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: 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

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:

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:

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.


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

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!





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.