As climate chaos escalates in Indian Country, feds abandon tribes

first_imgSouth Dakota’s Pine Ridge Oglalla Sioux Indian Reservation is one of the most impoverished places in the U.S. But in 2018 and 2019, the reservation was struck by two horrific storms — with economic harm to their homes and livelihoods that the community’s low income residents have found it extraordinarily difficult to absorb.High Plains weather has been getting more variable, erratic and destructive: in 2011 came severe drought and wildfires, followed in 2012 by severe flooding. Sometimes these oscillations take the form of high-powered storms, with a rash of tornadoes in 2016, a destructive ice storm in 2018, and a bomb cyclone in 2019.According to the National Climate Assessment issued at the end of 2018, “Climate change is expected to exacerbate these [extreme weather] challenges.” But starting with Bill Clinton and continuing under Donald Trump, the federal government has severely slashed federal aid to Indian reservations and their low income residents.As a result, Pine Ridge is increasingly forced to rely on its own resources and on creative solutions, including crowdfunded local and national volunteer teams who have risen to the challenge and helped the communities repair storm damage. But as extreme weather intensifies on the High Plains, surviving there will get tougher. Violent storms known as bomb cyclones usually appear over oceans or coastal areas, not over the U.S. High Plains, but one struck there in March 2019 causing major wind and flood damage. Image courtesy of NASA.Late last March, an unseasonably hot column of air shot suddenly upward from the U.S. Great Plains and collided with the frigid high atmosphere above South Dakota, sending barometric pressure plummeting. In just seconds, the sky erupted like an exploding pressure cooker, bringing devastating wind, storm and flooding. At the bottom of that madly swirling air column were the homes and ranches of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.The bomb cyclone hit the communities’ mobile homes like a missile. Such meteorological events (fierce storms that form with incredible speed when an extratropical surface cyclone undergoes “bombogenesis,” with a pressure drop of 24 millibars in 24 hours or less), are usually features of the coast, not the continent’s deep interior.But then, as the residents of Pine Ridge know from tragic experience, these were not normal times.This was their second weather disaster in eight months. When a fierce late July ice storm slammed into the Sioux reservation in 2018, Chase Iron Eyes and his kids had been on their way out for dinner. “It was dark, foreboding, swirling clouds,” remembered the Lakota attorney and tribal government spokesperson.Then the hail hit with the force of a shrapnel blast, “so strong it wasn’t coming from heaven to earth but sideways,” ripping through the reservation’s rural settlements, slashing holes in the vinyl and aluminum siding and roofs of their mobile homes, shattering house and car windows, while also pulverizing cottonwood leaves, filling the air with the powerful scent of fresh shredded greenery.When the July storm passed, Pine Ridge residents surveyed the damage: more than 500 homes were left uninhabitable, a severe blow to a reservation whose impoverished families have little capacity to absorb such a disaster. The March 2019 bomb cyclone would only add to the damage and despair. The reservation is home to the descendants of the Oglalla Sioux who, under the great war leader Red Cloud, made peace with the United States in 1873. Its communities remain desperately poor; Oglala Lakota County is one of the most impoverished counties in the nation.Chase Iron Eyes was a witness to the July 2018 hail storm when the wind and hail was “so strong it wasn’t coming from heaven to earth but sideways,” ripping through the reservation’s homes and wrecking vehicles. Image courtesy of the Lakota People’s Law Project.Like a Third World nationFor Iron Eyes, a grassroots activist who spent most of his life on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and who moved to Pine Ridge not long ago to campaign for the current tribal president, Julian Bear Runner, the dire conditions at Pine Ridge were eye opening: “It’s Ground Zero here,” he said. “During the campaign, we knocked on hundreds of doors, man. And the way a lot of people were living… I thought [such places] only existed in Third World countries.”Life on Pine Ridge, Iron Eyes said, “has all the outward manifestations of a slow genocide.”But behind the economic depression loomed something much larger and more frightening: the violent swings of a changing climate have come to the Northern Plains, threatening not only agriculture but the very habitability of a region once dubbed by whites as the “Great American Desert.”Poverty has long made adaptation difficult here. And that was before the March bomb cyclone, which damaged 75 houses, or last July’s hail storm, which damaged hundreds more.After the summer event, many houses perforated by the hail, were left exposed to the South Dakota elements. And as every Oglala knew then, time was fast running out. Soon the harsh Plains winter rolled in — a brutal season even in a house with intact windows and walls.Time is against the Oglala long-term as well: the Northern Plains, with their arid climate and long distance from temperate oceans, have always been a place noted for temperature and weather extremes — an unpredictability, the recent National Climate Assessment notes, that has always made it difficult for cities, suburbs and the tribes to cooperate in reliably managing resources. “Climate change,” the report warned, “is expected to exacerbate these challenges.”Over recent decades, the escalating climate crisis has steadily turned up the chaos meter, battering reservations. Creeping behind the more theatrical plagues of tornadoes and ice storms is an even greater threat: a dizzying dance of deluge, followed by drought, followed by flood, as regional weather systems swing ever more wildly. And as these extremes intensify, the tribes of the Plains — American citizens, like the Hurricane Maria-battered people of Puerto Rico — are being left to face the rising chaos alone.In addition to the powerful winds, the March 2019 bomb cyclone dumped rain on Pine Ridge, flooding this downtown park. Image courtesy of the Lakota People’s Law Project.Indian Country’s changing climateAccording to studies by NASA and NOAA, 2018 marked the fourth warmest year on record since 1880, “an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Science.But for the Northern Plains and the communities there, the danger is less rising temperature per se than a tremendous increase in anarchic, unpredictable and extreme weather, particularly centered around water. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, weather on the Plains has been getting more variable, erratic and destructive, with sometimes surreal oscillations: in 2011, for example, the Northern Plains faced a rash of wildfires and drought, followed in 2012, by severe flooding. Occasionally, these oscillations take the form of high-powered storms, as in the rash of tornadoes that ravaged South Dakota reservations in 2016, or the ice storm of 2018, or the bomb cyclone of 2019.With its frigid winters and baking summers, and its lack of mountains or forests to break up violent weather systems, the Northern Plains have always been characterized by wild weather swings. But now those fluctuations are increasing, endangering infrastructure and water supplies that have made the semi-arid Plains habitable. For example, as winter drought and earlier spring melt reduce the High Country snowpack that feeds the Missouri River and other streams, agriculture is becoming more constricted, narrowing the region’s economic base. However, larger and more powerful storms dump far more rain all at once, causing Biblical floods, found the 2018 National Climate Assessment.Water woes were at the root of the region’s re-entry into the national consciousness in 2016. Early that year, as a Houston-based pipeline company proposed drilling the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath the Missouri River, Bobby Jean Three Legs, a young mother and long distance runner, woke up in her home on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to her three-year old daughter asking her for water. Three Legs had a sudden, heart-stopping vision of a coming world in which there would be no water to give.The rebellion at Standing Rock, which grew out of a movement that Three Legs and a group of Lakota teens started, became a meeting-place for utopians and dissidents of all stripes who turned out to fight, as they said, “for the water.” But for the Lakota this was no metaphor: in 2002, when Three Legs was 9, a severe drought had caused Standing Rock to run out of water entirely; though that disaster was little noticed outside of South Dakota.By 2016 they were getting their water from the Missouri River and “water protectors” feared that a single pipeline oil spill could make Three Legs’ prophecy come true. Now that the pipeline is complete, that’s still a concern — and ironically, the National Climate Assessment notes, the source of that breach could be increased flooding brought by escalating climate change.The March 2019 floods put a serious strain on the reservation’s infrastructure, much of which consists of dirt roads. Steve and Lacey Pourier and their nine kids were unable to access their home because their road had been so damaged by the storm. Image courtesy of the Lakota People’s Law Project.The federal help that doesn’t comeThe surge in extreme weather has been exacerbated by tribal reliance on federal disaster relief — aid which has become more difficult to get. Indigenous people on reservations generally lack ready capital as a buffer against bad weather, and they also — because they are technically residents of sovereign nations — are often disqualified from receiving aid from state disaster agencies and county extension offices. Many Pine Ridge residents, for example, hit by the 2018 hail storm, were still living in FEMA trailers brought in after a 1999 tornado that destroyed 150 homes.As the winter of 2018-19 came on in the wake of the hail storm, the Oglala expected the federal government would step in again. But FEMA had weathered a harsh recent period of climate chaos too: 2017 had seen Houston inundated by Hurricane Harvey; the Gulf Coast and Caribbean utterly trashed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria; and a nearly-continuous season of wildfires across the West.Amidst all these disasters, the Trump Administration — ignoring both the reality of climate change and the need to adapt to it — had ransacked agency, taking from FEMA to fund other “national security” priorities. In late June 2018, as Hurricane Florence barreled toward Georgia and the Carolinas, Trump reallocated nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget slated for operations, mitigation and recovery, and transferred it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which was running a $200 million shortfall due to its larger-than-expected expenses for incarceration of undocumented immigrants.This matters more, to be clear, for rhetorical reasons than practical ones. The FEMA budget is about $16 billion a year, far larger than the amount shifted to ICE. Jeff Byard, a FEMA associate administrator, told reporters that the loss of a mere $10 million had “not impacted [FEMA’s disaster relief] situation whatsoever.” But the optics were extraordinarily bad: the news of FEMA’s funding loss broke as hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans languished without power; deprived of much-needed supplies that FEMA had reallocated just before the storm. One study later found that a poor disaster response by FEMA had likely helped lead to the exodus of half a million American refugees from the beleaguered island.Meanwhile, President Trump told Puerto Rico it was too well-off to need support, treating the Commonwealth, David Dayen wrote in The Intercept, “like a welfare recipient found to have too much money in its bank account.” Several months later, in January 2019, Trump would threaten to cut FEMA aid from California counties ravaged by wildfires “unless they get their act together,” citing alleged wasted “billions of dollars.”The President didn’t follow through on the threat, but in this era of disaster-relief means-testing, the Pine Ridge request to the federal government for post-disaster assistance was quietly turned down.Flooded fields in the Wounded Knee district of Pine Ridge. Because Indian reservations are officially seen as sovereign nations, they often can’t get state aid, while the federal government has heavily cut back on, and delayed, its disaster relief. Image by Derek Janis.FEMA sent a couple of agents to assess the 2018 hail storm damage, and then, to the shock of Steve Wilson, tribal emergency management officer, the agency refused to help. The reason, it said, was because the total financial damage hadn’t been high enough to warrant assistance.Ironically: Pine Ridge property values were found to be so depressed that the extensive damage resulting from the hail storm — though catastrophic to the low income people living through it — wasn’t sufficiently high to warrant any aid.To Chas Jewett, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation organizer in South Dakota, the Trump administration response was symptomatic of the double bind that much of Indian Country finds itself caught in again and again. “If that ice storm had hit Rapid City,” she said, “that same [destruction] would have been [totaled in] millions of dollars in damages, easy.” The lack of disaster relief, she added, felt like a tax on poverty: “You don’t know what the real cost of poverty is until you have to spend hundreds of dollars a month on propane because your house isn’t insulated, and you’re not hooked up to a grid.”The Ghost Dance as seen at the Pine Ridge Agency in 1890 — an indigenous religious revival intended to dance a new world into being, bringing peace and prosperity. By 1890, the Oglala had been forced onto the arid High Plains reservation, land they were expected to farm, but that year’s intense heat and drought showed the region to be unsuitable for high yield agriculture. Still, the U.S. cut rations to the reservation that year in half. Now, as the climate crisis intensifies, the government has slashed aid to Pine Ridge and other reservations. Image by Harper’s Weekly, December 1890, as drawn by Frederic Remington, Public Domain.Extreme weather and a shrinking federal safety netOther Indian reservations are being shut out from federal aid as well, including South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Reservation last winter. The federal government shutdown in December 2018 and January 2019 cut funding to, and shut down, most of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency that pays for tribal police as well as other support offices and services.During the shutdown, the Cheyenne River Indians endured almost three weeks of subzero temperatures, which took a heavy toll on roads, bridges, tribal vehicles, maintenance buildings and other infrastructure. With federal funding withheld, and budgets already thin, Jewett said, every additional bit of asset depreciation due to worsening extreme weather is more money taken out of largely depleted coffers.“Climate change brings in so much more volatility,” said Zach Ducheneaux, a Cheyenne River resident who provides technical assistance for Indian farmers through the Intertribal Agricultural Council. “Even where our trend line is staying the same, the highs and lows are so much farther from what’s normal.”Extreme storms and droughts, once considered outlier events, have gotten gradually worse, and have become the new normal on the reservation. In early October 2012, Winter Storm Atlas hit South Dakota with record setting blizzards and cold. “I knew tribal [cattle] producers who lost their whole herd,” Ducheneaux recalled. According to NOAA, this is part of a national trend — 2018 saw 14 one billion-dollar disaster events nationwide, the fourth highest ever. (The three higher years were all since 2011.)Because Indian Country is generally rural and agricultural its economic base is particularly susceptible to natural disasters and freak weather. Likewise, recent alterations in US Department of Agriculture policy have disproportionately impacted Native farmers and ranchers.Up until the late 1990s, the federal government maintained a standing disaster relief fund. Known as the Indian Acute Disaster Program, it was specifically earmarked for Indian Country and even included emergency money designated for hay deliveries to Native ranchers whose livestock feed had been snowed under, and guaranteed relief for herds assaulted by blizzards.Since Indian Country largely lives by ranching, the loss of grazing land and herds to floods or to hail can be a serious economic blow. This truckload of hay was donated by farmers in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Image by Steve Wedeking.But toward the end of the Clinton Administration, the rules changed: the standard Indian allotment was dropped in favor of a system where tribes and ranchers had to apply for relief after individual disasters.This new system was especially bad for Indian farmers, for reasons that mostly, like so much in farm country across the US, come back to credit.The new rule required lots of time-consuming paperwork, and then, following a written tribal appeal for disaster relief, USDA would send officials to “ground-proof” claims, all of which could take days or weeks. Most counties have extension agents whose job it is to coordinate between federal aid programs and farmers, but the reservation system often has to make do with whatever extension agents their non-native neighbors can spare — adding more delay.And finally, when aid does become available, records can be a problem. “Our Native American producers aren’t as accustomed to the [detailed] recordkeeping that non-Indian producers do on a regular basis,” Ducheneaux said, “because we don’t have the access to capital in the same way, which would require reporting your livestock.”Because Indians are less able to get loans, Ducheneaux explained, they are also less likely to carry through on the sort of recordkeeping that becomes vital once disaster strikes. Not that records are necessarily any salve: “A whole bunch of cows got burnt up in the big wildfires on the Colville Reservation a few years ago,” Ducheneaux recalled. “How do you document your cow got burnt up?”Pine Ridge was pummeled with baseball-sized hail in 2018, leaving over 500 houses damaged and inflicting an estimated $5-10 million in damage. FEMA declined aid, on the logic that the damage was largely “cosmetic.” Image courtesy of the Lakota People’s Law Project.The credit problemIt isn’t, Ducheneaux emphasized, that Indians always get aid significantly later than non-Indians. But with, for example, Winter Storm Atlas, no federal money came through till the following autumn, forcing any farmers who lost their herds to get by for many months without credit or relief. Indian farmers, he noted, are resilient and well-networked with their neighbors — but they don’t generally have banked cash or equity to float them through a disaster until the federal relief money shows up. “The non-Indian is up there with a bunch of farm [assets],” Ducheneaux said. “He has his CAFO, he’s diversified. He’s had 45-50 years to build equity. So if he knows there’s federal disaster assistance coming [eventually], he can go to the bank, borrow against this collateral for now, pay you back later.”By contrast, Ducheneaux described a Cheyenne River rancher who had just taken out a loan for his cows when Winter Storm Atlas froze them all to death. “That Indian producer was tapped out borrowing to secure the cows [in the first place]. So there’s no real ability for him to go to the bank and say, ‘Well, I got federal assistance coming at some point, how about we work together [and you give me a loan to tide me over]?’.”Ducheneaux sees a broader economic problem as well: if Indians could capture more of the wealth currently being extracted from their reservations in the form of cattle — say, by building their own meatpacking plants, their own credit instruments — then they would have more resilience in terms of disasters too. A partial solution may be on the way: the Intertribal Agricultural Council currently has $2.5 million out in loans to small producers, which it hopes to parlay into a new-model sustainability fund available to all of Indian Country, in which the bank helps Native farmers win, rather than simply taking the house when they lose.But losing rather than winning could be the order of things in the near and far future. A grab bag of predictions from the recent National Climate Assessment for the Great Plains suggests harder times ahead: the number of days over 100 Fahrenheit is likely to double by 2050, with average temperatures up by 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to that increased variability. Winter and spring precipitation is expected to irise up to 30 percent by the end of the century — likely bringing increases in flooding. There could be half again as many serious two-day floods by 2050. And as rainfall increases, snowfall will decrease, becoming more concentrated in dramatic hail storms, which will be, the federal report projected, 40 percent more damaging.Despite predicted rainfall increases (mostly coming all at once, in extreme events), higher temperatures (which force plants, like people, to transpire more water), could lead to greater drought and groundwater depletion, which is already a serious creeping threat for the huge section of the United States that draws from the Oglala Aquifer.These big changes, Ducheneaux pointed out, won’t only impact the reservations. The Great Plains have become a breadbasket to the world; dramtic shifts in historical weather patterns and far greater climate extremes could pose a serious threat to U.S. and world food security.Prayer ties blow in the wind in the aftermath of the destructive July 2018 hail storm. Image courtesy of the Lakota People’s Law Project.Helping those who help themselvesFor Pine Ridge, where the FEMA desk in the tribal headquarters has stood empty for more than a year, help after the 2018 hail storm came not from faraway Washington, but from the reservation’s own people, and from the kindness of strangers.Jacquelyn Cordoba, a Taos Pueblo woman who had fallen in with the Oglalla Lakota via her involvement in the International Indigenous Youth Council at the Standing Rock pipeline protest encampments, showed up in December 2018 on a different project. She was shocked to see the conditions following the July storm: “I heard it had happened, but I never knew how bad it was. Because you never hear how bad it is. Because the mainstream [media] doesn’t talk about what’s happening there [on the reservation].”Her new organization, the Sacred Healing Circle, had passed their elders’ lore on to the young people at Pine Ridge, who were fired up on traditional religion after the Standing Rock protests. The previous summer, those young people had installed water quality monitors in a number of sensitive sites.Now Cordoba walked through the Pine Ridge neighborhoods that had suffered the worst. “There were windows, doors, all stove in; cars smashed up,” she said. Church groups from Rapid City had already spent weekends volunteering, using plywood to cover gaping holes, but that was far from sufficient. “It was still cold and dark inside the houses, and people’s pipes were breaking” as winter temperatures fell. She crowdfunded $50,000 dollars, enough to put together a small work detail of locals and outside volunteers.“A team came [to make repairs]. There would be a whole [street] of 20 busted up houses — and you just started knocking on doors, ‘Hey, we’re helping repair windows with Plexiglas. Would you like help?’ We would put five people on this house, five on that one, and you would just go for it,” Cordoba recalled.It was slow going; few of the volunteers were professional construction workers, and there was “so much damage. We found out: some houses, it was [just] a window had to be fixed, but then [for others] the whole [trailer home] frame was damaged. Or, that person’s door has holes in it, so you go to Loews, and you buy them a new door — but then you realize the [door] frame was never set right, so the whole door is crooked,” and then both door and frame may need replacing to seal up the house again.With the climate crisis now escalating, and the federal government withdrawing, help from local muscle and outside charities is about all the disaster relief that Pine Ridge can expect for the foreseeable future.Speaking of FEMA’s 2018 hail storm aid denial, Cordoba said her team remains upbeat: “Sure, it shouldn’t have happened like that, but it did happen like that. And who was gonna keep people warm if not us?”Originally, she expected volunteers to begin recovery work with great enthusiasm but then fade away. Instead, the building crews were indomitable: “They’d say, ‘These are our people.’ So we would do one more house. One more window. Keep one more family warm tonight.” So they hammered and drilled, house-by-house, until the last of the money was gone. Eight months later, the bomb cyclone hit.BANNER IMAGE: A supercell over Kansas. Climate change is intensifying storms over the High Plains, making this already difficult arid environment with its extremes of hot and cold, more challenging to inhabit. Image by The Archive Team licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Adaptation To Climate Change, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, Climate Politics, Controversial, Drought, Environment, Environmental Activism, Environmental Ethics, Featured, Global Environmental Crisis, Green, Impact Of Climate Change, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Reserves, Indigenous Rights, Poverty, Poverty Alleviation, Storms, Temperatures, Water Crisis, Water Scarcity last_img read more

From trash to cash: How a Thai entrepreneur turned used flip-flops into a sustainable business model

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored A university team in Thailand named “Tlejourn” has created a profitable product from discarded flip-flops. Of the 5.25 trillion pieces of trash floating in the ocean, old flip-flops are one of the most commonly found items.Although flip-flops are not recyclable, Tlejourn upcycles them into new, solid mats, which are then use to make new footware. Tlejourn’s footwear is handmade by low-income families in southern Thailand, providing them with a significant financial boost.With Tlejourn’s help, Thai shoe manufacturer Nanyang created a new product line of sandals made from discarded flip-flops. Inspired by Tlejourn’s success, other trash collecting initiatives, like Trash Hero, now experiment to find other ways to turn trash into cash. One day in mid-2015, Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai, who goes by the nickname “Arm,” looked at the pile of flip-flops in his backyard. Some 100,000 of them were stacked up waist high behind his house in Pattani, on the coast of southern Thailand. The flip-flops laid there undisturbed for months. A family of venomous snakes even built a nest inside.Arm wanted to reuse the flip-flops, but he also wanted to produce a product that made money at the same time. After many months and several prototypes, he still didn’t have a winning product. Arm thrived on challenges, but this time he seemed stuck with his flip-flop mountain.Arm’s breakthrough finally came in January 2016. Since then, he and his team, which includes Padinya Aree, Maradee Baka, and Ruslan Masae, have profitably reused thousands of old flip-flops, turning them into new shoes. They call their nonprofit project “Tlejourn,” a Thai play on words for traveling shoes.Their success came after Arm and the Tlejourn team solved several challenges. First, because flip-flops can’t be melted down and recycled, they devised a low-tech, inexpensive way to upcycle old flip-flops by grinding them into small pieces and then gluing them together into one solid piece. Second, Arm convinced the volunteer group Trash Hero to give him all the flip-flops they found while cleaning up the local beach. With this, he had a free supply of flip-flops to upcycle. Third, Arm and his team finally hit upon upcycled shoes as their winning product.Selling new Tlejourn shoes at 399 Baht ($13.32) per pair generated enough of a profit margin to make the project worth it. Since then, Tlejourn’s team has made over 3,000 pairs of new, upcycled shoes.An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of trash weighing nearly 270,000 tons are currently floating in the ocean. Discarded flip-flops may account for more than 25 percent, some 1.3 trillion flip-flops, if surveys from beach clean-ups are an accurate indicator.Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai (nicknamed “Arm”) created a process and a network to profitably upcycle old flip-flops into new shoes. Photo by Ryan Anders.From his own experience, Arm guesses that there are enough old flip-flops collected in every five kilograms (11 pounds) of beach trash to make one new pair of Tlejourn shoes. That means that Tlejourn’s 3,000 pairs of new shoes equate to 15,000 kilograms (33,000 pounds) of ocean debris picked up on the beach.While the total amount of trash upcycled for Arm’s new shoes might not seem remarkable, his entrepreneurial journey certainly is. In fact, how Arm and team achieved success is a model already being imitated by others who want to profit from trash.The business challenge: How to beat trashIn 2011, Arm was 39, had earned a Ph.D. in the United States, and was on the staff of the Department of Rubber Technology and Polymer Science at the Prince of Songkhla University (PSU) in Pattani. In his free time, he ran, cycled, and helped out at his family’s business. Although he didn’t care about the environment at the time, a friend asked if he could upcycle some old flip-flops found on the beach. Accepting the challenge, Arm said, “Of course. It’s easy!”There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of trash weighing nearly 270,000 tons floating in the ocean. Photo by Ryan Anders.He took the old flip-flops and a “can-do” attitude to his university laboratory. There, he and his team began to experiment. They washed the dirt off the trashed flip-flops and then ran them through a grinding machine. When the flip-flop pieces were all about the size of a kernel of corn, Arm poured in a polyurethane binder. The binder functioned as a glue and made the small pieces stick to each other. Finally, the team made a “sandwich” by spreading the flip-flop mixture (with the consistency of chunky peanut butter) in-between two heavy metal plates. This “sandwich” was squeezed together in a hot press, resulting in a solid but flexible mat about the size of an A3 piece of paper and 4 centimeters (a little over 1.5 inches) thick.Figuring out what to make and sell from the upcycled mats proved to be harder than Arm initially expected. “I always have in mind, these things need to be turned into a product. Someone needs to pay me to turn this into a product.” From 2011 to 2015, the team tried blocks, floor tiles, and even an exercise mat, but none of these product ideas seemed commercially viable.In January 2015, as Arm was testing out product ideas, a massive beach clean-up organized by a group of Thai and foreign volunteers calling themselves “Trash Hero” was underway. Over a four-month period, Trash Hero volunteers camped out on Thailand’s uninhabited Tarutao Island and collected garbage. One of the first volunteers, Roman Peter, decided to sort the flip-flops out. Peter said the Trash Hero team hoped that “they might find someone who could reuse them.” His hunch was right. By the time the clean-up had finished in April 2015, Arm was waiting for them at the pier. He had seen Trash Hero’s posts on Facebook and come with a large trailer truck to carry the mountain of flip-flops back to Pattani.Old flip-flops are first ground up into small pieces in order to upcycle them into solid mats. Photo by Tlejourn.In December 2015, Arm and his team had finally found a winning product. His students had chosen to make shoes for a competition in Bangkok. Each person on the team tore apart a new pair of shoes, stamped out a new shoe sole from the upcycled mat and then put their “green” prototype shoes back together.They dreamed up a brand name, Tlejourn. Days after posting pictures online, news of the Tlejourn project went viral in Thailand. Hundreds of people contacted Arm wanting to place an order. The team didn’t have the capital to mass-produce hundreds of shoes, so in 2016, they started a crowdfunding campaign. Customers paid in advance while Arm’s team struggled to fulfill the orders. Tlejourn had grown beyond a small student project, leading Arm to expand the team.The Tlejourn project uses shoe soles made from upcycled flip-flop mats. Photo by Tlejourn.Scaling up the businessIn early 2017, Arm visited a rural village some 30 minutes outside of Pattani. There, he was greeted by Mrs. Supatra Cometan. From her family’s wooden house, surrounded by rice fields, rubber tree plantations, and a mosque, Supatra leads a 10-person collective of women sewing shirts, small bags, and handicrafts.Arm asked Supatra and team not only to sew a decorative bag, which he would use instead of plastic packaging to ship Tlejourn’s orders, but also to assemble Tlejourn’s shoes. Despite Supatra’s reservations — and surprise that the sandal was made of trash — she and her group agreed.At the university, Arm’s team stamped shoe soles at his lab and then went to the village to train the women to assemble the shoes. ”We made many mistakes,” said Supatra, but they kept practicing and simply sent malformed parts back to Arm’s lab, where they were put back into the grinder.A member of Tlejourn’s team stamps out new shoe soles at Dr. Nithi-Uthai’s university, Prince of Songkhla University, in Pattani, Thailand. Photo by Tlejourn.That year, 2017, Supatra’s four-woman shoe team made 574 pairs of Tlejourn sandals. That number increased to 809 pairs in 2018, and is already nearing 1,000 in 2019. In addition, the sewing collective has produced some 3,000 cloth bags over the last three years. Arm not only found a way to get Tlejourn’s shoes made but also to benefit these village women, some of whom had never been employed or worked outside of their homes before.Since 2015, the Tlejourn team has also supported companies and one shoe school to incorporate upcycled flip-flops into their own products. Most recently, Tlejourn worked with Nanyang, one of Thailand’s oldest shoe brands, to create its own upcycled sandal, the “KHYA” (a Thai play on words for trash). When Nanyang’s limited-run sandals launched in September 2019, the company was initially prepared to make 10,000 pairs. Online demand was so strong, however, that after just three weeks, Nanyang had sold 27,886 pairs of upcycled KHYA sandals.The additional income earned from assembling Tlejourn’s shoes makes a real difference for women living near Pattani. The majority of families in this area can’t afford a new refrigerator if their old one breaks. Photo by Ryan Anders.Upcycling trash profits othersThere are multiple positive outcomes from the Tlejourn project. Household incomes for the women assembling Tlejourn shoes have increased by approximately 15 percent. That increase in income is significant. The majority of families in the area couldn’t afford a new refrigerator if their old one broke. Additionally, Supatra says that the project has boosted the women’s self-esteem and their awareness of trash in their own small community.Trash Hero, which points to Tlejourn as one of their success stories, has now grown to over 120 chapters. Tlejourn’s success has also inspired other Trash Hero chapters to search for ways to upcycle trash. In Indonesia, Trash Hero Gili Meno reuses Styrofoam to fill beanbag chairs and pillows.Since its founding in 2014, the nonprofit organization Trash Hero has grown to include 120 chapters, mainly in Southeast Asia. Photo by Tlejourn.Nanyang in Thailand is studying how to switch from plastic to biodegradable packaging and how to create a profitable, long-term business model for their KHYA sandals. The initial KHYA production run required three additional, costly steps compared to their normal flip-flops, but Mr. Piya Sosothikul, a member of Nanyang’s Board of Directors, sees a path to profitability. “If you do about 100,000 [annually], the price would not have to go up that high. It would have to go up to 600 Baht.”Flip-flops still wash ashore in Pattani, and although the Tlejourn project hasn’t totally changed that fact, it has completely altered Arm. “I was like zero percent green at the start,” he said, but picking up trash every week “is really powerful and it slowly changes you bit by bit.”Now Arm feels empowered. Instead of waiting for the government to take action, he believes he can tackle any problem. He’s even started a refill store called “Zero Waste Pattani.” From the ground floor at his home, Arm and his family sell shampoo, soap and washing detergent to customers who bring their own reusable containers. “I think we can change people who join us, and slowly we can change people around them. Slowly we can change the community.”Tlejourn’s shoes are assembled by an all-women team in rural southern Thailand. Earnings from the project raise their household income by approximately 15%. Photo by Ryan Anders.Citations• Bouwman, H., Evans, S. W., Cole, N., Yive, N. S. C. K., & Kylin, H. (2016). The flip-or-flop boutique: Marine debris on the shores of St Brandon’s rock, an isolated tropical atoll in the Indian Ocean. Marine environmental research, 114, 58-64. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.12.013• Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L. C., Carson, H. S., Thiel, M., Moore, C. J., Borerro, J. C., … & Reisser, J. (2014). Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans: more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. PloS one, 9(12), e111913. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111913FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Conservation, Environment, Green Business, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Pollution, Recycling, Sustainability, Technology And Conservation center_img Article published by Mike Gaworeckilast_img read more

Play your Part in Developing Girl children

first_imgBrand South Africa CEO Miller Matola says: “Our children are our nation’s greatest resource. We must all do whatever we can to ensure our children are nourished, educated and safe.“International research has shown that a nation’s growth and competitiveness are influenced by the development of its young citizens since they are the future adults. If children do not receive the necessary nutrition, their physical and mental growth is stunted. If children do not get the required education, they cannot gain the skills to ensure South Africa remains competitive with sustainable economic growth.”“This Women’s Day we call on South Africans to play their part to ensure our children, and particularly our girl children, stay in school. Educated girl children grow into adults who make different choices about their lives and their families are healthier when they have them. They are able to contribute to a nation’s economic growth in various areas. Therefore we should each make the development of our girl children a priority.“Our efforts will be a fitting tribute to the women who braved an inhumane and brutal system of oppression to march to the Union Buildings in 1956. It will do the memory of warriors like Charlotte Maxeke – the first South African black woman to hold a degree – proud if each of us plays a part in nourishing our children, and particularly our girl children, physically and mentally. Each of us can thereby play a part in driving our nation’s development,” concluded Matola.Note to EditorsBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness abroad. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:Nadia Samie-JacobsPublic Relations DomesticTel: +27 11 712 5007 Mobile: +27 (0)72 777 9399Email:last_img read more

World’s largest new IoT networks launched at MWC

first_imgSmall Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Tags:#Brazil#connectivity#Ingenu#Machine Network#MEC Telematik#Middle East#RPMA#smart city Cate Lawrence This week at Mobile World Congress, two new global IoT machine networks were announced in the Middle East and Brazil to provide connectivity for IoT devices and applications across the world.Ingenu Inc. and MEC Telematik announced a rollout of the Machine Network for IoT network connectivity across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, based on RPMA (Random Phase Multiple Access) technology. When launched, the Middle East network will be the world’s largest multi-country M2M/IoT network serving the countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and others.See also: At MWC, a cutting-edge and crazy IoT showcaseIt will provide affordable and reliable connectivity for applications such as asset tracking, logistics, environmental monitoring and smart city, among others.  MEC Telematik will fund and undertake the build-out of the Machine Network which will be largely completed by the end of 2017.Introducing….RPMARPMA (Random Phase Multiple Access) technology is purpose-built for M2M/IoT connectivity, offering unparalleled range, coverage, and capacity with extremely low power requirements and longer-lasting battery life. It enables devices to connect more efficiently and cost-effectively in both the uplink and downlink. It also requires fewer towers to provide coverage to large areas (1:10 to 1:30 radio towers needed for RPMA vs. cellular).“The Middle East is embracing the Internet of Things faster than any other region as it expands its focus on sustainability and smart technologies,” said Fred Wohl, CEO of MEC Telematik.  “We selected Ingenu because its network is specifically designed for machine connectivity and we are thrilled to bring RPMA to countries in the Middle East, and serve the myriad of IoT opportunities that are ideally suited for this innovative technology.”Increased IoT connectivity for BrazilDatorá Telecomunicações Ltda has also chosen Ingenu’s RPMA IoT network to serve Brazil’s population of over 200 million, providing connectivity for applications like agriculture, environmental monitoring, logistics and smart city projects. Datora will deploy the Machine Network throughout Brazil, with expected completion in late 2018.  The network will be integrated with its IoT Connectivity Abstraction Layer Solution (IoT CAL Solution), which allows different types of seamless connectivity for its clients.“The Brazilian market is rapidly expanding its focus on IoT connectivity to bring useful new applications to the region,” said Tomas Fuchs, CEO of Datora Group. “Datora’s vast experience in providing IoT/M2M connectivity and Ingenu’s robust, reliable RPMA technology will provide unprecedented network availability for a host of IoT solutions and flexibility of integration with our IoT CAL Solution.”“Ingenu’s partnership with Datora is the company’s largest deployment in the Latin American market to date,” said John Horn, CEO, Ingenu.  “We are excited to align our global expansion with Datora, an established and profitable Brazilian company, to support the connectivity needs of this growing nation, and to extend the reach of our RPMA technology in Brazil.”The announcement follows news last week that Brazil and the European Union plan to invest 16mn euros (US$16.8mn) in projects in the areas of the IoT cloud computing and 5G networks.The Brazilian science, technology, innovations and communications ministry, MCTIC, and the the national education and research network (RNP) opened registrations for the fourth Brazil-European Union coordinated ICT call. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…center_img Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts last_img read more