Wednesday, May 30, 2007

END TIGER TRADE, The eyes of the world are watching

Photo copyright:

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:

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:

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.


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: - 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!

By Mara Hvistendahl for

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 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:

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?

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.


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 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