Environment

India Plants a Record 50 Million Trees in 24 Hours

July 21, 2016

There’s no question that volunteers make a huge impact, but last week the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh undertook a 24-hour volunteer project that could one day be measured from space. The state coordinated the planting of almost 50 million trees by 800,000 volunteers in public spaces. The tree planting frenzy is the beginning of a reforestation effort the nation of India agreed to during the 2015 Paris Climate Talks, reports Brian Clark Howard at National Geographic. During those talks, India made a commitment to reforest 12 percent of its land by 2030, a $6.2 billion commitment. “The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard,” Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav told volunteers before the planting, reports Biswajeet Banerjee at the AP. The planting is not just a publicity stunt, though the organizers do hope it raises awareness of reforestation efforts. Though the record won’t be validated for several months, it’s likely that Uttar Pradesh Guinness World Record has blown away the standing record for the most tree plantings in one day. That went to Pakistan in 2013, when volunteers planted 847,275 trees out of the water, reports Howard.

christian schwägerl – Vanishing Act: Why Insects Are Declining and Why It Matters

July 13, 2016

Every spring since 1989, entomologists have set up tents in the meadows and woodlands of the Orbroicher Bruch nature reserve and 87 other areas in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The tents act as insect traps and enable the scientists to calculate how many bugs live in an area over a full summer period. Recently, researchers presented the results of their work to parliamentarians from the German Bundestag, and the findings were alarming: The average biomass of insects caught between May and October has steadily decreased from 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) per trap in 1989 to just 300 grams (10.6 ounces) in 2014. “The decline is dramatic and depressing and it affects all kinds of insects, including butterflies, wild bees, and hoverflies,” says Martin Sorg, an entomologist from the Krefeld Entomological Association involved in running the monitoring project. Another recent study has added to this concern. Scientists from the Technical University of Munich and the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt have determined that in a nature reserve near the Bavarian city of Regensburg, the number of recorded butterfly and Burnet moth species has declined from 117 in 1840 to 71 in 2013. “Our study reveals, through one

Gary Kohls – Polluting Air and Water: The US Air Force Blue Angel F-18 Uses a Highly Toxic Propellant Fuel

July 12, 2016

The Big Oil cartels have, for decades, been poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf and many other oceans and ocean floors with uncounted millions of gallons of toxic crude oil via their risky, and very leaky deep water oil wells. It wasn’t just the crime against the planet that British Petroleum and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton perpetrated in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. There are many other entities that have contributed to the mortal wounding of the Gulf, including the US military. A prime example of the damage done to the Gulf by corporate entities includes the Mississippi River delta’s massive dead zone that has been enlarging rapidly for decades, thanks to the many shoreline polluters that have been allowing industrial waste, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers and other toxins to flow downstream from such so-called “environmentally friendly” states like Minnesota and its Big Chemical and Big Agribusiness-mesmerized farmers. There are hundreds of dead zones at the mouths of many of the world’s major rivers, but much of the pollution that caused the huge dead zone at the Mississippi’s mouth started in Upper Midwest farmlands, especially the corporate mega-farms. (Seewww.geoengineeringwatch.com for more details.) Read More

Ellen Brown – The War on Weed Part II: Monsanto, Bayer, and the Push for Corporate Cannabis

July 12, 2016

California’s “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” (AUMA) is a voter initiative characterized as legalizing marijuana use. But critics warn that it will actually make access more difficult and expensive, squeeze home growers and small farmers out of the market, heighten criminal sanctions for violations, and open the door to patented, genetically modified (GMO) versions that must be purchased year after year.  As detailed in Part I of this article, the health benefits of cannabis are now well established. It is a cheap, natural alternative effective for a broad range of conditions, and the non-psychoactive form known as hemp has thousands of industrial uses. At one time, cannabis was one of the world’s most important crops. There have been no recorded deaths from cannabis overdose in the US, compared to about 30,000 deaths annually from alcohol abuse (not counting auto accidents), and 100,000 deaths annually from prescription drugs taken as directed. Yet cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance (“a deadly dangerous drug with no medical use and high potential for abuse”), illegal to be sold or grown in the US. Powerful corporate interests no doubt had a hand in keeping cannabis off the market. The question now is why they have suddenly gotten on the bandwagon for its

Vandana Shiva – Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarized Mind

July 11, 2016

A recent report from the National Academy of Science of The United States, titled “Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values,” warns: “One possible goal of release of a gene-drive modified organism is to cause the extinction of the target species or a drastic reduction in its abundance.” Gene Drives have been called “mutagenic chain reactions,” and are to the biological world what chain reactions are to the nuclear world. The Guardian describes Gene Drives as the “gene bomb.” “The project of deliberately exterminating species is a crime against nature and humanity.” Kevin Esvelt of MIT exclaims “a release anywhere is likely to be a release everywhere,” and asks “Do you really have the right to run an experiment where if you screw up, it affects the whole world.” The NAS report cites the case of wiping out amaranth as an example of “potential benefit.” Yet, the “magical technology” of Gene Drives remains a Ghost, or the Department of Defense of the United States Government’s secret “weapon” to continue its War on Amaranthus Culturis. Read

IAN URBINA – Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project

July 11, 2016

DE KALB, Miss. — The fortress of steel and concrete towering above the pine forest here is a first-of-its-kind power plant that was supposed to prove that “clean coal” was not an oxymoron — that it was possible to produce electricity from coal in a way that emits far less pollution, and to turn a profit while doing so. The plant was not only a central piece of the Obama administration’s climate plan, it was also supposed to be a model for future power plants to help slow the dangerous effects of global warming. The project was hailed as a way to bring thousands of jobs to Mississippi, the nation’s poorest state, and to extend a lifeline to the dying coal industry. The sense of hope is fading fast, however. The Kemper coal plant is more than two years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over its initial budget, $2.4 billion, and it is still not operational. Read

Tim Schwab – I was barred from a Nobel laureate press conference by a PR consultant with Monsanto ties

July 7, 2016

* Food & Water Watch researcher Tim Schwab exposes the empty rhetoric and unexplained discrepancies in the Nobel laureate attack on GMO activists Last week, as I read a Washington Post article titled “107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs,” I took note that the story fits in perfectly with the Post editorial board’s recently issued position on GMOs, which argues that “scaremongering” activists are getting in the way of scientific progress on GMOs. I also noted that the Post, in driving its point home, avoids a lot of inconvenient questions. Most obviously, how exactly did the 107 Nobel laureates — almost none of whom work in agriculture or have any expertise on GMOs — get involved in an attack on Greenpeace’s position on genetically engineered “golden rice?” Of all the pressing scientific issues, and all the ways to issue a statement, why pick this issue — and why pick a fight? Industry Attacks on Activists Read

George Monbiot – Roots in the Rubble

July 6, 2016

Let’s sack the electorate and appoint a new one: this is the demand made by MPs, lawyersand the four million people who have signed the petition calling for a second referendum. It’s a cry of pain, and therefore understandable, but it’s also bad politics and bad democracy. Reduced to its essence, it amounts to graduates telling non-graduates “we reject your democratic choice”. Were this vote to be annulled (it won’t be), the result would be a full-scale class and culture war, riots and perhaps worse, pitching middle class progressives against those on whose behalf they’ve claimed to speak, permanently alienating people who have spent their lives feeling voiceless and powerless. Yes, the Brexit vote has empowered the most gruesome collection of schemers, misfits, liars, extremists and puppets British politics has produced in the modern era. It threatens to invoke a new age of demagoguery, a threat sharpened by the thought that if this can happen, so can Donald Trump. It has provoked a resurgence of racism and an economic crisis whose dimensions remain unknown. It jeopardises the living world, the NHS, peace in Ireland and the rest of the European Union. It promotes what the billionaire Peter Hargreaves gleefully anticipated as “fantastic insecurity”. But we’re stuck with it. There

Gary Kohls – An Important Excerpt from the Newest Edition of “Gardasil and Cervical Cancer: A Hoax in the Making?”

July 6, 2016

  “Merck’s Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix both contain genetically-engineered subunit protein antigens (not actual viral particles) that are capable of generating immune complexes with the essential help of the neurotoxic aluminum adjuvant that attaches to the intended protein antigen that is in the inoculum. The aluminum is added to the vaccine so that the antigen persists in the body for a long time.    “Unfortunately, the intramuscular shot is capable of damaging many other tissue proteins in the deltoid or thigh muscles (of infants), including muscle, blood components, blood vessels, collagen, DNA, lymphoid tissue, nerve tissue, myelin tissue and the aluminum in the vaccine can attach to those cells as well. Thus the piercing needle called an autoimmune response).    “But the body’s own macrophages also ingest the fragments of the newly damaged muscle, blood cells, vascular, collagen, DNA, nerve and/or myelin protein tissue fragments, which allows them to remain in the body for a sufficiently long period of time to generate potentially powerful immune responses, including unintended autoimmunity against muscle tissue (macrophagic myofasciitis, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, fibromyalgia), blood cells (autoimmune hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura, cryoglobulinemia), vascular tissue (Raynaud’s, periarteritis nodosa, temporal arteritis, vasculitis, POTS Syndrome), collagen tissue

John Michael Greer – Outside the Hall of Mirrors

July 2, 2016

The outcome of last week’s vote concerning Britain’s membership in the European Union has set off  anguished cries and handwaving across much of the internet and the mass media. The unexpected defeat of the pro-EU camp, though, has important lessons to offer, and not just for those of my readers who live in Britain; the core issues underlying the Brexit referendum are also massive realities in many other countries right now, and will likely play a very large role—quite probably a decisive one—in this year’s presidential race here in the United States.   Now of course part of the outcome has to be put down to the really quite impressive incompetence of the Remain campaign. The first rule of political campaigning is that if something isn’t working, it’s time to try something else, but apparently that never occurred to anybody on the pro-EU side. From the beginning of the campaign to its end, very nearly the only coherent arguments that came out the mouths of Remain supporters were threats about this or that awful thing that was going to happen if Britain left the EU. Weeks before the election, as a result, faux headlines yelling BREXIT WILL GIVE YOU CANCER, EXPERTS
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