Archive Environmental News February 2021

Smoky Season is Around the Corner

According to the UN report, “the share of small-scale food producers in terms of all food producers in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America ranges from 40 to 85 per cent”.

If you live in a farming area you are probably inundated with smoke polluting your skies as many of these small-scale food producers burn the crop waste in open fields after harvest.

For those of us living in these smoky environments we face immediate health problems from the smoke. Thousands and thousands of people become sick from breathing in the small particles of smoke. Many die.

For those of you not living within range of the smoke, your lives are still impacted.

Agricultural smoke is a huge contributor to global warming, and that affects all of us.

So how do we Stop the Smoke?

Finding a Win-Win Solution

Small scale farmers are facing many harsh impacts from climate change. Changing weather patterns brought on by global warming has become a major issue.

Along with drought, farmers are struggling with dead soils, depleted of bio organic life. Food security is threatened.

Our team at Warm Heart set out to find a solution.

Our goal was to help our local farmers find a way to improve their soils. Biochar was the best answer to many of the problems. As it turns out, making biochar would also eliminate the problem of smoke.

Warm Heart began testing how to make this a workable solution to help improve farmers soils while also stopping the smoke. We needed to develop a simple method for farmer’s to handle their crop waste.

Our first efforts resulted in a huge biochar oven which worked great for demonstrating how the process works. It was perfect for show and tell.

While we were able to show how the process of making biochar from crop waste eliminated the smoke, this model was not a practical solution for farmers on their land.

The team continued to work on a solution and adapted the TLUD barrel oven design.. Our version is efficient, cheap and easy to build, perfect for farmers.

We were able to secure a grant from the US State Department to set up a training program to teach local farmers how to build and use their own biochar oven.

This particular solution goes way beyond just eliminating the smoke.

Once farmers understand the benefits of biochar, and how it can enrich their soils, improve their crops, and increase their profits, they are motivated to switch from open field burning to managing their crop waste productively.

We revisited the first group of farmers who came to our initial training sessions to find out how the process was working for them.

The barrel oven is useful for small feedstock, but cannot handle large tree limbs, bamboo, etc. so Warm Heart designed the Flame Cap Trough. This method is a great additional tool for making biochar.

While both of these methods offer a solution to farmers for convert crop waste into biochar, we found we needed to bring the technology down just a bit more. We discovered for some farmers the materials to build either type of oven was not available to them. So we designed the Biochar Trench method, which is widely used by our partners in Africa.

Our goal is to provide a cheap, easy to build way for farmers to turn their crop waste into biochar.

Our Stop the Smoke Campaign’s purpose is to share this solution with farmers everywhere, education can help them understand a new way of handling crop waste that benefits the farmers directly, and when we are able to Stop the Smoke we all benefit.

We continue all year round buying biochar from local farmers. We will be announcing our 2021 Stop the Smoke Campaign new projects by the beginning of March. Stay tuned, please help support this important project, donate now!

 

Guest Articles

Why Marine Weather Forecasts Are So Inaccurate – And How To Improve Them

Despite technological advances, marine weather forecasts are still difficult for researchers and scientists to get right. As NOAA’s National Weather Service division explains, “Weather forecasting is not a perfect science and conditions can change rapidly and unexpectedly…Marine forecasting is made much more difficult than forecasting ashore due to a lack of available observations. “

Anyone who’s ever been caught in the rain knows that weather forecasting is never a perfect science, even on land. But, marine forecasting is made more complicated by lack of data, limited access, and reporting inconsistencies. Here’s why marine weather forecasts are often inaccurate and what we can do to improve them.  (Read full story)



Impacts of Our Growing Digital World

Our September 2020 Environmental Progress Newsletter took a lighter look at some of the impacts, and what repercussions and benefits we may expect from a growing digital world.

We received this article addressing the impact of our cell phone use. They provide a very interesting tool to gauge how much your cell phone usage costs in terms of CO2 emissions, and tells you how many trees you would need to plant every year to offset your digital imprint.

If the preservation of the environment is a subject that is important to you, you are certainly already adopting eco-citizen habits on a daily basis. This involves selective sorting, energy and water savings, not to mention the use of public transport, etc. Despite these efforts, however, your carbon footprint could be multiplied by the use of your smartphone.

Changing your consumption habits: this also applies to your phone

Data traffic is growing at a rate of 25% annually. This notable increase can be explained in particular by our growing use of smartphones and the consumption of mobile data that this implies.

Although mobile data streams represent just a small fraction of global CO2 emissions today, it is a growing source of emissions. Many mobile applications use a lot of mobile data. Most of the time, streaming apps are the frontrunners. Very concretely, and once again according to ADEME data, video streams represent nearly 1% of global CO2 emissions.

Why is the use of mobile data a source of CO2 emissions?

According to a report by Ofcom, the average UK person used 2.9GB of mobile data per month in 2019, which is an increase of 25% on the previous year. This corresponds approximately to an expenditure of 22KWh.

The calculation then becomes very simple, for each GB you consume in 4G, you use 7.5KWh of energy. Knowing that in the UK, each kWh of energy produced represents on average 0.256kg of CO2 emissions (source), each GB of mobile data consumed is synonymous with a CO2 emission of 1.92kg.

How much does your smartphone pollute?

But let’s stop with these figures and get down to the real thing: how much do you really pollute with your phone? The answer varies greatly depending on how you use it, and that’s why we’ve created the tool below. Thanks to it, you can easily estimate your average annual mobile data consumption and the CO2 emissions involved. You will also find out the average number of trees that you would need to plant each year to successfully offset these emissions.

Test Your Impact


Warm Heart Worldwide, Inc. is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to Warm Heart Worldwide are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Warm Heart’s tax identification number is 26-2059241.

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