From GRAIN.org: Powerful actors, driven by narrow economic interests rather than long term sustainability are concentrating the political power to determine how resources are to be used, by whom, and for what purposes… The Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles is a response to these injustices by frontline communities from all over the world.
A masterpiece and a dictionary unlike any other, every entry in Lean Logic presents David Fleming’s deft, original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. David Fleming,
Ugo Bardi writes: Jay Forrester, one of the great minds of the 20th century, died at 98, a few days ago. His career was long and fruitful, and his work changed the intellectual story of humankind, in particular the role he had in the birth of the Club of Rome’s report “The Limits to Growth”.
Shankar Gopalakrishnan writes: Demonetisation’s biggest impact will be on the distribution of resources within the economy, whatever happens to the economy as a whole. Demonetisation’s a giant vacuum, sucking up the resources of the weak and delivering them to the powerful, while acting like it’s doing the opposite. More importantly, this transfer will be permanent.
From the lignite mines in Rhineland, to the streets of Paris, the struggles for climate justice are fought at more and more fronts. This film documents the story of a growing movement that says “Enough! Here and no further!” and commits civil disobedience taking the transition towards a climate just society into its own hands.
In scientific discovery, the first three paradigms were experimental, theoretical and (more recently) computational science. This new book of essays inspired by the Microsoft researcher Jim Gray argues that a fourth paradigm of scientific discovery is at hand: the analysis of massive data sets. Read John Markoff’s review of the book in The New York Times.
Please don’t read this unless you are feeling strong. This is a list of 13 major crises that, I believe, confront us. From Trump to climate change, this multi-headed crisis presages collapse. And there’s no hope of exiting the ‘other side’ if political alternatives are shut down. Sorry to say that it’s not happy reading.
Common Dreams reports: Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe. The recently released Arctic Resilience Report found that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean.
In ‘Tending Our Land’, authors M.G. Jackson and Nyla Coelho present a vivid, historical account of the great human enterprise of food production, an entirely new story– one that reinstates an ancient but eminently relevant imperative for our times. It makes essential reading for policy makers, academia and the budding bold generation of land tenders.
Hydropower is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions: a new study shows that the world’s hydroelectric dams are responsible for as much methane emissions as Canada. The study finds that methane, which is at least 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide, makes up 80% of the emissions from water reservoirs created by dams.
Live Mint reports: The richest 1% of Indians now own 58.4% of the country’s wealth, according to the latest data on global wealth from Switzerland based Credit Suisse Group AG. In the last two years, the share of the top 1% has increased at a cracking pace, from 49% in 2014 to 58.4% in 2016.
Andreas Malm writes: Mainstream climate discourse is positively drenched in references to humanity as such, human nature, the human enterprise, humankind as one big villain driving the train. Enter Naomi Klein, who in ‘This Changes Everything’ lays bare the myriad ways in which capital accumulation pour fuel on the fire now consuming the earth system.
Can there be a collective search for paradigms and pathways towards a world that is sustainable, equitable and just? How can such frameworks and visions build on an existing heritage of ideas and worldviews and cultures, and on past or new grassroots practice? This note attempts to layout a few thoughts towards such a process.
Former nuclear reactor operator Arnie Gundersen writes: Building nuclear reactors in a trade-off for CO2 reduction creates a toxic legacy of atomic waste. Nuclear power’s proponents claim that we’re smart enough to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but are too ignorant to figure out how to store solar electricity overnight.
Acclaimed journalist P. Sainath reports from rural Maharashtra: The “Modi masterstroke”, a term contrived by assorted anchors and other clowns on television to hail an unbelievably stupid action, is spreading agony and misery in its wake across the countryside. If there’s been any stroke, it’s the one the heart of the rural economy has suffered.
Scroll.in reports: As demonetisation enters its second week, traders in Patna’s Maroofganj mandi are seeing something unprecedented. In the last seven days, the supply of new stocks in this market has plummeted. The supply of cooking oil, for instance, is down by 80%. In the same period, orders from shopkeepers have fallen steeply as well.
Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction— driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Swedish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed. We argue that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived.
In her new book, The Burning Forest: India’s War In Bastar, anthropologist Nandini Sundar provides a harrowing narrative of the toll this ongoing conflict has taken on the lives of Bastar’s Adivasis. Sundar demonstrates how the institutions of democracy have failed to address the human tragedy in what has become one of India’s most militarized regions.
There is indeed no lack of stories that document climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality and other examples of unsustainable development around the world. Efforts to envision what better futures could actually look like seldom receive the same attention. But now researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre have gathered hundreds of examples of such positive initiatives.
Nagraj Adve writes: In any economy primed to continuously expand, technological improvements alone can only help so much. While being stunned by Trump’s victory, let’s neither underestimate nor render invisible the inherent, long-term economic tendencies that prevent greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide from declining as the science demands they should. In fact, they may well rise again.
Pablo Tittonell is professor ‘Farming Systems Ecology’ at Wageningen University and one of the worlds most well known experts in the field of agriculture and ecology. In this TED Talk, he advocates intensification of agriculture by making optimal use of natural processes and the landscape to meet the worlds constantly growing demand for food.
GM mustard, if approved, will open the floodgates for other such crops making India one of the largest users of GM crops in the world. Given that its agriculture is largely in the hands of MNCs, India will end up bartering its freedom for the benefit of a few and the misery of the rest.
The Modi government had come with the promise of a better future for India’s rivers. Unfortunately, the promise remains unfulfilled, and there seems to be no roadmap in sight for our rivers. There’s nothing in the policies, plans or projects of the current government that would provide any ray of hope, now or in future.
I think the label “Anthropocene” does not represent reality. Not because I doubt that human beings are having a major impact on geology, far from it. My reasons are somewhat complex, and will require a glance back over the history of geology— specifically, the evolution of the labels we use to talk about the past.
Samar Halarnkar writes: In Nature in the City, her evocative exploration of Bangalore’s natural history, Harini Nagendra, says, “… residents engaged in practices such as placing a plate of warm rice (often with ghee added) outside to feed crows, leaving water baths for birds in the summer, and sugar and milk for ants and reptiles.”
Michael T. Klare writes: Whoever enters the Oval Office, it may be time for the rest of us to take up those antinuclear signs long left to molder, and put political pressure on leaders globally to avoid strategies and weapons that would make life on this planet so much more precarious than it already is.
Miguel Altieri writes: Cuba, which took to agroecology out of necessity when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, has become a leading example of ecological agriculture. If it does not deal carefully with U.S. agribusinesses, Cuba could revert to an industrial approach that relies on mechanization, transgenic crops and agrochemicals, rolling back the revolutionary gains of its campesinos.
When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong. Much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade deal”, everything we’re told about capitalism and our economy is a pack of lies. Time for a new story, says preeminent scholar and critic of corporate globalization, David Korten, the best-selling author of ‘When Corporations Rule the World’.
On the eve of the American presidential election, where the two leading candidates offer little hope for climate action, it’s worth revisiting this hard-hitting 2006 article by Chad Harbach, who warned, “(Other countries) will do nothing until the United States demonstrates that a grand-scale transition to renewable energy can be achieved by big industrial countries.”
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable occurrence of a “trophic cascade” – a single change in a food chain that transforms an entire ecosystem. How exactly did the wolves change the river? Author and environmentalist George Monbiot explains in this video.
Development is more than an ideology; it is an ideology in service to an economic necessity which, in turn, is not a real necessity but contingent on a growth dependent debt-based financial system. Until that system changes, the pressure to develop— to convert natural resources into commodities and social relationships into services— will not abate.
Shashank Kela, author of an acclaimed study of adivasi history and politics, writes: This essay aims to make connections between things that are usually studied separately– environmental history, political economy, conservation practice and adivasi politics. The belief that this potential convergence could do with wider discussion is my sole justification for putting it up here.
Pranav Prakash quotes a journalist from The Hindu: “What passes for environmental journalism in India is often bourgeoisie environmentalism, unfortunately. Air pollution in cities matter, while 300 million Indians who cook in crammed, dark, smoke-filled kitchens don’t matter. Ultimately, it’s a question of representation. Whose concerns are addressed or aired depends on who is speaking.”
The Guardian reports: The number of wild animals on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, which a new report attributes to an ongoing mass extinction. The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020.
The Economic Times reports: The International Energy Agency has said it was significantly increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables, thanks to strong policy support in key countries like United States, China, India and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.
There’s no such thing as ‘healthy food’ if it’s not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent ‘Food: The Forgotten Medicine’ conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there’s a huge job to be done to restore depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of seeds and crops.
Does the concept of a living planet inspire and uplift you, or is it a disturbing example of woo-woo nonsense that distracts us from practical, science-based policies? While no amount of evidence can prove it false, we must acknowledge that the science that militates against an intelligent, purposeful, living universe is ideologically freighted and culturally-bound.