MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
December 11, 2002
The Green Holocaust Files #10: Preventing a Global Wreck
Here is what got my attention recently on the environmental front.
Check especially the #3 below: EARTH EMERGENCY A Call to Action
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2002/GreenHolocaust10.htm
"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."
- H. G. Wells
"Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"No degree of prosperity could justify the accumulation of large amounts of highly toxic substances which nobody knows how to make "safe" and which remain an incalculable danger to the whole of creation for historical or even geological ages. To do such a thing is a transgression against life itself, a transgression infinitely more serious than any crime ever perpetrated by man. The idea that a civilisation could sustain itself on the basis of such a transgression is an ethical, spiritual, and metaphysical monstrosity. It means conducting the economic affairs of man as if people really did not matter at all."
- E.F. Schumacher
"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."
- Mohandas Gandhi
1. Wake-up Call
2. Who's Hungry? Not Those Making the Decisions
3. EARTH EMERGENCY A Call to Action
4. Drinking water is a human right
5. The Heaviest Element - Governmentium
Sustainability - A Choice to Consider
The ability to sustain ourselves - sustainability - requires some basic change.
An excellent Canadian Resource on sustainability.
The Dangers of Fluoride (Summer 2002)
Fluoridation of water has been described as the greatest health scandal of our time. In this second part (see his first article, Fluoridation: It's time to bite the bullet, in issue 55) Barry Groves presents the essential evidence that government and industry are concealing.
Bush Weakening of Clean Air Act Threatens Public Health, Says NRDC Group Warns Decision the Beginning of an All-Out Assault on Environment
WASHINGTON (November 22, 2002) -- Today's Bush administration decision to weaken a key Clean Air Act provision will dramatically increase air pollution and threaten the health of millions of Americans, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). The group also warned that today's decision is a sign of things to come. It predicted that the administration, emboldened by the recent election results, will intensify its campaign to dismantle longstanding environmental safeguards across the board. "The Bush administration decided to allow corporate polluters to spew even more toxic chemicals into our air, regardless of the fact that it will harm millions of Americans," said John Walke, director of NRDC's Clean Air Program. "More than 30,000 Americans die every year from power plant air pollution alone, and crippling the standards will only make things worse." NRDC plans to take legal action against the rule change. (...) Under this administration, the cop is not only off the beat, the EPA is proposing to legalize harmful pollution that today is illegal," said Walke. CLIP
Every Breath You Take (Nov 16)
Last week the Bush administration announced new rules that would effectively scrap "new source review," a crucial component of our current system of air pollution control. This action, which not incidentally will be worth billions to some major campaign contributors, comes as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to which way the wind is blowing (from west to east, mainly -- that is, states that vote Democratic are conveniently downwind).
Judge Again Bars Effort to Keep Cheney Files Secret (Nov. 27)
More oil found leaking from Prestige (Dec 6)
A French mini-submarine has found solidified strands of fuel oil emerging from cracks in the bow of the sunken tanker Prestige, two miles beneath the sea, Spain said yesterday.
Use of Renewable Energy Took a Big Fall in 2001
The Whale Man (Dec 8)
Ken Balcomb has spent a lifetime immersing himself in the giant mammals' world. Now he's convinced Navy sonar is driving them to their deaths.
From: email@example.com (Mark Quire)
Date: 1 Dec 2002
Subject: Wake-up Call
(...) Yesterday I saw where George Bush cut government workers pay raises yet congress gave themselves a raise. Today I see where Georgie Porgie wants to open up our National Forests to more logging. BULL!!! I also heard that George wants to reduce the Clean Air Act. We need to wake up and stand up and speak out and act before its too late or everything that we have worked so hard for over the last 40 years or so is going to be taken away by those that don't give a crap about anything except the almighty dollar. Our apathetic attitudes will be the downfall of all of us if we don't get busy and do something. Anyway, enough ranting for now. I hope everyone had a wonder--full Thanksgiving. We still have much to give thanks for.
Mark of the Mountains
MARK ALSO RECOMENDED THIS ARTICLE:
Veggie delights (Nov 17)
Now there's all the more reason to turn a veggie. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre here, smokers and meat eaters show a higher incidence of DNA damage than non-smokers and vegetarians. This translates into a higher cancer risk for a population keen on having a good time and living it up to the hilt, caring a damn for health hazards and consequences of their diet. CLIP
From: "Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002
Most of you reading this newletter will not be hungry this holiday season. In fact, most of us will be eating lots more than usual. But that is not true for everyone.
Who's Hungry? Not Those Making the Decisions
With some 780 million people suffering from chronic hunger worldwide, and with 40 million people at risk of starvation on the African continent alone, it is ironic that the people with the power and financial resources to do something about it are feasting 21 times a week. They are themselves dying, succumbing to the diseases that once afflicted only overindulgent kings and queens.
It is particularly poignant to reflect on these issues during this time of year when millions of people are overindulging in holiday foods.
Children are the most visible victims of hunger. More than 153 million of the chronically hungry in the world are under the age of five. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, six million children under the age of five die every year as a result of hunger.
Ironically, the world produces plenty of food, more than enough to provide at least 2,720 kilocalories per day per person, which would sustain life very well. Unfortunately, one-sixth of the world's population is poor, making less than $1 per day. These people are poor customers in a world economy that classifies everything, even life sustaining food and water, as a commodity that only goes to those who can afford it.
The majority of the people of the world who succumb to premature death used to die as the result of a variety of communicable diseases. In the last 10 years, however, that has changed; today, non-communicable conditions kill the most.
(...) Read more about what's killing us in this week's Healing Our World commentary, on the Environment News Service at: http://ens-news.com/ens/dec2002/2002-12-06g.asp
Take care and I wish you peace.
Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
AN AMAZING, FAR-REACHING INITIATIVE!
EARTH EMERGENCY A Call to Action
by Sally Peterson
Look at the facts. The latest World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report states that in the past 30 years we have destroyed over one third of Earths natural resources. Based on scientific data from across the world, the report states that we are plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life. Unless we change our ways, experts say that the seas will become emptied of fish while forests, which absorb carbon dioxide emissions, are completely destroyed, and freshwater supplies become scarce and polluted. Condemning Western societys high consumption levels, the report warns that human consumption has doubled over the last thirty years and unless consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered, the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population. The wasteful lifestyles of the rich nations are mainly responsible for the exploitation and depletion of natural wealth. The average US resident consumes almost double the resources of a British citizen and more than twenty four times that of some Africans, and the report concludes that if we continue business as usual we will need two extra planets by 2050.
An acute State of Emergency exists on Earth, imperilling its climate, its life support systems and the lives of billions of people. The related crises of environmental degradation and the destitution of a third of humanity are worsened by a profound failure of world governance. We have all known this for some time and while millions of people hide their heads in the sand, hoping perhaps that it is not really happening, or simply feeling that the problems are too enormous for any one person to make a difference, thousands more have been working hard to try to alter this cycle of destruction. A group of these committed environmentalists and activists have now launched Earth Emergency A Call to Action.
In the past 30 years we have destroyed over one third of Earth's natural resources
Millions of people worldwide are becoming aware of the inter-connectedness of all life, says Jane Taylor, Associate Editor of Positive News who together with The Schumacher Society, Sustainable Society and The Gaia Foundation, among others, have launched this Call. By working together through our networks, globally and locally, we can accelerate initiatives already underway, shifting the global balance of power in favour of restoring the Earth, of sharing its resources equitably and assuring the sustainable well-being of present and future generations. To achieve these aims, we are calling for a global alliance of all sections of society. The creativity of all of humanity is needed using traditional knowledge, art, design, engineering, modern science and business as tools for creating a sustainable and thriving relationship between people and planet.
Unity and action
The objective is both to unite the non governmental organizations, activists and local and global networks around an agreed agenda, based on a planetary ethic of respect for all life and human dignity, and to urge governments worldwide to join in using the coming decade to bring in the new thinking and actions required to restore the earth and secure a sustainable future for present and coming generations. It is intended for presentation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg at the end of August 2002.
Call to Action intends to urge world leaders at the Summit to join in acknowledging the Earths State of Emergency. Finance is made available at times of war or disaster, and they will ask the worlds governments to commit the required resources to restore the Earths ecosystems and to create sustainable human settlements, to alleviate the crisis of hunger and destitution of billions. As the great American theologian, Thomas Berry, says, We are at a defining moment in history, a time in which the earth itself calls out to us to embark upon a re-sacralization of nature, a new ecological beginning. We are all invited to play our part in what he calls The Great Work of the 21st Century.
Another eloquent American who firmly believes that all individuals can make a real difference is US Congressman Dennis Kucinich who said in a recent address in the House of Representatives, It is urgent that people everywhere speak out as president of his or her own life, to protect the peace of the nation and the world within and without. At a Peace Conference in Croatia, Kucinich, the former Mayor of Cleveland, who has already gained the support of 43 fellow Congressmen for his Bill proposing the creation of a US Department of Peace, sent another empowering message of hope to individuals saying As citizen-activists the world over merge, they can become an irresistible force to create peace and protect the planet. From here will come the demand for sustainable communities, for new systems of energy, transportation and commerce. From here comes the future rushing in on us. New trans-national web-based email and telecommunications systems transcend governments and carry within them the power of qualitative transformation of social and political structures and a new sense of creative intelligence. If governments and their leaders, wedded to military might for legitimacy, fail to grasp the implications of an emerging world consciousness for co-operation, peace and sustainability, they may become irrelevant.
Global environment losing out
Herbert Girardet, Chairman of the Schumacher Society, helps to put things in perspective when he says, Because of the overwhelming problems of human destitution and hunger on the planet, particularly in parts of Latin America, Asia and Africa, the worlds governments feel compelled at this stage to try and address these issues, together with the associated problems of ill health, AIDS and other diseases which are becoming worse all over the planet. But in the rush to try and deal with these issues because they have been urged by so many people to do so, the global environment which is ultimately the basis for our existence is losing out.
An acute State of Emergency exists on Earth
Girardet, who has for many years campaigned for sustainable cities, elaborates: The other concern in Johannesburg is that globalization is being claimed to be the appropriate tool to try to address the problems of destitution in the world. The American and European governments are saying that helping people in the south to trade more with countries in the north will help them to overcome destitution, hunger and terrible living conditions. A growing number of environmentalists and non-governmental organizations are now saying, hang on, is it really right to have more of the same, ever more trade around the planet where ever more land in the south is used to feed the already obese populations of the north? Surely we should instead consider first and foremost meeting the needs of people at the local levels for themselves. Then trade can become only a secondary element that can help to supply people of the south with additional resources and the goodies which we all think we should enjoy, like cars, fridges and hi-fis.
Localization versus globalization
This means that the issues being debated increasingly are to do with localization as a response to globalization. Let us move towards more self-reliant local economies. Restoring local economies is of critical importance in my view. Trading things requires an enormous cost in fossil fuels across the planet. Roses which are harvested in Kenya end up in Tescos the next morning. This extraordinary arrangement that we have come up with in Britain today means that eighty percent of our fruit is imported, forty percent of our vegetables are imported, yet we have farmers who are going bankrupt because they can no longer make ends meet. There is something profoundly wrong here and we need to prioritize local production for local consumption, minimizing the need for long distance transport.
Let trade be fair trade, Girardet continues, and let us sell each other things that we really need and give each other good reward rather than inadequate prices. This would be in contrast to the current situation where most of the commodities around the planet such as sugar, coffee, tea, maize, soya, copper, tin and other metals are being sold at too low a price for them to be ultimately worthwhile for developing countries to produce them. This critique of what is intended by governments and companies in Johannesburg has led many people to think that there must be another way in which we can deal with the worlds problems. It is not enough at this stage to simply raise our voices against economic globalization, but instead the time has now come to say what are the real alternatives to a situation in which an ever smaller minority of people on the planet are getting enormously rich from their industrial production and financial wheelings and dealings of trade, and yet the majority of the worlds population doesnt benefit.
On looking at the list of concerns, one point that stands out in the current climate of fear around the world since September 11th is the extraordinary importance of spending on peace. The shifting of funds from military spending towards environmental security is something that is of fundamental importance in the context of terrorism. This requires a whole revisioning of the meaning of security. Girardet expands on this, It is really important for military leaders to realize that there is only so much that can be done to create security for nations without ultimately taking into account these urgent environmental issues such as adequate water, nutrition, healthcare, shelter and sustainable livelihoods for people around the planet. He goes on to talk of refugees criss-crossing the planet increasingly because of adverse environmental conditions within their own countries, due to climate change and the loss of environmental security within the regions in which they live.
When asked if this very possibly is an under-pinning of many of the wars on the planet Girardet agrees and comes up with a remarkable fact. One recent study by US economist Robert Constanza shows that if you add together the total value of nature in terms of its actual economic value for creating rainfall and adequate climate conditions, avoiding soil erosion and contributing to the pollination of food plants, in monetary terms this would actually be greater than the entire output of international economies, namely thirty three trillion dollars. We will ignore environmental security at our peril and in some countries, such as India, armies are actually being used now to plant trees and reforest their land. This is the beginning of a move in the right direction.
Call for Action stresses the need for the creation of an ecological economy, compatible with Earths ecosystems and the need for governments and corporations to recognize that perpetual economic growth is not possible in a finite world. A new concept, the ecological footprint, estimates the planetary surface areas required to supply all the consumption and to reabsorb all the consequent pollution for any specific population. WWFs Living Planet 2002 uses this concept to evaluate critically what the North is doing. Listing an ecological footprint for every country serves to highlight the fact that we have completely outgrown the potential of the planet to supply the world with sustainable living standards.
Another vital report, The Global Environment Outlook, compiled for the UN, also charts the environmental degradation of the last thirty years and forecasts the destruction of seventy percent of the natural world in the next thirty years, with mass extinction of species and the collapse of human society in many countries. More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages.
Four possible futures are outlined: In the first, the current pattern of free trade and short term profit at the expense of the environment leads to disaster. In the second scenario, security considerations dominate with fear of terror and mass immigration into rich areas. The world is split into rich and poor, freedom of movement and democracy is restricted and rich enclaves like Europe and North America have barriers keeping out the poor and desperate. In the third option governments try to protect the environment through international treaties with varying degrees of success. Only the fourth option, when all decisions are based on sustainable development rather than short term gain and greed offers any hope.
Klaus Topfler, the UN Environment Programme executive director, calling for concrete actions and an iron political will said It would be disastrous to ignore the picture painted. We now have hundreds of declarations, agreements, guidelines and legally binding treaties designed to address environmental problems and the threats they pose to wildlife and human health and well being. Let us now find the political courage and innovative financing needed to implement these deals and steer a healthier, more prosperous course for planet Earth.
Among people who have signed up to the Call to Action since it was launched at the beginning of August are: James Robertson,Vandana Shiva, Fritjof Capra, Susan George, Anita Roddick, Edward and Zac Goldsmith, Dr Herman Scheer MP, Dr Caroline Lucas, and The Bishop of Hereford, together with a growing number of individuals and organizations worldwide. One of these, evolution biologist and author Elisabeth Sahtouris sums it up with the words, Never has a Call to Action been more urgent than this one. The Earths State of Emergency is a warning to humanity as a species: Grow up into mature peaceful co-operation or go extinct in your immature competitive phase! We cannot wait for our leaders to lead; we must demand it of them!
Sometimes it seems too overwhelming to believe that we each can make a difference, but the Call to Action aims to show that we can all contribute to a sustainable future. Another way is possible, and when reflecting on the relationship of our inner and outer worlds Dennis Kucinich again offers words of inspiration. Each of us is a citizen of a common planet, bound to a common destiny. So connected are we, that each of us has the power to be the eyes of the world, the voice of the world, the conscience of the world, or the end of the world. And as each one of us chooses, so becomes the world.
The Call to Action
'Earth Emergency calls for the current decade to be used to:
Rapidly phase in renewable energy technology in place of current polluting energy systems with appropriate strategies for industry, agriculture, transport and the built environment.
Shift taxation from labour to the use of resources, pollution and waste promoting conservation and clean production, and enhancing social welfare and jobs.
Create an ecological economy, compatible with the Earths ecosystems acknowledging that perpetual economic growth is not possible in a finite world.
Build global co-operation towards restoring local economies prioritizing local production for local consumption, and minimizing the need for long-distance transport of goods.
Make sustainable agriculture the global norm securing food supplies with minimal environmental impacts, avoiding genetic engineering and prohibiting patents on life.
Protect tribal and traditional societies and their lands acknowledging their right to decide their own future.
Reform worldwide monetary and financial systems to protect and enhance the well-being of human communities and the natural environment on which they depend.
Initiate a progressive shift of funds from military spending towards environmental security providing adequate water, nutrition, healthcare, shelter and sustainable livelihoods for all.
Create a participative Earth Democracy fundamentally reforming global governance, for the benefit of people and nature, so that international decision making is open and accountable within the framework of a strengthened and democratized United Nations.'
If you would like to join the Earth Emergency Call to Action and find out what you can do, please visit http://www.earthemergency.com or email: email@example.com or write to Earth Emergency, 21 Lonsdale Road, London NW6 6RA. More details on http://www.caduceus.info
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002
From: "ECOTERRA Intl." <AfricaNode@ecoterra.net>
Subject: Drinking water is a human right
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: 10.12.2002
Taking away the water supply facility from the Gana and Gwi Bushmen and the Bakgalagadi to drive them out of their homeland in the Central Kalahari clearly is a violation of their basic human rights by the Botswana Government. Doing this on behalf of De Beers, the world's diamond mogul, is an act against humanity and must be tried and punished by the International Court of Justice.
Water for Health Declared a Human Right "The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses."
GENEVA, Switzerland, December, 2002 (ENS) - Safe and secure drinking water is a human right, a United Nations committee has declared formally for the first time. "Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic commodity," the committee said, siding with those who object to the privatization of water supplies.
The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights took the unprecedented step of agreeing on a General Comment on water as a human right, saying, "Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights."
A General Comment is an interpretation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This one was signed on November 27 as the Committee wound up its three week autumn session.
Although the Covenant does not expressly refer to the word "water," the committee determined that the right to water is "clearly implicit" in the rights contained in two sections of the Covenant.
The General Comment means that the 145 countries which have ratified the Covenant "have a constant and continuing duty" to progressively ensure that everyone has access to safe and secure drinking water and sanitation facilities - equitably and without discrimination.
"Countries will be required to "respect, protect and fulfil individuals' rights to safe drinking water and sanitation," said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, quoting from the General Comment.
The General Comment specifically recognizes that water, like health, is an essential element for achieving other human rights, such as the rights to adequate food and nutrition, housing and education.
"This is a major boost in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of halving the number of people without access to water and sanitation by 2015 - two pre-requisites for health," Dr. Brundtland said.
An estimated 1.1 billion of the world's people, roughly one in six, do not have access to clean drinking water, according to WHO figures. Sanitation progress has also been slow, and some 2.4 billion people, about one in every 2.5 individuals, still do not have access to a safe latrine.
Inadequate water and sanitation is "a major cause of poverty and the growing disparity between rich and poor," WHO said.
"The fact that water is now regarded as a basic human right will give all members of the Global Alliance an effective tool to make a real difference at country level," said Dr. Brundtland, a physician and former Norwegian prime minister.
The General Comment provides a tool for civil society to hold governments accountable for ensuring equitable access to water. It is intended to focus attention and activities on the poor and vulnerable, the committee says.
The General Comment states, "The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses."
"While those uses vary between cultures, an adequate amount of safe water is necessary to prevent death from dehydration, to reduce the risk of water related disease and to provide for consumption, cooking, personal and domestic hygienic requirements," the text states.
"The right to water contains both freedom and entitlements," the committee states in its Comment. "The freedoms include the right to maintain access to existing water supplies necessary for the right to water; and the right to be free from interference, such as the right to be free from arbitrary disconnections or contamination of water supplies."
Sufficient water should be obtained in a sustainable manner, the committee said, to ensure that "the right can be realized for present and future generations."
The formal statement of water and sanitation as a human right is intended as a framework to assist governments in establishing effective policies and strategies that yield "real benefits for health and society," WHO said.
The world health agency associates 3.4 million deaths each year with inadequate water and sanitation. Diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery, schistosomiasis, infectious hepatitis and diarrhoea are the killers.
Dr. Brundtland estimates that one third of the global burden of disease, in all age groups, can be attributed to environmental risk factors. Over 40 percent of this burden falls on children under five years of age, even though they make up only about 10 percent of the world's population. The director-general calls this area "an urgent priority for WHOs work."
Reporting: Environment News Service (ENS) 2002.
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Date: 29 Nov 2002
From: Tim Strachan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The Heaviest Element - Governmentium
A bit of levity copied from a post at http://www.lemetropolecafe.com
A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively named Governmentium. Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 11 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.
A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as " Critical Morass.
You will know it when you see it.
It can be found in large concentrations all over Washington
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