Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Tree cover in American cities is shrinking, and it could be costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
A new U.S. Forest Service analysis of 20 U.S. cities, including Atlanta Ga. (above), pegs urban tree loss at about 4 million trees a year. That decrease translates into an astronomical annual loss in environmental services, such as reduced heating and cooling costs, when you consider that each tree represents as much as $2,500 in such services during a its lifetime (a return rate three times greater than tree care costs), the forest service says.
Urban tree-planting campaigns have made a difference, but not nearly enough to offset development. “Tree cover loss would be higher if not for the tree planting efforts cities have undertaken in the past several years,” David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station said in a press release. “Reversing the trend may demand more widespread, comprehensive and integrated programs that focus on sustaining overall tree canopy.”
The good news is that the forest service is providing a free tool to help urban planners assess the problem in their own jurisdictions. To help in quantifying the cover types within an area, a free tool, i-Tree Canopy, allows users to photo-interpret a city using paired Google images, such as these views of Atlanta, Ga.: More

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scholarships and Bursaries Call For Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change



Scholarships and Bursaries Call For Caribbean Nationals in Graduate Studies in Climate Change

Study areas related to Climate Change that can be considered for these Scholarships and Bursaries are:

Climatology; Geography; Geomatics; Environmental Sciences; Coastal Management; Water Resources; Sustainable Tourism; Gender Studies

The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Waterloo (UW), Canada, announce a joint research project entitled:

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA)*

Students’ scholarships and bursaries will focus on ParCA; a project that will conduct comparative case study research in Tobago, Jamaica and two Atlantic Canadian provinces. The project will use a community-based vulnerability assessment (CBVA) framework in collaboration with coastal communities and local partners to identify vulnerabilities and exposures, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Under this programme, funding is available for Caribbean Nationals to study at the University of the West Indies or the University of Waterloo at Masters and PhD levels.

ELIGIBILITY for Scholarships and Bursaries

  • Must be a Caribbean National.
  • Must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a high level in an area relevant to Climate Change including Climatology; Geography, Geomatics, Environmental Sciences, Coastal Management, Water Resources, Sustainable Tourism, Gender Studies.
  • Must have been accepted and registered in a Masters or PhD Programme at UWI or UW
  • (Please note: this does not preclude you from applying for a scholarship or bursary, acceptance and registration can occur post application)
  • Evidence of professional experience in any of the fields indicated above will be an asset.

Applicants for Scholarships and Bursaries will be assessed by a Selection Committee established by the University of the West Indies, the University of Waterloo and The CARIBSAVE Partnership.


Applications should be sent via email to: The Office of Research, The University of the West Indies:pvcresearch@cavehill.uwi.edu and must be copied to The CARIBSAVE Partnership: hr@caribsave.orgWhen applying please include ‘ParCA’ as Subject in the email.

The following should be included in your Application: a current Curriculum Vitae; a covering letter including qualifications, professional experience, preferred study location (a named UWI Campus or Waterloo), your area of interest for graduate studies and full contact details for three Referees. Closing date for this round of applications is 19 March 2012.

* Funding for this project and its’ student scholarships and bursaries is kindly provided by the Canadian IDRC and the Tri-Council and disseminated through The CARIBSAVE Partnership, The University of Waterloo and The University of the West Indies.


Monday, February 6, 2012

The business of governance - Richard Branson

 There are skills a CEO can bring to government, in terms of providing decisive leadership, creating accountability and guiding long-term planning
AT A recent conference in the British Virgin Islands, I was asked to imagine the country was one of my new companies: what would I do to help it perform better?
There are skills a CEO can bring to government, in terms of providing decisive leadership, creating accountability and guiding long-term planning. This year, the US presidential election is being fought on a mandate to turn around the largest company in the world — the US economy — after years of under-performance and faltering growth.
President Barack Obama will have to prove he can be an effective CEO by presenting a concrete plan to get the economy going, create jobs and bring the deficit down.
Leading the imaginary company BVI Ltd would be a somewhat smaller challenge, but one that would include my home, Necker Island. As chairman and CEO, here is my five-point plan:
Review Your Assets
To work out how strong BVI’s position is, we must ask these crucial questions: What made this company successful to date? What does it sell and where does its income come from? How secure are its assets, in case of future problems? What are the threats to the business?
BVI relies on its strengths in financial services and tourism. As an offshore financial centre, it is one of the top five countries in the world for the incorporation of companies, with hundreds of thousands of companies registered. Its business-friendly environment and proactive government should attract interest from around the world. However, this source of income is reliant on the policies of overseas governments, which can change unexpectedly. More
 Does The Cayman Islands need to undertake a similar exercise to what Richard Branson describes in this article? Have we forgotten our core strengths and and direction? Editor.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The day I met Godzilla

 Fred Burton heads a mission in the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands to rescue the iconic Grand Cayman Blue Iguana from extinction. His story is a rare thing in conservation: success on a shoestring.

Fred, who is a member of IUCN’s Iguana Specialist Group, has lived in Grand Cayman since 1979 and for the past nine years has been Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme (BIRP). In small islands limited resources can often push individuals to shoulder a wide variety of responsibilities and develop diverse expertise. Fred is no exception.
A key player in protected areas planning, the conservation of parrots, seabirds and threatened plants and their habitats, Fred’s palette of experience is typically varied. Amongst this body of work, however, Fred is best known for his achievements with the Blue Iguana—unsalaried and reliant on grant-funding and the support of local and international organizations and volunteers. Fred is literally saving a species from the jaws of extinction—and succeeding where million-dollar initiatives can fail. More

Saturday, February 4, 2012

England to develop climate change plans for colonies

 Four agencies of the United Kingdom plan to develop a Climate Change Programme specifically targeted for the UK overseas territories.

The programme will fill a perceived gap identified in recent reviews of current climate change programes, which show that the overseas territories are not eligible to benefit from certain programsmes.
Further, those which they can access do not fully meet their needs, according to the government.
The UK mentioned that many small island developing states are vulnerable by their nature, such as Montserrat, which it said was vulnerable to climate change because of high exposure to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, storm surges, floods, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Others, like the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos have thin water lenses and decreasing fresh water availability, and are highly sensitive to rising sea levels and changing rainfall distribution.
For more on the UK and climate change, read Caribbean Journal’s interview with John Ashton, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change. More
 Finally they have listened. Editor