Tag Archives | Environment

“They Did What They Liked”: Chevron and Dow on Trial

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

“They want me to be bankrupt, they want my wife to leave me, they want me to jump off a building,” says Steven Donziger, a lawyer based in New York City whose team won an unprecedented judgment against Chevron in 2011. That year, an Ecuadorean court found Texaco guilty of having polluted close to 2,000 square miles of the Amazon basin with crude oil, toxic wastewater, and other contaminants. The country’s Supreme Court eventually ordered the company’s successor, Chevron, to pay $9.5 billion for environmental remediation, medical treatment, and other relief for those affected. But Donziger’s victory painted a bull’s-eye on his back. The lawyer says he’s been watched; that he’s had laptops, thousands of documents, bank statements, and tax returns seized by court order and handed to Chevron’s lawyers; and that friends and supporters have been turned against him by threats of ruinous lawsuits.

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Flight of the RoboBees

opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via AdBusters:

Colony Collapse Disorder (ccd), initially referred to as “mystery disease” when it surfaced at the beginning of the 20th Century, remains mysterious. Here’s what we know: Bee populations around the world are falling to pieces and the implications are cataclysmic. No more honey for your toast, nor pollen for your flowers, which means no more flowers. Or plants. Or food. Or life.

The most convincing theory as to the root cause of CCD is the decades-old use of neonicotinoid insecticides — a class of neuroactive pest killers that are chemically similar to nicotine and were initially developed by Shell Oil as an “environmentally friendly” alternative to traditional pesticides. And while these chemicals have been kinder to the mammalian class, they’ve ravaged the anthophilous.

As the rapid advancement of CCD began to reach feverish levels in June of this year, President Obama created a task force charged with solving the mystery within 180 days.

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Carbon Colonialism: How The Fight Against Climate Change Is Displacing Africans

Homes burn following the eviction of their inhabitants by the Kenya Forest Service (FKS)

Homes burn following the eviction of their inhabitants by the Kenya Forest Service (FKS)

via Mint Press News:

Since the launch of a World Bank sponsored conservation programme in west Kenya eights years ago, the Bank-funded Kenya Forest Service (FKS) has conducted a relentless scorched earth campaign to evict the 15,000 strong indigenous Sengwer community from their ancestral homes in the Embobut forest and the Cherangany Hills. The pretext? The Sengwer are ‘squatters’ accelerating the degradation of the forest.

This October, with violence escalating, pressure from campaigners finally elicited a public response from World Bank president Jim Yon​g Kim, who promised to help facilitate “a lasting, peaceful resolution to this long, unfinished business of land rights in Kenya.”

But according to British film-maker Dean Puckett, who is currently on the ground in Embobut forest in west Kenya capturing extraordinary footage of recent events, the plight of the Sengwer has only worsened dramatically since Kim’s intervention.

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GM Food Causes Deadly Bacteria To Grow In Your Gut

bot(1)via Activist Post:

Deadly bacteria grow in your gut when you eat GMO food, according to a new study.

A new study titled, “The Influence of Glyphosate on the Microbiota and Production of Botulinum  Neurotoxin During Ruminal Fermentation,” confirms a growing suspicion that GM foods tainted with the ubiquitous agrochemical Roundup is causing widespread changes in the microbiome of those who consume them, resulting in bodily changes that are believed to lead to a wide range of lethal diseases.

As we reported in 2012, in an article titled “Roundup Herbicide Linked To Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria,” a growing body of research points to the world’s most popular herbicide as causing dysbios (pathogenic alteration of gut bacteria), a condition which profoundly affects and alters the so-called holobiont, or total set of organisms that make up our bodily constitution, and as a consequence, health. Because we depend on the proper selection and quantity of bacterial strains with which we co-evolved over countless eons, any significant disruption of the commensal ties to this microbial universe will result in a state of suboptimal functioning, ultimately leading to disease.

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Junk Food for Profit: Fat, Sick and Addicted

Tavallai (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Tavallai (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via News Junkie Post:

“We are what we eat,” as the old adage says. “If you eat a hamburger one day, then its atoms and molecules will end up making your cell walls and different organs and tissues,” explains Logan McCarty, a lecturer on chemistry, chemical biology, and physics at Harvard University. For humans, as for other animals, it is essential to replace regularly the atoms and molecules in the body, and the food that we ingest supplies these atoms and molecules to fuel indispensable chemical processes and generate new cells.

Food is related to cellular division for an elegant reason: cells suffer damage over time, and division continuously replaces the old and dying cells with new ones. Mitosis and meiosis, the two different division processes, cannot create something from nothing. So the body incorporates new atoms and molecules from our food into dividing cells to generate fresh ones.

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Spooky alignment of quasar axes across billions of light-years with large-scale structure

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

via Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence:

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the vast structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centers. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in long jets along their axes of rotation.

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10 Reasons Why Our Universe Is A Virtual Reality

Tom (CC BY 2.0)

Tom (CC BY 2.0)

via Listverse:

Physical realism is the view that the physical world we see is real and exists by itself, alone. Most people think this is self-evident, but physical realism has been struggling with the facts of physics for some time now. The paradoxes that baffled physics last century still baffle it today, and its great hopes of string theory and supersymmetry aren’t leading anywhere.

In contrast, quantum theory works, but quantum waves that entangle, superpose, then collapse to a point are physically impossible—they must be “imaginary.” So for the first time in history, a theory of what doesn’t exist is successfully predicting what does—but how can the unreal predict the real?

Quantum realism is the opposite view—that the quantum world is real and is creating the physical world as a virtual reality. Quantum mechanics thus predicts physical mechanics because it causes them. Physics saying that quantum states don’t exist is like the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Quantum realism isn’t The Matrix, where the other world making ours was also physical.

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Africa’s Ancient Plant Diversity And Seed Independence Still Under Threat From Proposed New Laws

Grain Seeds from True Mind's Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds

Grain Seeds from True Mind’s Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds

via Tech Dirt:

Back in May 2013, we wrote about worrying attempts to create a harmonized system for controlling the sale of seeds in Africa that would increase the power of large suppliers such as Monsanto, at the expense of small farmers. A long and interesting article in Intellectual Property Watch indicates that those efforts are intensifying:

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members’ food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.

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Unlike Other Tech Giants, Amazon Doubles Down on Coal

Zhao !  (CC BY 2.0)

Zhao ! (CC BY 2.0)

via Cleantechnica:

“Use the Web? Congrats! You’re an environmentalist.” So said a headline in the Washington Post last week, and with good reason: some of the biggest names behind the internet are powering their data centers with wind and solar power.

That’s important because the internet uses a lot of electricity. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would rank as the sixth largest in the world.

The Washington Post story focused on search engines, and indeed Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are increasingly powering their data centers with wind power in places like Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas. But it’s not just search: Apple is powering its data centers, replete with all of our iTunes, with 100% renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and microhydro power. Facebook is aiming for the same goal, and is purchasing massive quantities of wind power in Iowa to power our likes and shares in its data center there.

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