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Gail Tverberg: How Peak Oil was misunderstood

Instead of the scenario envisioned by many Peak Oilers, it’s likely that we will in the very near future hit a limit similar to the collapse scenarios that many early civilizations encountered when they hit resource limits. We don’t think about our situation as being similar, but we too are reaching decreasing resources per capita.

Culture & Communication

Video: Our enlightened conception of knowledge has brought us to the brink of extinction

Nirmalangshu Mukherji writes: A real solution to the issue of survival requires that humans learn to progressively forget knowledge systems currently advanced in the most dominating centres of learning. If indigenous knowledge systems are our primary route for survival, every bit of knowledge beyond indigenous knowledge must be subjected to serious critique for their relevance.

Food & Farming

A desert storm is engulfing India

Indira Khurana writes: A whopping 25 per cent of India’s total land (329 mn ha) is undergoing desertification while 32 per cent (105 mn ha) is facing degradation that has reduced productivity, critically affecting livelihoods and food security of millions across the country. Combating desertification brings together three interdependent natural resources: Land, water and biodiversity.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Spotlight: India’s perennial (manmade) drought problem

India is presently in a strange situation–there’s an unrelenting drought in some parts of the country, while rain has inundated other parts, leading to loss of life and property. Like our droughts, our floods too are often manmade, critics say–a product of official incompetence, ignorance and apathy. These examples from across the country show they may have a point.

ALTERNATIVES

Ecologise Event: Lecture tour by Prof. Mark Lindley in Bangalore

The renowned American ecological economist, Gandhian thinker and author Prof. Mark Lindley will be delivering a series of lectures in Bangalore, starting from 25th. Academic institutions hosting him in the city include IISc, NIAS, Azim Premji University, ATREE and Gandhi Bhavan. The lecture tour is being organised by the Ecologise network and Graama Seva Sangha.

NEWS UPDATE ARCHIVE

NEWS UPDATE #108

Down to Earth magazine reports: The Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau is referred as the ‘Third Pole’, which directly supports 120 million people through irrigation systems. Recent findings suggest that temperatures there have increased by 1.5 °C in the last 50 years and 509 glaciers have disappeared in the last 50 years.

Displacement & Conflict

CAMPA: The return of British Raj to the forests

Gladson Dungdung writes: With the CAMPA bill being passed, the forest department has regained its lost hegemonic power over Adivasis. Many past and present instances suggest that the CAMPA amounts to the return of a British Raj-like regime to the forest, aggravating resource based conflict and the enmity between the State and forest dwelling communities.

Culture & Communication

How modern schooling is aiding the destruction of the biosphere

Suprabha Seshan writes: Modern education serves a version of Gulag, by forcing our young to suffer unspeakable conditions in their most vulnerable years. It ultimately breaks them, in order to refashion them into a pliable workforce. This psychic predicament goes hand in hand with the destruction of life, with the catastrophic end of the biosphere.

Bookshelf

The Great Derangement: Conversations with Amitav Ghosh – 4

Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh‘s non-fiction take on climate change and our collective inability to acknowledge its danger – titled The Great Derangement – has been hailed as a landmark, which promises to change the conversation around this crucial issue. In this series, we’re re-publishing interviews which feature the writer at his forceful and articulate best.

Education & Awareness

The secrets of the Wood Wide Web

Robert Macfarlane reports:  Individual plants are joined to one another by an underground hyphal network: a dazzlingly complex and collaborative structure that is often called the Wood Wide Web. It allows plants to distribute resources —sugar, nitrogen, and phosphorus— between one another. Even more remarkably, the network also allows plants to send one another warnings.

ECOCIDE & EXTINCTION

Warning from 40 top scientists: Tigers, elephants may go extinct by 2100

40 scientists from across the world have recently announced that megafauna – large animals like elephants, lions, tigers, cheetahs, rhinoceroses – will not survive much longer if we don’t act fast. Examining population trends, the scientists said that human activities like deforestation and hunting can wipe out their populations by the end of this century.

Development & Growth

Lewis Davids/Survival

Spotlight: India’s adivasis and the web of indifference

India is home to about 700 tribal groups with a population of 104 million, as per 2011 census, constituting the second largest tribal population in the world after Africa. Down to Earth magazine examines the many grave threats they face from government, corporations and phenomena like climate change, and our continuing indifference to their plight.

NEWS UPDATE ARCHIVE

NEWS UPDATE #107

Darryl D’Monte reports:  As many as 160,000 people will die every year in India by 2050 due to decreased food production because of climate change, an Oxford study predicts. India ranks second in the mortality forecast after China, where as many as 248,000 are expected to die for this reason. Surprisingly, the US ranks fifth.

Resource Use

What we’re doing to the environment may be costing us our drinking water

Chelsea Harvey reports: The human footprint on the environment may have affected drinking water in a major way throughout the last century, new research shows. The researchers estimated that declines in water quality —because of human activity— caused water treatment costs to rise by 50 percent in nearly a third of all large cities worldwide.

Bookshelf

The Great Derangement: Conversations with Amitav Ghosh – 3

Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh‘s non-fiction take on climate change and our collective inability to acknowledge its danger – titled The Great Derangement – has been hailed as a landmark, which promises to change the conversation around this crucial issue. In this series, we re-publish interviews which feature the writer at his forceful and articulate best.

CLIMATE CHANGE

The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us

George Monbiot writes: If humanity fails to prevent climate breakdown, the industry that bears the greatest responsibility is not transport, farming, gas, oil or even coal. All of them can behave as they do, shunting us towards systemic collapse. The problem begins with the industry that, wittingly or otherwise, grants them this licence: the media.

Economy

Oil price and economic growth get married

Kurt Cobb writes: It used to be that oil prices and economic growth were somewhat like distant cousins who disliked each other rather than a happily married couple always seen nuzzling together in public. Nowadays, as the oil price dips into the low $40 range again and global economic growth weakens simultaneously, we must re-evaluate.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is here and now, warns dire new report

Common Dreams reports: Environmental records of all kinds are being shattered as climate change takes effect in real time, a new climate research report says. 2015 was the hottest year on record since at least the mid-to-late 19th century, confirming the “toppling of several symbolic milestones” in global temperature, sea level rise, and extreme weather.

NEWS UPDATE ARCHIVE

NEWS UPDATE #106

Some of the world’s largest companies have been given 45 days to respond to a complaint that their greenhouse gas emissions have violated the human rights of millions of people in the Phillippines. In a potential landmark case, the Phillippines’ Commission on Human Rights has put 47 “carbon majors” including Shell and BP, on notice.

ALTERNATIVES

Video: This ‘botanical explorer’ believes that plants are our future

Crystal Stevens writes: Joseph Simcox is an ethnobotanist who has an intrinsic fascination with nature’s wonders. This ‘botanical explorer’, travels the world finding rare and even new plants. He believes that plants are our future, and passionately teaches the importance of symbiotic relationships between us and plants for us to live well on this planet.

ALTERNATIVES

Permaculture and Primitvism: Two alternatives to the technological destruction of nature

Gaurav Sangwani writes: Permaculture tries to utilise the existing elements in the land to take human freedom further, with a far lower ecological effect. Primitivism is the perennial belief in the need to go back to where we started, the lost Golden Age of freedom and guiltlessness which is at the heart of all the world’s religions.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Science and the scientist in a changing climate

Is sustainability an idea, a science, a philosophy or a way of life? The premise of this article is that sustainability is all of these and more. Furthermore, science and technology of both today and the future must be re-visioned to understand and enable sustainability, writes Radha Gopalan of the Coordination Council, Food Sovereignty Alliance, India.

ALTERNATIVES

The Hindu

On a sustainable path

Smoke-free kitchens, productive farmlands, abundant natural resources — these are some of the features that make over a dozen villages in Karnataka’s Belagavi district stand apart. The concept of enhancing rural livelihoods through active participation of people was introduced here by Shivaji Kagnekar, 67, a social reformer, who has successfully explored possibilities of rural development.

Bookshelf

The Great Derangement: Conversations with Amitav Ghosh – 2

Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh‘s non-fiction take on climate change and our collective inability to acknowledge its danger – titled The Great Derangement – has been hailed as a landmark, which promises to change the conversation around this crucial issue. In this series, we’re re-publishing interviews which feature the writer at his forceful and articulate best.