Environment & Sustainability
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We live on a finite planet, that is to say the natural resources on our planet are limited or have bounds; all the water on our planet in either solid or liquid form is the same water that has been here for millions of years, the very water that spawned life on this planet is the same water that we drink to maintain life today. Should we pollute that water and continue to degrade marshes and wetlands we will find rather quickly that there is no magical source of new clean fresh water to aid in sustaining life as we know it. Oil a substance that has taken millions of years for our planet to produce is being consumed at an obscene rate and this captured and condensed sunlight is currently far more important to us as a species than many may understand.
Our current economic paradigm is one in which the continuous acquisition of monetary wealth and material resources is both demanded and valued. In many of the wealthier nations economic growth has come at great cost to indigenous populations who were invaded and usurped, and to other nations who suffered the looting of their resources as they were colonized. In some cases populations suffered by literally being enslaved for the sake of generating further wealth for the already powerful owners of capital.
To start off, as long as the market system is in place and profit is the main motivation to do anything, what I talk about won't happen (social entrepreneurs, fortunately, aren't profit-motivated, but that's a different discussion).
(Photo: Steve Goodyear ) The ceaseless expansion of economic exploitation, the engine of global capitalism, has come to an end.
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The term "capitalism" is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the "too-big-to-fail" government insurance policy for banks. The system is highly monopolized, further limiting reliance on the market, and increasingly so: In the past 20 years the share of profits of the 200 largest enterprises has risen sharply, reports scholar Robert W. McChesney in his new book "Digital Disconnect." "Capitalism" is a term now commonly used to describe systems in which there are no capitalists: for example, the worker-owned Mondragon conglomerate in the Basque region of Spain, or the worker-owned enterprises expanding in northern Ohio, often with conservative support -- both are discussed in important work by the scholar Gar Alperovitz.
In today’s capitalist world, all of our collective hopes and dreams are thought to have the best chance of manifestation through the practice of maximizing profit. The thought is that by maximizing profit, we are maximizing the “efficiency of capital”, and through that process an “invisible hand” will guide society towards prosperity for all. For centuries, this practice worked. Four hundred years ago, John Locke, one of the founding fathers of capitalism, observed that average citizens lacked access to basic goods such as bed linens, books, pots and pans, utensils, and many others.
By Brian Merchant / Motherboard
Riot police guard a supermarket attacked by food rioters in San Fernando, Buenos Aires. Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images Just over two years since Egypt's dictator President Hosni Mubarak resigned , little has changed. Cairo's infamous Tahrir Square has remained a continual site of clashes between demonstrators and security forces , despite a newly elected president. It's the same story in Tunisia , and Libya where protests and civil unrest have persisted under now ostensibly democratic governments. The problem is that the political changes brought about by the Arab spring were largely cosmetic.
By Stephen Leahy | 11 January 2013 IPS Experts on the health of our planet are terrified of the future. They can clearly see the coming collapse of global civilisation from an array of interconnected environmental problems.
Koshy koshy / CC BY 2.0 Talk about great timing: COP18 is over, after two weeks of the usual brinksmanship bargaining adding up to virtually nothing worthwhile (if the goal is still to actually come up with a political deal to combat climate change). And now, as io9 reports, we have scientific data proving something that many TreeHugger readers, climate change politics watchers, biodiversity wonks, anti-deforestation activists, consumer culture critics already probably know, or at least fear, deep down in their hearts: Earth is fucked. Don't blame me for lack of decorum in using such language—and frankly, if you convinced that a bit of cussing is the worst problem we've got, the biggest sign of impeding civilizational collapse, you've come to the wrong shop—it's straight from the title of a recent talk at the annual American Geophysical Union conference.
The planet is headed for an ecological "credit crunch", according to a report issued by conservation groups. The document contends that our demands on natural resources overreach what the Earth can sustain by almost a third. The Living Planet Report is the work of WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network.
See this sobering graph from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): As the data show, China is now burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world — combined.
A Masaai herdsman looks after his cattle near turbines in Kenya. The OECD is calling for 'radical change' in the global economy. Photograph: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters Green growth is the only way forward for rich and poor countries alike to achieve sustainable development because of tremendous economic and livelihood losses from severe climate change and the depletion of natural resources, a thinktank said on Tuesday.
Edible City, a 60 minute documentary film, tells the stories of the pioneers who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and do something truly revolutionary: grow local Good Food Systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, economically viable and resilient to climate change and market collapse. Part 2 is the trailer. Please share it freely. No fee may be charged to view it.