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Archive for October, 2008

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFICIT THE BASIS OF NEW REPORT

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief, Sustainable Living on October 29th, 2008

FULLY THREE QUARTERS OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVES IN COUNTRIES WHERE THE RESIDENTS CONSUME MORE NATURAL RESOURCES THAN THEIR NATION HAS THE CAPACITY TO PRODUCE.

From the too scary to contemplate file comes a new report from the World Wildlife Foundation, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, warning that fully three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries where the residents consume more natural resources than their nation has the capacity to produce.

To put it another way, what this means is that three quarters of us are only able to sustain our standard of living by drawing on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries.

What’s more, the report tells us, the deficit has grown to such an extent that we now need 1/3 more natural resource capacity then the entire planet is capable of producing. Extrapolate these numbers twenty years in the future and it really gets frightening as by then the experts predict we will need a second planet of the size and capacity of earth just to sustain life.

The report concludes that this reckless consumption of “natural capital” is endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.

Just what we need, more good news.

- – Denis

This report is based on data from two indicators:

The Living Planet Index – assesses the health of the planet’s ecosystems;

Ecological Footprint – measures human demand on the natural world.

The Living Planet Index tracked the population of 1,313 vertebrate species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from around the world.

It found that these species had declined by about 30% since 1970, suggesting that natural ecosystems were being degraded at an unprecedented rate.

The Ecological Footprint measured the amount of biologically productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber, shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity.

The report concluded that the global footprint exceeded the earth’s biocapacity by 25% in 2003, which meant that the Earth could no longer keep up with the demands being placed upon it.

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EU TO FORCE AIRLINES TO BUY EMISSIONS PERMITS

Posted in Conscious Actions, Global Warming, News Brief on October 27th, 2008

AIRLINES CRY POVERTY IN THE HOPE OF STALLING THE RULING

In one of the brighter recent strokes by a governing body, the European Union, on Friday, put in place legislation to force airlines flying into or out of member countries to join the emissions trading system. The measure, which is intended to cap the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, drew considerable criticism from airline industry executives for the timing of its passing, given the current global economic crisis. Estimates are that it will cost the airlines, which serve the European market, at least $4.4 billion per year to comply. The ruling is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Many airlines have fought hard to avoid inclusion in the system, including American-based carriers who are maintaining that the ruling may violate international aviation agreements.

Clearly this is one that will end up in the courts.

Read on after the jump.

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THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, ONCE AGAIN, SAY’S NO TO SARAH PALIN

Posted in Endangered Species, Humane Treatment of Animals, News Brief on October 18th, 2008

GRANTS BELUGA WHALE ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION OVER THE GOVERNOR’S OBJECTIONS

In what is a clear win for environmentalists, the Bush administration on Friday, over the objections of Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, granted endangered species protection to the beluga whales that live in Alaska’s, Cook Inlet. This is the second time this year that the Bush administration has acted in opposition to the wishes off Governor Palin’s administration, the other time being when it granted similar protections to the Alaskan polar bear.

Governor Palin, a well-known foe of the environment, had opposed the beluga listing mainly because of its potential to restrict coastal and offshore oil and gas development.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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CALCULATING YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT: PART ONE

Posted in Ethical Living, Global Warming, News Brief on October 16th, 2008

ALL PRODUCTS HAVE A CARBON FOOTPRINT. SEE HOW SOME OF LIFE’S BASICS MEASURE UP

First came organic. Then came fair trade. Now makers of everything from milk to jackets to cars are starting to tally up the carbon footprints of their products. That’s the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that get coughed into the air when the goods are made, shipped and stored, and then used by consumers.

So far, these efforts raise as many questions as they answer. Different companies are counting their products’ carbon footprints differently, making it all but impossible for shoppers to compare goods. And even if consumers come to understand the numbers, they might not like what they find out.

For instance, many products’ global-warming impact depends less on how they’re made than on how they’re used. That means the easiest way to cut carbon emissions may be to buy less of a product or use it in a way that’s less convenient.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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CALIFORNIAN’S STAND UP AGAINST ANIMAL CRUELTY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Corporate Greed, Humane Treatment of Animals, News Brief on October 11th, 2008

NEW BALLOT INITIATIVE WILL PROHIBIT SOME OF THE MORE INHUMANE PRACTICES OF FACTORY FARMS

Chickens in cruel battery cagesThis Election Day, November 4th, Californians will have the opportunity to vote to bring an end to some of the more inhumane and cruel practices of factory farms.

The ballot initiative, known as Proposition 2, if passed, will force California ranchers to ensure that their chickens, veal calves and breeding pigs are housed in such a way that they have ample room to stand up, turn around or stretch. This is a far cry from the current method of penning the animals so tightly together that movement is all but impossible.

While the measure is a far cry from the ideal of allowing the animals to live cage free, as about 10% of California’s egg producing chickens do, according to today’s Associated Press, it is the farthest-reaching measure dealing with farm animal treatment ever put before voters in any state.

Needless to say major egg producers are opposing the initiative and insist the current method of mass production where California’s 19 million egg-laying chickens are crammed six at a time into 2 square foot wire cages for their entire life is the most efficient way to deliver inexpensive eggs.

To prevent Proposition 2 from passing, opponents have raised nearly $7.5 million, including donations of $100,000 or more from at least 15 poultry producers. Along with the large cash donations are the threats that egg producers will move out of state or across the boarder into Mexico if voters approve Proposition 2.

The good news is that supporters of Proposition 2 have raised nearly the same amount of money with a $3.8 million contribution from the Humane Society enhancing individual donations.

Proposition 2’s restrictions would take effect in 2015. Violations carry the ridiculously low fine of $1,000, but I guess that this is a start.

- – Denis

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THE EFFORTLESS WAY TO SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY TECHNOLOGY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Ethical Living on October 9th, 2008

SWITCHING YOUR HOME TO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY MAY BE AS EASY AS MAKING A PHONE CALL

Clean Renewable Energy

Clean Renewable EnergyPutting your money where your principles are for many of us means switching our homes to alternatively produced sources of renewable energy. Now contrary to what you might think, this does not mean running out and purchasing a roof full of solar panels, nor does it mean that you will have to did up that precious backyard veggie garden to make room for an ugly old windmill. No my friends, it is not that complicated. Usually all it takes is a phone call to your local energy provider. And best of all, powering your home with clean, green, renewable energy doesn’t cost all that much more than your current electrical service.

To learn more, contact your local energy provider.

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SHORT TAKES

Posted in News Brief on October 7th, 2008

CALIFORNIA ADDS THE NATION’S FIRST LAW TO CONTROL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY CURBING SPRAWL

Recently, California’s own Green Governator, Ahnold Schwarzenegger gave the go ahead to a landmark bill – - SB 375 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – - designed to control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl. SB 375 will prioritize funding for transportation projects that reduce urban sprawl and limit commute times. The bill is expected to have a major impact in the years to come as California’s cities grow.

Speaking of our Ahnold, lest anyone think that Maria’s boy toy has lost his republican edge, Schwarzenegger recently scrapped a proposal – -allegedly at the behest of VP Wanabee, Sarah Palin – - which would have imposed a “pollution tax” on all cargo entering California’s deep-water ports. Schwarzenegger’s action will rob the state off much needed funding that would have been earmarked for clean air activities.

In other miscellaneous California green news, the Governator also refused to authorize $3.1 million in funding for the state’s Department of Fish and Game to protect salmon, steelhead and a range of other endangered and threatened species , or to sign a bill, which would have banned toxic chemicals from food packaging.

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NEWS WATCH! CONGRESS SAYS ADIEU WITHOUT ADDRESSING GLOBAL WARMING

Posted in Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on October 3rd, 2008

BUT THEY DID LEAVE BEHIND A SET OF PRINCIPLES TO AID THE NEXT CONGRESS IN CREATING COMPREHENSIVE GLOBAL WARMING LEGISLATION

The now empty CapitolWell friends, another legislative session has come and gone and still we don’t have a simple, coherent, well thought out plan to deal with Global Warming.

What we do have is a to-do list of principles; promises basically, intended to guide the next Congress when and if they finally get around to drafting comprehensive global warming legislation.

The principles, the brain child of House members Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA), and co-signed by 152 of their fellow members include:

Reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming;

Transition America to a clean energy economy;

Recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation; and

Aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.


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