIT)

She stated that she came up with this brilliant idea for the torch while chatting to her Filipino friend who was experiencing frequent power outages following an earthquake making it difficult for her to study. This idea not only created a solution for her friend’s problem but also allowed her to explore more possibilities of heat as an excellent power source for everyday activities.

By using the same Peltier Tiles Technology used to make the hollow torch light from the transfer of harvested thermal energy, Makosinski stated that she decided to collect the lost heat as she waited for her hot drink to cool down enough to be consumed and converted it into electric energy. Although this amazing project is still in development, it is certainly a project that would make our lives much more greener and change the world.

Lifestyle changes may be better than doctor visit for HEADACHES

Do you know that there are approximately 12 million Americans go to the doctor every year seeking help for headaches? A quarter of this population suffers from recurrent severe tension headaches or migraines.

When you think about it, its quite strange how a headache even exist the thought that your brain itself can’t feel pain, so why exactly would your head feel this continuous pain? Well experts think that surrounding tissues, brain chemicals, blood vessels and nerves produce the pain signals. Associate Professor of Neurology  at School of Medicine at UCLA Charles Flippen MD, states that we are fortunate now because we know a lot more than we did 20 years ago about what causes headaches, we know what areas of the brain are generating pain, but we don’t have the whole picture.

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Now let discuss the 5 types of headaches:

1.  Tension Headaches are the most common types of headaches especially in adults, and commonly referred to as stress headaches, suffers claim that it feels like a mild to moderate constant ache, tightness or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck that can appear periodically such as episodic or chronic. Episodic occurs less that 15 days per month or daily these can last 30 mins to several days and chronic which would occur more than 15 days per month  where the severity increases with frequency.  Studies show that between 30-80% of adults suffer from occasional tension headaches while approximately 3% suffer chronic daily tension headaches. An alarming fact is that women is twice more likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as men.

2.  Cluster Headaches these affect more men than women and are considered recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. These are sudden with an intense, severe or debilitating pain in or around one eye on one side of your head, accompanied with watery eye and nasal congestion or a runny nose. The causes of a cluster headache is unknown, and people often feel restless and unable to get comfortable, cluster headache is considered one of the most painful types of headache, but are rare and not life threatening.

3.  Sinus Headaches occurs when the sinus becomes inflamed, most  often due to an infection, allergic reaction or tumor. This inflammation causes swelling and increased mucus production and the channels can become blocked. These are air-filled cavities located in the forehead, cheeks bones and behind the bridge of the nose. The increase pressure in the sinuses causes headache. The pain is usually intensified with sudden head movement or straining.

4.  Rebound Headaches the theory surrounding this type of headache is that the regular, long-term use of medication to treat headaches can cause the brain to shift into an excited state, triggering more headaches. Another is that rebound headaches are a symptom of withdrawal as the level of medicine drops in the blood stream.

Source: Atlanta Migraine Headache Treatments 

5.  Migraine Headaches it is estimated that between 15-20% of people with migraines experience visual distortions and hand numbness. Migraine is a throbbing pain that is usually worse on one side of the head. Migraine is not just a bad headache the attack is most often accompanied by extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell.This pain often severe enough to hamper daily activities and may last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days if no medication is taken with 1 in 6 women suffering from migraines daily

There is no single reason why people get headaches, although migraines are associated with having a genetic component and usually a trigger, but it must be noted that the trigger is different for different people. Headache triggers includes but not limited to diet, too much sugar, certain types of alcohol, sleep patterns, stress, lack of exercise or a combination of others.  National Headache Foundation states that a person who suffers from headache should first consult a doctor to have a thorough medical history done which should include headache patterns, disability and mood assessment before a comprehensive remedy could be prescribed.

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3 lifestyle changes that can reduce your headaches

  • Modify you diet – certain types of food seem to trigger headaches in some people, in particular chocolate and alcohol, also the lack of sufficient water in your diet.  A great meal to help rehydrate yourself according to Catherine Roberts top health expert is salads she claims that lettuce and spinach leaves has a high water and fiber content but low level of nutrients, giving the body a great feeling. Bananas are also great to eat when trying to relieve a stubborn headache, since they are high in magnesium which relaxes your blood vessels and ease head pain. Bananas are also high in potassium which is an essential part of balancing the body’s electrolyte. Experts recommend to keep a food diary in order to determine what is triggering your headache.
  • Develop a good exercise routineRichard Lipton, neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York states that an excellent headache management is either walking, biking or any other moderate physical exercise for thirty minutes, three times a week, although there is no clear indication as to how it helps but  it reduce stress which is a cause of headaches, when you exercise the brain releases certain chemicals that blocks pain signals but also help to alleviate anxiety and depression. A small Turkish study reported that participants following a thirty (30) minutes treadmill or other aerobic workout reported fewer and milder migraines. Point is to choose a plan after consulting your doctor that you enjoy and start slowly.
  • Adjust your sleeping patterns – Headaches do one of two things keep you from falling asleep or wake you up at night, as well as are triggered by poor sleep at night. The recommended standard time of sleep is eight hours, experts claim that headache suffers could benefit from sticking to a regular sleeping hours. A good night’s rest with a proper supportive pillow and positioning, while ensuring that your head is not twisted one side or tucked into your chest can relieve and reduce the occurrence of headaches.  Save your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy reduce the distraction by removing the television or not taking working materials into your bed.

Although headaches are a daily challenge for a significant number of us, simple lifestyle choices can help, believe in your own ability to take control of your health. The important thing is to determine what triggers your headaches, try keeping a diary documenting when the headache started, what you were doing at the time, duration and what provided relief, eventually you may be able to prevent your migraines by changing patterns in your daily life.

Companion Gardening

You guys know I have been getting into gardening, well I am a huge fan of pepper, so  I thought that it would be a wonderful project to include a couple of other vegetables and or fruits in a little companion planting project.

Companion planting is considered the close planting of a diverse mix of plants that would enhance each other’s growth and protection. The benefits of a companion planting includes pest control through the encouragement of beneficial insects and parasites, efficient use of garden space, beneficial to soil and ecosystem, provides shade or wind barrier and beautifies your garden.

The vegetables you eventually choose must be selected after thorough research since incorporating the wrong species can lead to problems that can cause your plant to suffer for example cucumber can be planted with tomatoes but potatoes must be kept away since they are extremely toxic to cucumbers Mother Earth News have very in-dept list you can consult.

After careful consideration I have narrowed down the list of fruits and vegetables based on my hot climate that I would plant in my companion garden, to these five (5).

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Source: Modern Survival Blog – Companion Garden 

Peppers – Particular great at preventing root rot and other fusarium diseases. While tomatoes  and cucumber provide great protection, since peppers need a lot of shelter from the sun to keep them from drying out and provide more humidity.  Pepper teas are also a very effective insect spray.

Lettuce–  great to harvest in a small spaces, because of its lower growth habit, while also crowding out weeds.

Tomatoes- offer shade for the soil, and offer the smaller plants protection during the hottest parts of the day, it is advised by Tree Huggers against planting pepper with tomatoes in the same bed every year right after each other but they can definitely be grown together in the same garden bed.

Chive- improves the growth and flavor of tomatoes, and help to keep aphids, Japanese beetles and rust fly away from them and the other plants in the garden. They are also used in cucumber planting to prevent downy and powdery mildews.

Cucumber-  This vegetable like warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture, it is said that cucumbers don’t do well planted next to tomatoes, but research showed that this is quite inconclusive since a number of top gardeners recommend planting these two in the same garden for good results.

According to Organic Authority plants have a social life they are a web of life extremely complex and not the solution to gardening problems but instead companion planting is the act of effective preventative measures.

The Environmental Consequences of Forest Fires

Over the pass two weeks I have witnessed an increased number of forest fires along the northern range in Trinidad and Tobago, Guardian Newspapers reported that Northern Division Fire Service which consist of 11 Fire Stations between Sangre Grande to Chaguaramas recorded 173 wildfires on Saturday 9th May, 2015 and are responding to an average of 100 wildfires per day, as Trinidad and Tobago experiences one of its worst dry season. Now the flames that have engulfed the large portions of the Northern Range forest may seem harmless to those living far away, but it is worth noting that forest fires have a greater impact on our environment and economy.

Fire in the hills in Maraval

Fire in the hills of Maraval

Source: http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=2815

A forest fire is defined as being an uncontrolled fire that occurs in the wilderness, forest fires usually occur in hot and dry climates during the hottest months of the year. Trinidad and Tobago forest fires (also referred to as bush fires or wild fires) claims NEMA are signature events of the dry season which normally extends from January to May, the number of fires and the extent of damages they cause, vary from year to year depending on the existing physical and environmental conditions of the land, and the severity of the dry season essentially the amount and distribution of rainfall, factors affecting its severity depends also on the size and frequency of the fires.

Damaged forest as a result of Forest Fire

Source: http://www.ttnaturelink.com/category/ttnaturetrips/page/2

Forest fires can occur from natural causes or human carelessness and accidents, spreading very quickly and clearing acres of land, natural forest fires play a key role in shaping the ecosystem by serving as an agent of renewal and change, but they can be very deadly damaging the ecosystem and many aquatic lives, destroying and damaging vegetation, animal and wildlife habitats, homes and threatening lives, and timber, also they pollute the air with emissions harmful to human health.

Forest fires also releases carbon dioxide (CO2) a key greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and their effects on the landscape may be long-lasting, the most severe consequences will be experienced in the rainy season during the months between June – December, months after the fires have actually burned the forests. This is realized in severe floods and landslides, which occurs when the rainfall directly impact upon the soil instead of a protective forest cover, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that the relationship between forest and climate change is intricate, since forest mitigates climate change by absorbing carbon, but they also contribute to climate change once they are degraded or destroyed.

House Destroyed by Wildfire in Belmont, Trinidad and Tobago 

Source: https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-05-11/firefighters-feeling-heat

The only real way to curb the occurrences of  human induced forest fires are through education and awareness, Global Forest Watch, estimates that the economic value of Trinidad and Tobago’s forestry sector contributed US$86.9 million to the economy in 2011, which is approximately 0.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, hence the importance of the forest to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. While, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service Association Leo Ramkissoon advised the public in a recent interview to be vigilant and report any fire immediately by calling the hotline 877-FIRE (3473), and that they should acquire a fire fighting devices such as fire extinguisher in their homes, in particular to avoid another occurrence of Saturday’s fire in Belmont destroying homes and displacing residents.

Bibliography 

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 2015. Fines for Forest Fires may rise – May 12, 2015. Source- http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-05-12/fines-forest-fires-may-rise.

FAO, 2015. The role of forest protected areas in adaptation to climate change. source- http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/i0670e/i0670e13.htm

National Emergency Management Agency, 2000. Forest Fires in Trinidad and Tobago. Source -http://wikieducator.org/images/temp/c/c6/20080722170356!Forest_Fire_In_TrinidadandTobago.pdf

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5 Natural Energy Boosters at work

We are living in times when the big rave is an energy drink or to guzzle down a gallon of coffee, I have found myself guilty of at least one to make it through what may feel like the longest day ever.

But determined to motivate myself into reducing the consumption of caffeine, I did some research and found some scary results a study published in the Journal of American College Health stated that teens consuming high amounts of caffeine are more likely to take dangerous risks, that may result in injury or legal troubles another study by Dr. Georgina Trapp of the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia claims that in a significant amount of people caffeine from energy drinks cause them to be shaky and anxious, which could interfere with the performance of normal daily task or cause emotional issues.

During this process I have tried a thing or two but these are my top 5 ways to boost my energy levels without the unnecessary chemicals.

Hit the Gym at noon – I am not a morning person and attend evening university so the only time available is mid day, since starting this routine I find that I am less tired during the afternoon period and my productivity levels have drastically increase.

Drink Lemon Water – This gives me energy and changes my somewhat of a depressed afternoon mood, all I do is squeeze 2 drops into a glass of water and like magic I feel better, all the fatigue is gone. Dr. Oz stated that lemon water provides the body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and helps to reduce anxiety and depression.

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Take in some fresh air – I am fortunate to have a window seat at work, so from time to time I stick my nose out for 5 minutes, the freshness and sunlight helps to boost my alertness.

Turn up the temperature – I cannot deal with a cold room, it makes me feel sick yes literally sick, my body goes into sleep mode, so I adjust the temperature and this helps me to refocus.

Stretch at my desk – For us hardworking girls that sit all day at our desk trying our best to get the work done, sometimes it could become extremely difficult to fight off the midday crash,  don’t worry help is on the way, try something that would instantly spike up your energy, yoga stretches is an easy option, simply sit up straight and stretch my arms up as to touch the ceiling or stand and walk from one end of the room to another. Studies suggest that this could fight depression and anxiety. The US Department of Health and Human Services state that the best thing you can do for you neck and back is to stretch at your desk.

O boy and the big great bonus is to sip a cup of tea, this always get me alert, American Dietetic Association claims that tea is a great alternative to coffee drinking and that studies have found some tea may help with cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Now tell me your tips in the comment below.

Bibliography 

Health Line, 2015. The Ultimate “Deskercise” Stretch Routine. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/deskercise#1

Web MD, 2015. Health Benefits of Green Tea. http://www.webmd.com/diet/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits.

Happy Mother’s Day

To all the mothers around the globe:

So its relaxation Sunday, and you know what we to do on Sundays, reflect and just go with the flow. Today I am going to mediate for 30 minutes, then we are out to brunch, catch up on my favourite show of all time Big Bang Theory. I always aim to get in my bed by 7 ish, we will see if I make it today, anyway the point is to develop a routine that make you feel all rejuvenate on Monday, only you can determine the right way, unfortunately life does not have a one fit all option, what ever you choose to do it does not have to be something big, just be happy.

Let me know what your Sunday is like, I want to know.

The key to this hectic life is to find the balance that makes you happy:-

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Emergency Preparedness Week – May 3-9th, 2015

So, I just returned from an o so important seminar on Emergency Preparedness and thought who better to share my new found information with than my friends. Emergency preparedness week being held from 3-9th May, 2015 and is a national awareness initiative with an overall goal of encouraging people to know their local risk, make plans in the event of it occurring and always have an emergency kit readily available to family members. This knowledge help to  make the community safer and better prepared to face a range of emergencies.

This event was well prepared like somewhat of a cottage meeting where a couple of companies came to display their products, while the local authorities organized the police and fire services to give lecturers, to local residents and all others in attendance.

Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk and the impact of whatever emergency we might face, whether natural or human induced. This is capable by making proper preparation to cope on own own for some hours of an emergency the amount may vary based the type of disaster and number of residents affected. Some disasters may block access route to villages like the recent earthquake in Nepal.

Building Destroyed by Nepal Earthquake 

Source: http://qz.com/400088/nasa-technology-located-four-trapped-earthquake-victims-in-nepal-by-detecting-their-heartbeats/

It is absolutely essential that we deal with this issue as a matter of importance in three key paarts:

Know the risk: knowing the specific risk as it relates to our community and region can help us better prepare for instance in Trinidad and Tobago, we have two seasons wet and dry, hence when we are in our rainy season during the months of June-December we are prone to flash flooding,

Floods in North West Trinidad and Tobago 

Source: http://ttnewsflash.com/?p=1957

While during our dry months we experience a number of forest fires, this affect the hillsides and roadways, these hazards leave the population vulnerable to flooding.

Forest Fire 

Source: http://caribmove.blogspot.com/2011/05/professor-norman-girvan-on-existential.html

Make a plan – It will help us and our family know what to do since they may not be together, this is especially important when there are infants and elders in your family, they must be aware of what need to be done in the event of a disaster, this could mean life or death. This plan should include:

  •  out-of-town contact, such as a friend or relative, who family members can call to let them know they are safe.
  • ensure that family members how to text. since during an emergency it’s often easier to get a text message delivered rather than a phone call.
  • teach all your children how and when to call 911 for help.

Emergency kit – now this can either a DIY project follow instructions here for you or you can purchase an inexpensive one here or another but more costly, could be found here but this has enough supplies for a family of four, it will be based on your preference which you choose.

The key is to try to assemble your kit well in advance since disasters can happen at moments notice, this is necessary since you may need  to survive on your own after a emergency so ensure you have enough water, food and other supplies to last at least four (4) days.

Pointe – a- Pierre Wildfowl Trust – An Island Paradise

Indian Peacock

Source: http://aimtvgroup.com/rawtravelblog/?p=397

Pointe-a- Pierre wildfowl trust: a must see situated on oil refinery lands, this nonprofit trust covers 25 hectares and is a sanctuary for endangered birds (including the scarlet ibis), this trust was established by Richard. S. Deon in 1966. This trust is a national non-profit organization to protect endangered birds and waterfowl and breeds other birds for future return to the wild. There is also two lakes, trails, a learning centre with natural history displays and a small Amerindian museum, along with accommodation for overnight stay.

Biodiversity is the variety of different species living in a habitat. In its simplest term meaning the bigger and greater the range of species in one environment, the more diversity we consider this environment to have. While an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non living components of their environment interacting as a system.

Sitting Area in Wild Fowl Trust

Source: http://www.freewebs.com/thenestsiparia/wildfowl%20trust1.jpg

The wild fowl trust, although it is not a natural wetland it is a good stimulation of natural wetland ecosystem because it consist of both abiotic and biotic factors. This man-made wetland ecosystem, is home for many types of birds also providing feed and a resting places for these birds on migration.

Ecosystems consist of life forms existing in a symbiotic relationship with their environment. Life forms in ecosystems compete with one another to become the most successful at reproducing and surviving in a given niche, or environment. Two main components exist in an ecosystem: abiotic and biotic. The abiotic components of any ecosystem are the properties of the environment; the biotic components are the life forms that occupy a given ecosystem.

Abiotic components of an ecosystem consist of the nonorganic aspects of the environment that determine what life forms can thrive for example temperature, average humidity, topography and natural disturbances water and wind.

The biotic components of an ecosystem are the life forms that inhabit it. The life forms of an ecosystem aid in the transfer and cycle of energy. They are grouped in terms of the means they use to get energy. Producers such as plants produce their own energy without consuming other life forms; plants gain their energy from conducting photosynthesis via sunlight. Consumers exist on the next level of the food chain. There are three main types of consumers: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Herbivores feed on plants, carnivores get their food by eating other carnivores or herbivores, and omnivores can digest both plant and animal tissue, see more information in my previous post importance of the ecosystem here.

Black-Bellied Whistling Tree Duck

Source: https://hypertonicblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (such as plants, animals, and microbes) in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment (such as air, water, and minerals soil) interacting as a system.

“No man is an island,” this saying is also true for organisms in an ecosystem. No organism exists in isolation. Individual organisms live together in an ecosystem and depend on one another. In fact, they have many different types of interaction with each other and many of these interactions are critical for their survival.

¨The different ways organisms obtain their food and energy. Sun → producers → primary consumers → secondary consumers → tertiary consumers.

Symbiosis interaction such as:

  • Commensalism: is a relationship between two species in which one clearly benefits and the other is not harmed.
  • Parasitism: is when two different species, where one benefits and the other is harmed (host).
  • Mutualism: is when two organisms of different species “work together” each benefiting from the relationship.

Now a renewable resource is a resource which is replaced naturally and can be used again, for instance oxygen, fresh water, solar energy, timber and biomass. Renewable resources may also include goods commodities such as wood, paper and leather.

Mankind benefits in a multitude of ways from ecosystem collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are regularly involved in the provisioning of clean drinking water and the decomposition of waste. Mankind benefits from the ecosystem service in ways like provisioning such as production of food and water, regulating such as the control of climate and disease, supporting such as nutrient cycle and crop pollination and cultural such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

Species of plants found in the wildfowl trust:

Fern, lotus, nyphia, queen of flowers, weed grass, calba tree, silk cotton, poui, mahogany, naked indain tree, calabash tree, paper bark tree, mango tree, bayleaf, Chinese tamarind, sahari leave.

Species of animals found in the wildfowl trust:

Tilapia, peacock, black belly whistling tree duck, wabine, dragon fly, turtle, macaw, scarlet ibis, Muscovy duck, jesus bird, gallinule, snake bird, pacu, white face whistling duck.

Special thanks to the student of College of Science, Technology & Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) who are responsible for the research in this post.  

Reference:

Ecosystem. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem

Khan Academy. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/CAS-biodiversity/why-is-biodiversity-important-ca/biodiversity-and-ecosystem-funct/a/ecological-interactions

Natural resource. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_resource

Pointe a Pierre Wild Fowl Trust – An Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://www.papwildfowltrust.org/index.php/about-us/an-overview.html

The 2 Main Components of an Ecosystem | The Classroom | Synonym. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://classroom.synonym.com/2-main-components-ecosystem-2576.html

The 2 Main Components of an Ecosystem | The Classroom | Synonym. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://classroom.synonym.com/2-main-components-ecosystem-2576.html