From: Michael Perry, Reuters
Published June 5, 2007 12:00 AM

Tree Planting, Worm Farming on World Environment Day

SYDNEY -- Australian protesters held a "picnic rally" against the logging of native forests while hundreds of Indian policemen swapped guns for spades to plant trees on Tuesday to highlight World Environment Day.


Across Asia, people learned about worm farming and composting, listened to lectures about renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions, while school children took part in plays and painting competitions.


More than 50 people halted logging operations in the southern Australian state of Victoria, calling for an end to native forest logging, the Wilderness Society said.


"Trees are giant carbon pumps, sucking carbon from the air and pumping it into the ground, trunks and branches. To protect us from the impacts of dangerous climate change, this destruction must stop," said Luke Chamberlain, a campaigner for the society.


Hundreds of policemen India's western state of Gujarat pledged to turn barren areas into fruit orchards by planting mango and guava trees.


"We will keep our gun and baton aside and pick up a spade to plant trees all around our offices," said Sujata Solanki Majumdar, a senior police officer in Gandhinagar, the state capital. "If the cops go green, then the people will follow too."


In Vadodara in central Gujarat, housewife Savita Dabhi sat outside her home, cooking a four-course meal for her family and friends on a solar cooker to promote the benefits of renewable energy.


TOP ISSUE


Global concern about climate change has risen dramatically over the last six months and consumers increasingly expect their governments to act, according to a survey published on Tuesday.


The survey by the Nielsen Company and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, found 42 percent of global online consumers believe governments should restrict companies' emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.


A G8 summit of rich nations this week could pave the way for a world deal on how to tackle global warming.


Rich nations and major developing nations such as China, India and Brazil are under pressure to agree targets to cut emissions and to start talks on shaping the next phase of the U.N. Kyoto Protocol climate pact, which runs out in 2012.


This year's World Environment Day focuses on the theme "Melting Ice -- a Hot Topic?" to complement International Polar Year 2007.


The United Nations said subtropical Vietnam, which has a 3,200-km (2,000-mile) coastline, could be one of the worst-hit countries if sea levels continue to rise at current rates.


In the central coastal city of Danang, members of the Youth Union planted trees and picked up rubbish from beaches. The government chose the city for the day's events because of an increase in the frequency of typhoons and floods in the region.


The United Nations Development Programme said on Tuesday that if global sea levels rose by one metre, Vietnam would face losses of $17 billion per year, one-fifth of the population would lose their homes, 12.2 percent of the most fertile land could be lost and the southern Mekong Delta would have unprecedented flooding.


China, one of the biggest polluters and facing public anger over foul air and water, said on Tuesday it had slowed, but not reversed, a rising tide of pollution from frenetic industrialisation. China is the world's largest emitter of sulphur dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels and smelting and causes acid rain.


About 100 environmentalists gathered in a city park of Banda Aceh, capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, to show their support for a logging moratorium that will be announced on Wednesday by the provincial governor. Wearing T-shirts saying "Save the forest with your hands, support the logging moratorium", the activists formed a human chain around 500 tree stumps made of papier-mache and held a minute's silence.


(Additional reporting by Rupam Jain Nair in Ahmedabad, Grant McCool in Hanoi, Chris Buckley in Beijing and Adhityani Arga in Jakarta)


Source: Reuters


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