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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 26 May 2013 at 4:37pm
A single return flight between New York and London produces 1.2 tons of greenhouse gases per passenger, the equivalent of a year’s allowable emissions if emissions were rationed fairly” among all 7 billion people on this planet.
 
 
Doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers etc all have to take stringent examinations because lives depend on their knowledge.
 
Why not politicians too? They are responsible for many more lives.
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 26 May 2013 at 4:49pm
Originally posted by botak



The effects of global warming will have a far worse effect on the developing world than carbon taxes.

No idea what the solution is though, population growth needs to be checked which won't happen, big business still calls the shots in the developed world, corruption is endemic in the developing world, economic competition stops people from taking the initiative, can't say I'm optimistic,,,
 
Please have hope.
 
Have you heard of Dr.Hans Rosling...The Gapminder project?
 
Population growth and climate change explained by Hans Rosling
 
 
(About 3 mins)
 

“Demand carbon dioxide data” says Hans Rosling to open data advocates at OKFestival

In classic Rosling style he started out debunking myths surrounding international development trends – including a special demonstration using toilet rolls to illustrate population growth.
 
While OECD and other international institutions hold CO2 data, much of this is not public or behind a paywall. “Let’s go there and liberate it!” he said, suggesting that we need a “data driven discussion of energy and resources”. While there have been numerous CO2 related applications and services about individual behaviour and lifestyle choices, he appealed to app developers: “Don’t do only small apps, do apps for the world”.
 
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2013 at 3:51pm

EDxChange - Dr.Hans Rosling - Child Mortailty, Family Planning & the Environment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt4KaB_gWDc

(About 5 mins)

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2013 at 4:02pm

That’s one of Wendell’s recurring themes: Listen to the land.

There really is not that much to see until I try to see it through Wendell’s eyes, and then every bit of erosion becomes a tiny tragedy — or at least a human’s mistake — and every bit of forest floor becomes a bit of the genius of nature. (If you imitate nature, he’s said, you’ll use the land wisely.)

He knows the land the way I know the stops on the Lexington Avenue subway line and, predictably, I begin feeling like the fairly techie city person I am and wonder if it could have been otherwise. Wendell has, a sense of patience and understanding, a kind of calm despite full awareness of the storm. In Washington this past Monday, Wendell delivered the 2012 Jefferson Lecture, the highest honor the federal government has for “distinguished intellectual achievement” in the humanities. He titled the talk “It All Turns on Affection.”

Monday, he spoke of the “mechanical indifference” of a financial trust, that it had the “indifference of a grinder to what it grinds,” saying, “It did not intend to victimize its victims. It simply followed its single purpose of the highest possible profit, and ignored the ‘side effects.’” This from a poet and an essayist who, by following his love of the land and its people, describes the current state of affairs as accurately and succinctly as anyone on earth: “The two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment.”

I knew that Wendell and I agreed on these things when I went to visit him. Oddly, I felt, as I imagine others have in making the same trip, as if I were seeking wisdom. We spoke, as I said, for hours, and my two big questions for him were, essentially, “How are we going to change this?” and “What can city people do?”

He makes it clear that he doesn’t think anything is going to happen quickly, except perhaps the possible catastrophe that lurks in the minds of everyone who believes the earth to be overstressed. “You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency,” he says, “and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.”

Change, he says, is going to come from “people at the bottom” doing things differently. “[N]o great feat is going to happen to change all this; you’re going to have to humble yourself to be willing to do it one little bit at a time. You can’t make people do this. What you have to do is notice that they’re already doing it.”

Then he takes me to the barn, where there are seven newborn lambs. And he says, “When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.”

We walk out of the barn, and say goodbye.

Three hours later, my phone rings. (Wendell, famously, does not own a computer.) “Mark,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about that question about what city people can do. The main thing is to realize that country people can’t invent a better agriculture by ourselves. Industrial agriculture wasn’t invented by us, and we can’t uninvent it. We’ll need some help with that.”

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2013 at 4:04pm

Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

(About 22 mins)

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2013 at 6:21pm
"What is the measure of progress? It is possible to measure the progress of the last two or three hundred years in soil erosion. We can measure it in the rate of species extinction. We can measure it in pollution, in the toxicity of the world. Those things, like power and speed, are perfectly measurable. But we need also to raise the questions that are not quantitative.
 
How happy are people? What do we make of all this complaining? How healthy are people? How are love and beauty faring? What do we make of all this doctoring and medication that is going on all the time at such a great expense?"
 
 
~Wendell Berry
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2013 at 4:59pm

In his 1961 study, “Disasters and Mental Health: Therapeutic Principles Drawn from Disaster Studies,” sociologist Charles Fritz asks an interesting question: “Why do large-scale disasters produce such mentally healthy conditions?” One of the answers is that a disaster shakes us loose of ordinary time. “In everyday life many human problems stem from people's preoccupation with the past and the future, rather than the present,” Fritz wrote. “Disasters provide a temporary liberation from the worries, inhibitions, and anxieties associated with the past and the future because they force people to concentrate their full attention on immediate moment-to-moment, day-to-day needs.” This shift in awareness, he added, “speeds the process of decision-making” and “facilitates the acceptance of change.” 

The state of mind Fritz describes resembles those sought in various spiritual traditions. It recalls Buddhism's emphasis on being in the moment, nonattachment, and compassion for all beings, and the Christian monastic tradition's emphasis on awareness of mortality and ephemerality. From this perspective, disaster can be understood as a crash course in consciousness.

. . . . The aftermath of disaster is often peculiarly hopeful, and in the rupture of the ordinary, real change often emerges. But this means that disaster threatens not only bodies, buildings, and property but also the status quo.

Disaster recovery is not just a rescue of the needy but also a scramble for power and legitimacy, one that the status quo usually-but not always-wins.

~Rebecca Solnit

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Sustainable development in an unequal world

Sharing the effort

Global governance has entered into a new and challenging era. Every country needs to contribute, to save both its own future and our common, global future. But the report has not helped me to imagine how countries will share this effort equitably.

“I believe we urgently need answers if we are going to see bold actions and build trust.”

What does justice mean for poorer populations and the young generation? What if a country has a substantial number of people struggling for a living while a few others become extremely wealthy? When it comes to emission mitigation and financial compensation, how bold are the big polluters prepared to be to make a fair deal for the other countries? Is it fair if technologically advanced countries urge others to take actions that would leave them unable to afford those same technologies?

I believe we urgently need answers if we are going to see bold actions and build trust. The report doesn’t try to provide all these answers. But I hope to see more creative and practical ideas, as well as political will at the highest levels, to envisage a sustainable world built on equitable, shared efforts.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 29 March 2014 at 8:43am

Wendell Berry Reads A Poem on Hope

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j_r4jb9AYw

(About 6 mins)

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How Art Can Bear Witness to Climate Change

Beautiful Sunsets (and Sunrises) in Art

On March 25, the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal published an article that addresses pollution in art. Soon I’ll talk about that, but first a bit about the Arctic.

There is a kind of Arctic pollution that a photo helped me to understand. Upon seeing one of my photographs people have asked, “Are these colors real or manipulated?” The photograph in question is of a group of musk oxen on the Canning River Delta that I had taken in early May 2001, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (see here). The temperature was about minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit; deep haze severely restricted visibility, as I lay flat on my belly with the lens touching snow to make the animals visible, barely. Indeed, I began to wonder how could there be such vibrant colors in an environment that is supposed to be free of pollution? I remember from my childhood many colorful sunrises and sunsets in Kolkata, where pollution in the air was all around us; it still is. There had to be particulates in the air to create those deep red-orange colors in the musk oxen photo, and I surmised that the source of the pollution was perhaps the nearby oil fields of Prudhoe Bay, but on probing further I also came to know about the Arctic haze that a handful of scientists have been studying. I don’t know if what you see in the photo is indeed Arctic haze or pollution from Prudhoe Bay, but, nevertheless, a fact sheet states:

“Arctic haze is a thin, persistent, brown haze that causes limited visibility on the horizons of what had been previously very clear Arctic skies. It is most visible in the early spring and can be seen from northern Greenland, the Arctic coasts of Canada and Alaska and occasionally in eastern Siberia. … The Arctic haze that accumulates by late winter, trapped under the dome of cold air, is as large as the continent of Africa! … Arctic haze is made up of a complex mix of microscopic particles and acidifying pollutants such as soot, hydrocarbons, and sulfates. Up to 90% of Arctic haze consists of sulfates. … We can find out where Arctic haze comes from because the chemicals that make up Arctic haze are like a footprint that can lead us back to their sources. The main sources of the sulfates found in Arctic haze are things like power plants, pulp and paper mills, and oil and gas activities. The other pollutants found in Arctic haze can be traced to industries such as vehicles, shipping and agriculture. The places in which these industries occur and where these pollutants thus originate are in the heavily populated and industrialized areas of Europe, North America and Asia.”

The question is: What is the long-term stress acidification from Arctic haze might put on the fragile Arctic ecology? While we don’t know this yet, the haze might also be contributing to the rapid polar melt:

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released the “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability | Summary for Policy Makers” report.

I don’t want to overstate the significance of art in addressing the Himalaya of environmental injuries that surround us today. I do want to point out, however, that while scientists have been telling us about earth’s climate in the deep past, and into the distant future, artists on the other hand, have been bearing witness, in the present. They always have.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 22 April 2014 at 5:31pm
It All Turns on Affection

I will say, from my own belief and experience, that imagination thrives on contact, on tangible connection. For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And it is in affection that we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy.

Obviously there is some risk in making affection the pivot of an argument about economy. The charge will be made that affection is an emotion, merely “subjective,” and therefore that all affections are more or less equal: people may have affection for their children and their automobiles, their neighbors and their weapons. But the risk, I think, is only that affection is personal. If it is not personal, it is nothing; we don’t, at least, have to worry about governmental or corporate affection. And one of the endeavors of human cultures, from the beginning, has been to qualify and direct the influence of emotion. The word “affection” and the terms of value that cluster around it—love, care, sympathy, mercy, forbearance, respect, reverence—have histories and meanings that raise the issue of worth. We should, as our culture has warned us over and over again, give our affection to things that are true, just, and beautiful. When we give affection to things that are destructive, we are wrong. A large machine in a large, toxic, eroded cornfield is not, properly speaking, an object or a sign of affection.

Wendell Berry


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It All Turns on Affection

The problem that ought to concern us first is the fairly recent dismantling of our old understanding and acceptance of human limits. For a long time we knew that we were not, and could never be, “as gods.” We knew, or retained the capacity to learn, that our intelligence could get us into trouble that it could not get us out of. We were intelligent enough to know that our intelligence, like our world, is limited. We seem to have known and feared the possibility of irreparable damage. But beginning in science and engineering, and continuing, by imitation, into other disciplines, we have progressed to the belief that humans are intelligent enough, or soon will be, to transcend all limits and to forestall or correct all bad results of the misuse of intelligence. Upon this belief rests the further belief that we can have “economic growth” without limit.


Economy in its original—and, I think, its proper—sense refers to household management. By extension, it refers to the husbanding of all the goods by which we live. An authentic economy, if we had one, would define and make, on the terms of thrift and affection, our connections to nature and to one another. Our present industrial system also makes those connections, but by pillage and indifference. Most economists think of this arrangement as “the economy.” Their columns and articles rarely if ever mention the land-communities and land-use economies. They never ask, in their professional oblivion, why we are willing to do permanent ecological and cultural damage “to strengthen the economy?”


The problem of sustainability is simple enough to state. It requires that the fertility cycle of birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay—what Albert Howard called “the Wheel of Life”—should turn continuously in place, so that the law of return is kept and nothing is wasted. For this to happen in the stewardship of humans, there must be a cultural cycle, in harmony with the fertility cycle, also continuously turning in place. The cultural cycle is an unending conversation between old people and young people, assuring the survival of local memory, which has, as long as it remains local, the greatest practical urgency and value. This is what is meant, and is all that is meant, by “sustainability.” The fertility cycle turns by the law of nature. The cultural cycle turns on affection.


That we live now in an economy that is not sustainable is not the fault only of a few mongers of power and heavy equipment. We all are implicated. We all, in the course of our daily economic life, consent to it, whether or not we approve of it. This is because of the increasing abstraction and unconsciousness of our connection to our economic sources in the land, the land-communities, and the land-use economies. In my region and within my memory, for example, human life has become less creaturely and more engineered, less familiar and more remote from local places, pleasures, and associations. Our knowledge, in short, has become increasingly statistical.


This is the sort of knowledge we now call “data” or “facts” or “information.” Or we call it “objective knowledge,” supposedly untainted by personal attachment, but nonetheless available for industrial and commercial exploitation. By means of such knowledge a category assumes dominion over its parts or members. With the coming of industrialism, the great industrialists, like kings and conquerors, become exploiters of statistical knowledge. And finally virtually all of us, in order to participate and survive in their system, have had to agree to their substitution of statistical knowledge for personal knowledge.


The argument of Howards End has its beginning in a manifesto against materialism:

It is the vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness, to think that a thousand square miles are a thousand times more wonderful than one square mile . . . That is not imagination. No, it kills it. . . . Your universities? Oh, yes, you have learned men who collect . . . facts, and facts, and empires of facts. But which of them will rekindle the light within?


“The light within,” I think, means affection, affection as motive and guide. Knowledge without affection leads us astray every time. Affection leads, by way of good work, to authentic hope. The factual knowledge, in which we seem more and more to be placing our trust, leads only to hope of the discovery, endlessly deferrable, of an ultimate fact or smallest particle that at last will explain everything.

The climactic scene of Forster’s novel is the confrontation between its heroine, Margaret Schlegel, and her husband, the self-described “plain man of business,” Henry Wilcox. The issue is Henry’s determination to deal, as he thinks, “realistically” with a situation that calls for imagination, for affection, and then forgiveness. Margaret feels at the start of their confrontation that she is “fighting for women against men.” But she is not a feminist in the popular or political sense. What she opposes with all her might is Henry’s hardness of mind and heart that is “realistic” only because it is expedient and because it subtracts from reality the life of imagination and affection, of living souls. She opposes his refusal to see the practicality of the life of the soul.


Margaret’s premise, as she puts it to Henry, is the balance point of the book:  “It all turns on affection now . . . Affection. Don’t you see?”

In a speech delivered in 2006, “Revitalizing Rural Communities,” Frederick Kirschenmann quoted his friend Constance Falk, an economist: “There is a new vision emerging demonstrating how we can solve problems and at the same time create a better world, and it all depends on collaboration, love, respect, beauty, and fairness.”

Those two women, almost a century apart, speak for human wholeness against fragmentation, disorder, and heartbreak. The English philosopher and geometer, Keith Critchlow, brings his own light to the same point: “The human mind takes apart with its analytic habits of reasoning but the human heart puts things together because it loves them . . .”


http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 31 August 2014 at 3:34pm

Suicidal vs. Life-Giving Religious Narratives

Religious communities, among the many contributions they make, infuse narratives into communities. I call them framing-stories.

Three Suicidal Religious Framing-Stories

One of them is the us-versus-them narrative that builds on the idea that to have a strong identity, we have to be against people of other identities.

The second narrative is based on the idea of "us versus nature."

The third narrative, which is especially deeply rooted in our monotheistic faiths, is the "God-versus-us" narrative that sees God as our enemy and religion as saving us from God.

The Opposite, Life-Giving Spiritual Framing Stories

A spiritual alternative is the narrative of God for creation, God with creation, God in creation.

All of you who love Islam know that at its highest, Islam presents itself as a way of life: a way of ordering life toward peace and harmony with our fellow creatures.

So all of our religious traditions have at their deepest root this narrative of God for creation, God with creation, God in creation. That is something that we who call ourselves spiritual have to celebrate and elevate as a saving alternative to the suicidal narrative that's all too common among us.

Second, as an antidote and remedy to the us-versus-nature narrative, we have to discover the narrative of us for creation, us with creation, and us in creation. And of course, that's the narrative in the first chapters of Genesis: human beings caring for the garden and human beings having responsibility for the garden.

Finally, we can transcend the us-versus-them narrative, which makes having a strong religious identity synonymous with having a counter-dependent religious identity with other religions. We can transcend it with another narrative expressed in a couple of different ways. One is to say, "There is no them." In the Hebrew scriptures, at the center of our three monotheistic faiths, there's not one God who creates some people over here and another God that creates other people over there, leaving us inherently irreconcilable. Instead, the story of Adam is the story of our shared common humanity, our common source. Even the idea of God as judge is a grossly misunderstood concept in most Western Christian theology because we lost the Jewish ancient understanding that a judge isn't the one who comes to condemn you, a judge is the one who comes to bring you justice. When you're an oppressed person, the bringing of justice is really, really good news. So this idea of God as the universal judge says God has every other human being's well-being in mind. God is interested in the interests of the other, not just our interests. And that realization changes the narrative: you cannot have an us-versus-them narrative.

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/suicidal-vs-life-giving-religious-narratives

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 08 September 2014 at 2:30pm

Living with Just Enough

By now we are all extremely familiar with the litany of challenges we face as a global species, the threats of scarcity which pit state against state and community against community, problems manmade and visible in nature: growing population, increasing urbanization, deforestation, damaged watersheds, over-consumption of resources, energy shortages, waste, pollution....All of us could easily add to this list. We know there will be no easy fixes, no panaceas, but nevertheless as we try to set priorities and search for the most promising ways to approach these problems, many of us find ourselves looking to different cultures and to earlier eras for inspiration. In this regard, the Edo period of Japan has a lot to teach us. We could in fact use it as a model of how to flip impending environmental collapse into sustainability, primarily by allowing a rich and insightful mindset rooted in centuries of experience and wisdom to guide our decisions.

The Edo Period began in 1603, at the close of 200 years of civil war, and lasted two and a half centuries, coming to an end in 1868 as the country opened to the world and was first exposed to the fruits of the industrial revolution. Most of what we think of as "traditional" Japanese design comes from this era, when shoguns ruled and society was a strictly delineated hierarchical pyramid with samurai at the top, merchants at the bottom, and farmers and craftsmen, the bulk of society, in the middle. During this time the population rose to about 30 million, roughly comparable to Canada or Peru today, and the city of Edo -- renamed Tokyo in 1868 -- was home to over 1.3 million residents. At the beginning of the Edo period, the people found that they had deforested their mountains and were suffering from a cascade of ill effects, such as damaged watersheds and decreasing agricultural productivity. Most resources, such as iron ore and potential fuel sources, were scarce; firewood itself was at a premium. Even more significantly, there was very little arable land, and by the mid-18th century all the land that could be used for farming was already utilized. The period began with shortages and famine, but after two or three generations of wise regeneration, the large population was enjoying a quality of life arguably higher than in any contemporary European country. The forests had been saved, agricultural production had increased manyfold, and culture and literacy were on the rise.

Beauty depended upon how well a thing helped people fulfill a host of unstated requirements that lent life its meaning and purpose and helped sustain it indefinitely into the future.

The specialization that so distinguishes our culture and technology today -- the very productive mental tools we have developed that enable us to break problems down into elements that can be worked on in isolation -- would seem very odd, even incomprehensible, to a Japanese of the Edo period.True, the society was rigidly stratified and in that sense specialized, and people worked for years to master specific trades. A miso shop was unlikely to sell kimonos. But the culture as a whole was pervaded by a sense of time in which outcomes were measured in centuries, and in which it was nearly impossible to plan even simple tasks without a broader awareness of chains of consequences that would emerge from one's actions, or of the origins, destinations, and connections among the people and things which supported human life like a vast web of interconnected spirit. As is the case in so many pre-industrial societies, people were trained from an early age to be generalists, to be multi-competent, and to always be aware of the big picture. Religion, particularly Zen Buddhism, but also Shinto and Confucianism, acted as a balanced bed of "common sense" which encouraged such thinking. Through the influence of these values, reflected in both commoner's proverbs and in the writings of the cultured elite, problems were defined in such a way that the need for long-term thinking, conservation of energy and resources, the need to work with instead of against natural forces, and the importance of providing meaningful work for everyone instead of endlessly seeking to minimize labor, became requirements so well understood they rarely needed to be explicitly stated.

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