Susceptibility map of mass movements in the southern slope of Avila

The mass movements that originate on the southwestern flank of the Avila, as observed in the analysis of the risk carried out in this work, cause numerous economic losses since many neighborhoods in the area are very susceptible to this threat, in view of the urban expansion of the city that has caused many settlements

Constraints, triggers and erosive factors affecting mass movements in the mountainous south area of Ávila in Venezuela, are spatially analyzed through ArcGIS software 10.0 a synthetic methodology that performs the analysis of these factors in each movement type (rock falls, landslides, road slope and flows) and then synthesize on a single map areas with increased susceptibility.

The main cause of mass movements in this area relates to geological conditions which are reactivated by active seismicity, heavy rainfall, and artificial changes to the ground. Only in Caracas city has registered more than 500 landslides with important effects in the last 60 years.

While the study of the risk of mass movements is elaborate, (a dispersed event in space-time and with low intensity) is one of the most costly threats at a socio-economic level.

Most of the movements studied are mainly controlled by the slope and lithology, observing that most of the most frequent instabilities occur in the metamorphic rock of the San Julián and Esquistos las Brisas Complex type and in alluvial quaternary.

Slope, altitude and orientation vary depending on the type of movement. Observed for rock falls and slopes that go from 20º to 35º and altitudes from 740 m.a.s.l. to 1110 m.a.s.l. Northeast facing mostly for landslides and southeast to the southwest of rock falls.

On the other hand, for edge faults and debris flows it is very variable, with a much lower slope and altitude for flows (0 to 10º) and a higher one for landslides, with slopes of up to 40º of dip being observed. They coincide in the maximum orientation that goes from southeast to southwest and in the fact that they are movements controlled by the adjacent hydrographic networks.

It is recommended that Venezuelan authorities take a forecast of the most frequent climatic threats and keep a forecast and control of dry vs. wet periods as these are the most frequent triggers that cause mass movements. This can be done by expanding the meteorological stations since there is currently the Maiquetía airport station, whose climatic variation contrasts with that of the southern flank of Avila, and the Caracas Valley.

As far as vegetation control is concerned, a good spatial analysis is recommended to determine the current vegetation type and thus to take vegetation as a conditioning factor. It is known that from the end of 2015 to March 2016 the ENSO has hit the Ávila mountain range causing major droughts and fires, which are triggering factors for mass movements but due to a lack of spatial information could not be included in the present work.

In addition, if urban expansion were to be controlled, the most vulnerable communities could be organized and warned of the danger that exists in this study. The most susceptible neighbourhoods are Plan de Manzano, Macayapa, Blandín, Araguaney and La Cortada.

Periodic awareness campaigns and visits to such communities can maintain areas potentially susceptible to threats from movements of evicted or prevented masses depending on the level of probability.

Planet First: Environmental education against Climate change denial

“America needs the good old global warming to cope with the massive West Coast snowfalls.” This is one of the statement on climate change with a mixture of scepticism and indifference from the US President Donald Trump. This is part of the withdrawal from the climate agreement concluded at the COP21 in Paris and the concomitant interruption of contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund.

The Paris agreement included specific objectives such as reducing the global temperature below 2°C and limit the CO2 emissions, and more general results, based on an innovative, multilateral, responsible and transparent approach by the single nations and by the High Ambition Coalition. The ultimate goal is to cope with “one of the biggest current threats to the future of our planet” as defined by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. That means global warming.

The “Fossil fuels” option

The United States, the second world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is a key player in the climate change scene. The Obama administration cuts global emissions by 2.6% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016, on the other hand, the Trump administration has turned in the direction of a dramatic ending for the future of our planet.

The reasons given by the American president to explain the withdrawal from the Agreement are based on the negative economic implications for American citizens and businesses. However, recent studies made by the World Bank have shown that in the long-term the use of fossil fuels will lead to higher spending on health-care and therefore they will reduce labour productivity, which could instead increase with investments in the renewable energy sector.

The Trump Attitude also faces an internal opposition by States and Companies of the economically dynamic regions that have declared they want to continue with the commitments made in Paris and, where possible, also to go further. However, the Rust Belt States – crucial to the victory of Trump and where the President declared he wants to restore the coal and steel mines.

Positive signals on the world stage

The U.S. environmental policy also clashes with the policies of other states, from those of the Green Scandinavia as Sweden that intends to be the first country in the world without fossil fuels by 2020, to the small but significant changes that are taking place in the Middle East. Saudi Minister of Energy, Khaled Al-Faleh, has recently declared that Riyadh is trying to reform the energy system and aims to get 10% of electricity from renewables by 2023.

Local people in the cities have a big role to help protect the environment, but regional leaders and politicians has to Fight Global Warming, working together we can reach the purposes.

The positive signals that emerged on the world scene at the national level are reported in multilateral forums, and new incentives for them are proposed by international organizations. Historically, the United Nations have been a champion of environmental protection, from the Brundtland Report (1987), through the Agenda 21 on climate change (1992), and thanks to numerous international guidelines and agreements, proposing an indissoluble link between economic development and environment. This link is inspired by the concept of sustainable development, namely it is able to meet the needs of present generations, without compromising those of future generations.

The UN instruments recall the principles of soft law such as the environmental impact assessment, the polluter-pays principle, the precautionary principle, the procedural obligations as the urgent notification of global environmental issues and the principle of development sustainable. However, these policies are also accompanied by international agreements and, even if environmental standards are not yet provided under general international law, the national liability for environmental damage is governed by the same rules used for the international responsibility of unlawful act.

The role of OSCE and civil society

In this struggle to put the interests of the planet before any other national interest, the United Nations are not alone. In addition to numerous institutes and agencies dependent on U.N., we must highlight the role of numerous NGOs and the OSCE as a permanent diplomatic forum (Leads by Italy in 2018). Through the coordination of economic and environmental activities, the OSCE implements projects aimed at the safe management of climate and hazardous waste, promoting dialogue between participating States, energy efficiency and green growth.

As stated in November 2017 at Bonn’s COP23, states are taking the right path thanks to the joint and multilateral action. At the same time, a greater awareness at the level of civil society becomes necessary since important economic and geopolitical actors can not be left out.

According to that, subsidies, agricultural reforms, sanctions in the event of climate disasters and support for green innovation must be supported by a civic culture capable of environmental education inclusion. Recent studies made by Yale University demonstrates that the 40% of people in the world have never heard about climate change.

Students with the TREE program work with school children at the Catamount Center for Environmental Science & Education. Photo by Colorado College


With the environmental education we can solve this gap and drive companies to become more resilient to climate problems, we can show the great economic possibilities of renewables to international investors and face local problems with global technologies and tailor-made solutions. A greater awareness of the problem is not only the key to overcome the huge effects of climate change, but also an opportunity to undermine the inertia that prevents states from moving towards a cleaner, fairer and more productive development. A development that support the life of our planet.

Take part, it all depends on our action!

Awareness and education for development

The project “takes part, everything depends on our action”, aimed to promote the participation of the children and adolescents of the city of Alicante, with a global vision, as a mechanism to improve and transform the reality in which they live, to their measure and the identification of situations that infringe the right to a dignified and sustainable habitat.

The project was created creating spaces for participation, debate and the formulation of proposals for improvement on the right to housing and a dignified and sustainable habitat.

Through dynamics, games and spaces for debate and reflection, democratizing experiences were shared that aimed to channel proposals, better understand their rights and duties, and implement the mechanisms that facilitated their exercise as full citizens, have voice and opinion and be heard, create a common manifesto that supports your requests and divulge it to the rest of the community.

The Project TP!, was aimed at children and adolescents between the ages of 9 to 16 years and representatives of all the realities of the city. The activity was in charge by the group of education for the development of Architecture Without Frontiers of Alicante (ASF)

There was a high civic participation in the different debates and workshops (the right to housing and decent and sustainable habitat). All the opinions and proposals made by the participants were collected and compiled to create the manifesto of proposals, the final phase of the project consisted in the diffusion of the participatory process that the children and the exhibition of the Common manifesto and the manifestos of proposals.