RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 18 (Tierramérica).- The Hidropolio micro hydropower system is an alternative for bringing clean energy to some 10 million Brazilians living in isolated areas who otherwise lack electricity.
The micro hydroelectric device, invented by Geraldo Tiago Filho, professor at the Federal University of Itajubá, can be used in rivers and streams, utilizing the flow of water to generate electricity, which is stored in batteries.
To achieve the goals of the official "Light for All" program, the distributors have been using diesel generators, which pollute and make it expensive because of transport. Hidropolio would replace the fossil fuel and make use of the natural power in rivers "with an almost non-existent impact on nature" because it doesn't require building a dam, Tiago Filho told Tierramérica.
There are already many requests for the system, and it is at the stage of industrial production. Each unit is made according to the demand of the community, estimating power at 500 watts per family and an increase in consumption once the electricity arrives.
Residents Resist Mining Project
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 18 (Tierramérica).- Residents of the northwestern Argentine province of Catamarca have kept up a roadblock on the access route to a mining site, because they say its exploitation by the Canadian firm Yamana Gold would harm the environment.
The work "is not completely authorized," but the activity continues, Sergio Martínez, a resident of Andalgalá, a town 25 km from the Agua Rica gold, copper and molybdenum mine, told Tierramérica. The mine has a potential of 730 million tons of mineral.
Martínez said the National University of Tucumán added "many, many observations" to the environmental impact study that the company presented last year, and despite those reservations, "they continue digging holes, taking measurements and samples" in order to begin mining in June 2010.
The locals who have mobilized against the mine have organized under the banner Neighbors for Life in Andalgalá, and have intercepted the mining trucks "in order to defend the territory and the health of the water," he said.
Eye on Native Christmas Tree Sales
MEXICO CITY, Dec 18 (Tierramérica).- Faced with competition from foreign species, native Christmas tree growers in the southern area of the Mexican capital are fighting to keep their plantations in business.
"This season is fine, thanks to advertizing, and now we want an integrated development plan that includes training, education programs and greater participation by young people," Patricia Rodríguez, a consultant to the growers, told Tierramérica.
In the Ajusco area, some 200 growers produce the native Mexican white pine (Pinus ayacahuite) on some 200 hectares, which sells for 19 to 46 dollars per tree, depending on size.
In Mexico, around two million Christmas trees are purchased each year, of which 1.6 million come from the United States and Canada.
A program for commercial plantations began more than a decade ago to grow these trees south of Mexico City, which is the country's main forestry market.
New Diploma in Geology
TEGUCIGALPA, Dec 18 (Tierramérica).- Public and private Honduran institutions this month created the first diploma in geology, aimed at developing human resources to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters.
The initiative's goal is for Honduras to have the human capital to deal with such emergencies, "which are occurring with greater frequency, and given the vulnerability" of the country, Luis Eveline, of the Forestry Conservation Institute, told Tierramérica.
Civil, academic and government entities are participating in the program and hope to have their first 30 graduates in eight months. Honduras has just two experienced geologists with university degrees. Official reports identify 28 vulnerable zones in the country. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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