MAY LOVE PREVAIL ON EARTH
January 12, 2004
The Green Holocaust Files #12: Facing Up to What We Are Doing to Mother Earth
Much of this compilation relates to some really hard-to-face information about the fast-deteriorating state of our planet. How do we deal with that? I'd like to quote from an excellent comment just circulated by Kiara Windrider firstname.lastname@example.org (now included in full in another coming compilation this week) and entitled "EARTH CHANGES 101: AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE" (...) "Do we dare look at the extent to which we have ALREADY wrecked our environment, making it unfit for all life on the planet within a decade or two? Do we dare look at the extent to which our misguided political and military systems (I won't name names here) are creating doom and gloom for others on this planet, all in the name of democracy, freedom, and maintaining a fictitious "way of life"? It would be very easy for us to sit in our ivory towers, bury our heads in the sand, and pretend none of this is happening. I am not even talking here about predicting gloom and doom for the future, just opening our eyes to what is happening RIGHT NOW on our once beautiful planet!!! What we will see in the near future, simply as a result of disharmonic patterns we have created on Earth today, is terrifying, as many highly credible scientists and environmentalists and political analysts are now telling us. This information is out there for those who look for it. Much of it, however, is not discussed in the mass media, which gives us a false sense of security, increasingly divorced from the truth of what is taking place on the planet. We need to share this with people who are put here on God's earth to make a difference, since we cannot make a difference until we first understand. We cannot heal until we are willing to find the causes and extent of our injuries. Mother Earth is deeply hurt, and we cannot ignore this."
So I think this sets the tone pretty well for what you are about to read. Of course it does not explain what our response should be. Some of it is addressed below, but the key factor is first NOT turning your attention AWAY from this reality. Being informed, truly informed, not just superficially aware, can help make a difference when opportunities will be presented to us and intuitions will guide us into contributing our own essential piece of the Global Solution puzzle.
No matter what happens in the long run, what matters is first choosing whether we want to remain part of the Problem or be part of the Solution...
This year 2004 is going to be pivotal in so many respects for our future and personal awakening. The time is now as never before the Be All That We Are.
With Love and Trust that together we WILL find the Golden Path towards the New Earth.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
P.S. Your comments - if any - are most welcomed and may be included in a coming compilation. Circulating this compilation (or parts of it) to others and personally inviting them to join the ERN family of Light Servers would certainly be a useful contribution. Just make sure to include the following note along with your forward:
Free subscription to such compilations through http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com or by sending a blank email to email@example.com
"All Americans deserve a world without end, not a war without end."
Dennis Kucinich - http://kucinich.us/
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2004/GreenHolocaust12.htm
"Climate change is the biggest new extinction threat," said Lee Hannah, a co-author, at Conservation International in Washington DC. Many species would simply be unable to adapt or migrate to new habitats. Thomas said the feared extinctions could be one of the worst since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. "This could be on a par with some of the geologically significant extinctions."
- Taken from "Global Warming Threatens Mass Extinctions" below
(...) His call was of simple but very strong words. There was a tone of desperation, incredulousness; his strength and desire was to shake us from unconsciousness. He told us, "Enough is enough! Don't you realize the damage that you are doing to your home? When did you loose your sense of reason? When did you loose the respect for our mother earth?" He would ask, "Why haven't we taken action towards the implacable destruction we make every day, all the contamination? How is it that you can sleep at night, having this knowledge? Is it that perhaps we don't feel a responsibility for what is happening? The reality is we do have a responsibility, a very big one. By our permitting a few others who have suspect economic interest to do what they want without our putting a stop to this action, we become equally responsible. Is it not enough to see how the climate has changed? How the earth is contaminated, as well as the air? How the rivers are poisoned, and without mentioning, the oceans as well? Where are our green Mountains? Where did the spiritual guardians run off to? Where will the jaguars, the birds and the flowers inhabit? And the rest of the brothers and sisters that gives joy and balance to life? Why have we let mother earth dry up? And then we become frightened of the floods, the plagues and the earthquakes? All of this, WHY? You know the answer. It seems we only live for the moment. We only live to obtain the material illusions, the uncontrollable consumerism of things that don't serve us. Things that pacify us, distract us and make us feel as though we are somebody. What to say of the spiritual guides? This call is primarily for them, and for all the beings that are working for the light. Let's take awareness - it is time to assume the role that they are responsible for. It can all be put into one simple word: UNITY! Let it bring us harmony and a return of consciousness. Harmony with mother earth, respect for each other, respect to our brothers and sisters the animals, towards the plants and most of all, toward ourselves. Ask your grandmother, your grandfather, the elders; they have the peace and the wisdom, the awareness. Listen to the wind. Hug the ancient trees and ask them. Listen to the river or simply quiet your mind. You will see that the answer, the truth is within yourself, in the depth of your soul. Then you will know that you are a warrior of the light, of the peace, of love and of harmony. And then raise your voice without violence, but with strength. All of us united will reconstruct the wonder of life. Please, let's return to be human beings!"
- Transmitted by Dr. Marco Cagastume G. - taken from Message from the Mayan Elders of the Eagle Clan, Guatemala, available at http://www.globalspirituality.org/mayanelders.htm
"Earth is on the verge of an Ecological Apocalypse as a result of the destruction and deterioration of our Ecosystems. Now is the time to take massive action to stop this Un-natural Disaster caused by man. We need to make major changes now with a sense of urgency or this Ecological Chain Reaction will obliterate over 50% of all species on our planet and do irreversible damage to all of the Earth's Ecosystems. What we are creating in effect is an irreversible "Domino Effect". Earth will not be able to avert this Ecological Apocalypse unless we act now! If the people of the Earth do not learn to live together we will cease to exist-the apathy, greed, conspiracy, desperation and hate in the world must be replaced with peace, caring, cooperation, understanding and hope."
- Taken from http://www.solcomhouse.com/
Worthy of Your Attention
Do you want to help Save our Planet?
Make sure to explore their "Member Organizations" section. Hundreds of amazing earth-saving groups in all kinds of fields of human activity. If you are looking to join some group to help do good, you should find one there, especially is you are in the U.S. Saveourplanet.org can even help you start your own group!
Blue Skies Over Mars!
Take a good look at the sky on this photo.
Depleted Uranium Watch (BIG EYE OPENER!)
VOLCANO HAZARDS FACT SHEET: Yellowstone: Restless Volcanic Giant
(...) REASON TO WORRY? The current rates of seismicity, ground deformation, and hydrothermal activity at Yellowstone, although high by most geologic standards, are probably typical of long time periods between eruptions and therefore not a reason for immediate concern. Potentially damaging earthquakes are likely to continue occurring every few decades, as they have in the recent past. Eventually Yellowstone will erupt again, but there is no indication that an eruption is imminent or what kind of eruption may come next. For the foreseeable future, the same powerful forces that created Yellowstone will continue to animate this slumbering, but restless, volcanic giant. CLIP
Also at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/activity.html we can read in their December report "Earthquake activity in the Yellowstone region is at background levels."
(NOTE FROM JEAN: Kind of reassuring... Yet for anyone who saw the movie Deep Impact in which a comet was to struck the planet, creating a 2 year-long die-off of most plant and animal life under the cover of near total darkness, with a tiny percentage of the Earth's population to weather out this catastrophe in well-stocked caves, it is sobering to consider that a super volcano like Yellowstone could achieve something possibly just as bad on a global scale as explained in "Supervolcanoes could trigger global freeze" (3 February, 2000) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/628515.stm where we read, "Yellowstone has gone off roughly once every 600,000 years. Its last eruption was 640,000 years ago. " (...) "When a supervolcano goes off, it is an order of magnitude greater than a normal eruption. It produces energy equivalent to an impact with a comet or an asteroid. "You can try diverting an asteroid. But there is nothing at all you can do about a supervolcano. "The eruption throws cubic kilometres of rock, ash, dust, sulphur dioxide and so on into the upper atmosphere, where they reflect incoming solar radiation, forcing down temperatures on the Earth's surface. It's just like a nuclear winter. The effects could last four or five years, with crops failing and the whole ecosystem breaking down. And it is going to happen again some day." More chilling details at http://armageddononline.tripod.com/volcano.htm and http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?noframes;read=4246
And again, here is what Matthew mentioned on this last October 17, 2003
SUZY: What can you tell me about whats going on in Yellowstone Park? MATTHEW: Quite a bit, and Mother, you are wrong about this not falling into any of that. Yes, the scientists reports are worthy evaluations of the changing conditions, but like you, they are unaware that what is happening is a combination of Mother Nature and man-made technology. It is not news to you that dark forces will use any means possible to create devastation to divert minds from discovery of truth and acting upon that. A volcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park could certainly do that, and of what use to the dark forces is that park and all areas that would be severely affected by an eruption? Noneother than diverting peoples attention from the deception and corruption being exposed by creating more sources of fear and more planetary devastation. A natural eruption in Yellowstone Park is not needed to relieve the negativity that Earth has been ridding herself of with the help of the off-planet light sources and now, the additional light being generated by her own civilization. By divine design, an enormous amount of quake and eruption activity is taking place in areas of sparse human population. While I would love to tell you that there is no possibility of an eruption in Yellowstone, I cant because of that free will law that has to be observed even in those souls who would deliberately cause that kind of destruction. With the amount of light now on Earth, left alone that volcano will quiet itself, and what can be done, if necessary, is the power of your ET brothers superior technology to alleviate the effects of a man-made eruption. CLIP
SO! I Guess it would seem appropriate to channel Light to balance out whatever nefarious efforts that may be afoot to create such a catastrophic "diversion". Hearts of so-called mad scientists are not immune to Love and healing-Light-fostering soul emissions...
1. Global Warming Threatens Mass Extinctions - Study
2. Man Indifferent to Ecological Risks
3. Shop 'Til the Earth Goes 'Pop'
4. Life After The Oil Crash
5. TOWARD A GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION
6. The Time has come for a New Beginning
Herbal medicine boom threatens plants (Jan 8)
The multimillion-pound boom in herbal medicine is threatening to wipe out up to a fifth of the plant species on which it depends, wrecking their natural habitats and jeopardising the health of millions of people in developing countries. And yet the herbal medicines industry has been accused of doing nothing about it. Most people around the globe use herbal medicine for everyday healthcare, with as many as 80 per cent relying on it in some countries. But two-thirds of the 50,000 medicinal plants in use are still harvested from the wild, and research to be published later in 2004 suggests that between 4000 and 10,000 of them may now be endangered. (...) Another leading international expert on medicinal plants, Gerard Bodeker from Green College, Oxford, thinks that the assessments of the crisis by Hamilton and Plantlife are conservative. Most of the processes involved in supplying the growing market for herbal remedies are "the result of unsustainable and often destructive practices driven by poverty", he says. The industry is characterised by changing health fads which keep favouring different plants, so there is little incentive to sustainably produce particular species, he argues. "They are eating their own nest. They are not replacing what they take." CLIP
World Health Report: Life expectancy falls in poorest countries (Jan 12)
Stark global inequalities in health are revealed in the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) report. World Health Report 2003 highlights the slowing of gains and the widening of health gaps. A baby girl born in Japan can expect to live to 85 years of age, have sufficient food, vaccinations and a good education. On average she will have $550 spent on medication per year for her needs, with more available if necessary. If she were born in Sierra Leone she would have a life expectancy of just 36 years, not be immunised, be undernourished and if she survived childhood would marry as a teenager and give birth to six children. Childbirth would represent a high risk to her. One or more of her children would die in infancy. She could expect only $3 a year to be spent on medication. Life expectancy has increased globally by almost 20 years over the last half century. In 1950-1955 it was 46.5 years and in 2002 it was 65.2 years. But this overall rise masks a terrible decline in life expectancy in the poorest countries. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa adult mortality rates are now higher than they were 30 years ago.
Scientists say poles might flip (Dec 12, 2003)
The Earth's protective magnetic field has fallen about 10 percent since 1845 and if that continues, the field could flip. These flips happen every 200,000 years, on average, scientists say. The last one was 780,000 years ago. Whether the field flips or merely continues to weaken, more harmful particles would flow in from the sun, resulting in an estimated extra 100,000 cancer cases a year; and solar particles would set off reactions that destroy ozone high in the atmosphere, lowering protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Seeking Harmony in a Final Return to the Land
BABS McDONALD of Athens, Ga., says that when death takes her, there will be no reason for her family to spring for an expensive coffin and elaborate headstone. "What do I need it for at that point?" said Ms. McDonald, 50, an environmental educator for the Forest Service. "I don't even want a cardboard box. I want my body to give back to the earth. It is supposed to decompose and nourish the earth, become food for all the microorganisms." Ms. McDonald is among a small but growing number of people who want environmentally friendly or "green" burials. The goals, they say, are to conserve land and to cut down on what they see as unnecessary pollution from the hundreds of thousands of gallons of embalming fluid and thousands of tons of metal that are deposited into the ground each year. While the Environmental Protection Agency says that the formaldehyde and human wastes from a buried, embalmed body can potentially cause disease in humans or harm aquatic life, no studies have found conclusively that embalmed bodies are a risk to water supplies and soil. Still, some advocates of green burials say there is cause for concern. "From a common sense standpoint, putting a chemical that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration deems toxic into the ground certainly can't be beneficial to the environment," said Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit group. Looking ahead to her own green burial, Ms. McDonald last year bought two plots - one for herself and one for her husband - at Ramsey Creek Preserve, which opened six years ago in Westminster, S.C. "I see it as a win-win situation," she said. "Death is really just a part of life, and this is a great way to preserve a piece of land." The rules for green burials are simple: coffins must be nontoxic and biodegradable, no vaults are allowed and embalming fluids are not used. Headstones are not permitted; flat rocks, plants and trees are used as grave markers. CLIP
Scientists urge fuel quota scheme (Jan 11)
Scientists say a national trading scheme in carbon emissions is the UK's best hope for tackling climate change. The Tyndall Centre in Cambridge says that under the scheme every adult would be allocated a fixed number of units of carbon fuel such as petrol and gas. People living "green" lifestyles could sell units they did not use to people who led more polluting lifestyles. This would help the UK slash the carbon emissions which are linked to global warming, the scientists say. The government is committed to dramatic cuts in carbon emissions in the coming years, with a target of a 60% reduction by the year 2050. The researchers say the carbon trading idea would be the best way of doing this. People who use less than the average amount of carbon fuel could sell [units] to other people living in larger houses or driving bigger cars. CLIP
GE Crops Use More Pesticides
The report finds that many farmers need to spray incrementally more herbicides on GE acres in order to keep up with shifts in weeds toward tougher-to-control species, coupled with the emergence of genetic resistance in certain weed populations. "For years weed scientists have warned that heavy reliance on herbicide tolerant crops would trigger ecological changes in farm fields that would incrementally erode the technology's effectiveness. A November 2003 study of levels of pesticide use on genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans and cotton in the U.S. reports that these GE varieties have resulted in the application of more pesticides. While use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) transgenic varieties have reduced pesticide use by an estimated 19.6 million pounds in the past eight years, herbicide tolerant crops have been responsible for the application of an estimated 70 million additional pounds of pesticides. Overall, the report concludes that GE crops have caused 50 million additional pounds of pesticides to be used in U.S. agriculture. CLIP
Press abetting beef industry's spin
Again and again, as the mad cow story emerged, we heard repeated - almost like a mantra - that the United States has "the safest food supply in the world." Television reporters commenting on possible risks would repeat "which has the safest food supply in the world" after every recitation of "United States," much in the way schoolchildren and teachers in Iraq were required to say something like "may Allah bless and save him" after every mention of Saddam Hussein. Without going into how special-interest big-business lobbying in America has repeatedly blocked stricter regulation, the claim that we have the safest food supply in the world is simply not supported by fact. Taking just mad cow disease as an example, we test 1 percent of our bovine stock for the disease, while Japan and Britain test 100 percent. Until yesterday, we allowed many practices outlawed elsewhere such as slaughtering "downed" cows for market, and labeling as "meat" material recovered from bones and ganglia. I find it extremely disturbing that the government insists on painting a rosier picture than is warranted, particularly with regard to an "invariably" fatal disease, and that the press propagates political propaganda apparently without a second thought. This is one of the techniques dictatorships like North Korea or Stalinist Russia have traditionally used to maintain their grip. We should insist on straight and honest disclosure from our government. And a supine press is contrary to every value we cherish in our society.
In N.J., a link to mad cow? (Jan 7)
7 died of CJD after eating beef at Garden State Race Track.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org on January 8
Global Warming Threatens Mass Extinctions - Study
NORWAY: January 8, 2004
OSLO - Global warming could wipe out a quarter of all species of plants and animals on earth by 2050 in one of the biggest mass extinctions since the dinosaurs, according to an international study.
The United Nations said the report, highlighting threats to creatures ranging from Australian butterflies to Spanish eagles, showed a need for the world to back the Kyoto protocol, meant to brake rising temperatures linked to human pollution.
"A quarter of all species of plants and land animals, or more than a million in all, could be driven to extinction," said Chris Thomas, professor of Conservation Biology at England's University of Leeds.
Thomas, lead author of the study published in the science journal Nature, told Reuters that emissions from cars and factories could push temperatures up to levels not seen for one million to 30 million years by the end of the century, threatening many habitats.
The survey, the largest of its kind to date, studied global warming links to 1,103 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and insects in South Africa, Brazil, Europe, Australia, Mexico and Costa Rica and extrapolated findings as far as 2050. It did not examine the oceans. "Climate change is the biggest new extinction threat," said Lee Hannah, a co-author, at Conservation International in Washington DC. Many species would simply be unable to adapt or migrate to new habitats.
Thomas said the feared extinctions could be one of the worst since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. "This could be on a par with some of the geologically significant extinctions," he said.
Species under threat include many types of trees in the Amazon, the Spanish Imperial eagle and Boyd's forest dragon lizard in Australia. Birds like the Scottish crossbill could probably survive if only they knew to fly to Iceland.
U.N. studies project that global temperatures will rise by 1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius (3-12 F) by 2100, mainly because of human emissions of gases like carbon dioxide. Rising temperatures may spur more extreme weather like floods, heatwaves and tornadoes.
Thomas noted that some scientists argue that species have adapted to rapid climate change before -- as in a warming after the last Ice Age. But he said that humans had now taken over much of the planet, adding to pressures this time round. Klaus Toepfer, the head of the U.N. Environment Program, said the report showed that extinctions could hit billions of people, mainly in the Third World who rely on nature for food, shelter and medicines. "This alarming report underlines again to the world the importance of bringing into force the Kyoto Protocol," he said.
Kyoto, which would rein in emissions of carbon dioxide, needs countries representing emissions of 55 percent of carbon dioxide to enter into force. It has so far mustered 44 percent and cannot reach 55 without Russia's 17 percent, after the United States pulled out its 36 percent share in 2001, arguing it was too expensive and wrongly excluded poor nations. Moscow says it is undecided.
Thomas said the study estimated that 15-37 percent of all species could be pushed to extinction as a result of climate change to 2050 with a central assumption of about 24 percent. He urged a shift to new, cleaner energy technologies.
Ocean life depends on single circulation pattern in Southern Hemisphere
Study raises questions about potential impact of climate change - A study has shown that marine life around the world is surprisingly dependent on a single ocean circulation pattern in the Southern Hemisphere where nutrient-rich water rises from the deep and spreads across the seas. The results suggest that ocean life may be more sensitive to climate change than previously believed because most global warming predictions indicate that major ocean circulation patterns will change. While oceanographers have identified many ocean circulation patterns, the study found that three-quarters of all biological activity in the oceans relies on this single pattern. "When we shut off this one pathway in our models, biological productivity in the oceans drops to one-quarter of what it is today," said Jorge Sarmiento, a Princeton oceanographer who led the study published in the Jan. 1, 2004, issue of Nature. Marine organisms account for half all biological productivity on Earth.
Blue-sky thinking about climate (Jan 7)
Scientists are studying possible ways of using engineering to help the world to adapt to increasing climate change. (...) Chances slipping away - "We may find we're in a cul-de-sac and have to think of other policies which transcend the protocol. "But we must think about unconventional strategies in any case, because a back-of-envelope calculation shows we're unlikely to do the job without them. "We may have missed the best time to intervene to protect the climate. Kyoto will reduce global warming by less than a tenth of a degree anyway. "If it can be rescued, by then it may mean we've lost another 10 years and are simply running out of time."
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com on Dec 27
Man Indifferent to Ecological Risks
By Patrick Viveret
18 December 2003
"The house is on fire, but we're looking somewhere else." The phrase the French president used to open his speech at the Johannesburg Earth Summit still remains dramatically accurate, also for his own government. The alarm signals showing that humanity is at one of the most decisive moments of its young history keep lighting up, but we continue to manage our own little affairs, defend our own little interests, simmer our little hatreds, as though we had eternity before us.
From now on, what we need for most of the great stakes where humanity pledges its future is to adopt the "Geneva Pact" method, the possibility and the utility of which the Palestinian and Israeli two peace camps have just demonstrated. Instead of a step by step politics that starts from the existing situation, we must start from the problem and the elements for its solution.
In the ecological domain, yesterday's heat wave, today's floods confirm how essential a drastic reduction in our carbon dioxide emissions is. If we no longer have the possibility, given our previous blindness, to forestall a 20C warming from now to the end of the century; it is our responsibility to make sure that warming doesn't reach or approach 60C, which would constitute an upheaval with incalculable consequences in every domain of human life.
This radical change in our modes of production, consumption and life is no longer a symposium subject, but a vital necessity. But since we reduce the precaution principle to a simple statistical risk potential, there is always something more urgent, more profitable to do than to mobilize our energies to avoid these risks. Moreover, these risks are not only cumulative, but also systemic, because health, social, and food challenges, to name only the most glaring, are, if one considers them logically, of the same nature as ecological challenges.
Apart from this ecological challenge, of which global warming is only the most spectacular aspect, we have to confront six other challenges: the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction in the context of a crisis of nuclear deterrent; misery and humiliation, which together make an explosive cocktail; the alternative to new wars of direction and meaning which the Bush-Bin Laden axis symbolizes; the revolution of life, the coupling of which with information transformations, by producing unheard of capacities for the control and production of life, may also, if poorly conducted, lead us to a form of "post-humanity"; the human capacity to act with inhumanity toward itself; the emergence of world citizenship and planetary democracy.
One of international studies' clearest lessons about the big risks of the future is that most of the great evils that international conferences seek to combat - poverty, hunger, lack of access to potable water, inadequate or non-existent health care, ecological upsets, unequal access to communication techniques--are not due to physical, technical, or monetary scarcity.
According to the United Nations Development Program, annual world advertising expenses are ten times the sum that would have to be spent each year to eradicate most of these scourges. So Gandhi's prediction turns out to be confirmed : "There are sufficient resources on this planet to answer the needs of all, but not enough to satisfy everyone's greed." The definition of sustainable development in terms of needs is too simplistic in relation to the principal problem, which is less that of the satisfaction of needs (understood as essential or survival needs) than the propensity to satisfy the desires of the rich and the powerful for wealth and power far beyond what is necessary.
Moreover, it is difficult to deny the link between the deepening of these world inequalities and the central question of security. Numerous human beings are potentially in the situation of considering that they have nothing to lose, minimally by emigrating illegally, at worst by killing or by killing oneself in deadly suicide attacks against the symbols of power and wealth. These people are easy prey for terrorist, mafia, or sectarian enterprises.
The planetary space thus calls for a radical reversal of a logic of civilization and of pacification founded on the fear of external barbarism. War forbidden in the interior, but licit on the outside, is the foundation of the large political structures humanity has so far conceived, from the Greek City State to the United Nations, passing through empires. The foreigner, the infidel, the barbarian have consequently constituted the face of the enemy, the one against which the community constructs itself and maintains its unity.
We have not yet fully measured the extent to which globalization and the democratic fact radically overturn this many-millennia-old distinction. Democracy, by organizing a division at the interior of the city or the nation, necessarily lowers the tension in relation to the exterior. Globalization leads humanity to ask the question about its own unity and governance and closes off recourse to the facility of non-human enemies to structure its own pacification.
Ever since there has been no terra incognita left for humanity, the destiny of globalization plays against internal barbarism. And it's in Europe that these stakes of civilization take on their most tragic dimension. That's also, no doubt why Europe--because it was able to invent an Auschwitz--owes itself to demonstrate there is a planetary path toward the better; Europe, which bears in its flesh the demonstration that humanity drunk on the will to power can touch the depths of inhumanity.
We only have a little time left, probably barely a half-century, for our human family to avoid the "road exit" for ecological reasons, risks of self-destruction, or of uncontrolled genetic mutation. The old geopolitical concepts of power rivalry are unsuited to these challenges, which demand, on the contrary, a formidable collective intelligence capacity, the establishment of cooperative non-military strategies, and a radical change in the mode of development that places humanity's desire at the heart of its perspective.
Translation: Truthout French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.
Monkeys make a meal of human babies (Jan 1)
Chimpanzees struggling to survive amid the destruction of their forest habitat are snatching and killing human babies. (...) Until the 20th century Uganda boasted a chimp population of several million, but an 86 per cent reduction of forest has cut that number to fewer than 5000. As their habitat disappears so do their food supplies and that, combined with greater proximity to humans, has led them to discover that small children and babies are easily caught and a good source of protein, according to experts.
ASTOUNDING NUMBERS AND FACTS
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org
Shop 'Til the Earth Goes 'Pop'
by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON -- Fatter and ever hungrier for the latest physical comforts and social-status symbols, the average U.S. citizen is leading the world in building a global consumer society that is wreaking havoc on the world's natural resources, according to the 30th annual edition of Worldwatch Institute's 'State of the World' released here Thursday.
U.S. consumption styles have not only spread to other industrialized nations, according to the "State of the World: 2004;" they have succeeded in penetrating much of the developing world as well.
In China alone, 240 million people have joined the ranks of the "consumer class,'' accounting for about five percent of the estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide who have adopted the diets, transportation systems, and lifestyles pioneered in the U.S. and quickly taken up by other industrialized nations during the last century, according to the 245-page report.
By contrast, some 2.8 billion people live on less than US$2 a day, 1.1 billion of whom lack access to safe drinking water Some 122 million Indians are also living an essentially western lifestyle--more than the roughly 121 million Japanese, 76 million Germans and 61 million Russians, 58 million Brazilians, and 53 million French people who also enjoy the fruits of consumer society, the report said.
The report defines membership in the consumer society as people with annual incomes over $7,000 of purchasing power, roughly equivalent to the official poverty level in the European Union. Members, according to the report, typically use television, telephones, and the Internet, ''along with the culture and ideas that these products transmit.''
Consumption of physical goods is important, Worldwatch stresses, particularly in providing jobs and income to families and societies. That income is vital to securing peoples' basic needs for food, clean water, and sanitation, among other services. But consumption also has serious downsides, especially on the natural resources that also contribute to sustaining human life.
"Rising consumption has helped meet basic needs and create jobs," said World president Christopher Flavin. ''But as we enter a new century, this unprecedented consumer appetite is undermining the natural systems we all depend on, and making it even harder for the world's poor to meet their basic needs."
"Higher levels of obesity and personal debt, chronic time shortages, and a degraded environment are all signs that excessive consumption is diminishing the quality of life for many people," according to Flavin. "The challenge now is to mobilize governments, businesses, and citizens to shift their focus away from unrestrained accumulation of goods and toward finding ways to ensure a better life for all."
Indeed, one of the more remarkable findings of the new report suggests that consumption may not be increasing general levels of personal happiness or social health.
Not only do poor eating habits resulting from the growth in fast-food consumption contribute to obesity and the ailments that come with it, but, insofar as the United States is concerned, the sharp rise in consumption over the past 30 years has been accompanied by increases in poverty, teenage suicide, lack of health insurance coverage, and a steadily growing gap between rich and poor. About one-third of U.S. citizens today say they are ''very happy;'' the same share as in 1957 when average incomes were half what they are now, according to the report.
Private household spending on non-essential goods and services has increased four-fold since 1960 and now tops $20 trillion annually, according to the report. Of this total, 60 percent is spent by people living in North America and Western Europe--only 12 percent of the global population. By contrast, the roughly 33 percent of the world's people living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for only 3.2 percent of total spending. But consumption is rising most quickly in the developing world, as globalization introduces millions of people to consumer goods, while providing the technology and capital to produce and distribute them, according to the report. "Nearly half of all global consumers now live in the developing world," said Lisa Mastny, who co-directed the project that produced the latest 'State of the World' report. "While the average Chinese or Indian consumes much less than the average North America or European, China and India alone now boast a combined consumer class larger than that in all of Western Europe."
Indeed, China, with roughly four times the U.S. population, will soon overtake the United States in the size of its consumer class. The United States currently has about 243 million people--or about 85 percent of its total population--who fall into the consumer class. The countries of Western Europe, where 89 percent of the people can be considered consumers, account for a total of almost 350 million consumers.
On a per capita basis, however, the United States is far ahead of the rest of the world and shows few signs of slowing down, according to the report. In the U.S. today, there are more private vehicles on the road than people licensed to drive them; indeed, about one-quarter of the world's cars are found on U.S. roads. New houses in the U.S. were 38 percent bigger in 2000 than in 1975, despite having fewer people in each household on average.
Such consumption patterns help explain why, with only 4.5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. accounts for some 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions widely understood to contribute to global warming. The average U.S. citizen currently consumes five times more energy than the average global citizen, ten times more than the average Chinese, and 20 times more than the average Indian, according to the report.
U.S. consumers spend about $30 billion a year on toys, and U.S. children now receive on average some 69 toys a year. The number of clothing items bought by U.S. consumers increased 73 percent between 1996 and 2001, with the average U.S. consumer purchasing 48 new pieces of apparel a year.
Annual consumption of soda--a staple at fast-food restaurants that have introduced ever larger soda containers over the past decade--doubled to 185 liters between 1970 and 2001, and the United States has become the world's largest consumer of shrimp and caviar. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.
Moreover, consumption levels have not translated into more leisure and less work. On the contrary, the need to work longer hours to afford higher consumer lifestyles has meant that U.S. workers, on average, put in 350 more hours on the job than their European counterparts.
Life After The Oil Crash
Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. (MUCH MORE ON THIS AND LOTS OF GRAPHICS AT http://www.propagandamatrix.com/010903civilization.html) This is not the wacky conclusion of a religious cult, but rather the result of diligent analysis sourced by hard data and the scientists who study global Peak Oil and related geo-political events.The situation is so dire that even George W. Bush's Energy Adviser, Matthew Simmons, has acknowledged that "the situation is desperate. This is the world's biggest serious question."
If you are like 99% of the people reading this letter, you have never heard of the term "Peak Oil".I had not heard the term until a few months ago. Since learning about Peak Oil, I have had my worldview, and basic assumptions about my own individual future turned completely upside down.
A little about myself: A few months ago, I was a 25 year old law school graduate who found out he had just passed the California Bar Exam. I was excited about a potentially long and prosperous career in the legal profession, getting married, having kids, contributing to my community, and living the "American Dream".
Peak Oil has caused me to seriously question how realistic this vision of my life is.
Whether your'e 25 or 75, an attorney or an auto mechanic, what you are about to read will shake the foundations of your life.
Below you find a brief explanation of Peak Oil, the ramifications, and what we can do about it.For the sake of simplicity, I have designed the following explanation for somebody unfamiliar with Peak Oil. If you would like more in depth explanations with graphs, charts, and the like, please consult the articles and sites I have linked to throughout this site.
What is "Peak Oil"?
All oil production follows a bell curve, whether in an individual field or on the planet as a whole. On the upslope of the curve production costs are significantly lower than on the downslope when extra effort (expense) is required to extract oil from reservoirs that are emptying out.
For the past 150 years, we have been moving up the upslope of the global oil production curve."Peak Oil" is the industry term for the top of the curve.The peak will last for a year or so, at which time we will go down the very steep downslope. The further we go down the slope, the more it costs to produce oil, and its cousin, natural gas.
When will Peak Oil occur?
The most wildly optimistic estimates indicate 2020 will be the year in which worldwide oil production peaks.Generally, these estimates come from the government.
A more realistic estimate is between the year 2004-2010.Unfortunately, we won't know that we hit the peak until 3-4 years after we actually hit it.Even on the upslope of the curve, oil production varies a bit from year to year.It is possible that the year 2000 was the year of peak oil production, as production has dipped every year since.
The energy industry has quietly acknowledged the seriousness of the situation.For instance in an article entitled A Revolutionary Transformation, the president of Exxon Mobil Exploration Company, Jon Thompson stated: "By 2015, we will need to find, develop and produce a volume of new oil and gas that is equal to eight out of every 10 barrels being produced today".
That sounds pretty bad, but I don't drive an SUV or anything.Even if gas prices get high, I could probably still make ends meet.Why should I be concerned?
Almost every current human endeavor from transportation, to manufacturing, to electricity to plastics, and especially food production is inextricably intertwined with oil and natural gas supplies.
Commercial food production is oil powered. All pesticides are petroleum based, and all commercial fertilizers are ammonia based. Ammonia is produced from natural gas.
Oil based agriculture has been fantastic for food production. Oil allowed for farming implements such as tractors and food storage and transport systems such as refrigerators and trucks.As oil production went up, so did food production.As food production went up, so did the population.As the population went up, the demand for food went up, which increased the demand for oil.
Unfortunately, we are at a point where the demand for food/oil has been rising exponentially, and is expected to continue to do so.Oil (food) production, however, is about to drop dramatically.
When Peak Oil occurs, food production will plummet because of the cost of fertilizer will soar.The cost of storing (electricity) and transporting (gasoline) what little food that is produced will also soar.Unless you grow all your own food on your own local, self sustained farm, you will have to deal with the food shortage.
Oil is also required for nearly every consumer item, water supply pumping, sewage disposal, garbage disposal, street/park maintenance, hospitals & health systems, police, fire services, and national defense.
Thus, the aftermath of Peak Oil will extend far beyond how much you will pay for gas. Simply stated, you can expect: war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens.
This is known as the post-oil "die-off".The term "die-off" captures perfectly the nightmare that is at our doorstep.For a humorous portrayal of the die-off, read chapter 3 of Michael Moore's most recent book, "Dude, Where's My Country?"
What do you mean by "Die-Off"?
Exactly what it sounds like.It is estimated that the world's population will contract to 500 million during the Oil Crash.(current world population: 6 billion)
What About Alternatives like Solar, Wind, Hydrogen etc?
Unfortunately, it is too late.It would take us a minimum of 50 years to develop a food delivery infrastructure based on alternative energies.Peak Oil is going to occur within five. Even if we stopped all wars, and committed ourselves entirely to energy alternatives such as solar, wind, hydrogen etc, the best we can hope for is to soften the fall.
Oil accounts for 40% of our current global energy supply.There are no alternatives to oil that can supply this much energy, let alone the amount of energy we require to feed a worldwide population that is increasing exponentially.
Let's briefly examine the commonly proposed oil alternatives:
Natural Gas currently supplies 20% of global energy supply. Gas itself will start running out from 2020 on. Demand for natural gas in North America is already outstripping supply, especially as power utilities take the remaining gas to generate electricity. Gas is not suited for existing jet aircraft, ships, vehicles, and equipment for agriculture and other products. Conversion consumes large amounts of energy as well as money. Natural gas also does not provide the huge array of chemical by-products that we depend on oil for.
Hydro-Electric power currently accounts for 2.3% of global energy supply, compared with the 40% provided. It is unsuitable for aircrafts and the present 800 million existing vehicles.
Solar power accounts for .006% of global energy supply. Energy varies constantly with weather or day/night. Not storable or portable energy like oil or natural gas so unsuited for present vehicles and industry. Batteries bulky, expensive, wear out in 5-10 years. Photovoltaic solar equipment (US$4/watt) is about 15% efficient, giving about 100 watts of the 1 kW per square meter exposed to bright sunshine (enough for one light bulb). A typical solar water panel array can deliver 50% to 85% of a homes hot water though. Using some of our precious remaining crude oil as fuel for manufacturing solar equipment may be wise.
Wind power accounts for .07% of global energy supply. As with solar, energy varies greatly with weather, and is not portable or storable like oil and gas.
Hydrogen accounts for 0.01% of global energy. Hydrogen is currently manufactured from methane gas. It takes more energy to create it than the hydrogen actually provides. It is therefore an energy carrier not a source. Liquid hydrogen occupies four to eleven times the bulk of equivalent gasoline or diesel. Existing vehicles and aircraft and existing distribution systems are not suited to it. Solar hydrogen might be an option in some of the hot countries.
Nuclear is currently being abandoned globally). Its ability to soften the oil crash is very problematic due to accidents and terrorism. Many more reactors would be needed. Tons of radioactive materials to transport at risk to public. Nuclear waste disposal is still the major, unresolved problem, especially breeder reactors producing plutonium a nuclear weapon/terrorist raw material, half-life contamination is 24,000 years. All abandoned reactors are radioactive for decades or millennia. Nuclear is not directly suitable for aircraft and vehicles. Adapting nuclear to make hydrogen or other fuels would be a huge, and energy-expensive project.Nuclear fusion is still not available, after 40 years research and billions of dollars invested.
Humanity always adapts to challenges. We will just adapt to this, right? Absolutely. Just most of us won't be here.
Is It Possible That We Have Already Hit Peak Oil and Are Now In the First Stages of the Oil Crash?
Yes. As stated above, we won't know we have hit the Peak until a few years after we hit it. Global oil production has dipped every year since 2000, so it is quite possible the Peak has passed.
Ample evidence exists that we are in the first stages of the Oil Crash.In the last year (2003), the cost of food has risen 16%-25%.Health care costs have risen 15%.Education costs have risen 20%.These are often excluded from measures of inflation because they are considered "volatile".
As of 12/03 the "adjusted" unemployment, which has been squeezed out of as much meaning as conceivably possible, still hovers in the 6% range.However, if you factor in the quality of employment, then the real numbers are closer to 12%-15%.
The rolling blackouts experienced in California during Fall 2000, the massive East Coast blackout of August, 2003 and the various other massive blackouts that occurred throughout the world during late summer of 2003, while not directly related to Peak Oil, are simply a sign of things to come.
If the year 2000 was the year of Peak Oil, it means we have very little time to prepare before things completely disintegrate.
CLIP - THIS WAS JUST TO GET YOU STARTED, THE REST (2/3 of it) AT http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ IS VERY MUCH WORTH READING AND COVERS MANY DIFFERENT ISSUES.
THE PEAK OF WORLD OIL PRODUCTION AND THE ROAD TO THE OLDUVAI GORGE
(...) Question: Where will the Olduvai die-off occur? Response: Everywhere. But large cities, of course, will be the most dangerous places to reside when the electric grids die. There you have millions of people densely packed in high-rise buildings, surrounded by acres-and-acres of blacktop and concrete: no electricity, no work, and no food. Thus the urban areas will rapidly depopulate when the electric grids die. In fact we have already mapped out the danger zones. (e.g. See Living Earth, 1996.) Specifically: The big cities stand out brightly as yellow-orange dots on NASA's satellite mosaics (i.e. pictures) of the earth at night. These planetary lights blare out "Beware", "Warning", and "Danger". The likes of Los Angeles and New York, London and Paris, Bombay and Hong Kong are all unsustainable hot spots. The theory of civilization is traced from Greek philosophy in about 500 BCE to a host of respected scientists in the 20th century. For example: The 'reference runs' of two world simulation models in the 1970s put the life expectancy of civilization between about 100 and 200 years. The Olduvai theory is specifically defined as the ratio of world energy production and world population. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: from 1930 to 2030. The theory is tested against historic data from 1920 to 1999. Although all primary sources of energy are important, the Olduvai theory postulates that electricity is the quintessence of Industrial Civilization. World energy production per capita increased strongly from 1945 to its all-time peak in 1979. Then from 1979 to 1999 for the first time in history it decreased from 1979 to 1999 at a rate of 0.33 %/year (the Olduvai 'slope', Figure 4). Next from 2000 to 2011, according to the Olduvai schema, world energy production per capita will decrease by about 0.70 %/year (the 'slide'). Then around year 2012 there will be a rash of permanent electrical blackouts worldwide. These blackouts, along with other factors, will cause energy production per capita by 2030 to fall to 3.32 b/year, the same value it had in 1930. The rate of decline from 2012 to 2030 is 5.44 %/year (the Olduvai 'cliff'). Thus, by definition, the duration of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years. The Olduvai 'slide' from 2001 to 2011 (Figure 4) may resemble the "Great Depression" of 1929 to 1939: unemployment, breadlines, and homelessness. As for the Olduvai 'cliff' from 2012 to 2030 I know of no precedent in human history. Governments have lost respect. World organizations are ineffective. Neo-tribalism is rampant. The population is over six billion and counting. Global warming and emerging viruses are headlines. The reliability of electric power networks is falling. And the instant the power goes out, you are back in the Dark Age. In 1979 I concluded, "If God made the earth for human habitation, then He made it for the Stone Age mode of habitation." The Olduvai theory is thinkable.
BUSH-CHENEY ENERGY STRATEGY: PROCURING THE REST OF THE WORLD'S OIL http://www.fpif.org/papers/03petropol/politics.html
When first assuming office in early 2001, President George W. Bush's top foreign policy priority was not to prevent terrorism or to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction--or any of the other goals he espoused later that year following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Rather, it was to increase the flow of petroleum from suppliers abroad to U.S. markets. In the months before he became president, the United States had experienced severe oil and natural gas shortages in many parts of the country, along with periodic electrical power blackouts in California. In addition, oil imports rose to more than 50% of total consumption for the first time in history, provoking great anxiety about the security of the country's long-term energy supply. Bush asserted that addressing the nation's "energy crisis" was his most important task as president. He and his advisers considered the oil supply essential to the health and profitability of leading U.S. industries. They reasoned that any energy shortages could have severe and pervasive economic repercussions on businesses in automobiles, airlines, construction, petrochemicals, trucking, and agriculture. They deemed petroleum especially critical to the economy because it is the source of two-fifths' of the total U.S. energy supply--more than any other source,--and because it provides most of the nation's transportation fuel. They also were cognizant of petroleum's crucial national security role as the power for the vast array of tanks, planes, helicopters, and ships that constitute the backbone of the U.S. war machine. "America faces a major energy supply crisis over the next two decades," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham told a National Energy Summit on March 19, 2001. "The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation's economic prosperity, compromise our national security, and literally alter the way we lead our lives." CLIP
More than any other commodity, oil is the lifeblood of modern economies and the engine of military machines. It is a source of enormous profit and political might. The major powers have gone to great lengths over the past century to secure access to it and influence the terms of its trade. In the pursuit of black gold, world leaders have established colonial outposts, supported dictatorial regimes that did their bidding, plotted against those who stood in the way, and militarized oil-rich regions with scant concern for the impact on local people or ecosystems. The first colonizers that jockeyed to divide the oil-rich Middle East between them were Britain and France. The United States soon joined the fray. The current U.S. occupation of Iraq is the latest chapter to draw international attention to the violent history of oil. But around the world, armed conflicts over the profits from oil development continually cause strife and personal loss. To an extent unrivaled by any other nation on earth, the United States is addicted to oil. Much of the population regards unlimited consumption as a birthright. Subsidies actively nurture the habit of guzzling. Sprawling settlements and related dependence on motorized transport make high-volume energy use a day-to-day necessity. The U.S. economy remains far less energy efficient than Japan and industrialized countries in Europe. Representing a mere 5% of global population, the United States claims 26% of the world's oil use. U.S. oil consumption is projected to increase by one-third over the next two decades. But domestic oil production has been declining since 1970 and will continue to fall by a projected 12% over the next 20 years. The upshot is that U.S. dependence on imported oil, which has already risen from one-third in 1985 to more than half today, is set to climb to two-thirds by 2020. CLIP
SOME VERY INTERESTING PROPOSALS FOR SOLUTIONS. AS YOU READ THIS, ASK YOURSELF, WHO BETWEEN BUSH AND KUCINICH IS MOST LIKELY TO IMPLEMENT ANY OF THIS? (I know this is a silly question because the answer is soooo obvious. It just goes to emphasize once again how vital to the future of this planet it is that we shake this world free from the evil interests the current Administration represents and build a Light-filled sustainable future for all.)
Date: 12 Jan 2004
Subject: [PR] Special Edition: PetroPolitics
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TOWARD A GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION
By Ross Gelbspan
(Editor's Note: Excerpted from a briefing paper available in full at http://www.fpif.org/papers/03petropol/alternatives.html )
This paper details a plan with a set of three interactive and mutually reinforcing strategies designed to reduce the world's use of carbon fuels by at least 70%, and at the same time, create millions of jobs around the world, especially in developing countries. The plan is driven by concerns that global climate change is progressing far more rapidly than scientists anticipated even a few years ago.
To control the escalating pace of change and to allow the climate to re-stabilize, humanity has to cut its burning of fossil fuels by at least 70% in a very short time. That is the consensus of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.
The urgency of the threat is spelled out in two other recent peer-reviewed studies corroborating the UN panel's findings. One focuses on environmental impacts, the other on future energy consumption.
In 2001, researchers at the Hadley Center, Britain's principle climate research institute, found that the climate will change 50% more quickly than was previously assumed. That is because earlier computer models calculated the impacts of a warming atmosphere on a relatively static biosphere. But when they factored in the warming that has already taken place, they found that the rate of change is compounding. They project that most of the world's forests will begin to turn from sinks to sources--dying off and emitting carbon--by around 2040.
The other study is equally troubling. Eleven researchers found several years ago that unless the world is getting half its energy from non-carbon sources by 2018, we will be locked into an inevitable doubling--and possible tripling--of pre-industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) levels later in this century. A follow-up study by many of the same researchers, published in Science in November 2002, calls for a crash program to develop a carbon-free energy economy. Using conservative projections of future energy use, the researchers found that within 50 years humanity will need to be generating at least three times more energy from non-carbon sources than the world currently produces from fossil fuels to avoid a catastrophic build-up of atmospheric CO2 later in this century.
The science is taken very seriously outside the United States. In other countries, hardly anybody debates whether human activities are seriously affecting the climate. The debates are about policy choices, such as how to change energy delivery structures without wrecking national economies. The agreement on the urgency of the climate threat is evident in the responses in Europe. Holland has completed a plan to cut emissions by 80% in the next 40 years. The United Kingdom has committed itself to 60% reductions in 50 years. Germany is planning for 50% cuts in 50 years.
By contrast, the White House has become the East Coast branch office of ExxonMobil and Peabody coal, and climate change has become the pre-eminent case study in the contamination of the U.S. political system by money.
Two years ago, U.S. President George W. Bush reneged on a campaign promise to cap carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. He then unveiled his administration's energy plan, which is basically a shortcut to climate hell. In a truly Orwellian stroke, the White House excised all references to the dangers of climate change on the EPA's website in mid-2003. Finally, Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto climate negotiations, and the administration's chief climate negotiator declared that the United States would not engage in the Kyoto process for at least 10 years.
However, there may be an approach that could address our increasingly inflamed atmosphere and our reluctant political leadership as well. It is provisionally called the World Energy Modernization Plan. This plan was developed by an ad hoc, informal group of about 15 energy company presidents, economists, energy policy experts and others who met at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.
The plan involves three interacting strategies. One is a subsidy switch, in which industrial countries would eliminate government subsidies for fossil fuels and establish equivalent subsidies for renewable, non-car-bon energy technologies. Another is a clean energy transfer fund, which entails creating a pool of money on the order of $300 billion a year to provide renewable energy technologies to developing countries. The last one is a progressively more stringent fossil fuel efficiency standard that rises by 5% per year; its adoption, perhaps within the Kyoto framework, could be complemented with the emissions trading mechanism to help nations meet it.
While each of these strategies can be viewed as a stand-alone policy, they are better under-stood as a set of interactive policies that could speed the energy transition far more rapidly than if they were implemented in piecemeal fashion.
We are proposing that in the industrial countries those subsidies be withdrawn from fossil fuels and equivalent subsidies be established for renewable energy sources. A small portion of the U.S. subsidies must be used to retrain or buyout the nation's approximately 50,000 coal miners. But the lions' share of the subsidies would still be intended for the major oil companies to retrain their workers and re-tool to become aggressive developers of fuel cells, wind farms, and solar systems. In other words, we envision the subsidies as a tool to help oil companies transform themselves into renewable energy companies.
The second element of the plan involves the creation of a new $300-billion-a-year fund to help transfer renewable energy resources to developing countries. Virtually all poor countries would love to go solar; virtually none can afford it. Among them are countries with the smoggiest cities in the world today, such as China, Mexico, Thailand, and Chile.
The third and unifying regulatory strategy of the plan calls on the parties to Kyoto to subordinate the ineffectual and inequitable system of international emissions trading to a simple and equitable fossil fuel efficiency standard that becomes 5% more stringent each year. This mechanism, if incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol, would harmonize and guide the global energy transition in a way that emissions trading cannot.
If the subsidy switch in industrial nations were implemented in tandem with the progressive fossil fuel efficiency standard, we believe those two policies alone could jumpstart an energy transition in the North. But, as we know, the problem is global in scope. The transfer fund addresses the fact that even if the countries of the North dramatically reduce emissions, those cuts would be overwhelmed by the coming pulse of carbon from India, China, Mexico, and Nigeria.
(Ross Gelbspan is a former reporter for the Boston Globe and the author of The Heat Is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth's Threatened Climate (www.heatisonline.org) His latest book, Fevered Planet, is scheduled for publication in 2004 (Basic Books).)
IN RETROSPECT THE FOLLOWING HIGHLIGHTS WHAT SOME WOULD CALL A "BLUE SKY PROPOSAL" THAT NEVERTHELESS, IF IMPLEMENTED IN SOME WAYS, COULD HAVE PUT OUR WORLD ONTO A MUCH DIFFERENT PATH THAN THE ONE WE HAVE TAKEN SO FAR AS ILLUSTRATED ABOVE. PERHAPS IT IS STILL NOT TOO LATE TO FINALLY GET RID OF THE FOSSIL FUEL CROWD THAT HAS CALLED THE SHOTS FOR FAR TOO LONG, PUT A STOP TO OUR CURRENT ECOSUICIDAL PATH AND DO THE RIGHT THING...
The Time has come for a New Beginning
October 3, 1991
Across time we have walked. Sustained by the Flow of Life, we emerged from millennia upon millennia of trial and error evolution, now ready to step into a new phase of our cosmic mission. Our first birth was when we first came to Life through the form of a cell. A very simple form of Life indeed, but with the promise of a brilliant future hidden in its already intricate design. We crawled across our first beach billions of years ago to establish our first stronghold on firm land and since then we have never stopped. Relentlessly, we have devised new forms, more and more well-suited to adjust to the innumerable environments we were to conquer. Our numbers have swelled from mere specks of Life to untold zillions of beings, all endowed with a specific mission, each according to our special, unique design, each as important as all others in the great Symphonic Melody of Life now played on this majestic planet, called Earth.
And now, finally, we have started gazing at the stars as our next colossal step of expansion. We know Something is Out There, or maybe in fact, right within us, within the most secret alcove of our true inner being, our living soul, embodied in this marvelous case of flesh and blood. We sense that something is about to happen, although we are still a little afraid of contemplating directly this thought slowly taking form within this inner, most secret recess of our being... We are the embodiment of an extraordinary Grand Goal, something still roughly edged out of the primal clay, but nevertheless now increasingly more recognizable.
And yet something still powerful holds us back from entering in this new stage of evolution; something we may call fear for lack of a better term, or maybe some shyness to admit there is something special about us. But yes, we must admit it, there is definitely something special about us, something that we feel drawn to discover at all cost, something that will soon overcome all our childhood-related resistances and open the door on a New Beginning, on a renewed, greater awareness of our unique role and mission on this planet.
As the collective mind of humanity now starts to focus on the first truly planetary summit to be held in South America, next June 1 to 12, 1992, we are discovering a common ground to all our diversified endeavours, whether they are in the field of environmental protection or in the field of economic development. We are finally perceiving that the wellbeing of the whole is more important than the temporary satisfaction of the endless desires of the few. We know that taking care of our common home, that we share with countless other species, is now the most urgent matter beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt. For to neglect protecting our global biosphere assuredly means the end of almost all Life on Earth and a severe throwback to antediluvian ages.
We cannot afford to miss such a unique opportunity as now being offered by this sole and not to be repeated Earth Summit. Missing such a chance would sign our death penalty to all of us, with execution of the sentence within the next few decades. Not because the Earth would be warmer and the sea higher and some lands dryer; not because of a cataclysmic lost of species; not because of the unstoppable erosion of our protective high-altitude ozone layer; or not because most waters would be unfit for human consumption. No. Because of the synergistic and multiplying effect of all these crisis combined, added to the relentless pounding of blind, exponentially expanding human needs on the fragile and thin planetary biospherian eggshell. Cracks are already running all over the world and very little is preventing it from collapsing. We are on thin ground, unknowingly for most of us, and yet we drill through it with millions of jackhammers without really listening to the growing underground rumble that our collective actions generate. This is an analogy of course, but it is darnly close to reality.
So what are we to hope and expect from the Earth Summit? What legitimate results should, must be achieved for our survival to be assured? And what can we do individually about it? First, let's assume that all the organization and government people involved in this process are really sincere in their desire to cooperate together in solving the global problems we have created for ourselves. Unless such an open and sincere level of cooperation prevails amongst those that have been empowered to take action on behalf of all of us, and actually of all Life, so that all truly work together in a co-creative and harmonious fashion, very little will be achieved and the challenge of the hour will go unmet. Confrontational attitudes and any desire to impose one's own agenda and priorities on everyone else will most certainly doom the whole process to failure. On the other hand, lack of vision and boldness would also insure inappropriate measures that would not match the depth and magnitude of the problems we collectively face. So the road to success must be paved with sincere intentions, complete cooperation and bold vision if we are to succeed... And succeed we will!!! For they is no reason that after going to the moon and achieving the level of technological progress we made in the last few decades, we could not muster the necessary technological tools and institutional instruments we need to cross the threshold into a new era of global cooperation and dedicated caretaking of our planetary Biosphere. We must and will succeed. There is simply no other alternative.
Secondly, to be assured of the long term commitment needed to carefully avoid the abyss we have opened, some internationally agreed upon mechanisms are needed. The old international structures have simply not been designed to face the peril we now encounter and new bold thinking and decisions must be implemented to counterbalance the natural tendencies of innately selfish national political structures. Therefore without a new global system of environmental monitoring and its remedial decision-making counterpart, we cannot hope to properly tackle the task at hand. There is no question here of taking out any existing power from the hands of the nations. This about creating new powers to monitor the vital signs of our planet and actively intervene in any needed manner to correct the wrongdoings that are responsible for jeopardizing our planetary Life support system. Intervening in national affairs is something we are already doing to a certain degree through the United Nations various missions to monitor and implement the peaceful resolution of human conflicts. Many recent examples come to mind to confirm this.
So now the time has come to similarly establish a new planetary structure that will take care of what no existing system or nation has the power or has been designed to accomplish. We should not be shy to contemplate this emerging reality. The wildfire-like spread of democracy around the world demonstrates by virtue of its happening that the world is now ripe for new substantial changes. And what better forum to discuss and initiate the process towards this achievement than the first truly Earth Summit! To crystallize possible options now appearing before us, let's imagine for a few minutes what could happen between now and the soon-to-be historic landmark of the year 2000. All human creations were first initiated through the power of intuitive imagination, which is truly the highest intelligence power that has been entrusted to us by Divine Will through eons of patient evolutionary labour. So let's play the Imagination Game for a moment...
June 1992: After over two years of frantic preparations, hundreds of grassroots as well as high level meetings and intense behind-the-doors heated sessions, the first Earth Summit achieves what History will recognize as the true first milestone of planetary government. Following the impulse given by the United Nations sponsored Brundtland Report, the official delegates gathered in Rio de Janeiro have boldly adopted a plan of action to sustainably manage our world without endangering future generations access to its wealth. A "Clean Planet Act" has been adopted and will be submitted for approval to all governments of the Earth through the diligent diplomatic cooperation of the United Nations newly elected General Secretary. This "Clean Planet Act" outlines a precise schedule of actions and decisions to implement a new planetary and democratically elected decision-making body whose name will be chosen during the first Session of this global governing body. Based on the just adopted Earth Charter and its adjoining plan of implementation, this new global management system will be gradually phased in to replace the United Nations Organizations whose existing numerous branches will be integrated in and harmonized with the overall purpose of this new system. Its purpose, to be officially adopted during its first Session, can be temporarily summed up as this:
1) Monitor all the essential components of our common planetary Biosphere and intervene whenever their integrity and balance are threatened by any human activity;
2) Study, design, adopt and enforce all global laws that will be deemed necessary to achieve the above mentioned first aim;
3) Establish in close cooperation with all recognized national governments all the measures deemed necessary to harmonize the national laws and structures with the above mentioned global laws, while strictly respecting and affirming the role of each nation to protect and enhance its specific cultural identity.
In addition to all this, three Global Conventions were adopted to urgently implement some first measures to counter global Climatic Changes, Species Diversity Erosion and Forest Destruction.1
June 1995: After three years of intense, often despairingly slow negotiation, a majority of national governments has accepted by law the principle of establishing a global governing body for the specific purpose of harmonizing human activities with the general aim of preserving our common Life support system. This will include the power to intervene directly in conflicts or in any situation that may endanger vital components of the global Biosphere as well as threaten massive human starvation or significant habitat destruction. A Code of Human Rights and Responsibilities has been proposed for adoption by the Interim Earth Management Organization created after the Earth Summit, pending the official establishment of the global governing body.
January 1996: Following the latest findings by the Earth Observing System made public by the N.A.S.A. , a surge of public pressure is building to force the various governments of the world to stop dragging their feet on environmental matters and finally accept to make plans for the election of the representatives of the First Assembly of what is now proposed to be called the "United Earth Organization". It is hoped that the whole system designed during and after the 1992 Earth Summit will be implemented by the year 2000. In the meantime, scores of governments are adopting more stringent environmental regulations and enforcement means in line with the various conventions adopted so far through the United Nations Organization.
February 1998: Work is underway for the first global elections to be held simultaneously on every continent. Following the global disaster created by the meltdown within the same month of two outdated nuclear power stations, a new unprecedented atmosphere of global cooperation is driving the world towards the first stage of a world government to be active and fully functional by the 1st of January 2000.
December 31st 1999: Global festivities are underway all over the world to celebrate the successful shift in awareness that has led the human species from a narrow national perspective to a new global integration of all human activities under the just-elected First Assembly of the United Earth Organization. Disarmament on all continents has been going on at an accelerated pace during the last two years and considerable human and financial resources have been shifted to alleviate human suffering and remedy to decades of unrelenting environmental carelessness. Hope is growing for a positive future for all of humanity and all generations to come although the challenge of global environmental regeneration still seems beyond our limited means. We all count on the resilience of Nature to heal from its wounds and rebound into bountiful luxuriance. Humanity is now fully assisting this process and the odds look increasingly better everyday that together we will succeed. We shall not falter on the new Path we have taken. This is truly a New Beginning for our species and for all Life on Earth.
As this imaginative scenario demonstrates, there clearly exists a way out of our current predicament. But to see it, we must stick our nose out from more immediate concerns, take a few steps back and look at the overall picture of human and planetary evolution as we can see it. We must willingly accept the apparent risk of turning a new page of History and write together a new chapter of the eons-old saga of Life evolution on Earth. There is simply no other alternative to taking this risk, for any such other alternative is simply unthinkable. Fortunately, could we say, we are driven by the very circumstances we ourselves have greatly contribute to create, into opening our minds and our hearts to new possibilities, to new options that could not be seriously considered before now. The time is coming for what has been described in this paper. An unprecedented opportunity awaits us. We must not, we cannot miss it. Let's think about it. Let's talk about it. And let's do it! That's the responsibility each one of us is now entrusted with. Together, let's make this New Beginning... an Idea Whose Time Has Come.
1. Their full implementation will gradually take place as the above mentioned new global governing body eventually enters in function and acquires the means to achieve its aims. One of the key features of this "Clean Planet Act" is precisely about how this future global governing body will receive the necessary financial means to accomplish its intricate and multi-faceted mission. Along with the adoption of the "Clean Planet Act" by the nations of the world, each country will be require to allow the global governing body to levy a Pollution Tax to be based on the amount of negative impact any human or economic activity has on the global environment. Carefully graduated according to specific, precise criteria analyzing and evaluating such negative environmental impact, the most polluting and/or environmentally harmful human activities will be the most heavily taxed while those with no impact at all will not be taxed. In addition, and based on a similar set of analyzing and evaluating criteria, human and economic activities that are beneficial to the Earth's global environment will receive financial incentives and rewards from the global governing body to further increase their action and enhance their beneficial impact. A fixed portion of the revenues raised from the pollution tax will be given back, on a mandatory basis, to foster human activities that are beneficial to the environment. The remaining portion will be used by the global governing body to pay its administrative costs and further achieve its overall aims. The administration of this global tax system will be entirely done through national and state/provincial existing administrations, generally through a new special Pollution Tax Bureau created in close cooperation with each national and state/provincial Ministry of Environment of similar system, and monitored on a day-to-day basis by appointed representatives of the global governing body. Similarly, the payment of financial incentives and rewards will be executed through the same national and state/provincial conduits. This Tax Pollution System is hoped to finally establish a true level-playing field for everyone when it comes to paying for the cost of not respecting the environment. As for the levying of a Global Pollution Tax, it will be globally enforced when the definitive global governing body will hold its First Session following the election of its representatives.
Postscript: A few Days Later - As anyone would guess, Im acutely aware that the ideas suggested here are not new by any means and that many different avenues and options exist to reach similar aims. What I think is unique in the tentative scenario outlined here is the fact that we could now be seeing the emergence of specific conditions that may make such ideas to appear less dreamy, and in fact more timely. I sense that as the world discovers its indissociable common responsibility in preserving and restoring our endangered planet, as repeatedly described in Time Magazine, we may finally all agree to the inevitable necessity of some form of global management system to counterbalance our natural human weaknesses and shortsightedness, and thus give us all some breathing room and a real global security system. I may be dreaming, but I sense deep within me that Im not the only one. I would really love to hear from you on all this and please feel free to copy or reprint this in any fashion or even edited version if needed!
NOTE: To find out more about the converging environmental crises threatening our common future and about some of the solutions to these numerous interrelated problems, pay a lengthy visit to http://www.solcomhouse.com/
Also highly recommended:
The Earth Charter Initiative
... and get your copy of the Earth Charter Brochure available in several languages at
...and the related Handbook at http://www.earthcharter.org/files/resources/Handbook.pdf
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