Daily Archives: December 4, 2018

David Attenborough says the U.S. is ‘out on a limb’ on climate change

Global News

Published on Dec 3, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump is “out on a limb” in his attitude to climate change as nearly every other government, as well as an angry younger generation, are demanding action, British naturalist David Attenborough said on Monday at U.N. climate talks in Poland.

Arnold vs. Donald: Schwarzenegger takes shots at Trump during COP24

Global News
Published on Dec 3, 2018

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he wishes he could travel back in time like the cyborg he played in “The Terminator” so he could stop fossil fuels from being used.

“If we would’ve never started in that direction and used other
technology, we’d be much better off,” the actor and former
California governor said December 3 at the start of a U.N. climate
conference in Poland.

“The biggest evil is fossil fuels: it’s coal, it’s gasoline, it’s the natural gas,” he told conference delegates.

Schwarzenegger also insisted that the United States was “still in” an international accord to curb global warming despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the agreement.

Calling Trump “meshugge” – Yiddish for “crazy” – for abandoning the accord, Schwarzenegger said the 2015 agreement has widespread support at the local and state levels even if the federal government isn’t on board.

Delivering climate action at COP24 | Emissions Gap Report | Climate & Health |  And Finally… Weekly Update 4 December

Blog: 3 key ingredients could combine at COP24 to deliver real action on climate change

As the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24 to the UNFCCC) gets underway in Katowice, Poland, Alyssa Gilbert, Director of Policy and Translation at the Grantham Institute who is leading the Imperial College London delegation at the summit, explains why she is rooting for its success more strongly than ever.

Find out more about the Imperial delegation at COP24.

…(read more).

World Soil Day: Soil Health is Key to Environmental and Human Health – F ood Tank

Contributing Author: Emily Payne

Soil is more than just dirt—the state of our soils impacts everything from human health to climate change. Today, scientists, research organizations, and individuals across the globe are celebrating World Soil Day to recognize how healthy soils are vital for the future of the food system and a sustainable planet.

“Land and soils constitute the foundation for sustainable agricultural development, essential ecosystem functions, and food security,” according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). “They are key to sustaining life on Earth.”

And many of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals reflect this sentiment: soil health is key to environmental and human health.

According to the FAO, the world’s topsoil could be completely eroded within the next 60 years if current soil degradation rates continue. And in 2017, U.N. officials called for stronger management of the planet’s soils as a critical natural resource that could “make or break” climate change response efforts.

“When it comes to combating climate change, we are also confronting a dual threat that a focus on soil health will solve for us,” says Dr.

Kristine Nichols, Former Chief Scientist at the Rodale Institute. “If we can design agricultural production systems that are using biologically-based practices to regenerate soil, we will sequester more carbon (i.e. build soil organic matter). This will also reduce nitrous oxide emissions by reducing nitrogen fertilizer use … These systems seem to be more resilient against climatic uncertainty.”

This year, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture & Food (TEEBAgriFood) presented a new framework to evaluate the food system through a more holistic lens. With it, scientists, researchers, and individuals can look at the full range of impacts, both positive and negative, of the food chain—from the farm’s soil to the food’s disposal.

Food systems today are being viewed through a narrow and distorting lens called per-hectare-productivity. In order to tackle the issues of climate change as well as global health and food security, every eater—from policymakers, academics, and scientists to eaters and consumers—needs to recognize the interconnected nature of all these systems.

How can a more holistic framework support your work towards a more sustainable food system for all? Please share your thoughts, concerns, or questions in the comments.


Slavery and the Culture of Taste: Simon Gikandi


It would be easy to assume that, in the eighteenth century, slavery and the culture of taste–the world of politeness, manners, and aesthetics–existed as separate and unequal domains, unrelated in the spheres of social life. But to the contrary, Slavery and the Culture of Taste demonstrates that these two areas of modernity were surprisingly entwined. Ranging across Britain, the antebellum South, and the West Indies, and examining vast archives, including portraits, period paintings, personal narratives, and diaries, Simon Gikandi illustrates how the violence and ugliness of enslavement actually shaped theories of taste, notions of beauty, and practices of high culture, and how slavery’s impurity informed and haunted the rarified customs of the time.

Gikandi focuses on the ways that the enslavement of Africans and the profits derived from this exploitation enabled the moment of taste in European–mainly British–life, leading to a transformation of bourgeois ideas regarding freedom and selfhood. He explores how these connections played out in the immense fortunes made in the West Indies sugar colonies, supporting the lavish lives of English barons and altering the ideals that defined middle-class subjects. Discussing how the ownership of slaves turned the American planter class into a new aristocracy, Gikandi engages with the slaves’ own response to the strange interplay of modern notions of freedom and the realities of bondage, and he emphasizes the aesthetic and cultural processes developed by slaves to create spaces of freedom outside the regimen of enforced labor and truncated leisure.

Through a close look at the eighteenth century’s many remarkable documents and artworks, Slavery and the Culture of Taste sets forth the tensions and contradictions entangling a brutal practice and the distinctions of civility.

George Mumford Honored by the Garrison Institute

Published on Dec 4, 2018

Mindfulness advocate and performance expert, George Mumford, was honored by the Garrison Institute during their 2018 Insight + Impact Awards.

Paul Hawken Honored by the Garrison Institute

GarrisonInstitutePublished on Dec 4, 2018

Environmentalist, author, and activist, Paul Hawken, was honored by the Garrison Institute during their 2018 Insight + Impact Awards.

President Xi Jinping attends welcome ceremony in Portugal

New China TV
Started streaming 8 minutes ago

President Xi Jinping attends official welcoming ceremony hosted by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon.

Sir David Attenborough: Climate change ‘our greatest threat’ – BBC News

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, Katowice
3 December 2018
The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years.

The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The meeting is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.

Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.

“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

The naturalist is taking up the “People’s Seat” at the conference, called COP24. He is supposed to act as a link between the public and policy-makers at the meeting.

“The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now,” he said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said climate change was already “a matter of life and death” for many countries.

He explained that the world is “nowhere near where it needs to be” on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

But the UN Secretary-General said the conference was an effort to “right the ship” and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.

…(read more).

Genetically Modified Babies are Here, Are We Prepared?