Daily Archives: January 29, 2016

Map: How Zika Spread | FRONTLINE

January 29, 2016

by Katie Worth Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships •
Ly Chheng
Dan Nolan

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate Change – System Change

Some Resources for Self-Education…

System Change Not Climate Change

Posted on September 21, 2015 | SCNCC is a joint Canadian and US coalition of ecosocialists and fellow travellers united in the belief that capitalism is driving climate change and that a radical international grassroots movement can stop it. Green capitalism is a dead end. So … Continue reading →

Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Posted on April 23, 2015 |PECS is a trans-disciplinary Future Earth project working with place-based, long-term social-ecological case studies The Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), is a 10-year Future Earth project that is also jointly sponsored by ICSU and UNESCO. PECS aims to …

System Change Not Climate Change

Posted on September 21, 2014 | Points of Unity The current ecological crisis results from the capitalist system, which values profits for a global ruling elite over people and the planet. It must therefore be confronted through an international mass movement of working people around the … Continue reading →

Climate Activists need to demand system change!

Posted on August 26, 2014 |

http://climate-connections.org/2014/08/25/climate-activists-need-to-demand-system-change/ System Change is needed. Without that, positive impacts on climate change will be a pipe dream The United Nations is gearing up for the COP 20 Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru in December of this year, and the … Continue reading →

System Change, Not Climate Change! The Ecosocialist Contingent

Posted on March 15, 2013 |http://ecologicalsocialists.com/about/ A grouping of socialist organizations and supporters, dedicated to fighting global warming and its chief cause, capitalism. Ecosocialist Conference Our Statement System Change, Not Climate Change! a Statement from the Ecosocialist Contingent for the Forward on Climate, February 17th, … Continue reading →

Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis: Climate Change Could Be Catalyst to Build a Fairer Economic System

Posted on October 15, 2015 |Democracy Now! Published on Oct 5, 2015 South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is calling this weekend’s torrential rainfall that has triggered flooding and led to eight deaths in the Carolinas a once-in-a-millennium downpour. According to the National Weather Service, the … Continue reading →

What if we change – documentary on ecosystem restoration

Posted on July 7, 2015 whatifwechange Published on Oct 18, 2013 All across the world, people are making efforts to restore and protect the ecosystem they are part of. Video reporters of the initiative What if we change followed the work of local communities and … Continue reading →

Climate Change Causing Massive Shifts in Marine Ecosystems

Posted on June 14, 2015 TheRealNews Published on Jun 13, 2015 Richard Kirby of the Marine Biological Association says the worst case scenario is a greater disruption to marine life than has occurred in the last 3 million years Global Climate Change Environment Ethics Environment … Continue reading →

Phase Change and the Global Energy System

Posted on December 23, 2014 | TheSmithSchool Published on Dec 23, 2014 The entire global energy system is undergoing profound and rapid change. But while energy policy research often focuses on the economics of energy production, it can often ignore or assume away the importance of … Continue reading →

South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum – December 8. Lima-Peru | International Ecosystem Management Partnership

Posted on November 6, 2014 | Wednesday, Nov 5th, 2014 The South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum (SSCCC Forum) will take place in the interval of COP20 of UNFCCC in Lima, Peru, on December 8, and registrations are now being accepted. The Forum will bring together … Continue reading →

Where Can We Turn to Learn?

A Citizen’s Guide to Selected Resources for
Self-Instruction and Exploration of

Transition Studies


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Citizens from around the world are turning their attention to transition studies.  The urgency of planning for the transitions in our lives is now becoming widely apparent across all cultures, all languages and all national boundaries.

The reason is simple.  All over the world modern civilization depends upon non-renewable resources.  It follows that our civilization will not be renewed — that is to say, it will not survive — unless it can transform itself soon and build itself instead upon principles and practices of renewable energy and material recycling.  There are major transitions required to move our civilization from where we are to where we need to be in order to survive.  Transition studies involves the intentional focus on how to transform our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors from what we are doing now to what we will need to do in order to survive.

What follows below is a gradually growing list of resources available for global citizens to use in crafting their own approaches to the transitions they and their communities must now undertake in their own personal and collective lives.

View introductory videos:



Where Can We Turn to Learn? The Struggle for Truth in the Anthropocene (in Face of Official Disinformation, Corporate Propaganda and Pervasive Public Mistrust) | EV & N 362 | CCTV

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Copenhagen set to divest from fossil fuels | Environment | The Guardian

The mayor of Denmark’s capital launches a push to withdraw the city’s £700m investment fund out of coal, oil and gas holdings.

Cyclists cross a bridge from Islands Brygge in Copenhagen with the Oersted gas fired power station in the distance. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arthur Neslen

Friday 29 January 2016 04.54 EST

Copenhagen’s mayor has announced plans to divest the city’s 6.9bn kroner (£700m) investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

If his proposal is approved at a finance committee meeting next Tuesday, as expected, the Danish capital will become the country’s first investment fund to sell its stocks and bonds in fossil fuels.

“Copenhagen is at the forefront of world cities in the green transition, and we are working hard to become the world’s first CO2 neutral capital in 2025. Therefore it seems totally wrong for the municipality to still be investing in oil, coal and gas. We must change that,” the city’s mayor, Frank Jensen, told the Danish newspaper, Information, which first reported the story.

“I think this move sits well with Copenhagen’s desire for a green profile for their city,” he added.

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James Randerson
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It is unclear exactly how much of the city’s money pot is currently tied up in equities and bonds in the dirty energy sector.

A council spokesperson told the Guardian that no decision had yet been taken as to where exactly the withdrawn monies would be reinvested.

The divestment initiative began with a small leftwing party on the Copenhagen council, before being taken up by Jensen, a social democrat.

Last year, Oslo became the first capital city to divest from fossil fuels, when it ditched $7m of coal investments, to join a growing movement of cities that have pledged to combat climate change. The world’s largest coal port, Newcastle in Australia, has also made a divestment commitment.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Europe’s recent summers were the ‘warmest in 2,000 years’ – BBC News

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The summer of 2015 saw severe heat waves over Europe for the third time in 15 years

The past 30 years in Europe have likely been the warmest in more than two millennia, according to new research.

The study used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years.

Scientists say that past natural variability in temperatures was greater than previously thought.

As a result, climate models may be underestimating the frequency and severity of heat waves in the future.

According to the study, Europe has seen an increase in summer warming of 1.3C between 1986 and 2015.

In this period there has also been an increase in severe heat waves, most notably in 2003, 2010 and 2015.

The 2003 event was linked to the extra deaths of thousands of elderly people due to heat stroke, dehydration and increased air pollution.

Extending the record

In 2014, researchers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the period between 1983 and 2012 was likely the warmest 30 years of the last 1,400 in the Northern Hemisphere.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

What You Need to Know About Zika And Climate Change | Climate Central

RECIFE, BRAZIL – JANUARY 26: Dr. Angela Rocha (L), pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital, speaks to Ivalda Caetano (R), grandmother of Ludmilla Hadassa Dias de Vasconcelos (2 months), C, who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus outbreak is likely to spread throughout nearly all the Americas. At least twelve cases in the United States have now been confirmed by the CDC. Brazil…

By Brian Kahn ublished: January 28th, 2016

The rapid rise of the Zika virus is turning into a full-on public health crisis. The virus, transferred via specific types of mosquitoes, “is now spreading explosively” across Latin America, according to Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO).

There could be up to 4 million cases right now, just eight months after the first case was reported in Brazil. There are 23 countries where the virus is active.

A number of factors have had to line up for the Zika virus — a disease that’s been associated with birth defects — to spread so far and wide so quickly, but chief among them is heavy rain and heat. Climate change could play a future role in this virus’ — as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses — spread as it creates conditions more favorable to the mosquitoes that transmit it.

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Heavy rain and warm temperatures have helped the mosquitoes carrying Zika thrive. There have been heavy rains in southern Brazil and Uruguay this winter (and really for much of the year). Those rains can translate to standing water on the ground, which is crucial mosquito breeding habitat. El Niño has a strong influence on that region and it’s likely playing a role in increased risk of the Zika virus there.

The outbreak initially started in the northeast of the country, however, which usually dries out during El Niño (this year has been no exception). It might seem counterintuitive but drought is also prime time for mosquitoes. There’s a notable link between an uptick in dengue fever — another disease transmitted by mosquitoes that transmit Zika — and drought because of how people store water in the region.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Is El Niño to Blame for the “Explosive” Zika Virus Outbreak?

Scientists say a “perfect storm” of events has triggered the terrifying epidemic.

—By Tim McDonnell

| Thu Jan. 28, 2016 6:00 AM EST
A worker in Brazil disinfects the famous Sambadrome as part of the fight against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which spreads the Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses. Marcelo Sayao/ZUMA

The outbreak of Zika virus in Latin America is “spreading explosively,” the director of the World Health Organization warned at an emergency meeting in Geneva on Thursday. Last week, the epidemic took a surreal turn when health officials in El Salvador advised women there not to get pregnant for the next two years. Similar, though less extreme, warnings have been issued by Brazil, Colombia, and several other countries. The virus has infected more than 1 million people during the current epidemic, and health officials say it may be linked to a spike in microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with unusually small heads.

Behind the outbreak is a complex combination of environmental and economic factors. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Zika? Zika was first identified in monkeys in Uganda’s Zika Forest in 1947. In the years since, the disease has slowly migrated eastward around the globe, following oceanic trade routes with the help of infected sailors and mosquitoes trapped in the holds of ships. The first serious outbreak occurred in 2007 in Micronesia, where up to 60 people were infected, followed by cases in French Polynesia and on other Pacific islands. The current outbreak, which started late last year in Brazil, is the most serious yet and the first one in the Americas.Zika is carried by Aedes aegypti, the same species of mosquito that carries dengue fever, yellow fever, and chikungunya. Compared with those other viruses, the symptoms of Zika are very mild, most often resembling a bad cold or the flu. Deaths from the virus are rare. People can contract the virus if they are bitten by a mosquito that has previously drawn blood from another infected person; apart from mother-to-fetus transfer, there’s no evidence yet of person-to-person transfer. There is no vaccine or treatment.

Why is Zika a concern for pregnant women? In pregnant women, the virus could be the cause of a rapid uptick in cases of microcephaly, which causes incomplete brain development. In Brazil, cases of microcephaly rose 30-fold between 2014 and 2015, from 147 to nearly 4,000 cases, just as the Zika outbreak was taking place. That apparent correlation led to the precautionary pregnancy advisories, but scientists have yet to definitively confirm their suspicion that Zika is directly to blame for microcephaly.


What’s the cause of the outbreak? According to Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, the outbreak was triggered by “a perfect storm” of biological, economic, and climatic events. Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that can carry Zika, has been growing in population in Latin America since first being introduced to Brazil via trans-Pacific shipping routes in the late 1980s. Brazil is also now in the middle of a severe economic downturn, while the government is in disarray as President Dilma Rousseff faces calls for impeachment for her involvement in a corruption scandal involving Petrobras, the state oil company. That has left the country with a weakened public health system that is struggling to effectively eradicate dangerous mosquitoes. This week, Brazil’s health minister admitted he was “badly losing the battle” against mosquito-borne illnesses.

But the most important factor, Garrett said, is a mosquito population boom triggered by above-average rainfall, a product of this year’s exceptionally strong El Niño in the Pacific. Over the last month, flooding in Brazil, Paraguay, and elsewhere has been the worst in half a century, forcing 150,000 people to evacuate their homes. Those conditions are perfect for mosquito breeding.

“One of the hallmarks of these mosquitoes is they like very clean water,” Garrett said. “So rainfall is perfect for them. If it creates puddles, or accumulates in tires or any sort of containers, that will be a breeding site.”

Combine that with steamy summer temperatures and lots of bare skin, and it’s easy for a mosquito-borne disease to spread quickly. Along with the Zika outbreak, Garret said, dengue is also surging.

What about climate change? For environmentalist Bill McKibben, government warnings against getting pregnant were a shocking preview of the climate change dystopia just around the corner.

“Think about that. Women should avoid the most essential and beautiful of human tasks. It is unthinkable,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian on Monday. “Obviously we need to face up to the fact that pushing the limits of the planet’s ecology has become dangerous in novel ways.”



…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Zika – Recent Media Coverage

(CNN)The Zika virus is “is now spreading explosively” in the Americas, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday, with another official estimating between 3 million to 4 million infections in the region over a 12-month period.

“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, told her organization’s executive board members. “We need to get some answers quickly.”

…(access more sources)

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Engaging Republican candidates in climate conversations

A group is trying to kick-start the conversation between Republican presidential candidates and voters about climate change and energy.

Friday, January 29, 2016
By Erika Street Hopman

DOZIER: “Rank-and-file Republicans really want to see Republican solutions, conservative free market solutions, put forward … and a meaningful conversation on what’s going to fix the problem, rather than a continuation of the debate around the things that have divided us for so long.”

That’s James Dozier, executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a nonprofit that tracks voter views on climate and energy.

His group is helping kick-start that conversation in New Hampshire and South Carolina by briefing the Republican presidential candidates about where voters stand on climate and energy issues.

Then they’re engaging volunteers to ask the candidates at their town halls and forums how they will protect our climate, energy, and economic security once elected. The responses, which are posted online, vary widely.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Zika virus in Brazil may be mutated strain

January 27, 2016 —The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to a surge in cases of birth defects in Brazil, and is spreading in other countries in the southern hemisphere. Flaminia Catteruccia, associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the virus may have adapted to the human environment and mutated.

What do we know about the Zika virus?

Zika is very similar to other viruses that are transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, including dengue and chikungunya. It was first discovered in 1947 in monkeys in Africa, and there have been several outbreaks since then. But it has not been studied much because, normally, the symptoms are quite mild—fever, headaches, joint pain. People get over it in a few days.

It seems like there is something different about the virus in the current outbreak in Brazil. It has coincided with a dramatic rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that results in babies born with unusually small heads. The increase in babies born with this condition has been more than 20-fold compared with previous years—from maybe 150 cases to more than 3,000 cases in a few months.

What are the major research questions around Zika?

If Zika is the causative agent behind the surge in microcephaly—and possibly also Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease of the nervous system now on the rise among adults in Brazil—this may demonstrate that the virus has adapted to the human environment and may have mutated to become more pathogenic to humans. A correlation between Zika and these conditions has not been confirmed, but previous studies have shown that it can be passed from mothers to babies in utero and also that it can infect the nervous system. What is worrying is that we don’t know what may have changed, and why.

There need to be genetic studies to understand the origin of this virus. It appears that there are two different strains, one originating in Africa and one from Asia. The outbreak in Brazil seems to be from the Asian strain, which may have evolved to be better at invading nerve cells or at evading the immune system.

Should pregnant women in the U.S. be concerned about Zika?

Other viruses in the same family, like dengue and chikungunya, have not proven to be a major problem in the U.S. Most of the cases of these diseases have been imported by travelers. There have only been a few cases of direct transmission of those two diseases from one person to another through a mosquito. These examples are reassuring. For Zika, it should be the same. The only warning from the Centers for Disease Control has been to advise pregnant women not to travel to affected countries. The situation here is quite different from Brazil and Colombia, where the governments recently advised women to delay getting pregnant until the summer when the outbreak is predicted to wane.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice