Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mexico: Death over dams

"I was there with him in the front seat of the truck when they killed him with a single shot to the head," Eugenia said. "We were coming back from a demonstration against the building of the dam, and our neighbor Cirilo Cruz, whom everyone knew was a supporter of the dam, just shot him." Eugenia’s two school-age children stood by her feet, seemingly unaware of the meaning and weight of her words.

Dubbed "La Parota" after a tall leafy tree native to the banks of the Papagayo River, the dam she spoke about is being aggressively pursued by Mexico's Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). It would displace as many as twenty-five thousand people.


It is widely believed that the people supporting the dam are being paid off by the CFE. Cirilo Cruz Elacio, the man now in prison for having killed Tomás Cruz Zamora, is believed to be one of the first to have been paid between $100 and $300 to lend his support for the dam. The CFE is also accused of holding rushed and illegal assembly meetings to generate votes in favor of the dam, and of using excessive police force to prevent villagers from demonstrating against it.

Go to the original article (headline links) for full story and photo slideshow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Religion and the environment

Are humans an equal part of a greater organism which they should therefore respect, serve and nourish? Or is the very purpose of that organism to serve and nourish the human race?


"Christianity [...] Not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends."

[...Islam:] "Man should not abuse, misuse, or distort the natural resources as each generation is entitled to benefit from them but is not entitled to "own" them in an absolute sense."

[...] "In the Buddhist mythological Eden, the earth flourishes naturally, but greedy desire leads to division and ownership of the land that in turn promotes violent conflict, destruction, and chaos. In short, in the Buddhist myth of first origins, human agency destroys the natural order of things."

Needles to elaborate on, religion influences both peace, war and the environment. It appears this CNN article ranks Christianity as the least environmentally friendly religion while Buddhism and Hinduism ranks highest.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

World's poor are up in arms over food prices

People are rioting in the streets over the spiralling cost of food, but what is causing the crisis?


There were street riots over the price of basic foods in Mexico and India last year, and in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week. China and Russia have slapped controls on food prices to prevent unrest and inflation. Low-income Americans are feeling the pinch of 10 per cent increases for bread, 19 per cent for milk. Italians boycotted pasta for a day last September in protest at a 7 per cent price ...

Read New Scientist / World's poor are up in arms over food prices (subscription required).

Bakery poster on rising bread pricesDanish bakery poster on rising bread prices. Doesn't mention "climate change" or "global warming" but blame the Chinese for buying our food, two years of bad harvests, biofuel, droughts in Southern Europe and empty granaries.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Climate impacts of agriculture and mitigation potential

A very interesting report by Bellarby, Foereid, Hastings and Smith published by Greenpeace: Cool Farming: Climate impacts of agriculture and mitigation potential.

Agriculture is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Greenpeace’s new report Cool Farming details the destructive practices resulting from industrial agriculture and presents workable solutions to help reduce its contribution to climate change. These practical changes will benefit the environment as well as farmers and consumers throughout the world. This report details for the first time all direct and indirect contribution agriculture has on climate change. It was written by Professor Pete Smith, a lead author on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change, and his research team at the University of Aberdeen.

It may seem a bit off topic for this blog. But agriculture is ecosystem management. Obviously, bad management may change the ecosystem in unfavorable ways - like polluting it, degrading it or feed climate change. Which may in turn lead to conflict. Or perhaps sustainable management could help stop wars both future and present?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bahrain environmentalists protest the mass destruction in Iraq

"War is the first enemy of the environment [...] The use of depleted uranium affects those living and future generations. Many children are being born deformed or are getting cancer because of the depleted uranium. [...] We lit candles to remember victims of Bush's terror against the environment and humanity"

- Khawla Al Muhannadi

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Report: Peak Oil And The Australian Army

This paper discusses the impact of the peaking and then decline in world oil production — commonly known as Peak Oil — on the Australian Army from a Raise, Train and Sustain perspective. Peak Oil is described as the implications of Peak Oil at a global and national level. The likely impacts of Peak Oil on the Australian Army are then analysed against four of the inputs to military capability, being personnel, equipment, training and doctrine. The paper suggests a number of actions that can be taken to reduce the impact of Peak Oil on the Australian Army.

Read 37 page PDF-format report by Major Cameron Leckie.

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