Newsletter No. 58 - August 2017
Links to other Newsletters can be found here.
1. Facing the Future
2. We the People of the World Must Act, If Our Leaders Won't
3. A Few Examples of People Responding
4. Three Wrong and Silly Backward Mistakes
1. FACING THE FUTURE
Here are six more warnings to add to those in my last newsletter.
1(a) Viral essay: The Uninhabitable Earth. "It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas - and the cities they will drown - have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough."
See David Wallace-Wells at www.ecologise.in/2017/07/15/viral-essay-uninhabitable-earth.
1(b) Earth's Economy Glorifies Waste, Exploitation, Debt, Expediency, & Magical Thinking. "It seems Earth's dominant species has selected the most destructive policies and mindsets to glorify and worship. Earth's current civilization is doomed, with near-zero prospects for the necessary transition to a more sustainable, less exploitive arrangement".
1(c) "Humanity has just three years left to accelerate action and drastically lower greenhouse gas emissions before risking a climate-safe world. That's according to a new commentary by a group of six experts, including former executive secretary of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research".
1(d) "Our waters have borne the brunt of global-warming for decades, but dying corals, extreme weather, and plummeting fish stocks are signs that it can handle no more. And people are already experiencing direct consequences, such as more extreme weather events, says a new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature."
1(e) Remember the Population Bomb? It's Still Ticking. "In tiny Lesotho, a landlocked kingdom in southern Africa, about one-third of its estimated two million people spent much of the past two years in danger of starving because of the lingering effects of a drought. That is just the latest woe afflicting this cursed nation, and just one example of how fragile the future seems for Africa, large parts of which face the prospect of new famine and, in consequence, further catastrophic displacement within and among their growing populations."
1(f) Climate change, soil degradation and rising wealth are shrinking the amount of usable land in Africa. But the number of people who need it is rising fast.
2. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MUST ACT, IF OUR LEADERS WON'T
14 years have passed since the British Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, offered us Our final century. "I think the odds are no better than 50/50 that our present civilisation will survive to the end of the present century". See www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk2000/newsmakers/ 2976279.stm.
And it is 8 years since James Lovelock gave us The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning - www.books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Vanishing_Face_ of_Gaia.html?id=pgaKp7wzNIQC&redir_esc=y.
If the leaders of our countries pay no attention to those warnings, we the people of the Earth must respond.
3. A FEW EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE RESPONDING
3(a) The Ecological Land Co-operative works towards a living, working countryside.
"Our mission is to provide affordable opportunities for ecological land-based businesses in the UK. We support rural regeneration by developing affordable sites for farming, forestry and other rural enterprises which are viable and ecologically beneficial".
Their current 2017-2020 Business Plan sets out out more about their work. See www.ecologicalland.coop.
3(b) The Farmer Is The Future - Julian Rose. "At a farmer's fair in Krakow, South Poland, in early May, I spoke to a Romanian peasant. He was demonstrating clay pot making using a foot treadle to spin the plate upon which the pots were being formed by his deft hands.
"I remarked how attractive I found this technology due to its lack of reliance upon any electrical power source. He nodded, saying 'No other power required'. The conversation swung to the need to remain independent; independent of state and industry controlled sources of power.
"Because being dependent upon centralised power, be it energetic or political, means always owing something to someone or something; whereas to be free of such a burden enables one to form strategic relations where one pleases.
"This form of sharing creates a natural form of interdependence with fellow humans, rather than dependence on governments and corporations. He nodded again. ..... After a little he turned towards me and said 'The farmer is the future.' Now this struck me as a very profound statement ....... ."
3(c) Earth Trust. The Earth Trust has a history of 50 years. It was originally set up as the Northmoor Trust for Countryside Conservation in 1967. It changed its name in 2011.
It now manages three community meadows: Wallingford Castle Meadows and Riverside Meadows in Wallingford, and Mowbray Fields in Didcot; Thrupp Lake at Radley, a beautiful wetland site that is one of the county's top bird sites; and the Abbey Fishponds in Abingdon.
"At Earth Trust we believe that the best way to look after the places we love is to change the way we live. We provide special, life changing experiences and reconnect people to the natural world. The Earth Trust is all about people and the way we feel, think and act towards the environment."
For much more information see www.earthtrust.org.uk.
3(d) Localise West Midlands works towards local supply chains, money flow, ownership and power for a more just and sustainable economy. They are a thinktank, campaign group and consultancy.
Mission statement: Localise West Midlands is a not-for-profit organisation which exists to promote the environmental, social and economic benefits of:
- Local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains
- Linking local needs to local resources Development of community and local capacity
- Decentralisation of appropriate democratic and economic power
- Provision of services tailored to meet local needs.
3(e) There are also already, of course, a very large number of people responding in other ways, including those in co-operative activity - www.uk.coop/about/about-co-operatives-uk.
4. THREE WRONG AND SILLY BACKWARD MISTAKES
4(a) Plans for a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria. "A new proposal could lead to a nuclear power plant in the UK that literally shoots rainbows into the sky." See www.inhabitat.com/upcoming-nuclear-power-plant-in-the-uk-may-shoot-giant-rainbows-into-the-sky.
4(b) The overwhelming negatives of the Hinkley Point deal. "The Chinese and French have made British consumers the equivalent of a gargantuan payday loan. The case for the project, says the NAO, was "marginal" and the deal "not value for money". That is auditor-speak for crazy." See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/hinkley-point-cancel-theresa-may-hs2.
4(c) Widening inequality in wealth. "An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8 2017, the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people." See www.ecologise.in/2017/06/14/now-five-men-own-almost-as-much-wealth-as-half-the-worlds-population.
4 August 2017