William Connolly. If everyone lived in an ‘ecovillage’, the Earth would still be in trouble

Difficult – and important – reading.

“But personal action is not enough. We must restructure our societies to support and promote these “simpler” ways of living. Appropriate technology must also assist us on the transition to one planet living. Some argue that technology will allow us to continue living in the same way while also greatly reducing our footprint.

However, the extent of “dematerialisation” required to make our ways of living sustainable is simply too great. As well as improving efficiency, we also need to live more simply in a material sense, and re-imagine the good life beyond consumer culture.

First and foremost, what is needed for one planet living is for the richest nations, including Australia, to initiate a “degrowth” process of planned economic contraction.

I do not claim that this is likely or that I have a detailed blueprint for how it should transpire. I only claim that, based on the ecological footprint analysis, degrowth is the most logical framework for understanding the radical implications of sustainability.”

via If everyone lived in an ‘ecovillage’, the Earth would still be in trouble.

Pope Francis Condemns Multinational Corporations for Choosing Profit Over People Vi TruthOut

“Statistics on waste are very concerning: a third of food products end up under this heading,” the Pope said in front of representatives from more than 120 countries, citing FAO data showing the magnitude of edible food produced on the planet that is lost or wasted.

The Pontiff also voiced concerns over large-scale acquisitions of agricultural land by multinational companies and governments.

“Climate change rightly worries us, but we cannot forget financial speculation,” he continued, explaining how both global warming drives world hunger, as well as speculators who drive up market prices of basic foods such as grains, rice and soybeans purely for their own economic gain.

“It is unsettling to know that a good portion of agricultural products end up used for other purposes, maybe good, but that are not immediate needs of the hungry,” he said.

via Pope Francis Condemns Multinational Corporations for Choosing Profit Over People.

David T. Barnard: The role of Canada’s universities in reconciliation

Ottawa Citizen

Education has the power to transform the futures of individuals, their families and communities. However, the role of post-secondary institutions in advancing reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples extends much further. We need to look internally and make changes within the core of our institutions, engaging all university communities – administration, students, faculty, staff, donors and alumni.

As part of the recommendations it released at its closing ceremonies, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) called upon educational institutions to engage with indigenous communities and be leaders in reconciliation.

Foremost in this process is working with communities in creating opportunities for indigenous students. This includes collaborating with K-12 educators in building bridge programs that facilitate transition to universities and colleges and open the door for young students to pursue their chosen career paths. Working together, we can close the substantial gap in employment rates between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians, a gap…

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Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Fourteen years of carbon monoxide from MOPITT

Carbon monoxide is perhaps best known for the lethal effects it can have in homes with faulty appliances and poor ventilation. In the United States, the colorless, odorless gas kills about 430 people each year.

However, the importance of carbon monoxide (CO) extends well beyond the indoor environment. Indoors or outdoors, the gas can disrupt the transport of oxygen by the blood, leading to heart and health problems. CO also contributes to the formation of tropospheric ozone, another air pollutant with unhealthy effects. And though carbon monoxide does not cause climate change directly, its presence affects the abundance of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.

via Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Fourteen years of carbon monoxide from MOPITT.

Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations out in September

Climate, People & Organizations

Just heard that our new book Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction will be released in both paperback and hardback in late September.

The book is based on research that Daniel Nyberg and I have been conducting over the last 6 years exploring the complex relationship that the corporate world has with climate change and examines the central role of corporations in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis.

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The Politics of Love – Max Harris and Philip McKibbin

Excellent post from The Aotearoa Project. Tautoko.

The Aotearoa Project

Around the world, progressive-minded people are struggling to articulate an end-goal for politics. The Right, in most places, remains committed to the tight logic of neoliberalism (and its ideals of private property, liberty, and efficiency). The Left, meanwhile, has failed to respond. There are some who still have faith in a Marxist vision of the total collapse of capitalism; others in the radical tradition hold onto religious prophecies. But for the rest of us, the direction our political journey should take has become unclear. We do not know where we are going. At the same time, there is a growing disdain of politics generally, especially amongst young people. Politicians don’t look like us, they don’t behave like we do, and their ideas don’t connect to our needs. There is deep doubt, in other words, about whether politics is the right vehicle for collective struggle – even if we could settle…

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Fossil fuel divestment is rational, says former Shell chairman | Environment | The Guardian

This is an important example of the way the “keep it in the ground” discourse has been captured by the oil industry and reframed as carbon capture – burying the carbon in the ground. Not only is this anything but the safe alternative promoted here, but also, and importantly, putting a price on carbon thus becomes an impetus to develop carbon capture infrastructure which in turn will enable oil mining to continue as usual.

“….But he also approved of fossil fuel divestment, a fast-growing and UN-backed campaign to persuade investors to dump their stocks, on the basis that current reserves of coal, oil and gas are already several times greater than could be safely burned. The Guardian’s Keep it in the Ground campaign is highlighting the divestment argument and calling on the world’s two largest medical charities – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foudnation and Wellcome Trust – to divest their endowments from fossil fuels.

“Divestment is a rational approach,” Moody-Stuart said, speaking at a dinner in London organised by Carbon Trust, which provides advice to businesses on reducing emissions. “If you think your money can be used somewhere else, you should switch it. Selective divestment or portfolio-switching is actually what investors should be doing.” He pointed out that all the major oil and gas companies divested their considerable coal operations in the 1990s. “It was a perfectly rational decision.”

Moody-Stuart condemned the lack of industry progress in addressing climate change. “I find it quite distressing that 18 years after major oil companies, such as BP and Shell, acknowledged the threat of climate change, and the need for precautionary action, and began to put in place modest steps to address it, that the world in general and the industry has made remarkably little progress,” he said.

Moody-Stuart added: “There are two realities acknowledged by most businesses. The first is the needs that have to be met today [but] business leaders also recognise there will at some point be radical change, and industries will be completely transformed. The gap between how we get from one to the other hasn’t really closed.”

The oil and gas majors should be developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) quickly, Moody-Stuart said. “The industry has a real role to play in CCS. We can do it and it can be perfectly safe. it is not rocket science.”

He said a key problem was the vast infrastructure needed for CCS, on the same scale as the existing oil business. “CCS has the potential to have a major impact but I worry because of the scale and we haven’t made much progress with it.”

via Fossil fuel divestment is rational, says former Shell chairman | Environment | The Guardian.

The Impossibility of Growth | George Monbiot

The UK oil company Soco is now hoping to penetrate Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo(8); one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorilla and the okapi, of chimpanzees and forest elephants. In Britain, where a possible 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil has just been identified in the south-east(9), the government fantasises about turning the leafy suburbs into a new Niger delta. To this end it’s changing the trespass laws to enable drilling without consent and offering lavish bribes to local people(10,11). These new reserves solve nothing. They do not end our hunger for resources; they exacerbate it.The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble.

via The Impossibility of Growth | George Monbiot.

Future Goals and Options in NZ Land Management – A Transdisciplinary View

Great post by by Chris Perley

Chris Perley's Blog

A brief argument from some years ago to rethink land use in New Zealand

“If we go through a list of some of the main problematiques that are defining the new Century, such as water, forced migrations, poverty, environmental crises, violence, terrorism, neo-imperialism, destruction of social fabric, we must conclude that none of them can be adequately tackled from the sphere of specific individual disciplines. They clearly represent transdisciplinary challenges[1].

To Max-Neef’s quote you could also add that the solutions for one place don’t necessarily apply in another. The world is complex, adaptive (especially where people are concerned), indeterministic (any particular state cannot be necessarily reduced to underlying laws or rules), highly connected, and contingent on time, place and history. Which is why land is so interesting.

Reconciling the environmental, the social, the cultural, the economic

Goals in land management should not relate just to the biophysical. If you…

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