Tag Archives | Environmentalism

Changing Your Personal Consumption Isn’t Confronting The Problem

happy_familyFrom Orion Magazine, a classic essay from Derrick Jensen on the limits of living simply:

Why now do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet.

We so often hear that the world is running out of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. But more than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry.

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Green Groups Threaten Election Payback Over Keystone Fight

Pic: PDTillman (CC)

Pic: PDTillman (CC)

Lauren McCauley writes at Common Dreams:

Leading environmentalists are threatening mass voter retribution if President Barack Obama decides to go forward with the construction of the northern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Days following the release of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), The Hill reports Tuesday that, based on conversations with leading campaigners, approval of the project will likely “sow liberal discontent” among a new, mobilized force of environmentalists with serious consequences for Democratic lawmakers in the 2014 midterm elections.

“It is very likely that there will be negative consequences for Democrats if Keystone were approved,” said Kate Colarulli, associate director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign, told The Hill.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to protect the climate and build the Democratic base if Obama rejects Keystone XL,” Colarulli added.

The Hill continues:

Jamie Henn of the green group 350.org called the dispute over Keystone “the most iconic fight of a generation” and said the youth vote, which played an important part in Obama’s rise, could hang in the balance.

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Prada Revolutionaries: Confessions of a Recovering Solutionist

Pic: Robert Scoble (CC)

Pic: Robert Scoble (CC)

I wrote a personal retrospective on Bruce Sterling’s Viridian Design movements, along with the Bright Green tech and socially responsible business movements, for the five year anniversary of the end of the Viridian Design mailing list.

Via Technoccult:

Today we have garbage continents and ocean acidification. The latest ICC report tells us that even if we do manage to gouge our emissions, we’re still in for some rough climate change. And cutting emissions still looks as unlikely as it did to me in 2003 and as it did to Sterling in 1998.

Any sane person would look at the evidence and say the Virdian/Bright Green movement failed miserably. But here’s the thing: The Viridian Design movement may have failed in its goals, but accomplished its objectives.

Green is hip. Green is sexy. And the more affluent you are the greener — and therefore hipper — you can afford to be.

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DisinfoCast: 79: Craig Rosebraugh – “Greedy Lying Bastards”

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Activist and filmmaker Craig Rosebraugh produced, directed and co-wrote GREEDY LYING BASTARDS, a documentary that investigates the reason behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality but also a growing problem that is placing us on the brink of disaster.
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A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis

45320567_640Christian Parenti writes at Dissent:

Several strands of green thinking maintain that capitalism is incapable of a sustainable relationship with non-human nature because, as an economic system, capitalism has a growth imperative while the earth is finite. One finds versions of this argument in the literature of eco-socialism, deep ecology, eco-anarchism, and even among many mainstream greens who, though typically declining to actually name the economic system, are fixated on the dangers of “growth.”

All this may be true. Capitalism, a system in which privately owned firms must continuously out-produce and out-sell their competitors, may be incapable of accommodating itself to the limits of the natural world. However, that is not the same question as whether capitalism can solve the more immediate climate crisis.

Because of its magnitude, the climate crisis can appear as the sum total of all environmental problems—deforestation, over-fishing, freshwater depletion, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, chemical contamination.

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How the Cold War Spawned the Environmental Movement

The_Population_BombVia New Scientist

In Arming Mother Nature, Jacob Darwin Hamblin argues that environmentalism is rooted in cold war plans to abuse nature for military ends

I have often wondered why NATO holds environment conferences. Now I know the answer. Back in the 1960s, the Western military alliance coined the term “environmental warfare” and for years actively considered how to wage such wars. More than that, argues Jacob Darwin Hamblin in this startling account, much of modern environmental thinking originated with the scientists and military strategists during the dark days of the cold war.

And you thought the first environmentalists were muesli-eating, sandal-wearing hippies? Far from it, Hamblin says. Before them was a generation of scary Dr Strangelove types, “scientists, military leaders and politicians who believed they would have to manipulate and exploit nature” in a war against the Soviet Union. The original doom-mongers were not sounding the alarm; they were riding into battle.

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How Environmentalists Got One Firm to Quit Deforestation

tftMargaret Debore writes at TreeHugger:

A firm that once accused Greenpeace of making “false accusations” has finally had a change of heart. This morning, NPR’s Morning Edition has a great story on how Greenpeace and the Tropical Forest Trust pushed Asia Pulp and Paper to end their devastating practice of deforestation.

Scott Poynton of the Tropical Forest Trust, dealt with the company’s misplaced priorities:

Poynton told them bluntly that if they kept cutting down virgin forests, no amount of “greenwashing” was going to help them.

Head over to NPR to hear or read the full story.

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Lobbyists for Canadian Pipeline Have Deep Ties to White House

via Pratap Chatterjee CorpWatch 6a0120a65d9a8c970b0148c6d1c8ab970c-250wi

TransCanada and the provincial government of Alberta are paying former advisors to the Obama administration – as well as former staff of the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns – to help them lobby for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands fuel to the U.S.

The pipeline from Alberta – which is to be built by TransCanada – has been delayed for over four years pending approval from the U.S. State Department which has final say because it crosses the international border. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a decision this fall in consultation with John Kerry, who took over the State Department earlier this year from Hilary Clinton.

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Assassinations of Environmental Activists Have Doubled Over the Last Decade

Picture: Sigurdas (CC)

Fred Pearce writes at the Guardian:

Where is Sombath Somphone? With every day that passes, the fate of one of south-east Asia’s most high-profile environmental activists, who was snatched from the streets of Laos in December, becomes more worrisome.

His case has been raised by the State Department and countless NGOs around the world. But the authorities in Laos have offered no clue as to what happened after Sombath was stopped at a police checkpoint on a Saturday afternoon in the Lao capital of Vientiane as he returned home from his office. It looks increasingly like state kidnap — or worse, if recent evidence of the state-sponsored killings of environmental campaigners in other countries is anything to go by.

Personal danger is not what most environmentalists have in mind when they take up the cause of protecting nature and the people who rely on it in their daily lives.

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Scientist: No One Has the Right to Have as Many Children as They Want

Here’s a hot topic, and one that we’ve visited many, many times before here in the United States: Population growth. Anyone remember the Zero Population Growth movement of the sixties and seventies? I wonder how many ZPG activists have children (and grandchildren) of their own now? I’m not a dad, myself, and am pretty much sure that I’ll never be. What about you parents? How do you feel about population growth and control? What about the rest of you? How would we ever enforce such a thing, anyway?

Via Raw Story:

A Stanford professor and author of The Population Bomb recently published a paper in a scientific journal re-emphasizing climate change and population growth pose existential threats to humanity and in an interview with Raw Story said that giving people the right to have as many children as they want is “a bad idea.”

“The only criticism we’ve had on the paper is that it’s too optimistic,” said Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University and president of the Center for Conservation Biology.

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