Friday, April 30, 2010

Group of retired US military leaders campaign for climate bill

33 retired US generals and admirals have written a strong appeal for a climate change bill.

Climate change is threatening America’s security. The Pentagon and security leaders of both parties consider climate disruption to be a “threat multiplier” – it exacerbates existing problems by decreasing stability, increasing conflict, and incubating the socioeconomic conditions that foster terrorist recruitment. The State Department, the National Intelligence Council and the CIA all agree, and all are planning for future climate-based threats.

America’s billion-dollar-a-day dependence on oil makes us vulnerable to unstable and unfriendly regimes. A substantial amount of that oil money ends up in the hands of terrorists. Consequently, our military is forced to operate in hostile territory, and our troops are attacked by terrorists funded by U. S. oil dollars, while rogue regimes profit off of our dependence. As long as the American public is beholden to global energy prices, we will be at the mercy of these rogue regimes. Taking control of our energy future means preventing future conflicts around the world and protecting Americas here at home.

It is time to secure America with clean energy. We can create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy while mitigating the effects of climate change across the globe. We call on Congress and the administration to enact strong, comprehensive climate and energy legislation to reduce carbon pollution and lead the world in clean energy technology.

My bold added in quote. See more at Found via Climate Progress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blood Diamonds at TH!NK3

Conflict diamonds have now inspired (at least) two articles by my fellow TH!NK3'er Brazilian Luan Galani.

Kimberley Process at stake
Blood diamonds continue to be mined and sold from Marange (Zimbabwe) – which contains the largest known concentration of diamonds in the world – and find their way into jewellery stores worldwide. Kimberley Process is failing in its core mission of keeping blood diamonds out of international markets. Everything indicates that the beneficiaries of this diamond wealth are largely members of the military and officials in President Robert Mugabe's inner circle. Even so, Kimberley Process members insist on not suspending Zimbabwe or banning the sale of its stones.

Diamonds: crime and punishment
As highlighted in my last post, the Kimberley Process (KP) is failing in its mission of keeping blood diamonds out of international markets. To demand far-reaching reforms of this international body first it is needed to better understand how it works and what the backdrop is. That will be my purposes with this post.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Water Wars at TH!NK3

Today there are two water war articles at TH!NK 3 Developing World: WATER IS ANOTHER MATTER by Hanna Clarys and Are you ready for Water Wars? by Hemant Jain.

The latter is an illustration and a couple of links.

Hanna's article is about the situation in Palestine. A few excerpts:

Palestinians have three main water sources, namely the river Jordan, the mountain aquifer (which is water underneath the West Bank) and the coastal aquifer (water underneath Gaza and the coast). These water sources are shared with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.

When Israel occupied the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza strip in 1967 the common water sources were controlled by the Israeli government.

Israel is building a barrier through Palestinian territory. But even more strikingly: this wall-fence-roadblock-thing is annexing the most fertile lands and the best water wells, which means they are now out of Palestinian reach.

Pleas do go to the TH!NK3 site to read the whole thing... or better yet, just subscribe to the RSS right away :-)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Mekamui Message: No More Mining, No More Bloodshed (TH!NK3)

Bougainville Copper Limited's Panguna mine closed in 1989 after an armed struggle against the company and the government of Papua New Guinea. BCL is controlled by mining giant Rio Tinto.

Clive was a fighter for the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. Locals claim that up to 20,000 people died during the secessionist struggle, many from health related problems. He is an independence activist, documentary maker, singer and writer. He blogs at Mekamui.

Mekamui Message: No More Mining, No More Bloodshed from Kevin Rennie on Vimeo.

Read the whole article by Kevin Rennie at!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Press clips: Water, pollution, oil, diamonds...

Spending my time brewing up rants for Ecowar news stories get a little less attention. But here are a bunch from my news alerts that I couldn't just delete. Some of the usual suspects.

First diamonds: Dealers try to thwart conflict diamond trade in Zimbabwe, but loopholes persist

The World Diamond Council (WDC) has recently urged that action be taken to end human rights abuses being committed in the Marange diamond fields of Zimbabwe. Allegations against the Zimbabwean military of forced labor, child labor, the killing of more than 200 people, beatings, smuggling, and corruption have arisen, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has asked diamond retailers to publicly commit to not purchasing or selling diamonds from Zimbabwe.

African oil. Niger Delta first: Nupeng Condemns Killing of Oil Workers and Q+A-The implications of bomb attacks in Nigeria's oil delta.

Killings, bombs, the president hospitalized, a cease fire broken, worker's unions complaining.

Secondly, Sudan hangs two for killing Chinese oil workers.

Sudan executed two people convicted of killing four oil workers, two of them Chinese, in one of the country's most energy-rich regions, state media reported on Wednesday.

So, fighting over oil and diamonds but regarding the "Water War" it's a story of peace effort I got: US to engage India, Pakistan to sort out water disputes

"We want to help countries avoid conflict over water. The potential for conflict over it exists not only in Pakistan and in India, but in other places as well," said Maria Otero, the US undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs.

Discussion of this topic: Are future wars going to be fought over water or will leaders be able to resolve conflicts as they have many times in the past?

In years to come, unless everyone comes together to help those who are now in need of pure water, no treaty will hold back people who are dying of thirst. Ultimately, governments will not have control through written agreements when billions of people are vying for water that will quench the thirst of a few million. The time is now as far as educating people all over the world how to manage the water available to them. Education is the best weapon during any conflict. It is the only weapon that just might keep a world from fighting over the one thing that is absolutely necessary to sustain life.

Meanwhile, more people are getting killed by water, rather than over water: Dirty water kills more people than war: UN and Polluted water kills more people than war: UN.

At least 1.8 million children under the age of five die every year from water-related diseases, or one every 20 seconds, the report said, and over half the world’s hospital beds are occupied with people suffering from illnesses linked to contaminated water.


“If the world is to thrive, let alone to survive on a planet of 6 billion people heading to over 9 billion by 2050,” UNEP’s Steiner said, “we need to get collectively smarter and more intelligent about how we manage waste, including waste water.”

Oh by the way, air pollution kills too: Air pollution is 'killing thousands of Londoners'.

Early results of a study commissioned by the mayor suggest 4,300 Londoners will die prematurely every year as a result of poor air quality.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Air Force Jet Takes Off with Sustainable Fuel Source has an article with images of this story. It is just one of several green Pentagon projects.
"A huge milestone was recently reached at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida when an A-10C Thunderbolt jet took to the air running its engine on plant based fuel. The Air Force is the largest consumer of petroleum in the Department of Defense — they guzzle 2.4 billion gallons per year — and is hoping to wean themselves off foreign oil in the coming years. This flight was the first step in proving to their critics that measures can and will be taken to clean up the energy that fuels their aircraft.

Hydrotreated Renewable jet fuel made from the camelina plant was used during the flight. The camelina plant is weed-like, needs little resources to grow and isn’t a food source, making it a great option for biofuel.


Air Force officials have announced that they’d like to have half of their total fleet running on alternative fuels by 2016 and make sure that all of their aircraft have been certified to operate on those fuels by 2012."
"Granted, all of this is currently going towards greening the military — an oxymoron if we’ve ever heard of one. But one must still remember that research projects developed in the military have often changed the world for the better."

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