An inspiring resource ‘Reshaping Our Human Presence’ | Home

“For the first time in the evolution of life on Earth a single species is seriously disrupting the biosphere’s life support systems.

Our future now depends on reshaping our presence within the planet’s community of life.

There is no map to guide us through the uncertain times ahead. Ours will be a learning journey along a path we must invent as we go.

This website is offered as a collaboration tool for creative activists, and engaged artists and thinkers – a space for dialogue about the nature of the transition we face and how we can prepare for it.”

via Reshaping Our Human Presence | Home.

The Post-Crisis Crises

The Post-Crisis Crises.

08/01/2013 BY  9 COMMENTS

stiglitzIn the shadow of the euro crisis and America’s fiscal cliff, it is easy to ignore the global economy’s long-term problems. But, while we focus on immediate concerns, they continue to fester, and we overlook them at our peril.

The most serious is global warming. While the global economy’s weak performance has led to a corresponding slowdown in the increase in carbon emissions, it amounts to only a short respite. And we are far behind the curve: Because we have been so slow to respond to climate change, achieving the targeted limit of a two-degree (centigrade) rise in global temperature, will require sharp reductions in emissions in the future.

Some suggest that, given the economic slowdown, we should put global warming on the backburner. On the contrary, retrofitting the global economy for climate change would help to restore aggregate demand and growth.

At the same time, the pace of technological progress and globalization necessitates rapid structural changes in both developed and developing countries alike. Such changes can be traumatic, and markets often do not handle them well.

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An excellent piece by Eric Ritskes, PhD student in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and a Managing Editor of the Open Access, online journal Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, on the challenge Indigenous scholars face in mediating between making their work accessible, meaningful and timely for Indigenous movements, and the demands of academic publishing.

Decolonization

by Eric Ritskes

I write this piece for those of us who are academics. We trumpet our forward thinking research, yet so often fail to be forward thinking on how we engage with our communities, how we spread our thoughts, and what it means to live out and generate a decolonizing praxis.

How do you envision your role as an academic, particularly in regards to the communities you live in, engage with, and research in/with? Often, academics are described as living in an “ivory tower”, as being cloistered and out of touch with what happens in the daily lives of people who don’t have their scholarly privilege. And, to a large degree, the critics are right. For many of us who work, write, seek, and live out a decolonizing praxis, we often challenge these ivory tower ideals – we desire connection, the back and forth exchange of theory with reality…

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Rogue geoengineering could ‘hijack’ world’s climate

Rogue geoengineering could ‘hijack’ world’s climate.

Techniques aimed at averting global warming could lead to an unpredictable international crisis, a report has warned

John Vidal, 9 January 2013.  Source: The UK Guardian

The world’s climate could be hijacked by a rogue country or wealthy individual firing small particles into the stratosphere, claims a warning that comes not from a new Hollywood movie trailer but a sober report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).


The deployment of independent, large-scale “geoengineering” techniques aimed at averting dangerous warming warrants more research because it could lead to an international crisis with unpredictable costs to agriculture, infrastructure and global stability, said the Geneva-based WEF in its annual Global Risks report before the Davos economic summit later this month. It also warned that ongoing economic weakness is sapping the ability of governments to tackle the growing threat of climate change.


“The global climate could, in effect, be hijacked. For example, an island state threatened with rising sea levels may decide they have nothing to lose, or a well-funded individual with good intentions may take matters into their own hands,” the report notes. It said there are “signs that this is already starting to occur”, highlighting the case of a story broken by the Guardian involving the dumping of 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off the Canadian coast in 2012, in a bid to spawn plankton and capture carbon.


The top two global risks identified for the WEF by more than 1,000 business leaders and experts were the growing wealth gap between rich and poor and a major financial economic crisis. But the next three on the list of 50 were environmental, including climate change, and water and food supply crises.


Lee Howell, the editor of the WEF report, said: “Following a year scarred by extreme weather, from hurricane Sandy to flooding in China, respondents rated rising greenhouse gas emissions as the third most likely global risk overall, while the failure of climate change adaptation is seen as the environmental risk with the most knock-on effects for the next decade. These global risks are essentially a health warning regarding our most critical systems. With the growing cost of events like superstorm Sandy, huge threats to island nations and coastal communities, and no resolution to greenhouse gas emissions, the writing is on the wall. It is time to act.”


The economic costs associated with extreme weather and climate change should make governments act, suggests the WEF. “Recent climate and weather events have reminded us of the economic and human cost of the kind of natural disasters that we know are likely to become more frequent and severe as climate continues to change. The estimated economic cost of the 2011 Thailand floods, for example, was $15-20bn and hurricane Katrina $125bn; meanwhile, the 2003 European heatwave resulted in more than 35,000 fatalities and the Horn of Africa droughts in 2011 claimed tens of thousands of lives and threatened the livelihoods of 9.5 million people.”


According to the report, the cumulative economic cost of changes to the physical environment as well as health and food security from climate change, range from US$2 trillion to $4tn by 2030.


The authors fear that climate change could become a centre of litigation. “Although the Alaskan village of Kivalina – which faces being “wiped out” by the changing climate – was unsuccessful in its attempts to file a $400m lawsuit against oil and coal companies, future plaintiffs may be more successful. Five decades ago, the US tobacco industry would not have suspected that in 1997 it would agree to pay $368bn in health-related damages. For some businesses, investing in climate change mitigation now could be as much about enterprise risk management as about mitigating a global risk.”