first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2015) – Graded stakes winner Finnegans Wake and Patrioticandproud are set to meet once again in Saturday’s 63rd running of the San Marcos Stakes as a competitive field of nine older horses have signed on to run 1 ¼ miles on turf.Finnegans Wake will be looking for his third straight graded stakes victory Saturday. First in Del Mar’s Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 ½ miles two starts back Nov. 27 where he beat Patrioticandproud by a neck, the two hooked up again in the Grade II San Gabriel Jan. 3 at Santa Anita where Finnegans Wake won by a length, once again just besting Patrioticandproud.Though 10th to Eclipse Award Champion Grass Horse and Older Male of 2014, Main Sequence in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Nov. 1, Finnegans Wake hasn’t been worse than second in his other three starts since being acquired by trainer Peter Miller in September.Owned by Donegal Racing and Rockingham Ranch the 6-year-old horse by Powerscourt will break from the rail under Victor Espinoza. He is 26-5-3-3 overall with earnings of $945,375.Mark Casse’s Patrioticandproud will try to turn the tables on Finnegans Wake Saturday in his third graded stakes attempt. Ridden for the third time in-a-row by Eclipse Award Champion Apprentice Jockey Drayden Van Dyke, Patrioticandproud seeks his first graded stakes victory.Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, the 6-year-old Proud Citizen gelding is 27-4-10-4 overall with $492,605 in earnings.Neil Drysdale will be represented by both Power Ped and Power Foot. Power Ped, a last- out winner of the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Turf Handicap Jan. 17 at Turf Paradise was third in the San Gabriel Jan. 3.The 5-year-old gelding by Powerscourt has two wins, two seconds and two thirds over Santa Anita’s turf course. Owned by Stepaside Farms, LLC, he is 18-4-5-2 overall with $274,432 in earnings.Power Foot, a 6-year-old gelding, also by Powerscourt, won his last out, a 1 ½ miles turf allowance at Santa Anita Jan. 8 and ran a game fourth in the Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 27. Also owned by Stepaside Farms, LLC, he is 19-4-0-3 overall with earnings of $220,564.Armed with a new rider in Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Sean McCarthy’s Majestic Harbor will attempt to turn his luck around Saturday after a four race losing streak. The Grade I Gold Cup winner from June 28, Majestic Harbor will try turf for the first time since an allowance try at Del Mar in August, 2012 in which he ran third.The 7-year-old horse by Rockport Harbor is owned by Gallant Stable and is 27-6-6-4 overall with earnings of $674,264.The complete field for the Grade II San Marcos Stakes, to be run as the 7th race on a nine-race card Saturday, in post position order with jockeys and weights: Finnegans Wake, Victor Espinoza, 123; Patrioticandproud, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Majestic Harbor, Mike Smith, 120; Power Ped, Flavien Prat, 118; Little Jerry, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Diamond Bachelor, Martin Pedroza, 118; Quadrivium, Forest Boyce, 118; Dynamic Sky, Corey Nakatani, 118; and Power Foot, Kieren Fallon, 118.last_img read more

FIFA has a Marshall Plan

first_imgThe ECA, chaired by Andrea Agnelli, top manager of Juventus and that groups 200 clubs, forwarded a letter warning of the magnitude of the crisis: “We face a real existential threat. Soccer is now at a standstill in our income streams, which is where we pay our players, staff and other operating expenses. No one is immune. This is the greatest challenge that ours has ever faced. “Now, FIFA wants to pull one of the largest cash reserves among world sports organizations and use it to protect the industry, similar to what governments around the world have done to try to stop the effects of the pandemic.The numbersAccording to its latest annual report, published last year, lFIFA had cash reserves of $ 2.74 billion (2,460 million euros). The organization is considering using part of this reserve to help soccer in this crisis and also is willing to advance money from upcoming television contracts and sponsorship proceeds to create a “soccer relief fund.”This background would require the approval of the FIFA Executive Committee, a group of 36 members from the six regional confederations. The fund would be administered differently than the current structure, in which $ 6 million is awarded every four years to each of its 211 member associations, regardless of their size and needs.FIFA is evaluating the short and medium term effects of coronavirus in world football in order to find out how it can help member associations. The fund could provide short-term bridge loans and even emergency grants. Now the debate is on whether the most urgent needs will be met first. FIFA is studying the creation of a millionaire fund, a kind of Marshall Plan, in order to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis is having about the soccer industry, as revealed by The New York Times citing sources from the body that brings together all the national federations on the planet.FIFA understands that the severity of the situation has compromised box office revenue, television and sponsorship until some clubs are economically drowned. The New York Times remembers that this week, MSK Zilina, a seven-time Slovak champion, declared bankruptcy, and the Uruguayan Federation fired 400 staff members before the suspension of all football activities. In Spain, four First Division clubs (Barcelona, ​​Atlético, Espanyol and Alavés and several from the Second Division have announced the presentation of an ERTE. In the Bundesliga, footballers are lowering their wages by between 20% and 30%. In Italy, teams like Juventus have already agreed to cut wages. And the Premier is also looking for a general discount.“FIFA is in a solid financial position and it is our duty to do everything possible to assist them in this time of need,” The organization said in a statement Tuesday. “Therefore, we confirm that FIFA is working on various options to provide assistance to the soccer community worldwide after making a full assessment of the financial impact this pandemic will have on soccer.”last_img read more

Oil Law Passage on Ice

first_imgDeputy House Speaker Hans M. Barchue has announced that there will be delay in the passage of the draft Oil and Gas Laws expected to govern that sector.Addressing the close of the National Validation Conference on the draft petroleum (Exploration & Production) Act and the Draft NOCAL Act of 2013, the Grand Bassa County Representative noted that the draft legislation passage requires collective inputs of both chambers of the Legislation, but with 15 seats of the Senate up for election, achieving said purpose in the soonest time was impossible.“Let me say after the passage of the Oil Laws by the House of Representatives, there will be a conference committee from both Houses, but with about 50 percent seeking reelection, there would be a delay in the full passage,” Deputy Speaker Barchue disclosed.This means that the proposed legislation will remain on the shelf of the Capitol Building until the controversial December 16 Special Senatorial Election is conducted and legitimate winners are announced and commissioned before further action is taken on the laws.The House of Representatives at the weekend completed the validation process through a two-day roundtable initiative bringing together several stakeholders including the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) executives among others.Said validation was intended to conclude the aspect of direct public participation in the formulation process of the draft law, a process that will inform lawmakers’ opinion when deliberating in chambers.At the Monrovia City Hall event, over 30 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from across the country participated in a process considered by legislators as “a medium to institute the desires reform to the Oil and Gas Sector.”The Exploration and Production Act centered on the establishment of a fiscal and legal regulatory framework for the management and regulation of petroleum activities in the country; while the NOCAL Bill is to be established as a commercial entity for the purposes of managing, on behalf of the state, to undertake the exploration, development and production and disposal of petroleum.According to the draft legislation, the NOCAL Act is also to manage citizens’ participation in the rights and interests in all petroleum agreements.At the opening of the forum, House Speaker J. Alex Tyler reemphasized the need to ensure that the new Oil and Gas Laws reflect the good of society and strengthen the overall growth and development of the country.Speaker Tyler said the validation phase on the new Oil and Gas Laws is a key component in reforming the sector and he sees the process as a “turning point aimed at fostering participatory governance in Liberia.”Also speaking, NOCAL’s vice president for Public Affairs, Lamini Waritay, lauded the efforts of the Legislature to scrupulously examine the new Oil and Gas Laws especially engaging the inputs of Liberians across the country.He noted that NOCAL will work “shoulder to shoulder” with the lawmakers in order to develop and achieve a framework for a progressive governance of the national resource. “Oil has the potential to make or break our country.  That is why we’re paying more emphasis on laws to guard the sector,” the NOCAL executive said.The event brought together scores of participants including, but not limited to, Thomas Doe Nah of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Ms. Beneta Ackah of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency (LEITI) and Francis Dunbar of Burn International Incorporated.Others include Pindarius Allison, National Consultant of Trust Africa; I. Adams Manobah and Johansen T. Veker of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Paul Hinneh of the Liberia Oil and Gas Initiative and Isaac T. Charleson of Liberia Petroleum Watch.It can be recalled, in phase one of the oil and gas reform laws, a 22-member committee of the House of Representatives solicited citizens’ views and participations throughout the 15 counties.The second phase was a round table stakeholders meeting which sought the compilation and harmonization of views and interventions emanating from the 15-county consultations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Listen to the entire 2009 North Peace MLA Debate

first_imgFour out of the five candidates running for MLA in Peace River North Participated in a debate Tuesday April 28th at the Quality Inn Northern Grand.  BC Refederation Candidate Suzanne Arnston, confirmed her attendance at the forum, but then didn’t show.Below you can listen to the entire debate in three parts.  In total the debate ran just over 2 hours.Part #1- Advertisement -[asset|aid=1299|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=moosefm_news-20090429T0710.mp3]Part #2[asset|aid=1300|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=moosefm_news-20090429T0713.mp3]Advertisement Part #3[asset|aid=1301|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=moosefm_news-20090429T0715.mp3]last_img

‘Embarrassing’ – Arsenal fans see a familiar pattern in club’s transfer business

first_img Monaco’s Thomas Lemar is wanted by Arsenal 1 Arsenal and the transfer window have always been an interesting combination.Over the years there have been inspiring signings, transfer flops and one strange £40,000,001 bid for Luis Suarez.This summer is proving to be a similarly interesting time for the Gunners with reports suggesting Arsene Wenger’s side have failed in bids to bring Monaco’s Thomas Lemar and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette to the Emirates.The future of star man Alexis Sanchez also remains in doubt with suggestions Premier League rivals Manchester City are frontrunners to sign the forward.Unsurprisingly Arsenal fans have had plenty to say on Twitter regarding these transfer stories and the club’s business in general.So sit back and have a look at some of the reaction from Gooners as the transfer season continues.last_img read more

Remember to Exercise, and You’ll Remember More

first_imgOld dogs can remember old tricks and learn new ones, say researchers from the National Institutes of Health.  According to an article on EurekAlert, the secret is a program of diet, exercise and stimulating environments.    Scientists got snoopy about old beagles, and found their brains could remain in tip-top shape with lifestyle adjustments.  These included diets with fruits and vegetables and antioxidants, stimulating environments and social interaction with other dogs.  This combination probably works for humans, too, and looks like it can stave off some of the degenerative effects of aging.  “This research brings a note of optimism that there are things that we can do that may significantly improve our cognitive health,” said one of the researchers (emphasis added).  Of the positive factors, the scientists also found that more was better.Pack a healthy lunch in a day pack and drive off with a group of friends to a trail head in God’s great outdoors – why, that’s the recipe for Creation Safaris.  Doesn’t this picture look healthy?  How about an encore?  Here’s proof that more is better.  It doesn’t have to be all strenuous, though.  Relaxation can be healthy, too.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Beware the Darwinian Moralists

first_img(Visited 294 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Darwinians want to take over the fields of ethics and psychology. Can they be trusted with such power?Psychological Gobbledygook in AcademiaAt The Conversation, psychologist Gregory Maio of the University of Bath makes a case for “Why society needs a more scientific understanding of human values.”When we talk about “human values” we tend to mean important abstract ideals. Things like freedom, equality, security, tradition and peace.Politicians mention values all the time, while all kinds of organisations claim to put “key values” at the heart of whatever business they are in. This makes perfect sense, as values are relevant to everything we do. They help us to choose careers, romantic partners, homes, consumer products and the broader ideologies by which we live.But public debate often focuses on perceived threats to different values – while rarely recognising the problem of really understanding the values themselves.What is it about science that offers better understanding of values than the understanding from ethicists, theologians and philosophers? Maio never answers that question. He never uses the word ‘science’ again in his article. He ends with vague, academic gobbledygook:This kind of blurring comes from a disconnect between the abstract meaning of values and the varied ways in which people apply them. In working to tackle environmental and social problems, we overlook the links between values and value instantiations at our own peril.Improving our understanding of the links will help us to better understand the role of values in our psychology and social lives – and where they fit into human character, morality, and culture.Moral Relativism from ScienceIf nobody can understand what exactly Maio means, we can look for clues from what secular science has done to values. Two psychologists from Princeton, for instance, write in PNAS that “Preferences for moral vs. immoral traits in others are conditional.” You guessed it; they promote relativism. They try to prove that what is moral in one situation is perceived as immoral in another, and vice versa. Eliminating any hint of conscience, they degrade values into mere preferences conditioned by the situation:These findings suggest that our preference for morality vs. immorality is conditional on the demands of our current goals and cannot be attributed solely to innate, “hardwired” links or personal learning experiences. They also suggest that immoral people sometimes win public adoration, and the power that comes with it, not in spite of but precisely because of their immorality.Is this a descriptive or prescriptive paper? If descriptive, it may be true of some people. But if prescriptive, it is disastrous. It would make Hitler’s immorality just fine, if it wins acceptance via “public adoration.” One might as well ask if they felt it was moral or immoral to write their own paper.Ape Foundations for Morals?Secular scientists also attribute everything about humans to ape ancestry. This is clear from another article at The Conversation by Bernard Wood and Michael Westaway, who illustrate their story of human origins with photos of apes. And yet in answer to their headline, “The origin of ‘us’: what we know so far about where we humans come from,” they indicate that opinions have changed repeatedly over the last century and a half. Controversy and debate have been the rule. The phrase “We do not know” peppers their article, which ends in a series of questions. Readers might do much better to study the critical analysis of paleoanthropology by Sanford and Rupe that we announced on January 4.Even so, under the best of Darwinian stories, belief in human evolution cannot provide any solid foundation for morality. Whatever served the purposes of alleged human ancestors for breeding becomes ‘good’ in that view. Is that the kind of foundation any society would want for its laws and courts?Another example in PNAS attributes ‘aggression’ to ape ancestry.Compared with many primates, humans have a high propensity for proactive aggression, a trait shared with chimpanzees but not bonobos. By contrast, humans have a low propensity for reactive aggression compared with chimpanzees, and in this respect humans are more bonobo-like.This paper is another ‘on-the-one-hand-this-but-on-the-other-hand-that’ type of academic waffle. In his elitist, academic way, Richard Wrangham discusses “Two types of aggression in human evolution” as if a human being is even capable of drawing conclusions from such a wobbly foundation as Darwinism. He thinks capital punishment was a behavior of hominins in the Pleistocene. He envisions aggression as a manifestation of “contrasting expression, eliciting factors, neural pathways, development, and function.” And yet the most basic questions a philosopher might ask about ethics and morals leave him with unsolved paradoxes. Would anyone appoint this man as a judge in a courtroom?Applying Scientific Methods to Foreign PolicyHere’s an example of what secular psychologists would advise on a critical issue of foreign policy. In PNAS, secular psychologists, presumably Darwinian in outlook, try to apply the scientific method to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their paper, “Testing the impact and durability of a group malleability intervention in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict,” presumes to offer a superior “scientific” outlook:The importance of psychological factors in conflict resolution has been well established in laboratory experiments. However, these factors have rarely been examined in longitudinal field experiments. The goal of the current project was to address this gap by comparing the effectiveness of psychological interventions during a period of extensive violence in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. An intervention that spoke to the idea that groups can change and improve over time (a group malleability intervention) proved superior to a control intervention in improving attitudes, hope, and willingness to make concessions, even 6 months after the intervention. These findings provide evidence from a longitudinal field experiment that group malleability interventions can increase openness to conflict resolution. But these are exactly the people you don’t want in the policy room. Why? They have no grounds for evaluating right and wrong. What are they going to say to people on either side, ‘try to be nice’ or something? Their prescribed ‘malleability interventions’ rely on moral assumptions all the way down. While it seems reasonable to expect ‘hope’ and ‘willingness to make concessions’ to be more moral than their opposites, what if Churchill had taken that position against the advice from Chamberlain and the others advising appeasement and peace negotiations with Hitler? (See the current movie The Darkest Hour.) Sometimes an uncompromising stand against evil is what morality requires. Would these psychologists advise Israelis to be more malleable to terrorists who blow up buses and bomb restaurants filled with peaceful civilians? Even the question presupposes moral assumptions.Science’s Record in Medical EthicsLook what New Scientist just wrote: “Science helped cause the opioid crisis – now it must make amends.” One of the biggest crises in world health began with, this article claims, science. In a rare instance of this left-leaning rag’s advice, they actually make a right turn: “New Scientist rarely finds reason to approve of Trump, but on this occasion he deserves credit – not only for recognising the scale of the problem but also for appointing a non-partisan and scientifically literate commission capable of analysing the issue and formulating a detailed response.” They even approve of Trump’s comparison of the death toll from opioids to an act of terrorism. So what is their solution, granting that “scientific publications can be used for ignoble purposes, especially when they let opinion get in the way of fact”? Answer: “It is time to do anything, and everything.” Correction: everything except fake science.Science’s Record on EugenicsPhilosopher Stephen Fuller, who appeared in the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, has a new piece at The Conversation about eugenics. In “Progressive eugenics is hardly history – the science and politics have just evolved,” he argues that eugenics never disappeared, but ‘evolved’ into a more personal form, where decisions about “good genes” transitioned from the state to the individual. He makes no mention of the Darwinian connection to eugenics, and how many eminent scientists at prestigious universities supported forced sterilization and elimination of ‘imbeciles’ and ‘defectives.’ For that history, people should read Jerry Bergman‘s well-documented books like The Darwin Effect and How Darwinism Corrodes Morality and John West’s thorough treatise Darwin Day in America.‘Science’ has nothing to offer on such matters. Its neutrality is fake. Darwinian science has even less to offer than nothing. It offers evil. Don’t be fooled by the white lab coats; these guys are “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 13). Keep these quacks out of government until they repent and trust the Prince of Peace.last_img read more

Lewis Pugh, polar swimmer

first_img16 March 2007It was in South Africa, where he moved from England as a boy, that Lewis Pugh began his love affair with ocean swimming. Today he is the only person to have completed long-distance swims in all five oceans, including the sub-zero waters of the Arctic and Antarctic – wearing nothing but a speedo.Just 17 years old, Pugh completed the dangerous swim from Robben Island, the famous prison of South Africa’s apartheid past, to Cape Town. After high school he read law at the University of Cape Town before returning to England to continue his studies at Cambridge University.Swimming for the environmentPugh’s latest exploit, a 10-day, 160 kilometre swim from one side of the Maldives archipelago to the other, sought to raise awareness of global climate change.The outing before that saw the 37-year-old swimming the entire 325 kilometre length of the River Thames. Seventeen days and 222km into his swim, passing Westminster, Pugh popped in at 10 Downing Street to urge Prime Minister Tony Blair to pass laws to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010.But Pugh’s extreme swims are not only about spreading an environmental message – they’re also about testing the limits of human physiology.Pugh swims according to the rules of the Channel Swimming Association, which allows only a swimming costume, a cap and a pair of goggles. Wetsuits are not allowed, whether one is swimming in the Antarctic or not.‘Few who could do it’According to University of Cape Town sports science professor Tim Noakes, there are few swimmers in the world who could complete a long-distance swim in the Arctic or Southern oceans in just a speedo. “Most swimmers would be disabled within seconds,” he says.It was Noakes, who works at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, one of Pugh’s sponsors, who found one of the keys to the swimmer’s extraordinary resilience to sub-zero conditions.Accompanying him on a trip to the Antarctic, Noakes discovered that Pugh has the unique ability to raise his body temperature to 39 degrees Celcius before attempting a swim.Noakes calls this ability “anticipatory thermogenesis,” an ability which – according to an article in England’s Daily Mail – has only ever been recorded in the case of Pugh and “the nine-banded armadillo from Texas”.According to Pugh, however, there’s something else that helps him swim in extreme conditions. “When I get in to the water, I get in with a purpose,” he says. “My mind is completely focused when I dive in”.Swimming the CapePugh has also completed a number of swims in the waters off his second home, Cape Town. In April 2004 he became the first person to swim around the entire Cape Peninsula, a distance of some 100 kilometres.In the same month, he and three friends became the first to swim around the Cape of Good Hope. The 12 kilometre swim took them three hours and 15 minutes. Also known as the Cape of Storms, the swim “is not for the faint-hearted,” Pugh wrote on his website. “It was one of the roughest stretches of water I have ever encountered.”A month later, he became the first person to swim around Africa’s southern-most point, Cape Agulhas, in a time of four hours and 15 minutes.And, in South Africa again this January, he swam across Nelson Mandela Bay off Port Elizabeth in four hours 57 minutes – “to see in the New Year in style”.‘The ultimate swim’Visiting the country more recently to shoot a commercial with sponsor Investec, Pugh told Johannesburg newspaper Business Day that he would be attempting “the ultimate swim” in the Arctic in June. Details of the expedition will be announced on his website.Pugh also told Business Day that, over 20 years of ocean swimming, he has come across what he calls the Big Six – polar bears, leopard seals, jellyfish, great white sharks, crocodiles and hippos – all capable of killing a swimmer.“His shark encounter was off Cape Point in 2004,” Renee Bonorchis wrote in Business Day. “The boat that escorts him as he swims emits a signal with a diameter of 8 metres that repels sharks. Despite this, on that swim, a great white came and had a look at Pugh before diving under his body. Pugh kept swimming.”Pugh’s list of achievements include the following:August 2006: Swam the length of the River Thames (325km), a feat never before achieved.May 2006: Broke the world record for the longest swim in ice water in Nigards Glacier Lake in Norway.February 2006: Won the gold medal in the 500m freestyle at the World Winter Swimming Championships in Finland, where the water temperature was 0°C.December 2005: Swam one kilometre at Petermann Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, which lies at 65° south, to break the world record for the most southern swim ever.December 2005: Swam one mile across Whalers Bay at Deception Island, which is part of the south Shetland Islands, when the water temperature was between 2°C and 3°C. It was the longest polar swim ever completed.August 2005: Completed the first long-distance swim in the Arctic Ocean, covering one kilometre at the northern-most point of the island of Spitsbergen. At 80° north, it was the most northern long-distance swim ever undertaken. The Arctic Ocean swim, because of the extreme cold and the presence of polar bears, was also the last remaining ocean in which a long-distance swim had not taken place.August 2004: Swam 204 kilometres down Sognefjord (the second- largest fjord in the world) in Norway to break the record for the longest cold water swim. Swimming in stages because of the extreme temperatures, Pugh took 21 days to complete the challenge.August 1992: Swam across the English Channel, from Shakespeare Beach in England to Cap Blanc in France, in 14 hours and 50 minutes. His successful crossing made Pugh the 428th person to achieve the feat.last_img read more

Keeping the water balance

first_imgThe removal of alien plant species such as the Australian black wattle improves the health of the ecosystem and prevents the loss of water to the thirsty invaders. WWF-SA’s Enkangala Grasslands project coordinator Angus Burns works closely with farmers in the area to clear away black wattle. Nedbank has facilitated the distribution of over 1 000 Hippo rollers to communities in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. South Africa’s national bird, the blue crane, breeds in the Enkangala grasslands.(Images: Janine Erasmus) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sindiswa Nobula  Communication officer, Biodiversity   Unit, WWF-SA  +27 021 657 6644 RELATED ARTICLES • New solutions for water conservation • A water-wise Lesotho adventure • Going underground for water • Nedbank invests in water project • Bank, WWF get R100m for green cause Janine ErasmusSouth Africa is one of many countries that face challenges in maintaining and preserving its freshwater supply. In its 2012 Global Risk Report, the World Economic Forum names a water supply crisis as the risk, out of 50 analysed, which would have the second greatest impact globally. Top of the list was a major failure of the world’s financial system.However, the likelihood of a water crisis is greater than that of a financial systems failure – 3.79 as opposed to 3.14, on a scale of one to five.The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) has estimated that, based on the current water usage and population growth, the country will have a water shortfall of 1.7% by 2025 – unless we act now.But that action must balance conservation with industry, because while the former is unquestionably important for the future preservation of the planet, industry too plays a vital role as a driver of economic growth.Water security is no longer a matter of building more dams, because the country is already running out of suitable locations. Rather, the key factor is the conservation, maintenance and rehabilitation of South Africa’s natural water sources. This is the responsibility of all water users in the country.Industry is not the only problem. Conservationists are fighting a constant battle against invasion by alien plant species. One of the most destructive is the black wattle (Acacia mearnsii), an Australian native. It was introduced to South Africa in the late 19th century, and since then has become one of the most widespread invaders.WWF-SA’S water balance programme seeks to address these challenges by getting landowners and businesses alike to commit to the preservation of water resources. Not just by signing on a line, though – by active stewardship, accountability and forward thinking, while keeping their businesses and incomes intact.Irreplaceable resource“12% of our country’s land area generates half of our river flow,” says Angus Burns, coordinator for WWF-SA’s Enkangala Grasslands project.Spanning the Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, Enkangala lies within the grasslands biome, the country’s largest biome according to WWF-SA.Enkangala covers 1.6-million hectares and with an average annual rainfall of twice that of the rest of the country, is a vital water catchment area that supplies the whole of Gauteng province as well as several coal power stations in the east of the country. It’s also the source of four of South Africa’s major rivers – the Vaal, Thukela, Usutu and Pongola and as such, is a priority area under the WWF-SA water balance programme. The other priority nodes are the Berg and Breede catchments in the Western Cape; the Garden Route in the Western Cape; and the Umgeni in KwaZulu Natal.Sitting at 1 700 metres above sea level, Enkangala (isiZulu, meaning “high place without trees”) is a sensitive ecological grassland which also provides employment through agriculture and, to a more limited extent, mining and timber.While much of the area has been irreversibly transformed through these activities, there is still a chance of preserving the rest through responsible farming, removal of alien vegetation and community education.The Enkangala Grassland Project launched about 11 years ago in Wakkerstroom, a small Mpumalanga town world-renowned for its birding. The area is also dotted with wetlands which need special management.The project focuses on reducing water loss through removal of alien plants, reviving and preserving aquatic ecosystems, and creating jobs. The removal of alien plants has many benefits, including an increase in water flow for rivers, a decrease in fire hazard and soil erosion, the normalisation of the natural ecosystem, and more water for indigenous plants.The project also has a stewardship component which works with land reform communities to responsibly manage their newly-regained land.“We work hard to build a relationship of trust with the communities, and teach them to live in harmony with nature,” says Ayanda Nzimande, WWF-SA’s biodiversity stewardship officer for land reform and emerging farmers. “We also help them to deal with small mining companies who are interested in prospecting on their land.”The three current participants in the water balance programme are Nedbank, chipboard manufacturer Sonae Novobord, and retailer Woolworths, with support from the Department of Water Affairs, while the Green Trust, Birdlife South Africa and the South African National Biodiversity Institute are involved in the Enkangala initiative.“We also work with the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency,” says Burns, “who have been incredibly helpful. It’s completely in their interest to support our project, as it contributes to their target for conserved land, which they could never afford to buy – and this way they don’t have to pay for land management either. It’s the best solution.”Landowners in the area are reportedly queuing up to be part of the programme, but, says Burns, the organisation can only work with the top properties.Within Enkangala, the 30 000-hectare KwaMandlangampisi (isiZulu, meaning “place of the hyena”) Protected Environment extends from Wakkerstroom to the farming community of Luneberg. It is the breeding place of South Africa’s national bird, the elegant but vulnerable blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus), and is home to numerous endemic species of fauna and flora, one of which, an aloe, is found nowhere else.KwaMandlangampisi was declared in 2010 as the country’s first protected environment, which means that it can’t be threatened by activities such as mining. According to WWF-SA, a protected environment is one level below a national or provincial nature reserve.The green bankNedbank has supported the water balance programme since August 2011, and will invest in it to the tune of R9-million (US$1-million) over a five-year period. In Enkangala, 131 hectares have been cleared of black wattle in the last year alone, as a result of the bank’s investment, meaning that 271 000 kilolitres of water have been saved from consumption by the thirsty alien.The bank’s involvement has created over 12 350 person-days of work, produced 298 tons of charcoal and 345 tons of wood pulp, and supported the work of five dedicated farmers.Elsewhere, there is more progress. In the Keurbooms catchment area of the Garden Route, farmers are preparing to clear 76 hectares of alien plants.In the Umgeni area, Nedbank has partnered with the US-based Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund to raise an investment of R1.6-million ($185 000)  for the water balance programme.“This project demonstrates our increased focus on water as a key part of our climate change response strategy,” says Brigitte Burnett, Nedbank’s head of sustainability. The bank aims to offset its annual water consumption of some 550 000 kilolitres by helping with the removal of alien vegetation in these sensitive areas.Nedbank’s other water-related projects include the Riparian Rehabilitation Project in the Kouga River catchment area and the flood simulation project for the Pongola floodplain.The Nedbank Foundation has also come to the aid of rural communities who have no access to clean tap water, by providing R4.6-million ($531 000) for the distribution of over 1 000 90-litre Hippo water rollers in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. The Hippo roller is a South African invention that makes it easier for people who get their water from a river to transport it over a distance.last_img read more

Contest seeks Ohio’s future food products

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With an emphasis on new and innovative food products, Ohioans have the opportunity to land their product on store shelves with the Ohio Signature Food Contest, running now through May 31, 2019.Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest helps facilitate economic growth and job creation in the Ohio food/agriculture industry — the number one industry in the state that already contributes more than $107 billion to the economy.Contestants complete a simple online form outlining the basic details of their product, and food industry experts will judge based on viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace. Finalists will be invited to present their business concept and product to a panel of judges. The winner will be announced during a special ceremony in late July at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.Following the announcement, the winner will receive: • Technical and business development assistance to help advance a product to the marketplace • Production of product to be used for consumer feedback • Nutritional analysis • Shelf life/stability testing • Review of trademark and copyright components • Coordination with Ohio Department of Agriculture for label approval • Label design, packaging, and ingredient source consultation • Attendance to training seminars for free.In addition to other benefits, production will be available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green, Ohio, a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance. Due to the collaboration with OFBF, increased awareness of this opportunity will be shared with their network. Consideration of membership is encouraged based on the mutual interest in the advancement of local food products.Products do not need to be fully designed or ready for market, rather an ability to communicate a specific vision. The entry form along with rules/regulations is available at Deadline to submit the completed application is Friday, May 31, 2019.last_img read more