Daily Archives: April 11, 2015

Living on Earth: Bill McKibben on Earth Day and the Power of Protest

Divest Harvard sit-in (Photo: 350.org; CC BY 2.0)

Earth Day is typically seen as an occasion to take action to help the environment, to ride your bike to work or pick up litter along rivers and streams. But environmental writer turned activist Bill McKibben tells host Steve Curwood we need to take to the streets together to solve the massive problem of climate change.


CURWOOD: From the Jennifer and Ted Stanley Studios in Boston and PRI, this is Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. Writer Bill McKibben is the award-winning author of the End of Nature and many more books, who’s now better known as the founder of the climate change advocacy group 350.org. As Bill has changed his focus from page to picket line, he’s gone to jail protesting the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House, and toured dozens of college campuses in the push to get endowments and pension funds to stop investing in fossil fuels. And as we approach the 45th Earth Day, Bill McKibben joins us to talk about the state of the environmental movement.

MCKIBBEN: Earth Day’s interesting because the most important one by far was the first one. I mean, I’m not sure any more is a very important moment in the year, but the very first one could not have been more important. In 1970, 20 million Americans went into the streets. That was about one American in ten of the then population, and that was absolutely enough to absolutely transform the political landscape. It may have been the highest participation in any protest in American history, and what it meant was, for the next 4 or 5 years, everything with the word environment in it got passed in Washington. Richard Nixon, who was as un-environmental a human being as it’s possible to imagine, he signed the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, all because he knew that there was this tide of people who had been in the streets and were ready to go back, who were demanding action.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Historian vs The Future and “The Great Transition” | EV & N – 182 | CCTV

YouTube version

The case for a global fossil-fuel divestment movement has been put most strongly by Bill McKibben in his speech in Stockholm, Sweden on the occasion of receiving the Right Livelihood Award.

* * *EV&N-182-Historian

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Chevron Whistleblower Videos Show Deliberate Falsification Of Evidence In Ecuador Oil Pollution Trial

Chevron has already lost the lawsuit filed against the company by a group of Indigenous villagers and rural Ecuadorians who say Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, left behind hundreds of open, unlined pits full of toxic oil waste it had dug into the floor of the Amazon rainforest.

That hasn’t stopped the oil titan from attempting to retry the case, though, in both the court of public opinion and a New York court, where it counter-sued the Ecuadorian plaintiffs under the RICO Act, claiming their original lawsuit was nothing more than extortion.

But new videos released by an anonymous Chevron whistleblower undermine the company’s entire defense in the original suit as well as its RICO counterattack.

Chevron’s defense in the Ecuador pollution case hinges on the company’s assertion that, before leaving the country when its partnership with state-owned Petroecuador ended in the early 1990s, Texaco remediated a portion of the 350 drill sites and more than 900 associated waste pits, as per its agreement with the Ecuadorean government.

…(read more).



Uploaded on Apr 1, 2015

Full interview includes a great deal of personal information (full names of family members, etc.) that does not need to be made public.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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What is a Moral University in the 21st Century? — Jeffrey Sachs

April 2nd, 2015

Speech at Columbia University,  March 30, 2015

I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak today on the question “What is a Moral University in the 21st Century?” I want to thank Dr. Robert Klitzman, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Masters of Bioethics Program at the Columbia University Medical Center, for taking the initiative to call the faculty together to examine this question. And I want to thank our many colleagues who responded to that call. I hope that today’s lecture will help us to move forward not only in debating the question but also in helping Columbia University to be a moral university. As I will describe, I believe that we share the task of building a moral community, not so much in Kant’s sense that we have the duty to do so, but in Aristotle’s sense that by doing so we will flourish as a community and as individuals within it.

In one sense it should be obvious to all of us that questions of this University’s moral code are with us every day in a staggering number of ways. Consider some of the issues faced by the members of the Columbia University community in recent years. Should Columbia University divest from fossil fuels? How should Columbia University handle allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault? How should the University discipline students in cases of cheating and plagiarism? What does Columbia owe to the community in Morningside Heights and Manhattanville? How should Columbia manage the intellectual property developed on the campus? Should it make drug patents that it holds available to the public? Should University researchers use animal subjects in their research, and if so, under what conditions? Who should gain admission to the University? Those with top test scores; children of alumni; children of wealthy donors; students of color; American or foreign students? Should Columbia boycott Israel or other countries because of their human rights policies? Which donor money should the university accept and which should it refuse, if any? Should the University invite speakers notorious for their hate speech, in the service of free speech, or does this legitimize hate? Should faculty be free to offer their services to Wall Street; the CIA; ExxonMobil; or anybody else of their personal choice? And if so, are the limits of those choices completely personal, up to the 1-day-a-week consultancy reserved for faculty, and with suitable disclosure as might be required?

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Hurricane Sandy – What Really Happened (Documentary)

Richard Dunn

Published on Jun 14, 2013

This documentary is for educational purposes only.

DISCLAIMER: This video contains copyrighted material and is used for educational purposes only. I make no claim to any material used within the video. All copyrighted materials belong to their respective owners.

“This video is fair use under U.S. copyright law because it is (1) non-commercial, (2) trans-formative in nature, (3) uses no more of the original work than necessary for the video’s purpose, and (4) does not compete with the original work and could have no negative affect on it’s market.”

Please also check out the following article on Hurricane Sandy labelled “Hurricane Sandy, Weather Warfare?” – http://weatherwarfare.worldatwar.info… – Was Hurricane Sandy another attack on the city of New York?

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Kip Andersen of Cowspiracy Live on Breaking the Set

The Plant Effect

Published on Nov 10, 2014

Co-director of ‘Cowspiracy’ Kip Andersen talks with Abby Martin of RT about the meat industry being the biggest contributor to climate change and why environmental groups rarely take it on.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Floods that foiled new year – UK

Guri Leo

Published on Mar 7, 2014

Documentary on devastating floods, storms & sinkholes in U.K. due to the rapid climate change and heavy rains.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Bangladesh will disappear I BBC – Hot Planet

Azib Uddin

Published on Dec 26, 2012

Duration: 1 hour
[28:24] “Bangladesh already suffer severe flooding in river erosion and is forecast to be devastated by climate change within 40 years. Its likely that 35million Bangladeshis will become climate refugees, at risk from famine, desease and political unrest”

[55:10] “Bangladesh, where millions of people are susceptible to that sort of sea level rise”

Professors Iain Stewart and Professor Kathy Sykes take a timely look at global warming ahead of the Copenhagen summit, exploring the world’s leading climate scientists’ vision of the planet’s future.

Scientists predict that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, Earth will be one degree warmer within 10 years, two degrees warmer within the next 40 years and three degrees or more warmer before the end of the century. If the Earth’s temperature increases to three degrees warmer than the average pre-industrial temperature, the impact on the planet will be catastrophic. Across the Earth, ways of life could be lost forever as climate change accelerates out of control. This isn’t inevitable, however: climate change is not yet irreversible.

Ingenious technology and science is currently being devised, advanced and tested around the world which could offer solutions for a sustainable future. The question that remains is, can the world embrace and implement them on a large enough scale within an effective timeline? If widespread damage to human societies and ecosystems is to be prevented, global temperature rise must be slowed and eventually reversed.

Hot Planet offers an accurate visual prediction of the planet’s future, based on the findings of over 4,000 climate scientists.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Missoula (Outburst) Floods – The Mystery of the Megaflood (Spokane Floods or the Bretz Floods)


Published on Nov 13, 2014

Little by little evidence mounted for an old theory that was rejected by the scientific establishment. It involved glaciers, volcanoes, a relatively minor river and a prodigious amount of water.
It was the greatest flood of the past two million years, and it posed a giant scientific riddle. A maverick geologist became convinced that thousand-foot-deep floodwaters had scoured out vast areas of the American northwest near the end of the last ice age. Mainstream scientists scorned his theory while he searched patiently for answers to what could have triggered such an inconceivably violent event. Finally, an ingenious solution silenced the skeptics: traces of an enormous ice dam half a mile high, which had blocked a valley in present-day Montana and created an enormous lake behind it. With the help of stunningly realistic animation, this documentary takes viewers back to the Ice Age to reveal what happened when the dam broke, unleashing a titanic flood that swept herds of woolly mammoth and everything else into oblivion.

In geomorphology, an outburst flood, which is a type of megaflood, is a high-magnitude, low-frequency catastrophic flood involving the sudden release of water. During the last deglaciation, numerous glacial lake outburst floods were caused by the collapse of either ice sheets or glaciers that formed the dams of proglacial lakes. Examples of older outburst floods are known from the geological past of the Earth and inferred from geomorphological evidence on Mars. Landslides, lahars, and volcanic dams can also block rivers and create lakes, which trigger such floods when the rock or earthen barrier collapses or is eroded. Lakes also form behind glacial moraines, which can collapse and create outburst floods.

The Missoula Floods (also known as the Spokane Floods or the Bretz Floods) refer to the cataclysmic floods that swept periodically across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Gorge at the end of the last ice age. The glacial flood events have been researched since the 1920s. These glacial lake outburst floods were the result of periodic sudden ruptures of the ice dam on the Clark Fork River that created Glacial Lake Missoula. After each ice dam rupture, the waters of the lake would rush down the Clark Fork and the Columbia River, flooding much of eastern Washington and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon. After the rupture, the ice would reform, creating Glacial Lake Missoula again. Geologists estimate that the cycle of flooding and reformation of the lake lasted an average of 55 years and that the floods occurred several times over the 2,000-year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Jim O’Connor and Spanish Center of Environmental Studies scientist Gerard Benito have found evidence of at least twenty-five massive floods, the largest discharging ≈10 cubic kilometers per hour (2.7 million m³/s, 13 times the Amazon River). Alternate estimates for the peak flow rate of the largest flood include 17 cubic kilometers per hour and range up to 60 cubic kilometers per hour. The maximum flow speed approached 36 meters/second (130 km/h or 80 mph).

Global Climate Change
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Environment Justice

Chile – March 26, 2015 Atacama Flood

D. Nelson Altamirano

Published on Mar 29, 2015

The Atacama Desert is known as the driest place in the world, and it has been for millions of years. As a result, the terrain is hard and rocky because rainfall isn’t frequent or abundant enough. Without soil and plant cover to help absorb, rainfall just runs off instantly as torrents of water.

On March 26, 2015 the Atacama Desert received the equivalent of 7 years of rain in just 12 hours.

Many around the world ignore the magnitude of this catastrophe. The purpose of this video is to inform you.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice