1. Understanding COVID & friends

    di 14 april 2020

    On the symptoms and risks of COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections

    By Levien van Zon

    This article isn’t short. For those of you who are of an impatient disposition, I have written a short summary of the main points. And for those of you who do read the whole story and want to know even more, I have added footnotes with sources and more background information.

    Several weeks ago, I became ill. Initially I just had a mild headache, which I attributed to drinking a few too many craft beers on a Saturday afternoon. But a day or two later I started feeling feverish and tired. A sore throat came soon after, and I had a runny nose for several days, with occasional sneezing. Normally these symptoms obviously wouldn’t be …

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  2. Building an open source weather station

    do 25 juli 2019

    In 2018 I got involved in Ecosystem Restoration Camp Altiplano, a regenerative agriculture project in Southern Spain. Camp Altiplano is a collaborative project intended to restore biodiversity and soil fertility, to explore and share alternative farming methods and to teach people about soil degradation and about the regenerative techniques that can be used to reverse such degradation. The camp is located in the Altiplano region of Murcia, a high plain that is dry, cold and windy for much of the year and warm and windy in summer. This is a very difficult climate for agriculture, and farmers in the region struggle with short growing seasons, drought, high erosion rates and rapidly decreasing soil fertility. To obtain more insight into actual climate conditions, I decided to construct a simple weather station for the camp …

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  3. Restoring soil with Ecosystem Restoration Camps

    za 29 september 2018

    In 1995, a film maker and journalist by the name of John D. Liu was sent by the World Bank to document a large-scale project that aimed to restore the heavily degraded soils of the Chinese Loess Plateau. The results of this restoration project so impressed John Liu, that he decided to change his career, to learn everything he could about the large-scale restoration of ecosystem functions, and to tell the world about its potential. This resulted, among other things, in the release of several documentary films, including “Hope in a Changing Climate” in 2009 (which can be viewed on Vimeo, Youtube and iTunes) and “Green Gold” in 2012. As the press kit of the first documentary states:

    “On the Loess Plateau, an area the size of Belgium has been successfully restored over …

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  4. Along the Pamir Highway

    wo 17 mei 2017

    More pictures with this story:

    Just months ago, I knew next to nothing about Central Asia. Probably like most people, I knew there was a group of countries just west of China, with names that all end in -stan. I was vaguely aware of a connection to the old Silk Routes, the former Soviet Union and a few acts of recent Muslim extremism. I had read something once on the near disappearance of the Aral Sea due to irrigation of cotton crops. That was about it.

    Flying from Moscow to Bishkek, one passes over empty steppes and deserts for hours on end. Kazakhstan is in the top-ten of biggest countries in the world, yet somehow I completely failed to notice it on the world map that has been …

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  5. CO2 and (the average) you

    vr 22 april 2016

    By Levien van Zon

    This article was published on The Substance of Sustainability and in Dutch on Duurzaamheidsweb. It is also available as PDF or ebook (EPUB and Kindle) for offline reading.

    Today, on Earth day, countries will start signing the Paris climate treaty that was reached last December by the representatives of 195 countries. A lot has already been said and written about this Paris Agreement, which in 2020 should succeed the venerable 1997 Kyoto protocol.1 While the agreement is a great step forward, we’re certainly not there yet. There’s a lot of work ahead for governments, civil society and the private sector. The key to controlling global warming basically lies in keeping government-owned fossil fuel reserves in the ground, and halting the exploration of new reserves by private …

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