Archive for 2012
That law of unintended consequences strikes again.
With thanks to Rich S. for including me on his circulation of this,
Look what happens when we cut down too many trees.
Global warming is one thing, but look at what might happen if we continue to clear our forests!
We have to stop cutting down trees! This is getting serious!
What we can learn about healthy lifestyles.
I am indebted to Schalk Cloete who has been leaving some very thoughtful comments on Learning from Dogs. Schalk writes the blog, One in a Billion and more information about him can be learned here. One of the very generous aspects of Schalk’s Blog is that his material is free from copyright, so I gratefully offer the following from his blog.
Perfect health the traditional way
There are a number of very special traditional communities around the world that enjoy amazing health and longevity completely without the help of modern medicine. People still contribute actively to their communities in their 80′s and 90′s and often surpass the magical age of 100 sometimes without ever visiting a doctor.
The most well-documented of these communities is the Okinawa islands in Japan, but a number of other such communities also exist. These include the region of Abkhasia in the Soviet Union, the Symi island in Greece, the Italian village Campodimele, and the mountain communities of Hunza in Pakistan, Vilcabamba in Ecuador and Bama in China.
So, what are the secrets of these amazingly healthy people? Well, I don’t really think we can call them “secrets”, but here they are: these people simply eat a healthy, nutrient dense and predominately plant-based diet (Okinawan food pyramid given below), they never over-eat, they live very active lifestyles and they have a very strong sense of community. Basically, they live the polar opposite of the modern western lifestyle.
These healthy lifestyle choices have some pretty impressive results. One fun statistic about Okinawa is that they boast 15% of the world’s confirmed super-centenarians (those over 110) while having only 0.0002% of the worlds people, thereby giving them a concentration of super-elders close to 100,000 times greater than the rest of the world. Wow…
In John Robbins’ excellent book “Healthy at 100″, he discloses a lot of well documented research on Okinawa, stating that they are about 15% as likely to die of heart disease and cancer as Americans. They also live 5 years longer on average.
When it comes to healthcare spending, Okinawa has the lowest healthcare costs in all of Japan, which already has a three times smaller per-capita healthcare expense than the USA. Thus, they have about a 7 times smaller chance of dying from degenerative disease and live 5 years longer, all while incurring about 5 times fewer healthcare expenses. Not bad, I’d say.
Unfortunately, the younger generation of Okinawans are rapidly screwing up these awesome stats by succombing to the American lifestyle brought by the US troops stationed on Okinawa. It really is quite sad how many grandparents have to bury their grandchildren in Okinawa nowadays.
But this just shows how alluring our modern consumerist lifestyle really is. These young Okinawans saw the vibrant health of their parents and grandparents first hand, but still chose to consume their bodies into oblivion. Unthinking consumerism is indeed a very powerful enemy…
Fascinating article from Schalk, as I’m sure you will agree.
David Roberts of Grist offers a very clear message.
But before going to the piece, just let me say why there’s been a preponderance of climate change articles on Learning from Dogs. Two reasons come to mind. The first one is that this blog’s primary theme is integrity. The idea of writing about what we can learn from the closest species to man, the domesticated dog, came out of the understanding that dogs are integrous creatures. As I concluded in the Purpose of this blog,
Or, possibly, it’s more accurate to say that our civilisation is under threat and the time left to change our ways, to embrace those qualities of integrity, truth and consciousness for the very planet we all live on, is running out.
So what has this to do with dogs? Simply that man’s best friend, a relationship that goes back tens of thousands of years, is still a wonderful example of the many qualities that we need now for the very survival of the human species.
The second reason is that as many will be aware it is the G20 gathering this week and the more that millions around the world add their demand for common-sense and reason the better that will be. Again, honesty and integrity, values not usually associated with the world’s political leaders, must come to the fore.
So now to the recent piece from Grist.
Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed
My talk was called “Climate change is simple.” I’m proud to say that I used only 17 of my allotted 15 minutes.
I’ve put an annotated version of my slideshow beneath the video, linking to sources and adding thoughts. The only thing I’ll say about the video itself is that I’ve always thought these things would be better with a soundtrack. If anybody out there on the web wants to make a mashup with it, add some good beats, be my guest.
This is the video of David’s talk.
And in case you think this is all green paranoia, then spend a couple of minutes watching this,
A group of scientists from around the world who are part of The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB) is warning that an ever-growing population and widespread destruction of natural ecosystems may be driving Earth toward a planet-wide tipping point, an irreversible change in the biosphere with unpredictable consequences. Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, is the lead author of a review paper about this issue in the journal Nature.
For full story: NewsCenter.berkeley.edu
Video by Roxanne Makasdjian, UC Berkeley Media Relations
NB. I found the sound levels on these videos to be rather low – hope you can hear them clearly.
A recommendation to watch this film.
I’m talking about the film Fuel which Jean and I watched on Monday night.
Here’s the trailer,
This movie trailer gives insight into the impeding oil dependency problem and hints at the biofuel solution. The Fuel Film raises awareness of 9/11, global warming, and moreover, how we can switch to an alternative fuel called biofuel. It is based on renewable sources such as algae or ethanol, costs less, and combats the impeding destruction of the environment.
But Top Documentary Films has the full film available, the link is here. (And see below) TDF describe the film, thus,
Eleven years in the making, FUEL is the in-depth personal journey of filmmaker and eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, who takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip into America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Combining a history lesson of the US auto and petroleum industries and interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators, and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young and Willie Nelson.
Animated by powerful graphics, FUEL looks into our future offering hope via a wide-range of renewable energy and bio-fuels. Winner of the Sundance Audience Award.
The events of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina factor in both visually and thematically, providing provocative anchors for the movie’s indictment of what Tickell believes is the Big Oil-cozy, ecologically indifferent Bush administration.
Johnny O’Hara’s WGA Award-nominated script doesn’t dwell on muckraking, however; it’s more focused on broadly inspiring viewers than preaching to the converted.
Interviews with a wide range of environmentalists, policy makers and educators, along with such “green” celebrities as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow and Larry Hagman offer serious fuel for thought – as well as for action.
Smartly animated interstitials, memorable archival material and a lively soundtrack round out the fast-paced proceedings.
Have to say that the film was powerful and compelling and a great reminder that a sustainable way of life for all of us doesn’t mean the end of the world as we know it. Far from it; the word ‘sustainable’ is the clue here!
Here’s the full film,
Director Josh Tickell takes us along for his 11 year journey around the world to find solutions to America’s addiction to oil. A shrinking economy, a failing auto industry, rampant unemployment, an out-of-control national debt, and an insatiable demand for energy weigh heavily on all of us. Fuel shows us the way out of the mess we’re in by explaining how to replace every drop of oil we now use, while creating green jobs and keeping our money here at home. The film never dwells on the negative, but instead shows us the easy solutions already within our reach.
Finally, a little footnote for all you Planet watchers out there. Summer starts, as in the summer solstice, today (the 20th) in North America at 7:09 P.M. EDT (UTC -4 hours) or 4:09 P.M. MST (UTC -7 hours) and in the UK at 23:09 UTC.
Who recognises this?
Back on the 10th May, I wrote a Post called The power of touch. In it, I related how I had been misdiagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily, very luckily, a visit to a neurologist proved that there was nothing wrong with me and that my forgetfulness was perfectly normal for a late 60-year-old who had been through the life changes I had experienced in the last few years.
So after the excitement of propelling the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Tweet to number one, 1,002,679 have taken action at the time of writing this, I thought this wonderful piece sent to me by Dusty M. from here in Payson would go down well for today.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS……PLEASE READ!
Thank goodness there’s a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better even though I have it!!
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.
So I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I’d been drinking.
I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.
The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye; they need water.
I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I’ll be looking for the remote, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor..
So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
- The car isn’t washed
- The bills aren’t paid
- There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
- The flowers don’t have enough water,
- There is still only 1 check in my check book,
- I can’t find the remote,
- I can’t find my glasses,
- and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day, and I’m really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail…..
Do me a favor, forward this message to everyone you know, because I don’t remember who I’ve sent it to.
Don’t laugh — if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!!
It’s rare for me to post a second item on the same day but this warrants it!
The full copy of this recently issued Press Release now available on the End Fossil Fuels Subsidies website is republished in full below.
PASS IT ON!
MIDDAY TWITTERSTORM REPORT
June 18, 2012
Call to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20 Tops Twitter
EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, celebrities Mark Ruffalo,
Stephen Fry, and Robert Redford, journalist Nicholas Kristof, and more join global push
RIO DE JANEIRO — The push to end fossil fuel subsidies at Rio+20 became the #2 most talked about topic worldwide on Twitter this morning.
The social networking site, which has 100 million active users, tracks discussions by hashtag and #endfossilfuelsubsidies ranked #2 globally and #2 in United States and Australia. 350.org, the global climate campaign coordinating the effort, estimated that the hashtag was being tweeted at least once a second, reaching millions of people around the world.
A number of politicians, journalists, celebrities, and high-profile activists joined in the campaign, helping catapult it into the spotlight:
American actor Mark Ruffalo, who recently played the Hulk in the box-office sensation The Avengers, tweeted, “Good Morn! Can you help us end fossil fuel subsidies? Pls tweet #endfossilfuelsubsidies TODAY to help us send a msg & spread the word.!!!”
The EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, who is expected to play a key role at the Rio+20 negotiations,tweeted, “Fossil fuels subsidies have no place in today’s world . They must be phased out as the G20 pledged. #EndFossilFuelSubsidies #Rioplus20.”
350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted, “$1 trilllion is a lot of money–tired of the fossil fuel industry laughing at us, so joining the twitterstorm #endfossilfuelsubsidies.”
Activists with 350.org are projecting tweets in cities around the world, including Sydney, London, New Delhi, and New York, as well as inside the Rio+20 negotations.
Yesterday, 350.org and Avaaz unfurled a giant $1 trillion bill on the Copacabana beach in Rio, producing some spectacular photos. The global campaign Avaaz.org is delivering a petition with 750,000 signatures calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies to G20 leaders in Los Cabos, Mexico this afternoon. Over a million people have signed different petitions calling for action on subsidies in the last two weeks.
The current draft of the Rio+20 agreement released on Saturday includes a paragraph on ending fossil fuel subsidies, but negotiations now hang in the balance as oil exporting countries led by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela attempt to delete any references to the proposal. The final decision is likely to come down to Brazil, who hold sway as the host country.
The Twitterstorm can be tracked at endfossilfuelsubsidies.org. Supporting organizations for endfossilfuelsubsidies.org include: 350.org, Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace New Zealand, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, Quercus, SumOfUs, Wild Aid, WWF
CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 510-501-1779; In Rio, Jamie Henn, email@example.com, +55(0)2181061948
NOTE TO EDITORS:
1. Information on the $1 Trillion in fossil fuel subsidies: http://priceofoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1TFSFIN.pdf
PRESS ADVISORY/PHOTO CALL
‘Twitterstorm’ gathers speed before Monday’s Global Cyberaction to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20
RIO, 15 June 2012 — Momentum is building for this Monday’s 24-hour “Twitterstorm,” a massive international online action to increase pressure on world leaders to cut nearly $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies at the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit.
For 24 hours between June 18th and 19th, as world leaders gather at the G20 summit and prepare for Rio+20, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will tweet with the same hashtag — #EndFossilFuelSubsidies — at celebrities and politicians, flooding the popular social network with their demand. Over 1 million people have already signed a petition calling on leaders to act.
Recent developments on the Twitterstorm include:
• Confirmation of tweet projections in Sydney, London, New Dehli, and Rio (see Notes section for times and locations) (1)
• A new website with fact sheets, a tool to tweet at celebrities and Heads of State, and more resources for activists: http://www.endfossilfuelsubsidies.org
• A new Facebook event that has registered over two thousand “Tweet Team” members to recruit participants for the day of action. (2)
• Support from over a dozen civil society groups, including 350.org, Greenpeace International, Oil Change International and WWF. (3)
WHAT: A 24-hour Twitterstorm to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20
WHEN: The 24-hour clock will begin at 8:00 UTC (6 PM local time in Sydney) when activists will flock to Twitter with messages that will be projected in iconic locations in Sydney, New Delhi, London, and Rio. In recent weeks campaigning groups have collected over 1 million signatures demanding that leaders act now.
WHY: According to figures compiled by Oil Change International, countries are spending as much as $1 trillion USD combined annually on fossil fuel subsidies. (4) The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting these subsidies, the world can cut global warming causing emissions in half and significantly contribute to preventing a 2 degree temperature rise, the limit most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change. (5)
In May, leaders of the G20 again pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. They first made the commitment in 2009 but have yet to implement the policy change at the country level.
While global warming emissions rise and gas prices spike, fossil fuel companies continue to make massive profits, which brings into doubt the need for subsidies. ExxonMobil, for example, made $41.1 billion USD in profit in 2011.
CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, 350.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 510-501-1779; In Rio, Jamie Henn, email@example.com, +55(0)2181061948
NOTE TO EDITORS:
1. June 18 projection events
◦ Summary: Sydney will launch the Twitter Storm from the Sydney Opera House. Local supporters are invited to send a photo or video message to world leaders with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop. Projection of the Twitter feed will continue late at night around Sydney’s CBD.
◦ 6 PM (UTC+10) Sydney Opera House Boardwalks
◦ 9 PM (UTC+10) Sydney CBD
◦ CONTACT: Abi Jamines firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 403278621
• New Delhi
◦ Summary: There will be two projections in New Delhi.
◦ Projection 1: 6 PM – 9 PM, Moonlighting, An indoor projection while the Twitter feed is projected to an invited audience along with a speaker to discuss the issue of fossil fuel subsidies in the Indian context. (Will share speaker details soon, yet to be confirmed).
◦ Projection 2: 6PM – 11 PM An outdoor projection at a local mall called DLF Saket.
◦ CONTACT: Chaitanya Kumar, email@example.com, +91-9849016371
◦ Summary: There will be 3 events in London–a petition delivery at 10 Downing Street in the morning, followed by two projections.
◦ Petition delivery: 10:30am GMT+1, Number 10 Downing Street, London.
◦ Projection 1: 1:30pm GMT+1, Houses of Parliament, London
◦ Projection 2: Approximately midnight GMT+1 (Tuesday 19th June), Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square, London
◦ CONTACT: Emma Biermann, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 78 3500 4720,
◦ Summary: Tweets will be displayed in the Rio Centro conference center all day.
◦ CONTACT: Jamie Henn, email@example.com, +55(0)2181061948
3. Supporting organizations include: 350.org, Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Australia, and Greenpeace New Zealand, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, Oxfam, Quercus, SumOfUs, Wild Aid, World Wildlife Fund
‘Twitter Storm’ Planned to Pressure Leaders to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Rio+20
Environmental conference ideal place to end wasteful giveaways to corporate polluters, says civil society groups
Oakland, 7 June 2012 — Campaigning organizations from around the world will join forces on June 18 for a 24-hour ‘Twitter storm’ in which tens of thousands of messages will be posted on the social networking site demanding that world leaders use Rio+20 to agree to end fossil fuel subsidies.
The 24 hour clock will start at 6PM local time in Sydney (8AM UTC), when activists will begin to flock to Twitter with messages that will also be projected in iconic spots in Sydney, New Delhi, London, Rio, and other locations. In recent weeks campaigning groups have collected over 1 million signatures demanding that leaders act now to end subsidies and start to invest in clean energy solutions. (1)
According to figures compiled by Oil Change International, countries together are spending as much as $1 trillion dollars annually on fossil fuel subsidies. (2) The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting these subsidies, the world can cut global warming causing emissions in half and significantly contribute to preventing a 2 degree temperature rise, the number most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change. (3)
“We are giving twelve times as much in subsidies to fossil fuels as we are providing to clean energy, like wind and solar. World leaders shouldn’t be subsidizing the destruction of our planet, especially since these subsidies are cooking our planet,” said Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In May, leaders of the G20 again pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. They first made the commitment in 2009 but have yet to implement the policy change at the country level.
While global warming emissions rise and gas prices spike, fossil fuel companies continue to make massive profits, which brings into doubt the need for subsidies. ExxonMobil, for example, paid an effective US federal tax rate in 2010 of 17.2 percent, while the average American paid 28 percent.
Participating organizations include 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace. Oil Change International, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others.
CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, 350.org, +1 510 501 1779, firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE TO EDITORS:
A very simple, fundamental message to the G20+ Conference in Rio.
We live on one planet. It is the solemn duty of everyone living on this planet to protect it from harm. So to all those at Rio claiming to represent a Nation, or more accurately the people living in that Nation, act not only on behalf of that Nation but on behalf of the planet, the only planet, we all live on.