Environment

Colin Todhunter – Organic Agriculture, Capitalism And The Parallel Reality Of The Pro-GM Evangelist

February 9, 2016

Consider that India had for generations sustained one of the highest densities of population on earth, without any chemical fertilisers, pesticides, exotic dwarf strains of grain or ‘bio-tech’ inputs. And it did it without degrading the soil. That is according to the evidence provided by Arun Shrivastava. What is truly impressive, however, is he then goes on to demonstrate that in the 18th and 19th centuries India achieved better productivity levels with organic methods than those of the ‘green revolution’. Now consider that, in 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (Olivier de Schutter) called on countries to reorient their agriculture policies to promote sustainable systems, not least agro-ecology, that realise the right to food. And Consider that The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) was the work of over 400 scientists and took four years to complete. It was twice peer reviewed and states we must look to smallholder, traditional farming to deliver food security in third world countries through agro-ecological systems which are sustainable. Read

James Jordan – Nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to say: How the broad climate movement has failed us

February 9, 2016

January 13, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – It has been a month since the UN climate summit in Paris, aka COP 21. One might expect the kind of ebb and flow we often see in popular movements. Interest in climate issues, the cause of the day during the summit, might be expected to wane and move to the back burner of public discourse until such time as another development pushes it forward again.   However, climate change is fundamentally different. It is going to get worse — we will be getting slapped in the face with this one for a long, long time, even under the best scenarios. Only a few weeks after COP 21, the world experienced a wave of floods and extreme weather exacerbated by global warming. In the US, there were record-setting floods along the Mississippi River. In South America, floods caused the evacuation of 180,000 persons. In Scotland, floods cut across class lines to threaten a historic castle neighboring the Queen’s Balmoral residence, its foundation being eaten away by the swollen Dee river. Meanwhile, oil wars and drought continue to drive an immigration crisis in Syria and throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The world’s forests will collapse if we don’t learn to say ‘no’

February 9, 2016

An alarming new study has shown that the world’s forests are not only disappearing rapidly, but that areas of “core forest” — remote interior areas critical for disturbance-sensitive wildlife and ecological processes — are vanishing even faster. Core forests are disappearing because a tsunami of new roads, dams, power lines, pipelines and other infrastructure is rapidly slicing into the world’s last wild places, opening them up like a flayed fish to deforestation, fragmentation, poaching and other destructive activities. Most vulnerable of all are forests in the tropics. These forests sustain the planet’s most biologically rich and environmentally important habitats. The collapse of the world’s forests isn’t going to stop until we start to say “no” to environmentally destructive projects. Damn the dams Read More

For many species, noise pollution can be deadly

February 9, 2016

Some reef-dwelling fish are twice as likely to get gobbled up by predators in the presence of a noisy motorboat, according to a study released Friday. The research, published in Nature Communications, adds to a growing body of evidence that noise pollution — on land and in the water — is a serious menace for wildlife. Many mammals, birds and other animals use sound to locate food, avoid predators, navigate their environment, and even select a mate. But all of these life-essential functions can be disrupted by noise from ships and sonar probes in the sea, motor vehicles and industry on land, or airplanes. Sometimes the results are lethal. Read

John Michael Greer – Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?

February 9, 2016

A few months from now, this blog will complete its tenth year of more-or-less-weekly publication. In words the Grateful Dead made famous, it’s been a long strange trip:  much longer and stranger than I had any reason to expect, certainly, when I typed up that first essay and got it posted on what was still, to me, the alien landscape of the blogosphere.   Over the years since that first tentative post, the conversations here have strayed into some remarkably odd territory:  the history of apocalyptic ideas, the nature of magic, the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, and a good deal more.  All through its vagaries, though, this blog’s central focus remains what it has been since shortly after its 2006 launch: the difficult but necessary task of facing up to the end of the arrival of hard limits to growth, and the collapse of all those fantasies of perpetual progress that so many people today still use to keep themselves from thinking about the future ahead of us. Read

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman – New Hampshire: The Birthplace of Electronic Election Theft

February 9, 2016

s the New Hampshire primary lurches toward the finish line, the reality of electronic election theft looms over the vote count. The actual computer voting machines were introduced on a grand scale in New Hampshire’s 1988 primary. The godfather was George H.W. Bush, then the vice president. As former boss of the CIA, Bush was thoroughly familiar with the methods of changing election outcomes. The Agency had been doing it for decades in client states throughout the world. In the Granite State, Bush was up against Bob Dole, long-time senator from Kansas. Dole was much loved in hard-core Republican circles. But Bush had an ace-in-the-hole. For the first time, the votes would be cast and counted on electronic voting machines, in this case from Shoup Electronics. Governor John Sununu, later Bush’s White House Chief of Staff, brought the highly-suspect computer voting machines into New Hampshire’s most populous city, Manchester. The results were predictable. Former CIA director George H.W. Bush won a huge upset over Dole and the mainstream for-profit corporate media refused to consider election rigging. Here’s the Washington Post’s account of the bizarre and unexplainable election results when touchscreens were first used: In 1988, H.W. Bush was trailing Dole

Act Now, Urges Study, or Planet Faces 10,000+ Years of Climate Doom

February 9, 2016

“The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.” The actions that policymakers take in the next couple of years will have “profound impacts on global climate, ecosystems and human societies” for the next 10,000 years and beyond, warns a new report that examines the long-term consequences of the so called “fossil fuel era.” The agreement hashed out at the COP21 Paris climate talks “leaves a lot of leeway” for countries to postpone making critical cuts to their emission outputs—”more than the climate system allows,” said report co-author Patrik Pfister from the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern. Read

Discovery: Many white-tailed deer have malaria

February 8, 2016

Two years ago, Ellen Martinsen, was collecting mosquitoes at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, looking for malaria that might infect birds–when she discovered something strange: a DNA profile, from parasites in the mosquitoes, that she couldn’t identify. By chance, she had discovered a malaria parasite, Plasmodium odocoilei–that infects white-tailed deer. It’s the first-ever malaria parasite known to live in a deer species and the only native malaria parasite found in any mammal in North or South America. Though white-tailed deer diseases have been heavily studied–scientist hadn’t noticed that many have malaria parasites. Martinsen and her colleagues estimate that the parasite infects up to twenty-five percent of white-tailed deer along the East Coast of the United States. Their results were published February 5 in Science Advances. IN HIDING Read

Rajesh Makwana – A new era of global protest begins

February 8, 2016

In line with the steady rise in social unrest over the past decade, it’s likely that we will witness an unprecedented escalation in large-scale citizen protests across the globe in 2016 and beyond. Research by Dr. David Bailey provides empirical evidence for what many activists and campaigners have long suspected: that we have entered a prolonged period of dissent characterised by an escalation in the magnitude and diversity of public protest. The UK-based data clearly indicates that the catalyst for this upsurge in social unrest was the financial crisis of 2008, which continues to have a detrimental impact on economic security for the vast majority of citizens – even while the combined wealth of the richest 1% continues to soar. Read

Ulson Gunnar – Zika: Why Biotechnology is Imperative to National Security. Analysis of Genotype Specific Bioweapons

February 8, 2016

When we think of national security, we think of tanks, jets, missile defense systems and more recently, information space. But what about the realm of the microscopic, the biological or the genetic? Whether you think biotechnology, genetics and microbes constitute another plane upon the modern battlefield or not is irrelevant. Someone else already does, and they have a head start on the rest of the world. Genotype Specific Bioweapons The Project for a New American Century or PNAC for short, penned a particularly unhinged policy paper in 2000 titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.” In it, among many other things, it specifically writes: Read
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