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Improper Land Allocation Harms Trinidad & Tobago's Public Interest

Property ownership is a critical ingredient of the society we are trying to build. No one can deny that. The wealthiest people and companies in this society have made a great part of their wealth through property dealings – buying, leasing, sub-dividing, selling, renovating and so on….property is critical to amassing and holding wealth.

With the state being “the single largest owner of all classes of property” in Trinidad and Tobago, blogger Afra Raymond is interested in how public property is allocated, noting that because of its value, all dealings involving state lands must be transparent.

Recycling Fashion

cordel

Thread made up of used T-shirts, one of many usar for old clothes. Image by lomurella on flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

This week, Rut Abraín from Esturirafi shares some wonderful ideas that would help our economy and reduce space in our closets, even help people in need, and the planet, by recycling our used clothes:

Durante años, he ido acumulando ropa que no usaba. La iba dejando en el montón de “ropa que no uso” y al final la acababa regalando o dejando en el fondo de un armario. Cuando fui a revisarla, me di cuenta que muchas de esas prendas estaban perfectamente y que sólo les había cogido manía, otras no me servían  y algunas estaban rotas o manchadas.

For years, I've been storing clothes I didn't use anymore. It accumulated on the pile of “clothes I don't use” that I ended up giving away or leaving at the bottom of the closet. When I checked it, I realized that many of them where in perfect shape and I just didn't like it, other were no more useful amd some had stains or holes.

According to her, the most effective ways of making the most out of it are: put it on containers for the needy, donate it or give it to a friend or relative that may want it, or remake it or use the fabric to make new things as bags or tableclothes.

To read more about conservation of the environment, you can follow Rut on her blog Esturirafi and Twitter.

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

Packaging and Ecosystem

ecodesign-packaging

Image from blog Esturirafi, used with permission.

Are you someone who cares about the packaging of the products you buy and use? Biologist Rut Abrain Sánchez does, and on her blog Esturirafi she shows six examples of ecological packaging of some products in Asia, Europe and North America. To understand the scope of this issue, Abrain quotes the definition of ecodesign:

El Ecodiseño, también conocido como Diseño para el Medio Ambiente, es una metodología que considera el medio ambiente como un criterio más a la hora de tomar decisiones en el proceso de diseño de productos industriales, adicionalmente a otros tradicionalmente se han tenido en cuenta (costes, calidad, …).

Ecodesign, also known as Design for Environment, is a method that considers environment as another guideline when making decisions in the process of designing industrial products, besides other traditionally taken into account (cost, quality…).

This means ecodesign considers the reduction of material, using biodegradable material and the reduction of emissions into the atmosphere.

To get updates about this, visit Rut Abrain Sánchez's website or follow her on Twitter at @esturirafi.

This post was part of the seventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on June 16, 2014.

The Victims of China’s Soil Pollution Crisis

A very in-depth investigation published by ChinaFile on the problem of soil pollution in China.

Tajikistan's GBAO Region – an Incredible Place

In the last few weeks Global Voices has published and republished several articles about the unlawful arrest of our community member Alexander Sodiqov. Those pieces are here, here, here and here.

But the Pamir region (known administratively as Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, or GBAO) where Alex was conducting academic research is not all politics and persecution. 

The following video reportage, brought to Global Voices’ attention by its creator Miles Atkinson, is a useful insight into the natural, cultural and linguistic diversity that define GBAO. Thanks, Miles!

 

Third Festival in Santa Catarina, Tláhuac, Mexico

festival

More and more people are sharing their content on Medium, and Ximena Arrieta, consultant in Strategic Communications, is using her content as an additional medium and coverage for the connection between communication, citizen participation and technology, as does the “Movement for the Earth” in Santa Catarina Yecahuízotl, that with its “Festival for the Sierra”, held on July 12, aimed to promote and build connections of coexistence and social cohesion within its community:

El objetivo del Festival es construir un espacio de colaboración, expresión y sobre todo, reflexión de las problemáticas que afectan a la Sierra de Santa Catarina, espacio natural y reserva ecológica del Distrito Federal, constantemente amenazada por proyectos mineros, inmobiliarios, contaminación y sobreexplotación.

Está dirigido a la población infantil y joven de la comunidad, sin embargo, también es un mensaje concientizado para el público adulto.

The aim of the Festival is to build a space for collaboration, expression and, above all, reflection on the issues that affect Santa Catarina highlands, a natural space and ecologic reserve of Mexico City, constantly threatened by mining, real estate projects, pollution and overexploitation.

This is meant for the children and youth of the comuunity, but it's also an awareness message for the adult audience.

You can read Arrieta on her blog in Spanish on Tumblr, Punto Crucial or by following her account on Twitter: @borjaxime

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

Cuban Architect Mario Coyula Remembered

Bloggers mourn the passing of prominent Cuban architect Mario Coyula, who died at 79 from cancer.

If It's Still Useful, Don't Dump It!

On the blog Esturirafi [es], biologist Rut Abrain writes frequently about her environment-related thoughts and advise. This time [es], she blogs about the issue of obsolence and shares tips to fight against it:

Se llama obsolescencia a “la planificación o programación de la vida útil de un producto o servicio de modo que –tras un período calculado por el fabricante o la empresa– dicho producto se torne obsoleto e inútil”.

We know as obsolescence the “planning or programming of a product or service lifespan that –after a períod estimated by the manufacturer or the firm– that product becomes obsolete and useless.”

To reduce the pollution caused by obsolence, the main thing is to avoid consumerism, to keep on using your products that still work and to repair them instead of replacing them.

You can follow Rut on her blog and on Twitter.

This post was part of the ninth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on June 30, 2014.

Serbian Artists Create “Neighborly Hanger” for Handouts

The image of the poorest segments of the population rummaging through trash cans has, unfortunately, become a common one in many Balkan countries in the past few years. From some of the 38,000 pensioners who currently receive the minimum monthly pension of barely 120 euro in Serbia, not enough to survive an entire month on, to the numerous Roma living in Serbian cities, many have turned to searching the last resort for food and clothing items – the neighborhood trash collectors.

A group of artists, dubbed “Blatobran” (“Mudflap”) entered and won a competition at Mikser Festival 2014 in Belgrade recently, their project being a “neighborly hanger” (“Komšijski čiviluk”), devised for hanging edible food and clothing items that those more fortunate in Serbia throw out. As the group explains on their Facebook page:

[The] idea behind the project ‘Komsijski civiluk’ (thank you Mikser for making it happen and TTK for the final product ‘The Neighborly Hanger'). Many poor people every day dig through garbage bins looking for food, clothes and recycling materials. Of all the segments of the population, the Roma are the most vulnerable. This project was designed to raise awareness of food waste and recycling and to help the poorest citizens to use it; about 50% of wasted food in industrialized countries ends up in the trash even though it is edible. The idea is to place ‘Neighborhood hanger’ next to garbage container so that citizens can leave the food and clothing that would be available to users in a dignified manner and to contribute to the quality of life of local communities.

The Story of Famine Refugees from Niger in Eastern Algeria

In the past few weeks, hundreds of Sub-Saharan immigrants from Mali or Niger have migrated to Algerian cities by the Eastern border. Liberté Algérie narrates the stories of those who made the choice to immigrate and why [fr] :

Les conditions de vie au hangar de la cité Bourroh sont inhumaines. A l’intérieur du hangar, les Subsahariens ont dressé des tentes, une soixantaine environ. A l’intérieur de chaque tente, trop exiguë, vivent, serrés les uns contre les autres, tous les membres d’une même famille. [..] Meriem et Aïcha sont deux sœurs âgées respectivement de 10 et 12 ans. Avec leur mère, elles ont fui leur pays d’origine, le Niger, à cause de la pauvreté. “Nous avons quitté notre pays, parce que nous n’avions plus quoi manger. Meriem et Aïcha sont deux sœurs âgées respectivement de 10 et 12 ans. Egalement originaires du Niger, Sakina, sa fille Asma et ses deux petits-enfants s’étaient réfugiés à Aïn Guezzam, dans la wilaya de Tamanrasset, à l’extrême sud du Sahara. Dans un arabe approximatif, notre interlocutrice nous apprendra qu’ils font partie d’un groupe qui a fui la faim au Niger.

The living conditions in the shed of the city of Bourroh are inhumane. Inside the shed, Sub-Saharan immigrants have pitched about sixty tents. Inside each (very small) tent, they all live together, tight against each other, all members of the same family. [..] Meriem and Aisha are two sisters aged respectively 10 and 12. With their mother, they fled their country of origin, Niger, because of poverty. “We left our country because we did not have enough to eat’ Meriem says. Also from Niger, Sakina, her daughter Asma and her two grandchildren are refugees in Ain Guezzam in the wilaya of Tamanrasset, at the extreme south of the Sahara desert. In a hesitant arabic language, Sakira tell us that they are part of a group who fled the rampant famine in Niger. 

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