Thursday, April 29, 2010
Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences [IFEES]
In this edition, articles include:
- Islamic beliefs and Sumatran forest management
- The Copenhagen Conundrum
- Islamic Gardens in the UK
- Planting trees in Indonesia : Update on Greening Indonesia
- The Green Mosque Initiative
- The Climate Summit
- Book review on "Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude towards Nature
- A Muslim Perspective" and much more.
Whenever someone asks what you do, invariably they will try and see how much that job pays. Whether they ask outright or feel you out, the answer can be impressive or sad. However, if you fall into the below ten jobs you would never guess pay really well, you can have their jaws on the floor.
1) Specialist Nurse, 2) Forensic Odontology, 3) Sommelier, 4) Brewmaster, 5) Certified Ethical Hacker, 6) Arbitrator/ Mediator/ Conciliator, 7) Repo Man, 8) Subway and Streetcar Operator, 9) Gaming Supervisor and 10) Appraiser
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
By Norris McDonald
Anniversary Dinner at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.
It was quite and event last night. I don't get to go black tie very often, so this was a special night for me. I was a Special Guest at the American Association of Blacks in Energy table. The luminaries were there: Clyburns, Butterfield, Ford, Cummings, and more. I reconnected with some people I had not seen in years. Did a little networking. Okay. I had more than one glass of wine with my meal: the dinner wine list included Chateau St. Michelle "Indian Wells" Columbia Valley, Chardonnay-2007 and LeCrema, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir-2008.
The first course of Lump Crab Salad with Crushed Avocado was marvelous. The avocado really brought out the natural taste of the crab meat. Having lived on the Chesapeake Bay for 3 years with free crabs in the creek in my backyard, I am a connoisseur of crab and have put every conceivable concoction on it. So I finally just like the crab meat with nothing on it so that you can taste the actual meat, instead of Old Bay seasoning. The second course of Grilled Beef Filet was tender, juicy and accessorized with Southern Succotash, Sweet Potato, and Red Eye Gravy. The small portion was perfect for a guy moving away from red meat. The Apple "Tatin," cinnamon Ice Cream, Lemon Sable was a great finishing touch.
Joint Center Chairman of the Board of Governors Roderick D. Gillum gave Welcome Remarks and NAACP National Board of Directors Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock gave the Invocation. Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett and National Dinner Chair and AT&T North Carolina President Cynthia G. Marshall gave remarks. Valerie Jarret (everybody knows her by now) gave surprise remarks (she was not on the evening's program). The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. received the Louis E. Martin Great American Award and gave, as usual, an inspirational keynote speech.
Sponsors included: AT&T, The Stafford Foundation, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, United Health Group, WalMart, Norma Ketay Asnes, Verizon, AARP, Aflac, Amgen Inc., Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc, Best Buy Co Inc, CH2M Hill, Comcast, DCI Group, LLC, Entergy Corporation, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Kraft Foods, Lily USA, LLC, Lockheed Martin Corporation, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Pepco Holdings, Inc, Perennial Strategy Group/ServiceMaster, Southern Company, Time Warner Cable, United States Chamber of Commerce and United States Telecom Association.
Afro Blue, Marcus Johnson and Benjamin Lee provided music and singing.
AAEA is currently meeting with American companies to brief them about investment and project opportunities in South Africa and throughout the African Union. AAEA is seeking direct and indirect partnerships to pursue energy development projects. We are seeking ownership stakes in energy and water ventures. AAEA also intends to examine the feasibility of leveraging greenhouse gas (GHG) offsets in financing projects and compensating African Union countries for reducing their carbon footprints.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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Monday, April 26, 2010
As countries of sub-Saharan Africa address the adverse consequences of the global financial crisis, many are exploring innovative mechanisms to maximize capital flows to the region.
The Whitaker Group, the premier US consulting firm, focused on facilitating trade and investment in Africa. With offices in Washington, DC and Accra, Ghana, TWG assists global corporations, investors, African governments and private companies, trade associations and NGOs as they seek to participate in the opportunities arising from Africa's emerging economies. Since its inception in 2003, TWG has helped to facilitate more than $1 billion in capital flows to Africa and executed innovative initiatives to advance economic development in Africa.
Rosa Whitaker at Luncheon
The TWG team is led by Rosa Whitaker, left, a chief architect of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the first-ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa under Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush. AGOA was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.
The Center for Global Prosperity provides a platform—through conferences, discussions, publications, and media appearances—to create awareness among U.S. and international opinion leaders, as well as the general public, about the central role of the private sector, both for-profit and not-for-profit, in the creation of economic growth and prosperity in any country. The Center’s core product is the new annual Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances, which details the sources—and magnitude of private giving to the developing world.
Carol Adelman, right, directs Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity, producing the Index of Global Philanthropy, the sole comprehensive guide to U.S. and other industrialized countries' private giving - both philanthropy and remittances - to developing countries. She writes and speaks regularly on economic development, foreign aid, global philanthropy, international health, and leadership and management issues.
The main sponsor of the luncheon was Western Union.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
In 1998, Oceanographer John Martin (1935-1993) published an article demonstrating that increasing the concentration of iron in the surface waters of the Southern Ocean resulted in increased phytoplankton (i.e., microscopic plants such as diatoms) production. Like all plants, phytoplankton converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into organic compounds like sugars through the process of photosynthesis. The by-product of this reaction is oxygen (O2). With respect to biological processes, this is referred to as “primary production”, and the oceans have the highest rates of primary production in the world.
The importance of this study was immediately recognized throughout the scientific community. Simply stated, the “Iron Hypothesis” suggests that increasing iron concentrations in the surface ocean can result in increasing primary production in the oceans, making it a natural process to decrease CO2 concentration in the air. As the plants go through their life cycles, they will eventually die and sink to the seafloor, permanently “sequestering” the carbon stored in their bodies. Of course, the process is much more complex. But, this demonstrates that human activity is not just one-way: i.e., humans only pumping excess CO2 into the air. We can also devise ways in which we can remove large amounts of this excess gas. These processes fall under the broad category of “Carbon Sequestration”.
Friday, April 23, 2010
AAEA President Norris McDonald, right, attended a forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that included presentations from delegates from the African Union (AU). The delegates are traveling to Washington, D.C. on an official visit with the State Department. The forum featured the members of the business community and NGOs in a discussion on the role the AU plays in American trade and investment on the African continent. The meeting was held in the Herman Lay Room and was followed by a networking reception in honor of the commissioners.
Ambassador of the United States of America to the African Union Michael A. Battle (in background in photo) spoke about the "America Involvement in the African Union." The keynote address was given by African Union Committion Chairperson Jean Ping. There were two panels:
1) Leveraging the African Union in Trade Relations
o Michael Battle, Ambassador of the USA to the African Union
o Florie Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa
o Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission
Both panel moderated by: Gregori Lebedev, Chairman, CIPE and Senior Advisor to the President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
2) Private Sector Engagement with the African Union
o Colonel William R. Clontz, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Vice President of the International Group, MPRI, an L3 company
o Rosa Whitaker, President, The Whitaker Group
Opening and Closing remarks were given by Scott Eisner, Executive Director of the Africa Business Initiative, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
In the fall of 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced plans for a national "environmental teach-in" -- one day, each year, of action and advocacy for the environment. His words rallied our Nation, and the first Earth Day, as it became known, saw millions come together to meet one of the greatest challenges of our times: caring for our planet. What Senator Nelson and the other organizers believed then, and what we still believe today, is that our environment is a blessing we share. Our future is inextricably bound to our planet's future, and we must be good stewards of our home as well as one another.
On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we come together to reaffirm those beliefs. We have come far in these past four decades. One year before the first Earth Day, our Nation watched in horror as the polluted and debris-choked Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire. In response, a generation of Americans stepped forward to demand progress. What Americans achieved in the decades that followed has made our children healthier, our water and air cleaner, and our planet more livable.
We passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, established the Environmental Protection Agency, and safeguarded treasured American landscapes. Americans across our country have witnessed the impact of these measures, including the people of Cleveland, where the Cuyahoga River is cleaner than it has been in a century.
We continue to build on this progress today. My Administration has invested in clean energy and clean water infrastructure across the country. We are also committed to passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation that will create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and cut carbon pollution.
We have more work to do, however, and change will not come from Washington alone. The achievements of the past were possible because ordinary Americans demanded them, and meeting today's environmental challenges will require a new generation to carry on Earth Day's cause. From weatherizing our homes to planting trees in our communities, there are countless ways for every American, young and old, to get involved. I encourage all Americans to visit WhiteHouse.gov/EarthDay for information and resources to get started.
The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the legacy we have inherited from previous generations, and the legacy that we will bestow upon generations to come. Their future depends on the action we take now, and we must not fail them. Forty years from today, when our children and grandchildren look back on what we did at this moment, let them say that we, too, met the challenges of our time and passed on a cleaner, healthier planet.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 22, 2010, as Earth Day. I encourage all Americans to participate in programs and activities that will protect our environment and contribute to a healthy, sustainable future.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
Earth Day Reception Remarks, White House Rose Garden
Saturday, April 17, 2010
By Norris McDonald
First let me say that I fell in love with South Africa. I was deeply in love with China after my first visit there, and now South Africa has stolen my heart and mind. I think the source of this love, as in the case with China, comes from the loving nature of the people. I found South Africans to be dynamic and affectionate. My first hint that South Africa is a 'destination location' for African Americans was my getting to know our host, Michael Sudarkasa. He moved to South Africa 15 years ago and is completely happy with his life there. He's a Harvard lawyer and entrepreneur. And he worked us like pack mules going up the side of a mountain. Of course, this mountain was meetings with industry representatives, government agency representatives, small business representatives and more. Paula Jackson, Communications Director for the American Association of Blacks in Energy, was part of our trio.
I was impressed with the development in South Africa. I could not tell that I was out of the United States. The highway ride from the airport was similar to that of the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66. Large corporations and other businesses dotted the entire length of the 20 minute ride into town. Sandton, left, is the 'Silver Spring' of Johannesburg. Just as American cities were left by the business sector, so too was this 'city' built after the fall of Apartheid. I had never heard of Sandton before my trip. Just as in China, I had never heard of Kowloon, which is a huge part of the urban sector of Hong Kong.
South Africa is ahead of the United States in many ways. They had a black president well before America. They already have black owners of coal mines, oil exploration and prodution companies, control over the national utility Eskom and ongoing requirements for significant black ownership of energy companies. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that South Africa is highly developed. The malls are malls just like in America. The Mandela Square is a super mall.
However, I was and am disturbed by the walls with electric fences on top that surround almost every home. Soweto reminded me of Compton. It was not the tin roofed shanties that I expected. And they do not have walls with electric fences on them surrounding their homes. I was told because of a sense of community. There is an abandoned power plant right in the middle of Soweto with an unreclaimed strip mine (gold) nearby. The 25% unemployment rate has to be reduced. Crime is a big problem too. Economic development that increases employment will reduce crime. I also have the fantasy that one day, South Africans can tear down those walls around their houses.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The "Report from the AABE Energy and Climate Change Summit: Implications and Economic Opportunities," published through Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, represents the comments and discussions of the participants at the summit.
As a result of the summit, the Energy and Climate Coalition (ECC) was formed to address the issues in its name. AAEA was a stakeholder panel participant at the summit and is a founding member of the ECC.
The all-day summit included presentations by key public policy leaders such as House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn; Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; and Chris Miller, Senior Policy Advisor, Energy and the Environment, Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
AAEA on Global Warming/Climate Change:
Global Climate Change and the African American Community (Part 1)
Global Warming and the African American Community (Part 2)
AAEA President Norris McDonald and Paula Jackson, Communications Director at the American Association of Blacks In Energy (AABE) traveled to South Africa on April 4 and returned on April 13 to examine the feasibility of establishing partnerships between American and South African entrepreneurs and businesses to address cooperative energy and environmental projects.
The week of programs and meetings is part of an ongoing "United States-South Africa Power Partnership Program." Their hosts included Africa Venture Partners (AVP) and Africa Business Group (ABG). Michael Sudarkasa of AVP and ABG facilitated all meetings, tours and events.
McDonald and Jackson attended and gave brief remarks at the "Official Opening Reception" for the USA Week at the L'Entrecote Restaurant in Sandton. USA Week is an annual event that brings together American and South Africa businesses.
Wednesday April 7th: McDonald and Jackson gave a presentation at the forum held at the Africa Heritage Society Auditorium entitled, "Ensuring An Inclusive South African Energy Sector." After participant introductions, the forum discussed "Affirmative Action in the U.S. Energy Sector: Issues, Reflections and Achievements," "BBBEE in the South African Energy Sector," and "Forging U.S.-South Africa Energy Sector Linkages: Opportunites and Considerations. Kennedy Khabo and Michael Sudarkasa, pictured at right, moderated the forum.
Thursday April 8th: Met with Aurecon Group, a global engineering firm based in Hatfield, Tshwane. Dr. Baholo Baholo - Energy Sector Leader for Aurecon described the company and its projects. A discussion about energy and environment followed.
The first meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) included a discussion about environmental issues with Marba Visagie-Deputy Director: Environment-Industry Development Division. The meeting was held at DTI's Pretoria headquarters. The second meeting included a discussion with Donald Mabusela-DTI Director of The Enterprise Organisation and Thulani Mpetsheni-Director-Electrotechnical Unit. They discussed a broad range of energy and environmental issues related to cooperative development.
McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with two representatives of the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA): Mary Urujeni Kamari-Resource Mobilization & International Relations and Jean Madzongwe-Energy Specialist. The meeting included a very good description of the energy situation in Africa. It also included a thorough description of DBSA and the potential for cooperation between the United States and South Africa.
McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with representatives of SASOL for a discussion about carbon dioxide allowance trading and other energy issues.The meetings included John Sichinga-General Manager-Development & Production and Christopher Kobosha-Portfolio Manager-Government Relations and Public Affairs.
Opening remarks were given by: Dr. Derrick van der Merwe-Pro Vice Chancellor-Univ of Johannesburg, Kennedy Khabo-Coordinator-USA Week-Khabo-Mabe On Time, Inc, Moeletsi Mbeki, Deputy Chair-South African Institute of International Affairs.
Saturday April 10th: Meeting with Eskom General Manager Louis Maleka and Sol Masolo-General Manager: PR & Communications-City Power. The meeting included a description of the electricity capacity challenges facing Eskom and how the government owned utility planned to meet the country's electricity needs.
Martin Nel, Norris McDonald, Paula Jackson, Janelle Gravett, Time Raaff
Met with the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association. The meeting included Janelle Gravett, Martin Nel and Tim Raaff. They discussed steel production and opportunities in South Africa. A broad range of possible cooperative projects were discussed.
Sunday April 11: Tour of Soweto. Visited Mandela House. Visited Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. The museum is a national heritage site intrinsically linked to the origins of the Soweto Uprising and its aftermath.
Paula Jackson met with Mr. Ompie Aphane, Deputy Director General, Department of Energy, South Africa at his home in Pretoria. Harry Mohloare, a director at KYD Consulting Engineers made introductions and began the discussion around energy needs from the DOE perspective. Given the great demand for power, energy efficiency programs were identified as critically important. Mr. Aphane stated that they would welcome organizations who would want to work on these projects while at the same time training black South Africans in these positions. After the meeting, Mr. Mohlare gave a tour of Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg.
Monday, April 12th: McDonald, Jackson and Sudarkasa met with Kantha Rattay, Legal Consultant to discuss South African energy and environmental issues. The meeting was held at the AVP offices in Sandton.
Met with Vunani, a financial services company that operates through two divisions: Financial Services and Investment Services. Financial Services is composed of the Asset management, investments banking and property business units. Investment Services houses Vunani's strategic empowerment equity investments. the meeting included Reginal Shaver-Head-Debt Advisory and Debt Capital Raising and via teleconference: Anton Nuno-COO and Mark Anderson-Investments Executive Director. The meeting included a broad discussion about carbon offset allowances and other issues.
South Africa: My First Trip & My First Impressions: PRESIDENT'S CORNER
Thursday, April 01, 2010
New York’s Sheraton Hotel and Towers
April 14th through the 17th
African American leaders from the academic, religious, social and political sectors will pledge a 12-month plan of action to combat the plethora of challenges presently facing our community.
The event will air live on TV One and MSNBC will also air a special on this historic forum. The event will be hosted by radio legend Tom Joyner and CNN’s Roland Martin.
Attendees include humanitarian and musician Wyclef Jean, President & CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Dr. Bill Cosby, Chairman of the DNC Tim Kaine, CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, internationally acclaimed artist Mariah Carey and a slew of others. On the final day of the convention, Saturday April 17th, NAN will conduct a roundtable with the theme: ‘Measuring the Movement: Black Leadership’s 12-month Action Plan,' that will include prominent African American leaders representing constituencies from around the country who will assess our current state and what they and their respective organizations pledge to do over a 12-month period. The leadership roundtable will include: CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial, President & CEO of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous, President & CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dr. Elsie Scott, Coalitions Director for the RNC Angela Sailor and President & CEO of NAFEO Lezli Baskerville.
Complimenting the ‘Measuring the Movement’ roundtable that Saturday will be aother panel that will include recording artist Chuck D, BET personality Jeff Johnson, professor at Harvard Law Dr. Charles Ogletree, TLC Health Care Services President Debra Toney, Warren Ballentine of ‘The Warren Ballentine Show’, assistant professor of finance at Syracuse University Dr. Boyce Watkins and Judge Greg Mathis, star of the Court TV series, ‘The Judge Mathis Show’. (NAN)