Daily Archives: December 30, 2014

Fostering a Climate for Racial Justice | Ian Monroe

Ian Monroe Founding CEO, Oroeco  Posted: 12/30/2014 4:32 pm EST

Climate change is not primarily an environmental issue.

It’s taken me a decade of working on energy and development in 20 countries to realize this. Yes, over half of Earth’s species are in danger of extinction from our current pace of climate disruption. But what makes the imperative to immediately act on climate most compelling is what a warmer world means for people, particularly people living in poverty and people of color. To live the dream that we are all created equal, and ensure #BlackLivesMatter as much as any others, we need to place solving climate at the forefront of our minds.

Climate change is the greatest racial and social justice issue of our time.

That’s not an opinion, that’s what the numbers tell us based on the best available science from thousands of the world’s top researchers. It can seem counterintuitive, but global warming is already contributing to extreme weather of all varieties: extended droughts, more intense flooding, record heat waves, historic blizzards and deadly hurricanes. Many scientists have documented how these extremes are already decreasing food production and disrupting water supplies, with much more expected to come. Add in sea level rise, expanded disease ranges, declining fisheries from acidifying oceans, and our propensity for violence linked to warmer temperatures and limited resources, and we have a recipe for humanitarian disaster beyond anything our civilization has known.

The billions of people most at risk from climate chaos are those with the least resources to adapt, who almost invariably are people of color. The Global Humanitarian Forum estimates that climate change is already causing over 300,000 deaths per year, with 99 percent of these deaths linked to poverty in the developing world. A separate DARA report commissioned by 20 governments estimates that climate and other pollution from fossil fuel use will cause over 100 million deaths by 2030; that’s more than WWI and WWII, combined. Nearly all these deaths will likely also be poor people of color, and billions more will survive to be trapped in deeper cycles of poverty. This “climate gap” of unequal impacts linked to race and poverty exists in America as well, displayed vividly in the racial disparity in Hurricane Katrina’s death and destruction, and connected to thousands of climate-migrants fleeing drought, disease and violence.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

BBC News – Cargo ship carrying ‘700 migrants’ docks in Italy

30 December 2014 Last updated at 23:34 ET

An image grab taken from a video made available by the Italian military shows the Moldovan-flagged ship Blue Sky M in the Mediterranean Sea
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A cargo ship said to be carrying 700 clandestine migrants which was taken under Italian control at sea has docked in the Italian port of Gallipoli.

The Blue Sky M had apparently been abandoned by its crew and at one point seemed to be heading directly towards the Italian coast on autopilot.

Reports suggest Syrians and Kurds are among those aboard the ship.

Photos posted by the local Italian Red Cross show the ship in port with people crowding a deck.

According to one unconfirmed report, there are several dead bodies aboard the vessel and some of the people on the ship are suffering frostbite.

Italy has had to deal with a massive surge in migrants – many of them from the Middle East and the Horn of Africa – setting off on boats with hopes of reaching Europe.

The most common sea route for the clandestine voyages has been from Libya.

...(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Schumacher Center For New Economics

To educate the public about an economics that supports both people and the planet. We believe that a fair and sustainable economy is possible and that citizens working for the common interest can build systems to achieve it. We recognize that the environmental and equity crises we now face have their roots in the current economic system.

We combine theoretical research on economics with practical application, deliberately focusing on transformative systems and the principles that guide them.


To create a new economics, we must first fall in love with its vision. Andrew Kimbrell

E. F. Schumacher Annual Lectures — Established in 1981, the collected Schumacher Lectures capture some of the most visionary voices that speak to the urgent need to transform our economic, social, and cultural systems in ways that support both the planet and its citizens.

Schumacher Library — Housed in a 2,000 square foot building on the side of Jug End Mountain in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, this research library includes the books and papers of E. F. Schumacher and other new economists as well as collections on worker ownership, community supported agriculture, local currencies, the commons, and appropriate technology. The Library’s catalogue is searchable online.

Events – Lectures, conferences, and seminars on themes of a new economics.

Finding Focus Points for Transition

As proponents of a transition to a new economy we have identified the following focus points for our work:

Local Economies

The Local Economy movement is considered by many to be the engine of the new economy. Vibrant, energetic, and self-empowered, it is characterized by the vision and creativity of entrepreneurs partnering with concerned citizens to develop community supported industries. Blossoming out of the local food movement, it is growing to include multiple kinds of local production to meet local needs.

Sharing the Commons

When rights to earth, air, water, and fire (minerals and fossil fuels) – our common heritage – are distributed via the market, private owners collect usage fees, thus profiting from our collective need for access to these rights, contributing to the inequity in income distribution, and encouraging exploitation and environmental degradation. Community land trusts and other new land-tenure methods place the natural world in a commons and allocate its use via a social contract based on ecological principles. The rent paid for use of the commons is then shared for community benefit.

Ownership and Work

When businesses are owned by capital instead of by workers and other stakeholders, profits flow to those who already have capital, furthering the gap between rich and poor. New ownership models – including consumer and producer coops, the Mondragon cooperatives of Spain, the northern Italian flexible manufacturing networks, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and multiple-stakeholder ownership – help address this problem by turning hired labor into co-owners.

Transforming Money

Centralized currency issue serves centralized production whereas regional currencies represent a democratization of currency issue, supporting local businesses and educating consumers about how their money circulates in the local economy.


Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Scientist Terrified of Geoengineering Technology Being Developed Under Guise of Halting Global Warming

By Jonathan Benson
Global Research, December 30, 2014

A prominent climate scientist who’s actively involved in developing technologies to thwart the natural weather patterns of the globe says he’s disturbed by the prospect of having to make such drastic changes to the common order of things in order to fight so-called “global warming.”

Dr. Matthew Watson from Bristol University in the UK told the media recently that he’s “terrified” by many of the geoengineering projects currently in the works to thwart man-made climate change, which is still being hawked by many in mainstream science as a threat to humanity.

Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, Dr. Watson explained how futuristic technologies like spraying chemical particles into the sky to reflect sunlight back into space have the potential to disrupt how rain falls, how plants grow and how life lives.

Right now, Dr. Watson is working on a $2.8 million project of this exact nature. The plan is to inject sulfur particles into the earth’s atmosphere with the stated goal of blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth, ostensibly to keep the earth from getting too warm.

“Personally, this stuff terrifies me,” Dr. Watson told reporters. “Whilst it is clear that temperatures could be reduced during deployment, the potential for misstep is considerable.”

“By identifying risks, we hope to contribute to the evidence base around geoengineering that will determine whether deployment, in the face of the threat of climate change, has the capacity to do more good than harm.”

Geoengineering will likely cause irreversible damage to planetary ecosystems

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Top Climate Movement Victories of 2014

Ted Glick | December 30, 2014 9:28 am
There is a lot to feel good about as far as the U.S. climate movement and what we accomplished in 2014. Without question, we are heading into 2015 with some wind at our back and, to continue the relevant metaphor, the sun to light our way forward.

More than 400,000 people marched in the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

In the order that I think were most important, here they are:

1. People’s Climate March, Sept. 21: How could anything else be more important than this? Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in New York City for action on climate, with many tens of thousands more around the U.S. and the world doing so in solidarity. Scores of constituencies were represented, from famous people to U.S. Senators to communities of color to trade unionists to a multi-faith religious contingent to tens of thousands of youth and so many more. Nearly everyone involved had positive things to say about it afterwards. And the next day, thousands took nonviolent direct action as part of Flood Wall Street.

2. Renewable Energy Growth: Wind and solar energy, in particular, just keep growing and growing. An analysis put out by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) right before Christmas reported that newly installed solar and wind electrical generating capacity increased between January – November 2013 and January – November 2014 from 4,166 megawatts (MW) to 4,728 MW, while new capacity for natural gas fell from 6,674 MW in 2013 to 5,513 MW in 2014 and coal fell from 1,543 MW to 106 MW. These figures are illustrative of what has been happening for several years in the U.S., and the percentage of new renewables worldwide is even better, more like 70-80 percent of all new electrical generating capacity.

3. New York Bans Fracking: What a great end-of-year development, brought about without question because of the strength of the popular movement against fracking throughout the state. From the close-to-200 local town, city and county resolutions and ordinances against fracking, to the year-after-year birddogging of Governor Cuomo, to the anti-fracking uprising at the Democratic Party primary ballot box this September, New Yorkers showed that there “ain’t no power like the power of the people,” if it is organized, visible and active.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Pope Francis to Escalate Demand for Climate Action in 2015

Anastasia Pantsios | December 30, 2014 10:41 am
This past year, Pope Francis has spoken out powerfully numerous times about the urgent need to address climate change and the morality of doing so.

Pope Francis has been outspoken about the need to address climate change, and Vatican sources says he will become even more forceful on the issue in 2015. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Now, ahead of next year’s critical UN climate summit meeting in Paris, he’s expected to ratchet up his advocacy. The Guardian of London is reporting that in the coming year, he is planning to release a message for Catholics, call a summit of the world’s major religions to jointly address climate change and give a speech to the UN general assembly. Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said the Pope hopes influence the Paris climate summit participants to take decisive action.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told London-based Catholic development agency Cafod. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

He’ll apparently meet with other faith leaders to lobby government officials at the UN general assembly meeting in New York in September at which countries will be announcing new anti-poverty and environmental goals. The Pope has been regularly connecting the two, saying things like “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it” and “The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Nukes Fade As Wind and Solar Soar

Paul Brown, Climate News Network | December 30, 2014 10:25 am
With nuclear power falling ever further behind renewables as a global energy source, and as the price of oil and gas falls, the future of the industry in 2015 and beyond looks bleak.


are increasingly skeptical about putting their money into nuclear—whereas renewables promise an increasingly rapid return on investment, and may get a further boost if the governments of the world finally take climate change seriously.

Renewables now supply 22 percent of global electricity and nuclear only 11 percent—a share that is gradually falling as old plants close and fewer new ones are commissioned.

New large-scale installations of wind and solar power arrays continue to surge across the world. Countries without full grids and power outages, such as India, increasingly find that wind and solar are quick and easy ways to bring electricity to people who have previously had no supply.

Developed countries, meanwhile, faced with reducing carbon dioxide emissions, find that the cost of both these renewable technologies is coming down substantially. Subsidies for wind and solar are being reduced and, in some cases, will disappear altogether in the next 10 years.

Speed of installation

The other advantage that renewables have is speed of installation. Solar panels, once manufactured, can be installed on a rooftop and be in operation in a single day. Wind turbines can be put up in a week.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, continues to get more expensive. In China and Russia, costs are not transparent, and even in democracies they hard to pin down. But it is clear that they are rising dramatically.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice