People in the UK are starting to take an awful lot more interest in where their goods come from, demanding that we know as much as possible about the provenance of our food, and making our choices accordingly. Most now know that eating free-range eggs and chicken at least shows you care that animals aren't tortured so we can eat.
Deforestation rates peaked in 2004 and fell steadily for almost ten years. But the loggers didn't go away. They just got smarter. Despite the government's interventions, most of the logging in the Brazilian Amazon was still illegal. The loggers learned how to game the systems put in place to keep illegal timber out of the market. They found crooked sawmills to launder their illegal timber, and exporters that didn't care where their products they sold came from... The scale of illegal logging in the Amazon is astounding. In the state of Pará, almost 80% of logging is believed to be illegal.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest gathering of trees on the planet, covering 5,500,000 square kilometers. The area is vast, spread across nine countries: the majority in Brazil (60%), followed by 13% in Peru 10% in Colombia and other small variants in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
Globally, although the indigenous peoples represent only about 5 per cent of the world's population, they occupy one-fifth of entire earth's territory from the Arctic to the South Pacific. Despite their hold over vast swathes of land, indigenous peoples make up 15 per cent of the world's poor and one-third of the world's 900 million extremely poor rural people.
At the beginning of this week I got to go to the Royal Horticultural Society's flower show at Hampton Court. For a newbie like me itwas an eye-opener: enough cut-glass accents to make me think I'd stepped into a BBC studio from the 1950s, designer gardens that were more designer than garden, outlets selling Pimms and champagne and any number of exhibitors touting outlandish garden furniture (fire-breathing dragon for your patio, anyone?)
Recently, a team of researchers at the University of California in San Diego released the results of a fascinating study involving the use of nanotechnology to convert solar energy into hydrogen power... The scientists took their inspiration from nature, emulating the efficiency of trees in absorbing and converting sunlight into energy.
I had somebody ask me recently in a most astonished voice why I had moved back to Finland after almost 20 years abroad. It made me laugh. That a Finn should ask such a question, how typical! A Spaniard would've asked me how come I managed to survive so long away from Spain, the best country in the world!