Continued in the video below.
Chris Hedges: "Civil disobedience is the only weapon we have left to save not only the ecosystem that sustains life but the nation itself. Corporate forces, unregulated, unfettered corporate forces exploit everything; human beings, the natural world, until exhaustion or collapse. Karl Marx was right, unfettered, unregulated capitalism is a revolutionary force........."
Continued in the video below.
Agent orange takes its name from the toxic colored orange stripes that covered the barrels in which it was stored. Monsanto's corporate distinction was assured thanks to it's most potent addition, which contains one of the most poisonous known chemicals ever created, Tetrachlorodibenzop (TCDD).
During the invasion of Vietnam, United States forces sprayed 50,000,000 litres of Agent Orange. The goal was to defoliate forested land and destroy rural areas, depriving the vietnamese fighters and people of food and cover, thus forcing them into urban areas under US occupation.
For those that survived contact with Agent Orange many suffer reproductive problems, birth defects and cancers. (see images below) In Vietnam 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children have been born with disabling and de-figuring genetic defects. Figures for the loss of other species are less well documented. The chemical's effect on the environment has been profound and enduring. To this day an estimated one million Vietnamese, more than one per cent of the population, suffer disabilities that are directly associated. Last month, over three decades after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, the US has finally begun to fund a decontamination operation.
Meanwhile, in the Brazilian Amazon agent orange has been reborn. Last week approximately four tons of the highly toxic herbal pesticides were found hidden in the forest awaiting dispersion. If these were released it is estimated that some 7,500 acres of rainforest would have been destroyed, killing all the wildlife that resides there and contaminating groundwater. This discovery may have saved an enormous loss of life but it was not enough to stop ranchers who had already begun spraying in other areas.
Officials were made aware when routinely viewing anomalies on satellite images. An aerial survey confirmed that some 440 acres of rainforest had been sprayed with many thousands of trees left ash colored and dyeing. (top left image below). One can only imagine that the loss of life to other species in the planets most richly biodiverse area is very significant. Jefferson Lobato, a representative from the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA reports that Agent Orange was likely dispersed by aircraft by a yet unidentified rancher and:"They [deforesters] have changed their strategy because, in a short time, more areas of forest can be destroyed with herbicides. Thus, they don't need to mobilize tree-cutting teams and can therefore bypass the supervision of IBAMA,"
The fight to save the Amazon has never been so critical. The powerful image that heads this website, the lungs of the earth is a graphic reminder of the role these forests play in the survival of our and other species. These lungs have become cancerous, the tumour is not benign. Recent research suggests that the release of carbon from forest areas could become so significant that the regions as a whole act less as a carbon sink and more of a carbon emitter. This is both directly and indirectly related to deforestation and another example of a feedback mechanism; warming is causing increasingly severe droughts, killing more trees, these are not only incapable of absorbing CO2 but they release it in to the atmosphere as they decay. Click here for full report. In addition many brave activists that protect these territories have been murdered in the past few weeks. We can only hope that today's announcement that in the future these great defenders of environmental justice will receive greater protection is realized. We owe it to them, to ourselves and to future generations to organize and mobilize in whichever ways we can.
Please add any useful resources, campaigns, organizations etc in to the comment section below.
In a four-day meeting in Patate, Ecuador in 2008 the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature was formed. People from countries around the world attended, including South Africa, the United States, Australia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The Alliance called for all organizations and people of the Earth to join in a Minka Pachamama , a global project to bring forth the universal adoption and implementation of the Rights of Nature. (Minka is Kichwa and means a collective community work for the betterment of all. Pachamama is Kichwas for Mother Earth)
Ecuador added legal rights for nature in to the national constitution in 2008 (Bolivia has recently done the same). The new constitution incluides the prohibition of the cultivation of transgenic crops and seeds and the patenting of "collective knowledge" associated with national biodiversity, the recognition of water as a human right, and makes nature in general a rights-bearing entity. It was the first country in the world to do so.The Provincial Court in Loja, Ecuador has now recognised and acted on this new constitutional right marking the first successful case enforcing the Rights of Nature.
The case was brought in response to excessive dumping of large quantities of rock and excavation material in the Vilcabamba River from a project to widen a nearby road. This road project had been underway for three years without studies on its environmental impact. The associated dumping violated the Rights of Nature by altering the river’s flow, increasing the risk of disastrous floods and dangerously fast currents, and negatively affecting the riverside populations who utilize the river’s resources. The Provincial Court of Loja ruled in favor of the river and its indigenous communities, detailed in Protective Action 11121-2011-0010.
In the photo at right, the blue line indicates the path of the river prior to dumping, while the red line indicates the path after dumping.
This message of acknowledgement from Pachamama Alliance website:
The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA), and Fundación Pachamama extend enormous congratulations to those who were instrumental in this first favorable ruling, including lawyer Carlos Eduardo Bravo González, who legally advised the plaintiffs and brought the case before the Court.
Most of all, we praise and applaud the work of the plaintiffs in the case, Richard Frederick Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle. By investing their time and resources, they effectively defended the Vilcabamba river and successfully established a precedent for the enforcement of Rights of Nature.
We urge citizens and organizations in Ecuador and around the world to follow this good example of the defense of the Pacha Mama.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been active in environmental and social justice since she was a child. She founded the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO) aged 9. ECO was a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. In 1992 they raised enough money to go to the UN's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Severn addressed the representatives at the summit with a powerful speech aged only 12 years. Her aim was to remind the adult world of whom their actions or inactions would ultimately affect.
PR Dave Cameron pledged that this would be "the greenest government ever".The recommendations of the statutory body set up to advise the government on global warming policy (committee on climate change C.C.C.) were accepted in full by the previous government. The target was to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. But now this is under review. They will cut everything going but may now be set to prove there is an exception when it comes to carbon emissions.
Jonathon Porritt has examined the credentials of the "greenest government ever" covering 77 green policies and reports little or no progress in more than three-quarters of them, describing the governments environmental assertions as "vanishingly remote", and judged that many policies had already been "delayed, watered down or abandoned". The crucial decision will be taken at a meeting on Monday. In response an emergency demonstration has been set up by the campaign against climate change:
Next week: Monday 16th
8.00 am at Lib Dem HQ, at 4 Cowley Street, Westminster
8.45 am Move on to Downing Street
Click here for more information
According to the 2007 IPCC report sea level would probably rise by 18cm-59cm by 2100, (59cm = c1.9ft) though stressed this was based on incomplete information about ice sheet melting and that the true rise could be higher.
Recent research (Full text article below) has attempted to extrapolate trends from various measurement techniques combined with satellite data that became available in 1993. The research acknowledges an array of caveats which it has attempted to account for, and using various algorithms exposes relatively consensual data sets that atleast corroborate the work of the IPCC and may indicate that it's data was a little conservative.
The analysis also corroborates the work of glaciologists who record an accelerating loss of ice from Greenland and Antartica and many of the world's mountain glaciers. Many glaciologists fear the ocean could rise as much as six feet by century’s end. The most alarmist predictions indicate as much as 15 feet. If this were to be the case and the research referred to here marks the beginning of the acceleration, one has to wander if the image of London above may be genuinely prophetic and not the stuff of Sci-Fi.
Once again, the United Nations has assembled world governments to formulate a strategy in order to evade ecocatastrophe.....once again it was a miserable failure.
170 delegates gathered in Thailand’s capital with the aim of reducing carbon emissions so that the earth’s average temperature rises no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. I may have to go back to my books but I thought 2 degrees C was actually pretty catastrophic. Either way, it appears humanity is still too mentally and socially under-evolved in order to create, cooperate on and action an effective strategy. I feel we have to turn our attention more and more to the social scientists; the psychologists, if we are to find any kind of mitigating remedial action. Here is the report; Bangkok 2011 from Al Jazeera:
Another prominent example of the short-sightedness of capitalist growth and how this model is ecocidal. Californian scientists have predicted, based on current rates of consumption and investment of oil and in renewables, that there will be a 131 year gap before adequate replacement. As supplies degrade there will surely be changes in the behaviour of the market as renewables become more financially competetive. But nonetheless this research exposes how the capitalist growth model by virtue of having to satisfy immediate short term financial returns is unable to behave rationally in-order to safeguard the future of people and planet. No profit - No go.
A quote from the research:
"If global oil consumption continues to rise at the current rate of 1.3 per cent per year, the planet's proven oil reserves of 1.332 trillion barrels are expected to run out in 2041.Our results suggest that there is a danger that crude oil will be depleted before it can be replaced by viable substitutes,"
Journal reference: Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1021/es100730q
Setting sustainability targets and evaluating systems progress are of great importance nowadays due to threats to the human society, to economic development and to ecosystems, posed by unsustainable human activities. This research establishes a probabilistic theoretical approach based on market expectations reflected in prices of publicly traded securities to estimate the time horizon until the appearance of new technologies related to replacement of nonrenewable resources, for example, crude oil and oil products. To assess time T when technological innovations are likely to appear, we apply advanced pricing equations, based on a stochastic discount factor to those traded securities whose future cash flows critically depend on appearance of such innovations. In a simple approximation of the proposed approach applied to replacement of crude oil and oil products, we obtain T ≈ (P0oil/C0)·ln (Δ·P0oil/P0alt), where P0oil and P0alt are the current aggregate market capitalizations of oil and alternative-energy companies, C0 is the annual aggregate dividends that oil companies pay to their shareholders at the present, and Δ is the fraction of the oil (oil products) replaced at time T. This formula gives T ≈ 131 years for replacement of gasoline and diesel. The proposed market-expectations approach may allow policymakers to effectively develop policies and plan for long-term changes.
The Dalai Lama’s departure will be formalized at a meeting of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile next week. Speaking from India, the Dalai Lama said while he will remain as the spiritual leader; Tibet’s political leadership should be elected. China views this as a strategic ploy, see video below. A response they have had several years to prepare, as the Dalai Lama has been alluding to political retirement for some time. In essence this move may be a step to help 'future-proof' the Tibetan independence movement, (the Dalai Lama is now 76) but will likely not affect his influence. The independence movement will need to remain strong in the event of the Dalai Lama's death as China will attempt to enforce a new spiritual leader in his place.
Wikileaks (Dec 2010) demonstrated that the Dalai Lama has had communications with US diplomats indicating a shift of focus of the Free Tibet movement away from Tibet's political future onto climate change.
"The political agenda should be sidelined for five to 10 years and the international community should shift its focus to climate change on the Tibetan plateau. Melting glaciers, deforestation and increasingly polluted water from mining projects were problems that 'cannot wait'. This is not to say the plan is to neglect the Tibetan people rather I new approach to place pressure"
Combine this with his views on Capitalism and Socialism it would be fair to say that the Dalai Lama is positively ecosocialism flavoured. Well of course he is! Interestingly Marx very much respected Buddhism as Walt Sheasby reports in 2004:
Having received a two-volume biography of Buddha in the mail Marx referred to it as "An Important Work"
Below is the transcript of an interview with the Dalai Lama who refers to himself as 'half buddhist half marxist' : The video adds further detail on his views on Capitalism Socialism and Marx.
Q: You have often stated that you would like to achieve a synthesis between Buddhism and Marxism. What is the appeal of Marxism for you?
A: Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes--that is, the majority--as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair. I just recently read an article in a paper where His Holiness the Pope also pointed out some positive aspects of Marxism.
As for the failure of the Marxist regimes, first of all I do not consider the former USSR, or China, or even Vietnam, to have been true Marxist regimes, for they were far more concerned with their narrow national interests than with the Workers' International; this is why there were conflicts, for example, between China and the USSR, or between China and Vietnam. If those three regimes had truly been based upon Marxist principles, those conflicts would never have occurred.
I think the major flaw of the Marxist regimes is that they have placed too much emphasis on the need to destroy the ruling class, on class struggle, and this causes them to encourage hatred and to neglect compassion. Although their initial aim might have been to serve the cause of the majority, when they try to implement it all their energy is deflected into destructive activities. Once the revolution is over and the ruling class is destroyed, there is not much left to offer the people; at this point the entire country is impoverished and unfortunately it is almost as if the initial aim were to become poor. I think that this is due to the lack of human solidarity and compassion. The principal disadvantage of such a regime is the insistence placed on hatred to the detriment of compassion.
The failure of the regime in the former Soviet Union was, for me, not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.
Send the following message to the Peruvian President:
"President Garcia: Oil drilling and logging in uncontacted tribes' territories could wipe the Indians out. Please protect these peoples' right to live in peace and security – stop the loggers and oil companies from entering their land."
More information in the video below.
Click here to sign the petition and read more or follow the link at the end of the video.