And in Germany, police have raided activists’ blockades in the ancient Hambach Forest, where activists have been camped out for years trying to stop the ongoing construction of the Hambach coal mine, the largest open-pit mine in Europe. The activists say at least 10 people were arrested in the police’s massive eviction operation. Democracy Now! visited the “occupied forest” during the U.N. climate conference last year. This is one of the activists, named Indigo.
Indigo: “We are in a treehouse village in an occupied forest. It has been occupied for over five years now. And the occupation has the aim to prevent the explanation [sic] of the mine. So, it’s not just about protecting the forest, but about fighting global warming, because this region of lignite mining and lignite power plants is the biggest source of CO2 emission in whole Europe.”
Amy Goodman: “And what does the company—how has the company responded to this occupation?”
Indigo: “Well, they say what they do is legal and what—because it’s like legalized by democracy, so they say what they do is right and what we do here is illegal. And so, they asked the police to evict us, what they have done in the past. But for us, that’s a strong sign that the problem is the system we live in. So, if it’s legal for a company to destruct our whole planet, that means that it’s time to also resist against state power.”
In economic news, a news study by Americans for Tax Fairness finds the Koch brothers and their business empire could save as much as $1.4 billion on income taxes each year from President Trump’s tax overhaul, which was passed in December. The Koch brothers lobbied heavily to pass the tax cuts. They are already among the richest people in the world, each of them worth over $50 billion.
In California, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to end the celebration of Christopher Columbus Day. This makes San Francisco the latest of more than 50 cities across the U.S. to stop honoring the Italian explorer who massacred and enslaved Arawak indigenous people and opened the door to the European colonization of the Americas. Instead, San Francisco, like other cities, will now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October.
What will the university of the future look like? How will technology change the face of education? Fred Swaniker, Founder of African Leadership Academy, argues that in Africa, limitations such as money, time and available classrooms provide an opportunity to re-imagine education and to build the university of the future for Africa and beyond. For more information, visit poptech.org.
Before he hit eighteen, Fred Swaniker had lived in Ghana, Gambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. What he learned from a childhood across Africa was that while good leaders can’t make much of a difference in societies with strong institutions, in countries with weak structures, leaders could make or break a country. In a passionate talk Swaniker looks at different generations of African leaders and imagines how to develop the leadership of the future.
The MIT Sustainability Summit is an annual event that has grown to include more than 350 attendees ranging from professionals, academics, and students. The past Summits have featured discussions with thought leaders and expert practitioners such as Robert Eccles (Arabesque Partners), Tammie Arnold (Generation), Fedele Bauccio (Bon Appetit), Ray Offenheiser (Oxfam America), Jeremy Grantham (GMO), Jim Hanna (Starbucks), Mindy Lubber (Ceres), Nancy Gillis (GSA), Rick Ridgeway (VP Patagonia) and many more.
Currently, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is considering India’s application for membership. In this context NSG members are reportedly discussing membership criteria for states not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), including a requirement for clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities. In this paper, John Carlson examines India’s Separation Plan and safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and shows that they do not meet this standard – that current arrangements create an unverified grey zone between military and civilian material, and are not sufficient to verify that India is not using safeguarded material to benefit military purposes.
In light of these deficiencies, it seems unlikely there will be consensus within the NSG to admit India, unless the Separation Plan and the agreement are amended. The situation also has implications for Pakistan, which has raised concern about the strategic threat posed by India’s unsafeguarded materials and facilities and is also seeking to join the NSG. The paper discusses steps that should be taken to create a clear and verifiable separation between civilian and military nuclear materials and activities in India and to protect the integrity of IAEA safeguards.
From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493–an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow’s world.
In forty years, Earth’s population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups–Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug’s cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces–food, water, energy, climate change–grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author’s insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
Calendar – Click on Date for links entered on that Day