Las Historias Detalladas (Basados en visitas de campo y entrevistas extensas)
- Esperamos ofrecerles historias detalladas de éxitos oceanías en un futuro próximo
Las Historias Cápsulas
- Australia – Una Casa Sustentable in la Ciudad – Una pequeña familia urbana remodela su cien-años-de-edad casa para lograr autosuficiencia respecto al agua y la energía.
- Islas Fiji y Cook – Restauración de la Pesquería Costera – Reservas y vedas restauran a una pesquería costera en deterioro.
- Vanuatu – Aceite de Coco como Combustible Alterno – Mientras cae el precio de la copra y sube el del petróleo, el aceite de coco es un prometedor combustible “biodiesel”.
Australia – Una Casa Sustentable in la Ciudad
by Amanda Suutari
In 1996, Mike Mobbs, a Sydney environmental lawyer, and his lawyer wife Heather Armstrong set out to renovate their 100-year-old terrace house in the inner-city suburb of Chippendale – to expand their kitchen and make a bit more living space for the two kids. But when they sat down to plan the job they decided to build a house that would be less of a drain on the planet’s resources. With a bit of vision, some common sense, and a lot of tenacity, they built what most of us would think impossible… a house in the middle of Australia’s biggest city that:
- Collects all its drinking water from the roof
- Generates all of its electricity from the sun
- Processes all of its wastewater, including sewage, on site
Impossible? Outrageously expensive? Here’s how they did it…
Mike wanted to collect all of the water the family needed off their roof. They had never been big water users. Even before they renovated, they used just 350 liters of water a day, or about half that of the average Sydney household. But over a year, this still adds up to around 100,000 liters of water.
The house is less than 2 kilometers from Sydney’s central business district, sandwiched between two congested inner-city roads (Broadway and Cleveland St.), choked frequently with buses and cars. So with two young kids, Mike and Heather were initially concerned about the quality of the water they’d collect off their roof. They were pleasantly surprised. Today, their drinking water is cleaner than that of most households. The water exiting the other end of the tank is clean enough to be reused in the house as grey water to flush toilets, wash clothes and water the garden, and any excess overflows into a dry reed bed.
The water recycling and sewerage disposal systems in the Chippendale house process around 100,000 liters of sewage each year, preventing it from entering the Pacific Ocean. The organic composting also cuts the local council’s waste by several tons. The water recycling and sewage treatment system cost about $11,000, including all of the excavations and the tank, which has the capacity to process waste for nine people.
Annual savings on water and energy bills are around $1,600/yr. Taking into account extra maintenance and gas bills, that works out to an annual saving of about $1,200. The cost-benefit would be greater if neighbors started to use the house’s organic waste disposal system, which still has extra capacity.
Michael also estimates the sustainable building costs would be halved if built from scratch.
For more details, click on the links at: http://www.abc.net.au/science/planet/house/special.htm
Islas Fiji y Cook – Restauración de la Pesquería Costera
by Amanda Suutari
The decline of the region’s fishery (especially the kaikoso, a species of clam important to local subsistence and livelihood) was caused by various factors including overfishing, mangrove destruction, reef blasting, night fishing and foreign fishers.
When villagers of the Veratavou region and a local non-governmental organization got together to find solutions to the problem, they created a list of rules; they banned blasting, gill nets, and mangrove cutting around the lagoon, stopped issuing licenses to foreign fishers, and designated “tabu,” or no-take, reserves in designated areas in the lagoons.
Results were immediete and dramatic. The kaikoso increased up to three times in the protected areas, there was a spillover effect into non-protected areas, and other vanished species, including a local delicacy, made reappearances. Residents reported up to 35% increased incomes (some of which goes into a collective trust fund for eight villages, which has been invested into electrification projects). Coastlines are expected to be more resilient to cyclones or other natural disturbances. Community cohesion is increased, and interest in science and tradition among young people has also improved.
Services restored/improved: Food/income, storm protection, cultural heritage values/knowledge systems
This case is similar to what happened in Fiji. The Cook Islands in the South Pacific are populated by indigenous Koutu Nui, whose way of life depends on coastal resources, especially the trochus (their shellfish staple source of subsistence and income).
Similar to Fiji, the Raratonga islanders’ fishery was on the decline due to overfishing; fishers were going out further to chase increasingly fewer and less diverse species of seafood; trochus harvests were shrinking.
The elders in Raratonga, alarmed, decided to re-introduce the traditional no-take system known as raui. Unlike Fiji, these are temporary reserves which are instituted or lifted according to season, harvests, and other conditions. Bans on net fishing and night fishing were installed. The local churches, strong social centers for the Koutu Nui people, endorsed the program, which helped strengthen the commitment of villagers. Results were equally dramatic: Trochus populations have exploded, diversity of sea life has rebounded, corals have increased. It has given way to other plans, including bringing local schools to study the life in the lagoon.
Services restored/benefits: food/fiber, ornamental resources (trochus shells), recreation and tourism, education
For more information visit the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
Vanuatu – Aceite de Coco como Combustible Alterno
by Amanda Suutari
This is a pilot project initiated by a local entrepreneur, so this case demonstrates potential rather than results. Similar to the honge tree in India (see South Asia section) it’s a variation on the theme of using biodiesel fuel from a local resource with various uses, with projected benefits to rural communities.
Vanuatu is a (relatively) low-income string of 83 islands in the South Pacific, some 1,300 km west of Fiji. 80% of its population is rural. Its main export commodity is coconut, harvested widely here (and in other tropical areas) for its copra (the dried flesh), while its oil is used in food products such as margarine as well as cosmetics, soaps, lotions, etc. The spread of cheaper soy and canola has displaced the coconut market, causing its prices, and therefore incomes in Vanuatu, to fall. Some coconut estates have closed down as a result.
A local entrepreneur named Tony Deamer has successfully developed a way to use coconut fuel in vehicles as an alternative to conventional fuel. Currently Vanuatu is a net importer, with some 9 million US dollars, or 10% of the value of its imports on fuel. Coconut oil could take pressure off the balance-of-payments deficit. Vanuatu is facing serious problems of underemployment and lack of opportunities especially in rural regions. Deamer is also promoting using the opportunities they offer not only for fuel but for other coconut-based products, such as:
- fiber (known as coir) which can be used for mats, ropes, fabrics, brushes, biodegradable packaging (as alternatives to polystyrene), “green” alternatives to peat
- the shells can be used for charcoal for fuel or for purifying water and other liquids (much in the same way Japanese “sumi” is/was used in many common household products)
- oil is useful not only in cars but for cooking, and the residue from pressed oil can be used for animal feed
Like other biodiesels, coconut is cleaner than diesel and burns more slowly. When performance was monitored, the engines running on full or partial coconut oil showed less wear and tear on engines.
A major drawback is that the oil solidifies at 22 degrees celsius; while it is primarily aimed at the domestic market this is not the issue it would be in, say, Canada, but nevertheless temperatures do fall below 22 degrees in Vanuatu, therefore fuel lines need to be fitted with heat exchangers to warm up the fuel, or it must be mixed with conventional diesel. Deamer is currently developing a filtration process that would address this.
Deamer uses coconut oil in five of his own fleet of vehicles for his business, and about 200 minibuses in the city are using some proportion of mixed diesel/coconut fuel in their tanks. There is also experimentation being done on farm machinery.
Other regions of the world are looking to coconut fuel as a source of cheap local fuel, including the Philippines and Nigeria. This illustrates a versatile local resource which offers other products/services/opportunities than biodeisel, and that benefits rural dwellers who are currently off the grid or dependent on imports. But it is still not a very clean energy source, and its large-scale benefits have unresolved questions (such as growing coconut trees would compete with agricultural or forest land).
Potential services/benefits: poverty alleviation, economic opportunities, self-sufficiency, air quality, sense of place
For more information visit the Television Trust for the Environment.