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5/21/2012 12:04:41 AM
Own your own windmill to generate electricity together: www.dewindcentrale.nl


save the hortus botanicus VU
5/5/2012 3:07:29 PM
Hortus botanicus VU
 
Amsterdam 28 april 2011
 
The Hortus Botanicus of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands is threatened with closure by the University’s governing board. Because the University never presented clear plans showing the planned use of the land on which the Hortus stands, and stating when the change would happen, it was not possible to begin to protest or prepare for this drastic event. There have been many rumours, however.One was that the Hortus had to make place for new buildings for the hospital, the Vrije Universiteit Medical Center (VUMC), which abuts the terrein of the Hortus.Now the rumors have become reality. The decision has been made to demolish this valuable botanical garden in two to five years to make room for a new complex of high-rise buildings.The Hortus houses a very rich plant collection with more than 6000 species.This small but charming botanical garden contains a greenhouse complex with various climates, onder which a tropical greenhouse, a sub-tropical greenhouse, an orangerie, a cactus and succulent greenhouse and smaller greenhouses for growing seedlings. The exceptional cactus and succulent greenhouse houses the largest collection in The Netherlands. Some of these plants are 100 years old or perhaps older. Through the 40 years of its existence the Hortus has built up a large collection of plants, trees and shrubs with natural-historical value. It is open to the public throughout the year, without entrance fee. Another part of the Hortus greenhouse complex is intended for university students and their experiments.The gardens are also varied. There is a Chinese miniature landscape garden (The Penjing Garden), a Bonsai display and many types of bamboo spread throughout the gardens. There is an extensive collections of Australian trees and shrubs, which overwinter in the Orangerie and set outside every spring. Another area of concern are the plants which are taken into custody at Schiphol airport and sent to the Hortus to be cared for.These plants are on the red list of endangered species and in an ironical twist, may not be transported to other botanical gardens, even in The Netherlands. They are legally protected and are not the property of the university.These plants will be destroyed if the Hortus is closed, further reducing the biological diversity of the earth and the chance to examine these plants and their DNA.A few other areas in which the Hortus is very strong are:-Every year the Hortus participates in an international seed exchange. Many of these seeds, which with much expertise are collected, cleaned, sorted and packaged, come naturally from the Hortus’s own plants for the seed exchange and for sale to visitors.-Some of the Orangerie plants are 60-80 years old.-The Hortus has taken care to mark those plants which are named in the Bible and other religious traditions, and to give tours highlighting these.-There is an extensive collection of epiphytic orchids and bromelia’s.-There is an effort to educate and involve children in the activities of the Hortus.-The Hortus provides a green, restful and inspiring environment in the midst of the university/hospital complex, which is mainly comprised of tall buildings, busy roads and mass transit.-Visitors come to buy unusual plants not found in the local nurseries, and to learn more over their own plants.-the dedicated experts of the Hortus also care for the many plants in the university itself and in the offices of the employees there.-There is an extensive and unusual collection of scented geraniums and pelargoniums.-The Hortus is a member of the national plant collection, an umbrella organisation of all 18 botanical gardens in The Netherlands. Unfortunately this watchdog organisation is itself threatened with extinction as the concerned minister has withdrawn its subsidy.-Patients, staff and visitors to the hospital are often found enjoying the rich colours and filling their lungs with the sweet smells of the gardens. They are very happy to have a garden so close by. It has been shown that plants in the work environment improve worker’s performance and well-being. Why wouldn’t we want to have a “green experience” available for city-dwellers? We should be creating more gardens, not destroying the valuable ones! -There are approximately 40 large trees in the gardens, among others many types of pinus(pines), ornamental cherry and other fruit, the hankerchief tree (Davidia involucrata), gingo bibalo’s, and magnolia.-The Hortus colleagues are supported and supplemented by a large group of dedicated volunteers, people from the city with varying skills and expertise. There is also a large group of generous donors who love and support this unique garden in Amsterdam.-The Hortus has no entrance fee.We urge everyone who reads this to send a letter or e-mail to the Board of the university and of the hospital to protest this unnecesary waste of a valuable and irreplaceable treasure. We here will do our best to prevent the Hortus from closing.
College van Bestuur van de Vrije Universiteit
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
You may also write to . He is the director of the Board.rm.smit@dienst.vu.nl You will receive an answer and be advised to read this answer carefully.
and/or
Raad van Bestuur van het VU Medisch Centrum
Postbus 7057
1007 MB Amsterdam
ortus Botanicus VU
saving the amazon rain forest
5/5/2012 3:07:29 PM
Saving the Amazon Rainforest

    The Amazon Rainforest is the world's greatest natural resource - the most powerful and bio-actively diverse natural phenomenon on the planet. Yet still it is being destroyed just like other rainforests around the world. The problem and the solution to rainforest destruction are both economic. Rainforests are being destroyed worldwide for the profits they yield - mostly harvesting unsustainable resources like timber, for cattle and agriculture, and for subsistence cropping by rainforest inhabitants. However, if land owners, governments and those living in the rainforest today were given a viable economic reason NOT to destroy the rainforest, it could and would be saved. Thankfully, this viable economic alternative does exist. Many organizations have demonstrated that if the medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, oils and other resources like rubber, chocolate and chicle, were harvested sustainably - rainforest land has much more economic value than if timber were harvested or if it were burned down for cattle or farming operations. Sustainable harvesting of these types of resources provides this value today as well more long term income and profits year after year for generations to come.

    This is no longer a theory. It is a fact and it is being implemented today. The latest statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the land owner $60 per acre and if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre. However, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the land owner $2,400 per acre. This value provides an income not only today, but year after year - for generations while still protecting the forest. Just as important, to wildharvest the wealth of sustainable rainforest resources effectively, local people and indigenous inhabitants are employed. Today, entire communities and indigenous tribes earn 5 to 10 times more money wild harvesting medicinal plants, fruits, nuts and oils than they can earn by chopping down the forest for subsistence crops - another reason why so much rainforest land is lost year after year. This much needed income source creates the awareness and economic incentive for this population in the rainforest to protect and preserve the forests for long term profits for themselves and their children and is an important solution in saving the rainforest from destruction.

    The Raintree companies advocates the preservation of rainforests by promoting the use and creating consumer markets for these sustainable and renewable rainforest resources and products with special emphasis on it's important medicinal plants. Hundreds of pages of documentation, validation and information on rainforest medicinal plants can be found on this website in an effort to help educate people about the true wealth of the rainforest - these important medicinal plants. We all share a common thread in this relationship, and that is the preservation of the rainforest, through education and by developing ethical, viable and economic alternatives. By creating a market demand and income from sustainably harvested rainforest resources, we are enjoined by many others to provide a morally and ecologically balanced relationship that is not only supportive of the rainforest and monetary needs of the indigenous peoples of the rainforest, but can compete financially with other unsustainable sources of income offered by timber companies and agricultural concerns. Raintree's focus, since it's inception, has been on the Amazon Rainforest.

    The Amazon Rainforest has long been a symbol of mystery and power, a sacred link between humans and nature. It is also the richest biological incubator on the planet. It supports millions of plant, animal and insect species - a virtual library of chemical invention. In these archives, drugs like quinine, muscle relaxants, steroids and cancer drugs are found. More importantly, are the new drugs still awaiting discovery - drugs for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer's. Many secrets and untold treasures await discovery with the medicinal plants used by shamans, healers and the indigenous people of the Rainforest Tribes. So alluring are the mysteries of indigenous medical knowledge that over 100 pharmaceutical companies and even the US government are currently funding projects studying the indigenous plant knowledge and the specific plants used by native shamans and healers.

    Long regarded as hocus-pocus by science, indigenous people's empirical plant knowledge is now thought by many to be the Amazon's new gold. This untold wealth of the indigenous plants are the true wealth of the rainforest - not the trees. Rich in beneficial nutrients, phytochemicals and active constituents, the rainforest Indians and Indigenous People have used them for centuries for their survival, health and well-being. Yet extracting these secrets from the jungles is no easy task and sadly, this state of affairs may not last long enough into the future for man to unlock all their secrets. Tragically, rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6%. In less than 50 years, more than half of the world's tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, over 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day in the world. That is over 150 acres lost every minute of every day. Experts estimate that at the current rate of destruction, the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. Experts also estimate that we are losing 130 species of plants, animals and insects every single day as they become extinct from the loss of rainforest land and habitats. How many possible cures to devastating diseases have we already lost?

    Raising consciousness of the problems is simply not enough. You as a consumer do have power and it can be put to good use.

inforest
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