Letter from Brazil - Earth Day
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Letter from Brazil - Earth Day

Florianópolis : Brazil | Apr 19, 2010 at 6:07 AM PDT
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It's a great feeling to know that Brazil leads the South American continent in its pursuit of a greener planet during a monumental era of climate change as the 40th anniversary of Earth Day comes on April 22, 2010.

I have discovered that the country’s per capita emission rate of CO2 per year constantly remains well below global average rates and the home of the samba has been a leader in the Kyoto negotiations to introduce carbon-trading mechanisms. Brazil’s energy generation grid boast itself as a “clean” generator of – 80 percent of the electricity generated comes from hydro-power and approximately 45 percent of the country’s total energy consumption comes from renewable sources. Brazil aims to reduce its current carbon emissions by 36 to 39 percent below projected levels by 2020. Brazil currently hosts the largest number of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects and has its government and private sectors have invested substantially in renewable resources.

In an attempt to demonstrate his year’s activities, Brazil most recognized city celebrates Earth Hour on Earth Day by switching off lights on the Estaiada Bridge in Rio de Janeiro and the Christ the Redeemer on the Estaiada Bridge monument. This symbolizes the impact by a show of national pride.

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The Federal government here has struck an accord with the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA, the Global Day of Conversation, illustrates the commitment of its millions to make the natural environment a priority for 2010 and the Earth Day 2010. Through these conversations, local officials will help bridge the gap that exists in public engagement through education and a course of action. Ultimately, this day elevates its position in the collective voice of local governments and communities in a national and international environmental dialogue.

The Global Day of Conversation marks the third year that mayors and local government elected officials from all over the country of 200 million hold conversations in their communities with their constituents to deepen understanding of the paramount environmental issues facing humanity today. The first two conversation initiatives were held in cities across the United States.

Getting the young people of the world in another avenue Brazil has taken the reign toward sustainability of its drive. The Brazilian Federal Government created an initiative in which 850 people from 50 countries around the world gather in Brazil to discuss and propose solutions to global socio-environmental changes. Of the 850, 600 represent youths between the ages of 12 and 15.

Another program created through The Children and Youth International Conference - Let's Take Care of the Planet – takes place June 5th through 10th this year. The International Conference project is part of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainability. The International Conference project is part of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

To better understand Brazil’s extraordinary biodiversity there are several ongoing projects for the identification of wildlife species. These include the Ducke Reserve Flora Project, which has recorded approximately 5,000 woody plants over its five years of existence. Projects aimed at the protection of threatened species include the program for the protection of endangered species of the Brazilian Atlantic forest, which now covers less than eight percent of its original surface and is still subject to intense destruction and global scrutiny. There is also the Groupers Project which ensures the protection of the itajara grouper for the next five years. The program reinforces the need for scientific research on its biology. Other projects include the Muriqui Preservation Program, the Piabanha Projects, the Chelonia Project, and the Turtle Friend Project. There are also several ex-situ conservation programs such as for the reintroduction of manatees and rock caves.

The Project for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Brazilian Biodiversity supports the elaboration of a national report on invasive alien species, which will compile important information on the country’s needs and priorities. Legislation has been started for problematic species and ongoing projects include the Alien Plants project and a Global Invasive Species Program. Sustainable natural resource use initiatives include a financial compensation program

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Nathaniel Hines is based in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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