Saturday, October 06, 2007

New job, new possibilities

Dear readers of Earth Echoes blogg,

There has been precious little information posted here lately. That has to do with the fact that I have gotten a new job and moved to Norway. In the process of settling in in a new country, a new job, finding a new place, etc. the blogg has unfortunately suffered. Once I am settled in I will start with regular postings again. So please do not forget EarthEchoes.

Best regards and have a splendid autumn everyone,
Trond Lovdal
Editor

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rich nations accused of 'green imperialism'

Now the developed world is accused og "green imperialism" by sevarl developing nations. Thi subject touches to high degree on several issues previously brought up in EarthEchoes. EarthEchoes has argued that the environmental destruction and fast growing CO2 emissions one sees in the developing world is to a large extent correlated with the developed world's increased speed of consumerism and hunger for ever cheaper products.

Now the developing nations are coming to a similar conclusion. However, in this is an inherent dilemma as these nations' growth are heavily dependent on this "environmental degradation", which if not could not have made China the land of millionaires and one of the world's fastest markets for luxury goods. So where does this bring the discussion next?


Rich nations accused of 'green imperialism'

Singapore - Asian business and government leaders accused rich countries of hypocrisy, saying they run polluting industries with cheap labour in China and then blame the country for worsening global warming and climate change.

"This is green imperialism," Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Malaysia's deputy finance minister, told a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a two-day conference in Singapore.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A conservation success story in Zambia's hinterland

"MPIKA, Zambia: It is easy to dismiss this part of the world as hopeless. Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest mortality rates, the lowest literacy rates, the worst unemployment, the most tenacious, soul-eroding poverty on earth. The problems are so vexing, so widespread, that the question is not so much what to do as where to begin."

And that is what this article in the International Herald Tribune is all about. It illustrates so well what a few dedicated people facing the worst kind of challenges can achieve when they are pulling together towards a common vision.

A conservation success story in Zambia's hinterland

Smuggled Alcohol Used As Fuel in Sweden

By LOUISE NORDSTROM
Associated Press Writer
June 29, 2007 - 9:57am

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Smugglers trying to sneak alcohol into Sweden are unwittingly helping fuel the country's public transport system and reducing its greenhouse emissions.

Read the full story here: Smuggled Alcohol Used As Fuel in Sweden

The ever inventful Swedes have come with a new brilliant idea on how to reduce the country's carbon foot print. This is an idea that would be easy for other countries' customs departments to emulate.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Landmark Law Saves Rainforest in Indonesia

Indonesia’s new Ecosystem Restoration Decree will stop the logging of the 110,000 hectare Harapan rainforest. Uniquely, this major change in the law, which could be adapted by other countries, permits the management of forests to obtain benefits labelled ecosystem services. These include storing carbon, controls on pollution and protection for wildlife.

This news is reported by Positive News - from around the world which is a very good and interesting newsportal. Read the full story on how this landmark law is saving huge forest tracts in Indonesia here: Landmark Law Saves Rainforest

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sweden: Going Green

Now this is something for the countries in the region and for that matter the rest of the world to emulate. Sweden has for many years been in the forefront of eco management and green solutions to overcoming global warming. Again we see how the Swedes are actively putting into practice what they preach and coming up with real solutions to real problems. Now we need to push our own governments to follow suit and to take the global environment seriously.

For the full article please visit: Common Dreams - Sweden: Going Green

by Louise Williams

VAXJO, Sweden - In the cool forest region of southern Sweden, the city of Vaxjo has turned off the heating oil, even on the darkest, snowbound days of winter. Coal, too, is gone and next on the fossil fuel hit list is petrol. In the underground car park of the local government offices there are no private vehicles, just a communal car fleet.

Staff, who cycle or take the local biogas buses to work, book ahead to use vehicles in the fleet, and fill up on biogas or E85, a blend of 85 per cent renewable ethanol. Petrol is still readily available to the public, but carbon emissions in Sweden are heavily taxed. Drivers pay about 80 cents a litre extra at the bowser for the privilege of spewing out carbon dioxide.

Vaxjo is chasing a fossil fuel-free future, and it’s almost halfway there without having sacrificed lifestyle, comfort or economic growth. When local politicians announced the phase-out in 1996, it was little more than a quaint curiosity. Oil prices were hovering around $US20 a barrel and global warming was still a hotly contested debate.

Today, at least one international delegation a week - mainly from China and Japan - beats a path to Vaxjo to see how it’s done.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

This is incredibly good news and sets a precedent for how the world can save important forests and biodiversity. Now the industrialized nations of this world must show that they care and respond in kind. They must make sure that Congo will have the resources and capacity to follow up with their groundbreaking decision. Or else the whole experiment will fall apart. This could be the way of the future for biodiversity and tropical rainforest conservation. Let us do what it takes to ensure its success.

This could also show the way in cases like Mabira Forest in Uganda (which has been highlighted to a great extent in this blog). It could possibly be the way forward.


Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

By Joe Bavier

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congo is ready to cancel more than half its timber contracts to protect the world's second biggest tropical forest but it wants more aid from foreign governments to help do so, the environment minister said.

Read the full article here: Reuters - Congo to cancel logging deals to protect forests

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The heat is on

For Earth Echoes American readers:



Please vote for the candidate that takes the global climate change crisis seriously.

Climate change and the fight for resources 'will set world aflame'

By Steve Bloomfield in Nairobi

Climate change has become a major security issue that could lead to "a world going up in flames", the United Nations' top environment official has warned. From rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean to the increasing spread of desert in Africa's Sahel region, global warming will cause new wars across the world, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Read the full article here: The Independent - Climate change and the fight for resources 'will set world aflame'

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

We need to some more great local action like this.

Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

SEIJOSA, JUNE 19 (IANS): Heads of 16 villages bordering a tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh have joined hands to form a committee to protect the reserve where hunting of wild animals illegally has been a common practice.
The 16-member committee in conjunction with the forest department is to work for protection of the Pakke Tiger Reserve, about 250 km from the Chinese border.

The committee, locally called as "Ghora Aabhe", recently passed a resolution listing penalties for wildlife violations of 17 different wild species ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.30,000.

"Following this initiative, about 32 illegal locally made guns were seized from poachers. Many of the poachers have now promised to work for protection of the reserve," said Tana Tapi, divisional forest officer, who helped the villagers to form the committee.

A conservation organisation, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which is supporting the "Gaon Burahs" - village heads - with honorariums to carry out conservation actions, said villagers have been keeping a strict vigil in the reserve, which has led to the recovery of arms.

The 862-sq km Pakke Reserve in East Kameng district is home to many rare and endangered wildlife species, such as tiger, leopard, wild dog, Himalayan black bear and elephant.
Although wildlife trade is not prevalent here as in other parts of the country, hunting for food has been a major threat to wildlife.
"The reduction in hunting, particularly of prey species of the tiger, will help tiger conservation in the long run," said P.C. Bhattacharjee, professor at Gauhati University.

The committee would work to strengthen intelligence networks, enforcement activities and create awareness for conservation among the people. Repeated seizures would also act as a deterrent for likely offenders, Tapi said.

"The Gaon Burah's role is crucial since they can persuade people for sustainable use of natural resources," said Bhattacharjee.
"This initiative can be a role model elsewhere in the country where problems of hunting for food and trade are widespread. Fringe villages adjoining huge unmanned wildlife sanctuaries can play a stellar role in conservation," said Rahul Kaul, director conservation of WTI, who is supervising the project in Pakke.

"The Pakke Reserve, which is contiguous with the Nameri Tiger Reserve of Assam, is an important habitat for the big cats. This move by the villagers is an important step forward particularly in the light of the present tiger crisis in the country," he said.

For full article please visit Nagaland Post at: Arunachal villagers join hands to protect tiger reserve

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Link of the Month: The Center for Ecosystem Survival

The Center for Ecosystem Survival is this month's Earthechoes link because they do a world of good for earth's ecosystems. Please visit their website and help them get a $5,000 grant from Patagonia in Palo Alto, California.

The Center for Ecosystem Survival (CES) is dedicated to
creating global partnerships to inspire broadbased participation in the preservation of biological diversity through ecosystem protection worldwide.

CES works in partnership with schools, universities, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, natural history museums, and science centers worldwide to protect wildlife and nature.

China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

It is finally official. China has now overtaken the USA as the world's largest emitter of Carbon Dioxide, the main contributor to greenhouse gasses and thus climate change.

The Guardian UK reports that "China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year."

Read the full story here:China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No news is good news!

Dear readers,

The ditor has to apologize for the long absense. Due to unforeseen circumstances the editor had to go on a two week trip on very short notice and has not been able to update the blog. The blog will be updated on a regular basis again now. So please keep reading it and be informed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

END TIGER TRADE, The eyes of the world are watching



Photo copyright: http://www.endtigertrade.org.

Groups Release TV Spot to Reject Tiger Trade

LONDON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In advance of the world's largest wildlife trade meeting next week, 35 organisations have launched a powerful, 4-minute television spot urging China to keep its ban on tiger trade.

One of the UK's leading actors, Martin Jarvis, lent his voice to the spot, which details the consequences that reopening legal trade would have on wild tigers. The public service announcement can be viewed at: http://www.endtigertrade.org.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An introduction to the No Impact Man

Now the No Impact Man has become a good friend of mine. He exemplifies what can be done in terms of reducing one's impact on the environment, even when living in a huge metropolis like New york. One does not have to move to the countryside or into a one room flat to live with low or no environmental impact.

Read his wonderful blog and learn about his won experiences in trying to live a NO IMPACT LIFE! It has become one of my favorite blogs.

About the No Impact Man:

No Impact Man is my experiment with researching, developing and adopting a way of life for me and my little family—one wife, one toddler, one dog—to live in the heart of New York City while causing no net environmental impact. To do this, we will decrease the things we do that hurt the earth—make trash, cause carbon dioxide emissions, for example—and increase the things we do that help the earth—clean up the banks of the Hudson River, give money to charity, rescue sea birds, say.

In mathematical terms, in case you are an engineer or just a geek who likes math, we are trying to achieve an equilibrium that looks something like this:

Negative Impact + Positive Impact = Zero.

No net impact. Get it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You have seen his movie, now read his book

Al gore never tires of speaking up for the global environment. He made an award winning documentary (An Inconvenient Truth) and now he has written a book titled: The AUSSULT ON REASON".

You can buy the book here: Amazon.com

A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason.
At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism.

We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.

How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste.

Gore's larger goal in this book is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason's enemies, to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds, and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.

-from Amazon.com



And you can read another great review of it here: AlterNet - Al Gore's New Book Examines 'The Assault on Reason'

"In his new book, Al Gore explores why reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions and what we can do to change that."

This story was written by Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, and Matt Corley.

American public discourse is increasingly "vulnerable to the kind of rope-a-dope strategies that Exxon Mobil and their brethren have been employing for decades now," argues Al Gore. For example, a recent survey of 21 nations found that Americans are "among the least anxious" about global warming, "even though their nation is the top source of greenhouse gases."

Major Rainforest Victory: Mabira Rainforest in Uganda Saved

This is really good news! And it goes to show that online activism has a role to play. Save the Mabira Rainforest has been featured here on EarthEchoes as the Action Alert of the Month, for March 07.

News from the Rainforest portal:

Whoo, whoo a major rainforest victory! Uganda's cabinet has suspended a proposal to give away part of the Mabira rainforest near its capital and on the shore of Lake Victoria [more | search]. The significance of the protection remaining on this important Ugandan rainforest from sugar cane production (possibly for biofuel) lies not in the extent of the area -- some 7,000 hectares were to be removed from the area -- but more in the cooperation between local and international civil society to bring about the victory. Local activists organized boycotts of the sugar company that was to expand into the area. And Ecological Internet internationalized the issue, with 8,627 Earth Action Network participants generating 1,833,279 protest emails to the parliament that has now blocked the project.

Full Story here: The Rainforest portal - VICTORY: Ugandan Protected Rainforests Saved from Clearing for Plantation

Tiger Farms in China and Animal Abuse

Xiongsen is the world's biggest battery farm for rare animals, including 1,300 tigers. The stock is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in China, where consumers pay high prices for remedies, tonics and aphrodisiacs made from rare animals. Until now there has been a ban on tiger products, but that could be about to change. After a decade of lobbying by Xiongsen, China is preparing to call for a lifting of the ban. Jonathan Watts documents what life is like for the captive-bred animals.

See the full photo documentary here: Guardian Limited: Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village

There has been a lot of spot light recently on attempts by certain groups in China who wants to lift the ban on trade in tigers and other rare and endangered animal body parts pureley for financial gain. When will humans stop to think about that which is greater than themselves, human dignity, awe for nature and caring for our environment? Never it seems. We treat life, other animal species and whole ecosystems in a fashion that cares nothing about the pain and losses inflicted on them, and in the end on us. Our actions reverbarates and hit us back like a boomerang. Except we don't see it because of our short term sight of profits at all costs.

We must stop this negative spiral and start appreciating our envioronment and fellow species, for our own dignity and survival as much as theirs.

Please also read this story from anothet Chinese Tiger Farm: Metro.co.uk - Tigers feast on live cow in zoo show

On May 11, 2007 EarthEchoes featured the plight of the Tiger with two movie clips. The May Action Alert of the Month was also Tiger related. See the result here: Thousands Ask China to Keep Tiger Trade Ban. It Really helps to take action. Everything you do have an impact.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CBD: International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2007



Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22). We should all and everyone think about how our actions directly and indirectly impacts the Web of Life or Biodiversity as it is also called.

Vist the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to learn more: The International Day for Biological Diversity: Biodiversity and Climate Change, 22 May 2007

See the video prepared by CBD here: CBD Video on Biodiversity and Climate Change

Monday, May 21, 2007

Greening China!

THE CHINA EXPERIMENT
By Mara Hvistendahl for Seedmagazine.com

China is now undergoing a green revolution. However, the government is still struggling with how to bets deal with the issues of the environmental protection and its staggering growth rates that are working at cross purposes. Read this very informative and interesting article from Seedmagazine.com on how China is now trying to formulate policies to tackle serious environmental problems without having to compromise too much on its economic growth ambitions. The China Experiment is well written and Mara Hvistendahl has certainly done her research.

Photo credit: Seedmagazine.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

Earthechoes offline until May 21

On May 12 the Operating System crashed on my computer. I have been trying to get it up on and running myself, but finally had to give up. The Apple Powerbook is now being restored professionally. Earthechoes hope to start posting again within a few days (by May 21 or 22). Then Earthechoes will have some great news and even greater links, so please check back soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The San Francisco Compact - Stop unnecessary consumption

Here is a follow-up to EarthEchoes' most recent blog about the mum who is doing her part to stop climate change and help the global environment. Her action is much inspired by a group of individuals in San Francisco who started a "Compact" and made promises not to buy into consumerism any longer.

You can read more about them in this article by the San Francisco Chronicle - Out of the retail rat race: Consumer group doesn't buy notion that new is better

Here are some very good and useful links on healthy and ethical shopping:

Sustainable Enterprises
The Simple Living Network
Ethical Shopping
10 Giant Steps to a Simpler Life
Earth Education
The Simplicity Forum

Read those links and get inspiration on how you can live a simpler life, save money and help save the earth from certain environmental disaster. The money you save can be spent on pro-earth activities such as buying solar panels, getting yourself a composter, plant trees, help pay for the extra that organic foods and other healthy alternative products cost (there is not critical mass yet to make these products competitive with other similar, but unhealthy alternatives), support your favorite environmental organization/activity, and lots of other environmentally friendly products and services, or simply get yourself a well deserved massage (relaxes your body and mind and gets you in the right frame to tackle changes in life as a result of your healthy liveing make-over). This way the economy keeps growing, but in a healthy and sustainable way. It fosters green and ethical capitalism and consumerism as well as economic practices that value the importance of natural eco-systems and healthy people working in a productive and ecological sound economy. Start on a new path to a simpler, more sustainable and healthier way of life today!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What one mum is doing to help improve earth's environment



Inspired by the San Francisco Compact Becky Sheaves set out to live a non-consumer lifestyl for 4 months, hoping to extend it for a year after the first trial. Excerpts from this store below, and read her full story online here: The Daily Mail - The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?

All of us can be equally inspired and work for the betterment of our environment. Consumerism is one of society's major ills, but we just don't see it. If we all spent less on silly consumption and paid more attention to what really matters, quality of life, not quantity of consumer articles. We can all do with a lot less. And we are all of us usually far better off for it.

Photo copyrights/credit: The Daily Mail.

The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?
By BECKY SHEAVES

It's the latest way to save the planet, but could our writer survive for months without buying anything new? Yes, until the ironing board broke, her clothes ripped and - horrors! - her make-up ran out

A new sustainable living experiment has sparked a movement copied around the world. Known as the San Francisco Compact, it requires members to reject consumerism, and re-use, borrow and recycle instead.

They undertake not to buy anything new, ever (except for food, underwear and medicines). So is it possible? We challenged a spendaholic mother to become a Compacter.

Becky Sheaves, 39, who lives in Devon with her husband John, 48, and their six children, describes how her attempt to help save the planet went.

Be isnpired! Read the full story here: The Daily Mail - The stopping shopping challenge: Could you survive without buying anything?

Monday, May 07, 2007

A conservative twist, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Ok, now that it is finally proven beyond any doubt that global warming is happening, and that human activity plays a huge role in it, what does the climate change doubters do? They continue to play the game of it being a hoax by liberals and saying that it is a scheme by them to destroy the US economy and with it millions of jobs based on pseudoscience. What are these ultra conservatives thinking? Why on earth would any sensible person, not to mention thousands of world respected scientists, risk their reputations and all their good will to purposefully destroy the US economy? Well, give me a good explanation and I will give it a second thought.

Besides, if we look at it carefully, the changes society has to make can be a boon to the economy and not a set back. If we spent the same amount on renewable energy, raw material savings technology, innovations in engine and clean air technology, funding for nature restoration projects, etc. etc. that we do on the oil industry and large energy companies, the US and much of the rest of the world would be on a road of renewed economic growth and vitality. And this road would be a sustainable path, not one of destruction. The only problem is that the loosers would be the big oil corporations and big-energy, and those are the traditional allies of Bush and his cronies and pull far too much political weight through their heavily financed lobbies.

Furthermore, it does not have to cost a fortune to stop global climate change, if we act now. Think Progress recently published an article titled New Climate Change Report Debunks Key Right-Wing Talking Point On Global Warming which outlines briefly the arguments by the far right in the US and how easily these arguments can be overcome.

DeSmogBlog has run a calculation of what is truly needed and concluded that US$ 10 per person is all that it takes! "The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded today that it would cost 0.12% of the world's domestic product to substantially reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions. GDP of the world economy: US$60 trillion.12% of $60 trillion: $70 billion. Total population of the earth: 6.5 billionCost per person to significantly reduce heat-trapping gas worldwide: $10 a year. Cost of saving the planet from droughts, famine, mass flooding, species extinction and rising sea levels: priceless."

As can be seen the issue of stopping global warming is straight forward, except that we must recognize the fact that the developed nations has a much larger responsibility and thus must be expected to pay a larger % per head of total costs.

US and Australia are now the the only two countries left in the world where there are a few handful of ultra conservatives that denies the facts of science. Sarcozy, the right wing candidate who just won the presidential election in France said that he was friendly towards Bush and would like to work with him, as long as he did not hinder the work to stop global warming. Conservatives elsewhere in the world are waking up, albeit late, but not Bush and Howard. Well, it is ironic that the US has been hit for several years by strange and unsettling weather patterns, and Australia is undergoing its worst and longest drought ever, but climate change? no way! What these countries' leaders try to make you think is that it is just business as usual, nothing strange is happening with the weather, just your usual natural phenomena. Well, they will not be sitting for much longer as leaders, which is a comfort, but will it be too late as people like them have already hampered effective climate change policies, not to speak of the damage caused through lack of leadership on these vital issues, but history always has its own judgement.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Urgency required to fight global climate change, we must act now!

A newspaper article heading by the Guardian reads UN scientists warn time is running out to tackle global warming. "Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday. Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more."

In a related development reported by the San Francisco Chronicle a heading reads Changes in lifestyle can slow warming, scientists say "The worst effects of global warming can be blunted if average people make lifestyle changes that conserve energy and if the world's nations show the political will to address the problem, a panel of international scientists said Friday. The technology to slow climate change exists in the form of renewable-energy sources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power and making cars, homes and factories more energy efficient, but governments must adopt policies that encourage people and businesses to embrace them, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said."

1+1=2 always. The message here is very clear, we are running out of time if we are to successfully tackle climate change and global warming and that with some relatively minor adjustments in our lifestyles we can do a lot to slow global warming. We must act now and make as many adjustments in our lifestyle and consumption as we possibly can. Every little change is helping. At the same we conserve earth's resources. So please do your part to help slow and eventually stop global warming!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Now here is an interesting question, one we should all ponder.

Where to count manufacturing emissions: With end-users in the West, or the producers in China?

This is an issue that has been discussed indirectly in several of EarthEchoes earlier postings. Much of the carbon emissions from the developing world, from that of coal burning factories to power Chinese export industries to cutting down large tracts of tropical forests are the result of consumer demands in developed countries for ever cheaper products. If only consumers stopped to think about why they can get such a wealth of products (almost everything produced in China, India or other developing nations) at such low costs I think they would be surprised. Well, the answer is in part because it comes at the expense of the environment in these countries and now at such a rate that it is seriously affecting the global environment. The consumers themselves are demanding it, and thus indirectly (I would venture to say directly) causing huge changes to the global climate. And add to this the cabon emissions resulting from shipping these goods around the world, which alone add significant amounts of carbon emission.

What in effect is happening is that the developed part of the world has "exported" its carbon emissions to the developing world. If the same goods that are consumed in the the developed world were to have been produced where consumed the carbon emissions would have been many times higher in the developed part of the world, and equally lower in the developing world. The same goes for timber. If the same amount of timber that are consumed in the developed part of the world would have come from forests where consumption happens the developed part of the world would not have a single tree left standing. It is too easy to blame developing countries for their bad environmental records when consumers elsewhere are as much to blame. Hence, there is no question that the already industrialized countries must work to help the developing nations tackle their environmental challenges. It is a moral question as much as an environmental one.

We have to: STOP AND THINK ABOUT HOW OUR CONSUMPTION PATTERNS AFFECT THE GLOBAL CLIMATE

Add to this consumers' thirst for ever cheaper air fares, consumers' demand for low gasoline prices, etc. and it is no small wonder that earth's resources are depleted at dangerous levels and that our greenhouse gasses are wrecking havoc with the global climate.

BBC published today an article on their website with the title Paradox of China's emissions. It is a good read and makes you think.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Action Alert of the Month: Help End Trade in Tiger Parts

China represents the largest market for illegal trade in animal parts, and in particular trade in Tiger parts. In 1993 the Chinese government took decisive action to help save the species by outlawing all domestic trade of tiger products. At the same time public awareness campaigns have helped curbed a demand that once supported a burgeoning trade in tiger parts.

Now there are new pressures on the Chinese government, by so-called tiger farm operators, to relax these regulations and to make the trade in tiger parts legal again. This must at all costs be stopped because once trade is legalized it opens up opportunities for criminals to white wash money from trade in illegally poached animals of the wild tiger. Besides, years of public awareness campaigning and education on the issue may be at risk. Please help save the tiger from this fate. If we do not stop all trade in tiger parts we may soon only be able to see these wonderful animals in zoos and tiger farms, where they certainly do not belong. Therefore, EarthEchoes asks you to visit Help End the Tiger Trade and sign up to ask China to keep its tiger trade ban in place.

Photo Copyright: © John Goodrich, WCS. The photo is of male tiger Lyutia.

Here is Save the Tiger Fund's press release on the campaign: Conservationists Call on China to Support Law Over Tiger Farms

For obvious reasons this campaign is very close to EarthEchoes' heart since the editor, Trond Lovdal, works for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Russia Far East as the Tiger Friendly Certification Manager. This campaign on WWF's website is sponsored by 28 organizations involved in tiger conservation, including WCS, Save the Tiger Fund, Conservation International, IFAW, TRAFFIC, Care for the Wild International, The Corbett Foundation, etc.

Please do your part to help save this wonderful cat from extinction. Visit Help End the Tiger Trade and sign up to ask China to keep its tiger trade ban in place. Your views will be personally conveyed to China's leaders.

Arctic ice cap possibly melting 30 years ahead of IPCC predictions

Recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a grim picture of global warming, and especially for the arctic areas predicting that the Arctic ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months by the year 2050. A new study conducted by an American glaciological team move this date up 30 years to 2020. Their findings strongly indicate that the Arctic ice cap as a result of human created global warming is disappearing a lot faster than even the grim prediction of the IPCC.

Read the full report here: Reuters: Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast

Photo Credit: Reuters.

These are very serious findings and it again illustrates how little time we have and how much remain to be done to put a halt to global warming. The world leaders do not at all understand the urgency as they are bickering and arguing over minor measures while the planet is on high fever. If we do not act now, it will be too late.

The simulation below of the summer artic ice coverage of the north pole from present to 2040 is produced by UCAR and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Now think of the time span as half of this again, with the final year 2020 instead of 2040. Now that is a lot of water that will be freed to flood low laying areas such as Bangladesh, Florida, Holland, etc. And we are all so complacent about it.

The alarm bells are ringing as loud as ever. Wake up world!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Link of the Month: Global Witness

"Global Witness exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems, to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses".

Global Witness is an organization dedicated to exposing the ways that corruption and natural resources are linked and to campaign for transparency and justice in the areas of resources, human rights and environmental abuses. The organization does a lot of important work in this regard and deserves everybody's respect and support. Please visit their website http://globalwitness.org to learn more about the good work they are doing for human rights and the environment and to see how you can help them.

Global Witness write this about the importance of their work: Global Witness was the first organisation that sought to break the links between the exploitation of natural resources, and conflict and corruption; and the results of our investigations and our powerful lobbying skills have been not only a catalyst, but a main driver behind most of the major international mechanisms and initiatives that have been established to address these issues; including the Kimberley Process and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Global Witness is largely responsible for natural resources occupying the prominent role in the international agenda that they currently do.

Global Witness video:

China and USA finally agree on something: to weaken the global efforts to stop climate change

It is ironic that China and USA now finally have found a common cause as they so often disagree on almost any issue from copyrights to Iran. The sad fact is that what they are agreeing on goes against the grain of common sense and sets back the fight against global climate changes. As reported by Associated Press from this week's meeting by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Bangkok, Thailand, both the United States and China want to amend a major report by U.N.-sponsored climate researchers to play down its conclusion that quick, affordable action can limit the worst effects of global warming.

To see the full news story go here: Yahoo News: U.S. balks at new climate report

Photo Credit: Associate Press. Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendrat Pachauri answers a question from media.

In another development at the same IPCC meeting the poor nations of the world say that the world powers have to gets it act together, including USA, China and India, and together solve the huge environmental crisis that global warming represents. The poorest of the poor will be amongst the worst affected by global warming (according to the latest IPCC reports), but at the same time the countries with the least resources to deal with the results. Furthermore, these nations by the very nature of their poverty have been the ones that have contributed the least towards our current climate crisis. Hence it is doubly unfair that these nations should share the brunt of the negative effects caused by global warming resulting from decades of carbon emissions from the rich world and now by fast developing nations such as China and India. These poor nations must band together and demand from the developed and fast developing nations a cooperative solution that is in the interest of all and foremost the global environment. It is about time to let petty haggling aside and get down to business to save our earth's climate and biodiversity heritage.

To see the full news story go here: Poor countries demand a voice on climate change

Monday, April 30, 2007

Asian consumer threatens rare and endagered shark species

In a previous posting (April 14, 2007)EarthEchoes alerted its readers to the fate of three shark species and the need to get them on the CITES Appendix I list. I know that many of you have signed the petition. This time other sharks are endangered by ignorant consumers in Asian markets (mainly China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore) to whom the sharks represents an expensive status symbol as shark fin soup is one of the most expensive dishes one can order in Asian restaurants. Sadly, as a result many species such as the hammerheads, silkies, oceanics, white fins, black fins, fox shark and reef shark are getting nearer to extinction. It is about time to actually have a worldwide ban on all trade in shark fins, or else there will for sure be no shark fin on the tables any longer anyway. We are seeing a similar story to that of the trade in tiger bones and other body parts. We must act before it is too late.

EarthEchoes asks all its readers to boycott restaurants and shops selling shark fins. And when attending meals at restaurants where shark fin is served please alert the host to the fact that their order is contributing towards the extinction of shark species. Many people are simply not aware about how their actions are influencing the Web of Life.

Here is a very informative article about how Asian consumption is a major contributor towards the decline of shark populations off the coast of Columbia:
Yahoo News: Asian demand for shark fins threatens Colombian species

Photo Credit: http://zoo.ogresnet.com. Close up shot of a hammerhead shark.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A MUST read Article on global warming, economics and sustainability


Avoiding Self-Organized Extinction: Toward a Co-Evolutionary Economics of Sustainability

SUMMARY:
The critical problems that scientists warned about decades ago are now upon us. There is a near universal consensus that global warming is human-caused and that its effects are now accelerating. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem disruption is now well-documented. The global connections between social disruption, resource use and environmental degradation are now all too familiar. This information is all the more disturbing in view of the well-documented collapse of scores of past civilizations whose cultural patterns of behaviour have been described as 'self-organized' extinction. Policies to deal with the issues of sustainability have been hampered by a one- dimensional economic theory that has until recently dominated pubic discourse. Using the concept of 'generalized Darwinism', this paper focuses on the contributions a revitalized science of economics can bring to the sustainability debate. It ends with a cautiously pessimistic assessment of the prospects for sustainability.

This article written by John Gowdy and published by RED ORBIT gives the reader truly something to think about. It is a long article, but after reading it the reader has a much better sense of what is required of us as a society to start a genuine path towards sustainability. It highlights the pitfalls that current economic theories represents and asks the reader to truly have an open mind and see what is needed in order to tread a new sustainable and economically viable path.

Photo Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics

True crises are those difficulties that cannot be resolved within the framework of the system, but instead can be overcome only by going outside of and beyond the historical system of which the difficulties are a part.'
- Immanuel Wallerstein, World Systems Analysis

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Urbanization a Huge Threat to Biodiversity

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 24 (IPS) - Disproportionate growth of the world's urban population could result in further loss of many forms of life on Earth, warn experts in the sciences of climate change and biodiversity.

"With more than 3.2 billion people residing in the cities, for the first time the world's urban population now exceeds the number of those living in rural areas".

Not only is population growth in itself aggravating biodiversity loss and climate change as more consumers are eating into earth's finite resources, but habitation patterns add further strain on earth's resources and the environment. This news article published by Inter Press Service News Agency illustrates very well the challenges of urbanization to our environment and ultimately its impact on biodiversity and climate change. A green and ethical modicum of living is the only solution if our planet is to withstand the pressure. As highlighted in several previous postings we must seriously rethink our consumption patterns or else the earth will simply give in.

To read the article in full check out this link: Cities Eating Up Resources and Habitat

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WWF says that China needs help to manage its natural resources use

"China must work more closely with the rest of the world to ensure its global hunt for resources to feed its ravenous economy does not wreck communities and ecosystems, conservation group WWF said on Wednesday" and "The global quest for natural resources is closely linked to questions to poverty alleviation, corruption, transparency, regulations of transnational corporations, and human rights".

This is an incredibly important point. As China's economy is growing and is supplying more and more consumer goods to the world, and especially the industrialize world, it is no wonder that this country poor in natural resources needs to look elsewhere to supply its facotories with raw materials. The world community must not overlook the race that is currently going on to secure these ever limiting natural resources. An international scheme should be in place to ensure that no short cuts are taken that either leaves these under-devloped countries often rich in natural resources depleted and even poorer in the long term or that illegitimate and corrupt governments are bought. It is exactly this kind of competition for natural resources that spells disaster for many poorer nations. The world community has an obligation to ensure that the people of these nations are not worse off in the long run as a result, but hopefully reaps long term benefits instead.

The report by WWF also offers hope as it said: "China, with its growing acquisition of natural resources worldwide, ... has the opportunity to be one of the world's most influential voices for improving environmental governance on a global level". This then is the challenge: to work with countries like China and to help them play an active and positive role in the countries they buy natural resources from. Other governments and NGOs can play a vital role in nudging China to recognize that they have an important role to play and that they can do this ethically and environmentally responsibly.

To read the full story bu Reuter click here: China needs help managing resources properly -WWF

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A MUST sign petition: Pledge to Live a One Planet Life!



This has to be one the best of any petitions regarding sustainable living that is online. Thanks a bunch Anbarasi for alerting EarthEchoes to this petition. We must all do our part to live within our earth limits. We do not have five planets, only one. This is reality and our living should reflect this reality. We must take responsibility and live accoprdingly. A One Planet Life is Possible. To learn more about the petition and to sign up follow this link:

Pledge to Live a One Planet Life

It is brought to you by CARE 2 Make a Difference

EarthEchoes strongly challenge all its readers to sign the pledge and follow up with action: LIVE A ONE PLANET LIFE!

And Always remember:
One life - Live it!
One earth - Protect it!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A BIG Earth Day greeting to all the readers of the EarthEchoes Blog

Dear readers,

I want to wish you all a splendid and happy EARTH DAY today. Today is the day we should care especially for our home: the EARTH. Our earth is now facing challenges and obstacles never before experienced in our human history. These challenges and obstacles are a result of our own degradation and lack of care for our environment. We must stop this degradation and EarthEchoes therefore recommend that we henceforth must make every single day Earth Day. We must slow our consumption, we must think green, we must spend more effort and resources on caring for our environment, we must reduce green house gas emitting activities and we must act more responsibly towards our environment. We no longer have any other alternative than a sustainable development path, a path that all nations and all peoples must take in order to halt current climate changes and other environmental calamaties. Therefore, I strongly appeal to all readers of EarthEchoes to make every single day an Earth Day! We cannot afford not to as we no longer have the luxury of time nor that of ignorance as we all know only too well the nature and cause of the threats to our global climate and environment.

Earth Day greetings,
Trond Lovdal
Blog Editor

One life - Live it! One earth - Protect it!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Norway recognizing the threat to Earth's climate and environment

On April 19th the Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg announced the world's most ambitious plan to reduce carbon emission by declaring that Norway will go carbon neutral by 2050. Although it is clearly a political statement and only time will tell if Norway actually is going to keep its ambitious promise, it nevertheless sends a very strong message to the world and it will hopefully challenge other developed nations to make similar ambitious goals. If all developed nations could agree that they will go carbon neutral by 2050 it will demonstrate to the developing world a very strong committment on their part, which again can be used to pressure many of the developing nations, such as China, Brazil and India, to make their own ambitious national policies on climate change. Please do your part to pressure your government to make a tough stance on carbon emissions.

PHOTO copyright: GoNorway.no

To read more about Norway's ambitious carbon emission policy click on this link: NBC News: Norway aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

And remember YOU can also go carbon neutral: Carbonfund.org

Friday, April 20, 2007

Billions of $$$ earmarked for poverty alleviation in the developing world are used to subsidize large international oil corporations

What on earth (no pun intended) is going on here when large oil and other energy corporation that are already reaping record profits are subsidized by the World Bank through it’s oil development program. These rich oil companies would have done these projects anyhow as the world's oil and gas reserves are shrinking and they are all fighting for shares in the world’s decreasing oil reserves. Why then should the World Bank spend billions on these profit and market driven oil companies when this money could be far better spent on sustainable development projects helping those directly affected rather than causing further reliance of poor nations on large multinational corporations?

"Each year, billions and billions of dollars that should be spent on ending poverty around the world and improving the environment are being used to subsidize oil and gas projects in developing countries that lead to debt traps for those countries and an increase in greenhouse gas production."

-- U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y, in a statement introducing a bill to Congress April 17 that he hopes will limit the World Bank's lending for oil development projects. He introduced the "End Oil Aid Act" in wake of news that the bank's lending for oil projects has increased more than 75 percent over the past year. The lending increase comes despite a recommendation from a stake-holder group for a phasing out of financing of oil projects by 2008, he said. "It is unfathomable that the U.S. and other wealthy countries would spend billions of dollars on subsidies for Big Oil when those energy companies are reaping record profits," Hinchey said.

(Source: Global Development Briefing)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rainforest Foundation Norway received a large grant from the Norwegian government for projects in the Amazon region

On the 18th of April the Norwegian Minister for Development, Erik Solheim, signed an agreement with Rainforest Foundation Norway to allocate NOK 69 million (USD 11.5 million) earmarked rainforest conservation in the Amazon region for the period 2007-2010. This is the largest funding ever from the Norwegian government for such type of projects.

This agreement will give a huge boost to the Rainforest Foundation Norway' s work in the Amazon. There they work especially close with the indigenous peoples as they see them as the largest stakeholder and key implementers of conservation. Also many countries in the region, especially Brazil, have over the recent years strengthened the environmental legal framework thus making it easier to defend indigenous peoples' rights versus that of large logging corporations and "burn and slash" farmers who are the main threats to these rainforests. With the new funding the Rainforest Foundation Norway can take a much more holistic and long-term view of its involvement in the Amazon rainforest, making their work all that more effective. As a result they can now double their engagement and projects in the region. With the new funding the goal is to include five new areas for protection, alltogether making up 2.5 times more territory than that of Norway.

Erik Solheim also said that the ministry is considering similar initiatives for other areas of the world with large tracts of tropical rainforests and many aborigine communities, such as Africa and Asia.

Read the story here: Regnskogfondet - Storstsing i Amazonas (in Norwegian) and you can read more about about the Rainforest Foundation Norway (in English) here: About Rainforest Foundation Norway

China to overtake the US as the biggest carbon emitter within this year or the next

According to Reuters the International Energy Agency reports that China will overtake the USA within a year as the world's largest carbon emitting nation. This is no news really as it has been expected to happen for a long time, but now a more exact time frame has been established. This goes to show how important it is to engage large developing nations like China, India and Indonesia in the climate debate. The world is in dire need of the participation of such nations to help find solutions to climate change issues if we are to overcome these almost insurmountable obstacles. This is one unfortunate side effect of development. The developed nations have here a strong incentive to engage the developing part of the world and together find solutions that everyone can live with. Technology transfers and carbon trading goes a long way, but is not enough. Diplomacy and education are needed as additional tools.

It is very important to remember that this is the price that consumers in the developed part of the world are now paying for the cheap goods that have been coming for decades from China and other developing nations such as India and Vietnam. The US and European consumers have a responsibility equal in this respect since degradation of the environment and huge consumption of energy is what has allowed consumers cheap access to goods such as electronics and clothing. We must also not forget this side to the story as we work together to solve these issues. This is one aspect it seems that the leaders of the USA and Australia have forgotten as they keep ignoring international efforts to stem climate change. We are all responsible!

See also the previous and related posting of February 22, "China: The Environmental Challenge"


China will overtake the United States as the world's biggest emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) either this year or next, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The estimate is much firmer than the IEA's previous forecast, last November, that on current trends China would overtake the United States before 2010.

"Either this year or next year," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters, in answer to the question of when China would overtake the United States.

Read the full article by Reuters here: China about to become biggest carbon emitter

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Congo Villages tricked into selling valuable forests for next to nothing

Well, as close to next to nothing as it gets. Village elders representing their villages had been promised sacks of grain and sugar for logging rights to their forests. In most cases one single tree could be worth as much as £4,000 (US$ 8,000), but what the villagers get in return for a whole forest of such valuable trees are a few sacks of grain or bags of sugar, possibly some free medical care and low paying menial jobs (clearing their own forests) if they are lucky. In many cases the companies having stolen these villages' natural resources have failed to even deliver on their cheap promises. But nevertheless they have of course kept the villages to their end of the deal and will be extracting the timber at huge costs to the global environment. Furthermore, many of these large logging companies now exploiting and clearing Congo's remaining pristine forests are European companies. What happened to ethical business and responsible logging as these companies are so proud to proclaim on their websites? We never hear about the truth behind how they get their logs and timber.

"If the trees go, then we will have nothing. We will be consigned to poverty forever. The forests are our only hope. If they go, we only become poorer", said one man who lives near Kisangani. Like most people in the area, he did not want to give his name for fear of intimidation from local authorities, who are known to be mired in corruption".

A note on the photo: The Odzala rainforest, part of the national park in central Democratic Republic of Congo. Elsewhere, huge tracts of unprotected forest have been snapped up by loggers for but a fraction of their true worth. Photograph: Michael Nichols/Getty, copyright "The Guardian"

Read the full article by "The Guardian" here: Vast forests with trees each worth £4,000 sold for a few bags of sugar

Also read these online stories:

Congo is not the only country in Africa facing these kind of threats to its biodiversity and natural resources. Rainforest Portal is right now having an action to help stop looging in the Mabira Rainforest of Uganda. If you feel strongly about these issues please visit this link and take action and petition the Ugandan government to stop logging of the Mabira Forest: Last Chance to Stop Great Ugandan Mabira Rainforest Give-Away

Monday, April 16, 2007

Norway to host the World Environment Day 2007

Every year on June 5 the world is celebrating the World Environment Day (WED). This year's theme is: Melting ice - a hot topic? And what a more fitting place to kick it of than Norway, which is a leading nation in arctic research and a nation that has Svalbard and large territories in Antarctica.

The topic is indeed a HOT one (no need for the question mark) as has been demonstrated the world over by all the attention given to the world's glaciers melting and the Arctic's ice cap melting at a dangerous pace posing threats to the local biodiversity and indigenous peoples' livelihoods and culture. It is a symptom of how hot the earth has become. Earth is now like a patient with a fever, and the ice caps that are normally cooling it down is melting, further aggravating global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss.

We should all celebrate this day, but celebrate it while thinking about what we as individuals can do to improve on our environment. Thinking about how we as individuals can help spread this message, how we as individuals can pressure our governments to act faster and more resolute to stop global warming. This must be foremost in our minds on June 5 this year.

One life - Live it! One Earth - Protect it!

To learn more about the "World Environment Day 2007" check out these links:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Fading Future of Asian Tropical Rainforests

The Wild Asia website has had a good series going on the demise of Asia's tropical rainforests. Rainforests are amongst the most important ecosystems we have on our planet. The loss of rainforests means the loss of earth's ecological loungs and loss of our biodiversity heritage. As destruction of our rainforests are a major factor in global warming and other environmental calamities. I urge everybody to take action and help stop the loss of rainforests and biodiversity. Take a look at EarthEchoes' Action Alert of the Month and pick at least one that you would like to support.

The article "The Fading Future of Asian Tropical Rainforests" is in three parts and can be read separately. I particularly recommend reading Part 3 as it discusses the implications of the loss of rain forests to climate change and biodiversity loss. Read the articles here:

  1. The Fading Future of Asian Tropical Rainforests
  2. The Fading Future of Asian Tropical Rainforests
  3. The Fading Future of Asian Tropical Rainforests

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Urgent Action Needed: Help get endangered species of sharks on the CITES Appendix I list

Anbarasi has just informed me about this urgent action alert by Ocean Conservancy to help protect three endangered shark species by getting them on the CITES listing (Appendix I) making it illegal to trade in these species. The more signatures they get all the more pressure on the government to act in the interest of nature. And remember environmental problems are GLOBAL hence all of us are stakeholders, therefore, write to the US government whether you are an American or not and tell them to help save these endangered shark species. ACT to keep the Web of Life intact!

"Your help is needed to support sound proposals limiting unsustainable trade in imperiled species of sharks and rays. Proposals to protect sawfish, spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will be considered in June by 170 CITES member countries. These proposals are vital to reducing extinction risk for these vulnerable and depleted species, but they face an uphill battle and need strong public support, particularly in the United States.

Your voice is needed during this CITES comment period to balance industry pressure to oppose CITES action for sharks. Please write to the Fish and Wildlife Service before April 23 to express your strong support for passage of all three shark and ray proposals".

Go here to take action: International Trade Endangers Sharks - Take Action to Help

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Role of PEOPLE POWER in Development

At times when people get together and realize their common threats to the environment it often only takes a few dedicated individuals to achieve great results and the ripple effect is that the whole community gets involved. The video clip below produced by TVE Asia Pacific is a text book illustration on how People Power and Development can go hand in hand to create better livelihoods for whole communities and at the same time be of great benefit to the environment.

PEOPLE POWER:


To learn more about the role that mangroves play in tropical waters see this video clip developed by the project Mangroves for the Future (sponsored by IUCN and UNDP).

Mangroves for the Future:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why are we here?

Watch it and think carefully about the message:



Produced by: Earth Communications Office and narrated by Morgan Freeman.

Name change for 1-earth.blogspot.com

Dear blog readers,

The name of my blog has as of today been changed from 1-Earth to EarthEchoes. The new blog name EarthEchoes reflects better the recent changes in the nature and development of my blog. It also reflects better the new "editorial" direction of the blog whereby more global environmental news, other stories and video clips have recently been incorporated to a much higher degree than before. The name also reflects better the new dynamic nature of the blog. I hope that the readers will find this "new" blog as interesting if not even more interesting than my "previous" blog.

This name itself also reflects the fact that our earth communicates indirectly to us what is going on by sending us signals via climate changes and extreme weather patterns. Earth's web of life does the same thing as we see one species after another falling prey to human ignorance, over-consumption and greed. These earth echoes reverbarates back to us and we need to listen before it is too late. Hence the name EarthEchoes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

UN Security Council will Debate Global Climate Change

Global Climate Change is now getting the attention of the UN Security Council.

"UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council will debate climate change for the first time on April 17, the result of a British campaign to force it onto the agenda of a body that deals with matters of war and peace."

To read more about this good news check out one of the following news items:

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Guardian UK: Stop shopping ... or the planet will go pop

This article gives a complete new meaning to the saying "shop til you drop". We may soon have to take it literally as our consumer patterns are destroying the earth's environment at a breakneck pace.

"According to Porritt, the most senior adviser to the government on sustainability, we have become a generation of shopaholics. We are bombarded by advertising from every medium which persuades us that the more we consume, the better our lives will be. Shopping is equated with fun, fulfilment and self-identity. It is also, Porritt warns, killing the planet. He argues, in an interview with The Observer, that merely switching to 'ethical' shopping is not enough. We must shop less."

Read the full article here: The Guardian UK: Stop shopping ... or the planet will go pop

This idea has been one of my most important messages to friends and family and shines through in several of my other postings here: We must shop less and shop smarter (green). Many times when we go shopping we must not only think green, but also think about whether we really will need these things or not. If you decide the item is needed then think green and ethical, meaning how can I make a purchase that is as environmentally friendly as possible.

One example: Have you gone through your wardrobe recently? How much of the clothing and shoes do you really need and how much of it was bought simply on an impulse. Be honest and ask yourself how many of the clothes have you worn less than 5 times? I think you will be surprised at the answers if you make a truly honest assessment. The same logic works for many other purchases we make on almost a daily basis. We collect junk and in the process destroy our earth. We need to rethink our consumer patterns in a major way. This is probably one of the most important (non)actions we as consumers and individuals can take to help shape the future of our earth and global climate. Shop less and shop smarter!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The REAL dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms

Independent research has shown that GMOs are potentially very dangerous to your health. But that is not all. GMOs also have some large societal concerns and have caused damage to crops, not only in the developed world, but also in the developing world. This is an evil circle causing the developing world to be increasingly dependent on large multinationals whose only interest is profit (at all costs).

Furthermore, GMOs are possibly the world's biggest threat to Biodiversity next to Global Warming. Multinationals are destroying biodiversity's integrity and with it the world's biodiversity heritage. As earth citizens we have a moral duty and responsibility to protect earth's biodiversity heritage. Earth has provided us with rich resources of nutrition and sustenance in the past, what makes these corporations believe that they can improve on nature's own creations? They are creating Frankensteins and expecting consumers to purchase and eat them. Therefore think more than twice before you buy products made from GMO crops. The best thing you can do for your health and the health of the earth is to boycott all GMO products and tell your friends and family to do the same.

This is a must see video series to better understand how large multinational corporations are out to dominate the world's food basket through the promotion of GMOs and thus control the sources of nutrition. The intended (to destroy competition) or unintended side effect is destruction of much of earth's biodiversity. Dr. Vandana Shiva in India (see a previous posting February 17, 2006) is one of the most successful and outspoken campaigners against GMOs. She leads the Navdanya organization and its fight against GMOs and multinationals domination in the developing world.

The full video CD can be bought online. To learn more about GMOs and to buy the CD visit:

Take charge of what you eat and thus your health. Avoid GMOs!

PART 1.


PART 2


PART 3


PART 4

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Supreme Court rules against Bush on global warming

Are we finally starting to see a turning point in the USA with regards to global warming and climate change issues? Not only is the Congress now completely in the hands of the far more environmentally friendly Democrats, but the the judges and the courts are also starting to face the ever hotter facts about global warming and greenhouse gasses. In a stunning defeat for President Bush the Supreme Court, the country's highest court, ruled against EPA and the Bush administration. The EPA refused to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate change. Bush wants voluntary measures believing that mandatory control to greenhouse gasses are harmful to the country's economy. Furthermore Bush has claimed that EPA has no power to regulate carbon emissions within the existing legal framework, and that even if they had the power Bush said that they should not do so.

However, now the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA should reconsider its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions and that it is indeed within their power to regulate these greenhouse gasses. This implies that EPA actually has to actively regulate greenhouse gasses unless there is scientific proof that carbon emissions do not lead to global warming (as we all know by now the vast majority of the serious scientific community is of the opinion that greenhouse gasses indeed contribute substantially to global warming). What this in effect means is that EPA no longer can avoid responsibility and must take action to regulate greenhouse gasses. The cars in USA alone make up 6% of total global emissions. Now the USA will have to define these emissions as pollutants and start regulating them, which is indeed what several states are pushing to do. The law could also set an important precedent for other environmental sectors.

I hope we will see more good news like this coming from the USA, the world's biggest contributor towards global warming with the world's highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

To read more check out these links:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Link of the Month: Time's Global Warming Survival Guide

Time Magazine, one of the world's most respected international magazines is taking global warming deadly seriously. It has dedicated a section of its website to what it calls Global Warming Survival Guide. Here the readers get a number of stories on global warming and climate change as well as a several ideas and suggestions on what we as individuals can do to help stop the deadly global climate change trend. I found in particular the article 51 Things We Can Do very interesting.

Time writes: "Can one person slow global warming? Actually, yes. You—along with scientists, businesses and governments—can create paths to cut carbon emissions. Here is our guide to some of the planet's best ideas, with an assessment of their impact and feel—good factor".

Copyright Note: The above illustration for TIME by Ann Elliot Cutting for Time.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Vice President Al Gore explains how to help fight global warming

The clip below is from an interview with former Vice President Al Gore where he explains how we as individuals can respond in a positive way to reduce global warming. His strongest message I think is that we each and all have a moral obligation to do so.

Also do not miss Al Gore's website Climate Crisis where you can CALCULATE YOUR PERSONAL IMPACT to see how much CO2 you produce and get suggestions on how to reduce this and go carbon neutral.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The EarthEchoes blog has gone carbon neutral

EarthEchoes has gone carbon neutral and so can you. Carbonfund.org is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and organizations go carbon neutral/free. It is a great way to make your mark on the environment and it does not cost a lot. Check out their website and join them today!

Carbonfund.org has this to say about themselves:

Carbonfund.org is a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the dangers of climate change and makes it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact. We are reducing the threat of climate change by promoting low-cost carbon reductions and supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects that reduce and offset carbon dioxide emissions.

Our Goals:
  • a cleaner, safer and more prosperous world for our generation and future generations
  • to promote easy, cost effective solutions to climate change, encouraging people to “reduce what you can, offset what you can not”
  • to help make carbon offsets, green power and Zero Carbon a normal way of life for every individual and business

Please join them today!
Carbonfund.org

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Online Activism, it works!

Anbarasi has recently sent me an e-mail telling me about her experiences with online activism and how YOU can also help influence decision makers to take a pro-environment view by going online. She writes:

"Online activism quite works, recently I got a very positive letter from one of the governments, a very personalised letter as I personalised my petition. Infact I am glad that it WORKS".

WWF has some very good suggestions on how to be effective with online activism. Please check out this link for some good suggestions: Tips for effective activism

And do keep in mind that nature conservation and the environment are no longer local issues only, but rather global concerns. What happens to the environment in India, Norway or Russia concerns YOU whether you are from these countries or a completely different part of the world. Therefore, if there is something that you feel strongly about in another country you should get involved regardless and petition the government to change its policies. WWF has several online campaigns going that you can take part in. Have a look at their website and pick at least one campaign that you want to help out by petitioning online. WWF Worldwide Campaigns

Also check out 1-EARTH's "Action Alert of the Month" at the top right corner of the blog for ongoing online environmental campaigns featured by 1-EARTH.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Link of the Month: "Bio Da Versity Code"

Help Robert Penguin and Sophie Minnow crack the Bio Da Versity Code. The latest animated movie from Free Range Studios (the makers of The Meatrix series).




This is one of the most entertaining ways of getting the message of biodiversity and nature conservation across that I have seen anywhere. To learn more about the movie and how to take action visit: The Bio Da Versity Code.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

China: The Environmental Challenge

I have just recently read a very interesting article on China's environmental crisis in the Independent titled: China Crisis: threat to the global environment. This article really clearly demonstrates that as a global community our consumption patterns are driving us to oblivion at a nerve-wrecking pace.

In the article the writer Michael McCarthy (Environment Editor) postulates that China's growth cannot continue at its present course for too long. He writes: "If growth continues at 8 per cent a year, Mr Brown said, by 2031 China's population, likely to be 1.45 billion on current UN predictions, will have an income per person equivalent to that of the US today. He said: "China's grain consumption will then be two-thirds of the current grain consumption for the entire world. If it consumes oil at the same rate as the US today, the Chinese will be consuming 99 million barrels a day - and the whole world is currently producing 84 million barrels a day, and will probably not produce much more. If it consumes paper at the same rate we do, it will consume twice as much paper as the world is now producing. There go the world's forests. If the Chinese then have three cars for every four people - as the US does today - they would have a fleet of 1.1 billion cars, compared to the current world fleet of 800 million. They would have to pave over an area equivalent to the area they have planted with rice today, just to drive and park them."

"The bottom line of this analysis is that we're going to have to develop a new economic model [editor's own highlighting in bold]. Instead of a fossil-fuel based, automobile-centred, throw-away economy we will have to have a renewable-energy based, diversified transport system, and comprehensive reuse and recycle economies. "If we want civilisation to survive, we will have to have that. Otherwise civilisation will collapse."

The example of China's future growth more than any other example I have come across shows that in terms of the global environment and consuming earth's resources we are really off course. Now this example is just talking about China's future consumption, there are other huge nations such as India (who soon will have a population higher than China's) who also will soon experience a similar development pattern. Earth's resources simply does not come even close to being able to support such consumption as will then be demanded if existing consumption levels are maintained. This clearly shows that in order to be successful the international environmental community and world leaders must engage the developing world and especially China and India in finding acceptable solutions to stop this consumption trend. And it must be done soon as time is quickly running out.