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Gabriel Avenna

Gabriel Avenna wears many hats, but all of them are green. As the environmental education director for NextAid, Mr. Avenna spearheads the 'Green Scene' section of the NextAid website, bringing current news and information into focus for the general public to appreciate and attain a more ecologically sensitive awareness.

Gabriel sits on the steering committee for the Coalition for a Sustainable Africa and helps consult on operations and decision making policies to include environmentally friendly adherence. Working for the past 4 years at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, Mr. Avenna teaches organic gardening and is a mentor to the Green Ambassador after school program.

Mr. Avenna also provides freelance consulting services in areas of organic gardening, composting and home/office recycling system implementation.

Email Gabriel at gabrielavenna [at]nextaid[dot]org


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Sustainable Africa News: August 2007

Current news from Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, South Africa and Swaziland, and The 11th Hour Film opens Aug 17th.


Mozambique: Natural Disasters Linked to Climate Change
Maputo - Mozambique's Environment minister, Luciano de Castro, on Wednesday suggested that the natural disasters that have struck Mozambique in recent years are in fact not entirely natural, but are linked to man-made climate change.

Speaking at a dialogue on climate change organised by his ministry, Castro suggested that the cyclical droughts in southern Mozambique, flooding in the major river valleys, and the occasional devastating cyclone hitting the Mozambican coast are associated with the global warming caused by human interference in the climate. read more

posted July 25, 2007 on All Africa, read article:


Swaziland: Facing Climate Change
Mbabane - Felix Matsebula, a subsistence farmer in Swaziland's eastern Lubombo region, near the Mozambique border, always suspected that the columns of smoke rising from the surrounding sugarcane plantations and blackening the sky were harmful to his crops, and a reason his harvests have been declining for years.

"You hear about global warming and greenhouse gases. You can see for yourself how the sun is almost hidden by the smoke here," he said.

This type of burning - common on sugar cane plantations, farms, hills and vacant lots - is increasing the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas and, in the opinion of many experts is contributing to changing the nation's - and the world's - climate for the worse. read more

posted July 20, 2007 on All Africa, read article: http://allafrica.com/stories/200707200843.html


Malawi: William Kamkwamba's Windmill Powered Blog
The following two articles were inspired by the creativity and pioneering spirit of 19 year old William Kamkwamba who lives in Central Malawi, and powers his blog via a homemade windmill.

Visit William's Blog at http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/

Wind Power, Blogging and Innovation...
posted July 12, 2007 on World Changing by Sarah Rich

Handle in the wind
An African student has found fame as a blogger just two weeks after first experiencing the internet.Riding high... William Kamkwamba atop his windmill, which uses a bicycle to increase efficiency William Kamkwamba, a 19-year-old high school student, first saw the internet at a TEDGlobal conference last month in Arusha, Tanzania. He was invited to the event - which aims to promote an exchange of ideas in the fields of technology, entertainment and design - after Malawi's Daily Times newspaper covered his efforts to generate electricity for his parents' farm by building a windmill of his own design.

The windmill is remarkable because Kamkwamba left school at 14 as his family was unable to pay the school fees. Armed only with his intelligence, a book on electricity, some plastic piping and found objects, Kamkwamba built his first windmill, which generated enough power to run a light in his room. read more

posted July 9, 2007 on the Sydney Morning Hearald by Elissa Baxter - http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/african-windmill-


Niger's Trees May Be Insurance Against Drought Large swaths of Niger are getting greener.   Scientists studying vegetation patterns in the broad, arid region just south of the Sahara desert have discovered that trees are making a big comeback in many parts of Niger.   Unlike most crops, trees can survive the inevitable hard times when the climate suddenly turns even drier and more hostile.   "As we go from village to village, what we are hearing from farmers is they consider themselves better off today than they were 20 years ago," says geographer Gray Tappan.   The government of Niger changed its policies and let local people take ownership of the trees. And that has encouraged farmers to let the trees grow.   These days, they prune them for wood rather than chopping them down altogether. read more

posted July 2, 2007 on NPR by Richard Harris


Organic 'Green Muscle' could replace chemical-based pesticides

The South African Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Mauritanian Locust Centre are field testing a clean biological agent called 'Green Muscle,' which acts as an organic locust pesticide.   Scientists have found a 90% success rate in the laboratory with this mushroom-based agent, and are hopeful that this environmentally-friendly alternative can help prevent agricultural losses due to locusts without causing damage to the soil.   The mushroom works slowly, taking between three days and three weeks, according to the intensity of the doses administered.   Christiaan Kooyman, insect specialist at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Cotonou, Benin explains, "The spore fall on the locusts, germinates on their skin, the germination tube penetrates into their interior, and the mushroom starts to invade all the tissues." read more

Posted Nov. 14, 2006 on South Africa Good News


Green Belt Link: Sustained Development, Democracy, and Peace in Africa
A recent (July 3) article by Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Green Belt Founder Wangari Maathai points out that in managing our resources, we need to realize that they are limited and need to be managed more sustainably, responsibly, and accountably.   Sustainable management of the resources is only possible if we practice good governance... read more

posted July 3, 2007 ECSI Report by Wangari Maathai

Tree Media Group’s ‘The 11th Hour’ in theaters on August 17, 2007

The 11th Hour, Leonardo DiCaprio’s feature length documentary which, "examines the state of the global environment, and includes visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet’s beleaguered ecosystems," opens in Los Angeles and New York August 17th.

Stephan McGuire who is a producer with Tree Media Group was Associate Producer of The 11th Hour as well as Director of Outreach /for The 11th Hour ACTION Campaign. Stephan who began studying Permaculture on the island of Hawaii in 2001 and in Costa Rica in 2002-2003 is the Founder of the Coalition for a Sustainable Africa, and one of NextAid's partners in CSAfrica which is an international coalition dedicated to innovative and collective grassroots solutions to inextricable economic, social and environmental challenges facing Africa today.

The documentary tackles an issue that DiCaprio has championed for years as it takes on a renewed urgency in the wake of recent natural disasters, and as increasing global abuse brings the future of our environment into greater question.

DiCaprio says, "Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity.” “We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet." read more at the 11th Hour Film website


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Green Tips: Reduce Your Footprint

1. Stop Junk Mail from filling up your mailbox. Subscribe to Green Dimes, a company that puts a stop to junk mail coming to your mailbox. http://www.greendimes.com/

2. Change your search engine either to save energy, or to benefit your favorite charity. Check out www.blackle.com as an alternative search engine. Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. Or, check out Good Search http://www.goodsearch.com/ which lets you register any school or non-profit organization of your choice, and every search you perform through Good Search, a penny is donated to your selected recipient. 



Green Sites

Treehugger treehugger.com
World Changing worldchanging.com
Grist www.grist.org
Plenty Magazine www.plentymag.com
Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org
Co-Op America www.coopamerica.org
Environmental News Network www.enn.com



Green TV

Discovery Channel: Planet Earth Guide

Sundance Channel: The Green



Green Film

The Future of Food www.thefutureoffood.com
The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.


An Inconvenient Truth climatecrisis.com
From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his "traveling global warming show," Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media - funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late.


11th Hour www.11thhourfilm.com
"So, we find ourselves on the brink. It's clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet's ecological web of life. Because we've waited, because we've turned our backs on nature's warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult... What will guide this massive change? And does nature hold the answers we need to help restore our planet's resources, protect our atmosphere, and therefore help all life survive? — Leonardo DiCaprio

Excerpted (Vanity Fair May 2007) from the film The 11th Hour, a documentary created by Leonardo DiCaprio; directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners; the film, to be released later this year by Tree Media Group and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Read more at www.leonardodicaprio.org


The Corporation www.thecorporation.com
Winner of 26 International Awards! 10 Audience Choice Awards including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, The Corporation explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.



Green Reading

Cradle to Cradle
by William McDonough info

Introduction to Permaculture
by Bill Mollison info

The Art of Natural Building
by Joseph Kennedy, Michael G. Smith, Catherine Wanek info

Gaviotas, A Village to Reinvent the World
by Alan Weisman info

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
by Brad Lancaster info

The End of Poverty
by Jeffrey Sachs info


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