We come from a remote handful of living planets and moons scattered across this galaxy. We are a network of galactic gardeners who nurture life by sharing our stories, experiences, knowledge, and ideas. We’ve decided to contact you because we cherish life everywhere we find it—and life on your planet is in grave danger. Open Letter
planning & policy
PM Narendra Modi wants India to be a “$5 trillion economy” by 2024. The consequences of such high GDP growth –even setting aside questions regarding its distribution or true worth– will result in depriving the dispossessed sections of society of access even to natural resources, while driving fragile ecologies to a point of no return.
From Al Jazeera: Scandinavian countries have some of the highest levels of happiness on the planet, and top virtually every ranking of human development. They re worth celebrating for all they get right. But there’s a problem. They’re an ecological disaster, with some of the highest levels of resource-use and CO2 emissions in the world.
From CounterPunch: He whipped out a check for a thousand dollars and said, “I bet you US$1000 that in the year 2020, we’re not even close to the kind of disaster you describe.” He had obviously planned to maneuver me into this kind of challenge. “We won’t even be close. I’ll bet on my optimism.”
Researching public perceptions of the future, I’m not aware of any progress indicators that reflect the real depth of people’s concern. The current wave of global political unrest and protest is commonly attributed to growing inequality, corruption, austerity, thwarted expectations and climate change. But the real reasons also go deeper, challenging the entire narrative of modernisation itself.
From BuzzFeed: The 2010s will likely lock down the record for the hottest decade so far. The 10-year stretch boasted many of the most expensive and destructive catastrophes ever. Here’s a review of six of the most devastating climate-records we broke this decade. Also, a short video featuring expert views on looming climate tipping points.
Ted Trainer writes: The prize has gone to three people studying how the poor can derive more benefit from existing “development” practices. It sees no reason to question the existing market and growth-driven economy and its derivative, development theory. It doesn’t threaten the massively unjust and environmentally destructive global systems that keep billions in poverty.
“This plan has multiple win-wins: Improvement in soil and water quality, higher incomes for farmers, reduced malnutrition and obesity, and a simple solution to India’s water problem by drastically reducing use of water in agriculture.” Also watch: ‘Bringing the Science Back Into Water: A New Paradigm for 21st Century India,’ a talk by Mihir Shah.
Earlier this year, over 11,000 scientists from around the world issued a signed warning stating “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency”. At the ongoing CoP-25 climate talks at Madrid, Dr. William Moomaw, one of the report’s co-authors, explains the nature of that emergency, and what we must do about it.
Beggars are usually ignored on the streets and questions are asked about why they don’t work. But many have indeed worked as paid labour and have chosen begging as the primary activity, finds Sabina Yasmin Rahman. As India’s urban and rural poor reel from a state-made economic crisis, this revealing study takes on an urgent relevance.
From Logic Magazine: Despite the climate crisis, Big Oil is doubling down on fossil fuels. At over 30 billion barrels of crude oil a year, production has never been higher. Now, leading oil companies are forging a lucrative partnership with tech giants like Microsoft, building a new carbon cloud that just might kill us all.
Anuj Ghanekar writes: Drought affects everyone, but the Dalits are the worst affected. They often become targets of threats and violence in different ways if they try to access water or demand rights for water, with several atrocities on record. One study noted several instances where water sources used by Dalits were deliberately contaminated with human excreta.
Big Agri, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Food, Big Banking, Big Oil and Big Government aren’t there to make our lives better. They’re there to control us and make as much money as possible; and they’ll run you over if you’re in their way. Daisy Luther on how to fight back and starve the Beast.
From Counterpunch: In a contracting, growth-less economy, the profit motive can have a powerful catabolic impact on capitalist society. In biological terms, “catabolism” refers to the condition whereby a living thing feeds on itself. Catabolic capitalism is a self-cannibalizing system whose insatiable hunger for profit can only be fed by devouring the society that sustains it.
Padma Rigzin writes: Ladakh’s folk religion teaches that humans do not form the centre of the natural world but are merely inhabitants. So much so that my ancestors would not move a rock to build a house. Unfortunately, people in Leh are shouting the tune of the mainstream. Ambani has already started knocking our doors.
Thanks to the capitalist propaganda machine, we’ve forgotten the difference between ‘conscious’ and ‘compulsive’ consumption. Frugality, which once used to be the essence of responsible living has been labelled as ‘shame’. Though rarely discussed, this was the beginning–and now the core–of the climate crisis. And it has begun to control all aspects of our lives.
From Down to Earth: Findings by Hiroyuki Murakami of Princeton University suggest that 64% of the cyclone risk in the Arabian Sea was due to climate change. The study further warns that the coastal areas surrounding the Arabian Sea are at specific risk since the geographical location offers cyclones nowhere to go but the land.
From The Hindu: More fuel-efficient cars usually mean that car owners take many more trips, in effect nullifying the saving of fuel from the technical innovation. This simple example shows why any advocacy of a lasting technological solution to ecological challenges is only destined to set the stage for the next generation of ecological problems.
Sanjay Reddy writes: The administration of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) – which Nobel prize winners Duflot and Banerjee helped pioneer – has suffered from more than a whiff of neocolonial attitudes. Arguably, all of the difficulties of RCTs stem from a single source: a failure to recognize the full personhood of those who are affected by interventions.
Ratheesh Pisharody writes: While we pretend to have weaved in a “justice angle” into the climate emergency narrative, we conveniently veto-ed ourselves back in. Thus we ensure we represent the perpetrators and also the victims. By taking away a large part of that victim-hood-bank we seem to want an unfair share of “climate justice” too.