MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
October 2, 2003
The Gaian Consciousness Files #1: Helping Each Other to Take Responsibility for our Common Future
As you can see by the title of this compilation, I'm starting a new series dedicated to nurturing the awakaning Gaian awareness in us all. I will strive to feature mind-expanding, solution-oriented material as well as environmental success stories, but also the usual scientific warnings and findings as to the deteriorating state of our global environment. You are all welcomed to provide me with inspiring, well-written relevant material that could possibly fit into such compilations along with any personal stories of environmental/spiritual/gaian awakenings and/or other personal achievements in the field of environmental restoration and pollution-prevention that you'd like to share with the larger Earth Rainbow Network community.
Together we CAN make this world a more livable, environmentally balanced experience for all.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
P.S. I received only one feedback on last Sunday's Meditation Focus, from Elizabeth Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org> who wrote: "Aloha, Usually I'm plagued with pain from arthritis, however I was pain free all day and felt myself floating in bliss!!!!!!! There is no other way to describe it total peace of mind as with unconditional Love. It was a beautiful day!" -- ANY OTHER FEEDBACK?... YOU MAY WANT TO GIVE IT A TRY NEXT SUNDAY. To check again the Meditation Focus #96: Appreciating the Miracle of Life, before the meditation, go at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus96.htm
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/GaianConsciousness1.htm
"We are no longer inheriting the Earth from our parents; we are stealing it from our children."
- David Brower
"The environment desperately needs our help. In this groundbreaking and powerful book, Brian tells us how. He uses his unique credentials and expertise as a physicist, new scientist, author, speaker and energy adviser to bring forward concrete solutions to our global dilemma. He boldly states that we can end the fossil fuel age by converting to a new energy economy, using a mix of hydrogen, solar, wind, cold fusion, and zero point energy options. His words are so easy to read and reflect a rich creative imagination which is welcome in such a serious subject. But Re-Inheriting the Earth is more than a recipe for sustainability. It is a wake-up call for civil action and for developing a new science of consciousness which will surely provide global healing."
-Maury Albertson, Ph.D.
Professor of Civil Engineering Colorado State University Co-Founder of the Peace Corps.
More details on "Re-Inheriting the Earth by Brian O'Leary at
"Peace is the heart of all because Avalokiteshvara-Kwannon, the mighty Bodhisattva, Boundless Love, includes, regards, and dwells within (without exception) every sentient being. The perfection of the delicate wings of an insect, broken in the passage of time, he regards - and he himself is both their perfection and their disintegration. The perennial agony of man, self-torturing, deluded, tangled in the net of his own tenuous delirium, frustrated, yet having within himself, undiscovered, absolutely unutilised, the secret of release: this too he regards - and is. Serene above man, the angels; below man, the demons and unhappy dead: these are all drawn to the Bodhisattva by the rays of his jewel hands, and they are he, as he is they. The bounded, shackled centres of consciousness, myriadfold, on every plane of existence (not only in the present universe, limited by the Milky Way, but beyond, into the reaches of space), galaxy beyond galaxy, world beyond world of universes, coming into being out of the timeless pool of the void, bursting into life, and like a bubble therewith vanishing: time and time again: lives by the multitude: all suffering: each bounded in the tenuous, tight circle of itself - lashing, killing, hating, and desiring peace beyond victory: these all are the children, the mad figures of the transitory yet inexhaustible, long world dream of the All-Regarding, whose essence if the essence of Emptiness: 'The Lord Looking Down in Pity.'"
- Joseph Campbell, taken from 'Hero With a Thousand Faces' (Abacus, Sphere Books, London, 1975). Sent by "Boudewijn Wegerif" email@example.com>
FACTS TO PONDER
Global Rates of Destruction of the Earth's rainforests
- 2.47 acres (1 hectare) per second: equivalent to two U.S. football fields
- 150 acres (60 hectares) per minute
- 214,000 acres (86,000 hectares) per day: an area larger than New York City
- 78 million acres (31 million hectares) per year: an area larger than Poland
Help save the rainforest - at no cost to you!
NOTE FROM JEAN: This is a great site worth exploring!
SOME INTERESTING LINKS ABOUT THE GAIAN CONSCIOUSNESS
184.108.40.206. Transmission from Quantum Time
(...) During the years 1993 to 2012 the human species experienced a transformation - from an ego-based civilization to Gaian consciousness. We called it the Shift, and it changed everything. (...) This transmission was first received by us in the Fall of 1994. It is the same message from spirit that hundreds of thousands of people world-wide have been receiving and amplifying in recent times. It is the message that a New Aeon in human history is upon us.
The Gaia Sutra (VERY COMPREHENSIVE!)
Thoughts on the great chain of consciousness; Human, Gaian, and Transcendent. Includes the following: The Gaian world system as a mind; is Gaia conscious? : The Gaia Hypothesis - The Collective Gaian Conscious - Evidence for a collective Gaian Consciousness. AND We are Gaia's Children : Humanity as a collective mind; the evolution of the collective human consciousness and its relation to Gaia.
The Gaia Hypotheses (summary)
Google 3360 results with "Gaian consciousness"
LAST MINUTE ADDITION:
Schoolboy's photo amazes Nasa (October 2)
A schoolboy has impressed experts at US space agency Nasa after capturing a rare picture of a meteor burning out above his home town in south Wales. See a larger picture at
1. Nature Connected Meditation Techniques
2. Thai architect hits on blueprint for sustainable living in the tropics
3. Yellowstone Volcano: A monster awakens?
4. The State of Planet Earth
5. Excerpt from the WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT Bulletin Nº 74
6. Precious plant life in peril
7. ECUADORIAN AMAZON UPDATE
8. Sheer ignorance threatens conservation
9. Russia 'undecided' on climate deal
160,000 said dying yearly from global warming (Sept 30)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - About 160,000 people die every year from side-effects of global warming ranging from malaria to malnutrition and the numbers could almost double by 2020, a group of scientists said on Tuesday. The study, by scientists at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said children in developing nations seemed most vulnerable.
U.S. energy bill skips raising fuel standards (September 24)
WASHINGTON - Republican leaders trying to finalize a broad energy bill skipped requiring a boost in federal mileage requirements for cars, vans, and gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles. Instead, the lawmakers released draft language late on Tuesday that would order the Transportation Department to consider the impact on vehicle safety and autoworker jobs when deciding whether to raise fuel economy standards. Environmental groups argue that stronger mileage requirements are the only way to significantly reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. However, Republicans and some automakers say that a large boost in fuel economy may make vehicles less safe because they would be smaller and built from lighter-weight materials, and they could result in thousands of lost autoworker jobs. CLIP
The Alternative Alternative Fuel (Sept 28)
(...) More than 150 gas stations in America now offer a biodiesel pump, which is a tiny fraction, but it's poised to grow. More than 15 million gallons of biodiesel were sold last year; advocates hope to see it eventually account for 10 percent of diesel consumption, mostly going into trucks and buses. In Germany, where diesel engines power close to 40 percent of passenger cars, more than 1,000 gas stations offer biodiesel at the pump -- at a competitive price, thanks to huge tax breaks and subsidies for alternative fuels. CLIP
GOP's Energy Bill Reflects Industry, White House Priorities (Sept 29)
Washington - Congressional Republicans are cobbling together an energy blueprint substantially more favorable to industry than a Senate-passed bill hailed by Democrats as a victory this summer. From drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge to electric utilities' use of renewable fuels, pro- industry views are winning consistent support in negotiations on a final bill. Democrats are complaining about being shut out from decision-making as the talks move toward an end - possibly by the end of this week - on the first overhaul of the United States' energy agenda in a decade. CLIP
Scientists see Antarctic vortex as drought maker (September 24)
SYDNEY - Australia may be facing a permanent drought because of an accelerating vortex of winds whipping around the Antarctic that threatens to disrupt rainfall, scientists said on Tuesday. Spinning faster and tighter, the 100-mile (160 km) -an-hour jetstream is pulling climate bands south and dragging rain from Australia into the Southern Ocean, they say. They attribute the phenomenon to global warming and loss of the ozone layer over Antarctica. "This is a very serious situation that we're probably not confronting as full-on as we should," said Dr. James Risbey of the Center for Dynamical Meteorology and Oceanography at Melbourne's Monash University. "There has been real added impetus here in Australia to try to study (the wind vortex) because we've been faced with an almost precipitous rainfall decline, particularly in the southwest of Western Australia," Risbey said. Australia, one of the world's top agricultural supply nations, has just been through its worst drought in 100 years. Risbey and other Australians are part of an international band of scientists and meteorologists focusing on the vortex as an explanation for declining rainfall. Rainfall has declined by nearly 20 percent in the past seven years over parts of southwestern Western Australia, through to Victoria and into southern New South Wales state, Risbey said. At the same time, temperatures have been rising in Australia by about one degree Celsius over the past 50 years, requiring more rain to fall just to keep the status quo. CLIP
Largest Arctic ice shelf breaks up, says report (September 23) http://www.enn.com/news/2003-09-23/s_8679.asp
WASHINGTON - The largest ice shelf in the Arctic, a solid feature for 3,000 years, has broken up, scientists in the United States and Canada said Monday. They said the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's Nunavut territory, broke into two main parts, themselves cut through with fissures. A freshwater lake drained into the sea, the researchers reported. Large ice islands also calved off from the shelf, and some are large enough to be dangerous to shipping and to drilling platforms in the Beaufort Sea. Local warming of the climate is to blame, they said - adding that they did not have the evidence needed to link the melting ice to the steady, planet-wide climate change known as global warming.
Bush Administration: Carbon Dioxide Not a Pollutant (August 29)
WASHINGTON - Carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming, cannot be regulated as a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled Thursday. The decision reverses a 1998 Clinton administration position. It means that the Bush administration won't be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars. Had the Bush administration decided that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and harmful, it could have required expensive new pollution controls on new cars and perhaps on power plants, which together are the main sources of so-called greenhouse gases.
Parable for Cancun (September 16) http://www.onlinejournal.com/Commentary/091603MickeyZ/091603mickeyz.html
In the most remote regions of Brazil, slave labor is employed to cut down grand swaths of the precious rain forest to make room to grow eucalyptus which is then burned by male slaves (who exploit the body, mind, and spirit of female slaves forced into prostitution) to make charcoal for the steel mills of Brazil, where the poorest of the poor toil for wages that do not sustain them so that steel can be shipped to a General Motors plant in Mexico (GM is now the largest employer south of the border), where the poorest of the poor endure maquiladora conditions so these automobile parts can then be shipped to a GM plant in the U.S. (roughly 50 percent of what is termed "trade" consists of business transactions between branches of the same transnational corporation), where even the poorest of the poor proudly take on imposing debt to possess a car "made in the U.S.A." so they can clog the highways that were paved over inestimable eco-systems, filling the air with noxious pollution as they make their way to the drive-through window of an anti-union fast food restaurant that purchased the beef of slaughtered cattle that once grazed on land cleared by male slaves who exploit the body, mind, and spirit of female slaves in the most remote regions of Brazil . . .
Mugabe's man claims top reserve for 'hunting' (Sept 2)
Amid weekend reports that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is building a R60-million retirement mansion, it has emerged that one of his closest allies has claimed the world-renowned Hwange Wildlife Estate to be used for hunting purposes. The estate is home to the "presidential herd" of about 500 elephants, which were given special presidential protection in a decree issued by Mugabe in 1991. Johnny Rodrigues, chairperson of the Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force, said on Sunday that the governor of Matabeleland, Obert Mpofu, "has just simply taken the Hwange estate". "The land will now be a free-for-all for poachers and for him (Mpofu) to allow hunters to kill the animals," he said.
This Is Fun, but Did Anyone Ask the Dolphins? (October 2)
CANCÚN, Mexico - Thousands of tourists come here every year to swim with dolphins, expecting mystical encounters or unmatched educational experiences. Whether at water parks or even at a mall, the price for an hour's swim is about $100 - not counting the videos, photographs, T-shirts or dolls to commemorate fleeting moments riding atop the snouts of two sleek creatures. But the real cost is much higher, according to a growing international protest movement of environmentalists and animal rights advocates who say there is nothing educational about turning wild animals into lucrative rides and who are outraged over the recent deaths of two captive dolphins at an amusement park. Their past protests led the Mexican government to ban the capture of local dolphins, and the legislature is considering prohibiting imports as well. Now the protesters have turned the tourist-rich Yucatán Peninsula, where there are now nine swim programs, into the front lines of the dolphin wars. Yolanda Alaniz, a former congressional aide who heads a conservation group, said a dolphin could bring in as much as $7,500 a day. "But it is a cruel business," she said. "That is why we are going step by step to stop them." Ms. Alaniz said the first of the 240 dolphins in Mexican parks were caught by local fishermen, who were paid several hundred dollars a dolphin; 81 dolphins also came from Cuba, which sold many for around $50,000 each. CLIP
For A New Energy Policy to effect Emergency Climate Stabilization (Sept 22)
(...) Recent decades of scientific advances hold bright promise for the so-called "New-Energy" technologies genre which portend the end of nuclear and fossil fuel power as they are urgently brought through final research and development phases and into manufacturing with the deserved support of public institutions and universities. This "New-Energy" genre includes names such as cold fusion (recently authenticated by the September 5, 2003, Wall Street Journal "Science Journal" article), advances in hydrogen electro-chemistry and nuclear-chemistry based energy technologies, "scalar energy," "zero-point energy," "space power," solid-state oscillating electromagnetic systems, rotating "overunity homopolar" electromagnetic systems, energized rotating magnetic matter energy systems, and Low Energy Nuclear Reactions with Low Energy Nuclear Transmutation (LENR/LENT) effects which also exhibit ability to neutralize radioactive wastes, each with different and not yet reconciled theoretical understandings of long-proven but inadequately publicized successful experimental results.
Sale of forests to private loggers could create (a global) ecological crisis (Sept 19)
It's Europe's lungs and home to many rare species. But to Russia it's £100bn of wood - A plan by the Kremlin which would allow Moscow to sell off the 843 MILLION hectares of Russia's forests to private logging companies has raised fears of an ecological disaster. Forest makes up 70% of Russia's territory and spans 12 time zones. It is known as Europe's lungs and is second only to the Amazon in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs, and is home to many rare species. On Wednesday the Kremlin decided to review the law on state ownership of Russia's forests, currently under the management of the ministry of natural resources, so they could be bought up by private companies. The estimated value of the land at private sale has been put at $164bn (£106.5bn). Yet environmentalists fear that the cost of its destruction to the planet, and air quality in Europe, may be far higher. Andrei Ptichnikov, forest coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund, Russia, said: "Russia has 22% of the forest on earth - a very important part of climate stability and global biodiversity because of all the rare species that live there. According to some estimates, Russian forests absorb 15% of the world's carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. It provides a huge amount of oxygen for not just Europe, but the world."
Proud predator in decline (September 18)
The lion population of Africa has fallen to about 23,000. This is roughly the human headcount of Woodbridge, Suffolk, or the number of seats at Barnsley football club's stadium.
Whales and sonar (MOST EXCELLENT FLASH ANIMATION -A MUST SEE IT ALL!)
A series of whale beachings have coincided with naval exercises where a new, louder sonar system has been tested. But just how loud is it, and could it be damaging whales' hearing?
Indian Ocean 'heatwaves' spell disaster for coral (Sept 18)
Vast areas of coral reef could perish within the next few decades in a procession of cyclic "heatwaves" in the Indian Ocean, a marine biologist warns today. Charles Sheppard, of Warwick University, reports in the journal Nature that in 1998, unusually high sea temperatures killed more than 90% of the corals on shallow Indian Ocean reefs, and such events in future could finish the job. "In 1998, there was a huge wipeout of corals," Dr Sheppard said. "The global figure seems to have been about 16% of all corals, but the Indian Ocean was the worst affected." "I have dived on reefs there for a whole hour, and not seen one left alive." The El Nino phenomenon in 1998 saw a huge body of warmer water moving across the equatorial Pacific. The corals that died as a result were up to 500 years old. Reefs are among the richest habitats on the planet; it would take centuries for one to recover fully. Coral might be able to acclimatise to a gradual temperature rise over years, but Dr Sheppard has used historical data and climate models to predict that ocean temperatures are likely to go through a peaking effect similar to that of 1998 approximately every five years. "For the area 10 to 15 degrees south, by the year 2020 it is going to reach what I call extinction point - which is much closer than a lot of us thought," he said. CLIP
Beluga sturgeon stock overestimated (September 29)
Beluga sturgeon, the world's most valuable fish, are on the verge of extinction after the international watchdog on endangered species overestimated remaining stocks, scientists have warned. Researchers believe that lack of independent scrutiny of the estimates of sturgeon stock has led officials of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to fix quotas for caviar exports which will effectively wipe out the species. Quotas for the fish have been increased for three of the four countries around the Caspian sea. Beluga caviar, known as black gold, and worth more than £2,000 a kilo, is a money spinner for the countries around the Caspian: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia. Between them they came up with an estimate of beluga numbers which appeared to show an increase from 7.6 million in 1998 to 11.6 million last year. Numbers of belugas actually caught have been plummeting for 30 years. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union controls on sturgeon catches have been lax and gangs with high-speed boats have been able to outrun the authorities.
Caribbean reefs in steep decline (July 18)
Coral reefs in the Caribbean have suffered a phenomenal 80% decline in 30 years, according to British scientists today. team from the University of East Anglia and the Tyndall centre for climate change research, also at Norwich, report in Science that they compiled data from 263 separate places in the Caribbean and found that the average amount of hard coral cover on the reefs had fallen from 50% to 10% in the past 30 years. Tropical coral reefs are among the world's richest habitats - and are at risk everywhere, chiefly from overfishing, pollution, storms and sedimentation. Experts have warned repeatedly that corals are sensitive to temperature. Reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans have suffered dramatic"bleaching" during cycles of warming. But in the Caribbean the problems have been of a different kind. CLIP
Salmon carry PCBs to Alaskan lakes (September 18)
Salmon travelling to Alaska's lakes to spawn are carrying large doses of industrial pollutants with them, a study has shown. Each summer, millions of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) make the 1,000-km trip from the north Pacific back to the lakes where they were born. After spawning there, they die, and their carcasses decompose in the lakes' sediment. Jules Blais of the University of Ottawa, Canada and his colleagues have found that the fish arrive loaded with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from their oceanic feeding grounds. In the sediment of lakes with the most returning salmon, such as Lake Frazer on Kodiak Island in southern Alaska, PCB concentrations can be seven times those in lakes that receive no fish, the team report in Nature. The results are akin to having a waste incinerator in Alaska's wilderness - pollution levels are as high as those in Lake Superior, close to the heavily populated north-eastern United States. "This is a remote, pristine environment, but with PCB deposition comparable to an industrial site," says Blais. The problem is bioaccumulation - the build-up of contaminants in creatures at the top of the food chain. The North Pacific contains about one nanogram of PCBs per litre. By the time the average salmon has finished bulking up for its journey, its fat contains about 160 micrograms, Blais's team reports. "The salmon are perfectly fine for eating," says Blais. But dead fish become fodder for insects at the bottom of the food chain, triggering a fresh round of bioaccumulation. "There's a snowball effect." PCBs are released into the environment by the manufacture of materials such as flame retardants and paints, and by burning waste. Their health effects on humans are not clear, but are thought to include reproductive defects, memory impairment and reduced hand-eye coordination. PCBs break down very slowly, so can spread widely and be difficult to track.
Disappearance of Amazon rainforest brings pledge of emergency action (June 28)
The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon, the largest stretch of forest in the world, has increased by 40% in the past year, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the Brazilian government. Almost 10,000sq miles (24,000sq km) of virgin forest - an area the size of Albania - were lost, mainly to soya farming and logging. The figures do not include the destruction of the forest by fires which have been intense this year in some Amazonian states. "We are going to take emergency action to deal with this highly worrying rise in deforestation," said the environment minister, Marina Silva, a former Amazonian rubber tapper and environmental activist. She promised to announce new measures to protect the forest, but environment groups fear that there is little that can be done unless new threats like industrial scale farming can be brought under control. "These figures are the worst in many years. It is alarming how the agriculture frontier is growing", said a Greenpeace Brazil spokesman, Paulo Adario. "Almost 80% of the timber is illegally felled, but clearing land for industrial soya farming is now taking over from timber extraction as the major driver of forest loss in some regions". Most of the deforestation is taking place in the southern Amazon, where soya farming is rapidly moving in to Para and Matto Grosso states. (...) A series of scientific reports have suggested that the Amazon forests, which are still 86% intact, face rapid future destruction because of interlinked climatic and human forces. The previous Brazilian government planned to invest over $US40bn (£27bn) in new roads, railroads, reservoirs, power lines and gas lines in the Amazon over the next few years. This was expected to increase forest loss dramatically, and to make the forests more prone to destruction by fire. However, the present government has not yet committed itself fully to the plan. Rainforests cover less than 2% of the Earth's surface, yet they are home to some 40 to 50% of all life forms - as many as 30 million species of plants, animals and insects. Up to 30% of the world's animal and plant species are found nowhere but in the Amazon, an area of 1.54 million sq miles (4.1 million sq km) - larger than western Europe. Scientists issue a warning that its rate of destruction poses serious threats, not just in respect of lost species but by reducing production of oxygen and unpredictable consequences for global weather patterns.
Nettle Fabric Could Be Eco-Friendly Replacement for Cotton - Fabric made from stinging nettles could be the next big thing in eco-friendly fashion. The process of growing nettles is much gentler on the Earth than growing cotton, which generally entails high use of water and pesticides. (Almost a quarter of the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton plants.) In contrast, nettles don't need much water or protection from pests, and they provide habitat for many insect species and small birds. While hemp and flax are also eco-friendly replacements for cotton, they produce rough fabric, whereas nettles, strangely enough, can be made into soft and silky fabrics. One Italian fashion house has perfected a nettle fabric, designed a line of nettle-fabric clothes, and lined up willing retailers around the world. It's biggest problem: finding enough farmers to grow the nettles it needs.
Nature Connected Meditation Techniques
Vibrant Nature connected meditation procedures help you gain deeper reflection, inspiration and healing
Inhaling the scent of a beautiful flower brings you the satisfaction of its fragrance.
Embracing the essence of Nature brings you its peace.
Faculty and students at Hawaii's Akamai University have discovered an inspiring, readily available, Nature connected meditation procedure that they invite you to use. It helps you gain greater inspiration and healing from meditation.
Added to any meditative practice, Nature connections provide a dimension of truth that produces deeper awakening and inner peace. They enable your soul to unleash its inherent harmony into your consciousness so you may enjoy and share it with others.
The unique procedures empower you to consciously, sensuously, connect your self and spirit with the unadulterated resonance of Earth.
Nature Connected Meditation Techniques (NCMT) are an ecologically energized, wordless, sensory process. In natural areas, backyard or backcountry they, in real life contacts and imagery, enable a person to:
tap into the same peaceful natural attraction energy that binds atoms as well as holds together the wind, hills and planets. seamlessly intertwine their psych and soul with authentic Nature's lasting intelligence and balance. make direct sensory, contact with the ageless consciousness in natural areas that manifests Nature's perfection, grace and beauty. learn how to additionally meditate with Nature's energies firsthand, rather than through removed, sometimes questionable stories, images or visions alone. enjoy the immediate mindfulness and serenity that is an essence of Earth's integrity safely amalgamate their internal love of life with its origins in all of life.
Through NCMT, a profound form of unconditional love becomes available. Nature is "Enlightenment" "Godhead" or "Creation" manifesting itself. Connecting with Nature directly plugs our consciousness into the active source around us of the archetypes and universal truths disconnection buries within us.
Touch reality for added value to meditation
Converge with greater belonging and community
Embrace universal intelligence and its perfection
Increase the value of Self and Earth
CLIP - Much more at http://www.ecopsych.com/meditation1.html
You may also go at http://www.ecopsych.com/meditation2.html
Learn the how and why of NCMT: Article: The Restoration of Our Integrity: Nature Connected Meditation Techniques - Michael J. Cohen ...(contains additional links)
NOTE from Jean: Here is an excerpt:
Consider the state of the world, its people and ecosystems and you can conclude that our thinking regarding Nature has become traumatically amputated, desensitized and bewildered (meaning removed from wilderness) (3). Is this why most people ignore the suggestion that we include nature connecting activities as part of our practice of meditation(4)?
Have we become like the Professor who wanted to learn the effects on a frog's performance from the loss of a limb? To determine this, first he measured how far a frog could jump when he frightened it by shouting. Then, in the name of science, he cut off one of its legs, shouted, and measured its jumping ability, noting it was less. Scientifically trained to be oblivious to the pain, morality and ethics involved, he repeated this experiment three additional times, each time removing another leg. Then he shouted at the poor limbless frog to jump yet again. Noting that it did not jump, he concluded that removing all of a frogs legs made it deaf.
Is this not similar to how we have become deaf to Nature's non-verbal ways? Are we not injured? Is it not time to reconnect (7)?
Genuinely connect your meditative practice with Nature and note the effects. Most people obtain greater benefits.
"My how my mind does chatter with words that can mislead me. When I make contact with nature and think with nature's intelligence, it guides me with a wisdom that helps me keep in balance. The contact is non-verbal because nature does not communicate with words. As I worked through the Introductory Course, I began to use the RWN book's methodology to quiet my mind. As I went through the activities I began to sense a subtle, but perceptible, shift in my ability to attain a non-verbal awareness. Then one day, as I was doing one of the activities that asks us to unify the verbal mind with Nature, I suddenly connected, WHAM, there it was - non-verbal awareness. No naming, no concepts, just being with Nature's wholeness. What a relief! It didn't last long but it did change my life. Since then I have extended my abilities to just be. Now my "mind chatter" is only a murmur when I ask it to be. This has opened up experiences so far beyond anything I even dreamed of a few years ago."
THIS BELOW COMES FROM AN EMAIL SENT BY "Michael J.Cohen" firstname.lastname@example.org> WHO RECOMMENDED THIS ABOVE
THE WEB OF LIFE IMPERATIVE: ORGANIC LEARNING, HEALING AND COUNSELING WITH NATURE:
Enjoy a powerful book or course that helps your consciousness walk nature's socially and environmentally responsible path to rewarding relationships and livelihoods. Online Ph.D., M.S., and B.A. degree programs, courses, grants, scholarships, jobs, books and internships: http://webstrings.org - http://www.ecopsych.com/ - http://www.organicpsychology.com
Nature Connected Learning: a Presidential platform: http://www.ecopsych.com/prhomepage.html
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
Thai architect hits on blueprint for sustainable living in the tropics
PATHUM THANI, Thailand (AFP) Sep 28, 2003
In a gated community just outside the teeming megalopolis of Bangkok, Soontorn Boonyatikarn's three-bedroom home appears much like any other, with the solar panelling on the roof the only hint that something out of the ordinary lies beneath.
Soontorn calls this home a blueprint for sustainable living in the tropics: the unassuming house is 15 times more energy efficient than its neighbours, produces enough surplus electricity to power a car and creates its own water-supply and cooking gas.
"This house is a dream house for the future," says the architect, who challenged himself to build a self-sufficient dwelling in Thailand three years ago and has now been living in it for six months.
To meet his goal, Soontorn needed to design a house which had energy needs that could be met by solar panels squeezed onto its roof -- one fifteenth the area required to supply a typical house with solar energy.
Soontorn had spent nearly two decades teaching at the University of Michigan in the United States and researching sustainable living. The additional challenge was to make what he'd learned abroad applicable to Asia.
"When I brought what I had learned back to Thailand, everything I used to do was the opposite here, so it had to be done backwards," he says. "Only the concept is transferable to tropical areas. You cannot take the knowledge and just put it here."
The journey from drawing board to reality was a fraught process, says Soontorn, who has battled scepticism, intransigent engineers and sloppy workmanship along the way.
Soontorn built a house that even after lighting, air-conditioning and appliances produces a surplus of 5.0 kilowatt hours per day that can be sold back to the grid, or power an electric car for 50 kilometres a day. The water supply is consistent and requires only a small, cost-effective tank.
Some 30 to 40 litres are collected daily on the roof, thanks to a special surface which lowers its temperature at night. Water is then condensed out of the breeze, which is channelled across it by landscaped mounds in the garden.
Another 40 litres is sourced from the air-conditioning system, which itself operates using two-thirds the standard amount of energy. Recycling water twice -- with some sprinkling the vegetables growing in a greenhouse -- provides at least 140 litres a day, with Thailand's six-monthly monsoonal rains making up the rest.
"When you do not have to buy water, it means the house can be anywhere -- on an island, the top of a mountain -- anywhere in this region where the rains fall six to seven months each year," says Soontorn.
Grass clippings from the 800-square-metre block of land meanwhile are used to produce the gas typically used for traditional Thai cooking. "You are living in a world of true sustainability with features that are equivalent to a millionaire's," Soontorn enthuses, pointing to the 1.4-metre deep swimming pool which is filled during the rainy season.
The pool is heated slightly using the surplus energy created by the air-conditioner -- after it's used to heat the hot-water tank. The total cost for the house, swimming pool and solar cells comes in at 5.0 million baht (124,378 dollars), a not unduly high price by Bangkok standards.
Soontorn, who is awaiting patent approval for his design, is already looking ahead: to a sustainable city. "It would require nothing, no extra energy from outside. That's what I dream of."
Forwarded by "Doreen Agostino" firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Diane Riley email@example.com>
Sent: September 27, 2003
Subject: Yellowstone Volcano: A monster awakens? Increased thermal activity precursor to an eruption/the biggest catastrophe the modern world has ever witnessed
F.Y.I. Could this be the trigger to the 3 days of darkness that has been prophesied?
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2003
Subject: Yellowstone Volcano
A monster awakens?
By Ian Gurney
Online Journal Contributing Writer
September 11, 2003Part of America's Yellowstone National Park was closed to visitors on July 23 this year and remains closed today due to high ground temperatures and increased thermal activity in the park. National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis said that "A portion of the Norris Geyser Basin on the west side of the park has been closed." 
On August 7, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that scientists were planning to set up a temporary network of seismographs, Global Positioning System receivers and thermometers to monitor increasing hydrothermal activity in the Norris Geyser Basin and gauge the risk of a hydrothermal explosion. 
On August 10, the Denver Post reported that Liz Morgan, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist had discovered a huge bulge underneath Yellowstone Lake that had risen 100 feet from the lake floor. The bulge is two thousand feet long and has the potential to explode at any time. Morgan was quoted as saying that "The inflated plain is a potential and serious hazard and possible precursor to a large hydrothermal explosion event." 
Then, on August 24th, the University of Utah Seismograph Station reported that a magnitude 4.4 earthquake occurred just 9 miles southeast of the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. USGS scientists agreed that the earthquake was "uncommon" in that it was a very shallow earthquake, occuring just 0.3 miles below the surface. 
Jacob Lowenstern, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey and scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory said: "Our goal is to understand what's driving this volcanic system, and are there indications it could be moving into a period of unrest? 
This worrying situation was confirmed on September 8 by Dr. Bruce Cornet, a geologist and paleobotanist with the USGS, who explained: "Steam pressure is apparently building again in Yellowstone, and hydrothermal fluids and steam are working their way up through fractures and vents. If more steam vents appear, that means a continuous pathway for pressure release has been established to the magma chamber. If that happens, the pressure in the magma chamber will continue to drop until it reaches a critical stage when the superheated water within the magma explodes. Unfortunately, as the steam venting subsides, there will be a false sense of security. People will think it was just another cyclical event, and the danger is over. But that will be the farthest from the truth. It will be the quiet before the storm." 
Initially this should be of little or no consequence to anyone apart from those planning to visit Yellowstone . . . except for one thing. Lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park is one of the most destructive natural phenomena in the world: a massive supervolcano.
Only a handful exist in the world but when one erupts the explosion will be heard around the globe. The sky will darken, black acid rain will fall, and the Earth will be plunged into the equivalent of a nuclear winter. It could push humanity to the brink of extinction.
Volcanoes have always been a threat to humanity. The Tambora eruption in Indonesia in 1815 killed more than 90,000 people, while the Krakatau eruption in 1883, also in Indonesia, killed 36,000. The last supervolcano to erupt was Toba in Sumatra 74,000 years ago. It created a global catastrophe that dramatically affected life on Earth. Toba blasted so much ash and sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere that it blocked out the sun, causing the Earth's temperature to plummet, and possibly reducing the population on Earth to just a few thousand people. For a long time scientists have known that volcanic ash can affect the global climate. The fine ash and sulphur dioxide blasted into the stratosphere reflects solar radiation back into space and stops sunlight reaching the planet. Temperatures drop dramatically and nothing grows, causing mass starvation.
Bill McGuire, professor of geohazards at the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London, says that America's Yellowstone Park is one of the largest and most dangerous supervolcanoes in the world. "The Yellowstone volcano can be likened to a sleeping dragon," says Professor McGuire, "whose slow breathing brings repeated swelling and sinking of the Earth's crust in northern Wyoming and southern Montana."
Professor McGuire went on to explain that: "Many supervolcanoes are not typical hill-shaped structures but huge, collapsed craters called "calderas" that are filled with hot magma and are harder to detect. The Yellowstone supervolcano was detected in the Sixties when infra-red satellite photographs revealed a magma-filled caldera 85km long and 45km wide. It has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago, so the next is long overdue."
Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimetres, almost two and a half feet, since 1923, indicating a massive swelling underneath the park.
"The impact of a Yellowstone eruption is terrifying to comprehend." says Professor McGuire. "Magma would be flung 50 kilometres into the atmosphere. Within a thousand kilometres virtually all life would be killed by falling ash, lava flows and the sheer explosive force of the eruption. One thousand cubic kilometres of lava would pour out of the volcano, enough to coat the whole of the USA with a layer 5 inches thick. The explosion would be the loudest noise heard by man for 75,000 years."
The long-term effects would be even more devastating. The thousands of cubic kilometres of ash that would shoot into the atmosphere would block out light from the sun, making global temperatures collapse. This is called a nuclear winter. A large percentage of the world's plant life would be killed by the ash and the drop in temperature. The resulting change in the world's climate would devastate the planet, and scientists know that another eruption is due - they just don't know when.
Michael Rampino, a geologist at New York University, quoted in a BBC Horizon documentary on Supervolcanoes  three years ago explained: "It's difficult to conceive of an eruption this big. It's really not a question of if it'll go off, it's a question of when, because sooner or later one of these large super eruptions will happen."
Professor McGuire says "There's nowhere to hide from the effects of a supervolcano. One day - perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in fifty years, perhaps in 10,000 - it will erupt; once again wreaking devastation across the North American continent and bringing the bitter cold of Volcanic Winter to Planet Earth. Mankind may become extinct."
So the rumblings currently going on underneath Yellowstone should be a warning not just to those who plan to visit the National Park, but to the whole world. If the increased thermal activity is the precursor to an eruption event, we may well be on the brink of the biggest catastrophe the modern world has ever witnessed.
Map of Past Eruptions:
More information on Yellowstone Volcano:
Maps and Photos:
This article originally appeared in the UK Daily Express, 10 September 2003.
Ian Gurney is a journalist, broadcaster and author of the bestseller "The
Cassandra Prophecy" published by International Global Press. ISBN 0953581314.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State of Planet Earth
EARTH DAY PLUS THIRTY, AS SEEN BY THE EARTH
By Donella Meadows, adjunct professor at Dartmouth College.
If, in the thirty Earth Day celebrations we have held since 1970, the human population and economy have become any more respectful of the Earth, the Earth hasn't noticed.
The planet is not impressed by fancy speeches. Leonardo DiCaprio interviewing Bill Clinton about global warming is not an Earth-shaking event. The Earth has no way of registering good intentions or future inventions or high hopes. It doesn't even pay attention to dollars, which are, from a planet's point of view, just a charming human invention. Planets measure only physical things-energy and materials and their flows into and out of the changing populations of living creatures.
What the Earth sees is that on the first Earth Day in 1970 there were 3.7 billion of those hyperactive critters called humans, and now there are over 6 billion.
Back in 1970 those humans drew from the Earth's crust 46 million barrels of oil every day-now they draw 78 million.
Natural gas extraction has nearly tripled in thirty years, from 34 trillion cubic feet per year to 95 trillion. We mined 2.2 billion metric tons in 1970; this year we'll mine about 3.8 billion. The planet feels this fossil fuel use in many ways, as the fuels are extracted (and spilled) and shipped (and spilled) and refined (generating toxics) and burned into numerous pollutants, including carbon dioxide, which traps outgoing energy and warms things up. Despite global conferences and brave promises, what the Earth notices is that human carbon emissions have increased from 3.9 million metric tons in 1970 to an estimated 6.4 million this year.
You would think that an unimaginably huge thing like a planet would not notice the one degree (Fahrenheit) warming it has experienced since 1970. But on the scale of a whole planet, one degree is a big deal, especially since it is not spread evenly. The poles have warmed more than the equator, the winters more than the summers, the nights more than the days. That means that temperature DIFFERENCES from one place to another have been changing much more than the average temperature has changed. Temperature differences are what make winds blow, rains rain, ocean current flow.
All creatures, including humans, are exquisitely attuned to the weather. All creatures, including us, are noticing weather weirdness and trying to adjust, by moving, by fruiting earlier or migrating later, by building up whatever protections are possible against flood and drought. The Earth is reacting to weather changes too, shrinking glaciers, splitting off nation-sized chunks of Antarctic ice sheet, enhancing the cycles we call El Nino and La Nina.
"Earth Day, Shmearth Day," the planet must be thinking as its fever mounts. "Are you folks ever going to take me seriously?"
Since the first Earth Day our global vehicle population has swelled from 246 to 730 million. Air traffic has gone up by a factor of six. The rate at which we grind up trees to make paper has doubled (to 200 million metric tons per year). We coax from the soil, with the help of strange chemicals, 2.25 times as much wheat, 2.5 times as much corn, 2.2 times as much rice, almost twice as much sugar, almost four times as many soybeans as we did thirty years ago. We pull from the oceans almost twice as much fish.
With the fish we can see clearly how the planet behaves, when we push it too far. It does not feel sorry for us; it just follows its own rules. Fish become harder and harder to find. If they are caught before they're old enough to reproduce, if their nursery habitat is destroyed, if we scoop up not only the cod, but the capelin upon which the cod feeds, the fish may never come back. The Earth does not care that we didn't mean it, that we promise not to do it again, that we make nice gestures every Earth Day.
We have among us die-hard optimists who will berate me for not reporting the good news since the last Earth Day. There is plenty of it, but it is mostly measured in human terms, not Earth terms. Average human life expectancy has risen since 1970 from 58 to 66 years. Gross world product has more than doubled, from 16 to 39 trillion dollars. Recycling has increased, but so has trash generation, so the Earth receives more garbage than ever before. Wind and solar power generation have soared, but so have coal-fired, gas-fired and nuclear generation.
In human terms there has been breathtaking progress. In 1970 there weren't any cell phones or video players. There was no Internet; there were no dot-coms. Nor was anyone infected with AIDS, of course, nor did we have to worry about genetic engineering. Global spending on advertising was only one-third of what it is now (in inflation-corrected dollars). Third-World debt was one-eighth of what it is now.
Whether you call any of that progress, it is all beneath the notice of the Earth. What the Earth sees is that its species are vanishing at a rate it hasn't seen in 65 million years. That 40 percent of its agricultural soils have been degraded. That half its forests have disappeared and half its wetlands have been filled or drained, and that despite Earth Day, all these trends are accelerating.
Earth Day is beginning to remind me of Mother's Day, a commercial occasion upon which you buy flowers for the person who, every other day of the year, cleans up after you. Guilt-assuaging. Trivializing. Actually dangerous. All mothers have their breaking points. Mother Earth does not soften hers with patience or forgiveness or sentimentality.
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003
From: Teresa Perez email@example.com>
Subject: WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT Bulletin Nº 74
WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
MOVIMIENTO MUNDIAL POR LOS BOSQUES
Maldonado 1858; Montevideo, Uruguay
Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy
Editor: Ricardo Carrere
W R M B U L L E T I N 74
September 2003 - English edition
This bulletin is also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Please
let us know if you wish to receive it in some of these languages.
In this issue:
* OUR VIEWPOINT
- Winds of change
* LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS
- Cameroon: Rainforests continue to be logged illegally
- Kenya: A simple wasp adds a further problem to Eucalyptus
- South Africa: Sustainability, Protected Areas, and Development
- Uganda: Deforestation, corruption and the false solution of plantations
- ADB's draft forest policy: The politics of participation
- Cambodia: Rubber plantation, deforestation and corruption
- Laos: Vietnamese consortium plans to build six dams in Laos
- Thailand: Assassinated Village Conservationist
- Honduras: International delegation documents serious problems in Olancho
- Nicaragua: Canadian mining company accused of cyanide spill
- Mexico: The loss of forests for the community and for women
- Bolivia: Protected areas at the disposal of oil companies
- Brazil: Women's working conditions in tree plantations
- Peru: Ex-Im Bank rejects funding Camisea Project
- Uruguay: Semi-slave work in plantation forestry
- Australia: Certified Forests - the end to Forest Conflict?
- Papua New Guinea: Oil palm "joint venture" for the benefit of rich
* THE CARBON SHOP FILES
- Indigenous Peoples and Climate Negotiations
- Land Grab in Uganda in Preparation for CDM Sinks Projects?
- Plantar: World Bank acknowledges spreading incorrect allegations
* OUR VIEWPOINT
- Winds of change
The month of September has certainly been rich in important events, warranting the active participation of relevant social actors. The ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico, was doubtlessly the most resounding one, both because of the presence of thousands of people and organizations from all over the world, demonstrating in the streets against the WTO, and because of the firm attitude of some countries from the South, in facing the domineering attitude of certain governments from the North. The world will never be the same after Cancun.
Although at a different level, another important event in September was the World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa. For many years, narrow conservationism served to deprive local populations of their ancestral forests, with the excuse of conservation. However, a growing movement for change is permeating the way of thinking of conservation, which is starting to identify solutions based on recognition of the rights and knowledge of the Indigenous peoples and local communities. Numerous Indigenous representatives, together with their allies were present at Durban, attempting to strengthen this new conception of conservation.
Finally, the third international event taking place in September, was the World Forestry Congress, in Quebec City, Canada. Here too, numerous representatives of civil society were present, seeking to influence mainstream forestry thinking, increasingly isolated in an obsolete vision of forests and forest management, but still reluctant to adapt to new times.
Beyond the differences between the three briefly mentioned events, what is interesting to note is what they have in common regarding civil society participation: the defence of local community interests through measures no longer restricted to traditional lobbying, but which increasingly turn to the streets or to external or parallel events, with the aim of generating opportunities to voice positions that are scantly expressed at the level of official delegates but that are strongly felt at the level of public opinion.
Looking forwards, we hope that these winds of change will also be felt in the climate negotiations to take place in Milan at the beginning of December. We hope that the shameful carbon market that the Convention on Climatic Change has turned into, will be swept away by the wind and substituted by an appropriate environment in which to address the necessary solutions.
We hope that the extraordinary high temperatures suffered in the past European summer will at least serve for governments to take the issue of climate change more seriously. We also hope that the widespread forest fires that covered Europe will serve to show how absurd it is to try to use trees as "carbon sinks" to counteract global warming. The whole world saw on televised news how European forests and plantations released into the atmosphere in a few hours all the carbon accumulated by their biomass over years. If this happens in the technically advanced North, it will certainly happen in the countries of the South. This is --literally-- playing with fire.
However, perhaps the most outstanding feature of what is happening in the world, is the increasing union of all the struggles against a model that has already shown itself to be socially and environmentally unsustainable. Peasants, Indigenous peoples, workers, environmentalists, social and human rights movements, are only some of the actors in a world where fraternity, solidarity and human dignity are becoming global. The winds of change blow with increasing strength.
CLIP - The rest will soon be archived at http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/74/viewpoint.html Check also at http://www.wrm.org.uy/index.html
Precious plant life in peril (Sept 24)
An ever-increasing demand for agricultural land, and widespread deforestation, threatens thousands of plant species in Africa, some of the world's leading botanists warned yesterday.
As many as 4,500 of Africa's rare species of flowering plants - the continent has 45,000 documented plant species, one-fifth of the world's flora - are at risk, scientists from 35 countries attending the five-day conference at the University of Ethiopia, said. Some species may be lost even before they are discovered.
"There is no question about the threat," Sebsebe Demisse, head of the Ethiopian Flora Project, said. The principal threat to African plant life comes from both growing urbanisation and demand for agricultural land, he said.
He urged African governments to take the threat seriously and encourage the creation of plant-breeding schemes. "We have enough policies, but need to put them into action," he said.
Professor Sebsebe said the twin spectres of war and famine often obscure the immense wealth of the plant life of Africa. But although one-third of the continent is forested, less than 10% of that is protected.
In an opening address, the Ethiopian president, Girma Wolde Giorgis, said that during his lifetime he had seen "the landscape of Ethiopia literally washed away before my eyes", as trees were cut down to make charcoal and land was used for the cultivation of subsistence crops.
Experts warn that some of the worlds rare gum- and resin-producing trees found in south-eastern Ethiopia are threatened by the charcoal burners.
In neighbouring central and northern Somalia, most of the forests have been cut down to make charcoal for export to the countries of the Persian Gulf.
From: "The Light Bearers" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: ECUADORIAN AMAZON UPDATE
Date: 1 Oct 2003
I got this from the http://www.SacredRoad.org list. This fight has been going on for a long time too. Sounds like the likes of Bush extend to Ecuador.
UPDATE ON SARAYACU SITUATION IN ECUADORIAN AMAZON
Below is a portion (edited for space considerations) of the latest update from the Indigenous community of Sarayacu in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The community has been strong in its efforts to preserve its existence in the face of petrol interest. CGC to reinitiate activities in December: Government will provide "security" (September 18, 2003)
CGC announced through a radio station that it will resume seismic works within Sarayacu territory in the month of December. On the other hand, the president of the republic, Mr. Lucio Gutiérrez, made a pronuncement saying "We will guarantee complete security for the petrol companies. We have already talked with Sarayacu and we are about to reach an agreement, only four leaders are in opposition of this, but the rest of them agree".
Sarayacu, on its part, declared that the community "excludes for perpetuity the possibility that the state promotes projects of extraction of non-renewable resources within their territories". Facing the grave declarations on part of the president of the republic, involving pressure and threats against their leaders, Sarayacu also transmitted a press release, reaffirming its resistance against the oil exploitation. Additionally, Marlon Santi, president of Sarayacu, ratified that "the Ecuadorian Government has not maintained any conversation with us since February 2003, neither has it implemented the cautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Instead, it has initiated a campaign of intimidation and pressure".
We make an urgent call to all organizations and the public opinion in general, to be alert and vigilant, given the threatening announcements made by the president of the republic, colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, as well as by the functionaries of the CGC company, and the fatal consequences these actions may cause to the detriment of the human rights of the indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In order to write protest letters, click http://www.guardian.co.uk/conservation/story/0,13369,1033234,00.html
Sheer ignorance threatens conservation
Tim Radford, science editor
September 1, 2003
Britain's leading scientists today warn that the battle to save wild creatures from extinction may be lost through sheer ignorance. Conservationists may never know whether their plans are working because biologists have no idea even of how many species inhabit the planet.
"Our best guess is that we have identified about 1.8 million species," said Georgina Mace, director of science at the Zoological Society London and member of a Royal Society group that reports to the government today.
"But we are very uncertain how many species actually exist, with estimates ranging from 3 million to 100 million. So our knowledge of even this basic fact about the diversity of life is very poor."
All the evidence is that wildlife is under threat almost everywhere, most of all in the rainforests, coral reefs, mangrove swamps and tropical savannahs.
A year ago, at the world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg, governments agreed to achieve a "significant reduction" by 2010 in the current rate of extinction of life's diversity.
o mark the anniversary, the Royal Society has outlined a framework that researchers and policymakers could use to measure the degree of threat and the success of conserva tion measures. Cod and other commercial fish in the North Atlantic, giant pandas in China, the great apes in Africa and the Indonesian archipelago, and tigers in India are all known to be under threat. But millions of smaller plants and animals could perish silently with them.
"This is a huge problem that needs to be tackled urgently through conservation activities," Prof Mace said. "However, we need to be able to tell if the loss of species and their habitats is speeding up or slowing down, and whether conservation is having any impact. At present, there is no sound basis for assessing progress towards the target set at the Johannesburg summit."
Britain is home to 1,403 native species. Naturalists knew exactly where they were in 1960 and could place them accurately on a 10km grid map of Britain again in 2002. But biologists confess that they know hardly anything about extinction rates in Madagascar, an island twice the size of the UK, with perhaps 9,000 native species.
There has been intensive research into individual species in limited regions: the brown argus butterfly in Britain; the barndoor skate which swims from the North Carolina coast to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland; the Trinidadian guppy; and the wild lentil first cultivated in Turkey and Syria, for instance.
But the challenge is huge, and investment by Britain and other wealthy nations in the research needed to identify creatures, describe them and then work out what they need to survive and flourish, has been relatively small.
"We have only been able to assess the conservation status of about 10% of known species. But if we do not even know how many species there really are, how can we work out how many are under threat?" Prof Mace said.
Conservation and endangered species
Global fishing crisis
Waste and pollution
Russia 'undecided' on climate deal (Sept 29)
Much of Russia's industry has been lost since communism collapsed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country remains undecided on whether or not to sign the Kyoto agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Opening a major international conference on climate change in Moscow, he said the government was still studying the protocol.
Russia's approval is vital for the 1997 pact to acquire the force of international law, after the United States pulled out two years ago.
Mr Putin had been urged to use the conference to confirm Russia's ratification and his comments have drawn protests from the United Nations, European Union and environmentalists.
To come into effect, the protocol requires the ratification of countries representing at least 55% of the global total of carbon dioxide emissions.
With the US refusing to take part, all the other major industrial powers must ratify the agreement for the quota to be reached.
Despite an apparent assurance a year ago that it would do so, Russia has so far failed to ratify.
The environmentalist group Greenpeace warned that "[Mr Putin's] stalling could now derail the entire process".
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged Russia to immediately approve the agreement.
"I join people throughout the world in eagerly awaiting ratification by the Russian Federation, which will bring the protocol into force and further galvanise global action," he said, in a message to the conference.
The EU, which plans to limit emissions from its own industries from 2005, also reiterated its call for Russia to sign up.
Mr Putin was ambiguous about his views on Kyoto.
"[Critics of the pact] often say, half-jokingly and half-seriously, that Russia is a northern country and if temperatures get warmer by two or three degrees Celsius it's not that bad - we could spend less on warm coats and agricultural experts say that grain harvests would increase further," he told the conference.
"That may be so, but... we must also think what consequences we will face in certain regions where there will be droughts and where there will be floods," he added.
BBC environment correspondent Tim Hirsch says international observers are puzzled as to why Russia has such a problem with Kyoto since, on the face of it, the country has secured an extraordinarily good deal from the agreement.
Its target for the period 2008-12 is to keep emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change at the same level as in 1990, compared with an average cut of just over 5% for the industrialised world as a whole.
But since 1990 coincided with the collapse of traditional state-subsidised industry after the demise of the Soviet Union, emissions are already much lower than they were - not because factories are a lot cleaner, but simply because there are fewer of them.
Under the Kyoto system, this leaves Russia with "spare" pollution allowances which it can sell to other countries to help them fulfil their own targets.
This provides Russia with an opportunity to attract considerable foreign investment to renew its ageing energy system.
Many countries will still struggle to achieve the cuts to which they are pledged, so there is likely to be international demand for Russia's allowances.
Our correspondent says Russia's motives could be brinkmanship - waiting for the best possible financial deal; a response to quiet pressure from the Americans keen to see Kyoto collapse; or the result of in-fighting between various parts of the complex government machine.
Climate change: The big emitters (Sept 29 - EXCELLENT, DETAILED ARTICLE)
The future of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is largely in the hands of the world's biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. BBC News Online looks at how much they emit, what are they doing about it and where they stand on Kyoto. #1 United States - #2 European Union - #3 China - #4 Russia - #5 Japan - #6 India... The US emits more, absolutely and per head, than any other country - although it also produces more wealth. When Kyoto was agreed, the US committed to reducing its emissions by 6%. But since then it has pulled out of the agreement and its carbon dioxide emissions have increased to 16% above 1990 levels. It has signed the protocol but repudiated it. For the agreement to become a legally binding treaty, countries responsible for a total of at least 55% of 1990 developed country emissions must ratify it. As the US accounted for 36.1% of 1990 emissions, this is much harder to achieve without its participation. CLIP
What is the Kyoto treaty?
What causes the greenhouse effect?
Earth hits '2,000-year warming peak' (Sept 1)
The Earth appears to have been warmer since 1980 than at any time in the last 18 centuries, scientists say. They reconstructed the global climate from data derived from ice cores, vegetation and other records. They believe their research provides unequivocal confirmation that humans are affecting the climate.
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