Friday, November 02, 2012

Come to Greenland

Island for sale. 2,166,000 km² (mostly still ice). 56,744 inhabitants (many working at minimum wage, animosity towards Greenpeace is legendary).

Watch some of the world's last ice melt to reveal a wealth of riches below. Copper, zinc, iron, gold. Make your investment before it's taken.
Look at all the deposits that have already been found.

Off shore the most daring oil companies are already drilling amidst the fleeing icebergs. Buy your concession now, they are soon sold out.

Look at all the oil and gas extraction licenses that have already been signed.

PS: Yes, it's part of Denmark. But don't worry about the Danes, none of them care the least.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Government soldiers and rebel insurgents are slaughtering hundreds of elephants

Protecting endangered wildlife is not just about donating to WWF, funding parks, keeping endangered lizards as "pets" and abstaining from buying ivory. It's an arms race and it's fighting a war. In 2012 the poachers have gone on blitz krieg killing more elephants than ever before, operating across borders from helicopters and shooting at park rangers who are forced to retreat. And it's not just lawless insurgents who fund their rebellion in ivory trade, troops trained and equipped by the US to combat those very same insurgents have joined the slaughter.

Take a moment to watch this otherwise beautifully produced video from a brutal slaughter of over 300 elephants in Cameroon.

The New York Times / Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits includes a seven minutes video and tells of the same tragic story but this one from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They opened up on us with PKMs, AKs, G-3s, and FNs [...] Most poachers are conservative with their ammo, but these guys were shooting like they were in Iraq. All of a sudden, we were outgunned and outnumbered."
 - Paul Onyango, park ranger.
“An element of our army is involved [...] It’s easy money.”
 - Major Jean-Pierrot Mulaku, Congolese military prosecutor.
"The huge populations in West Africa have disappeared, and those in the center and east are going rapidly [...] The question is: Do you want your children to grow up in a world without elephants?"
 - Andrew Dobson, Princeton ecologist.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Amazonian tribal village razed, 80 people massacred by miners

Several places in the Amazon illegal miners and loggers clash with indigenous tribes in conflict over access to and use of land. "Use of" as in clear cutting, strip mining or chemically polluting. This particular report is a tad more gruesome than most of them. Only three hunters who were away when the village was bombed and sniped from a helicopter survived.
"This is another appalling tragedy for the Yanomami – heaping crime upon crime. All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children. The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity. The mining and logging must be stopped."
 - Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International
"When we heard the first accounts we flew into Parima-B [the closest town] by helicopter with a contingent of military. In Parima we spoke to Yanomami who had walked six days to get to Parima-B to talk to us. In places this remote that is how people communicate."
 - anonymous
"This happened in July but because it takes close to seven days to get there we don't really know what happened. The shaponos – the collective community dwellings – house more than 100 people, so it could be 70 [casualties] or it could be more or less."
 - Livorio Guarulla, Venezuelan governor
"Reports of garimpeiros attacking different communities are becoming more and more frequent, and now we also hear of rivers being poisoned with mercury. We've reported to the authorities but we are so far away that is it all easily forgotten. [...mining activities are on the rise and] have also become more sophisticated. They used to fly in and land in clandestine strips, now they come in helicopters and use huge extracting machinery that is decimating the jungle."
 - Luis Bello, lawyer
Sources: Common Dreams / 'Massacre': Scores of Amazon Indigenous Tribe Members Killed by Miners, The Guardian / Amazon tribe massacre alleged in Venezuela.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Ecowar rages (especially elsewhere)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Greenland to export uranium & rare earth minerals to China?

Perhaps you have already heard oil corporations are looking for oil in the Arctic seas around Greenland. But also the Chinese show some interest in Denmark, Greenland's mineral wealth especially. Greenland holds untouched resources of uranium which pose a dilemma to the nuclear free kingdom. Recently, Hu Jintao visited Denmark and Danish politicians visited China.
"I hope we can soon change the zero tolerance [towards nuclear industries] and have the uranium that we have extracted, instead of being an Arctic open-air museum." - Doris Jakobsen, Greenland politician
"Such production will be a game changer for the otherwise non-nuclear kingdom that is uninformed and virginal in this area. It will raise the kingdom's importance internationally because it will be a [world top-10] producer. Historically we've been spared from considering this." - Cindy Vestergaard, researcher at DIIS
"I don't think there are countries eager to obtain uranium for nuclear weapons use. Despite that uranium could still be spread. But countries that would be interested in uranium for weapons have been able to get it all the time." - Per Kalvig researcher at GEUS
Quick Google Translate aided quotes from / Skal Grønland være storeksportør af uran?

Greenland Mining and Energy Ltd looking for uranium in Narsaq, south Greenland.

"We were allowed to talk about Greenland's autonomy to the members of the local [Tibetan] government and Communist Party, and there was great interest from people in Yushu." - Doris Jakobsen, Greenland politician
Quick Google Translate aided quotes from / Grønlandsk varsomhed over for Kina

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A quite frank comment on climate migration from Israeli expert

Israeli expert says it exactly like he sees it after having researched his country's challenges:

"The migration wave is not a problem for the future. It is today; it is going on now [...] It will just increase from day to day. [...] In India, they shoot; in Nepal, they shoot; in Japan, they shoot [at refugees...] Millions perished along the Sahel [...] It’s the deterioration of Africa [...] I can see how the desert will penetrate slowly to Kiryat Gat, Gaza and Hebron – everywhere [...] If you accept what the scientists are saying, then there will be no question that people will be forced to leave the Negev. [...] Why are they coming to the North? Either because of population explosion or because of water loss [...] This is a microcosm of what is going on between the border of the Mediterranean climate and the semiarid zone. [...] I am one that fights for building fences all around Israeli borders [...] We are an island – we don’t belong to this region, and we have to defend Israel from waves of migration from Egypt from Jordan and maybe from Syria. If we want to keep Israel a Jewish state, we will have to defend ourselves from what I call ‘climate refugees,’ exactly as Europe is doing now [...we should provide the Palestinians and the Jordanians with sources of water] maybe this will bring peace. [...] I have to satisfy the Israeli citizens, to be human as much as I can [...] Whatever I do, we will not be as cruel as Europe. They have huge navies; they sink boats; they send them back."
- Prof. Arnon Soffer

Bold added by me. Although the warning is largely based on indisputable facts I foresee some controverse from certain parts of his comments.

From The Jerusalem Post / Defending Israel’s borders from ‘climate refugees'.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The US of A: Coal and oil right-wing battles life-saving sustainability initiatives in the military. Really.

Even if wars are not all about oil, soldiers have certainly been killed for oil: Up to one in three US casualties has happened at gasoline convoys. Check out how solar panels are saving lives and improving the flexibility of US Marines deep in foreign deserts: Grist / U.S. military kicks more ass by using less fossil-fuel energy.
"Other people are busy saving the planet; this is about saving Marine lives [...] I’d kiss a polar bear if it meant getting one Marine off an IED-filled highway." - Col. Bob Charette, director of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office
Irrespective of one's sentiments towards US soldiers in Afghanistan, the story is a parable for all of society. As the article finishes: "In a time of rising fossil-fuel prices and increasingly apparent climate dangers, the tether of fuel binds all of us — homes, businesses, communities, and whole economies — to a future of vulnerability and instability. Using less energy and generating more of our own is about more than dollars spent or saved. It’s about self-determination. That makes for a more effective military and a more secure, productive society".

You should think the politicians most eager for war would support such initiatives. But no. Because those politicians are at the same time the ones whose careers are sponsored by the existing energy sector hegemony. Read Slate / Why We Need a Greener Military and Wired / Republicans Order Navy to Quit Buying Biofuels for the full story about right wing politicians working hard to pass a law banning military spending on fuels more expensive than conventional oil. But since it is designed to obstruct initiatives to experiment with (currently relatively expensive) biofuels it explicitly omits alternative energy sources based on coal and gas (probably to allow shale gas, fracking et cetera).

In a way it's hard to believe the hypocrisy, the idiocy, the callousness. On the other hand it all makes depressing sense. Strong powers in business and politics accumulate vast fortunes on the people wasting obsolete energy and endangering their lives at home, at work and abroad.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Addition to reading list: Club of Rome author writes 2052 prognosis

In the book "2052," Jorgen Randers, one of the co-authors of "Limits to Growth," issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next forty years. To do this, he asked dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesized those scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.The good news: we will see impressive advances in resource efficiency, and an increasing focus on human well-being rather than on per capita income growth. But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and GDP, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. (Presentation at Google Books)
"We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view [...] It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind [...] We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change. Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052 – we are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans." - Jørgen Randers at presentation of the book
"Now, at age 66, I realize my concerns have been wasted. Not because the global future is smooth and rosy. My concern has been in vain, because it has not had much influence on world events during the generations that have elapsed since I began to worry. [...] Although things will be more or less alright until 2052, the world will in 2052 be destined down the road, I really fear, the road to self-reinforcing climate change and climate disasters in the second half of the century. I certainly don't see a world in a well-planned course towards sustainability" - Jørgen Randers to Danish newspaper Information

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Am I Marxist?

No, I'm not. None the less, allow me to copy/paste some genuine Communist quotes of ecowar relevance:
Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. [...] And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source of all instruments and subjects of labor, as an owner, treats her as belonging to him, his labor becomes the source of use values, therefore also of wealth. [...] precisely from the fact that labor depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labor power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labor. He can only work with their permission, hence live only with their permission.
- Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875
Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. When the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests on the southern slopes, so carefully cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were cutting at the roots of the dairy industry in their region; they had still less inkling that they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water for the greater part of the year, and making it possible for them to pour still more furious torrents on the plains during the rainy seasons. Those who spread the potato in Europe were not aware that with these farinaceous tubers they were at the same time spreading scrofula. Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.
- Engels, The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man, 1876
Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source — next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself.
- Engels, The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man, 1876
Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature.
- Marx, Capital, Volume III, 1894
(Bold added by me.)

Marx and Engels

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Defining Peace" - talk by Zeitgeist's Peter Joseph

The neo-guru of the Zeitgeist movement, Peter Joseph gave a good speech in Israel on 6th of February, 2012. It has been uploaded in its entirety to Youtube.
A highlight at about half an hour into the speech Joseph quotes professor of history Richard A. Gabriel on the historical emergence of warfare. Joseph continues:
...since that time of those early forms of modern civilization there have been thousands of wars. Most of which have to do with the acquisition of resources or territory where one group is either working to expand its power or material wealth or working to protect itself from others trying to conquer or absorb it. And obviously, this is essentially still the same state of affairs today.
"Obviously", Peter Joseph? In all humbleness, you don't prove it. I do :-) Specifically, the emergence of organized (resource) warfare see pages 13-17 of Ecowar - Natural Resources and Conflict. For "proof" you'll have to read chapters 3 and 4 too.

Also consider listening to the post-speech Q&A session. Some of the questions are even interesting.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jacque Fresco, Venus Project interviewed on Russia Today

"The Venus Project is an attempt to bring world peace and all the nations together. If you don't want war, killing, [?] crime you have to redesign the way society works, you have to declare all the Earth's resources as a common heritage of all the world's people [...]

We don't go to another country to bring democracy, we go there for their resources. Oil, metal, cheap labor. We don't go to bring democracy. We took this land [...] we stole it [...then] we put up a sign: 'Thou Shall Not Steal'."

This interview is from February 2010. Scandalously no-one has told me about it a long time ago.

Apparently, Mr. Fresco share the notion that access to natural resources is the need behind many conflicts. He also is a bit of a dreamer and extremely critical of western democracy.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Truck driver busted with stolen glacier - denialism & jokes ensue

So, Chilean police have arrested a truck driver with 5 tonnes of "endangered" glacier ice.

My first thoughts were of the tragic irony: poor people worsening an environmental catastrophe (glacier degradation) probably to mitigate its effects (droughts) in what affordable way they could conceive (theft in response to water supply being privatized). Then the denial forecast kicked in: Climate change "skeptics" will now be wittily and/or insanely claiming glaciers aren't melting, they are getting stolen. Al Gore probably the kingpin of the glacier mafia.

Most news reports have been aiming for cheap jokes so far:
Ha, ha. For a short, factual article with pictures of the actual loot see The Telegraph / Police investigate glaciar theft. It appears to be speculation, but several articles report a plot to sell the 1000+ years old ice for fancy drinks. What is certain is now the ice will be used to mitigate drought stricken farms.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eco-terrorism and terrorist-journalism

Course of events:
    a) Animal rights activists are raided by police
    b) Journalist cover the case

Can you guess what's next? Probably not...
    c) Journalist is labelled 'extremist' and persecuted

Can you guess the country? No, not the glorious nation of Kazakhstan. The USA. Get the facts straight for yourself:

Check out Green is the new red blog and/or book which is about the campaign against 'eco-terrorism', apparently a string of creative use of new anti-terror laws to subjugate environmentalist views. I for one subscribed to Will Potter right away!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Abusing animals for fun & covering up pollution - busy day in the US Army

Huffington Post / Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cover-Up Hinted In Navy Letter
The U.S. Navy is asking government investigators to suppress information concerning the toxic water scandal at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune, according to a letter obtained Thursday by The Huffington Post. [...] Government watchdogs and environmental advocates said they interpret the letter as further evidence of a Navy effort to evade culpability for what many call the worst and largest drinking water contamination in U.S. history. [...] The research is a prerequisite for a series of health studies exploring links between chemical exposures and what appears to be increased levels of disease among former Camp Lejeune residents, including male breast cancer and childhood leukemia.

Huffington Post / Military Misconduct: Sheep-beating Video Surfaces
Last year, a scandalous video emerged of a U.S. marine throwing a puppy off a cliff. Now there is this video of a soldier repeatedly beating a sheep with a baseball bat to the whoops and laughter of other soldiers who are looking on.
Warning: Watching this video is unpleasant.
Military psychologists and psychiatrists are aware, as are all psychologists and psychiatrists, that gratuitous cruelty to animals, especially when it gives pleasure to the perpetrator, is an indicator of other anti-social problems that need to be taken most seriously. Juveniles who decapitate neighborhood cats or hang the family dog from a tree are almost guaranteed to go on to other violent crimes if they are not stopped and dealt with. All the "school shooters" have a history of cruelty to animals, as does every known serial killer from Son of Sam to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Watch DIRT! The Movie

I just watched DIRT! The Movie for free at dotSUB. A really good movie about soil and the importance of a healthy biosphere of rich biodiversity. Takes a couple of detours (ie one about various spiritual connections to soil) that may seem weird depending on who you are and is quite a bit pro-organic agriculture but all in all a good, educational movie about not just soil, but about deforestation, climate change, agriculture - and a bit about conflict too!


Full movie:

"You create deserts where you are and eventually these micro deserts form much bigger areas. And we can't live very happily in a desert. And so we start fighting between farming communities and nomadic communities over land that is not a desert, that still has dirt. Desertification or land degradation is one good way of undermining security in any country."
- Wangari Maathai [0:29]
"There is a very strong correlation between human degradation and environmental degradation."
 - Sebastiao Salgado, photographer [0:42]

Although I just watched it, I could certainly use having the full quality DVD on my shelf along with HOME, FUEL, FOOD Inc, CRUDE and the other (upper case letter) enviro-flicks.

Pierre Rhabi holds dirt

Find DIRT! The Movie: at their own website, at YouTube, at Facebook, at Twitter and at IMDb.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Musings on optimism vs fear, innovation vs collapse

Today I happened upon this near one hour long couch talk by Geoffrey West (visit the site for audio or video). Among the themes he discuss is drawing some lines in the sand in the very long debate between Malthusian fears of over-population / over-exploitation of nature and the technological optimism that future inventions will solve anything and everything.
"One of the bad things about open-ended growth, growing faster than exponentially, is that open-ended growth eventually leads to collapse. It leads to collapse mathematically because of something called finite times singularity. You hit something that's called a singularity, which is a technical term, and it turns out as you approach this singularity, the system, if it reaches it, will collapse. You have to avoid that singularity in order to stop collapsing. It's great on the one hand that you have this open ended growth. But if you kept going, of course, it doesn't make any sense. Eventually, you run out of resources anyway, but you would collapse. [...] There's a theorem you can prove that says that if you demand continuous open growth, you have to have continuous cycles of innovation. Well, that's what people believe, and it's the way people have suggested that’s how you get out of the Malthusian paradox. This all agrees within itself but there is a huge catch. [...] The question then is, is this sustainable? The system will collapse, because eventually you would have to be making a major innovation, like you know, IT every six months. Well, that's completely crazy."
Geoffrey West is using mathematics and physics to propose very general laws that apply across the natural world; in plants, animals, people and even societies. Extend his work a bit and... do you get formulas that predict breaking points where susceptibility to violence and conflict gets critical?

It reminds me of a very short chapter in my book, The physics: Energy budget of resource exploitation, pages 92-93. Mostly because I remember pausing to wonder if I could research this sub-topic even deeper.
"will near future solutions turn into distant future battlefields? Will we learn from mistakes of our past?"
- Ecowar - Natural Resources and Conflict, p. 93
What I also write about is natural resources (and factors that influence natural resources) not being enough to cause wars by itself. Quite unrelated I happened to read two articles while on the train today: an interview with Umberto Eco and an article about Curzio Malaparte's book Kaputt. Both refer (directly and indirectly) to fears inspired by conspiracy theories as co-causes or even preconditions for atrocities and war. This makes sense and is something I have come to understand certain conflict authorities are quite focused on. To distance myself from an impression I am afraid to give that I am obsessed with all wars being caused by natural resource scarcity, here is a quote from the introduction of my book:

"this is not about trying to prove the dominant role of any single root cause to all human conflict. This is not about eliminating any particular factor as a cause for conflict. This is simply about looking at many different natural resources in many different conflicts. Trying to measure their impact."
- Ecowar - Natural Resources and Conflict, p 10

I guess I'll have to take a closer look at Geoffrey West's research. For the time being, I take comfort in hearing such an intellectual authority talking along some of the same lines I have been thinking in. Needless to say: I'd love to hear your criticism of the "theory" presented in both my book and here at my blog!

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