Scientists challenge world leaders to reduce CO2 levelsLeading climatologists are calling on world leaders to take better action to control climate change after carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were measured at a disturbingly record-breaking high last month.
The Earth System Research Laboratory, belonging to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii, measured its daily average CO2 reading at more than 400 parts per million for the first time (that is 400 molecules of CO2 for every 1 million molecules in the air). The daily average CO2 figure on May 9 was 400.03, reported Dr. James Butler who is in charge of the Earth System Research Laboratory.
The last time CO2 regularly reached this level, scientists say, was 3 to 5 million years ago, before modern day humans existed, according to BBC News reports. Scientists say the climate back then was also considerably warmer than it is today."Mauna Loa and the South Pole observatory are iconic sites as they have been taking CO2 measurements in real time since 1958. Last year, for the first time, all Arctic sites reached 400ppm (parts per million). This is the first time the daily average has passed 400ppm at Mauna Loa," explained Dr. Butler in news reports.
The long-term measurements at Mauna Loa were started by Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Charles Keeling. In 1958, he found the concentration at the top of the volcano to be around 315ppm. Every year since then, the "Keeling Curve", as it has become known, has been inching higher, news reports stated.
Carbon dioxide is regarded as the most important of the man-made greenhouse gases, coming principally from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, and is blamed for raising the temperature on the planet over recent decades. The usual trend seen at Mauna Loa is for the CO2 concentration to rise in winter months and then to fall back as the northern hemisphere growing season kicks in, notes BBC news reports. Forests and other vegetation pull some of the gas out of the atmosphere. This means the number can be expected hopefully to decline below 400 in the coming weeks, but the long-term trend is moving upwards.
Happiness, bliss & the beauty of life on Santa Teresa Beach
Are you happy?
That seems to be the question being asked in recent times, from boardrooms to bars, international conference centers to offices of government leaders, business schools to book stores. Are we happy? Following our bliss? Living our passion? Are we "me-focused" or "others-focused"?
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan even measures its country's prosperity by its "gross national happiness" (GNH), measuring the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health and happiness of its citizens and natural environment. Bhutan's policy attracted great interest at the United Nations climate change conference in Doha, Qatar last December.
Costa Rica has made it to #1 on the Happy Planet Index for two years in a row (2012 & 2011), based on its national conservation policies, small ecological footprint, high quality of life and life expectancy rate all being "exceedingly above par", states Forbes Magazine. The Happy Planet Index is an annual survey conducted by the New Economics Foundation, a British think-tank that aims to measure the level of happiness in every country in the world. The ranking system establishes a solid link between happiness and the environment or nature.
Top 10 Destination Wedding planning tips
Trending in recent years among brides and grooms is leaving behind the traditional, large, 250-person, fancy church, banquet hall wedding in favor of a fun, exotic destination wedding that adds the adventure of a sunny honeymoon vacation. Couples choose to go out-of-town for many reasons, including basic economics. You would think that staging a wedding in another country would break the bank, but in most cases, only close friends and family attend these celebrations; thus, sparing couples from the large, expensive, traditional wedding receptions back home where everyone up to your long-forgotten Sunday School teacher are invited.
Destination weddings have become increasingly popular for couples of all types. Costa Rica has become one of the premier locations for destination weddings in the world.
The popular wedding website TheKnot.com named Costa Rica in 2012 a top wedding destination in Latin America. TheKnot.com reported that one out of every four destination weddings in Latin America take place in Costa Rica. What's not to like? You have fabulously gorgeous beaches, lush rainforest, volcanoes, a thriving tourism industry, and an abundance of hotels, resorts and vacation homes available. A destination wedding is an exciting alternative to a traditional wedding, but a destination wedding requires a lot of planning. Information taken from many sources, including top Costa Rica wedding planner Aimee Monihan, owner of Tropical Occasions and Santa Teresa Beach Weddings, brings you our:
Top 10 list of "Things to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding":
1. Choose your location carefully. Destination weddings don't always have to be a beach setting. Choose a mountain, volcano, lake, forest, etc. if beaches aren't your thing. For instance, Costa Rica has lovely cool climates up at elevated cloud forests.
2. Plan well in advance, especially your airline tickets. Try not to plan a wedding during the country's busiest times of year when tourism and costs are at their highest, or during national holidays when people do not want to work and businesses are closed. (For Costa Rica, these times are Christmas Week through New Year's, and Holy week.)
Uncover the Rich Indigenous History of Costa RicaVisitors to Costa Rica's northwest Guanacaste region probably don't realize the area was once a thriving community for the indigenous Chorotega tribe. Indigenous history and traditions maintain a low profile in the Central American country, yet if you look closely they are all around you.
Spreading across Costa Rica's entire northern Pacific zone, Guanacaste, for instance, is called the "Chorotega region" after its original inhabitants. The Nicoya Peninsula is named for a Chorotega chief who ruled the area when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Costa Rica in 1523.
At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Chorotega were the largest and most technologically advanced tribe in Costa Rica, according to Encyclopedia Britannica and other historical reports. The tribe, whose name means "people surrounded by enemies", were driven by warfare from Central Mexico many generations before the Spanish arrived and settled in southern Nicaragua, Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula.
They spoke Mangue, an Oto-Manguean language from Central Mexico that was shared by indigenous groups in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Many of the place names in northwest Costa Rica are Chorotegan, including Guanacaste – name of the northern Pacific province and Costa Rica's national tree. The word "Guanacaste" means "ear tree" for the trees' seeds which resemble a human ear.
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