After decades of fervent environmental activism, Paul Kingsnorth decided it’s too late — collapse is inevitable. So now what?
After decades of fervent environmental activism, Paul Kingsnorth decided it’s too late — collapse is inevitable. So now what?
As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff — until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.
A year later, his three alleged killers, including a senior government official, are on trial for murder. The dumping has been halted and villagers are erecting a statue to their slain hero.
But the prosecution of Prajob’s murder is a rare exception. A survey released Tuesday — the first comprehensive one of its kind - says that only 10 killers of 908 environmental activists slain around the world over the past decade have been convicted.
The report by the London-based Global Witness, a group that seeks to shed light on the links between environmental exploitation and human rights abuses, says murders of those protecting land rights and the environment have soared dramatically. It noted that its toll of victims in 35 countries is probably far higher since field investigations in a number of African and Asian nations are difficult or impossible.
“Many of those facing threats are ordinary people opposing land grabs, mining operations and the industrial timber trade, often forced from their homes and severely threatened by environmental devastation,” the report said. Others have been killed over hydro-electric dams, pollution and wildlife conservation.
The rising deaths, along with non-lethal violence, are attributed to intensifying competition for shrinking resources in a global economy and abetted by authorities and security forces in some countries connected to powerful individuals, companies and others behind the killings.
Interesting that the investigators found that “authorities and security forces” (e.g., government) are complicit. I wonder how they found this information (or if they assumed it)?Anyone have this report? If so, can you kindly send it to me?
Thought provoking piece by Al Jazeera guest writer questions the limits of perpetual economic growth. What do you think?
“Aggressive growth is impossible ecologically and implausible economically. We need economic strategies at the local, state and national levels that prioritize community benefit over corporate gain, and which presume a need for local resiliency instead of depending on uncontrolled growth. We also need to develop new strategies to democratize wealth in the face of extreme inequality.
Like the programs developed in “the state and local laboratories of democracy” that led to the New Deal, numerous experiments percolating across the country in the “new economy” — building cooperative and community-owned businesses, developing locally focused supply chains at a municipal and regional level, building new forms for public ownership of essential services like banking and power generation — may just point the way.
The end of growth poses a long-term systemic challenge, and such explorations suggest that a new direction may be quietly being explored in the midst of economic and ecological degradation. It is a direction that is likely to accelerate as economic and social pain of the decaying economic system continues to force Americans to explore solutions that take us beyond the tired nostrums of the past.”
—Gar Alperovitz is a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland and a founder of the Democracy Collaborative. He is the author of “What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution.”
The White House has said it will require environmental impact studies to consider climate change, but new guidelines have been stalled for years.
This week, frustrated after years of inaction, the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to force Obama’s CEQ to finalize the new rules. From the lawsuit:“The Obama Administration has repeatedly promised to take action on climate, but talk is cheap. Its delay here is unlawful, as well as inexplicable and irresponsible,” said George Kimbrell, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “This unlawful delay is the opposite of the Obama Administration’s repeated promises to address climate change.”
With the effects of climate change becoming more and more evident, prompt action is necessary to ensure that climate change analysis is integrated into all levels of federal agencies’ planning. Full analysis and meaningful consideration of these impacts before federal government decisions are made will strongly affect the extent to which climate change and its consequential dangers are limited or avoided in the coming century.
Clever, but I don’t think the CEQ has authority to enforce a NEPA regulation. Any 2Ls out there?
TNC has a great reputation. They have high-turn over though, so they act more as a stepping stone for experienced and mid-level environmental careerists (any readers at TNC? Is this perspective accurate??). I’m also not clear on how successful they are at meeting their mission or campaign goals - though I’m sure this information is readily available on their website.
Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom has proposed to develop Crimea’s oil and gas sector, an official of the Ukrainian region which has applied to join Russia was quoted by RIA news agency as saying on Tuesday.
"Of course, Gazprom was the first to approach us (with a proposal)," said Rustam Temirgaliev, Crimea’s first deputy prime minister.- RigZone
Of course they did.
Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene is one of my favorite science journals. All articles are open-source - meaning they’re free - no registration or fees. They focus on environmental scientific research in an “era of accelerated human impact.” Humans have disturbed virtually every natural system on earth.
So, how do we share knowledge about scientific research? Currently, there’s a maturing debate about whether scientific research should be free or paid. I’m quite interested in this debate. Especially since my tax dollars pay for much of this research, but I don’t have access to it. In fact, most science is publicly funded by taxpayer dollars typically through universities and direct government grants. The balance of journals get their funds from subscriptions, which average about $5,000 per year. Yes, you can subscribe to Scientific American for $25, yet the annual ‘script for the Journal of Coordination Chemistry is $11,000!
When a researcher publishes their findings, scientific journals charge the public very high fees for access, which prevents the majority of the world from learning more.
I think this is reasonably indefensible.
One article from the journal Nature typically costs $20 to $30. One of my articles published with International Journal of Climate Change costs $10 (I share it for free with those that ask).
The debate is so powerful that The Guardian newspaper created a special section called Open Source Scientific Publishing. It focuses on the changing landscape of scientific publishing, and the debates make for fun, if not serious, reading.
And there is a protest movement by senior scientists to boycott some of the bigger scientific journals in favor of open source, free access publications. The University of California has also joined the fight, protesting these high fees.
Some have argued that science journals are more interested in selling subscriptions, where they favor “superstar” researchers who can capture more fees over less flashy researchers. Competition among science journals is a surprisingly ugly business.
So, should science be free? I think so.
For my part, I favor peer-reviewed, open-source science publication generally, and the journal Elementa specifically. Elementa is a non-profit publisher of science with overlap in my field of climate change and climate adaptation. The partners are BioOne, Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.
Take a minute to read what the editors of Elementa have to say about why open source science matters and why it should be free to everyone.
Earth and Environmental Science: John Geissman “I have never been a fan of huge for-profit publishers of science. Most have taxed the system in a very painful way. The more opportunities scientists have to publish their contributions in nonprofit journals, the better. Elementa provides a very important venue for scholars addressing a range of topics that are important to society, right now.”
With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could profoundly alter the river’s ecology and disrupt the food supplies of millions of people in Southeast Asia.
Seven dams built upstream in China and the blasting of rapids to improve navigation have already altered flows, reduced fish populations, and affected communities along portions of the Lower Mekong, which flows through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. But the impacts may soon get much worse as a new era of hydroelectric dam-building begins in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Eleven major hydroelectric dams — mostly within Laos — and dozens of dams on tributary streams that feed into the Mekong have been proposed or are under construction.
This is what progress looks like.More at Yale360.
The Dept of Defense releases this report every four years as a way of articulating its strategic direction.
On March 7, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry issued instructions to all diplomats around the world on combating climate change. He stressed that success in this effort will require active leadership and participation from everyone in the State Department and at posts around the world.
Personal Message From Secretary Kerry:
The environment has been one of the central causes of my life. I was just 26 when I participated in the very first Earth Day at home in Massachusetts. It was an eye-opening immersion into the power of grassroots action to force an issue onto the national radar screen and demand change. More than 20 million Americans—fully one-tenth of our country’s population at the time — came together to express a wake-up call. And they didn’t stop there. They elected a Congress that passed the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and the first wave of legislation that set us on a path to change the face of the planet we share with the rest of humanity.
We can transform challenges into opportunities. I’ve seen it happen long before I had a vote in the Senate or an office in Foggy Bottom, and it’s what I still believe. But I’m not just waxing nostalgic. Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat. It’s also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy.
Here’s what this guidance means in practice:
I. Lead by example through strong action at home and abroad: Making significant progress in combating climate change through domestic actions within the Department and at the federal, regional, and local level.
II. Conclude a new international climate change agreement: Working through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to negotiate a new, ambitious international climate agreement applicable to all countries by 2015 to take effect in 2020.
III. Implement the Global Climate Change Initiative: Undertaking a pragmatic, whole-of-government approach to speed the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future, including (1) promoting clean energy solutions; (2) slowing, halting, and reversing emissions from land use; and (3) helping the most vulnerable countries strengthen climate resilience.
IV. Enhance multilateral engagement: Helping lead efforts including the Major Economies Forum, Clean Energy Ministerial, Montreal Protocol, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.
V. Expand bilateral engagement: Engaging more than 50 partner countries on clean energy, sustainable landscapes, and adaptation, including the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the developing world.
VI. Mobilize financial resources: Working to mobilize and leverage billions of dollars of funding to transform our energy economies and promote sustainable land use, as well as working to limit public incentives for high-carbon energy production and fossil fuels.
VII. Integrate climate change with other priorities: Better integrating climate solutions into cross-cutting challenges, including women’s empowerment, urbanization, conflict and national security, and our own management and operations.- See more at: State.gov
“A lot of the time climate change doesn’t really seem tangible,” said lead author Scott Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “But here are these common little backyard birds we all grew up with, and we’re seeing them moving northward on relatively short time scales.”
The birds moved so fast the scientists had to add an extra study site partway through their project in order to keep up.
In Pennsylvania, where the study was conducted, the hybrid zone is just 21 miles across on average. Hybrid chickadees have lower breeding success and survival than either of the pure species. This keeps the contact zone small and well defined, making it a convenient reference point for scientists aiming to track environmental changes.
“Hybridization is kind of a brick wall between these two species,” said Robert Curry, a professor of biology at Villanova University, who led the field component of the study. “Carolina Chickadees can’t blithely disperse north without running into black-caps and creating hybrids. That makes it possible to keep an eye on the hybrid zone and see exactly how the ranges are shifting.”
The researchers drew on field studies, genetic analyses, and crowdsourced bird sightings. The data was matched with winter temperatures observations, and the scientists also closely studied the birds’ DNA to pinpoint the distribution of the two species.
I like the idea that climate change will create new species through hybrids.