- Global Parliament Constitution Table of Contents.
- Image frames of most recent updates of Global Parliament Constitution.
Global Dialogue 2016 Proceedings (September 1st 2015 to August 31st 2016).
Global Peace Earth.
Global Community days of celebration or remembering throughout the year.
Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month.
Lionel Anet, Eva Bartlett, Nicolette Bartlett, Paul Buchheit, Robert J Burrowes, Farron Cousin, Guy Crequie (3), Brian Davey, Ashley Dawson, François Fournet, Jeff Fox, Neal Gabler, Stephen Hawking, DahrJamail, Sophia Lepore, Reynard Loki, Stacey McFadin, Bill McKibben, Charles Mercieca, Nadia Prupis, Shirin Reuvers, Véronique Rioufol, Alexandra Rosenmann, Danielle Ryan, Cindy Shogan , Dr. David Suzuki (2), Katharine Thoday, Philip A. Wallach, Sjoerd Wartena, Mike Whitney, Eliot Whittington.
Lionel Anet, Capitalism or Life
Eliot Whittington, Nicolette Bartlett, Shirin Reuvers, Katharine Thoday, Welcome to Our New Climate Reality: To Save the Planet, Businesses and Investors Must Be a Part of the Solution
Eva Bartlett, The Agenda of Corporate Media Is Regime Change' in Syria
Paul Buchheit, At Least Four Kinds of Terrorism Are Targeting Our Grandchildren—None of Them What Donald Trump Would Have You Think
Robert J Burrowes, Life On Earth Is Dying
Farron Cousins, Planet Earth Is the Real Loser of the 2016 Elections
Guy Crequie, La voix facteur de paix et d’harmonie. Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI ) chante Noël; The voice factor of peace and harmony. Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI) sings Christmas.
Guy Crequie, TR: FOOTBALL- MŒURS ET POUVOIR DE l’ARGENT ! T TR: FOOTBALL MANNERS AND POWER Of the MONEY!
Guy Crequie, TR: LA NOUVELLE DONNE INQUIETANTE DE LA POLITIQUE FRANCAISE ! (Première partie = la seconde suivra après la primaire de la gauche) - THE NEWS GIVES WORRYING OF THE FRENCH POLICY! (First part = the second will follow after the primary elections.)
Brian Davey, The Climate Crisis And Economic Policy Choices
Ashley Dawson, Why the Extinction Crisis Isn't Just About the Environment, but Social Justice
François Fournet, Message de paix Mensagem de paz Peace Message Сообщение о мире Mensaje de paz
Jeff Fox, Here Is a Simple Act You Can Take Now to Help Stop Trump From Trashing the Earth's Climate.
Neal Gabler, It's Ayn Rand's America Now: Republicans Have Stripped the Country of Its Last Shred of Morality
Stephen Hawking, This Is The Most Dangerous Time For Our Planet
Dahr Jamail, U.S. Military Plans to Dump 20,000 Tons of Heavy Metals and Explosives Into the Oceans
Sophia Lepore, 7 Things You Use Every Day That Contain Palm Oil
Reynard Loki, Here's How the Rising Sea Will Remake the Coastlines of Endangered U.S. States and Drown Much of the World We Know
Stacey McFadin, McDonald's, Walmart and Subway Are Right at the Top of the List in Wrecking the World's Forests.
Bill McKibben, How to Save the Planet From Donald Trump?
Charles Mercieca, US Enemy No. One is its Military Spending 54% of Budget
Nadia Prupis, Climate Change Has Already Altered Nearly Every Ecosystem on Earth
Véronique Rioufol, Sjoerd Wartena, Why Are the Residents of This Small Village So Happy? They're Managing Their Farmland as Commons
Alexandra Rosenmann, German Leader Blasts Trump for Threats to Paris Climate Accord
Danielle Ryan, Game Over for the US in Syria
Cindy Shogan, Watch: How Two Tribal Women Are Fighting to Protect the Arctic From Oil Drilling
Dr. David Suzuki, How Do We Overcome Polluted Public Discourse When Climate Deniers Are Now in Charge?
Dr. David Suzuki, Extinction Crisis Signals It's Time to Change Course
Philip A. Wallach, Are the U.S. and China Ready, Willing and Able to Achieve Their Paris Agreement Goals?
Mike Whitney, Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
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|December 8, 2016||
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
by Mike Whitney , Information Clearing House
Syrian Army helicopters dropped leaflets on parts of eastern Aleppo on Sunday warning anti-government fighters to surrender while they still had the chance. Hundreds of jihadists have already laid down their weapons and surrendered while a hardline corps of deadenders continue to fend off the rapidly advancing army.
The situation is looking increasingly hopeless for the ragtag group of insurgents that have lost more than half the territory they held in just the last week. Every attempt they’ve made to break through Syrian Army lines has been repelled leaving them to defend a few shrinking districts where they will either surrender or die.
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered an ultimatum to the remaining militants that clarified the position of the Syrian government and its allies. he said:
US Secretary of State John Kerry has made every effort to stop the fighting to protect US-backed jihadists that are trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Unfortunately, a proposal that was accepted by both Kerry and Lavrov concerning the withdrawal of fighters in Aleppo, was rejected by higher-ups in the Obama Administration ending the prospects for a negotiated settlement. Lavrov expressed his frustration in comments to the media where he said:
According to Reuters, “the Syrian Foreign Ministry said it would now accept no truce in Aleppo, should any outside parties try to negotiate one.” Meanwhile, “Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Monday calling for a week-long ceasefire.” Simply put, this is the end of the line for the US-backed terrorists that have laid to waste much of the battered country and killed more than 400,000 people. And while Aleppo may not be the decisive turning point in the ongoing conflict, it does put all of the main population centers and industrial hubs back under regime control.
More important, the recapturing of Aleppo is a major setback for Washington and its jihadist-breeding allies. (US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar) US plans for redrawing the map of the Middle East to meet its economic and geopolitical objectives has been defeated by a courageous and determined coalition (Syria, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah) that has methodically routed or exterminated the foreign-backed opposition and reestablished both state security and the sovereign authority of the elected government to control its own affairs.
On Tuesday morning, AMN News reported that the Syrian Army had captured 85 percent of East Aleppo. Dozens of insurgents have been killed in sporadic fighting while hundreds more have surrendered. It appears that the battle of Aleppo is about to end and the Syrian Army is on the “verge of total victory.”
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at email@example.com.
|December 11, 2016||
The Agenda of Corporate Media Is Regime Change' in Syria
by Eva Bartlett, Independent journalist, Information Clearing House
|December 11, 2016||
Game Over for the US in Syria
by Danielle Ryan, Information Clearing House
With Aleppo on the brink of liberation from US-supported 'moderate' jihadi rebels, Barack Obama’s White House is in damage control mode — but it’s about time they admit it’s game over.
After major advances by Syrian forces into rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Washington suddenly came to the Russians with a plan last weekend. The US would do its best to get the rebels out of eastern Aleppo and any remaining would be designated as terrorists and thus become legitimate targets for Syrian forces.
The proposal floated around for three whole days before Washington retracted it to reportedly work on some new ideas.
At the rate the Obama administration moves with regard to Syria, you’d think there was no urgency attached at all. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has repeatedly aired his exasperation during breaks in talks that go on for hours longer than necessary, while his counterpart John Kerry seemingly checks with all and sundry in Washington before saying yes or no to anything.
The fact that the White House can’t seem to stick to one plan for more than three days — this isn’t the first time they’ve retracted their own proposals — indicates not only their desperation as the clock runs out on Obama’s presidency, but also highlights a general incoherence and total lack of clarity or consistency that has characterized the America’s Syria “strategy” for years.
But while the US side has been trying to decide which way is up, the war hasn’t waited for Obama’s foreign policy circle to all start singing from the same hymn sheet. The latest victories for the Russian-supported Syrian army are proving decisive and it’s predicted that government forces may have complete control of Aleppo within days. That certainly won’t be the end of the war, but it may be a step in the right direction in terms of weakening the Islamist opposition.
A different war
Western media, predictably, is painting the liberation of Aleppo from radical Islamist rebels as “the fall of Aleppo” or the “collapse” of Aleppo, as though Bashar Assad’s secular Syrian army driving out jihadi militants is a bad thing.
But what can be expected from such a duplicitous bunch? Their insincerity and shaky commitment to caring about things like diplomacy and human rights has been on display for some time, although perhaps never more so than in their reaction to the rebel shelling of a Russian military hospital earlier this week.
The op-eds and editorials condemning disgraceful war crimes and the murder of medical professionals were nowhere to be found. Why could that be? Well of course, the hospital was Russian and was hit by shelling from US-supported militants, so the heartfelt outrage and respect for the medical profession miraculously came to an abrupt halt. Even the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a bland statement as though nothing significant had happened.
Then there was the feigned disgust at the decision by Russia and China to block a UN Security Council draft resolution for a ceasefire in Aleppo.
Headlines screamed that the international baddies were preventing a ceasefire, the implication being that the peace-loving rebels were simply trying their best to stop the bloodshed. In reality, of course, while it might sound nice, a ceasefire at this point would have been used by the rebels as an opportunity to regroup and recover and ultimately would have prolonged fighting in the city.
Remember, these “moderate” rebels are people that the US has supported financially and militarily, but who they can neither identify nor locate most of them time — and who they certainly can’t control. They are groups who fight alongside Al Qaeda-affiliated forces and who stand accused of beheading a child and putting women in cages to be used as human shields.
But again, no major Western editorial boards found time this week to condemn US support for these lunatics or the policies Washington has implemented to prolong the war while Obama tries to find a way to salvage his foreign policy legacy.
While Western governments condemn Russian action in Syria and shed crocodile tears over the US’s failed diplomatic efforts, it’s worth skipping back a few years to remind ourselves of Washington’s role in provoking this war.
The fact is, the US promoted civil unrest in Syria. They pushed it. They encouraged it. They spent years encouraging division and sowing the seeds of instability in ways that could only have resulted in the outbreak of violence. Syria was simply another piece in the puzzle of Washington’s geopolitical master plan; another opportunity for control and influence in the region. Assad was a leader that didn’t play ball the way Washington liked, so he had to go. If an uprising wasn’t going to happen fast enough organically, they would happily help it along.
Skeptical? Just take a look at documents released by WikiLeaks that prove in black and white how determined the US was to spark unrest in the Middle Eastern country from as early as 2006. One cable listed a number of steps the US could take to weaken Assad and strengthen the opposition against him. Some of the suggestions included encouraging rumors of external plotting to weaken the government, discouraging FDI to hurt the economy and highlighting the failures of some of the country's reform efforts.
The cable also admitted that “anti-regime Syrian Islamists” were a threat to Assad’s power. Fast forward to the present day and these “anti-regime Syrian Islamists” are Washington’s “moderate” rebel friends. It makes for a truly sickening read in light of what has happened in that country.
It’s clear that the US government was encouraging an anti-Assad uprising for years. It's also clear that they were unsure what the consequences of their actions would be, but that they didn't seem to care. Now they’ve got the instability they wanted and it hasn’t gone their way, so naturally, everyone else is to blame and we’re supposed to believe hearts are breaking in Washington for the children of Aleppo.
Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and
media analyst. She has lived and traveled
extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary.
Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation,
Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern
Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many
others. She also works on copywriting and editing
projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at
|November 13, 2016||
Capitalism or Life
by Lionel Anet , Life/Philosophy, Countercurrents
The global socioeconomic system of capitalism, is forcing us to work harder to surpass previous consumption and population numbers until we have devoured everything that maintains life, ending up with a polluted, lifeless, and a scorched planet. Civilisation’s present and ultimate mode, capitalism is the system that can only lead us to our annihilation. This isn’t any individual’s, or any group of people’s fault, it’s the economic system that took form first with the energy of slaves to produce the raw materials that were then manufactured with the energy of fossil fuels. The economic success of that was dishonestly attributed to the capitalist system but it came from the benefit of using slave, which was overwhelm by non-renewable fossil fuels that are burned as renewables. The work force was then educated to use fossil fuels in its entire myriad of uses and also to integrated workers in a system of contradicting values by using competition as the regulator in a social setting that must also be cooperative to be social.
To maintain a general satisfaction in a social system that’s driven and motivate with competition, endless growth is needed, but in a finite system it must end when resources are exhausted. However, we also have a double whammy, that of pollution that impairs life and the carbon that’s heating the biosphere and acidifying the oceans, they would end life if the system is maintained to its exhaustion. It’s like been inside a spinning treadmill, the faster a few people run the faster each individual needs to run to stay in position. The only ones that can slow and stop that nonsense are the wealthy people, who have successfully blocked any attempts to head off that stampede, so the wealthiest are riding that wave of people and getting the benefits with little effort. To keep up with that momentum, society must take what it can, leaving nothing. Our options within the capitalist system is limited because competition entices and pressures us to keep doing more of everything or suffer the consequences of losing the little power we still have.
The power that controls the economy is with the 1% they have the power to stop and change that exploitive, chaotic violent world economy. The 1%, power comes from finance which’s depended on economic growth, and that can’t be jeopardised just to save a few millions poor people around the planet who are already suffering, which’s the present worry for concerned people. Sadly the 1% dominates and controls the information services; it’s the only power that is able to disseminate the needed information to change our self-destructive way of life to an inclusive positive one. If we can show the 1% that they’re facing a dire situation in a overpopulate world that’s depleted of vital resources, in an unliveable hot and violent climate. They are likely to avoid continuing on that path as wealth can’t have any value in that unendurable social chaotic violence, when the economy goes from sour to putrid and as well the 1% may be an early victim of vengefulness.
Without affordable oil we can’t produce the quantity of coal, gas, and pump the vital water that’s also needed to grow our food, it will curtail transporting all that stuff around the world. The difficulty will also be magnified by global warming which will need much more energy to counteract its effects. Global warming alone can kill us all. One must understand that burning that vast store of carbon that nature managed to accumulate in the ground has never happen before, it will also release the carbon from the permafrost and methane hydrates that will produce a colossal positive feedbacks. To sustain life in those extreme conditions would require more energy but there will be less to share, especially with more people. There’s no certainty of how much time we have to turn the world economy from an exploitative one, to one that functions within nature, as a part of nature before it becomes irretrievable.
We desperately need to show the 1% how closes they and we are in producing an unliveable world due to the outcome of capitalist economy. The 1% life is at stake like everyone, they must not only cooperate to live within nature’s ability, but promote it on a world scale. They are the only ones with the power to do so, and it may be the only way to survive. All living things have to have a survival instinct to be alive; it will save us all if we use it. However, that instinct will only kick in when those multi billionaires realise that their life is at stake and they can only be saved if they do their best to save everyone. That would mean an unreserved sharing with all people and a qualified one with nature, the sooner we can accomplish that, the easier and satisfying life will be, for the more cooperative our life is the more satisfying and secure it must be. In a cooperative based society there would be no advantage to be deceitful; people will then revert to honest relationships. That correlation in societies and also as a part of nature infers that people would see exploiting nature as destructive for us.
Although the yearning for peace is deep-seated, it has never been achieved during civilisation due to its competitive nature. If we keep capitalism, the ultimate in competitiveness, it will finish us. Peace can’t be attained with military force; one can’t fight for peace or for cooperation, as they’re an outcome of mutual agreements to benefit everyone. Peace is now possible because we have to have it to survive. People have the intellectual and the emotional ability to work out the multitude of changes to enable us to be fully social and survive, if it’s our goal.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member
|November 15, 2016||
Climate Change Has Already Altered Nearly Every Ecosystem on Earth
by Nadia Prupis, Climate Change, Countercurrents
Climate change is already affecting life on Earth, despite a global temperature increase of just 1°C, according to a new study published in the journal Science on Friday.
Nearly every ecosystem on the planet is being altered, and plants and animals are being so affected that scientists may soon be forced to intervene to create “human-assisted evolution,” the study, titled The Broad Footprint of Climate Change from Genes to Biomes to People, found.
The researchers say 82 percent of “core ecological processes” on land and sea have been affected by climate change in a way that had not been expected “for decades.”
Co-author and professor John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland said, “Temperature extremes are causing evolutionary adaption in many species, changing them genetically and physically. These responses include changes in tolerances to high temperatures, shifts in sex-ratios, reduced body size, and migration of species.”
“Understanding the extent to which these goods and services have been impacted allows humans to plan and adapt to changing ecosystem conditions,” he said.
Dr. James Watson, associate professor of planning and environmental management at UQ’s School of Geography, added, “We are simply astonished at the level of change we observed which many of us in the scientific community did not expect to see for decades.”
The changes have manifested in some species shifting to higher or lower ground as the planet heats up, while others are becoming smaller, “as a higher surface-area-to-body-mass ratio makes it easier to stay cool,” the Independent reported. The outlet wrote:
“These multi-level biological impacts of climate change will affect humans. Increasing disease outbreaks, inconsistent crop yields, and reduced fisheries productivity all threaten our food security,” said co-author Dr. Tom Bridge.
Average global temperatures have risen 1°C since the industrial era. The study states that this has “already had broad and worrying impacts on natural systems, with accumulating consequences for people. Minimizing the impacts of climate change on core ecological processes must now be a key policy priority for all nations.”
The study called on governments to follow through on the promises made in the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global warming below a 1.5°C threshold—although an increasing amount of scientists are sounding the alarm that even those pledges may betoo little, too late.
“Time is running out for a globally synchronized response to climate change that integrates adequate protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services,” the study continued.
“It is no longer sensible to consider this as a concern for the future—if we don’t act quickly to curb emissions it is likely that every ecosystem across Earth will fundamentally change in our lifetimes,” said Dr. Watson.
|December 4, 2016||
This Is The Most Dangerous Time For Our Planet
by Stephen Hawking, Counter Solutions, Countercurrents
As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centered around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community which I became part of in my twenties is even more rarefied. And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. Add to this, the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller.
So the recent apparent rejection of the elite in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union, and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next President, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt that they had been abandoned by their leaders. It was, everyone seems to agree, the moment that the forgotten spoke, finding their voice to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere.
I am no exception to this rule. I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward, and the electorate, or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it, took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.
What matters now however, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.
The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, the rise of AI is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.
This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms which it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.
We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
It is also the case that another unintended consequence of the global spread of the internet and social media is that the stark nature of these inequalities are far more apparent than they have been in the past. For me, the ability to use technology to communicate has been a liberating and positive experience. Without it, I would not have been able to continue working these many years past. But it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor and who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa, this will shortly mean nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be able to escape the inequality.
The consequences of this are plain to see; the rural poor flock to cities, to shanty towns, driven by hope. And then often, finding that the Instagram nirvana is not available there, they seek it overseas, joining the ever greater numbers of economic migrants in search of a better life. These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.
For me, the really concerning aspect of this, is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges. Climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amidst the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.
To do that, we need to break down not build up barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present. With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to re-train for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.
We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species, but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past month. To learn above all a measure of humility.
Stephen Hawking is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge
|December 4, 2016||
The Climate Crisis And Economic Policy Choices
by Brian Davey, Counter Solutions, Countercurrents
A major issue in climate economics is whether it is possible to halt the growth in carbon emissions and to achieve, instead, a rapid reduction. It concludes that carbon emissions will never fall at a sufficient rate in a growth economy. Unfortunately, the EU operates a climate policy framework, the EU Emissions Trading System, that was designed by BP and it doesn’t work. Policies that might work were the political will there are described. However, the fossil fuel industry still has a stranglehold on policy.
An entirely different way of thinking about climate issues is needed, one that is consistent with the limits to growth paradigm. The alternative way of framing the climate debate is:
• Humanity is faced with the high likelihood of a catastrophic ecological tipping point and this crisis is part of a general crisis at the limits to economic growth
Decoupling – relative and absolute
Central to the alternative approach is a focus upon what is called “de-coupling”, also sometimes described as “de-materialisation”. The question at stake here is whether it is possible to grow the economy and, at the very same time, achieve an absolute reduction in the throughput of energy and materials, that is, to decouple growth from increased material and energy usage. More specifically, in relation to the climate crisis, is it possible to grow the economy and reduce carbon emissions at the same time? Various proponents of degrowth do not deny that it is possible to increase the efficiency with which energy and materials are used in the economy. They do not deny that the amount of carbon emitted per unit of output can be decreased and that “relative decoupling” can occur. What they do not believe is that absolute decoupling can be made to work – and certainly not on the scale necessary to avert the danger of runaway climate change.
No good or service can be produced without energy – even “information” requires energy to run the computers or make and print books, magazines and newspapers. As the economy grows it requires more energy and, because virtually all energy in our society is generated by burning carbon fuels, that means more CO2 emissions. The figures show clearly that for decades, carbon emissions and economic activity fluctuate together in lockstep. This is a key concept already discussed in the chapters on production and technology but, to refresh the point, here are two graphs compiled by Gail Tverberg, drawing on GNP calculations by Angus Maddison, energy calculations by Vaclav Smil, supplemented by information from BP, EIEA and USDA. (Tverberg, 2012)
The graphs show that energy production and world GDP are highly correlated and, since most of the energy is derived from fossil fuels, this involves increased emissions. Unless the connection between growth of production and growth of emissions can be broken, and to a sufficient extent, there can be no reduction of carbon emissions without an end to growth – indeed without contraction.
At this point, a reminder is necessary. It may be that depleting fossil fuel supplies and the production crunch brought about by rising energy and material costs that was described in an earlier chapter, will achieve a considerable turn down in carbon emissions anyway. This would not be a particularly pleasant resolution of the crisis but it would certainly change the conditions in which the climate crisis would have to be resolved. On the other hand, the global power elite appear to be hell bent on continuing
There is plenty of carbon here to bring greenhouse gas concentration levels well above 600 ppm. As we have already seen, fracking for shale gas is just one of several options being pursued to get new fossil energy sources out of the ground in the face of the depletion gradients, bringing with it the threat of high fugitive methane losses. Underground gasification of coal is another technology based on extracting the energy from deep coal seams by partially burning it underground to extract the energy in the form of syngas. When it comes to the surface, syngas can be burned to generate electricity. If this can be made to work, there are unfortunately very large reserves of coal in the world that can still be used as energy sources.
Worse still, attempts are being made to tap “frozen” methane from the oceans called methane hydrates. This is a dangerous process because methane hydrate unfreezes from its crystalline form directly into methane gas and, when it does so, it enormously expands in volume. The process is thus, very unstable and explosive. However, Japanese technologists claim to have been able to do it and might be able to turn this into a commercial venture. (Reuters, 2013)
The description of the situation at this point in the analysis is to use what is called the Kaya identity after a Japanese energy economist Yoichi Kaya, who proposed a way of breaking down the different components to explain the growth (or reduction) in total emissions. These components are growth of the economy measured as GDP per capita (GDP/population); growth of the population; the energy intensity needed per unit of economic output (energy/GDP) and the emission intensity of that energy (CO2e/energy).
• Increasing energy efficiency – the amount of energy used per unit of economic output/service is reduced brought about by more insulation in buildings, lighter more efficient vehicles, machinery etc.
At this point, the distinction needs to be drawn out between relative decoupling and absolute decoupling. Relative decoupling means that for every unit of output less carbon emissions are generated. Another way of saying this is that the “carbon intensity of output falls”.
In his book Prosperity without Growth, Tim Jackson gives figures which show that the global carbon intensity declined by almost a quarter from just over 1 kilogram of CO2 per one US dollar output in 1980 to 770grams of carbon dioxide per US dollar in 2006. (Jackson, 2009, pp. 48-50) The fall in CO2 intensity per unit of economic output did not mean, however, that the absolute volume of carbon emissions fell. Because growth of production per capita and population grew even faster, the total amount of carbon emissions went up – even though, due to “relative decoupling”, carbon dioxide emissions rose at a slower rate than GDP. To sum up, this was relative decoupling but not absolute decoupling. (Jackson, 2009, pp. 50-53).
As a rule of thumb, absolute decoupling will only start to occur when the rate of relative decoupling is greater than the rates of increase of population and income combined. Thus, with global population increasing at 1.3% and the global per capita income increasing at 1.4% per year in real terms, the required technical improvement (reduction) in carbon intensity is greater than 2.7% (1.4% + 1.3%) per year. So what has the rate of technical improvement been? As Jackson computes the figures, carbon intensity has only been improving at 0.7% per annum. Thus, emissions have been increasing at 2% per annum.
Since Jackson’s book was published, more up to date figures published by the IPCC’s Working Group 3 for the 5th Assessment Report shows that the situation has deteriorated. This is not only because of growth in population and per capita growth, but also because the emission intensity of energy has increased. ( IPCC. WG3. Final Draft AR5 Presentation 2014 )
While the efficiency with which the global economy uses energy, as measured by the energy/GDP ratio, has continued to improve, the slow decarbonisation of the global energy supply has been put into reverse. The carbon intensity of energy is actually increasing, particularly as more coal is being used. The fact that there is so little sign of hope appears to be because, as depletion has driven up oil and gas supplies and prices, coal is being turned to instead, as well as more emission intensive sources of oil and gas (like Canadian tar sands and shale).
The scale of the challenge – the necessary rates of emissions reduction
These figures should be compared with what a team of climate scientists have calculated is the necessary rate of reduction.
“Keeping global climate close to the Holocene range, we will conclude, requires a long-term atmospheric CO2 level of about 350 ppm or less, with other climate forcings similar to today’s levels. If emissions reduction had begun in 2005, reduction at 3.5%/year would have achieved 350 ppm at 2100. Now the requirement is at least 6%/year. Delay of emissions reductions until 2020 requires a reduction rate of 15%/year to achieve 350 ppm in 2100. If we assume only 50 GtC reforestation, and begin emissions reduction in 2013, the required reduction rate becomes about 9%/year.” (Hansen, Kharecha, Sato, Masson-Delmotte, Ackerman, et al. 2013)
Another climate scientist, Kevin Anderson, argues that to stand an outside chance of not rising more than 2 degrees C, global emissions will have to stop rising at the latest by 2020 and will then have to fall by 10% per annum thereafter. (Kevin Anderson, “Pick a card – any card… How in funding targets to meet politically palatable goals, climate scientists undermine issues of equity and fairness”, Presentation to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, March 2013 and available at http://kevinanderson.info )
The graph below shows Anderson’s presentation of the options – the continuation of business as usual trends would mean a 4 to 6 degree C increase.
Just to stop global emissions growing, if GDP growth rates are 2.7% pa then carbon intensity must reduce at 2.7% per annum, which is nearly 4 times the current rate of improvement. In order for emissions to fall at 10% per annum, if growth continued at 2.7% pa, this would require carbon intensity to improve (reduce) at 12.7 % per annum. This is 18 times the current rate of improvement. (Anderson K. 2013)
Such a fall seems inconceivable in a growth scenario so that Kevin Anderson and his colleague Alice Bows had already in 2008 taken the view that:
“… dangerous climate change can only be avoided if economic growth is exchanged for a period of planned austerity within Annex 1 nations at the same time as there is a rapid transition away from fossil-fuelled development within non-Annex 1 nations.”(Anderson & Bows, 2010)
The climate crisis is still on…
In his March 2013 presentation to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Anderson has moved on with the recognition that the necessary reductions barely affect a very large proportion of the world’s population. The austerity has to be carried by the elite. Perhaps 1% of the global population accounts for 50% of all emissions and if we take the top 5% we are talking about the top 60% of emissions. It is above all the carbon intensity of the lifestyle of the global elite that is taking us all to climate hell and it is the lifestyle of this elite that needs to be tackled.
So how can this be done – and as part of a larger societal response to the limits to economic growth?
• Try to calculate (with a very safe margin for error) the small amount of additional carbon that can be emitted to stay well back from the runaway tipping point
Of course, saying this begs the political question of how such a policy can be brought about, but we will park that question at this point and come back to it later. The assumption for now is that some organised agency can be found with the political will and power to set an absolute ceiling on the amount of carbon based fuels that are allowed into the economy. Or, put the other way around, an agency is created with the power to keep most remaining fossil fuels in the ground untouched. This will then, in turn, force a number of other processes such as:
• Lifestyle changes – eating less meat which is an energy and carbon intense foodstuff; cycling and walking more and less travel; more growing your own food; voluntary reductions in consumption with a culture of “sufficiency” reductions.
Effective cap and ineffective caps – how the Eu operates a policy designed by BP that doesn’t work
But is it possible to impose a carbon price (or a cap)? How is it possible to drive a process of decarbonisation? What can be done about emissions from land use changes and deforestation? What is to be done about other sources of global warming like black carbon, methane emissions, N2O emissions, HCFCs and so on? There are lots of questions in climate policy that need answers. It is not straightforward by any means.
It should not surprise that the cap and trade policy in Europe has failed. As we have seen repeatedly in this book, policy is written by the polluters for the polluters and when the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme was set up, it was no exception. For a long time, the major fossil fuel suppliers had resisted any restraint on emissions but, at the end of the 1990s, some of them changed tack. Recognising that some policy was inevitable, companies like BP in Britain moved to take over the policy making process and thus, turned it to their own advantage. BP first experimented with an internal emissions trading scheme which was started in 1999. In 2002, the BP model was scaled up with the support of the UK government’s Department of the Environment and 34 other voluntarily participating companies. This UK scheme, in turn, became a model for the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. This was despite the fact that, from very early on, it was evident that the BP scheme was ineffectual. The supposed “cap” that it used did not really restrain emissions. Some of the later problems of the EU’s
“Two years into the UK scheme, it was examined by the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Accounts. Labour MP Gerry Steinberg described the scheme as a “mockery” and an “outrageous waste of [public] money”. BP was one of a number of UK companies which had lobbied so successfully for a generous emissions allowance that it massively over-complied in the first year of the scheme, leaving the company free to profit from the sale of its surplus allowances. The fact that emissions were already limited by the government’s Climate Change agreements led Edward Leigh, the Conservative chair of the Public Accounts Committee, to observe that the scheme seemed to be “paying these companies 111£ million for keeping emissions down to levels they had already achieved before they joined”. Leigh also observed that “half the point of this was to try and encourage Europe to do a similar scheme”.
“The committee’s enquiry revealed that the scheme’s success was not in reducing greenhouse gas emissions but in turning the atmosphere into “a commodity market like any other” and that far from being a side effect, this had been the intention of the scheme.” (Corporate European Observatory and PLATFORM, 2009, pp. 4-5)
In the circumstances, it is not surprising that “caps” have got a bad name. If a solution for the problem of corporate lobby power in the political process could be found, a cap would be the simplest and most direct approach.
The starting point for understanding how a cap should work are the following easily available conversion figures. They show the carbon content of different fuels when burned, reduced to a common measure. Thus, 1 kg CO2 = 1 Carbon Unit (Note the Global Warming Potential of non-CO2 warming gases like methane are measured in units called “Carbon dioxide equivalents” which are noted with an “e” after CO2, as in “CO2e”). As examples natural gas = 0.18404 carbon units per kWh or industrial coal = 0.31304 carbon units per kWh (a tonne of industrial coal = 2339.1 carbon units) (Carbon Trust, 2013)
For each physical quantity of a particular kind of fuel, or for each quantity of energy, it can readily be calculated how much CO2 will be emitted when that quantity is burned. If the political will could be found, it is therefore entirely possible to construct a policy administration that could control how much carbon can be allowed to be burned in any time period.
You could do it like this. All fossil fuel sales would be banned unless first authorised by a permit. The number of permits, which would be denominated in carbon units, would be limited and reduced rapidly year on year.
In order to acquire some of the limited numbers of permits, the fossil fuel sellers would have to obtain them. As is obvious, the permits would be very expensive to buy if the cap were tight enough. The fossil fuel sellers would pass on the permit cost to their customers so that the price of fossil fuels would rise, perhaps very considerably. The prices of goods made with large amounts of fossil fuels would also rise. This would not be at all popular and would particularly hit people with a carbon intensive lifestyle, which, as we have seen already, is largely the very rich. However, poor people would be hit too. That is why it would be necessary that the large amount of money raised when permits are sold, should be recycled back to the population on a per capita or some other equitable basis. It might also be necessary to do more to help the high carbon poor in countries like the USA but that is a detail that I will not go into here.
This will achieve what Kevin Anderson wants to see, that is, a scheme that cuts the carbon intensive lifestyle of the rich most, while making a very large number of poor people better off, at least in the early stages of the process. The reason that they will be better off is that if the revenue from carbon permit sales is recycled back to the public on a per capita basis, then everyone, rich or poor, will get exactly the same amount of the revenue from permit sales. However, the poor tend to have a less carbon intensive lifestyle. Although prices for their lifestyle will rise, they will still get more from their share of the carbon permit revenues than they will pay extra in rising prices.
“The 1%”, however, will be paying a huge amount more because, directly and indirectly, their energy intensive lifestyle accounts for 50% of all carbon emissions and carbon will have become very expensive. Despite this, they will only be getting back the same share from the carbon permit revenues as everyone else.
In the book Sharing for Survival, Laurence Matthews illustrates this graphically with a very simple example for an imaginary country consisting of only 10 people with CO2 emissions as shown (in units of tonnes of CO2). The total of all emissions is 15 tonnes and so the average is 1.5 tonnes. (Matthews, Cap and Share in pictures, 2012, p. 52)
Laurence Matthews comments:
“A majority would be in favour of maintaining a tight cap, since they gain financially. This is a force to counterbalance the vested interests who would push for a cap to be relaxed or abandoned, and this counterbalance gives a certain political robustness to C&S in the face of shocks and political events.”
If such a scheme was adopted in 2020, the number of carbon units permitted would need to be reduced by at least 10% per annum to have an outside chance of the planet staying under 2 degrees C. A reduction of available energy of this magnitude, if at all possible, would need to drive a massive reduction of production, chiefly, the production of things that enter into carbon intensive lifestyle of rich people in the manner explained above.
A policy like this would lead to a very dramatic process of “degrowth” because production is dependent on energy. With fossil energy availability radically reduced by a cap that really bites, the amount of production in the economy would be driven downwards. An upstream cap imposed on sellers of coal, oil and gas can cover ALL fossil fuels entering the economy and would be simple to impose, at least in administrative terms. Most countries already impose duties on fossil fuel sales so there are procedures already in place monitoring the input of fossil fuels into different economies.
Obviously, administrative simplicity is only a part of the problem of setting and operating a cap. Driving a contraction of the economy would be immensely unpopular, unless accompanied by multiple other policies and social changes to enable billions of people to achieve dramatic changes in their lifestyles. These changes should be, above all, concentrated on the rich and would have to be made anyway because of depleting fossil energy and materials resources. They are described in greater length in the final chapter and in this chapter are “parked” for now.
Needless to say, this is nothing like the working of the policy architecture designed in Europe by BP, its corporate allies and government. The European Union policy was designed, consciously or unconsciously, to deflect direct controls away from the fossil fuel industry onto its customers. It is riddled with loopholes and special clauses that make it easy for large businesses to game the system and generally to make it unworkable. Because of business pressure so many permits have been issued that there is no real restraint on emissions in practice. Rather than having a direct control over what fossil fuels are allowed into the economy, the policy architecture has been focused upon the users and uses of fossil fuels at the demand end. In the jargon, the policy is imposed “downstream” rather than “upstream”.
As is obvious, the number of users and uses of fossil fuels “downstream” is much greater than the number of suppliers “upstream”. Something that this diagram, again devised by Laurence Matthews, is intended to illustrate:
It would have made sense to control emissions by capping the amount of fossil fuels going into the system at the source of initial supply. This is called capping the emissions “upstream”. The fossil fuel suppliers would have to have emissions permits (indicated by the yellow rectangles) to cover the emissions caused by the fossil fuels they bring into the system.
This is illustrated in this diagram:
What happened instead in Europe was that the ETS was imposed downstream on large fossil fuel users. These are companies running power stations, cement works, steel mills and the like. This covers 45% of the EU’s CO2 emissions.
Individuals are not covered in this scheme but could be through “personal carbon trading” (PCA) – based on “personal carbon accounts”. The problem is that this would be administratively complex. Everyone would have to have their own personal carbon account, presumably by using a carbon card rather like a debit or credit card.
In the early stages of the European ETS, most permits to emit were initially distributed to the main emitters for free. This meant that, to the extent that the permits had any market value, it was the companies that captured their value. The mechanism and reasoning worked like this: companies that have to surrender their permits because they have been emitting CO2 reason that, because the surrendered permits have a market value, surrendering them means the loss of this market value to the company. Thus, as far as the company is concerned, this loss when their permits are surrendered is one of their costs of operation. So, even though they were given the permits in the first place, they pass on this “cost” to their customers in increased prices.
Because it was designed by pushers of fossil fuels, the European Union established a system that runs on a “pay the polluter” principle. The idea is supposed to be that, over time, more of the permits will be auctioned by states which will capture the revenue raised. However, there has been some dragging of feet on this and governments are reluctant to implement this system in favour of their fossil fuel corporations. Poland has even wanted to use revenues arising from ETS permits to subsidise new coal fired power stations. (Though been taken to court over this by an environmental NGO, ClientEarth).
The Earth’s atmosphere as a common Pool resource that ought to be managed as a global commons
What is at stake as regards who gets the carbon permit revenue is the question of who owns the right to use the earth’s atmosphere. The implication of allowing companies to capture the market value of the permits is that the right to use the earth’s atmosphere belongs to them. The implication of auctioning and revenues going to governments is that the right belongs to states. The idea that the earth’s atmosphere might “belong” to all of us – and that all of us have a responsibility for it – does not appear to have ever occurred to economists, corporate lobbyists, officials or politicians. Nevertheless, there have been more astute commentators who have grasped what is going on. It’s another enclosure process. For example, at the time the ETS was being designed, two authors associated with a German environmental think tank, the Wuppertal Institute commented:
Parcelling out shares of the global atmospheric commons to be exchanged among trading partners appears to be strikingly similar to the enclosure of the communal forests in 18th century Europe. Just as the enclosures put in place both property rights and forest protection, denying access to the common people, the assignment of emissions permits ensures protection by granting property rights, eliminating unregulated use by any player involved. (Ott & Sachs, 2000)
In the USA too, economist Peter Barnes described the atmosphere as a common pool resource and wrote a book titledWho Owns the Sky?. In his book, he argues that use of the atmosphere should be managed by a trust with a fiduciary duty to protect it by limiting its use and that the carbon revenue arising from the renting of these rights should be paid to everyone (in a US scheme) equally. (This is called “cap and dividend”). (Barnes, Who Owns the Sky? , 2003)
Policy is not made on a level playing field and the ETS, with all its weaknesses, is what we have ended up with. It has been complemented within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol with a scheme called the “Clean Development Mechanism”.
The clean Development mechanism
The “Clean Development Mechanism” is particularly interesting for the way that it throws light on policy mechanisms which are supposed to work by “incentivising” change. As already explained, neoclassical economists assume that one can manipulate means-ends relationships in order to make environmentally benign behaviour pay in money terms. What is supposed to happen is that good environmental/climate ends are achieved by means of incentive schemes which make them financially worthwhile. What the experience of the CDM shows, however, and very clearly, is that what are incentivised are not changes in environmental behaviour but ways of “gaming policies” to cynically make as much money from them as possible.
The clean development mechanism (CDM) was supposed to be about supporting “clean” projects in “developing” countries so that they can claim carbon credits for “certified emission reductions” (CERs) which can be sold into the permit schemes operating in “developed countries”. In practice, this has mainly meant into the European Union’s Emission Trading System.
The idea was to encourage “developing” country projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency and fuel switching which would not have otherwise taken place. What was supposed to happen was that “emissions reductions” in “developing” countries would entitle projects to credits. The number of credits were to be calculated by comparing actual emissions by the project concerned to a baseline of what would have otherwise have happened if the project had made no efforts to reduce its emissions.
But how are projects supposed to establish “what would otherwise have happened”? This way of setting up the policy has been a recipe for fraud and for gaming. Many participants have created an inflated base line by increasing actual or stated emissions in the short term before the CDM project was established. Or they set up “projects” in order to close them down. The scams have been particularly profitable in projects that appear to “abate” the production of hydroflurocarbons which are very powerful greenhouse gases as well as gases which destroy the earth’s ozone layer. Given the magnitude of the profits generated from CDM credits, it was profitable to build whole new facilities involving hydroflurocarbons just for the value of destroying the by-product. (SourceWatchWiki, 2009) The recognition that this is a problem finally led to a revision of the CDM crediting rules for the issuance of CERs, which were made more stringent in 2011.
“Yet it is still not stringent enough and still threatens to undermine the goals of the Montreal Protocol and the protection of the Ozone layer. The revised rules also do not apply until projects have to renew their crediting period. This means from 2012 until the end of the first crediting periods (seven years after a project started), well over 24… (Industrial Gases (HFC-23 & N2O), 2012) 2012) As of 1 June 2013, the CDM had issued 505,125 CERs, or 38% of all CERs issued, to 23 HFC- 23 destruction projects (Wikipedia, Clean Development Mechanism, 2013)
Another scam has involved dams. Barbara Haye calculated that more than a third of all hydro-projects recognized as a CDM-project “were already completed at the time of registration and almost all were already under construction” (Haya, 2007). Several years later, despite intensive lobbying by NGOs the need for reform was recognised but governments were again dragging their feet, with many controversial and environmentally damaging hydroprojects still in the pipeline. (Yan, 2012)
The CDM shows clearly what is wrong with current climate policy. It has been infested by crooks. This statement is not meant as rhetorical overstatement for effect – but literally.
Brian Davey trained as an economist but, aside for a brief spell working in eastern Germany showing how to do community development work, has spent most of his life working in the community and voluntary sector in Nottingham particularly in the health promotion, mental health and environmental fields. He helped develop Ecoworks, a community garden and environmental project for people with mental health problems. He is a member of the Feasta Energy and Climate Working Group and the Co-ordinator of Cap and Share UK. His life-long interest is why and how people and systems break down. He lives in Nottingham.
|December 7, 2016||
Life On Earth Is Dying
by Robert J Burrowes, Environmental Protection, Countercurrents
On the day that you read this article, 200 species of life on Earth (plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles) will cease to exist. Tomorrow, another 200 species will vanish forever.
The human onslaught to destroy life on Earth is unprecedented in Earth’s history. Planet Earth is now experiencing its sixth mass extinction event and Homo sapiens sapiens is the cause. Moreover, this mass extinction event is accelerating and is so comprehensive in its impact that the piecemeal measures being taken by the United Nations, international agencies and governments constitute a tokenism that is breathtaking in the extreme.
And it is no longer the case that mainly ‘invisible’ species are vanishing: those insects, amphibians and small animals about which you had never even heard, assuming they have been identified and given a name by humans.
You and I are on the brink of driving to extinction some of the most iconic species alive today. For a photo gallery of threatened species, some of which are ‘critically endangered’, see ‘World’s wildlife being pushed to the edge by humans – in pictures’
If you want to read more about some aspects of the extinction threat, you can do so in these recent reports: ‘World Wildlife Crime Report: Trafficking in protected species’ and ‘2016 Living Planet Report’ which includes these words: ‘The main statistic from the report … shows a 58% decline between 1970 and 2012. This means that, on average, animal populations are roughly half the size they were 42 years ago.’
And if you want to read just one aspect of what is happening in the world’s oceans, this recent UN report will give you something to ponder: ‘New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions’.
Of course, some of what is happening is related to the ongoing climate catastrophe and there isn’t any good news on that front. See ‘What’s Happening in the Arctic is Astonishing’.
But not everything that is going badly wrong is well known either. Did you know that we are destroying the Earth’s soil? See ‘Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues’.
And did you realise that even nitrogen is now a huge problem too? See ‘Scientists shine a spotlight on the overlooked menace of nitrogen’.
Of course, military violence has devastating consequences on the Earth’s ecosystems too, destroying land, water and atmosphere (not to mention killing human beings) in the fight over resources. You will get no joy from the article ‘Iraq’s oil inferno – government inaction in the face of eco-terrorism’ or the website of the Toxic Remnants of War Project. But every single aspect of military spending is ultimately used to destroy. It has no other function.
While 2.5 billion human beings do not have enough to eat. See ‘One in three people suffers malnutrition at global cost of $3.5 trillion a year’.
As you read all this, you might say ‘Not me’! But you are wrong. You don’t have to be an impoverished African driven to killing elephants for their tusks so that you can survive yourself. You don’t have to be a farmer who is destroying the soil with synthetic poisons. You don’t have to be a soldier who kills and destroys or a person who works for a corporation that, one way to another, forces peasants off their land.
You just have to be an ‘ordinary’ person who pays your military taxes and consumes more than your share of world resources while participating without challenge in the global system of violence and exploitation managed by the global elite.
‘Why is this?’ you might ask.
This is because the primary driver of the human-induced mass extinction is not such things as some people hunting a particular lifeform to extinction, horrendous though this is. In fact, just two things drive most species over the edge: our systematic destruction of land habitat – forests, grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, mangroves… – in our endless effort to capture more of the Earth’s wild places for human use (whether it be residential, commercial, mining, farming or military) and our destruction of waterways and the ocean habitat by dumping into them radioactive contaminants, carbon dioxide, a multitude of poisons and chemical pollutants, and even plastic.
And do you know what drives this destruction of land and water habitats? Your demand for consumer products, all of which are produced by using land and water habitats, and the resources derived from them, often far from where you live. The most basic products, such as food and clothing, are produced on agricultural land, sometimes created by destroying rainforests, or taken from the ocean (where overfishing has savagely depleted global fish stocks). But in using these resources, we have ignored the needs of the land, oceans and the waterways for adequate regenerative inputs and recovery time.
We also participate, almost invariably without question or challenge, in the inequitable distribution of resources that compels some impoverished people to take desperate measures to survive through such means as farming marginal land or killing endangered wildlife.
So don’t sit back waiting for some miracle by the United Nations, international agencies or governments to solve this problem. It cannot happen for the simple reason that these organizations are all taking action within the existing paradigm that prioritizes corporate profit and military violence over human equity and ecological sustainability.
Despite any rhetoric to the contrary, they are encouraging overconsumption by industrialized populations and facilitating the inequitable distribution of income and wealth precisely because this benefits those who control these organizations, agencies and governments: the insane corporate elites who are devoid of the capacity to see any value beyond the ‘bottom line’. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’.
If you want action on the greatest challenge human beings have ever faced – to avert our own extinction by learning to live in harmony with our biosphere and equity with our fellow humans – then I encourage you to take personal responsibility.
If you do, you need to act. At the simplest level, you can make some difficult but valuable personal choices. Like becoming a vegan or vegetarian, buying/growing organic/biodynamic food, and resolutely refusing to use any form of poison or to drive a car or take an airline flight.
But if you want to take an integrated approach, the most powerful way you can do this is to systematically reduce your own personal consumption while increasing your self-reliance. Anita McKone and I have mapped out a fifteen-year strategy for doing this in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. < You might also consider signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’which obviously includes nonviolence towards our fellow species.
One of the hidden tragedies of modern human existence is that we have been terrorized into believing that we are not personally responsible. See ‘The Delusion “I Am Not Responsible”‘. For a fuller explanation, see ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’. It isn’t true but few people feel powerful enough to make a difference.
And every time you decide to do nothing and to leave it to someone else, you demonstrate why no-one else should do anything either.
Extinction beckons. What will you do?
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com
|December 9, 2016||
It's Ayn Rand's America Now: Republicans Have Stripped the Country of Its Last Shred of Morality
by Neal Gabler, Bill Moyers, AlterNet
If you have any doubts that the phenomenon of Donald Trump was a long time a’coming, you have only to read a piece that Gore Vidal wrote for Esquire magazine in July 1961, when the conservative movement was just beginning and even Barry Goldwater was hardly a glint in Republicans’ eyes.
Vidal’s target was Paul Ryan’s idol, and the idol of so many modern conservatives: the trash novelist and crackpot philosopher Ayn Rand, whom Vidal quotes thusly:
In most quarters, in 1961, this stuff would have been regarded as nearly sociopathic nonsense, but, as Vidal noted, Rand was already gaining adherents: “She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who hate the ‘welfare state,’ who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts.”
Because he was writing at a time when there was still such a thing as right-wing guilt, Vidal couldn’t possibly have foreseen what would happen: Ayn Rand became the guiding spirit of the governing party of the United States. Her values are the values of that party. Vidal couldn’t have foreseen it because he still saw Christianity as a kind of ineluctable force in America, particularly among small-town conservatives, and because Rand’s “philosophy” couldn’t have been more anti-Christian. But, then, Vidal couldn’t have thought so many Christians would abandon Jesus’ teachings so quickly for Rand’s. Hearts hardened.
The transformation and corruption of America’s moral values didn’t happen in the shadows. It happened in plain sight. The Republican Party has been the party of selfishness and the party of punishment for decades now, trashing the basic precepts not only of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but also of humanity generally.
Vidal again: “That it is right to help someone less fortunate is an idea that has figured in most systems of conduct since the beginning of the race.” It is, one could argue, what makes us human. The opposing idea, Rand’s idea, that the less fortunate should be left to suffer, is what endangers our humanity now. I have previously written in this space how conservatism dismantled the concept of truth so it could fill the void with untruth. I called it an epistemological revolution. But conservatism also has dismantled traditional morality so it could fill that void. I call that a moral revolution.To identify what’s wrong with conservatism and Republicanism — and now with so much of America as we are about to enter the Trump era — you don’t need high-blown theories or deep sociological analysis or surveys. The answer is as simple as it is sad: There is no kindness in them.
That the draining of kindness from huge swaths of the country occurred with so little resistance is, in large measure, the fault of the media. The media have long prided themselves on being value neutral. It was Dragnet journalism: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Or: “We report, you decide” — a slogan coopted by the right-wing Fox News, ironically to underscore that they weren’t biased, at least not liberally biased.
Of course, not even the most scrupulous journalists were ever really value neutral. Underneath their ostensible objectivity there was a value default — an unstated moral consensus, which is the one Vidal cited and the one to which most Americans subscribed throughout most of our history. But it took a lot to activate those values in the press. The mainstream white media moved ever so slowly to report on the evils of segregation. Yet when they finally did, they didn’t behave as if African-Americans marching for their rights and Sheriff Bull Connor siccing dogs on them were moral equals. Value neutrality had its limits. The reporting of the movement was one of journalism’s proudest moments, and you can read about it in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanonff. It is a story worth telling and remembering in these frightening days — a story that shows how the press can serve us.
However long it took for them to grow a conscience, those journalists who covered the civil rights movement didn’t think they were violating their professional code of objectivity by exposing the heinous conduct of the Southern authorities, because they knew what they were upholding wasn’t subject to debate. The morality was stark. (I have a suspicion from the way the Black Lives Matter movement is covered that it wouldn’t be so stark today.)
Taking sides against the KKK and redneck sheriffs, however, was one thing, as was taking sides against lunatic fringe right-wingers like the John Birch Society who hated government. But what happens when those extremists who advocate a bizarre morality that elevates selfishness and deplores altruism commandeer one of our two major political parties? What do you do then?
We know the answer. You do nothing.
The media sat by idly while American values were transmogrified. Even the so-called “good” conservatives — David Brooks, David Frum, Michael Gerson, Jennifer Rubin, et al. — refused to speak the language of kindness, preferring the language of free markets. As far right conservatives took over the Republican Party — the very same conservatives who just a few years earlier were considered crazies — the media dared not question Republican opposition to anything that assisted the disempowered and dispossessed, which is how a value-neutral media wound up serving the cause of conservatism and Republicanism and how the moral consensus was allowed to be turned upside down.
Read those Ayn Rand quotes to your children as moral instruction, and you will see how far we have fallen. This is Republican morality. This is Trump morality. And the media, loath to defend traditional American values in an increasingly hostile conservative environment, let it happen. That is what value neutrality will get you.
Of course I realize there are those who believe a value-neutral press is actually a bulwark against excess, in part because they have seen the alternative. Right-wing and even left-wing media have their own values, and they have no qualms about disregarding fact or truth in pursuing their agendas. Seen this way, values don’t inform journalism; they distort it. Moreover, skeptics will say that everyone has his/her own values and that a journalism that pretends otherwise threatens to create informational and even moral chaos. As my late father, an accountant, used to say, “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.” Do we really want to trust the media to figure?
It is true that we don’t all share the exact same values, though in the past I think our fundamental values were pretty close to one another’s. But even if values differ, all values are not created equal. Some are better than others. Most of us do know what is right. Most of us do know that we have moral obligations to others. Most of us understand kindness. It is just that we have been encouraged to forget it. That was Ayn Rand’s mission. Trump is proof of how well she and her acolytes, like Paul Ryan, succeeded.
This election turned on many things, but one that both the public and the press have been hesitant to acknowledge is the election as a moral referendum: the old morality against the new Randian one Republicans had advanced for years and Trump fully legitimized. There is no kindness in him. We prefer the idea that Trump voters were economic casualties, that they were frustrated with the system, that they felt marginalized and misunderstood. It lets us avoid seeming condescending.
Perhaps. But I think it behooves us to recognize that many of those voters bristled under the old morality and turned to Trump because he removed the guilt Vidal had cited when we tried to harden our hearts. Shame helped keep the old morality in force. Trump made shamelessness acceptable. We are reaping that whirlwind every day.
I don’t know whether a great society can survive without kindness. Unfortunately, we shall have a chance to see. In the meantime, those of us who believe in traditional morality must mount what I would call a “kindness offensive.” We must redouble our kindness in our daily lives, fight for it, promote it and eventually build a political movement around it.
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth,” Tolstoy said. Going forward, that could be the basis for a politics. And we must press our media to understand that they can only restore the values they once took for granted by doing what the best of them did during the civil rights era: observe events through a moral lens. Appealing to our worst selves is usually a winning strategy, as it was for Trump. The media must remind us of what it means to be our best selves. This should be their new mission: a media in opposition. It should be unrelenting, regardless of the right-wing blowback.
America is in moral crisis. Many Americans seem far more interested in making sure that those they consider undeserving — basically, the poor — get nothing than in making sure that they themselves get something. A friend recently told me a joke told him by a Hungarian acquaintance, who intended it as an example of Hungarian schadenfreude, but I have modified it because I think it is a harrowing parable for contemporary America and its strange moral turnabout. This is Trump’s America:
There were three farmers: a German, a Hungarian and an American. Each had a cow. One day, misfortune befell them, and their cows died. Each remonstrated against God, saying God had failed him, and each lost faith. God realized he had to do something to make amends. So he came to Earth and approached the German.
“What can I do to restore your faith?” He asked. And the German answered, “God, I lost my cow. Please give me another cow.” And God did so.
“What can I do to restore your faith?” He asked the Hungarian. And the Hungarian answered, “God, I lost my cow. Please give me that cow and another to compensate.” And God did so.
And finally God came to the American, and He asked, “What can I do to restore your faith?” And the American answered, “God, I lost my cow. Shoot my neighbor’s cow.”
Republicans brought us here with the assistance of a passive media. Whether we can bring ourselves back is the new existential question. Until then, we are shooting our neighbor’s cow.
Neal Gabler is the author of five books and the recipient of two LA TImes Book Prizes, Time magazine's non-fiction book of the year, and USA Today's biography of the year. He is a senior fellow at the Lear Center for the Study of Entertainment and Society.
|November 12, 2016||
Planet Earth Is the Real Loser of the 2016 Elections
by Farron Cousins, DeSmogBlog, AlterNet
During the U.S. presidential debates, there was not one single question devoted to the topic of climate change. And it appears that the results from the election have only amplified the silence that Americans seem to have on the subject of the environment.
In a stunning turn of events, US voters elected conservative businessman Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. Trump will now become the only world leader to actively deny that climate change is real, which means that the environment is about to suffer an enormous blow.
And that’s not speculation — that is exactly what Donald Trump told Americans just days before the general election.
As Think Progress reported, Trump told supporters on October 26th that he would end the “wasteful” spending on climate action:
Technically, eliminating this $100 billion will never happen because the United States does not actually spend that much on climate actions or “payments to the UN,” but when combined with spending on renewable energy projects, the 8-year total would actually be roughly $100 billion.
This implies that Donald Trump is willing and ready to deprive these essential renewable projects of funding in order to double down on fossil fuels. His statement also shows that he will likely strip every penny of funding away from vital actions to protect our environment and help to save American citizens from the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change.
In short, his proposals read like the talking points of every other fossil fuel-funded politician that has been in this position long before Donald Trump. More drilling, more fracking, fewer safety regulations, and less regard for the environment.
Also during his campaign, Trump promised to create half a million jobs in the dirty energy sector by opening up offshore oil drilling and tapping onshore reserves of shale, oil, natural gas, and coal.
But Donald Trump will not be operating by himself, and that’s why things are actually scarier than they appear. The majority of Republicans who will be serving in the House and Senate when the new Congress convenes in January 2017 deny climate change, and that means that the Republican Party’s 2016 platform will set the guidelines for what these Republicans attempt to accomplish now that they will control both the Legislative and Executive branches of government.
Here are a few items from the Republican Party platform that are likely to become a reality in the new administration, from Steven Rosenfeld at Alternet:
Start repealing environmental laws: “We call for a comprehensive review of federal regulations, especially those dealing with the environment, that make it harder and more costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes.”
Open America’s shores to more oil and gas drilling: “We support the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to exploration and responsible production, even if these resources will not be immediately developed.”
Build the Keystone XL Pipeline: “The Keystone Pipeline has become a symbol of everything wrong with the current Administration’s ideological approach. After years of delay, the President killed it to satisfy environmental extremists. We intend to finish that pipeline and others as part of our commitment to North American energy security.”
Expand fracking and burying nuclear waste: “A federal judge has struck down the BLM’s rule on hydraulic fracturing and we support upholding this decision. We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions, and horizontal drilling, and we will end the Administration’s disregard of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act with respect to the long-term storage of nuclear waste.”
No tax on carbon products: “We oppose any carbon tax… We urge the private sector to focus its resources on the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology still in its early stages here and overseas. “
Ignore global climate change agreements: “The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly. We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.”
The oil and gas industries gave a staggering $88 million to politicians during the 2016 election cycle, with 88% of that money going to Republicans.
That investment has paid off tremendously for fossil fuel interests, and they are poised to get every item on their anti-environmental, anti-regulatory wishlists checked off in short order.
Meanwhile, the environment is going to take some massive hits at a time when the evidence of climate change is right before our eyes.
Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his writings have appeared in publications such as California's Information Press and Pensacola's Independent Weekly. He has also worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papantonio since August 2004, and is currently the producer of the program, in charge of guest booking, research, and scripting the week's show. Farron also runs Mike Papantonio's publishing company - Seville Publishing. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.
|November 14, 2016||
Are the U.S. and China Ready, Willing and Able to Achieve Their Paris Agreement Goals?
by Philip A. Wallach, Brookings Institution, AlterNet
After years of failing to produce a climate agreement backed by all of the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) produced a historic success in Paris in December 2015. The Paris Agreement, backed by a consensus of all of the UNFCCC’s members and entering into force on November 4, 2016, has been widely hailed as a turning point in combating global climatic disruption. It enjoys broader and deeper political support for the agreement than for any of its predecessors, especially from the world’s two largest emitters, which have generally been reluctant participants in past international climate negotiations: the United States and China.
The Paris Agreement could garner so much support in large part because of its flexibility and openended nature: Every country was asked to define its own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), thereby setting its own commitment to emissions reduction relative to business-as-usual. Rather than aspiring to make these commitments binding through an international legal enforcement mechanism (of the sort that has often inspired opposition by those countries most jealous of their sovereignty), the delegates to Paris contented themselves with setting up a regime of transparent and honest reporting such that commitments can be reputationally enforced.
This means that as we look ahead to the question of whether the Paris Agreement can live up to its supporters’ hopes for it, the decisive factor will be whether countries are ready, willing and able to deliver on their promises. The ambitiousness of these promises is often questioned: although, as part of the proceedings in Paris, the UNFCCC committed itself to try to keep total warming under 2°C, current modeling suggests that countries’ INDCs would not jointly do nearly enough to achieve that goal. To achieve that more ambitious goal, the world’s countries will have to create a virtuous cycle of emissions reductions achieved followed by pledges to do even more. NOVEMBER 2016 Effective Public Management Are the US and China ready, willing, and able to achieve their Paris Agreement goals? 2 In the U.S., the Republican party’s consistent unwillingness to act on climate presents a significant obstacle to sustaining necessary political will over time.
How should we think about whether this will happen—or even whether countries are likely to deliver on their initial INDCs? A great deal of speculation makes the outcome of particular elections pivotal. If democratic nations’ elected leaders are committed to the Paris Agreement, the virtuous cycle can take off; if not, it might never get off the ground. But this focus on who will make decisions is less illuminating than trying to think about why they would make them. That means asking when and why the benefits of meeting INDCs will outweigh the costs of doing so.
My paper provides a framework for thinking through domestic political benefits and costs for the U.S. and China. That does not get us all the way to a prediction about how these leading emitters will ultimately orient themselves toward their initial Paris commitments, because it is too soon to tell what kind of international diplomatic dynamics will form around the Paris Agreement—in other words, just how strong will the reputational benefits of meeting commitments, and the reputational costs of reneging on them, be? But thinking through what domestic factors will affect each country’s likelihood of delivering on its commitments nevertheless takes us a long way toward a realistic understanding of where things currently stand.
I argue that in both the U.S. and China, national leaders’ enthusiastic support for the Paris Agreement is significantly complicated by widely dispersed domestic opposition to ambitious climate action. In the U.S., the Republican party’s consistent unwillingness to act on climate presents a significant obstacle to sustaining necessary political will over time. Even if Democrats keep control of the White House and push forward with administrative action on behalf of climate mitigation, Republican resistance at the state level will need to be confronted head on, with real political costs. In China, top-level support for aggressive climate action is unlikely to be shared by provincial officials, who may feel themselves politically unable to sacrifice any amount of economic growth on behalf of climate goals, and who will also face daunting technical challenges. In both countries, the divergence between the willingness to pay and the incidence of costs create thorny political problems that will hang over climate policy for many years to come. Leaders should think about how to constructively address these problems directly rather than hoping they will naturally dissipate over time.
Read the full paper here.
|November 16, 2016||
Welcome to Our New Climate Reality: To Save the Planet, Businesses and Investors Must Be a Part of the Solution
by Eliot Whittington, Nicolette Bartlett, Shirin Reuvers, Katharine Thoday, New Climate Economy, AlterNet
Achieving climate and development goals without the full backing of business and investors is not possible. Fortunately, evidence shows that more and more businesses and investors are taking a lead—and saving costs and making money in the process. While the private sector is hugely diverse and different sectors have different contributions to climate change and opportunities to take action, a growing number of businesses have shown that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be linked to significant cost savings and benefits without adverse impact on overall profits or performance.
Indeed, there is evidence that such actions can lead to overall improvements in corporate profitability. At the same time, the emergence of new technologies and the growth of climate policy around the world have created a global market in low-carbon goods and services with a value of around $5.5 trillion—larger than the global pharmaceutical industry. Thus, although many businesses remain powerful opponents of climate-related policies, it is unsurprising that many others are now leading the charge for climate action.
Similarly shareholders and other investor stakeholders are increasingly aware that they need to take responsibility for the emissions associated with financial services provided to clients (called “financed emissions”). Analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative has played a key role in highlighting that using more than 20 percent of the currently listed coal, oil and gas reserves over the next 40 years would push global warming over the 2°C warming target. This indicates that if we are to meet our climate goals, then a significant portion of such reserves would become stranded assets. Financial investors must end ways to avoid exposure to stranded assets and to take advantage of the growing market in low-carbon goods and services.<
The scale and influence of major global businesses and investors means that any effort to decarbonize the economy, whether at the global, national or sub-national level, requires their engagement. Public policy plays a key role in requiring or incentivizing businesses to reduce their emissions and in stimulating innovation, but business and investor leadership is also crucial.
Such leadership was highlighted in the chair’s conclusions to the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit 2014 and by the Governments of Peru and France, who organized high-level events during recent climate negotiations showcasing business climate action. The Government of France also signaled the importance of business action by mandating the business community to hold a high-level summit dedicated to this topic in May 2015, with nearly 2,000 attendees, which was turned into an annual event with a successor in London in June 2016.
The private sector was active in the run-up to and during the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris—most notably through vehicles such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) Portal, which included commitments of action by 2,090 companies and 448 investors as of April 2016, and the Paris Pledge for Action, signed by over 688 companies and 176 investors with over $11 trillion in assets under management, that committed to help implement and exceed commitments made by governments in Paris.
Other initiatives co-led by business that aim to catalyze action around the low-carbon transition include the Low-Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi). It is not just in the climate arena that business leaders have been playing a significant role; in January 2016 the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) was launched with the aim of articulating and quantifying the economic case for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by governments in September 2015, with global CEOs at the heart of project.
The commitments discussed in such fora are almost all the output of international cooperative initiatives. These initiatives bring business and investors together, often with other actors, to deliver activities like target setting and implementation of action such as increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing drivers for deforestation, developing roadmaps for new low-carbon technologies like carbon capture and storage, or agreeing on common reporting and monitoring standards. These initiatives have the potential to shift corporate behavior and scale up impact in significant ways.
Increasing numbers of major companies are taking part in such initiatives, but their coverage is far from universal and the level of their ambition is not yet consistent with a 2°C pathway to stabilize climate change, let alone the aspirational goal of 1.5°C in the Paris Agreement.
Our new paper, Driving Low-Carbon Growth Through Business and Investor Action, argues that by collaborating with other private sector partners and with public sector bodies, including national and local governments and international institutions, businesses can significantly increase the impact they are able to have. By working together to set and achieve commitments, businesses can share best practice, prompt positive competition, and improve their confidence that ambitious targets are credible and achievable. By pooling resources to engage with policy-makers, businesses can develop stronger arguments and more efficient engagement strategies. They make their voice more credible by demonstrating greater backing.
Finally, to address systemic challenges such as deforestation, or rapid technology substitution, which requires simultaneous action from multiple fronts, businesses are increasingly realizing they need to be part of broad public-private partnerships that can change the terms of a whole market.
Read/download the full paper here.
Eliot Whittington is the Program Director of Policy at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge.
Nicolette Bartlett is the Director of Carbon Pricing at the Carbon Disclosure Project. Follow her on Twitter @nikkibartlett.
Katharine Thoday is a Program Manager at the Center for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge.
|December 5, 2016||
Watch: How Two Tribal Women Are Fighting to Protect the Arctic From Oil Drilling
by Cindy Shogan Alaska Wilderness League, AlterNet
The Gwich'in people of Alaska and Northern Canada have fought for three decades to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and other threats. The outdoor apparel company Patagonia and non-profit conservation group Alaska Wilderness League have recently released The Refuge, a 15-minute film telling the story of two Gwich'in women who are fighting for their ancestral home and the survival of the wild animals that bring them life. In conjunction with the film, Patagonia has partnered with Care2, the world’s largest social media site for good, to launch a Care2 petition asking Congress to pledge to protect the Refuge's Coastal Plain as wilderness.
"Patagonia has supported the Gwich'in Steering Committee and Alaska Wilderness League through our Environmental Grants Program since the early 2000s," notes Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s Chief Executive Officer. "We stand in solidarity with the Gwich’in community today to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain as wilderness and protect the Gwich’in way of life forever."
To the Gwich'in, the Refuge’s pristine Coastal Plain where caribou calve their young is "the Sacred Place Where Life Begins." The coastal plain, although a true national treasure, lacks protection as wilderness and has become a target for drilling by the oil industry and its allies. It's now under more threat than ever—with pro-oil forces stating they will work quickly to push for drilling in the Refuge. Drilling in this Arctic nursery would likely drive the Porcupine Caribou from their calving grounds, endangering the survival of the herd and the Gwich'in way of life. The Gwich’in have depended on the Porcupine Caribou Herd for millennia. But their connection to the caribou goes far deeper than traditional subsistence hunting: the Gwich’in believe that they are guardians of the herd, and that the fates of their people and the caribou are forever entwined.
For decades the Coastal Plain, known as the Refuge's biological heart, has been in political limbo, at best, and nearly at the tip of a drill bit, at worst. But the Obama administration has given us all hope that the Arctic Refuge will be taken off the table forever. In January 2015, President Obama took an important step to recommend wilderness for the Refuge and its Coastal Plain. The president and his administration have done more than any other in the last two decades to protect the Arctic Refuge. Now, it’s time for Congress to act.
"For us, this is a matter of physical, spiritual and cultural survival," said Gwich’in spokesperson Bernadette Demientieff. "It is our basic human right to continue to feed our families on our ancestral lands and practice our subsistence way of life. We ask that Congress take the next step to protect the Coastal Plain by designating it as wilderness."
Sign the petition here.
Watch the video:
Cindy Shogan is the Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League.
|December 2, 2016||
At Least Four Kinds of Terrorism Are Targeting Our Grandchildren—None of Them What Donald Trump Would Have You Think
by Paul Buchheit, AlterNet
Environment Be Damned
Paul Buchheit is an advocate for social and economic justice. His essays, videos, and poems can be found at YouDeserveFacts.org.
|November 22, 2016||
7 Things You Use Every Day That Contain Palm Oil
by Sophia Lepore, TakePart, AlterNet
People don’t usually think about the destruction of rainforests while washing their hands, applying lipstick, or doing laundry. But thanks to high demand for products containing palm oil, which is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, consumers are inadvertently contributing to deforestation.
Companies in countries such as Indonesia burn or chop down forests to make way for palm oil plantations. The result is severe habitat loss for orangutans and other endangered creatures. Land loss to meet the high demand for palm oil also threatens indigenous tribes because of reduced hunting area. How ubiquitous is palm oil? Here are seven everyday items that contain it.
1. Hand soap.
The bubbles and lather produced when you wash your hands with a bar of soap make you feel like you’re getting clean, but the foaming effect is actually a result of palm oil. Palm oil produces sodium lauryl sulfate, which creates the mass of small bubbles often produced by soap.
Similar to the lather of soap, the foam produced when you brush your teeth with toothpaste is from the palm oil derivative sodium lauryl sulfate. As you brush, the friction causes the chemical’s molecules to rub up against and cleanse your teeth.
Palm oil acts as a natural emulsifier that prevents the separation of oil and water in moisturizers and cosmetic products such as foundation, lipstick, and mascara.
4. Laundry detergent.
Manufacturers use palm oil, commonly labeled as sodium sulfate, to create a uniform density in the detergent. Want to know if your detergent contains palm oil? Look for a label marked “palm oil free” to find out.
5. Processed food.
Almost half of all packaged food products—including cookies, instant noodles, and pizza—contain palm oil. Used to add a creamy taste and a consistent texture, palm oil can be found on ingredient lists as vitamin A palmitate and palm kernel oil. In the United States, palm oil is required to be included on food labels regardless of whether it is blended with other oils. Countries such as Australia and China allow “vegetable oil” as a label substitute.
6. Body wash and shampoo.
Palm oil contains tocotrienol, a member of the vitamin E family. Rich in antioxidants, it removes dirt and oil from skin, making it a common ingredient in body wash and shampoo. A majority of shampoos also contain palm oil as a moisturizer. Conscientious shoppers should avoid products containing ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate and palmolein.
The debate over whether butter or margarine is worse for your health has raged for decades, but spreading processed imitation butter may not be the smartest decision if you’re trying to avoid palm oil. Palm oil is solid at room temperature and naturally free of trans fats, making it a common ingredient in margarine. Its cheap cost has led to its increased use in developing countries such as India and China.
This article was originally published by TakePart. Reprinted with permission.
Sophia Lepore is an editorial intern at TakePart and a junior at Long Beach State University. She is the public relations chairwoman for her sorority and has written for The Daily49er.
|November 21, 2016||
Why Are the Residents of This Small Village So Happy? They're Managing Their Farmland as Commons
by Véronique Rioufol, Sjoerd Wartena, Levellers Press, AlterNet
The following essay was published in the book Patterns of Commoning, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich (Levellers Press, 2015)
A feeling of joy and achievement runs through the group of ten people gathered in Robert’s kitchen. After three years of planning, they have come to celebrate: Ingrid and Fabien will soon be able to settle down and develop their farming business. The farm is theirs!
In this small, pastoral village of the French Pre-Alps, establishing young farmers is an act of will. Everywhere, small mountain farms are closing down; work is hard and the business not deemed profitable enough. When aging farmers retire, they do not find a successor. The best land is sometimes sold off to one of the few more or less industrialized farms that remain. Overall, villages are progressively abandoned or become havens of secondary residences.
In Saint Dizier, a small village of thirty-five inhabitants, local people have decided differently. Municipality members, local residents and farmers have decided to preserve agriculture as a component of local economic activity and lifestyle. They also view farmers as young, permanent residents for the village. So they keep an eye on land put for sale, and have contacted farmers and landowners to learn their plans for the future. The municipal council has sought public subsidies to acquire farmland and rent it to young farmers, but with no success.
In 2006, villagers started to work with Terre de Liens, a recently established civil society organization focused on securing land access for agroecological farmers. Everywhere in France, high land prices and intense competition for farmland and buildings have become a major obstacle for young farmers. Obstacles are even higher for those doing organic agriculture, direct sales or other “alternative” forms of agriculture, which usually are not deemed profitable enough by banks or worthy of public policy support.
So when a farm goes for sale in Saint Dizier, everyone is ready. In just a few months, the small group approaches the owners and all relevant institutions with a stake in the transaction. Above all, they start raising money among local residents, family and friends. And it works. Through word-of-mouth, public events and fairs, they soon manage to raise €50,000 ($54,000) locally. Then, Terre de Liens, through its national network of supporters, raises another €100,000 ($107,000). People choose to invest in the project because they want to promote organic agriculture, to preserve mountain farming, to protect the environment, or to give young farmers a chance. Soon, Ingrid and Fabian start to graze a herd of 160 ewe and to produce cheese; they also develop a microbrewery, work on an agrotourism project and lease part of the land to a fruit grower.
The group continues to meet regularly. They discuss the terms of the lease and the protection of the environmental assets of the farm; they plan for the repair work needed on farm buildings; they support Ìngrid and Fabian in developing direct sales; and they facilitate exchange of equipment and services between local farmers. When another farm goes for sale, they repeat the operation and, after two more years of mobilization, they are met with success. In just over five years, this small village of thirty-five inhabitants has gained three new farm businesses. Four new families with children have settled permanently.
Throughout France, Terre de Liens fosters similar dynamics for preserving agricultural land and supporting a new generation of farmers. Participants are driven by the conviction that agriculture is everybody’s business. They recognize that the way land is used and distributed is key to improving the quality of local food production, not to mention ecological forms of farming and livelier rural areas.
The fundamental premise of Terre de Liens is that the value of farmland lies in its contribution to food production, lasting ecosystems and human life. So when people invest in the group’s farmland, they choose not to make a profit. Technically, they are shareholders of a private company, but practically, they know that the land will not be sold back as long as Terre de Liens continues to exist.
Terre de Liens in numbers
In any case, they will receive no financial dividends. At best, they may have an inflation-based re-evaluation of the value of their shares at some point, and may qualify for income tax rebate, on a limited scale. The benefits that investors seek are nonfinancial ones: direct connection to a farm, good local food, fertile soils and biodiversity, preservation of a local activity and a sense of belonging. They also enjoy partaking in new forms of experimentation and social bonding around food and agriculture.
Terre de Liens is still a recent movement facing many challenges: improving the monitoring and management of farms and buildings, reaching beyond its first circle of supporters, consolidating its financial resources, etc. To date, it has saved 120 farms, recruited 12,000 supporters and forged tens of partnerships with local authorities. These achievements, while modest in the larger context of French agriculture, are a strong sign that, if given a chance, large numbers of citizens want to promote more intelligent land planning, agroecological forms of farming and more robust rural areas.
Terre de Liens is advancing this agenda by liberating land from the commodity system. For the moment, it is done via “capitalist” instruments such as private property and finance. But the organization and its supporters believe that developing a “solidarity-based economy” can nourish the idea of treating farmland as a commons, with eventual support by law.
Today, there is an urge to grow and connect the Terre de Liens initiative with similar alternatives elsewhere in Europe and in the world. The decline of smallholder farming is a fact of contemporary life. So are the disastrous consequences of conventional farming for the environment and public health, and the desertification of rural areas. There is resistance, however, especially among a new, emerging generation of farmers who are eager to integrate farming with its social surrounding, and to produce food for local and regional markets. In this sense, Terre de Liens is part of a much broader transition aimed at restoring living, community-connected ways of farming and rural life.
Véronique Rioufol is Terre de Liens’ European Relations Coordinator. She has a background in international relations and political studies and has worked in human rights organizations. She joined Terre de Liens in 2010 because she views it as a successful experiment for social change. She has contributed to setting up the European Network on Access to Land, of which Terre de Liens is a member.
Sjoerd Wartena worked at the Amsterdam University library and moved to France in 1973 to become a goat farmer. He was active in the organic agriculture movement and in 2003 cofounded the Terre de Liens association and was president for its first ten years. He considers this organization the logical consequence of his adaption to the traditional way of farming he discovered in France, which he believes to be a healthy and “modern” alternative to destructive large-scale farming.
|November 24, 2016||
U.S. Military Plans to Dump 20,000 Tons of Heavy Metals and Explosives Into the Oceans
by Dahr Jamail, Truthout, AlterNet
The U.S. Navy has been conducting war-game exercises in US waters for decades, and in the process, it has left behind tons of bombs, heavy metals, missiles, sonar buoys, high explosives and depleted uranium munitions that are extremely harmful to both humans and marine life.
Truthout recently reported that the Navy has admitted to releasing chemicals into the oceans that are known to injure infants' brains, as well as having left large amounts of depleted uranium in US coastal waters. Now, the Navy's own documents reveal that it also plans to use 20,000 tons of heavy metals, plastics and other highly toxic compounds over the next two decades in the oceans where it conducts its war games.
According to the Navy's 2015 Northwest Training and Testing environmental impact statement (EIS), in the thousands of warfare "testing and training events" it conducts each year, 200,000 "stressors" from the use of missiles, torpedoes, guns and other explosive firings in U.S. waters happen biennially. These "stressors," along with drones, vessels, aircraft, shells, batteries, electronic components and anti-corrosion compounds that coat external metal surfaces are the vehicles by which the Navy will be introducing heavy metals and highly toxic compounds into the environment.
Just some of the dangerous compounds the Navy will be injecting into the environment during their exercises are: ammonium perchlorate, picric acid, nitrobenzene, lithium from sonobuoy batteries, lead, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, copper, nickel, tungsten, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, trinitrotoluene (TNT), RDX [Royal Demolition eXplosive] and HMX [High Melting eXplosive], among many others.
"None of these belong in the ocean's food web, upon which we all depend," Karen Sullivan, a retired endangered species biologist who cofounded West Coast Action Alliance, which acts as a watchdog of Naval activities in the Pacific Northwest, told Truthout. "Nor will the Navy be willing to clean it up, or even contribute to medical tests for people whose health may suffer."
A worrying example of that fact: In August of this year, a lawmaker in Pennsylvania urged 70,000 residents across three counties whose drinking water was contaminated by the Navy to sue them, just to get funding to pay for blood tests to see how sick they had become.
Other examples of U.S. citizens being treated as collateral damage abound. Just this October, the BBC reported on an Air Force Base leaking toxic chemicals into the sewer system, and the port of San Diego filed a federal lawsuit against the Navy for injecting an underground plume of toxic chemicals that threatens to contaminate the entire bay.
But stories like these are only the tip of an impending iceberg.
Experts Truthout spoke with warn that if the Navy gets its way, the next 20 years will see them causing far more environmental degradation and destruction up and down US coastal areas by way of widespread chemical and toxic contamination.
The Navy is, like all the other branches of the US military, ridiculously well-funded. Recent history shows that US military spending dwarfs the rest of the planet's military spending.
"For the last half-century, U.S. military spending has purchased the annihilation of millions throughout Southeast Asia, the Arab world, and Central Asia," Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist and winner of the 2015 Rachel Carson prize for her work on depleted uranium (DU) and heavy metal contamination, told Truthout. "Accompanying that human annihilation has been environmental devastation and birth defects, from Vietnam to Iraq."
Her strong words are backed by clear, cold facts that come from even mainstream media sources in the U.S., like Newsweek magazine, which in a 2014 article titled "The US Department of Defense Is One of the World's Biggest Polluters" stated:
Even as far back as 1990, the U.S. Department of Defense had already admitted to creating more than 14,000 suspected contamination sites across the planet.
The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act defines "contaminant" as: " ... any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter in water. Drinking water may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. Some contaminants may be harmful if consumed at certain levels in drinking water. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk."
Thus, contamination being a matter of scale, the government creates a "not-to-exceed" level based on what it knows about each contaminant, in order to minimize human exposure to each item on its massive list of contaminants.
However, the contamination guidelines don't account for the kind of pollution perpetrated by the U.S. Navy.
"What do you do when it's massive quantities of contaminants in the ocean, and not your drinking water?" asked Sullivan, who worked at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years and is an expert in the bureaucratic procedures the Navy is supposed to be following.
She pointed out how "contamination," or water pollution, is defined as "environmental degradation that occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds."
On that point she said, "None of the dangerous compounds being dumped into our waters by the Navy have ever been treated or removed, which leads to hearing this false choice: The cost of cleanup or removal would be exorbitant. Therefore, we should continue dumping as always, in perpetuity."
Navy spokesperson Sheila Murray told Truthout that depleted uranium on the seafloor was no more harmful than any other metal, a statement that flies in the face of numerous scientific studies that have proven otherwise. Sullivan believes that, by making that statement, the Navy "has disavowed responsibility for all of this toxic ocean pollution."
Savabieasfahani said that while the Navy may be content to add depleted uranium to the environment that already has high levels of man-made pollutants, we should not share its complacency.
"A cluster of worsening environmental phenomena go hand-in-hand with that accumulation of pollutants," she told Truthout. "Global warming, mass extinctions, ecosystem collapse, food-web modification, physical and biological changes in organisms, endocrine disruption, and a pandemic of neurodevelopmental disorders in children accompany those rising background pollution levels. Peer-reviewed research is already showing steep declines in the biodiversity of ecosystems."
How Much Contamination?
According to Sullivan, who studied the EIS, the Navy plans to introduce 20,000 tons of contaminants into the environment, which is the equivalent of dumping a load of toxins the size of a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier scattered throughout the seas and sounds of coastal Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
As staggering as that amount is, it does not even include contaminants that have been released over the last six decades of Naval exercises in oceans around the globe (the plans mentioned in these documents are limited to Pacific Northwest waters).
The aforementioned list of toxic compounds the Navy has, is and is planning to release into the environment via its exercises are documented in EPA Superfund site lists as known hazards and all of them are highly toxic at both acute and chronic levels.
For example, perchlorates are highly soluble in water and according to the EPA, "generally have high mobility in soils." They have been found in breast milk, target the thyroid gland and affect children and fetuses more than they affect adults.
Lithium causes behavioral changes that, in large animals and humans, can be fatal. Ingestion of merely one to two grams of picric acid would cause severe poisoning. TNT remains active underwater, can bioaccumulate in fish, including salmon, and can cause developmental and physiological problems, according to scientific studies. HMX and RDX explosives are both well documented to be extremely toxic and dangerous.
Sullivan says all of this raises questions about why there are no regulations preventing the creation of Superfund sites (polluted locations that require intensive clean-up) in the ocean. "We depend on salmon, yet the Navy is creating massive ecosystem-wide pollution right under our noses," Sullivan said. "How can they not see that it will be generations from now who reap the bitter harvest?"
Savabieasfahani agreed and took it a step further, issuing a dire warning.
"Toxic metals, such as lead and uranium, are biomagnified," she explained."'Biomagnification' means that toxins get more concentrated in an organism which ingests plants or animals containing that toxin. For example, contaminated fish can pass on large doses of toxin to their human consumers."
The 20,000 tons of contaminants the Navy plans to release into the ocean in the coming years do not include the additional 4.7 to 14 tons of "metals with potential toxicity" that will be "released" annually in the inland waters of both Puget Sound and Hood Canal, according to Naval documents. Given that those numbers are for one year only, in 20 years, between 94 and 280 tons of heavy metals will be released inland (in addition to what will be released in the open ocean).
It is also worth noting that two actual Superfund sites along Washington's inland shorelines are both on Naval property.
"In addition to the toxic contaminants deliberately dumped, what happens to their land-based toxic brews when torrential rains like we had in October overwhelm storm water runoff systems?" Sullivan asked, then provided the answer. "They end up in Puget Sound and Hood Canal."
Devils in the Details
Naval documentation also reveals that over the next 20 years, the weights of the various contaminants include 6,739 tons of unrecoverable sonobuoys (including their animal-entangling parachutes and batteries which leach lithium for 55 years), and 396 tons of small-caliber rounds, the latter comprising only 2 percent of the total weight of "expended materials."
The Navy's flares, which weigh between 12 and 30 pounds apiece, are used 824 times annually, adding up to 16,480 flares weighing between 200,000 and 500,000 pounds over 20 years. The Navy admits that the flares leave toxic residues whenever they are used, saying, "Solid flare and pyrotechnic residues may contain, depending on their purpose and color, an average weight of up to 0.85 pounds of aluminum, magnesium, zinc, strontium, barium, cadmium, nickel, and perchlorates."
Meaning, at a minimum, seven tons of toxic pyrotechnic residues are to be introduced into Pacific Northwest waters in the next 20 years.
Looking at explosives for training alone, the Navy plans to use 29,024 pounds annually, amounting to 290 tons over the next two decades.
Another issue is unexploded ordnance, or, as it's commonly known, "duds."
At current Navy rates for duds only, we would see an additional nine tons of dangerous residual explosive material fired into Pacific Northwest waters every 20 years, sitting on the ocean floor, leaching dangerous toxics.
Moreover, not all contaminants immediately sink and bind to or get encapsulated by sediments. Some materials can be transported by ocean currents. Because the Navy's EIS uses ocean dispersal and chemical degradation as its rationale for claiming no adverse impacts on species or habitats -- anywhere, ever -- it should be noted that the expended material from local warfare exercises may not tell the whole story. In other words, perhaps all of the contaminants in question should be added together to get an idea of the full impact.
For example, every other year, according to the Navy, they are authorized to dump up to 352,000 pounds of expended military materials, by way of them being shot, dropped and exploded, into the Gulf of Alaska. This includes up to 10,500 pounds of hazardous materials, such as cyanide, chromium, lead, tungsten, nickel, cadmium, barium chromate, chlorides, phosphorus, titanium compounds, lead oxide, potassium perchlorate, lead chromate, ammonium perchlorate, fulminate of mercury and lead azide. The Navy is dumping much of it into Essential Fish Habitat in the Gulf of Alaska at peak times of fishery and marine mammal presence, impacting and harming a multitude of species. They are also carrying out a similar dumping process in Pacific Northwest waters.
In the Navy's 2015 Northwest Training and Testing EIS, it quotes several studies, saying, "contamination of the marine environment by munitions constituents is not well documented." This is often the Navy's claim, used to show its actions are not deleterious to the environment, when "not well documented" actually means that it has not looked for or measured its impacts on the environment. Regardless, the need for more data does not mean it is scientifically sound to assume there has been no damage.
In the section of the 2015 EIS on Cumulative Impacts, the Navy says, "Long-term exposure to pollutants poses potential risks to the health of marine mammals, although for the most part, the impacts are just starting to be understood." The impacts include " ... organ anomalies and impaired reproduction and immune function." There are multiple other examples of such doublespeak within the Navy's own documents.
Another example is in the EIS section on Sediments and Water Quality, where the Navy claims that "slow but significant removal" of two types of explosive material (RDX and HMX) happens through a chemical reaction whose speed is dictated by the pH [acidity] of seawater. Adequate proof is not provided by the Navy, yet risks to human health from these toxins has been extremely well documented.
It could be argued that the Navy's gross negligence of its environmental impacts amounts to a federal agency passing off wishful thinking as science. The toxic legacy of this negligence will be passed down to generations far beyond our own.
This article was originally published on Truthout. Reprinted with permission.
Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009, and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.
|November 19, 2016||
Extinction Crisis Signals It's Time to Change Course
by Dr. David Suzuki, AlterNet
Clean air, water and soil to grow food are necessities of life. So are diverse plant and animal populations. But as the human population continues to increase, animal numbers are falling. There’s a strong correlation. A comprehensive report from the World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London found that wild animal populations dropped by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, and will likely reach a 67 percent drop by 2020 if nothing is done to prevent the decline.
The report points to human activity as the main cause. Habitat degradation and destruction, hunting and overfishing, the illegal wildlife trade, invasive species, disease, pollution and climate change are causing an extinction crisis unlike any since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. Animals worldwide are affected, from African elephants to European dolphins to Asian vultures to amphibians everywhere.
Humans will feel the impacts, the study notes: “Living systems keep the air breathable and water drinkable, and provide nutritious food. To continue to perform these vital services they need to retain their complexity, diversity and resilience.”
Although the study, "Living Planet Report 2016: Risk and Resilience in a New Era," paints a bleak picture, it offers hope, many solutions and examples of successful transitions. In the introduction, WWF International director general Marco Lambertini writes, “We are entering a new era in Earth’s history: the Anthropocene. An era in which humans rather than natural forces are the primary drivers of planetary change. But we can also redefine our relationship with our planet, from a wasteful, unsustainable and predatory one, to one where people and nature can coexist in harmony.”
For the study, researchers measured “biodiversity abundance levels based on 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species.”
The report points out that, beyond the crisis’ immediate and direct causes, our mindsets and systems are at the root of the problem. The outdated notions of gross domestic product and unlimited growth on a finite planet, short-term political and business thinking, externalization of social and ecological costs, rampant consumerism, and a failure to understand the connections between actions and consequences and between living systems have put us on an unsustainable course, pushing planetary processes beyond safe boundaries.
To address this, we must find ways to live sustainably, especially regarding energy and food. Rapid renewable energy development and shifting from fossil fuels to clean sources are crucial. So are consuming less animal protein — especially in high-income countries — and reducing waste along the food chain. “Furthermore, optimizing agricultural productivity within ecosystem boundaries, replacing chemical and fossil inputs by mimicking natural processes, and stimulating beneficial interactions between different agricultural systems, are key to strengthening the resilience of landscapes, natural systems and biodiversity — and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.”
To a large extent, conserving energy and consuming less of everything will determine whether we succeed or not. And while overconsumption, especially among the world’s most well-off, is a key factor in the breakdown of natural systems, overpopulation can’t be ignored. The best ways to address the population problem are to improve women’s rights and provide greater access to birth control and education.
Slowing or stopping species extinctions and other human-caused crises are monumental challenges. But we’ve risen to meet major challenges before. Humanity has progressed in many ways, changing outdated practices and economic systems when they no longer suited our purposes or when they were found to be destructive — from the abolition of slavery in ostensibly democratic countries like the U.S. to expanded rights for women and minorities in many nations. International agencies and agreements have made the world smaller, with greater opportunities for co-operation. Better education, especially in areas like critical thinking and Indigenous knowledge, will help us progress even further.
The challenges may be huge, but a better world is possible. The alternative is to watch as animals and plants go extinct, water becomes scarce, weather hits more extremes, conflicts over land and resources increase, and life becomes more difficult for people everywhere. As we’ve seen numerous times, once we start to tackle the challenges, we’ll see many benefits emerge, from greater equity to better health and more balanced ways of living within planetary limits. Then we can all enjoy the many gifts Earth provides.
This article was originally published by the David Suzuki Foundation.
David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.
|November 22, 2016||
Here's How the Rising Sea Will Remake the Coastlines of Endangered U.S. States and Drown Much of the World We Know
by Reynard Loki, AlterNet
Climate change has been steadily shifting the planetary environment in myriad ways, from receding glaciers and melting sea ice to longer and more intense heat waves, droughts and storms. The changing environment has pushed many plant and animal species out of their normal habitats. And one dramatic effect is going to force humans to relocate: the rise in sea level.
The rising seas are caused by the additional water coming from melting land ice, as well as the expansion of seawater, which happens when it warms. Since reliable record keeping began in 1880, the global sea level has risen by approximately 8 inches. Scientists project that by 2100, the ocean may rise an additional 1 to 4 feet. And it won't stop there, says NASA, "because the oceans take a very long time to respond to warmer conditions at the Earth’s surface."
Making matters worse, storm surges from an increase in extreme weather—again, a product of manmade climate change—will likely increase flooding in regions already impacted by sea level rise. In many areas, these surges could push sea levels to at least 4 feet above high tide by 2030. By 2050, threatened areas hit by serious storms could experience surges up to 5 feet higher than high tide.
And that’s not all. Almost unbelievably, the Greenland and Arctic ice sheets are so massive that they actually exert a gravitational pull on the ocean, causing even higher sea levels for nearby coastlines to deal with.
According to Climate Central, an independent environment nonprofit, "Carbon emissions causing 4°C of warming—what business-as-usual points toward today—could lock in enough sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people, with unstoppable rise unfolding over centuries."
That’s because even if humanity were to stop emitting carbon altogether right now, the carbon we’ve already put into the atmosphere will continue to heat up the planet for hundreds of years to come.
This NASA chart tracks the change in sea level since 1993 as observed by satellites. The rate of change has been 3.4mm per year. (image: NASA)
For some island nations, the rising sea has already claimed several landmass victims. The Solomon Islands has experienced annual sea levels rise as much as 10mm over the past two decades, according to an Australian study published in May in the online journal Environmental Research Letters. Earlier this year, the ocean swallowed up five of the archipelago's islands—a breathtaking event that is believed to be the first scientific confirmation of the climate change impact on Pacific coastlines. The scientists say their study "confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people."
The islands, which were uninhabited, ranged in area from 2.5 to 12.4 acres. However, large tracts of land across six different inhabitated islands had large swaths of land washed into the sea. On two of those, entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate. "The sea has started to come inland, it forced us to move up to the hilltop and rebuild our village there away from the sea," said Sirilo Sutaroti, the 94-year-old leader of the Paurata tribe on Nararo Island.
But tiny Pacific islands aren't the only places that will be severely impacted by rising seas. Here in the United States, coastal areas have already felt the impact and many cities are making preparations for the future. From New York to Sacramento, Jacksonville to Virginia Beach and even remote Alaskan fishing villages, millions of Americans in more than 400 municipalities live within just four feet of the current high tide line. According to a 2015 study conducted by American and German researchers, it's already too late for many of those cities—including Miami and New Orleans—which are on track to be overcome by the rising sea.
A 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that portions of the U.S. Atlantic coast are experiencing rates of sea-level rise that are three to four times faster than global rates over the past quarter century. "Since about 1990, sea-level rise in the 600-mile stretch of coastal zone from Cape Hatteras, N.C. to north of Boston, Mass.—coined a 'hotspot' by scientists—has increased 2 - 3.7 millimeters per year; the global increase over the same period was 0.6 - 1.0 millimeter per year," USGS said.
"New York has experienced at least a foot of sea-level rise since 1900, mostly due to expansion of warming ocean water," according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, noting that by 2100, current projections have the city's sea level as much as 50 inches higher than it is today.
This NASA chart, derived from coastal tide gauge data, shows how much sea level changed from about 1870 to 2000. (image: NASA)
In 2007, New York's lawmakers created a statewide Sea Level Rise Task Force to review the projections and prepare for the future. In its 2011 final report, the task force concluded that, "while the extent of the impacts to coastal communities from a rising sea are not fully known, even the most conservative projections make clear that there will be dramatic changes in this century." They warned that every single New York tidal coastal community would be impacted by sea-level rise. That includes, of course, New York City, America's most populated urban center.
The task force made several recommendations, including providing financial support for adaptation-planning, post-storm recovery and redevelopment.
"Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our city, our country and our planet," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in April, as he announced the Raised Shorelines project to help low-lying neighborhoods mitigate impacts of sea-level rise, part of the city's $20 billion climate resiliency program. "For a coastal city like ours, rising sea levels mean rising risk for our neighborhoods, infrastructure and economy," de Blasio said.
But mitigation can only go so far. Under the worst-case scenario, New York could be unlivable by the year 2085.
While scientists are sure that the seas will continue to rise, what’s unclear is how fast they will rise, and which regions will be the most impacted. "This is the burning question," said Andrea Dutton, an assistant professor of geology at University of Florida. "How quickly will the sea levels rise, and by how much?"
This animated timeline maps, year by year, how the total number of locked-in cities could climb to more than 1,500, if pollution continues unchecked through the end of the century. (infographic: Climate Central)
While Dutton's university is safely inland (for now), Florida is viewed by researchers as ground-zero for disastrous sea-level rise. The Miami chapter of the Southeastern Florida Compact—a local climate-change coalition whose members include city officials, scientists and concerned citizens—is only planning in five-year cycles. "Nobody knows what things are going to look like in 50 to 100 years," said Nicole Hefty, chief of the Office of Sustainability at Miami-Dade County. "We can speak for smaller years and adapt in that way."
"Florida is in the crosshairs of climate change," writes Ben Strauss, a vice president at Climate Central, which spent two years analyzing the specific threat to the Sunshine State. "Rising seas, a population crowded along the coast, porous bedrock, and the relatively common occurrence of tropical storms put more real estate and people at risk from storm surges aggravated by sea-level rise in Florida, than any other state by far."
Florida - 1 meter sea level rise. (image: Maitri/Flickr CC)
Strauss points out that in Florida, around 2.4 million people live within just 4 feet of the local high tide line. That’s almost half the national risk right there. In Miami-Dade and Broward counties alone, there are "more people below 4 feet than any state, except Florida itself and Louisiana," he adds. After the Sunshine State, the next three states that will most likely be overcome by rising ocean water are California, Louisiana and New York.
Andrew Freeman, the science editor at Mashable, writes that in New York City, "the contrast between the high emissions scenario and low emissions scenario would mean the difference between submerging all of newly trendy Red Hook and Cobble Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the new Brooklyn Bridge Park and a swath of prized real estate in southwest Manhattan, versus keeping those areas dry."
Taking action on climate change now—particularly to avoid the "business-as-usual" 4°C global surface temperature increase—could mean the difference for countless communities across the world. That action is in the works: on November 4, the Paris climate agreement went into effect. The deal seeks to limit global warming to "well below" 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures. But the accord isn’t bound by law; there are no penalties imposed on nations that fail to meet their carbon reduction targets.
The fact that the agreement is non-binding has been a source of ridicule among many environmentalists. But that doesn't render it meaningless, argues Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. "International agreements operate under good faith," he said. "Whether a country is an upstanding member of the international community is what's at stake."
In the coming decades, humanity's energy choices are critical—particularly in China and the U.S., which together account for nearly 40 percent of worldwide emissions. The choices we make today will determine whether or not future generations will be living in a low-emissions scenario or the current business-as-usual trajectory.
The infographic above was produced by Eco2greetings.com.
|November 29, 2016||
Why the Extinction Crisis Isn't Just About the Environment, but Social Justice
by Ashley Dawson, OR Books, AlterNet
The following excerpt is from Ashley Dawson's new book, Extinction: A Radical History (OR Books, 2016)
If mainstream environmentalism has been coopted by such neoliberal policies, what would a radical anti-capitalist conservation movement look like? It would begin from the understanding that the extinction crisis is at once an environmental issue and a social justice issue, one that is linked to long histories of capitalist domination over specific people, animals, and plants. The extinction crisis needs to be seen as a key element in contemporary struggles against accumulation by dispossession. This crisis, in other words, ought to be a key issue in the fight for climate justice. If techno-fixes such as deextinction facilitate new rounds of biocapitalist accumulation, an anti-capitalist movement against extinction must be framed in terms of a refusal to turn land, people, flora, and fauna into commodities. We must reject capitalist biopiracy and imperialist enclosure of the global commons, particularly when they cloak themselves in arguments about preserving biodiversity. Forums for enclosure such as the UNFCCC’s Business and Biodiversity Initiative must be recognized for what they are and shut down. Most of all, an anti-capitalist conservation movement must challenge the privatization of the genome as a form of intellectual property, to be turned into an organic factory for the benefit of global elites. Synthetic biology should be regulated. The genomic information of plants, animals, and human beings is the common wealth of the planet, and all efforts to make use of this environmental commons must be framed around principles of equality, solidarity, and environmental and climate justice.
Even well-meaning efforts to address extinction such as rewilding need to be challenged if they are not founded on considerations of globally redistributive climate justice. All too often rewilding schemes focus exclusively on wealthy areas of the planet. For instance, George Monbiot’s “Manifesto for Rewilding the World” speaks exclusively of European rewilding schemes, and concludes by asking why Europe should not have a Serengeti or two. This begs the question of what responsibility Europe has for Tanzania’s Serengeti Park itself, as well as other wilderness areas in the global South. The record in this regard is deplorable. In 2013, for instance, Ecuador abandoned its Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which would the South? Moreover, if rewilding is seen as a way of saving charismatic African megafauna like the elephant from destruction by importing them to the badlands of Western Europe or North America, it will all too easily become a latterday form of imperial ecology, creating glorified zoos stocked with purloined African and Asian wildlife. Finally, rewilding makes strong arguments about the pivotal role of keystone species, but, in so doing, tends to reproduce the traditional bias in Western conservation efforts towards the large, the beautiful, and the charismatic. It is not a solution for the vast majority of flora and fauna threatened with extinction today.
An anti-capitalist conservation movement must not only be aware of histories of colonial expropriation of flora and fauna, but should focus on ways of fighting such forms of exploitation today. Wildlife in parks such as the Serengeti was revived following centuries of European colonial big-game hunting of native animals. Today, well-armed poachers again threaten megafauna in the world’s remaining biodiversity hotspots. While the poachers tend to send their culls of elephant tusks and rhino horns mainly to foreign markets, in most cases their weapons come from decades of proxy battles during the Cold War. Moreover, African states are often unable to challenge these poachers as a result of IMF and World Bank-administered structural adjustment policies that have left countries in the global South on the brink of collapse. Efforts to deal with the extinction crisis cannot focus on rewilding the global North alone, nor should they focus exclusively on interdiction of the global traffic in wildlife. An anti-capitalist movement against extinction must also address the fundamental economic and political inequalities that drive the slaughter of megafauna. The extinction crisis should be framed in the context of a new wave of extractivism that is denuding many poor nations, shunting their minerals, flora, and fauna to consumer markets in industrialized nations. This new extractivism should be seen for what it is: a fresh wave of imperialism that is decimating poorer nations by removing the biological foundation of their collective future.
What would be the shape and fundamental goals of an expansive anti-capitalist movement against extinction and for environmental justice? It would have to commence with open recognition by the developed nations of the long history of ecocide charted in this book. Such an admission would lead to a consequent recognition of the biodiversity debt owed by the wealthy nations of the global North to the South. Building on the demands articulated by the climate justice movement, the anti-capitalist conservation movement must demand the repayment of this biodiversity debt. How would this repayment take place? As REDD demonstrates, states in the global South cannot always be counted on to disburse funds received from the North in a just manner; indeed, at present they collude all too often with resource exploiting corporations by displacing genuine land stewards such as indigenous and forest-dwelling peoples. The climate justice movement’s call for a universal guaranteed income for inhabitants of nations who are owed climate debt should serve as a model here. Why not begin a model initiative for such a carbon and biodiversity-based guaranteed income program in the planet’s biodiversity hotspots? Of the twenty five terrestrial biodiversity hotspots, fifteen are covered primarily by tropical rainforests, and consequently are also key sites for the absorption of carbon pollution. These threatened ecosystems include the moist tropical woodlands of Brazil’s Atlantic coast, southern Mexico with Central America, the tropical Andes, the Greater Antilles, West Africa, Madagascar, the Western Ghats of India, Indo-Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Caledonia. They make up only 1.4% of the Earth’s surface, and yet, according to E.O. Wilson, these regions are “the exclusive homes of 44% of the world’s plant species and more than a third of all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.” All of these areas are under heavy assault from the forces of enclosure and ecocide. A universal guaranteed income for the inhabitants of these hotspots would create a genuine counterweight to the attractions of poaching, and would entitle the indigenous and forest-dwelling peoples who make these zones of rich biodiversity their homes with the economic and political power to push their governments to implement significant conservation measures.
Where would the capital for such a guaranteed income program for biodiversity hotspots come from? There is certainly no shortage of assets. As Andrew Sayer has argued, the 1% have accumulated their increasingly massive share of global wealth by siphoning off collectively produced surpluses not through hard work but through financial machinations such as dividends, capital gains, interests, and rent, much of which is then hidden in tax havens. Indeed, if we consider the massive upward transfer of global wealth that has taken place over the last half century, it would be fair to say that never before was so much owed by so few to so many. One way to claw back some of this common wealth would be through a financial transactions tax of the kind proposed by James Tobin. Such a Robin Hood tax, of even only a very small percentage of the speculative global capital flows that enrich the 1%, would generate billions of dollars to help people conserve hotspots of global biodiversity. Such funds could also be devoted to ramping up renewable energy-generating infrastructures in both the rich and the developing countries.
Yet a universal guaranteed income in recognition of biodiversity debt should not be a replacement for existing conservation programs. Instead, such a measure should be seen as an effort to inject an awareness of environmental and climate justice into debates around the extinction crisis. Biodiversity debt would thus augment existing conservation programs while militating against the creation of conservation refugees. In addition, rewilding and de-extinction, despite their significant flaws, may have a place in an anti-capitalist conservation movement, but only if they are reframed in terms of the history of ecocide. Rewilding, for instance, should not be undertaken in the global North without a commensurate pledge of economic assistance for conservation and rewilding of areas in the global South, whose present depleted state is often a direct product of the North’s extractive industries, from plantation slavery to the latest round of land grabs. Similarly, de-extinction may be employed judiciously, for example to reintroduce extinct versions of genes into species that have lost a dangerous amount of genetic diversity. Such efforts should, however, be designed to conserve existing biodiversity, particularly in endangered hotspots, rather than to resurrect extinct charismatic megafauna from the grave.
Any and all such efforts to work against extinction should be undertaken as acts of environmental solidarity on the part of the peoples of the global North with the true stewards of the planet’s biodiversity, the people of the global South. Only in this way can the struggle against extinction help promote not simply forgiveness and reconciliation, but also survival after five hundred years of colonial and imperial ecocide.
The struggle to preserve global biodiversity must be seen as an integral part of a broader fight to challenge an economic and social system based on feckless, suicidal expansion. If, as we have seen, capitalism is based on ceaseless compound growth that is destroying ecosystems the world over, the goal in the rich nations of the global North must be to overturn our present expansionary system by fostering de-growth . Most importantly, nations that have benefited from burning fossil fuels must radically cut their carbon emissions in order to stem the lurch towards runaway climate chaos that endangers the vast majority of current terrestrial forms of life. Rather than false and impractical solutions such as the carbon trading and geoengineering schemes championed by advocates of neoliberal responses to the climate crisis, anti-capitalists should fight for some version of the contraction and convergence approach proposed by the Global Commons Institute. This proposal is based on moving towards a situation in which all nations have the same level of emissions per person (convergence) while contracting them to a level that is sustainable (contraction).
A country such as the United States, which has only 5% of the global population, would be allowed no more than 5% of globally sustainable emissions. Such a move would represent a dramatic anti-imperialist shift since the US is at present responsible for 25% of carbon emissions. The powerful individuals and corporations that control nations like the US are not likely to accept such revolutionary curtailments of the wasteful system that supports them without a struggle. Already there is abundant evidence that they would sooner destroy the planet than let even a modicum of their power slip. Massive fossil fuel corporations such as Exxon, for example, have funded climate change denialism for the past quarter century despite abundant evidence from their own scientists that burning fossil fuels was creating unsustainable environmental conditions.130 Such behavior should be seen frankly for what it is: a crime against humanity. We should not expect to negotiate with such destructive entities. Their assets should be seized. Most of these assets, in the form of fossil fuel reserves, cannot be used anyway if we are to avert environmental catastrophe. What remains of these assets should be used to fund a rapid, managed reduction in carbon emissions and a transition to renewable energy generation.
These steps should be part of a broader program to transform the current, unsustainable capitalist system that dominates the world into steady state societies founded on principles of equality and environmental justice.
|November 29, 2016||
Here Is a Simple Act You Can Take Now to Help Stop Trump From Trashing the Earth's Climate.
by Jeff Fox, State of the Net, AlterNet
You aren’t powerless. You can help stop him in his tracks this very minute. Without getting up from your chair or spending a dime.
It will be delivered to leaders of the European Union, United Nations, and several of the 112 countries who support the Paris Agreement. They have the power— economic, political, and legal—to stop him. But they need to know that a lot of Americans will support them.
French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy threatened a carbon tax on U.S. goods if Trump reneges on America’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
“A carbon tariff against the United States is an option for us,” Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, Mexico’s undersecretary for environmental policy and planning, told the New York Times. “We will apply any kind of policy necessary to defend the quality of life for our people, to protect our environment and to protect our industries.”
The New York Times explained how other countries could use the World Trade Organization to stop Trump:
Donald Trump and his climate change denier allies will control the U.S. Government come January 2017. But they won’t control the rest of the world, which fears the devastation of unrestrained climate change as much as we do.
Consider this a phone call to an International 911 line. Or a bugle call to bring in the cavalry.
Whatever you call it, sign the petition and share it on Facebook with your friends. We need thousands of signatures to show these leaders that the American people will support them.
Jeff Fox is a former deputy editor of Consumer Reports and a software author. His blog, StateoftheNet.net, covers online privacy and security from a consumer perspective.
|November 30, 2016||
McDonald's, Walmart and Subway Are Right at the Top of the List in Wrecking the World's Forests.
by Stacey McFadin, Food Tank, AlterNet
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released a report, “Cattle, Cleared Forests, and Climate Change: Scoring America’s Top Brands on Their Deforestation-Free Beef Commitments and Practices.” The publication highlights how beef production is the primary contributor to tropical deforestation worldwide, predominantly occurring in South America. According to the report, consumer goods companies “have the power to help stop this destruction,” yet none of the 13 United States companies studied for sourcing South American beef had strong deforestation-free policies or procedures in place. The report advises that companies should work together with meatpackers, ranchers, and government to develop a comprehensive plan to end deforestation practices within the beef industry.
According to the report, one challenge to overcome is the structure of the beef supply chain. Meatpackers receive cattle through direct supplying ranches, only some of which are monitored for deforestation practices. The larger problem arises when cattle are shifted from ranch to ranch through various stages of production, allowing indirect supplying ranches to go unmonitored for deforestation. Without a system in place to track indirect supplying ranches, or the cattle who may pass through them, the meatpackers and the consumer goods companies cannot guarantee that the beef they receive is deforestation-free through the entire supply chain. Authors Asha R. Sharma and Lael K. Goodman see potential for change if major players in the industry band together, “These companies have a responsibility to work with their South American supplying meatpackers, which have enormous influence over the beef supply chain, to adopt robust deforestation-free policies and practices.” The authors also acknowledge consumer responsibility and power to effect change, noting previous success with zero-deforestation palm oil initiatives.
In 2009, the four largest meatpackers in Brazil signed the Minimum Criteria for Industrial Scale Cattle Operations in the Brazilian Amazon Biome agreement (also known as the G4 Agreement or the Cattle Agreement). This pact required the signatories to determine and report that their supplying ranches were not linked to deforestation, marking a “historic step toward corporate actors taking responsibility for their role in driving deforestation.” Acknowledging that this agreement was a step in the right direction toward deforestation-free beef, Sharma and Goodman argue that the agreement falls short in several ways: it is limited to the Amazon and to the signatories, and the meatpackers have so far delayed in implementing monitoring for all supplying ranches.
Because efforts to curtail deforestation largely focus on the Amazon, the authors advise that companies should develop deforestation-free policies that are global in scope. The authors also state that companies should, with the cooperation of meatpackers, monitor all supplying ranches and the cattle that pass through them, ensure the protection of human rights along the supply chain, and support ranchers in improved pastureland management.
The 13 companies in UCS’s study were evaluated in five areas: ambition of deforestation-free commitment; time-bound implementation plan; compliance; transparency; and traceability, monitoring, and verification. The study found that none of the 13 consumer goods companies scored high enough to receive a strong deforestation-free beef policies and procedures rating, and none could guarantee that the beef obtained was from a deforestation-free source. Mars, McDonald’s and Walmart garnered the most points—though still receiving a limited designation; while Nestle, Hormel, Wendy’s, Jack Links, Subway, Burger King, ConAgra, Kroger and Pizza Hut all received very limited designations (the last four all scoring zero).
Read the full report
Stacey McFadin is a health coach and attorney. She runs Healthy News Bites, a news digest for wellness practitioners. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyMcFadin.
|November 28, 2016||
German Leader Blasts Trump for Threats to Paris Climate Accord.
by Alexandra Rosenmann, World, AlterNet
“The president-elect is going to have to make his decision,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Marakesh on November 16. “What I will do is speak to the assembly about our efforts and what we’re engaged in and why we’re engaged in it, and our deep commitment as the American people to this effort.”
But delegates from the almost 200 nations are uneasy weeks after Kerry's announcement.
"All the signatures were already made by presidents, heads of governments," lamented Rebecca Harms in an interview with France 24 on President-elect Trump's potentially disastrous effect on global relations.
Harms is a German Member of the European Parliament, co-president of the Group of the Greens in the EU Parliament and strong supporter of Angela Merkel's bid for a fourth term.
"Fingers crossed that the United States, not again, [shifts from being] a driver of the international strategy to fight global warming to a burden, We saw it in former periods," Harms added. "But nobody can predict [it] right now."
She also called Trump "a question mark as such, as a person, to many things we have achieved and find important.""When I'm facing the denial of Trump and even the lies on why we have a strategy against global warming, I'm wondering how someone like this can be so successful," said Harms. "This is a global crisis."
Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.
|December 1, 2016||
How to Save the Planet From Donald Trump?
by Bill McKibben, BillMoyers.com, AlterNet
We’re going to be dealing with an onslaught of daily emergencies during the Trump years. Already it’s begun — if there’s nothing going on (or in some cases when there is), our leader often begins the day with a tweet to stir the pot, and suddenly we’re debating whether burning the flag should lose you your citizenship.
These crises will get worse once he has power — from day to day we’ll have to try and protect vulnerable immigrants, or deal with the latest outrage from the white supremacist “alt-reich,” or confront the latest self-dealing scandal in the upper reaches of the Tower. It will be a game (though not a fun one), for 48 months, of trying to preserve as many people and as much of the Constitution as possible.
And if we’re very lucky, at the end of those four years, we might be able to go back to something that resembles normal life. Much damage will have been done in the meantime, but perhaps not irreparable damage. Obamacare will be gone, but something like it — maybe even something better — will be resurrectable. The suffering in the meantime will be real, but it won’t make the problem harder to solve, assuming reason someday returns. That’s, I guess, the good news: that someday normal life may resume.
But even that slight good news doesn’t apply to the question of climate change. It’s very likely that by the time Trump is done we’ll have missed whatever opening still remains for slowing down the trajectory of global warming — we’ll have crossed thresholds from which there’s no return. In this case, the damage he’s promising will be permanent, for two reasons.
The first is the most obvious: The adversary here is ultimately physics, which plays by its own rules. As we continue to heat the planet, we see that planet changing in ways that turn into feedback loops. If you make it hot enough to melt Arctic ice (and so far we’ve lost about half of our supply) then one of the side effects is removing a nice white mirror from the top of the planet. Instead of that mirror reflecting 80 percent of the sun’s rays out to space, you’ve now got blue water that absorbs most of the incoming rays of the sun, amping up the heat. Oh, and as that water warms, the methane frozen in its depths eventually begins to melt — and methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Even if, someday, we get a president back in power who’s willing to try and turn down the coal, gas and oil burning, there will be nothing we can do about that melting methane. Some things are forever, or at least for geologic time.
There’s another reason too, however, and that’s that the international political mechanisms Trump wants to smash can’t easily be assembled again, even with lots of future good will. It took immense diplomatic efforts to reach the Paris climate accords — 25 years of negotiating with endless setbacks. The agreement itself is a jury-rigged kludge, but at least it provides a mechanism for action. It depends on each country voluntarily doing its part, though, and if the biggest historic source of the planet’s carbon decides not to play, it’s easy to guess that an awful lot of other leaders will decide that they’d just as soon give in to their fossil fuel interests too.
So Trump is preparing to make a massive bet: a bet that the scientific consensus about climate change is wrong, and that the other 191 nations of the world are wrong as well. It’s a bet based on literally nothing — when the New York Times asked him about global warming, he started mumbling about a physicist uncle of his who died in 1985. The job — and it may not be a possible job — is for the rest of us to figure out how to make the inevitable loss of this bet as painless as possible.
It demands fierce resistance to his silliness — clearly his people are going to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, but perhaps they can be shamed into simply ignoring but not formally abrogating the Paris accords. This is work not just for activists, but for the elites that Trump actually listens to. Here’s where we need what’s left of the establishment to be weighing in: Fortune 500 executives, Wall Streeters — anyone who knows how stupid a bet this is.
But we also need to be working hard on other levels. The fossil fuel industry is celebrating Trump’s election, and rightly so — but we can continue to make their lives at least a little difficult, through campaigns like fossil fuel divestment and through fighting every pipeline and every coal port. The federal battles will obviously be harder, and we may lose even victories like Keystone. But there are many levers of power, and the ones closer to home are often easier to pull.
We also have to work at state and local levels to support what we want. The last election, terrible as it was, showed that renewable energy is popular even in red states — Florida utilities lost their bid to sideline solar energy, for instance. The hope is that we can keep the buildout of sun and wind, which is beginning to acquire real momentum, on track; if so, costs will keep falling to the point where simple economics may overrule even Trumpish ideology.
And of course we have to keep communicating, all the time, about the crisis — using the constant stream of signals from the natural world to help people understand the folly of our stance. As I write this, the Smoky Mountain town of Gatlinburg is on fire, with big hotels turned to ash at the end of a devastating drought. Mother Nature will provide us an endless string of teachable moments, and some of them will break through — it’s worth remembering that the Bush administration fell from favor as much because of Katrina as Iraq.
None of these efforts will prevent massive, and perhaps fatal, damage to the effort to constrain climate change. It’s quite possible, as many scientists said the day after the election, that we’ve lost our best chance. But we don’t know precisely how the physics will play out, and every ton of carbon we keep out of the atmosphere will help.
And amidst this long ongoing emergency, as I said at the beginning, we’ve got to help with all the daily crises. This winter may find climate activists spending as much time trying to block deportations as pipelines; we may have to live in a hot world, but we don’t have to live in a jackbooted one, and the more community we can preserve, the more resilient our communities will be. It’s hard not to despair — but then, it wasn’t all that easy to be realistically hopeful about our climate even before Trump. This has always been a battle against great odds. They’re just steeper now.
Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, the founder of 350.org, an international climate campaign, and the winner of the 2014 Right Livelihood Award.
|November 26, 2016||
How Do We Overcome Polluted Public Discourse When Climate Deniers Are Now in Charge?
by Dr. David Suzuki, AlterNet
The U.S. election was a chilling illustration of the atrocious state of public discourse. It doesn’t bode well for a country once admired for leadership in education and science.
As public relations expert and former David Suzuki Foundation board chair James Hoggan writes in I’m Right and You’re an Idiot, “polluted public discourse is an enormous obstacle to change.” How, he asks, do we “create the space for higher quality public debates where passionate opposition and science shape constructive, mind-changing conversations”?
If those vying to be president of the most powerful country in the world couldn’t do it, what hope is there? For his book, co-written with Grania Litwin, Hoggan interviewed a range of thinkers, from linguist and cognitive scientist George Lakoff to the Dalai Lama. Whether or not their insights can raise the level of political discourse among politicians who think name-calling, logical fallacies and lies constitute legitimate debate remains to be seen, but the book offers advice for anyone who wants to improve conversations and create positive change in this age of online bickering, propaganda and entrenched positions.
Social psychologist Carol Tavris says part of the problem relates to “cognitive dissonance.” Unlike scientists, who revise their positions in response to testing and challenging hypotheses, most people resist changing their minds, especially if they feel it would threaten them or their real or imagined privileges.
Yale Law School psychology and law professor Dan Kahan says confirmation bias and motivated reasoning also come into play. Confirmation bias is people’s tendency to seek and select information that confirms their beliefs. Motivated reasoning is the unconscious habit of processing information to suit an end or goal that doesn’t necessarily conform to accurate beliefs.
Climate change is a good case in point. Although evidence for human-caused global warming is backed by mountains of research compiled over decades by scientists from around the world, and its impacts are observable, many people refuse to accept it, promoting debunked ideas and fossil fuel industry talking points, because they feel profits or their way of life will be negatively affected by addressing it. “When you have a combination of economic, ideological and psychological biases all in play, it’s very difficult for human beings to easily accept large-scale social and economic change,” Tavris observes.
So how do we overcome these stumbling blocks, especially when climate change deniers hold power in the U.S.? In looking at changing perceptions and habits around things like seatbelts, smoking and environmental protection, Tavris argues that dialogue and changing people’s hearts isn’t enough, that “you have to first change the laws, change public notions of what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior and change the economic consequences of practices you want to alter.” That’s more than a challenge in the current political atmosphere.
But we have to start somewhere. And improving the ways we communicate with each other is essential. Much of current discussion around the U.S. election result centers on politicians not listening to those left behind as global trade and technology outpaced antiquated economic systems. Many say the Democrats failed in part because they abandoned those who lost livelihoods in coal mines or factories as technologies changed and corporate leaders shifted production to parts of the world with lower labor costs and standards. Although the president-elect’s choices of appointments and advisers show he’s deep in the pockets of corporate America, especially the fossil fuel industry, he succeeded in tapping into the disillusionment.
We must listen to those who are suffering. We should also consider the difference between debate and dialogue. As social scientists Steve Rosell and Daniel Yankelovich tell Hoggan, “debate is about seeing weaknesses in other people’s positions, while dialogue is about searching for strength and value in our opponents’ concerns.”
Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh says, “Speak the truth, but not to punish.” While facts and reason are important, Hoggan points out, they’re not enough to change people’s minds. “Research coming from cognitive and brain science tells us if we want to be persuasive we must appeal to people’s values and speak from a moral position, rather than layering on more data and statistics.”
The world is in a precarious position. Hoggan’s book offers a path to the kind of discourse necessary to resolving our collective problems.
David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.
|December 8, 2016||
La voix facteur de paix et d’harmonie. Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI ) chante Noël; The voice factor of peace and harmony. Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI) sings Christmas.
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
A l’approche des fêtes de Noël, l’heure est à l’ouverture du cœur et à la symbiose musicale qui relie les corps et les cœurs : indépendamment de l’option philosophique et religieuse de chacun, les chants ci-dessous modestement interprétés par votre serviteur, appartiennent au panthéon de la musique universelle. Bonne écoute.
le nôtre Père
Je marche avec Dieu
Ave Maria de Gounod
A ce sujet, sur recommandation du Cardinal BARBARIN, j’ai interprété cet aria le 9 aout 2010 dans L’Eglise d’Urakami à Nagasaki à l’occasion du triste 65e anniversaire de la tragédie atomique. Il faut savoir : que cette Eglise s’est trouvée placée à la réception de l’épicentre de la bombe. Elle fut totalement détruite et reconstruite en 1959. J’ai interprété cet aria devant plus de 2000 fidèles, les officiels et médias japonais, et un représentant du Vatican.
séjour au Japon à Hiroshima en janvier 2009 = j’y suis retourné en août 2010 à Nagasaki
Petit papa Noël
Ave Maria de Schubert
la tyrolienne de Noël
Poète, écrivain et chanteur
Je vais terminer mon œuvre par la traduction en langue castillane puis anglaise de mon essai « Quel devenir pour l’Homo sapiens à l’horizon 2120 « et par 7 derniers enregistrements avant des derniers concerts sans doute hors de France.
La voz factor de paz y armonía
Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI) canta a Noël
Al enfoque de las fiestas de Noël, la hora está a la apertura del corazón y a la simbiosis musical que conecta los cuerpos y los corazones: independientemente de la opción filosófica y religiosa de cada uno, los cantos siguientes modestamente interpretados por su criado, pertenecen al panteón de la música universal. Buena escucha.
el nuestro Padre
Voy con Dios
Ave Maria de Gounod
A este respecto, sobre recomendación del Cardenal BARBARIN, interpreté a esta Aria el 9 de agosto de 2010 en la Iglesia de Urakami en Nagasaki con motivo del triste 65e aniversario de la tragedia atómica. Es necesario saber: que esta Iglesia se encontró colocada a la recepción del epicentro de la bomba. Se destruyó completamente y reconstruido en 1959. Interpreté esta Aria que debía más de 2000 fieles, los oficiales y medios de comunicación japoneses, y a un representante del Vaticano.
estancia en Japón en Hiroshima en enero de 2009 = se me da la vuelta en agosto de 2010 allí en Nagasaki
Pequeño papá Noël
Ave Maria de Schubert
Poeta, escritor y cantante
Voy a terminar mi obra por la traducción a lengua castellana luego inglesa de mi prueba “Qué ocurrir con para Homo sapiens en el horizonte 2120 “y por 7 últimos registros antes de últimos conciertos seguramente fuera de Francia.
The voice factor of peace and harmony
Guy CREQUIE (GIL CONTI) sings Christmas
With the approach of the festivals of Christmas, the hour is with the opening of the heart and the musical symbiosis which connects the bodies and the hearts: independently of the philosophical and religious option of each one, the songs modestly interpreted below by your servant, belong to the Pantheon of the universal music. Good listening.
I walk with God
Ave Maria of Gounod
On this subject, on recommendation of Cardinal BARBARIN, I interpreted this aria on August 9th, 2010 in the Church of Urakami with Nagasaki at the time of sad the 65e birthday of the atomic tragedy. It is necessary to know: that this Church was placed at the reception of the epicentre of the bomb. It was completely destroyed and rebuilt in 1959. I interpreted this aria in front of more than 2000 faithful, the official ones and Japanese mediums, and a representative of the Vatican.
stay in Japan in Hiroshima in January 2009 = I am gone back there in August 2010 to Nagasaki
Small dad Christmas
Ave Maria of Schubert
Poet, writer and singer
I will finish my work by the translation in language English Castilian then of my test “Which to become for the Homo sapiens at horizon 2120 “and by the last 7 recordings before last concerts undoubtedly out of France.
Individual Messenger of the culture of the peace of UNESCO
|December 8, 2016||
TR: FOOTBALL- MŒURS ET POUVOIR DE l’ARGENT ! T TR: FOOTBALL MANNERS AND POWER Of the MONEY!
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
FOOTBALL- MŒURS ET POUVOIR DE l’ARGENT !
France info signale :
La vedette du Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo et l'entraîneur de Manchester United Jose Mourinho auraient participé à un "système de dissimulation fiscale et de blanchiment", accuse vendredi un consortium de médias européens, ce que contestent les représentants des deux stars. L'attaquant de Monaco Falcao est également visé.
Blanchiment d’argent, fraudes fiscales... Quand le football est accusé de profiter de l'argent sale. Les superstars du foot Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) et José Mourinho, coach de Manchester United, sont accusés de dissimulation fiscale par douze médias européens, dans une enquête baptisée "Football Leaks" et basée sur la fuite de 18,6 millions de documents, sur le modèle des "Panama Papers".
La publication, assurée par Mediapart (article abonnés) en France, a débuté dans la soirée du vendredi 2 décembre et durera trois semaines. Les premiers incriminés, Ronaldo, Mourinho et l'attaquant de Monaco Radamel Falcao, font tous partie du portefeuille du super-agent du foot, le Portugais Jorge Mendes, également mis en cause et qui conteste ces accusations.
Il avait vu le coup venir, car il avait fait publier dès vendredi matin, via sa société Gestifute, un communiqué assurant que Ronaldo et Mourinho respectent "pleinement leurs obligations fiscales vis-à-vis des autorités espagnoles et britanniques". Gestifute se plaignait d'avoir été interrogée de façon "insidieuse" par un consortium de médias.
Un "système de dissimulation fiscale"
Ce dernier, l'European investigative collaborations (EIC), accuse Ronaldo, grand favori pour le prochain Ballon d'Or, d'avoir "dissimulé 150 millions d'euros dans les paradis fiscaux, grâce à des montages offshore passant par la Suisse et les Iles vierges britanniques". Les documents exploités par l'EIC - obtenus au départ par l'hebdomadaire allemand Der Spiegel - montreraient comment CR7 "a encaissé, en toute discrétion, un total de 149,5 millions d'euros de revenus de sponsoring dans des paradis fiscaux ces sept dernières années". "Sur cette fortune, l'attaquant n'a payé que 5,6 millions d'euros d'impôts. Soit à peine 4%, et sans être poursuivi pénalement", affirme l'EIC.
Outre Mediapart en France, le projet "Football Leaks" rassemble Der Spiegel (Allemagne), The Sunday Times (Royaume-Uni), Expresso (Portugal), El Mundo (Espagne), L'Espresso (Italie), Le Soir (Belgique), NRC Handelsblad (Pays-Bas), Politiken (Danemark), Falter (Autriche), Newsweek Serbia (Serbie) et The Black Sea, média en ligne créé par le Centre roumain pour le journalisme d'investigation.
Selon Mediapart, soixante journalistes issus de douze journaux ont exploité 1 900 gigaoctets de documents pendant sept mois pour révéler les "Football Leaks".
Par ailleurs selon France 24 :
Depuis la mi-novembre, plusieurs anciens footballeurs ont brisé le silence et affirmé avoir été abusés sexuellement durant leur formation, dans les années 70-80. Des déclarations qui plongent le football anglais dans un vaste scandale de pédophilie.
De l’aveu même de la Fédération anglaise de football (FA), il s’agit de la "plus grande crise" qu’elle ait connue. Depuis la mi-novembre, le football anglais est plongé dans un scandale de pédophilie qui fait la une des quotidiens britanniques. En deux semaines, plusieurs victimes présumées sont sorties du silence, s’infiltrant dans la brèche ouverte par l’ancien joueur professionnel Andy Woodward, 43 ans aujourd’hui, qui s’est tout récemment confié au Guardian sur le calvaire qu’il avait vécu dans les années 80.
"Jusqu’à aujourd’hui ma vie a été ruinée. Mais combien d’autres l’ont été ? Je parle de ces centaines d’enfants que Barry a détectés pour de nombreux clubs", se questionnait alors Andy Woodward dans le quotidien. Sur le banc des accusés, Barry Bennell, entraîneur britannique et détecteur de jeunes talents du ballon reconnu dans tout le Royaume-Uni. Et en face, un contingent de plus en plus dense de footballeurs, qui affirment avoir été victimes d’abus sexuel de sa part.
Au total, une vingtaine de mises en causes, certaines portées par quelques noms connus dans le milieu du football britannique comme Steve Walters, 44 ans et ancien coéquipier de Woodward à Crewe Alexandra – un club entraîné par Bennell dans les années 80 – ou encore l’ex-international David White, 49 ans. "Mentalement, il a détruit beaucoup de jeunes garçons", accuse Walters, qui a expliqué au Guardian qu’il avait été victime d’abus entre 12 et 14 ans.
Barry Bennell, qui doit comparaître devant la cour du Cheshire Sud le 14 décembre prochain, traîne derrière lui un lourd passé. L’homme de 62 ans a déjà été condamné à quatre ans de prison pour avoir abusé d’un mineur britannique lors d’une tournée en Floride en 1994, puis a également écopé d’une peine de neuf ans en 1998, après avoir été reconnu coupable de 23 abus sexuels sur six garçons. En 2015, il a de nouveau été emprisonné à la suite d’une agression sur un mineur lors d’un stage d’entraînement dans le nord-ouest de l’Angleterre, à Macclesfield.
De nouveau dans la tourmente depuis deux semaines, l’ancien coach a été hospitalisé après avoir été retrouvé inanimé, vendredi 25 novembre, dans un parc près de Stevenage (Nord de Londres). Et même si la police s’est refusée à tout commentaire depuis, tout porte à croire que Bennett, acculé, aurait pu commettre une tentative de suicide.
Mais si depuis quinze jours, Barry Bennett cristallise l’attention, l’affaire de pédophilie qui frappe le football anglais prend des proportions de plus en plus conséquentes. La FA, dont le président Greg Clarke a dénoncé des "crimes odieux", a annoncé l’ouverture d’une enquête et mis une ligne téléphonique dédiée afin que les footballeurs victimes d’abus sexuels puissent dénoncer leurs agresseurs.
La partie émergée de l’iceberg
D’autres, sans impliquer nommément Bennett, ont aussi trouvé le courage de parler. C’est le cas notamment de l’ancien joueur de Tottenham, Liverpool et Manchester City Paul Stewart. "Les cicatrices mentales que cela a laissé m'ont mené à l'alcool et à la drogue", regrette l’ancien joueur, qui relate avoir subi des abus jusqu’à l’âge de 15 ans. "Je veux que les gens se rendent compte à quel point c'est difficile de raconter tout ça."
Selon la vingtaine de témoignages reçus par les instances ces derniers jours, au moins sept clubs seraient directement impliqués dans le scandale. "Cela a commencé avec Crewe, et ça s'est poursuivi à Manchester City, Stoke, Blackpool, Newcastle, Leeds...", rapporte Gordon Taylor, le directeur exécutif de l’Association anglaise des footballeurs professionnels (PFA).
Puis, mercredi 30 novembre, le nom du Chelsea FC a été ajouté à cette funeste liste. Dans un long article, le Telegraph révèle que le club londonien a étouffé un scandale similaire en achetant le silence de l’un de ses anciens pensionnaires, victime lui aussi d’abus sexuels dans les années 1970. Les faits, reconnus par la direction des Blues, mettent en accusation l’ancien "chief scout" du club Eddie Health, décédé depuis ; ils auraient été occultés en échange d’un versement de liquidités au cours des trois dernières années, contrepartie d'un "accord de confidentialité".
De quoi alimenter un peu plus la thèse selon laquelle l’affaire Bennett n’est finalement que la partie immergée de l’iceberg. Et Gordon Taylor de conclure : "Peut-être que vu l’ampleur des révélations à ce jour, il ne faudra pas être surpris si l’on découvre d’autres cas. Maintenant, il faut attendre de voir combien de joueurs se manifesteront."
COMMENTAIRE DE GUY CREQUIE = observateur social à finalité philosophique !
Certaines, certains, peuvent se demander en quoi ce type de commentaires a un quelconque intérêt et rapport avec des réseaux de paix et d’harmonie ? la réponse est que certaines pratiques médiatisées de façon omniprésente sont un frein à la lucidité des consciences et des orientations d’existence favorisant le respect des êtres humains et de la dignité des pratiques pour le bien commun et la santé morale des peuples.
Certes, le cyclisme, l’athlétisme, et dans une moindre mesure le rugby et le tennis ont pu être affectés par telle ou telle affaire, mais le football sport le plus régulièrement pratiqué et médiatisé en cristallise tous les excès. La France est-elle totalement épargnée par ce type de scandale ?Je ne suis pas un journaliste ou juriste spécialisé. Je n’ai pas d’exemples prouvés, validés concernant telle personnalité du sport et comme il se dit :sans la preuve il y a la présomption d’innocence « ! Cependant, la crise lors de la coupe du monde en 2010 avait cependant révélé le niveau moral et intellectuel de certaines personnalités de ce sport, et les récentes affaires ou des noms comme BENZEMA, RIBERY, d’autres ont été cités = a minima laissent planer certains doutes !
Si de par le monde, certaines pratiques fanatiques sont injustifiables et condamnables, cependant ,on peut comprendre l’interrogation de certains pays en développement qui cherchent leur voie, lorsque à la tribune de l’ONU, certains représentants occidentaux font l’apologie du système occidental et de sa conception des droits humains. D’autant plus, lorsque la connaissance de pratiques illustrant la dégradation des mœurs et de la justice en ces pays sont dévoilées.
Lorsqu’il sont adulés, glorifiés, transformés en star d’un sport dont ils portent par leur nom le culte ;bénéficiant de soutiens :institutionnels et médiatiques, malgré leur réalité éthique et morale, recevant parfois les plus hautes distinctions d’Institutions internationales et nationales, ceci alors que bien des savants ou acteurs de la paix ne reçoivent pas ne bénéficiant que de leur engagement en conscience ,ils perdent pied avec le réel historique et ses normes.
Au sujet de la marchandisation extrême des corps et des cœurs, déjà en 1994 le philosophe Lucien SEVE, écrivait dans l’ouvrage (1)
Longtemps seul philosophe du comité consultatif national d’éthique dont le Président était alors le grand scientifique le Professeur Jean BERNARD, il paya alors pour sa notoriété, le fait d’être communiste, en un temps ou l’anticommuniste primaire existait comme existe aujourd’hui un antisémitisme chez certains, ou une islamophobie débridée. Ses travaux n’ont pas eu la résonnance qu’ils méritaient. Déjà aux pages 338 et 339 de son essai, il écrivait parlant de ces pratiques de marchandisation du sport d’élite: »
« Elles présentent plus d’un rapport avec les activités de santé, elles concernent aussi fort directement le corps humain ;elles sont aussi prises en main à un point sans précédent par les logiques d’argent, et elles ont le lieu des plus préoccupantes dégradations sur le rapport avec l’éthique………. » Le football devient une marchandise certes particulière, mais qui permet de produire de l’argent et de construire une image ayant des effets financiers directs et indirects. En même temps, la concurrence entre chaînes de télévision fait de cet outil markéting une véritable industrie de programmes …. Le football de haut niveau s’est converti en gisement de programmes et d’audience :c’est-à-dire un moyen pour la finance et GC ajoute : qui en oriente le sens et les directions. On voit y compris sur les maillots de joueurs d’une capitale nationale représentée par un club la publicité d’un pays étranger.
Or, la subordination du faits sportif à la logique industrielle dénature le jeu, et pourrit les pratiques au point que Jean-François BOURG pose la question de savoir s’il y a encore compatibilité de l’ éthique sportive avec ce nouvel ordre économique….Et nous étions en 1994 =aucun amélioration depuis mais au contraire emprise plus forte de la logique financière sans contraintes ,limites ou encadrement.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain français –Observateur social
1) Lucien SEVE : Pour une critique de la raison bioéthique –Editions Odile JACOB - Paris 1994
FOOTBALL MANNERS AND POWER Of the MONEY!
France information announces:
The star of Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo and the trainer of Manchester United Jose Mourinho would have taken part in a “system of tax dissimulation and bleaching”, shows Friday a consortium of European media, which disputes the representatives of the two stars. The attacker of Monaco Falcao is also aimed.
Money laundering, tax evasions… When football is shown to benefit from the dirty money. The superstars of football Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Jose Mourinho, coach of Manchester United, are shown of tax dissimulation by twelve European media, in an investigation baptized “Leaks Football” and based on the escape of 18.6 million documents, on the model of “Panama Papers”.
The publication, ensured by Mediapart (article subscribed) in France, began in the evening from the Friday, December 2 and will last three weeks. The first accused, Ronaldo, Mourinho and the attacker of Monaco Radamel Falcao, do all left the wallet of the super-agent of football, the Portuguese Jorge Mendes, also blamed and which disputes these charges.
He had seen the blow coming, because he had made publish by Friday morning, via his company Gestifute, an official statement ensuring that Ronaldo and Mourinho fully respect “their tax obligations with respect to the Spanish and British authorities”. Gestifute complained to be questioned in an “insidious” way by a consortium of media.
A “system of tax dissimulation”
This last, European investigative collaborations, shows Ronaldo, big favorite for next Gold Ballon, “to have dissimulated 150 million euros in the tax havens, thanks to assemblies offshore oil rig passing by Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands”. The documents exploited by the EIC - obtained at the beginning by the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel - would show how CR7 “boxed, in any discretion, a total of 149.5 million euros of incomes of sponsoring in tax havens these seven last years”. “On this fortune, the attacker paid only 5.6 million euros of taxes. That is to say hardly 4%, and without being continued penally”, the EIC affirms.
(EIC)In addition to Mediapart in France, the project “Leaks Football” gathers Der Spiegel (Germany), The Sunday Times (the United Kingdom), Expresso (Portugal), El Mundo (Spain), Espresso (Italy), the Evening (Belgium), NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands), Politiken (Denmark), Falter (Austria), Newsweek Serbia (Serbia) and The Black Sea, media on line created by the Rumanian Center for the journalism of investigation.
According to Mediapart, sixty journalists resulting from twelve newspapers exploited 1,900 gigabytes of documents for seven months to reveal “Leaks Football”.
In addition according to France 24:
Since mid-November, several former footballers broke silence and affirmed to be deceived sexually during their formation, in the years 70-80. Declarations which plunge English football in a vast scandal of pedophilia.
Consent even of the English Federation of football, it acts of the “greater crisis” than she knew. Since mid-November, English football is plunged in a scandal of pedophilia which does the one of the British daily newspapers. In two weeks, several alleged victims left silence, infiltrating in the breach opened by the former professional player Andy Woodward, 43 years today, which very recently entrusted to Guardian on the martyrdom that he had lived in the Eighties.
(FA)“Until today my life was ruined. But how much others were it? I speak about these hundreds of children that Barry detected for many clubs”, questioned then Andy Woodward in the daily newspaper. On the Barry Bennell, dock, British and detecting trainer of young talents of the balloon recognized in all United Kingdom. And opposite, an increasingly dense quota footballers, who affirm to have been victims of sexual abuse of her share.
On the whole, about twenty range, calling into question certain by some known names in the medium of British football like Steve Walters, 44 year and former fellow-member of Woodward with Crewe Alexandra - a club pulled by Bennell in the Eighties - or ex-international David White, 49 year. “Mentally, it destroyed many young boys”, shows Walters, who explained to Guardian that it had been victim of abuse between 12 and 14 years.
Barry Bennell, who must appear before the court of Southern Cheshire on December 14th, trails behind him heavy last. The 62 year old man was already condemned to four years of prison to have misused a British minor at the time of a round in Florida in 1994, then also bailed out of sorrow a nine years in 1998, after being recognized guilty of 23 sexual abuses out of six boys. In 2015, he was imprisoned again following an aggression on a minor at the time of a training course of training in the North-West of England, in Macclesfield.
Again in the storm for two weeks, the old coach has been hospitalized after being found inanimate, Friday, November 25, in a park close to Stevenage (Northern of London). And even if the police refused with any comment since, any door to believe that Bennett, driven back, could have made a suicide attempt.
But so for fifteen days, Barry Bennett has crystallized the attention, the pedophilia case which strikes English football takes increasingly consequent proportions. F, whose president Greg Clarke denounced “odious crimes”, announced the opening of an investigation and put a dedicated phone-line so that the footballers victims of sexual abuses can denounce their attackers.
The emerged part of the iceberg
Others, without implying Bennett by name, also found courage to speak. It is the case in particular of the former player of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City Paul Stewart. “The mental scars that left me led to alcohol and drug”, the former player regrets, who reports to have undergone abuses until the 15 years age. “I want that people realize at which point it is difficult to tell all that.”
According to the score of testimonies received by the authorities these last days, at least seven clubs would be directly implied in the scandal. “That started with Crewe, and that continued in Manchester City, Stoke, Blackpool, Newcastle, Leeds…”, pays Gordon Taylor, the executive director of the English Association of the professional footballers (PFA).
Then, Wednesday, November 30, the name of Chelsea FC was added to this disastrous list. In a long article, Telegraph reveals that the London club choked a similar scandal by buying the silence of the one of its former boarders, victim also of sexual abuses in the years 1970. The facts, admitted by the direction of the Blues, put in charge old “the chief scout” of the club Eddie Health, since deceased; they would have been occulted in return for a payment of liquidities during three last years, counterpart of a “agreement of confidentiality”.
What to feed a little more the thesis according to which the business Bennett is finally only the immersed part of the iceberg. And Gordon Taylor to conclude: “Perhaps that considering the extent of the revelations to date, one will not have to be surprised if other cases are discovered. Now, it is necessary to wait to see how much players will appear.”
COMMENT OF GUY CREQUIE = observant social to philosophical purpose !
Can some, some, wonder in what this kind of comments has any interest and relationship with networks of peace and harmony? the answer is that certain popularized through the media practices in an omnipresent way are a brake with the clearness of the consciences and orientations of existence supporting the respect of the human beings and the dignity of the practices for the community property and the moral health of the people.
Admittedly, cycling, the athletics, and to a lesser extent Rugby and tennis could be affected by such or such business, but football sport most regularly practised and popularized through the media crystallizes all excesses of them. Is France completely saved by this kind of scandal?I am not a journalist or specialized lawyer. I do not have proven examples, validated concerning such personality of the sport and like he says himself:without the proof there is the presumption of innocence “! However, the crisis at the time of the world cup in 2010 had however revealed the moral and intellectual level of certain personalities of this sport, and the recent business or of the names like BENZEMA, RIBERY, others was quoted = has minimum let plane certain doubts!
So all over the world, some practical fanatics are unjustifiable and condemnable, however, one can understand the interrogation of certain developing countries who seek their way, when with the platform of UNO, certain Western representatives defend the Western system and for its concept of the human rights. All the more, when the knowledge of practices illustrating the degradation of manners and justice in these countries are revealed.
When it are adulated, glorified, transformed into star of a sport of which they carry by their name the worship;profiting from supports:institutional and media, in spite of their ethical and moral reality, sometimes receiving the highest distinctions of International institutions and main roads, this whereas many scientists or actors of peace do not receive profiting only from their commitment in conscience, they lose foot with the real history and its standards.
About the extreme marketisation of the bodies and hearts, already in 1994 the philosopher Lucien SAP, wrote in the work (1)
A long time only philosopher of the national advisory committee of ethics whose President was then the large scientist the Professor Jean BERNARD, it paid then for his notoriety, the fact of being communist, in a time or the primary anticommunist existed as exists today an anti-semitism at some, or an unslung islamophobie. Its work did not have the resonance which they deserved. Already on pages 338 and 339 of its test, he wrote speaking about these practices of marketisation of the sport of elite: ”
“They present more than one relationship with the activities of health, they relate to the human body also extremely directly;they are also taken over at a point without precedent by money logics, and they take place of most alarming degradations on the relationship with ethics ..........” football becomes goods certainly particular, but which make it possible to produce money and to build an image having direct and indirect financial effects. At the same time, competition between TV channels makes this tool marketing a true industry of programs…. High level football was converted into layer of programs and audience:i.e. a means for finance and GC adds: who directs the direction and the directions of them. One sees including on the shirts of players of a national capital represented by a club the publicity of a foreign country.
However, the subordination of the facts sportsman to industrial logic denatures the play, and rots the practices so much so that Jean-François BOROUGH asks the question of knowing if there is still compatibility of sporting ethics with this new economic order….And we were in 1994 =aucun improvement since but on the contrary stronger influence of financial logic without constraints, limits or framing.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
French writer - social Observer
1) Lucien SEVE: For a criticism of the reason bioethics - Editions Odile Jacob - Paris 1994
Individual Messenger of the culture of the peace of UNESCO
|December 8, 2016||
TR: LA NOUVELLE DONNE INQUIETANTE DE LA POLITIQUE FRANCAISE ! (Première partie = la seconde suivra après la primaire de la gauche) - THE NEWS GIVES WORRYING OF THE FRENCH POLICY! (First part = the second will follow after the primary elections.)
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
LA NOUVELLE DONNE INQUIETANTE DE LA POLITIQUE FRANCAISE !
(Première partie = la seconde suivra après la primaire de la gauche)
Par GUY CREQUIE, écrivain observateur social
Copyright 28 novembre 2016
Le second tour de la primaire de la droite et du centre a donné son verdict : Celui-ci a confirmé et amplifié la victoire de François FILLON, lequel, sera donc le candidat de la droite et du centre à l’élection présidentielle.
D’ici quelques jours : on devrait savoir si pour la gauche (mais à son sujet peut-on encore parler de gauche ?) si le Président François HOLLANDE se lancera dans la compétition de la primaire du PS préparatoire à l’élection présidentielle. Si la victoire de François FILLON a été une nouvelle fois un démenti aux prévisions des instituts de sondage avant le premier tour, le plus important de la situation politique française est ailleurs !
Je note de ce point de vue, que peu ou pas de commentateurs politiques s’attardent sur ce qui suivra dans mon texte. Alors que l’Union européenne semble vouloir desserrer quelque peu le verrou de la politique d’austérité et du respect de certains indicateurs de maitrise des dépenses publiques et de l’endettement des Etats, le choix de la primaire de la droite et du centre infirme ce choix.
Les instances européennes craignent une montée du populisme se traduisant en victoire dans certains pays, populisme représenté selon elles par des forces politiques d’extrême droite nationaliste et refusant l’immigration.
Cependant, le choix français traduit une autre donnée : celle de l’incapacité depuis une trentaine d’années par les forces politiques de droite comme de gauche à réformer le pays dans le sens de la modernité au service du peuple. Les uns valorisent les débats sur l’identité, les autres sur la diversité et la solidarité, mais au stade de la mondialisation à ce jour, aucune force politique et ses leaders n’ont su définir et propager une vision d’avenir donnant de l’espoir et des perspectives au peuple français.
La brutalité sociale, après le matraquage fiscal entre 2012 et 2016, est-elle en soi : une perspective de quoi rassurer un peuple ?
Si le général de GAULLE, en son temps, a critiqué le régime des partis, il créa cependant le RPF, conscient que même l’homme politique respecté et écouté a besoin d’une force structurée pour porter ses idées.
Malgré tout en 2017 bientôt au stade de la mondialisation, de la télévision, des réseaux sociaux au sein desquels l’expression citoyenne s’exprime pour le meilleur et le pire l’existence de forces politiques est un élément de la démocratie et contribue à la confrontation des idées, à l’expérience de la vie publique, à se forger une personnalité.
L’élection du Président de la République au suffrage universel direct avec la constitution de 1958 a traduit une volonté de représentation directe de l’élu du peuple mais présentement : nous sommes presque en 2017 !
Après le combat contre l’occupant nazi, la résistance, la formation du conseil national de la résistance dont la force alors du PCF en son sein, le général de GAULLE s’est situé dans le choix de la République et de ses valeurs. Cependant, ce que révéla un jour le Comte de Paris lors d’une interview son modèle de cœur aurait été un système monarchique adapté au contexte.
La stature du général de GAULLE, son passé, son aura, ont rendu possible son modèle électif de représentation durant toute une période pour une bonne partie du peuple : Ceci, de par de le respect de la France, son indépendance, son rôle spécifique au plan international comme porteurs des droits humains ont favorisé son dessein.
Mais nous approchons de l’échéance de 2017 ! De nos jours, malgré la sincérité et l’engagement honnête d’une majorité d’élus, le goût du pouvoir et le poids de l’argent imprègnent le monde des valeurs. Nombre d’affaires ont impacté des élus de la droite comme de la gauche. L’affaiblissement syndical dans notre pays a contribué pour une part à la réalité politique de notre pays, son déclin !
Ceci, car la chose sociale est un tremplin pour la chose politique et contribue à faire surgir des vocations individuelles de l’engagement politique de par les apprentissages de la vie publique et sociale et collective engrangés.
Personnellement, durant longtemps, j’ai été hostile à l’adhésion syndicale obligatoire craignant pour l’indépendance syndicale. A l’instar de la pratique dans d’autres pays, la cotisation syndicale prélevée sur la feuille de paie effectivement implique l’employeur dans la connaissance des choix des salariés.
Mais : il serait possible de rendre cette adhésion syndicale obligatoire dans le respect du choix du salarié de l’organisation choisie. Comment ? Il suffirait d’indiquer aux salariés les noms et les coordonnées de structures syndicales professionnelles et interprofessionnelles les plus proches du domicile et donc, cette modalité respecterait l’indépendance et le fonctionnement des dites organisations dont la relation directe du salarié avec le syndicat choisi. Ce contre- pouvoir social puissant faciliterait lors d’accords avec les employeurs et la puissance publique l’efficacité économique et le dialogue social.
Ainsi, les purges sociales annoncées dans les programmes de certains candidats auraient plus de difficultés à être présentées pénalisant toujours les mêmes : les couches moyennes, les retraités, les salariés modestes en précarité et sans emploi, la paysannerie, les petits commerçants, artisans, …..
Il est ce constat : celui que notre vie politique progressivement tend à se soustraire du rôle des partis et de leurs modalités de fonctionnement. Ainsi : Jean-Luc MELENCHON et Emmanuel MACRON tendent à instaurer des pratiques participatives plus vivantes et interactives et ont refusé le choix de la confrontation dans la primaire à gauche ! Ils offrent leurs noms et idées au suffrage direct des électrices et électeurs par une animation essentiellement articulée autour de leur personne.
A droite : peut-être ? suite à la victoire de François FILLON lors de la primaire de la droite et du centre = un troisième François : François BAYROU, peut lui aussi se présenter au verdict des électeurs (une quatrième fois) lors de l’élection présidentielle, donc après la primaire et en refusant donc son verdict. Marine LE PEN, pour ce qui la concerne tend à soustraire le signe FN (front national) de ses affiches et écrits en se présentant directement comme la représentante directe, plébéienne du peuple.
Quant à François HOLLANDE, malgré son impopularité et ses renoncements par rapport à son discours du Bourget préparatoire à l’élection présidentielle de 2012,il est très tenté de se représenter.
Tant à gauche qu’à droite :le phénomène des primaires permet l’expression importante du suffrage universel direct qui légitime un ou une candidate, mais en retour il accentue le phénomène de personnalisation intense de la vie politique avec le risque que la forme peut se substituer au fond :le candidat de bonne présentation, bon communicant, peut tout concentrer sur sa personne au détriment du programme qu’il propose= ceci sans le garde- fou d’un renforcement de la vie politique à tous les niveaux facilitant l’expression citoyenne mature et en conscience d’arguments.
Ainsi, cette accélération du mode de légitimation personnel = sans vie politique intense et impliquant les adhérents personnellement, ces types de pratique à plus ou moins long terme et selon qui aura su capter la mobilisation populaire présentent de nombreux risques dont celui de l’établissement d’un pouvoir personnel autoritaire dangereux pour la vie démocratique républicaine.
Tout le monde n’a pas la stature, l’intégrité et la vision d’un général de GAULLE, même si ce dernier avait des adversaires pour sa politique intérieure et sa conception de l’exercice du pouvoir. Pour le débat d‘idées, l’exercice de la vie politique dans ce qu’elle a de grand :le respect de l’engagement, des confrontations bénéfiques, il y a besoin d’une vie politique adaptée au XXI e siècle, avec l’utilisation des nouvelles technologies, une représentation réelle des deux sexes à tous les niveaux de responsabilité et de la diversité culturelle. Bien entendu, dans ce type de modalité surgissent et s’affirment maintes individualités !
Cependant pour cela : ce sont les ressorts de l’organisation et du fonctionnement de la vie sociale et politique qui doivent être modifiés. Moins d’élus à l’Assemblée Nationale et au Sénat, plus d’élus régionaux et de pouvoirs territoriaux dans une cohérence nationale, un conseil national d’éthique indépendant du pouvoir politique et représentatif de la société civile….ce n’est pas l’enjeu de cette contribution, mais bref, face à la déficience de la vie politique actuelle = il faudra bien une VI e République, , ou une sérieuse révision de la Constitution de la Ve !
Si la gauche comme hélas cela semble se confirmer va à l’élection présidentielle morcelée = elle perdra ! Déjà le Président de l’Assemblée nationale Claude BARTOLONE, trouverait normal que le Président François HOLLANDE, et le Premier Ministre Manuel VALLS, se confrontent lors de la primaire organisée par le PS. Ce qui démontre déjà un certain désarroi. Le PC finalement soutiendra MELENCHON, et le parti radical de gauche ne participera pas à la primaire organisée par le Ps = 2 mauvaises nouvelles pour le PS, avec déjà connue la candidature écologiste si son candidat obtient les 500 signatures.
D’ailleurs et triste constat : chaque fois que le PS a accédé au pouvoir et déçoit ses électeurs par l’écart entre le dit et le fait : lors de l’alternance qui a suivi, la droite applique une purge sociale qui pénalise les couches de la population les plus faibles et fragiles !
Précision : Ma contribution pour être limitée, n’ a pas abordé les nuances de positionnement au sein de la droite s’agissant de la laïcité, du système de valeurs, et de la relation avec l’Islam au sein de ces sujets. De même que les positions des candidats relativement à la vie internationale mériterait une contribution spécifique. J’ai voulu attirer l’attention sur des problématiques non débattues par les médias. Quant au FN = sa victoire : compte tenu de la peur qu’il inspire encore chez nombre d’électeurs et du dit front républicain qui s ’applique contre lui au second tour des élections semble difficile, mais nous avons connu d’autre surprises…. et cependant, son score élevé reste une caractéristique de la vie politique française. La baisse des sans- emploi annoncée par le gouvernement ne gomme pas 4 années de déception sociale.
Auteur de 28 livres depuis 1980, dont :
« Réconcilier les droits et les devoirs pour l’avenir de l’Humanité » Editions universitaires européenne » Allemagne 2011 Avec une préface d’Yves LOPEZ ,Président de la fédération française pour l’UNESCO
« La révolution de l’esprit pour l’humanisme en action « Editions TDB Paris
« Philosophie aujourd’hui-Philosophie demain » Cook communication 2015 - Etats-Unis. Avec une préface de personnalités internationales de diverses nationalités :Ernesto KAHAN, Maria Cristina AZCONA, Ammar BANNI, Bruce COOK, et selon : dirigeante d’une ONG internationale, membre de la direction de l’Académie mondiale de la culture et des arts, et qui alla retirer le prix Nobel 1985 comme représentant de l’Association mondiale des médecins pour la prévention des risques nucléaires, universitaire et éducateur, éditeur.
« Quel devenir pour l’Homo sapiens à l’horizon 2120 » Cook communication 2016- Etats-Unis avec une préface de Claude VIELIX, dirigeant de la fédération française pour l’UNESCO, et de Jacques BRUYAS, entre autres :Président de l’Union des écrivains Rhône-Alpes Auvergne.
THE NEWS GIVES WORRYING OF THE FRENCH POLICY!
(First part = the second will follow after the primary elections of the left)
By GUY CREQUIE, social observant writer
Copyright November 28th, 2016
The second tower of the primary education of the right-hand side and the center gave his verdict: This one confirmed and amplified the victory of Francois Fillon, which, will be thus the center and right-wing candidate to the presidential election. From here a few days: one should so know for the left (but about it can one still speak about left?) if President François Hollande will launch out in the competition of the primary education of the preparatory PS to the presidential election. If the victory of Francois Fillon were once again a denial with the forecasts of the survey institutes before the first turn, most important of the French political situation is elsewhere!
I note from this point of view, that few or not political commentators are delayed on what will follow in my text. Whereas the European Union seems to want to somewhat loosen the bolt of the austerity policy and the respect of certain indicators of control of the public expenditure and the debt of the States, the choice of the primary education of the right-hand side and the crippled center this choice. The European authorities fear a rise of the populism being translated into victory in certain countries, populism represented according to them by political forces of nationalist far right and refusing immigration.
However, the French choice translates another data: that of the incapacity since about thirty years by the right-wing policy forces like left to reform the country in the direction of modernity to the service of the people. The ones develop the debates on the identity, the others on diversity and solidarity, but at the stage of globalization to date, any political force and its leaders did not know to define and propagate a vision with a future giving of the hope and the prospects with French people.
Social brutality, after tax bludgeoning between 2012 and 2016, she is in oneself: a prospect what to reassure people?
If the general de Gaulle, in his time, criticized the mode of the parties, it created the RPF, conscious however that even the respected and listened politician needs a force structured to carry his ideas.
Despite everything in 2017 soon at the stage of globalization, television, social networks in which the expression citizen is expressed for the best and the worst existence of political forces are an element of the democracy and contribute to the confrontation of the ideas, with the experiment of the public life, to forge a personality.
The election of the President of the Republic by the universal direct suffrage with the constitution of 1958 translated a will of direct representation of the elected official of the people but at present: we are almost in 2017! After the combat against the occupant Nazi, resistance, training of the national council of the resistance whose force then of PCF in its center, the general de Gaulle was in the choice of the Republic and its values.
However, which revealed one day the Count of Paris during an interview its model of heart would have been a monarchical system adapted to the context.
The stature of the general de Gaulle, his past, its will have, made possible its elective model of representation during a whole period for a good part of the people: This, from respect of France, its independence, its role specific to the international plan as carrying the human rights supported its intention. But we approach the expiry of 2017! Nowadays, in spite of the sincerity and the honest commitment of a majority of elected officials, the taste of the power and the weight of the money impregnate the world of the values. Number of business impacted elected officials of the right-hand side like left. Trade-union weakening in our country contributed for a share to the political reality of our country, its decline!
This, because the social thing is a springboard for the political thing and contributes to make emerge from the individual vocations of the political commitment from the trainings of the public life and social and collective garnered. Personally, lasting a long time, I was hostile with obligatory trade-union adhesion fearing for trade-union independence. Following the example of the practice in other countries, the trade union due taken on the payroll indeed implies the employer in the knowledge of the choices of the employees.
But: it would be possible to make this adhesion trade-union obligatory in the respect of the choice of the employee of the selected organization. How? It would be enough to indicate to the employees the names and the coordinates of the professional and interprofessional structures trade-union closest to the residence and thus, this method would respect the independence and the operation of the known as organizations of which the direct relationship of the employee with the selected trade union. This powerful social countervailing power would facilitate during agreements with the employers and the public power economic efficiency and the social dialog.
Thus, the social purgings announced in the programs of certain candidates would have more difficulties in being presented always penalizing the same ones: average layers, pensioners, modest employees in precariousness and without employment, farming community, small traders, craftsmen, .....
It is this report: that which our political life gradually tends to withdraw of the role of the parties and their procedure. As follows: Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Emmanuel MACRON tend to found more alive and interactive participative practices and refused the choice of confrontation in the primary elections on the left! They offer their names and ideas by the direct suffrage of the voters and voters by an animation primarily articulated around their person.
On the right: perhaps? following the victory of Francois Fillon at the time of the primary education of the right-hand side and the center = third François: Francois Bayrou, also will present himself to the verdict of the voters (fourth once) at the time of the presidential election, therefore after the primary elections and by thus refusing her verdict. Marine Le Pen, for what concerns tends to withdraw sign FN (national front) of its posters and writings while being presented directly like representing direct, plebeian of the people.
As for François Hollande, in spite of his unpopularity and its renouncements compared to its speech of preparatory Le Bourget of the presidential election of 2012, it is very tempted to represent itself.
As well on the left as on the right:the phenomenon of the primary educations allows the important expression of the universal direct suffrage which legitimates one or a candidate, but in return it accentuates the intense phenomenon of personalization of the political life with the risk which the form can replace the bottom:the candidate of good presentation, good communicating, can all concentrate on his person to the detriment of the program that it propose= this without the parapet of a reinforcement of the political life on all the levels facilitating the expression mature citizen and in conscience of arguments.
Thus, this acceleration of the personal mode of legitimation = without intense political life and implying the members personally, these types of practice to more or less long run and according to which will have known to collect the popular mobilization present many risks of which that of the establishment of a dangerous authoritative personal power for the republican democratic life.
Everyone does not have the stature, the integrity and the vision of a general de Gaulle, even if this last had adversaries for its domestic policy and its design of the exercise of the power. For the debate D ` ideas, the exercise of the political life in what it has of large:the respect of the commitment, beneficial confrontations, there needs a political life adapted to the XXI E century, with the use of new technologies, a real representation of the two sexes on all the levels of responsibility and cultural diversity. Of course, in this kind of method emerge and affirm many individualities!
However for that: they are the springs of the organization and the operation of the social life and policy which must be modified. Less elected officials at the National Assembly and the Senate, more regional elected officials and powers territorial in a national coherence, a national council of ethics independent of the political power and representative of the civil society….it is not the challenge of this contribution, but in short, vis-a-vis the deficiency of the current political life = one will need one well VI E République, or a serious revision of the Constitution of 5th!
If the left as alas that seems to be confirmed goes to the parcelled out presidential election = it will lose! Already the President of the National Assembly Claude BARTOLONE, would find normal that President François Hollande, and the Prime Minister Manuel Valls, confront himself at the time of the primary education organized by the PS. What shows already a certain distress. The PC finally will support MELENCHON, and the radical left party will not take part in the primary education organized by the PS = 2 bad news for the PS, with already known the candidature ecologist if its candidate obtains the 500 signatures.
Moreover and sad report: each time the PS reached the power and disappoints its voters by the difference between the known as one and the fact: during the alternation which followed, the line applies a social purging which penalizes the layers of the population weakest and fragile!
Precision: My contribution to be limited, did not approach the nuances of positioning within the line as regards secularity, of the system of values, and the relationship to Islam within these subjects. Just as the positions of the candidates compared to the international life would deserve a specific contribution. I wanted to draw attention to problems not discussed by the media. As for FN = its victory: taking into account the fear which it still inspires at many voters and of the known as republican face which applies against him to the second turn of the elections seems difficult, but we knew of other surprised…. and however, its high score remains a characteristic of the French political life. The fall of the unemployed person announced by the government does not gum 4 years of social disappointment.
Author of 28 pounds since 1980, of which:
“To reconcile the rights and the duties for the future of Humanity” university Editions European” Germany 2011 With a foreword of Yves LOPEZ, President of the French federation for UNESCO
“The revolution of the spirit for humanism in action “Editions TDB Paris
“Philosophy aujourd' today-Philosophy tomorrow” Cook communication 2015 - the United States. With a foreword of international personalities of various nationalities:Ernesto KAHAN, Maria Cristina AZCONA, Ammar BANISHED, Bruce COOK, and according to: leading of an ONG international, member of the direction of the world Academy of the culture and arts, and which went to withdraw the Nobel Prize 1985 like representative of the Worldwide association of the doctors for the risk prevention nuclear, academic and teacher, editor.
“Which to become for the Homo sapiens at the horizon 2120” Cook communication 2016 - the United States with a foreword of Claude VIELIX, directing French federation for UNESCO, and of Jacques BRUYAS, inter alia:President of the Union of the writers Rhône-Alpes Auvergne.
Individual Messenger of the culture of the peace of UNESCO
US Enemy No. One is its Military Spending 54% of Budget
by Charles Mercieca
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich
US Enemy No. One is its Military Spending 54% of Budget
For the US Government it is more important to make weapons of destruction, build more military bases with endless military ships that threaten many nations.
Social security, global affairs and environment, Medicare and health, community affairs, Veterans Benefits and education do not seem to mean anything.
As a result, the American people and those of other countries are suffering numerous deprivations. All those responsible should not let this to continue to happen.
|November 28, 2016||
Message de paix Mensagem de paz Peace Message Сообщение о мире Mensaje de paz
by François Fournet, France
Message de paix
Il n y rien de plus beau qu' aimer
Même sous la cendre ton cœur bat
et peut te révéler l'espérance
Ne crois jamais que tu es seul
une immensité d' amour te veille
prends par la main la pincée d’air
au regard bleu .
Laisse aux nuages d’idées
le cours des eaux tremblantes .
soulève tes paupières
comme on lève les voiles
d’un navire attendu .
Étends tes bras de goéland
pour le rivage du non-temps .
Nie la seconde frôlant ton regard
nie l’hésitation d’être
un espace fini .
Deviens la vague
la volute l’aile
le printemps d’une errance éperdue
Mensagem de paz
N Não há nada mais bonito do que o amor
Mesmo sob as cinzas seu coração bate
e pode revelar-lhe a esperança
Não pense que você está sozinho
uma imensidão de amor que você véspera
tome pela mão, para apertar o ar
Deixe que as nuvens de ideias
Durante as águas trêmulas.
levanta as pálpebras
como nós levantamos as velas
um navio esperado.
Estende a gaivota braços
à margem do não-tempo.
Nie segunda escovar os olhos
nega relutância para ser
um espaço finito.
Mola em uma errante distraído
There is nothing more beautiful than to love
Even under the ashes your heart beats
And can reveal the hope
Never believe that you are alone
An immensity of love watches you
Take by the hand the pinch of air
With blue eyes.
Leads to clouds of ideas
The course of trembling waters.
Raises your eyelids
As one raises the sails
Of an expected ship.
Stretch your gull arms
For the shore of non-time.
Deny the second brushing your gaze
Denies the hesitation of being
A finite space.
Become a wave
The volute the wing
The spring of a wild wandering
Сообщение о мире
N Там нет ничего более красивого, что любовь
Даже под пеплом ваше сердце бьется
и может открыть вам надежду
Не думайте, что вы одиноки
необъятность любовь, которую ты накануне
взять за руку, чтобы зажать воздух
Пусть облака идей
В дрожащих водах.
как мы поднять паруса
Протяни чайка оружия
на берегу невремени.
Nie второй щеткой глаза
отрицает нежелание быть
Весна в рассеянно странствий
Mensaje de paz
N No hay nada más hermoso que el amor
Incluso bajo las cenizas que su corazón late
y puede revelar a usted la esperanza
¿No cree que está solo
una inmensidad de amor que la víspera
llevará de la mano para pellizcar el aire
Dejar que las nubes de las ideas
Durante las aguas temblorosas.
levanta los párpados
como elevamos las velas
una nave esperado.
Extiende la gaviota brazos
a la orilla del no-tiempo.
Nie segunda lavarse los ojos
niega renuencia a ser
un espacio finito.
ala de la voluta
Primavera en un errante distraído