MEXICO CITY, Sep 8 (Tierramérica).- An assessment of science teachers of secondary schools in Mexico shows that they know very little about physics, chemistry or biology.
The survey by the Center for Applied Sciences at the Autonomous National University of Mexico consisted of tests and interviews, conducted in 2007 with 438 science teachers in 10 of the country's 32 states. In biology their average score was 4.8 out of 10, 3.3 in physics and 3.6 in chemistry.
"With those teachers, we can't learn. Then how will we be able to take care of the environment in the future?" wondered Alexis Cruz, a 17-year-old student at a public school in the capital and member of an environmental club.
Basic questions about ecology did not get satisfactory replies. "There will not be enough professionals capable of resolving the serious environmental problems we have," Cruz told Tierramérica.
United Front Against Illegal Logging
TEGUCIGALPA, Sep 8 (Tierramérica).- The Honduran National Human Rights Commission signed a pact with civil society groups and the government as part of a shared strategy to halt illegal logging and lumber trafficking.
Ombudsman Ramón Custodio told Tierramérica that the agreement implies the functioning of an inter-institutional commission that will monitor the actions and recommendations that emerge in the framework of the forest monitoring bill that they have been promoting for the past three years.
"This alliance is more than a declaration or just any commitment. We have been working and documenting the denunciations, proving the facts so that they can find who is legally responsible," Custodio said.
Illegal logging reduces the Honduran forest cover by 100,000 hectares each year, Suyapa Otero, of the Forest Conservation Institute, told Tierramérica.
Alternative Fertilizers to Fight Inflation
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sep 8 (Tierramérica).- The Brazilian government has decided to set aside 4.8 million dollars to develop alternative fertilizers, given the brutal hike in prices of conventional fertilizers.
Brazil imports 60 percent of the crop fertilizers consumed in the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, with direct repercussions on agricultural costs.
Mixtures of plants, bio-fertilizers, biological and chemical fixation of nitrogen during planting are some of the techniques that are to be improved with this goal in mind.
The effort is coming late, because "the crisis already erupted, the price of fertilizers jumped 150 percent in a little more than a year," Jean Marc von der Weid, coordinator of the non-governmental group Assessment and Services for Alternative Agricultural Projects, told Tierramérica.
Agro-ecology is the path to take if Brazil is to have renewable and sustainable productive systems, he added.
Massacre of American Rhea
BUENOS AIRES, Sep 8 (Tierramérica).- An environmental group in Argentina has denounced the massacre in recent weeks of several hundred ñandú, or American rhea, a cousin of the ostrich that is increasingly threatened in the central province of Córdoba due to the expansion of soybean cultivation.
"They are hunted by people in the area, who act with complete impunity," Raúl Montenegro, of the Foundation for Environmental Defense, based in the central city of Córdoba, told Tierramérica.
Montenegro said the poachers destroy fences, trespass on rural properties, steal cattle and savagely kill the birds, "with dogs and bolas thrown from horseback, and also with firearms," he said.
Given the apparent inaction of provincial authorities on the matter, Montenegro said his foundation is considering filing a lawsuit in order to protect the ñandú. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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