Category Archives: climate

Some Eco-Apocalypse Art

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A picture says a thousand words, and the following art summarizes the path of industrial capitalism. The artist is Markus Vesper and it’s called “Two-Faced World”. The portal door leading from paradise and into an environmental wasteland has tears flowing from its sad eyes, while the portal door that sits in the ravaged world of industrial capitalism has a dollar sign between its demonic eyes. I would say we made a very bad trade. Unfortunately, the doorway allowing for any escape from this self-imposed eco-apocalypse appears by all observable evidence to be firmly shut.

710_2Faced_world2

710_2Faced_world1

And I like this next one called “Transience”. Converting nature to dollars is represented by an hourglass where a dying and collapsing environment, which is fast running out of time, ends in the extinction of man (human skulls piling up at the bottom of the hourglass).

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The 20s’ Earth Summits- Legal meetings Where Corporations Unite to the Destroy Planet Earth

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The Rio+20 Earth Summit and the G20 Summit are starting to convene to start the negotiations on a global sustainability framework.  The common goal of these summits is to create an economy that serves the health and well-being of both people and the planet.

20 years after the 1992 UN Rio Earth Summit, the environmental movement has been green-washed by the world’s leading corporations. The environmental institutions and ministries have been increased in number while the environmental crisis has been deepened and widened Carbon emissions reach “troubling milestone” as 400 ppm recorded at Arctic monitoring stations . What a contradiction!

Globalization has more disadvantages than advantages. Since 1970, our world’s financial actors decided to create a single global capital market in which financial economy is highlighted. Financial economy is the one who is dominated by finance and financial actors. People have been daily exposed to financial markets in aspects which go home-ownership, to financing, to schooling. Instead of financial markets providing money for what people need, money is increasingly invested into financial markets just to operate and expand Great short film explaining what the UK and the EU really mean by the ‘Green Economy’ they are pushing in the Rio+20 talks.

Unfortunately, this is the goal of capitalism- accumulating more and more capital while constantly increasing the gap between rich and poor. A good example on this would be the large dams – and particularly the complex multipurpose schemes once again being promoted by the World Bank – that provide energy to extractive industries controlled by multinational corporations while bypassing the rural poor. 94% of the people of Democratic Republic of Congo still have no access to electricity in spite of the billions of dollars that have been poured into the Inga hydro-electric project in the country over the past five decades Infrastructure for whom?

In the summits, debates are focusing attention on a foundational choice between two divergent paths to the human future, which are the money path and the life path Rio+20: A Defining Choice. Financial markets are now seeking new investment opportunities, and this is where nature comes in picture. We hear about ‘green economy’ from the Rio+20 Earth Summit and about ‘green growth’ from the G20 Summit. This is called greenwashing. This means that financial markets take control over nature. In other words, this means commodification or financialisation of natural resources.

In UN conference-speak, the privatisation of the atmosphere is known as carbon trading, the privatisation of the world’s forests is known as REDD and the privatisation of everything else known as “payment for ecosystem services” Rio+20 Earth Summit: time to change the narrative. Much of this has been done by companies and politicians under the banner of ‘sustainable development. Within the rubric of ‘green economy’, corporations are seeking new technological ‘false solutions’ to the climate and other environmental crises, including dirty forms of ‘clean energy’ (nuclear, so-called ‘clean coal’, fracking ‘natural gas’, hydropower, hydrogen, biofuels, biomass and biochar); dangerous Carbon Capture and Storage experiments; and other whacky geoengineering gimmicks such as Genetically Modified trees to sequester carbon, sulfates in the air to shut out the sun, iron filings in the sea to create algae blooms, and large-scale solar reflection such as industrial-scale plastic-wrap for deserts At Rio+20: Values versus prices. In this context, sustainable means to be able to keep making money into the future Big business goes to Rio. As Leo Tolstoy said:” I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means except by getting off his back.”

It is absurd to let corporations profit in the name of  ‘saving the planet’ Suzuki: ‘Absurd’ to Let Corporations Profit in Name of ‘Saving Planet’ . It is absurd to continue growing exponentially in a finite planet. The laws of thermodynamics state that very clearly. These summits have failed for the same reason that the banks have failed.

However, there is hope. It is true that these summits might have failed, but this time the light of reason is descending gradually upon the world. There are many examples of the rejections of ‘green economy’ around the world. Oppositions to Rosa Luxemburg Foundation as she wants to demonstrate that green economy is a contested term, which can be filled with many different contents – according to different interests Beautiful green world? On the myth of the green capitalist economy. In the early morning hours of June 16, 2012, three hundred women and children arrived in the hamlet of Belo Monte on the Transamazon Highway, and marched onto a temporary earthen dam recently built to impede the flow of the Xingu River. Using pick axes and shovels, local people who are being displaced by the project removed a strip of earthen dam to restore the Xingu’s natural flow Three hundred people breach earthen dam, free Xingu River from Belo Monte project. A new report by International Rivers, challenges the top-down approach to infrastructure projects promoted by the World Bank and the powerful Group of 20 Infrastructure for Whom? A Critique of the Infrastructure Policies of the Group of 20 and the World Bank. The water warriors gathered at the plenary discussion on Water as Commons in Countering Green Economy, Privatization and Commodification during the opening of the Cupula dos Povos in Rio de Janeiro Water Warriors reject corporate control of water at Peoples’ Summit. La Via Campesina has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that is now being dressed in green under the name “green economy” Peasants of the world mobilize against green capitalism in Rio. Moreover, after working through the night on Monday, international negotiators agreed on a framework for “sustainable development goals” that could help guide a wide-range of policies on issues like poverty eradication, clean energy deployment, sustainable cities, and fisheries management. But with very few specifics on how to actually implement these sustainability goals, the text has angered almost every single civil society group observing the negotiations The State Of Play In Rio: Draft Agreement Sparks ‘Alarm And Concern’. Plus, when the indigenous people speak like this  Kari-Oca 2 Declaration- Indigenous Peoples Global Conference on Rio+20 and Mother Earth.

I am wondering… why the Rio+20 Earth Summit and the G20 Summit start at the same day? Why isn’t there a single summit? Such conferences bring more depression than hope.

Political systems which were supposed to represent everyone now return governments of millionaires, financed by and acting on behalf of billionaires. The past 20 years have been a billionaires’ banquet. At the behest of corporations and the ultra-rich, governments have removed the constraining decencies – the laws and regulations – which prevent one person from destroying another. George Monbiot said: “To expect governments funded and appointed by this class to protect the biosphere and defend the poor is like expecting a lion to live on gazpacho” The Mendacity of Hope.

Such summits should be leaded by indigenous people; not by corporations. Also to notice that capitalism is male-based system; it degrades women. See How capitalism degrades women. As a result, our world needs women leaders instead of males. Mother Earth is a ‘she’; that’s why our world needs women leaders.

What our world needs is a moral system. We must focus on local economy instead of green economy. We need a real economy- not a trojan horse for bankers. We must focus on food sovereignty. We must protect the commons. We must defend the public control of finances. The Earth will be fine. The real conflict is not between humans and nature. It is between humans. It is between current and future human generations.

We should mobilize. We should mobilize more aggressively. There is hope in everything, and it is certain. There is hope on each rope we hang.

Report Wheel of Life – Food, Climate, Human Rights, and the Economy

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Report
Wheel of Life – Food, Climate, Human Rights, and the Economy
The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life. Picture iStock

September 15, 2011
Debbie Barker

The links between climate change and industrial agriculture create a nexus of crises—food insecurity, natural resource depletion and degradation, as well as human rights violations and inequities. This report unravels the interrelated causes of and effects on these issues.

This report is published in cooperation with the Center for Food Safety.

Executive Summary

The links between climate change and industrial agriculture create a nexus of crises—food insecurity, natural resource depletion and degradation, as well as human rights violations and inequities.

While it is widely recognized that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to human activity are detrimental to the natural environment, it can be difficult to untangle the cascading effects on other sectors. To unravel some of the effects, this paper focuses on three interrelated issues:

1) What are the critical links between climate change and agriculture?
2) How is the nexus of agriculture and climate change affecting human societies particularly regarding food and water, livelihoods, migration, gender equality, and other basic survival and human rights?
3) What is the interplay between economic and finance systems, on the one hand, and food security, climate change, and fundamental human rights, on the other?

In the process of drawing connections among these issues, the report will identify the commonality of drivers, or “push” factors, that lead to adverse impacts.

A central theme throughout this report is that policies and practices must begin with the ecological imperative in order to ensure authentic security and stability on all fronts including food, water, livelihoods and jobs, climate, energy, and economic. In turn this engenders equity, social justice, and diverse cultures. This imperative, or ethos of nature, is a foundation that serves as a steady guide when reviewing mitigation and adaptation solutions to climate change.

Infused within this theme is the sobering recognition that current consumption and production patterns are at odds with goals of reducing GHGs and attaining global food security. For instance, consumption and production levels, based on the global average, are 25 percent higher than the earth’s ecological capacity. As societies address the myriad ecological and social issues at the axis of global warming, a central task will be to re-align consumption and production trends in a manner that can fulfill economic and development requirements. This will require a major shift away from present economic growth paradigms based on massive resource extraction and toward creating prosperous and vital societies and economies that preserve the planet’s environmental capacity.

How urgently and effectively we mobilize and respond to global warming and its associated impacts will be a test of our collective humanity. The challenge requires that a broad, diverse coalition of civil society movements unite to ensure that proposed solutions maintain ecological integrity, which in turn helps to secure human rights. To facilitate alliance building, the paper provides a compendium of organizations engaged in and writing on these issues.

Click here to read The Wheel of Life (110 pages, pdf, 2.14MB)

Click here for the Executive Summary of The Wheel of Life (16 pages, pdf, 1.51MB)