One Inity

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Posts Tagged ‘Environment

Tar Sands export routes across North America – Maps

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Will this fossil fuel export proposition be the final nail in humanity’s climate change coffin or the spark for real change? It’s up to you.

Idle No More.

Wilderness COmmittee Tar Sands North America pipelines.jpg

Tar Sands Pipelines in North America – [From Kinder Morgan Pipeline Route Maps | Wilderness Committee]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

February 15, 2013 at 08:55

Pissed Off Scientists: Earth Is Fucked, Commence Resistance Now « Earth First! Newswire

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If we don’t change our ways, the planet will die.

Resist or perish.

Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.


[From Pissed Off Scientists: Earth Is Fucked, Commence Resistance Now « Earth First! Newswire]

As for the big question—is Earth fucked?—Werner announced in his talk that he has done some preliminary runs of his model. At this point I could sense the audience lean forward collectively on their seats. First he simulated the global economy proceeding into the future without the drag of environmental management decisions. “What happens is not too surprising,” he told us evenly. “Basically the economy fast chews up the environmental resources, depletes those reservoirs, resulting in a significant amount of environmental damage.”

Then he factored in some environmental management, presumably of our standard, EPA cost-benefit-analysis-driven variety, and found that “it delays the environmental damage but it doesn’t prevent it.”

That’s not too surprising either. But it also implies we’re eventually, definitely fucked. Still, there’s a choose-your-own-adventure element to the story that has yet to play out. Resistance, Werner argued, is the wild card that can force dominant systems such as our current resource-chewing juggernaut onto a more sustainable path. Werner hasn’t completed that part of his model, so we’ll have to wait to find out what happens. But during the Q-and-A session, he conceded that “even though individual resistance movements might not be fast enough reacting to some of these problems, if a global environmental movement develops that is strong enough, that has the potential to have a bigger impact in a timely manner.”

In other words, according to at least one expert, maybe the Earth is not quite fucked yet after all. But the ultimate outcome may depend on how much, and how many, scientists choose to wade into the fray.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 25, 2013 at 13:57

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Chomsky on Climate: We’re fucked without massive changes

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[From ZCommunications | Hitting Society With A Sledgehammer by Noam Chomsky | ZNet Article]

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First of all, there is a very broad scientific consensus on this. There are skeptics at both ends of this, bothends! If you look at the public debate it is between the consensus and a small group of people including a couple of scientists who don’t think it is that serious. There is a third group that is omitted, a much larger group of scientists. For example, the Climate Change Study Group right here [at MIT] (http://globalchange.mit.edu/). What they have been arguing for years is that the consensus is too conservative. That it is nowhere near alarmist enough. And time after time they have been proven right. Time after time the consensus has been proven much too optimistic. The consensus is bad enough, incidentally. It means we are falling over a cliff. But it is nowhere near what the likelihood is, what the serious skeptics are saying, those who say “it is a lot worse than you think.”  And the serious skeptics include people in the major international organizations and others quite mainstream, like the climate group right here…very good scientists.

We see it all the time, like a couple of weeks ago, when the arctic ice melts over the summer, and when it stopped melting there were measurements of how much it had melted, and it was dramatic enough to make the front page of the New York Times. When you read the story it tells you where we are. The first half of the story said the arctic ice is melting a lot faster than the consensus predicted, the computer models were too optimistic, and a little talk about the effects of this. It has an escalating effect. More dark waters exposed results in more absorption of sun rays and less reflection. It speeds up the process. They talked about it. That is the first half of the article. The second half of the article is what a great opportunity it is, more mining, more extraction of fossil fuels, i.e., lots of ways to make the problem worse, so let’s celebrate. If somebody was watching this from outer space they would think “you guys are insane.”  You are marching toward disaster and you are very happy because you can make it worse.

Listen to the presidential debates. Nobody talks about climate change, you don’t talk about that. But both candidates were euphoric about what they call “energy independence.”  I don’t know what is supposed to be so great about energy independence, and in fact it is mostly a joke, but what does it mean?  It means, they claim, we have a hundred years of fossil fuels domestically or in Canada that we can use to create a greater disaster. That is the excitement. What kind of world will it be in a hundred years?  Well, we don’t ask that question.

When you look at tar sands and fracking and these disputes, there is plenty of opposition. Most of it is local, “you are destroying our water supplies,” and things like that, which is all true. But the real problem is global. Unless those fossil fuels are left in the ground we’re in real trouble. And that is recognized by some groups around the world. Rather strikingly, mostly by indigenous groups. You look around the world, the indigenous societies, tribal societies and first nations, whatever you want to call them, these groups have been pressing very hard for paying attention to what is sometimes called “the rights of nature,” which is really the right of survival for species, including us. And in the countries where they have significant influence, maybe a majority, or at least they are in the political system, they are actually doing something about it. For example, in Ecuador where there is a large indigenous population, the government is pursuing a program; they are appealing to the rich industrial countries for aid to enable them to keep the oil in the ground. They have fairly substantial oil reserves and say “we’d prefer not to use them,” but of course it is cutting down our opportunities for development so help us out so we can develop without destroying the world, and destroying the Amazon, and so on.

In Bolivia there is actually a “Rights of Nature” provision in the Constitution. You go to Australia it is the same thing. I happened to be there not long ago and the indigenous groups, the remnants of the indigenous groups, mostly exterminated, they are pressing very hard not to lift uranium. There are large uranium deposits in the areas where they still have their kinds of reservations and they say “leave it in the ground.”  They have a whole history of what we call myth, I mean a kind of aural tradition about the danger of allowing the yellow plague to escape, and what will happen. And they are right. You lift that uranium and you’ll be in real trouble. In this case it is not climate change it is probable nuclear war. And it is the same everywhere.

All over the world there are wars going on over mining. In India, half the country is in flames. There is a major war in the tribal areas, basically, where there are plenty of resources to mine but there are communities who live there and don’t want to see their lives destroyed. And many of them do not want to see the species destroyed. I’ve been somewhat involved in the same things in Colombia, my daughter much more so…same kinds of problems. And they have a kind of sensibility that the sophisticated, educated people don’t have, and if we don’t get it we are in bad trouble. So that is serious.

I mean even the consensus is serious. The likelihood, which is worse than the consensus, is much more dangerous. We are very close to the point which is regarded generally as a kind of tipping point, you know, 2 degrees centigrade rise in temperature. We are very close to that now, and it won’t take long to get there. If we get there it could be irreversible. In fact, the International Energy Association (http://www.iea.org/topics/climatechange/) is predicting we are likely to get to 4 degrees centigrade, and nobody knows what that would mean. Boston would be under water, things like that.

…….

he other problem, which is also quite serious, is, first of all, there is enormous corporate propaganda, huge corporate propaganda to try to marginalize the question or suppress it, in all kinds of ways – publishing fake studies, everything. That is why the party programs, which pretty much reflect corporate propaganda, they say practically nothing about it. The Republican Party program this time around I don’t think even mentioned climate change. The Democratic program sort of had a couple of empty words about it, but no policy proposals. They say openly, it is not a secret, that they are carrying out (they don’t call it “propaganda”) publicity campaigns to try to make people understand that there is no problem. And you can see why the Koch Brothers would believe that, along with the American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, and so on. They themselves, the individuals themselves, may be contributing to environmental causes, but in their institutional role as business leaders they are concerned with short-term profit. And it is true that if you pay attention to things like climate change you might harm short-term profit. Incidentally, that is not obviously true; we could come back to that. Under some kinds of calculations it is true, and they do not want to bother with it. And that is having an effect on the population. The majority of the population still thinks it is a problem, but it is declining, and it is less than many other countries. It’s one of the reasons the U.S. drags its feet in international conferences, partly it is just business power, partly it is because the popular constituency isn’t as big as it should be. (So, other places like Europe are way ahead of us on this).

And they have an argument. This takes us back to our earlier discussion. And the argument is convincing. The argument is that it will cut back growth. Well, should we have growth?  Suppose you are a majority of the population which has been subjected to the neoliberal assault (that we were talking about earlier). Well, you want things to get better for you, you are in bad shape. And the mantra is “growth.”

Q:  Is growth a code word for “profits”?

NC:  When it is used by the business world, yes. But when it is used in public propaganda it says it is a way for you to have food on the table. So, it is a code word for that. But it is not the way to get food on the table. The point is there is no alternative presented. So they are given a choice between “Can I improve my circumstances, can my kid get a job, can I get food on the table, can I have some security.” That is one side. Or, shall I worry about global warming?   Given that choice, people are pretty likely to say “Look, I want the things I need and my family needs.”  It is a totally false choice, but that is the way it is presented. And that is a serious problem.

That is like the other problems, it is like “right to work” versus” right to scrounge.”  You’ve got to break through the doctrinal shackles if you want to understand these things. Alone, it is pretty hard to do that. That takes organization, association, etc., what the “Wobblies” in the old days used to call “talking to your neighbors.”  You’ve got to talk to your neighbors. You have to be with other people and think things through, and so on. That is mostly what the unions were for, including “the Wobblies.”

As that shatters, people are left on their own, and then you can easily succumb to this propaganda which has a certain level of veracity to it. Even the most vulgar propaganda systems usually have some truth in them. And this one has some truth in it, and it can sell. Under those circumstances it has been difficult to develop a popular movement on a sufficient scale to overcome the pressures that are leading us to march off the cliff.

Read the entire article here: ZCommunications | Hitting Society With A Sledgehammer by Noam Chomsky | ZNet Article

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 25, 2013 at 13:18

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New fossil fuel projects doom hope for a liveable planet

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A new report commissioned by Greenpeace warns that currently planned fossil fuel extraction mega-projects would commit the planet to a 20% rise in carbon emissions and 5-6 degrees of warming.

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5-6 degrees of warming would mean absolutely massive changes to the biosphere including the potential to trigger positive feedback loops that accelerate and magnify the damage. This means devastating storms and droughts, and sea level rise of between 5 and ten metres.

The Australian Government’s Climate Change department has mapped the impacts of a 1.1 metre maximum sea level rise by 2100.

“The projects in the Point of No Return report include the expansion of Indonesian and Australian coal exports, a tripling of production from the Canadian tar sands and extensive offshore drilling in Brazilian waters.”

“In 2020, the emissions from the 14 projects showcased in this report – if they all were to go ahead – would raise global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 20% and keep the world on a path towards 5°C to 6°C of warming,”

The way I see it these sorts of developments show that capital and governance are utterly incapable of reigning in carbon emissions.

If we want a liveable planet we must be the monkey wrench in the machine of global finance, industrial war and resource extraction.

http://www.rtcc.org/greenpeace-14-big-oil-megaprojects-will-set-off-carbon-bomb/

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 06:12

The natives are restless. Wondering why?

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Picture this. You and I are sitting at my local laundromat slash fair trade café, and while you warily wait for me to get my first caffeine fix of the day, you lean in and prepare to ask the question that’s been on your mind since you first read the hyperbolic headline, “Native Leaders Try to Burst Into Chambers in Ottawa, Held Back By Guards.” Licking your lips nervously, you spit it out.  The question. Not this fantastic espresso.

So what’s got you all upset this time?

While I savor what has got to be the most widespread addiction in the world by now, I wonder how it is you and I ended up hanging out in the first place, but hey, it’s an honest question. If you strive to be a bit more tactful, I’ll strive not to move beyond visualising punching you in the throat, okay?

Although thousands of indigenous people all over Canada rallied together under the banner of Idle No More on December 10th, there has been very little media coverage on the movement.  Most of what is being said in the mainstream media is focused on Bill C-45. I’d like to make it clear…they’re getting it wrong.

Attawapsikat still lacks desperately needed housing units, a year after the crisis was declared. Rather than deal with the situation in good faith, the Canadian government has continued to blame Chief Theresa Spence who is now taking drastic measures to open an honest dialogue.

Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation.  The women who are planning on supporting her in a nationwide fast, in relay, are not doing this because of a single piece of legislation. Canada, this is not just about Bill C-45.

Then what? What is the problem?

I’m going to go to the Idle No More page and click on “Manifesto”. I think it’s important you read this in its entirety rather than just have me excerpt it for you:

We contend that:
The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between Canada and First Nations who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

The #IdleNoMore hashtag on twitter has been an amazing source of information on the nationwide rallies, and the further efforts of indigenous peoples to organise a sustainable grassroots movement.

We contend that:
Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that:
Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

For news, pictures, and information on the Idle No More movement, you can check out the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society online by clicking on the poster.

We contend that:
There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.
Please join us in creating this vision.

In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else.  What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada.  And Canada? This relationship is abusive.

I don’t get it, I thought things were getting better?

You’re right, you don’t get it. Things are not getting better.  In fact, many of us feel that things are getting worse. Many of us feel that the reason things aren’t getting any better, is because Canada has forgotten it is a Treaty nation too.

When the relationship between indigenous peoples and Europeans first began here, we had a relationship based on Treaties of Peace and Friendship. As indigenous peoples understand this relationship, it is one that should work to the mutual benefit of all involved. That relationship quickly became overshadowed by one more focused on extinguishing (getting rid of) aboriginal rights, particularly as they relate to the land. I am not speaking about events hundreds of years ago. I am telling you that Canada continues to focus on stripping away all of our rights and land while at the same time telling the world that it is doing the opposite.

One of the most captivating photos taken during the December 10th rallies, by Blaire Russell.

In this document (PDF) Canada clearly lays out its interests in any negotiations it enters into with indigenous people. The term ‘certainty’ has replaced ‘termination’, but the intent is still the same.

I can go find dismal statistics on pretty much any aspect of life for indigenous peoples in this country; trot them all out and say, ‘look it’s really bad’ and you will nod and say, ‘wow it sure is’, but that still won’t make it clear for you.  I need you – WE need you, to see the forest and not just the trees.

I’m really sorry, I just…I don’t understand what the issues are?

Aaron Paquette does a wonderful job of highlighting why this is not just about indigenous peoples. It is about everyone living in Canada:

This is much greater than angry protesting natives, this is about becoming aware of the world in which you live.

First they gutted the sciences, long term studies that would help us understand our ecosystem better so we could develop more responsibly, and no one said a word.

Then they cut funding for our shared history and those who work to preserve it, while at the same time dumping tens of millions of dollars into celebrating a British colony war that happened before we were even a country, and still no one said anything.

Then the world was made aware of the shameful conditions for small children growing up on underfunded, polluted Reservations. A small murmur and then nothing.

And now, because of the apathy they see, this government has taken galling steps to sell out our wilderness, our resources and sovereignty. And not even to the highest bidder. It’s a yard sale with no regard for responsibility or care for anyone who might be negatively affected (in other words, all of us).

From millions of protected waterways a couple weeks ago, we now have hundreds. Yes, you read that right.

So why are Canada’s Indigenous Peoples the only ones who are standing up? Why are they now the World’s Protectors?

What are the issues? The issues are many. The issues are well documented.  The issues have been studied and researched and reported on ad nauseum until we have literally filled libraries with the issues and the recommendations and words words words…

What it all boils down to is this. Canada has not committed itself to addressing the colonial relationship it still has with indigenous peoples. Canada is in denial about that relationship.  I think it’s fair to say that most Canadians believe that kind of relationship no longer exists. We are trying to tell you that you are wrong.

So what now, more talks?

Contrary to popular perception, indigenous peoples are not just about blockades and protests. We have engaged in every dialogue Canada has been willing to enter into since before Canada was even a nation. When the requirements changed, often arbitrarily, we complied. When Canada pulled out of the structures it built, dumping years of work down the tubes only to decide to set up a different structure and begin again, we were there, at the table, ready to do it over.

We will not let Canada forget it is a Treaty nation. All Canadians are a Treaty people.

This has gone on for too long. The Canadian government continues to mouth platitudes about its supposed dedication to this relationship, while it slashes funding, ignores our emergencies, pulls out of comprehensive land claim discussions, ‘consults’ with us and then ignores everything we told them, all while pursuing a hard-line agenda which accepts only termination as a result.

We have been backed into a corner and we are literally fighting for our lives. We areliterally dying, in so many preventable and unacceptable ways. I’m not being poetic or hyperbolic here and I don’t just mean culturally.

We are dying.

No one should expect us to stay quiet or polite about this. We have done what has been asked, we have played along to the constantly changing rules. It hasn’t worked. It hasn’t saved us. Idle No More is about saving ourselves.

We will continue to talk, and meet, and submit hundreds of thousands of reports each year…but we will also rise. We are rising. You will find that you have many issues in common with us, as Aaron pointed out. This is not us against you. This is hopefully all of us. Together.

Let’s move past chats in cafés, okay?

(Via âpihtawikosisân)

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

December 17, 2012 at 16:14