Avoiding the Ecocidal “Black Friday” — Growthbusters and Good Books

GR:  Here’s some great Thanksgiving entertainment that I plan to spring on my guests ( 🙂 ).  It’s a bit of a test?

Is a system that celebrates, and depends on, more consumers doing more consuming really healthy and sustainable?

“I am happy to share a note from film-maker Dave Gardner today, in advance of the so-called “Black Friday” event on November 25th:

“This year I’m making it easier than ever for you to see and share the film, Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth. From November 23 to December 2 you can stream the film at any time, at no cost. You can watch it on any connected device. You can invite friends over for a viewing party at a day and time that suits you. You can elect your growth-addicted elected officials, journalists, clergy, and college professors to see the film. If you don’t want them in your living room, just share this free screening link and urge them to watch: https://www.growthbusters.org/free-screening-signup/”

“For those of you who simply can’t resist spending some money the day after Thanksgiving, perhaps an investment in the renewable resource of a good book would make sense. To that end, I have included a review of a 2014 title called “Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth.” –Joe Bish, Population Media Center (Continue for the free-screening link:  Avoiding the Ecocidal “Black Friday” — Growthbusters and Good Books).

Breaching environmental boundaries: UN report on resource limits

GR:  This is a thoughtful assessment of the problems with development goals that seek to raise everyone to the living standards of the United States and European Union.  Though the article brings the problems into clear perspective, I think it is already clear to most people that we can’t extract enough resources to meet the perceived need for high levels of material wealth held by Earth’s growing human population.  Cultural and social expectations need to change radically if we are reduce our population and our material consumption to truly sustainable levels.

Coal Mines at the source of the Yellow River, China

“This summer, the United Nations International Resource Panel (IRP), published ‘Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity’, a report that admits what ecologists have been saying for decades: resources are limited, human consumption trends are unsustainable and resource depletion diminishes human health, quality of life and future development.

“The report shows that consumption of Earth’s primary resources (metals, fuels, timber, cereals and so forth) has tripled in the last 40 years, driven by population growth (increasing at about 1.1% per year), economic growth (averaging about 3% per year over the same period) and consumption per person, worldwide.

“Economic growth has helped lift some regions from poverty and created more middle-class consumers, while enriching the wealthiest nations the most. The UN report acknowledges, however, that advances in human well-being have been achieved through consumption patterns that are “not sustainable” and that will “ultimately deplete the resources − causing shortages [and] conflict”.

“In 1970 — when ecologists in Canada founded Greenpeace and Club of Rome scholars prepared the original ‘Limits to Growth’ study — a human population of 3.7 billion used 22 billion tons of primary materials per year. Forty years later, in 2010, with a population of 6.7 billion, humans used 70 billion tons. Now, in 2016, we require about 86 billion tons and the UN Resource Panel estimates that by 2050 we will require annually some 180 billion tons of raw materials, which Earth’s ecosystems may not be able to provide.— Rex Weyler (Breaching environmental boundaries: UN report on resource limits)

Review of GarryRogers.com

Blog Review

Buckmoth

Buckmoth at Coldwater Farm

I began my blog in hopes of improving the lives of wild animals.  I wanted to promote wildlife appreciation and expose detrimental human behavior.  The past four years, I posted 2,483 articles about wildlife and its habitat.  I wrote some the posts, but most of them were reblogged from other sources.  The blog now reaches 35,000+ people.  Typical for the Internet, two percent see the post titles, and of those a few follow the links and read the posts.  Over four years, there were 118,801 visits to the blog and 211,374 page views.

Has the blog improved the lives of wildlife?  I think so, but not by very much.  Few people share my love for wildlife, and love is a difficult thing to teach.  Even my most environmentally conscious friends have little energy left over from the demands of their families and jobs for wildlife. They rarely find time to sign petitions.

Mining Water Pollution (Wikipedia)

Mining Water Pollution (Wikipedia)

During the short time the blog has operated, detrimental human activities have continued a steady rise.  The worst has been population.  Maybe the blog gave a few people reasons to restrain their reproductive urges, but if so, its total impact compares to the blunt force of a feather whacking the nose of a speeding locomotive.  A thousand websites and tens of thousands of conservation works have not deflected humanity’s headlong sprint toward its crash.  On the way to our crash, we have become the biosphere’s greatest predator and resource consumer or, as they put it in Ghostbusters, the Destructor.

Blog Future

2015 Mule Deer fawn

2015 Last Year’s Mule Deer fawn.

Will I continue the blog?  I think so.  I learned so much about wildlife that it seems the blog’s primary achievement has been personal enlightenment.  If I continue blogging, I will focus more on interesting subjects and less on SEO, blog rank, Klout score, etc.

This morning, the twin mule deer born here in 2014 came to visit.  The buck born in 2013 often comes too, but not this morning.  He will have two antler points this year, and might already be thinking about this year’s chances.  The two-year old buck grazed willow leaves to within 12 feet listening to my banal chat on birds, weather, and willow leaves.  It’s hard to get that much pleasure from blogging, but one has to do something when the kids leave.

 

 

 

 

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Forest-destroying palm oil powers cars in EU. Surprised?

GR:  The human efforts to destroy the Earth are like the moves of a chess grand master–always catching us by surprise.

Marlowe Hood:  “Palm oil produced on tropical plantations that drive deforestation has become a major biofuel for vehicles in the European Union, industry figures released Tuesday by an environmental group revealed.

“In 2014, nearly half of the palm oil used in Europe wound up in the gas tanks of cars and trucks, according to data compiled by the EU vegetable oil industry association Fediol, and obtained by Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.

“Second only to rapeseed as a biofuel, overall palm oil use in EU countries jumped six-fold from 2010 to 2015, accounting for a 34 percent increase in biodiesel consumption during that period, the figures showed.

“Palm oil is also found in food, animal feed and cosmetics, but use in these sectors has dropped in Europe, in part due to pressure from environmental groups on major corporations.

“Up to now, how palm oil was distributed across products in the EU was not known.

“We now know why the industry is withholding these numbers,” said Jos Dings, executive director of Transport & Environment.”They show the ugly truth of Europe’s biofuel policy, which drives tropical deforestation, increases transport emissions, and does nothing to help European farmers,” he said in a statement.

Source: Forest-destroying palm oil powers cars in EU: report

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Global Climate Emergency declared by Scientists at Columbia University Earth Institute

Global Climate Emergency

Climate-change projections published by scientists at the Columbia University Earth Institute have shifted from warnings to emergency alarms.  The scientists are ringing GarryRogersthe emergency bell because of the coming loss of human health and lives.  However, the real disaster lies with natural ecosystems. Earth’s webs of life constructed of interacting plants and animals will suffer far greater and more important loses than will human civilization.  For one thing, humans can emigrate (if their neighbors let them) from landscapes becoming uninhabitable.  Plants and most animals cannot.  (If you want a refresher course on climate change, this is an excellent review:  Global Warming Basics.)

In addition to the U. S. Southwest:

The tropics and the Middle East in summer are in danger of becoming practically uninhabitable by the end of the century if business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continue, because wet bulb temperature could approach the level at which the human body is unable to cool itself under even well-ventilated outdoor conditions.[3] James Hansen and Makiko Sato

The ecosystems of the tropics are the most diverse and complex.  Desertification there is an incomprehensible tragedy for the Earth.

I excerpted the following from:

Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities

“Discussion:  We conclude that continued business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions will begin to make low latitudes inhospitable.  If accompanied by multi-meter sea level rise,[11] resulting forced migration and economic disruption could be devastating.

The overall message that climate science delivers to society, policymakers, and the public alike is this: we have a global emergency. . . . We argue that country-by-country goals, the approach of the 21st Conference of the Parties[13] cannot lead to rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions, as long as fossil fuels are allowed to be the cheapest energy.  It will be necessary to include a carbon fee that allows the external costs of fossil fuels to be incorporated in their price.  Border duties on products from countries without a carbon fee, would lead to most nations adopting a carbon fee.”–James Hansen and Makiko Sato.

Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions

(a) Updates of Figure 5 in Hansen and Sato (2001) “Trends of measured climate forcing agents” (also in PDF) and (b)same quantities as in (a) but in linear scale (also in PDF.) [Last modified: 2015/08/07]

Updates of Figure 16 in Hansen (2003), “Can we defuse the global warming time bomb?” [Figure also in PDF. Last modified: 2015/08/08]

[Figure also in PDF. Last modified: 2015/08/08]Data source: Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres. 2015. Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2015. Digital data are available at CDIAC web pages and used for 1751-2011. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 data are used for extensions to 2014.

See More Figures.

GR:  For a broader discussion of the emergency, go to http://robertscribbler.com.

Eye on the Ball– #ClimateChange, #Biodiversity, #NatureConservation, & #SarahPalin

Nature Conservation

GarryRogersThe excellent article introduced below is about nature conservation from the human viewpoint.  The argument is that the current mass extinction of wild plants and animals has harmful consequences for the future of the human species.  It most certainly has, but the author’s desire to inform his audience misses its target because it gives a biased view of the problem. The article does not consider the rights of other species. This “homocentric” view of nature assumes that disappearance of other creatures is only important if it endangers humans.

Aldo Leopold and other conservationists realized that this viewpoint is unsustainable. Unless we accept the equality of all Earth’s species, including our own, our conservation efforts will always fail.  With its runaway enthusiasm for untested proposals, our species will take chances with the lives of other species. Experiments aimed only at benefiting our species, experiments that do not respect the rights of other species, experiments that will sometimes have unforeseen consequences, will gradually nibble away at nature until our ecosystems collapse and wash into the sea (carrying us with it).

Unless we begin to respect the rights of all species, we will exert constant damage on the Earth and ourselves.

 

Our real Sarah Palin nightmare: We debate sideshows and phony problems — while this very real threat looms undiscussed

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“It’s an amazing fact that the contemporary world is marked by a growing number of problems that are genuinely global in scope. Some of these problems even have existential implications for the survival of human civilization — yet instead we spend too much time discussing smaller threats, including North Korea, ISIS, Oregon militias and even Sarah Palin. One such problem is anthropogenic climate change — a catastrophe whose effects are anticipated to be “severe,” “pervasive” and “irreversible.”

“But climate change isn’t the only problem of this sort. In fact, for many who spend their lives studying environmental issues, it can be frustrating to see climate change — a highly contentious issue among non-experts, despite a scientific consensus about its reality and causes — dominate the public discussion. The fact is that biodiversity loss constitutes an equally worrisome (albeit related) threat to the future of humanity.

“Consider some cold hard facts. According to the 3rd Global Biodiversity Report (GBO-3), the total population of vertebrates — a broad category that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, sharks, rays and amphibians — living within the tropics declined by a shocking 59% from 1970 to 2006. Take a moment to let this sink in. In only 36 years, more than half of the vertebrate population between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer disappeared.”— Read More: , Salon.

Links:

Population

Conservation

 

Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong

Dam Construction in Brazil

Construction of Santo Antônio Dam in Brazil

GR:  Why don’t conservationists give up their pleas for river ecosystems.  After a century of effort, they should have learned that investors will do nothing that might jeopardize profits.

From Science Policy Forum:  “The world’s most biodiverse river basins—the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong—are experiencing an unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction. These projects address important energy needs, but advocates often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity and critically important fisheries.

“We call for more sophisticated and holistic hydropower planning, including validation of technologies intended to mitigate environmental impacts.” –Authored by 38 scientists.