MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
March 6, 2003
The Green Holocaust Files #10: The Forgotten Global Planeticide
While most of the world's attention is directed towards the efforts to stop a war in Iraq before it occurs, several global Life-threatening issues are going unattended.
This compilation is an effort to bring them back into focus and a reminder of what lies ahead to be squarely faced and resolved with the same determination we put into our current global anti-war drive.
This is a very sobering one...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/GreenHolocaust10.htm
1. End of the world nigh - it's official
2. Human race is killing planet, says Meacher
3. Warning Over Loss of Amazon Forest
4. Excerpts from WEEKLY GRIST
5. We all went to Porto Alegre to say "tik"
6. Kucinich on the Environment
7. Women Dance Naked for Rain
Advisers tell Bush climate plan is useless
Strategy 'lacks vision, goals, timetable and criteria'. George Bush's strategy on global warming suffered a setback yesterday when a panel of scientists convened at the request of the White House condemned it as lacking vision, and wasting time and money on research questions that were resolved years ago. Mr Bush's plan, introduced after the US backed out of the Kyoto protocol, replaces that treaty's call for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions with a decade-long programme of research to determine the scale of the problem. But the 17 environmental experts, assembled by the National Academy of Sciences at the president's request, said in their report that the president's strategy "lacks most of the basic elements of a strategic plan: a guiding vision, executable goals, clear timetables and criteria for measuring progress", and misses the opportunity to cooperate more with other countries on research. (...) Mr Bush has been accused of claiming that more research is needed in order to stall moves towards limiting US greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental groups accuse the oil company Exxon Mobil of leading a campaign in the US to discredit scientific findings suggesting that the dangers of global warming are grave. CLIP
Russia urged to rescue Kyoto pact (Feb 26) http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,903094,00.html
Pressure on Russia to ratify the Kyoto protocol is intensifying amid fears in the European Union that Moscow may scupper the agreement to combat climate change by refusing to sanction it. Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, promised last year that the ratification process would be under way by now in the duma, the lower house of the country's parliament, but no progress has been made. The United States and Australia have already withdrawn their support, putting Russia in a crucial position. Its support will make or break the pact. CLIP
Special report: climate change
To Love And Regenerate The Earth: Further Perspectives on The Survival of Civilization
Sent by author "Don Weaver" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Important new book following up on The Survival of Civilization by the late John Hamaker - a gift for our endangered Earth
A group, based on the Twelve Step principle, to help us as individuals reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Tough cell -- what can we learn from Bush's Freedom CAR initiative?
In this month's Powers that Be column, renewable energy expert Amanda Griscom
assesses the economic, environmental, and marketing issues that must be addressed to make a shift toward a hydrogen-based energy system possible.
'Bird flu' deaths in Hong Kong spark fears of global epidemic (Feb 20)
Ten days ago a boy in Hong Kong, aged nine, fell ill with flu. Normally such an event would not rate a passing mention. But this was no ordinary flu. Yesterday the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the strain as A (H5N1), also known as "bird flu". They fear it could become a global killer. CLIP
Bid to reduce greenhouse gases 'is folly' (Jan 12) MUST READ!
A scheme to dump iron in the sea to help cut global warming could prove catastrophic.
H2 - POWERING THE FUTURE (Excellent site and resources on fuel cells!)
The world is growing more desperate by the day for a clean, cheap and stable energy source. Could it be hydrogen?
The Iceland Experiment
End of the world nigh - it's official
Ignore the optimists: the global warming horror stories are all true
February 14, 2003
There is a lot wrong with our world. But it is not as bad as many people think. It is worse. Global warming is slowly but relentlessly changing the face of the planet.
We are only in the early stages of this process, but already carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 375 parts per million, the highest level for at least half a million years. Temperatures are projected to rise by up to 5.8 C this century, 10 times the increase of 0.6 C in the last century, and by 40% more than this in some northern land surface areas. This means temperatures could rise by up to 8.1 C in some parts of the world.
Does this matter? The evidence suggests that it does. In China severe floods used to occur once every 20 years; now they occur in nine out of every 10. The number of people affected by floods globally has risen from 7 million in the 1960s to 150 million now. In 1998 two-thirds of Bangladesh was under water for months, affecting 30 million people. In the UK, 5 million people and 185,000 businesses are at risk.
Flooding is only the beginning. The number of people worldwide devastated by hurricanes or cyclones has increased eightfold to 25 million a year over the past 30 years. The oceans are steadily warming, and since they currently absorb 50 times more CO2 than is contained in the atmosphere, even a tiny reduction in CO2 absorption by the sea could cause global temperatures to rise significantly.
Even more seriously, 10,000 billion tonnes of methane (a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2) are stored, according to the US Geological Survey, on the shallow floor of the Arctic, in sediments below the seabed. If the temperature surrounding the methane warms, it becomes unstable and methane gas is released, causing temperatures to increase further. Warming oceans also cause the waters to expand and the sea level to rise. Sea level is predicted to rise by 3ft over the next century, leading to huge areas of Bangladesh, Egypt and China being inundated.
We don't know the limits of nature - how much rain could fall for how long a period, how much more powerful and frequent hurricanes could become, for how long droughts could endure. The ultimate concern is that if runaway global warming occurred, temperatures could spiral out of control and make our planet uninhabitable.
Five times in the past 540 million years there have been mass extinctions, in one case involving the destruction of 96% of species then living. But while these were the result of asteroid strikes or intense glaciation, this is the first time that a species has been at risk of generating its own demise.
James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis conceives of the planet as an active control system. It posits the existence of feedbacks at the global level which, so far, have served to keep the earth's surface habitable within a tolerable range, despite significant external changes, including changes in the radiation from the sun. However, with severe human-induced activity, that is now beginning to change.
We have almost become our own geophysical cycle. There are many examples of this trend. On a global scale our biological carbon productivity is now only outpaced by the krill in the oceans. Our civil engineering works shift more soil than all the world's rivers bring to the seas. Our industrial emissions eclipse the total emissions from all the world's volcanoes. We are bringing about species loss on the scale of some of the natural extinctions of palaeohistory.
We face a transformation of our world and its ecosystems at an exponential rate, and unprecedentedly brought about, not by natural forces, but by the activities of the dominant species. Climate change is only the most dramatic example. At a time when scientists say the world should be reducing its CO2 emissions by 60% to stabilise and then reverse global warming, they are projected to increase by around 75% on 1990 levels by 2020.
The dinosaurs dominated the earth for 160 million years. We are in danger of putting our future at risk after a mere quarter of a million years. The force of the Gaia thesis has never been more apparent. When an alien infection invades the body, the body develops a fever in order to concentrate all its energies to eliminate the alien organism. In most cases it succeeds, and the body recovers. But where it does not, the body dies.
The lesson is that if we continue with activities which destroy our environment and undermine the conditions for our own survival, we are the virus. Making the change needed to avoid that fate is perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever faced.
· Michael Meacher is environment minister. This article is based on a lecture he will deliver today at Newcastle University
Special report Climate change
Graphics CO2 emissions
The world in the 2050s
The greenhouse effect
Human race is killing planet, says Meacher
Paul Brown, environment correspondent
February 14, 2003
Michael Meacher, the environment minister, believes there is a real question mark over the survival of the human race, and in a lecture today compares the species to a virus which is in danger of destroying the planet.
In his lecture, to be delivered at Newcastle University, Mr Meacher says: "The sheer scale of what is now required [to save the planet] has never been attempted and the shortfall between scientific theory and political action remains huge. There is a lot wrong with our world. But it is not as bad as many people think. It is actually worse."
He details the major problems - lack of fresh water, destruction of forest and crop land, global warming with its storms and flooding, overuse of natural resources and continuing population rise.
He says the traditional view of humans as the dominant species and the pinnacle of the process of evolution seems flawed by an inability to recognise and respect the conditions that underpin our existence.
In his lecture, he says the relentless increase in economic exploitation, energy utilisation and population growth is at risk of driving the elasticities of the world's ecosystems beyond their tolerance limits.
Mr Meacher says there are three possible ways out of the looming disaster.
One is to seek international agreement about "safe" levels of exploitation of natural resources. A second is to develop alternative technologies or processes. And a third is to find the political means to allocate rights and opportunities globally in an equitable manner within environmental safety limits.
He says the magnitude of this challenge is immense but the difficulty needs to be set against the even greater magnitude of the consequences of failure - a real question mark over the survival of species.
Sent by "Mark Graffis" <email@example.com>
Published on February 17, 2003 by the lndependent/UK
Warning Over Loss of Amazon Forest
by Steve Connor, Science Editor, in Denver
One of the world's leading experts on climate change has predicted that rising global temperatures could destroy the Amazon rainforest, which in turn would cause a catastrophic build-up of carbon dioxide further accelerating global warming.
Tom Wigley, of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, warned of the dangers that would occur if the world's biggest rainforest was lost - most likely as the result of lower rainfall levels over the Amazon basin that would occur in a warmer world.
In such a scenario, not only will the Earth have lost a major storage of carbon but it will lead to a huge release of carbon dioxide and methane, which are two of the most destructive greenhouse gases.
Such a model is called a positive-feedback mechanism, and although climatologists think it is a likely scenario, it is hard to predict accurately.
"It is very uncertain. Modelling the climate is difficult. Modelling the interactions between climate and vegetation is even more difficult," said Professor Wigley.
He added that it was important to start moving away from fossil fuels now rather than leaving it for future generations to deal with.
20 Feb-26 Feb 2003
It's likely that the computer you're using right now will one day end up in China contributing to a mounting toxic nightmare. Towns along China's southeastern coast have become dumping grounds for obsolete computers and other electronic equipment sent from the U.S., Europe, and Japan for "recycling." Entire communities, children included, make meager livings by picking apart the technological waste, separating out metals, glass, and plastics in unsafe and unregulated conditions, at no small cost to their health and the local environment. Rivers and soil in these communities have soaked up lead, mercury, and numerous carcinogenic toxics, and the local people are suffering from high levels of infant mortality, birth defects, tuberculosis, blood diseases, and respiratory problems. More than 40 million computers became obsolete in the U.S. in 2001, and the numbers keep rising. Up to 80 percent of the computers that U.S. consumers give to recyclers get shipped to Asia for dismantling.
Washington Post (24 Feb 03)
The king of computer recycling
Take action to tell your computer manufacturer to recycle properly
06 Feb-12 Feb 2003
As if the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians weren't producing enough problems, the U.N. now says the clash is creating a big environmental mess in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A study conducted by the U.N. Environment Programme over the last five months documented increasing water pollution, loss of natural vegetation, indiscriminate waste dumping, and the razing of forestland. Some of the troubles -- such as asbestos contamination released when Palestinian houses were bulldozed by the Israeli Army -- were directly related to the escalated conflict that broke out in September 2000 and still rages today. An U.N. report with 136 recommendations for minimizing the environmental degradation was formally adopted on Friday; Palestinian and Israeli negotiators backed the report and expressed a willingness to cooperate on solving the problems. UNEP officials spun the agreement as a small step toward peace, but some observers were skeptical.
Tel Aviv Haaretz, Associated Press, 08 Feb 2003
Blood and water -- Israel and Palestine struggle over water in an arid land -- a two-part series in our Main Dish section
The UNEP report
BIRDS OF A FEATHER CRASH TOGETHER
Somewhere between 5 million and 50 million migratory birds die every year from slamming into communications towers for cell phones, pagers, and radios, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Now, environmentalists are suing the Federal Communications Commission to force it to protect those birds. The lawsuit concerns towers that are at least 200 feet tall and located near the Gulf of Mexico, a common stopover for many species during spring and fall migrations. The suit was filed by the American Bird Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, and the Forest Conservation Council, which want the FCC to require existing towers to use warning devices (such as colored lights and high-pitched sound) to keep birds away. They also want all future tower proposals to be reviewed for likely impacts on bird populations. The affected critters include some of the nation's most endangered songbirds -- the black rail, Bell's vireo, the golden-winged warbler, and Henslow's sparrow.
MSNBC.com, Associated Press, 20 Feb 2003
PAIN IN THE TONGASS
Moderate Republicans, as well as Democrats and environmentalists, are up in arms over eleventh-hour language added by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to a huge $395 billion spending bill that would boost logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The provision would exempt nearly 2 million acres in the Tongass from a rule approved by former President Clinton that bans road-building on 58.5 million acres of remote national forestland across the country. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.) and seven other GOPers in the House have protested the plan (which contains additional anti-enviro elements), arguing in a letter to their colleagues that it was drafted "behind closed doors." For his part, Stevens has angrily accused environmentalists of distorting his provision. Many congressional observers doubt that the plan will be derailed.
Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Shogren, 12 Feb 2003
Anchorage Daily News, Liz Ruskin, 12 Feb 2003
You know you're old growth when... -- a cartoon by Suzy Becker
Take action to protect the Tongass
Feb-05 Mar 2003
STICKING OUT THEIR TONGASS
It's a big bummer, but not a big surprise: The Bush administration ruled on Friday that it will not provide wilderness protection for any additional land in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, a move that will open up hundreds of thousands of acres of old-growth forest to logging. Public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of creating more wilderness in the Tongass; about 170,000 of 175,000 public comments to the U.S. Forest Service on the matter favored that course. But Forest Service officials dismissed most of the comments because they were form letters, a decision that Tim Bristol of the Alaska Coalition said showed contempt for the public process. The decision by the administration is just the latest in a string of moves in the last six months that make forest policy more friendly to the timber industry and less friendly to wildlife and ecosystems.
Anchorage Daily News, Paula Dobbyn, 01 Mar 2003
Anchorage Daily News, Associated Press, John Heilprin, 01 Mar 2003
Take action to end commercial logging in national forests
The environment, public health, and global political stability all stand to suffer from shrinking freshwater supplies around the world, according to a report released yesterday by the United Nations. In the most complete appraisal of global water resources to date, the U.N. found that the average per-person water supply will decline by one-third in 20 years, and as many as 7 billion people could face water shortages by mid-century. Developing nations and impoverished people will be hit hardest by the shortages, which are fueled by global warming, population growth, and poor management of water resources. The report was released one week in advance of the Third World Water Forum, where delegates from around the globe will converge in Kyoto, Japan, to try to develop strategies to protect water resources and forestall the kinds of crises (ranging from illness to war) that could stem from dwindling freshwater supplies.
Washington Post, Rick Weiss, 05 Mar 2003
The U.N. World Water Development Report
Water conservation for dummies -- astute advice on all things environmental -- in Ask Umbra
To subscribe to WEEKLY GRIST, send a blank email message to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003
From: "Teresa Perez" <email@example.com>
Subject: WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT Bulletin 67
We all went to Porto Alegre to say "tik"
The World Social Forum surpassed all expectations. Fifty thousand people were expected and some 100,000 attended. Participation in the numerous activities organised in Porto Alegre was very active and we all came out strengthened in our endeavour to work for "another world is possible," as announced by the Forum.
Regarding forests and plantations, the objective set out in our previous editorial was achieved: that of incorporating the issue in the Forum, which was done during a series of important events. Among these, we would like to highlight the Forest Strategy Meeting, the Workshop on Tree Monocultures and a meeting in which a network against tree monoculture was established.
The Forest Strategy Meeting gathered activists from the South and the North involved in work at both national and international levels in defence of forests and the peoples who inhabit them. Beyond the discussions themselves, the meeting had a significant symbolic aspect, because it had been organised in the framework of the World Social Forum. It implied declaring that the issue of forests should be addressed as an essentially social issue. On the one hand, because forests are not empty spaces, but are the home and source of livelihood of hundreds of millions of people all over the world and, on the other hand, because forest conservation is vital for the future of humanity as a whole.
The Forest Strategy Meeting constituted a forum to share, in a friendly environment, different visions around the issue of forests and regarding possible solutions, seeking consensus in accordance with the spirit of the Forum, which aimed at uniting diversities rather than disuniting or eliminating them.
Concerning the issue of tree monocultures and their socio-environmental impacts, a successful workshop was held, with a numerous and active attendance, where in-depth discussions were held on the problem from both national and international angles.
On this same issue, an important step forward was made in resistance to tree monocultures with the creation of the Latin American Network against Tree Monocultures. At the founding meeting, representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay participated, agreeing that action would be coordinated to oppose the expansion of large-scale tree monocultures, including timber, cellulose and oil palm plantations.
However, it is important to note that these meetings, briefly summarised here, were only a sample of other hundreds of similar meetings held in Porto Alegre, where from the different subject areas, people established closer links to face and to curb decisions that other less visible networks (corporations, governments and international organisations) take against people and the environment.
For this reason, we consider it relevant to quote here Eduardo Galeano, known all over the world as the author of "The open veins of Latin America." During his lecture at Porto Alegre he stated that:
"So no one says that in Porto Alegre it was the same old objectors and resentful people who gathered, we would like to state that we are in agreement with the world's most important leaders: we are also the enemies of terrorism. We are against terrorism in all its forms. We could propose a common platform to Davos, and common actions to capture terrorists that would start by pasting, on all the walls of the planet, posters saying "Wanted":
- Wanted: arms traders, who need the war just as coat makers need cold weather.
- Wanted: the international gang that holds up countries and never gives back its captives, although it collects multimillionaire ransoms which, in the language of the underworld are called debt service.
- Wanted: the delinquents who, on a planetary scale, steal food, strangle salaries and murder jobs.
- Wanted: those who violate the earth, those who poison water and those who steal forests.
- And also wanted are the fanatics of the consumer religion, who have unleashed a chemical war against the air and the climate of this world."
All these "wanted" are responsible --among many other things-- for the loss of forests in the planet, through war, the impoverishment of populations, foreign debt service, excessive consumption, and the destructive activities of logging, plantation, oil, mining, chemical, energy and shrimp companies. In other words, bankers, transnational corporations, submissive governments, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, are all "Wanted."
However, to detain the culprits, solidarity and unity are required, and here again, we want to refer to Galeano's lecture, who concluded by saying:
"What is the word that is most heard in the world, in nearly all languages? The word I. I, I, I. However, Carlos Lenkersdorf, who has made a study of indigenous tongues, revealed that the word most used by Maya communities, the word in the centre of their sayings and actions, is the word "us." In Chiapas, tik means us.
This World Social Forum was born and has thrived in the City of Porto Alegre for this very purpose, as universal model of participatory democracy: to say us. Tik, tik, tik."
See the rest of this bulletin at http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/67/viewpoint.html
and explore also http://www.wrm.org.uy
From: http://www. kucinich. us/issue_environment. htm
Kucinich on the Environment
I called for our nation to join with the world community in solving the challenge of global climate change, and work to reduce carbon emissions, greenhouse gases. America must lead the way toward sustainability and renewable energies. As the first step, I joined with Mayor Jerry Brown proposing an $50 billion solar initiative in cooperation with Mikhail Gorbachev's Global Green.
"It is the United States which can lead the way toward a global community which is inclusive and sustainable, which promotes democratic values and which enables the growth of the potential and the health of each person by putting human rights, workers rights and environmental quality principles into each and every trade agreement. "
The New Source Review (NSR) permit program passed, as an amendment to the Clean Air Act, in 1977 is designed to protect the public from air pollution. NSR provisions set a limit on how long more than 17,000 older industrial facilities such as power plants, refineries and industrial factories can operate without adopting modern air pollution control technology. The law requires that when these plants make "major modifications" that would result in an increase in total emissions, they must install state of the art pollution control technology. Without such a provision, the nation's industrial base would be forever "grandfathered", or excused, from having to meet modern clean air requirements.
NSR is a vital program that protects the public from excessive air pollution. The regulations recommended today by the Administration will severely undermine efforts started over thirty years ago, with the passage of the Clean Air Act, to ensure the safety of the air we breathe. If enacted, today's recommendations will have long lasting and damaging effects on our environment and health for generations to come.
Clean air is vital to every human being. The federal government should be working to strengthen public health protections under the Clean Air Act, not trying to undermine their effectiveness.
All peoples of the world must demand that their governments become signatories to a global climate change treaty. This treaty will begin to lower levels of greenhouse gases, which are right now threatening the environment and the health of people around the world and the stability of global climate. Even the ability of nations to sustain their agriculture, to control floods and to be able to respond to emergencies is threatened.
The current political dilemma we are facing in the United States, with our nation at an open-ended war against terrorism is destructive on many levels; destructive of human life, destructive of the environment, destructive of the long-term global habitat and carries the threat of nuclear showdown.
We must focus on a new environmental agenda which enforces not only our basic environmental needs like clean water, clean air, food safety, energy efficiency, safe energy, global climate change, sustainable development, reclaiming our land and the principles of conservation. But this new agenda must include another basic principle of environmental policy; the need to work for peace.
We need to make sure that we are not put in a position where we're fighting war to maintain energy policies that fuel our dependence on non-renewable resources. We must lessen our dependence and reliance on oil and begin to usher in new technologies such as solar power and harnessing wind energy.
We must insist on a claim to life and habitat that allows us to work for peace and sustainability, so that we can measure our progress towards protecting this planet for generations to come.
See the rest of his platform at http://www. kucinich. us
See also at his site above his latest message in which Dennis Kucinich states: "Thanks to your encouragement and that of many Americans, I am stepping forward as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. My candidacy represents an opportunity for a fundamental shift in our nation's international and domestic policies. My campaign is to bring before the American people international policies which can create peace and prosperity." CLIP
Women Dance Naked for Rain
March 3, 2003
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Hundreds of Australian women danced naked at a secluded location amid drought-ravaged farmland on Sunday in a ritual intended to bring rain.
Organizers from the small town of Ouyen in far northwest Victoria state said up to 500 women danced and chanted in a ceremony inspired by a Nepali drought-breaking tradition.
"We are all pretty positive that it is going to work and the community here has got behind it just so well," organizing committee chairwoman Lynne Healy told Reuters. "We are expecting rain within the next few days, or a week anyway."
The dance was held alongside regional family day festivities, with the women taken by buses to the secret location to complete the dance either naked or partially clothed, in sarongs.
"It has been a great day for community connectedness and positive mental health for people in drought-affected areas, and that was one of the reasons behind it too," Healy said.
Rain fell in the region last week, following a rehearsal dance, but farmers need more in the next few months to let them plant crops.
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