Category Archives: Green Economy

Thanks Coke!

Standard

coke

You may have heard the Coke ads claiming their love for polar bears recently, and how they are generously offering to donate $2 million over 5 years to the WWF Arctic Home Project. That’s a whopping $400,000 a year; enough to buy half an average home in Toronto. It’s true they have some history with the polar bear; those massive killing machines have been “used to represent joy” in their holiday campaigns since 1993. It got me thinking about what this really means to a multi-billion dollar company like Coke. So, I looked up a bunch of facts and figures and re-worked them for fun. I know, I need to get a better hobby.

The Coke website states that 1.7 billion servings are consumed per day worldwide. That equals 620,500,000,000, which I think is 620 billion servings per year, which makes me feel a bit sick. $400,000 divided by 620 billion equals $0.000000644641418 donated per serving, per year. How spoilt those bears will be. If that were a sliver of a pie chart the size of the world it would be as thick as my finger. I just made that up, but you get the idea! According to Wikinvest, in 2012 Coca Cola earned a net profit (profit after all expenses) of $452 million. Surely they could do better than half an average house in Toronto.

Coke has a range of over 3,500 beverages according to Business Insider. That’s a gargantuan donation of $114 from each product per year.

Each can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar per serving. The average American consumes 10.8 pounds of sugar per year just from Coke, and Mexicans are even worse! So worldwide we have our 620 billion servings per year. Multiplying that by 39 grams, equals 241.8 million kilograms, or 533.1 million lbs of sugar per year. The average polar bear weighs about 400kg (adult male 350–700 kg while adult female is about half that size). That means the world consumes 604,500 sugary polar bears each year. Hey why doesn’t Coke just build a new Arctic made of sugar for the bears?

Coke use 300,000 tons of aluminium in their cans each year; that’s over 17% of the US aluminium production industry. I have no idea what Coke’s carbon footprint is, but I’m guessing their ‘donation’ doesn’t go that far to offset it.

The point of all this is, well, do you think Coke really gives a flying crap about polar bears? Of course they don’t, and it’s laughable to think so. All they really care about is profit. Including the polar bear campaign, Coke spends around 2.9 billion in advertising a year. I don’t believe this campaign is about saving polar bears, I believe it’s about brand building and buying your loyalty. It’s about making you think they care about the environment. Also, look out for their new ads showing how Coke can fit into a healthy lifestyle, because they really care about you too. Have a Diet Coke full of Aspartame, one of the most dangerous food additives out there, sure they care. While you’re at it, why don’t you give it to your baby bear cubs like they do in their ads.

Geopolitics of the Amazon: A defence of Bolivia’s development strategy

Standard

Spanish language edition,(PDF)

Click to download Spanish language edition (PDF)

From Climate and Capitalism. 

This important book-length essay, published in Spanish in September 2012, explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the need for both economic development and environmental protection.

In particular, it responds to criticisms from left critics who have attacked the Morales government for what they call ‘extractivism,’ and examines the real issues in the debate over plans to complete a highway in the TIPNIS region.

The text was translated by Richard Fidler, who also provides an introduction, a glossary, and explanatory notes.

A PDF pamphlet was publish under a Creative Commons license to encourage the widest possible distribution: it may be freely reproduced and distributed, but not changed, incorporated in any other work, or used for commercial purposes.

It is available for printing in either American (8½x11) or Metric (A4) page sizes.

Download PDF (1.7 Mb)—

Top 5 Videos Against this ‘Green Economy’

Standard

1) David Suzuki on Rio+20, “Green Economy” & Why Planet’s Survival Requires Undoing Its Economic Model

2) Great short film explaining what the UK and the EU really mean by the ‘Green Economy’ they are pushing in the Rio+20 talks

3)

4) Vandana Shiva’s thoughts on RIO+20 and the “Green” Movement

5) What’s wrong with the green economy?: Michelle Maynard of PACJA

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

Standard

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.