Thursday, January 5, 2017

What does 2017 hold for our environment?




The dawn of a New Year always brings with it new promises. Yet, what does 2017 hold for our environment? How would climate change impact agriculture and farming, water management, and food consumption? What are the key trends and issues that will dominate global discussions? We’ve pulled together several articles that provide some answers to these questions.

Can cooler temperatures be expected?
Looking back at 2016, this Guardian article highlights the negative impacts of the end of El Nino that resulted in droughts, high temperatures and food shortages in much of Africa, Latin America and south-east Asia. Later in the year, however, La Nina conditions were reported, and a weak La Nina can be expected in 2017. A natural cooling of Pacific Ocean waters, this can bring average rainfall and cooler temperatures across much of the globe. However, these conditions can fade away early in the New Year. Forecasters in Washington have said that while “ocean temperatures need to drop by an average of half a degree for at least six months”, it is probable that this may not happen. Farmers, especially in countries in Latin America, will be adversely impacted by these changing conditions as they compete for international markets.

More worries for farmers?
In Australia, water will be a key issue when it comes to agriculture, with discussions on water reforms entering a crucial phase. But, this is not the only concern. Rising power costs and rising temperatures are resulting in challenges for farmers. Trade and investment is high on the agenda, with 2017 being the deadline for a free-trade agreement with Indonesia, and agriculture commodities is expected to be a key point in these negotiations.

Water conservation as a key trend?
Speaking of water, Ford has predicted water conservation to be a key trend in 2017. This article captures efforts by large corporations to address challenges in climate change, health, and labour, among others. The corporations gathered agreed to “support meaningful carbon pricing, help smallholder farmers, reduce food waste by half, and set ambitious water-management goals”.

The need for more data on food consumption and inequality
In this interview, Mark Watts, the Executive Director of C40, draws attention to issues of food consumption and inequality as influencing climate politics in the coming year. Watts highlights the need to rethink urban food issues, noting that food consumption will be a critical challenge in the near future. Yet, closely linked to this is the need to tackle inequality. He highlights the need to look deeper at the linkages between inequality and climate change, for example, the need for more “analysis and data on the economic and social benefits of actions taken largely to achieve a climate outcome”.

How will political developments shape climate discussions?
This article highlights some of key political and policy developments that will shape 2017, including the changes in government in Washington, and larger discussions around Brexit. With Germany, the US, Mexico, and Canada having begun to look at a future without fossil fuels, the G7 aims to look at these transition plans. Importantly, 2017 will also see greater discussions around the Paris Agreement. Further, the new UN Secretary General taking office this year, has characterised climate action as ‘unstoppable’. It would be crucial to see how these changes will impact climate decisions at policy level, and how they will be translated at the local level.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Secret Santa with a twist!


We’ve had a great 2016 at CoirGreen, and we’re wrapping up the year by playing Secret Santa with a twist!

In our last blog post, we spoke about why it is important to speak up for a safe and healthy environment. As environmental issues continue to come to the forefront of global discussions, we are often reminded of the need to be aware of how our actions can either harm or protect the planet we live in. 


At CoirGreen, we believe education is key, and this December, we are asking each Secret Santa to leave a piece of information on how we can change our everyday actions to help protect the environment. 

We’ve asked everyone to be creative in what they say and how they say it. We’ll be sharing our messages with each other just before Christmas. What’s more is that we’re hoping to share these messages with our family and friends. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t leave you in the dark. We’ll post some of these great messages here too! Better yet, why not join us with your own Environment Secret Santa? Don’t forget to let us know how that goes.   



Friday, December 9, 2016

On #HumanRightsDay, stand up for the right to a clean and healthy environment




In marking World Human Rights Day this year, which falls on 10th December, the United Nations is calling on everyone to stand up for someone else’s rights. Such a call is indeed apt. Worldover, devastating conflicts are forcing people to leave their homes, denying many of their basic human rights, while issues such as violence against women and children, and violence against minorities, have become serious human rights concerns. Yet, there is another pressing human rights issue that is fast taking centre stage. What about the right of every individual to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment?

A safe and healthy environment is essential to fully enjoy a wide range of human rights, including the right to life, health, food, water, and sanitation. Environment degradation continues to impact human health and wellbeing, threatening the rights, freedoms and dignity of millions of people across the world. Did you know that more than 2 million deaths worldwide are as a result of environmental pollution?

Key progresses were made this year in accelerating efforts towards helping people realise their rights to a healthy environment. Significant among them was the adoption of the new development agenda, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda urges states to make firm commitments to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment”,, thus drawing a close link between the environment and the enjoyment of human rights. According to the United Nations, many states have also now begun to incorporate the right to a healthy environment in their constitutions. Last month, the landmark Paris agreement on climate change entered into force, marking a significant commitment by world leaders to limit the rise in global temperatures. Under the agreement, all countries have an obligation to keep global warming levels below 2C that scientists have regarded as a safe limit, beyond which, climate change can have catastrophic consequences on people and the planet.

Amidst such efforts by governments, Andrew Norton, the Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, has called on the need to hear from the people who will be the hardest hit, highlighting the urgent need to reach the poorest and the most vulnerable. Therefore, this Human Rights Day, why not join CoirGreen™ in stepping forward to speak up for someone for their right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Erosion control products: cost effective alternatives for revegetation



Erosion is any horticulturist’s worst nightmare. From the process of replanting and restoration, to the loss of the most fertile soil, i.e. the topsoil, erosion can have damaging effects on any cultivation. Although erosion is mainly associated with water erosion, wind erosion and tillage are another two forms of erosion.

So what are the signs that can help identify erosion early on? Below are a few of the factors that affect soil erosion;

  • The structure and texture of the soil will determine the erodibility of the soil, i.e. the ability of the soil to resist erosion
  • The intensity and duration of rainfall will affect the rate of erosion
  • A steeper and long slope of a field will increase the chances of erosion
  • The roughness of the soil’s surface will affect the resistance of soil against wind erosion
  • A lack of windbreaks or unsheltered distances will increase abrasion and erosion
  • The speed and depth of tillage, i.e. a deep tillage, will disturb the soil

However, soil erosion can be controlled. Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development and construction. For this, many methods have been introduced over the years, such as reforestation, no-till farming, contour ploughing, terracing, and windbreaks, while in the recent past horticulturists and agriculturists have adopted the practice of using man-made erosion control products.

At CoirGreen™, we know the benefit horticulturists, environmental engineers and agriculturists receive when they use erosion control products. As such, in an effort to promote eco-friendly practices in erosion control methods, we produce 100% natural and biodegradable erosion control products which are made out of coir fibers. Erosion control blanket (coco blankets), geotextile (coir netting), coirlog (waterlogs/biologs), coir pallet (coir pillow), and jute geotextile are the green solutions provided by CoirGreen to control soil erosion.

Each of these products assists in reducing soil erosion.

Coir erosion control blanket, also known as coco blankets are laid down on the soil for slope stabilisation, landslide stabilisation and river-bank protection. These dimensionally stable blankets enhance vegetation growth as it allows the root system to establish solid support. Coir erosion control blankets can be easily transported and deployed, and once the biodegradation process starts, the spun and woven coir blanket’s remnants can found in the form of hummus. Another advantage of using coco blankets instead of its synthetic counterpart is that it is naturally capable of retaining the necessary amount of water for the soil. Coco erosion control blanket use extends beyond erosion control, and has been identified for landscaping, vegetation control and sedimentation control.

Geotextiles or coir netting produced using coir fibers have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect or drain any water to reduce soil erosion reduces, while holding the soil together. It is mainly used for bioengineering and stabilisation of slopes that have low erodibility. Geotextiles permeate the flow of water in and out from it, therefore allowing the necessary amount of water to reach the soil to maintain its fertility. It has been produced to last for 3-5 years, thereafter the degradation process takes place and transforms it into hummus, which enriches the soil, thereby reducing any time and cost that would have been spent for the removal of it. Apart from its use for soil stabilisation, geotextiles are also used for stream/river bank protection, shoreline stabilisation, storm water channels, filtration in road drains and land reclamation, highway cut and filled slopes etc.

Coirlogs (waterlogs/biologs, coco logs) are made out of rolled coir fibers ranging from 7 – 9kg per linear meter whose cylindrical shape is reinforced using coir netting. The diameter of the log ranges from 20cm-50cm with 2 or 4 meter length for the cylindrical logs. The coir logs are generally used for hills, banks, shorelines, and other erosion prone areas, as it is able to control erosion due to its ability to reduce the velocity of water and the movement of sediment. The coir acts as mulch on the surface and as a wick in the soil mantle. When coir logs are placed it protects the plants from being affected by erosion, until they are fully grown and are capable of stabilising the soil through their growth. And once the plants take over the stabilisation, the logs will degrade and enrich the soil as humus as the logs are 100% natural and biodegradable.

Coir pallets are used to establish marginal vegetation around rivers, lakes and canals, especially those that are artificially lined as it can be used as an alternative for hard revetments. The high lignin content of the coir helps the pallets to cope with water that is coming at a high velocity, thereby protecting the vegetation against water erosion. These coir pallets are versatile as they can be used to grow any mix of wetland plants, and also be used to control wind erosion. Coir pallets are also used for mulching, vegetative water channels, and as a natural solution for scour protection.

CoirGreen offers two types of jute products, they are, jute geotextile and hessian. These are ideal to protect the soil from wind erosion. These products stop the top soil from being blown away, however its porous texture enables water to reach the plants that are trying to establish themselves on a steep slope. Hessian is a plain cloth made wholly out of jute with a single wrap and weft interwoven, while jute geo textile is woven using high quality jute.

If you are interested in adopting one of these products to your agricultural activities contact CoirGreen on marketing AT coirgreen DOT com and we can help you to choose the right product and customise it to your needs or offer your own branding for the product range. You can visit www.coirgreen.com for further details or be involved on our social media pages, www.facebook.com/coirgreen or via twitter on www.twitter.com/coirgreen.