RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Brazil is experiencing new transgenic confusion. Environmentalists and the Environment Ministry challenge the National Biosecurity Technical Commission's decision to authorize sales of cottonseed that contains no more than one percent genetically modified seeds.
The measure, requested by seed producers, recognizes existing contamination with genetically modified seed and aims to avoid the loss of control that occurred with soybeans, said the commission's secretary-general Jairon do Nascimento.
But the Environment Ministry's biodiversity secretary, Joao Paulo Capobianco, said authorization is ''irresponsible'' because its potential environmental consequences have not been studied.
Approval was granted ''without legal or technical basis'' because the commission ''doesn't have the legal jurisdiction'' to do so, says Sezifredo Paz, coordinator of the Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute.
Furthermore, he said, it was based on a legal ruling that was suspended at the Institute's request, which for the past six years has been fighting the commercial cultivation of transgenic soybeans.
Hotel Applauded for Protecting Ozone Layer
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- The Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment created a prize for institutions that work to protect the Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, and the first went to the Hotel Meliá Cayo Santa María, in the central province of Villa Clara.
The hotel installed equipment in 2003 that does not use substances that deplete the layer of ozone gas in the stratosphere, which protects life on the planet from harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun.
The CFC-Free Prize, named for chlorofluorocarbons (one of the main ozone-depleting substances) is part of Cuban efforts to comply with the terms of the Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, ministry sources told Tierramérica.
Cuba has totally eliminated use of methyl bromide in its tobacco plantations and started technological reconversion of its refrigerator factories to substitute ozone-depleting chlorine, bromine and freon, among other substances.
A Proposal for Crocodile Trade
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- Commercial exploitation of the Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius), an endangered species native to Venezuela and Colombia, could help prevent its extinction, says the Venezuelan Foundation of Sciences Development (FUDECI).
''The idea is to allow the caimans (crocodiles), in nurseries, to reach two years of age, in which it is less likely they would be trapped. Later, a percentage would be released, as has been done since the 1990s on the Orinoco plains. Another percentage would be sold for 500 dollars each'' to export its skin, Omar Hernández, director of FUDECI -- which works with the Environment Ministry on conservation issues -- told Tierramérica.
''This does not contradict the aims of species conservation... and if we pay at least five dollars to the river dwellers of the Orinoco for each crocodile egg or recently hatched crocodile that they return to the nurseries, we give them incentive not to eat them,'' said Hernández.
Environment Finds Way into Church Liturgy
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- The Latin American Council of Churches, CLAI, an umbrella of religious organizations representing 10 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, has incorporated environmental issues into its liturgies.
Churches, because of their philosophies and beliefs, should advocate for protecting the planet, which is the home of everyone, Reverend Carlos Támez, of CLAI, told Tierramérica.
The initiative is part of the Environmental Citizenship project of the United Nations Environment Program. It was launched in 2003 and also involves the International Union of Local Authorities, the World Association of Community Radios, Consumers International, the World Conservation Union and the Latin American Parliament.
The task ''is complex and difficult, but we are seeing results,'' Lorena San Román, coordinator of the project, told Tierramérica. Thousands of people have received training on issues like protecting water resources, the ozone layer, and biodiversity and on climate change.
Officials from 48 municipalities from Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru have benefited from environmental workshops.
Opportunity in Kyoto Protocol
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- Peru's Center for Efficient Technology is proposing that the districts of the capital stop burning garbage or burying it in sanitary landfills, and instead treat the waste using techniques that do not emit methane, a gas that contributes to global warming.
By doing so, Peru could sell emission reduction certificates under the Clean Development Mechanism established by the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, Luis Salomón, the center's project coordinator, told Tierramérica.
These certificates can be purchased by industrialized countries that have signed the Protocol, and thus partially meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Center for Efficient Technology is one of the 110 organizations in the international Cleaner Production Network, and is putting together a waste management plan under Clean Development Mechanism guidelines for the Lima municipality of Surco.
The Lima Metropolitan Council, meanwhile, is studying waste collection and treatment problems in the capital's 10 poorest districts. *Source: Inter Press Service.
up for Tierramerica's free weekly newsletter!