First, a confession: This is not another enumeration of confident judgments. I will not tell you that Copenhagen was an unmitigated failure. Or that this failure was Obama’s fault. Or that, as is the new fashion, China was the ugliest of them all. I will not say that the South’s negotiators made impossible demands. Or argue that the United Nations’ process is unwieldy and obsolete. I will not claim that only domestic U.S. action really matters. Nor will I talk of a “North-South impasse” or a “U.S.-China polluters pact,” two popular formulations that misleadingly imply an equal division of blame. [...more]
A strange cloud envelops human civilization as its leaders fail to take the measures to protect it that they themselves endorsed just five months ago. It is oddly fitting that the latest act in humanity's climate-crisis drama will occur next week in the city where history's most famous Dane, brooding in his fog-enshrouded castle, failed to act decisively upon the very question hanging over the upcoming conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. [...more]
Georgia Tech City and Regional Planning Professor Brian Stone is publishing a paper in the December edition of Environmental Science and Technology that suggests policymakers need to address the influence of global deforestation and urbanization on climate change, in addition to greenhouse gas emissions. [...more]
We can join Bill McKibben on Oct. 24 in nationwide protests over rising carbon emissions. We can cut our consumption of fossil fuels. We can use less water. We can banish plastic bags. We can install compact fluorescent light bulbs. We can compost in our backyard. But unless we dismantle the corporate state, all those actions will be just as ineffective as the Ghost Dance shirts donned by native American warriors to protect themselves from the bullets of white soldiers at Wounded Knee. [...more]
The number of hungry people, which was declining for several decades, bottomed out in the mid-1990s at 825 million. It then climbed to 915 million in 2008 and jumped to over 1 billion in 2009. With world food prices projected to continue rising, so too will the number of hungry people, leaving millions of families trying to survive on one meal per day.
“We know from studying earlier civilizations such as the Sumerians, Mayans, and many others,” says Brown, “that more often than not it was food shortages that led to their demise. It now appears that food may be the weak link in our early twenty-first century civilization as well.
I’ve been interested in issues of animal liberation since the 1970s, but there have been some important new developments in the past few years, particularly the increasing awareness of issues to do with factory farming. [...more]
A drive towards reducing obesity could have important consequences for the environment and the long-term future of the planet, according to new study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology. [...more]
Recently I've begun compiling a list of things to be cheerful about. Here are some items that should bring a smile to any environmentalist's lips: [...more]
The critical role of forests as massive "sinks" for absorbing greenhouse gases is "at risk of being lost entirely" to climate change-induced environmental stresses that threaten to damage and even decimate forests worldwide, according to a new report released today. [...more]