Monday, December 31, 2012

North Korean leader, in rare address, seeks end to confrontation with South

SEOUL | Mon Dec 31, 2012 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an end to confrontation between the two Koreas, technically still at war in the absence of a peace treaty to end their 1950-53 conflict, in a surprise New Year speech broadcast on state media.

The address by Kim, who took over power in the reclusive state after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, appeared to take the place of the policy-setting New Year editorial published in leading state newspapers.

Impoverished North Korea raised tensions in the region by launching a long-range rocket in December that it said was aimed at putting a scientific satellite in orbit, drawing international condemnation.

North Korea, which considers North and South as one country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests.

"An important issue in putting an end to the division of the country and achieving its reunification is to remove confrontation between the north and the south," Kim said in the address that appeared to be pre-recorded and was made at an undisclosed location.

"The past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war."

The New Year address was the first in 19 years by a North Korean leader after the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather. Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public and disclosed his national policy agenda in editorials in state newspapers. More


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rhamis Kent Permaculturist, on Islam & Earth Repair

In our first podcast, Krystina sits down with Rhamis Kent, a Permaculture consultant who travels all over the Middle East and North Africa advising governments and organizations on how they can engage in ecosystem restoration in order to increase biodiversity and sustain plant, animal, and human life.

In this interview, they discuss his recent article entitled “Restoring the Amanah Through Earth Repair: Islam, Permaculture, and Ecosystem Restoration Work.” Download the podcast here.

Krystina Friedlander: I want to start by asking you about Ibn Khaldun, a Tunisian historiographer who lived in the 14th century. You wrote that he warned people about the “pleasures of civilization.” What might he say about what we’re seeing now in terms of environmental degradation and industrialization?

Rhamis Kent: Well, I think it’s a proof to what he’s pointing to in his work. The Muqaddimah is a book where he’s examining the causes for the rise and fall of civilizations. As far as what he means by the “pleasures of civilization,” I think the easier things become, the more convenient our day-to-day living becomes, the more distanced we are from really understanding what it is that we need in order to sustain our lives, the more distance we have between ourselves and the natural world. There’s this artificial separation, a misunderstanding of exactly where we are oriented within that order. It creates a type of lethargy where you become very disoriented, and you don’t realize the impact your actions are having on the things you actually need in order to survive. Ibn Khaldun, he called it very accurately, and we’re seeing the advanced stages of some of the types of decline that he’d spoken of in his work. More


Sunday, December 23, 2012

West Antarctic Ice Sheet warming twice earlier estimate

A new analysis of temperature records indicates that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is warming nearly twice as fast as previously thought.

US researchers say they found the first evidence of warming during the southern hemisphere’s summer months.

They are worried that the increased melting of ice as a result of warmer temperatures could contribute to sea-level rise.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The scientists compiled data from records kept at Byrd station, established by the US in the mid-1950s and located towards the centre of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS).

Previously scientists were unable to draw any conclusions from the Byrd data as the records were incomplete.

The new work used a computer model of the atmosphere and a numerical analysis method to fill in the missing observations.

The results indicate an increase of 2.4C in average annual temperature between 1958 and 2010.

“What we’re seeing is one of the strongest warming signals on Earth,” says Andrew Monaghan, a co-author and scientist at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to determine that there’s warming going on during the summer season.” he added.

Top to bottom

It might be natural to expect that summers even in Antarctica would be warmer than other times of the year. But the region is so cold, it is extremely rare for temperatures to get above freezing.

According to co-author Prof David Bromwich from Ohio State University, this is a critical threshold.

“The fact that temperatures are rising in the summer means there’s a prospect of WAIS not only being melted from the bottom as we know it is today, but in future it looks probable that it will be melting from the top as well,” he said.

Previous research published in Nature indicated that the WAIS is being warmed by the ocean, but this new work suggests that the atmosphere is playing a role as well. More



Monday, December 17, 2012

Resources: Three New IISD knowledge-bases For Sustainable Development

Announcement from Monday, 17 December 2012

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is pleased to announce the launch of three new knowledgebases for sustainable development policy makers:

Land Policy & Practice

Forests Policy & Practice

Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice

These knowledgebases are part of our suite of knowledge management projects tracking international activities addressing sustainable development issues. Each knowledgebase is managed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development(IISD) Reporting Services. Funding for Land Policy & Practice, Forests Policy & Practice and Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice has been provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Knowledgebase content is researched and written by our team of thematic experts.

Features of each knowledgebase include:

  • Summaries of activities (publications, meetings, statements and projects) by a range of actors, and an option to search the summaries by several categories (region, actor, action or issue);
  • An archive of all posts to the site, organized by date;
  • A clickable world map, enabling users to view the latest news by region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Near East, Northern America, and South West Pacific);
  • A link to subscribe to LAND-L, FORESTS-L or CHEMICALS-L, to join our moderated community announcement lists for policy-makers and practitioners, as appropriate;
  • A link to the most recent Update, a periodic newsletter of recent posts to the knowledgebase, distributed via email through the respective listserv;
  • A Calendar of upcoming international events related to land, forests or chemicals and wastes policy;
  • A link to our iCalendar, which automatically updates your own calendar program with upcoming related events; and
  • A link to our RSS feed.

IISD manages and is fully responsible for the content posted on Land Policy & Practice, Forests Policy & Practice, and Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice. Information on United Nations activities is provided in cooperation with the UN system agencies, funds and programmes through the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).

Land Policy & Practice, Forests Policy & Practice, and Chemicals and Wastes Policy & Practice join IISD’s other knowledge management tools:

In early 2008, during preparations for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, IISD Reporting Services launched its first knowledge management site, Climate Change Policy & Practice. This knowledgebase supported efforts by the sustainable development community to track the various activities undertaken by international actors addressing climate change. Our work on our flagship publication, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, positioned us to make this transition into monitoring the implementation of international multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Our teams, which attend the MEA negotiations, track the decisions that the international community has taken and understand the wide variety of actors involved in each arena. As 2012 comes to a close, we are pleased to bring you the latest additions to our knowledge management work, and to expand our efforts to track implementation of the agreements that we have reported on for the past 20 years.

For further information on our knowledge management activities, please contact Lynn Wagner, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management Projects ( To provide us with information about your land or forests related activities, please contact Lauren Anderson, Content Editor ( To provide us with information about your chemicals and wastes activities, please contact Faye Leone, Content Editor (

IISD Reporting Services' Knowledge Management Products
Policy & Policy
Sustainable Energy
Policy & Policy
Climate Change
Policy & Policy
Policy & Policy
Policy & Policy
Small Island
Developing States
Policy & Policy
Regional Coverage
Latin America
& Caribbean
Regional Coverage

Monday, December 3, 2012

Break the grip of corporate power to secure our future

Neoliberal dogma forbids the intervention required to stop climate change. To save the planet we must articulate a new politics

Humankind's greatest crisis coincides with the rise of an ideology that makes it impossible to address. By the late 1980s, when it became clear that man-made climate change endangered the living planet and its people, the world was in the grip of an extreme political doctrine whose tenets forbid the kind of intervention required to arrest it.

Neoliberalism, also known as market fundamentalism or laissez-faire economics, purports to liberate the market from political interference. The state, it asserts, should do little but defend the realm, protect private property and remove barriers to business. In practice it looks nothing like this. What neoliberal theorists call shrinking the state looks more like shrinking democracy: reducing the means by which citizens can restrain the power of the elite. What they call "the market" looks more like the interests of corporations and the ultra-rich. Neoliberalism appears to be little more than a justification for plutocracy.

The doctrine was first applied in Chile in 1973, as former students of the University of Chicago, schooled in Milton Friedman's extreme prescriptions and funded by the CIA, worked alongside General Pinochet to impose a programme that would have been impossible in a democratic state. The result was an economic catastrophe, but one in which the rich – who took over Chile's privatised industries and unprotected natural resources – prospered exceedingly.

The creed was taken up by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It was forced upon the poor world by the IMF and the World Bank. By the time James Hansen presented the first detailed attempt to model future temperature rises to the US Senate in 1988, the doctrine was being implanted everywhere.

As we saw in 2007 and 2008 (when neoliberal governments were forced to abandon their principles to bail out the banks), there could scarcely be a worse set of circumstances for addressing a crisis of any kind. Until it has no choice, the self-hating state will not intervene, however acute the crisis or grave the consequences. Neoliberalism protects the interests of the elite against all-comers.

Preventing climate breakdown – the four, five or six degrees of warming now predicted for this century by green extremists like, er, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency and PriceWaterhouseCoopers – means confronting the oil, gas and coal industries. It means forcing those industries to abandon the four-fifths or more of fossil fuel reserves that we cannot afford to burn. It means cancelling the prospecting and development of new reserves – what's the point if we can't use current stocks? – and reversing the expansion of any infrastructure (such as airports) that cannot be run without them.

But the self-hating state cannot act. Captured by interests that democracy is supposed to restrain, it can only sit on the road, ears pricked and whiskers twitching, as the truck thunders towards it. Confrontation is forbidden, action is a mortal sin. You may, perhaps, disperse some money for new energy; you may not legislate against the old.

So Barack Obama pursues what he calls an "all of the above" policy: promoting wind, solar, oil and gas. Ed Davey, the British climate change secretary, launched an energy bill in the House of Commons last week whose purpose was to decarbonise the energy supply. In the same debate he also promised that he would "maximise the potential" of oil and gas production in the North Sea and other offshore fields.

Lord Stern described climate change as "the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen". The useless Earth summit in June; the feeble measures now being debated in Doha; the energy bill and electricity-demand-reduction paper launched in Britain last week (better than they might have been, but unmatched to the scale of the problem) – all expose the greatest and widest-ranging failure of market fundamentalism: its incapacity to address our existential crisis.

The 1,000-year legacy of current carbon emissions is long enough to smash anything resembling human civilisation into splinters. Complex societies have sometimes survived the rise and fall of empires, plagues, wars and famines. They won't survive six degrees of climate change, sustained for a millennium. In return for 150 years of explosive consumption, much of which does nothing to advance human welfare, we are atomising the natural world and the human systems that depend on it.

The climate summit (or foothill) in Doha and the sound and fury of the British government's new measures probe the current limits of political action. Go further and you break your covenant with power, a covenant both disguised and validated by the neoliberal creed. More


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The bailout of the 99% by the 99%

Why should the 1% get all the bailouts? Now, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot has launched an exciting project called Rolling Jubilee that lets you turn a little cash into a helping hand for folks who deserve it a lot more than Bank of America does.

Here's the deal. Jubilee is an ancient biblical tradition in which, periodically, debts were forgiven, slaves were freed and slates were wiped clean. It was a time for starting afresh, of renewal. Now, Rolling Jubilee takes that concept to a new level. According to their website, it works like this:

Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

Millions of working people are still haunted by the debt they ran up while trying to stay afloat during the Great Recession. And while the government doled out hundreds of billions of dollars to big corporations and too-big-to-fail banks, normal folks have been pretty much left to fend for themselves.

By wiping out this debt, Rolling Jubilee spares thousands of hard-pressed people the agonies of getting pursued by aggressive collection agencies, many of whom use abusive, illegal practices to try and extract money from people who might be struggling to get back on their feet after losing a job, falling ill or other personal disasters.

So far, Rolling Jubilee says it's collected nearly $300,000 in donations, enough to extinguish more than $5m in debt. The group hopes to grow a broad debt resistance movement – and help build a non-exploitative economy that works for everybody.

Learn more: This trailer for the documentary film Maxed Out features professor (now, newly elected US senator) Elizabeth Warren explaining the predatory practices of banks and credit card companies. Then, if that doesn't make you angry enough, check out this ABC News expose of outrageous practices in the collections industry. More


Monday, November 19, 2012

Taking Stock: World Fish Catch Falls to 90 Million Tons in 2012

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projects that the world’s wild fish harvest will fall to 90 million tons in 2012, down 2 percent from 2011. This is close to 4 percent below the all-time peak haul of nearly 94 million tons in 1996.

The wild fish catch per person has dropped even more dramatically, from 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds) per person at its height in 1988 to 13 kilograms in 2012—a 37-year low. While wild fish harvests have flattened out during this time, the output from fish farming has soared from 24 million tons in the mid-1990s to a projected 67 million tons in 2012.

Over the last several decades, as demand for fish and shellfish for food, feed, and other products rose dramatically, fishing operations have used increasingly sophisticated technologies—such as on-vessel refrigeration and processing facilities, spotter planes, and GPS satellites. Industrial fishing fleets initially targeted the northern hemisphere’s coastal fish stocks, then as stocks were depleted they expanded progressively southward on average close to one degree of latitude annually since 1950. The fastest expansion was during the 1980s and early 1990s. Thereafter, the only frontiers remaining were the high seas, the hard-to-reach waters near Antarctica and in the Arctic, and the depths of the oceans.

The escalating pursuit of fish—now with gross revenue exceeding $80 billion per year—has had heavy ecological consequences, including the alteration of marine food webs via a massive reduction in the populations of larger, longer-lived predatory fish such as tunas, cods, and marlins. Unselective fishing gear, including longlines and bottom-scraping trawls, kill large numbers of non-target animals like sea turtles, sharks, and corals.

As of 2009, some 57 percent of the oceanic fish stocks evaluated by FAO are “fully exploited,” with harvest levels at or near what fisheries scientists call maximum sustainable yield (MSY). If we think of a fish stock as a savings account, fishing at MSY is theoretically similar to withdrawing only the accrued interest, avoiding dipping into the principal.

Some 30 percent of stocks are “overexploited”—they have been fished beyond MSY and require strong management intervention in order to rebuild. The share of stocks in this category has tripled since the mid-1970s. A well-known example of this is the Newfoundland cod fishery that collapsed in the early 1990s and has yet to recover.

This leaves just 13 percent of oceanic fish stocks in the “non-fully exploited” category, down from 40 percent in 1974. Unfortunately, these remaining stocks tend to have very limited potential for safely increasing the catch.

These FAO figures describe 395 fisheries that account for some 70 percent of the global catch. Included are the small minority that have undergone the time-consuming and expensive process of formal scientific stock assessment, with the remainder being "unassessed" fisheries. There are thousands more unassessed fisheries, however, that are absent from the FAO analysis. In a 2012 Science article, Christopher Costello and colleagues published the first attempt to characterize all of the world’s unassessed fisheries. The authors report that 64 percent of them were overexploited as of 2009.

The top 10 fished species represent roughly one quarter of the world catch. Nearly all of the stocks of these species are considered fully exploited (most of these fish have more than one geographically distinct stock), including both of the major stocks of Peruvian anchovy, the world's leading wild-caught fish. Stocks that are overexploited and in need of rebuilding include largehead hairtail—a ribbon-like predator caught mainly by Chinese ships—in its main fishing grounds in the Northwest Pacific. (See data.)

Despite the unsustainable nature of current harvest levels, countries continue to subsidize fishing fleets in ways that encourage even higher catches. Governments around the world spend an estimated $16 billion annually on increasing fleet size and fish-catching ability, including $4 billion for fuel subsidies. Industrial countries spend some $10 billion of that total. More than $2 billion is spent by China, whose 15-million-ton catch is nearly triple that of the next closest country, Indonesia. More


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wire Frame Rocket Stove

The 'Thab' style rocket stove is a template that utilizes unwanted wire hangers [or any stiff wire] from North America to assist in improving the portable dung stove used by Tibetan nomads.

A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimneywhich ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. The principles were described by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho in 1982 and stoves based on this design won Ashden Awards in both 2005 and 2006. Interest in rocket stoves has led to the development of rocket mass heaters and other innovations.

A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimneywhich ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. The principles were described by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho in 1982 and stoves based on this design won Ashden Awards in both 2005 and 2006. Interest in rocket stoves has led to the development of rocket mass heaters and other innovations.

The rocket stove operates roughly twice as efficiently, and substantially more cleanly, than the open fire cooking methods still used in many areas of the world. Furthermore, the design of the stove requires small diameter lengths of wood, which can generally be satisfied with small branches. As such, sufficient fuel for cooking tasks can be gathered in less time, without the benefit of tools, and ideally without the destruction of forested areas.

Because these qualities improve local air quality, and discourage deforestation, the rocket stove has attracted the attention of a number of Appropriate Technologyconcerns, which have deployed it in numerous third-world locales (notably, the Rwandan refugee camps). This attention has resulted in a number of adaptations intended to improve convenience and safety, and thus the size of the target audience. The Justa Stove, for example, is a cousin of the rocket stove adapted for indoor use and family cooking needs. More


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

UN Reports That Up To 90% Of Deforestation Is Due To Organized Crime



Environmental crime and the illegal grabbing of natural resources is becoming an evermore sophisticated activity requiring national authorities and law enforcement agencies to develop responses commensurate with the scale and the complexity of the challengeto keep one step ahead.

This report – Green Carbon, Black Trade – by UNEP and INTER-POL focuses on illegal logging and its impacts on the lives andlivelihoods of often some of the poorest people in the world setaside the environmental damage. It underlines how criminalsare combining old fashioned methods such as bribes with hightech methods such as computer hacking of government websites to obtain transportation and other permits. The reportspotlights the increasingly sophisticated tactics being deployedto launder illegal logs through a web of palm oil plantations,road networks and saw mills.

Indeed it clearly spells out that illegal logging is not on the decline, rather it is becoming more advanced as cartels becomebetter organized including shifting their illegal activities inorder to avoid national or local police efforts. By some estimates,15 per cent to 30 per cent of the volume of wood traded globallyhas been obtained illegally. Unless addressed, the criminal ac-tions of the few may endanger not only the development pros-pects for the many but also some of the creative and catalyticinitiatives being introduced to recompense countries and com-munities for the ecosystem services generated by forests.

One of the principal vehicles for catalyzing positive environ-mental change and sustainable development is the ReducedEmissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation initia-tive (REDD or REDD+). If REDD+ is to be sustainable over thelong term, it requests and requires all partners to fine tune theoperations, and to ensure that they meet the highest standardsof rigour and that efforts to reduce deforestation in one locationare not offset by an increase elsewhere.

If REDD+ is to succeed, payments to communities for theirconservation efforts need to be higher than the returns from ac-tivities that lead to environmental degradation. Illegal loggingthreatens this payment system if the unlawful monies chang-ing hands are bigger than from REDD+ payments.

The World’s forests represent one of the most important pil-lars in countering climate change and delivering sustainabledevelopment. Deforestation, largely of tropical rainforests, isresponsible for an estimated 17 per cent of all man-made emis-sions, and 50 per cent more than that from ships, aviation andland transport combined. Today only one-tenth of primary for-est cover remains on the globe.

Forests also generate water supplies, biodiversity, pharma-ceuticals, recycled nutrients for agriculture and flood pre-vention, and are central to the transition towards a GreenEconomy in the context of sustainable development and pov-erty eradication.

Strengthened international collaboration on environmentallaws and their enforcement is therefore not an option. It is in-deed the only response to combat an organized internationalthreat to natural resources, environmental sustainability andefforts to lift millions of people out of penury. Download Report

Achim Steiner UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director

Ronald K. Noble INTERPOL Secretary General




Full Planet, Empty Plates: Quick Facts

With falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures making it difficult to feed growing populations, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Here are a few of the many facts from the book to consider:


  • There will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night—many of them with empty plates.
  • As a result of chronic hunger, 48 percent of all children in India are undersized, underweight, and likely to have IQs that are on average 10-15 points lower than those of well-nourished children.
  • Food prices are rising dramatically. The U.N. Food Price Index in June 2012 was twice the base level of 2002-04.
  • More than half the world’s people live in countries where water tables are falling as aquifers are being depleted.
  • A startling 80 percent of oceanic fisheries are being fished at or beyond their sustainable yield.
  • Between 2005 and 2011, the amount of grain used to produce fuel for cars in the United States climbed from 41 million to 127 million tons—nearly a third of the U.S. grain harvest.
  • In 2011, China consumed 70 million tons of soybeans, 56 million of which had to be imported. Almost all went into livestock feed.
  • Today, with incomes rising fast in emerging economies, there are at least 3 billion people moving up the food chain, consuming more grain-intensive livestock and poultry products.
  • Data for India indicate that 175 million people are being fed with grain produced by overpumping. For China, there are 130 million in the same boat.
  • In Ethiopia, a prime target for foreign land acquisitions yet also a major food aid recipient, an acre of land can be leased for less than $1 per year.
  • The 464 land acquisitions identified by the World Bank in 2010 totaled some 140 million acres—more than is planted in corn and wheat combined in the United States.
  • It’s not all bad news: 44 countries have reached population stability as a result of gradual fertility decline over the last several generations.
“In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.” – Lester R. Brown



Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity is available for purchase online. Get a sneak peek by checking out Chapter 1: Food the Weak Link or watch the five minute video below and hear from Lester Brown himself about the main issues raised in the book.




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hope for Self-Sufficiency! Could Permaculture Influence Future Sustainable Development Policy?

Wales leads planning revolution as new Practice Guidance document is released to simplify the process of gaining planning permission on 'open countryside'.

A new advisory document has been released which will aid people in making planning applications for sustainable development on open countryside in Wales, but which could potentially also lead to change in the uk and abroad.

These developments, referred to as One Planet Developments must:

  • commit to provide for the income, food and energy needs of all the inhabitants, and manage their own waste
  • have either a positive or neutral effect on the environment, demonstrated through a footprint calculation each year, known as the Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA)
Lammas in Pembrokeshire was one of the first One Planet Developments, where construction began in 2009. It is hoped that such examples, along with the new guidance, will help demystify the difficult process of gaining planning permission on undeveloped land in the countryside.

What the New Guidance Covers

It is usually almost impossible to gain planning permission for undeveloped land. Building your own One Planet Development offers a viable and satisfying way to live on open countryside, in harmony with the environment. This doesn't mean that you won't still be very closely monitored by planning officials, and there are some very important criteria that you must meet. The new advisory document explains in plain terms how to get started, laying out:

  • the practical requirements to complete a successful planning application for a One Planet Development
  • how to prepare a Management Plan (explained in more detail below)
  • the requirements of the Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) which is used to monitor the success of the development

A Place for Permaculture Design

Importantly, the advisory document specifically names permaculture as a sound option for achieving the objectives of One Planet Development – "as permaculture is intrinsically site-based and focused on low environmental impacts, it is so often linked to One Planet Development... Permaculture has a long association with development likely to meet the necessary requirements due to its intrinsically holistic nature." More



A Grim Warming From Science

One of the things that makes Sandy different from Katrina is that it’s a relatively clean story. The lessons of Katrina were numerous and painful—they had to do with race, with class, with the willful incompetence of a government that had put a professional Arabian horse fancier in charge of its rescue efforts.

Sandy, by contrast, has been pretty straightforward. It’s hit rich, poor, and middle class Americans with nearly equal power, though of course the affluent always have it easier in the aftermath of tragedy. Government officials prepared forthrightly for its arrival, and have refrained from paralysis and bickering in its wake. Which allows us to concentrate on the only really useful message it might deliver: that we live in a changed world, where we need both to adapt to the changes, and to prevent further changes so great that adaptation will be impossible.

Science and its practical consort Engineering mostly come out of this week with enhanced reputations. For some years now, various researchers have been predicting that such a trauma was not just possible but almost certain, as we raised the temperature and with it the level of the sea—just this past summer, for instance, scientists demonstrated that seas were rising faster near the northeast United States (for reasons having to do with alterations to the Gulf Stream) than almost anyplace on the planet. They had described, in the long run, the loaded gun, right down to a set of documents describing the precise risk to the New York subway system.

The same researchers who predicted events like this week’s horror have warned that unless we cease burning coal and gas and oil the planet’s temperature—already elevated by a degree—will climb another four or five. At which point “civilization” will be another word for “ongoing emergency response.”

As nature pulled the trigger in mid-October, when a tropical wave left Africa and moved into the Atlantic and began to spin, scientists were able to do the short-term work of hurricane forecasting with almost eerie precision. Days before Sandy came ashore we not only knew approximately where it would go, but that its barometric pressure would drop below previous records and hence that its gushing surge would set new marks. The computer models dealt with the weird hybrid nature of the storm—a tropical cyclone hitting a blocking front—with real aplomb; it was a bravura performance.

In so doing, it should shame at least a little those people who argue against the computer modeling of climate change on the grounds that “they can’t even tell the weather three days ahead of time—how can they predict the climate?” But in fact “they” can tell the weather, and in the process they saved thousands upon thousands of lives. They can tell the future too. No serious climate scientist believes that the sea will rise less than a meter this century, unless we get off fossil fuel with great speed; many anticipate it will rise far more. Think about what that means—as one researcher put it this week, it means that any average storm will become an insidious threat. More


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Greetings from 2020

Greetings from 2020

I write to you from 2020, a world where there is no more Ecocide; a law of Eococide has now been passed after 5 years of transition where all companies have been given subsidies to prioritise a green economy; governments have been re-writing their policies and laws to bring them in line with the 5th Crime Against Peace and banks have new investment rules that categorise investment into dangerous indistrial activity as unsupportable. Innovation in the green sector has flourished and economies are stabilising; long-term investment signals into green-tech have brought a flood of job opportunities to millions of people across the globe and Green Crime has become a thing of the past.

My wish is not only possible, it almost became a reality 14 years ago. Back then the Rome Statute was put in place - however earlier drafts had included a law of Ecocide. Can you imagine where we would be if it had been enacted? We would be in a place just as I envision for 2020. You can read more about the history of a law of Ecocide in the report called Ecocide is the Missing 5th Crime Against Peace.

This time round we can put in place the missing 5th Crime Against Peace by bringing the people of the world together - and that is why we are calling on you and every one you know to support ourWish20. Our leaders need a public mandate to step forward and say yes to making Ecocide a crime. This time round we can make sure it does not get overlooked. Please help us make it happen. Sign our Global Citizens Initiative here and help us create a world map of support for a law of Ecocide. More



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury To Deliver “Peace And Equality”

(Long Island, NY) Ambassador of Bangladesh Anwarul Chowdhury, an expert on current critical issues including peace, sustainable development, and human rights, will speak at Adelphi University as part of the International Leadership Coordinating Committee Ambassador Series on “Peace and Equality—Absolutely Essential for a Better World” on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 in the Ruth S. Harley University Center Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public.

For the past two decades, Chowhurdy has been recognized as a leader in the movement for global peace. Ambassador Chowdhury currently holds the titles of Career Diplomat; Permanent Representative to the United Nations; President of the UN Security Council; and, President of the UNICEF board. From 2002 to 2007, he served as the UN Under-Secretary-General. Chowdhury has also served as the Secretary-General of the two major global conferences convened by the United Nations General Assembly: The Almaty International Conference on Global Transit Transport Cooperation in 2003 and the Mauritius International Meeting on Small Island Developing States in 2005.

Since October 2007, he has held the role as the Honorary Chair of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee. Chowdhury is a member of the Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace 2012, a world-wide participatory initiative to advance the Culture of Peace, as well as a Board of Trustee of the New York City Peace Museum.

In 2007, he completed his term as the Under-Secretary-General and high representative for the most vulnerable countries of the world. From 1996 to 2001, Ambassador Chowdhury was Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, his native country, to the United Nations in New York. In addition, he served as Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Chile, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela as well as Bangladesh’ High Commissioner to the Bahamas and Guyana.

One of his major accomplishments as the president of the Security Council included an initiative that brought about the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which recognized for the first time the role and contribution of women in the area of peace and security.

Due to his contributions, in 1999 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the landmark “Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.” He also initiated the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly of the “International Decade for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).”

Ambassador Chowdhury is the first recipient of the Institute for Global Leadership Lifetime Service Award which he received at the conference on New Leadership Models for Worcester, United States and the World held in Worcester, Massachusetts in May 2007. In October 2007, the United Nations NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns presented its first “SPIRIT OF THE UNITED NATIONS” Award to Chowdhury. Also in 2007, he received the highest honor of The Government of Burkina Faso in West Africa, “L’Ordre Nacionale,” in Ouagadougou for his championship of the cause of the most vulnerable countries. Chowdhury has earned a number of honorary degrees for his global peace efforts from Soka University, in Tokyo, Japan and Saint Peter’s College, in Jersey City, NJ, among others. More


Friday, October 5, 2012

Jacque Fresco - Global Sustainability: The Venus Project-Resource Based Economy


The Venus Project-Resource Based Economy - Jacque Fresco - Global Sustainability

The term and meaning of a Resource-Based Economy was originated by Jacque Fresco. It is a holistic social and economic system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.

Modern society has access to highly advanced technology and can make available food, clothing, housing and medical care; update our educational system; and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy. By supplying an efficiently designed economy, everyone can enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities of a high technological society.

A resource-based economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, physical equipment, industrial plants, etc. to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all.

Journey into Ecological Resurgence: John Liu at TEDxWageningen

Journey into Ecological Resurgence: John Liu at TEDxWageningen

Published onAug 14, 2012byTEDxTalks


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For 15 years, in the 1980's and early 1990's, John worked as a television journalist in China for CBS News, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF German Television). Over the years he had to do virtually every job in remote television production and gained some skills that were in demand.
As John grew in his work he was also observing China as it emerged from isolation and poverty. It was exhilarating to see China stand up but terrifying to consider the pollution and environmental implications of its rise. John would go to his office and think, "someone should really do something about the environment", but what he meant was "someone else". After some time he began to feel that his own attitude was part of the problem. If John was unwilling to change his life, why would anyone else? At this point he decided to found the "Environmental Education Media Project for China (EEMPC)" and to devote his energies to understanding and communicating about the environment and ecology. Since the mid-1990's, the EEMPC has distributed hundreds of existing films in China and John have made dozens of environmental and ecological films in China and around the world.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)