Politics and Justice Without Borders
Global Community Newsletter main website


Volume 14 Issue 11 July 2016

Theme for this month

Glass Bubble concept of a Global Community. Paper researched to define clearly with animations the Glass Bubble concept of a Global Community.

Images shown in the animations

Global Community map of Earth.
( see enlargement  Enlargement )

Glass Bubbles
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Glass Bubbles
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Bubbles Glass
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Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

Swati Agarwal, John Scales Avery, Nathaniel Berman, Dr. Ashok T Chakravarthy, Lorraine Chow, Felgerolles Claude, Andrew Cockburn, Earthworks, Jessica Fitzpatrick, Thomas Gaist , Dan Glazebrook, Brian Holland, Ian Johnston, Brian Kahn (2), Peter Koenig, Judith Lavoie, Reynard Loki (2), Marga Mangione, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Robert Parry, Adam Parsons, Nadia Prupis, Paul Craig Roberts, Andy Rowell, RT, Iliana Salazar-Dodge, Andre Vltchek, S.G. Vombatkere, Juan Wei, Eric Zuesse

John Scales Avery, NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation
Swati Agarwal, Warming World: Can India Cope With Drought? Warming World: Can India Cope With Drought?
Nathaniel Berman, 6 Extraordinary Art Projects Use Plastic Trash to Highlight the Crisis Facing the World's Oceans (Video) 6 Extraordinary Art Projects Use Plastic Trash to Highlight the Crisis Facing the World's Oceans (Video)
Lorraine Chow, Chile Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free Chile Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free
Andrew Cockburn, Endless War, Endless Greed: The Pentagon Is Lining Its Pockets with Taxpayer Dollars Endless War, Endless Greed: The Pentagon Is Lining Its Pockets with Taxpayer Dollars
Earthworks, More Than 12 Million Americans Are Threatened by Toxic Air Pollution From Oil and Gas Industry: Here's an Interactive Map More Than 12 Million Americans Are Threatened by Toxic Air Pollution From Oil and Gas Industry: Here's an Interactive Map
Jessica Fitzpatrick, 6 Impressive Things Scientists Are Doing Underwater and Along U.S. Coasts—and How You Can Get Involved 6 Impressive Things Scientists Are Doing Underwater and Along U.S. Coasts—and How You Can Get Involved
Thomas Gaist, NATO Orders Four Additional Battalions To Russian Border NATO Orders Four Additional Battalions To Russian Border
Dan Glazebrook, British Troops Enter Syria And Libya To Ensure That War Outlives ISIS British Troops Enter Syria And Libya To Ensure That War Outlives ISIS
Brian Holland, Juan Wei, This U.S. City Is a Sustainable Utopia—Here's What They Have Accomplished & Where They Are Headed This U.S. City Is a Sustainable Utopia—Here's What They Have Accomplished & Where They Are Headed
Ian Johnston, How the Sea Gets Its Smell—and Why It's Important How the Sea Gets Its Smell—and Why It's Important
Brian Kahn, 'We’re Officially Living in a New World': Antarctica Hits Highest CO2 Level in 4 Million Years 'We’re Officially Living in a New World': Antarctica Hits Highest CO2 Level in 4 Million Years
Brian Kahn, Crazy Graphic Shows Global Temps Spiraling Fast Crazy Graphic Shows Global Temps Spiraling Fast
Peter Koenig, BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
Judith Lavoie, Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned
Reynard Loki, 10 of the Top Eco-Destinations in North America 10 of the Top Eco-Destinations in North America
Reynard Loki, What's the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You What's the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You
Marga Mangione, La PAZ La paix The peace PAZ La PAZ La paix The peace PAZ
National Alliance of People’s Movements, Severe Environmental Impacts, Massive Sea Water Ingress, Till 40 Kms In Bharuch, Gujara Severe Environmental Impacts, Massive Sea Water Ingress, Till 40 Kms In Bharuch, Gujara
Robert Parry, The State Department’s Collective Madness The State Department’s Collective Madness
Adam Parsons, Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems
Nadia Prupis, Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Set To Pass 400ppm—Permanently Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Set To Pass 400ppm—Permanently
Paul Craig Roberts, If You Value Life, Wake Up! If You Value Life, Wake Up!
Andy Rowell, Renewable Energy Soars to Record-Breaking Levels Across the Globe Renewable Energy Soars to Record-Breaking Levels Across the Globe
RT, Putin: People Do Not Understand How Potentially Dangerous The Situation Really Is Putin: People Do Not Understand How Potentially Dangerous The Situation Really Is
Iliana Salazar-Dodge, Our Fossil-Fuel Economy Destroys the Earth and Exploits Humanity - Here's the Shift We Need to Be Sustainable Our Fossil-Fuel Economy Destroys the Earth and Exploits Humanity - Here's the Shift We Need to Be Sustainable
Andre Vltchek, Russia And China Have To Step Up Ideological War Russia And China Have To Step Up Ideological War
S.G.Vombatkere, What A Water Situation! What A Water Situation!
Eric Zuesse, Obama Slams Door In Putin’s Face Obama Slams Door In Putin’s Face


NATO Orders Four Additional Battalions To Russian Border

Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
  June 20, 2016
BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe

by Peter Koenig, Information Clearing House


By Peter Koenig

June 20, 2016 "Information Clearing House" -  With every day, the true face of Europe mirrors ever so clearer the abject inhumane colonial power that raped and usurped Asia, Africa and South America for hundreds of years, as so well depicted in numerous articles and essays by my friend, philosopher, historian and war journalist, Andre Vltchek. Every day this neo-colonial continent spits out new atrocities. And it’s getting worse. Jean Paul Sartre was right, when he said the US is but a Super-European-Monstrosity. The colonial Europeans, mostly Anglo-French Europeans, are at the helm of this monster-octopus, self-declared empire. They are behind the mysterious and Machiavellian eye on top of the pyramid on the US-dollar bill, the symbol of the Freemasons, the forefathers of today’s United States of America – and the driving force towards the New and One World Order.

They pull the strings via such semi-secret organizations like the Bilderbergers, Trilaterals, CFRs (Council on Foreign Relations), Chatham Houses, WEFs (World Economic Forum) – you name it.  Spineless individuals, like Bush, Obama, Clinton, Merkel, Hollande, Cameron – are mere vassals commandeering vassals; a construct that has grown so sophisticated and so evil – I’m sadly afraid, only eradication by war can stop it.

And that is exactly what the Monster is preparing, by provoking Russia and China, encircling Russia with NATO planes, bombs and tanks, and encroaching on Chinese territories with war ships in the South China Sea – and with slander propaganda day-in-day-out against any sovereign nation that refuses to bend to the US super power. Then again, there is Hope, the life blood of our lives – that this evil tower of greed will collapse in itself by the weight of its sheer maliciousness, thereby reducing violence to a minimum. But collapse it must this criminal beast. It’s as clear as the pristine water that still flows from distant, uncontaminated springs, the hope for human survival. – It may take more than our lifetime to happen, but happen it will. It has happened many times before.

Exit or No Exit From the European Union 

May it suffice to watch the gradual decay of Europe by observing the current spectacle over Brexit – the Brits in the limelight for exit or no exit from the European Union. With all the fake theories and invented projections, the UK and European elite spreads around the globe, nobody really knows what they are talking about. The people of an ancient-new empire is daring to take a step, a step towards freedom and self-determination, a step which the Lucifer eye on top of the pyramid won’t let it take. It’s a mere show, but people believe in it, hence the hype about the UK exit – or not – from a diabolical construct, its possible consequences of suffering, its possible losses or gains… versus an almost forgotten and down-trodden Greece, destroyed by the same vile Machiavellian forces that sit behind the clandestine eye. Greece, also a European country, but not at par with the Great, Great Britain, the very lauded, praised and literally prayed-to by the cream of the crop of the rest of the western world — Greece, today is almost totally destroyed and what’s left is in the process and programmed to be devastated and looted by the same admirers of the ancient-new Anglo colonialists – murderers, exploiters, looters, rapists – which Greece never was.

There is no term properly describing this still ongoing, perfected and legalized crime against Greece – and potentially against any other ‘misbehaving’ EU country. The people of the west are blinded by the massive killer propaganda funded by limitless billions of dollars made of thin air by the western liberated and too-big-to-fail predatory banking system.

The top-notch politicians of France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal are no better. Against public will, they follow the orders of Washington and Brussels to the letter, enslaving and impoverishing tens of thousands of people by imposing austerity, producing poverty, disease and death. Spain, according to official statistics, is recording 11 suicides per day, of which at least half are directly related to the economic crisis, unemployment, desperation. Cancer rates have drastically increased since 2008.

A study published in the British Lancet concludes that between 2008 and 2010 an additional 260,000 cancer deaths in OECD countries can be attributed to the effects of unemployment; 160,000 of them in the EU. Depression, loss of self-esteem and hopelessness are known to lead not only to suicide, but frequently affecting the immune system, thereby provoking cancer. This figure does not account for all the premature deaths due to malnutrition and lack of medical care and adequate shelter.

New generations of peoples of neo-colonialist nations are being brainwashed into believing they are floating on the crest of the world, they are part of the elite, and, thus, are to perpetuate this killer system. These same elitists and their new generation ‘students’ lambast Greece for being corrupt and lazy, deserving what she is getting, when indeed corruption originates in colonialism. A country weakened and injured by financial guns, tanks and bombs, is being stomped into the ground. It’s the victim’s fault anyway. These are the values we have grown up with in our western world, the values we are passing on to future generations.

Slamming Greece into oblivion is unimportant. But a possible Brexit – the Great British Empire leaving the corrupt EU – that would be a calamity. This fabricated event fills all the mainstream media – and takes Europe’s breath away. What a distorted and derailed world we are living in.

What Greece has done for civilization, not just for the west but for the world – the invaluable intellectual wealth she gave us, is forgotten. Nobody thinks about it anymore. Democracy, grown out of the Oracle of Delphi, the epitome of a think tank for peace, if there ever was one – democracy, the voice of the people for justice and equality, is today meaningless. The term is used to cheat and deceive the people – the ‘We, The People’ – into believing they have a saying in what their governments are doing.

In reality, we have a new world philosophy: Globalized neoliberalism, where peoples’ opinions don’t count. People are used as peons and cheap labor. Naked fascism in new shiny clothes. And like the sexual taboos of our monotheistic Christian culture, we are not allowed to see and recognize and talk about this new fascism’s nakedness.

Solidarity is Gone

Solidarity is gone – long gone. Though, we are born with it. That’s for sure. But as soon as we push out of the sheltering womb, the evil fist of a greed-struck and greed-driven society grabs us and makes sure we never look back – back to the realm that we are all coming from – the realm of solidarity and love.

The debate over Brexit by an elite that still adores the British Empire’s supremacy, while the same elite despises their southern neighbor, Greece, kicked and beaten into poverty, into horrendous suffering, but never, never into submission.

Greece is vulnerable, Greece can be smashed. Its unimportant. It consists of un-people. Germany and the troika are doing the right thing – putting Greece and the Greek into oblivion. That seems to be the going opinion of many European leaders (sic). Many of these spineless politicians perceive sub-consciously that what they are doing may be back-firing one day. So, why are they not standing up, screaming ‘stop it!’ to the monsters of Brussels and Washington?

Instead, the cowards who know about the wrong that is being done in their little remaining shred of consciousness, they allow the continuing looting and devastating of Greece. It is good ‘politics’. It is what’s called ‘political correctness’; and to belong to the elite, you have to behave as politically correct.

What the Greek have worked for in millenniums of their history – a significant part of the life-capital of the world – is being pillaged and annihilated by self-proclaimed emperors of the universe – the corporate leaders of the New World Order, headquartered in Washington, Tel Aviv and London, with asuccursale overseeing the vassals in Brussels.

This is how Greece and the UK compare on the eve of the ‘crucial’ show-referendum, only a few days from now: Remain or Exit. The elite abides by the elite; debates the fate of the elite, as they want to be part of the elite – by association of intellect (sic-sic). Greece is not on their radar screen. – Who cares whether the UK Remains or Leaves? – well, leaving could be the straw that brings the EU down. And that would be a good thing.

But does anyone really believe that Britain, the US mole in the European Union, is allowed to leave the EU? – To put it into context: The creators of the EU, who were not the Europeans, but America, the self-proclaimed winner of WWII – they will allow a Brexit only if they deem that now the artificial construct of usurpation, the constitution-less European Union and its artificial currency, the Euro – has lived its time and may now pass into the next phase, a feudal group of high-tech nations with low cost labor – with always the right number of unemployed – to be sustained by refugees of nearby wars and conflicts; the new serfs of the Washington-Tel Aviv based empire.

When the Greek leaders on 5 July 2015 put the question of accepting or not the ‘troika’s’ financial sledgehammer, the Greek people decided overwhelmingly against the suffocating austerity. Then, somebody at Lucifer’s bidding put the gun to the head of the leaders and they, gutless as they are, disobeyed the decision of the people, the very people who democratically elected them six months earlier. Saying no to the austerity strangulation, would have meant exit from the Euro and possibly exit from the EU. It would have meant the salvation of Greece.

But the masters of the universe – Washington, Berlin, Paris and London – couldn’t allow the southern, beautiful and proud Greece, the forefathers of our civilization, to become independent, autonomous and sovereign again. Greece, a strategic NATO position – no way can she get away.

Few people seem to recognize the insulting threats against Greece of expulsion from the Euro and the EU by Germany’s Lord of Finance as the bluff they are. Greece is not allowed to leave the Eurozone, not as long as there are still public assets to be stolen; and less so to leave the EU. The Greek territory and strategic position is needed by NATO, the vassal-EU’s military command center for the protection of the global corporate empire.

Brexit vs. Grexit; the elite vs. the un-people. One just wonders who is who? 

Hey – we are in the 21st Century Roman Empire of Bread and Blood – and are enjoying it too.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, Chinese 4th Media, TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance

  Read BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
  June 20, 2016
The State Department’s Collective Madness

by Robert Parry, Information Clearing House


More than 50 U.S. State Department “diplomats” sent a “dissent” memo urging President Obama to launch military strikes against the Syrian army, another sign that Foggy Bottom has collectively gone nuts, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Over the past several decades, the U.S. State Department has deteriorated from a reasonably professional home for diplomacy and realism into a den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions, a dangerous phenomenon underscored by the recent mass “dissent” in favor of blowing up more people in Syria.

Some 51 State Department “diplomats” signed a memo distributed through the official “dissent channel,” seeking military strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad whose forces have been leading the pushback against Islamist extremists who are seeking control of this important Mideast nation.

The fact that such a large contingent of State Department officials would openly advocate for an expanded aggressive war in line with the neoconservative agenda, which put Syria on a hit list some two decades ago, reveals how crazy the State Department has become.

The State Department now seems to be a combination of true-believing neocons along with their liberal-interventionist followers and some careerists who realize that the smart play is to behave toward the world as global proconsuls dictating solutions or seeking “regime change” rather than as diplomats engaging foreigners respectfully and seeking genuine compromise.

Even some State Department officials, whom I personally know and who are not neocons/liberal-hawks per se, act as if they have fully swallowed the Kool-Aid. They talk tough and behave arrogantly toward inhabitants of countries under their supervision. Foreigners are treated as mindless objects to be coerced or bribed.

So, it’s not entirely surprising that several dozen U.S. “diplomats” would attack President Barack Obama’s more temperate position on Syria while positioning themselves favorably in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton administration, which is expected to authorize an illegal invasion of Syria — under the guise of establishing “no-fly zones” and “safe zones” — which will mean the slaughter of young Syrian soldiers. The “diplomats” urge the use of “stand-off and air weapons.”

These hawks are so eager for more war that they don’t mind risking a direct conflict with Russia, breezily dismissing the possibility of a clash with the nuclear power by saying they are not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia.” That’s reassuring to hear.

Risking a Jihadist Victory

There’s also the danger that a direct U.S. military intervention could collapse the Syrian army and clear the way for victory by Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the Islamic State. The memo did not make clear how the delicate calibration of doing just enough damage to Syria’s military while avoiding an outright jihadist victory and averting a clash with Russia would be accomplished.

Presumably, whatever messes are created, the U.S. military would be left to clean up, assuming that shooting down some Russian warplanes and killing Russian military personnel wouldn’t escalate into a full-scale thermonuclear conflagration.

In short, it appears that the State Department has become a collective insane asylum where the inmates are in control. But this madness isn’t some short-term aberration that can be easily reversed. It has been a long time coming and would require a root-to-branch ripping out of today’s “diplomatic” corps to restore the State Department to its traditional role of avoiding wars rather than demanding them.

Though there have always been crazies in the State Department – usually found in the senior political ranks – the phenomenon of an institutional insanity has only evolved over the past several decades. And I have seen the change.

I have covered U.S. foreign policy since the late 1970s when there was appreciably more sanity in the diplomatic corps. There were people like Robert White and Patricia Derian (both now deceased) who stood up for justice and human rights, representing the best of America.

But the descent of the U.S. State Department into little more than well-dressed, well-spoken but thuggish enforcers of U.S. hegemony began with the Reagan administration. President Ronald Reagan and his team possessed a pathological hatred of Central American social movements seeking freedom from oppressive oligarchies and their brutal security forces.

During the 1980s, American diplomats with integrity were systematically marginalized, hounded or removed. (Human rights coordinator Derian left at the end of the Carter administration and was replaced by neocon Elliott Abrams; White was fired as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, explaining: “I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen.”)

The Neocons Rise

As the old-guard professionals left, a new breed of aggressive neoconservatives was brought in, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Robert McFarlane, Robert Kagan and Abrams. After eight years of Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush, the State Department was reshaped into a home for neocons, but some pockets of professionalism survived the onslaughts.

While one might have expected the Democrats of the Clinton administration to reverse those trends, they didn’t. Instead, Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” applied to U.S. foreign policy as much as to domestic programs. He was always searching for that politically safe “middle.”

As the 1990s wore on, the decimation of foreign policy experts in the mold of White and Derian left few on the Democratic side who had the courage or skills to challenge the deeply entrenched neocons. Many Clinton-era Democrats accommodated to the neocon dominance by reinventing themselves as “liberal interventionists,” sharing the neocons’ love for military force but justifying the killing on “humanitarian” grounds.

This approach was a way for “liberals” to protect themselves against right-wing charges that they were “weak,” a charge that had scarred Democrats deeply during the Reagan/Bush-41 years, but this Democratic “tough-guy/gal-ism” further sidelined serious diplomats favoring traditional give-and-take with foreign leaders and their people.

So, you had Democrats like then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and later Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright justifying Bill Clinton’s brutal sanctions policies toward Iraq, which the U.N. blamed for killing 500,000 Iraqi children, as “a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Bill Clinton’s eight years of “triangulation,” which included the brutal air war against Serbia, was followed by eight years of George W. Bush, which further ensconced the neocons as the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

By then, what was left of the old Republican “realists,” the likes of Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, was aging out or had been so thoroughly compromised that the neocons faced no significant opposition within Republican circles. And, Official Washington’s foreign-policy Democrats had become almost indistinguishable from the neocons, except for their use of “humanitarian” arguments to justify aggressive wars.

Media Capitulation

Before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, much of the “liberal” media establishment – from The New York Times to The New Yorker – fell in line behind the war, asking few tough questions and presenting almost no obstacles. Favoring war had become the “safe” career play.

But a nascent anti-war movement among rank-and-file Democrats did emerge, propelling Barack Obama, an anti-Iraq War Democrat, to the 2008 presidential nomination over Iraq War supporter Hillary Clinton. But those peaceful sentiments among the Democratic “base” did not reach very deeply into the ranks of Democratic foreign policy mavens.

So, when Obama entered the White House, he faced a difficult challenge. The State Department needed a thorough purging of the neocons and the liberal hawks, but there were few Democratic foreign policy experts who hadn’t sold out to the neocons. An entire generation of Democratic policy-makers had been raised in the world of neocon-dominated conferences, meetings, op-eds and think tanks, where tough talk made you sound good while talk of traditional diplomacy made you sound soft.

By contrast, more of the U.S. military and even the CIA favored less belligerent approaches to the world, in part, because they had actually fought Bush’s hopeless “global war on terror.” But Bush’s hand-picked, neocon-oriented high command – the likes of General David Petraeus – remained in place and favored expanded wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama then made one of the most fateful decisions of his presidency. Instead of cleaning house at State and at the Pentagon, he listened to some advisers who came up with the clever P.R. theme “Team of Rivals” – a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s first Civil War cabinet – and Obama kept in place Bush’s military leadership, including Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and reached out to hawkish Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.

In other words, Obama not only didn’t take control of the foreign-policy apparatus, he strengthened the power of the neocons and liberal hawks. He then let this powerful bloc of Clinton-Gates-Petraeus steer him into a foolhardy counterinsurgency “surge” in Afghanistan that did little more than get 1,000 more U.S. soldiers killed along with many more Afghans.

Obama also let Clinton sabotage his attempted outreach to Iran in 2010 seeking constraints on its nuclear program and he succumbed to her pressure in 2011 to invade Libya under the false pretense of establishing a “no-fly zone” to protect civilians, what became a “regime change” disaster that Obama has ranked as his biggest foreign policy mistake.

The Syrian Conflict

Obama did resist Secretary Clinton’s calls for another military intervention in Syria although he authorized some limited military support to the allegedly “moderate” rebels and allowed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to do much more in supporting jihadists connected to Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State.

Under Secretary Clinton, the neocon/liberal-hawk bloc consolidated its control of the State Department diplomatic corps. Under neocon domination, the State Department moved from one “group think” to the next. Having learned nothing from the Iraq War, the conformity continued to apply toward Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia, China, Venezuela, etc.

Everywhere the goal was same: to impose U.S. hegemony, to force the locals to bow to American dictates, to steer them into neo-liberal “free market” solutions which were often equated with “democracy” even if most of the people of the affected countries disagreed.

Double-talk and double-think replaced reality-driven policies. “Strategic communications,” i.e., the aggressive use of propaganda to advance U.S. interests, was one watchword. “Smart power,” i.e., the application of financial sanctions, threats of arrests, limited military strikes and other forms of intimidation, was another.

Every propaganda opportunity, such as the Syrian sarin attack in 2013 or the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down over eastern Ukraine, was exploited to the hilt to throw adversaries on the defensive even if U.S. intelligence analysts doubted that evidence supported the accusations.

Lying at the highest levels of the U.S. government – but especially among the State Department’s senior officials – became epidemic. Perhaps even worse, U.S. “diplomats” seemed to believe their own propaganda.

Meanwhile, the mainstream U.S. news media experienced a similar drift into the gravity pull of neocon dominance and professional careerism, eliminating major news outlets as any kind of check on official falsehoods.

The Up-and-Comers

The new State Department star – expected to receive a high-level appointment from President Clinton-45 – is neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who orchestrated the 2014 putsch in Ukraine, toppling an elected, Russia-friendly president and replacing him with a hard-line Ukrainian nationalist regime that then launched violent military attacks against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the coup leadership.

When Russia came to the assistance of these embattled Ukrainian citizens, including agreeing to Crimea’s request to rejoin Russia, the State Department and U.S. mass media spoke as one in decrying a “Russian invasion” and supporting NATO military maneuvers on Russia’s borders to deter “Russian aggression.”

Anyone who dares question this latest “group think” – as it plunges the world into a dangerous new Cold War – is dismissed as a “Kremlin apologist” or “Moscow stooge” just as skeptics about the Iraq War were derided as “Saddam apologists.” Virtually everyone important in Official Washington marches in lock step toward war and more war. (Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, making them one of Washington’s supreme power couples.)

So, that is the context of the latest State Department rebellion against Obama’s more tempered policies on Syria. Looking forward to a likely Hillary Clinton administration, these 51 “diplomats” have signed their name to a “dissent” that advocates bombing the Syrian military to protect Syria’s “moderate” rebels who – to the degree they even exist – fight mostly under the umbrella of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham.

The muddled thinking in this “dissent” is that by bombing the Syrian military, the U.S. government can enhance the power of the rebels and supposedly force Assad to negotiate his own removal. But there is no reason to think that this plan would work.

In early 2014, when the rebels held a relatively strong position, U.S.-arranged peace talks amounted to a rebel-dominated conference that made Assad’s departure a pre-condition and excluded Syria’s Iranian allies from attending. Not surprisingly, Assad’s representative went home and the talks collapsed.

Now, with Assad holding a relatively strong hand, backed by Russian air power and Iranian ground forces, the “dissenting” U.S. diplomats say peace is impossible because the rebels are in no position to compel Assad’s departure. Thus, the “dissenters” recommend that the U.S. expand its role in the war to again lift the rebels, but that would only mean more maximalist demands from the rebels.

Serious Risks

This proposed wider war, however, would carry some very serious risks, including the possibility that the Syrian army could collapse, opening the gates of Damascus to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front (and its allies) or the Islamic State – a scenario that, as The New York Times noted, the “memo doesn’t address.”

Currently, the Islamic State and – to a lesser degree – the Nusra Front are in retreat, chased by the Syrian army with Russian air support and by some Kurdish forces with U.S. backing. But those gains could easily be reversed. There is also the risk of sparking a wider war with Iran and/or Russia.

But such cavalier waving aside of grave dangers is nothing new for the neocons and liberal hawks. They have consistently dreamt up schemes that may sound good at a think-tank conference or read well in an op-ed article, but fail in the face of ground truth where usually U.S. soldiers are expected to fix the mess.

We have seen this wishful thinking go awry in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and even Syria, where Obama’s acquiescence to provide arms and training for the so-called “unicorns” – the hard-to-detect “moderate” rebels – saw those combatants and their weapons absorbed into Al Qaeda’s or Islamic State’s ranks.

Yet, the neocons and liberal hawks who control the State Department – and are eagerly looking forward to a Hillary Clinton presidency – will never stop coming up with these crazy notions until a concerted effort is made to assess accountability for all the failures that that they have inflicted on U.S. foreign policy.

As long as there is no accountability – as long as the U.S. president won’t rein in these warmongers – the madness will continue and only grow more dangerous.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party” and “Would a Clinton Win Mean More Wars?’]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,

  Read The State Department’s Collective Madness
  June 20, 2016
If You Value Life, Wake Up!

by Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

Great Danger: US-NATO Missiles Threatening Russia.

Putin: “We Know and they Know that we Know…People do not Understand how Dangerous the Situation Really Is”

If You Value Life, Wake Up!

By Paul Craig Roberts

June 20, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - Do you remember how close we came to Armageddon in the early 1960s when Washington put nuclear missiles in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s border and the Soviets responded by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba? Fortunately, at that time we had an intelligent president instead of a cipher. President John F. Kennedy pulled us back from the brink and was assassinated by his own government for his service to humanity.

For a number of years I have been warning that the recklessness of a half century ago has reappeared in spades. The crazed, insane, nazified, neoconized government in Washington and Washington’s despicable Europeran vassal states, especially the UK, Germany, and France, are driving the world to extinction in nuclear war. See, for example,

This is the most obvious fact of our time. Yet only the Russian government addresses Washington’s threat to life on earth.

Why is this?

Why was there no debate—or even mention—in the presidential nomination primaries of the road to nuclear war on which Washington has the world?

Washington is putting its nuclear missiles on Russia’s borders, conducting war games on Russia’s borders, and stationing its Navy off Russia’s coasts in the Black and Baltic seas. To cover up its reckless, irresponsible aggression toward a nuclear power, Washington accuses Russia of aggression.

The presstitute media—the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox “News,” CNN, and the rest of the despicable whores repeat the lie over and over until the Western populations are brainwashed.

Do you suppose the Russians, who know what is happening, are going to just sit there until they are so completely surrounded by nuclear missiles that they have to surrender?

Unless you believe this, you had best get busy saving your life and the life of our planet. Do not expect political leaders to do this for you. There are no political leaders in public office anywhere in the West, only paid puppets of powerful interests groups.

Do not expect experts, most of whom are dependent on these same interest groups, to bring influence to bear on government and media.

There is no one but us.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

  Read If You Value Life, Wake Up!
  June 20, 2016
Putin: People Do Not Understand How Potentially Dangerous The Situation Really Is

by RT,Information Clearing House

Putin: People Do Not Understand How Potentially Dangerous The Situation Really Is

‘We know when US will get new missile threatening Russia’s nuclear capability’


June 20, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "RT" -  The US anti-missile defense systems being installed near Russia’s borders can be “inconspicuously” transformed into offensive weapons, Vladimir Putin has said, adding that he knows “year by year” how Washington will develop its missile program.

Talking about NATO’s ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, Russia’s president said that the Americans are now deploying their missiles at these military complexes.

“The missiles are put into a capsule used for launches of sea-based Tomahawk missiles. Now they are placing their antimissiles there, which are capable of engaging a target at a distance of up to 500 kilometers [310 miles]. But technologies are developing, and we know around what year the Americans will get a new missile, which will have a range not of 500 kilometers, but 1,000, and then even more – and from that moment they will start threatening our nuclear capability,” Putin said at a meeting with the heads of international news agencies at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday. 

“We know year by year what will happen, and they know that we know,” he said, adding that Western officials “pull the wool over [their news outlets] eyes,” who in turn misinform their audiences.

The main problem, according to the Russian president, is that people do not understand how potentially dangerous the situation really is. “The world is being pulled into a completely new dimension, while [Washington] pretends that nothing’s happening,” Putin said, adding that he has been trying to reach out to his counterparts, but in vain.

“They say [the missile systems] are part of their defense capability, and are not offensive, that these systems are aimed at protecting them from aggression. It’s not true,” Putin told the journalists, adding that “strategic ballistic missile defense is part of an offensive strategic capability, [and] functions in conjunction with an aggressive missile strike system.”

The “great danger” is that the same launchers that are used for defense missiles can be used to fire Tomahawks that can be installed “in a matter of hours,” Putin noted. “How do we know what’s inside those launchers? All one needs to do is reprogram [the system], which is an absolutely inconspicuous task,” he said, adding that the governments of the nations on whose territories these NATO complexes are based would have no way of knowing if this had happened.

Washington engaged in deception from the very start when it claimed that it was moving its ballistic missile defense east to counter “Iran’s nuclear threat,” Putin said, pointing out that Tehran’s alleged offensive nuclear capability now doesn’t exist – largely thanks to President Obama’s involvement. “So why have they now built a missile defense system in Romania?” he asked.

While pointing out that NATO keeps rejecting “concrete” proposals from Russia on cooperation, Putin said that US policy is now jeopardizing “the so-called strategic balance... thanks to which the world has been safe from large-scale wars and military conflicts.”

By unilaterally withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Washington “struck the first colossal blow at international stability,” the president said. To maintain the balance, Moscow has had to develop its own missile program in turn, to which the US agreed in the beginning of the 2000s, when Russia was in a difficult financial situation.

“I guess they hoped that the armament from the Soviet times would initially become degraded,” he said.

“Today Russia has reached significant achievements in this field. We have modernized our missile systems and successfully developed new generations. Not to mention missile defense systems,” Putin told the international news agencies, stressing that these moves are counter-measures and not “aggression,” as Moscow is so often accused of.

“We must provide security not only for ourselves. It’s important to provide strategic balance in the world, which guarantees peace on the planet... It’s the mutual threat that has provided [mankind] with global security for decades,”

  Read Putin: People Do Not Understand How Potentially Dangerous The Situation Really Is
  June 17, 2016
'We’re Officially Living in a New World': Antarctica Hits Highest CO2 Level in 4 Million Years

by Brian Kahn, Climate Central, AlterNet

We’re Officially Living in a New World: Antarctica Hits Highest CO2 Level in 4 Million Years

We’re officially living in a new world.

Carbon dioxide has been steadily rising since the start of the Industrial Revolution, setting a new high year after year. There’s a notable new entry to the record books. The last station on Earth without a 400 parts per million (ppm) reading has reached it.

A little 400 ppm history. Three years ago, the world’s gold standard carbon dioxide observatory passed the symbolic threshold of 400 ppm. Other observing stations have steadily reached that threshold as carbon dioxide spreads across the planet’s atmosphere at various points since then. Collectively, the world passed the threshold for a month last year.

In the remote reaches of Antarctica, the South Pole Observatory carbon dioxide observing station cleared 400 ppm on May 23, according to an announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday. That’s the first time it’s passed that level in 4 million years (no, that’s not a typo).

There’s a lag in how carbon dioxide moves around the atmosphere. Most carbon pollution originates in the northern hemisphere because that’s where most of the world’s population lives. That’s in part why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit the 400 ppm milestone earlier in the northern reaches of the world.

But the most remote continent on earth has caught up with its more populated counterparts.

“The increase of carbon dioxide is everywhere, even as far away as you can get from civilization,” Pieter Tans, a carbon-monitoring scientist at the Environmental Science Research Laboratory, said. “If you emit carbon dioxide in New York, some fraction of it will be in the South Pole next year.”

It’s possible the South Pole Observatory could see readings dip below 400 ppm, but new research published earlier this week shows that the planet as a whole has likely crossed the 400 ppm threshold permanently (at least in our lifetimes).

Passing the 400 ppm milestone in is a symbolic but nonetheless important reminder that human activities continue to reshape our planet in profound ways. We’ve seen sea levels rise about a foot in the past 120 years and temperatures go up about 1.8°F (1°C) globally. Arctic sea ice has dwindled 13.4 percent per decade since the 1970s, extreme heat has become more common and oceans are headed for their most acidic levels in millions of years. Recently heat has cooked corals and global warming has contributed in various ways to extreme events around the world.

The Paris Agreement is a good starting point to slow carbon dioxide emissions, but the world will have to have a full about face to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change. Even slowing down emissions still means we’re dumping record-high amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

That’s why monitoring carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa, the South Pole and other locations around the world continues to be an important activity. It can gauge how successful the efforts under the Paris Agreement (and other agreements) have been and if the world is meeting its goals.

“Just because we have an agreement doesn’t mean the problem (of climate change) is solved,” Tans said.

Brian Kahn is a Senior Science Writer at Climate Central. He previously worked at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and partnered with climate.gov to produce multimedia stories, manage social media campaigns and develop version 2.0 of climate.gov. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Grist, the Daily Kos, Justmeans and the Yale Forum on Climate Change in the Media.

 June 16, 2016
Endless War, Endless Greed: The Pentagon Is Lining Its Pockets with Taxpayer Dollars

by Andrew Cockburn, TomDispatch, AlterNet


These days, lamenting the apparently aimless character of Washington’s military operations in the Greater Middle East has become conventional wisdom among administration critics of every sort. Senator John McCain thunders that “this president has no strategy to successfully reverse the tide of slaughter and mayhem” in that region. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies bemoans the “lack of a viable and public strategy.” Andrew Bacevich suggests that “there is no strategy. None. Zilch.”

After 15 years of grinding war with no obvious end in sight, U.S. military operations certainly deserve such obloquy. But the pundit outrage may be misplaced. Focusing on Washington rather than on distant war zones, it becomes clear that the military establishment does indeed have a strategy, a highly successful one, which is to protect and enhance its own prosperity.

Given this focus, creating and maintaining an effective fighting force becomes a secondary consideration, reflecting a relative disinterest—remarkable to outsiders—in the actual business of war, as opposed to the business of raking in dollars for the Pentagon and its industrial and political partners. A key element of the strategy involves seeding the military budget with “development” projects that require little initial outlay but which, down the line, grow irreversibly into massive, immensely profitable production contracts for our weapons-making cartels.

If this seems like a startling proposition, consider, for instance, the Air Force’s determined and unyielding efforts to jettison the A-10 Thunderbolt, widely viewed as the most effective means for supporting troops on the ground, while ardently championing the sluggish, vastly overpriced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that, among myriad other deficiencies, cannot fly within 25 miles of a thunderstorm. No less telling is the Navy’s ongoing affection for budget-busting programs such as aircraft carriers, while maintaining its traditional disdain for the unglamorous and money-poor mission of minesweeping, though the mere threat of enemy mines in the 1991 Gulf War (as in the Korean War decades earlier) stymied plans for major amphibious operations. Examples abound across all the services.  

Meanwhile, ongoing and dramatic programs to invest vast sums in meaningless, useless, or superfluous weapons systems are the norm. There is no more striking example of this than current plans to rebuild the entire American arsenal of nuclear weapons in the coming decades, Obama's staggering bequest to the budgets of his successors.

Taking Nuclear Weapons to the Bank 

These nuclear initiatives have received far less attention than they deserve, perhaps because observers are generally loath to acknowledge that the Cold War and its attendant nuclear terrors, supposedly consigned to the ashcan of history a quarter-century ago, are being revived on a significant scale. The U.S. is currently in the process of planning for the construction of a new fleet of nuclear submarines loaded with new intercontinental nuclear missiles, while simultaneously creating a new land-based intercontinental missile, a new strategic nuclear bomber, a new land-and-sea-based tactical nuclear fighter plane, a new long-range nuclear cruise missile (which, as recently as 2010, the Obama administration explicitly promised not to develop), at least three nuclear warheads that are essentially new designs, and new fuses for existing warheads. In addition, new nuclear command-and-control systems are under development for a fleet of satellites (costing up to $1 billion each) designed to make the business of fighting a nuclear war more practical and manageable.  

This massive nuclear buildup, routinely promoted under the comforting rubric of “modernization,” stands in contrast to the president’s lofty public ruminations on the topic of nuclear weapons. The most recent of these was delivered during his visit—the first by an American president—to Hiroshima last month. There, he urged “nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles” to “have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.”

In reality, that “logic of fear” suggests that there is no way to “fight” a nuclear war, given the unforeseeable but horrific effects of these immensely destructive weapons.  They serve no useful purpose beyond deterring putative opponents from using them, for which an extremely limited number would suffice. During the Berlin crisis of 1961, for example, when the Soviets possessed precisely four intercontinental nuclear missiles, White House planners seriously contemplated launching an overwhelming nuclear strike on the USSR.  It was, they claimed, guaranteed to achieve “victory.” As Fred Kaplan recounts in his book Wizards of Armageddon, the plan’s advocates conceded that the Soviets might, in fact, be capable of managing a limited form of retaliation with their few missiles and bombers in which as many as three million Americans could be killed, whereupon the plan was summarily rejected.

In other words, in the Cold War as today, the idea of “nuclear war-fighting” could not survive scrutiny in a real-world context. Despite this self-evident truth, the U.S. military has long been the pioneer in devising rationales for fighting such a war via ever more “modernized” weapons systems. Thus, when first introduced in the early 1960s, the Navy’s invulnerable Polaris-submarine-launched intercontinental missiles—entirely sufficient in themselves as a deterrent force against any potential nuclear enemy—were seen within the military as an attack on Air Force operations and budgets. The Air Force responded by conceiving and successfully selling the need for a full-scale, land-based missile force as well, one that could more precisely target enemy missiles in what was termed a “counterforce” strategy.

The drive to develop and build such systems on the irrational pretense that nuclear war fighting is a practical proposition persists today.  One component of the current “modernization” plan is the proposed development of a new “dial-a-yield” version of the venerable B-61 nuclear bomb. Supposedly capable of delivering explosions of varying strength according to demand, this device will, at least theoretically, be guidable to its target with high degrees of accuracy and will also be able to burrow deep into the earth to destroy buried bunkers. The estimated bill—$11 billion—is a welcome boost for the fortunes of the Sandia and Los Alamos weapons laboratories that are developing it. 

The ultimate cost of this new nuclear arsenal in its entirety is essentially un-knowable. The only official estimate we have so far came from the Congressional Budget Office, which last year projected a total of $350 billion. That figure, however, takes the “modernization” program only to 2024 -- before, that is, most of the new systems move from development to actual production and the real bills for all of this start thudding onto taxpayers’ doormats. This year, for instance, the Navy is spending a billion and a half dollars in research and development funds on its new missile submarine, known only as the SSBN(X). Between 2025 and 2035, however, annual costs for that program are projected to run at $10 billion a year. Similar escalations are in store for the other items on the military’s impressive nuclear shopping list. 

Assiduously tabulating these projections, experts at the Monterey Center for Nonproliferation Studies peg the price of the total program at a trillion dollars. In reality, though, the true bill that will come due over the next few decades will almost certainly be multiples of that. For example, the Air Force has claimed that its new B-21 strategic bombers will each cost more than $564 million (in 2010 dollars), yet resolutely refuses to release its secret internal estimates for the ultimate cost of the program. 

To offer a point of comparison, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the tactical nuclear bomber previously mentioned, was originally touted as costing no more than $35 million per plane. In fact, it will actually enter service with a sticker price well in excess of $200 million.  

Nor does that trillion-dollar figure take into account the inevitable growth of America’s nuclear “shield.” Nowadays, the excitement and debate once generated by President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” scheme to build a defense system of anti-missile missiles and other devices against a nuclear attack is long gone. (The idea for such a defense, in fact, dates back to the 1950s, but Reagan boosted it to prominence.) Nevertheless, missile defense still routinely soaks up some $10 billion of our money annually, even though it is known to have no utility whatsoever. 

“We have nothing to show for it,” Tom Christie, the former director of the Pentagon’s testing office, told me recently. “None of the interceptors we currently have in silos waiting to shoot down enemy missiles have ever worked in tests.” Even so, the U.S. is busy constructing more anti-missile bases across Eastern Europe. As our offensive nuclear programs are built up in the years to come, almost certainly eliciting a response from Russia and China, the pressure for a costly expansion of our nuclear “defenses” will surely follow.

The Bow-Wave Strategy 

It’s easy enough to find hypocrisy in President Obama’s mellifluous orations on abolishing nuclear weapons given the trillion-dollar-plus nuclear legacy he will leave in his wake. The record suggests, however, that faced with the undeviating strategic thinking of the military establishment and its power to turn desires into policy, he has simply proven as incapable of altering the Washington system as his predecessors in the Oval Office were or as his successors are likely to be. 

Inside the Pentagon, budget planners and weapons-buyers talk of the “bow wave,” referring to the process by which current research and development initiatives, initially relatively modest in cost, invariably lock in commitments to massive spending down the road. Traditionally, such waves start to form at times when the military is threatened with possible spending cutbacks due to the end of a war or some other budgetary crisis.

Former Pentagon analyst Franklin “Chuck” Spinney, who spent years observing and chronicling the phenomenon from the inside, recalls an early 1970s bow wave at a time when withdrawal from Vietnam appeared to promise a future of reduced defense spending. The military duly put in place an ambitious “modernization” program for new planes, ships, tanks, satellites, and missiles. Inevitably, when it came time to actually buy all those fancy new systems, there was insufficient money in the defense budget. 

Accordingly, the high command cut back on spending for “readiness”; that is, for maintaining existing weapons in working order, training troops, and similar mundane activities. This had the desired effect—at least from the point of view of Pentagon—of generating a raft of media and congressional horror stories about the shocking lack of preparedness of our fighting forces and the urgent need to boost its budget. In this way, the hapless Jimmy Carter, elected to the presidency on a promise to rein in defense spending, found himself, in Spinney’s phrase, "mousetrapped," and eventually unable to resist calls for bigger military budgets. 

This pattern would recur at the beginning of the 1990s when the Soviet Union imploded and the Cold War superpower military confrontation seemed at an end.  The result was the germination of ultimately budget-busting weapons systems like the Air Force’s F-35 and F-22 fighters. It happened again when pullbacks from Iraq and Afghanistan in Obama’s first term led to mild military spending cuts. As Spinney points out, each successive bow wave crests at a higher level, while military budget cuts due to wars ending and the like become progressively more modest. 

The latest nuclear buildup is only the most glaring and egregious example of the present bow wave that is guaranteed to grow to monumental proportions long after Obama has retired to full-time speechmaking. The cost of the first of the Navy’s new Ford Class aircraft carriers, for example, has already grown by 20% to $13 billion with more undoubtedly to come. The “Third Offset Strategy,” a fantasy-laden shopping list of robot drones and “centaur” (half-man, half-machine) weapons systems, assiduously touted by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, is similarly guaranteed to expand stunningly beyond the $3.6 billion allotted to its development next year.  

Faced with such boundlessly ambitious raids on the public purse, no one should claim a “lack of strategy” as a failing among our real policymakers, even if all that planning has little or nothing to do with distant war zones where Washington’s conflicts smolder relentlessly on.  


Andrew Cockburn is the Washington editor at Harper's Magazine and the author of several books, including Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy.

  Read Endless War, Endless Greed: The Pentagon Is Lining Its Pockets with Taxpayer Dollars
  May 17, 2016
How the Sea Gets Its Smell—and Why It's Important

by Ian Johnston, The Independent, AlterNet


Scientists have discovered just how the “smell of the sea” is produced by a tiny marine organism that is playing a major role in the fight against climate change.

The microbes are so small that about half a million of them can be found in just a teaspoon of seawater.

But they are also so numerous – they are among the most abundant forms of life – that they appear have a significant effect on the Earth’s climate.

Writing in Nature Microbiology, scientists from the UK, US and China said that the microbe, called Pelagibacterales, were pumping out huge amounts of two kinds of sulphur gas.

“Everyone knows these gases by their smells,” said Professor Steve Giovannoni, a microbiologist at Oregon State University and one of the researche team.

“One of these compounds – dimethylsulfide or DMS – we recognize as the smell of the sea. 

“The other gas, methanethiol, makes us think of leaking gas lines. In the atmosphere, DMS oxidizes to sulfuric acid, which some scientists think can seed cloud formation and alter heating of the Earth.”

Clouds are believed to play a significant role in the Earth’s climate as they can reflect sunlight. While they can also act like a blanket, keeping the planet warm, it is thought they have an overall cooling effect. Some scientists have even controversially suggested creating clouds artificially to help reduce global warming.

Dr Jonathan Todd, of East Anglia University, who also took part in the research, said they had identified the gene involved in production of the gas.

“We studied it at a molecular genetic level to discover exactly how it generates … DMS, which is known for stimulating cloud formation,” he said.

“The resultant DMS gas may then have a role in regulating the climate by increasing cloud droplets that in turn reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the ocean's surface.”

Dr Emily Fowler, also from the Norwich-based university, added: “Excitingly, the way Pelagibacterales generates DMS is via a previously unknown enzyme, and we have found that the same enzyme is present in other hugely abundant marine bacterial species. 

“This likely means we have been vastly underestimating the microbial contribution to the production of this important gas.

“This work shows that the Pelagibacterales are likely an important component in climate stability. If we are going to improve models of how DMS impacts climate, we need to consider this organism as a major contributor.”

  Read How the Sea Gets Its Smell—and Why It's Important
 May 12, 2016
Our Fossil-Fuel Economy Destroys the Earth and Exploits Humanity - Here's the Shift We Need to Be Sustainable

by Iliana Salazar-Dodge, AlterNet


I am a Mexican immigrant and a senior at Columbia University who’s been organizing around fossil fuel divestment since freshman year. Two years ago, I had a bit of a crisis. I suddenly felt disillusioned with the movement—not with the tactic of divestment, but rather with the fact that national campaigns were solely focused on taking down the fossil fuel behemoth. Don’t get me wrong; it’s extremely satisfying to hear of another divestment win, to see the fossil fuel industry take a hit. But I began to realize that while we need people to fight the bad in this world, we also need people creating the society we do want to live in. I want to be one of those people.

That summer, as a 350.org Fossil Free Fellow, I was introduced to the reinvestment campaign. I learned about a way that we, as students, can build off the successes of the divestment movement to fight for what we want. This campaign is one tactic we can use to facilitate the transition out of our current economy into a regenerative economy. But before we talk about where we want to go, let’s talk about where we are now.

dd Jihan Gearon, Black Mesa Water Coalition; Deirdre Smith, 350.org; Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities; and Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation discuss reinvestment at the Richmond Our Power National Convening, August 2014 (photo credit: Reinvest in Our Power Network)

America's extractive economy

Whether or not we care to admit it, our current economy is extractive—that is, it’s built on the exploitation and extraction of human labor and the earth’s resources. It relies on corporations that force workers to work long hours in unsafe conditions for insufficient wages and benefits. It exists by the continual removal of nutrients from the soil, minerals from the mountains, and fossil fuels from underground. This system isn’t working for us today, and it isn’t going to work for us tomorrow. We know that infinite growth is not possible, but this economy depends on it.

Regenerative economy

In contrast, a regenerative economy satisfies the needs of the present planet without diminishing the prospects of future generations. It builds community wealth by shifting economic power, making workers the owners of their own businesses, community members the decision makers about their resources. It also strengthens the public sector such that it serves the people rather than private interests. A just transition to a regenerative economy restores our relationship to food, Mother Earth and our communities.

A just transition requires accountability, transparency, and solidarity. It exposes the false promises of corporations and governments and values solutions from the people who are most impacted by systemic issues.

This all sounds really great, but it seems impossible, right? There are incredibly powerful forces keeping our extractive economy in place. People in power talk about our economic system like it’s gravity—“it’s just the way the world works.” But a regenerative alternative is not just a figment of the leftist imagination. People wrote the rules for the extractive economy and we can write different rules.

People across the globe have demonstrated that it is possible to justly revitalize their economies. The “solidarity economy” has taken root in many communities throughout Latin America and Europe. Take Argentina, for example, where people saw economic crisis as an opportunity to build an economy more just than the one that had failed them.

Argentina’s solidarity economy: A seed of inspiration

In 2001, the economy of Argentina collapsed. Business executives with capital were afraid, so they fled and left workers without jobs—without their livelihoods. Factory workers realized that although they had been laid off, the perfectly functioning machines they had worked with lay unused. So they decided to take over the factories and claim them as public goods. After many legal and political battles, hundreds of factories came under the democratic ownership of workers. Fifteen years later, these worker-owned cooperatives continue to play a key role in sustaining their communities.

La Base (know as the Working World in English) is one of the organizations that made this just transition possible. La Base offers loans for raw materials, flexible payment schedules, extremely low interest rates, as well as technical assistance to democratically-managed businesses. They only require that loans be paid back if and when businesses are solvent. In doing so, La Base prioritizes the wellbeing of workers and their families. Unlike banks which profit whether or not businesses succeed, La Base’s own success relies on the success of the businesses they support. A remarkable 98 percent of La Base’s loans have been repaid in full. This demonstrates that generating community wealth does not require exploitation nor extraction.

In spring of 2015, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires and got to meet dozens of cooperative members who had been democratically operating their businesses for years. I also got to witness first-hand the way the La Base team practiced their values of open communication, trust, and respect in interactions with worker-owned cooperatives.

This story has not only inspired me to do this work; it has also been a seed of inspiration for a regenerative economy in the United States. Worker-owned businesses and local funds are springing up across the nation with the help of the Working World, La Base’s U.S. affiliate. From a factory occupation in Chicago to the establishment of a democratically owned grocery store in Greensboro, communities across the country are rewriting the rules of their economies. They are building something beautiful.

So what does this have to do with the divestment movement?

Our movement has done incredible things over the past few years. We have built more power for climate justice on college campuses than any campaign before us. We’ve mobilized thousands of students, shifted popular opinion about the fossil fuel industry by running strong campaigns and populated today’s movements with a new generation of organizers. This is incredible work and we should be proud of ourselves. We also know that we have more work to do.


Iliana Salazar-Dodge leads the youth contingent of the People's Climate March, September, 2014. (photo credit: Yong Jung Cho)

In the past, we’ve been told that it’s not our job to tell our universities where to invest our endowments. We’re not economists or fund managers, after all. But we are part of a movement that measures “returns” differently: we believe an economy is successful when it meets the needs of people and the planet. Defining success in these terms is our best shot at ensuring our collective survival.

We can leverage the power we’ve built in the divestment movement to move our institutions’ resources and build popular support for a just transition. With divestment, we’ve said, “we’re not content with the way things are.” With reinvestment, we say, “this is the way things should be, can be and will be.”

The author would like to thank Movement Generation and the Reinvest in Our Power campaign for writings on the work that informed this article.

  Read Our Fossil-Fuel Economy Destroys the Earth and Exploits Humanity - Here's the Shift We Need to Be Sustainable
  May 18, 2016
10 of the Top Eco-Destinations in North America

by Reynard Loki, AlterNet

In the 1950s, the world was crisscrossed by some 25 million annual tourists (i.e., overnight visitors). In 2014, according to the Center for Responsible Travel, that number ballooned to nearly 1.2 billion—about a 4,000 percent increase—contributing $7.6 trillion (almost 10 percent) to the world's GDP.

But the sad and inescapable fact is that all our flying, driving and trampling about has also contributed to the destruction of the environment, harming wildlife, historical sites and the livelihoods of indigenous societies around the globe.

As the largest global service industry, tourism can—and should—play a significant role in conservation and environmental sustainability. That was the message that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered on World Tourism Day in 2012. “One of the world’s largest economic sectors, tourism is especially well‐placed to promote environmental sustainability, 'green' growth and our struggle against climate change through its relationship with energy," he said. 

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the world Scouting movement, was an early proponent of not only treading lightly when you travel, but also doing some good while you're there. In his last message before his death in 1941, Baden-Powell neatly summed up his philosophy: “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” It's a sentiment that anchored the "Leave No Trace" outdoor/camping ethos that took root in the 1960s, and it can easily serve as a motto for ecotourists and ethical travelers alike.

Thinking about a travel destination in North America that shares your green philosophy? Here are 10 of the best to consider.

1. Earthship Rentals (Taos, New Mexico).


Taos, a desert town in the New Mexico high desert situated at the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and known for its historic Native American adobe buildings and its artist colony, has long been a destination for eco-minded free spirits. It's also the location of a small collection of unique eco-friendly buildings called Earthships.

Constructed from natural and recycled materials, including tires packed with dirt, Earthships are passive solar houses, meaning their entire structures—including windows, walls and floors—are designed to collect solar energy. The first Earthship was designed in the 1970s by the architect and environmental activist Michael Reynolds, who calls his unique practice Earthship Biotecture.

Ecotourists can enjoy the sites of Taos while staying at Earthship Rentals, which offer a unique taste of sustainable, off-grid living, including growing your own food and using water provided by cisterns that collect rain and snow. Plus, they are dog-friendly, so bring Fido along. You can also enjoy the amenities of modern life, such as Wifi and TV. But why boob-tube it when you're surrounded by a gorgeous landscape that has attracted and inspired artists for over a century? Earthships can transport you while not moving at all—the perfect opportunity to unplug and recharge.

2. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (British Columbia).


View from one of the tents at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia (image: Clayoquote Wilderness Resort)

Winston Churchill once said, "There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada." Unfortunately, the world's second largest nation hasn't been protecting that mighty expanse all that well. According to its 2015 annual report, the nonprofit Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society found that the nation is lagging on its commitment to protect at least 17 percent of its land and fresh water by 2020—and is behind the global average.

“Based on our assessment of progress since Canada endorsed the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 10-year plan in 2010, it would take us 50 years from today, not five, to meet our commitment to protect at least 17 percent of our land and fresh water,” said Alison Woodley, nation director of CPAWS’ parks program.

One of the places that has been protected is an eco-resort tucked away in the remote wilderness of Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia, Canada. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort offers the best of both worlds, from river kayaking, horseback riding, hiking through old-growth forest and surfing on a secluded beach, to five-star dining, spa treatments, and as its website notes, "great white tents with their fluffy duvets and antiques."

The all-inclusive, summer-only luxury resort isn’t just about pampering guests and offering great adventures in a pristine landscape—it's also playing an important role in the region’s sustainability and environmental stewardship. The resort has invested in the protection of the area's wild salmon, working with the nonprofit Wild Fish Conservancy, based in neighboring Washington state, to protect the fish stocks against the threats of overfishing and climate change.

Clayoquot has also partnered with the Ahousaht First Nation to restore indigenous land, share the Ahousaht’s cultural legacy with visitors and build relationships that foster economic development within the local community.

The late Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr, who found creative inspiration in the indigenous people who lived along the Pacific Northwest coast, said, "It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw." Clayoquot offers that raw grandeur—just with fluffy duvets.

3. Sian Ka'an (Tulum, Mexico).


Boca Paila eco-hotel, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve (image: HappyTellus/Flickr CC)

Located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Sian Ka’an is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. The reserve is so pristine and biodiverse that, in 1986, it was designated Biosphere Reserve. And the following year, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which works with nations to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage. Sian Ka'an is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean.

There’s no shortage of eco-friendly activities here, from exploring Mayan ruins to diving in the deep cenotes (crystalline pools of freshwater connected by an intricate network of underground rivers), or simply enjoying the gorgeous white sand beaches and swimming in the Caribbean. You’d never guess that just two and a half hours north is Cancun, a hyper-touristic spot that has been overrun by college students on spring break.

Sian Ka'an is committed to protecting its fragile ecosystem—and its esteemed World Heritage Site status. As it says on its website, "Sian Ka'an is one of the most spectacular and ecologically diverse places on earth—and we want to keep it that way."

4. Nurture Through Nature (Denmark, Maine).


Yurt lodging at Nurture Through Nature (image: Jen Deraspe, Nurture Through Nature)

Located deep in the rugged heart of western Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region, Nurture Through Nature is the state's first green-certified, Earth-friendly retreat center, and has been providing individuals, couples and groups an environmentally conscious getaway since 1999.

Visitors can explore the retreat's 33 forested acres nestled along the lower slopes of Pleasant Mountain along a maze of private hiking trails that lead to a spring-fed mountain brook and sweeping views of Mount Washington and the White Mountains. This is an ideal place to reconnect with nature.

Nurture Through Nature’s stated mission is to "offer a healing, Earth-friendly retreat space for reflection, contemplation and connection with your true self and the living Earth.” That connection is encouraged by yoga classes, guided meditation, a private sauna, massage therapy, healing arts classes and holistic life coaching—all within a green-certified off-the-grid getaway that uses solar power, compost, renewable heat sources and non-toxic cleaning products.

With 1.3 million residents, Maine is the least densely populated state east of the Mississippi River. And as far as states go, it's not that popular of a tourist destination, ranking 44th in a 2014 survey conducted by HotelsCombined, a hotel booking site. Still, for a state with a GDP at around $54 billion, tourism fuels a tenth of the economy, providing more than 94,000 jobs—about 14 percent of the state’s total employment. "Given that Maine’s economy pivots on 22 million tourists who spend as much as $6 billion a year, the state’s challenge is to balance one of its main sources of income with the preservation of its ecosystem," writes Kay Tang in USA Today. "Ecotourism could be Maine’s win-win solution to this dilemma."

5. The Stanford Inn by the Sea (Mendocino, California).


The Stanford Inn by the Sea (image: Brad Greenlee/Flickr CC)

For many years, Mendocino County, located on California's north coast, has lured visitors to its lush redwood forests, breathtaking coastline and vineyards famous for producing some of the nation's best wine. That it has also become a top destination for travelers interested in environmentalism and sustainability is no surprise: In the 1970s, the county was a hippie magnet, attracting free spirits seeking independence, experimentation, communal living and a direct connection with nature.

Today, in the face of industrial logging, large-scale agriculture and urbanization—and a surging population that is expected to double by 2050—it's a challenge for the county to maintain its sustainable roots. One oasis from the area’s rapid growth is the Stanford Inn by the Sea, a pet-friendly eco-resort situated on Mendocino's coast that opened its doors to eco-conscious travelers more than three decades ago.

Guests can take advantage of a wide range of therapeutic, eco-friendly activities, from canoeing and biking to enjoying the cuisine of The Ravens, the Inn’s vegan restaurant featuring local and organic food, including produce from the Stanford Inn’s own California-certified organic farm and wine from certified organic vineyards.

The Inn also hosts wellness retreats, bringing in nutritionists, vegan chefs and health coaches to teach guests about healthy living. “Moving here in 1980, we were changed by the creative and healing energies of the land,” say founders Joan and Jeff Stanford, on their website. "The Inn manifests our commitment to live mindfully so that all might live well."

6. Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, New York).


Sanctuary (meditation hall) at Omega Institute (image: Ken Wieland/Wikipedia)

Since 1977, the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies has been on a mission to "provide hope and healing for individuals and society through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit."

Famous for its yoga and meditation retreats—as well as workshops covering everything from creativity and mindfulness to sexuality and life coach certification—Omega Institute is dedicated to healthy, green living and sustainable lifestyles.

Spread across nearly 200 acres in the quiet town of Rhinebeck in upstate New York, Omega has a dining hall, café, bookstore, meditation hall and the Ram Dass Library, named after the famed spiritual teacher and author of the seminal 1971 book Be Here Now, who Omega notes has served as one of their “trusted guides.” The campus also includes the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, a solar-powered education center and water reclamation facility.

On its website, Omega calls itself “the nation's foremost educational retreat center.” Considering its history, as well as its growing list of of A-list speakers—which includes Al Gore, Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall and Thich Nhat Hanh, among many others—it’s a claim they have little problem backing up.

7. Hotel Terra Jackson Hole (Teton Village, Wyoming).


National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming (image: Marci/Flickr CC)

Nestled between the Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming, Jackson Hole is a low-lying valley that was settled in the late 1800s by Native Americans, fur trappers and homesteaders. Later, dude ranches sparked tourism to the region. Today, ecotourism is taking hold. Eco-Tour Adventures offers wildlife tours in Grand Teton committed to the Leave No Trace ethic. The Grand Teton Lodge Company, an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service, buys wind credits to offset its energy use and diverts half of its waste—including food waste, aluminum cans and even horse manure—into reuse and recycling.

One hotel that gets high marks on its eco-scorecard is Hotel Terra Jackson Hole in Teton Village, located at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. 

And while the first LEED-certified hotel in Wyoming gets the big things right—like offsetting energy use by purchasing solar, hydro and wind power, and using native landscaping that needs no irrigation—Terra also considers the small things: its hot tubs use a natural substitute for chlorine, while every bathroom features countertops and soap dishes made of reclaimed glass, and 100 percent organic linens.

Plus, what could feel better after a day hitting slopes and elk-watching than a detox organic blueberry body wrap in the hotel’s Chill Spa? It’s no wonder that last year, Gayot named Terra one of America's Top 10 Green Hotels.

8. Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge (Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska).


Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge (image: Rhonda2327/Flickr CC)

Located on a remote beach in Alaska's Kachemak Bay State Park, about 10 miles by boat from Homer (the "Bear Viewing Capital of the World"), Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge gives visitors a unique way to experience the wilderness lifestyle that only the Last Frontier state can offer.

Open year-round, Sadie Cove was transformed from a private home hand-built from driftwood into an eco-lodge in 1981, completely powered by hydro and wind power. With only five private guest cabins, and accessible only by boat, helicopter or float plane, Sadie Cove gives new meaning to "getaway." As the owners Keith and Randi Iverson note on their website, “At Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge you can surround yourself in wilderness, not tourists.”

Hiking trails of Kachemak Bay State Park, kayaking, beach combing, clam-digging and fishing for salmon are some of the year-round activities for lodge guests. Bring your binoculars, because wildlife viewing here is a special treat, with whales, orcas, seals, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, mountain goats, moose and bears all making their home in the park's lush environs.

9. Majestic Yosemite Hotel (Yosemite National Park, California).


Majestic Yosemite Hotel (image: Bryce Edwards/Flickr CC)

A National Historical Landmark known as much for its stunning granite facade as its beautiful interiors, Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly Ahwahnee Hotel) is considered one of North America’s most distinctive luxury lodges. The site of the 123-room hotel was chosen for its stunning views of Glacier Point, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

Completed in 1927 and designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the hotel is considered a masterpiece of "National Park Service rustic" (a.k.a "parkitecture"), a style of architecture developed in the first half of the 20th century through the National Park Service's efforts to create buildings that would exist in harmony with the natural environment.

Majestic Yosemite Hotel definitely takes advantage of its natural environment: One of the reasons the site was picked was to maximize sun exposure, which provides natural, fossil-free heating.

A member of the Green Hotels Association, Majestic Yosemite also participates in the GreenPath program, an environmental stewardship program ensuring that business decisions incorporate environmental considerations.

10. Jumbo Rocks Campground (Joshua Tree National Park, California).


Skull Rock at Jumbo Rocks Campground (image: Thomas J. Sebourn/Shutterstock)

This list has some pretty pricey eco-lodges that wouldn't look out of place on your bucket list. But it wouldn't be complete without a recommendation for roughing it in the great outdoors. And since we've covered Alaska—and you've either been to the Grand Canyon or it's already on your bucket list—Jumbo Rocks Campground in Southern California's mind-blowingly gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert gets the nod (not least because this pristine and primal landscape is less than a three-hour drive from Los Angeles).

Located near the aptly named Skull Rock by the park's western border, Jumbo Rocks features 124 campsites that include picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. Biking, rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding are just some of the eco-friendly activities that will wear you out and get you ready for cowboy songs by the campfire, under the stars. Plus, there's a remarkable abundance of wildlife to watch (and avoid) in this dry place: bighorn sheep, kangaroo rats, coyotes and black-tailed jackrabbits come out at night, while daytime widlife watchers can enjoy spotting birds, lizards and squirrels.

Reservations are not accepted, meaning it's first come, first served. And since it's pretty close to L.A., you'll want to come early, and preferably on a weekday to put up sticks before the weekenders arrive. Make a note that there's no potable water, so bring more than you think you'll need, especially if you're bringing your pet. And if you need camping essentials like a tent, sleeping bags, backpacks and hiking shoes, check out Inhabit's "Top Eco-Friendly Camping Gear for Conscientious Outdoor Enthusiasts."

No matter what your next travel destination is, getting there can be a big burden on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Consider more local and regional destinations that are accessible by bus or train. If you have to drive, use a fuel-efficient car, like a hybrid or an EV, or find a carpool. And if you simply must fly, choose coach (yes, it's smaller, but less carbon-intensive than first or business class), select an efficient airline (check Atmosfair’s airline ranking) and consider reducing your air travel carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets, which are offered by most domestic airlines and many international carriers.

Bon voyage!

  Read 10 of the Top Eco-Destinations in North America
 May 23, 2016
6 Extraordinary Art Projects Use Plastic Trash to Highlight the Crisis Facing the World's Oceans (Video)

by Nathaniel Berman, AlterNet

The plastic trash crisis facing the Earth's marine environment is truly a tragedy of the commons, with a growing amount of manmade debris, including more than 315 billion pounds of plastic, polluting the world's oceans, killing wildlife and persisting for centuries before breaking down.

Change has come slowly, but it's happening. An increasing number of communities around the world are discouraging the use of plastic bags through taxes or banning them outright. Companies are starting to measure their plastic footprints and working on ways to reduce plastic use in supply chains.

But while legislation and corporate governance are important levers to pull, it may take something more creative for consumers to comprehend how badly plastic marine trash damages the planet's oceans and the animals who live in them. Bertolt Brecht said, “art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it,” then perhaps artists may hold a key to solving this crisis. Here are six eye-opening art projects that shine a light on the problem through artworks using reclaimed plastic trash.

1. Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project.

This work is particularly insightful because it was made in a country located miles from the sea: Switzerland. In 2012, the exhibit “Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project,” mounted at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, brought the harsh reality of the crisis to museum-goers by presenting a large space filled with plastic trash.

"How do you explain the magnitude of the ocean trash problem, particularly to people in a landlocked country like Switzerland?" asked Catherine Fox of the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, in a blog post about the project. "Put a representative sampling right in front of them."

Watch a video about the “Out to Sea?” project:

2. Washed Ashore.

Henry the Giant Fish swims forever in front of the Bandon, Oregon, offices of the nonprofit Washed Ashore, which uses art to educate the public about marine debris and plastic pollution. Henry is the artistic creation of a group of ocean advocates who worked with Washed Ashore lead artist and executive director Angela Haseltine Pozzi to clean up their beach by collecting plastic trash washed up from the ocean.

Pozzi realized that people working together could bring awareness to the huge amounts of trash in the ocean by using it to make eye-catching trash sculptures. She leads community workshops teaching people how to use the tons of trash that regularly wash up on shore. Henry the Giant Fish is the first of her ecologically minded collaborations.

All of Henry's fishy parts are made from yellow, orange, red, white and brown plastic. Look closely and you can see that the texture around his mouth is actually an orange flip-flop. Bits of plastic bags torn into strips create movement and flowing fins, while piles of colored hoses and an assortment of tubing has been transformed into flowing waves of water underneath Henry’s belly.

One of Washed Ashore's newest works is 16-foot-long Priscilla the Parrot Fish, created as one of 12 sculptures commissioned by SeaWorld in 2012. The objective was to have four sculptures of sea life made from marine debris, displayed in each of the three SeaWorld Parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego for 18 months to draw attention to pollution in the ocean and it’s serious threat to sea life.

Priscilla the Parrot Fish (image courtesy of Washed Ashore)

The sculptures were conceived and designed by Pozzi and her staff. The panels that make up much of Priscilla's body are assembled by local community volunteers, including students from local schools, seniors from local senior residences and tourists who visit Washed Ashore's public art gallery and volunteer workshop.

"One of the distinguishing facts about our artwork is that, although it is so-called trash art, it’s purpose is to remind that public that much of today’s plastic products should be recycled, re-purposed and re-used so that it will be less of a threat to sea life that lives on the ocean and also to wildlife that lives out of water," said Frank Rocco, the marketing director at Washed Ashore.

Watch a video about the Washed Ashore Project:

3. Steampunk artist Claudio Garzon transforms ocean trash.

Artist and teacher Claudio Garzon lives not far from where the Los Angeles River flows into the Pacific Ocean. California has long been conscious of protecting the ocean from chemicals and other pollutants that ride the river into the ocean. Plastics and other trash often make the journey down the river, and though there is a net constructed to catch debris, smaller bits still make it through the net.

Garzon takes daily walks along the river, picking up plastic and monitoring the daily pollution that travels down the river. Each day, armed with a bag and gloves, he goes on a three-mile route and is able to collect a huge amount of discarded objects, which he uses to create amazing sculptures using the distinctive, precision mechanical parts and details that are common to steampunk art.

Before he can transform the plastic trash into art, he disinfects his salvaged materials for at least a week in a bleach solution to release the dirt that has been embedded in the crevices and surface. Then his creativity is unleashed to make steampunk robots, fantasy science fiction constructions and sculptures of ocean life.

He uses this plastic sea creatures to teach his students about marine life, ocean conservation and the properties of plastics. Garzon teaches courses at 109th Street Elementary School in Watts, to emphasize how the ocean currents can take local plastic trash and spread it around the globe. He still needs to purchase basic art supplies for his sculptures, but he has enough plastic materials collected to encourage his students to enjoy recycling and develop a love for protecting the marine environment.

4. Ocean trash collages by Mandy Barker.

UK artist Mandy Barker uses her collections of discarded debris, particularly material that sea creatures have tried to digest and rejected, to make collages. Barker’s collages depict images of the sea, using tiny bits of colorful materials arranged on black backgrounds.

Particularly disturbing are the works showing items that have been ingested by sea birds or fish, which ultimately killed the animals. Each collage focuses on a different color palette and thematic collection of items.

Watch a video of Mandy Barker's work:

5. Gyre: The Plastic Ocean.

Filling 7,500 square feet and featuring 26 artists from around the globe, the exhibition “Gyre: The Plastic Ocean," mounted at the Anchorage Museum in Anchorage, Alaska comprises some 80 artworks, each created from plastic trash and other debris that the artists have retrieved from shores as diverse as Finland and Australia.

The theme of the exhibit is to explore the relationships between the oceans and humans in a consumption-driven world.

Watch a video of "Gyre: The Plastic Ocean":

6. Fish Sculptures by Alex Chiu.

Huntington Beach artist Alex Chiu created a colorful fish sculpture using a wide assortment of debris collected from the ocean as part of a trash cleanup inspired by the ad agency Innocean USA.

Chiu proves that just one creative person can help make more people aware of the marine plastic trash crisis facing the world's oceans. His fish has inspired others to help reduce waste and participate in neighborhood trash cleanup projects.

Watch an interview with Alex Chiu:

  Read 6 Extraordinary Art Projects Use Plastic Trash to Highlight the Crisis Facing the World's Oceans (Video)
  May 23, 2016
What's the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You

by Reynard Loki, AlterNet


Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth. 

Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Fracking also releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

According to a 2015 report by the nonprofit FracTracker Alliance, there are at least 1.7 million fracked wells across the United States, with the most in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, each with more than 200,000 wells. (Prior to 2009, Oklahomans experienced an average of two earthquakes a year; these days, there are two every day.)


Yet proponents of fracking argue that it has contributed to the nation's economic health. A 2015 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the drilling boom fueled by fracking technology added around 725,000 jobs between 2005 and 2012.

The issue has become a political hot-button issue. While Republicans are generally all for it, fracking has polarized Democrats, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signing a bill to ban it in the Empire State, while presidential contender Hillary Clinton gives it her tentative support, with some added regulations.

While supporters have described fracking as a bridge to renewables (since it burns cleaner than coal, though the methane released by the process may in fact make fracking worse than coal), fracktivists say it's a costly and dangerous distraction from what the nation should be doing on the energy front: moving toward a low-carbon future based on renewables.

"Natural gas is no 'bridge,' no transition to renewables," wrote Josh Fox, activist and filmmaker known for his Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary, Gasland. "It’s a whole new fossil fuel regime that would have dire consequences ... for the climate."

Indeed, there are significant pros and cons, making fracking a highly controversial issue. The infographic below, created by 911Metallurgist.com, dissects the details of fracking.

  Read What's the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You
  June 2, 2016
This U.S. City Is a Sustainable Utopia—Here's What They Have Accomplished & Where They Are Headed

by Brian Holland, Juan Wei, Island Press, AlterNet


The following is an excerpt from the new book Can a City Be Sustainable? by Brian Holland & Juan Wei in the State of the World series from Worldwatch (Island Press, 2016): 

The City of Portland has created and implemented strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for more than 20 years. In the early 1990s, it became the first city in the United States to adopt a comprehensive carbon dioxide reduction strategy. In 2001, Multnomah County (the most populous of Oregon’s 36 counties) and the City of Portland (which is the seat of Multnomah County and Oregon’s largest city) passed their joint Local Action Plan on Global Warming.

In 2009, Multnomah County and Portland adopted an updated climate action plan (CAP) with expanded categories for actions and more-rigorous reduction targets. The plan identifies 93 action steps in 8 categories to reach its emissions reduction goals, ranging from curbside pickup of residential food scraps to expanding the city’s streetcar and light rail system.

Thanks to strong government leadership, science-informed policy making has long been practiced in Portland. To avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, the city set its latest emissions reduction target by referring to current science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Portland adopted an 80 percent emissions reduction target by 2050, with an interim goal of 40 percent by 2030. In line with IPCC recommendations, 1990 was set as the baseline year for the reduction target.

Expanding Transit and Biking Options

Portland has developed a broad set of policies and programs to achieve its ambitious emissions reduction targets. Some measures far predate the concern about the changing climate but offer important tools in this fight. As early as the 1970s, Oregon adopted a statewide land-use policy to prevent urban sprawl by establishing urban growth boundaries. Guided by this policy, cities were encouraged to develop more-dense urban neighborhoods while preserving farmland and wilderness. This successful policy set the stage for a series of effective greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs in Portland.

With a focus on development that aims to provide accessible transportation options to people within its city limits, Portland has made the expansion of streetcar and light rail systems a priority in the past several decades. Since 1990, Portland has added four major light rail lines (with a fifth under construction) and the Portland Streetcar. Construction is nearing completion on the nation’s first multi-modal bridge that is off-limits to private automobiles, which will carry bikes, pedestrians, and public vehicles over the Willamette River.

In addition, Portland now has 513 kilometers of bikeways, including 95 kilometers of neighborhood greenways; 291 kilometers of bike lanes, cycle tracks, and buffered bike lanes; and 127 kilometers of dedicated bike paths. Portland received the League of American Bicyclists’ highest rating for being a bicycle-friendly community. In addition, Bicycling magazine designated Portland as the number-one bike-friendly city in the United States.

As a result of these efforts, Portland drivers travel fewer vehicle miles than those in most other similarly sized cities. Transit ridership has more than doubled in the past 20 years (totaling 100 million rides in 2013), and, today, at least 12,000 more people bike to work daily in Portland than in 1990. Six percent of Portlanders commute to work by bike, nine times the national average. Although the population of Portland has increased 31 percent, gasoline sales have decreased 7 percent compared to 1990.

Building Greener and Smarter

In addition to providing more transportation options, Portland has implemented a series of clean energy and energy efficiency programs. A strong focus on green buildings has led to more than 180 certified green buildings. Data for 2012 show that Portland had more LEED Platinum-certified buildings than any other city in the United States. The city also is expanding the use of solar energy in its facilities and neighborhoods; the number of solar energy systems has increased from only 1 in 2002 to 2,775 today.

Portland’s energy efficiency program, Clean Energy Works (CEW), was started in 2009 with 500 pilot homes. Aimed at reducing energy consumption by 10–30 percent, CEW provides long-term, low-interest financing to homeowners for whole-home energy upgrades, with on-bill utility repayment of the loan. Because of its innovation and success, CEW attracted $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to scale up the pilot into a statewide effort.

The program has realized multifaceted benefits. As of April 2014, more than 3,700 homes in Oregon had been upgraded for energy efficiency. These upgrades help avoid more than 5,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, equal to powering nearly 500 homes for one year. Meanwhile, the program has generated $70 million in economic activity and created some 428 jobs.


Stormwater, the runoff created by rainfall, is another challenge faced by modern cities. Like many older cities, Portland has a combined stormwater and wastewater system, which has resulted in the pollution of local rivers and streams when high storm volume causes the system to overflow. To protect rivers and natural systems, Portland voted to enforce a series of policies that promote green infrastructure, including requiring all new construction to manage 100 percent of stormwater on-site through structures such as green streets and green roofs.

Thanks to these new policies and the city’s ongoing promotion of green roofs, a number of buildings and structures in Portland now have living, vegetated roof systems that decrease runoff and offer aesthetic, air quality, habitat, and energy benefits. Portland is now home to more than 390 green roofs, covering nearly 8 hectares of rooftops. The city also has invested heavily in green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and bioswales (landscaping elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water), with more than 1,200 such facilities in the public right-of-way. Portland uses green infrastructure to manage millions of liters of stormwater each year.

Recycling, Saving Energy, and Creating Jobs

Portland also is a national leader in recycling efforts. It has a 70 percent overall recycling rate for residential and commercial waste. Due to the addition of a weekly food scrap composting service and a shift to every-other-week garbage collection in 2011, residential garbage taken to the landfill has decreased by more than 35 percent, and collection of compostable materials has more than doubled.

Leading by example, Portland also has been setting more-aggressive emissions reduction targets for its own operations. Through efficiency improvements, including traffic lights, water and sewer pumps, and building lighting systems, the city has realized energy savings of more than $6.5 million a year, which adds up to around 30 percent savings in Portland’s annual electricity costs.

Contrary to the widely held assumption that pursuing emissions reduction goals will likely slow down the local economy, the experience in Portland shows that climate actions have reduced the cost of doing business and created more-equitable, healthier, and livable neighborhoods. The number of green jobs is growing in Portland. More than 12,000 jobs in the city can be attributed to the clean technology sector, including green building, energy efficiency, and clean energy. Portland also is a national leader in innovative bicycling product manufacturing and services.

Portland’s emissions reduction programs have been successful. Local greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 were 11 percent below 1990 levels (equal to a 32 percent per capita reduction), and Portland homes now use 11 percent less energy per person than in 1990. With all of these efforts and achievements, the City of Portland became one of the 16 local jurisdictions across the United States to receive recognition as a Climate Action Champion from the White House in 2014. In the same year, Portland was among 10 cities worldwide to receive the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Award for its Healthy Connected City strategy. The award honors cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change.

Moving Forward

Multnomah County and the City of Portland are in the process of reviewing and revising their 2009 climate action plan. Building on previous successes and lessons learned, the 2015 update incorporates recommendations for action and social equity into the development process.

For the energy program, the city is planning to advance net-zero energy buildings and to require energy disclosure for large commercial buildings. The focus on solar and low-carbon fuel sources will remain, and efforts to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles will be enhanced.

Portland has adopted a set of Sustainable City Principles to guide daily operations by city agencies, officials, and staff. In addition to promoting greener choices in city procurement, these principles seek to balance environmental quality, economic prosperity, and social equity, and to encourage thinking beyond first costs and consideration of the long-term, cumulative impacts of policy and financial decisions. They encourage innovation and cross-bureau collaboration; engage residents and businesses in the promotion of more-sustainable practices; and include measures in favor of a diverse city workforce and ensuring equitable services to communities of color and other underserved communities.

The city now is seeking reductions in global lifecycle emissions from consumption. Lifecycle emissions are those created by the production and use of products, from furniture to computers to appliances. For this, Portland has taken the innovative step of measuring lifecycle emissions generated through consumption by households, public agencies, and businesses. The consumption-based inventory revealed that Portland’s global greenhouse gas emissions are double the in-boundary emissions traditionally measured.

Portland is planning to increase its efforts in this area and to find an effective way to communicate these findings to the local community. There also is a need to help businesses and residents better understand that their consumption choices contribute significantly to global emissions.

Portland recognizes that cities around the country and the world need to collaborate more in order to succeed in their efforts to reduce urban climate impacts. In June 2014, Portland was one of 17 cities worldwide to launch the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, which is committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. The Alliance aims to strategize how leading cities can work together to attain emissions reductions more effectively and efficiently.

From Can a City Be Sustainable? (State of the World) by The Worldwatch Institute which was adapted from the report Measuring Up 2015 from Mike Steinhoff et. al (Washington, DC: WWF-US and ICLEI USA, 2013). Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, DC.

  Read This U.S. City Is a Sustainable Utopia—Here's What They Have Accomplished & Where They Are Headed
  June 1, 2016
6 Impressive Things Scientists Are Doing Underwater and Along U.S. Coasts—and How You Can Get Involved

by Jessica Fitzpatrick, U.S. Geological Survey, AlterNet


June marks National Oceans Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the natural beauty and importance of Earth’s oceans and coasts.

Around 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is ocean, and almost half of the American population lives in coastal counties.

Each and every day, waves move sand back and forth, onto and away from beaches. The thin ribbon of sandy barrier islands and beaches along America’s coastline shifts constantly, especially during hurricanes, nor’easters and other extreme storms. Understanding these environments now and forecasting conditions into the future will help protect millions of citizens who are at risk from changing sea level, retreating shorelines and extreme coastal storms. There is also a need to balance competing demands of our ocean’s resources—from energy exploration to recreation and critical habitats—while protecting and preserving a healthy environment.

USGS scientist Don Hickey finishes installing ocean chemistry monitoring equipment on Sombrero Reef, Florida Keys. (Photo Credit: Ilsa B. Kuffner, USGS)

Start with Science

In order to plan, it’s vital for managers and decision makers to know what they are planning for, and USGS science underpins those choices. The USGS provides diverse science allowing for a big-picture perspective and ensuring that decisions are made with as much knowledge as possible.

6 Cool Things Scientists Are Up To

  1. Defining U.S. Boundaries
  2. Exploring Energy and Mineral Resources
  3. Protecting Critical Habitats
  4. Identifying Hazards and Vulnerable Communities
  5. Documenting How the Coast Changes
  6. Balancing Competing Demands

1. Defining U.S. Boundaries

International law affords every coastal nation sovereign rights over its continental shelf out to 200 nautical miles from shore. These rights include control over minerals, petroleum and sedentary organisms such as clams, crabs and coral. If certain physical criteria are met, a nation is entitled to the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, an area referred to as the “extended continental shelf” or ECS. The USGS is analyzing geologic and geophysical data collected over the past 7 years to determine the nation’s ECS, and preliminary research indicates it could total one million square kilometers. The United States has an ECS in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska, Atlantic East Coast, Bering Sea, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Mexico and possibly other areas. The U.S. ECS Project is a collaborative effort among many agencies that are part of an Interagency Task Force, of which the USGS is a member.

2. Exploring Energy and Mineral Resources

America is looking to the ocean for potential resources for energy, minerals and other raw materials. Resources of high value include gas hydrates, which are a potentially significant source for natural gas. Renewable kinetic energy is another focus, such as offshore winds, tides and currents. Furthermore, deposits of rare earth elements are vital to emerging communication and information technologies, while sand and gravel deposits are important for construction and beach nourishment. USGS conducts research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources. In addition, USGS scientists are researching the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.

3. Protecting Critical Habitats


Human activities can impact or degrade the health and productivity of coastal and marine ecosystems by fragmenting habitats, altering drainage or circulation patterns and introducing contaminants. USGS scientists are studying how these ecosystems function and respond to environmental changes and human impacts. For example, coral reefs act as barriers to protect coastlines from hazards, provide habitats for fisheries and support tourism and recreational industries. Since global degradation of coral reef ecosystems is prevalent, the USGS Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies Project is incorporating process studies and environmental monitoring to understand coral reef health and resilience, ultimately helping inform conservation decisions.

4. Identifying Hazards and Vulnerable Communities

There are several hazards that pose risks to our oceans and coasts, and USGS scientists evaluate the causes, locations and extent of such events and forecast future probabilities and occurrence.

Ongoing research includes earthquakes and underwater landslides, as well as their potential to cause a tsunami. USGS scientists provide a range of assistance regarding oil and gas spills, such as tracking the movement of residual oil, determining mortalities in wildlife, modeling how tidal waves and currents will carry oil over barrier islands and collecting samples to study toxicity to soils and water.

USGS scientists also study floods, storm surge and coastal inundation associated with hurricanes, extreme storms and sea-level rise. One essential piece of insight that the USGS brings to the table is understanding elevation. USGS scientists map how high the landscape is and how deep the ocean is to help identify coastal vulnerability to erosion, inundation and overwash. The USGS developed a rating system called the coastal vulnerability index—referred to as CVI—that identifies the possibility that physical change will occur along the shoreline as sea level rises.

5. Documenting How the Coast Changes

Powerful storms generate surge, waves and currents that can move large amounts of sediment, destroy roads, buildings and other critical infrastructure as well as alter natural habitats. The USGS performs a range of studies that document, assess and model coastal change, risk and vulnerability. For example, the USGS has collected more than 140,000 aerial photographs since 1995 of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts after 24 hurricanes and other extreme storms. The USGS has also created a national map that shows past and present trends and rates through their National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project.

You can help too! A crowdsourcing application called “iCoast – Did the Coast Change?” was launched by the USGS to show coastal changes from extreme storms. Citizens can provide input and help scientists by comparing aerial photographs taken before and after storms.

Oblique aerial photographs of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, before and after Hurricane Sandy impacts shows coastal change on a developed coastline. (Photo Credit: USGS)

Furthermore, the USGS created an online tool that allows anyone to interactively “see” past, present and future hazards and changes along the coasts. This tool—the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal—is an interactive mapping product with layers of information allowing you to explore your local area or the entire nation. How vulnerable is your favorite beach if a hurricane like Katrina, Ike, or Sandy paid a visit? What did your beach look like 50, 100 or 150 years ago? What might it look like in the future? Check out the Portal and find out!

6. Balancing Competing Demands

There are a variety of competing demands for our oceans. We play on its coasts, fish in its waters, buy and sell products transported by ships, and depend on exploration and production of energy, minerals and living resources. Marine planning is a process for identifying areas most suitable for various activities in order to avoid conflicts, facilitate compatible uses and reduce environmental impacts. There are several agencies working together to make cost-benefit decisions, with the ultimate goal of preserving the values while maximizing the benefits of the ocean.

National Ocean Policy

The National Ocean Policy (NOP) was established in 2010 in order to ensure that our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes are healthy and resilient. The NOP includes a set of priority objectives and guiding principles for policy and management actions. Support and implementation is a cooperative effort among federal agencies, states and tribes. USGS science helps address key ocean challenges and priorities outlined in the NOP.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week

Starting on June 7, hundreds of policymakers, scientists, scholars, business and conservation leaders as well as ocean enthusiasts will come together for Capitol Hill Ocean Week. The three-day symposium is hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and aims to shape marine policy and provoke conversation about critical ocean and coastal issues. Learn more about the event and see what topics are on the agenda as well as how you can participate.

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a Public Affairs Specialist with the the United States Geological Survey Office of Communications and Publishing.

  Read 6 Impressive Things Scientists Are Doing Underwater and Along U.S. Coasts—and How You Can Get Involved
 May 24, 2016
Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned

by Judith Lavoie, Desmog Canada, AlterNet


Imagine a world where average temperatures are almost 10 degrees Celsius higher than today, an Arctic with temperatures almost 20 degrees warmer and some regions deluged with four times more rain.

That is the dramatic scenario predicted by a team of climate scientists led by the University of Victoria’s Katarzyna Tokarska, who looked at what would happen if the Earth’s remaining untapped fossil fuel reserves are burned.

Tokarska, a PhD student at UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, used simulations from climate models looking at the relationship between carbon emissions and warming—including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report—and concluded that known fossil fuel reserves would emit the equivalent of five trillion tonnes of carbon emissions if burned.

That would result in average global temperature increases between 6.4 degrees and 9.5 degrees Celsius, with Arctic temperatures warming between 14.7 degrees and 19.5 degrees, says the paper published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

“These results indicate that the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested,” says the study.

“Such climate changes, if realized, would have extremely profound impacts on ecosystems, human health, agriculture, economies and other sectors.”

Simulated changes in precipitation are “extremely large,” according to the paper.

It predicts increases of more than a factor of four in areas such as the tropical Pacific and hefty decreases in precipitation over areas such as parts of Australia, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, the Amazon, Central America and North Africa.

Researchers used the lower boundary of estimates of known fossil fuels, Tokarska said in an interview with DeSmog Canada.

“The (amount of untapped fossil fuels) could be much higher as we didn’t consider unconventional sources, and then the warming would be much higher,” Tokarska said.

The highest temperatures would be reached by the year 2200, but, in the meantime, temperatures will steadily increase unless mitigation measures are taken, the study finds.

“Some people say that that’s so far off, but this is profound climate change if we follow the usual scenario,” Tokarska said.

“What we are doing is showing it’s relevant to know what will happen if we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change — if we don’t ever implement the Paris agreement or other such agreements. It’s a worst-case scenario if we don’t do anything now,” she said.

The Paris agreement, adopted in December last year, sets a target of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees—a goal supported by Canada.

Based on previous research, the Earth is already halfway towards the two-degree increase in temperature and researchers are now looking at whether it is possible to reach that tougher 1.5 degree target, but Tokarska said they do not yet have those answers.

Worldwide there are growing calls for governments to enforce regulations to keep remaining fossil fuels in the ground and to speed up a move to green economies.

“On a personal level I can say this is kind of a warning message of the likely outcome so we can hopefully do some changes now,” Tokarska said.

Other authors of the paper include Nathan Gillett and Vivek Arora from the Canadian Centre of Climate Modelling and Analysis and Michael Eby and Andrew Weaver from UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Weaver is also leader of the B.C. Green Party.

Judith Lavoie is an award-winning journalist based in Victoria, British Columbia. Lavoie covered environment and First Nations stories for the Victoria Times Colonist for more than 20 years and is now working as a freelancer. She previously worked on newspapers in New Brunswick, Cyprus, England and the Middle East. Lavoie has won four Webster awards and has been nominated for a National Newspaper Award and a Michener Award.

  Read Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned
  June 6, 2016
Crazy Graphic Shows Global Temps Spiraling Fast

by Brian Kahn, Climate Central, AlterNet


The temperature spiral that took the world by storm has an update. If you think the heat is on in our current climate, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

To recap, University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins wrecked the internet a few weeks ago with a revolutionary new way to look at global temperatures. Using a circular graph of every year’s monthly temperatures and animating it, Hawkins’ image showed planetary heat spiraling closer to the 2°C threshold in a way no bar or line graph could do.


An update to the famous temperature spiral using future climate projections (Credit: Jay Alder/USGS)

His tweet with the original graphic has been shared 15,000 times and it’s been dubbed the most compelling climate visualization ever made (sorry, landmarked Keeling Curve). The spiral’s popularity can be attributed in part to its hypnotic nature and the visceral way it shows the present predicament of climate change.

Hawkins’ graphic hints at the temperature spiral to come, but now a new addition brings what the future holds into stark relief.

So Alder used climate projections and stretched the spiral to its logical conclusion in 2100 when most climate model projections end. Using our current carbon emissions trends, it shows that things could get out of hand pretty quickly.“Like a lot of people, I found Ed Hawkins' temperature animation very compelling because it details observed warming from 1850 to present in a novel way,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jay Alder said. “His graphic sets the context for looking at projections from climate models.”

The world has been on the edge of the 1.5°C threshold — the amount of warming above pre-industrial levels that could sink many small island states permanently — this winter and early spring thanks to climate change and a strong El Niño. If the world continues on its current carbon emissions trend, it could essentially pass that threshold permanently in about a decade.

The 2°C threshold — a planetary “safe” threshold enshrined in the Paris Agreement — will likely be in the rearview mirror by the early 2040s as temperatures spiral ever higher. By 2100, every month is projected to be 5°C (9°F) warmer than it was compared to pre-industrial levels.

It’d be a world vastly different than today with sea levels up to 3 feet higher (and possibly more if Antarctica’s ice goes into meltdown), rapidly shrinking glaciers and highly acidic oceans. Those changes would have very real consequences for coastal cities, water resources and ecosystems across the planet.

Of course, Alder’s super spiral is only one possible future for the planet. Last year’s Paris Agreement could be a turning point where nations start to rein in their carbon pollution. While temperatures would likely still spiral higher because of warming that's already locked in, cutting carbon emissions now will at least make the spiral more manageable.

Brian Kahn is a Senior Science Writer at Climate Central. He previously worked at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and partnered with climate.gov to produce multimedia stories, manage social media campaigns and develop version 2.0 of climate.gov. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Grist, the Daily Kos, Justmeans and the Yale Forum on Climate Change in the Media.

  Read Crazy Graphic Shows Global Temps Spiraling Fast
 June 3, 2016
Renewable Energy Soars to Record-Breaking Levels Across the Globe

by Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, AlterNet


The renewable revolution is gathering apace according to new research. Last year was an “extraordinary” record year for the sector, with “the largest global capacity additions seen to date.”

An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable power capacity was added in 2015, according to the annual report of REN21, the renewables policy organisation made up of energy experts, NGOs and Governments, which is based in Paris.

In total, new installations of renewable power generation capacity rose to 1,848.5 GW globally in 2015, underlying the fact I made in yesterday’s blog that Big Oil’s demise might come sooner rather than later, in part due to the renewable revolution.

Most importantly, slowly but surely every year, renewables are becoming more cost competitive with fossil fuels.

“I’ve been working in this sector for 20 years and the economic case is now fully there,” said Christine Lins, the executive secretary of REN21: “The fact that we had 147GW of capacity, mainly of wind and solar is a clear indication that these technologies are cost competitive (with fossil fuels).”

Lins also points out that this record renewable growth has been achieved despite huge subsidies to fossil fuels. “What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies,” she said in a statement.

Lins continued: “For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Most worrying for Big Oil is that this is the largest ever annual increase in installed clean capacity ever. As if to emphasise the point the amount spent on renewables was double that spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants.

In total, including large hydro projects, new investment was an estimated $328.9 billion, echoing research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance from earlier in the year which put clean energy investment a fraction higher at $329.3 billion.

Over 8 million people are now employed in the sector.

Other important trends were apparent too: For the first time ever, developing nations spent more than the developed world on renewables. “For the first time in history, total investment in renewable power and fuels in developing countries in 2015 exceeded that in developed economies,” the report said.

China alone accounted for more than one-third of the global total. “The renewables industry is not just dependant on a couple of markets but it has turned into a truly global one with markets everywhere and that is really encouraging,” added Christine Lins.

The report also advocated the desperate need to integrate renewables into the current power infrastructure which was built for fossil fuels. “The renewables train is barrelling down the tracks, but it’s running on 20th century infrastructure – a system based on outdated thinking where conventional baseload is generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power,” said Arthouros Zervoz, chairman of REN21.


Zervoz added: “To accelerate the transition to a healthier, more secure and climate-safe future, we need to build the equivalent of a high-speed rail network – a smarter, more flexible system that maximises the use of variable sources of renewable energy, and accommodates decentralised and community-based generation.”

This story originally appeared on Oil Change International. Reprinted with permission.

Andy Rowell is a freelance writer and investigative journalist specializing in environmental, health and lobbying issues. His writing has appeared on Spinwatch, Price of Oil and the University of Bath. Follow him on Twitter @andy_rowell.

  Read Renewable Energy Soars to Record-Breaking Levels Across the Globe
  June 4, 2016
Chile Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free

by Lorraine Chow, Eco Watch, AlterNet


Thanks to Chile’s major investments in renewables, the Latin American country is seeing an incredible solar boom.

 Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free, solar capacity from the country’s central grid has increased four fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. Another 1.4 gigawatts will be added this year with many solar power projects. 


Thanks to an economic boost from increased mining production, Chile now has 29 solar farms and another 15 in the pipeline. Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. recently commissioned Chile’s largest solar PV project connected to the grid. The 160-megawatt facility will be located in the northern part of the country in the municipality of María Elena, about 1,300 kilometers north of Santiago.

With so much clean power available, the price of solar has cost absolutely nothing for certain regions in recent months. As Bloomberg stated:

Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator.

However, the article points out that Chile’s rapid solar expansion isn’t all good news. Due to the nation’s bifurcated power grid, the central and northern grids are not connected.

PV Insider noted that most of the demand is in the central grid, yet the best solar resource in the country resides in the Atacama desert in the north. The northern grid represents approximately 24 percent of installed capacity whereas the central grid holds the majority of capacity at 74 percent of installed megawatts.

The northern grid is where solar prices are going to zero, Bloomberg noted. Meanwhile, the main population centers in the south are not seeing the same benefits.

Chile, therefore, must invest in its transmission infrastructure in order for the whole country to tap into the north’s glut solar power and stabilize demand.

“Chile has at least seven or eight points in the transmission lines that are collapsed and blocked, and we have an enormous challenge to bypass the choke points,” Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco told the publication. “When you embark on a path of growth and development like the one we’ve had, you obviously can see issues arising.”

The good news is that the Chilean government is addressing the problem with its planned 1,865-mile transmission line that will link the two grids by 2017.


  Read Chile Producing So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving Electricity Away for Free
  June 15, 2016
More Than 12 Million Americans Are Threatened by Toxic Air Pollution From Oil and Gas Industry: Here's an Interactive Map

by Earthworks, EcoWatch, AlterNet

p>Two leading national environmental groups—Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and Earthworks—unveiled a suite of tools Wednesday designed to inform and mobilize Americans about the health risks from toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry.

For the first time, Americans across the country—from Washington County, Pennsylvania, to Weld County, Colorado to Kern County, California—can access striking new community-level data on major health risks posed by oil and gas operations across the country.


The oil and gas industry is the country’s largest and fastest-growing source of methane emissions. And its facilities emit numerous other hazardous and toxic air pollutants along with methane—including benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and ethylbenzene. That toxic pollution presents significant cancer and respiratory health risks, underscoring the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up existing sources of toxic air pollution without delay.

The EPA recently signed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that for the first time will regulate methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities, preventing some of the sector’s future toxic air pollution from being released. The EPA’s current regulations addressing the industry’s toxic air pollution are limited and the NSPS does not cover the 1.2 million existing facilities in 33 states. CATF’s reportFossil Fumes, and Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Threat Map focus specifically on toxic pollutants from those facilities and their resulting health impacts.

Earthworks Oil & Gas Threat Map Summary

The Oil and Gas Threat Map maps the nation’s 1.2 million active oil and gas wells, compressors and processors. Using the latest peer-reviewed research into the health impacts attributed to oil and gas air pollution, the map conservatively draws a half mile health threat radius around each facility. Within that total area are:

  • 12.4 million people
  • 11,543 schools and 639 medical facilities
  • 184,578 square miles, an area larger than California

For each of the 1,459 counties in the U.S. that host active oil and gas facilities, the interactive map reports:

  • instances of elevated cancer and respiratory risk
  • total affected population (with separate counts for Latino & African-Americans)
  • total affected schools and medical facilities

The searchable map allows users to:

  • look up any street address to see if it lies within the health threat radius
  • view infrared videos which makes visible the normally invisible pollution at hundreds of the mapped facilities
  • view 50+ interviews with citizens impacted by this pollution

“The Oil & Gas Threat Map shows that oil and gas air pollution isn’t someone else’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem,” Earthworks executive director Jennifer Krill said.

“Our homes and schools are at risk while most state regulators do nothing. Although completely solving this problem ultimately requires ditching fossil fuels, communities living near oil and gas operations need the EPA to cut methane and toxic air pollution from these operations as soon as possible.”

Clean Air Task Force Fossil Fumes Report Summary


Fossil Fumes, CATF’s companion report to Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Threat Map, is based on EPA’s recent National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) analysis updated to reflect the latest emissions data from EPA’s National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and the conclusions are striking.

The report finds that:

  • 238 counties in 21 states face a cancer risk that exceeds EPA’s one-in-a-million threshold level of concern
  • Combined, these counties have a population of more than 9 million people and are mainly located in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Colorado
  • Of these counties, 43 face a cancer risk that exceeds one in 250,000 and two counties in West Texas (Gaines and Yoakum) face a cancer risk that exceeds one in 100,000
  • 32 counties, primarily in Texas and West Virginia, also face a respiratory health risk from toxic air emissions that exceeds EPA’s level of concern (with a hazard index greater than one)

“The Fossil Fumes report and Earthwork’s Interactive Threat Map will allow concerned citizens to learn the cancer and respiratory risks they face from toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry,” Lesley Fleischman, CATF technical analyst and author of Fossil Fumes, said. “Armed with this information, we trust that citizens and communities will demand protective safeguards requiring industry to clean up its act and reduce these serious risks to public health.”

“The Oil & Gas Threat Map and Fossil Fumes are outstanding tools for nurses, their patients and affected communities to better understand the health risks posed by oil and gas facilities,” Katie Huffling, director of programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, said.

“As nurses, we are especially concerned by the number of schools and hospitals revealed to be within a half mile of an active oil and gas facility. The best available science shows that methane and toxic chemicals emitted by these facilities threaten our most vulnerable citizens, which is why we encourage the EPA to quickly address this pollution.”

Other key findings of the map and report at the statewide level include:

  • Los Angeles County, California is home to the most impacted “vulnerable” populations: there are more impacted schools and hospitals in Los Angeles than any other county in America (226 schools and 60 hospitals)
  • There are particularly widespread impacts in Texas, with 15 counties with more than 75 percent of their populations living within ½ mile risk radius and 32 percent of Texas counties have elevated oil and gas health risks (82 out of 254)
  • Almost 25 percent of all Pennsylvanians live within the half-mile threat radius

“The Oil & Gas Threat Map and Fossil Fumes show more than 12 million Americans need protection from oil and gas industry air pollution as soon as possible. Industry talks about voluntarily reducing their pollution, but refuses to make binding commitments,” Earthworks policy director Lauren Pagel said.

“Some states like Colorado have stepped up, but other states like Texas have vowed never to regulate greenhouse gases and associated toxics. It is only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that can act to protect all Americans, their health and the climate from this pollution.”

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions.

  Read More Than 12 Million Americans Are Threatened by Toxic Air Pollution From Oil and Gas Industry: Here's an Interactive Map
  June 18, 2016
NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation

by John Scales Avery , Information ClearingHouse

NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to “protect Europe from aggression”; but today it is aggressive tool of the United States. Today NATO is threatening to drive Europe into an all-destroying thermonuclear war with Russia.

In recent years, participation in NATO has made European countries accomplices in US efforts to achieve global hegemony by means of military force, in violation of international law, and especially in violation of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Principles.

Former UN Assistant Secretary General Hans Christof von Sponeck used the following words to express his opinion that NATO now violates the UN Charter and international law: “In the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the Charter of the United Nations was declared to be NATO’s legally binding framework. However, the United-Nations monopoly of the use of force, especially as specified in Article 51 of the Charter, was no longer accepted according to the 1999 NATO doctrine. NATO’s territorial scope, until then limited to the Euro-Atlantic region, was expanded by its members to include the whole world”

At present the United States government has forced the European members of NATO to participate in aggressive operations in connection with the coup which it carried out against the elected government of Ukraine. The hubris, and reckless irresponsibility of the US government in risking a catastrophic war with Russia is almost beyond belief.

According to The Guardian, June 16, 2016, “The largest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the cold war has started in Poland, as Nato and partner countries seek to mount a display of strength as a response to concerns about Russia’s assertiveness and actions.”

“The 10-day military exercise, involving 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries, has been welcomed among Nato’s allies in the region, though defence experts warn that any mishap could prompt an offensive reaction from Moscow.”

“A defence attache at a European embassy in Warsaw said the “nightmare scenario” of the exercise, named Anaconda-2016, would be 'a mishap, a miscalculation which the Russians construe, or choose to construe, as an offensive action' ”.


Do the people of Europe really want to participate in the madness of aggression against Russia? Of course not! What about European leaders? Why don’t they follow the will of the people and free Europe from bondage to the United States? Have our leaders been bribed? Or have they been blackmailed through personal secrets, discovered by the long arm of NSA spying?

To save itself from the danger of nuclear annihilation, Europe must declare its independence from America, just as the United States once declared its independence from Britain.

Some suggestions for further reading



John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, memberships in societies: Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004. http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at avery.john.s@gmail.com

  Read NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation
  May 30, 2016
What A Water Situation!

by S.G.Vombatkere, Countercurrents


This year has seen the globally hottest-ever April, and indications point to the worst-ever summer. The media is reporting rock bottom reservoir water levels at the start of summer, and dire predictions of worse days to come for farmers and rural people, and also urban dwellers. Due to this worst drought in living memory that has hit most of India, around 300 million people, as estimated by one source, are migrating. One can only wonder why this on-going tragedy does not make it to the front pages of newspapers.

The callousness of many leaders towards this national crisis is revealed by their finding the time to pat themselves on the back, announce and celebrate their “achievements” at public expense and give themselves raises in their own salaries, but not finding time to visit drought-hit people or allocate sufficient funds for drought relief. It needed the Supreme Court of India to goad state and central governments to commence serious action to provide water to thirsty populations.

There are fears of water-based conflicts within and between the societies of rural and urban areas. These have happened in the past, but the scale of conflicts may be more intense and widespread in 2016 if, for example, the heated official exchanges regarding water demands of downstream Delhi and Haryana and upstream Punjab over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal are any indication.

While there are several important aspects to the water issue, only two major aspects are addressed here due to space restrictions, namely, the governance involved in urban water supply, and the “solution” of interlinking rivers (ILR).

Water governance in urban areas

Governments are giving conflicting reports in the media, with some officials saying that it is possible to tide over the urban scarcity, and others saying that conditions are going to get much worse. Officials of course insist on anonymity, for fear of action against them, while politicians do their standard politicking, and grandly pass orders to the officials to “ensure that drinking water supply is not interrupted”.

Always at the receiving end of slipshod governance, most people get water for a few hours once in two or three or seven days while some get water daily, enabling their domestics to wash cars and driveways with a hose. When a water pipe bursts (not uncommon because of inferior materials and/or poor workmanship due to corrupt practices) the water supply authority reacts tardily, and millions of litres of precious water gush away into the drains, even while thousands line up with pots at street pipes, and the better-off purchase water from tankers operated by a water-tanker mafia.

Public announcements calling for water conservation are rare and, when issued, they politely call upon citizens to cooperate and use water carefully, even while non-working water meters, illegal water connections and unpaid water bills place financial strain on the water suppy system. The reason for politeness of tone and request for cooperation in a decidedly grim, even desperate situation, is clear evidence of weak governance stemming from systemic corruption. Public determination to handle the worsening situation is essential, to find a viable course of action.

Essential measures

When the sources of water fail, focus needs to shift from demand-driven supply augmentation to managing available water through realistic demand management. Some of its essential facets itemized are:

# Improve system efficiency including planning distribution and delivery, infrastructure and renewals, electrical energy costs, personnel training.

# Revise tariff with steep rates for high consumption.

# Enforce existing by-laws and rules regarding functioning of meters, illegal connections and unpaid bills, with appropriate penal action against defaulting consumers and staff.

# Address system water-loss and assure minimum supply timings.

# Periodic public programs for water conservation.

# Use IT management tools (GIS and MIS) for realizing revenue.

Interlinking rivers

The interlinking rivers (ILR) project estimated in 2002 to cost at least Rs.5,60,000 crores (but more likely Rs.10,00,000 crores), seeks to link 30 major rivers with 37 mega canals, involving acquiring an estimated 6,00,000 hectares of land, for mass-transfer of flood water from “water-surplus” areas to drought-prone “water-deficit” areas, to simultaneously relieve flood and drought. While the proposal appears attractive, it has serious inconsistencies, only two of which are outlined here. (For more details, please see References).

Firstly, flood water is to be sourced from Ganga near Bhagalpur which is at about 60-m elevation above MSL, where flood flow averages 50,000 cumecs. The maximum that a canal of 100-m width and 10-m depth can carry is 2,000 cumecs of water, which will “relieve” the flood by a mere 4%. Apart from the huge initial and annual maintenance costs to keep the water flowing into the canal and removing sediment, this 2,000 cumecs can only flow by gravity to levels lower than 60-m elevation on the East coast, whereas the drought-prone areas are on the Deccan plateau at levels over 1,000-m elevation. Thus neither flood nor drought can be relieved by interlinking.

Secondly, the flood season is for four monsoon months. During 8-months dry season, Ganga flows at an average 5,280 cumecs. The headworks of the interlinking canal will be far from the main flowchannel, and feeding the canal with water will call for expensive heavy engineering every year besides, much more importantly, handling the strong resistance of people of the region who will resist transfer of 2,000 cumecs (38% of water) in the dry season when they need it most.

Thus, since neither flood nor drought can relieved, and the system will have questionable utility during monsoon and be useless in the dry season, making it economically unviable. The argument of mass transfer of water from “water-surplus” to “water-deficit” areas is fundamentally flawed.

The promotion of water-sharing through grandiose plans of dams and canals to interlink rivers, by quoting the mandate of a distant Court of Law will not slake the thirst for water for drinking or agriculture. The fact that there are several unresolved inter-State water disputes before water disputes tribunals indicates that water-sharing between States is essentially problematic. Even between districts within the same State, water disputes have had to be bulldozed by State governments, leaving sullen, disillusioned, water-starved populations. In the general context of national water stress, pressing ILR can only lead to more social unrest and political instability.

The fact is that every State needs and wants water and they are loathe to part with water. In situations of dire water shortages, whatever the method of its computation, local compulsions will predominate over the dictates of distant seats of executive or judicial power. Enforcement of the writ of governments, whether due to their own political expediency or their being forced by superior courts of law, can only be by use of state police, central police and military force. Resort to such strong-arm measures with regard to water will indicate that governance has failed and the situation is outside the scope of political management. Indeed, in Latur (Maharashtra), Police have been posted near water sources to protect the water and ensure that people do not “steal” water from the source!

What a situation!

The present water situation is at best sub-critical. Only efforts to holistically understand the problems and their magnitude can provide genuine relief in the present, and effect a relatively easy transition to a future of certainly lowered water availability.

The ILR project is essentially a demand-based, supply-augmentation, systemically flawed macro “solution”. The examples of the SYL Canal (an incomplete canal for water-sharing between three States) and the Cauvery River (the water of the river being less than the total demand of the riparian states) should be indication enough of the political problems of ILR, which can snowball into constitution-shaking proportions.

India, already severely water-stressed in a warming globe, is in the midst of a water-crisis which is predicted to repeat itself. We have entered the era of the consequences of thoughtless supply-side management practices. The urgent need is for socially sensitive, economically viable demand-side water management.

Failing to build democratic and effective water management structures for democratic governance processes will risk violent social situations due to water conflicts. Political leaders in the States and the Centre need to come out of their “Nero-fiddling” role and firmly steer a course away from impending chaos and disaster. The way forward is local water conservation and management.


1. Vombatkere, S.G., “A Systems Approach to Interlinking Rivers in India: An examination of Viability”, An Anthology of Essays titled “Interlinking of Rivers in India: Issues and Concerns”, Ed: M. Monirul Qader Mirza, et al; Pub: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008, pp.77-89.

2. Vombatkere, S.G., “From Water Crisis to Constitutional Crisis?: A Suggested Solution”, Mainstream, New Delhi, Vol XLV No 9, February 17, 2007.

Major General S.G. Vombatkere, VSM, retired in 1996 as Additional DG Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ AG's Branch. President of India awarded him Visishta Seva Medal in 1993 for distinguished service rendered in the high-altitude region of Ladakh. He holds a PhD degree in Structural Dynamics from I.I.T, Madras. With over 470 published papers in national and international journals and seminars, his area of interest remains strategic and development-related issues. E-mail: sg9kere@live.com

  Read What A Water Situation!
 June 6, 2016
Obama Slams Door In Putin’s Face

by Eric Zuesse, The Saker, Countercurrents

Actions speak louder than mere words, and U.S. President Barack Obama has now acted, not only spoken. His action is to refuse to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia's biggest worry about recent changes in America’s nuclear strategy — particularly a stunning change that is terrifying Putin.

On Sunday June 5th, Reuters headlined “Russia Says U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defence System”, and reported that, "The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington's missile defence programme, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative 'very dangerous’."

Russia’s concern is that, if the "Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” system, that the United States is now just starting to install on and near Russia’s borders, works, then the United States will be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, and this system, which has been in development for decades and is technically called the "Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System”, will annihilate the missiles that Russia launches in retaliation, which will then leave the Russian population with no retaliation at all, except for the nuclear contamination of the entire northern hemisphere, and global nuclear winter, the blowback from America’s onslaught against Russia, which blowback some strategists in the West say would be manageable problems for the U.S. and might be worth the cost of eliminating Russia.

That theory, of a winnable nuclear war (which in the U.S. seems to be replacing the prior theory, called “M.A.D.” for Mutually Assured Destruction) was first prominently put forth in 2006 in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs, headlining “The Rise of Nuclear Primacy”, and this article advocated for a much bolder U.S. strategic policy against Russia, based upon what it argued was America’s technological superiority against Russia’s weaponry and a possibly limited time-window in which to take advantage of it before Russia catches up and the opportunity to do so is gone.

Paul Craig Roberts was the first reporter in the West to write in a supportive way about Russia’s concerns that Barack Obama might be a follower of that theory. One of Roberts’s early articles on this was issued on 17 June 2014 and headlined “Washington Is Beating The War Drums”, where he observed that “US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack."

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tried many times to raise this issue with President Obama, the most recent such instance being via a public statement of his concern, made on May 27th. Apparently, the public statement by Antonov on June 5th is following up on that latest Putin effort, by Antonov’s announcement there that Obama now explicitly refuses to discuss Putin’s concerns about the matter.

The fact that these efforts on the part of the Russian government are via public media instead of via private conversations (such as had been the means used during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the shoe was on the other foot and the U.S. President was concerned about the Soviet President’s installation of nuclear missiles 90 miles from the U.S. border) suggests that Mr. Obama, unlike U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1962, refuses to communicate with Russia, now that the U.S. is potentially in the position of the aggressor.

Russia is making its preparations, just in case it will (because of the Aegis Ashore system) need to be the first to attack. However, some knowledgeable people on the subject say that Russia will never strike first. Perhaps U.S. President Obama is proceeding on the basis of a similar assumption, and this is the reason why he is refusing to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart. However, if Mr. Obama wishes to avoid a nuclear confrontation, then refusing even to discuss the opponent’s concerns would not be the way to go about doing that. Obama is therefore sending signals to the contrary — that he is preparing a nuclear attack against Russia — simply by his refusal to discuss the matter. In this case, his action of refusal is, itself, an answer to Putin’s question, like slamming the door in Putin’s face would be. It’s a behavioral answer, instead of a merely verbal one.

The geostrategist John Helmer discussed on May 30th the question of when the “Trigger Point” will likely be for Putin to decide whether there is no reasonable alternative but to launch — and for him then to launch — World War III.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

  Read Obama Slams Door In Putin’s Face
  June 11, 2016
Severe Environmental Impacts, Massive Sea Water Ingress, Till 40 Kms In Bharuch, Gujarat

by National Alliance of People’s Movements, Countercurrents


June 10, 2016 : Several Newspapers in Gujarat have reported about the Arabian Sea ingress up to 40 Kms and depleting width of the river Narmada near Bharuch city, exposing the severe environmental impacts of a series of dams built upstream. This clearly indicates the serious impact of Sardar Sarovar in Gujarat on to agricultural land, famers, fish workers as well as the industries in the Dahej coastal areas. It was always an anticipated and expected impact of building a monstrous dam and stopping the huge water flow of Narmada coming from a distance as long as 1300 Kms. In past, whenever Narmada Bachao Andolan raised the issue of downstream impacts of the SSP and demanded thorough study of environmental impacts and preparation of mitigation plans, as also mentioned in the conditional clearance to Sardar Sarovar project granted in June 1887; the model answer by the Gujarat officials including the technocrats and politicians was that ‘we have studied those enough, and in any case those impacts would start coming up years later and hence we would take care of, when it happens.’

However, it is obvious that the impacts have already begun and taken a serious turn, as indicated from the news and statement coming from Gujarat even before the dam is complete and the gates are closed, since Gujarat has not cared to ensure required environmental flows for the downstream population. With Madhya Pradesh lifting away big chunks of water (172 crore liters / day through just two of its mini links) for its industries Sardar Sarovar and downstream may be left without the estimated water supply. Today itself, the Dam which the C M of Gujarat and P M himself have pushed at all costs, (granting clearance in June 2014, days within coming to power), the sea has begun entering into the river bed of Narmada substantially affecting the farms, the ground water i.e drinking water, irrigation and industrial water. In short the 41 kilo meters between Sardar Sarovar and the estuary at Bharuch is going to be drought affected and drought prone due to the river being stopped with 139 meters height- Sardar Sarovar.

Will the government of Gujarat hear the first ever cry raised by none other but Mr. Ahmed Patel, the political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, for ‘Saving Narmada in Gujarat’?

The downstream population of eight lakh is today facing the drought due to water turning saline and thereby not potable and unusable, affecting the livelihoods and life itself. However, it will not be even two months and the very region will face flood, as they have for several years during monsoon. Such a cycle of drought and flood is to be faced by no other state but Gujarat. While the farmers as well as more than ten thousand families of fish workers would find it difficult to survive and continue to stay in generations old habitats and they would be added to the large mass of project affected families due to the SSP upstream and will have to be categorised as the downstream impacted families. NBA realizing this for long have been including them in the long list of Project affected, which was ridiculed and challenged by the political elites of Gujarat, capitalizing the ignorance of people including the affected population.

Today, mother river Narmada, it is reported, is shrunk to 400 meters instead of 1.5 kilo meters, near Bharuch city, but will someone do anything? For those who are shocked at this, must also learn from the official documents and meeting minutes of the environmental sub groups of Narmada Control Authority which, which have strongly stated that the river would flow within 3 meters width in certain summer months. Hilsa, the rare species of fish, it was reported, may soon disappear, as it can’t be replenished through artificial breeding and regeneration. All this and much more is yet to come. Gujarat can save its people from the impacts even if it is not bothered about submergence without full and fair rehabilitation of 2,50,000 people who continue to live upstream area in the densely populated villages of Madhya Pradesh. For saving the downstream affected families at least, Gujarat and its own leadership at the Centre, must not close the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in order to protect the nature and the people. If the governments, exhibiting political expediency, fail to care then there is no doubt there will be a renewed Narmada Bachao Andolan, once again on the land of Gujarat.

  Read Severe Environmental Impacts, Massive Sea Water Ingress, Till 40 Kms In Bharuch, Gujarat
  June 11, 2016
Warming World: Can India Cope With Drought?

by Swati Agarwal, Climate Change News, Countercurrents


Severe heat waves intensified across northern and parts of western India when temperature in some places rose to above 50C.

The meteorological department issued a warning of likelihood of further intensification of temperature, pointing to the impact of worsening climate change.

These changes led to drought like situations for two consecutive years affecting the economy of around 10 states across 256 districts and impacted livelihoods of nearly 330 million people in rural India.

This magnitude and scale of the impacts due to drought have rarely been witnessed in recent time in any other part of the world.

Estimates by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) indicate the share of agriculture and allied sectors (including agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishery) has declined to 15.35% of the Gross Value Added (GVA – 2015-16), but it supports nearly 70% of the population.

Given this, worsening of drought in the country could stunt economic growth through direct and indirect impacts such as- loss of livelihoods, loss of agricultural produce, loss of soil health, distress migration to urban areas and increased expenses on relief, which adds up to the total cost to the economy.

Moreover, this would adversely impact on health of children and women besides increasing farm debt due to loss in livestock and farm economy in the drought-hit districts.

It is believed that if drought like situation prevails, farmers in some of the States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh will be worst hit due to agrarian crisis leading to farmer suicides which is currently over 160% higher than for all Indians excluding farmers, though direct linkage of farmer suicides to drought is not well established.

However, despite two consecutive droughts in the country, Indian economy continued to grow at 7.9% in 2016 Quarter 1 and is expected to grow at 7.2% in Quarter 2 in the year.

The economy has diversified to the extent that consecutive droughts do not affect the economy in any significant way.

In addition, the drought resilience framework in India addresses drought in its multiple dimensions:

-Meteorological (through early warning systems, crop weather watch group, improved datasets)

-Hydrological (through improved irrigation, water conservation and management)

-Agricultural (via drought resistant seeds distribution, soil conservation practices)

-Socio-economic (addressing the issues of livelihoods of people through relief, subsidized food, alternate employment opportunities)

Through these efforts, India has come to a situation, where droughts no longer lead to famine or famine like conditions.

While the economy as whole has achieved resilience from the impacts of drought, rural communities in large parts of the country continue to face the wrath of monsoon failure, leading to distressed selling of lands, movable assets, and migration.

This is aggravating poverty of the people affecting their nutritional standards rendering them more vulnerable to disease and ill-health and loss of productivity.

As per a recent industry study, total estimated impact on the Indian economy of drought in the year 2016 is estimated at $100 billion.

The Indian government is able to provide ex-post relief to drought sufferers through national and state disaster response funds, but there remains a wide financial gap.

The fund has an annual corpus of around 60,000 crores INR for a period of 5 years to respond to all types of disasters covering 29 states in India. This demonstrates an inadequacy of the funds for disaster relief in the country.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 called for creation of the National Disaster Mitigation Fund, but the government in its wisdom has decided not to set up the fund. However, the Govt of India has created the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change that receives funding through budgetary allocation.

The fund currently has a total corpus of nearly 350 Crore INR to be disbursed across a range of sectors requiring adaptation support.

If the allocations under this fund is also drawn towards addressing drought related stress and losses, cumulatively the total financial requirements would remain inadequate.

The prime strategy for India’s drought resilience plans therefore needs to be charted out in a way beyond the business-as-usual practices which will address drought resilience as an ex-ante measure.

The call by Prime Minister Modi to prepare a contingency plan for 67 districts in the country that are prone to drought even in years of normal monsoon is a welcome initiative.

This would ensure long term sustainability of the agricultural community against the recurring drought. Until, these plans are in place effectively, drought would continue to affect millions of poor people.

Therefore government initiatives need to be supplemented through community based interventions for climate change adaptations for drought resilience.

The Green Climate Fund should open a window of opportunities for such adaptation initiatives through grassroots level pilot projects, activities, and cross-cutting research which could be further improvised and replicated on a larger scale to all drought stressed regions in the country.

Swati Agarwal is a climate change researcher at The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), New Delhi. She works in the area of international and domestic climate policy and climate finance.

  Read Warming World: Can India Cope With Drought?
 June 14, 2016
Russia And China Have To Step Up Ideological War

by Andre Vltchek, Countercurrents

These days you may get hugs from many common people in the Middle East or Latin America when you say that you are Russian, but such emotional outbursts are mainly intuitive. After being bombarded by extremely effective and negative Western propaganda for years and decades, people of the world still know very little, if anything, about two enormous countries that have been proudly resisting the Western imperialism – Russia and China.

I recently spent five weeks in Latin America, where the West openly supports the entire wide spectrum of counter-revolutionary movements, literally overthrowing one progressive government after another. I worked alongside the left-wing intellectuals there, helping to define the way forward, to rescue the Process.

But I was shocked by how little is known there about both Russia and China - for decades two natural allies of the patriotic Latin American Left.

“Are you for Putin or against?” And: “Is China really as capitalist now as we read?”

These were two most commonly asked questions.

Not in Cuba, of course. Cuba, almost free of most of propaganda media outlets of the Empire is actually one of the best-educated and informed societies on Earth. There, people know all about those long decades and centuries of the epic struggle of the Russian people against Western imperialism. There, it is very well known that China is essentially and once again increasingly a Communist (and successful) nation with clear central planning, which uses some controlled capitalist practicesin order tobuilda prosperous society for its people.

But even in such educated countries like Argentina and Chile, even in those centers of progress and revolution like Ecuador and Venezuela, the two world giants are often misunderstood. The majority of people in Latin America may feel sympathy for both Russia and China,but there is no deep knowledge of the realities there.

It is truly discouraging, because the Latin American Left is one of the essential components of the front against Western imperialism, standing shoulder to shoulder with Russia and China, but also South Africa, Iran and other proud nations.

It is easy to understand the reasons behind all this. Even in some of the most revolutionary nations of Latin America, the Western mass media outlets have been managing to retain their presence, often through the right-wing big business cable TV and satellite distributors. Most of the biggest newspapers are still in the hands of local business interests.

And so the negative and misleading messages about Russia and China are spread constantly. People are bombarded with them from the television screens, from the pages of mass-circulation newspapers, and from the imported (Western) films.

Many are resisting. They instinctively want to cling to both Russia and China. But they don’t have enough “ammunition”; not enough positive and inspiring information is available to them. In the meantime the critics are armed tothe teeth with toxic propaganda that is mass-produced in New York, Los Angeles, London and Madrid.

And the situation is much worse in Asia.

There, the Empire has truly and fully mobilized allavailable resources, in order to discredit its two main adversaries.

Speaking to my friends and colleagues in such places like Indonesia and Philippines, I was told that most of the people there know little, even close to nothing about Russia. It is still perceived through the Cold War and post-Cold-War stereotypes. The Western propaganda apparatus has been portraying Russians as cold, aggressive, brainwashed and dangerous.

Great Russian culture, Russian arts and the exceptional warmth of the Russian people, are something almost totally unknown in most of the Asian nations.

Great foreign policy successes of Russia, like those in Syria, are twisted and turned into the crimes, even in Muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where “people should definitely know better”.

In India, which had been for decades very close to the Soviet Union, the situation is somehow brighter, but only among the extremely small and educated group of its citizens. There, like in many other parts of the world, pro-business and pro-Western mass media is skillfully defending the interests of the West, demonizing all that is standing in the way of the Empire.

China is being targeted with an even greater and more malicious force than Russia. Successful and Communist China is the worst nightmare for the West and for the local, Asian ‘elites’.

The entire propaganda apparatus is now in overdrive, spreading ideological attacks and negative messages. The most peaceful major country on Earth is being portrayed as an aggressor and threat to regional and world peace. In the Philippines and elsewhere, the global Western regime is arousing the cheapest and extremely dangerous bellicose forms of nationalism.

The local Chinese diaspora of Southeast Asia that consists mainly of the anti-Communist elements, descendants of the people who left China after the revolution, are playing an extremely important and destructive role.

Nobody seems to notice that the United States/NATO is encircling both Russia and China with its military bases, while deploying new offensive missile systems. Nobody talks about those tens of millions of people who were massacred during the Western invasions of Asia during the 20th century.

And the situation is not much different in Africa and elsewhere.


True, both Russia and China have invested some substantial resources in order to counter the Western propaganda. The RT, Sputnik and NEO (New Eastern Outlook), have all become extremely effective global information and intellectual detoxification outlets.

But the West is still investing more. The ideological war is even something that is lately being discussed openly in Washington. The more Russia and China resist andthe more they defend themselves; the more Western propaganda steps up its indoctrination campaigns.

Clearly, both Russia and China have to do more, not only for their own interests, but also for the good of the world.

The great achievements of China and Russia have to be explained in detail. Such information should be spread to all corners of the planet.

In this field, China should learn from Russia, as the Chinese media outlets now available abroad are still too ‘timid’ and too reconciliatory. It requires real strength and determination to counter the mighty and centuries-old Western propaganda and brainwashing schemes.It also requires large financial budgets.

But the intellectual ‘resistance’ and the ideological wars should not be fought only in the fields of the politics, news and analyses. The tremendous cultural and intellectual achievements of both China and Russia should be made available to the populations on all continents. China has done so already a lot, mainly through its Confucius Institutes. It should be doing more, and so should Russia.

Both countries are in possession of marvelous cultural wealth, overflowing with wisdom and arts. Their humanism is much deeper than that of the West -the West that has been mainly building its wealth, for centuries, by plundering thePlanet.

For as long as one can remember, both Europe and North America had been committing genocides, while enslaving entire continents. At the same time, they have been engaging in self-glorification, promoting their political, economic and cultural concepts. They claimed cultural superiority. And they have been doing it with such force, such ruthlessness and in the end with such success, that they have managed to fully indoctrinate most of the world into accepting that there is really no alternative, no other way (except the Western way) forward.

There are naturally other ways, and needless to say, much better ones!

In fact, before European colonialism began ruining and enslaving the planet, almost all parts of the world were living in much more developed and gentler societies than those of the West.

Now very little is known about this fact. Alternatives are not discussed in the mainstream, anymore. The search for a better world, for more humanistic concepts, is almost totally abandoned; at least in the West and in its colonies and ‘client” states.

It as if this horrid nightmare, into which the world had been forcedinto by the global Western dictatorship, is the only imaginable future for our human race.

It is not. And there are two great countries on this planet, Russia and China, which can offer many alternatives. They are strong enough to withstand all the pressure from the West. They have hearts, brains; they have the know-how and resources to offer alternatives and to re-start millennia old, essential discussions about the future of our humanity.

But in order for this to happen, the world has to first know about both Russia and China. It has to understand their cultures.

The war against imperialism should be fought not only on the battlefields; it shouldbe fought on the airwaves, at the printing presses, in the concert halls and theatres. Kindness, humanism, internationalism and knowledge can often serve as weapons much more powerful than missiles, strategic bombers and submarines.

  Read Russia And China Have To Step Up Ideological War
 June 14, 2016
British Troops Enter Syria And Libya To Ensure That War Outlives ISIS

by Dan Glazebrook , Countercurrents

Over the past three weeks, it has emerged that British special forces are now in direct combat roles in Libya and Syria. Ostensibly there to fight ISIS, the real goal is to prevent the Syrian and Libyan armies defeating ISIS themselves.

The Normandy landings, launched 72 years ago this week, saw the opening of a second front against the Nazis in Europe by the US and the UK after years of procrastination. Despite the signing of a ‘mutual assistance’ agreement with Britain in 1941, and the Anglo-Soviet alliance in 1942, for years very little was done by the US or Britain to actually fight the Nazi menace. In a joint communique issued in 1942, they agreed to open a second front in Europe that same year, an agreement they broke and then postponed repeatedly, leaving the Soviets to fight the strongest industrial power in Western Europe alone for three years – at an eventual cost of 27 million lives. The US and Britain, it seemed, were following what International Relations theorist John Mearsheimer has termed a ‘bait and bleed’ policy, allowing Germany and the Soviet Union to “bleed each other white” whilst they themselves stood on the sidelines. "If we see Germany winning, we ought to help Russia,” declared US Senator (and later President) Harry Truman in June 1941, “and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible." The British Minister for Aircraft Production Colonel Moore-Brabazon echoed his views the following month, telling a lunch party of government officials that the best outcome on the Eastern front would have been the mutual exhaustion of Germany and the USSR in order that Britain could then move in to dominate Europe. He was eventually forced to resign following uproar from a public determined to see their government do more to help the embattled Soviets.

In the end, it was not until well after the Nazis’ fortunes had been decisively reversed at Stalingrad that the long promised ‘second front’ actually materialized. Indeed, by this point the outcome of the war had effectively already been determined. D Day, then, was waged not to defeat the Nazis but to ensure the Soviet Union, who had borne almost all of the sacrifice, would not reap the fruits of their victory. As Soviet Admiral Kharlamov, head of the Soviet Military Mission in Britain during the Second World War, wrote, "Certain circles, both in the United States and Britain, feared that should the Red Army defeat Germany single-handed, the Soviet Union would have enormous influence on the post-war development of and social progress in the European countries. The Allies could not allow that to happen. This is why they considered the opening of a second front in Europe not so much a military action but as a political measure aimed at preventing the progressive political forces from coming to power in European countries." Documents declassified in 1998 revealed that Churchill had even ordered the drawing up of a plan that would see British and US troops push on beyond Berlin alongside a rearmed German army in a nuclear war against the Soviets.

History is now repeating itself, this time as farce. From 2014 until September 2015, ISIS appeared to sweep all before them, achieving hugely symbolic victories in Iraq’s Mosul and Fallujah, Syria’s Raqqa and Palmyra, and Libya’s Derna and Sirte. At the same time, under Saudi and Turkish tutelage, Al Qaeda’s ‘Al Nusra front’ was making gains in Syria, and the Ansar Sharia faction in Libya took Benghazi, paving the way for a major ISIS infiltration. The West did little to help. In Syria, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had been left to fight such groups not only bereft of support from the West, but facing a West apparently determined to destroy them. Similarly, the Libyan National Army - representing the elected Libyan parliament – was hamstrung by an arms embargo scrupulously observed in relation to them, but regularly violated by the West’s gulf allies when it came to the ‘Libya Dawn’ sectarian militias who were attacking them. And even the US’ supposedly closest allies in the Iraqi army, the elite ‘Golden Division’, had trouble getting effective US support when they needed it.

Despite this, starting with last September’s Russian intervention in Syria, the tide has begun to turn against ISIS and Al Qaeda, paving the way for a string of victories by the Syrian Arab Army and the Libyan National Army in particular, and pointing, potentially, towards the full restoration of governmental authority in both countries.

In Libya, the key moment was in February 2016, when the Libyan National Army finally regained control of Benghazi from ISIS and Ansar Sharia after 18 months of intense fighting. Both the ISIS presence in Benghazi and the city’s liberation were predictably downplayed in Western media, despite the city’s fate having been apparently so important to British and US leaders back in 2011. On May 3rd, the Libyan National Army began its march West from Benghazi towards ISIS’ last Libyan holdout in Sirte.

In February, too, a massive Syrian army offensive towards Aleppo began to make serious gains, taking territory from Al Qaeda, ISIS and Ahrar Al Sham. On February 3rd, the supply route to Aleppo was severed, breaking a rebel siege of two government-held towns south of Azaz. Mass surrenders to the SAA followed, including 1200 in Hama. Then, exactly one month later, the world-historic city of Palmyra was liberated from ISIS by Syrian government forces backed with Russian air support. In what was presumably an attempt to appear relevant, the US had also launched two token airstrikes on the city, illustrating, said journalist Robert Fisk, that the US “want to destroy iSIS – but not that much”.

Today, ISIS’ original stronghold, the capital of its self-declared caliphate, is itself under threat. The Times reported earlier this week that a massively re-moralised Syrian army, is “storming towards the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa” and that “the Syrian regime’s elite Desert Hawks unit, backed by the Russian airstrikes, crossed the southern border of Raqqa province at the weekend – the first time that any of Assad’s forces have set foot there since being driven out by isis nearly two years ago.” They have been making swift advances.

Throughout 2016, then, the national armed forces of Libya and Syria, representing the elected governments of both countries, have been on a roll; and the days of ISIS and their sectarian bedfellows may well be numbered. So it is interesting that it is precisely this moment – not when ISIS were making gains, but now that they are facing defeat – that British troops have deigned to openly enter the fray.

The same edition of the Times that reported that the SAA were “storming towards …Raqqa” also carried, as its front page story, the news that “British special forces are on the frontline in Syria defending a rebel unit”, noting that “the operation marks the first evidence of the troops’ direct involvement in the war-torn country rather than just training rebels in Jordan.” And the same newspaper had reported the previous week that British special forces undertook their first known combat mission in Libya on May 12th, in support of the ‘Libya Dawn’ faction of the Libyan civil war. Libya Dawn is an umbrella group of mainly Misrata-based militias that emerged following the elections of June 2014 under Qatari patronage to fight against the newly elected secular parliament, and its armed forces, the Libyan National Army (LNA). The Times tacitly acknowledged that, up until now, the LNA has been fighting ISIS alone, noting that “MIsrata had largely ignored the metastasis of ISIS in Sirte, 170 miles away, since the first terrorist cells embedded themselves there in 2013”. Now, however, alongside the British ‘boots on the ground’ that Cameron vowed would never step foot in Libya, they have suddenly found themselves the ‘chosen force’ to liberate the country.

As in 1945, having sat back whilst a vicious and genocidal group laid waste to thousands upon thousands of soldiers fighting alone against them, the Cameron regime now wants to deny those armies the fruits of their heroic sacrifices. Cameron would rather see Raqqa and Sirte liberated by a ragtag of militias with little to unite them other than their sectarianism, than to see the authority of the elected governments restored. With British troops now in combat roles alongside the insurgents in Syria, however, this raises the prospect of a direct confrontation with Russian forces. Just like Churchill in 1945, it appears he is quite prepared to risk this. Back then, saner heads prevailed. The question is – where are those heads now?

Dan Glazebrook is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis

This article originally appeared at: Rt.com

  Read British Troops Enter Syria And Libya To Ensure That War Outlives ISIS
  June 14, 2016
Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Set To Pass 400ppm—Permanently

by Nadia Prupis, CommonDreams.org, Countercurrents


Record carbon dioxide levels are set to surpass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (PPM) this year and will likely never fall below that line again in our lifetimes, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Scientists at the UK Met Office used emissions data, sea surface temperature figures, and a climate model from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii to track the trajectory of CO2 levels and found that carbon dioxide "will for the first time remain above 400 ppm all year and hence for our lifetimes."

Emissions have increased over the past 12 months due to the continued burning of fossil fuels, but the impact has also been exacerbated by an unbridled El Niño event. Reports from earlier this year also found that 2016 is poised to become the hottest year in recorded history.

The findings highlight increasingly urgent concerns about global efforts to curb climate change as outlined in the Paris agreement negotiated last December and signed in April by nearly 170 nations.

"It's a sign we are still on track for a high emissions scenario. We won't be looking at below 400ppm in our lifetimes," Richard Betts, co-author of the study and Met Office scientist, told Climate Home.

The outlet's editor Ed King reports:

The fact emissions rose faster than usual, Betts told Climate Home, was no surprise.

Higher CO2 rates are expected as El Nino warms and dries tropical land areas, slowing the uptake of carbon by trees and plants, and increasing the risks of forest fires.

[....] If and when the world continues to warm as the UN’s climate science panel predicts it will based on current rates of warming gases, the threat of more fires at that scale could rise.

The study also found that devastating forest fires in Indonesia in 2015 and 2016—which NASA scientists warned at the time were the worst climate crisis on Earth—may have fueled about 20 percent of El Niño's addition worldwide CO2 levels.

Carbon concentrations have passed the 400ppm limit before, but never permanently. The new study confirms that those days may be over for good.

"Once you have passed that barrier, it takes a long time for CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere by natural processes," Betts told the Guardian on Monday. "Even if we cut emissions, we wouldn’t see concentrations coming down for a long time, so we have said goodbye to measurements below 400ppm at Mauna Loa."

The authors write: "In the longer term, a reduction in CO2 concentration would require substantial and sustained cuts in anthropogenic emissions to near zero."

The safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is around 350PPM maximum, climate advocates say. But according to Betts, "We could be passing above 450ppm in roughly 20 years."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

  Read Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Set To Pass 400ppm—Permanently
  June 14, 2016
NATO Orders Four Additional Battalions To Russian Border

by Thomas Gaist , WSWS.org, Countercurrents

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is sending 4,000 additional troops to Eastern Europe in the name of reassuring Poland and the Baltic states, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed on Monday. “We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multi-national battalions in the Baltic states and Poland,” Stoltenberg told NATO officials.

The US, Germany and Britain will each contribute 1,000 soldiers, with Canada expected to confirm its own contingent of 1,000. The deployments are among the most provocative actions taken by the NATO high command in the course of its anti-Russian buildup, now well into its second year. With ever greater recklessness, the US and European ruling elites are sowing the seeds of war across the width and breadth of the Eurasian landmass.

The announcement of new troop deployments comes in the midst of Operation Anaconda 2016, involving more than 30,000 NATO forces in the biggest war drill held in Poland since the end of the Second World War. Some 12,500 of the 30,000 soldiers are American.

In Eastern Europe, under the guise of “rotational deployments,” NATO has established a permanent military force. Put forth for public consumption as a response to Russian “meddling” in Ukraine and alleged provocations by Russia’s military along the frontiers of NATO’s eastern member states, the real purpose of NATO’s spearhead force is to prepare for a ground invasion across Russia’s western border.

Beginning with the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, the US-dominated imperialist alliance has relentlessly stoked confrontation with Moscow and laid the foundations for a continental-scale war aimed at breaking up and conquering the Russian Federation.

The continued massing of Western troops along Russia’s border makes good on US President Barack Obama’s September 2014 promise that the US and NATO powers would provide “eternal” military assistance to the Baltic states. In effect, Obama committed the most powerful military alliance in the world to waging all-out war against Russia should one of the tiny Baltic states claim to be under attack from Moscow.

Such a war, which would immediately raise the prospect of a showdown between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, would ostensibly be launched to defend some of the smallest and least populated countries in Europe, which are ruled by far-right and rabidly anti-Russian regimes.

The Baltic governments are actively encouraging the deployments and calling for still more NATO military hardware over and above the vast stocks of tanks, artillery and heavy weapons pre-positioned throughout Eastern Europe by NATO since 2014. Backed by the Western alliance, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are placing their societies on a war footing. They are putting their armed forces on high alert and awaiting the call for mobilization against Russia.

On Monday, Lithuanian defense official Juozas Olekas told the UK’s Daily Express that Russia “might exercise on the borders and then switch to invasion in hours.” At stake in Lithuania is “the credibility of the whole alliance,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.

NATO defense of Estonia’s air space must be “first and foremost” on the alliance’s agenda, Estonia’s military chief said, before demanding a permanent presence of NATO troops in Estonia. “These forces are in Estonia to send a clear and unequivocal message to the adversary: do not quarrel with NATO,” he said.

The charge of “Russian aggression” against Europe is among the central lies employed by present-day imperialism. Seizing on the secession of Crimea from post-coup Ukraine and the enclave’s integration into the Russian Federation, the NATO establishment has sought to justify its war preparations as a defensive precaution in the face of a Putin government supposedly primed to invade Central Europe.

While Russia’s military saber-rattling, which alternates with attempts at compromise with the West, only adds to the war danger, it is essentially of a defensive character.

On Monday, citing unnamed NATO sources, British media accused Russia of “circumventing the Vienna accord and building up troop numbers in sensitive locations on Europe’s doorstep.” Announcing plans to boost military expenditures by $3 billion annually, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg declared: “This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally.”

US and European imperialism are committed to defend the Baltics because it supplies them with a pretext and a staging area for covert and military operations along Russia’s flanks.

In Washington and some European capitals, powerful elements within the imperialist bourgeoisie are actively conspiring to engineer further provocations and destabilization operations against Russia.

The integration of former Soviet republic Georgia into NATO is slated to be a core issue at next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw. Russia and the pro-Western government of Georgia fought a brief war in 2008, and Moscow has vociferously opposed the country’s joining the US-dominated military alliance.

The integration of Georgia would greatly facilitate the projection of US and NATO power against Russia’s southern flank in the Caucasus and Caspian Sea Basin. Last week’s announcement of intensified US military operations in Afghanistan is bound up with preparations to use that country as well to strike against Russia’s “soft underbelly” in Central Asia, in particular against Russian interests in Kazakhstan.

The NATO buildup in Eastern Europe is producing levels of militarist frenzy not seen in Europe since the 1930s. During war drills in Lithuania this week, as the German and Danish militaries rehearsed marching on the Russian border, Danish Colonel Jakob Larsen told the media, “You see it differently when you live here. We need to learn to fight total war again.”

 June 17, 2016
Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems

by Adam Parsons, Sharing.org, Countercurrents


A new report by leading sustainability experts has reaffirmed the case for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems – fundamental to which is a call for redistributing power back into the hands of those who feed the world.

An alternative vision of farming and food systems has long been upheld by civil society groups and small-scale producers around the world, based on the science of agroecology and the broader framework of food sovereignty. But while many reports and studies have shown how less intensive, diversified and sustainable farming methods can have far better outcomes than today’s corporate-dominated model of industrial agriculture, the question remains as to how we can make the shift towards agroecological systems on a global scale.

A new report by The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) has therefore attempted to fill a gap in these research findings, mapping out the common leverage points for unleashing such a radical transition. Led by the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, a group of 20 leading agronomists and sustainability experts conclude that modern agriculture is failing to sustain the people and resources on which it relies, and has “come to represent an existential threat to itself”.

The first section of the report cites the overwhelming evidence in favour of a major transformation of our food systems, from the environmental and socio-economic issues to the question of global food supplies, which the authors crucially argue will not be greatly affected by moving away from industrial agriculture. The report strongly contends that what’s needed is not a “tweaking” of monocultural production systems or “incremental shifts” towards more sustainable farming practices, but a fundamental paradigm shift that addresses the underlying dynamics and power relations that are at the root of the agricultural crisis.

However, the scale of the challenge is clear in the report’s second section, which outlines the vicious circles and “lock-ins” that keep industrial agriculture in place, regardless of its negative outcomes. Some of these factors relate to the political structures governing food systems, such as the web of interlocking market and political incentives that are tailored to large-scale farming, and the increasing orientation of agriculture to international trade. The report also looks at other conceptual barriers and framing issues that serve to lock in the technology-oriented, highly specialised model of farming that is based on “compartmentalised” and short-term thinking within the political and business communities.

Feeding the world?

Of particular significance is what the authors term “feed the world” narratives that continue to inform public policy, based on a narrow vision of food security understood in terms of delivering sufficient net calories at the global level. These productivity-focused narratives tend to ignore the fact that hunger is fundamentally a distributional question tied to poverty, social exclusion and other factors that prevent sufficient access to food, as emphasised by statistics from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation. Impressive productivity gains in industrial systems have clearly not translated into global food security by any measure, with 795 million estimated to be suffering from hunger in 2015, and 2 billion people afflicted by the “hidden hunger” of micronutrient deficiencies.

Furthermore, narratives about “feeding the world” through increased net production levels also serve to deflect attention away from the failings of industrial agriculture, thus reinforcing the dominant paradigm. In this light, the report cites the initiative called the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” (NAFSN) that was launched by G8 countries in 2012 with the noble aim of improving the lives of smallholder farmers and lifting 50 million out of poverty by 2050. By focusing on integrating smallholders into agribusiness-led global supply chains through outgrower schemes, the NAFSN initiative ignores the power imbalances and livelihood stresses that are often exacerbated in these types of arrangements. It also overlooks the severe environmental impacts of industrial agriculture, and the unrealised potential of diversified agroecological systems to deliver a sustainable pathway to global food security.

The underlying problem is the concentration of power in food systems, which the report describes as a “lock-in of a different nature” that reinforces all of the other lock-ins. A small number of dominant agribusiness firms control the majority of chemical fertilizer supplies, pesticides and input-responsive seeds, for example, while power is highly concentrated at every node of the commercial food chain – in commodity export circuits, the global trade in grain, and through supermarkets and other large-scale retailers. These dominant actors are able to use their power to reinforce the prevailing dynamics that favour food systems geared to uniform crop commodities and massive export-oriented trade. Through lobbying policymakers, influencing research and development focuses, and even by co-opting alternatives - such as organic agriculture - these vested interests are able to perpetuate the self-reinforcing power imbalances in industrial food systems.

Resistance to change

Herein lies the crux of the issue for putting agroecology at the forefront of the global political agenda: the mismatch between its potential to improve food system outcomes, and its potential to generate profits for agribusiness:

“A wholesale transition to diversified agroecological food and farming systems does not hold obvious economic interest for the actors to whom power and influence have previously accrued. The alternative model requires fewer external inputs, most of which are locally and/or self-produced. Furthermore, in order to deliver the resilience so central to diversified systems, a wide variety of highly locally-adapted seeds is needed, alongside the ability to reproduce, share and access that base of genetic resources over time. This suggests a much-reduced role for input-responsive varieties of major cereal crops, and therefore few incentives for commercial providers of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. The global trade and processing industry is also a major potential source of resistance to change, given that alternative models tend to favour local production and short value chains that reduce the number of intermediaries.”

Questioning whether the balance can be shifted in favour of diversified agroecological systems, the report goes on to identify several opportunities for change that are emerging through the cracks of the existing models of industrial agriculture. This includes the policy incentives enacted by some governments to shift their food systems towards more ecologically sustainable means of farming, such as the oft-cited example of Cuba that has been compelled to shift away from chemical input-intensive commodity monocropping since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Alongside the marked rise in public and academic awareness in favour of agroecology over recent years, as well as a surge in many grassroots schemes and initiatives that embody agroecological principles (i.e. farmers markets, community supported agriculture, direct sales shops and other new market relationships that bypass conventional retail circuits), also of note is the positive developments in the global governance agenda. There are now many examples of new intergovernmental processes and assessments that are responding to the case for a wholesale food systems transition. In particular, the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition was held in 2014, with a further symposium to be held in China in August this year, followed by a regional meeting in Hungary towards the end of 2016. In 2009, the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) also gave the strongest support to the development of agroecological science and practice, presenting policymakers with an effective blueprint to confront today’s global food crisis.

But as the IPES-Food report concludes, these new opportunities are not developing nearly fast enough. Farming systems now stand at a crossroads, and there is a great danger that the current reinvestment in agriculture in the global South will replicate the pathways of industrialisation followed in wealthy countries. However, the author’s recommended “pathways of transition” are not overly inspiring given the convincing case for change presented in the earlier evidence sections of the report. There may also be nothing new for progressive scholars or food justice campaigners in the outline of new political priorities that must be urgently established by governments, no matter how important these policy shifts remain – such as the promotion of shorter supply chains and alternatives to mass retail outlets, and the ultimate relinquishing of all public support from monocultural production systems.

Redistributing power downwards

More compelling is the report’s acknowledgement that the distribution of power is crucial to the transition towards diversified agricultural systems, and hence the key to change is the establishment of new political priorities that can, over time, redistribute power in the global food system away from the dominant actors. That is, of course, an immense challenge that cannot succeed without the strengthening of social movements, from the many indigenous and community-based organisations that advocate for agroecological practices, to the diverse coalitions and civil society groups from the global North and South that embrace the food sovereignty paradigm. The fact that the report acknowledges the importance of these grassroots, bottom-up, farmer- and consumer-led initiatives makes it a potential tool for activists to use in the ongoing struggle for a just and sustainable food system.

From STWR’s perspective, the call for sharing is central to this alternative vision of a new paradigm in global agriculture that is designed in the interests of people and the environment, rather than the profit-making imperatives of multinational corporations. For example, as the historic Nyéléni Declaration on Agroecology asserts in its statement of common principles from February last year, collective rights and the sharing of access to the commons is a fundamental pillar of agroecology, which is as much a political movement as a science of sustainable farming. It is fundamentally about challenging and transforming structures of power in society, and placing the control of the food supply – the seeds, biodiversity, land and territories, waters, knowledge, culture and the commons – back into the hands of the peoples who feed the world, the vast majority of whom are small-scale producers.

If governments are to finally accept their responsibility to guarantee access to safe, nutritious food for all the world’s people, there is now a clearly established roadmap of the policies needed to democratise and localise food economies in line with the principles of sharing and cooperation. The IPES-Food report has provided another valuable assessment and set of recommendations that strengthens the case for a global transition towards food systems that diversify production and nurture the environment in holistic ways, rebuilding biodiversity and rehabilitating degraded land. The core of the challenge is not a lack of evidence, as the report authors have again made clear; it is the ideological support for an outmoded model of agriculture that continues to generate huge profits for the few, at the expense of long-term healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods.

Adam Parsons is the editor at Share The World's Resources www.sharing.org

  Read Pathways Of Transition To Agroecological Food Systems
 May 30, 2016

by Dr. Ashok T Chakravarthy, Inde ,


Poets of the world; - in unison
Let’s take this privileged occasion,
To impart a message of concern,
That; - Poetry is a potent weapon,
That can pave a way for compassion,
With appealing verses of passion,
To soothe hearts with a new vision,
For peaceful co-existence of humans.

Sharing humane feelings with concern
Reaffirming loyalty with dedication,
Upholding values of diverse traditions,
Conversing with creative inscriptions,
Poets; - with a love-filled concoction
Should unite the distracted civilization
With fascinating poetic expressions
To restore dialogue for reconciliation.

poets of the world; - in unison
Let’s take ‘World Poetry Day’ occasion,
To share dejected feelings with concern
Of innocent victims of war and destruction,
Who need a humanitarian visualization,
To ensure Universal Peace and self-realization.


Poètes du monde; - à l'unisson
Profitons de cette occasion privilégiée,
Pour donner un message de quiétude,
- La poésie est une arme puissante,
Cela peut ouvrir une voie à la compassion,
Avec l’appel des versets de la passion,
Pour apaiser les cœurs avec une nouvelle vision,
Pour la Co-existence pacifique de l'homme.

Partage des sentiments humains avec inquiétude
Réaffirmant la fidélité avec dévouement,
Conservant les valeurs de la diversité des traditions,
Converser avec les inscriptions créatives,

Poètes; - Avec une concoction rempli d'amour
Devront unir la civilisation distraite
Avec des expressions poétiques fascinantes
Pour restaurer le dialogue pour la réconciliation.

poètes du monde; - à l'unisson
Prenons l'occasion de la Journée mondiale de la poésie »,
Pour partager des sentiments abattus avec inquiétude
Parmi les victimes innocentes de la guerre et de la destruction,
Qui a besoin d'une visualisation humanitaire,
Pour assurer la paix universelle et la réalisation de soi.


Poetas do mundo; - Em uníssono
Aproveite esta oportunidade especial,
Para dar uma mensagem de paz,
- A poesia é uma arma poderosa,
Isso pode abrir um caminho para a compaixão,
Com a chamada dos versos de paixão,
Para apaziguar os corações com uma nova visão,
Para a co-existência pacífica do homem.

Partilha de sentimentos humanos com preocupação Reafirmando a lealdade com dedicação,
Defesa dos valores da diversidade das tradições,
Bate-papo com as entradas criativas,

poetas; - Com uma mistura cheia de amor
Unirá civilização distraído
Com expressões poéticas fascinantes
Para restaurar o diálogo para a reconciliação.

poetas do mundo; - Em uníssono
Aproveitar a ocasião do Dia Mundial da Poesia "
Para compartilhar sentimentos com preocupação abatidos
Entre as vítimas inocentes da guerra e da destruição,
Quem precisa de uma visualização humanitária,
Para garantir uma paz universal e auto-realização.


Poetas del mundo; - Al unísono
Aprovechar esta oportunidad especial,
Para dar un mensaje de paz,
- La poesía es un arma poderosa,
Esto puede abrir un camino a la compasión,
Con la llamada de los versos de la pasión,
Para apaciguar los corazones con una nueva visión,
Para la convivencia del hombre.

Compartir sentimientos humanos con preocupación
Reafirmando la lealtad con dedicación,
La defensa de los valores de la diversidad de las tradiciones,
Hablar con las entradas creativas,

poetas; - Con una mezcla llena de amor
Unirá a la civilización distraído
Con expresiones poéticas fascinantes
Para restaurar el diálogo para la reconciliación.

poetas del mundo; - Al unísono
Tome con motivo del Día Mundial de la Poesía "
Para compartir sentimientos con preocupación sacrificados
Entre las víctimas inocentes de la guerra y la destrucción,
¿Quién necesita una visualización humanitaria,
Para garantizar la paz universal y la auto-realización.
 May 22, 2016
La PAZ La paix The peace PAZ

by Marga Mangione, Argentine ,

Es la PAZ sueño anhelado,
desde que el mundo ha nacido,
pero viejos acaecidos, y modernas ambiciones,
quebraron las relaciones, por mezquinos intereses
y hoy el mundo se estremece,
sin hallar las soluciones.

Hay en algunas naciones,
hombres necios y sin alma,
que al mundo roban la calma, con sus luchas intestinas.
Entre sus odios e inquinas, involucran al ajeno,
y le inyectan su veneno,
con palabras anodinas.

¡Retóricas bizantinas,
que no sirven para nada!
Pues si la PAZ es ahogada, nos someterá la guerra.
Cruel monstruo que nos aterra, y nos quita la esperanza,
falta total de bonanza,
que la alegría destierra.

¿Dios no desvirtuó la guerra,
con Consignas y Sermones,
dándonos sus bendiciones, el amor entre los hombres?
¿No habló ante las muchedumbres, con Parábolas geniales,
relatándonos los males,
de esas absurdas costumbres?

¿Por qué duda e incertidumbres,
tiene en su mente el humano?
Olvidando que es su hermano, al que en la guerra ha matado.
Cuando un pueblo es arrasado, en medio de bombardeos,
¡hipócritas fariseos,
se burlan del derrotado!

Si es la PAZ nuestro legado,
unámonos en un grito,
con el coraje bendito, que el Señor nos ha brindado.
Si no nos está vedado, manifestar sentimientos,
dejemos nuestros lamentos,
y olvidemos el pasado.

Nadie será derrotado,
si trabaja por la PAZ,
y así el corrupto y procaz, no nos robará el futuro.
Será el porvenir más puro, si unimos nuestros destinos,
marchando por el camino,
donde no haya un lado oscuro…

La paix

La PAIX c’est le rêve le plus cher,
depuis que le monde est né,
mais le mal a eu lieu, et les ambitions modernes,
ont rompu les relations par des intérêts étroits
et aujourd'hui le monde frissonne,
sans trouver des solutions.

Il existe dans certains pays,
des fous et des hommes sans âme,
qui volent le monde avec leurs luttes.
Parmi ses haines et rancunes, impliquant l'étranger,
et ils injectent leur venin avec des platitudes.

Rhétorique byzantine, ils sont inutiles!
Car si la paix est noyée, nous soumettrons la guerre.
monstre cruel qui nous terrifie, et il enlève l'espoir,
absence totale de la prospérité, cette joie bannit.

Est-ce que Dieu ne déforme la guerre,
avec des slogans et des sermons,
nous donnant sa bénédiction, l'amour parmi les hommes?
Il n'a pas parlé à la foule, avec des Paraboles,
nous raconter les maux de ces coutumes absurdes?

Pourquoi le doute et l'incertitude est dans l'esprit humain?
Il oublie que son frère, que la guerre a tué.
Quand un village est détruit, au milieu des bombardements,
Pharisiens hypocrites se moquent de la défaite!

Si notre PAIX est l’ héritage, laissez-nous dans un cri,
bénir avec le courage que le Seigneur nous a donné.
Si c’est interdit d’ exprimer des sentiments,
laisser nos cris et oublier le passé.

Personne ne sera vaincu,
si vous travaillez pour la paix,
et si corrompu et impudent, ne pourra nous priver de l'avenir.
Ce sera le plus pur avenir, si nous unissons nos destinées,
marchant le long de la route, où il n'y a pas de côté sombre ...

The peace

PEACE is the biggest dream,
since the world was born,
but the damage has occurred, and the modern ambitions,
broke relations with narrow interests
and today the world shudders,
without finding solutions.
There are some countries
fools and men without soul
that fly the world with their struggles.
Among his hatreds and grudges, involving overseas
and they inject their venom with platitudes.
Byzantine rhetoric, they are useless!
For if peace is embedded, we will submit the war.
cruel monster that terrifies us, and it takes away hope,
total lack of prosperity, joy banishes.
Does God distorts the war,
with slogans and sermons,
giving us his blessing, love among men?
He did not speak to the crowd with Parables,
tell us the evils of these absurd customs?
Why doubt and uncertainty in the human mind?
He forgets that his brother, the war killed.
When a village is destroyed in the midst of the bombing,
Pharisees, hypocrites mock defeat!
If our PEACE is the legacy, let us cry,
blessed with the courage that the Lord has given us.
If it is forbidden to express feelings,
let our cries and forget the past.
No one will be defeated,
if you work for peace,
and so corrupt and impudent, will deprive us of the future.
This will be the purest future, if we unite our destinies,
walking along the road, where there is no dark side ...


A paz é o maior sonho,
desde que o mundo nasceu,
mas o dano ocorreu, e as ambições modernas,
relações rompeu com interesses estreitos
e hoje o mundo estremece,
sem encontrar soluções.
Há alguns países
tolos e homens sem alma
aéreas que voam pelo mundo com suas lutas.
Entre seus ódios e rancores, envolvendo exterior
e eles injetam seu veneno com banalidades.
retórica Bizantino, eles são inúteis!
Porque, se a paz é incorporado, vamos apresentar a guerra.
cruel monstro que nos aterroriza, e ele tira a esperança,
falta total de prosperidade, alegria expulsa.
Será que Deus distorce a guerra,
com slogans e sermões,
dando-nos a sua bênção, o amor entre os homens?
Ele não falou para a multidão com parábolas,
diga-nos os males desses costumes absurdos?
Por que a dúvida ea incerteza na mente humana?
Ele esquece que seu irmão, a guerra matou.
Quando uma aldeia é destruída no meio do bombardeio,
Fariseus, hipócritas simulada derrota!
Se a nossa paz é o legado, vamos chorar,
abençoado com a coragem que o Senhor nos deu.
Se é proibido de expressar sentimentos,
deixe nossos gritos e esquecer o passado.
Ninguém será derrotado,
se você trabalha para a paz,
e tão corrupto e insolente, vai privar-nos do futuro.
Este será o futuro mais pura, se unirmos nossos destinos,
caminhando ao longo da estrada, onde não há nenhum lado escuro ...
  Read  La PAZ    La paix   The peace  PAZ
 May 15, 2016

by Felgerolles Claude, France ,


On entend parler de PAIX universelle comme d'un projet à long terme abouti :
Pour la pratiquer au quotidien, il faut avoir un comportement social normal
avec des gestes cordiaux et des mots aimables ,
une infinie délicatesse dans l'accueil de l'autre , des attentions bienveillantes
et courtoises, des échanges prudents dans une atmosphère d'écoute et
de patience.
Il faut ajouter un plus : rechercher la signification du mot AMOUR
donc aller à l'école pour combattre l'illettrisme ,
savoir lire et apprendre à utiliser les livres , en priorité le dictionnaire,
l'encyclopédie , puits de connaissances inépuisables ,
chez soi, en classe, à la bibliothèque municipale , aussi ,
découvrir l'utilisation de l'ordinateur pour étendre le champ lexical
de l'AMITIE avec tous .
Que d'efforts à entreprendre pour atteindre le but le plus remarquable
de la planète bleue : la PAIX .


We hear of
Universal Peace as a successful long-term project:
For practice every day, you have to have a normal social behavior
with heartfelt gestures and kind words,
infinite delicacy in the home of another benevolent attentions
and courteous, cautious trade in a listening atmosphere
We must add more: Find the meaning of the word LOVE
So go to school to fight illiteracy,
read and learn how to use the books, primarily the dictionary,
the encyclopedia, inexhaustible well of knowledge,
at home, in class, at the library, too,
explore the use of the computer to extend the lexical field
FRIENDSHIP with all of.
That efforts be undertaken to achieve the most remarkable goal
of the Blue Planet: PEACE.


Ouvimos da Paz Universal como um projeto de sucesso a longo prazo:
Para a prática de todos os dias, você tem que ter um comportamento social normal
com gestos sinceros e palavras amáveis,
infinita delicadeza na casa de outra atenções benevolentes
e cortês, o comércio cauteloso em uma atmosfera de escuta
Devemos acrescentar mais: Encontre o significado da palavra AMOR
Assim ir à escola para combater o analfabetismo,
ler e aprender como usar os livros, principalmente o dicionário,
a enciclopédia, bem inesgotável de conhecimento,
em casa, na sala de aula, na biblioteca, também,
explorar a utilização do computador para alargar o campo lexical
Amizade com todos.
O desenvolvimento de esforços para atingir a meta mais notável
do Planeta Azul: PAZ.

Sepa la paz

Oímos hablar de la paz universal como un proyecto exitoso a largo plazo:
Para la práctica de todos los días, usted tiene que tener un comportamiento social normal
con gestos sinceros y amables palabras,
infinita delicadeza en la casa de otro atenciones benévolas
y cortés, el comercio cauteloso en un ambiente de escucha
Hay que añadir más: Encontrar el significado de la palabra AMOR
Así que ir a la escuela para luchar contra el analfabetismo,
leer y aprender a utilizar los libros, sobre todo el diccionario,
la enciclopedia, así inagotable de conocimiento,
en casa, en clase, en la biblioteca, también,
explorar el uso de la computadora para ampliar el campo léxico
La amistad con todos.
Que serán necesarios esfuerzos para lograr el objetivo más notable
del Planeta Azul: PAZ.




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