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Tag Archives: Environment

Elon Musk Will Not Help Lead a Climate Leap

The finger snapping started at an unlikely moment, in a session called “benchmarks for racial and economic justice.” OK, not an obviously inspiring name. But as the ambitious political demands popcorned around the room, the energy surged, and the snapping reached a crescendo.

  • “End corporate welfare as we know it.”
  • “Get the combustion engine off the roads within 10 years.”
  • “A massive expansion of public housing, built on the principle of development without displacement.”
  • “All 5,000 diesel trucks servicing the port upgraded to locally manufactured electrics, financed by a new public bank.”

As the afternoon sun danced in the courtyard fountain of the Audubon Center at Debs Park, 60 movement leaders from across the city—and from a sparkling spectrum of causes—gathered to share their wildest dreams of a different Los Angeles. This was the founding meeting of a new coalition, gathered to draft a document called the “L.A. Leap Manifesto”: a vision for a carbon-free city by 2025. Over two days, a clear picture emerged of a city that values all of its residents, as well as the natural systems—water, soil, air—that we all depend upon to thrive. No one and no place to be treated as disposable.

https://www.thenation.com/article/elon-musk-will-not-help-lead-a-climate-leap/

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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Economy, North America

 

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Glyphosate: une bonne lecon de democratie

Faut-il prolonger ou interdire l’usage du glyphosate, plus connu sous le nom de Roundup ? Depuis deux ans, les gouvernements européens tergiversent. Car, depuis mars 2015, l’herbicide le plus vendu dans le monde est aussi classifié « cancérogène probable » pour l’homme par le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer (CIRC). Cette agence des Nations unies est arrivée à cette conclusion sur la base du travail mené pendant un an par un groupe d’experts indépendants.

Jusqu’à mercredi 25 octobre, pourtant, il n’était question, pour la Commission européenne et la plupart des Etats membres de l’UE, que de renouveler pour dix ans l’homologation du « best-seller » du groupe américain Monsanto. En d’autres termes : de prendre la décision de continuer à exposer leurs concitoyens, les agriculteurs en premier lieu, à un pesticide jugé probablement cancérogène par l’agence scientifique internationale de référence.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2017/10/26/glyphosate-une-bonne-lecon-de-democratie_5206240_3232.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown

Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or urban expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive only a fraction of the attention.

Source: Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Uninhabitable Earth

I. ‘Doomsday’

Peering beyond scientific reticence.

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Even when we train our eyes on climate change, we are unable to comprehend its scope. This past winter, a string of days 60 and 70 degrees warmer than normal baked the North Pole, melting the permafrost that encased Norway’s Svalbard seed vault — a global food bank nicknamed “Doomsday,” designed to ensure that our agriculture survives any catastrophe, and which appeared to have been flooded by climate change less than ten years after being built.

The Doomsday vault is fine, for now: The structure has been secured and the seeds are safe. But treating the episode as a parable of impending flooding missed the more important news. Until recently, permafrost was not a major concern of climate scientists, because, as the name suggests, it was soil that stayed permanently frozen. But Arctic permafrost contains 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as is currently suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. When it thaws and is released, that carbon may evaporate as methane, which is 34 times as powerful a greenhouse-gas warming blanket as carbon dioxide when judged on the timescale of a century; when judged on the timescale of two decades, it is 86 times as powerful. In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming

What will future generations, looking back on our age, see as its monstrosities? We think of slavery, the subjugation of women, judicial torture, the murder of heretics, imperial conquest and genocide, the first world war and the rise of fascism, and ask ourselves how people could have failed to see the horror of what they did. What madness of our times will revolt our descendants?There are plenty to choose from. But one of them, I believe, will be the mass incarceration of animals, to enable us to eat their flesh or eggs or drink their milk. While we call ourselves animal lovers, and lavish kindness on our dogs and cats, we inflict brutal deprivations on billions of animals that are just as capable of suffering. The hypocrisy is so rank that future generations will marvel at how we could have failed to see it.

Source: Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Albania: Europe’s Last Blue Wonder

When Paul Meulenbroek climbs into the water, it’s a good idea to stay behind on the riverbank. He carries a small motor on his back, as loud as a leaf blower, but it isn’t for blowing air. The biologist from Vienna uses it to produce a 400-volt electrical field that can temporarily paralyze fish, making them easier to scoop up with a net.Meulenbroek stands waist-deep in the shimmering blue water of the Vjosa, a wild river that runs through southern Albania, his rubber waders protect him from the electrical surges. “There are a lot of young ones here,” the biologist says, before handing his colleague on the bank a brightly shimmering fish just under 10 centimeters long.

Source: Albania: Europe’s Last Blue Wonder – SPIEGEL ONLINE

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Europe

 

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Beyond Harvey and Irma

Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

Think of this as the new face of homeland security: containing the damage to America’s seacoasts, forests, and other vulnerable areas caused by extreme weather events made all the more frequent and destructive thanks to climate change. This is a “war” that won’t have a name — not yet, not in the Trump era, but it will be no less real for that. “The firepower of the federal government” was being trained on Harvey, as William Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in a blunt expression of this warlike approach. But don’t expect any of the military officials involved in such efforts to identify climate change as the source of their new strategic orientation, not while Commander in Chief Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office refusing to acknowledge the reality of global warming or its role in heightening the intensity of major storms; not while he continues to stock his administration, top to bottom, with climate-change deniers.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176327/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_the_new_face_of_%22war%22_at_home/

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in North America

 

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Who’s the world’s leading eco-vandal? It’s Angela Merkel

Which living person has done most to destroy the natural world and the future wellbeing of humanity? Donald Trump will soon be the correct answer, when the full force of his havoc has been felt. But for now I would place another name in the frame: Angela Merkel.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/19/world-leading-eco-vandal-angela-merkel-german-environmental

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in European Union

 

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Cuba and the Hurricanes of the Caribbean

As bad as things have been for those who suffered loss and discomfort from Hurricane Irma in the continental United States—where millions of Floridians evacuated their homes and fled north in slow-moving processions of possession-packed cars—the difference in scale between their experience and that of residents of the affected Caribbean islands cannot be understated. That gap has only been accentuated by the advent of Hurricane Maria, which has wreaked havoc upon the island nation of Dominica. The United States citizens most directly in its path—as in Irma’s—are the people of Puerto Rico. Otherwise, only the destruction in the Florida Keys, which are, essentially, Caribbean outcroppings, is comparable. The damage to settlements on some of the Leeward Islands, such as Barbuda and the French-Dutch island of St. Martin, is so thorough that rebuilding seems neither realistic nor wise, given the likelihood that even greater hurricanes will come in the future.

Source: Cuba and the Hurricanes of the Caribbean | The New Yorker

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in South America

 

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A lesson from Hurricane Irma: capitalism can’t save the planet – it can only destroy it

There was “a flaw” in the theory: this is the famous admission by Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, to a congressional inquiry into the 2008 financial crisis. His belief that the self-interest of the lending institutions would lead automatically to the correction of financial markets had proved wrong. Now, in the midst of the environmental crisis, we await a similar admission. We may be waiting some time.

Source: A lesson from Hurricane Irma: capitalism can’t save the planet – it can only destroy it | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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