Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 21, 2009
The following documentary, ‘Home‘, is almost perfect.
As a photographer, I was totally engrossed in the imagery – mostly shot from above, and almost entirely in the magic hours of morning and evening light – as this production gives us a vision of this world we call home that is hard to forget. It also leaves one feeling like part of the human fabric – part of the larger human family that, when you come right down to it, all depends on our planet and its immense (albeit dwindling) diversity to supply our universal, basic needs.
As a writer, that has covered the many converging issues we’re now facing – water, soil, biodiversity, deforestation, peak oil, climate change, etc. – the facts shared are also on target and up-to-date. And, again, beautifully and graphically presented.
Why I say ‘almost perfect’ is because it is only the last ten or fifteen minutes where the documentary turns about in a bid to leave the viewer feeling optimistic before it’s all over. Here it truly fails. Ultimately, it graphically and beautifully tells the tale of humankind’s misguided and unsustainable attempts at finding satisfaction – but delivers only a warm, fuzzy, nebulous feeling of how we’re to retreat from the cliff edge we’re teetering over. Despite its shortcomings, however, I give kudos to all who put it together and for their willingness to freely distribute it to as many people as possible. It’s definitely a must-watch.
‘Home’ trailerComments (1)
News, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 16, 2009
I know many of you will be wondering what happened in the Wiwa vs. Shell case I wrote about recently, as they were scheduled for a June 3 pre-trial conference, and that date has now long passed.
Well, Shell kept delaying and there were no reasons given. Now, however, we see what was going on behind the scenes – Shell was deliberating over an out of court settlement of 15.5 million dollars, which the plaintiffs ultimately accepted.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 9, 2009
Consumerism, Economics, News, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 4, 2009
Photo credit: Ed Kashi
The video below was originally displayed on wiwavshell.org – the website for the plaintiffs filing a law suit against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell – but was removed by court order after legal motions were filed by the multinational. Thanks to YouTube, however, the video has a new lease of life and has at time of typing been viewed over 65,000 times since being uploaded two weeks ago. It’s a decent introduction to the atrocities committed by the corporation in collusion with the Nigerian government and its military, spotlighting their determined efforts to put down a peaceful and popular movement by the citizens of Nigeria against the violent, corporate control and destruction of their lives, land and resources.Comments (3)
Biological Cleaning, Compost, Conservation, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Swales, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Campbell Wilson May 20, 2009
by Cam Wilson, Forest Edge Permaculture
Greywater mulch-pits provide an excellent solution when re-using greywater on your garden – they are cheap to construct, they improve the quality of water entering your soil and after some time provide you with valuable compost. They’re very easy to construct too. You basically just dig a hole, wack in some 100mm ag-pipe and then fill it up with nice chunky mulch.
Compost, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Kym Kruse May 14, 2009
by Kym Kruse, of Free Range Permaculture
Next time you go to throw that banana peel in the bin, stop and think about the environmental impact that action has. As with most things these days, we are quickly running out of landfill space. More than 50% of all household waste, from vegetable scraps to garden waste, can be recycled or composted. By doing this you can not only help your own bank account, but also help the environment by reducing landfill contamination and greenhouse gases.
When organic matter in landfill breaks down it does so anaerobically, meaning without oxygen. This occurs because landfill is compressed, which squeezes out all the oxygen. Anaerobic decomposition produces acids which when mixed with items such as plastic creates a toxic mix called leachate. This poison then leaches into the ground water and from there it’s a short trip to our waterways. Harmful greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide are also produced, which contribute to our climate change problems. All of that, just for throwing a banana peel in the bin? The answer is yes, but the other question is “What do we do about it?” The answer to that is simple.Comments (1)
Animal Housing, Consumerism, Health & Disease, Livestock, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 29, 2009
If you wonder what it’s like in and around the world’s largest pig production empire, please read this. And if you don’t wonder what it’s like in and around the world’s largest pig production empire, please read it anyway. It’s very well written, and extremely enlightening.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 24, 2009Comments (3)
Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
In the May issue of Scientific American, Lester Brown discusses how food shortages could be the weak link that brings down civilization. In this feature article, “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?” Brown reveals that the biggest threat to global political stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse. Those crises are brought on by rising demand and ever worsening environmental degradation.
“In the twentieth century, dramatic rises in grain prices resulted from poor harvests. They were event driven and short-lived,” Brown says. “In contrast, the recent escalation in world grain prices is trend-driven, making it unlikely to reverse the rise in food prices without a reversal in the trends themselves.”
Demand side trends include the addition of more than 70 million people to the global population each year, 4 billion people moving up the food chain—consuming more grain-intensive meat, milk, and eggs—and the massive diversion of U.S. grain to fuel ethanol distilleries. On the supply side, the trends include falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures. Higher temperatures lower grain yields. They also melt the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau whose ice melt sustains the major rivers and irrigation systems of China and India during the dry seasons. Without a massive intervention to reverse these three environmental trends, Brown argues, more and more states will fail, ultimately threatening civilization itself.
In the article, Brown discusses measures to reverse the trends. “Among other steps,” he says, “it will take a massive restructuring of the world energy economy similar in scale and urgency to the wartime restructuring of the U.S. industrial economy in 1942.”Comments (1)
Conferences, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, News, Population, Presentations/Demonstrations, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute April 21, 2009
Teleconference: Thursday, April 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Environmental Analyst Lester Brown: How Food Shortages Could Bring Down Civilization
Washington, DC — On Thursday, April 23, 2009, at 11 a.m. EDT, environmental analyst Lester Brown will discuss how food shortages could be the weak link that brings down civilization. In an article featured in the May issue of Scientific American, Brown reveals that the biggest threat to global political stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse. Those crises are brought on by rising demand and ever worsening environmental degradation.Comments (0)
Comedy Break, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Marc Roberts April 20, 2009
Click for full view
The Huffington Post posts this, by Lise van Susteran, on Moral Obligation.
Fred Pearce, on consuming vs population. Did I post this already?
I just saw this – Ian Tomlinson’s death at the G20 demonstrations now being treated as possible manslaughter.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
French illustrator and printmaker Gustave Doré shows the
squalid conditions in London, England created for the urban
labouring classes by the Industrial Revolution
From the very beginning proponents of the industrial revolution looked upon nature as a pirate might look upon a defenseless gold-laden ship – as easy pickings. A long term view of stewardship gave way to the short term mindset of a plunderer.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot March 25, 2009
Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Whenever you hear the word miracle, you know there’s trouble just around the corner. But however many times they lead to disappointment or disaster, the newspapers never tire of promoting miracle cures, miracle crops, miracle fuels and miracle financial instruments. We have a bottomless ability to disregard the laws of economics, biology and thermodynamics when we encounter a simple solution to complex problems. So welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the new miracle. It’s a low-carbon regime for the planet which makes the Atkins Diet look healthy: woodchips with everything.
Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems. Its advocates claim that it will become the primary source of the world’s heating fuel, electricity, road transport fuel (cellulosic ethanol) and aviation fuel (bio-kerosene). Few people stop to wonder how the planet can accommodate these demands and still produce food and preserve wild places. Now an even crazier use of woodchips is being promoted everywhere (including in the Guardian(1)). The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet’s surface into charcoal.Comments (5)
Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Roads, Soil Conservation, Storm Water, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Brad Lancaster January 19, 2009
© Brad Lancaster, www.HarvestingRainwater.com
Fig. 24.The heat island effect.
An excessively wide, exposed, solar-oven-like residential street in Tucson, Arizona absorbs the sun’s heat during the day like a battery, then radiates it out at night. This local warming effect has raised summer temperatures in Tucson by 6°F (3°C) since the 1940s, which contributes to global warming since the higher temperatures result in people using air conditioners more, which are powered by electricity generated through the burning of coal. Note that no shade trees are planted in the public right-of-way along the street, leaving street and sidewalk baked. All runoff is drained off site leaving the development dehydrated. Reproduced with permission from “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1"
My view of public streets was radically changed when I heard ecovillage designer Max Lindigger tell a story of an insightful walk he took with his grandfather. “Look there,” said his grandfather, pointing to condominiums being built on the once forested slopes above his village in the Swiss Alps. “That’s where we grew and gathered food during the war. The forests were common land, a reserve of community resources. What commons remain? Where will we grow and gather our food in the next catastrophe?”
I then looked at my Sonoran desert city of Tucson, Arizona and asked myself, “Where are my community’s forests, our commons? Where would we get our food in times of need?”Comments (5)
Conservation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Roads, Storm Water, Swales, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 10, 2009
Two simple ways of illustrating how to plant the rain
Brad Lancaster, author of the award-winning books “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond” and info-packed website www.HarvestingRainwater.com, demonstrates how we can get the most from the rain by planting it in the soil, then accessing it with living pumps of plants. These are simple concepts that help turn scarcity into abundance.Comments (2)