A Revolution to Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean's Coral Reefs
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The Nature Conservancy is launching a revolution to save our coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Joining forces with the world’s best scientists, we are developing and deploying groundbreaking techniques to grow new corals and bring dying reefs back to life.

Learn more about how we’re fighting to save these unique and essential ecosystems before our oceans are irreversibly damaged. The Year of the Reef! Keep up with The Nature Conservancy’s latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter (twitter) and Facebook (facebook) Text NATURE to 97779 to join The Nature Conservancy on text.

To sign-up for nature e-news visit:  support.nature.org

2017 Holiday Season in the CARIBBEAN – a Tax Deductible Donation?

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by Lizpiano.

Steel pan versions of Christmas songs are playing again. Probably including my favorite Christmas song by the indelible Jimmy Buffett, ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’:

“It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, snow birds fill the air.
… send away for mistletoe.
It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, we’ve got everything but snow.”

No-one will be singing any songs with Maria in them or naming their newborns after grandma Irma this holiday season, of course. However, slowly but surely Caribbean people are picking up their lives and businesses, some trying their best to be ready for the holiday season.

And low and behold, some islands are back in a new way (like with more solar power, thanks to Elon Musk, see my blog: More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at Puerto Rico Airport link below) and open for business.

Photo of Labadee, Haiti, from moveabroadnow.com

The headline, ‘The Caribbean is now Open for Business’,  www.caribbeanisopen.com, is a quote from a campaign launched in October 2017 after the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.

It is called the “Caribbean is Open”-campaign and aims to make tourists aware that 90% of islands in the Caribbean are unaffected by the hurricanes.  According to some Caribbean websites, there has been about a 26% decrease in business to the Caribbean because of a perspective that the whole Caribbean has been devastated. This is not true. The US Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barth and Puerto Rico are the most developed and well-known ones affected. Smaller ones include British Virgin Islands, some of the Bahamas but not the most visited islands, Barbuda, Turks & Caicos, Dominica and Cuba that were affected by the hurricanes this year.

The fact that these islands were so hurricane-slapped should urge tourists to visit them in order to support their road to recovery.

But that also means other favorite islands are still ready for the picking this upcoming holiday season. Off the top of my head there are so many – in alphabetical order: ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), Anegada, Antigua, Anguilla, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, St Eustatius, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia,  St Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

Since these islands are mostly dependent on tourism, this could be a very good idea and an altruistic-tourist-move – beneficial for everyone involved. After all, since it started snowing in the northern hemisphere again, what more do you want than a sandy beach and sunny shores, those are still on the islands. Hotels have electricity, water and food as they were more prepared for disaster than the general islander, so why not? For instance, 65% of hotels in Puerto Rico are now operational and so are many resorts on Turks & Caicos.

Why not view a visit to the affected islands as your own personal donation to their hurricane relief programs?

Here’s a thought for every tax-paying tourist – why not speak to your legislators and request that your away-time this year to the Caribbean, or if you’re from the US – St Thomas, St John, St Croix or Puerto Rico – can be made tax-deductible (as a donation)?

Just a thought. I am looking into doing that.

Hope to see you in the Caribbean this holiday season. Season’s greetings!

Continue reading “2017 Holiday Season in the CARIBBEAN – a Tax Deductible Donation?”

More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at PUERTO RICO

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Since our blog titled, “Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico” of 6 October, a few hundred Powerwall battery packs for solar power energy arrived in Puerto Rico.

According to *Frederic Lambert of Electrek.co, “The new shipment arrived not long after Musk spoke with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello last week to talk about ways for Tesla Energy to help rebuild the power grid destroyed by the two hurricanes that recently hit the Caribbean.”

That’s not all. Elon Musk is now putting extra effort into bringing power back to Puerto Rico AND other affected areas by unveiling his new Tesla Semi truck earlier than planned:

Tesla, the automaker, is changing the planned revealing date of its electric truck, the Tesla Semi, from October 26 to *November 16 (according to Electrek.co) as it focuses on Model 3 production and aiding “power-less” Puerto Rico.

Tesla Semi, Model 3 truck image from trucks.com

Currently, less than 20% of the island has power and some areas may experience months without electricity. That is why Tesla plans to first focus on helping hospitals and medical centers to get stable power.

Puerto Rico and Tesla seem to be committed to work together beyond short-term solutions and rebuild the power system to be more sustainable with solar power and energy storage. Continue reading “More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at PUERTO RICO”

ARUBA Without Plastic Bags since January 2017

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Photo taken at Casa Del Mar Resort, Eagle Beach, Aruba.

ARUBA. It’s been nearly a year since January 1, 2017 where all retailers and vendors in Aruba were no longer allowed to distribute nor sell carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets and retail shops.

This then allows tourists and locals alike to bring or buy a re-usable bag or use a carton box to put their groceries in.

Government or city inspectors can fine retailers 10.000 Aruban Guilders (which is about $5715) if they don’t abide by the law to ban plastic bags. This law was created and accepted on 30 June 2016. However, the government gave the community until the new year to adjust to the new rules.

So far this ban and its strategy have been important in a mind- and behavioral change toward increased corporate responsibility from retailers as well as locals and tourists.

You may ask how much of a difference does a plastic bag ban can make to the environment?

It’s estimated one can save 500 to 700 plastic bags from the ocean and landfills each year by bringing your own plastic bags when shopping, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. If you consider these facts: Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest and 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, we’d all better start refusing single-use plastic.

According to Juliet D. Carvalhal, special coordinator of the Aruban government’s Green Agenda project, “managing waste on islands, especially those heavily dependent on tourism, has been an ongoing challenge. But then again, being an island in itself also presents the community with added motivation to apply concepts of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Respect” seeing there is limited or practically non-existent access to “Recycling” facilities.”

Reducing not only your use of plastic bags, but managing your trash can also have a big impact if it is carried out daily. Take for example founder of Trash is for Tossers website, Lauren Singer of Brooklyn, New York. Lauren has proved that she could live in one of the biggest cities in the world for 4 years without producing more than one mason jar of waste.

She suggests composting and separating trash effectively, investing in a re-usable water bottle and mason jars and making sure you pack enough bags when you go out shopping to reduce your day-to-day waste. Every little bit helps, especially if everyone does their part.

In the words of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “let’s make plastic bags go extinct!”

Continue reading “ARUBA Without Plastic Bags since January 2017”

Post-Hurricane Aid: Solar Filter Can Turn Sea Water into Potable Water

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By Lizpiano

So much sea water but nothing to drink?

As part of our Post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria CoolestCarib.com series, Sustainable Solutions, we introduce a solar still with an open source design (see below article links about the design.)

It is called Eliodomestico and it is a solar-powered water filter, can be made from simple and easily accessible materials, and can purify 5 liters of (sea) water per day (according to India Times.)

Pic from gabrielediamanti.com

Created by Italian designer Gabriele Diamanti, this “solar still” delivers clean and pure drinking water by boiling water and separating it from other elements. Eliodomestico is made from materials like terracotta, anodized zinc, and recycled plastic, operates without filters or electricity, and requires minimal maintenance.

The open source design was named as one of 12 finalists in the Prix Émile Hermès 2011 competition.

There are actually a lot of new products like this, specifically geared towards aiding residents of developing – and now disaster-struck – areas with no clean drinking water. Monash University graduate, Jonathan Liow’s, Solarball is a glass ball that purifies water using the sun.

Diamanti’s solar powered water filter works, in short, like this:

  • Water is poured into the terracotta section of the filter in the morning.
  • Steam is formed as the day develops because the still heats up and later begins to boil the water.
  • The steam that was formed into the nozzle at the top condenses against the lid then drips down into the catch basin below.
  • Provided it was a warm enough day outside, voila! – in the evening there will be 5 liters of fresh drinking water available in the catch basin.

The Eliodomestico can work without fuel, electricity, filters, and needs no maintenance.

According to an article by Bridgette Meinhold of Inhabitat.com: “these devices can also be built anywhere from readily available materials – anyone who can throw a pot can handcraft the main elements necessary for the water filter… Eliodomestico could be made for $50 and produce 5 liters… The design is available as an open-source project for anyone who wants to make one and is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.”

Continue reading “Post-Hurricane Aid: Solar Filter Can Turn Sea Water into Potable Water”

Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico

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By Lizpiano

Picture of Elon Musk by Getty Images.

That is, if given the green light to go ahead. Elon Musk has helped many smaller islands, like Ta’u Island in Samoa, with his solar power devices and tweeted this yesterday:

“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.”
@elonmusk

Above is a video about the SolarCity created with Tesla’s Microgrid Solar Power in Samoa.

In response to this, Puerto Rico Governor Ricky Rossello showed interest, tweeting “Let’s talk” to Musk, saying “PR could be that flagship project.”

Musk has already done his part for Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria left the island’s power grid in tatters, so Tesla reportedly sent hundreds of Powerwalls — battery systems designed to store energy — along with employees to install them in an effort to restore power.

Powerwall batteries can be paired with solar panels to help restore the grid. According to Fortune.com “the Powerwall, which was first introduced in April 2015, is a battery designed for homes that store the energy generated by solar panels.”

Musk also donated $250,000 of his own money to the relief effort.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump said on Fox News in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, “the island’s debt will have to be wiped out.” Puerto Rico owes over $70 billion to creditors while the total storm cost is between $45 and 90 billion dollars.

Continue reading “Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico”