Saturday, April 28, 2012
The Urdu version is up here:
Friday, April 27, 2012
"Climate-induced community relocation: community-based adaptation strategies to protect human rights".
You can read an interview that Robin's gave at the conference at Alaskan villagers become climate refugees as homeland melts<http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/alaskan-villagers-become-climate-refugees-as-homeland-melts/>
There is also an interview posted on youtube from the conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXSLy2QngVY&feature=relmfu
The permafrost – the permanently frozen subsoil – on which the village is located is melting as temperatures warm.
Advanced erosion caused by the Ninglick River next to the village and seasonal flooding and storm surges are further threats to its existence.
The Arctic Sea ice which normally acts as a buffer to storm surges is also reducing, making the village vulnerable to future extreme weather events, said Robin Bronen from the University of Alaska who has been working with the community for five years.
“We don't have hurricanes in Alaska but we've been experiencing hurricane-force winds,” she told AlertNet at the sixth International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Newtok, which is below sea-level, is already facing problems with saline intrusion in the water systems, she said.
“They have serious issues with sanitation too because the sewage lagoon is eroding. It was on top of frozen earth and it's now melting,” added Bronen, who is also a human rights lawyer.
For this Yup’ik-speaking Eskimo community of subsistence hunters and fishermen, the only option left for adapting to the changing climate is to relocate.
The Newtok Planning Group, made up of community elders, federal and state agencies and non-government organisations, has chosen a spot nine miles south on Nelson Island called Mertarvik – it means “getting water from the spring” in Yup’ik.
“Their vision of their community is to be sustainable and resilient for the long-term so they're looking at alternative technologies to get the electricity they need and alternative forms of housing so they use less energy,” said Bronen.
Like the residents of Newtok many other people around the world are likely to become climate refugees in the coming decades. Experts say Newtok’s experience underlines the urgent need to come up with a co-ordinated approach for relocating communities forced to abandon their homes because of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns. More
Thursday, April 26, 2012
population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid "a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills", warns a major report from the Royal Society.
Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.
The assessment of humanity's prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must be pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.
"The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption ... or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future", it says. More
Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But if Bayer stops selling one group of pesticides, we could save bees from extinction.
Four European countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. But Bayer, the largest producer of neonicotinoids, has lobbied hard to keep them on the market. Now, massive global pressure from Avaaz and others has forced them to consider the facts, and in 24 hours, Bayer shareholders will vote on a motion that could stop these toxic chemicals. Let’s all act now and shame the shareholders to stop killing bees.
The pressure is working, and this is our best chance to save the bees. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone -- let's reach half a million signers and deliver it directly to shareholders tomorrow in Germany! Click Here
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
China’s seemingly insatiable demand for raw materials and tropical commodities has made it a fast-growing market for several Mekong countries and an increasingly important regional investor. Economic integration has been boosted by a multibillion dollar network of all-weather roads, bridges, dams, and power lines largely financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that is linking the countries of the Lower Mekong to each other and to China. To date, the ADB’s Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) cooperative development program has primarily benefited large population centers outside the basin proper in China, Thailand, and Vietnam. Unfortunately, the same infrastructure that speeds the flow of people and goods to urban centers also facilitates the environmentally unsustainable exploitation of the forests, minerals, water resources, and fisheries that are still the primary source of food and livelihoods to millions of the Mekong’s poorest inhabitants.
No aspect of China’s fast-growing role and influence in the Mekong region is more evident and more problematic than its drive to harness the huge hydroelectric potential of the Upper Mekong through the construction of a massive cascade of eight large- to mega-sized dams on the mainstream of the river in Yunnan Province. The recently completed Xiaowan dam, the fourth in the series, will mainly be used to send electricity to the factories and cities of Guangdong Province, its coastal export manufacturing base some 1,400 kilometers away. China’s Yunnan cascade will have enough operational storage capacity to augment the dry season flow at the border with Myanmar and Laos by 40-70 percent, both to maintain maximum electricity output and facilitate navigation on the river downstream as far as northern Laos for boats of up to 500 tons.
Continue reading on the Stimson Center.
Photo Credit: “Xiaowan Dam Site,” courtesy of International Rivers.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The report also developed stabilisation scenarios, and these remain potential future pathways. To avoid overshoot and collapse, according to the report, it is necessary to stabilise our economies, currently based on increasing material through-put; to slow and stabilise population growth; and to reduce pollution levels, all before mid-21st century. The two latter goals are relatively uncontroversial in most parts of the world, but even questioning the need for on-going economic growth is still highly politically sensitive.
Forty years have passed since the publication of The Limits to Growth. If the models are correct – and so far they look that way – business-as-usual is not an option: we do not have another 40 years to waste before taking action and changing course.
Still, the debate about the limits of economic growth has arisen once more, especially in Europe. In France, the movement debating these issues goes by the name “La Decroissance” -- literally, “De-growth”, referring to the controlled downscaling of production. This political and counter-cultural movement, which stands for the egalitarian use of global resources, is barely known outside the Francophone world, but has nonetheless produced valuable texts such as La Décroissance: 10 questions pour comprendre et en débattre (“De-growth: 10 questions to understand the debate”). More
Monday, April 23, 2012
Another initiative regarding climate change has been undertaken by iMatter. Five youths have taken the bold step of suing the federal government for failing to protect the atmosphere. They held rallies throughout the United States on Earth Day, March 22, 2012. And on May 11 in Washington, DC, the lawsuit is being heard. The basic premise is that the atmosphere is a public trust for all generations and the government has a legal responsibility to protect it. The lawsuits would also require the government to put into place plans to reduce carbon emissions by at least 6 percent per year.
“The link between water and food is strong. We each drink on average nearly 4 liters of water per day in one form or another, while the water required to produce our daily food totals at least 2,000 liters—500 times as much. This helps explain why 70 percent of all water use is for irrigation. Another 20 percent is used by industry, and 10 percent goes for residential purposes. With the demand for water growing in all three categories, competition among sectors is intensifying, with agriculture almost always losing. While most people recognize that the world is facing a future of water shortages, not everyone has connected the dots to see that this also means a future of food shortages.” More
Sunday, April 22, 2012
To take part, you can run an event, post some news or upload a short event or project video (2-5 mins). Share anything that shows how innovative, fun and productive permaculture is!
POST YOUR VIDEOS HERE:
All contributions will then be shared via
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
The dominant narrative of our culture is that economic growth can continue indefinitely but the realities of resource depletion, peak oil and ecosystem collapse mean this is wishful thinking. Cameron Leckie explains that if permaculture becomes the new dominant narrative, it will ensure that the changes that will eventually be forced upon us will be empowering rather than authoritarian or dictatorial.
Narratives define our society. Pick any significant issue and it is the narrative, rather than the 'facts,' which define it. Narratives have been part of the human experience for millennia and no doubt will continue to do so for millennia to come. They drive how we view the world, the way we live and the decisions that we make.
Narratives do not necessarily reflect reality. Rather they offer a version of reality which suits the group or groups of people that believe in the narrative (or want you to believe). Examples include religious or other groups which try to convince others that the end of the world is nigh but that the true believers will be saved and the cargo cults of the Pacific who believed that a combination of magic and religious rituals would result in more cargo/material goods arriving.
Narratives change over time. Change occurs as societies develop new understandings or differing groups within a society attempt to convince others of a particular narrative. Over time a dominant narrative tends to form. This does not happen by accident but is both perpetuated and strengthened through culture, media institutions, politicians and society at large. More
Saturday, April 14, 2012
March Madness comes once a year. Media Madness is year-round. What the mass media choose to cover and feature try to turn the priorities of any sane society upside down.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The detention and deportation of immigrants has reached an all-time high under the Obama administration. Fault Lines investigates the business of immigrant detention and finds out how a few companies are shaping US immigration laws.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
The Peace Chiefs We are called to step forward, to take our place, to find our courage and stand naked in the fierce temperatures of these extraordinary and wondrous times. The Peace Chiefs were warriors of the heart. They pledged themselves to peace. They followed the twin trail - the inner path of self-unfolding and the outer path of having effect in the world. Now amongst the valleys and hills of our land the story of the Peace Chiefs is whispered to the wind once more. It is a call sent out across the grey-misted waters of the Celtic sea from the songmakers and the storytellers. We belong to the land, we belong to the sea, we are called. Tim works at the Embercombe project www.embercombe.co.uk
Sustainability equates to a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Peace making is another way of creating sustainability, of healing the earth and the people's therein. Going forward into this century, with all the overwhelming issues we have to face, without peace we shall not survive as a society in which we would want or children to live. Editor
Monday, April 2, 2012
We need many strong voices speaking together -- the voices of people from all those regions that the 2007 IPCC IV Report identified as “vulnerable.”
by: Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit environment, culture and human rights advocate, and former political leader, Ronald Jumeau, Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The BRICS summit has wrapped up in India. Creating an alternative global lender and stepping away from the dollar as a reserve currency were among their main objectives. RT also spoke to Dr Sreeram Chaulia, who is a Vice Dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs. He believes institutions like the IMF and the World Bank have outlived their usefulness.