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Volume 7       Issue 11    November  2009
Politics and Justice without borders
Theme this month :

Greenpeace International, Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change!

Table of Contents

This is the way     Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Message from the Editor    GIM  Message from the Editor
Message from the President of Earth Government, the Federation of Global Governments    Message from the President of Earth Government
History of the Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments History of the Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government Since its beginning in 1985, many accomplishments can be claimed by the Global Community: History of the Global Community organization and Earth Government
The Global Community days of celebration or remembering during the year
A reminder of her passing away. Virginie was a great global citizen, and we all owe her something that's forever. GIM  Message from the Editor
Life Day Celebration on May 26. Participate. Life Day Celebration May 26. Participate.
Participate now in Global Dialogue 2009, no fees  Participate now in Global Dialogue 2009
Global Dialogue 2009 Introduction Global Dialogue 2009 Introduction
Global Dialogue 2009 Program  Global Dialogue 2009 Program
Global Dialogue 2009 OVERVIEW of the process   Global Dialogue 2009 OVERVIEW of the process
Global Dialogue 2009 Call for Papers Global Dialogue 2009 Call for Papers

Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change!
by Greenpeace International,

Have you sent YOUR climate care package to Copenhagen?

We urgently need your help in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December.

We're trying to get as many people as we can to send a virtual package to the conference. Each package contains our demands and, if you have time, a brilliant slogan -- to be delivered by a quirky cardboard cartoon character with YOUR face on it. The best slogan will appear on a Greenpeace banner and the characters will be part of a virtual video march. The more we have the better:

The Climate Summit will see over 15,000 officials from 200 countries gather in Copenhagen with 1 goal: to agree on a deal to combat global warming. This is a truly incredible event which has the power to mark a U-turn away from decades of inaction on climate change. That's why we want to make sure they not only agree on a deal, but make a firm pact for change that packages together 3 clear actions:

1.Big cuts in emissions from rich countries
2.A fund to save our forests
3.Funds to help developing countries deal with climate change

Please, help us make sure their solution truly delivers. Visit action-pact.org and send your message.

Let's make sure our political leaders know we want them thinking about the next generation, not just the next election.

Things you can do now! http://www.greenpeace.org/international/getinvolved

Call for Copenhagen

October 24th Global Day of Climate Action

Join the online activist list

Tell big oil to stop the lies

Halt Amazon destruction

Protect Indonesian Rainforests

Make sure leaders lead on climate

Join the plot to stop UK airport expansion

Are you wanted in Japan for the crime of opposing whaling?

Fan our Facebook page

Contact the Prosecutor about real whale scandal

Send games console makers a detox demand

Our oceans are in peril: support marine reserves

Put this banner on your blog or website

Advisory Board to the Federation's Constitution

Thank you to all of those who have been sending their comments and work on the Preamble and Chapters I, II, and III. People from all over the world have been enthusiastic about finally developing a Federation's Constitution for all life on Earth. We want this process to continue for all Chapters throughout year 2010. Our Global Parliament Constitution is well on its way.

We will be showing new revisions every month.

Our work is very important. We are showing leadership in a world where there is an avid need for it. Already several other organizations have accepted and used our work, many documents and books have been published based on our past research and development and "soft activism" work. There is no doubt in our mind we are making a significant difference in the world.

We are the leading organization working on the Federation's Constitution. This is a unique way of expressing and protecting the needs of all people on Earth, all life. We have conducted the research and development of our work without any other motives than that of helping humanity, all life on Earth. The Global Constitution has been a success but what the world needs is not a World Government, not an Earth Government. What the world needs is the Federation of Global Governments (the Federation). Quite a difference! The Federation is focus only on four specific areas of concerns and needs of our world.

So our work is not completed, and probably will never be. We want to continue offering the world this unique perspective of the Global Community. We want the Global Constitution to be the template for the research and development of the Federation's Constitution. This requires changes because the Federation primary focus is only including a few aspects and are shown here:

- essential services
- the Judiciary
- the Global Protection Agency (GPA)
- Global Ministries

We have mentioned them many times over the past decades and in most of our Newsletters. Civil society was shown as an important participant in the process of development as was shown in our yearly Global Dialogue. And Civil Society has been and will continue to be an important element in the development of Global Parliament Constitution.

So our future work is well defined here. We want Global Parliament Constitution to be a direct expression of our focus. It must be acceptable to all nations on Earth, to all Peoples. I am asking you to help in the research and development of Global Parliament Constitution.

The first stage of development of Global Parliament Constitution is the reviewing of the Global Constitution Chapter by Chapter. The next stage of development requires the need of having civil society participate in the development of Global Parliament Constitution: Global Dialogue 2010 will be a useful tool to achieve this second stage. The final stage of development requires the approval of Global Parliament Constitution by the first Global Government ever formed in the history of humanity.

Let us see what we can do for now. Everyone is involved. We will go over all Chapters of the Global Constitution. You are asked to read, understand and make changes to all Chapters and submit them to me as the Chairperson. In making changes, always keep in mind the above defined focus, much like a lens can focus light on an object. Rewrite the Chapters. Then your work will be published in our Newsletters for discussion with all of us and those participating in the Global Dialogue 2010 i.e., civil society.

We seek more symbiotical relationships with people and organizations We seek more symbiotical relationships
Note concerning personal info sent to us by email Note concerning personal info sent to us by email
We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue


GIM daily proclamations main website

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

Agence France-Presse, Emily Badger, Lester R. Brown, CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney, Steve Connor, Shamus Cooke, Marianne de Nazareth (2), Bill Ellis, Timothy V. Gatto, Andrew Glikson, Global Footprint Network, Peter Goodchild, Greenpeace International, Tim Kingston, Michael T. Klare, Stephen Lendman, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tara Lohan, Michael McCarthy, Joya Parsons, Md. Hasibur Rahman, Arundhati Roy, Soul of all Life, The Brussels Tribunal

Agence France-Presse, Carbon Emissions Must Peak By 2015: UN Climate Scientist  Carbon Emissions Must Peak By 2015: UN Climate Scientist
Emily Badger, Going Green Means Having Fewer Kids  Going Green Means Having Fewer Kids
Lester R. Brown, Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilisation?  Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilisation?
CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney, Will Obama listen to the women of Afghanistan?  Will Obama listen to the women of Afghanistan?
Steve Connor, Baffin Island Reveals Dramatic Scale Of Arctic Climate Change Baffin Island Reveals Dramatic Scale Of Arctic Climate Change
Shamus Cooke, Global Warming Accelerating While The U.S. Backpedals Global Warming Accelerating While The U.S. Backpedals
Marianne de Nazareth, Let’s Call The Bluff On Carbon Capture And Storage  Let’s Call The Bluff On Carbon Capture And Storage
Marianne de Nazareth, Forests: Crucial And Vital Role To Combat Climate Change  Forests: Crucial And Vital Role To Combat Climate Change
Timothy V. Gatto, The Golden Age Of Capitalism Was Yesterday The Golden Age Of Capitalism Was Yesterday
Andrew Glikson, 350 PPM CO2: The Uppere Limit Of Human Habitats  350 PPM CO2: The Uppere Limit Of Human Habitats
Global Footprint Network, Africa Factbook charts Footprint, human development trends  Africa Factbook charts Footprint, human development trends
Peter Goodchild, Systemic Collapse: The Basics  Systemic Collapse: The Basics
Greenpeace International, Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change! Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change!
Tim Kingston, Take Action on Oct. 24: Join One of the Largest Global Protests in the Fight Against Climate Change  Take Action on Oct. 24: Join One of the Largest Global Protests in the Fight Against Climate Change
Michael T. Klare, Our Oil Addiction Is About to Make Life a Lot Nastier  Our Oil Addiction Is About to Make Life a Lot Nastier
Stephen Lendman, October Surprise: Peace Prize To A War Criminal  October Surprise: Peace Prize To A War Criminal
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Global Campaign for Carbon Reductions  Global Campaign for Carbon Reductions
Tara Lohan, Join Me for the No Impact Week Challenge Join Me for the No Impact Week Challenge
Michael McCarthy, What To Expect In Copenhagen  What To Expect In Copenhagen
Joya Parsons, Companies Like Monsanto and Dupont Practically Own the Meal on Your Plate  Companies Like Monsanto and Dupont Practically Own the Meal on Your Plate
Md. Hasibur Rahman, River Water Pollution in Bangladesh: An Overview River Water Pollution in Bangladesh: An Overview
Arundhati Roy, Is Democracy Melting?  Is Democracy Melting?
Soul of all Life, The Soul of Humanity is the unifying religion of a modern symbiosis society, that of the global civilization of the 3 rd Millennium  The Soul of Humanity is the unifying religion of a modern symbiosis society, that of the global civilization of the 3 rd Millennium
The Brussels Tribunal, Legal Case Filed Against 4 U.S. Presidents And 4 UK Prime Ministers  Legal Case Filed Against 4 U.S. Presidents And 4 UK Prime Ministers

Research papers and articles on global issues for this month
 Date sent  Theme or issue  Read
 October 26, 2009   Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change!
by Greenpeace International,

Have you sent YOUR climate care package to Copenhagen?

We urgently need your help in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December.

We're trying to get as many people as we can to send a virtual package to the conference. Each package contains our demands and, if you have time, a brilliant slogan -- to be delivered by a quirky cardboard cartoon character with YOUR face on it. The best slogan will appear on a Greenpeace banner and the characters will be part of a virtual video march. The more we have the better:

The Climate Summit will see over 15,000 officials from 200 countries gather in Copenhagen with 1 goal: to agree on a deal to combat global warming. This is a truly incredible event which has the power to mark a U-turn away from decades of inaction on climate change. That's why we want to make sure they not only agree on a deal, but make a firm pact for change that packages together 3 clear actions:

1.Big cuts in emissions from rich countries
2.A fund to save our forests
3.Funds to help developing countries deal with climate change

Please, help us make sure their solution truly delivers. Visit action-pact.org and send your message.

Let's make sure our political leaders know we want them thinking about the next generation, not just the next election.

Things you can do now! http://www.greenpeace.org/international/getinvolved

Call for Copenhagen

October 24th Global Day of Climate Action

Join the online activist list

Tell big oil to stop the lies

Halt Amazon destruction

Protect Indonesian Rainforests

Make sure leaders lead on climate

Join the plot to stop UK airport expansion

Are you wanted in Japan for the crime of opposing whaling?

Fan our Facebook page

Contact the Prosecutor about real whale scandal

Send games console makers a detox demand

Our oceans are in peril: support marine reserves

Put this banner on your blog or website
  Read         Action-pact: Demand a pact to act on climate change!
  October 1, 2009   River Water Pollution in Bangladesh: An Overview
by Md. Hasibur Rahman

Advisory Board to the Global Constitution
Global Constitution Adviser
Global Government of Asia Adviser  Global Governments Federation
Research Fellow
Land Quality Assessment Project
Department of Soil, Water and Environment
Dhaka University, Dhaka 1000
Executive Director
Environment and Agricultural Development Studies Center
Mirpur-11, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Email:     hasibur77@yahoo.com

Water is one of the most valuable and essential resources that humans need to sustain their livelihood. It is needless to say that without enough good water our survival will be threatened. Fortunately, we have plenty of both surface water and groundwater resources to support the entire population in Bangladesh. If managed properly, water resources can be transformed into good fortune for drinking and agricultural water. Unfortunately, the status of water quality in Bangladesh is extremely degrading day-by-day. Because of, lack of water resources management plan and policies implementation in Bangladesh. According to a recent study, Bangladesh ranks 95th out of 110 countries in terms of Environmental Quality Index. A great deal of information is now available about the arsenic and other sources of groundwater contamination. Now more than ever before, we need to protect the quality of surface water as an alternative source of water for drinking, irrigation, industrial, and other beneficial uses. The quality of groundwater can only be ensured through a better protection of surface water and recharge areas on the ground.

Surface water of the country is vulnerable to pollution from untreated industrial effluents and municipal wastes, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and oil and lube spillage in the coastal area from the ship breaking operations. Pollution from industrial effluents and agrochemicals in some water bodies and rivers has reached alarming levels. Among the different river, the worst problems are in the river Buriganga, where the most significant source of pollution appears to be from tanneries in the Hazaribagh area. In the dry season, the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) level in this river becomes very low or zero. Monitoring data of DoE demonstrated that the concentration of DO in the river Sitalakhya beside the fertilizer factory varies between 2.1 to 2.9mg/l during low tide and pH varies 7.1 to 6.5 at 1981 to 1990. The river water of Balu is badly contaminated by urban and industrial wastes from Tongi and the effluent flowing out through the Begurbari khal, most of which emanates from the Tejgaon industrial area in Dhaka. In Bangladesh, most of the industrial units are located along the banks of the different rivers, which provide transportation for incoming raw materials and outgoing finished products. The highest numbers of industries are located in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chittagong district besides the river Buriganga, Sitalakhya and Karnophuli. Unfortunately, as a consequence, industrial units drain untreated effluents directly into the rivers and polluting surface water. Moreover, surface water and groundwater are inter-related. The quality of groundwater can only be ensured through a better protection of surface water and recharge areas on the ground.

No civilization can survive and thrive without clean water. We as a nation are fortunate to have plenty of this vital resource. However, the quality of this valuable resource is deteriorating very fast without any action plan. It is only through a better understanding of the sources of pollution and processes that affect the quality of water that we can save this precious resource for us and for our future generations. Moreover, surface water and groundwater are inter-related. The quality of groundwater can only be ensured through a better protection of surface water and recharge areas on the ground. If strict environmental monitoring is enforced as per the Environmental Conservation Rules of 1997 and other relevant environmental laws, many of the industries of Bangladesh will be come forward to protect water pollution. So, with proper policies, laws, acts, and enforcement of laws, the point sources of pollution in a watershed can be controlled. Non-point sources of pollution included: agricultural run-off, urban run-off, fertilizers, pesticides, acid rain, animal waste, raw sewage, septic tank leakage, household waste, etc. Understanding of a problem, however, is only half of the solution. Other half of the solution lies in communal actions; all of us can play a role in preserving the quality of water. We all need to join hands to protect this invaluable resource, as well as our existence as a nation. Since the sources of pollution is not known or identified, it becomes problematic to control their discharge into rivers and streams in a watershed. This information needs to disseminate to the general public through public meetings, newspapers, education, website, and other mass media for public awareness and to incorporate law and policy makers.

Keywords: River water quality, water pollution, sources of pollution.

· Research Fellow, Land Quality Assessment Project, Department of Soil, Water and Environment, Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Download full WORD document of this Research Paper
 Read Land degradation and its impacts in Bangladesh: A Case Study   Land degradation and its impacts in Bangladesh: A Case Study
 October 19,, 2009
Factbook Charts Africa’s Footprint, Human Development

If current population and consumption trends continue, Africa’s Ecological Footprint will exceed its biocapacity within the next twenty years, while a number of countries, including Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania, are set to reach that threshold in less than five years, according to a report issued today by Global Footprint Network and key partners.

The Africa Factbook 2009 reveals that while Africa’s population grew from 287 million to 902 million people between 1961 and 2005, the amount of biocapacity (food, fiber and timber resources that are renewably available) per person decreased by 67 percent during this same time period.

Though this is reflective of a global trend, it is particularly alarming for Africa, whose countries contain 12 percent of the world biocapacity, and whose population often suffers first and most tragically when humanity’s demand on nature exceeds what nature can renewably provide. As the world’s nations continue to deplete their own resources, demand on Africa’s raw materials continues to grow. Population growth and the impacts of climate change on crop production are exacerbating these pressures.

“Development that ignores the limits of our natural resources ultimately ends up imposing disproportionate costs on the most vulnerable,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. He noted that Africa is a region where ecological deficits can translate most directly into resource conflicts and shortages of food, fuel and other basic necessities for survival.

The Africa Factbook 2009 reports key indicators on human development, economic and ecological performance. Data on 24 different countries across the continent are included, along with guest essays by local representatives exploring on-the-ground challenges in each country. The Factbook is a culmination of research by Global Footprint Network, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and local experts, and is published in partnership with UNESCO, the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).

A print version of the Factbook in English and French will be available before the end of the year. For more information about the Africa Factbook, contact info@footprintnetwork.org.

Global Footprint Network recently submitted articles to U.N. Environmental Programme (UNEP) and OECD journals discussing Africa’s ecological trends and the risks and opportunities these present for the region’s future.
  Read         Africa Factbook charts Footprint, human development trends
 October 22, 2009


Life on Earth depends on a delicate balance between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. The atmosphere acts like the lungs of the biosphere, while the ocean currents act as its vein system, modulating temperatures around the globe. Changes to the chemistry of the atmosphere, including greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, nitric oxides, ozone) and aerosols (mainly sulphur dioxide) through Earths history resulted in climate shifts between greenhouse states and glacial/interglacial states. Such changes were triggered by orbital shifts, solar cycles, volcanic events, asteroid impacts, release of methane from sediments and, on longer time scales, the distribution of oceans, continents and mountain ranges.

Sharp decline in CO2 34 million years ago and 15 million years ago to below 500 ppm has resulted in the development of the Antarctic ice sheet. About 2.8 million years ago a further decline in CO2 resulted in formation of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic Sea ice. The current runaway climate change is a direct result of human emissions and land clearing. The emission of more than 320 billion tons of carbon (over 50% the original atmospheric inventory) since 1750 raised CO2 levels from 280 to 388 ppm, or 460 ppm CO2-equivalent (a value including the effect of methane).

Acceleration of climate change since the mid-1970s is leading toward a global temperature rise of +1.5oC above pre-industrial time, once the masking effects of sulphur aerosols are removed. The polar regions have already warmed by up to 4oC. This results in carbon cycle and ice/water melt feedback processes, with consequent (A) extreme rates of polar ice melting, including the Arctic Sea, Greenland, West and East Antarctica, which threatens accelerated sea level rise above the current rate of 0.35 cm/year; (B) a progressive shift of climate zones toward the poles, which extend the tropics, as indicated by intensified cyclones and floods, and enlarging desert regions as manifested by extreme droughts and fires. Given lag effects, looming threats include (1) ocean acidification, collapse of coral reefs and the marine food chain; (2) mountain snow and glacier melt and availability of freshwater; (3) destruction of native habitats, i.e. the Amazon; (4) ozone depletion; (5) atmospheric aerosol loading and (6) chemical pollution by metals, plastics, radioactive nuclei.

The consequences for human habitats include loss of arable land, fresh water supplies and extreme weather events. The loss of Himalayan snow and thereby decreased river flow, coupled with a failure of the monsoon and sea level rise, threatens more than one billion people in south and south-eastern Asia. As the polar regions warm, a release of methane from the many hundreds of billions of tons of carbon stored in permafrost and shallow lakes and seas, is imminent.

In the view of leading climate scientists there is no alternative to attempts at reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to below 350 ppm as soon as possible. What is urgently required is a combination of (A) urgent deep cuts in carbon emissions; (B) fast-track development of clean renewable energy systems; (C) an intensive global reforestation campaign; (D) application of a range of CO2 draw-down sequestration measures, including world-wide replantation and reforestation campaigns and chemical capture methods, solar-powered desalination plants, and long-range channel and pipe water transport systems.

Recent references

Schellnhuber, Oxford meeting, 28-30.10.09 http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php
British Antarctic Survey http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press
NASA/GISS). http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
Copenhagen Synthesis Report http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/

Hansen et al. 2008. Target CO2: Where Should humanity aim? http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/

Lenton et al., 2008. Tipping points in the Earth climate system. http://www.sciencedaily.com/release

Reports by NASA/GISS, Hadley_Met, Potsdam Ocean Institute, NSIDC, CSIRO, BOM.

Andrew Glikson
Earth and paleoclimate scientist
22 October, 2009

  Read 350 PPM CO2: The Uppere Limit Of Human Habitats
 October 21, 2009

Why are we asking this now?

Yesterday Gordon Brown, at a meeting of ministers from 17 major economies held in London to discuss the talks, warned that countries were not moving fast enough to reach an agreement.

What is at stake?

A global deal to cut the carbon dioxide emissions from power generation, industry, transport and deforestation which, all governments now accept, are causing the atmosphere to heat up, with potentially disastrous consequences for all of us.

That seems like a no-brainer. Why shouldn't all countries agree to that?

While all countries now recognise the problem a no-brainer is right they have very differing views about what their role in the solution should be. Cutting CO2 and other greenhouse gases can be done, but not with the wave of a wand. It means redesigning whole economies on a low-carbon model, which involves a lot of effort and a lot of expense; among much else, you have to close down your coal-fired power stations or fit them with costly equipment to capture their CO2 and bury it underground. And the argument at Copenhagen will essentially be about how the effort and the expense should be shared out between nations. If that can be agreed, a deal will be done. If it can't, the world is in for trouble.

So who's arguing?

In the simplest terms, two sides have to come together to do a deal: the rich, mainly western countries of the developed world, such as the US and Britain, and the poorer (but rapidly growing) nations of the developing world, led by China and India. The argument is about responsibility and fairness, and it turns on the fact that most of the CO2 that is in the atmosphere now (and it remains for a century or more) has been put there by the rich countries, who have been pumping the stuff out since the industrial revolution 200 years ago; but most of the extra CO2 that will go into the atmosphere in the future will be put there by the developing nations, who are now embarked on a period of unprecedented, explosive economic growth, much of it powered by burning coal, with the principal purpose of drawing their peoples out of poverty.

Throughout the 20th- century the US was the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world; but in the last two years China has overtaken it, having doubled its carbon emissions from 3bn to 6bn tonnes in a mere decade, and they will continue to grow. So you might say that China, with India, Brazil, Indonesia and their fellow developing economies, are now making the problem worse and they are; but that the US, with Britain, and Germany and France and the other rich countries, started the problem in the first place and we did. (And we too are worsening the problem every day, of course, with our own carbon emissions.)

What are the implications for responsibility and fairness?

The principal one is that the rich West has to lead the way in cutting carbon, and this has been recognised by all sides since the first global warming treaty, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The treaty said that the international community had common but differentiated responsibilities with regard to the climate, and this principle was put into effect in the Kyoto Protocol to the treaty, signed in 1997.

Under Kyoto, the rich industrialised countries agreed to cut their carbon emissions by fixed amounts by 2012, but the developing nations were not required to make any cuts at all. They were allowed to carry on with business as usual.

Has anything changed since then?

Yes. First, although most of the rich countries, including Britain, accepted Kyoto, the US Congress would not ratify the treaty, as many US politicians felt it was giving a free ride to countries such as China who were economic competitors; George Bush withdrew the US from Kyoto in 2001. Second, the carbon emissions of China and India and their fellows have mushroomed in a way that no one imagined possible in 1997, and they will represent 90 per cent of all future emissions growth; if unchecked, they will derail all other efforts to control climate change. So the point is, the Chinas and Indias now have to make emissions cuts themselves, or first, the US will not join in a new treaty, and second, the fight to limit atmospheric CO2, and thus future temperature rises, will be lost. But China and India have always argued that they are only growing in the way the West did, and that is true; and now they find the western nations saying: 'don't do what we did, do what we say', which is clearly unfair. The deal at Copenhagen is essentially about what the West can offer to make that unfairness acceptable, and what carbon-cutting actions the Chinese and Indians and other developing countries can take, which will in turn be acceptable to the West.

What might be the offers?

The rich countries have to make clear commitments to cut their own CO2 significantly by 2020, and will have to agree massive financial help billions and billions of dollars for the poorer nations to continue their growth in a low-carbon way. For their part, the developing nations will have to agree some sort of numerical targets to cut their own CO2 something which was once anathema to them, as they saw the imposition of targets on them as a ruse by western competitors to hold back their growth. All sides now have to do things which are demanding.

Then why might the talks fail?

The European Union is signed up to tough emissions cuts and backs a big financial help package; even nations such as Japan and Australia, formerly laggards, have started setting serious CO2 targets. It is the position of the US which is crucial. President Barack Obama has to take something substantial to the table in Copenhagen in December in terms of US domestic action, but the Bill which will define US climate policy is stuck in the Senate, and will not go through until Mr Obama's healthcare package is dealt with, which may not be in time. Can Mr Obama offer something to China and its fellows which Congress will ratify? Maybe. The British Government is optimistic that he will. But if he can't, there will be no deal.

Is that the only threat?

That's the major threat, but it's by no means the only one. This is a treaty whose initial text was 200 pages long and contained 2,000 square brackets points of disagreement. It has to be agreed line by line by 192 countries whose representatives are all playing to different domestic agendas and who might have difficulty agreeing on the colour of an orange. If anybody tells you this is a simple matter, don't listen. It's true we have the technology to solve global warming, but this is not about technology. This is about politics, about the art of the possible. And it's the most difficult piece of politics the world has ever seen.

Could the Copenhagen climate meeting end in failure?


*The US may fail to come to the table with an adequately serious offer on climate.

*Citing the needs of their people, China and India may make offers of action that the US find inadequate.

*The huge financial agreement that is proposed may unravel because of the differing needs of each nation.


*When the time comes, President Obama's US will almost certainly try to offer what is needed.

*China and India are already recognising that they need to act themselves.

*All sides realise that the financial package is an essential part of any finally agreed deal.



  Read What To Expect In Copenhagen
 October 20, 2009

The system of capitalism is strongest in America. The Unions have had their best days and are no longer effective. The people have been trained to accept what the employers give them. Ronald Reagan was the one that broke the back of the labor unions, and they have never recovered. The disparity between the rich and the poor has never been as great as it is now. The middle class is practically non-existent. In todays America the younger citizens cannot blithely accept that they will be as well-off as their parents. In fact, just the opposite is true. Many parents are working multiple jobs just to maintain their standard of living.

Everything I have just written about is not news to anyone. In todays America almost everyone that works for a living or depends on someone that does can sense that there is something inherently wrong. People are working harder and longer while incomes are falling. The promise of universal health care that Obama campaigned on has been thrown overboard and in its place is a system which rewards insurance companies. The auto industry is saving money by downsizing, cutting pensions and reducing health care benefits and the unions seem to be powerless. In fact, the auto industry is being saved on the backs of its workers.

The facts are that almost every industry in trouble is cutting wages and benefits. One might believe that this is the only thing that will save these troubled corporations but that is the result of brainwashing by the ruling class of this nation. The long and short of this entire recession is that the people that run this country dont give a damn about the people who work for a living. If they did, it wouldnt be the workers that take the brunt of bad times; it would be the shareholders and the management.

A good case in point is the auto industry. The fact is that there are just too many cars and not enough customers. If the management cared enough, instead of shutting down perfectly fine plants. They would re-tool and manufacture something that the country needs. Where is it written that the only thing an automaker can produce is cars? Here you have a perfectly good workforce and the latest in manufacturing technology and they cant come up with an alternative to the automobile? Why must we wait for new companies to develop green technology? Wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies are just waiting for manufacturers.

The only way we are going to stop this decline of the American worker is to put power back in the hands of the worker. The fact is that for years companies have been moving to right to work states. While the name sounds noble enough, its nothing but an Orwellian ruse. Nobody in these states has a right to work, just the opposite. The manufacturers in these RTW states have the right to hire non-union people to work in a union shop. In other words, this breaks the backs of the unions.

The labor movement really needs new blood. This nation has prospered on the backs of the workers and the workers are the first to be thrown overboard when things go sour. The exceptions to this rule are the money handlers that are too big to fail. Since when is something too big to fail? The way it works in capitalism is that when one business goes under, another will be there to take its place. What happened to Wall Street was socialism for the rich. Everyone knows it but there is no mechanism in place to insure that workers keep their jobs. Government handouts to the wealthy appear to be the norm in this country while the middle and lower classes suffer. Its wrong, but thats the way it is.

The time for a balanced economic system was yesterday. Other nations take a much harder line with management than the workers of the USA. We are to believe that we should feel lucky to have what we are given. Our legislators have long ago thrown us over for corporate donations for campaigns and outright bribery. We need to realize this and support the rights of all workers to get a fair shake.

This kind of movement needs to start from the bottom up, not from the top down. If you wait for the ruling class to help you youll be waiting forever. We need to organize and take down those that stand in our way. This is a route that demands courage and fortitude. Its a simple strategy when the airlines or the automakers or any other segment of the economy threatens to reduce wages or to cut health care or pensions than the unions need to act. If these corporations are in such dire straits, a strike would be crippling. There should be no room for company loyalty when it is not deserved. If the workers can no longer stand up to management, we deserve what we get.

The government is not worker friendly. The Republicans and Democrats govern for the wealthy. They are paid by the corporations that keep the workers down. We have finally gotten to the point in this nations history when this charade can no longer be played out. We all know what is going on, and only we the people can end it. Call it socialism or call it common sense, it still amounts to one and the same. The only ones that can change the system are the people suffering under a flawed system. In every instance, in every nation, when things become intolerable for the people, the people change the system. It is no different in America. In fact it is amazing that capitalism has come this far.

http://liberalpro.blogspot.com Read Tim's new book From Complicity to Contempt

  Read The Golden Age Of Capitalism Was Yesterday
 October 20, 2009

Have you recently taken a trip through the Western Ghats in Southern India and admired the natural forests that cover the Ghats? However if you have travelled the same route over decades it is obvious that with the mining and cutting down of the trees, the deforestation of the hills is being manifest at an alarming rate. And deforestation, is one of the major causes of global warming and climate change.

Tropical forests cover about 15 percent of the worlds land surface and contain about 25 percent of the carbon in the terrestrial biosphere. But they are being rapidly degraded and deforested like the Indian Ghats, which results in the emission of heat and trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Roughly 13 million hectares, an area the size of Nicaragua is deforested and converted into other land use every year in the world.

According to research done by the Global Canopy Programme which is an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries, this loss accounts for around a fifth of global carbon emissions making land cover change the second largest contributor to global warming. Forests therefore play a crucial and vital role in any initiative to combat climate change.

Forests are also home to local communities and support the livelihood of 90 percent of the billions living below the poverty line. In the Ghats, tribes depend on the forests as a source of fuel, food, medicinal herbs and a source of income by selling natural produce like honey and wild fruit. The loss of these forests puts the very survival of these indigenous people at risk. Well managed nature plays an important role in both climate change adaptation and mitigation. Nature can offer solutions that are available to the rural poor in particular, that are cost effective and sustainable, says IUCNs(International Union for Conservation of Nature) Climate Change coordinator, Ninni Ikkala. The potential of forests in reducing emissions is well known, whilst for example well managed mangroves can reduce flood impacts in low lying areas.

Another new development is that despite scientific support, the protection of intact natural forests is under threat of conversion into plantations. These plantations will be periodically culled for their timber. Protection of natural forests and the rights of indigenous people are crucial for the well being of our planet. These indigenous people are stewards of the forest and provide vital ecosystem services, for the rest of the planet. As we can see it happening all around us already, Climate Change will hit the poorest the worst and so a concerted reduction in deforestation will help build natural resilience to climate impacts.

The reasons for deforestation are varied and multiple from country to country. In Asia, communities use forests to provide sources for food, fuel and farmland. Trees are cut down to make way for agriculture driven by consumer demand. In Africa, it is due to small scale subsistence farming. In South America, the reason is large scale farming to produce beef and soy for export markets. In South East Asia, the reasons for deforestation is clearing of land to grow palm oil, coffee and timber which is also a large scale export product.

If countries are able to comprehend that forests provide services which go beyond carbon storage alone, they would fiercely protect their forests. Forests afford watershed protection, water flow regulation, nutrient recycling, rainfall generation and disease regulation. Old growth forests also soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting anthropogenic emissions. There is also another important reason to protect old forests they have what is known as a double cooling effect, by reducing carbon emissions and maintaining high levels of evaporation from the canopy, says Charlie Parker, Global Canopy Programme's Policy Analyst and author of The Little REDD Book

Is REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation ) a solution to helping the world cut back drastically on carbon emissions without too much research and development efforts? Basically the idea behind REDD is to financially compensate those countries, willing to curb deforestation and thereby reduce the worlds emissions. Previous efforts to curb deforestation have been unsuccessful, however the REDD agreement under the UNFCCC provides objectives to protect primary forests in developing countries.

In the Bangkok talks there were protests against REDD being a mechanism to ‘co2lonialise forests. Annoyed remarks by a group called the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change said The CDM and carbon market are instruments that commodify the atmosphere. Cut emissions at the source. There were also protests that industrial logging should not be categorised as Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) considering the term- ill defined. However, REDD does provide an opportunity to break the cycle of harvesting timber for industrial use, by placing an economic value on the role of standing forests in climate change mitigation.

We know how to use REDD, we dont have to wait for the development of low carbon technologies, says IUCNs Director of Environment and Development, Stewart Maginnis. New science shows its more urgent than ever to act now; we cant wait to stop reducing green house gas emissions.

Hopefully with an effective REDD mechanism in place, carbon emissions will be curbed by protection of primary forests, restoration of degraded forests will be encouraged, besides looking at alternatives to industrial logging. All this can be successfully achieved working alongside indigenous people and forest dependant communities, who will naturally prevent encroachment and illegal activities.

REDD seems to be our best chance at saving the worlds few remaining primary forests, thereby safe guarding communities that depend on them and protecting the forests carbon carrying capacity.

(The writer is a fellow with the UNFCCC and teaches a module on Climate Change in Bangalore, India)

  Read Forests: Crucial And Vital Role To Combat Climate Change
 October 20, 2009

A frozen lake on a remote island off Canada's northern coast has yielded remarkable insights into how the Arctic climate has changed dramatically over 50 years.

Muddy sediment from the bottom of the lake, some of it 200,000 years old, shows that Baffin Island, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, has undergone an unprecedented warming over the past half-century. Scientists believe the temperature rise is probably due to human-induced warming. It has more than offset a natural cooling trend which began 8,000 years ago.

Instead of cooling at a rate of minus 0.2C every 1,000 years a trend that was expected to continue for another 4,000 years because of well-known changes to the Earth's solar orbit Baffin Island, like the rest of the Arctic, has begun to get warmer, especially since 1950. The Arctic is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in 1900, confirming that the region is warming faster than most other parts of the world.

Baffin Island, the largest island in the Arctic Canadian Archipelago, is subjected to prevailing northerly winds that keep average temperatures at about minus 8.5C, well below similar Arctic locations at a comparable latitude. Polar bears, arctic fox and arctic hares walk the island's territory while narwhal, walrus and beluga whale patrol its coastline.

The island is dotted with lakes, the bottoms of which have been periodically scoured by glaciers with each passing ice age. However, scientists have found that the sediments at the bottom of some of the lakes, which build up each year rather like tree rings, have survived this scouring process intact.

This has enabled the scientists to take core samples going back tens of thousands of years. One such lake on Baffin Island, known as CF8, has been found to have layers of sediment dating back 200,000 years, which makes it the oldest lake sediment bored from any glaciated parts of Canada or Greenland, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is the CF8 lake that has provided scientists with the sediment core showing the unprecedented warming of Baffin Island over the past few decades, compared with a time span going back 200,000 years, a period which included two ice ages and three interglacial periods and roughly the time that Homo sapiens has been on earth.

The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores, said Yarrow Axford of the University of Colorado at Boulder. We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes. The scientists found that certain cold-adapted organisms in the layers of sediment have decreased in frequency since about 1950. Larvae from species of Arctic midge, which only live in cold conditions, have abruptly declined and two species in particular have disappeared altogether.

Meanwhile, a species of lake alga or diatom that is better suited to warmer conditions has increased significantly over the same period, indicating longer periods when the lake's surface was free of ice, the scientists said. Other sediment measurements support a dramatic reversal of the natural cooling trend, they said.

As part of a 21,000-year cycle, the Arctic has been receiving progressively less summertime energy from the Sun for the past 8,000 years because of a well-established wobble in the Earth's solar rotation the Earth is now 0.6 million miles further from the Sun during an Arctic summer solstice than it was in 1BC. This decline will not reverse for another 4,000 years, but changes to the climate of Baffin Island show that the cooling it should have caused has gone into reverse in the past few decades.

A separate team of scientists analysing Arctic lakes in Alaska found a similar warming trend in recent years compared to sediment records going back a few thousand years. They, too, concluded that the warming was unprecedented and could be explained by human activities, namely the build of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The amount of energy we're getting from the Sun in the 20th century continued to go down, but the temperature went up higher than anything we've seen in the last 2,000 years, said Nicholas McKay of the University of Arizona in Tucson .

The 20th century is the first century for which how much energy we're getting from the Sun is no longer the most important thing governing the temperature of the Arctic, said Dr McKay, when the study was published last month in the journal Science.

Baffin Island: An ancient trading post

*Baffin Island lies between Greenland and the northern coast of Canada and, for all its remoteness and inhospitable climate, it may have played an important role as a staging post on the first-ever transatlantic trade route.

Archaeologists have found wooden items and a length of yarn at Nunguvik in the south which they believe indicate that visiting Vikings were interacting with the local natives, known as the Dorset people, who lived on Baffin Island between 500BC and AD1500.

The scientists believe that the Dorset, who dressed in animal skins, did not know how to spin yarn, unlike the Vikings. The three-metre strand, found frozen in the tundra, was spun from arctic hare fur mixed with goat hair, similar to yarn found at Viking settlements on Greenland. There are no goats on Baffin Island.

Further evidence comes from one of the wooden carvings which shows two faces chin to chin. One has the features of indigenous North Americans, whose ancestors had an Asian origin, while the other shows a long, narrow face and nose with a heavy beard a portrait perhaps of a visiting Viking.

  Read Baffin Island Reveals Dramatic Scale Of Arctic Climate Change
 October 19,, 2009

Two recent studies have shocked the world in regard to global warming. A phenomenon that was to happen possibly in our lifetime has evolved into a threat capable of transforming the world in ten years time.

A recent, extensive study of the northern polar ice caps released by climate expert Professor Peter Wadham, concluded that the Arctic Ocean would be mostly ice free in 10 years during the summer months.

This study is a stunning compliment to research done by NASA at the South Pole, which noted that ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness since 2003. The research concluded that the rate of melting is accelerating, creating a runaway effect.

As ice sheets melt, less sun is reflected back into outer space, and is instead absorbed into the ocean known as the Albedo Effect further accelerating the pace of oceanic warming.

The consequences will be devastating.

The International Institute for Environment and Development has studied the possible effects of rising ocean levels, and concluded that one eighth of the worlds urban population would become climate refugees, creating the largest displacement of people in world history. The most vulnerable countries are China (144 million displaced), India (63 million) and Bangladesh (62 million), while lower on the list are Japan (30 million) and the United States (23 million).

Not only will massive amounts of people become homeless, but the changing climate is expected to create other environmental and social crises internationally. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

In Africa, between 75 million and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. And: access to food, in many African countries and regions is projected to be severely compromised by climate variability and change.

In Latin America: Changes in precipitation patterns and the disappearance of glaciers are projected to significantly affect water availability for human consumption, agriculture, and energy generation.

The EPA also outlines the negative effects of climate change in Europe, North America, Asia, and the rest of the world. Global warming is truly an international phenomenon requiring the cooperation of the worlds people and resources.

In response to the arctic ice melting, the U.S. and Europe have begun cooperatingmilitarily under the NATO umbrella. They see the melting ice not as social calamity, but as a corporate-profit opportunity. United Press International (UPI) reported that U.S. Navy Admiral James Savridis remarked that, ...climate change, which is melting ice around the polar cap, is opening trade routes and access to billions of barrels of oil. That, in turn, could lead to competition and friction (October 10, 2009).

The friction is between NATO and Russia, which also has corporations eager to exploit the raw materials and trade routes an iceless arctic will offer. UPI reports, Russia sent a submarine to the Arctic seafloor in February to symbolically plant a flag and announced in March that it would establish military bases along the northern coastline.

Melting polar ice caps should inspire the world to unite in cooperation, but the world today is dominated by giant corporations based in different nations, all obsessed with short-term profits.

Obama has not publicly discussed the arms race in the arctic, and has instead focused on climate change speeches full of idealism, but lacking content. Like Bush before him, Obama is putting U.S. [corporate] interests ahead of the interests of everybody else.

The influence of U.S. corporations has hampered environmental progress for years: under Bill Clinton, the Senate voted unanimously (95-0) against signing the Kyoto Protocol the inadequate international treaty aimed at lowering greenhouse gasses. The Senate stated that the treaty would result in serious harm to the economy [corporations] of the United States.

Without the participation of the United States and China the worlds two biggest polluters the Kyoto Protocol became a pointless exercise.

Now, Obama is posing as an environmental advocate looking to right the wrongs of the past. In reality, his vision for addressing climate change would be laughable, if the situation were not so dire.

The Cap and Trade environmental bill that Obama is encouraging Congress to pass mirrors the insufficient methods of the Kyoto protocol, with added loopholes. U.S. taxpayers will be expected to pay billions to give corporations allowances to pollute; corporations can trade their allowances to more-polluting corporations or Wall Street banks eager to profit from these new forms of corporate stock.

Greenpeace, like other environmental organizations, condemned the Cap and Trade bill, saying that the bill will actually spur a new generation of nuclear and coal-fired power plants to the detriment of real energy solutions.

More evidence of Obamas fraudulent environmentalism is his attitude towards the upcoming international climate change conference in Copenhagen. Here, it was hoped that the standards of Kyoto Protocol would be improved while also including all the worst polluting countries in the world.

The Guardian newspaper recently reported that the Obama Administration was working to undermine the Copenhagen conference. This is being accomplished by the demand for a whole new structure for the treaty, which would destroy the years of planning that created the Kyoto Foundation. The Guardian reported, it could take several years to negotiate a replacement framework (September 15, 2009), effectively pushing any environmental solutions into the unknown future.

Another way the U.S. is disrupting the Copenhagen process is by demanding that there be no international mechanism to hold nations responsible for fulfilling their treaty obligations. The Guardian reported, the US is pushing instead for each country to set its own rules and to decide unilaterally how to meet its target. This way, any polluting U.S. corporation that disagrees with Copenhagens standards may rely on easily purchased U.S. congressmen to bail them out.

To hold such an obstinate attitude in the face of climate collapse is almost beyond comprehension. As a famous socialist once pointed out, the corporate elite are Tobogganing to disaster with its eyes closed. Their blindness, however, has a practical foundation. This class of people can see only the profits in front of their faces; they care nothing about the world around them, as theyve successfully gated themselves off from it. As the world enters a period of immense turmoil, theyve sequestered themselves in private paradises.

Thus, it is doubtful that even the loophole-ridden Cap and Trade bill will be passed or that anything of substance comes out of Copenhagen. Even if this meager progress were made, it would be mostly symbolic. Both tactics are completely inadequate to deal with the speed and severity of climate change; reducing greenhouse gasses will not do the trick at this point the structure of our economy itself needs to be drastically changed.

First, big oil and big coal along with other anti-change/polluting corporations need their wings clipped. Having such socially-valuable industries run by private corporations has greatly advanced climate destruction. Their immense power allows them the freedom to destroy the earth while throwing cash in all directions to have their agendas fulfilled at the expense of everybody else. They should instead be run as public utilities.

Ultimately, the industrial basis for an alternative energy superstructure needs to be created. Only by doing this can we seriously address the needs of the planet. Transforming our giant auto plants many laying idle into producers of solar panels, windmills, electricityproducing buoys, high-speed trains, electric busses and cars, etc., while massively investing in new research and technology to deal with climate change, is the only realistic way to drastically change direction in the time allotted.

Such a solution, however, is outside the reach of a capitalist economy, whose only motivation is profit. Drastically changing societys direction is not in the interest of those who benefit from the current version. All honest environmentalists will likely agree that such a system needs replacing. We can no longer allow giant corporations accountable only to big shareholders have the final say over all crucial economic and social issues. The resources of society need to be controlled by society, so we can cooperate effectively to deal with the largest crisis our species has ever faced.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

  Read Global Warming Accelerating While The U.S. Backpedals
 October 16, 2009
PARIS - The UN's top climate scientist on Thursday urged a key conference on global warming to set tough mid-term goals and warned carbon emissions had to peak by 2015 to meet a widely-shared vision.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the talks in Copenhagen in December must focus on 2020, a far more important target than mid-century.

Strong, urgent and effective action is needed, Pachauri told a meeting of ministers of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris.

It is not enough to set any aspirational goal for 2050, it is critically important that we bring about a commitment to reduce emissions effectively by 2020, he said.

Pachauri added that over the last two years he had witnessed a massive explosion of awareness and therefore willingness to take action in climate change.

But, he said, the deal in Copenhagen had to be consistent with the findings of scientists, who say greenhouse gases that trap heat from the Sun are already affecting the climate system, and grave potential problems lie ahead.

The Group of Eight (G8) and other countries have endorsed the target of pegging warming to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Pachauri said this target is not without some fairly serious impact.

If this path of mitigation is to be embarked on, to ensure stabilisation of temperatures at the level that I mentioned (2 C, 3.6 F), then global emissions must peak by 2015, he said.

The December 7-18 Copenhagen talks are taking place under the 192-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The objective is a treaty that will tackle carbon emissions and their impacts, and encourage a switch to cleaner energy after 2012, when the current Kyoto Protocol pledges expire.

But UN talks have been bogged down by what is largely a divide between rich and poor countries, complicated by the US position.

President Barack Obama is sweeping away many of George W. Bush's legacy climate policies but has been unable to satisfy demands for deep, swift cuts in US carbon emissions.

He also faces a race against the clock to steer cap-and-trade legislation through Congress before the Copenhagen conference opens.

Pachauri told a press conference that it might take until next year for Washington to formulate its commitments on 2020.

A reasonably good agreement could emerge in Copenhagen, Pachauri said, adding though that he would not be dismayed by a delay if this provided a better outcome.

If we are not getting a good agreement, then the global community really has the option of meeting again six months later or three months later or whatever, he said.

I think we really have to keep at it until we can hammer out an agreement that meets the requirements of what science has clearly placed before us. It means a delay, it means some degree of disappointment all around, but who knows in the end you might get a much better agreement six months later.

  Read Carbon Emissions Must Peak By 2015: UN Climate Scientist
 October 13, 2009

It seems to be a highly risky concept if you turn your head around the technicalities of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Think about it - Carbon is emitted into the atmosphere (as carbon dioxide, also called CO2) whenever we burn any fossil fuel, anywhere. The largest sources are cars, trucks and power stations that burn fossil fuels: coal, oil or gas. To prevent the carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere which is probably causing global warming and proven ocean acidification, CCS means catching the CO2 and sinking it away from the atmosphere. As we would need to store thousands of millions of tons of CO2, we cannot just build containers, but must use natural storage facilities. Old oil and gas fields, such as those in the North Sea apparently are ideal for this kind of use.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), or carbon sequestration, is a means of separating out carbon dioxide when burning fossil fuels. This carbon is collected and subsequently dumped underground or in the sea. CCS is an integrated concept consisting of three distinct components: CO2 capture, transport and storage. All three components are currently found in industrial operation today, although mostly not for the purpose of CO2 storage.

By far the most energy intensive portion of the CCS process - carbon capture, produces a concentrated stream of CO2 that can be compressed, transported and eventually stored. To date, there has not been a single application of CCS to large scale (> 500 MW) power stations. Since every ton of coal burned produces 3.7 tons of CO2, the sheer volume of CO2 that must be disposed of makes CCS inherently impractical and extremely expensive.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) aims to reduce the climate impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing CO2 from power station smokestacks and disposing of it underground. The development of this technology has been widely promoted by the coal industry as a justification for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. However, the technology is largely unproven and will not be ready in time to save the climate says a study conducted by Greenpeace.

CCS cannot deliver in time to stop climate change, it's unproven and it's risky, both environmentally, and for investors. It's being used as an excuse for building new coal-fired power stations when we need to be shutting them down. So on all levels, CCS is not the answer to solving climate change. Says Emily Rochon, Greenpeace International climate campaigner

The report, circulated by Greenpeace after independent scientific research shows that:

* CCS cannot deliver in time to avoid dangerous climate change. The earliest possibility for deployment of CCS at utility scale is not expected before 2030.1 To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions have to start falling after 2015, just seven years away.

*Storing carbon underground is risky as safe and permanent storage of CO2 cannot be guaranteed. The possibility of leakage would negate all mitigation efforts.

*CCS is expensive and therefore it could lead to a doubling of plant costs, and an electricity price increase of 21-91%.

* Money spent on CCS will divert investments away from sustainable solutions to climate change.

*CCS carries significant liability risks. It poses a threat to health, ecosystems and the climate and the severity is an unknown.

The world is reeling under a climate crisis that requires urgent action. Climate scientists warn that to avoid the worst effects, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015 and then start falling by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels, and the single greatest threat to the climate. If current plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in coal plants are realised, CO2 emissions from coal will have risen by 60%, by 2030. Concerns about the feasibility, costs, safety, and liability of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) make it a dangerous gamble. A survey of 1000 climate decision makers done by Greenpeace around the world reveal substantial doubt in the ability of CCS to deliver.

It is a proven fact that the real solutions to stopping dangerous climate change lie in renewable energy and energy efficiency that can start protecting the climate today. Huge reductions in energy demand are possible with efficiency measures. Technically accessible renewable energy sources- such as wind, wave and solar- are capable of providing six times more energy than then world currently consumes forever. And save our fragile planet.

  Read Let’s Call The Bluff On Carbon Capture And Storage
 October 12, 2009

The Nobel Committee's tradition is long and inglorious, but for the well-informed no surprise. Consider its past honorees:

-- Henry Kissinger;

-- Shimon Peres;

-- Yitzhak Rabin;

-- Menachem Begin;

-- FW de Klerk;

-- Al Gore;

-- The Dalai Lama, a covert CIA asset;

-- Kofi Annan, a reliable imperial war supporter;

-- UN Peacekeeping (Paramilitary) Forces that foster more conflicts than they resolve;

-- Elie Wiesel, a hawkish Islamophobe;

-- Norman Borlaug, whose green revolution wheat strains killed millions;

-- Medecins Sans Frontieres, co-founded by rabid war hawk Bernard Kouchner, now France's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs;

-- Woodrow Wilson who broke his pledge to keep us out of war,

-- Jimmy Carter who backed an array of tyrants and drew the Soviets into its Afghan quagmire that took a million or more lives;

-- George C. Marshall, instrumental in creating NATO and waging war against North Korea;

-- Theodore Roosevelt who once said I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one; and

-- other undeserving winners....War is peace, what Orwell understood and why the award legitimizes wars and the leaders who wage them.

After the October 9 announcement, The New York Times quoted 2007 winner Al Gore saying it was thrilling without explaining it was as undeserved as his own. Writers Steven Erlanger and Sheryl Gay Stolberg called it a surprise. For others it shocked and betrayed.

Palestinian Muhammad al-Sharif asked: Has Israel stopped building settlements? Has Obama achieved a Palestinian state yet?

Iyad Burnat, one of the West Bank's non-violent protest leaders, started to go crazy after hearing about the award. I asked myself why. The Americans are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Palestine is still occupied....Why didn't (they) give the prize to (George Bush. He) worked very hard (for) eight years killing children, starting wars and supporting the occupation, and they gave the prize to (other choices). I think (the) prize makes the people more violent. Do you think that Obama can make peace....why didn't (they) wait until he actually made it.

Straddling both sides, The Times said that the unexpected honor....elicited praise and puzzlement around the globe.

It called it a rebuke of Bush's foreign policies instead of explaining it legitimizes wars and conflicts, the same ones Obama's pursuing more aggressively in Afghanistan and Pakistan under a general (Stanley McChrystal) James Petras calls a notorious psychopath - responsible for committing war crime atrocities when he headed the Pentagon's infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). No matter, according to Erlanger and Stolberg's Times-speak:

Mr. Obama has generated considerable goodwill overseas (and) has made a series of speeches with arching ambition. He has vowed to pursue a world without nuclear weapons; reached out to the Muslim world (and) sought to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, at the expense of offending some of his Jewish supporters.

In fact, his speeches are disingenuous and lie-filled. He disdains peace. The renamed Global War on Terror is now the Overseas Contingency Operation. Torture remains official US policy. His administration reeks of Islamophobes. The Israeli Lobby remains comfortably dominant. Muslims are still target one. His ambition is global dominance. His method - imperial wars with a first-strike nuclear option.

The Nobel Committee's Twisted Logic in Announcing the Award

It reflects Obama's extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

Fact Check:

In less than nine months in office, Obama has been confrontational through destabilizing belligerence towards numerous countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, China, Occupied Palestine, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Somalia, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Honduras by deposing a democratically elected president and obstructing efforts to reinstate him.

Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Fact Check:

America has the world's largest, most threatening arsenal and global delivery systems. Besides Israel, it's the only major power with a first-strike nuclear policy against any country called a threat. Its drawdown plans will replace old weapons with better new ones, and so-called missile defense is solely for offense.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multinational diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions play.

Fact Check:

Obama is pursuing the same policies as George Bush:

-- permanent wars and occupations;

-- record amounts of military spending at a time America has no enemies;

-- supplying arms and munitions to rogue state allies;

-- confronting independent ones with sanctions, belligerent threats, and more war;

-- subverting the rule of law;

-- pursuing a global jihad against human rights and civil liberties;

-- using Security Council pressure and intimidation to enforce policy and block constructive measures through vetoes; and

-- overall continuing America's hegemonic pursuit of full spectrum dominance over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.

Under Obama, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climate challenges the world is confronting.

Fact Check:

Obama's House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is environmentally destructive, lets corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy and fuel, and creates new Wall Street bubble potential through carbon trading derivatives speculation.

According to Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the US stance retards progress at Bangkok climate talks the way it's obstructed earlier efforts.

Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Fact Check:

Obama's polices have weakened them at home and abroad. Torture remains official US policy. Muslims, Latino immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists are repeated victims. So are peaceful protestors. Police state measures are still law and tough new ones are planned. Civil and human rights issues are nonstarters. Warrantless illegal spying continues. Health care reform schemes will ration a human right, and the new Swine Flu vaccines are covert bioweapons.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future.

Fact Check:

Under Obama, growing millions in America face poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, despair, ill health, and early deaths at a time of permanent wars.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely the international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman.

Fact Check:

Skirting the truth, the Committee's twisted logic picks honorees who should face prosecutions for their crimes.

A 110-Year Tradition

Alfred Nobel (1833 - 1896) began it in 1901. Swedish- born, he was a wealthy 19th century chemist, engineer, dynamite inventor, armaments manufacturer, and war profiteer, later reinventing himself as a peacemaker.

Past nominees included Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Tony Blair, Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush. Mahatma Gandhi got four nominations but never won. Nor did three-time nominee Kathy Kelly and other deserving choices, passed over for war hawks like Henry Kissenger whose credentials include:

-- three - four million Southeast Asian deaths;

-- many tens of thousands more worldwide;

-- backing coups and despots;

-- stoking global conflict and violence; and

-- compiling an overall breathtaking criminal record.

Others like:

-- Israeli leaders Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin matched him against Palestinian civilians;

-- Kofi Annan backed Western imperialism, years of genocidal Iraqi sanctions, the 2003 invasion and occupation, and the same lawlessness against Afghanistan; and

-- Al Gore, the 2007 choice, was infamous for putting politics above principles and made a career out of being pro-war, pro-business, anti-union, and no friend of the earth - credentials descriptive of Obama and his national security team, ideologically stacked with hawks.

As a result, American war making continues, sanctified and legitimized under Obama's peacemaker mantle. Or as CounterPunch's Alexander Cockburn put it in his October 10 War and Peace article:

The award is a twist on the Alger myth, inspiring to youth (and future Nobel hopefuls): you too can get to murder Filipinos, or Palestinians, or Vietnamese or Afghans and still win a Peace Prize. That's the audacity of hope at full stretch. Nobel hypocrisy also by scorning peace in favor of war. The tradition continues.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Republic Broadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.


  Read October Surprise: Peace Prize To A War Criminal
 October 9, 2009
Today the Spanish Senate, acting to confirm a decision already taken under pressure from powerful governments accused of grave crimes, will limit Spains laws of universal jurisdiction. Yesterday, ahead of the change of law, a legal case was filed at the Audiencia Nacional against four United States presidents and four United Kingdom prime ministers for commissioning, condoning and/or perpetuating multiple war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Iraq.

This case, naming George H W Bush, William J Clinton, George W Bush, Barack H Obama, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown, is brought by Iraqis and others who stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in defence of their rights and international law.

Iraq: 19 years of intended destruction

The intended destruction or genocide of Iraq as a state and nation has been ongoing for 19 years, combining the imposition of the most draconian sanctions regime ever designed and that led to 1.5 million Iraqi deaths, including 500,000 children, with a war of aggression that led to the violent deaths of over one million more.

Destroying Iraq included the purposeful targeting of its water and sanitation system, attacking the health of the civilian population. Since 1990, thousands of tons of depleted uranium have been dropped on Iraq, leading in some places to a 600 per cent rise in cancer and leukaemia cases, especially among children. In both the first Gulf War and Shock and Awe in 2003, an air campaign that openly threatened total destruction, waves of disproportionate bombing made no distinction between military and civilian targets, with schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, and historical sites all destroyed.

Destroying Iraq included promoting, funding and organizing sectarian and ethnic groups bent on dividing Iraq into three or more sectarian or ethnic entities, backed by armed militias that would terrorize the Iraqi people. Since 2003, some 4.7 million Iraqis one fifth of the population have been forcibly displaced. Under occupation, kidnappings, killings, extortion and mutilation became endemic, targeting men, women and even children and the elderly.

Destroying Iraq included purposefully dismantling the state by refusing to stop or stem or by instigating mass looting, and by engaging in ideological persecution, entailing manhunting, extrajudicial assassinations, mass imprisonment and torture, of Baathists, the entire educated class of the state apparatus, religious and linguistic minorities and Arab Sunnis, resulting in the total collapse of all public services and other economic functions and promoting civil strife and systematic corruption.

In parallel, Iraqs rich heritage and unique cultural and archaeological patrimony has been wantonly destroyed.

In order to render Iraq dependent on US and UK strategic designs, successive US and UK governments have attempted to partition Iraq and to establish by military force a pro-occupation Iraqi government and political system. They have promoted and engaged in the massive plunder of Iraqi natural resources, attempting to privatize this property and wealth of the Iraqi nation.

Humanity at stake

This is but the barest summary of the horrors Iraq has endured, based on lies that nobody but cowed governments and complicit media believed. In 2003, millions worldwide were mobilized in opposition to US/UK plans. In going ahead, the US and UK launched an illegal war of aggression. Accountability has not been established.

The persons named in this case have each played a key role in Iraqs intended destruction. They instigated, supported, condoned, rationalized, executed and/or perpetuated or excused this destruction based on lies and narrow strategic and economic interests, and against the will of their own people. Allowing those responsible to escape accountability means such actions could be repeated elsewhere.

It is imperative now to establish accountability for US and UK war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq because:

Every Iraqi victim deserves justice.

Everyone responsible should be accountable.

We are before immoral and unlawful acts, contrary to the basis on which the international order of state sovereignty and peace and security rests. Whereas the official international justice system is closed before the suffering of those that imperialism makes a target, through this case we try to open a channel whereby the conscience of humanity can express its solidarity with justice for victims of imperial crimes.

Ad Hoc Committee For Justice For Iraq

Press contacts:
Hana Al Bayaty, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal

34 657 52 70 77 or +20 10 027 7964 (English and French) hanaalbayaty@gmail.com

Dr Ian Douglas, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal, coordinator, International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq

+20 12 167 1660 (English) iandouglas@USgenocide.org

Amanda Nuredin, +34 657 52 70 77 (Spanish) justiciaparairak@gmail.com
Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal

+33 471 461 197 (Arabic) albayaty_abdul@hotmail.com



  Read Legal Case Filed Against 4 U.S. Presidents And 4 UK Prime Ministers
 September 30, 2009
In early 2008, Saudi Arabia announced that, after being self-sufficient in wheat for over 20 years, the non-replenishable aquifer it had been pumping for irrigation was largely depleted.

In response, officials said they would reduce their wheat harvest by one-eighth each year until production would cease entirely in 2016. The Saudis would then import virtually all the grain consumed by their Canada-sized population of nearly 30 million people.

The Saudis are unique in being so wholly dependent on irrigation. But other, far larger, grain producers such as India and China are facing irrigation water losses and could face grain production declines.

Emerging Trends Threaten Food Security

Fifteen percent of India's grain harvest is produced by overpumping its groundwater. In human terms, 175 million Indians are being fed with grain produced from wells that will be going dry. The comparable number for China is 130 million. Among the many other countries facing harvest reductions from groundwater depletion are Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen.

The tripling of world wheat, rice, and corn prices between mid-2006 and mid-2008 signaled our growing vulnerability to food shortages. It took the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression to lower grain prices.

Past decades have witnessed world grain price surges, but they were event-driven - a drought in the former Soviet Union, a monsoon failure in India, or a crop-withering heat wave in the U.S. Corn Belt. This most recent price surge was trend-driven, the result of our failure to reverse the environmental trends that are undermining world food production.

These trends include - in addition to falling water tables - eroding soils and rising temperatures from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Rising temperatures bring crop-shrinking heat waves, melting ice sheets, rising sea level, and shrinking mountain glaciers.

With both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melting at an accelerating pace, sea level could rise by up to six feet during this century. Such a rise would inundate much of the Mekong Delta, which produces half of the rice in Viet Nam, the world's second-ranking rice exporter. Even a three-foot rise in sea level would cover half the riceland in Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people. And these are only two of Asia's many rice-growing river deltas.

The world's mountain glaciers have shrunk for 18 consecutive years. Many smaller glaciers have disappeared. Nowhere is the melting more alarming than in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau where the ice melt from glaciers sustains not only the dry-season flow of the Indus, Ganges, Yangtze, and Yellow rivers but also the irrigation systems that depend on them. Without these glaciers, many Asian rivers would cease to flow during the dry season.

The wheat and rice harvests of China and India would be directly affected. China is the world's leading wheat producer. India is second. (The United States is third.) With rice, China and India totally dominate the world harvest. The projected melting of these glaciers poses the most massive threat to food security the world has ever faced.

The Harbinger of Civilisation's Demise?

The number of hungry people, which was declining for several decades, bottomed out in the mid-1990s at 825 million. In 2009 it jumped to over one billion. With world food prices projected to continue rising, so too will the number of hungry people.

We know from studying earlier civilisations such as the Sumerians, Mayans, and many others, that more often than not it was food shortages that led to their demise. It now appears that food may be the weak link in our early twenty-first century civilisation as well.

Will we follow in the footsteps of the Sumerians and the Mayans or can we change course - and do it before time runs out? Can we move onto an economic path that is environmentally sustainable? We think we can. That is what Plan B 4.0 is about.

Mobilising to Save Civilisation

Plan B aims to stabilise climate, stabilise population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy's natural support systems. It prescribes a worldwide cut in net carbon emissions of 80 percent by 2020, thus keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations from exceeding 400 parts per million.

Cutting carbon emissions will require both a worldwide revolution in energy efficiency and a shift from oil, coal, and gas to wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

The shift to renewable sources of energy is moving at a pace and on a scale we could not imagine even two years ago.

Consider the state of Texas. The enormous number of wind projects under development, on top of the 9,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity in operation and under construction, will bring Texas to over 50,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity (think 50 coal-fired power plants) when all these wind farms are completed. This will more than satisfy the needs of the state's 24 million residents.

Nationwide, new wind generating capacity in 2008 totaled 8,400 megawatts while new coal plants totaled only 1,400 megawatts. The annual growth in solar generating capacity will also soon overtake that of coal. The energy transition is under way.

The United States has led the world in each of the last four years in new wind generating capacity, having overtaken Germany in 2005. But this lead will be short-lived. China is working on six wind farm mega-complexes with generating capacities that range from 10,000 to 30,000 megawatts, for a total of 105,000 megawatts. This is in addition to the hundreds of smaller wind farms built or planned.

Wind is not the only option. In July 2009, a consortium of European corporations led by Munich Re, and including Deutsche Bank, Siemens, and ABB plus an Algerian firm, announced a proposal to tap the massive solar thermal generating capacity in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

Solar thermal power plants in North Africa could economically supply half of Europe's electricity. The Algerians note that they have enough harnessable solar energy in their desert to power the world economy. (No, this is not an error.)

The soaring investment in wind, solar, and geothermal energy is being driven by the exciting realisation that these renewables can last as long as the earth itself. In contrast to investing in new oil fields where well yields begin to decline in a matter of decades, or in coal mines where the seams run out, these new energy sources can last forever.

At a Tipping Point

We are in a race between political tipping points and natural tipping points. Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid the resulting rise in sea level? Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save at least the larger glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau? Can we stabilise population by lowering fertility before nature takes over and halts population growth by raising mortality?

Yes. But it will take something close to a wartime mobilisation, one similar to that of the United States in 1942 as it restructured its industrial economy in a matter of months. We used to talk about saving the planet, but it is civilisation itself that is now at risk.

Saving civilisation is not a spectator sport. Each of us must push for rapid change. And we must be armed with a plan outlining the changes needed.

*Lester R. Brown is founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute. Plan B 4.0: Mobilising to Save Civilisation can be downloaded for free at http://www.earth-policy.org/.

  Read Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilisation?
 September 28, 2009

Systemic collapse, societal collapse, the coming dark age, the great transformation, the coming crash, the post-industrial age, the long emergency, socioeconomic collapse, the die-off, the tribulation, the coming anarchy, perhaps even resource wars (to the extent that this is not an oxymoron, since wars themselves require resources) ― there are many names, and they do not all correspond to exactly the same thing, but there is a widespread belief that something immense and ominous is happening. Unlike those of the Aquarian Age, the heralds of this new era often have impressive academic credentials: they include scientists, engineers, and historians. The serious beginnings of the concept can be found in Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources, Environment (1970); Donella H. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (1972); and William R. Catton, Jr., Overshoot (1980). What all the overlapping theories have in common can be seen in the titles of those three books.

Oil depletion is the most critical aspect in the systemic collapse of modern civilization, but altogether this collapse has about 10 principal parts, each with a vaguely causal relationship to the next. Oil, metals, and electricity are a tightly-knit group, as we shall see, and no industrial civilization can have one without the others. As those 3 disappear, food and fresh water become scarce (fish and grain supplies per capita have been declining for years, water tables are falling everywhere, rivers are not reaching the sea). These 5 can largely be considered as resource depletion, and the converse of resource depletion is environmental destruction. Disruption of ecosystems in turn leads to epidemics. Matters of infrastructure then follow: transportation and communication. Social structure is next to fail: without roads and telephones, there can be no government, no education, no large-scale division of labor. After the above 10 aspects of systemic collapse, there is another layer, in some respects more psychological or sociological, that we might call the 4 Cs. The first 3 are crime (war and crime will be indistinguishable, as Robert D. Kaplan explains), cults, and craziness the breakdown of traditional law, the tendency toward anti-intellectualism, the inability to distinguish mental health from mental illness. After that there is a more general one that is simple chaos, which results in the pervasive sense that nothing works any more.

Systemic collapse, in turn, has one overwhelming cause: world overpopulation. All of the flash-in-the-pan ideas that are presented as solutions to the modern dilemma solar power, ethanol, hybrid cars, desalination, permaculture have value only as desperate attempts to solve an underlying problem that has never been addressed in a more direct manner. American foreign aid, however, has always included only trivial amounts for family planning; the most powerful country in the world has done very little to solve the biggest problem in the world.

Oil Depletion

Oil is everything. That is to say, everything in the modern world is dependent on oil. From oil and other hydrocarbons we get fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, lubricants, plastic, paint, synthetic fabrics, asphalt, pharmaceuticals, and many other things. On a more abstract level, we are dependent on oil and other hydrocarbons for manufacturing, for transportation, for agriculture, for mining, and for electricity. As the oil disappears, our entire industrial society will go with it. There will be no means of supporting the billions of people who now live on this planet. Above all, there will be insufficient food, and the result will be terrible famine.

A vast amount of debate has gone on about peak oil, the date at which the worlds annual oil production will reach (or did reach) its maximum and will begin (or did begin) to decline. The exact numbers are unobtainable, but the situation can perhaps be summarized by saying that about 20 or 30 major studies have been done, and the consensus is that the most likely date for peak oil is 2008, when about 30 billion barrels were produced. (Perhaps of greater importance is the fact that oil production per capita peaked much earlier, in 1979.) On the other side of the peak, however, we are facing a steep drop: 20 billion barrels in 2020, 15 in 2030, 9 in 2040, 5 in 2050.

In the entire world, there are perhaps a trillion barrels of oil left to extract which may sound like a lot, but isnt. When newspapers announce the discovery of a deposit of a billion barrels, readers are no doubt amazed, but they are not told that such a find is only 2 weeks supply.

As the years go by, new oil wells have to be drilled deeper than the old, because newly discovered deposits are deeper. Those new deposits are therefore less accessible. But oil is used as a fuel for the oil drills themselves, and for the exploration. When it takes an entire barrel of oil to get one barrel of oil out of the ground, as is increasingly the case, it is a waste of time to continue drilling such a well.

Coal and natural gas are also disappearing. Coal will be available for a while after oil is gone, although previous reports of its abundance were highly exaggerated. Coal, however, is highly polluting and cannot be used as a fuel for most forms of transportation; the last industrial society may be a bizarre, crowded, dirty, impoverished world. Natural gas is not easily transported, and it is not suitable for most equipment.

Alternative sources of energy will never be very useful, for several reasons, but mainly because of a problem of net energy: the amount of energy output is not sufficiently greater than the amount of energy input. All alternative forms of energy are so dependent on the very petroleum that they are intended to replace that the use of them is largely self-defeating and irrational. Alternative sources ultimately dont have enough bang to replace 30 billion annual barrels of oil ― or even to replace more than the tiniest fraction of that amount.

Petroleum is required to extract, process, and transport almost any other form of energy; a coal mine is not operated by coal-powered equipment. It takes oil energy to make alternative energy.

The use of unconventional oil (shale deposits, tar sands, heavy oil) poses several problems besides that of net energy. Large quantities of conventional oil are needed to process the oil from these unconventional sources, so net energy recovery is low. The pollution problems are considerable, and it is not certain how much environmental damage the human race is willing to endure. With unconventional oil we are, quite literally, scraping the bottom of the barrel.

More-exotic forms of alternative energy are plagued with even greater problems. Fuel cells cannot be made practical, because such devices require hydrogen derived from fossil fuels (coal or natural gas), if we exclude designs that will never escape the realm of science fiction; if fuel cells ever became popular, the fossil fuels they require would then be consumed even faster than they are now. Biomass energy (perhaps from wood, animal dung, peat, corn, or switchgrass) would require impossibly large amounts of land and would still result in insufficient quantities of net energy, perhaps even negative quantities. Hydroelectric dams are reaching their practical limits. Wind and geothermal power are only effective in certain areas and for certain purposes. Nuclear power will soon be suffering from a lack of fuel and is already creating serious environmental dangers.

The current favorite for alternative energy is solar power, but proponents must close their eyes to all questions of scale. To meet the worlds present energy needs by using solar power, we would need an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) of collectors covering about 550,000 km2 a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials a self-defeating process.

Modern agriculture is highly dependent on fossil fuels for fertilizers, pesticides, and the operation of machines for harvesting, processing, and transporting. The Green Revolution was the invention of a way to turn petroleum and natural gas into food. Without fossil fuels, modern methods of food production will disappear, and crop yields will be far less than at present. Because of the shortage of food, world population must shrink to one billion by 2050, but we conveniently forget that war, plague, and famine are the only means available. A close analogy to petroleum famine may be Irelands potato famine of the 1840s, since like petroleum it was a single commodity that caused such devastation. Cecil Woodham‑Smith describes the Irish tragedy in The Great Hunger. The first official response was disbelief: There is such a tendency to exaggeration and inaccuracy in Irish reports that delay in acting on them is always desirable, wrote Sir Robert Peel in 1845. By 1847 the image had changed: Bodies half‑eaten by rats were an ordinary sight; ‘two dogs were shot while tearing a body to pieces.

Petroleum is the lifeblood of our civilization. Even a bicycle, that ultimate symbol of an alternate lifestyle, requires petroleum for lubrication, for paint, and for plastic components. The vehicle that delivers the bicycle runs on petroleum, over asphalt that is made of petroleum. Rubber tires are often made of petroleum.

The problem of the worlds diminishing supply of oil is a problem of energy, not a problem of money. The old bromide that higher prices will eventually make [e.g.] shale oil economically feasible is meaningless. This planet has only a finite amount of fossil fuel. That fuel is starting to vanish, and higher prices are quite unable to stop the event from taking place.

Much of modern warfare is about oil, in spite of all the pious and hypocritical rhetoric about the forces of good and the forces of evil. The real forces are those trying to control the oil wells and the fragile pipelines that carry that oil. A map of recent American military ventures is a map of petroleum deposits. When the oil wars began is largely a matter of definition, though perhaps 1973 would be a usable date, when the Yom Kippur War or, to speak more truthfully, the decline of American domestic oil led to the OPEC oil embargo.

The problem of the loss of petroleum will, of course, be received in the same manner as most other large-scale disasters: widespread denial, followed by a rather catatonic apathy. The centuries will pass, and a day will come when, like the early Anglo-Saxons, people will look around at the scattered stones and regard them as the work of giants.

When thinking about survival in a world without oil, we must remember that the near future will differ from the distant future. To get an overview of the all the coming phases, we must consider that history in general (not only the history of oil) will form a sort of bell curve: the events after about the year 2000 will form a downward curve that somewhat reflects the curve of events leading up to that same year. That bell curve will not be perfectly symmetrical, of course: the decline in modern civilization is likely to be fairly swift.

Although my own terms are largely arbitrary, I tend to think of a future transition from what I call a Neo-Victorian Era to a Neo-Alfredian one. In other words, the future will descend from an industrial age resembling that of Queen Victoria (the world of Charles Dickens) to a pre-industrial age resembling that of King Alfred the Great (the world of Viking raids), whose reign was a thousand years earlier. And finally we shall return to the Stone Age, where we started from back to the Olduvai Gorge, as Richard C. Duncan says.

The Problem of Infrastructure

Most schemes for a post-oil technology are based on the misconception that there will be an infrastructure, similar to that of the present day, which could support such future gadgetry. Modern equipment, however, is dependent on specific methods of manufacture, transportation, maintenance, and repair. In less abstract terms, this means machinery, motorized vehicles, and service depots or shops, all of which are generally run by fossil fuels. In addition, one unconsciously assumes the presence of electricity, which energizes the various communications devices, such as telephones and computers; electricity on such a large scale is only possible with fossil fuels.

To believe that a non-petroleum infrastructure is possible, one would have to imagine, for example, solar-powered machines creating equipment for the production and storage of electricity by means of solar energy. This equipment would then be loaded on to solar-powered trucks, driven to various locations, and installed with other solar-powered devices, and so on, ad absurdum and ad infinitum. Such a scenario might provide material for a work of science fiction, but not for genuine science. The sun simply does not work that way.

It is not only oil that will soon be gone. Iron ore of the sort that can be processed with primitive equipment is becoming scarce, and only the less-tractable forms will be available when the oil-powered machinery is no longer available a chicken-and-egg problem. Copper, aluminum, and other metals are also rapidly vanishing. Metals were useful to mankind only because they could once be found in concentrated pockets in the earths crust; now they are irretrievably scattered among the worlds garbage dumps.

The infrastructure will no longer be in place: oil, electricity, and asphalt roads, for example. Partly for that reason, the social structure will also no longer be in place. Without the infrastructure and the social structure, it will be impossible to produce the familiar goods of industrial society.

Without fossil fuels, the most that is possible is a pre-industrial infrastructure, although one must still ignore the fact that the pre-industrial world did not fall from the sky as a prefabricated structure but took uncountable generations of human ingenuity to develop. The next problem is that a pre-industrial blacksmith was adept at making horseshoes, but not at making or repairing solar-energy systems.

Fossil fuels, metals, and electricity are all intricately connected. Each is inaccessible on the modern scale without the other 2. Any 2 will vanish without the third. If we imagine a world without fossil fuels, we must imagine a world without metals or electricity. What we imagine, at that point, is a society far more primitive than the one to which we are accustomed.

The End of Electricity

As Duncan points out, the first clearly marked sign of systemic collapse may be the failure of electricity. Throughout the world, electricity comes mainly from coal, natural gas, nuclear power plants, or hydroelectric dams, and all of them are bad choices. Most North American electricity is produced by fossil fuels, and in the United States that generally means coal, although natural gas is often the first choice for future supplies of fuel. Coal is terribly inefficient; only a third of its energy is transferred as it is converted to electricity.

The North American grid is a hopelessly elaborate machine the largest machine in history and it is perpetually operating at maximum load, chronically in need of better maintenance and expensive upgrading. But most North Americans still cannot think of a failure of electricity as anything more than a momentary aspect of a summer storm. In other parts of the world, the future is already here: the lights fade out daily after 4 or 5 hours, if they come on at all. Actually North Americans are in far better shape than the citizens of other countries. Thanks to political bungling, even civilized Britain will apparently be losing 40 percent of its electrical power between 2008 and 2014.

The Long-Term Reliability Assessment, a lengthy document by the North American Electric Reliability Council, is disquieting. Each area of North America, according to this text, will be in some danger of outage over the next few years, due to inadequate supplies of electricity. Texas may be in the greatest danger, whereas Quebec (with the advantage of hydroelectric dams) may be the safest area.

North Americans should have been warned about the threat to electricity by the great blackout of August 14, 2003. Jason Leopold describes the aftermath of that event:

Congress called for spending of up to $100 billion to reduce severe transmission bottlenecks and increase capacity so the transmission lines could carry additional electricity from power plants to homes and businesses. But the money that would have funded a reliable power grid was spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I remember that day in 2003 very well. No gasoline, because the pumps required electricity. Still, many Torontonians came up to Ontarios cottage country, where I was living, to wait out the troubles. Also no bank machines working, so it was cash only. There were big sales of batteries and candles. Also bottled water.

Its amazing how much pure water is needed, even by frugal people about 8 liters per person per day is about the minimum comfortable amount, and thats only for drinking, cooking, and perhaps a little dishwashing. All other water, such as for flushing the toilet (if you dont use an outhouse), must come from a pond or a river, although you might want to install a hand pump for a well long before such an emergency occurs. You might also want to keep candles, matches, batteries, wind-up electric devices, and so on. And in winter you would of course need several cords of firewood, and plenty of warm clothing and bedding.

Money and Labor

Almost everything in our modern economy is either made from oil or requires oil for its functioning or its transportation. As the price of oil begins to skyrocket, therefore, so will the price of everything else. The same happened on a smaller scale during the temporary oil crises of the 1970s and 80s; it was referred to in those days as stagflation stagnation of income combined with inflation of prices, something that economists used to say was impossible. The hardest hit will be those with debts: car payments, house mortgages, credit cards, student loans. But everyone will find that a dollar just doesnt stretch. High prices will be combined with low wages.

At first, money will be an immensely important issue. It will take a handful of bills to buy anything. And largely because of the high prices, unemployment will rise dramatically. For the first few years of the collapse, there will be a financial Reign of Terror, and in fact this era has already begun to some extent, if we can judge from a number of related events. In 1970 U.S. domestic oil production went into a permanent decline. Although global oil production must be dated to the first years of the twenty-first century, production per capita reached its peak much earlier, in 1979. In the U.S., gasoline prices, which had been steady for decades, started to increase annually by 18 percent in 2003. And around 2005 the energy required to drill for a barrel of oil began to exceed the energy gained from it.

The economic problem of peak oil is occurring when North Americans have already been battered by other economic problems. One serious issue is globalization: for many years, big companies have been getting their work done by sending it out to whatever countries have the poorest people and the most repressive governments. The result is that people in developed countries lose their jobs. Although the official unemployment levels are low, the figures are misleading; large numbers of the employed are not working at well-paying, permanent, full-time jobs. Closely related to the problem of globalization is that of automation, which increases production but decreases payrolls. (The Historical Income Tables of the United States Census Bureau have shown, over many years, the widening gap between the rich and the poor: in particular, while most incomes have either fallen or not changed, the upper 5 percent of families have seen their incomes climbing dramatically.) As a result of all these vagaries within the capitalist system, government services are perpetually being cut. The common expression is that money is tight these days, although very few people ask why that is the case. Taxes continue to rise, but the individual receives little in return.

(But, no, contrary to rumor the international credit collapse that began in 2007 was not due to oil depletion; all that the two had in common is that the former can be ascribed to government corruption, which like oil depletion is an aspect of systemic collapse.)

At one point, the money problem will be everything. A few decades later, the money problem will be nothing, because money will disappear. Money is only a symbol, and it is only valuable as long as people are willing to accept that fiction: without government, without a stock market, and without a currency market, such a symbol cannot endure, as George Soros has pointed out. Money itself will be useless and will finally be ignored. Tangible possessions and practical skills will become the real wealth. Having the right friends will also help.

The answer, in part, is to try to give up the use of money well ahead of time, instead of letting the money economy claim more victims. Barter would allow people to provide for their daily needs on a local basis, without the dubious assistance of governments or corporations. Such a way of doing business, unfortunately, is illegal if the participants are not paying sales tax on their transactions. Politicians disparage the age-old practice of barter as the underground economy or the gray economy, but of course their own income is dependent on taxes. In any case, the transition would not be simple: there are so many rules, from building codes to insurance regulations to sales- and income-tax laws, that make it difficult to provide oneself with food, clothing and shelter without spending money. Nevertheless, as the economy breaks down, so will the legal structure; where there is no law, there are no criminals.

Leadership and Social Structure

The decline in the worlds oil supply, the biggest news story of modern times, rarely appears in the conventional news media, or it appears only in distorted forms. Ironically, the modern world is plagued by a lack of serious information. Todays news item is usually forgotten by tomorrow. The television viewer has the vague impression that something happened somewhere, but one could change channels all day without finding anything below the surface. The communications media are owned by an ever-shrinking number of interrelated giant corporations, and the product sold to the public is a uniform blandness, designed to keep the masses in their place. But the unreality of television is only the start of the enigma. What is most apparent is the larger problem that there is no leadership, no sense of organization, for dealing with peak-oil issues.

One might consider as an analogy the Great Depression. During those 10 years, everyone lived on his own little island, lost, alone, and afraid. It was a shame to be poor, so one could not even discuss it with ones neighbors. The press and the politicians largely denied that the Depression existed, so there was little help from them. In general, it was just each nuclear family on its own for those who were lucky enough to have a family. Barry Broadfoot, in Ten Lost Years, records the memories of one Depression survivor:

Every newspaper across Canada and in the United States always played up the silver lining. . . . There were no such things as starvation, hunger marches, store front windows being kicked in. Yes, they were reported, but always these were called incidents and incited by highly-paid professional agitators.

A related problem is the lack of ideological unity. While one person has a sort of Armageddon-like vision, stocking up ammunition for the Last Battle, someone else is busy on the Internet asking for ideas on how to make a still for the dozen corn plants he intends to grow. There is a complete lack of agreement on first principles.

Part of the reason for these problems is that many modern societies, including that of the United States, are individualist rather than collectivist. There is a sort of frontier mentality that pervades much of modern life. In many ways, this has been beneficial: freedom from tradition, freedom from onerous family duties, and freedom from manorial obligations have perhaps provided much of the motivation for those who came to what was seen as the New World. That spirit of self-sufficiency made it possible for pioneers to thrive in the isolation of the wilderness.

Yet we must not forget the truism that there is strength and safety in numbers. Individualism might be more beneficial in good times than in bad; North Americans seem to adjust poorly to crises. The defects of individualism can seen right within what is mistakenly called the democratic process: political leaders can tell the most blatant lies about economic trends, about warfare, or about transgressions of civil liberties, and the response is a numbed, silent obedience which is puzzling only until one realizes that most people have little means of behaving otherwise. They are generally lacking in family or friends with whom they can share information or compare ideas, and they are therefore entirely dependent on the news media for mental sustenance. The television set in the living room is the altar on which common sense is sacrificed.

Faced with such challenges, one would at first be lucky to produce a post-oil community much larger than ones own nuclear family, before sheer destitution forces people to take a more serious attitude to survival. Fair-sized groups, however, would eventually develop. The society of the future has never been described, but at least some numbers are available. Chester G. Starrs statement, in A History of the Ancient World, is probably as good as any: Whereas Paleolithic packs numbered perhaps 20 or 30, Neolithic farmers either lived in family homesteads, in villages of 150 persons (as at Jarmo), or in even larger towns (as at Jericho).

In any case, the question of the ideal political system is essentially not a political matter but a psychological one. Humans spent thousands of years living in small groups, hunting and gathering. The group was small enough so that each person knew every other person. Democracy could work because both the voters and the politicians were visible. It has only been in a tiny fraction of the life span of humanity that political units have been created that are far too large for people to know one another except as abstractions. Small groups have their problems, but in terms of providing happiness for the average person, the band or village is more efficient than the empire.


Broadfoot, Barry. Ten Lost Years 1929-1939: Memories of Canadians Who Survived the Depression. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1997.

Duncan, Richard C. The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge. Geological Society of America, Summit 2000. Reno, Nevada, November 13, 2000. http://www.dieoff.org/page224.htm

Kaplan, Robert D. The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Cambodia A Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith Publisher, 2001.

Leopold, Jason. Dark Days Ahead. Truth Out. 17 October 2006.

North American Electric Reliability Council. Long-Term Reliability Assessment. Annual.

Soros, George. The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered. New York: Public Affairs, 1998.

Starr, Chester G. A History of the Ancient World. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

United States Census Bureau. Historical Income Tables Families. U.S. Government Printing Office. Annual. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www

Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row, 1962.

Peter Goodchild is the author of Survival Skills of the North American Indians, published by Chicago Review Press. His email address is odonatus@live.com.

  Read Systemic Collapse: The Basics
 September 28, 2009

While we're still arguing about whether there's life after death, can we add another question to the cart? Is there life after democracy? What sort of life will it be? By democracy I don't mean democracy as an ideal or an aspiration. I mean the working model: Western liberal democracy, and its variants, such as they are.

So, is there life after democracy?

Attempts to answer this question often turn into a comparison of different systems of governance, and end with a somewhat prickly, combative defense of democracy. It's flawed, we say. It isn't perfect, but it's better than everything else that's on offer. Inevitably, someone in the room will say: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia... is that what you would prefer?

Whether democracy should be the utopia that all developing societies aspire to is a separate question altogether. (I think it should. The early, idealistic phase can be quite heady.) The question about life after democracy is addressed to those of us who already live in democracies, or in countries that pretend to be democracies. It isn't meant to suggest that we lapse into older, discredited models of totalitarian or authoritarian governance. It's meant to suggest that the system of representative democracy -- too much representation, too little democracy -- needs some structural adjustment.

The question here, really, is what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit?

Is it possible to reverse this process? Can something that has mutated go back to being what it used to be? What we need today, for the sake of the survival of this planet, is long-term vision. Can governments whose very survival depends on immediate, extractive, short-term gain provide this? Could it be that democracy, the sacred answer to our short-term hopes and prayers, the protector of our individual freedoms and nurturer of our avaricious dreams, will turn out to be the endgame for the human race? Could it be that democracy is such a hit with modern humans precisely because it mirrors our greatest folly -- our nearsightedness?

Our inability to live entirely in the present (like most animals do), combined with our inability to see very far into the future, makes us strange in-between creatures, neither beast nor prophet. Our amazing intelligence seems to have outstripped our instinct for survival. We plunder the earth hoping that accumulating material surplus will make up for the profound, unfathomable thing that we have lost. It would be conceit to pretend I have the answers to any of these questions. But it does look as if the beacon could be failing and democracy can perhaps no longer be relied upon to deliver the justice and stability we once dreamed it would.

A Clerk of Resistance

As a writer, a fiction writer, I have often wondered whether the attempt to always be precise, to try and get it all factually right somehow reduces the epic scale of what is really going on. Does it eventually mask a larger truth? I worry that I am allowing myself to be railroaded into offering prosaic, factual precision when maybe what we need is a feral howl, or the transformative power and real precision of poetry.

Something about the cunning, Brahmanical, intricate, bureaucratic, file-bound, apply-through-proper-channels nature of governance and subjugation in India seems to have made a clerk out of me. My only excuse is to say that it takes odd tools to uncover the maze of subterfuge and hypocrisy that cloaks the callousness and the cold, calculated violence of the world's favorite new superpower. Repression through proper channels sometimes engenders resistance through proper channels. As resistance goes this isn't enough, I know. But for now, it's all I have. Perhaps someday it will become the underpinning for poetry and for the feral howl.

Today, words like progress and development have become interchangeable with economic reforms, deregulation, and privatization. Freedom has come to mean choice. It has less to do with the human spirit than with different brands of deodorant. Market no longer means a place where you buy provisions. The market is a de-territorialized space where faceless corporations do business, including buying and selling futures. Justice has come to mean human rights (and of those, as they say, a few will do).

This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the tsars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language to voice their critique and dismiss them as being anti-progress, anti-development, anti-reform, and of course anti-national -- negativists of the worst sort.

Talk about saving a river or protecting a forest and they say, Don't you believe in progress? To people whose land is being submerged by dam reservoirs, and whose homes are being bulldozed, they say, Do you have an alternative development model? To those who believe that a government is duty bound to provide people with basic education, health care, and social security, they say, You're against the market. And who except a cretin could be against markets?

To reclaim these stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span, and too expensive in an era when Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing.

Two decades of Progress in India has created a vast middle class punch-drunk on sudden wealth and the sudden respect that comes with it -- and a much, much vaster, desperate underclass. Tens of millions of people have been dispossessed and displaced from their land by floods, droughts, and desertification caused by indiscriminate environmental engineering and massive infrastructural projects, dams, mines, and Special Economic Zones. All developed in the name of the poor, but really meant to service the rising demands of the new aristocracy.

The hoary institutions of Indian democracy -- the judiciary, the police, the free press, and, of course, elections -- far from working as a system of checks and balances, quite often do the opposite. They provide each other cover to promote the larger interests of Union and Progress. In the process, they generate such confusion, such a cacophony, that voices raised in warning just become part of the noise. And that only helps to enhance the image of the tolerant, lumbering, colorful, somewhat chaotic democracy. The chaos is real. But so is the consensus.

A New Cold War in Kashmir

Speaking of consensus, there's the small and ever-present matter of Kashmir. When it comes to Kashmir the consensus in India is hard core. It cuts across every section of the establishment -- including the media, the bureaucracy, the intelligentsia, and even Bollywood.

The war in the Kashmir valley is almost 20 years old now, and has claimed about 70,000 lives. Tens of thousands have been tortured, several thousand have disappeared, women have been raped, tens of thousands widowed. Half a million Indian troops patrol the Kashmir valley, making it the most militarized zone in the world. (The United States had about 165,000 active-duty troops in Iraq at the height of its occupation.) The Indian Army now claims that it has, for the most part, crushed militancy in Kashmir. Perhaps that's true. But does military domination mean victory?

How does a government that claims to be a democracy justify a military occupation? By holding regular elections, of course. Elections in Kashmir have had a long and fascinating past. The blatantly rigged state election of 1987 was the immediate provocation for the armed uprising that began in 1990. Since then elections have become a finely honed instrument of the military occupation, a sinister playground for India's deep state. Intelligence agencies have created political parties and decoy politicians, they have constructed and destroyed political careers at will. It is they more than anyone else who decide what the outcome of each election will be. After every election, the Indian establishment declares that India has won a popular mandate from the people of Kashmir.

In the summer of 2008, a dispute over land being allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board coalesced into a massive, nonviolent uprising. Day after day, hundreds of thousands of people defied soldiers and policemen -- who fired straight into the crowds, killing scores of people -- and thronged the streets. From early morning to late in the night, the city reverberated to chants of Azadi! Azadi! (Freedom! Freedom!). Fruit sellers weighed fruit chanting Azadi! Azadi! Shopkeepers, doctors, houseboat owners, guides, weavers, carpet sellers -- everybody was out with placards, everybody shouted Azadi! Azadi! The protests went on for several days.

The protests were massive. They were democratic, and they were nonviolent. For the first time in decades fissures appeared in mainstream public opinion in India. The Indian state panicked. Unsure of how to deal with this mass civil disobedience, it ordered a crackdown. It enforced the harshest curfew in recent memory with shoot-on-sight orders. In effect, for days on end, it virtually caged millions of people. The major pro-freedom leaders were placed under house arrest, several others were jailed. House-to-house searches culminated in the arrests of hundreds of people.

Once the rebellion was brought under control, the government did something extraordinary -- it announced elections in the state. Pro-independence leaders called for a boycott. They were rearrested. Almost everybody believed the elections would become a huge embarrassment for the Indian government. The security establishment was convulsed with paranoia. Its elaborate network of spies, renegades, and embedded journalists began to buzz with renewed energy. No chances were taken. (Even I, who had nothing to do with any of what was going on, was put under house arrest in Srinagar for two days.)

Calling for elections was a huge risk. But the gamble paid off. People turned out to vote in droves. It was the biggest voter turnout since the armed struggle began. It helped that the polls were scheduled so that the first districts to vote were the most militarized districts even within the Kashmir valley.

None of India's analysts, journalists, and psephologists cared to ask why people who had only weeks ago risked everything, including bullets and shoot-on-sight orders, should have suddenly changed their minds. None of the high-profile scholars of the great festival of democracy -- who practically live in TV studios when there are elections in mainland India, picking apart every forecast and exit poll and every minor percentile swing in the vote count -- talked about what elections mean in the presence of such a massive, year-round troop deployment (an armed soldier for every 20 civilians).

No one speculated about the mystery of hundreds of unknown candidates who materialized out of nowhere to represent political parties that had no previous presence in the Kashmir valley. Where had they come from? Who was financing them? No one was curious. No one spoke about the curfew, the mass arrests, the lockdown of constituencies that were going to the polls.

Not many talked about the fact that campaigning politicians went out of their way to de-link Azadi and the Kashmir dispute from elections, which they insisted were only about municipal issues -- roads, water, electricity. No one talked about why people who have lived under a military occupation for decades -- where soldiers could barge into homes and whisk away people at any time of the day or night -- might need someone to listen to them, to take up their cases, to represent them.

The minute elections were over, the establishment and the mainstream press declared victory (for India) once again. The most worrying fallout was that in Kashmir, people began to parrot their colonizers' view of themselves as a somewhat pathetic people who deserved what they got. Never trust a Kashmiri, several Kashmiris said to me. We're fickle and unreliable. Psychological warfare, technically known as psy-ops, has been an instrument of official policy in Kashmir. Its depredations over decades -- its attempt to destroy people's self-esteem -- are arguably the worst aspect of the occupation. It's enough to make you wonder whether there is any connection at all between elections and democracy.

The trouble is that Kashmir sits on the fault lines of a region that is awash in weapons and sliding into chaos. The Kashmiri freedom struggle, with its crystal clear sentiment but fuzzy outlines, is caught in the vortex of several dangerous and conflicting ideologies -- Indian nationalism (corporate as well as Hindu, shading into imperialism), Pakistani nationalism (breaking down under the burden of its own contradictions), U.S. imperialism (made impatient by a tanking economy), and a resurgent medieval-Islamist Taliban (fast gaining legitimacy, despite its insane brutality, because it is seen to be resisting an occupation). Each of these ideologies is capable of a ruthlessness that can range from genocide to nuclear war. Add Chinese imperial ambitions, an aggressive, reincarnated Russia, and the huge reserves of natural gas in the Caspian region and persistent whispers about natural gas, oil, and uranium reserves in Kashmir and Ladakh, and you have the recipe for a new Cold War (which, like the last one, is cold for some and hot for others).

In the midst of all this, Kashmir is set to become the conduit through which the mayhem unfolding in Afghanistan and Pakistan spills into India, where it will find purchase in the anger of the young among India's 150 million Muslims who have been brutalized, humiliated, and marginalized. Notice has been given by the series of terrorist strikes that culminated in the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

There is no doubt that the Kashmir dispute ranks right up there, along with Palestine, as one of the oldest, most intractable disputes in the world. That does not mean that it cannot be resolved. Only that the solution will not be completely to the satisfaction of any one party, one country, or one ideology. Negotiators will have to be prepared to deviate from the party line.

Of course, we haven't yet reached the stage where the government of India is even prepared to admit that there's a problem, let alone negotiate a solution. Right now it has no reason to. Internationally, its stocks are soaring. And while its neighbors deal with bloodshed, civil war, concentration camps, refugees, and army mutinies, India has just concluded a beautiful election. However, demon-crazy can't fool all the people all the time. India's temporary, shotgun solutions to the unrest in Kashmir (pardon the pun), have magnified the problem and driven it deep into a place where it is poisoning the aquifers.

Is Democracy Melting?

Perhaps the story of the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, is the most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been deployed there, enduring chill winds and temperatures that dip to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Of the hundreds who have died there, many have died just from the elements.

The glacier has become a garbage dump now, littered with the detritus of war -- thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents, and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate. The garbage remains intact, perfectly preserved at those icy temperatures, a pristine monument to human folly.

While the Indian and Pakistani governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and the logistics of high-altitude warfare, the battlefield has begun to melt. Right now, it has shrunk to about half its size. The melting has less to do with the military standoff than with people far away, on the other side of the world, living the good life. They're good people who believe in peace, free speech, and in human rights. They live in thriving democracies whose governments sit on the U.N. Security Council and whose economies depend heavily on the export of war and the sale of weapons to countries like India and Pakistan. (And Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, the Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan… it's a long list.)

The glacial melt will cause severe floods on the subcontinent, and eventually severe drought that will affect the lives of millions of people. That will give us even more reasons to fight. We'll need more weapons. Who knows? That sort of consumer confidence may be just what the world needs to get over the current recession. Then everyone in the thriving democracies will have an even better life -- and the glaciers will melt even faster.

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives. She has worked as a film designer and screenplay writer in India. Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. Her new book, just published by Haymarket Books, is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. This post is adapted from the introduction to that book.

  Read Is Democracy Melting?
 October 7, 2009   Will Obama listen to the women of Afghanistan?
by CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney

Dear Germain,

CODEPINK co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans recently returned from an eye-opening trip to Afghanistan. Their experiences convinced them even further that sending 40,000 more US troops would be disastrous for Afghan women and children. On October 3, their last day in the country, a US bomb hit a farmer's house, killing two innocent women and six children. That same day, a fierce gun battle in mountainous Nuristan Province left eight U.S. Servicemen dead.

Watch the video interview with Dr. Roshanak Wardak, an Afghani member of parliament as she speakes with CODEPINK about the effects of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and what Obama should do about sending more troops.


"After eight years of U.S. military presence, Afghan women told us more troops will just mean more civilian deaths and more Taliban," Medea reports, not to mention more US casualties, more devastated families in both countries. "Afghan women want peace talks and economic development, not endless war."

Jodie adds, "We were told that most men join the Taliban out of economic desperation; providing jobs will do more for security then spending billions on more troops. It's time to change our military focus to a focus on improving the health, education and welfare of the Afghan people."

Near the end of their journey, the delegation met with women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to discuss issues of peace. The women--including members of Parliament, Dr. Roshnak Wardak and Shukria Barakzai; Suraya Parlika of the Afghan Women's Network, and businesswoman Wazhma Karzai, President Karzai's sister-in-law--signed a letter asking Obama to focus on economic needs in Afghanistan, not war.

As Dr. Ghazanfar states, "To fight is not the solution. We have a mouth and a brain, we should talk." Won't you sign on to the women's letter to urge Obama to stop sending troops to Afghanistan? You can use our tools --including a downloadable petition to a United for Peace or AFSC vigil marking the 8th anniversary of the war in your area this Wednesday.

Jodie reminds us "The protection of Afghan women is often used to justify our military presence, but we met an astounding array of Afghan women who said that sending more U.S. troops is not the answer. President Obama should listen to these women."

Thank you for using your mouth and your brain to speak out for peace in Afghanistan,

  Read Will Obama listen to the women of Afghanistan?
 January 6, 2008   The Soul of all Life, the Soul of Humanity, is the unifying religion of a modern symbiosis society, that of the global civilization of the 3 rd Millennium
Letter to the Global Community sent by the Soul of all Life, the Soul of Humanity
The teaching of the Soul    
The teaching of the Soul
The fundamental criteria of a global symbiotical relationship     The fundamental criteria of a global symbiotical relationship
Guiding Souls and God want to help us manage Earth     Guiding Souls and God want to help us manage Earth
Guiding Souls to serve God is a part of a new unifying religion of a modern symbiosis society     Guiding Souls to serve God is a part of a new unifying  religion  of a modern symbiosis society
The Divine Plan and the higher purpose of humanity      The Divine Plan and the higher purpose of humanity
The Global Community teaching     The Global Community teaching
Global Law      Global Law
  Read  The Soul of all Life, the Soul of Humanity, is the unifying religion of a modern symbiosis society, that of the global civilization of the 3 rd Millennium
by Bill Ellis

For some 2,000 years or more, civilization has been ruled by a social paradigm on which all aspects of the EuroAmerican cultures are based -- the “dominator paradigm.” In the past two decades a new social paradigm has been emerging that could have the most profound and fundamental impact on human civilization since hominids first came down from the trees.

The old paradigm placed humans in a purposeful universe created by some supernormal power for the domination and use by man. The new paradigm we, call “A Gaian Paradigm,” suggests a spontaneously self-organizing universe in which humanity is but one of the created tightly linked, interdependent webs of being.


The “dominator paradigm,” has had a long evolution. It evolved from the Jewish creation myth that held that the earth was created for the use of and domination by man. It was strengthened by Greek philosophy with the postulate that man is the measure of all things. The early Church held that a chain-of-being put man at the top of a hierarchy with only a few celestial beings above.

The “dominator paradigm” was imbedded in the minds of Europe by the thousand-year Inquisitions that burned thousand of heretics, mostly women, at the stake for believing in Earth as our creator. It was spread to the East by the crusades that destroyed “infidel” humans, cities and nations. During the Age of Colonization and Discovery it was perpetuated and made worldwide by the sword (technology), the flag (nationalism), and the cross (Christianity).

Newton’s clockwork concept of that cosmos, and Darwin’s theory of evolution were interpreted to “prove” the validity of the dominator paradigm. It was fixed in our secular moral system by the acceptance of Adam Smith's economy that human "self-interest," competition and materialism should, and do, dictate all human actions. This abomination as the essence of humanity now rules the world.


A Gaian paradigm not only has many roots but can be, and is becoming, the underpinning of a new global network of cultures replacing the now dominant and domineering man-centered industrial cultures. Like all cultures, the new cultures will be, holistic and unified coherences of interdependent components -- religion, economics, social and others.

The emergence of a Gaian paradigm is resulting in a deep fundamental transition of our world view, our social institutions, our cultural norms, and our lifestyles. The need for this transition is being made obvious by the growing numbers of dangers inherent in industrialism including endless wars and economic breakdowns. But the transition is happening, and being made real by the introduction of many positive and creative social innovations.

This millennium is being looked upon as a time of radical and fundamental change. Minds are opening to new ideas. People are looking for new actions. It is in this spirit of a hopeful, deep, fundamental social transformation that this book is addressed. These are the concepts we’ll explore in the next few chapters.


Many basic scientific observations led to this new scientific/social paradigm. The advancement of the Gaia theory, the establishment of Chaos and Complexity theories, and new concepts of evolution were among them.

New observations that biological evolution did not progress, as Darwin predicted, in a series of minute changes which led over time to the emergence of new species. Rather, biological evolution happened in quantum leaps. Major biological changes and new species are created in relatively short periods of time after long periods of stability. This observation was designated by Stephen Jay Gold as punctured equilibrium.

James Lovelock, a scientist working for NASA, observed that the biosphere of the Earth was radically different from all other planets. It stayed amazingly constant within ranges which supported life.

At the same time Lynn Margulis, a microbiologist, was studying the evolution of microorganisms over the billions of years before animals appeared on the face of the Earth. She found that life forms were interdependent. Life was able to exist on Earth because of a symbiosis among all life forms and the geological Earth. Everything was interdependent with everything else. Life created its own biome.

Lovelock and Margulis proposed that the whole Earth was a self-organized, self-supporting ecological system At the suggestion of a neighbor of Lovelace, William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, they termed this living Earth system Gaia, after the Greek Earth goddess.

A theoretical understanding of how Gaia, or in fact any system, might spontaneously self-organize came from other fields of science including mathematics, physics and particularly computer science. Chaos and Complexity theories (made possible by computer modeling) have moved science beyond the limits imposed by linear mathematics, algebra and calculus. Study of the transition of order into chaos, or chaos into order, and the formation of complex systems from simpler ones has opened a whole new area for science. Two particular breakthroughs in the field are relevant to the Gaia concepts.

Self-organizing criticality is an idea proposed by Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist, Per Bak. His first computer model representing self-organizing criticality was of a pile of sand. As you pour grains of sand on a spot it slowly builds into a stable inverted cone. As you continue pouring, the cone becomes unstable until sand slides and avalanches restore a new larger stable cone. Bak showed that biological evolution occurred in such bursts. Simple entities formed more complex systems, which remained stable until internal pressures built up and caused a rapid reorganization. There seems to be a law of nature, self-organizing criticality, by which new forms come into being.

Autocatalysis, developed by Stuart Kauffman at the Santa Fe Institute, is another concept which provides a theoretical base for the evolution of Gaia. Autocatalysis holds that systems of biological entities may promote their own rapid transition into different forms. Kauffman uses the simple example of the slippery-footed fly and sticky-tongued frog. The mutation of slippery footedness gave no environmental advantage to the fly until the mutation of the sticky-tongued frog. Only then did Darwin's survival-of-the-fittest come into play. Networks of potential mutations may develop and remain dormant until triggered by an environmental change or another phenomenon that brings on the avalanche of transition. Autocatalysis, linked with-survival-of-the-fittest. explains how complex organs like the eye, or new species emerge.

Self-organizing criticality and autocatalysis are among the scientific concepts that show how biological entities spontaneously self-organize in quantum-like leaps from simple cells to linked complex networks of cells, organs, plants and animals.

More than that, physicists like Lee Smolin and Nobel Laureate Murray Gellmann, have extended self-organizing back to the beginning of time at the Big Bang, suggesting that the same principle may apply to the self-organizing of fundamental particles into atoms, atoms into molecules, and molecules into galaxies, solar systems, planets, and life.

At the same time economists like Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow, Brian Arthur, and Jon Holland have extended the new paradigm in the other direction, to include economics, social organization, and human consciousness.

This new scientific-social paradigm suggests that people have no superior divine mandate within a universe created for them. They are not independent of, above or beyond the natural world in which they are imbedded. They do have the unique ability to understand, through science, the laws that govern them, to envision future worlds, and to co-create those future worlds within the laws of science.


“Everything is connected to everything else” is one way of stating the Gaian paradigm. It is a fact of science, and is a social mindset.

In addition it is more than those; it is a fact of technology. “Networking” was identified by John Naisbitt in Megatrends as one of the major rends of the age. It was a social and political as well as a scientific trend. It was made possible by the major new findings of the twentieth century. As he saw it, networking was like roads, the automobile, the telegraph, airplanes, the telephone, and computers. Each of these technologies made the Earth smaller and put people in more rapid and reliable touch with one another.

The real quantum jump in networking is only now before us. Computers and the Internet are providing a challenge that has hardly been explored. Cyberspace is a global phenomenon providing humanity the opportunity to work globally in real time. This takes networking well beyond the concept about which Naisbitt wrote only a few years ago, or the concept of transnational networking which was the root of the formation of TRANET, the organization with which I’ve been working since 1976.

The Gaia hypothesis, the theories of chaos and complexity, the Gaian concepts, and the computer technologies which now face us grew independently of one another. But they form a unity. They, in themselves, are an example of the self-organizing principle which shapes all of cosmic evolution. Together they make up the Gaian Paradigm. They challenge us to prepare ourselves for an avalanche of social, political and economic change in the years ahead. This millennium is evolving radically differently from anthropocentric (man-centered) paradigm which has dominated the past 2000 years.

********** END CHAPTER 1 ************

What change in your life style do you see coming from Gaia ?

22 speculation are listed on


 October 19, 2009   Going Green Means Having Fewer Kids
Emily Badger
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message, Evironment
Andrew Revkin, an environmental reporter for The New York Times and author of the paper's Dot Earth blog, warns that the math is pretty depressing.

There are about 6.8 billion people on the planet today, a number projected to get to 9 billion by 2050. Americans, the world's greatest per-capita emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, produce about 20 tons of the stuff per person, per year. If we were to cut that in half, as emissions rose with the quality of life in much of the Third World, and everyone on the planet met around 10 tons per person, per year, simple multiplication says we'd collectively emit 90 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually come 2050.

That's three times the already problematic current number.

When we start to think about that number, 9 billion, a lot of "cheery suppositions" about what the world can do to curb climate change evaporate, Revkin said (via carbon footprint-minimizing Skype from his desk in New York). He spoke to an event in Washington discussing population trends and climate change, and the media that seldom correlate the two.

The interrelated topics aren't likely to get much talk when global leaders meet in Copenhagen in December for the next round of wrangling over a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But at least the media could start highlighting the sensitive relationship, as was suggested at the talk hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center.

A couple of mental roadblocks emerge, central among them the sentiment that, well, there are just too many people on the planet, so what are we supposed to do about it? Any answer trips up against the politically touchy topic of family planning (a distinctly different concept, reproductive-health advocates stress, from "population control").

"The single most concrete, substantive thing a young American could do is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius," Revkin said. "It's having fewer kids."

But this is just a thought exercise, he cautions, and no model for the kind of official policy most Americans would want to live with. A recent study, though, by the London School of Economics and the British-based Optimum Population Trust, suggests meeting the world's unmet need for access to reproductive health would be the most effective and cheapest way to start dramatically cutting carbon dioxide.

Each $7 spent on basic family planning between now and 2050 would reduce emissions by more than a ton, the research says. To get the same reduction through alternative energy would cost at least $32 (or, as much as $83 to implement carbon capture and storage in coal plants, $92 to develop plug-in hybrids, or $131 for electric vehicles).

Providing such family planning over the next four decades would be the equivalent of reducing global CO2 by six times America's annual emissions.

All of this, though, assumes there's nothing controversial about getting birth control to rural Africa. Not that the conversation has to start with The Pill: Wherever women have been given access to reproductive health around the world, they have tended to opt for fewer children than they would have had otherwise, meaning that access has a controlling effect without being coercive.

Emily Douglas, Web editor at the liberal magazine The Nation and previously an editor at RHRealityCheck, suggested some historical context: World population projections were revised downward after the widespread dissemination of birth control in the West. Officials once predicted the trend would follow as birth control was made available to the Third World.

"But that assumption turned out to be false," Douglas said.

And so politicians head to Copenhagen with the most cost-effective solution to climate change (one piece, of course, of a broader menu) just as divisive as any other, inseparable from a web of policy problems that grows more connected to the climate by the day.
  Read Going Green Means Having Fewer Kids
 October 20, 2009   Take Action on Oct. 24: Join One of the Largest Global Protests in the Fight Against Climate Change
Tim Kingston
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message, Evironment
On Oct. 24, tens of thousands of people will be in the streets and on mountains, rivers and glaciers around the world demanding action to reduce CO2 emissions.

What started out a couple of years ago as a idea promoted by author/climate-change activist Bill McKibben and a few students at Vermont's Middlebury College has morphed into the biggest environmental, and possibly the most extensive worldwide protest, ever.

On Oct. 24, tens of thousands of people will be in the streets and on mountains, rivers and glaciers around the world demanding action to reduce CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million (ppm).

With just five days to go, 3,422 events are planned or under way in 160 nations on every continent, including Antarctica. More are coming online daily at 350.org, a small (seven staffers) organization based in Berkeley, Calif., that is coordinating the international day of action.

Organizers of the event are targeting the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. They hope the international day of action will apply pressure on the assembled heads of state and governments to reduce global greenhouse gas CO2 emissions to below 350 ppm, the number that scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This is an impressive task given that emissions already stand at 387 ppm. That demand has created a wired worldwide movement with a just over two dozen very busy coordinators based in offices, apartments and Internet cafes from Bujumbura, Burundi, to Berkeley, reaching out to other activists and organizations and planning global actions in conjunction with local communities.

McKibben, author of The End of Nature, the first widely read book on global warming, explained via e-mail to AlterNet why he co-founded 350.org: "The U.S. and China and governments and corporations change when pressure is applied to them. There is only one place that pressure can come from, which is a movement of people. Hence 350.org."

Planned climate-change actions for Oct. 24 run the gamut from impressive to odd, hopeful to heartwarming. The entire Cabinet of the government of the Maldives held a meeting underwater to display what will happen to the Maldives if nothing is done to halt climate change. Planning for the underwater event has even received U.S. media coverage, which has largely ignored the efforts of 350.org despite widespread international interest in the protests.

Australia will see more than 160 actions, including 350 tall ships that will glide by the Sydney Opera House, St. Mary's Cathedral bell will toll 350 times and 350 wind turbines will be on display in Wagga Wagga.

Three hundred fifty people will bungee jumping off old power station towers in Soweto, South Africa. A huge outdoor concert and aerial photo shoot in Mexico City is planned. An expedition is under way to Chacaltaya in Bolivia, site of the first Andean glacier to disappear forever. When the expedition arrives, the indigenous Aymara will conduct a blessing ceremony to try to protect the glaciers that are left.

A bicycle ride against global warming will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam. Ceremonies will take place at Machu Picchu, Peru, and a banner parade will wind past the pyramids in Egypt. Over 170 actions are expected in China alone. There will even be small events in Kabul, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, areas where people already have plenty on their minds.

Then there are small-scale oddities: Horses in Mexico stenciled with the number "350"; a children's bicycle race in a Guatemalan where each participant gets to take a piglet home. Closer to home, a huge rally is expected in San Francisco organized by 350.org, the Mobilization for Climate Justice, Greenpeace and Global Exchange and a variety of other groups to demand strong action on climate change. Other events are slated in Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose, including a hands-around-the-summit of Mount Diablo organized by Save Mount Diablo.

"It's gotten so big at this point that I really can't even wrap my head around it," Kelly Blynn, 350.org's Latin American organizer based in Ecuador, said via e-mail. "Stories continue to pour in from the most difficult places to organize on earth right now, like Honduras and Afghanistan, gives me hope the world might sing together and give our leaders a big nudge in the direction we need to be going."

Lofty Goals, Economic Battles

Reducing CO2 emission to 350 ppm may not be an unattainable goal, but it is wildly ambitious. Already the U.S. climate-control bill in the House is under attack from fossil-fuel corporations, and efforts are under way to strip the EPA of its power to regulate CO2 emissions.

A push-back against climate-change activism is under way, even as the concept becomes a standard paradigm. Blynn noted that Ecuador initially supported the 350 ppm goal, until "after understanding the implications for their oil-based economy" they backed out.

But it should be noted that McKibben and six Middlebury College students successfully booted up a similarly radical, some might have said quixotic, effort in 2007 to get Congress to commit to reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

They initiated a surprisingly effective campaign in 2007 called "Step It Up." The campaign organized national days of action in April and November that year with 1,400 events, all calling on politicians to step up and take ownership of, and action on, global warming.

Everything from ski runs down endangered glaciers in Montana to a high school assembly in El Cerrito, Calif., was involved. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton included "Step It Up's" demand that the U.S. rollback greenhouse-gas emission 80 percent by 2050 in their climate-change platforms. (Of course, getting that in practice is a little harder.)

"Step It Up" grew out of a five-day walk across Vermont organized by McKibben. In 2006, roughly 1,000 people marched to the state capital demanding action on climate change. In each case -- with the Vermont march, the national day of action and now the 350.org International Day of Action -- activism started with concern over what was, by all accounts, something of concern primarily to scientists and committed environmentalists. McKibben then exported that concern to the mainstream.

Of "Step It Up's" success, McKibben said, "We felt ... smug until a few weeks later, when in the summer of 2007, the Arctic began to melt so rapidly." Shortly afterwards, McKibben recounted, James Hansen head of NASA's Institute for Space Studies released a climate-change broadside.

Hansen stated: "If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggests that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm."

That spurred McKibben and small group of other activists to found 350.org in March 2008.

They have their work cut out for them. Even as hard-core global-warming skeptics lose traction, mainstream economists suggest stopping climate change is not economically feasible. Mainstream commentators concerned about climate change suggest that 400 to 500 ppm of CO2 might be acceptable. They argue efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emission any more would, as Nicholas Stern, author of the British government's Stern Review said, lead to "an abandonment or reversal of growth and development."

In other worlds, saving international capitalism is more important than saving the planet. At best the poor nations and people of the world will have to live with the consequences of global warming, as rich, developed nations figure out ways to protect themselves.

All the more reason for world leaders to sign on to 350 ppm, and many have. So far, over 95 nations are supporting the campaign, among them the Association of Small Island States and the 49 least-developed countries. They know full well that it is the poorest and least-developed countries that will bear the brunt of climate change. They are the ones who will end up, quite literally, underwater first.

"Even if we do everything right from here on in," stated McKibben, "it will be a long time before we're back to 350 -- the youngest people on the planet will be elderly. Temperatures will continue to go up, and a lot of damage will be done. What we are working for is to prevent change so large that civilization itself will be challenged, and that's still possible (we hope). But only if we get to work right away."

This is where the Oct. 24 action comes into play. Global warming and climate change is an issue that has largely remained in the hands of scientists, engineers, policy wonks, the nonprofit sector and government officials. Yes, there have been climate-change protests in spots around the world, but jumpstarting a mass movement along the lines of the anti-Iraq-war coalitions has just not happened yet.

350.org offers the opportunity "to have a movement based on clear, bold and simple targets," said Jamie Henn, 350.org's communications director, adding, "We are beginning to see pressure building on the U.S. ... In issues like this we are able to have stakes on something specific so that negotiators have to meet targets or at the very least explain why they are not meeting the targets."

What is also unique about the 350.org International Day of Action is how it is bringing people together who, under normal circumstances have great difficulty in cooperating. If McKibben had to pick a favorite action, he said, "it's a team organized by Friends of the Earth Middle East: Israeli activists will make a giant '3' on their shore of the dwindling Dead Sea, and Palestinians a giant '5' on their beach, and Jordanians a human '0' on theirs. To me it makes clear that we need to come together across all borders to face our first truly global crises."

Adam Welz, a 350.org organizer based in Cape Town, South Africa, wrote: "350.org has reached out across the notoriously fragmented continent of Africa to inspire people from downtown Johannesburg to remote parts of Somalia to do something, however to raise awareness of climate change. We're making inroads into consciousness, and that's great."

Welz says that 350.org's success is based on its inclusiveness and flat structure. "It's creating a platform not telling everyone exactly what to do," stated Welz. "It's so far mostly sidestepped the territorial nonsense that stops so many nonprofits cooperating by being deliberately inclusive and allowing ordinary people to bring their own creativity to the cause rather than telling them what to do and keeping them strictly 'on message.' "

And that is the beauty and hope of 350.org. It is the faith that people acting together for a common goal will actually reach it, using as many paths as there are people.

"We, the 'official' 350.org people, are just being carried along in a profoundly inspiring wave of global energy that's rising around us," noted Welz. "This tiny organization has inspired what is going to be the world's most widespread environmental awareness event ever."
  Read Take Action on Oct. 24: Join One of the Largest Global Protests in the Fight Against Climate Change
 October 7, 2009   Companies Like Monsanto and Dupont Practically Own the Meal on Your Plate
Joya Parsons
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message, Evironment
Corporations have been given the power to own seeds. And they are eliminating competing varieties and crowning their own patented seeds as the only choice in the marketplace.

Seeds. They seem like such a small thing when compared to the big, complex problems the world is facing -- climate change, poverty, war, famine, peak oil and an exploding population. They're so small, in fact, that most will fit easily under your thumb.

But stop and think again. Without those tiny grains, what would be left on Earth?

Seeds are the bedrock of our food chain, the basic element of our sustenance. If they were to disappear tomorrow, we would follow them into oblivion with lightning speed. And, the most pressing issue people are often unaware of is that they are currently under grave and direct threats.

Sounds ominous, huh? Wondering why? Well, the answer is two-fold. First, we have witnessed a staggering loss of genetic diversity. In the past century, world agriculture has lost 75% of its genetic diversity to globalization, standardization and monoculture farming; 95% of the tomato varieties that existed in 1909 have become extinct; 91% of corn – gone. In addition, 95% of the cabbage varieties your great-great grandma grew have been consigned to oblivion. And though this may not seem on the surface to be a big deal, in reality it could mean the difference between full bellies and famine.

Genetic diversity in the food plants we grow is more than just the number of tomatoes listed in your favorite seed catalog. Diversity ensures that there are sufficient, genetically diverse and well-adapted varieties of any given plant to respond to any given situation. When a crisis arises, such as a new fungal disease or a severe drought, diverse genetics ensure that some varieties will naturally have genes that enable them to resist the threat and grow on, passing their genetic strengths on to the next generation. Without that diversity, with a significantly narrower gene pool to draw upon, crops and plants become susceptible to complete annihilation when these new threats arise. Such a disaster is not unprecedented.

The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840's had such a devastating effect on Ireland's population not only because they depended so heavily upon that one crop, but because they relied on only one variety. When the fungus hit, the one variety in wide cultivation was extremely susceptible and the mainstay of the Irish diet was destroyed within two seasons. Even as recently as the United States corn blight of the 1970's, when 80% of American corn was of a similar genetic heritage and some 10 million acres of the crop were lost in a single season, we have seen the perils of lack of diversity.

The second threat to our seeds comes from industrial agriculture's relative recent access to patents, as well as genetically modified organisms and seed company acquisitions, resulting in significant industry consolidation. Understanding this requires just a little micro-course in plant patent history (For a more complete history, check out the three-part series at Cooking Up A Story). In 1930, the Plant Patent Act was passed, which allowed plant breeders, a relatively new profession, to patent a single, specific plant that they had bred themselves. Patents were limited to only that specific plant and any asexual propagations of said plant. Seeds, as the result of sexual reproduction, were specifically barred from patent. Fast-forward to 1970 and the passage of the Plant Variety Protection Act. This legislation gave plant breeders the right to patent an entire variety of genetically similar plants, as well as their seeds and all subsequent generations. Fast-forward again, this time to 1980. The United States Supreme Court decision of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, a 5-4 split decision, gave individuals, and corporations acting as individuals, the right to a utility patent for laboratory engineered organisms, including seeds, under the 1952 Patent Act. Yes, that's a bunch of gobblety-gook.

What it means is this: corporations have been given the power to own life. When you combine this with the consolidation of the global seed market by these same corporations, entities such as Monsanto and DuPont can not only own life, they can also control access and set the going price of those living things. In buying up every major seed supplier, they are systematically eliminating competing varieties and crowning their own patented seeds as the only choice in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, that's not all. The right and ability to patent life extends to the genetic level, thanks to Diamond v. Chakrabarty. A corporation, like Monsanto for instance, can own a single gene and by extension, own any form of life containing said gene. This is a problem in the plant world because, let's face it, plants are promiscuous. They pollinate far and wide with any willing partner. So, genetically modified corn containing Monsanto's patented genetic sequence can cross-contaminate a nearby field of non-GM, non-corporate owned corn, and simply by the act of drifting pollen, transform every seed produced by that corn into Monsanto's property.

So, this is a screwed up situation. But what can we do about it? We're just the little people, with no real say in what happens on the giant, global corporate stage, right? Well, not really. We can take our seeds back. We can keep them out of the hands of Monsanto and DuPont. We can breed back our lost diversity in our own backyards, with our own hands, to serve our own communities and interests. Here's how…

First, we must learn how to avoid plants and seeds that are already under patent, which can be difficult! If you are lucky, there will be a number next to the plant listing in the seed catalog, or a quick Google of the variety name will turn up a number. If the letters PVP are in front, you can search the Plant Variety Protection database. Now, this doesn't always work, since many PVP registrations refer to a variety number, rather than a name and you may have to scroll through the entire “tomato” section (or whatever section is relevant) to double check that your variety is not listed or, if it is, that the patent has not yet expired. Another tactic is to check through the USDA Plant Inventory files, which list all varieties to come on the market in a given year going back to 1998. As a very general rule, all seeds listed as F1 hybrids are probably patented (or at least they were at one time) and any seeds introduced more than twenty-five years age can no longer be under patent.

These information sources are great, but they are not 100% reliable or complete. In order to really make sure that your money isn't going into Monsanto's pockets, heirlooms and open-pollinated plants that came into existence before 1970 are almost a sure bet. These seeds have been perfected over decades, centuries in some cases. They've survived through the years because farmers and gardeners have recognized their merits, superior taste and performance. They were, by and large, created on the front lines, in backyards and farmlands far, far from the clutches of any corporate entity.

But planting patent- and corporate-free seeds is only the first step. The next step is where we really begin to take back our seeds. We have to save them from season to season. We have to relearn what our grandparents knew and cut the corporate stranglehold by providing seeds to ourselves and our communities– tomatoes, peppers, kale, radishes, lettuce and more. When we begin to do this, magic will happen.

Seeds and plants are not static copies of their ancestors. Even the oldest heirlooms are dynamic, living beings constantly adapting and evolving. If we understand, even on just a very basic level, how to choose the best plants to save seed from -- the ones with the best tasting fruit, the ones that get through the season with the least pest damage, the ones that grow the fastest or yield the most, then the seeds we save will grow into better and better plants every year. They will adapt to whatever region of the world we live in. After a couple generations and a few genetic mutations and cross-pollinations, our seeds will begin to transform. Even if I start with a Green Zebra tomato (developed by private citizen and plant breeder Tom Wagner) and another gardener across the country starts with the same tomato, within a matter of a few years saving seeds, we will have created two different, genetically divergent lines. Within a decade or so, the two lines may not even bear much resemblance to one another anymore, both having changed and adapted to local conditions. I've seen this phenomenon first-hand among my local gardening group. The seeds we select and save from season to season become the superstars of our gardens, performing better and better every year. This is how the great diversity in heirloom vegetables came into being in the first place and we can repeat it to create new ‘heirlooms' that we can pass on to others. If we the people can do this, we will begin to rebuild the lost diversity in our agricultural heritage.

It will be a slow process. It will take decades, possibly more than one lifetime, to regain even a fraction of what we have lost. However, with the looming threats of climate change, new diseases, and corporate gate-keepers intent on restricting access to the most basic elements of human life, this project, this truly grassroots mission could not be more important. It's time to take back what belongs to all of us. It's time to take responsibility for preserving and rebuilding the agricultural wealth that genetic diversity assures, corporations be damned.

Who knows? When the next devastating plant disease comes rolling through the countryside, the variety that saves the entire crop for the future of humanity may be the very one we grew and saved in our own backyards.
  Read Companies Like Monsanto and Dupont Practically Own the Meal on Your Plate
 October 12, 2009   Join Me for the No Impact Week Challenge
Tara Lohan
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message, Evironment
Take part in a week-long project to learn about your environmental footprint and reduce what you use and buy.

Next week I'm going to be participating in a little bit of an ecological/social experiment and I'm hoping you'll join me. By now you've likely heard about 'No Impact Man' Colin Beavan. Along with his wife and daughter, Colin and his family embarked on a year-long project to try to minimize their impact on the environment -- this included eating only local food (which meant no eating out and no coffee); only pedaling or walking to their destinations; not buying stuff, including no more clothes shopping or purchasing cleaning products from the store; no producing trash; and for about half of the year, not using electricity in their home (which was a New York City apartment).

Their project was a blog, a book and then a movie. And now, it's a challenge to us. For just one week you can participate in a modified version of Colin and his family's year-long adventure. There are a full set of instructions, here. But I'll run through the basic premise. I'll also be participating myself and blogging about the ups and downs of my week and I'd encourage you to do the same.

The week-long project, which is in partnership with the Huffington Post, starts on Sunday (October 18) and each day throughout the week a new concept is added -- so don't worry, you won’t have an abrupt lifestyle change all at once. Here's the basic plan: Sunday is consumption, Monday is trash, Tuesday is transportation, Wednesday is food, Thursday is energy, Friday is water, and on the weekend you are to spend one day as a day of volunteering in your community and one as an eco-Sabbath -- a time to unplug from everything.

If this sounds a little overwhelming, take a read through this guide -- it details how to do things step by step and helps provide tips and resources. The most important point of all this is not to see how much you can give up or get rid of in a week, but to actually stop and think for a little bit about your footprint on the environment and the resources that you are using. The project isn't really about eco-extremism but about asking people to be conscious of their impact. And for one week that sounds pretty manageable, right? Here's where you can sign up.
  Read Join Me for the No Impact Week Challenge
 September 24, 2009   Our Oil Addiction Is About to Make Life a Lot Nastier
Michael T. Klare, Environment, Tomdispatch.com
The great age of renewable energy is in our distant future. Before then, energy prices will rise, environmental perils will multiply and conflict will grow. Buckle your seatbelts.

The debate rages over whether we have already reached the point of peak world oil output or will not do so until at least the next decade. There can, however, be little doubt of one thing: we are moving from an era in which oil was the world's principal energy source to one in which petroleum alternatives -- especially renewable supplies derived from the sun, wind, and waves -- will provide an ever larger share of our total supply. But buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride under Xtreme conditions.

It would, of course, be ideal if the shift from dwindling oil to its climate-friendly successors were to happen smoothly via a mammoth, well-coordinated, interlaced system of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and other renewable energy installations. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur. Instead, we will surely first pass through an era characterized by excessive reliance on oil's final, least attractive reserves along with coal, heavily polluting "unconventional" hydrocarbons like Canadian oil sands, and other unappealing fuel choices.

There can be no question that Barack Obama and many members of Congress would like to accelerate a shift from oil dependency to non-polluting alternatives. As the president said in January, "We will commit ourselves to steady, focused, pragmatic pursuit of an America that is free from our [oil] dependence and empowered by a new energy economy that puts millions of our citizens to work." Indeed, the $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed in February provided $11 billion to modernize the nation's electrical grid, $14 billion in tax incentives to businesses to invest in renewable energy, $6 billion to states for energy efficiency initiatives, and billions more directed to research on renewable sources of energy. More of the same can be expected if a sweeping climate bill is passed by Congress. The version of the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives, for example, mandates that 20% of U.S. electrical production be supplied by renewable energy by 2020.

But here's the bad news: even if all these initiatives were to pass, and more like them many times over, it would still take decades for this country to substantially reduce its dependence on oil and other non-renewable, polluting fuels. So great is our demand for energy, and so well-entrenched the existing systems for delivering the fuels we consume, that (barring a staggering surprise) we will remain for years to come in a no-man's-land between the Petroleum Age and an age that will see the great flowering of renewable energy. Think of this interim period as -- to give it a label -- the Era of Xtreme Energy, and in just about every sense imaginable from pricing to climate change, it is bound to be an ugly time.

An Oil Field as Deep as Mt. Everest Is High

Don't be fooled by the fact that this grim new era will surely witness the arrival of many more wind turbines, solar arrays, and hybrid vehicles. Most new buildings will perhaps come equipped with solar panels, and more light-rail systems will be built. Despite all this, however, our civilization is likely to remain remarkably dependent on oil-fueled cars, trucks, ships, and planes for most transportation purposes, as well as on coal for electricity generation. Much of the existing infrastructure for producing and distributing our energy supply will also remain intact, even as many existing sources of oil, coal, and natural gas become exhausted, forcing us to rely on previously untouched, far more undesirable (and often far less accessible) sources of these fuels.

Some indication of the likely fuel mix in this new era can be seen in the most recent projections of the Department of Energy (DoE) on future U.S. energy consumption. According to the department's Annual Energy Outlook for 2009, the United States will consume an estimated 114 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) of energy in 2030, of which 37% will be supplied by oil and other petroleum liquids, 23% by coal, 22% by natural gas, 8% by nuclear power, 3% by hydropower, and only 7% by wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable sources.

Clearly, this does not yet suggest a dramatic shift away from oil and other fossil fuels. On the basis of current trends, the DoE also predicts that even two decades from now, in 2030, oil, natural gas, and coal will still make up 82% of America's primary energy supply, only two percentage points less than in 2009. (It is of course conceivable that a dramatic shift in national and international priorities will lead to a greater increase in renewable energy in the next two decades, but at this point that remains a dim hope rather than a sure thing.)

While fossil fuels will remain dominant in 2030, the nature of these fuels, and the ways in which we acquire them, will undergo profound change. Today, most of our oil and natural gas come from "conventional" sources of supply: large underground reservoirs found mainly in relatively accessible sites on land or in shallow coastal areas. These are the reserves that can be easily exploited using familiar technology, most notably modern versions of the towering oil rigs made famous most recently in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood.

Ever more of these fields will, however, be depleted as global consumption soars, forcing the energy industry to increasingly rely on deep offshore oil and gas, Canadian oil sands, oil and gas from a climate-altered but still hard to reach and exploit Arctic, and gas extracted from shale rock using costly, environmentally threatening techniques. In 2030, says the DoE, such unconventional liquids will provide 13% of world oil supply (up from a mere 4% in 2007). A similar pattern holds for natural gas, especially in the United States where the share of energy supplied by unconventional but nonrenewable sources is expected to rise from 47% to 56% in the same two decades.

Just how important these supplies have become is evident to anyone who follows the oil industry's trade journals or simply regularly checks out the business pages of the Wall Street Journal. Absent from them have been announcements of major discoveries of giant new oil and gas reserves in any parts of the world accessible to familiar drilling techniques and connected to key markets by existing pipelines or trade routes (or located outside active war zones such as Iraq and the Niger Delta region of Nigeria). The announcements are there, but virtually all of them have been of reserves in the Arctic, Siberia, or the very deep waters of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Recently the press has been abuzz with major discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico and far off Brazil's coast that might give the impression of adding time to the Age of Petroleum. On September 2nd, for example, BP (formerly British Petroleum) announced that it had found a giant oil field in the Gulf of Mexico about 250 miles southeast of Houston. Dubbed Tiber, it is expected to produce hundreds of thousands of barrels per day when production begins some years from now, giving a boost to BP's status as a major offshore producer. "This is big," commented Chris Ruppel, a senior energy analyst at Execution LLC, a London investment bank. "It says we're seeing that improved technology is unlocking resources that were before either undiscovered or too costly to exploit because of economics."

As it happens, though, anyone who jumped to the conclusion that this field could quickly or easily add to the nation's oil supply would be woefully mistaken. As a start, it's located at a depth of 35,000 feet -- greater than the height of Mount Everest, as a reporter from the New York Times noted -- and well below the Gulf's floor. To get to the oil, BP's engineers will have to drill through miles of rock, salt, and compressed sand using costly and sophisticated equipment. To make matters worse, Tiber is located smack in the middle of the area in the Gulf regularly hit by massive storms in hurricane season, so any drills operating there must be designed to withstand hurricane-strength waves and winds, as well as sit idle for weeks at a time when operating personnel are forced to evacuate.

A similar picture prevails in the case of Brazil's Tupi field, the other giant discovery of recent years. Located about 200 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Tupi has regularly been described as the biggest field to be found in 40 years. Thought to contain some five to eight billion barrels of recoverable oil, it will surely push Brazil into the front ranks of major oil producers once the Brazilians have overcome their own series of staggering hurdles: the Tupi field is located below one-and-a-half miles of ocean water and another two-and-a-half miles of rock, sand, and salt and so accessible only to cutting edge, super-sophisticated drilling technologies. It will cost an estimated $70-$120 billion to develop the field and require many years of dedicated effort.

Xtreme Acts of Energy Recovery

Given the potentially soaring costs involved in recovering these last tough-oil reserves, it's no wonder that Canadian oil sands, also called tar sands, are the other big "play" in the oil business these days. Not oil as conventionally understood, the oil sands are a mixture of rock, sand, and bitumen (a very heavy, dense form of petroleum) that must be extracted from the ground using mining, rather than oil-drilling, techniques. They must also be extensively processed before being converted into a usable liquid fuel. Only because the big energy firms have themselves become convinced that we are running out of conventional oil of an easily accessible sort have they been tripping over each other in the race to buy up leases to mine bitumen in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta.

The mining of oil sands and their conversion into useful liquids is a costly and difficult process, and so the urge to do so tells us a great deal about our particular state of energy dependency. Deposits near the surface can be strip-mined, but those deeper underground can only be exploited by pumping in steam to separate the bitumen from the sand and then pumping the bitumen to the surface -- a process that consumes vast amounts of water and energy in the form of natural gas (to heat that water into steam). Much of the water used to produce steam is collected at the site and used over again, but some is returned to the local water supply in northern Alberta, causing environmentalists to worry about the risk of large-scale contamination.

The clearing of enormous tracts of virgin forest to allow strip-mining and the consumption of valuable natural gas to extract the bitumen are other sources of concern. Nevertheless, such is the need of our civilization for petroleum products that Canadian oil sands are expected to generate 4.2 million barrels of fuel per day in 2030 -- three times the amount being produced today -- even as they devastate huge parts of Alberta, consume staggering amounts of natural gas, cause potentially extensive pollution, and sabotage Canada's efforts to curb its greenhouse-gas emissions.

North of Alberta lies another source of Xtreme energy: Arctic oil and gas. Once largely neglected because of the difficulty of simply surviving, no less producing energy, in the region, the Arctic is now the site of a major "oil rush" as global warming makes it easier for energy firms to operate in northern latitudes. Norway's state-owned energy company, StatoilHydro, is now running the world's first natural gas facility above the Arctic Circle, and companies from around the world are making plans to develop oil and gas fields in the Artic territories of Canada, Greenland (administered by Denmark), Russia, and the United States, where offshore drilling in northern Alaskan waters may soon be the order of the day.

It will not, however, be easy to obtain oil and natural gas from the Arctic. Even if global warming raises average temperatures and reduces the extent of the polar ice cap, winter conditions will still make oil production extremely difficult and hazardous. Fierce storms and plunging temperatures will remain common, posing great risk to any humans not hunkered down in secure facilities and making the transport of energy a major undertaking.

Given fears of dwindling oil supplies, none of this has been enough to deter energy-craving companies from plunging into the icy waters. "Despite grueling conditions, interest in oil and gas reserves in the far north is heating up," Brian Baskin reported in the Wall Street Journal. "Virtually every major producer is looking to the Arctic sea floor as the next -- some say last -- great resource play."

What is true of oil generally is also true of natural gas and coal: most easy-to-reach conventional deposits are quickly being depleted. What remains are largely the "unconventional" supplies.

U.S. producers of natural gas, for example, are reporting a significant increase in domestic output, producing a dramatic reduction in prices. According to the DoE, U.S. gas production is projected to increase from about 20 trillion cubic feet in 2009 to 24 trillion in 2030, a real boon for U.S. consumers, who rely to a significant degree on natural gas for home heating and electricity generation. As noted by the Energy Department however, "Unconventional natural gas is the largest contributor to the growth in U.S. natural gas production, as rising prices and improvements in drilling technology provide the economic incentives necessary for exploitation of more costly resources."

Most of the unconventional gas in the United States is currently obtained from tight-sand formations (or sandstone), but a growing percentage is acquired from shale rock through a process known as hydraulic fracturing. In this method, water is forced into the underground shale formations to crack the rock open and release the gas. Huge amounts of water are employed in the process, and environmentalists fear that some of this water, laced with pollutants, will find its ways into the nation's drinking supply. In many areas, moreover, water itself is a scarce resource, and the diversion of crucial supplies to gas extraction may diminish the amounts available for farming, habitat preservation, and human consumption. Nonetheless, production of shale gas is projected to jump from two trillion cubic feet per year in 2009 to four trillion in 2030.

Coal presents a somewhat similar picture. Although many environmentalists object to the burning of coal because it releases far more climate-altering greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels for each BTU produced, the nation's electric-power industry continues to rely on coal because it remains relatively cheap and plentiful. Yet many of the country's most productive sources of anthracite and bituminous coal -- the types with the greatest energy potential -- have been depleted, leaving (as with oil) less productive sources of these types, along with large deposits of less desirable, more heavily polluting sub-bituminous coal, much of it located in Wyoming.

To get at what remains of the more valuable bituminous coal in Appalachia, mining companies increasingly rely on a technique known as mountaintop removal, described by John M. Broder of the New York Times as "blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams." Long opposed by environmentalists and residents of rural Kentucky and West Virginia, whose water supplies are endangered by the dumping of excess rock, dirt, and a variety of contaminants, mountaintop removal received a strong endorsement from the Bush administration, which in December 2008 approved a regulation allowing for a vast expansion of the practice. President Obama has vowed to reverse this regulation, but he favors the use of "clean coal" as part of a transitional energy strategy. It remains to be seen how far he will go in reining in the coal industry.

Xtreme Conflict

So let's be blunt: we are not (yet) entering the much-heralded Age of Renewables. That bright day will undoubtedly arrive eventually, but not until we have moved much closer to the middle of this century and potentially staggering amounts of damage has been done to this planet in a fevered search for older forms of energy.

In the meantime, the Era of Xtreme Energy will be characterized by an ever deepening reliance on the least accessible, least desirable sources of oil, coal, and natural gas. This period will surely involve an intense struggle over the environmental consequences of reliance on such unappealing sources of energy. In this way, Big Oil and Big Coal -- the major energy firms -- may grow even larger, while the relatively moderate fuel and energy prices of the present moment will be on the rise, especially given the high cost of extracting oil, gas, and coal from less accessible and more challenging locations.

One other thing is, unfortunately, guaranteed: the Era of Xtreme Energy will also involve intense geopolitical struggle as major energy consumers and producers like the United States, China, the European Union, Russia, India, and Japan vie with one another for control of the remaining supplies. Russia and Norway, for example, are already sparring over their maritime boundary in the Barents Sea, a promising source of natural gas in the far north, while China and Japan have tussled over a similar boundary dispute in the East China Sea, the site of another large gas field. All of the Arctic nations -- Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States -- have laid claim to large, sometimes overlapping, slices of the Arctic Ocean, generating fresh boundary disputes in these energy-rich areas.

None of these disputes has yet resulted in violent conflict, but warships and planes have been deployed on some occasions and the potential exists for future escalation as tensions rise and the perceived value of these assets grows. And while we're at it, don't forget today's energy hotspots like Nigeria, the Middle East, and the Caspian Basin. In the Xtreme era to come, they are no less likely to generate conflicts of every sort over the ever more precious supplies of more easily accessible energy.

For most of us, life in the Era of Xtreme Energy will not be easy. Energy prices will rise, environmental perils will multiply, ever more carbon dioxide will pour into the atmosphere, and the risk of conflict will grow. We possess just two options for shortening this difficult era and mitigating its impact. They are both perfectly obvious -- which, unfortunately, makes them no easier to bring about: drastically speed up the development of renewable sources of energy and greatly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by reorganizing our lives and our civilization so that we might consume less of them in everything we do.

That may sound easy enough, but tell that to governments around the world. Tell that to Big Energy. Hope for it, work for it, but in the meantime, keep your seatbelts buckled. This roller-coaster ride is about to begin.
  Read Our Oil Addiction Is About to Make Life a Lot Nastier
 October 21, 2009   Global Campaign for Carbon Reductions
by Rabbi Michael Lerner
Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives is part of the international campaign to lower carbon emissions, coordinated by 350.org. We also urge support of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

While there is lots of focus on the Oct. 24th campaign to raise global awareness, members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and the Tikkun Community are urged to be involved beyond that--seeking to mobilize our government with rational plans that would accomplish a reduction of carbon to less than 350 parts per million, and to support a powerful global agreement at the Copenhagen negotiations in December that will seek to replace the Kyoto Accord which the US failed to ratify.

Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.
  Read Global Campaign for Carbon Reductions

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Message from the Editor

The Editor of the Global Information Media is now accepting articles, letters, reports, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages for publication. This Media is a way to communicate workable sound solutions to problems arising in the world. Let us share our problems and workable sound solutions. Sharing information is a necessity to all life and humanity's survival. Our world is changing fast before our eyes, and we must react quickly and hard to protect all life on Earth. No hesitation! Right now and no waiting! Life on the planet is our first priority. We must protect it at all costs. We, global citizens, fight to protect life on Earth for this generation and the next ones. We are the defenders of the environment and the global life-support systems. We know who the beasts are, and how they destroy the living on our planet. We have rallied together all over the world to protect our home, Earth. But this time we are not alone. We know it all! We know how everything works. And we will do whatever it takes to protect life on Earth. "We the Peoples", the Global Community, are the Earth revolutionaries, and we will protect life on Earth at all costs.

This is the main index for the Global Information Media (GIM) concerning activities of the Global Community.

GIM was organized with more than sixty sections. Each section allows everyone to participate in the Global Dialogue. You pick an issue, and you participate. All sections may contain any of the following information: abstracts, research papers, notes, outlines, videos and other works of art, posters, articles, letters, press releases, reports, and newsletters. They may also contain discussions, global dialogues, brain-storming exercises on issues, or just email messages from interested participants and groups.

We are delighted to receive new articles for future Newsletters from our readers. It is imperative that, if you give us permission to re-print, all or in part, you include all copyright verification of permission of quote. We do not have a copyright research expert to do this work.

Just so you all know we don't pay anyone, and we don't pay expenses. We do volunteer work for humanity. We expect volunteers to be responsible and accountable of all their actions. We do soft activism work. The Global Constitution shows us how to operate our organization. We follow Global Law as shown in the Global Constitution. All those who do volunteer work for us must become familliar with it and become 'global citizens'. We want our volunteers to be completely loyal to the Global Community and to the values and principles we promote.

The Editor.

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Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community

The world is in a state of perpetual turmoil. We are worlds within worlds orbiting in and through each other’s space. Our interactions with one another can be planned and executed in a caring, considerate manner so that all may exist and not destroy the other.

A good place to start this day would be to see the people living in far away places as we see our neighbors. Neighbors are people we should see as people very much like ourselves. Love your neighbors as yourself. Many scientists have shown that our genetic make-up as human beings are not that much different than that of many other life-forms. The reality is that we as people are not that much different from one another. Our education and upbringings are different and created cultural and religious differences. Conflicts originate often because of these cultural and religious differences.

My teaching for the day is to make the effort to understand what make us different from one another and find a way to appreciate those differences. We also have to make the effort of understanding other life-forms in Nature and appreciate the differences. Because of brain capacity, we dont expect other life-forms of understanding us, but we do have a moral responsibility of understanding them and appreciate the differences. God loves diversity in Nature and in Souls. God loves good Souls from all cultures and religions, and from all life. Yes there is a Soul in every living life-form and God loves them too.

Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
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Message from the President of Earth Government, the Federation of Global Governments

You may use the following short description of myself and the history of the organization. History of the Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government Since its beginning in 1985, many accomplishments can be claimed by the Global Community: History of the Global Community organization and Earth Government

Short description and history of the Global Community, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Govewrnments

The Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments were founded in 1985 in Calgary, Canada by Germain Dufour, Prophete of God, Spiritual Leader and President, and further developed through Global Parliament meetings. Later on in 1990s he was joined by his wife, Virginie, in the developing of many global concepts. Symbiotical relationships were defined to show the path for a better world. The Federation was formed to replace the United Nations. Its basic proposal is a de-centralized global government. A Global Government offers essential services to the people where it operates and the Federation main function is to serve all people and help in this process with the formation of Global Ministries to protect all life on our planet. Essential services to the people of each member nation are now the most important global rights on the Scale of Global Rights and are protected by the Global Protection Agency (GPA) of each member nation whose function is to enforce Global Law as defined in the Global Constitution. The Scale is the fundamental guide to Global Law which itself includes legislation covering all essential aspects of human activities. That is how we will bring about the event of Peace amongst us all and give security to all people, all life on Earth.

As a first step to getting help, all nations can and should approve those first three sections on the Scale of Global Rights. Scale of Global Rights The approval would supersede the political and physical borders of participating member nations. The Global Protection Agency (GPA) would have the approval from all member nations to give immediate help, bypassing normal government protocols. Somewhat like an emergency unit but at the global level. That is what those first three sections mean. They represent an efficient and immediate emergency response to help.

First, participating member nations need to give their approval to the Global Protection Agency ( GPA).

The GPA is a global organization much like the World Trade Organization (WTO) for trade between nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) for health, or the European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), South American Community of Nations (SACON) for trade and economics. The GPA offers an efficient emergency response to help. The GPA is a short term solution, an immediate and efficient response to help.

There are also long term solutions. As with the short term solution, the most significant long term solution is also related to the Scale of Global Rights. The Scale was entrenched in the Global Constitution and is thus the fundamental guide to Global Law. Now the Scale of Global Rights is a long term solution and is also a part of the Global Movement to Help of the Global Community. The Scale was designed to help all life on Earth. What would be preferable is that nations unite amongst themselves to help.

Over time, we have seen the creation of the United Nations, the European Union, the South American Community of Nations, and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Except for the UN, these organizations are mainly concerned with trade and economics. The Global Community offers a more meaningful union in the form of nine or more Global Governments. For instance the South American Community of Nations can be a Global Government by simply accepting the Global Constitution as a way of dealing between member nations. A Global Government is concerned not only with economics and trade, but also with the environment, health, agriculture, energy, food, social, cultural and many other essential aspects. The Federation of Global Governments is the place of meeting between Global Governments. The very first step of the Federation, and maybe the only one for several decades ahead of us, would be the approval of essential services amongst the participating member nations. The Global Community has researched and developed such services and listed them here. All of them are already in operation on a small scale.

I believe that there is no greater task in the world today than for the Global Community to proceed through the maturation of its leadership, emerging from a more self-interested adolescence as a global leader into a nobler adulthood. We have the potential to act as a torchbearer for a better tomorrow. Do we heed the call? I hope this message has convinced many international organizations and the millions of people who have been with us over the past decades, that the question of how to proceed with that maturation is of far deeper significance than the reforming of the United Nations. In fact the United Nations should not be reformed it should be replaced by the Federation. I thus pray that we move with wisdom, grace, clarity, and love in the days, years, and even decades ahead.

Germain Dufour  Achievements of Global Community WebNet Ltd.
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
(short Bio)
Earth Government
Federation of Global Governments

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Note concerning personal info sent to us by email

Our policy concerning personal information is simple: we dont show it. That includes phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses and any personal notes. Please do indicate what you consider a personal note as sometime it is hard to tell.

What we show is the work done by participants and authors, and their email addresses if any. We will show any work concerning issues, email discussions, opinions, articles, letters, reports, works of art, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages for publication.

And also please note that our computer harddrives will not be containing personal info either. This is because of the damage hackers can do.

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Celebration of Life Day, May 26, 2008

Dear friends,

On and around May 26, 2009, millions of people will join together in a global call to celebrate Life, the gift to the universe from God.

Celebration of Life Day
is May 26 every year, a day to say
thank you God for the gift of Life on Earth

Celebration of Life Day on May 26

On May 26, 2009, the Global Community asked all Peoples of the world to participate in this celebration of Life in your own community. The following project was appropriate to everyone.

From the experience in your life and local community tell us:

*    Why are you important to this Global Community?
*    Why is it important to you?
*    What do you like about it?
*    What bothers you about it?
*    Anything need to be done?
*    What is really good there?
*     What is very very important?
*     What is not so important?
*     What is not good?
*     What is needed to keep the good things?
*     What could make them even better?
*     What could you do to keep the good things good?
*     Could they help get rid of bad things?
*     What unimportant things need to go?
*     How could you help get rid of these things?

to sustain Earth, humanity and all life.

Please send us the following information:

1.     What are the most important issues that would allow your community become more sustainable? Over the past several years, many communities have held Life Day dialogues to determine the answer to this question. We look forward to hearing from all of you.

2.     A brief story of success in your community from the last 10 years in regard to a sound sustainable development.

3.     A picture related to the above or to a Life Day event.

4.     A sample of your idea of the Earth Flag.

We will gather this information from groups all over the world and compile it into a comprehensive report. Your work will be shown during Global Dialogue 2009. Please mail or email your ideas, pictures and descriptions, videos, Earth Flag samples to:

Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Earth Government
Federation of Global Governments

Visit our website for more details concerning the Celebration of Life Day.

Celebration of Life Day

On May 26, as part of the Global Community Peace Movement, the Human Family,we will be rejoicing with all Peoples of the world , and all life, for the annual Celebration of Life Day. Life is the most precious gift ever given by God to the universe and this event needs to be celebrated.

At the early stage of the formation of the Earth, and a while later, all the conditions for the formation of life were present, and life was created to better serve God. Life was made of matter and every particle of that matter had a Soul that merged with all the others. A Soul is a part of the Spirit of God, His consciousness, and is a living, loving presence, a Being. A Soul can merge with other Souls and become one Soul, and it can evolve as well. The first spark of life was the cause for the formation of a unique and independent Soul to better serve God. Throughout the different evolutionary stages of life on Earth, Souls have guided the step-by-step evolution of life and kept merging with one another to better serve God. They guided the evolutionary process in small, incremental ways over a period of several billion years. Many groupings of Souls became more complex than others as they were much brighter beings than other groupings, but all serve God in their own special way.

One unique and most wonderful grouping was the grouping that made the Human Soul. God loves the human Souls a lot because of their wonderful qualities. Over the past thousands of years, through their Souls human beings became conscious of God in many different ways. Religions of all kinds started to spread on Earth to adore God and pray. Different groupings of Souls affected human beings in different ways and Peoples today have different religious beliefs. God is like a river feeding plentifully and bountifully all lifeforms and plants. There are many pathways leading to the river. They are God's pathways. God loves diversity in Nature and in Souls. God loves good Souls from all religions.

Different religions have different ways to love, adore and pray to God. And God's Heaven exists. Heaven on Earth is different from God's Heaven. To be in Heaven with God will mean a Soul has left the matter of the universe forever to enter God's Heaven.

The Divine Will or Will of God is the most powerful force of the universe and is pure spiritual energy. The Will of God is for life to reach God, God’s Pure Light, in the best possible ways. Life is the building block through which Souls can have a meaningful relationship with God. By observing the Universe, the galaxies, we are observing and studying God. We are seeing His magnificence, His greatness, and His complex making. There is more to the Universe we observe today, that is, there is more to God, much more. God is self-existent, eternal and infinite in space and time. Follow God's Word. God's Plan was revealed to humanity a short while ago.

The Divine Plan for humanity is:

a)     for everyone to manage Earth responsibly, and
b)     about to reach the stars and spread Life throughout the universe and thus help other Souls to evolve and serve God in the best possible ways.

Humanity’s higher purpose is to serve God by propagating life throughout the universe. Humanity will evolve spiritually to fulfill God's Plan. The human species has reached a point in its evolution where it knows its survival is being challenged. The human species knows through the Souls and now that all human Souls have merged together and formed the Soul of Humanity, we will find it easier to fight for our own survival. The Soul of Humanity does not make decisions for us and can only help us understand and guide us on the way. In the past, human beings have had some kind of symbiotical relationship (which is something common in Nature between lifeforms in an ecosystem) with the Souls, and now with the Soul of Humanity. We work together for both our survival and well-being. Cooperation and symbiosis between lifeforms (especially human beings) on Earth and between lifeforms and their Souls and the Soul of Humanity have become a necessity of life. We help one another, joint forces, and accomplish together what we cannot accomplish separately. Several billion years ago this symbiosis between matter and Souls resulted in the making of complex biochemical systems. Symbiosis has worked throughout the evolution of life on Earth and today, the Soul of Humanity has decided to be more active with humanity by purifying Souls. The Soul of Humanity shows us the way to better serve God.

The Soul of Humanity is helping to bring about the event of Peace in the world. Knowing that Earth is a spiritual entity as well as a physical entity in space and time in the universe we begin to have a better relationship with Earth and with all its living inhabitants. This way Earth management will become a spiritual and a natural process whereby each person is responsible and accountable for its management the best they can. Peace in the world and Earth management have for too long been in the hands of and affected by government and business leaders, in the hands of a few people on the planet, as opposed to being in the hands of all of us (7 billion people on Earth) working together to keep our planet healthy. We are the keepers of the Earth.

The Soul of Humanity will help us:

*     resolve problems, concerns and issues peacefully;
*     reinstate the respect for Earth;
*     work with humanity to keep Earth healthy, productive and hospitable for all people and living things;
*     bring forth a sustainable global society embracing universal values related to human and Earth rights, economic and social justice; respect of nature, peace, responsibility to one another;
*     protect the global life-support systems and manage Earth;
*     evolve spiritually to fulfill God’s Plan; and
*     enter God’s Heaven, His Spirit, His Pure Light, His universal mind and global consciousness.

We have the responsibility of managing Earth. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of life within the Global Community. When there is a need to find a solution to a problem or a concern, a sound solution would be to choose a measure or conduct an action, if possible, which causes reversible damage as oppose to a measure or an action causing an irreversible loss.

Life exists on millions of other planets in the universe and our species got to be who we are today through the evolutionary process. Other lifeforms in the universe may have evolved to be at least as advanced as our species. Their Souls may even be more complicated than ours. They may have merged a trillion times more than the human Souls. They may have evolved as well.

We the Peoples of the Global Community, the Human Family, are reaffirming faith in the fundamental human and Earth rights, the Scale of Human and Earth Rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. We the Peoples implies every individual on Earth, every community and every nation. Earth management is now a priority and a duty of every responsible person on Earth. The Global Community has taken action by calling the Divine Will into our lives and following its guidance. Divine Will is now a part of the Soul of Humanity to be used for the higher purpose of good and life's evolution. We will learn to serve humanity and radiate the Will of God to others.

As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. This requires a change of mind and heart, and calling Divine Will to come into our life to show us the way. It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility. We must develop and apply the vision of a sustainable way of life locally, nationally, regionally, globally, and within ourselves throughout life. Our cultural diversity is a precious heritage and different cultures will find their own distinctive ways to realize the vision. We must deepen and expand the global dialogue that generated the ongoing collaborative search for truth and wisdom.

Life often involves tensions between important values. This can mean difficult choices. However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals. Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play. The arts, sciences, religions, educational institutions, media, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and governments are all called to offer creative leadership. The partnership of government, civil society, and business is essential for an effective global governance based on global concepts and the Scale of Human and Earth Rights.

In order to build a sustainable global community, each individual, each local community, and national governments of the world must initiate their commitment to the Human Family.

Let our time be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. Let our expanding consciousness blend with that of the Soul of Humanity.

Humanity welcomes the "Belief, Values, Principles and Aspirations of the Global Community" (see the Global Constitution on our website) with Faith in the Divine Will and without fears such as the fear of change. Humanity seeks meaningful experiences and embraces the future for the better. Divine Will has caused the event of the Global Community.

Our time is the age of global cooperation and symbiotical relationships. There are many different kinds of symbiotical relationships. Symbiotical relationships exist between nations of the European Union. It is mainly an economic base symbiotical relationship. Other types of symbiotical relationships maybe created all over the world between communities, nations, and between people themselves. The Global Community, the Global Governments Federation, and the Global Government of North America are examples. They may be geographical, economical, social, business-like, political, religious, and personal. There has always been symbiotical relationships in Nature, and between Souls and the matter of the universe to help creating Earth and life on Earth to better serve God.

The Global Community has begun to establish the existence of a meaningful global co-operation all over the planet. National governments and large corporations have taken the wrong direction by asserting that free trade in the world is about competing economically without any moral safeguards and accountability to peoples and the environment. The proper and only way is for free trade to become a global cooperation between all nations. Surely, if we can cooperate in fighting against terrorism, then we should also be able to cooperate in fighting against the effects of the type of free trade and the emergence of the planetary trading blocks as applied by national governments members of the World Trade Organization(WTO). It has already been shown (see Newsletters on our website) that these effects will be disastrous socially and environmentally and are a direct threat to the existence of life on Earth. The Global Community is proposing a solution that the process of trading within the planetary trading blocks be changed from a spirit of global competition to that of global economic cooperation. This is the new way of doing business, the new way of life.

The Global Community has made clear that globalization and planetary trading blocks should be serving the Human Family and not the other way around, the people around the world serving the very few rich individuals. The September 11 event was the result of bad trading of arms and oil and the absence of moral responsibility and accountability in our way of doing business with the Middle East nations. By applying proper moral safeguards and accepting responsibility and accountability of all products (arms and oil in this case), from beginning to end where they become wastes, each corporation would make free trade and globalization serving the Human Family. The September 11 event was also a turning point in human history and indicated the end of the last superpower in the world and the birth of the Global Community. Over its long past history trade has never evolved to require from the trading partners to become legally and morally responsible and accountable for their products from beginning to end. At the end the product becomes a waste and it needs to be properly dispose of. Now trade must be given a new impetus to be in line with the global concepts of the Global Community. When you do exploration work, and develop, manufacture, produce, mine, farm or create a product, you become legally and morally responsible and accountable of your product from beginning to end (to the point where it actually becomes a waste; you are also responsible for the proper disposable of the waste). This product may be anything and everything from oil & gas, weapons, war products, construction products, transportation and communications products and equipment, to genetically engineered food products. All consumer products! All medical products! All pharmaceutical products! In order words, a person (a person may be an individual, a community, a government, a business, an NGO, or an institution) becomes responsible and accountable for anything and everything in his or her life.

Certainly an important action has been for the Canadian Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as it is. No more waiting! Time for action is now! We are all responsible for the creation of global warming, and there are plenty of observable effects. Greenhouse gases are accumulating dangerously in the Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, and temperatures are rising globally due to these activities. Climate changes have to be manage without delays and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is only the beginning of a long fight for the protection of life on Earth. There is much more to be done to even come close to what we have to do. The ratification was only the beginning to help save the next generations.

Global consumption is a very important aspect of globalization. Consumers should be concerned with the impact of their decisions on the environment but also on the lives, human and Earth rights and well-being of other people. Since one of the key functions of families as a social institution is to engage in production (selling their labour in return for wages) and consumption (using those wages to buy goods and services), then the role of families has impacts on sustainable consumption and development. Corporations are required to expand their responsibilities to include human and Earth rights, the environment, community and family aspects, safe working conditions, fair wages and sustainable consumption aspects. Global Community has summarized the rights of every person on Earth by developing the Scale of Human and Earth Rights. The scale will eventually be replacing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Global Constitution established all rights.

Just as corporations have social responsibilities and so do consumers in societies. Consumers are socialized to improve the quality of their lives. Quality of life is a multi-dimensional, complex and very subjective concept. For instance, someone who has changed their consumption habits to better ensure that their choices will make a better quality of life for themselves, the environment and future generations, may be seen by others as having a lower or inferior quality of life since they have removed themselves from the materialistic mainstream characteristic of our consumer society. Someone may feel that an absence of violence and abuse in their life leads to a higher quality of living even though they have fewer tangible resources, money, or shelter; peace of mind and freedom from abuse has increased the quality of their daily life relative to what it was like before. There are universal quality of life values which lead to "human betterment" or the improvement of the human condition. In addition to the value of species survival (human and other living organisms), they include: adequate resources, justice and equality, freedom, and peace or balance of power. A better quality of life for all people of the Global Community Earth Government is a goal for all of us and one of our universal values.

Global Community found that an adequate level of health care is a universal value as well as a human right. We expect adequate health services to be accessible, affordable, compassionate and socially acceptable. We believe that every individual of a society is co-responsible for helping in implementing and managing health programmes along with the government and the public institutions.

Being unified under the Soul of Humanity, Divine Will, God the Spirit and the Human Family dissolve all barriers and expand our global consciousness. We become more whole and complete within ourselves and as a group. Our common Spirit is able to resolve planetary problems in a coherent way. One common 'global Vision' allows us to see how all the parts of the whole relate to each other. We have the right relationship with one another, with all lifeforms and Earth itself, and with the Soul of Humanity, the Divine Will and God the Spirit.

On May 26, let us all celebrate life in our heart, mind and Spirit. Let us thank God for the gift of life.

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Cultural Appreciation Day August 22 of each year

On August 22 of every year the Global Community celebrates the Global Cultural Day, the Cultural Appreciation Day. The event's theme is "Culture, Values and Social Development."

Noting that culture and development are not mutually exclusive, event organizers are asked to promote a union between historical preservation and future local - global growth. The Global Community is rich with tradition and art. Culture is certainly tangible - churches, temples and monuments; and intangible - heritage with performing arts, fine arts or visual arts. Every community is based on a society distinctly different from any other country and its people.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration promotes the meaning of culture, the real nature of Humanity and what inhibits its development.

It is for all, regardless of education, age, race, political or religious beliefs. The idea of the Cultural Appreciation Day celebration is that Humanity in truth is limitless, and that there is a unity underlying all the apparent diversity in our daily lives.


Activities during the celebration may include mask making, cooking, singing, music, dance/drama, and puppet making by and for the children.

The day provides vendors, live entertainment, children's activities, and food in celebration of the various cultural groups.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration occurs at the same time and is an important part of the Global Exhibition.

For the fourth year since the first time ever promoting of a Global Exhibition, there is a Global Exhibition at the time of Global Dialogue 2009, and at the same site in Nanaimo. It is also occurring everywhere else in the world along with Global Dialogue 2009. People of all nations are asked to organize a Global Exhibition during the period August 17 - August 22 of each year.

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We seek more symbiotical relationships with people and organizations

The Global Community has a symbiotical relationship with many people and organizations all over the planet. We work together to help create a better future for all life on Earth. Check the website especially created for educating on the issue of Earth ownership.

For examples we have symbiotical relatinships with:

  • Global Environment Ministry
  • Sustainable Civilisation, Peace and Disarmament
  • Sustainable Development Global Information Society
  • Global Peace Movement
  • Global Justice Movement
  • Global Movement to Help essential services
  • Global Community of North America (GCNA) Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
  • Global Community Assessment Centre (GCAC)
  • Global Governments Federation
  • Global Community Affiliated Centres for Education and Training

Global Dialogue 2009 has many other issues  Portal of the Global Community  Global Information Media is now accepting articles, letters, reports, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages for publication. This Media is a way to communicate
workable sound solutions to problems arising in the world. Let us share our problems and workable sound solutions. 639 Global Dialogue issues than Earth ownership, and we wish to set up symbiotical relationships with other groups on those other issues for the benefits of all life on Earth. Anyone interested please contact us.

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Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2008

Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2008 are now ready for reading and found on the Global Community website.  Proceedings of  Global Dialogue 2008 As a start to reading the Proceedings we suggest you read the summary table of the Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2009 shown here and as evaluated by the Global Community Assessment Centre (GCAC). And again the next step might be to read the info from Participants and authors. All work from the participants, their Global Files, and work from other authors or organizations are shown in the following 6 categories. Global Files of our participants show more of the work presented to the Dialogue.   Global Files 2009 Please let us know of any corrections and omissions, or if you would prefer your name and info not be published on the Global Community website. Our services are free, and we do not charge fees.

Summary Table

Local to global issues of Global Dialogue 2008  Global Roundtables and Group Email Discussions  Group Email Discussions Global Overview of the work done sone far by participants Recommendations drawn from the Global Overview

These five sections give you a good idea of what we have done throughout the year from September 1st 2007 to August 31 2008, and what needs to be done in the coming years. The final product of this global process is to give humanity a sense of direction for a better future. This final product is shown in the Proceedings.  Proceedings of  Global Dialogue 2008 We are showing the way.

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Global Sustainability

We live in a world where all natural and human resources are exploited without limits, so that a small minority can consume far more than their rightful share of the world's real wealth. Now, while that is going on, we found that the industrial era faces a burnout, because it is exhausting the human and natural resource base on which our very lives depend. A sound governance and management of our planet is needed for the long term survival of our species.

We need to grow strong caring communities in which we get more of our human satisfaction from caring relationships and less from material goods. We need to reclaim the ideal of being a democratic middle-class people without extremes of wealth and poverty.

And we need to realize what is a priority, what is the most important, and what is the least important for our survival. We need to make hard choices. We need a clear vision. We need a common vision. And we must all change! There are many important aspects of our lives we can no longer do, or should never do anymore. They are destructive. Humanity and all life can no longer afford activities that destroy life and the global environment, and certainly the military is a major one of them. And there are other activities we must do, thousands of them, to assure the survival of life on Earth. In view of the planetary state of emergency, we all must change, we must do things differently to give life on Earth a better survival chance.

We need ways of organizing ourselves to help us live in a world with less energy and fewer material goods. We need to recover a deep sense of community that has disappeared from many of our lives. This means letting go a sense of ourselves as consumption machine.

The Global Community has found that consumption of the Earth resources and the amount of wastes we create can be managed very differently, more efficiently, and be less destructive to the global environment. Our ways of doing business and trade can be improved upon to decrease waste and consumption of Earth resources.

Often what is called trade is really moving of resources across borders between subsidiaries of the same corporation. Nothing to do with free competition. Economic activity is centrally-managed and planned by the corporate elite. Capital move freely across borders as restrictions on the flow of money have been removed. Corporations can relocate their operations to the countries with the lowest wages, the least active unions and the lowest environmental standards. The reality is that more polluting industries are encouraged to relocate to developing countries. A polluting industry tends to increase the chances that people in the surrounding area will have health problems. It costs less to dump a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country.

The Global Community has developed a strategy to improve our ways of doing business and trade so as to protect all life on the planet. Over its long past history trade has never evolved to require from the trading partners to become legally and morally responsible and accountable for their products from beginning to end. At the end the product becomes a waste and it needs to be properly dispose of. Now trade must be given a new impetus to be in line with the global concepts of the Global Community. You manufacture, produce, mine, farm or create a product, you become legally and morally responsible and accountable of your product from beginning to end (to the point where it actually becomes a waste; you are also responsible for the proper disposable of the waste). This product may be anything and everything from oil & gas, weapons, war products, to genetically engineered food products. All consumer products. All medicinal products! All pharmaceutical products!

The natural resources of the Earth belong to all the "global communities" along with the Global Community where they are found. When people know they own the resources in their communities then people can start directing the wealth of their resources towards the building of local-to-global economic democracies in order to meet the needs for food, shelter, universal healthcare, education, and employment for all in their community.

The Global Community concept of ownership states that land and natural resources of our planet are a common heritage and belong equally to everyone, to all life on Earth, as a birthright. Products and services created by individuals are properly viewed as private property. Products and services created by a group of individuals are properly viewed as collective property. Along with ownership comes the obligation of using the resources, share them or lose them. Land and all other Earth natural resources are not commodities. Use the land, share it or lose it. This principle also applies to banks and similar institutions all over the world and to Wall Street. You own property because the previous owners could not pay. Use that property, share it or lose it.

It should also be our goal to create locally owned enterprises that sustainably harvest and process local resources to produce jobs, goods and services. We should favor local firms and workers, who pay local taxes, live by local rules, respect and nurture the local ecosystems, compete fairly in local markets, and contribute to community life.

A community should benefit from the use of commonly held natural resources. That includes land, air, water, all minerals, and the electromagnetic spectrum. The exploitation and use of natural resources should be taxed. Moving taxes onto resources and land use and off of incomes should make people less expensive to employ.

Taxes should be designed to conserve resources and energy, and increase employment. Labour should not be taxed but pollution should.

Resource taxes should be assessed as early as possible. Resources should be taxed before entering the manufacturing process in order to green all aspects from extraction phase to the finished product.

Be sustainable locally first, and globally next only if needed. Let go the WTO, NAFTA or any free trade agreement.

A workable type of Tobin tax should be in place as it is a powerful instrument to promote global sustainability and force shareholders to be responsible and accountable to the people of global communities. A Tobin tax is a tax on all trade of currency across borders to put a penalty on short-term speculation in currencies. The tax rate should be 10 to 25 cents per hundred dollars.

The proposal is important due to its potential to prevent global financial crises such as we are seeing now. Also, an estimated $500 billion per year makes it possible to meet urgent global priorities, such as preventing global warming, disease, and unemployment. The tax should be managed by the Global Community and the Federation of Global Governments. In the globalized economy, there is a lack of adequate funding for global problems which threaten local communities worldwide. Projects which could help to address these needs and create jobs will cost more than $500 billion annually. Private donors do not meet the need, and some nations cut their aid budgets. New multilateral approaches to public finance, such as Tobin Taxes, may provide part of the answer.

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Yes We Can Save The Planet

We are facing the dire consequences of ecological collapse, Climate change, water scarcity, extinction of biodiversity and over population.

In the past 20 million years, the carbon dioxide content of the biosphere has been 300 ppm. Only in the past hundred years has the carbon dioxide reached 370 ppm. The question is whether this change may react in such a way that it becomes a tipping point for extreme disaster.

In 1930, the population of the planet was2 billion. In 2000. It was 6 billion. In 2020. It will be 8 billion

There is massive, inequity in distribution of world income. A living wage in San Francisco, is $96 a day. Poverty in the US is defined as, $12 a day. 60% of people in the world live on less than three dollars a day and they cannot afford any of the economic material luxury goods, which the current global economy thrives on.

40% of people by 2020 will not have enough water to live on and 95% of people in the world are predicted to be living in urban situations.

It is predicted that oil will peak by 2010. Oil is the source for growing food and fertilisers and plastics etc,. Because of this, the poorest people in the world will not be able to sell sufficient goods to survive.

We are in phase six of biodiversity, mass extinction. Within 20 years, 20% of biodiversity will be extinct and 50% by 100 years. This makes the biosphere, unsustainable. We are looking towards a whole systems crisis within 20 years, unless we get our act together fast.

The structure of the political system is changing, due to the rapid change in the nature of information now available andthe fact that individuals have a greater say in what they want. Individuals, therefore, need to be educated, and there needs to be greater emphasis on holistic education and holistic health. Economic rationalism per se does not work in a global milieu which does not have infinite resources.

Peace needs to be emphasised above all else, because the greatest threat to our extinction as a species is aggressive competition and war. There are still 40,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and we completely forget about this., when we talk about climate change.

The big change occurring, which seems to be ignored., generally, is the coming together of science and religion. It is now proven scientifically, that Human consciousness has a profound effect on the environment, as well as on society. The experiments done are more valid and more stringent than any medical double-blind trial, you will see for example in The New England Journal of Medicine.

For humanity , to survive a greater emphasis needs to be on decentralized representation, and a transnational representation of the voices of the Global community of people who in their billions are crying out for change

The creation of Ministries and Commissions for peace throughout the World would be a tremendous advance for global society, in rapid transformation and change

Only by expressing in every way the new paradigm based on interrelationship, interdependency and cooperation amongst all humanity regardless of race, creed, culture or belief system can we hope to reverse the trend of global degradation and demise

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Global Peace Movement

The Global Community claims that everyone on Earth should be able to live in peace. This Global Peace Mouvement is about the courage to live a life in a harmonious peace order and showing by example, thus preventing poverty, wars, terror and violence. We need to educate the coming generations with good principles, being compassionate, social harmony and global  sustainability  being some of them. The responsibility of a peacemaker is to settle differences through compromise and negotiation before they erupt into violence. Conflicting views do not have to bring about fighting. War is an irreversible solution to a problem. War is never an appropriate solution to resolve a conflict. In order to bring about the event of peace, the Global Community is offering other good organizations around the world to work together to bring warring parties to peace.

Peace in the world and the survival and protection of all life on our planet go hand-in-hand. Asking for peace in the world means doing whatever is necessary to protect life on our planet. Protecting life implies bringing about the event of peace in the world. Let our time be a time remembered for a new respect for life, our determination to achieve sustainability, and our need for global justice and peace.

From now on, building global communities for peace require understanding of global problems this generation is facing. There are several major problems: conflicts and wars, no tolerance and compassion for one another, world overpopulation, unemployment, insufficient protection and prevention for global health, scarcity of resources and drinking water, poverty, Fauna and Flora species disappearing at a fast rate, global warming and global climate change, global pollution, permanent lost of the Earth's genetic heritage, and the destruction of the global life-support systems and the eco-systems of the planet. We need to build global communities that will manage themselves with the understanding of those problems. All aspects are interrelated: global peace, global sustainability, global rights and the environment. The jobless is more concerned with ending starvation, finding a proper shelter and employment, and helping their children to survive. Environmental issues become meaningless to the jobless. In reality, all concerns are interrelated because the ecology of the planet has no boundaries. Obviously, as soon as our environment is destroyed or polluted beyond repair, human suffering is next.

Our goal for peace in the world can only be reached by resolving those global problems. Those problems have brought up a planetary state of emergency. In view of the planetary state of emergency, shown and declared by the Global Community, we all must change, we must do things differently to give life on Earth a better survival chance and bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

Our first objective was to find statements from all religions, all faiths, that promote ethical and moral responsibility to life and a responsible Earth management. This was assumed to work well within the context of the global civilization of the 3rd Millennium and after defining the Global Community criteria of symbiotical relationships. In this context, we have defined that any symbiotical relationship is for the good of all. It is based on a genuine group concern and unconditional support for the individual's well-being ~ a giant leap in human behaviour. Symbiotical relationships are needed today for the long term future of humanity, for the protection of life on our planet, and to bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

The fundamental criteria of any symbiotical relationship is that a relationship is created for the good of all groups participating in the relationship and for the good of humanity, all life on Earth. The relationship allows a global equitable and peaceful development and a more stable and inclusive global economy.

Religious rituals now support the conservation efforts and play a central role in governing the sustainable use of the natural environment.

The Global Movement to Help, an initiative of the Global Community and of the Federation of Global Governments, is now applying more emphasis on the urgent need from the people of all nations to give everyone essential services. The urgent need to give all Global Citizens essential services was made obvious in the past few years after the occurrence of natural disasters, and the global destruction created by the military.

The very first step of the Federation, and maybe the only one for several decades ahead of us, is the approval of essential services amongst the participating member nations. To that effect, new global ministries will be established to guide us onto the path of global sustainability. Through these new global ministries, we want each Global Government to take a larger share of responsibility of the specific region where it operates, and be more accountable to the people of that region. Be compassionate. Essential services to the people of each member nation are now the most important global rights on the Scale of Global Rights and are protected by the Global Protection Agency (GPA) of each member nation. The GPA will train and lead a global force, bypassing traditional peacekeeping and military bodies such as the United Nations and NATO. The GPA is a short term solution, an immediate and efficient response to help.

There are also long term solutions. The Scale of Global Rights is the fundamental guide to Global Law. Global Law includes legislation covering all essential aspects of human activities.

The GPA will enforce the law. And that is a long term solution to the planetary state of emergency. And that is also how we can solve the global problems facing this generation, thus largely improving the quality of life of the next generations, and that is how we will bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

An important aspect of global governance is the security of a person and of a nation. Security must be achieved by other means than conflicts and wars. We might as well shelved the war industry from humanity right now and that means phasing out all nuclear, biological, chemical weapons right now. War products and equipment and weapons of mass destruction from all nations must be decommissioned. Governments that have weapons of masss destruction are obviously terrorist governments. The Global Community is asking them to disarm. No waiting! Global security can only be achieved if it can be shared by all peoples and through global co-operation, based on principles as explained in the Global Constitution such as justice, human dignity, and equity for all and for the good of all.

War is not sustainable to all life on the planet. It never was. The military option, war, is against global sustainability and global peace in a big way. The worst environmental degradation happens in wars.

The military is no replacement to the " will of the people ", democracy, the rule of law, social justice, and to Global Rights and Global Justice. The Global Community has no need of a subversive military force. NATO must be subject to the people, the Global Community, and to the Federation of Global Governments.

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