The death toll from historic floods in Europe is rising and hundreds are unaccounted for. The BBC’s Jenny Hill reports. “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” delivers the latest news and original reporting, and goes beyond the headlines with context and depth. Catch the CBS Evening News every weekday night at 6:30 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network and at 10 p.m. ET on CBSN.
More than 120 people have died and hundreds are still missing after record rainfall caused the worst flooding in parts of Western Europe for many decades.
In Germany dozens of people were unaccounted for, with the Chancellor Angela Merkel describing the floods as a catastrophe.
Torrential rain has also devastated parts of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Survivors have described the terrifying speed at which water levels rose.
Some politicians in Germany say the extreme weather is the result of global warming and they’re calling for more urgent action to counter climate change.
Clive Myrie presents BBC News at Ten reporting – from Jenny Hill in Erftstadt, Germany – Anna Holligan in the Dutch town of Valkenberg – and chief environment correspondent Justin Rowlatt on the threat posed by climate change.
Human food systems are evolving simultaneously in two opposite directions on Earth. One direction is evolving toward high-tech/petro-intensive agriculture. The other direction is moving toward soil-restorative and solar sustainable techniques and technologies. Only this second direction holds promise for the long-term survival of human civilizations within the enduring perameters of Earth’s ecosystem.
The first direction is currently by far the most prevalent and profitable and is favored by nation-states, international organizations and corporations on all levels. The tragedy is that this approach is destructive of the top soil, water resources and biologically diversity that resilient agricultural systems require to sustain complex civilizations. Moreover, its continued and expanded dependence upon the subsidies from fossilized carbon will ultimately assure its collapse. Humankind now lives in a rapidly changing environment which itself is substantially the result of an abrupt shift in Earth’s climate regime resulting from the excessive combustion of terrestrial carbon in our petro-dependent civilization. A global food system that has come to depend upon non-renewable energy sources will ultimately not be renewed.
By contrast, the soil-restorative and regenerative agricultural technologies that are emerging as an alternative to petro-intensive agriculture hold the only realistic hope for sustaining the human prospect in the future. In addition to assuring a reliable food supply for humans themselves it re-inserts the entire human endeavor within Earth’s bio-geo-chemical cycling processes and builds the long term capacity of soils and global biological systems to sequester the excessive atmospheric carbon that is currently destabilizing Earth’s climate regime.
For related historical and ecological background material see:
￼Dr. There are two paths to the future of our food and farming. The first path is made by walking with nature, co-creating and co-producing with sensitivity, intelligence and care with diverse species, the living earth and her complex web of life. This is the path of life which has sustained humanity in its diversity over millennia. Each community and culture has co-evolved its own distinctive path according to its climates, soils and biodiversity, and contributed to the diversity of food and farming systems. The diversity of cultures of food and agriculture are united through the common and perennial principles on which life is based.
Today these common principles practised by diverse schools of ecological agriculture–organic farming, permaculture, biodynamic farming, natural farming, etc.–are referred to as Agroecology. This is the path to the future. The second path is the industrial path based on fossil fuels and poisons.
This path is the path of death. It goes against the principles of nature and life. It violates the principle of diversity and imposes monocultures and uniformity. It violates the principle of giving back and extracts from nature and farmers, disrupting ecological sustainability and social justice. It is the path to biodiversity extinction and climate catastrophe, of destruction of small farms and displacement of farmers, and the spread of hunger, malnutrition and chronic diseases. Walking further and faster down the path of extinction is not an intelligent choice. Ecological agriculture is an ethical, ecological and survival imperative.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned scholar and tireless crusader for economic, food, and gender justice. Dr. Shiva was trained as a physicist, and later shifted her focus to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which was dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement in India to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, and to promote organic farming and fair trade. In 2004, in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K., she started Bija Vidyapeeth (Earth University), an international college for sustainable living in the Doon Valley in Northern India.
Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Forbes magazine in November 2010 identified Dr. Vandana Shiva as one of the top Seven most Powerful Women on the Globe. Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, the UN’s Global 500 Roll of Honour, and The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity in 2016.
The 2021 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2021) highlights the remarkably high severity and numbers of people in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or equivalent in 55 countries/territories, driven by persistent conflict, pre-existing and COVID-19-related economic shocks, and weather extremes. The number identified in the 2021 edition is the highest in the report’s five-year existence. The report is produced by the Global Network against Food Crises (which includes WFP), an international alliance working to address the root causes of extreme hunger.
The EU is planning to ditch fossil fuels under new plans, resolving to end the sale of petrol-powered cars. However, going green will come at a hefty price: new tax on certain goods coming into the EU will be used to support local firms to make the switch to cleaner energy.
The share of people who are undernourished was derived from the World Bank, World Development Indicators and the UN FAO State of Food Insecurity 2017. Global figures from 2005 onwards are from the UN SOFI (2018) report.
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.
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