Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society — by George Monbiot February 20, 2013
Billionaires are hiding behind a network of “independent” groups, who manipulate politics on their behalf.
Conspiracies against the public don’t get much uglier than this. As the Guardian revealed last week, two secretive organisations working for US billionaires have spent $118m to ensure that no action is taken to prevent manmade climate change(1). While inflicting untold suffering on the world’s people, their funders have used these opaque structures to ensure that their identities are never exposed.
The two organisations – the Donors’ Trust and the Donors’ Capital Fund – were set up as political funding channels for people handing over $1m or more. They have financed 102 organisations which either dismiss climate science or downplay the need to take action. The large number of recipients creates the impression that there are many independent voices challenging climate science. These groups, working through the media, mobilising gullible voters and lobbying politicians, helped to derail Obama’s cap and trade bill and the climate talks at Copenhagen. Now they’re seeking to prevent the US president from trying again(2).Comments (5)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by Earth Policy Institute February 14, 2013
by Janet Larson, Earth Policy Institute
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
In recent years weather events have whiplashed between the extremes of heat and cold, flooding and drought. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — largely from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas — have loaded up in the atmosphere, heating the planet and pushing humanity onto a climatic seesaw of weather irregularities. High-temperature records in many places are already being broken with startling frequency, and hotter temperatures are in store. Without a dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use, we will veer even further away from the “normal” temperatures and weather patterns that civilization is adapted to.Comments (7)
Biofuels, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute February 8, 2013
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.
This new era is one of rising food prices and spreading hunger. On the demand side of the food equation, population growth, rising affluence, and the conversion of food into fuel for cars are combining to raise consumption by record amounts. On the supply side, extreme soil erosion, growing water shortages, and the earth’s rising temperature are making it more difficult to expand production. Unless we can reverse such trends, food prices will continue to rise and hunger will continue to spread, eventually bringing down our social system. Can we reverse these trends in time? Or is food the weak link in our early twenty-first-century civilization, much as it was in so many of the earlier civilizations whose archeological sites we now study?Comments (2)
Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Zaia Kendall February 1, 2013
Editor’s Note: The PRI Sunshine Coast starts their next Internship on February 11, 2013. Get in quick!
After being flooded in again recently (an at least once a year occurrence), this time with PDC students and volunteers on the property, we are very happy we are somewhat prepared….
by PRI Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Our road floods on both sides of our property
Disaster is a word that strikes fear into most people. We usually believe disaster is out of our control. The actual happening of the disaster may be out of our control, but how we deal with it and how we come out the other end, is fully in our control. Last weekend we had a major rain event here, from an ex-tropical cyclone swooping through the region. Wind pushed trees over and there was major flooding in this and other areas. We were flooded in for two days.Comments (3)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by Steve Kretzmann January 28, 2013
Editor’s Note: Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has just said that the entire country of Australia is being "challenged by nature". I think it’s a sad way of looking at what we’re facing — it’s as if we’re the innocent victims. Rather, I think nature is being challenged by us. Nature is having a hard time ‘keeping it together’ in the face of all we’re throwing at it. We are entering an age of potential runaway feedback loops that can render all our good work redundant, and yet at the just-ended World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the key focus was still, predictably, about stimulating more economic growth. I don’t for a minute expect corporate-bought political systems to react appropriately, but I think a massive turn-out for a rally like the one below can at least give some hope for discussion on the issues that matter — an opportunity for systemic solutions to get their day in the sun.
On Monday during the inauguration, President Obama opened his term with a clarion call for action on climate change. Our response?
Time to organize.
President Obama said, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
These are great words, in a big speech. But pardon us if we’re not sitting on our hands basking in the glow of a job well done. We’ve seen good talk before, and the President’s talk – while very good in this case – is not the same as action.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease — by Gerald Anderson January 25, 2013
This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share.
Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of food justice. — YouTube
Further watching:Comments (3)
Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS January 22, 2013
From pathogens, biological drugs, illicit drugs to arsenic, by Prof Joe Cummins
An intact forest ecosystem protects and supplies the watershed
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
Unpolluted healthy drinking water is a right not a privilege. That right must be protected and restored to those suffering from shortages of drinking water or forced to consume polluted water. Water suppliers must fully and truthfully report findings of water pollutants even at levels deemed to be safe for human consumption by regulatory bureaucracies.
An estimated one billion people lack access to safe, reliable water supplies, and two billion people lack adequate sanitation. In the face of growing populations, climate change, and increasing transboundary water issues, conflict and even warfare over water have been widely predicted . Our goal must be to provide water security for all, especially for the poor everywhere.Comments (2)
Biofuels, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Earth Policy Institute January 18, 2013
by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute
The world produced 2,241 million tons of grain in 2012, down 75 million tons or 3 percent from the 2011 record harvest. The drop was largely because of droughts that devastated several major crops—namely corn in the United States (the world’s largest crop) and wheat in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Australia. Each of these countries also is an important exporter. Global grain consumption fell significantly for the first time since 1995, as high prices dampened use for ethanol production and livestock feed. Still, overall consumption did exceed production. With drought persisting in key producing regions, there is concern that farmers in 2013 will again be unable to produce the surpluses necessary to rebuild lowered global grain reserves.
Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Trees — by Chris McLeod January 15, 2013
What a difference six weeks has made to the food forest here! The change in climate between cool and wet to hot and dry happened in less than a week during early October and since that time there has been no significant rainfall. The rain probably won’t fall here now until about April based on past experience and records.
The abrupt change surprised me and I took a while to come to accept that the climate had altered here that quickly, but after this realisation I undertook to heavily mulch all 300+ fruit trees. The purpose of this is to keep the plants’ root systems cool and reduce the evaporation of ground water. The mulch does have the adverse effect of scavenging nitrogen from the top soil which causes further stress to the fruit trees, but this is only temporary and the impact is much less than the stress caused by the loss of ground water due to evaporation.Comments (13)
Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Urban Projects — by Samuel Alexander January 14, 2013
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
A huge ‘dome of heat’ over Australia has broken temperature records, and this heat has been so intense that the Bureau of Meteorology has been forced to create new colours for their charts, which had previously been capped at 50°C. Deep red has now been followed by a new deep purple. Bush fires have been raging across the country – a sign of a warming world, the impacts of which are destined only to intensify.
While urban areas are less prone to the risks of fire in such circumstances, my poor vegetable garden suffers terribly when we face extended periods of extreme heat. In my small corner of the world, this has called for some ‘Psychedelic Garden Love’. It’s not what you might think — much less interesting, but still very important.Comments (7)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot January 10, 2013
The extremes now hammering Australia leave old perspectives stranded.
Five children and their grandparents survived an inferno by spending
three hours clinging to a jetty in the sea
I wonder what Tony Abbott will say about the record heatwave now ravaging Australia. The opposition leader has repeatedly questioned the science and impacts of climate change. He has insisted that “the science is highly contentious, to say the least” and asked – demonstrating what looks like a wilful ignorance – “If man-made CO2 was quite the villain that many of these people say it is, why hasn’t there just been a steady increase starting in 1750, and moving in a linear way up the graph?”. He has argued against Australian participation in serious attempts to cut emissions.
Climate change denial is almost a national pastime in Australia. People like Andrew Bolt and Ian Plimer have made a career out of it. The Australian – owned by Rupert Murdoch – takes such extreme anti-science positions that it sometimes makes the Sunday Telegraph look like the voice of reason.Comments (17)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot January 7, 2013
2012 was the worst year for the environment in living memory.
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half century.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 17, 2012
We often only begin to understand the importance of nutrient- and water-cycling when they don’t — when they don’t cycle, that is. When ecosystems fail, when the hydrological cycle gets broken, when soils degrade faster than they build, the consequence is desertification. Already a full 25% of the planet’s land surface area (about 3.6 billion hectares) is desertified, and, worldwide, we’re adding to this enormous figure at a rate of 12 million hectares annually. And this rate is increasing.
More than ever before, we now understand the mechanisms behind desertification. Even just one lifetime ago we thought we were too small, and the world too large, for us to have any real effect on planetary functions, but that has all changed. Today we know that we are having a profoundly negative impact on the earth’s systems — those systems upon which all life, and all economic activity, depend — and we’re also learning that reversing that impact is a lot harder, and a lot more time-consuming and expensive, than preventative measures to avoid it in the first place.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 10, 2012
As permaculturists, we have a great many solutions for the water crisis. From water harvesting to reed bed grey water systems, to watershed rehabilitation, there are common sense approaches to holistically restore eco-system services, rehydrate our landscapes and stabilise water flows and the climate. In the video above, however, we come face to face with forces that can undo the work of thousands of enthusiastic permaculturists with a few signatures on a market based, industrial contract.
We need to know the enemy if we’re to defeat it.Comments (1)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Steve Kretzmann December 6, 2012
Exxon hates your children. Yes, that’s what I said, and no, I’m not kidding.
The truth is, if you judge Exxon and other fossil fuel companies not by the words on their press releases, but by their actions and predictable consequences, Exxon really must hate your children.Comments (0)