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ecological collapse

Combustible Australia, combustible world: Lessons for India

Aseem Shrivastava writes: There are several lessons for India in the Australian catastrophe. For starters, it must restrain its own fossil barons: both within our shores, and beyond. Adani’s mammoth Queensland coal venture, for example, will significantly boost carbon emissions (both within Australia and to countries like India to which the coal will be exported).

Arsonist-in-chief: How Rupert Murdoch helped set Australia on fire

Murdoch has said: “We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish. Climate change has been going on as long as the planet’s here.” Since 2007, the largely Murdoch-controlled Australian press has helped topple four Australian PMs who dared to try to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions.

The scientists who predicted Australia’s bushfire emergency decades ago

From The Guardian: Now, as more dangerous fire weather is forecast, they’re being asked: why did the science not lead to action? “I would blame most of that on the lobbying”,” says Pearman, now 78. “That lobbying has been extremely powerful in a country driven by the resource sector that includes uranium, coal and gas.

It’s not just about the bees – earthworms need love, too

From The Guardian: A recent scientific study has found that 42% of fields in Britain surveyed by farmers were seriously deficient in earthworms; in some fields they were missing altogether. Particularly hard-hit were deep-burrowing worms, which are valuable in helping soil collect and store rainwater, but were absent from 16% of fields in the study. Jules

Obituary: Jay Hanson, early populariser of the converging crises

Ron Patterson writes: Jay Hanson was the founder of multiple energy resources or peak oil lists from the 1990s, starting with the incredibly popular Dieoff website and Dieoff list which looked at peak oil, population numbers, and scarcity. He was probably more responsible for starting the whole Peak Oil Awareness Movement than any other person.

The Insect Apocalypse: What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?

The most disquieting thing wasn’t the disappearance of certain insect species; it was the deeper worry that a whole insect world might be quietly going missing, a loss of abundance that could alter the planet in unknowable ways. “We notice the losses,” says David Wagner. “It’s the diminishment that we don’t see.” (New York Times)

Let Malibu burn: A political history of California’s Fire Coast

From Los Angeles Times: As yet another mega-fire rages through California, we present the powerhouse 1996 essay by Mike Davis, covering history, science, Marxist analysis— and a certain amount of trolling. Its main point is that Californians will never accept that fire is not only common there, but part of its ecology going back centuries.

Ecologies of scale: An interview with ecological economics guru Herman Daly

From The New Left Review: If fidelity to GDP growth amounts to the religion of the modern world, then Herman Daly surely counts as a leading heretic. Benjamin Kunkel interviews the preeminent figure in ecological economics, and the author of perhaps the most fundamental and eloquently logical case against endless economic growth that’s yet produced.

Stark evidence: A warming earth is sparking more and bigger wildfires

From Yale Environment 360: The wildfires presently raging in California are no exception. The increase in forest fires, seen from North America to Brazil, from the Mediterranean to Siberia, is directly linked to climate change, scientists say. And as the world continues to warm, there will be greater risk for fires on nearly every continent.

The strange future Hurricane Harvey portends

Peter Brannen writes: Climate change is pushing more water into the atmosphere—with bizarre consequences. We’re headed toward a more arid world but one with unprecedented bursts of floodwaters. And in the tropics, a coming deluge unlike any witnessed by humanity. Also, James Hansen, Naomi Klein and others on climate change and hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Bees are disappearing in India – and we are slowly learning why

From Scroll.in: Honeybees, which play a vital role in pollinating food crops, are declining at an alarming rate in India. It is not just pesticides that are contributing to their decline. Ironically, it might be the very efforts to promote bees in India that could be leading to a further decline in their diversity and prevalence.

Sunita Narain: The future is in our hands

We must rethink the question of states, market and society. We have dismembered the state; grown the market and believed that we’ve empowered society. Slowly, the circle closed— state, market and aspiring, consuming society merged. They became one. Anyone outside this circle stopped getting counted. This cannot work. This is our future’s most important agenda.

Herman Daly: Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si

The pioneering American economist who helped found the discipline of Ecological Economics, and presently a leading theorist of ‘steady-state economics’, muses on Pope Francis’ ground-breaking encyclical on environment and justice. “At a minimum, he’s given us a more truthful, informed, and courageous analysis of the environmental and moral crisis than have our secular political leaders.”

Dia Mirza on the Uttarakhand fires and how we fail our forests

Dia Mirza writes:  We cannot call this devastation of ecology and livelihoods ‘natural calamities’ anymore; it’s evident that there is a nexus of powerful people who are ignorant to the ramifications of their idea of “development” and “progress” that is gutting our forests, polluting our rivers and leading many states to a state of drought.

The diversity of life across much of Earth has plunged below ‘safe’ levels

Chris Mooney reports: In an ambitious study representing the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface, the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The illegal wildlife trade and the business of ecocide

Colin Todhunter writes: Without addressing the impacts and nature of corporate greed and a wholly corrupt neoliberal capitalism that privileges corporations and profit ahead of people and conservation, regardless of any success in the area of the trafficking of wild animals or plants, much of the world’s wildlife and biodiversity will remain under serious threat.

Who is the dumb primate, really?

Aseem Shrivastava writes: A species that endangers other species endangers itself. This simple lesson in interdependence is the first principle of ecology, a commonsensical science of such far-reaching and enduring contemporary significance as to merit a compulsory education for all humans; for nothing is more perilous for human destiny today than ecological illiteracy and myopia.

How India’s forests have been lost in translation – in plantations

Peter Smetacek writes: The question, naturally, is: What are we hoping to achieve by the process of planting forests? Because we don’t have a clear answer, it is no surprise that there is not a single success story in all the “watershed management” and “afforestation” drives that the public has paid for throughout the country.

Digest: The manmade forest fires of the Himalayan foothills

There are almost 400 fires in the Himalayan foothills currently, which have killed five people and finished off at least 19 square kilometres of forest. The timber mafia and ordinary folks are known to illegally set fire in the Himalayan foothills, to fell trees, but its uncontrollable nature this year also points to micro-climatic changes.

Charles Eisenstein: In a Rhino, Everything

A planet where caged wild animals go extinct is also one that warehouses its elderly in nursing homes. A world where the last white rhinos age in zoos is also a world of war, racism, poverty, and ecocide. It’s impossible for one to exist without the others. All are part of the same unholy matrix.

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