Politics and Justice without borders

Global Community Newsletter

Volume 10 Issue 9 September 2012
Theme this month:

Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice
Vote Democrats! Vote President Obama!

President Obama
A) Thank you letter to President Obama concerning your decision not allowing the world dirtiest oil, tar sands oil from Alberta, to enter on American soil.
a) Animation movie in (.swf)
b) Animation movie in (.wmv)
c) Canadian tar sands oil a living insanity.
d) Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction.
e) Dirty tar sands oil bi-products of Alberta, Canada, used for global pollution and mass destruction.
f) To all Texans: this land and its resources are no longer ours so get ready to be relocated.
Part A
Part B
g) Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice
Vote Democrats! Vote President Obama!
B) Letter to President Barack Obama concerning your re-election as President of the United States of America

Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice
Vote Democrats! Vote President Obama!

To view the complete animation click on the following image. Note: due to large file contents with audio and artworks, you can expect it will take a few minutes before the file starts to play. It takes more than 6 minutes on my computer and server.
Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice

Global Peace Village is a project of the Global Community. Global Peace Village

The theme of this Newsletter has been written by Global Peace Village.

Soullife explaining why voting democrats and for President Obama.

The list and links of all of our videos so far are found here.  The list and links to all of Global Community animations.
The list of all Global Community video games so far are found here.  The list and links to all of Global Community video games.

Read about the introductory text concerning Global Peace Village: the way forward. Read about the introductory text concerning Global peace Village: the way forward.
Short list of previous articles and papers on Global Peace
Short list of previous articles and papers on Energy and the protection of the global life-support systems

See the following artboards of
"Thank you letter to President Obama concerning your decision not allowing the world dirtiest oil, tar sands oil from Alberta, to enter on American soil".

Artboard #1 Thank you President Obama Artboard #2 Artboard #3 Artboard #4 Artboard #5 Artboard #6

The theme for this month Newsletter is best described by the following animation in different formats.

Due to large file contents with audio and artworks, you can expect it will take a few minutes before the file starts to play. It takes more than 6 minutes on my computer and server.

a) swf file
b) html file
c) mp4 file

Text of above animation (.htm)
by Soullife
Global Community
September 1st, 2012

Research paper for this month theme (.html)
by Germain Dufour
Global Parliament
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
September 1st, 2012

Artboards of this animation
Title page of Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice
Vote Democrats! Vote President Obama!
Pictures taken out in chronological order of the animation sequence.
Sequence EarthCourt0001 Sequence EarthCourt0046 Sequence EarthCourt0077 Sequence EarthCourt0114 Sequence EarthCourt0138 Sequence EarthCourt0162 Sequence EarthCourt0174 Sequence EarthCourt0193 Sequence EarthCourt0205 Sequence EarthCourt0219 Sequence EarthCourt0231 Sequence EarthCourt0235 Sequence EarthCourt0239 Sequence EarthCourt0245 Sequence EarthCourt0251 Sequence EarthCourt0254 Sequence EarthCourt0258 Sequence EarthCourt0263 Sequence EarthCourt0267 Sequence EarthCourt0269 Sequence EarthCourt0272 Sequence EarthCourt0280 Sequence EarthCourt0284 Sequence EarthCourt0288 Sequence EarthCourt0294 Sequence EarthCourt0300 Sequence EarthCourt0302 Sequence EarthCourt0303 Sequence EarthCourt0309 Sequence EarthCourt0312 Sequence EarthCourt0315 Sequence EarthCourt0318 Sequence EarthCourt0320 Sequence EarthCourt0502 Sequence EarthCourt0601 Sequence SoullifeMovieClip

Text of above animation
Come November 6, I want you to vote for President Obama. Give him a strong majority. And here is why.

For decades republicans have over spent taxpayers money, dragged the economy down and legislated policies to make it easy for corporations to invest in China. That alone was responsible for the lost of millions of jobs in America to the benefit of China's prosperity. During his first term President Obama did not have a strong majority and tried to make changes for a better America but his initiatives were continuously blocked by the republican lead majority of Congress. That has to change. This time, give President Obama a strong majority.

Now republicans with their Tea Party selfish opportunist CEOs, want to destroy completely America. They have even more Chinese connections and will make it even easier for American Corporations to invest in China. Americans will not have to work anymore as all jobs will be in China.

As for the people behind me here, let the Earth Court of Global Rights and Justice decide on their fate. They are republicans and are responsible for genocides and the destruction of the global life-support systems. America has no need of republicans unable to make sound decisions. With Governor Mitt Romney making silly mistakes during public speeches and his choice for running mate V.P., Tea Party Paul Ryan, preaching about the old ways of doing things, then America will have a Monty Python couple on steroids with one leg wanting to go one way and the other leg wanting to go the other way, and together ruling the most powerful nation on the planet. What a deadly mix! And they are ready to go to war if either dont get what they want. Already Mitt Romney has firmly said he would declare war to Iran. He believes the military is like a toy to play with. Very much like George W. Bush before he invaded Iraq. Both dont have sound judgment, and therefore are very dangerous to America.

Americans have had enough of republicans, the Bush family kind of dynasty, and the Mitt Romney - Tea Party goers kind on steroids.

Americans have had enough of selfish opportunists living now in the moment but unable to plan a sound, prosper future for the generations to come.

Americans have had enough of wars overseas, on the other side of the planet, just because the powerful 1% in America makes more money selling arms and weapons of mass destruction to other nations. People of other nations need diplomacy and humanitarian help if anything. Americans need to change fear and hate of Americans in others for friendly and trusty human beings Americans truly are.

Americans have had enough of Tea Party goers, a new replacement brand of republican politicians on steroids, truly rehearsing old Bush dynasty values and principles, and preaching the old ways of doing things, and we all know where that got America.

Let us all give President Obama the chance to make those changes needed to move America forward and make the American Dream not an idea of the past but an ideal for everyone on the planet to be able to reach and live. Give President Obama the strong majority he needs in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Vote President Obama! We must trust him with all of our heart, mind and Soul. Help him now with money and volunteering for his campaign.

Daily reminder

This is the way. Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Message from the Editor.GIM  Message from the Editor
Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for. Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for
Message from the President of Global Parliament, 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
Global Community days of celebration or remembering during the year.Global Community Days of Celebration
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 2012, no fees. Participate now in Global Dialogue 2012
Global Dialogue 2012 Introduction.Global Dialogue 2012 Introduction
Global Dialogue 2012 Program Global Dialogue 2012 Program
Global Dialogue 2012 OVERVIEW of the process.  Global Dialogue 2012 OVERVIEW of the process
Global Dialogue 2012 Call for Papers.Global Dialogue 2012 Call for Papers
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
Global Community Days of Celebration and Remembrance during the year.Global Community Days of Celebration and Remembering during the year

Top of the page

GIM Proclamations

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

John Scales Avery, Subhankar Banerjee, Francis A. Boyle, Guy Crequie, William deBuys, Common Dreams, ReneDufour,James Hansen, Chris Hedges, Alyssa Figueroa, John James, Jon Letman,Charles Mercieca, Charles Mercieca, NASA, Tim Newcomb,Steven Earl Salmony

John Scales Avery Facing A Set Of Linked Problems Facing A Set Of Linked Problems
Subhankar Banerjee Shell Game In The Arctic Shell Game In The Arctic
Francis A. Boyle The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrance The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrance
William deBuys Get Used to the American West in Flames: What Living With the 'New Normal' Will Mean Get Used to the American West in Flames: What Living With the 'New Normal' Will Mean
Common Dreams Arctic Sea Ice Could Vanish In 10 Years: Study Arctic Sea Ice Could Vanish In 10 Years: Study
James Hansen Climate Change Is Here ? And Worse Than We Thought  Climate Change Is Here ? And Worse Than We Thought
Chris Hedges The Science Of Genocide The Science Of Genocide
Alyssa Figueroa 5 Critical Actions That Really Can Put Us on a Sustainable Path  5 Critical Actions That Really Can Put Us on a Sustainable Path
John James A Degree By Degree Explanation Of Global Warming  A Degree By Degree Explanation Of Global Warming
Jon Letman South Korean Island Takes Center Stage in Battle Over Regional Dominance and Environmental Preservation South Korean Island Takes Center Stage in Battle Over Regional Dominance and Environmental Preservation
Charles Mercieca, American Dream Evolving into Nightmare American Dream Evolving into Nightmare
Charles Mercieca Fusion of Ignorance and Malice in Perspective Fusion of Ignorance and Malice in Perspective
NASA Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt
Tim Newcomb Family Success On The Household Carbon Footprint Front Family Success On The Household Carbon Footprint Front
Steven Earl Salmony Duty To Warn?  Duty To Warn?

Articles and papers of authors
 Data sent
 Theme or issue
  August 15, 2012  

Click to enlarge

Arctic sea ice could completely vanish within 10 years, a rate much faster than previously thought, according to new measurements from the European Space Agency.

900 cubic kilometers of ice have disappeared every year since 2004, according to the study. The scientists used data obtained from NASA planes flying over the Arctic and submarines using sonar measurements from beneath the ice, combined with purpose-built satellite technology -- the CryoSat-2 probe -- the first of its kind to measure the thickness of Arctic ice.

"Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water," Dr. Seymour Laxon, with London's Center for Polar Observation and Modelling, told the Guardian.

Not only has the area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic rapidly shrunk, but the new measurements find that this remaining ice has also been thinning drastically.

The study suggests that Arctic ice is melting up to 50 per cent faster than earlier predictions.

Roughly 7,000 cubic kilometers of ice remained in the Arctic at the end of last summer, almost half the amount in 2004 which maintained 13,000 cubic km of sea ice.

As the arctic ice melts, ocean temperatures rise, melting methane deposits on the ocean floor and releasing large amounts of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere accelerating the feedback loop process of climate change.

"With the temperature gradient between the Arctic and equator dropping, as is happening now, it is also possible that the jet stream in the upper atmosphere could become more unstable. That could mean increasing volatility in weather in lower latitudes, similar to that experienced this year," Professor Chris Rapley of UCL told the Guardian.

  Read Arctic Sea Ice Could Vanish In 10 Years: Study
  August 14, 2012  

We Americans may believe that we are obligated to reduce our household Greenhouse Gas Emissions, but then fall short because of the cost and the inconvenience required to do it. Sizeable household reductions in a household Carbon Equivalent footprint usually cost money and sometimes a lot of money. Our household has succeeded to a considerable extent over the past 5 years, by budgeting carefully and picking projects which have multiple benefits to counter the costs. My knowledge of how to estimate greenhouse gas emissions has helped us to judge the trade off between carbon emissions reductions and costs, and long term planning and persistence have been essential. Success breeds more success and self-reliance breeds more self-reliance. We hope that the following experiences at our house will be instructive for readers!

We began by replacing an old oil heater with a new heat pump in our single storey concrete block house in Des Moines, Washington. The addition of one more duct to the renovated garage gave us another heated room at a small cost. The total cost was considerable so we paid for part up front, and took out a loan for the rest. The monthly payments were reminder that we had made a green choice at some cost, and it helped to redefine our self image. My estimate of the yearly reduction in the carbon footprint is more than 2.5 tonnes per year including minor refrigerant leaks measured by the installer, and the carbon emissions reported by the electric utility per Megawatt hour.The annual electricity costs to run the heat pump were less than the previous oil costs and there was air conditioning available for the few weeks of the year when we needed it. The addition of ceiling insulation imporved the situation further.

When the new light rail system between Seattle and SEATAC airport became operational I rode it several times a week. The trip took twice as long as a car trip, and cold and rainy weather made the trip to the University of Washington unpleasant in the winter. But there weere considerable benefits. I was spared parking costs, traffic tickets and gasoline costs, and the round-trip ticket cost $2.00. There were no traffic jams or delays for road construction, and I occasionally ran into friends to talk with on the way. When I picked up my car at the parking lot, I was immediatley grateful to have a car. Gratitude for an energy service increases when the service is not always available, and reminds us that we are fortunate and need to use our blessings wisely. The estimated carbon emissions reduction from this transportation category was approximately 1 tonne per year.

My wife Margaret teaches in Seattle, more than 20 miles from Des Moines. She began carpooling with a fellow teacher four years ago, and that entailed additional effort to make sure who was picking up whom and at what time the next morning.This change had many more benefits than downsides.There were those delicious mornings when Margaret was tired and could just slide into the passenger seat and have her friend do the driving. They could stop for a drink on the way home to compare notes and laugh together.Occasionally one member of the duo had to leave their car in the shop. One or the other of them saved money each day they carpooled, and also reduced their carbon emissions slightly.

We have owned 7 acres of pasture for the past 7 years, and we began planting small trees including firs, cedars, alders, maples and pond plants. We completed the work after 3 years with lots of help from friends and along the way we learned about driip irrigation systems, deer fencing, the best trees to plant for soil improvement and how satisfying work it is. The King Conservation District helped pay for deer fencing and my labor and provided a 5 week class on how to reforest land. Now the alders are 25 feet high, the firs are 20 feet high and the incense cedars are not too far behind.The alders put nitrogen in the soil and can be coppiced after some years to provide small sticks and firewood. While the trees are still too young to be net carbon sequesterers, the fallow pasture adds carbon to the soil at a significant rate. Soon the trees will be large enough to store carbon in their growing trunks and branches. At the moment about two tonnes of carbon are sequestered by pasture and trees together.

My first observation concerning the roadblocks to a smaller household carbon footprint is that the American mainstream media and the products they constantly advertise place a cultural block in the way of changes like the ones we have taken. Product advertisements define via cool ads what the right thing to buy or the right thing to do is. It is cool to have a new red car, a large house that uses gas heat, a large concrete area for a basketball court and weed killer to make it all look neat.

Consistent attention to the goal of reducing carbon emissions does not have to make life miserable. Once some goals and possible actions are in mind, time often produces neat solutions which save money. For example, the 2,500 feet of drip irrigation line were only needed for the first 3 years for the first wave of tree planting, and after that the lines could be moved over to the second wave of tree planting at no net cost. On the other hand, a lack of focus anda lack of a plan for reducing emissions will not work. A mindset which includes patience, asking questions, and the knowledge that emissions reductions will result from hard work have to be present.

The media biases against smaller houses, truly efficient cars, heat pumps, and carpooling leave us no choice except to become independent of the predominant system and think for ourselves. What pushed my family in these new directions was a desire to adopt a new energy end-use mix that would benefit us, save money in the long run, and leave a healthier plantet for our children. As we became more independent from media advertising, we became more curious about what we could achieve in carbon emissions reductions, and the internet is full of solutions.

Our diminshing carbon footprint has given us pride that we can succeed. This leads to a growth in confidence, a desire to learn and do more, and the satisfaction of contributing to a healthier earth. These positive changes due to success can help to counteract the negative psychological impacts described by the Kubler-Ross paradigm following severe personal loss. Sturm and Drang become less of a problem in the excitement of solving a problem locally. I believe we could move forward as a nation to reduce carbon emissions rather quickly. Our psychological makeup encourages us to strike out in new directions and to find solutions to new problems, of which carbon emissions are a supreme example. Our psychology also provides pride from accomplishments, and gratitude for the gifts we have, such as a car when we really need it. Are there greater gifts than increased self-reliance, increased curiosity, a smaller carbon footprint, and the act of sharing our successes with others?

  August 14, 2012  

Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight the concentrations already in the atmosphere would still mean a global rise of between 0.5 and 1C. A shift of a single degree is barely perceptible to human skin, but it’s not human skin we’re talking about. It’s the planet; and an average increase of one degree across its entire surface means huge changes in climatic extremes.

Six thousand years ago, when the world was one degree warmer than it is now, the American agricultural heartland around Nebraska was desert.

The effect of one-degree warming, therefore, requires no great feat of imagination.

Want to read what it will be like under 2 degrees, or six? Click here.

“The western United States once again could suffer perennial droughts, far worse than the 1930s. Deserts will reappear particularly in Nebraska, but also in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, northern Texas and Oklahoma. As dust and sandstorms turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie, farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will be engulfed by sand.”

What’s bad for America will be worse for poorer countries closer to the equator. It has beencalculated that a one-degree increase would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world’s land surface by 2100. Again we have seen what this means. There was an incident in the summer of 2005: One tributary fell so low that miles of exposed riverbank dried out into sand dunes, with winds whipping up thick sandstorms. As desperate villagers looked out onto baking mud instead of flowing water, the army was drafted in to ferry precious drinking water up the river – by helicopter, since most of the river was too low to be navigable by boat. The river in question was not some small, insignificant trickle in Sussex. It was the Amazon.

While tropical lands teeter on the brink, the Arctic already may have passed the point of no return. Warming near the pole is much faster than the global average, with the result that Arctic icecaps and glaciers have lost 400 cubic kilometres of ice in 40 years. Permafrost – ground that has lain frozen for thousands of years – is dissolving into mud and lakes, destabilising whole areas as the ground collapses beneath buildings, roads and pipelines. As polar bears and Inuits are being pushed off the top of the planet, previous predictions are starting to look optimistic. Earlier snowmelt means more summer heat goes into the air and ground rather than into melting snow, raising temperatures in a positive feedback effect. More dark shrubs and forest on formerly bleak tundra means still more heat is absorbed by vegetation.

Out at sea the pace is even faster. Whilst snow-covered ice reflects more than 80% of the sun’s heat, the darker ocean absorbs up to 95% of solar radiation. Once sea ice begins to melt, in other words, the process becomes self-reinforcing. More ocean surface is revealed, absorbing solar heat, raising temperatures and making it unlikelier that ice will re-form next winter. The disappearance of 720,000 square kilometres of supposedly permanent ice in a single year testifies to the rapidity of planetary change. If you have ever wondered what it will feel like when the Earth crosses a tipping point, savour the moment.

Mountains, too, are starting to come apart. In the Alps, most ground above 3,000 metres is stabilised by permafrost. In the summer of 2003, however, the melt zone climbed right up to 4,600 metres, higher than the summit of the Matterhorn and nearly as high as Mont Blanc. With the glue of millennia melting away, rocks showered down and 50 climbers died. As temperatures go on edging upwards, it won’t just be mountaineers who flee. Whole towns and villages will be at risk. Some towns, like Pontresina in eastern Switzerland, have already begun building bulwarks against landslides.

At the opposite end of the scale, low-lying atoll countries such as the Maldives will be preparing for extinction as sea levels rise, and mainland coasts – in particular the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and the Bay of Bengal – will be hit by stronger and stronger hurricanes as the water warms. Hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 hit New Orleans with the combined impacts of earthquake and flood, was a nightmare precursor of what the future holds.

Most striking of all was seeing how people behaved once the veneer of civilisation had been torn away. Most victims were poor and black, left to fend for themselves as the police either joined in the looting or deserted the area. Four days into the crisis, survivors were packed into the city’s Superdome, living next to overflowing toilets and rotting bodies as gangs of young men with guns seized the only food and water available. Perhaps the most memorable scene was a single military helicopter landing for just a few minutes, its crew flinging food parcels and water bottles out onto the ground before hurriedly taking off again as if from a war zone. In scenes more like a Third World refugee camp than an American urban centre, young men fought for the water as pregnant women and the elderly looked on with nothing. Don’t blame them for behaving like this, I thought. It’s what happens when people are desperate.

Chance of avoiding one degree of global warming: zero.

Want to read what it will be like under 2 degrees, or six? Click here.

John James - Professionally, I have been trained to assimilate large amounts of data and find the patterns in it. I have applied this ability to medieval history and to transpersonal therapy, and now to the material collected on this site. I can no longer stand by when I see how my children and grandchildren could suffer from the greed and selfishness of my generation. For more information on my work www.johnjames.com.au and on the training's and workshops of the Crucible Centre www.cruciblecentre.com

A degree by degree explanation of what will happen when the earth warms

Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight the concentrations already in the atmosphere would still mean a global rise of between 0.5 and 1C. A shift of a single degree is barely perceptible to human skin, but it?s not human skin we?re talking about. It?s the planet; and an average increase of one degree across its entire surface means huge changes in climatic extremes.

Six thousand years ago, when the world was one degree warmer than it is now, the American agricultural heartland around Nebraska was desert. It suffered a short reprise during the dust- bowl years of the 1930s, when the topsoil blew away and hundreds of thousands of refugees trailed through the dust to an uncertain welcome further west. The effect of one-degree warming, therefore, requires no great feat of imagination.

?The western United States once again could suffer perennial droughts, far worse than the 1930s. Deserts will reappear particularly in Nebraska, but also in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, northern Texas and Oklahoma. As dust and sandstorms turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie, farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will be engulfed by sand.?

What?s bad for America will be worse for poorer countries closer to the equator. It has beencalculated that a one-degree increase would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world?s land surface by 2100. Again we have seen what this means. There was an incident in the summer of 2005: One tributary fell so low that miles of exposed riverbank dried out into sand dunes, with winds whipping up thick sandstorms. As desperate villagers looked out onto baking mud instead of flowing water, the army was drafted in to ferry precious drinking water up the river ? by helicopter, since most of the river was too low to be navigable by boat. The river in question was not some small, insignificant trickle in Sussex. It was the Amazon.

While tropical lands teeter on the brink, the Arctic already may have passed the point of no return. Warming near the pole is much faster than the global average, with the result that Arctic icecaps and glaciers have lost 400 cubic kilometres of ice in 40 years. Permafrost ? ground that has lain frozen for thousands of years ? is dissolving into mud and lakes, destabilising whole areas as the ground collapses beneath buildings, roads and pipelines. As polar bears and Inuits are being pushed off the top of the planet, previous predictions are starting to look optimistic. Earlier snowmelt means more summer heat goes into the air and ground rather than into melting snow, raising temperatures in a positive feedback effect. More dark shrubs and forest on formerly bleak tundra means still more heat is absorbed by vegetation.

Out at sea the pace is even faster. Whilst snow-covered ice reflects more than 80% of the sun?s heat, the darker ocean absorbs up to 95% of solar radiation. Once sea ice begins to melt, in other words, the process becomes self-reinforcing. More ocean surface is revealed, absorbing solar heat, raising temperatures and making it unlikelier that ice will re-form next winter. The disappearance of 720,000 square kilometres of supposedly permanent ice in a single year testifies to the rapidity of planetary change. If you have ever wondered what it will feel like when the Earth crosses a tipping point, savour the moment.

Mountains, too, are starting to come apart. In the Alps, most ground above 3,000 metres is stabilised by permafrost. In the summer of 2003, however, the melt zone climbed right up to 4,600 metres, higher than the summit of the Matterhorn and nearly as high as Mont Blanc. With the glue of millennia melting away, rocks showered down and 50 climbers died. As temperatures go on edging upwards, it won?t just be mountaineers who flee. Whole towns and villages will be at risk. Some towns, like Pontresina in eastern Switzerland, have already begun building bulwarks against landslides.

At the opposite end of the scale, low-lying atoll countries such as the Maldives will be preparing for extinction as sea levels rise, and mainland coasts ? in particular the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and the Bay of Bengal ? will be hit by stronger and stronger hurricanes as the water warms. Hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 hit New Orleans with the combined impacts of earthquake and flood, was a nightmare precursor of what the future holds.

Most striking of all was seeing how people behaved once the veneer of civilisation had been torn away. Most victims were poor and black, left to fend for themselves as the police either joined in the looting or deserted the area. Four days into the crisis, survivors were packed into the city?s Superdome, living next to overflowing toilets and rotting bodies as gangs of young men with guns seized the only food and water available. Perhaps the most memorable scene was a single military helicopter landing for just a few minutes, its crew flinging food parcels and water bottles out onto the ground before hurriedly taking off again as if from a war zone. In scenes more like a Third World refugee camp than an American urban centre, young men fought for the water as pregnant women and the elderly looked on with nothing. Don?t blame them for behaving like this, I thought. It?s what happens when people are desperate.

Chance of avoiding one degree of global warming: zero.


At this level, expected within 40 years, the hot European summer of 2003 will be the annual norm. Anything that could be called a heatwave thereafter will be of Saharan intensity. Even in average years, people will die of heat stress.

The first symptoms may be minor. A person will feel slightly nauseous, dizzy and irritable. It needn?t be an emergency: an hour or so lying down in a cooler area, sipping water, will cure it. But in Paris, August 2003, there were no cooler areas, especially for elderly people.

Once body temperature reaches 41C (104F) its thermoregulatory system begins to break down. Sweating ceases and breathing becomes shallow and rapid. The pulse quickens, and the victim may lapse into a coma. Unless drastic measures are taken to reduce the body?s core temperature, the brain is starved of oxygen and vital organs begin to fail. Death will be only minutes away unless the emergency services can quickly get the victim into intensive care.

These emergency services failed to save more than 10,000 French in the summer of 2003. Mortuaries ran out of space as hundreds of dead bodies were brought in each night. Across Europe as a whole, the heatwave is believed to have cost between 22,000 and 35,000 lives. Agriculture, too, was devastated. Farmers lost $12 billion worth of crops, and Portugal alone suffered $12 billion of forest-fire damage. The flows of the River Po in Italy, Rhine in Germany and Loire in France all shrank to historic lows. Barges ran aground, and there was not enough water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Melt rates in the Alps, where some glaciers lost 10% of their mass, were not just a record ? they doubled the previous record of 1998. According to the Hadley centre, more than half the European summers by 2040 will be hotter than this. Extreme summers will take a much heavier toll of human life, with body counts likely to reach hundreds of thousands. Crops will bake in the fields, and forests will die off and burn. Even so, the short-term effects may not be the worst:

From the beech forests of northern Europe to the evergreen oaks of the Mediterranean, plant growth across the whole landmass in 2003 slowed and then stopped. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, the stressed plants began to emit it. Around half a billion tonnes of carbon was added to the atmosphere from European plants, equivalent to a twelfth of global emissions from fossil fuels. This is a positive feedback of critical importance, because it suggests that, as temperatures rise, carbon emissions from forests and soils will also rise. If these land-based emissions are sustained over long periods, global warming could spiral out of control.

In the two-degree world, nobody will think of taking Mediterranean holidays. The movement of people from northern Europe to the Mediterranean is likely to reverse, switching eventually into a mass scramble as Saharan heatwaves sweep across the Med. People everywhere will think twice about moving to the coast. When temperatures were last between 1 and 2C higher than they are now, 125,000 years ago, sea levels were five or six metres higher too. All this ?lost? water is in the polar ice that is now melting. Forecasters predict that the ?tipping point? for Greenland won?t arrive until average temperatures have risen by 2.7C. The snag is that Greenland is warming much faster than the rest of the world ? 2.2 times the global average. ?Divide one figure by the other,? says Lynas, ?and the result should ring alarm bells across the world. Greenland will tip into irreversible melt once global temperatures rise past a mere 1.2C. The ensuing sea-level ?rise will be far more than the half-metre that ?the IPCC has predicted for the end of the century. Scientists point out that sea levels at the end of the last ice age shot up by a metre every 20 years for four centuries, and that Greenland?s ice, in the words of one glaciologist, is now thinning like mad and flowing much faster than it ought to. Its biggest outflow glacier, Jakobshavn Isbrae, has thinned by 15 metres every year since 1997, and its speed of flow has doubled. At this rate the whole Greenland ice sheet would vanish within 140 years. Miami would disappear, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay and Shanghai would lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground.

Not only coastal communities will suffer. As mountains lose their glaciers, so people will lose their water supplies. The entire Indian subcontinent will be fighting for survival. As the glaciers disappear from all but the highest peaks, their runoff will cease to power the massive rivers that deliver vital freshwater to hundreds of millions. Water shortages and famine will be the result, destabilising the entire region. And this time the epicentre of the disaster won?t be India, Nepal or Bangladesh, but nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Everywhere, ecosystems will unravel as species either migrate or fall out of synch with each other. By the time global temperatures reach two degrees of warming in 2050, more than a third of all living species will face extinction.

Chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming: 93%, but only if emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced by 60% over the next 10 years.


Up to this point, assuming that governments have planned carefully and farmers have converted to more appropriate crops, not too many people outside subtropical Africa need have starved. Beyond two degrees, however, preventing mass starvation will be as easy as halting the cycles of the moon. First millions, then billions, of people will face an increasingly tough battle to survive.

To find anything comparable we have to go back to the Pliocene ? last epoch of the Tertiary period, 3m years ago. There were no continental glaciers in the northern hemisphere (trees grew in the Arctic), and sea levels were 25 metres higher than today?s. In this kind of heat, the death of the Amazon is as inevitable as the melting of Greenland. The paper spelling it out is the very one whose apocalyptic message so shocked in 2000. Scientists at the Hadley centre feared that earlier climate models, which showed global warming as a straightforward linear progression, were too simplistic in their assumption that land and the oceans would remain inert as their temperatures rose. Correctly as it would turn out, they predicted positive feedback.

Warmer seas absorb less carbon dioxide, leaving more to accumulate in the atmosphere and intensify global warming. On land, matters would be even worse. Huge amounts of carbon are stored in the soil, the half-rotted remains of dead vegetation. The generally accepted estimate is that the soil carbon reservoir contains some 1600 gigatonnes, more than double the entire carbon content of the atmosphere. As soil warms, bacteria accelerate the breakdown of this stored carbon, releasing it into the atmosphere.

The end of the world is nigh. A three-degree increase in global temperature ? possible as early as 2050 ? would throw the carbon cycle into reverse. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, vegetation and soils start to release it. So much carbon pours into the atmosphere that it pumps up atmospheric concentrations by 250 parts per million by 2100, boosting global warming by another 1.5C. In other words, the Hadley team had discovered that carbon-cycle feedbacks could tip the planet into runaway global warming by the middle of this century ? much earlier than anyone had expected.

Confirmation came from the land itself. Climate models are routinely tested against historical data. In this case, scientists checked 25 years? worth of soil samples from 6,000 sites across the UK. The result was another black joke. As temperatures gradually rose the scientists found that huge amounts of carbon had been released naturally from the soils. They totted it all up and discovered ? irony of ironies ? that the 13m tonnes of carbon British soils were emitting annually was enough to wipe out all the country?s efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol.? All soils will be affected by the rising heat, but none as badly as the Amazon?s. ?Catastrophe? is almost too small a word for the loss of the rainforest. Its 7m square kilometres produce 10% of the world?s entire photosynthetic output from plants. Drought and heat will cripple it; fire will finish it off. In human terms, the effect on the planet will be like cutting off oxygen during an asthma attack.

In the US and Australia, people will curse the climate-denying governments of Bush and Howard. No matter what later administrations may do, it will not be enough to keep the mercury down. With new ?super-hurricanes? growing from the warming sea, Houston could be destroyed by 2045, and Australia will be a death trap. ?Farming and food production will tip into irreversible decline. Salt water will creep up the stricken rivers, poisoning ground water. Higher temperatures mean greater evaporation, further drying out vegetation and soils, and causing huge losses from reservoirs. In state capitals, heat every year is likely to kill between 8,000 and 15,000 mainly elderly people.

It is all too easy to visualise what will happen in Africa. In Central America, too, tens of millions will have little to put on their tables. Even a moderate drought there in 2001 meant hundreds of thousands had to rely on food aid. This won?t be an option when world supplies are stretched to breaking point (grain yields decline by 10% for every degree of heat above 30C, and at 40C they are zero). Nobody need look to the US, which will have problems of its own. As the mountains lose their snow, so cities and farms in the west will lose their water and dried-out forests and grasslands will perish at the first spark.

The Indian subcontinent meanwhile will be choking on dust. All of human history shows that, given the choice between starving in situ and moving, people move. In the latter part of the century tens of millions of Pakistani citizens may be facing this choice. Pakistan may find itself joining the growing list of failed states, as civil administration collapses and armed gangs seize what little food is left.

As the land burns, so the sea will go on rising. Even by the most optimistic calculation, 80% of Arctic sea ice by now will be gone, and the rest will soon follow. New York will flood; the catastrophe that struck eastern England in 1953 will become an unremarkable regular event; and the map of the Netherlands will be torn up by the North Sea. Everywhere, starving people will be on the move ? from Central America into Mexico and the US, and from Africa into Europe, where resurgent fascist parties will win votes by promising to keep them out.

Chance of avoiding three degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches two degrees and triggers carbon-cycle feedbacks from soils and plants.


The stream of refugees will now include those fleeing from coasts to safer interiors ? millions at a time when storms hit. Where they persist, coastal cities will become fortified islands. The world economy, too, will be threadbare. As direct losses, social instability and insurance payouts cascade through the system, the funds to support displaced people will be increasingly scarce. Sea levels will be rampaging upwards ? in this temperature range, both poles are certain to melt, causing an eventual rise of 50 metres. ?I am not suggesting it would be instantaneous. In fact it would take centuries, and probably millennia, to melt all of the Antarctic?s ice. But it could yield sea-level rises of a metre or so every 20 years ? far beyond our capacity to adapt.Oxford would sit on one of many coastlines in a UK reduced to an archipelago of tiny islands.

More immediately, China is on a collision course with the planet. By 2030, if its people are consuming at the same rate as Americans, they will eat two-thirds of the entire global harvest and burn 100m barrels of oil a day, or 125% of current world output. That prospect alone contains all the ingredients of catastrophe. But it?s worse than that: ?By the latter third of the 21st century, if global temperatures are more than three degrees higher than now, China?s agricultural production will crash. It will face the task of feeding 1.5bn much richer people ? 200m more than now ? on two thirds of current supplies.? For people throughout much of the world, starvation will be a regular threat; but it will not be the only one.

The summer will get longer still, as soaring temperatures reduce forests to tinderwood and cities to boiling morgues. Temperatures in the Home Counties could reach 45C ? the sort of climate experienced today in Marrakech. Droughts will put the south-east of England on the global list of water-stressed areas, with farmers competing against cities for dwindling supplies from rivers and reservoirs.

Air-conditioning will be mandatory for anyone wanting to stay cool. This in turn will put ever more stress on energy systems, which could pour more greenhouse gases into the air if coal and gas-fired power stations ramp up their output, hydroelectric sources dwindle and renewables fail to take up the slack. The abandonment of the Mediterranean will send even more people north to ?overcrowded refuges in the Baltic, Scandinavia and the British Isles.

Britain will have problems of its own. As flood plains are more regularly inundated, a general retreat out of high risk areas is likely. Millions of people will lose their lifetime investments in houses that become uninsurable and therefore unsaleable? The Lancashire/Humber corridor is expected to be among the worst affected regions, as are the Thames Valley, eastern Devon and towns around the already flood-prone Severn estuary like Monmouth and Bristol. The entire English coast from the Isle of Wight to Middlesbrough is classified as at ?very high? or ?extreme? risk, as is the whole of Cardigan Bay in Wales.

One of the most dangerous of all feedbacks will now be kicking in ? the runaway thaw of permafrost. Scientists believe at least 500 billion tonnes of carbon are waiting to be released from the Arctic ice, though none yet has put a figure on what it will add to global warming. One degree? Two? Three? The pointers are ominous.

As with Amazon collapse and the carbon-cycle feedback in the three-degree worldstabilising global temperatures at four degrees above current levels may not be possible. If we reach three degrees, therefore, that leads inexorably to four degrees, which leads inexorably to five?

Chance of avoiding four degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches three degrees and triggers a runaway thaw of permafrost.


We are looking now at an entirely different planet. Ice sheets have vanished from both poles; rainforests have burnt up and turned to desert; the dry and lifeless Alps resemble the High Atlas; rising seas are scouring deep into continental interiors. One temptation may be to shift populations from dry areas to the newly thawed regions of the far north, in Canada and Siberia. Even here, though, summers may be too hot for crops to be grown away from the coasts; and there is no guarantee that northern governments will admit southern refugees. Lynas recalls James Lovelock?s suspicion that Siberia and Canada would be invaded by China and the US, each hammering another nail into humanity?s coffin. Any armed conflict, particularly involving nuclear weapons, would of course further increase the planetary surface area uninhabitable for humans.

When temperatures were at a similar level 55m years ago, following a very sudden burst of global warming in the early Eocene, alligators and other subtropical species were living high in the Arctic. What had caused the climate to flip? Suspicion rests on methane hydrate ? ?an ice-like combination of methane and water that forms under the intense cold and pressure of the deep sea?, and which escapes with explosive force when tapped. Evidence of a submarine landslide off Florida, and of huge volcanic eruptions under the North Atlantic, raises the possibility of trapped methane ? a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide ? being released in a giant belch that pushed global temperatures through the roof.

Summer heatwaves scorched the vegetation out of continental Spain, leaving a desert terrain which was heavily eroded by winter rainstorms. Palm mangroves grew as far north as England and Belgium, and the Arctic Ocean was so warm that Mediterranean algae thrived. In short, it was a world much like the one we are heading into this century. Although the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, as scientists call it, was more than today?s, the rate of increase in the 21st century may be 30 times faster. It may well be the fastest increase the world has ever seen ? faster even than the episodes that caused catastrophic mass extinctions.

Globalism in the five-degree world will break down into something more like parochialism. Customers will have nothing to buy because producers will have nothing to sell. With no possibility of international aid, migrants will have to force their way into the few remaining habitable enclaves and fight for survival.

Where no refuge is available, civil war and a collapse into racial or communal conflict seems the likely outcome. Isolated survivalism, however, may be as impracticable as dialling for room service. How many of us could really trap or kill enough game to feed a family? Even if large numbers of people did successfully manage to fan out into the countryside, wildlife populations would quickly dwindle under the pressure. Supporting a hunter-gatherer lifestyle takes 10 to 100 times the land per person that a settled agricultural community needs. A large-scale resort to survivalism would turn into a further disaster for biodiversity as hungry humans killed and ate anything that moved. Including, perhaps, each other. Invaders do not take kindly to residents denying them food. History suggests that if a stockpile is discovered, the householder and his family may be tortured and killed. Look for comparison to the experience of present-day Somalia, Sudan or Burundi, where conflicts over scarce land and food are at the root of lingering tribal wars and state collapse.

Chance of avoiding five degrees of global warming: negligible if the rise reaches four degrees and releases trapped methane from the sea bed.


Although warming on this scale lies within the IPCC?s officially endorsed range of 21st-century possibilities, climate models have little to say about what Lynas, echoing Dante, describes as ?the Sixth Circle of Hell?. To see the most recent climatic lookalike, we have to turn the geological clock back between 144m and 65m years, to the Cretaceous, which ended with the extinction of the dinosaurs. There was an even closer fit at the end of the Permian, 251m years ago, when global temperatures rose by ? yes ? six degrees, and 95% of species were wiped out.

That episode was the worst ever endured by life on Earth, the closest the planet has come to ending up a dead and desolate rock in space.? On land, the only winners were fungi that flourished on dying trees and shrubs. At sea there were only losers. Warm water is a killer. Less oxygen can dissolve, so conditions become stagnant and anoxic. Oxygen-breathing water-dwellers ? all the higher forms of life from plankton to sharks ? face suffocation. Warm water also expands, and sea levels rose by 20 metres.? The resulting ?super-hurricanes? hitting the coasts would have triggered flash floods that no living thing could have survived.

There are aspects of the so-called ?end-Permian extinction? that are unlikely to recur ? most importantly, the vast volcanic eruption in Siberia that spread magma hundreds of metres thick over an area bigger than western Europe and shot billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is small comfort, however, for beneath the oceans, another monster stirred ? the same that would bring a devastating end to the Palaeocene nearly 200m years later, and that still lies in wait today. Methane hydrate.

What happens when warming water releases pent-up gas from the sea bed: First, a small disturbance drives a gas-saturated parcel of water upwards. As it rises, bubbles begin to appear, as dissolved gas fizzles out with reducing pressure ? just as a bottle of lemonade overflows if the top is taken off too quickly. These bubbles make the parcel of water still more buoyant, accelerating its rise through the water. As it surges upwards, reaching explosive force, it drags surrounding water up with it. At the surface, water is shot hundreds of metres into the air as the released gas blasts into the atmosphere. Shockwaves propagate outwards in all directions, triggering more eruptions nearby.

The eruption is more than just another positive feedback in the quickening process of global warming. Unlike CO2, methane is flammable. Even in air-methane concentrations as low as 5%, the mixture could ignite from lightning or some other spark and send fireballs tearing across the sky. The effect would be much like that of the fuel-air explosives used by the US and Russian armies ? so-called ?vacuum bombs? that ignite fuel droplets above a target. According to the CIA, those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringes are likely to suffer many internal injuries, including burst eardrums, severe concussion, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.? Such tactical weapons, however, are squibs when set against methane-air clouds from oceanic eruptions. Scientists calculate that they could ?destroy terrestrial life almost entirely (251m years ago, only one large land animal, the pig-like lystrosaurus, survived). It has been estimated that a large eruption in future could release energy equivalent to 108 megatonnes of TNT ? 100,000 times more than the world?s entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. Not even Lynas, for all his scientific propriety, can avoid the Hollywood ending. ?It is not too difficult to imagine the ultimate nightmare, with oceanic methane eruptions near large population centres wiping out billions of people ? perhaps in days. Imagine a ?fuel-air explosive? fireball racing towards a city ? London, say, or Tokyo ? the blast wave spreading out from the explosive centre with the speed and force of an atomic bomb. Buildings are flattened, people are incinerated where they stand, or left blind and deaf by the force of the explosion. Mix Hiroshima with post-Katrina New Orleans to get some idea of what such a catastrophe might look like: burnt survivors battling over food, wandering far and wide from empty cities.

Then would come hydrogen sulphide from the stagnant oceans. ?It would be a silent killer: imagine the scene at Bhopal following the Union Carbide gas release in 1984, replayed first at coastal settlements, then continental interiors across the world. At the same time, as the ozone layer came under assault, we would feel the sun?s rays burning into our skin, and the first cell mutations would be triggering outbreaks of cancer among anyone who survived. Dante?s hell was a place of judgment, where humanity was for ever punished for its sins. With all the remaining forests burning, and the corpses of people, livestock and wildlife piling up in every continent, the six-degree world would be a harsh penalty indeed for the mundane crime of burning fossil energy.

  Read A Degree By Degree Explanation Of Global Warming
  August 7, 2012  

On this day in 1945 the United States demonstrated that it was as morally bankrupt as the Nazi machine it had recently vanquished and the Soviet regime with which it was allied. Over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki, it exploded an atomic device that was the most efficient weapon of genocide in human history. The blast killed tens of thousands of men, women and children. It was an act of mass annihilation that was strategically and militarily indefensible. The Japanese had been on the verge of surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no military significance. It was a war crime for which no one was ever tried. The explosions, which marked the culmination of three centuries of physics, signaled the ascendancy of the technician and scientist as our most potent agents of death.

“In World War II Auschwitz and Hiroshima showed that progress through technology has escalated man’s destructive impulses into more precise and incredibly more devastating form,” Bruno Bettelheim said. “The concentration camps with their gas chambers, the first atomic bomb … confronted us with the stark reality of overwhelming death, not so much one’s own—this each of us has to face sooner or later, and however uneasily, most of us manage not to be overpowered by our fear of it—but the unnecessary and untimely death of millions. … Progress not only failed to preserve life but it deprived millions of their lives more effectively than had ever been possible before. Whether we choose to recognize it or not, after the second World War Auschwitz and Hiroshima became monuments to the incredible devastation man and technology together bring about.”

The atomic blasts, ignited in large part to send a message to the Soviet Union, were a reminder that science is morally neutral. Science and technology serve the ambitions of humankind. And few in the sciences look beyond the narrow tasks handed to them by corporations or government. They employ their dark arts, often blind to the consequences, to cement into place systems of security and surveillance, as well as systems of environmental destruction, that will result in collective enslavement and mass extermination. As we veer toward environmental collapse we will have to pit ourselves against many of these experts, scientists and technicians whose loyalty is to institutions that profit from exploitation and death.

Scientists and technicians in the United States over the last five decades built 70,000 nuclear weapons at a cost of $5.5 trillion. (The Soviet Union had a nuclear arsenal of similar capability.) By 1963, according to the Columbia University professor Seymour Melman, the United States could overkill the 140 principal cities in the Soviet Union more than 78 times. Yet we went on manufacturing nuclear warheads. And those who publicly questioned the rationality of the massive nuclear buildup, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, who at the government lab at Los Alamos, N.M., had overseen the building of the two bombs used on Japan, often were zealously persecuted on suspicion of being communists or communist sympathizers. It was a war plan that called for a calculated act of enormous, criminal genocide. We built more and more bombs with the sole purpose of killing hundreds of millions of people. And those who built them, with few exceptions, never gave a thought to their suicidal creations.

“What are we to make of a civilization which has always regarded ethics as an essential part of human life [but] which has not been able to talk about the prospect of killing almost everyone except in prudential and game-theoretical terms?” Oppenheimer asked after World War II.

Max Born, the great German-British physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics, in his memoirs made it clear he disapproved of Oppenheimer and the other physicists who built the atomic bombs. “It is satisfying to have had such clever and efficient pupils,” Born wrote, “but I wish they had shown less cleverness and more wisdom.” Oppenheimer wrote his old teacher back. “Over the years, I have felt a certain disapproval on your part for much that I have done. This has always seemed to me quite natural, for it is a sentiment that I share.” But of course, by then, it was too late.

It was science, industry and technology that made possible the 20th century’s industrial killing. These forces magnified innate human barbarity. They served the immoral. And there are numerous scientists who continue to work in labs across the country on weapons systems that have the capacity to exterminate millions of human beings. Is this a “rational” enterprise? Is it moral? Does it advance the human species? Does it protect life?

For many of us, science has supplanted religion. We harbor a naive faith in the godlike power of science. Since scientific knowledge is cumulative, albeit morally neutral, it gives the illusion that human history and human progress also are cumulative. Science is for us what totems and spells were for our premodern ancestors. It is magical thinking. It feeds our hubris and sense of divine empowerment. And trusting in its fearsome power will mean our extinction.

The 17th century Enlightenment myth of human advancement through science, reason and rationality should have been obliterated forever by the slaughter of World War I. Europeans watched the collective suicide of a generation. The darker visions of human nature embodied in the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad and Frederick Nietzsche before the war found modern expression in the work of Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann and Samuel Beckett, along with atonal and dissonant composers such as Igor Stravinsky and painters such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Human progress, these artists and writers understood, was a joke. But there were many more who enthusiastically embraced new utopian visions of progress and glory peddled by fascists and communists. These belief systems defied reality. They fetishized death. They sought unattainable utopias through violence. And empowered by science and technology, they killed millions.

Human motives often are irrational and, as Freud pointed out, contain powerful yearnings for death and self-immolation. Science and technology have empowered and amplified the ancient lusts for war, violence and death. Knowledge did not free humankind from barbarism. The civilized veneer only masked the dark, inchoate longings that plague all human societies, including our own. Freud feared the destructive power of these urges. He warned in “Civilization and Its Discontents” that if we could not regulate or contain these urges, human beings would, as the Stoics predicted, consume themselves in a vast conflagration. The future of the human race depends on naming and controlling these urges. To pretend they do not exist is to fall into self-delusion.

The breakdown of social and political control during periods of political and economic turmoil allows these urges to reign supreme. Our first inclination, Freud noted correctly, is not to love one another as brothers or sisters but to “satisfy [our] aggressiveness on [our fellow human being], to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him.” The war in Bosnia, with rampaging Serbian militias, rape camps, torture centers, concentration camps, razed villages and mass executions, was one of numerous examples of Freud’s wisdom. At best, Freud knew, we can learn to live with, regulate and control our inner tensions and conflicts. The structure of civilized societies would always be fraught with this inner tension, he wrote, because “… man’s natural aggressive instinct, the hostility of each against all and of all against each, opposes this program of civilization.” The burden of civilization is worth it. The alternative, as Freud knew, is self-destruction.

A rational world, a world that will protect the ecosystem and build economies that learn to distribute wealth rather than allow a rapacious elite to hoard it, will never be handed to us by the scientists and technicians. Nearly all of them work for the enemy. Mary Shelley warned us about becoming Prometheus as we seek to defy fate and the gods in order to master life and death. Her Victor Frankenstein, when his 8-foot-tall creation made partly of body pieces from graves came to ghastly life, had the same reaction as Oppenheimer when the American scientist discovered that his bomb had incinerated Japanese schoolchildren. The scientist Victor Frankenstein watched the “dull yellow eye” of his creature open and “breathless horror and disgust” filled his heart.” Oppenheimer said after the first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexican desert: “I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, in one way or another.” The critic Harold Bloom, in words that could be applied to Oppenheimer, called Victor Frankenstein “a moral idiot.”

All attempts to control the universe, to play God, to become the arbiters of life and death, have been carried out by moral idiots. They will relentlessly push forward, exploiting and pillaging, perfecting their terrible tools of technology and science, until their creation destroys them and us. They make the nuclear bombs. They extract oil from the tar sands. They turn the Appalachians into a wasteland to extract coal. They serve the evils of globalism and finance. They run the fossil fuel industry. They flood the atmosphere with carbon emissions, doom the seas, melt the polar ice caps, unleash the droughts and floods, the heat waves, the freak storms and hurricanes.

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

  Read The Science Of Genocide
  August 5, 2012  
The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrance
by Francis A. Boyle, Countercurrents.org
The human race stands on the verge of nuclear self-extinction as a species, and with it will die most, if not all, forms of intelligent life on the planet earth. Any attempt to dispel the ideology of nuclearism and its attendant myth propounding the legality of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence must directly come to grips with the fact that the nuclear age was conceived in the original sins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined by the Nuremberg Charter of August 8, 1945, and violated several basic provisions of the Regulations annexed to Hague Convention No. 4 Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907), the rules of customary international law set forth in the Draft Hague Rules of Air Warfare (1923), and the United States War Department Field Manual 27-10, Rules of Land Warfare (1940). According to this Field Manual and the Nuremberg Principles, all civilian government officials and military officers who ordered or knowingly participated in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have been lawfully punished as war criminals. The start of any progress toward resolving humankind's nuclear predicament must come from the realization that nuclear weapons have never been legitimate instruments of state policy, but rather have always constituted illegitimate instrumentalities of internationally lawless and criminal behavior.


The use of nuclear weapons in combat was, and still is, absolutely prohibited under all circumstances by both conventional and customary international law: e.g., the Nuremberg Principles, the Hague Regulations of 1907, the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocol I of 1977, etc. In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also specifically violate several fundamental resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly that have repeatedly condemned the use of nuclear weapons as an international crime.

Consequently, according to the Nuremberg Judgment, soldiers would be obliged to disobey egregiously illegal orders with respect to launching and waging a nuclear war. Second, all government officials and military officers who might nevertheless launch or wage a nuclear war would be personally responsible for the commission of Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and Protocol 1, and genocide, among other international crimes. Third, such individuals would not be entitled to the defenses of superior orders, act of state, tu quoque, self-defense, presidential authority, etc. Fourth, such individuals could thus be quite legitimately and most severely punished as war criminals, up to and including the imposition of the death penalty, without limitation of time.


Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter of 1945 prohibits both the threat and the use of force except in cases of legitimate self-defense as recognized by article 51 thereof. But although the requirement of legitimate self-defense is a necessary precondition for the legality of any threat or use of force, it is certainly not sufficient. For the legality of any threat or use of force must also take into account the customary and conventional international laws of humanitarian armed conflict.

Thereunder, the threat to use nuclear weapons (i.e., nuclear deterrence/terrorism) constitutes ongoing international criminal activity: namely, planning, preparation, solicitation and conspiracy to commit Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, Additional Protocol I of 1977, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, inter alia. These are the so-called inchoate crimes that under the Nuremberg Principles constitute international crimes in their own right.

The conclusion is inexorable that the design, research, testing, production, manufacture, fabrication, transportation, deployment, installation, maintenance, storing, stockpiling, sale, and purchase as well as the threat to use nuclear weapons together with all their essential accouterments are criminal under well-recognized principles of international law. Thus, those government decision-makers in all the nuclear weapons states with command responsibility for their nuclear weapons establishments are today subject to personal criminal responsibility under the Nuremberg Principles for this criminal practice of nuclear deterrence/terrorism that they have daily inflicted upon all states and peoples of the international community. Here I wish to single out four components of the threat to use nuclear weapons that are especially reprehensible from an international law perspective: counter-ethnic targeting; counter-city targeting; first-strike weapons and contingency plans; and the first-use of nuclear weapons even to repel a conventional attack.


As can be determined in part from the preceding analysis, today's nuclear weapons establishments as well as the entire system of nuclear deterrence/terrorism currently practiced by all the nuclear weapon states are criminal -- not simply illegal, not simply immoral, but criminal under well established principles of international law. This simple idea of the criminality of nuclear weapons can be utilized to pierce through the ideology of nuclearism to which many citizens in the nuclear weapons states have succumbed. It is with this simple idea of the criminality of nuclear weapons that concerned citizens can proceed to comprehend the inherent illegitimacy and fundamental lawlessness of the policies that their governments pursue in their names with respect to the maintenance and further development of nuclear weapons systems.


Humankind must abolish nuclear weapons before nuclear weapons abolish humankind. Nonetheless, a small number of governments in the world community continue to maintain nuclear weapons systems despite the rules of international criminal law to the contrary. This has led some international lawyers to argue quite tautologically and disingenuously that since there exist a few nuclear weapons states in the world community, therefore nuclear weapons must somehow not be criminal because otherwise these few states would not possess nuclear weapons systems. In other words, to use lawyers' parlance, this minority state practice of nuclear deterrence/terrorism practiced by the great powers somehow negates the existence of a world opinio juris (i.e., sense of legal obligation) as to the criminality of nuclear weapons.

There is a very simple response to that specious argument: Since when has a small gang of criminals -- in this case, the nuclear weapons states -- been able to determine what is legal or illegal for the rest of the community by means of their own criminal behavior? What right do these nuclear weapons states have to argue that by means of their own criminal behavior they have ipso facto made criminal acts legitimate? No civilized nation state would permit a small gang of criminal conspirators to pervert its domestic legal order in this manner. Moreover, both the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Tokyo Tribunal made it quite clear that a conspiratorial band of criminal states likewise has no right to opt out of the international legal order by means of invoking their own criminal behavior as the least common denominator of international deportment. Ex iniuria ius non oritur is a peremptory norm of customary international law. Right cannot grow out of injustice!

To the contrary, the entire human race has been victimized by an international conspiracy of ongoing criminal activity carried out by the nuclear weapons states under the doctrine known as "nuclear deterrence," which is really a euphemism for "nuclear terrorism." This international criminal conspiracy of nuclear deterrence/terrorism currently practiced by the nuclear weapons states is no different from any other conspiracy by a criminal gang or band. They are the outlaws. So it is up to the rest of the international community to repress and dissolve this international criminal conspiracy as soon as possible.


In light of the fact that nuclear weapons systems are prohibited, illegal, and criminal under all circumstances and for any reason, every person around the world possesses a basic human right to be free from this criminal practice of nuclear deterrence/terrorism and its concomitant specter of nuclear extinction. Thus, all human beings possess the basic right under international law to engage in non-violent civil resistance activities for the purpose of preventing, impeding, or terminating the ongoing commission of these international crimes. Every citizen of the world community has both the right and the duty to oppose the existence of nuclear weapons systems by whatever non-violent means are at his or her disposal. Otherwise, the human race will suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs, and the planet earth will become a radioactive wasteland. The time for preventive action is now!

Professor Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include “ Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (2003), and “ The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law” (2010).

  Read The Criminality Of Nuclear Deterrance
  August 5, 2012  

NASA's James Hansen, the 'Godfather of Global Warming,' says earlier predictions "too optimistic"

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now.

These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

Twenty-four years ago, I introduced the concept of “climate dice” to help distinguish the long-term trend of climate change from the natural variability of day-to-day weather. Some summers are hot, some cool. Some winters brutal, some mild. That’s natural variability.

But as the climate warms, natural variability is altered, too. In a normal climate without global warming, two sides of the die would represent cooler-than-normal weather, two sides would be normal weather, and two sides would be warmer-than-normal weather. Rolling the die again and again, or season after season, you would get an equal variation of weather over time.

But loading the die with a warming climate changes the odds. You end up with only one side cooler than normal, one side average, and four sides warmer than normal. Even with climate change, you will occasionally see cooler-than-normal summers or a typically cold winter. Don’t let that fool you.

Our new peer-reviewed study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, makes clear that while average global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate (up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century), the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.

When we plotted the world’s changing temperatures on a bell curve, the extremes of unusually cool and, even more, the extremes of unusually hot are being altered so they are becoming both more common and more severe.

The change is so dramatic that one face of the die must now represent extreme weather to illustrate the greater frequency of extremely hot weather events.

Such events used to be exceedingly rare. Extremely hot temperatures covered about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the globe in the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. In the last three decades, while the average temperature has slowly risen, the extremes have soared and now cover about 10 percent of the globe.

This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it — the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.

There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.

The future is now. And it is hot.

Dr. James Hansen is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. He was the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change and writes here as a private citizen. Hansen is the author of "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity."

© 2012 The Washington Post

  Read Climate Change Is Here — And Worse Than We Thought
  August 2, 2012  

When you go to the mountains, you go to the mountains. When it’s the desert, it’s the desert. When it’s the ocean, though, we generally say that we’re going “to the beach.” Land is our element, not the waters of our world, and that is an unmistakable advantage for any oil company that wants to drill in pristine waters.

Take Shell Oil. Recently, the company’s drill ship, the fabulously named Noble Discoverer, went adrift and almost grounded in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. That should be considered an omen for a distinctly star-crossed venture to come. Unfortunately, few of us are paying the slightest attention.

Shell is getting ready to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean, an ecosystem staggeringly rich in life of every sort, and while it’s not yet quite a done deal, the prospect should certainly focus our minds. But first, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the mind-boggling richness of the life still in our oceans.

Last month began with a once-in-a-lifetime sighting in Monterey Bay, California, startlingly close to shore, of blue whales. Those gigantic mammals can measure up to 100 feet, head-to-tail, and weigh nearly 200 tons -- the largest animal by weight ever to have lived on this planet. Yes, even heavier than dinosaurs. The biggest of them, Amphicoelias fragillimus, is estimated to have weighed 122 tons, while the largest blue whale came in at a whopping 195 tons.

The recent Monterey Bay sighting is being called “the most phenomenal showing of th[os]e endangered mammals in recent history.” On July 5th alone, the Monterey Bay Whale Watch reported sightings of “12 blue whales, 40 humpback whales, 400 Risso's dolphins, 300 northern right whale dolphins, 250 Pacific white-sided dolphins, and two minke whales."

"Everywhere you go you just see blows" -- that is, the blues spouting -- Nancy Black, owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. It seems that the abundance of krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures that the whales feed on, attracted about 100 of the blues. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, they were abundant with an estimated population of more than 200,000 living in the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean alone. Then they were hunted nearly to extinction. Today, only about 10,000 of them are believed to exist.

Dog Day Afternoon in the Arctic

If you follow the pacific coastline from Monterey all the way north, sooner or later you’ll arrive at Kivalina along the Chukchi Sea coast in the Alaskan Arctic. Keep going along that coastline even further north and you’ll pass by Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainright, and finally Barrow -- the northernmost town in the United States.

At Barrow, you’ll be at the confluence of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of the Arctic Ocean. Now, head east along the Beaufort Sea coast to Nuiqsut, and Kaktovik, both Iñupiat communities. The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are remarkably rich in krill, and home to the endangered bowhead whale. It may not be quite as large as the blue, but head-to-tail it can still measure an impressive enough 66 feet and weigh up to 75 tons, and it has one special attribute. It is believed to be the longest-lived mammal on the planet.

Like blues, bowheads were also abundant -- an estimated population of 30,000 well into the mid-nineteenth century. Then commercial whalers began hunting them big time, driving them nearly extinct in less than 50 years. Today, about 10,000 bowhead whales live in the Arctic Ocean. Blues and bowheads could be considered the elders of the sea.

While the blues were feeding in Monterey Bay, Shell’s drill ships, the Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk, were migrating north, with the hope of drilling for oil in those very waters this summer. Unlike the jubilant tourists, scientists, and residents of the California coast, the Iñupiat people of the Arctic coast are now living in fear of Shell’s impending arrival; and little wonder, as that oil giant is about to engage in what may be the most dangerous form of drilling anywhere on Earth. After all, no one actually knows how to clean up an oil spill that happens under the ice in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Ocean. Despite that, the Obama administration has been fast-tracking Shell’s dangerous drilling plan, while paying remarkably little attention to the ecological fears it raises and the potential devastation a major spill or spills would cause to the native peoples of the north.

No need to worry, though: Shell swears it’s dealing with the possibility of such a disaster, even to the point of bringing in dogs “to detect oil spills beneath snow and ice.” No joke. “When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic,” the Guardian reported in March, “Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific.”

The Obama administration has been no less reassuring. There will be a genuine federal inspector on board those drill ships 24/7. And whether you’re listening to the oil company or our government, you should just know that it’s all a beautiful dream, nothing more. When a spill happens, and it’s minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind’s howling at 65 miles per hour, and sea ice is all around you and moving, the idea that a highly trained dachshund or federal inspector will be able to do a thing is pure fantasy. Believe me, I’ve been there under those conditions and if the worst occurs, this won’t be a repeat of BP in the Gulf of Mexico (bad as that was). Help will not be available.

Hand Shell this for honesty: the company has admitted that, if a spill were to happen late in the summer drilling season (of course it won’t!), they will simply have to leave the spilled oil “in place” for nine months to do its damnedest. The following summer they will theoretically deal with what’s left of the spill, and -- though they don’t say this -- the possibility of a dead or dying sea.

The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act requires that the government must do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if there is reason to believe that a proposed activity will significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement avoided the time consuming EIS process, however, issuing instead what is called a “Finding of No Significant Impact.”

In late June, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “I believe there will not be an oil spill” from Shell’s Arctic drilling, and proceeded full speed ahead. Know this: in 2011 alone in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Shell reported 63 “operational spills” due to equipment failure. That happened in a tropical environment.

Oil companies must have an approved spill-response plan before drilling can proceed. But Shell’s government-rubber-stamped plan turns out to be full of holes, including the claim that, should a spill occur, they will be able to recover 90% of all spilled oil. (In the cases of both the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon disasters less than 10% was recovered.) In fact, it’s a claim from which the company is already backtracking. On July 10th, 10 environmental organizations, including the Alaska Wilderness League, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), filed a lawsuit challenging Shell’s spill-response plans in an attempt to stop this summer’s drilling.

In addition, Shell’s 37-year-old 294-foot barge, the Arctic Challenger, a necessity for its clean-up plan, is still awaiting final certification from the U.S. Coast Guard. Reporting on the failure to receive it so far, the Los Angeles Times pointed out that “[e]ngineers from the oil company say it's no longer appropriate to require them to meet the rigorous weather standards originally proposed.” Unfortunately, there couldn’t be anything more basic to drilling in the Arctic than its fearsome weather. If you can’t hack that -- and no oil company can -- you shouldn’t be sending your drill ships northward.

And a massive spill or a series of smaller ones is hardly the only danger to one of the more fragile environments left on the planet. The seismic testing that precedes any drilling and the actual drilling operations bring “lots of noise” to the region. This could be very harmful to the bowhead whales, which use sound to navigate through sea ice in darkness. Seismic testing represents, as Peter Matthiessen wrote in 2007, following a trip we took together along the Arctic coast of Alaska, “the most severe acoustic insult to the marine environment I can imagine short of naval warfare.”

In addition, Shell’s drill ships will put significant amounts of toxic substances into the Arctic air each year, including an estimated 336 tons of nitrogen oxides and up to 28 tons of PM2.5 -- fine particles that include dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. These are harmful to human health and will degrade the Arctic’s clean atmosphere.

Despite opposition from indigenous Iñupiat communities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nonetheless approved air quality permits for the ships in January. On June 28th, however, Shell admitted that the Noble Discoverer “cannot meet the [EPA’s] requirements for emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia” and asked the agency to loosen air quality rules for Arctic drilling.

Add to this one more thing: even before Shell’s drilling begins, or there can be any assessment of it, the Obama administration is already planning to open up more Arctic waters to offshore drilling in the years to come. Think of this -- and of the possible large-scale, irremediable pollution of the Arctic’s watery landscape -- as the canary in the coalmine when it comes to the oceans of the world. Especially now, when global warming is melting northern ice and opening the way for energy corporations backed by governments to train their sights on those waters and their energy riches.

Not Just the Arctic

Here’s the simplest fact: we are killing our oceans. Rapidly. Already, the massive atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases from the burning of non-Arctic fossil fuels has, scientists believe, caused a rise in sea surface temperature of 1 degree Centigrade over the past 140 years. This may not seem impressive, but much of this increase has occurred during the past few decades. As a result, scientists again believe, there has been a potentially catastrophic 40% decline, largely since 1950, in the phytoplankton that support the whole marine food chain. Headlines from media reports on this decline catch the grim possibilities in the situation: “The Dead Sea,” “Are Our Oceans Dying?”

In addition, the oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) we put in the atmosphere and this has made their waters abnormally acidic, transforming coral reefs into graveyards. Earlier this year, we learned that “the current acidification is potentially unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years of Earth history, and raises the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.” This July, Jane Lubchenco, chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, referred to such ocean acidification as climate change's "equally evil twin.”

Similarly, the rapid melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is already proving catastrophic for a host of species, including narwhals, polar bears, walruses, seals, and sea birds. And you have undoubtedly heard about the massive expanses of garbage, especially plastic, now clotting our oceans. Chris Jordan’s powerful photographs of dead albatrosses at Midway Atoll, their bellies full of plastic, catch what this can mean for marine life. And then there’s the increasing industrial overfishing of all waters, which is threatening to decimate fish populations globally.

And keep in mind, that’s only so far. Drilling for what Michael Klare calls “tough oil” or “extreme energy” in a range of perilous locations only ensures the further degradation of the oceans. In addition to the possible opening up of the Arctic Ocean, there has been an expansion of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore drilling in “Iceberg Alley” near Newfoundland, deep-offshore drilling in the Brazillian “pre-salt” fields of the Atlantic Ocean, and an increase in offshore drilling in West Africa and Asia.

As Klare writes in his new book, The Race for What’s Left, “Drilling for oil and natural gas in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and the Pacific is likely to accelerate in the years ahead… Even the ecological damage wreaked by the Deepwater Horizon disaster of April 2010 is not likely to slow this drive.” He adds that “the giant oil companies will spend an estimated $387 billion on offshore drilling operations between 2010 and 2014."

In other words, we’re in a drill, baby, drill world, even when it comes to the most perilous of watery environments, and if the major energy companies have their way, there will be no turning back until the oceans are, essentially, a garbage dump.

From Standing on the Seashore to Interconnectedness

Of his epic photographic series Seascapes, artist Hiroshi Sugimoto wrote, “Can someone today view a scene just as primitive man might have?... Although the land is forever changing its form, the sea, I thought, is immutable.”

All his seascapes are black-and-white with equal part sky and sea -- and in them the oceans do indeed look pristine and immutable. If you stand on the shore of any ocean today, the waters may still look that way to you. Unfortunately, we now know that those waters are increasingly anything but.

Seeing blue whales breaching and feeding is indeed a thrill and does breed an urge for protection and conservation, but what we see on the surface of the planet’s oceans is only a miniscule fraction of all their life. It is possible that we know more about outer space than we do about what actually lives in the depths of those waters. And that catches something of the conundrum facing us as they are exploited and polluted past some tipping point: How do we talk about protecting what we can’t even see?

Despite inadequacies, faults, and failures, the conservation movement to protect public lands in the U.S. has been something of a triumph, providing enjoyment for us and crucially needed habitat for many species with whom we share this Earth. Any of us, paying little or nothing, can enjoy public lands of various sizes, shapes, and varieties: national parks, national forests, officially designated wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges, state parks, city parks.

The success of land conservation, I’d suggest, was founded on one simple idea -- walking. Henry David Thoreau’s famous essay “Walking” began as a lecture he gave at the Concord Lyceum on April 23, 1851, and was published in 1862 after his death in the Atlantic Monthly. Environmentalist John Muir made the connection between walking and land conservation explicit through his unforgettably lyrical prose about hiking the mountains of California.

Later, novelist Edward Abbey showed us how to walk in the desert, and also gave us a recipe for “monkey wrenching” -- forms of sabotage to protest environmental destruction and in defense of conservation that is alive and well today. There have been so many others who have written about walking on, and in, the land: Mary Austin, Margaret Murie, David Abram, William deBuys, Rebecca Solnit, and Terry Tempest Williams, among others. But this simplest of free and democratic ideas that helped make public lands familiar and inspired their conservation against industrial destruction falls away completely when we enter the oceanic realm.

We cannot walk in the ocean, or hike there, or camp there, or from its depths sit and contemplate our situation and nature’s. All we can do is stand on its shores and watch, or swim or surf its edges, or boat and float across its surface. The oceans are not us. We lack fins, we lack gills. We are not naturally invested in our oceans and their riches, which are such potentially lucrative assets for those who want to profit off them -- and destroy them in the process.

Nonetheless, for their conservation, somehow we need to learn to walk those waters. It’s not enough to have the necessary set of grim facts, figures, and information about how they are being endangered. We need a philosophy, an “ocean ethics” akin to the “land ethics” that environmentalist Aldo Leopold wrote about in his seminal book A Sand County Almanac. We don’t have it yet, but a good place to start would be with the idea of “interconnectedness.”

It’s a very old idea, as German poet-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “The truth was known already, long ago.” Rachel Carson, for instance, gave meaning to interconnectedness on land in her famed book Silent Spring, published in 1962, by linking the fate of bird species to the rise of industrial toxins. She symbolically linked the potential extinction of species like that national symbol the Bald Eagle, whose numbers had plummeted from an estimated 50,000 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states to about 400 in the early 1960s, to our own sense of well- or ill-being. The time has come to connect in a similar way the fate of marine life with the rise of offshore drilling, climate change, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, and industrial overfishing.

As I can attest from my decade-long engagement with the far north, the Arctic is no longer the remote place disconnected from our daily lives that we imagine. In fact, I often think about it as the most connected place on Earth.

The tiny semipalmated sandpipers, a shorebird I can see along East Coast beaches any fall, is the same species I saw nesting each summer along the Beaufort Sea coast, near where Shell plans to drill. Hundreds of millions of birds migrate to the Arctic from every corner of the planet annually to rear their young -- a celebration of interconnectedness. But so do industrial toxins migrate to the Arctic from every region of the world, making humans and animals in some parts of the far north among the most contaminated inhabitants of the planet -- a tragedy of interconnectedness.

What happens there will also affect us in frightening ways. The rapid disintegration and melting of Arctic icebergs, glaciers, and sea ice is projected to raise global sea levels, threatening coastal cities across the northern hemisphere. And the melting of the Arctic permafrost and of frozen areas of the seafloor is likely to release huge amounts of methane (about 20 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas) that could prove potentially catastrophic for the planet. This is why the time has come to focus on oceanic interconnectedness -- if we hope to save our oceans and the planet as we have known it.

For more than a century, environmental organizations have focused on lobbying Congress as a (if not the) primary strategy for supporting land conservation against industrial destruction. But in the age of Citizens United, Big Oil and King Coal will certainly outspend the lobbying efforts of these organizations by orders of magnitude. In addition, when it comes to the oceans, Congress plays a minor role, at least so far. Most of the crucial decisions go through the executive branch.

Instead of harshly criticizing Obama’s offshore drilling policy, green groups have generally appealed to his good environmental sense and instincts -- a strategy that has not worked. This attitude is changing however. In May in a letter published in the New York Times, David Yarnold, president of the National Audubon Society, wrote: “Imagine: a president who ignores the advice of his own scientists on a key environmental issue, dredging for votes in an election year. Sound familiar? The administration is ignoring warnings from the Coast Guard, the United States Geological Survey, the Government Accountability Office, and hundreds of scientists. All say the [oil] industry is not prepared to drill safely in Arctic waters. Their nightmare scenario: a BP-like blowout in an ice-locked sea.”

Litigation has been the next best option. Iñupiat activists and green groups have, in recent years, filed numerous lawsuits meant to impede or stop Shell’s drilling plans. Some were won, others lost, but the plans to drill remain ongoing.

Monkey wrenching is the last resort. Greenpeace has been leading the charge on that with creativity and passion in their Save the Arctic campaign. Above all, though, if we are to protect our oceans, the public must be engaged. If our children and grandchildren are to experience the excitement of seeing blue whales breach and feed, we better get busy. After all, Shell is adrift in Arctic waters. It’s time to bring them back to shore.

Subhankar Banerjee is a writer, photographer, and activist. Over the past decade he has worked tirelessly to conserve ecoculturally significant areas of the Arctic, and to raise awareness about indigenous human rights and climate change. He is the editor of a new book, Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point (Seven Stories Press) and won a 2012 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award. His Arctic photos can be seen this summer in three exhibitions, All Our Relations at the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, True North at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, and Looking Back at Earth at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Banerjee discusses the importance of the Arctic, click here or download it to your iPod here.

Copyright 2012 Subhankar Banerjee

  Read Shell Game In The Arctic
  July 31, 2012  
Duty To Warn?
by Steven Earl Salmony , Countercurrents.org

Do reasonable, compassionate and responsible human beings have a “duty to warn” of looming threats to future human well being and environmental health, and then to sensibly help one another respond ably to the challenges? Or are we to pose as if we are blind, deaf and dumb to the human-driven global predicament looming before all of us and thereby let the least fortunate, most poorly situated and simply unaware among us suffer the consequences, come what may?

What we know thanks to well-established scientific knowledge about evolutionary biology, humankind and the finite physical world we inhabit would lead sensible people to conclude that there is precious little that can be done to change the ‘trajectory’ of human civilization. So powerful is the force of evolution that we will “do what comes naturally” by continuing to overpopulate the planet and await the next phase of the evolutionary process. So colossal, reckless and relentless, too, is the unbridled expansion of the global political economy now overspreading the surface of Earth and polluting its frangible environment. Even so, hope still resides within that somehow humankind will make use of its singular intelligence and other unique attributes so as to escape the fate that appears ‘as if through a glass darkly’ in the offing, the seemingly certain fate evolution appears to have in store for us. In the face of all that we can see now and here, I continue to believe and to hope that we find adequate ways of consciously, deliberately and effectively doing the right things, according the lights and knowledge we possess, the things which serve to confront and overcome the ‘evolutionary trend’ which seems so irresistible.

Somehow we have to grasp much more adequately the sum and substance of our distinctly human nature, with special attention given to improving our ‘reality orientation’ with regard to such vital issues as human population dynamics. Although relatively small in number, evolutionary biologists and scientists in other fields of research understand what the best available science indicates to us about the skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population numbers in our time. Research of outstanding scientists indicate that the population dynamics of the human species is essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species. We have uncontested, apparently unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome scientific evidence regarding the ‘placement’ of the human species within the order of living things that is everywhere denied; whereas, preternatural theories (eg, Demographic Transition Theory), political ideologies (eg, Conservatism and Liberalism) and economic theologies (eg, neoclassical economics) are deceitfully and ubiquitously presented as supported by science. To elect to extol the virtue of ideas that have been refuted by scientific research cannot be construed as the right thing to do. Even though ‘political correctness’ is predominant and accepted everywhere as what is real and 'all that really matters', when theory, ideology and theology are directly contradicted by science, then the best available science must be widely shared and consensually validated. Scientific knowledge must come to prevail over spurious theory, self-serving ideology and specious theology.

There are several things we can at least begin to think about: learn how to live without fossil fuels; adapt to the end of economic growth; substitute a steady-state economy for the endless growth economy we have now; stabilize human population numbers worldwide; and deal with the relentless dissipation of Earth's limited resources, the reckless degradation of its environs, the wanton extirpation of its biodiversity as well as confront other human-induced threats to our planetary home as a fit place for human habitation. In any event, I trust most of us can agree that stealing the birthright of children everywhere, mortgaging their future, and exposing them and life as we know it to foreseeable danger cannot somehow be construed as the right things to be doing. We have to think clearly and as keep our wits about us as we move courageously away from outrageous overconsumption, unconscionable hoarding and big-business-as-usual activities to a way of life that embraces true sustainability. Perhaps necessary and positive changes toward more sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

Steven Earl Salmony is a self-proclaimed global citizen, psychologist, father of three children and grandfather of two. Married forty years. In 2001 Steve founded the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population to raise consciousness of the colossal threat that the unbridled, near exponential growth of absolute global human population numbers poses for all great and small living things on Earth in our time. His quixotic campaign focuses upon the best available science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth in order to save the planet as a place fit for habitation by children everywhere. He can be reached at SESALMONY@aol.com

  Read Duty To Warn?
  July 25, 2012  
Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt
by NASA, Countercurrents.org
Extent of surface melt over Greenland's ice sheet on July 8, 2012 (left) and July 12, 2012 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as "probable melt" (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as "melt" (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. Image credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory and Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI and Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory.

PASADENA, Calif. - For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its 2-mile-thick (3.2-kilometer) center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet, and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.

Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.

"The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story," said Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager in Washington. "Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system."

Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. was analyzing radar data from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite last week when he noticed that most of Greenland appeared to have undergone surface melting on July 12. Nghiem said, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?"

Nghiem consulted with Dorothy Hall at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Hall studies the surface temperature of Greenland using the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. She confirmed that MODIS showed unusually high temperatures and that melt was extensive over the ice sheet surface.

Thomas Mote, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Athens; and Marco Tedesco of City University of New York also confirmed the melt seen by Oceansat-2 and MODIS with passive-microwave satellite data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder on a U.S. Air Force meteorological satellite.

The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.

This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. "Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one," said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate.

Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11 to 12.

"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. "But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."

Nghiem's finding while analyzing Oceansat-2 data was the kind of benefit that NASA and ISRO had hoped to stimulate when they signed an agreement in March 2012 to cooperate on Oceansat-2 by sharing data.

For more information about NASA programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov .

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

  Read Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt
  July 23, 2012  
Facing A Set Of Linked Problems
by John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org

Today, a number of serious and interconnected problems are facing human civilization and the biosphere. Because they are linked, we need to look at all of these problems together, and to find holistic solutions.

First and foremost is the threat of nuclear war: Despite the end of the Cold War, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe remains severe. During the Cold War, the number and power of nuclear weapons reached insane heights - 50,000 nuclear weapons with a total explosive power equivalent to roughly a million Hiroshima bombs. Today the total number of these weapons has been cut approximately in half, but there are still enough to destroy human civilization many times over. The tragedies of Fukushima and Chernobyl remind us that a nuclear war would spread dangerous radioactive contamination throughout the world. Furthermore, recent research by atmospheric scientists shows that even a small nuclear war would have a disastrous effect on global agriculture. Thus a nuclear war would be a global ecological catastrophe, killing enormous numbers of people indiscriminately, throughout the world, also in neutral countries.

The threat of accidental nuclear war remains severe, since many nuclear missiles are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired within minutes of a warning being received. If it is continued over a long period of time, the probability of a fatal accident occurring will grow to a near certainty. Meanwhile, the number of nations possessing nuclear weapons is growing, and there is a danger that if an unstable government is overthrown (for example, Pakistan's), the country's nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of subnational groups. Against nuclear terrorism there is no effective defense.

At the present moment we are faced with a very specific danger - the threat that Israel may bomb Iran, perhaps as early as the autumn of 2012. Such an attack would lead to a widespread war in the Middle East and elsewhere, with unforeseeable consequences. There are several ways in which the conflict could escalate into a nuclear war, particularly if the United States, Pakistan, Russia and China become involved. This is a great danger, and active steps must be taken to avert it.

The driving force behind the danger of nuclear war is the global military-industrial complex. In 2011, world military budgets reached a total of 1.7 trillion dollars (i.e. 1.7 million million dollars). This amount of money is almost too large to be imagined. The fact that it is being spent means that many people are making a living from the institution of war. Wealthy and powerful lobbies from the military-industrial complex are able to influence mass media and governments. Thus the institution of war persists, although we know very well that it is a threat to civilization and that it responsible for much of the suffering that humans experience.

Besides striving for a world free of war and free of nuclear weapons, we must also be aware that the global environment is being destroyed by excessive consumption in the industrialized countries, combined with rapid population growth in developing nations.

It seems likely that the limits for resource-using and waste-producing industrial growth will be reached within a few decades. The first signs of our approach to these limits can already be seen today in the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis and the present Eurozone national debt crisis. (Culture, of course, can and should continue to grow.) We face a difficult period of transition from an economy that depends on growth for its health to a new economic system: steady-state economics.

We should also be aware that the fossil fuel era is ending. By 2050, oil and natural gas will be prohibitively expensive. They will no longer be used as fuels, but will be reserved as feedstocks for chemical synthesis. Within a hundred years, the same will be true of coal. Furthermore, because of the dangers of climate change, human society would be well advised to abandon fossil fuel use long before stocks are exhausted.

It is predicted that by 2050, the world's population of humans will reach 9 billion. This is just the moment when the oil and natural gas, on which modern energy-intensive agriculture depend, will become so expensive that they will no longer be used as fuels. Climate change may also contribute to a global food crisis. Melting of Himalayan glaciers threatens the summer water supplies of both India and China. Rising sea levels threaten to inundate low-lying agricultural land, and aridity produced by climate change may reduce grain harvests. Furthermore, aquifers throughout the world are being overdrawn, and water tables are falling. Topsoil is also being lost. These elements combine to produce a threat of widespread famine by the middle of the 21st century, especially in countries where many people already are undernourished.

We must face these problems them with solidarity. We can no longer accept the intolerable degree of inequality that presently exists. Today 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day - 1.1 billion on less than $1 per day. 18 million of our fellow humans die each year from poverty-related causes. In 2006, 1.1 billion people lacked safe drinking water, and waterbourne diseases killed an estimated 1.8 million people. A small fraction of the money that is wasted (or worse than wasted) on the institution of war could solve these problems. Also, if we are to eliminate war, we must strengthen the United Nations, and this will be easier in a more equal world. Thus the problem of war and the problem of economic inequality are linked.

We live at a critical time for human civilization - a time of crisis. Each of us must accept his or her individual responsibility for solving the problems that are facing the world today. We cannot leave this to the politicians. That is what we have been doing until now, and the results have been disastrous. Many politicians depend for election funds on wealthy corporations that make their money from war or from the destruction of the global environment. Thus, we cannot trust them to think of the long-term future. Nor can we trust the mass media to give us adequate public discussion of the challenges that we are facing. We have a responsibility towards future generations to take matters into our own hands - to join hands and make our own alternative media - to work actively for better government and for a better society.

By working together, we can choose a future of changed values, where women will take their places beside men in positions of responsibility, where children will be educated rather than exploited. We can choose a future where material goods will no longer be used for the purpose of social competition - a future where non-material human qualities, such as kindness, politeness, knowledge and musical and artistic ability will be valued more highly - a future where people will respect and love the natural world, and will realize how closely their lives are connected with nature. No single person can achieve these goals, but together we can do it.

We, the people of the world, not only have the facts on our side - we also have numbers on our side. The vast majority of the world's peoples long for peace. The vast majority long for abolition of nuclear weapons, and for a world of kindness and cooperation - a world of respect for the environment.

Together, we have the power to choose a future where international anarchy, chronic war and institutionalized injustice will be replaced by democratic and humane global governance - a future where the mindless immorality of war will be replaced by cooperation.

The human race has a genius for cooperation. All of the great achievements of modern society are achievements of cooperation. We can fly, but no one builds an airplane alone. We can cure diseases, but only through the cooperative efforts of researchers, doctors and medicinal firms. We can photograph and understand distant galaxies, but the ability to do so is built on the efforts of many cooperating individuals. The comfort and well-being that we experience depends on far-away friendly hands and minds, since trade is global, and the exchange of ideas is also global.

The heritage of knowledge and culture, on which our complex civilization depends, is a monument to cooperation. Science and technology could not exist without the worldwide sharing of knowledge. Art, literature and music are the common heritage of humanity. Let us eliminate the immorality of war from our future, and let us replace it with a more noble goal - the development and sharing of the world's cultural heritage.

Suggestions for further reading

L.S. Brown, ?World on the Edge?, W.W. Norton, (2011).

J.S. Avery, ?Crisis 21: Civilization's Crisis in the 21st Century?, www.lulu.com , (2010).

O.B. Toon, A. Robock and R.P. Turco, ?Environmental Effects of Nuclear War?, Physiics Today, December, (2008).

S. Starr, ?Nuclear Darkness, Climate Change and Nuclear Famine?, www.nucleardarkness.org

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Since the early 1990s, Avery has been an active World peace activist. During these years, he was part of a group associated with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. Presently, he is an Associate Professor in quantum chemistry at the University of Copenhagen

  Read Facing A Set Of Linked Problems
  August 13, 2012  
As construction of a hotly contested naval base on South Korea’s Jeju Island advances, there’s a showdown underway.

Korean groups, increasingly aided by sympathetic outsiders, are protesting the base which they say is being built in Gangjeong village under pressure from the United States.

But the latest battle isn’t between base protestors and Korea’s military or police, it’s between the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and those opposing its upcoming Sep. 6-15 World Conservation Congress (WCC) at Jungmon resort, seven km from Gangjeong.

Jeju, home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites and numerous other environmental and cultural special status designations (see side bar), is taking on new strategic importance as regional military powers and the United States, which maintains dozens of military bases in South Korea, Japan and Okinawa, vie for dominance in northeast Asia.

The naval base at Gangjeong, which Seoul said will also have civilian uses, is expected to accommodate submarines and up to 20 warships, including U.S. Aegis-equipped destroyers which opponents say will make the island less safe, not more.

For five years, Gangjeong has been the site of daily protests and frequent arrests. Now, just weeks before the Congress is to begin, conservationists, academics and NGOs are challenging the IUCN.

In mid-July 55 Korean environmental and civic groups sent a memo to the IUCN asking it to clarify its position on at least half a dozen environmental issues including the naval base while strongly criticising the decision to hold the Congress on Jeju.

A second group, Jeju Emergency Action Committee, submitted an open letter to the IUCN calling for the postponement or relocation of the Congress unless base construction is halted.

One of the authors of that letter is Jerry Mander, founder and co-chair of the International Forum on Globalization. He said the South Korean government’s support for the base, next door to the event, defies the IUCN’s historical purpose. He contends the IUCN is being “nice” about the base just to act like “grateful guests”.

“I think the IUCN’s willingness to praise its financial sponsors while, next door, the sponsors undermine the entire purpose of the IUCN is unforgivable,” Mander told IPS.

The IUCN has confirmed that Samsung C&T and Hyundai are among sponsors helping the South Korean government offset the cost of hosting the Congress. Critics are quick to note that Samsung is the lead contractor at the base and Hyundai Heavy Industries is working with Lockheed Martin to produce the Aegis Combat System to be deployed on U.S. warships at the Jeju naval base.

Opponents say holding the WCC so close to the site of the disputed development and its associated protests, arrests and a police crackdown on groups fighting to protect the environment is in direct conflict with the IUCN’s stated aim to “improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development”.

In a written statement responding to criticism, IUCN director general Julia Marton-Lefèvre said: “Unfortunately, no country has a totally unblemished record on the environment…The Jeju Congress will bring together thousands of dedicated conservations from all over the world to debate, discuss, share and vote on our most pressing environmental problems and their solutions.”

In an interview on Korean television, Marton-Lefèvre explained that IUCN’s vision is “a just world that values and conserves nature” with a mission to “influence society based on good science to conserve nature and natural resources in an equitable and sustainable manner”.

Speaking to IPS from Switzerland, IUCN director of communications John Kidd said, “IUCN is not a campaigning organisation like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth. We’re a membership organisation that exists to promote scientific research and facts and to bring different groups in society together.”

Kidd said it’s important that the WCC, which is held every four years, remains on Jeju.

“We want (the base) issue, with all the people involved, to be discussed at the Congress…in a very open, pragmatic, structured way.” To postpone or relocate the Congress, Kidd said, would not be good for people affected by the Gangjeong base or other environmental issues in Korea.

“Part of the benefit of the Congress is that (as) a movement to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious, (it) spills over to the place where the Congress is held. We’ve seen that going back decades,” Kidd said.

With between 8,000-10,000 attendees (about half from IUCN member organisations) at the quadrennial gathering, Kidd said the Congress provides an important venue to discuss the Gangjeong base and other issues.

“We’re very confident there will be a proper, open dialogue between the two main parties at the Congress (South Korean government and NGOs, specifically the Gangjeong village association) regarding the base.”

Kidd continues, “We’d like people to learn the background to these issues… and to look at both sides and the facts behind the issues, versus the politics…. We hope that delegates will go visit the site of the naval base…We’d like people to look at these also in view of similar issues in their own countries and regions.”

Sung-Hee Choi, who has been actively protesting in Gangjeong since 2009, told IPS she also wants IUCN members to see the culture and environment whose existence she said is threatened by the base.

Choi, who was photographed lying on the ground to block a bulldozer with her own body, argues Jeju is not only ecologically and culturally sensitive, but filled with spiritually important sites.

Another protestor, Jung-Min Choi from Seoul, has been arrested three times in Gangjeong. She told IPS that even if the IUCN doesn’t postpone its meeting, she wants it to include a statement about the impact of the base in its final resolution.

The theme for this year’s World Conservation Congress is ‘Nature+’ which the IUCN said is “about boosting the resilience of nature – improving how quickly nature and people adapt to change”.

As construction of the naval base in Gangjeong continues to alter the human and natural landscape of Jeju, many fear nature’s resilience is no match for the military and they’re pleading for help.

  Read South Korean Island Takes Center Stage in Battle Over Regional Dominance and Environmental Preservation
  July 24, 2012  

Dire fire conditions, like the inferno of heat, turbulence, and fuel that recently turned 346 homes in Colorado Springs to ash, are now common in the West. A lethal combination of drought, insect plagues, windstorms, and legions of dead, dying, or stressed-out trees constitute what some pundits are calling wildfire’s “perfect storm.”

They are only half right.

This summer's conditions may indeed be perfect for fire in the Southwest and West, but if you think of it as a “storm,” perfect or otherwise -- that is, sudden, violent, and temporary -- then you don’t understand what’s happening in this country or on this planet. Look at those 346 burnt homes again, or at the High Park fire that ate 87,284 acres and 259 homes west of Fort Collins, or at the Whitewater Baldy Complex fire in New Mexico that began in mid-May, consumed almost 300,000 acres, and is still smoldering, and what you have is evidence of the new normal in the American West.

For some time, climatologists have been warning us that much of the West is on the verge of downshifting to a new, perilous level of aridity. Droughts like those that shaped the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and the even drier 1950s will soon be “the new climatology” of the region -- not passing phenomena but terrifying business-as-usual weather. Western forests already show the effects of this transformation.

If you surf the blogosphere looking for fire information, pretty quickly you’ll notice a dust devil of “facts” blowing back and forth: big fires are four times more common than they used to be; the biggest fires are six-and-a-half times larger than the monster fires of yesteryear; and owing to a warmer climate, fires are erupting earlier in the spring and subsiding later in the fall. Nowadays, the fire season is two and a half months longer than it was 30 years ago.

All of this is hair-raisingly true. Or at least it was, until things got worse. After all, those figures don’t come from this summer’s fire disasters but from a study published in 2006 that compared then-recent fires, including the record-setting blazes of the early 2000s, with what now seem the good old days of 1970 to 1986. The data-gathering in the report, however, only ran through 2003. Since then, the western drought has intensified, and virtually every one of those recent records -- for fire size, damage, and cost of suppression -- has since been surpassed.

New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains are a case in point. Over the course of two weeks in 2000, the Cerro Grande fire burned 43,000 acres, destroying 400 homes in the nuclear research city of Los Alamos. At the time, to most of us living in New Mexico, Cerro Grande seemed a vision of the Apocalypse. Then, the Las Conchas fire erupted in 2011 on land adjacent to Cerro Grande’s scar and gave a master class in what the oxygen planet can do when it really struts its stuff. 

The Las Conchas fire burned 43,000 acres, equaling Cerro Grande’s achievement, in its first fourteen hours. Its smoke plume rose to the stratosphere, and if the light was right, you could see within it rose-red columns of fire -- combusting gases -- flashing like lightning a mile or more above the land. Eventually the Las Conchas fire spread to 156,593 acres, setting a record as New Mexico’s largest fire in historic times.

It was a stunning event. Its heat was so intense that, in some of the canyons it torched, every living plant died, even to the last sprigs of grass on isolated cliff ledges. In one instance, the needles of the ponderosa pines were not consumed, but bent horizontally as though by a ferocious wind. No one really knows how those trees died, but one explanation holds that they were flash-blazed by a superheated wind, perhaps a collapsing column of fire, and that the wind, having already burned up its supply of oxygen, welded the trees by heat alone into their final posture of death.

It seemed likely that the Las Conchas record would last years, if not decades. It didn’t. This year the Whitewater Baldy fire in the southwest of the state burned an area almost twice as large.

Half Now, Half Later?

In 2007, Tom Swetnam, a fire expert and director of the laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, gave an interview to CBS’s 60 Minutes. Asked to peer into his crystal ball, he said he thought the Southwest might lose half its existing forests to fire and insects over the several decades to come. He immediately regretted the statement.  It wasn’t scientific; he couldn’t back it up; it was a shot from the hip, a WAG, a wild-ass guess.

Swetnam’s subsequent work, however, buttressed that WAG. In 2010, he and several colleagues quantified the loss of southwestern forestland from 1984 to 2008. It was a hefty 18%. They concluded that “only two more recurrences of droughts and die-offs similar or worse than the recent events” might cause total forest loss to exceed 50%. With the colossal fires of 2011 and 2012, including Arizona’s Wallow fire, which consumed more than half-a-million acres, the region is on track to reach that mark by mid-century, or sooner.

But that doesn’t mean we get to keep the other half.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast a temperature increase of 4ºC for the Southwest over the present century. Given a faster than expected build-up of greenhouse gases (and no effective mitigation), that number looks optimistic today. Estimates vary, but let’s say our progress into the sweltering future is an increase of slightly less than 1ºC so far. That means we still have an awful long way to go. If the fires we’re seeing now are a taste of what the century will bring, imagine what the heat stress of a 4ºC increase will produce. And these numbers reflect mean temperatures. The ones to worry about are the extremes, the record highs of future heat waves.  In the amped-up climate of the future, it is fair to think that the extremes will increase faster than the means.

At some point, every pine, fir, and spruce will be imperiled. If, in 2007, Swetnam was out on a limb, these days it’s likely that the limb has burned off and it’s getting ever easier to imagine the destruction of forests on a region-wide scale, however disturbing that may be.

More than scenery is at stake, more even than the stability of soils, ecosystems, and watersheds: the forests of the western United States account for 20% to 40% of total U.S. carbon sequestration. At some point, as western forests succumb to the ills of climate change, they will become a net releaser of atmospheric carbon, rather than one of the planet’s principle means of storing it.

Contrary to the claims of climate deniers, the prevailing models scientists use to predict change are conservative. They fail to capture many of the feedback loops that are likely to intensify the dynamics of change. The release of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost, an especially gloomy prospect, is one of those feedbacks. The release of carbon from burning or decaying forests is another. You used to hear scientists say, “If those things happen, the consequences will be severe.” Now they more often skip that “if” and say “when” instead, but we don’t yet have good estimates of what those consequences will be.

Ways of Going

There have always been droughts, but the droughts of recent years are different from their predecessors in one significant way: they are hotter. And the droughts of the future will be hotter still.

June temperatures produced 2,284 new daily highs nationwide and tied 998 existing records. In most places, the shoe-melting heat translated into drought, and the Department of Agriculture set a record of its own recently by declaring 1,297 dried-out counties in 29 states to be “natural disaster areas.” June also closed out the warmest first half of a year and the warmest 12-month period since U.S. record keeping began in 1895. At present, 56% of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought, a figure briefly exceeded only in the 1950s.

Higher temperatures have a big impact on plants, be they a forest of trees or fields of corn and wheat. More heat means intensified evaporation and so greater water stress. In New Mexico, researchers compared the drought of the early 2000s with that of the 1950s. They found that the 1950s drought was longer and drier, but that the more recent drought caused the death of many more trees, millions of acres of them. The reason for this virulence: it was 1ºC to 1.5ºC hotter.

The researchers avoided the issue of causality by not claiming that climate change caused the higher temperatures, but in effect stating: “If climate change is occurring, these are the impacts we would expect to see.” With this in mind, they christened the dry spell of the early 2000s a “global-change-type drought” -- not a phrase that sings but one that lingers forebodingly in the mind.

No such equivocation attends a Goddard Institute for Space Studies appraisal of the heat wave that assaulted Texas, Oklahoma, and northeastern Mexico last summer. Their report represents a sea change in high-level climate studies in that they boldly assert a causal link between specific weather events and global warming. The Texas heat wave, like a similar one in Russia the previous year, was so hot that its probability of occurring under “normal” conditions (defined as those prevailing from 1951 to 1980) was approximately 0.13%. It wasn’t a 100-year heat wave or even a 500-year one; it was so colossally improbable that only changes in the underlying climate could explain it.

The decline of heat-afflicted forests is not unique to the United States. Global research suggests that in ecosystems around the world, big old trees -- the giants of tropical jungles, of temperate rainforests, of systems arid and wet, hot and cold -- are dying off.

More generally, when forest ecologists compare notes across continents and biomes, they find accelerating tree mortality from Zimbabwe to Alaska, Australia to Spain. The most common cause appears to be heat stress arising from climate change, along with its sidekick, drought, which often results when evaporation gets a boost.

Fire is only one cause of forest death. Heat alone can also do in a stand of trees. According to the Texas Forest Service, between 2% and 10% of all the trees in Texas, perhaps half-a-billion or so, died in last year’s heat wave, primarily from heat and desiccation. Whether you know it or not, those are staggering figures.

Insects, too, stand ready to play an ever-greater role in this onrushing disaster. Warm temperatures lengthen the growing season, and with extra weeks to reproduce, a population of bark beetles may spawn additional generations over the course of a hot summer, boosting the number of their kin that that make it to winter. Then, if the winter is warm, more larvae survive to spring, releasing ever-larger swarms to reproduce again. For as long as winters remain mild, summers long, and trees vulnerable, the beetles’ numbers will continue to grow, ultimately overwhelming the defenses of even healthy trees.

We now see this throughout the Rockies. A mountain pine beetle epidemic has decimated lodgepole pine stands from Colorado to Canada. About five million acres of Colorado’s best scenery has turned red with dead needles, a blow to tourism as well as the environment. The losses are far greater in British Columbia, where beetles have laid waste to more than 33 million forest acres, killing a volume of trees three times greater than Canada’s annual timber harvest.

Foresters there call the beetle irruption “the largest known insect infestation in North American history,” and they point to even more chilling possibilities. Until recently, the frigid climate of the Canadian Rockies prevented beetles from crossing the Continental Divide to the interior where they were, until recently, unknown. Unfortunately, warming temperatures have enabled the beetles to top the passes of the Peace River country and penetrate northern Alberta. Now a continent of jack pines lies before them, a boreal smorgasbord 3,000 miles long. If the beetles adapt effectively to their new hosts, the path is clear for them to chew their way eastward virtually to the Atlantic and to generate transformative ecological effects on a gigantic scale.

The mainstream media, prodded by recent drought declarations and other news, seem finally to be awakening to the severity of these prospects. Certainly, we should be grateful. Nevertheless, it seems a tad anticlimactic when Sam Champion, ABC News weather editor, says with this-just-inurgency to anchor Diane Sawyer, “If you want my opinion, Diane, now’s the time we start limiting manmade greenhouse gases.”

One might ask, “Why now, Sam?” Why not last year, or a decade ago, or several decades back? The news now overwhelming the West is, in truth, old news. We saw the changes coming. There should be no surprise that they have arrived.

It’s never too late to take action, but now, even if all greenhouse gas emissions were halted immediately, Earth’s climate would continue warming for at least another generation. Even if we surprise ourselves and do all the right things, the forest fires, the insect outbreaks, the heat-driven die-offs, and other sweeping transformations of the American West and the planet will continue.

One upshot will be the emergence of whole new ecologies. The landscape changes brought on by climate change are affecting areas so vast that many previous tenants of the land -- ponderosa pines, for instance -- cannot be expected to recolonize their former territory. Their seeds don’t normally spread far from the parent tree, and their seedlings require conditions that big, hot, open spaces don’t provide.

What will develop in their absence? What will the mountains and mesa tops of the New West look like? Already it is plain to see that scrub oak, locust, and other plants that reproduce by root suckers are prospering in places where the big pines used to stand. These plants can be burned to the ground and yet resprout vigorously a season later. One ecologist friend offers this advice, “If you have to be reincarnated as a plant in the West, try not to come back as a tree. Choose a clonal shrub, instead. The future looks good for them.”

In the meantime, forget about any sylvan dreams you might have had: this is no time to build your house in the trees.

William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of seven books, most recently A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest (Oxford, 2011). He has long been involved in environmental affairs in the Southwest, including service as founding chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 87,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which deBuys discusses where heat, fire, and climate change are taking us.

  Read Get Used to the American West in Flames: What Living With the 'New Normal' Will Mean
 July 24, 2012  

Do you buy organic? Purchase fair-trade products? Shop only from businesses whose ethics you support?

That’s great! You are being the change you want to see in the world.

News flash: it’s not enough.

In Annie Leonard’s new short film, The Story of Change (which you can view at the end of this article), she explains that we have to do more than just vote with our dollars. Leonard is the creator of The Story of Stuff, a popular short film about our consumption and production patterns that has 15 million views. As Leonard continued to make new films and provide her audience with information about environmental problems, she realized something was missing.

“We kept getting letters from viewers who said they agreed with the information, shared our concern but didn’t know how to get started to make change,” she said. “So, this summer we made The Story of Change, to remind people that change comes from people working together as engaged citizens and to inspire them to get involved.”

Leonard says she researched past social movements that brought about change and found that three things are needed: a big idea for how things can be better, commitment to work together, and participation in action. Leonard says we’re missing the last factor.

While progress is being made, overwork and corporate influence has impeded social movement in recent decades. Americans are the most overworked of all people living in industrialized countries. Leonard said, “Sharing our work hours more equitably … can facilitate civic engagement and social movements.” She also added that although people feel powerless against corporate power, we must rise up and “get the corporations out of our democracy and the people back in!”

Leonard said she believes most people ultimately want healthy products, healthy children and a healthy environment, despite the fact that we don’t always make the best choices to achieve these desires. Some people are too busy, misinformed, or don’t know what they really want. She said she hopes people who are ready for change make healthy, sustainable products and a healthy, sustainable way of life the new default.

“Then we won’t have to choose between our values and having things like a phone, because they will be aligned,” she said. “That’s the ultimate solution for stuff, but we can’t get there through better shopping or nagging each other; we get there by engaging as citizens to ensure our policies and laws put safeguarding people and the planet first.”

We can’t shop our way to a better planet; we need to join our communities in demanding real change. In the spirit of her new video, here are five critical environmental actions that need your support:

1. Mountain Mobilization, West Virginia (July 25)

The Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS) is mobilizing people in Southern West Virginia on July 25 in order to prepare participants for the “Take Back a Mountain” nonviolent direct action on July 28. Activists are ready to put their bodies on the line in order to shut down a strip mine in the Appalachian Mountains. Working with other environmental activists, RAMPS, in the past, has stopped nine coal trucks from entering a mine. RAMPS said, “We are calling for as many people as possible to come together and do what the politicians, the regulators and the courts have been unwilling to do; to defend the land and the people; to stop strip mining.”

Strip mining, or mountaintop removal mining, is a process in which coal companies use explosives to blow off the tops of mountains. Rocks and dirt are dumped into the valleys and streams below. People living in communities faced with strip mining are among the unhealthiest people nationwide. Strip mining has been shown to increase rates of mortality, contaminate drinking water and increase flooding. The process also causes damage to homes. In one case, a half-ton boulder crashed into a home in Virginia, crushing a 3-year-old boy.

2. Texas Keystone Convergence, North Texas (July 27-29)

Rising Tide North Texas and Tar Sands Blockade will join forces July 27-29 in North Texas to host a three-day training session for anyone interested in participating in a nonviolent direct action against the Gulf Coast portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is critical to the expansion of Alberta tar sands and their delivery to Gulf refineries. Those who attend will brainstorm and organize tactics to sustain a blockade to prevent TransCanada from building a pipeline.

Organizers said: “We’ll risk arrest in a sustained nonviolent direct action … The fact is, other tactics — like lobbying, petitioning, and packing public hearings — have failed to halt the pipeline. State authorities have bent to every TransCanada desire, and they show no signs of stopping now.”

In March, President Obama issued an executive order accelerating the approval process for the southern arm of the Keystone XL pipeline. Permits for the pipeline’s construction are being automatically granted without any environmental reviews or opportunity for public intervention.

Tar sands is a mixture of heavy crude oil, sand, clay and bitumen that produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil. Tar sands pollutes water, air and land and has been proven to cause various diseases. Tar sands pipelines have also been known to spill, like the massive Enbridge spill two years ago that sent 877,000 of crude oil into a Michigan river.

3. Stop the Frack Attack, Washington DC (July 28)

Members of environmental organizations and other supporters will converge on the nation’s capitol July 28 to call for a halt to the recent rush to frack our land. The oil and gas industry has continuously promoted lies about gas drilling in order to exploit new areas. During the Stop the Frack Attack rally, protesters will demand an end to fracking and a push to put the environment and communities over profit by first removing special exemptions and subsidies for oil and gas corporations. Organizers of the gathering said, “We all want to Stop The Frack Attack – the out-of-control rush to drill that is putting oil and gas industry profits over our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures.”

Speakers will include Bill McKibben of 350.org, Allison Chin of the Sierra Club, and Josh Fox, maker of the film Gasland.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of using a high-pressure mixture of water and chemicals to break up shale rock to extract gas. The process harms the environment by contaminating water and polluting air. Fracking has also been linked to various health problems including cancer and kidney, liver and neurological damage.

4. Spare Change for Big Oil, Massachusetts (Aug. 4)

Activists across Massachusetts will hold Spare Change for Big Oil! donation drives on Aug. 4, to raise awareness about and protest Big Oil subsidies. Organized by the Massachusetts branch of 350.org, protesters will tell passersby: “The Big Five oil companies only made $137 billion in profits last year. In order for companies like them to continue cutting jobs and poisoning our air and water, they need our help! The $11 billion we already give them annually is not enough. Will you help these companies back on their feet so they can keep causing catastrophic climate change?”

Hundreds of activists will hold out coffee cans, set up lemonade stands or hold bake sales while handing out flyers that explain how our taxpayer dollars are used to subsidize oil corporations. The flyers also clarify that subsidizing Big Oil actually leads to higher gas prices and fewer jobs.

In September, 350.org Massachusetts will hold a press conference and present a check to elected representatives who have supported Big Oil. They are especially targeting Senator Scott Brown who has received at least $256,760 from oil giants and who has continuously voted to protect their interests.

5. Coal Export Action, Helena, Montana (Aug. 12-20)

On Aug. 12, Montanans and their supporters will gather at Helena, the state capitol, to begin a weeklong sit-in to urge officials to stop coal exports. The sit-in leads up to a Montana State Land Board meeting on Aug. 20, where activists will urge noard members to reject an Arch Coal permit application to build the Otter Creek Coal Export Mine, which would be one of the largest coals mines in North America. Arch Coal is the second largest coal producer in the United States and is expected to submit a permit application to the board in late August. 

Coal Export Action organizers said, “Montana has the largest underground coal reserves in the U.S., and what we do with that carbon will affect the global fight for clean energy more than almost anything else in the world. Years of petitioning, rallying, and turning out to public hearings have not been enough to get Land Board members to stand up to some of the world’s most powerful energy corporations. Now it’s time to take matters into our own hands.”

Coal mining in Montana has damaged ranchlands, depleted clean water, polluted communities and contributed to climate change.

  Read 5 Critical Actions That Really Can Put Us on a Sustainable Path
 August 13, 2012  

Au-delà des divergences politiques, philosophiques, économiques,sociales,…..l'être humain est, et reste un être humain.

C'est pourquoi : toute catastrophe naturelle où qu'elle puisse se produire sur la planète,nécessite la compassion et la mobilisation de l'opinion publique mondiale.

Rien n'est plus précieux :partout et pour tous, que le respect de la vie, de toute vie épargnée et sauvegardée.

Alors, puisque les nations et leurs dirigeants, s'agissant de catastrophes climatiques et naturelles, sont capables d'élans et de mobilisation, pourquoi : ne sont-ils pas capables de le faire, dès qu'il s'agit de la paix ?

Moi Guy CREQUIE : poète, écrivain et chanteur français ordinaire, je lance cet appel aux Dirigeants d'Etats, aux Institutions internationales, dont l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU et le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, ce dernier trop souvent divisé et impuissant.

Comme l'indiquait le philosophe LEVINAS, = accepter la différence et la richesse du regard de l'autre, comme l'a indiqué le bouddhiste japonais Daisaku IKEDA, prix de la paix des Nations Unies en 1983 :"Il faut intérioriser la réalité de l'autre. "Comme le démontrent le comportement de mon ami Ernesto KAHAN :poète, médecin, physicien engagé dans l'action pour la prévention des risques nucléaires, et mes amis de tous continents, engagés dans des ONG ou associations culturelles ou de paix :

"la paix ne s'attend pas ! Elle se gagne ,lorsque loin d'être un loup pour l'homme comme l'indiquait le philosophe HOBBES, l'être humain devenu personne, en se développant toujours davantage, fait de l'esprit de paix, la conscience de la nécessité, l'intelligence de l'esprit, et le trésor et la victoire du cœur contre toutes les idées bellicistes, les volontés de supériorité ethnique, les conceptions fanatiques du message religieux, et en combattant toutes les formes de racisme et d'antisémitisme.

Enfin :en respectant les droits fondamentaux de la femme ! l'humanité a deux composantes : de sexe féminin et masculin. Cette harmonie : que chacune et chacun selon sa conception philosophique ou religieuse peut rattacher à la volonté divine, aux lois de l'univers, ou à l'humanisme intégral laïc.

Le tout: est de vivre en actes cette conception de l'unité de nos vies humaines avec l'environnement naturel.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Poète, écrivain et chanteur français ordinaire.

C'est pourquoi, pour ma part, je me suis engagé avec son fondateur :Joseph BEROLO, dans la préparation du congrès "Semences de jeunesse" en Argentine en 2013, organisé par l'Association internationale "Nations Unies des lettres"

Il faut donner à la nouvelle génération : l'intelligence de savoir semer et découvrir "Les graines de la paix et de l'harmonie."

J'autorise, pour une traduction parfaite en langue anglaise et espagnole, celui ou celle qui voudrait le faire, à la condition de respecter mon copyright.




Beyond the political divergences, philosophical, economic, social, ..... the human being is, and remains a human being.

This is why: any natural disaster where that it can occur on planet, requires the compassion and the mobilization of the world public opinion.

Nothing is invaluable any more:everywhere and for all, that the respect of the life, any saved and safeguarded life.

Then, since the nations and their leaders, as regards climatic and natural catastrophes, are capable of dashes and mobilization, why: isn't they able to do it, as soon as it is peace?

Me Guy CREQUIE: poet, writer and ordinary French singer, I launch this appeal for the Leaders of States, at the International institutions, of which the General Assembly of UNO and the Security Council of UNO, this last too often divided and impotent.

As philosopher LEVINAS indicated it, = to accept the difference and the wealth of the glance of the other, like indicated it the Japanese Buddhist Daisaku IKEDA, price of the peace of the United Nations in 1983:“It is necessary to interiorize the reality of the other. As show it the behavior of my friend Ernesto KAHAN:poet, doctor, physicist engaged in the action for the risk prevention nuclear, and my friends of all continents, engaged in of ONG or religious organizations or peace:

“peace does not expect! It is gained, when far from being a wolf for the man as indicated it the philosopher HOBBES, the human being become nobody, while developing always more, made spirit of peace, the conscience of the need, the intelligence of the spirit, and the treasure and the victory of the heart against all the ideas warmongers, the wills of ethnic superiority, the fanatic designs of the religious message, and as a combatant all the forms of racism and anti-semitism.

Finally:by respecting the basic rights of the woman! humanity has two components: of female sex and masculine. This harmony: that each one and each one according to its philosophical or religious design can attach to the divine will, the laws of the universe, or laic integral humanism.

The whole: is of living in acts this design of the unit of our human lives with natural environment.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Poet, writer and ordinary French singer.

This is why, for my part, I engaged with his founder:Joseph BEROLO, in the preparation of the congress “Seeds of youth” in Argentina, organized in 2013 by the International association “the United Nations of the letters”

It is necessary to give to the new generation: intelligence to know to sow and discover “seeds of peace and the harmony.”

 August 16, 2012  
Fusion of Ignorance and Malice in Perspective
by Charles Mercieca

International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich
In scholastic philosophy we often find the phrase: quidquid contingens est causam habet – whatever comes into existence must have a cause. This means that in anything human beings do there must be a source, a motive or motivation behind it. In this regard, we may classify human beings into two distinct groups: those who are not aware of what their actions would be leading to and those who are fully aware of the results of their actions, which they deliberately plan.

Two Categories of Politicians

Let us take into consideration and analyze carefully these two categories beginning with the first one, which may enable us to realize and understand properly such statements as look before you leap and you will catch more flies with honey, in addition to many others. In this presentation, we will focus on the members of the United States government, that is, the senators and congressmen since they are thoroughly responsible for anything that is viewed as fully beneficial or as utterly disastrous.

When such government officials run for office, they all share one thing in common. They all insist that they want to help the American people by making their life better. To this end, they promise to provide a better standard of living, adequate home facilities, improved health care system, and a more competitive educational system as to enable our students to become more productive in their work. Since the United States has emerged to become the greatest debtor on earth, the “balancing of the budget” soon became a political mantra.

It is a historical fact that when President Bill Clinton left office he left $800 million dollars surplus. On the other hand, when President George W. Bush left office he left $2 trillion dollars deficit. Over a period of merely eight years, Bush blew away the $800 million dollars surplus. Besides, he went even much further in expenditure by leaving to his successor President Barack Obama the stated $2 trillion dollars deficit! This was due to having waged two unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which were viewed as immoral and illegal.

The phenomenally bloated military budget in the USA has now gone out of control. This is due to the fact that at this stage of history, this American nation has emerged to become irreversibly the policeman of the world. As a result, this has forced the nation to build over 900 US foreign military bases some of which are costing billions of dollars monthly. To make things worse, US government officials took away countless billions of dollars from the American people’s Social Security Fund to spend it on weapons, military equipment and wars. As a result, the financial security of the Americans has now been fully jeopardized.

Disastrous Political Priorities

It is somewhat curious of how the minds of the US government officials function. The majority do not mind it at all to advocate drastic cuts from the vital needs of the people’s lives to “balance” the national budget. We may refer here to such items as indispensable health care needs, improved good education, and vital home facilities. However, the majority of the US government officials still refuse to make cuts from the bloated military budget. To turn an insult into injury, they even speak of increasing the military expenses indefinitely.

We may refer to those in the government that sincerely have their priorities mixed up as ignorant for all practical purposes. However, we may refer to those in the government that base their decision on what would be of greater financial benefit to big industries and corporations as malicious, as vicious and evil. Hence, with the exception of very few, we may begin to fully realize and understand with crystal clarity the corruption we have in the US government when it comes to the setting up of priorities in money expenditures.

We are all familiar with the traditional saying: history repeats itself! A careful study of the history of the past 6,000 years of recorded civilization enables us to find out that every super power that eventually collapsed and disappeared from the surface of the planet all happened through the collapse of the national economy which always came fast and smooth at a time least expected. The last witnessed example of this was revealed in the collapse of Soviet Union during the decade of the eighties.

The Soviet Union believed that in having a huge and strong military it could eventually, by the process of time, control the entire world. In one of my numerous visits to the Soviet Union I was told nicely by several Russians that they believed “world peace would eventually come when the whole world would become communist!” A few years later the Soviet Union collapsed and the era of communism was over. We were then left over with capitalism, which was determined then to dominate the whole world by all means.

American politicians then embarked upon the largest military build-up in history. Instead of providing the American people with a good health care system, with an excellent educational system, and adequate home facilities, they began to spend billions of dollars in building foreign military bases around the world, in manufacturing all kinds of devastating weapons, and in promoting as many conflicts and wars as possible. Slowly but surely, the nation’s economy began to weaken considerably. The two needless wars waged in Afghanistan and Iraq cost the United States $2 trillion dollars, which was a total waste!

Phenomenal Abuse of Corporations

Since in recent times the US Supreme Court declared that corporations are officially and legally to be viewed as people, the entire nation was plunged into a deep chaos. Corporations began to spend billions of dollars on the election of their own candidates, that is, those that would promote their products. The news media – radio, press, and television – would promote the candidacies of those that were ready to pay billions of dollars in advertisements. Thus, political abuse and corruption soon became rampant and went out of control.

Those in the government that tried to talk loud and clear about the abuse of the American political system were fully ignored by the US press, which was owned on the whole by big corporations. The traditional saying: power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, was fully vindicated to this very day. It did not take a long time for many Americans to begin to realize that their de facto greatest enemy is found in many members of the United States Congress whose primary concern was to remain in office indefinitely.

We need here to keep in mind that members of the US government quite often make the wrong decision for different reasons. One group consists of those who are sincerely trying to do their best, while making the wrong decisions in good faith. The other group consists of those who are making the wrong decision that is pleasing to corporations, even though they are fully aware that it is not in the best interest of the American people. While the first group reveals ignorance, the second group is characterized by malice.

The American people should view all US corporations who are in the business of weapons and war machineries as their number one vicious enemies. Many US government officials have developed the habit to tell Americans that such weapons and war ammunitions are needed for national security and self defense. This is a blatant lie because the security and defense they have in mind refers to the financial profits of US big corporations whose lethal products have destroyed many cities and massacred millions of innocent people.

Over the last few years, tens of thousands of young Americans have died, been injured or became deformed. In addition, hundreds committed suicide! To avoid the risk of Americans rising eventually against their government in protesting the US further involvement in wars, the US government is now spending billions of dollars to create a new army set up of programmed robots. As far as young Americans are concerned, they will surely expect less causality. However, as far as other nations are concerned, their cities will be equally destroyed and their people will continue to be brutally massacred.

Making People’s Welfare Top Priority

As far as the life of your friend is concerned, what difference does it make if such a friend is killed in an accident or happens to be killed by being targeted and shot while walking in the street? Your friend’s life is finished just the same! As far as the US Congress members are concerned, when it comes to vital needs it would not matter if such US senators and congressmen are viewed as ignorant or malicious. When their actions are not conducive to the good of all Americans, especially needy ones, they are bound to have negative and destructive results.

Let us bring to mind as often as needed the words of the saintly Pope John Paul II. He assured us during the decade of the eighties that world peace would eventually come only after two of the greatest evils of the 20th century were gone. He singled them out to be communism and capitalism because both of them advance their causes through the exploitation of people. Communism is gone and we hope and pray to this saintly Pope to let us now witness the collapse of capitalism, the sooner the better.

We are all familiar with the saying that charity begins at home. When so many of our fellow citizens are suffering from a variety of social and health needs, our first obligation is to provide them with all needed help. As long as the United States continues to function under the ruthless thumb of capitalism, millions of Americans will continue to suffer from a variety of crucial problems that mostly relate to their health care, education, and social needs. In capitalism, people are not the end but merely a means to a further end.

The billions of dollars the US government spends in numerous countries under the guise of “national defense and security” amounts, in essence, to theft from the hungry, the poor and millions of helpless Americans. This tangible evidence was brought up by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell speech to the US Congress when he stated loud and clear: Remember that every dollar you spend on weapons and wars is a theft from the hungry and the poor. Unfortunately, he was fully ignored!

If we were to analyze carefully what US government officials mean in practice by national defense and security, they do not mean, in any way whatsoever, the national defense and security of the USA. Far from it! They mean by all means the national defense and security of the pockets of big American industries headed by the weapons and the military industrial complex. Their primary job is to sell the product of such industries fast and smooth. And the shortest cut to this end is to stir turmoil as to create conflicts and wars. As long as capitalism rules, conflicts and wars will remain indefinitely.

Bringing Corporations Under Control

The war industry is the only business in the world where money is made fast and smooth. This is often done with no accountability to anyone. There seems to be a mafia type of plot at a high governmental level where what really counts is the making of big money and not the saving of human lives. Former US official, General Colin Powell, who worked under President George W. Bush, was asked by the press: How many Iraqi civilians were killed? He was quick to say: We do not keep a count of that; we view that merely as collateral damage!

In capitalism, everything is run by big corporations for their exclusive financial benefit. Here is an example of a mafia type of plot that was never held accountable for the injustices and atrocities that were committed against innocent civilians, even though the American government is fully responsible. The war industries use the US military to invade a nation to destroy entire cities, massacre numerous innocent people, that would include mostly, women, children the elderly and the sick, and inflict a lot of suffering.

Then the US construction companies enter the same nation to re-build it from scratch. In the case of Iraq, the oil enterprises sneaked in to confiscate Iraqi oil to sell it later and make big money. It is obvious that such policies are criminal and should be condemned. To go back to where we started, all these crimes were committed with the consent of US government officials, who were either naïve and ignorant if they had good intentions, or malicious and vicious if they were aware that the actions taken were unjustified, immoral and illegal.

We may begin to see with crystal clarity that the USA is faced with many serious challenges. The members of the US Congress are torn asunder between helping either the American people who voted for them or the big corporations that financed their campaign. Although some are behind the people, the majority are behind the products of big corporations, which include weapons and all military equipment. The welfare of people is more important than that of corporations. When this is realized, all US problems are bound to disappear.

  Read Fusion of Ignorance and Malice in Perspective
 July 31, 2012  
American Dream Evolving into Nightmare
by Charles Mercieca

International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich
Over several decades, the American dream has been the pride of every citizen. It originated on a very positive and constructive ground. Shortly after he took office, President John F. Kennedy described the USA as a conglomeration of nations. We all know, more or less, who are the Chinese, the Germans, and the Russians. They are generally people from China, Germany and Russia. But when it comes to the United States, the situation is different. In essence, Americans consist of a sum-total of immigrants that come from across every continent.

American Dream in Perspective

In spite of this fact, all Americans have always been reminded of the so called American dream. This consists of an implanted hope in every single American without exception that in this nation the opportunities given to people for growth and development are without limit. Hence, regardless of one’s initial poor financial status, one can always make a lot of money and become rich. In itself, this may be viewed as a good philosophy that should make the world envious. It explains why so many people immigrate to the USA every year.

Nowadays, several millionaires tell us with pride how their parents or grandparents decided to settle in the United States because in the financial sphere it was felt to be the only hope to make it big. The opportunities for growth and development seemed so unlimited that many US Chambers of Commerce, when it comes to money-making, formulated the motto: The sky is not the limit! If you make a million dollars you may as well make two, three million dollars and so on. As a result, the private enterprise became the center of attention.

As time rolled on, the United States developed into a system of capitalism. To this end, the government encouraged the growth and development of this system in a way that most of the financial sources became fully under the control of the private sector. As a result, many jobs were created and many people could rely on having a steady income for their livelihood. In the process of national development, many problems of other nations were not easily seen in the USA.

Among such problems we may enlist those dealing with health care, educational development, adequate home facilities, and those dealing with the infrastructure of cities. However, as big industries began to emerge, there was an urge to expand them into other countries as well. Hence, the political sphere began to play increasingly a big role. As big industries began to concentrate fully on making more and more money, the American dream began to fade away in the vast majority of the American people. In fact, nowadays the vast majority of the American people are only concerned in merely making ends meet.

Delusion of Many Americans

Ironically, many leading officials in the US government and preachers in a variety of churches still remind the American people of how lucky they are to be living in a country where everyone has a chance to make it big in life and to become rich. Even here, we have to keep in mind some important traditional sayings. In Latin one saying states: Aliud est theoria, aliud est practica…. one thing is theory and another thing is practice. In Italian there is a proverb which says: Tra il dire e il fare c’e’ in mezzo il mare…. Between saying and doing there is an abyss.

During the decade of the eighties when the saintly Pope John Paul II was visiting Mexico he was asked as to whether he thought world peace could ever be achieved. Without hesitation he stated: Yes, world peace will eventually be achieved but only after two of the greatest evils of the 20th century are gone. He added saying: These two great evils are communism and capitalism because both advance their causes through the exploitation of people. Some three years later communism collapsed and the world took a sigh of relief.

People thought that since communism collapsed, capitalism’s fear of ever getting into serious conflicts must have gone away as well. But Pope John Paul II proved to be highly intuitive. The objective of capitalism is the promotion of the products of big industries headed by advanced weapons business and the military industrial complex. They soon began to create scenarios of fear across every continent as to force the US government to “invest” billions of dollars on war machinery and to instigate conflicts in many global areas.

Hence, the United States embarked upon building hundreds of foreign military bases, which cost billions of dollars a month. Besides, it started to sell all kinds of weapons and war machinery to many countries under the pretext of “self-defense and national security.” This approach was stupid to say the least and malicious to say the most, since governments change periodically and the one that is viewed as an ally today may be viewed as an enemy tomorrow.

This means the next government may use these same American weapons against the United States. We recall how the United States armed to the teeth the Shah of Iran who was viewed as a close ally. However, when the Shah was overthrown, those US weapons remained in Iran. They were not returned to the USA. To turn an insult into injury, the new Iranian government vouched that it’s most important mission was to destroy the devil, referring to the USA. It is useless for us to make such statements. The United States needs to be very cautious because it may end up aiding its enemies to eventually destroy it.

Shortsightedness of Capitalism

When it comes to eventual real welfare of people, capitalism has not long range plans. Its only plan is to make money now fast and smooth. Also, in capitalism the government proves to be very weak since it is controlled ruthlessly by big industries headed by the weapons and military industrial complex. This explains why the USA continues to equip as many countries as possible with all kind of military devises. US military bases everywhere exist to threaten nations whose policies are not pleasing to American business interests.

When US government officials talk of “American interests,” they are referring by all means to the interests of big corporations headed by the weapons industry and military industrial complex. The permanent goal of American capitalism, as it stands today, is to instigate conflicts and to promote wars indefinitely. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated recently that he wants to make it clear to the whole world that the United States is and it will remain for this entire 21st century the strongest military nation on earth.

Both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq were not justified. The problems there could have been solved through diplomacy and healthy dialogues if the United Nations were given a chance to play a role. Yet, these two wars cost the USA close to 4 trillion dollars. With that money the United States could have provided free health care and free education to all Americans for the rest of this 21st century. They could also have provided adequate home facilities for some 18 million people who are virtually homeless.

Some 3% of the American people make much more money than the other 97% combined. The American dream proved to be a reality for these 3% of the population. But such an American dream has literally become a nightmare for the vast majority of the American people. Here we are faced with a frightening reality that the US news media hardly ever bring up into the open. The huge amount of money the US government had as surplus had been used to manufacture weapons, to wage wars, and to build foreign military bases.

As long as the USA keeps on relying on its military to solve the problems of the world, the American people are bound to lead miserable lives. On the whole, they are deprived of a good health care system, of a good free education and of adequate home facilities for millions in dire need. To turn an insult into injury, the US news media hardly ever bring news that is critical of the military and of the weapons and military industrial complex. The US news media continues to justify the manufacture and sales of weapons to many countries.

Brainwashing of US News Reporters

American news reporters continue to repeat the words of leading government officials that sophisticated weapons and a well equipped military stationed in some 900 foreign military bases are vital for the national defense and security of the nation! Millions of totally uninformed Americans express surprise and wonder why there seems to be so many that “hate” Americans especially in countries where the USA had been engaged in struggles and wars, like in Central Asia and the Middle East. Some humanitarian organizations of the United Nations wanted to explore the real source of this phenomenon.

During the Iraqi war, a group of humanitarians went to Iraq and Palestine to explore the source of animosity toward Americans. They asked children in schools between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age: “What would you like to do when you grow up?” The answer to their surprise was almost unanimous. The bulk of them said without hesitation: “Killing Americans.” When asked as to why they wanted to do that as a goal in life, they gave very similar answer.

Here are some examples: Because Americans killed my father and now I have no father, they killed my mother and now I have no mother, they killed my brother or sister as well as my friends. They also added saying: Americans have destroyed our house and now we are homeless. They have also destroyed most of our schools and markets and, as a result, we were deprived of food. From a quick glance at the history of the past 6,000 years of recorded civilization, we discover that wars were never waged to bring about genuine peace.

In fact, violence breeds violence and more violence breeds more violence. The military is the only agency that performs atrocities with no accountability. Some political scientists described the military as “a terrorist organization sanctioned by the government.” Moreover, Pope Benedict XVI said that war is never justified in any way. It explains why Jesus was critical of the “eye for an eye and the tooth for a tooth” and He exhorted us to love one another. The US huge expenditure on the military has transformed the American dream into a nightmare, which is making millions of Americans suffer for a very long time.
  Read American Dream Evolving into Nightmare
 August 3, 2012  
Bonjour a vous tous


Au cours de la campagne, convoquée durant la période estivale, avant les véritables débats de la Commission Charbonneau qui va éclabousser le parti libéral et son chef, Jean Charest va mentionner de multiples fois le PLAN NORD; ce dernier désire qu’il soit irrévocablement attaché à son nom.

Vous trouverez ci-joint un document que j’ai préparé au début de la présente année sur le PLAN NORD CHAREST et ce que devrait être la Stratégie Minérale du Québec, de même qu’une liste de sujets que je crois important pour l’économie de la Province.

Le 22 novembre 2011, j’ai assisté au colloque organisé par les HEC intitulé ‘’Développement minier; un nouveau modèle pour le Québec’’ L’un des conférenciers était Jacques Parizeau; il avait intitulé sa conférence ‘’ Les stratégies du Plan Nord’’. Si vous êtes intéressé à prendre connaissance des quelques 20 pages de ce document bien étoffé, il me fera plaisir de vous le faire parvenir. Il mentionne, entre autres, que suivant le PLAN NORD, l’Hydro-Québec doit dorénavant fournir le courant électrique aux projets miniers. Je suis d’accord mais à quel prix? Charest n’a pas le courage de négocier des prix qui tiennent compte de l’intérêt des Québécois. M. Parizeau indique que le PLAN NORD est un BAR ouvert pour les sociétés minières. Un exemple typique est l’annonce de CHAREST, avant le début de la Campagne, d’une contribution de 200M$ aux villes nordiques tel que Fermont et Chibougamau qui doivent faire face aux demandes de sociétés minières de services de toutes sortes. Ces coûts devraient être supportés par les dites sociétés minières qui utilisent ces services et non par les taxes des Québécois comme c’est le cas avec les 200M$ annoncés par Charest pour aider la Mairesse de Fermont et le Maire de Chibougamau qui se présentent sous la bannière libérale en vue de remplacer les députés du PQ dans ces deux comtés.


L’élection du 4 septembre revêt une importance unique pour le Québec alors que les votes vont être entre le PQ, la CAQ, le PLQ, le QS et l’Option nationale. Personnellement, je crois que la priorité est l’élimination de Charest. Une question à son sujet, parmi plusieurs autres concernant la corruption, et auxquelles la Commission Charbonneau devra répondre, est d’où provenaient les 75 000$ qu’il recevait par année sous ‘’la Couverte”?

J’ai siégé pendant 14 années au Conseil d’Administration de la plus grande société minière canadienne Noranda-Falconbridge aux cotés de Peter lawheed ancien premier ministre de l’Alberta, Frank McKenna ancien premier ministre du Nouveau Brunswick, André Bérard président Banque Nationale, Senateur Trevor Eyton , Peter Bronfman que j’ai d’ailleurs fort apprécié, et plusieurs autres. Je fus celui qui posait les questions au Conseil d’Administration. Sur mon CV ci-attaché, vous verrez que j’ai été président de l’Institut Canadien des Mines, de la Métallurgie et du Pétrole et qu’en 2009 à Toronto, l’ICM me présentait la médaille prestigieuse Vale-Inco pour contribution exceptionnelle à l’industrie minière canadienne. Tout cela ne m’empêche pas de conclure que le Québec n’a pas la la CÔTE du reste du Canada. Je reçois le Financial Post devenu Le National Post depuis plus de 45 années, cela permet de connaitre ce que pense le reste du Canada des Québécois

J’ai beaucoup d’années derrière moi et peu en avant. Je voudrais, avant de quitter pour un monde meilleur, voir le Québec s’affirmer avec vigueur. Vous allez me dire que Mme Marois a ses faiblesses mais, considérant l’importance pour le Québec de l’élection du 4 Septembre j’ai contribué au PQ même si je ne suis pas membre. Je crois que le parti se voit ravigoté avec de nouveaux candidats de grande réputation et je désire contribuer à son élection majoritaire.

Je ne connais pas votre allégeance mais je vous suggère de considérer ce que devrait être le future du Québec et de voter en conséquence.

Ingenieur des mines
Medaille Vale-Inco pour l'annee 2009 par l'Institut Canadien des Mines,
de la Metallurgie et du Petrole (ICM);
en reconnaissance de sa contribution extraordinaire a l'industrie miniere canadienne.