Asia’s ‘Coral Triangle’ threatened by human activities

By | Compassion | No Comments
Coral bleaching caused by higher sea temperatures wreaked havoc across the Coral Triangle (photo by AFP/Getty Images/Reuters)

Coral bleaching caused by higher sea temperatures wreaked havoc across the Coral Triangle (photo by AFP/Getty Images/Reuters)

CAIRNS, Australia – About 85% of the reefs in the Coral Triangle, which covers the Philippines, is under threat from human activities, putting the food security and livelihood of millions of people in peril.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) released the report Reefs at Risk on Monday at the International Coral Research Conference in Cairns, Australia, which put a spotlight on the status of corals in the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hot spot.

According to the WRI, the coral reefs in the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands, are being threatened by overfishing, watershed-based pollution, and coastal development.

The rate of coral degradation in the region is greater than the global rate of 60%, the report said. If factors such as climate change and ocean acidification are included in the threat equation, the affected coral cover rises to 90%, the WRI said.

“Across the Coral Triangle region, coastal communities depend on coral reefs for food, livelihoods, and protection from waves during storms, but the threats to reefs in this region are incredibly high,” said Lauretta Burke, senior associate at WRI and lead author of the report.

“Reefs are resilient—they can recover from coral bleaching and other impacts—particularly if other threats are low. The benefits reefs provide are at risk, which is why concerted action to mitigate threats to reefs across the Coral Triangle region is so important,” she added.

The Coral Triangle is one of the major focuses of the conference because of the threats it faces and its biodiversity. The region is home to nearly 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs and more than 3,000 species of fish—twice the number found anywhere else in the world.

More than 130 million people living in the region rely on reef ecosystems for food, employment, and revenue from tourism.

“The influence of coral reefs on the most important aspects of people’s lives cannot be overstated. The influence extends far beyond the Coral Triangle to people around the world who benefit from the fisheries, tourism, medicines, and numerous other services that reefs provide,” explained Katie Reytar, research associate at WRI and also lead author.

Only 1% of PH reefs pristine

Dr. Mundita Lim, director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, said the coral reefs in the country are progressively declining. As of 2010, only 1% of reefs are in pristine state, down from 3% in 2000. About 40% of the country’s reef cover is in poor condition.

Lim cited overfishing, destructive fishing practices, oil spills and hazardous waste from agriculture and industry as the major causes of the decline of the condition of local reef systems.

These are aggravated by the growth in population in the Philippine coastal areas, which put pressure on natural resources.

Climate change is another culprit. The Philippines saw a widespread coral bleaching event in 2010, which was triggered by warmer seas.

Lim warned that failure to protect the country’s coral cover will impact the Philippines’ economy. She noted that Filipinos depend on the seas for food and livelihood. Marine products such as tuna and seaweed are major sources of dollar revenues. Healthy reefs also help mitigate severe weather effects such as storm surges.

Consensus

The report from the WRI comes as leading coral reef scientists and researchers issued a consensus statement calling for urgent action to save the world’s coral reefs.

The statement, which was signed by 2,600 scientists at the start of the conference on Monday, said about 25%-30% of the world’s reef systems are severely degraded and this is expected to increase if local and global leaders fail to act.

“Coral reefs are important ecosystems of ecological, economic and cultural value yet they are in decline worldwide due to human activities. Land-based sources of pollution, sedimentation, overfishing and climate change are the major threats, and all of them are expected to increase in severity,” the ICRS consensus statement read.

Jane Lubchenko, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said “coral reefs have been the grocery and pharmacy of people for millenia, their protection against tsunamis and tropical storms, the foundation of cultures, a seemingly infinite source of inspiration, an invaluable library of life’s mysteries, and a rich source of resilience against environmental changes. “

“In far too many places around the world these benefits are gone or are disappearing. Over the past decade alone, threats to reefs have gone from worrisome to dire. Reef ecosystems are changing rapidly and radically, with profound consequences for people,” she said.

Call to action

Leading coral scientists said the consensus statement should guide policy makers to action. Coral reefs all over the world are also facing degradation, said Jeremy Jackson, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution and the 2012 recipient of the Darwin Medal.

In the Caribbean, for example, 75-85 percent of the coral cover has been lost in the last 35 years.

The Great Barrier Reef, the best-protected reef ecosystem on the planet, has not been spared. It has seen a 50 percent decline in coral cover in the last 50 years.

Jackson said climate change is exacerbating the problems that coral reefs are facing from local stressors such as pollution and overfishing. Climate change is also causing increased droughts, agricultural failure and sea level rise at increasingly faster rates that implies huge problems for societies.

“That means what’s good for reefs is also critically important for people and we should wake up to that fact,” Jackson said. “The future of coral reefs isn’t a marine version of tree-hugging but a central problem for humanity.”

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the Symposium and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said, “There is a window of opportunity for the world to act on climate change – but it is closing rapidly.”

[source : http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/07/09/12/coral-triangle-ph-reefs-under-threat]
Facebook Comments

30-Hour Famine 2012 in Malaysia 马来西亚饥饿30

By | Compassion, Involvement | No Comments
30-Hour Famine (google image)

30-Hour Famine (google image)

About hunger crisis

Now the world’s population has reached 7 billion, the demand for food is even more pressing. The question we need to ask now is: will there be enough food to feed 7 billion people?

Technically, there is, but still…

Hard Facts:

Why do 925 million people go to bed hungry every night?

Our agricultural system is inefficient

The effects of severe climate changes

Escalating global food prices.

Do you know that, each year, 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition?

About 30-Hour Famine

The 30-Hour Famine is a global movement against hunger and poverty. Over the years, the 30-Hour Famine has gained a reputation as one of the biggest and most fun fundraising event in the world particularly among youths and young adults.

By going without solid food for 30 hours, you can bring change to the lives of those impacted by hunger and poverty. You can give them access to improved health care, a better quality of life and most importantly, HOPE for a brighter tomorrow.

Participants will have an opportunity to get a first-hand simulated experience of living life in dire conditions through various Famine Challenges and educational movies. At the end of the fasting period, participants will break-fast together at their respective DIY Camp venues or to participate in the the 30-Hour Famine centralised Countdown event.

In Malaysia, how did it start?

The first 30-Hour Famine in Malaysia started back in 1997 and it was a joint effort between World Vision Malaysia and Sin Chew Daily in response to the famine in North Korea. Funds poured in and a record of RM2.6 million was raised.

What happened next?

The 30-Hour Famine slowly gained its popularity. Major corporates joined the movement by offering their support in terms of sponsorship. In the year 2002, HELP University College came on board and played host for both the English and Chinese camps. Thanks to the strong media support, the 30-Hour Famine movement in Malaysia continues to attract more of the public to participate in this movement.

30-Hour Famine Do-It-Yourself Camps

In the year 2008, 30-Hour Famine was introduced in a new format, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) format. This enabled people from other states in Malaysia to take part in the Famine movement. 50 DIY camps were held across Peninsular Malaysia in, after which campers attended a star-studded countdown event.

Still up and moving!

The 30-Hour Famine movement continues to gain support from both old and new participants. New elements such as the 8-Hour Kidz Famine for children aged 12 and below was introduced to educate the younger generation on social concerns and Famine Youth Leaders who were given an opportunity to learn more about World Vision’s work and to share with their peers and the public.

What can you do

1. Join The Famine!
Go hungry so others don’t have to. Together, we can overcome hunger.

2. Spread The Word
Speak out and advocate for change! Share the Famine page with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or blog!

3. Champion The Cause
There is enough food in the world but food is not equally distributed. Why not get your school club or company to provide for the hungry by joining the 30-Hour Famine or giving to the Famine Fund?

4. Sponsor a child!
Give a child a shot at life by transforming his community. This is a long-term commitment to ensure he and his community will be fed and be self-subsistent in the long run!

5. Eat right and Stay Healthy
You owe it to yourself to eat right to stay as fit as a fiddle every day. Given the access to nutritious natural foods in Malaysia, there are no excuses to practice unhealthy diets or skip your meals unnecessarily!

6. Make the Change
Change your own lifestyle and live prudently. Let’s not be wasteful with food and learn to be grateful for what we have.

[source : http://www.worldvision.com.my/famine/]
Facebook Comments

Behind the scene – M Nicole Make Up at Haha Studio July 2012

By | Photography | No Comments
M Nicole Make Up studio shooting at Haha Studio

M Nicole Make Up studio shooting at Haha Studio

It had been a while since I stepped into studio for shooting. Yesterday was the exam for the students of M Nicole Make Up and I was invited to join the event at Haha Studio (in Kota Laksamana, Melaka). It was rather a gathering with the photography friends where getting everyone together.

I didn’t do any studio shooting while I was there, however I took some behind the scene shots, chit chat with friends, and watched how professional the photographers, make up artists and models performed their work.

After the studio shooting, we went for an outdoor shooting which I had the chance to really get into action with the friends.

Thanks for inviting and it was a really great session. May all beings bEE happy. Sharing some of the photos.

Facebook Comments

Huey-Han + Yee-Siang = j.u.s.t. m.a.r.r.i.e.d.

By | Photography | No Comments
Congratulations to Huey-Han and Yee-Siang

Congratulations to Huey-Han and Yee-Siang

My last wedding for May was Huey-Han and Yee-Siang’s. I had the pleasure of capturing the their wedding in Melaka on a fantastic day.

Congratulations and thanks guys. May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows.

Sharing shots captured. May all beings bEE happy.

Facebook Comments

‘Legless’ climber scales Mount Kilimanjaro to bring clean water to East Africa

By | Compassion | No Comments
Double amputee Spencer West reaches peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, June 19, 2012, in Tanzania. (image from Free The Children/PRNewsFoto)

Double amputee Spencer West reaches peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, June 19, 2012, in Tanzania. (image from Free The Children/PRNewsFoto)

For most people, climbing Africa’s tallest mountain is an impossible achievement. But how about doing it without legs?

For Spencer West, nothing is impossible. Or as he would put it: everything is possible.

Nearly all of the 31-year-old American’s life has proven the doctors wrong. When they amputated both of his legs right below the pelvis when he was 5, they warned that he would never be a functioning member of society. But West has led not only led a life that is remarkably normal compared to his doctors’ prognosis – he has accomplished feats that, by any measure, are extraordinary.

Nothing is more extraordinary than his latest accomplishment: taking 20,000 “steps” to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Elevation: 19,300 feet. He climbed 80 percent of it on his hands – propelling his torso forward, one hand after another, along the trail for eight days. In a conversation with ABC News on the phone after he descended, his voice sounded strong – but he admitted his arms were a little sore and his hands a little cut up and bruised.

“It’s literally climbing the largest mountain on Africa on your hands,” he said. “I don’t know if it can get much more challenging than that.”

West hopes that people who hear about his accomplishment will be inspired to believe that nothing is impossible. Or, as he puts it, he hopes that people will “redefine their own possible.”

“To use myself as an example – that if I enter life without legs and climb the largest mountain in Africa and overcome that challenge, what more can you do in your daily lives to define what’s possible for you?” he asked. “We all have the ability to redefine what is possible — whether you’re missing your legs or not. Everyone has challenges and challenges can be overcome.”

Even before Kilimanjaro, West had already overcome so much. He was born with a genetic disorder called sacral agenesis, which left his legs permanently crossed and his spine underdeveloped. He had two operations as a baby; the second cut off his legs for good.

But he says his parents instilled him with confidence that he could do anything he wanted, and that has given him the “strong backbone” that he was born without.

“From the day I was born they treated me just like everyone else, and they wanted me to have the same dreams and aspirations as everyone else did,” he said. “I’ve just always seem myself as a regular person. I’ve never seen myself as a person without legs. I’m only reminded of that when I’m out in public.”

He graduated from college and landed a well-paying job as an operations manager for a salon and spa. He drove a specially designed car that he could control with his hands, owned a house, and had a good life. But it took a trip to Kenya with the charity Free the Children to help him realize that he wasn’t happy.

Spencer West lost his legs when he was five. The Toronto-based 31-year-old reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 11:15 a.m. Monday. (image from www.voiceonline.com)

Spencer West lost his legs when he was five. The Toronto-based 31-year-old reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 11:15 a.m. Monday. (image from www.voiceonline.com)

He realized he wanted to do more from his life and returned to Kenya a second time. There, he remembers being confronted by a little girl. “She said to me, ‘I didn’t know white people had conditions like yours.'” He realized that his life might be an inspiration for others.

“I wanted a job that not only paid well, but made the world a little bit of a better place,” he said today by phone. “That’s what I found in Kenya – not only how to use my story as a career, but then how to use that to give back to these incredible people that have given me so much. And that is wasn’t really so much about material possessions, but actually helping others that made me happy.”

He became a motivational speaker for the organization Me to We, founded by the same people as Free the Children, and started encouraging audiences to overcome their challenges. He decided the climb Kilimanjaro to raise $750,000 for the Kenyans who had “helped me find my passion,” he said.

The money would build three boreholes and provide clean water to hundreds of thousands for those who have been struggling from Africa’s worst drought in 60 years. In Kenya and the surrounding countries, the drought has poisoned millions of Africans’ clean drinking water and killed off livestock that was once their sole source of income. Increasingly, children are being forced to work at home instead of go to school.

It took West and his two best friends one year to train to climb Africa’s tallest peak.

The day he saw the peak, he says, will be one of the most memorable of his life.

“The moment the summit was within sight was incredible,” he wrote on his blog during the ascent. “After seven grueling days of relentless climbing, after 20,000 feet of our blood, sweat and tears (and, let’s face it, vomit) we had actually made it. We were at the top. The summit sign seemed almost like a mirage.”

But it was not a mirage, and West redefined what was possible for him – and, he hopes, for anyone who comes across his story.

“Small things like learning to swim, or learning to drive standard for the first time, or maybe even it’s taking an hour and reading to their kids,” he said. “Small little steps to redefine what’s possible in their own lives as well, as I’ve done with mine.”

by Nick Schifrin
[source : http://abcnews.go.com/International/man-climbs-mt-kilimanjaro-hands/story?id=16622673&page=2#.T-vKnxfZTsY]

Facebook Comments

“白害”破坏大马环保生態‧年弃20亿保丽龙饭盒

By | Wisdom | No Comments
Styrofoam cups (image from Ace Gallery)

Styrofoam cups (image from Ace Gallery)

(吉隆坡17日讯)保丽龙(Styrofoam)已成为地球上破坏环境的祸首之一;在公民和环保意识有待加强的马来西亚,每年被丟弃的保丽龙饭盒多达20亿个,全部成为了“歷久不衰”的垃圾。

根据数据显示,国人每年丟弃的保丽龙饭盒垃圾重达3万公吨,若以每个饭盒15克的重量计算,即表示我们每年製造20亿个饭盒垃圾。

曹智雄:难分解应少用

房屋及地方政府部长拿督斯里曹智雄对星洲日报说,政府在观察国人使用保丽龙餐具的情况,虽然还未计划全面禁止,不过会鼓励人们尽量减少使用保丽龙。

保丽龙的学名叫作发泡聚苯乙烯,这些经得起数百年的风吹雨打而不腐化的白色污染物,对海洋生態的破坏是无法预计的。

保丽龙非生物可分解,不能变成堆肥,如果放入水中很长时间,会分解成小颗粒,能存在好几千年。清理海滩要花上好几百万美元。

在讲求方便的速食时代,保丽龙免洗餐具在我国被大量使用。虽然很多国家如中国和美国已禁用保丽龙餐具,但在大马,每年约有3万公吨的保丽龙餐具被推出市面,使用后被丟弃,回收量接近零。

这些垃圾只是饭盒而已,还不包括包装电器或大物件用的保丽龙保装盒。

现阶段仅檳岛禁用

目前只有槟岛市政局实行禁用保丽龙政策,其他地方政府则没有这方面的管制。

曹智雄说,槟岛市政局也还属於初步推行的阶段,所以该部会先观察这项措施的成效,目前未有计划在全国推行禁用保丽龙措施。

2010年7月,槟岛市政局首开先河,实行禁保丽龙政策,其第一阶段的对象仅是市政局食肆。迈入2011年,开始扩大禁用的对象,诸如霸级市场、夜市场、私人小贩中心等。

直至今年4月,行动进一步升级,来到全面禁用的阶段,並估计在11月起,保丽龙会在槟岛绝跡。

报导 : 戴丽佳
[source : http://www.sinchew.com.my/node/251105?tid=1]

Facebook Comments