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Photograph by Josh Haner

In the Pearl River Delta, breakneck development is colliding with the effects of climate change.

GUANGZHOU, China — The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half.

The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses.

Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million.

Chen Rongbo, who lived in the city, saw the flood coming. He tried to scramble to safety on the second floor of his house, carrying his 6-year-old granddaughter. He slipped. The flood swept both of them away.

Flooding has been a plague for centuries in southern China’s Pearl River Delta. So even the rains that May, the worst in the area in years, soon drifted from the headlines. People complained and made jokes on social media about wading through streets that had become canals and riding on half-submerged buses through lakes that used to be streets. But there was no official hand-wringing about what caused the floods or how climate change might bring more extreme storms and make the problems worse.

Read the full article about the threat of rising waters for Chinese cities here.

By  from The New York Times


Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)


Songkran is the Thai New Year festival celebrated from 13 – 15 April. It is one of the country’s most important public holidays. Songkran is a Buddhist festival also celebrated in many other parts of Asia including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and parts of China. Each country has its own unique rituals and celebrations.

Water holds considerable significance during Songkran. It is a vital part of the celebrations as it is used for the ritual cleansing. However, this ritual expands inevitably into a giant fiesta of water splashing. If you visit these countries during this New Year period, be prepared to get very wet!

Songkran is a joyous time and an important festival for all Buddhists but it is important to act responsibly and conserve water – our most precious natural asset.

Here are some thoughts to consider when celebrating Songkran this week-end:


  1. Celebrate in traditional style

Celebrate Songkran traditionally by sprinkling a small amount of water over the hands of elders to receive a blessing for the upcoming year. This is a gentle and very meaningful gesture in Buddhist society.


  1. Use spray bottles – not water guns

It may be tempting and probably a must to take part in a water fight but you should consider using spray bottles as an alternative to the water guns.


  1. Visit a temple

Many temples offer Songkran activities and traditional shows where you may learn about the core concept of the water festivals in the company of local residents and fellow visitors.


Check South East Asia’s best temples here.

Songkran is a wonderful opportunity for mingling with locals and making new friends. Take time to consider how best to celebrate this year’s amazing Songkran Festival whilst remaining ever mindful of the need to conserve water.


Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)


In case you didn’t know, apparently there is a shortage of sand in the world. Since sand is used in a variety of industries, ranging from construction where it is used in mortar, plaster, concrete, asphalt, as well as being used in the pharmaceutical industry, safe to say that it is a very important resource.

This is why over in New Zealand, a report from AdWeek (via Geek) has revealed that a company called DB Breweries has launched an effort to help with the sand shortage. How, you ask? By asking customers to drink more beer, and to put their empty beer bottles through specially-built machines, where those bottles will be crushed into a sand substitute.

Read more on how drinking beer can help the increase of sand. By Tyler Lee

The UN has declared war on ocean plastic pollution

Photo credit: UNEP/Flickr

The Clean Seas campaign was launched last week, aimed at eliminating major sources of marine plastic and changing shopping habits.

The United Nations has declared war on plastic. In an unexpected announcement that emerged from the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali last week, the UN officially launched its ‘Clean Seas’ campaign. The goal is to eliminate major sources of pollution, including microplastics in cosmetics and single-use disposable plastics, by pressuring governments and individuals to rethink the way goods are packaged and their own shopping habits. By Katherine Martinko. Read more.


‘Forest cities’: the radical plan to save China from air pollution

Categories: Asia, Infrastructure, Planet, Recommended Reading, Southeast
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Stefano Boeri, the architect famous for his plant-covered skyscrapers, has designs to create entire new green settlements in a nation plagued by dirty air

An artist’s impression of Liuzhou’s plans for a ‘Forest City’

An artist’s impression of Liuzhou’s plans for a ‘Forest City’

When Stefano Boeri imagines the future of urban China he sees green, and lots of it. Office blocks, homes and hotels decked from top to toe in a verdant blaze of shrubbery and plant life; a breath of fresh air for metropolises that are choking on a toxic diet of fumes and dust.

Last week, the Italian architect, famed for his tree-clad Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) skyscraper complex in Milan, unveiled plans for a similar project in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. By Tom Phillips, The Guardian. Find the original article here.


UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards

Call for Entries: 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation

20 FEBRUARY, 2017, BANGKOK,– Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Awards recognize the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored or conserved structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region. The Awards emphasize the importance of the conservation process, including the technical achievements and quality of the restoration, as well as its social impact, including community involvement in the project. By UNESCO Bangkok. To find out more please click here.


Conference promotes sustainable tourism among young travelers

The wonders of traveling are figuratively a click away for today’s youth. It is more apparent that the millennials, with their spending capability and insatiable thirst for exploring and sharing their experiences, are in the position to redefine the face of tourism as we knew it.

Social media abounds with proof. Whether it is about scaling a mountain or diving under the sea, today’s travelers are more than willing to tell others about their memories. Many profiles show a glimpse of travel stories captured in breathtaking photos and cool travel videos.

But traveling is not just about adventure and pampering. Nowadays, the adventure of a lifetime comes with soul searching and giving back components. Putting meaning to their globetrotting, young explorers go for authentic experiences, which explain the surge of homestay, “voluntourism” or volunteering for tourism efforts, and interaction with locals. By INQ POP. Read the original article here.


January MGM Sustainability Newsletter (2017)

Categories: Asia, Featured Post
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 Create A Better Tomorrow Today - MGM Sustainability

We’re doing a lot behind the scenes at MGM to reduce our impact on the environment and support the people that mean the most to us, including all our employees and community. Contributing to a better Macau through our arts and culture program is also an important aspect of our approach. Through this newsletter we will share our monthly sustainability highlights with you, and hope you will join us in our sustainability programs to help usCreate a Better Tomorrow Today.

Spring cleaning for senior citizens ahead of Chinese New Year (CNY): In spirit of the Chinese tradition to spring clean the home before CNY as a symbol of good luck and fortune, MGM has teamed up with Centro de Dia “Brilho da Vida” to help in the festive activity for the 6th year. On January 20, 160 of our volunteer team members rolled up their sleeves to help 220 households at the Fai Chi Kei housing unit for senior citizens to get their homes ready for the New Year. At the end of each spring clean, the traditional Fai Chun red banners were placed on doorways and windows and New Year goodie bags were given to wish households a healthy and prosperous Year of the Rooster.

For another CNY tradition, to be at our best for the coming of a New Year – from January 9-12, MGM’s 30 Volunteer Hairdresser Team members also provided complimentary haircuts to 145 senior citizens at Asilo de Santa Maria and Centro de Dia “Brilho da Vida”.

CNY gifts to our community and guests: This CNY, MGM created tailor-made gifts to send well-wishes to those that mean the most to us.

To our community, MGM created a uniquely-designed towel gift set and distributed 1200 sets to 8 local community associations on January 23-24, including Caritas Macau, Macau Association of Support for the Disabled, Fuhong Society of Macau, Macau Deaf Association, Macau Special Olympics, Macau Youth Volunteer Association, “S. José Ká–Hó” Children and Youth Home, and “Jardins Dom Versiglia” Youth Home.

We also provided all our full-time staff with a gift towel set to celebrate our 9th anniversary as a token of appreciation for their hard-work and dedication.

During CNY, we treated our guests to a tasty and meaningful gift. During January 28-30, all in-room guests were surprised with CNY fortune pockets, consisting of brightly-colored, hand-stitched bags containing festive cookies and mini cupcakes, all of which were prepared by people with learning disabilities in association with Fuhong Society of Macau and Sem Meng Chi Restaurant.





Success of Macau small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) program: To celebrate the success of the Macau SME Procurement Partnership Program, co-organized by Macau Chamber of Commerce (MCC) and all 6 integrated resort operators, a press conference was organized on January 17 to acknowledge the achievements thus far of the initiative. MGM has been an active supporter including five SME Business Matching Sessions, among many other interactive and engaging activities. Mr. Lionel Leong, Secretary of Economy and Finance of Macau SAR, and Mr. Kou Hoi In, President of the Board of Directors of MCC, delivered addresses wishing the future success of the program in 2017 in bringing continued economic growth and employment prospects to the Macau SME community.
Sustainability-themed CNY float: As Macau residents and visitors from afar gathered to watch Macau’s dazzling CNY Parade on January 30 and February 4, MGM’s parade float not only wowed and entertained, but also had a unique twist – an environmental message at its heart! To create the float, we thoughtfully used materials that can be readily recycled such 1500 plastic bottles, 400 wine glass bottles and 500 room key cards; and for lighting we utilized 100% LED lighting, which uses up to 80% less energy than non-LED alternatives. The acrobats and dancers that lead the front of the float also donned costumes made from over 4,000 bottle caps, among other recyclable materials. To the crowd, MGM distributed recycled soap created through its partnership with the Clean The World Program – a program that collects, sanitizes and recycles leftover soap, which is then donated to those in need in Macau and beyond.
Red packet recycling: Every year, thousands of trees are cut down to help make our beautiful lai see packets – this CNY we can give back to the environment by recycling these packets to be made into paper to be used once again. As part of our environmental commitments to reduce waste, we have supported the “Lai See Packets Recycling Campaign 2017” initiated by the Macau Environment Protection Bureau.



Lion dance blessing ceremony to mark the New Year: On January 28, MGM hosted a grand celebration to welcome the arrival of the Year of the Rooster. Eight lions with vivid costumes marched into the Hotel VIP Lobby entrance for the eye-dotting ritual carried out by management (a ceremony which signifies the awakening of the lion’s spirit before the lion dance performance). The Ceremony culminated in the lighting of firecrackers, as well as a lion dance parade accompanied by sounds of clashing cymbals, drums and gongs, sending well wishes of good fortune to all corners of the Resort.
澳門美高梅   MGM MACAU
Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau
E [email protected]
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World Wetlands Day: IUCN launches regional project to enhance resilience of wetlands in Lower Mekong countries

Categories: Asia, Climate, Featured Post, Planet
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On the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2, IUCN is announcing the launch of a regional project to enhance the resilience of wetlands in Lower Mekong countries. Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and to be implemented until 2020, the Mekong WET: Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong Region” project aims to build climate resilience by harnessing the benefits of wetlands in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

wetlands in Lower Mekong

Photo: © Pheakdey Sorn/IUCN

Mekong WET will help the four countries to address their commitments to the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. With wetlands featured as a key ecosystem, the project also supports governments in implementing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity and pursuing their commitments on climate change adaptation and mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. By International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Read more.


Local and National Governments of the Philippines Commit to Country’s Largest Critical Habitat Designation

Newly Declared Critical Habitat In Palawan

Members of the Batak tribe fishing in Palawan, the Philippines (Photo by Robin Moore) | Photo source: Global Wildlife Conservation

One of the world’s most critical and irreplaceable areas for unique and threatened wildlife—in addition to the home to the last 200 – 300 members of the indigenous Batak tribe—has received the largest critical habitat designation in the Philippines.

The newly declared Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat, which protects more than 100,000 acres of forest on the lush island of Palawan, is the culmination of a three-year project led by the Centre for Sustainability, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, City Environment and Natural Resources Office of Puerto Princesa and the Batak tribe, with support from Global Wildlife Conservation, Rainforest Trust and the Amphibian Survival Alliance. By Lindsay Renick Mayer. Read more.