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Friday, October 11, 2019

Building a Resilient Tourism Sector

For many countries in the Caribbean and beyond, tourism is a linchpin of the economy. But what happens when catastrophe hits, say in the form of a Category 5 hurricane? Increasingly, the watchword is resilience. The new Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, based in Jamaica, will look at how the industry can better prepare, manage, and recover from disruptions—not just natural disasters, but other major setbacks too. The question is, as Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett put it, “How ready are you to deal with the most extreme cases that may come your way?”
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Friday, October 11, 2019

Renewable Energy in Brazil: More than Dams

Think of electric power generation in Brazil, and the first thing that comes to mind is probably a mega-dam. That makes sense—after all, two-thirds of the country’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power—but hydro is not the only renewable energy source in South America’s largest country. Wind power has taken off in recent years, and solar, though still a miniscule percentage of electricity production, has started to see exponential growth. Biomass also figures prominently in the renewable energy picture.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Developing Credible Data on Air Quality

Good policy depends on good data. As cities and countries in the Americas tackle the problem of air pollution—a growing public health concern—they rely on air quality monitoring systems to measure how they’re doing. Through workshops co-sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), experts who operate such systems throughout the region are strengthening their expertise and cooperation to ensure that those results are accurate, reliable, and credible. That’s especially important when air pollution reaches a crisis point—as it did in Mexico City in May of this year.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Taking Electric Vehicles to a Higher Gear

Clean sources of electricity and predominantly urban populations make Latin America promising terrain for electric cars and buses. But so far, electric vehicles have picked up speed in only a few countries. Two upcoming events will discuss the potential for smarter, more sustainable transportation in the region and look at some of the roadblocks that still stand in the way. One problem? Consumers don’t have enough choices.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Bahamas Reeling from Dorian

The Bahamas has experienced many powerful storms over the years—even Category 5 hurricanes—but Dorian brought a new level of devastation. As search, rescue, and recovery operations were just getting underway, a Bahamian diplomat to the Organization of American States (OAS) reflected on the impact of the storm and the challenges ahead.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Opportunity

The tons of sargassum drifting ashore in the Caribbean in recent years have created big headaches for the tourism and fishing industries, but some entrepreneurs in the region see opportunity. That was the case with Johanan Dujon, who first noticed—and smelled—the piles of seaweed as he was driving along Saint Lucia’s east coast five years ago, when he was 21. “Why isn’t anybody doing anything?” he kept asking himself. The question eventually drove him to start a business.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Scourge

Say you’re settling in for a day at the beach: Sunblock? Check. Towels? Check. A good book? Check. Maybe some cold drinks, your favorite tunes, a lounge chair and umbrella? Perfect. Giant mounds of stinking seaweed? Not so much. But that’s the nasty surprise many beachgoers have encountered in recent years, as massive clusters of a brown macroalgae called sargassum have washed up on shore. Scientists point to a range of environmental factors as the possible culprit, and some think the seaweed invasion could mark a “new normal.”
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Going Green at the OAS

Buildings are energy hogs. And when they date back more than a century, they have an especially voracious appetite for electricity, water, air conditioning, and heat. Mindful of the need both to be green and to save greenbacks, the Organization of American States (OAS) is working to cut energy use at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.—including in its famed House of the Americas.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Solar Power at the OAS Guyana Country Office

At the OAS country office in Georgetown, Guyana, air conditioning is a year-round necessity that accounts for a large part of an electric bill of close to $300 per month.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bright Ideas for More Efficient Lighting

Street lighting can increase the safety and enhance the appeal of a neighborhood or city center—but it can also drive up energy use and carbon emissions. Governments around the world are adopting strict lighting standards to promote maximum efficiency and incorporate the latest technologies. The eight countries in the Central American Integration System (SICA) are now in the process of developing such standards, with support from the Organization of American States (OAS). (Photo: Puerto Morelos)
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