Daily Archives: April 16, 2013

Averting Catastrophic Global Warming | ELAW Spotlight


April 16, 2013 in Climate Change

Dr. James Hansen is one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists calling for urgent action to avert catastrophic global warming. Last week, he announced that, at age 72, he is retiring from his position as Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies to devote more time to activism to limit greenhouse gases. Dr. Hansen’s decision to devote his efforts to full-time activism was cause for me to reflect on my meeting with Dr. Hansen in 2010 and ELAW’s role in averting catastrophic global warming.

I had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Hansen when introducing him at a conference here in Eugene to educate public interest lawyers in the U.S. and around the world about using legal tools, such as an extension of the Public Trust Doctrine, to induce courts to compel governments to take stronger action to avert climate change. At the end of the conference, I asked Dr. Hansen the following question: If lawyers are successful in convincing courts that they have a duty to compel their governments to take stronger action on climate change, then what actions should the lawyers be asking for? After thinking for a while, Dr. Hansen said two things are needed: 1) a price on carbon emissions high enough to change the way countries generate energy; and 2) a ban on new coal-fired power plants. (read more)

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Electronic Waste in Ghana


Uploaded on Aug 4, 2008


Ghana is the latest place where we have discovered high tech toxic trash causing horrendous pollution. Our analysis of samples taken from two electronic waste (e-waste) scrap yards in Ghana has revealed severe contamination with hazardous chemicals.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Scraplife – E-waste in Pakistan


Uploaded on Feb 18, 2009

Photographer Robert Knoth in photo-essay about e-waste in Pakistan.

Greenpeace tracked a shipment of e-waste from Europe to its final resting place – Pakistan. This is the story of what happens to that e-waste and the people it affects.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

60 minutes – e-waste (extract)


Uploaded on Nov 27, 2011

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

E-waste movie – short version – who’s dying for your iPad – the truth of ewaste


Uploaded on Jun 11, 2011

There’s a risk you’re sending toxic garbage overseas when you take it to goodwill or others. The truth about e-waste is that a majority of it goes to a chain of middle men who sell and resell to China, Africa, and India. Our dead toxic computer wind up dumped or burned in poor countries with no EPA. These clips come from BAN.ORG who gave me rights to their 2 movies. For over 100 articles, movies and galleries on ewaste see www.teachchange.org/ewaste

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

E-Waste: Dumping on the Poor 电子垃圾污染穷国


Uploaded on Sep 12, 2007

Asia Society’s multimedia look at electronic waste shipped overseas and the toxic effect it has on places such as Guiyu, China–known as “trash town.” With an interview with Michael Zhao of the Center on US-China Relations at Asia Society.

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Clearing House for Environmental Course Material
Cyprus International Institute (CII) (Harvard School of Public Health) http://Cyprus-Institute.us
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

Where does e-waste end up?


Uploaded on Feb 22, 2008


E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention.

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Prof. Jennifer Francis (2013)


Published on Feb 17, 2013

Superb educational video summarizing climate change evidence through 2012. Click on blue time codes to advance to these topics:

Note: The original 112-minute conference video of Jennifer Francis’s presentation is the official product of StormCenter Communications Inc. It is posted on their StormCenterInc youtube channel at


Prof. Francis’ talk was filmed at the 24th annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, held in Breckinridge (Colorado) January 2013. You can view all videos from that conference and download the ppt presentations at http://www.stormcenter.com/wxcsummit/

ADVANCE TO TOPICS by clicking on the blue time codes below:

00:35 – Scientists and the public now link extreme weather events to CO2 rise.

07:19 – Overwhelming evidence that climate change is human-caused.

14:23 – “We have changed Mother Nature’s deck of cards.”

15:32 – Effects of increased CO2 levels on the Arctic: “Arctic Amplification.”

23:49 – Understanding the jetstream.

24:44 – A warmer Arctic causes the jetstream to weaken and meander.

29:21 – The jetstream now “blocks” over Greenland in summer.

30:03 – Greenland ice melt is increasing.

30:55 – Examples of extreme weather events correlated with a weak, meandering jetstream.

34:53 – Superstorm Sandy’s connection to a warming, melting Arctic.

37:18 – Summary and conclusions: “The public is listening now.”
Note: This video is a composite of six excerpts drawn from the original, “Weather and Climate Summit – Day 3, Dr. Jennifer Francis” (published on Youtube 25 January 2013). Freelance youtuber Connie Barlow (aka “ghostsofevolution”) produced this richly educational and illustrated video as a public service that is unaffiliated with the host organization (StormCenter Communications, Inc). Feel free to use or download this version for increasing public awareness of the fact and scale of ongoing climate change. Please credit “StormCenter Communications, Inc” as the original source of the full-length video, and reference their conference website:


Two still photos were added into this new video version that did not also appear in the original video:

SUPPLEMENTAL VIDEO: Educators note that you can find an even more instructional video by Prof. Francis of the same material (and with even more charts, and of high resolution). She presented this 42-minute program as a webinar-skype on 30 Oct 2012 for an Arctic climate seminar at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks). Here is the webinar archive link:
Then scroll down by date to her title, “Wacky Weather and Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice: Are They Connected?” I recommend, however, that students first watch the “Climate Change and Extreme Weather” video that I posted, as only this video lets the viewer actually see Dr. Francis presenting. The “Wacky Weather” video is entirely a slide show, with a few embedded videos. You never get to see Jennifer Francis, and you have to concentrate a lot more to follow along. But it is superb resource for in-classroom or home-study for college-level students.

NEW RESEARCH by J. Francis (and colleagues) on effects of winter sea ice loss in Arctic: Published 12 March 2013: “Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss”: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/014036/article

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Jennifer Francis – Understanding the Jetstream


Published on Feb 26, 2013

A short review of basics on how the jetstream and Rossby waves work, and some emerging indications that the dynamics may be changing in a warming world.

It is an approximately 5 minute excerpt from

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

“Sons and daughters of the earth”: Indigenous communities and land grabs in Guatemala


by Global Justice Ecology Project | April 16, 2013 · 9:17 am

By Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, April 11 2013. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Upside Down World

In the last ten years, the expansion of corporate sugarcane and oil palm plantations in northern Guatemala has encroached on the lands of Maya Q’eqchi’ indigenous people—many of whom fled to this region during the country’s 36-year genocidal war. These plantations have already displaced hundreds of families—even entire communities—leading to increased poverty, hunger, unemployment, and landlessness in the region. The companies grabbing land are controlled by European-descendent Guatemalan oligarchs who are benefitting from rising global commodity prices for food, animal feed, and fuel (biodiesel and ethanol). In the face of violent expulsion and incorporation into an exploitative system, peasant families are struggling to access land and defend their resources as the basis of their collective identity as Q’eqchi’ peoples or R’al Ch’och (“sons and daughters of the earth”).

Guatemala’s “Flex Crop” Boom

The convergence of multiple global crises—financial, energy, food, and environmental—in recent years has triggered a rush of corporate investments in land-based resources such as food, feed, agrofuels, timber, oil, and minerals. These resources have (re-)gained momentum as “global hubs of capital accumulation.” In Guatemala a mix of agrarian, financial, and industrial oligarchy-controlled corporations, occasionally allied with transnational investors or financiers, have been aggressively grabbing control over land for sugarcane and especially oil palm plantations. These “flexcrops”—crops that can be diverted towards many uses depending on changing market conditions—are rapidly expanding.    ….(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV