tagged w/ Future
Yes, you got it right, a small non so sunny country was able to produces that much, who's still saying Solar can't work!
Kuddos to the Germans!
(Phys.org) -- Solar power plants in Germany have set a new record. “Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," said Norbert Allnoch, Germany’s director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster. The plants peaked at 22 gigawatts of output for a few hours over the weekend, on Friday and Saturday. The numbers are important in that they yielded almost half the country's energy mid-day electricity needs. The 22 gigawatts is up from 14 GW a year ago. Also, this 22 gigawatts of output is equal to about 20 nuclear plants.
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That comparison is significant because, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany abandoned nuclear energy endeavors. They shut down eight plants in favor of safer options and instead shouldered the task of further developing renewable energy sources. Allnoch said the data is based on information from the European Energy Exchange (EEX), based in Leipzig
sources and more:
Top 10 Solar Panels - Compare Solar Panel Prices Easily. We Compare 250 Suppliers Instantly - www.SolarPanelQuoter.co.ukYes, you got it right, a small non so sunny country was able to produces that much,... more
An inaugural interactive workshop discussing historic and future sea level trends and their implications for Virginia’s Eastern Shore is planned for June.
“We’ve got the highest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast,” said Skip Stiles, executive director, Wetlands Watch, who will be making a presentation on the historic, current and future sea level changes and potential impact on the Eastern Shore.
Stiles said some of the evidence of sea level rise visible to people who spend time around the water include seeing wetlands disappear, ditches going tidal, backyard vegetation changes, and “ghost forests” — full grown trees that are dead along the shore because the water is “moving in underneath them.”
The Coastal Flooding Workshop will take place on June 13 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. at Shore Bank Headquarters, 25020 Shore Parkway in Onley.
The Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Working Group consisting of representatives of local government staff, state and federal agencies, and private groups involved in coastal management is hosting the workshop as part of its efforts to assist the Eastern Shore in preparing for a changing climate, which includes sea level rise.
Curt Smith, director of planning, Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, said the group’s activities also include involvement in acquiring the new high-resolution LiDAR elevation data; developing “a rollout campaign” to educate the public and elected officials about the LiDAR data and how it benefits the Shore; and “partnering with the NOAA Coastal Services Center who is using the LiDAR data to produce a series of models that will accurately simulate flooding and impacts to the built and natural environment on the Shore.”
“I think that is going to be very helpful for their planning,” said Smith, about information from the June 13 workshop, saying he hopes to present information to the Accomack and Northampton County Boards of Supervisors and towns about the presentations and the responses they receive from the residents who will be able to actively participate through written surveys and electronic polls in the workshop about what they may be experiencing concerning sea level changes.
More at the linkAn inaugural interactive workshop discussing historic and future sea level trends and... more
Russia is still the world's largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has stalled and to get to new supplies requires going to a very difficult place — the Arctic.
"If you want to be in this business in 2020, 2025, you must think about the Arctic," says Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow.
In the past month, Moscow has signed several deals with foreign oil companies designed to maintain Russia's position as the top producer. The most important deal, and the most lucrative, is a partnership between Exxon Mobil and Russian oil giant Rosneft.
Exxon Mobil could eventually spend half a trillion dollars to look for and extract oil and gas in the Russian Arctic. The investment is enormous, but so are the potential rewards.
Getting To The Arctic's Reserves
"The reserves in the Russian Arctic are vast," says Roland Nash, chief investment strategist for Verno Investment in Moscow. "Nobody quite knows how vast, but the numbers are enormous."
Some estimates put the oil and gas reserves in Russia's Arctic waters at 100 billion tons. According to Simonov, the deal with Exxon Mobil is a sign that Russia knows it needs international investment and technology to get to those reserves.
"Without foreign partners, for us it will be impossible to develop this area," Simonov says. "It's out of [the] question."
The deal was signed on April 18 with Russian President Vladimir Putin looking on. It gives Exxon Mobil access to oil fields in the Black Sea and provides Russia some access to Exxon Mobil's oil deposits in Texas, Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
At the signing, Putin said Exxon Mobil also had the option to work in Russia's north and south, as well as in other regions. Meanwhile, the Russians will soon start work with Exxon Mobil in the U.S. and Canada.
Changing Russia's Reputation
Russia Pushes To Claim Arctic As Its Own
Russia has launched a drive to own vast parts of the Arctic, including its oil and gas deposits.
Shell Pushes Forward To Drill Well In Arctic
The company says it's ready to clean a spill, but environmentalists say it's not worth the risk.
In addition to the Exxon Mobil deal, Russia's Rosneft recently signed smaller deals with Italian oil company Eni to go after oil in North Africa, and with Norway's Statoil elsewhere in the Arctic.
But it hasn't been easy for foreign oil companies to do business in Russia. BP had a similar deal with Rosneft that fell apart last year. According to Roland Nash, everyone knows about Russia's troubled past with international oil companies.
"Signing the deal is Step 1," Nash says. "Implementing the deal is a bigger step in some ways."
So Russia has changed the game in favor of the oil giants. The government has eased the tax burden on Exxon Mobil and others looking for oil in the Arctic, making it a more attractive proposition.
And, according to Simonov, letting Rosneft in on energy deposits elsewhere in the world turns the Russian oil giant into an international player, helping it spread its risks. There are also potential political benefits.
"It's like, you know, the logic of capitalism," Simonov says. "If you are the shareholder of serious assets in Europe and the United States, maybe there will be more reason to have political dialogue also."
More at the link
http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2012/05/24/russia4_wide.jpg?t=1337896132&s=4Russia is still the world's largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has... more
Following years of intense pressure from the agribusiness sector, Brazil's parliament has approved destructive reforms to the country's forest protection. President Dilma has just 9 remaining days to veto this hatchet job before it becomes law. With the world watching, which side of history will she choose to be on? Will her legacy be Amazon ruin? Or, will she demonstrate courage and act on behalf of future generations?
This article appeared in the New York Times today.
YOU can urge President Dilma to do the right thing for Brazil, the Amazon and the planet.
Take action now by signing this petition, tell her to veto the new Forest Code!
More at the linkFollowing years of intense pressure from the agribusiness sector, Brazil's... more
China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.
CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 percent last year to 31.6 billion metric tons (34.83 billion tons), preliminary estimates from the Paris-based IEA showed.
China, the world's biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, the body said, driven mainly by higher coal use.
"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters.
Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers.
They believe that is only possible if emission levels are kept to around 44 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2020.
Negotiators from over 180 nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany, until Friday to work towards getting a new global climate pact signed by 2015.
The aim is to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made after the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of this year.
Procedural wrangling and a reluctance to raise ambitions to cut emissions due to economic constraints is threatening progress, however. (ID:nL5E8GLCRU]
"I think it would be unrealistic to think that there will be major breakthroughs very soon," Birol said.
"Climate change is sliding down in the international policy agenda, which is definitely a worrying trend."
More at the linkChina spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever... more
The past 12 months were the hottest on record, and forecasters are predicting high temperatures across the U.S. this summer. Science and environment contributor M. Sanjayan explains the risk of climate change.
M Sanjayan is lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy.
Here's hoping to seeing more media coverage of the most important issue for our future.
More at the linkThe past 12 months were the hottest on record, and forecasters are predicting high... more
Innovative program bolsters climate science with the hope of improving overall scientific literacy in public schoolsMaryland has a history of integrating environmental science into public school curricula and recently became the first state in the nation to include environmental literacy as a graduation requirement.
At the vanguard of climate science education, a pilot program brings researchers and teachers together in Maryland and Delaware.
A pilot teaching initiative with Delaware is pushing the state even further along the vanguard. The test program, one of 15 funded by the National Science Foundation, encourages teachers and scientists to collaborate in the classroom. It emphasizes local impacts – sea-level rise in the Chesapeake Bay, rising temperatures in urban areas, biodiversity of Maryland's crabs – to help students understand how climate change affects the rest of the world.
The program, dubbed "Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research," or MADE-CLEAR, has gathered science educators and climate scientists together to identify classroom needs and connect those needs with the science.
Climate scientists are finding relevant examples from peer-reviewed literature to help educators teach climate change more effectively. A unit on local climate impacts, for instance, would include the science on how Maryland's crabs will be affected by global warming and what that would mean for economic and policy planning.
More at the linkMaryland has a history of integrating environmental science into public school... more
Spain has faced the driest winter ever recorded. It has raised red flags in Spain, where farmers face the threat of extreme drought. Grain crops in Spain are suffering after an unusually dry autumn and winter. The amount of rainfall has been just half of normal in key grain producing regions.
The map of the impact of the drought on plants throughout the country made with Normalized Vegetation Difference Index (NDVI) data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) instrument on the Terra satellite. It compares plant growth between April 6 and April 21, 2012, with average conditions for the same period. Brown indicates areas where plants are growing less vigorously than usual for this time of year. Gray indicates areas where data were not available. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data provided by Inbal Reshef, Global Agricultural Monitoring Project. Caption by Adam Voiland.)
In an analysis released on May 10, 2012, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, projected Spain’s wheat production would drop by 20 percent, oats by 18 percent, and barley by 14 percent in comparison to last year. Overall, the USDA expects Spain will need to import 11 million metric tons of grain from other European countries because of the drought.
In late April, increasing rainfall has started to improve the situation, particularly in the northern half of the country. If rain continues to fall regularly throughout May, there’s a chance that barley and wheat yields could rebound.
A closer view of Andalucía, a region in southern Spain that produces almost all of the country’s durum wheat. Only about half the normal amount of rainfall fell in Andalucía between January and April. In the other key wheat producing states of Castilla y Leon, Castilla-La Mancha, and Aragón, rainfall has been low as well. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data provided by Inbal Reshef, Global Agricultural Monitoring Project. Caption by Adam Voiland.)
Spain is not the only European country grappling with a weak wheat crop. Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and other countries will likely see reduced yields as well due to dry weather. A cold spell at the end of February in Poland and Germany has also harmed crops. (EarthObservatory)
More at the linkSpain has faced the driest winter ever recorded. It has raised red flags in Spain,... more
Awesome CGI and action!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeg8IVEl4qs&list=UUbFDO6jvYAEppC4y6w99Gww&index=1&feature=plcpAwesome CGI and action!!!!... more
by Amaterasu Solar
Let Us presume a world where free energy is available to all. Also, Let’s add robots doing all the necessary work no One wants to do - or taking up the slack where not enough People are doing necessary work.
In this scenario, there would not be any need for money - in any form: barter, trade, work exchange, cash, checks, electronic funds. You may doubt this, but Let’s examine a single case to illustrate the whole.
Let Us now suppose that You have a hot dog cart - You like to hang around it from time to time and chat with People, say; You are a gregarious sort. And You like to see people happy eating food. The energy to run this cart is free, and You have a robot tending it, taking orders, fixing the dogs, and so on. You, Yourself, may choose to fix a dog or two for People You particularly like, but You don’t HAVE to do any of the work.
Your robot is run on free energy, so it doesn’t cost You anything.
Now Let’s say Your hot dogs come from pigs, and the farm - where the pigs are allowed to roam a few acres - is run by robots. There may be someone who LOVES to raise pigs there, but most likely, the pigs are cared for, organically, by the robots (which are run on free energy). The cost of the pigs themselves is nothing.
The fields that grow the food for the pigs are farmed by robots, running on free energy, and perhaps a Human or three who LOVE to farm the land. The tilling, planting, weeding, debugging (maybe by small robots patrolling the plants), and harvesting is all handled organically by these robots and so there is no cost to grow the pig food.
Robots transport the pig feed for free (and any Humans who LOVE to transport things, should there be any).
Robots would handle the slaughter, cleanly (We would ensure this), quickly and honorably. They would also process the meat into the dogs, and upon a standing order, or Your request over the web, would deliver the dogs to Your cart - for free.
From the fields, free-range chicken coops and dairies (handled by robots), would come the ingredients for the buns and condiments, delivered to bakeries and processing plants for free - baked by robots (and Those whose bliss it is to bake large batches of buns) and processed by robots, with no energy cost anywhere. These things too would be delivered upon request, for free.
So… How much would You charge for these hot dogs? You paid nothing for the energy in the production line, nor for the labor in the production line - Those who chose to add Their Human energy did so not because They HAD to in order to survive, but because They LOVE to do what They were doing. Things being free, They simply chose to spend Their time in Their bliss. The seeds that were farmed are freely given by nature...so are the pigs, for that matter. The planet sits under Us freely for seeds to go into and pigs to live on.
You paid nothing for these hot dogs; it costs You zero to run the stand. (And We could go into the stand itself, as well as the robot, costing nothing, too, through robot workers for mining the metals, smelting, shaping, etc...). So why would You need to charge for the hot dogs?
Now, Let's say one day You befriend someone and She just LOVES to make specialty hot dogs - Her own "secret recipe" of spices. She can get Her meat free, Her spices free, Her cooking heat free, Her pots and pans and whatever else for free. And, because She doesn't HAVE to spend 8 or more hours pursuing Her slave's compensation for Her Human energy, She has time and energy of Her own to devote to making Her signature hot dogs.
One day She invites You over - You, who don't have to "mind the store," since Your robot can handle it easily - and so You decide to hang out with Her while She is in Her bliss, making Her dogs.
You say, "Hey. Those smell damn good. Better than what I have at the hot dog stand! If You have any extra, can I distribute them at My cart?"
She smiles in delight. "Of course. I always have a lot and You can have what You want! Thank You for the compliment!"
Thus begins a happy relationship. You have a robot pack up Her dogs and take them to the cart. You also have a sign made up saying, "NOW! Dogs by Delilah!" And soon, Delilah is blissfully making Her dogs, and Your cart is gaining the reputation of being the best on the block - or in town…or in the world. You develop a reputation. Your cart is written up in a number of blogs, and demand for the dogs - HUMAN made - grows. Soon, reservations are required to get the dogs, because Delilah does not want to make THAT many dogs. All this is handled via net and computer.
In the end, You gain reputation for having a popular hot dog cart, Delilah has reputation for making dogs, and neither of You have traded, bartered, exchanged work, exchanged coin, bills, checks or electronic funds (money).
But You are both very rich in social standing.
This all seems idyllic, so wonderful to consider. Every Human Being freed from wage-slavery and poverty to follow Her/His bliss, with richness in character and betterment contributions defining wealth. But can We get there? The answer is, YES!, but We need a plan.
The Plan is to:
1) Raise awareness that electrogravitics technology (which provides gravity control (“antigravity”) and overunity (“free energy”)) exists so that We can -
2) Call for the release of the overunity technology to -
3) Remove the cost of energy in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, homes, & misc. so -
4) The cost of building robots to do the necessary jobs no One wants to do becomes affordable so -
5) We can relieve Ourselves of undesired toil, being supported easily at this point on social services since -
6) Money will become unnecessary when the effort to collect the penny for the week's groceries (the room full of furniture, the house, the [fill in the blank]) is more than the penny is worth
By abundantly replacing the money with what it represents (meaningful energy expended), the need for money dissipates and there is no motive to promote consumerism. There is no motive to create cheap, breakable goods to ensure future sales. There is no motive to solve issues the cheapest or most profitable way. There is no motive to steal - if One wants it, another can be had for the asking on the web. There is no motive to defraud. There is no motive to silence discoveries. There is no motive to hide cures. There is no motive to do what does not give One bliss.
But surely there are plenty Whose bliss is solving problems. Plenty Whose bliss is creating robots. Plenty Whose bliss is programming. Plenty Whose bliss is researching. Plenty Whose bliss is helping Others. Plenty Whose bliss is building. Plenty Whose bliss is creating art. Plenty Whose bliss is teaching. Plenty Whose bliss is any endeavor robots can't handle.
There WILL be motive to better the world - Those who contribute will earn appreciation, thanks, gratitude, name recognition and Self satisfaction. Instill a Betterment Ethic in place of the work "ethic" (a slave's ethic - enrich others with One's Human energy).
"From Each according to BLISS; to Each according to DESIRE."
So if One wants to be a couch potato... Heh. No problem!
Clearly We must spread this information. Widely. Below is a link to a petition, but if You choose to sign it, don’t stop there. Share it. Email it to friends and family, tweet it often on Twitter, post it to the Hotel Califacebook and on forums You visit. Become proactive and maintain the proactivity. If We all do this, We can make this planet a far better place than it is now.
To sign a petition for the release of electrogravitics technology:
More detail on the simple chaos seed for a society with free energy: http://bit.ly/I5TriH
Twitter: @AmaterasuSolarby Amaterasu Solar Let Us presume a world where free energy is available to all.... more
A new movie highlighting the importance of water to our lives and the global crisis we face with ways to address it. It is good to see movies like this being made especially regarding water. We use too much of it (particularly regarding agriculture and energy,) we take it too much for granted and our misconceptions about its availability are being challenged. We are using much more than we can replenish and that exacerbates physical scarcity and non physical scarcity in the form of pollution that makes water unsuitable and unhealthy for human use.
In this age of climate change as well (when we are now seeing the human affect on the hydrologic cycle in connection with extreme weather events such as droughts and floods becoming more frequent and severe) we see moral will colliding with the forces of greed taking advantage of our apathy. We can no longer be secure in thinking we will never be without it and thinking it is a far away obscure crisis. It is here, it is now, and it is about all of us.A new movie highlighting the importance of water to our lives and the global crisis we... more
Loss of biodiversity appears to affect ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution and other major forms of environmental stress, according to results of a new study by an international research team.
The study is the first comprehensive effort to directly compare the effects of biological diversity loss to the anticipated effects of a host of other human-caused environmental changes.
The results, published in this week's issue of the journal Nature, highlight the need for stronger local, national and international efforts to protect biodiversity and the benefits it provides, according to the researchers, who are based at nine institutions in the United States, Canada and Sweden.
"This analysis establishes that reduced biodiversity affects ecosystems at levels comparable to those of global warming and air pollution," said Henry Gholz, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research directly and through the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
"Some people have assumed that biodiversity effects are relatively minor compared to other environmental stressors," said biologist David Hooper of Western Washington University, the lead author of the paper.
"Our results show that future loss of species has the potential to reduce plant production just as much as global warming and pollution."
Studies over the last two decades demonstrated that more biologically diverse ecosystems are more productive.
As a result, there has been growing concern that the very high rates of modern extinctions--due to habitat loss, overharvesting and other human-caused environmental changes--could reduce nature's ability to provide goods and services such as food, clean water and a stable climate.
Until now, it's been unclear how biodiversity losses stack up against other human-caused environmental changes that affect ecosystem health and productivity.
"Loss of biological diversity due to species extinctions is going to have major effects on our planet, and we need to prepare ourselves to deal with them," said ecologist Bradley Cardinale of the University of Michigan, one of the paper's co-authors. "These extinctions may well rank as one of the top five drivers of global change."
More at the linkLoss of biodiversity appears to affect ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution... more
The vast amount of glass in skyscrapers and office buildings represents enormous potential for an emerging technology that turns windows into solar panels. But major questions remain as to whether solar windows can be sufficiently inexpensive and efficient to be widely adopted.
More at the linkThe vast amount of glass in skyscrapers and office buildings represents enormous... more
By Ted Glick
“Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people's number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it's been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”
-Barack Obama, in “Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone Interview with Barack Obama,” April 25, 2012
From April 22-26 there were a series of activities on the climate crisis in Washington, D.C. organized primarily by religiously-based groups. One took place on April 23rd in an auditorium of the Old Executive Office Building, right next to the White House. Several Obama administration officials, including Heather Zichal, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, spoke to and answered questions from about 100 people from a variety of groups and parts of the country.
One question, asked several times, was if President Obama was going to be speaking out on the climate crisis in coming months. He has not been doing so, by and large, ever since the December, 2009 international climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Zichal’s response to this question was unclear. Either she did not know about the Rolling Stone interview, about to come out two days later, or what Obama said in that interview is somewhat provisional, not to be relied on. Hopefully, recent polls that have shown broad support for action on global warming—in the mid- to high-60’s percent range--will help to move Obama and others running for office to reflect that broad support in what they say between now and November 6.
It is clear, however, that if the climate emergency is going to be a major campaign issue, and if, after the election, we are going to get the kind of federal action urgently needed on it, we can’t depend upon Democrat/Republican interactions and messaging. We need to take action so that this and other important issues are visible, out there, difficult to sweep under the rug.
It is good news that a growing number of religious denominations and leaders are doing just that. Among the activities over the past week in D.C. were these:
an event at the National Cathedral on Earth Day, April 22, honoring Wendell Berry organized by the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (NRCCC);
the meeting next to the White House on April 23rd organized by two Christian evangelical student-based groups, Renewal and Restoring Eden. and supported by many other organizations;
a day-long conference also on April 23 organized by NRCCC on the Scientific, Religious and Cultural Implications of Global Warming, which included presentations by 24 religious, government, scientific, military, medical and cultural leaders;
a day-long series of activities on April 24th organized by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC), a newly-formed collaborative initiative endorsed by 45 groups and scores of religious and other leaders. Highlights were:
an inspiring program at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial early in the morning featuring Bill McKibben, Ibrahim Ramey, Luci Murphy and Sarah James;
a very diverse multi-faith service at the NY Avenue Presbyterian Church with leaders from Christian (Evangelical, Protestant, Catholic), Islamic, Jewish, Baha’I, Hindu and Native American faith traditions;
a religious procession/march down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill led by Native American women from the Onondaga and Mohawk Nations; and,
the public announcement and distribution to every Senator and House member of an “ethical report card” grading the response of Congress to the climate emergency. The overall grade given by IMAC to Congress was an “F.”;
a Global Day of Prayer for Creation Care event organized by the Evangelical Environmental Network on April 26, the highlight of which was a 3 ½-hour program of music, videos, presentations and prayers by a range of evangelical leaders from the US, Latin America and Africa.
I can’t remember ever participating in so many actions on an issue organized by religiously-based groups over such an extended period of time. It is a very hopeful sign that among people of faith, many different faiths, there is a clear stirring into action on this huge moral issue, this threat to human civilization and the ecological systems that have allowed for its development over the last 10,000 years.
The climate crisis is a deeply moral and ethical issue. To quote from the Call to Action issued by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate: “It is morally wrong to unjustifiably cause human suffering and death. Human-induced climate change is correlated with storms, floods, droughts, crop failures, diseases, and water and food shortages, as well as associated breakdowns in political, economic, social and ecological systems. . . The greatest impacts are falling on low-income people, communities of color, Indigenous peoples and others who have contributed little to climate change. . . To disrupt the climate that is the cornerstone of all life and to squander the extraordinary abundance of life, diversity and beauty of the planet is a moral failure of the first order.”
More at the linkBy Ted Glick “Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that... more
Oscar-winning film star Colin Firth today launched a major Survival International campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’ – the Awá of the Brazilian Amazon.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a short film, featuring an appeal by Colin Firth and music by Grammy-winning composer Heitor Pereira.
The Awá are a small tribe whose territory has been invaded by a vast army of illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. Astonishing graphics on the campaign website show the devastating destruction of the Indians’ forest – which is happening faster than any other Amazon tribe.
Illegal settlers have reached just 30 minutes' walk from Little Butterfly's community
The situation is now so critical that several Brazilian experts have spoken of a ‘genocide’ and ‘extinction’.
There are around 360 contacted Awá. Many are the survivors of brutal massacres. It is believed that 20-25% more are hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest, desperately seeking a refuge from the constant destruction.
The campaign aims to persuade Brazil’s Justice Minister to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers, and keep them out.
In his appeal Colin Firth says, ‘The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that’s where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever. But we’re going to make sure the world doesn’t let that happen…
More at the linkOscar-winning film star Colin Firth today launched a major Survival International... more
One century ago this weekend, the great “unsinkable” ship ignored warnings of ice bergs in the vicinity, maintained a high speed, hit an iceberg because it couldn’t change course fast enough, and sank. Most passengers died, in large part because there weren’t enough lifeboats.
The New Yorker and the Washington Post have devoted major columns to why ”Why we can’t let go of the Titanic” and why ”fascination with it seems to be” unsinkable .
Director James Cameron offered his own answer this week, in Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron on National Geographic Channel, which I’ve transcribed here. Cameron, who has also released a 3-D version of his epic block-buster movie on the doomed ship, made the connection between what happened on the Titanic and our climate predicament:
Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well, where have we heard that one before?
There was this big machine, this human system, that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now.
Within that human system on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm of the world, you have different classes, you’ve got first class, second class, third class. In our world right now you’ve got developed nations, undeveloped nations.
You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg that we hit, which is going to be climate change. We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now, but we can’t turn.
We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system, the political momentum, the business momentum. There too many people making money out of the system, the way the system works right now and those people frankly have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let ‘em go.
Until they do we will not be able to turn to miss that iceberg and we’re going to hit it, and when we hit it, the rich are still going to be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water and so on. It’s going to be poor, it’s going to be the steerage that are going to be impacted. It’s the same with Titanic.
I think that’s why this story will always fascinate people. Because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world, and all social spectra, but until our lives are really put at risk, the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word.
If we don’t act soon, the latest science suggests that few will escape the dire consequences, but certainly the poorest will suffer the most and the very rich will be able to insulate themselves, at least for a while (see “The Other 99% of Us Can’t Buy Our Way Out of the Impending Global Ponzi Scheme Collapse“).
For the record, as the WashPost points out, “First-class men, though collectively glorified for letting steerage women and children go first in the lifeboats, actually survived at a higher rate than the third-class children.”
Stephen Cox, a literature professor at UC San Diego, and author of The Titanic Story: Hard Choices, Dangerous Decisions, tells the WashPost, “I don’t think a myth can develop unless you have a choice that could be very unfortunate or tragic.” In the case of the Titanic, lots of tragic choices were made, including the decision to steam ahead at high speed in the face of iceberg warnings serious enough to cause other ships, like the Californian, to stop completely that night.
The tragedy today is not merely that we are ignoring multiple, highly credible warnings of disaster if we stay on our current course. The tragedy is that the cost of action is so low, one tenth of a penny on the dollar, not counting co-benefits (see “Introduction to climate economics“) — while the cost of inaction is nearly incalculable, hundreds of trillions of dollars.
The International Energy Agency warned last November that on our current path, “rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change” – warming of an almost unthinkable 6°C [11°F] — whereas “Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”
Cameron is hardly the first person to compare our current predicament with the Titanic. In fact, three years ago Newsweek’s Evan Thomas used the metaphor, unintentionally offering one explanation for why the “status quo” establishment media’s coverage of global warming is so fatefully inadquate.
More at the linkOne century ago this weekend, the great “unsinkable” ship ignored warnings... more
Margaret Hiza Redsteer has long known the Navajo Nation. Of Crow descent, she grew up near the Montana-Wyoming border, and in the 1970s moved to an area of Arizona then shared by the Navajo and Hopi tribes. She married a Navajo man and they had three children. While living on the reservation, she often heard people talk about how much the land's vegetation had changed. "But at that point," she says, "it hadn’t really clicked what that meant – that it indicated climate change."
In 1986 the 29-year-old Hiza Redsteer and her family resettled in Flagstaff, where she began to study geology at the university. After 14 years of schooling, she returned to the Navajo Nation with a Ph.D., as an employee of the U.S. Geological Survey in the early 2000s. Her research specialty was studying volcanic deposits near Yellowstone. But, as she grew convinced of the harmful effects of climate change on reservation livelihoods, she decided to switch focus. Her pioneering work using aerial photographs, GPS maps and remote laser sensing data to track landscape level changes on the Navajo Nation was written about in "Shifting sands in Navajoland," (HCN story; 6/23/08).
Now, Hiza Redsteer is pushing to find out even more about ecological changes her original data could not track by incorporating a rarely-used form of climate data into her research -- the accounts of Indian elders. She has extensively interviewed many elders, and now their perspective is illuminating new aspects of the region's environmental history.
High Country News If I was a Navajo child, what would I hear about the weather and climate growing up?
Margaret Hiza Redsteer The elders often talk about the difference in grass, how tall, how thick, how much of it there used to be. Some people say when they were young and herding sheep they had to stay right with the herd. If they didn’t the sheep would get lost in the grass. It's not like that now.
HCN What have you learned from these oral histories?
Hiza Redsteer The elders' memories can give us information that the physical records can’t. They give a much better picture of what the ecological changes have been. For example, people talk about how, in the winter, the snow was chest high on the horses. They talk about using particular streams for irrigation of crops, but many of those aren’t even flowing now,
It helps us fill in gaps too. There are huge time gaps in some of the earlier photography. We have a photo set from 1936, for instance, but then the next photo set we have from the area is from 1954. That’s a huge gap in time when you’re trying to unravel how the landscape changed and what caused it.
HCN Is there a difference between the kind of information you can get through oral and analytical methods?
MHR We can model evapotranspiration rates based on temperature; we can make observations of soil moisture. But one thing that we can't do very easily is project back to what those conditions were like when there was more snow. One of the things we’ve learned (from oral accounts) is that soil moisture conditions were much different. In the Southwest we expect precipitation during two distinct periods: winter rains, followed by a dry windy spring, then the summer monsoons. Springs have become much warmer; we can see that in the meteorological record.
We've learned from the elders that the soil stayed moist all through the spring until the summer monsoon arrived. Now, if you were to go out in the springtime during the dry windy season, you could dig a very big trench and not run into any wet sand or soil. The ecological effects are huge because shallow rooted plants aren't going to do as well.
It's also hard to reconstruct where plants and animals were in the past. The elders have told us that when there were cottonwoods in the Little Colorado river there were lots of beavers. They used to see cranes migrate through the area in the spring, stopping in the marshes around lakes that aren't there now.
by Danielle Venton
More at the linkMargaret Hiza Redsteer has long known the Navajo Nation. Of Crow descent, she grew up... more
Beautifully shot and interweaving interviews with scenes from soy fields in Paraguay, Raising Resistance explores Latin American farmers’ struggle against the expanding production of genetically modified soy in South America. Biotechnology, mechanisation, and herbicides have radically changed the lives of small farmers in Latin America. For farmers in Paraguay this means displacement from their land, loss of basic food supplies, and a veritable fight for survival. Geronimo Arevelos and a group of small farmers stand defiantly in a corporate-owned soy field adjacent to his own, blocking a tractor from spraying herbicides that will decimate his crops and expose nearby families to toxic chemicals. As corporate farms seize farmland and rapidly expand production of genetically modified soy, Geronimo and the campesinos find themselves in a life and death struggle. Raising Resistance illustrates the mechanisms of a global economy that relies on ‘monocrop’ agriculture and corporate ownership of land. In telling the story of Paraguay, Raising Resistance poses the larger question of whether the global community wants to go on living with a system that allows one crop to prosper at the expense of all others.
(Official Selection International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2011)Beautifully shot and interweaving interviews with scenes from soy fields in Paraguay,... more