Thursday, June 30, 2011

China’s green power plan

By Blake Deppe
People's World
The energy's always greener on the other side...of the world, that is. Particularly, in China.

In fact, according to the Environmental Defense Fund's Tony Kreindler, China is "already beating the U.S. to clean energy jobs" and "is quickly becoming the global powerhouse in clean energy manufacturing and innovation, dwarfing the efforts of America."

China wants to employ a massive renewable energy development plan. Part of it calls for non-fossil fuel energy production to reach and remain above 11 percent of total energy production in the country by 2015. China also intends to put a million electric vehicles on the market by that same year.

People's Assembly Fair in Toronto

The People’s Assembly Fair on August 27th, 2011 at Dufferin Grove Park

By torontopeoplesassembly
June 30, 2011

Since the G20, the Toronto People’s Assembly has formed three times as a space where the climate and social justice community converges. In our first Assembly, we identified several key components of how climate and environmental justice related to our city. For the second Assembly, we created several People’s Councils to tackle the issue of how to build a stronger movement for climate justice in Toronto. Then, most recently, with our Third Assembly, we gathered to share stories about what inspires us as people involved in the movement for climate justice.

Now as we move into summer, the People’s Assembly will come together once again, but in a different form! Building on the proposal from the Action Discussion at the last Assembly, the General Council has been meeting and laying the groundwork for a People’s Assembly Fair.

The Fair will take place on Saturday August 27th from12-5pm atDufferinGrovePark, and is intended to be a fun and family-friendly event to revitalize ourselves as a community and engage the public with interactive and creative activities. By allowing a safe space to demonstrate alternative means for education, entertainment, and sustainability the aim of the Fair is to become its own image of a movement we would all like to see.

Unlike other summer attractions, The People’s Assembly Fair will be a participant driven event, meaning there are no mere “attendees,” but rather active participants in every sense of the word. You will create the Stalls, the interaction, the art, the performance and ultimately the “experience.”

Therefore, we are inviting community groups and individuals to come and set up a Stall. If you do not belong to a group, form an ad-hoc one with some friends! What you do is only limited by your imagination, but here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Interactive or hands-on workshops
  • Educational games or role plays
  • Skill-shares
  • Discussion-based seminars
  • Art or banner making
  • Skits or other performances.
As a General Organizing Council we will organize a central information tent, a stage with live music, and we have already confirmed that Food Not Bombs will serve a free meal for everyone. The rest is up to you!

Please RSVP to let us know what you would like to do for the Fair and we will reserve a space for your Stall!

Further action:

To join our organizing Google Group, please send an email to

To find out about meeting dates and times please email :

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oil, water shortages, climate change could provoke wars: report

By Mike De Souza
Postmedia News
June 28, 2011

OTTAWA — Critical energy and water shortages combined with climate change could provoke wars within the next 15 years, warns a newly-released analysis by the Department of National Defence.

"Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025," wrote Maj. John Sheahan in a draft version of the report, Army 2040: First Look. "This implies that (barring the discovery of significant new reserves, and barring the adequate adoption of substitute fossil fuels or alternative fuel and energy sources) critical energy shortages will develop in the time frame of (and perhaps prior to) 2025."

The report noted that alternative fuels and energy may not be enough to respond to rising demand for energy that is forcing oil production to reach its capacity — a threat commonly referred to as "peak oil."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The deep green meaning of Fukushima

By Don Fitz
International Journal of Socialist Renewal
June 26, 2011

Humanity must decrease its use of energy. The decrease must be a lot (not a little bit) and it must happen soon. A failure to do so will lay the foundation for the destruction of human life by some combination of climate change and radiation.

How long will the disastrous consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan continue? A good estimate is about 4.5 billion years — the half life of uranium-238. [1] The March 11, 2011, meltdowns sounded alarms that environmentalists have rung for over half a century. There is also a deeper green meaning: the limits of economic growth have long since passed and we need to design a world with considerably less stuff.

Ecosocialism and Spirituality

In Memoriam: They gave their lives for the Amazonian forest and the Peoples of the Forest: Chico Mendes and Dorothy Stang.

By Frei Betto and Michael Löwy
Belem World Forum

Chico Mendes with his children, 1988
We would like to start our conference here at the World Social Forum of Belem with a homage to two personalities of high human quality, which gave their lives for the defence of the Amazonian forest, and the Peoples of the Forest: Chico Mendes and Dorothy Stang. They are the best known, the visible tip of the iceberg, of many other lives scarified in this unequal battle during the last decades.

Inspired, each in his own way, by their religious faith, they struggled, to the last consequences, for the cause of the oppressed and the exploited, which is, at the same time, inseparably, the cause of nature, of the forest, of life.

Read more HERE.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Japan Workers Bear Brunt of Nuke Clean-up

By Suvendrini Kakuchi
June 25, 2011

Older workers are volunteering to help clean up the nuclear site
HAVANA TIMES, June 25 (IPS) — Twenty-eight-year-old Yushi Sato washes cars for a living, but they are no ordinary cars. Every day, Sato hoses down vehicles contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant that was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit north-east Japan Mar 11.

Sato, who has worked at the Fukushima plant for the past five years, used to be a welder, but after the disaster struck he was assigned the job of washing the plant’s various vehicles. “We wash on average around 200 vehicles that show higher than normal radiation levels,” he told IPS.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Rights of Nature - Purhase Now

The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

Now for Purchase HERE.

In April 2010, Bolivia hosted a gathering for civil society in the wake of the failed December 2009 United Nations Copenhagen climate summit (COP 15). It was clear to millions of climate activists, scientists and environmentalists around the world that the UN process had been sidelined by a deal, the Copenhagen Accord, which represented a major step backward in the search by the UN for a binding, comprehensive agreement that would protect humanity and the Earth from the ravages of climate chaos.

When more than 32,000 participants from around the world gathered for the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, it was evident that a counter message had to be sent to the UN and the world that a far stronger commitment was needed if humanity is to successfully move to a safe and sustainable future.

Fossil fuel expansion as a crime against humanity

By Marc Lee 
Progressive Economics Forum
June 23rd, 2011

After at 2010 that was one of the warmest years on record, 2011 has shown us astonishing patterns of extreme weather worldwide. It would take a long time to make the full list, but you know what I mean: tornadoes, floods, drought, record cold in some parts, record heat in others, hailstorms (Al Gore does a pretty good summary of the state of things here).

A report for Al Jazeera tallied up the damages in the US alone at $27-28 billion, so far this year. They go on further to quote Swiss Re (global re-insurance company) that freak weather losses are about $130 billion per year now, compared to about $25 billion per year in the 1980s.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry Call for Civil Disobedience on Tar Sands

Peter Rothberg
The Nation
June 22, 2011

The Tar Sands, also known as the oil sands, are one of the largest remaining deposits of oil in the world, and efforts to extract the resource from a mix of clay and other materials underneath Canada’s Boreal forest have created the biggest, and by the accounts of numerous scientists and environmental groups,  the most environmentally devastating, energy project on earth.

TransCanada, one of the largest companies involved in tar sands exploration, has proposed a 1,661 mile, 36-inch extension of the newly built Keystone Pipeline from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries of the United States. This would expand the capacity for refining oil produced from Alberta tar sands by approximately one million barrels per day.

Time for the fight-back.

A group of leading environmental activists, many associated with the grassroots group, and many of them Nation writers, have issued a call and invitation for concerned citizens to take part in a campaign of non-violent direct action this summer in Washington, DC, in all likelihood, organizers say, during the last two weeks of August.

Why DC in the sweltering summer? That's when the State Department and the White House have to decide whether to grant a certificate of ‘national interest’ to some of the biggest fossil fuel players on earth, some of whom want to build the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to Texas's refineries.
The guidelines for participation are strict. Participants must pledge to:

1) Be utterly peaceful in all aspects of this action–physical and verbal.
2) Be dignified in dress and demeanor – these are serious issues, and we want to be taken seriously.
3) Attend an action training and briefing before I join the action. Knowingly and freely assume all risks, even if arising from the negligence of others, and assume full responsibility for my participation in this action.

Read the full letter below, signed by Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, George Poitras, David Suzuki and Gus Speth. The missive clearly makes the case for the campaign and details the horrific consequences if TransCanada's plan proceeds.

Check out how to take part in the actions or otherwise support them and please post the letter to your social networks, forward it to your email list and talk about it with your friends and family.

Global support for nuclear plummets - lower than coal

Beyond Nuclear
June 22, 2011

In the wake of new nuclear power plant build rebukes in both Germany and Italy, a new poll conducted by international research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that global support for nuclear energy has dropped quickly to 38% (down 16 points from 54%) to now become lower than support for coal (48%)—fuelled by a 26% jump in new opponents to nuclear power (above 50% in India, China, Japan and South Korea) who indicate that the recent crisis in Japan caused their decision.

Ipsos also released a detailed power point presentation of their findings. The survey of nearly 19,000 people in 24 countries also showed that nearly three-quarters of people think nuclear energy is only a limited and soon obsolete form of energy. Solar energy topped the charts with 97% of respondents strongly favoring it, closely followed by 93% for wind power.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cuba Boosts Use of Renewable Sources of Energy

By Cuban News Agency
Tuesday 21 June 2011

HAVANA, Cuba, - The vice minister of the Basic Industry, Juan Manuel Presa, said on Monday that Cuba will continue to boost the use of renewable sources of energy, particularly eolic (wind) energy.

Speaking to ACN, Presa added that in Cuba there are currently 100 wind-meter stations to collect reliable wind data at a height of 50 meters in order to assess the existing potential in the country. In this regard, he noted that it is possible to immediately install equipment of up to 600 MW in the northern coast of the central and eastern regions of the island.

Today, there are four wind farms in Cuba with 20 wind turbines that contribute 11.7mw to the national system and, according to studies, several farms could be created with a potential of more than 2,000 MW.

Tania Carbonel, director of the Center for Studies on Renewable Energy Technologies, of Havana’s Jose Antonio Echeverria Polytechnical Higher Institute, said that wind energy has many advantages. “It is very cheap and clean because it produces no air or water pollution since no fuel is burned.”

Carbonel added that recent high fossil fuel prices and the problem of pollution, has accelerated the research in the direction of alternative energies.

Major users of eolic power are Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, India, China and the United States. In some of these countries it provides nearly 10% of total electricity production.

According to the World Wind Energy Association, it is difficult to assess the total number or capacity of small-scaled wind turbines, but in China alone, there are roughly 300,000 small-scale wind turbines generating electricity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From Copenhagen and Cancun to Bonn and Durban, climate meetings are conferences of polluters

By Patrick Bond
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
June 21, 2011

Judging by what transpired at last week’s global climate negotiations in the former West German capital, Bonn, it appears certain that in just over five months’ time, the South African port city of Durban will host a conference of climate procrastinators, the COP 17 (Conference of Parties), dooming the Earth to the frying pan. Further inaction on climate change will leave our city’s name as infamous for elite incompetence and political betrayal as is Oslo’s in the Middle East.

It appears certain that Pretoria’s alliance with Washington, Beijing, New Delhi and Brasilia, witnessed in the shameful 2009 Copenhagen Accord, will be extended to other saboteurs of the Kyoto Protocol, especially from Ottawa, Tokyo and Moscow, along with Brussels and London carbon traders.

In BC, Pipes Spell Double Trouble

KSL gas pipeline is low profile, high threat

By Dawn Paley 
The Dominion
June 20, 2011

VANCOUVER—The struggle against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, which has galvanized First Nations throughout northern BC and earned popular support from people across the country, has become one of the highest profile Indigenous and environmental issues in Canada. Concerns are mounting that in Enbridge's shadow, other energy projects are slipping under the radar—with potentially explosive consequences.

The Kitimat Summit Lake (KSL) gas pipeline, also called the Pacific Trails Pipeline, is of emerging concern to Wet'suwet'en land defenders and local residents. If built, this pipeline would connect to an existing Westcoast Energy Pipeline at Summit Lake, near the geographical centre of BC, and cut west to Kitimat.

Fukushima report shows nuclear power can never be safe and cheap

The first "independent" review of the safety failures during Japan's nuclear disaster reveals some chillingly obvious "lessons" to be learned

Damien Carrington's Blog
June 20, 2011

The first "independent" review of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was published today and it does not make reassuring reading.

Japan is perhaps the most technologically advanced nation on Earth and yet, time after time, the report finds missing measures that I would have expected to already be in place. It highlights the fundamental inability for anyone to anticipate all future events and so deeply undermines the claims of the nuclear industry and its supporters that this time, with the new generation of reactors, things will be different.

Tar Sands Zombie Walk

Climate Justice London had a zombie walk with fake oil, for Stop Tar Sands Day.

Media Co-op
June 19, 2001

The 'oily' zombies walked to raise awareness about the many impacts from tar sands operations — from Alberta, to Ontario, and beyond. This tar sands sludge is being pumped into Sarnia-Lambton's Chemical Valley industries.  And, if the Enbridge Trailbreaker project proceeds, very dirty tar sands bitumen would be pumped through a pipeline which already crosses the Thames River, just north of London.

In Alberta, toxic tailings ponds have been leaking into the Athabasca river, each and every day. The residents of the area also are threatened by pipeline spills. In one incident this spring, millions of litres of tar sands crude and diluent spilled into the territory of the Lubicon Cree.

Being car free helps us to be free from tar sands impacts.  In the meantime, we are becoming more and more dependent on dirtier and more expensive fossil fuel sources — including Alberta’s tar sands. Relative to conventional oil, tar sands crude has far more intense climate impacts, and the extraction of tar sands drains and pollutes immense amounts of fresh water.

At the zombie walk, we used a "Turtle Island" tailings pond to catch our oily run-off, before and after the walk.

Across the street we taped up a banner that calls for a better world, where banks don't invest in tar sands operations. We had this banner up in front of a TD - Canada Trust building.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

International Stop the Tar Sands - Edmonton, Alberta

Deep Ecology versus Ecosocialism

Ian Angus
Climate and Capitalism
June 19, 2011

"Some people believe that deep ecology is not just compatible with ecosocialism, but a way to improve it. That’s a profound misconception that ignores deep ecology’s anti-human core."

The following was first posted on the online discussion group that was set up after the founding of the Ecosocialist international Network. I have added some suggestions for further reading.

Recently, some participants in this list have argued that ecosocialism would be enriched if it incorporated the philosophy and practice known as “deep ecology.” I don’t question their dedication or sincerity, but their argument reflects a misunderstanding of ecosocialism or deep ecology – or perhaps of both.

Friday, June 17, 2011

International Stop the Tar Sands Day: A guide to the disaster

By Michelle Mech
June 17, 2011
Info on Tar Sands Day HERE.

For many Canadians, the image of the oil sands as a boost to the economy, providing a bounty of jobs and ensuring a continuing supply of fossil fuel, overshadows anything they may hear about its environmental and human impacts.

This image is perpetuated by the Alberta and Canadian governments and by most of the oil sands industry, who downplay the repercussions of oil sands production and promise that "clean-up" of this massive project is imminent. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, environmental devastation, and threats to the existence of First Nations peoples commonly go unheeded by many Canadians -- either because believing in the promises of fixes is the most comfortable route or because they are not aware of the "full story." Many people don't fully comprehend the extent of the repercussions of oil sands development nor the limitations of proposed "fixes" or the lack of remedial action.

Bolivia calls for urgent high level talks on cutting climate pollution

Mother Earth
June 17, 2011

BONN – At the close of UN climate talks in Bonn that failed to address the huge shortfall in emission targets compared to what the science suggests is necessary, Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia called for a high-level meeting to discuss how to drastically reduce climate pollution.

“In order to have success at the UN climate conference in Durban in December we need to have a clearer willingness to increase the emissions reduction pledges that are on the table.” Ambassador Solon said.

National Energy Board: Captured Regulator?

What happens when watchdog becomes lapdog?

By Andrew Nikiforuk
June 17, 2011

The Economist magazine once described "regulatory capture" as a simple case of a gamekeeper behaving like a poacher.

Whenever industry captures the power of the state to foster private goals (and it's an occupation older than prostitution), regulators get captured and corruption surely follows.

And that's now a big problem for North America's energy regulators, which, arguably, are the continent's most powerful public servants. Yet their integrity appears to have peaked along with conventional oil and gas in the 1970s, and most are now abusing their powers. In an era of volatile energy prices, it appears that regulators would rather please industry than police it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seeds of ‘Good Living’ in Ecuador?

By René Ramírez, Roberto Navarrete
New Left Project
June 16, 2011

René Ramírez
René Ramírez is Ecuador’s National Secretary of Planning and Development. He previously worked as an academic and is the author of several books related to alternative views on economic and human development. Ramirez spoke to Roberto Navarrete during a recent visit to the UK about what his government is trying to achieve in the wider context of Latin American politics.

In May this year there was a referendum in Ecuador to reform the Constitution. Can you tell us a little more about this and what issues were at stake in the consultation?

Constitutional reform is at the centre of our project to transform the political framework of the country. A socialist project implies a separation of the state from the dominant economic interests in the country. There can be no truly socialist transformation while the state is co-opted by economic elites.

We have been in government for nearly four and half years and I can honestly say that this separation has not yet happened. This is not because the government did not wish this to happen. The executive branch has become de-corporatised. It has not happened because certain economic interest groups have been seeking impunity from the judicial system in relation to acts of corruption, as has happened throughout history, in order to accumulate wealth.

So, without carrying out a profound reform of the judicial system it will never be possible to separate the state from the economic interest groups. That explains the amount of money that went into opposing the reforms.

Read more HERE.

Green New Deal vs. Ecosocialism?


By Asst. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Atıl Aşıcıand Zeynep Bünül
A paper prepared for the 9th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics: Advancing Ecological Economics: Theory and Practice
Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, June 14-17, 2011
May 2011

The aim of this paper is to examine and to compare the Green New Deal policy proposals, and the Ecosocialist alternative for the solution of the current economic, social, and ecological crises. Although the Ecosocialist perspective is more ambitious in reaching a more egalitarian and ecologically sustainable future, it lacks a clearly defined set of actors and road map that can radically change the global system in accordance with the Ecosocialist principles in the long run.

In that respect, it can be argued that GND policies can help to set the stage for the Ecosocialist agenda to achieve its long term objectives. Hence, from this point of view, both approaches can be seen as complementary rather than substitutes.

Read paper HERE.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canada must prepare now for climate change impacts

June 15, 2011

Climate change impacts across Canada are become more apparent all the time. Studies are emerging warning us of imminent threats to our safety and well-being. It has become clear that many regions across Canada need to be better prepared to deal with these impacts; from sea level rise on our coasts, floods in central Canada, and water shortages in the west.

New Brunswick towns leading the way

A report released this May, 2011, by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), an international research organization, says that global warming will cause sea levels to rise as much a 1.60 meters by the year 2100.

"The consequences for communities along our eastern coast of a 1.6 m rise in sea level are grave," says Raphael Shay, Climate and Energy Coordinator at Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) Action. "Government must place a top priority on drafting a new climate action plan to continue on the successes of the current plan, which ends next year," he said.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Northern Communities Discuss Nuclear Waste

By Mark Melnychuk
The Meadow Lake Progress
Saskatchewan, Canada
June 10, 2011

Jim Harding addresses the meeting in Beauval, Sask.
Both the benefits and risks of storing nuclear waste were up for discussion at an open forum in Beauval.

The Northern Forum for Truth on Nuclear Waste Storage was hosted by the Committee for Future Generations, and was held on June 2. More than 200 people attended the event.

Mayors and band councillors from as far south as Saskatoon were invited. Although community leaders were asked to show up, organizers said they didn’t want the forum to become a political battleground. Instead, they wanted to inform members of the public who could one day have the responsibility of deciding if they would like to store nuclear waste.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Can humans really adapt to climate change?

Resource Insights
June 12, 2011

When contemplating whether humans can successfully adapt to climate change, it is worth noting that at least twice in the last 1.2 million years our species was almost wiped out. Genetic research confirms that 1.2 million years ago the human population on Earth was around 18,500, perilously close to extinction. The reason for this low number is not directly known. Then about 150,000 years ago, it plummeted again down to just 2,000, probably due to climate change.

Humans are remarkably adaptable creatures as is evidenced by the fact that they live on every part of the globe, from the steamiest jungle to the coldest tundra. But this nearly universal range (on land) does not now mean that we have become immune to shocks that almost wiped us out twice in the time we have roamed the planet.

Climate Change, Natural Disasters and the Urban Poor.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week
June 10, 2011

Climate change is happening now. The poor in the tropical third world are the population most greatly affected so far.

While the first image that comes to mind for many westerners, including myself, would be of impoverished rural villages – the reality is that more and more of the world’s poor are living in urban areas. Climate change has special challenges for urban citizens, planners, and civil servants.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never.

World needs to wake up to dangers of climate change, says environmentalist

By Linda Nguyen
Postmedia News 
June 11, 2011

Photograph by: Handout, Postmedia News
TORONTO — The world needs to get serious about fighting climate change if it wants to stop an increasing number of natural disasters seen in recent years, because just changing the type of light bulbs we use and recycling our newspapers is not nearly enough to save the environment, cautions a world-renowned author and environmentalist.

“The basic point is that, it’s the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Lester Brown in an interview last week from the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. “We know the best way to manage disasters is to prevent them in the first place.”

Brown, who has authored more than 50 books on environmental issues, will deliver this ominous message Monday in Toronto at the 21st World Conference on Disaster Management.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vietnam is Moving...

There's some rough news from Vietnam this week as the government approves a new coal plant -- one of 90 new plants they envision by 2025. On the other hand, we received this wonderful update from Hong Hoang and the 350 team in Vietnam...

sites/all/files/green_consumption_campaign_hcmc_photo_1.jpgThe Green Consumption Campaign launch kicks-off Vietnam’s 350 movement in 2011

 Over 500 students, local residents, journalists and government officials attended the launch of a campaign to promote the consumption of green products in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on 4 June. This is the first event from Vietnam leading up to Moving Planet to join the global 350 campaign to reduce the CO2 concentrate in the atmosphere for a healthy planet.

This is the second time the campaign has been coordinated by HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, and Saigon Union of Trading Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op), with the objective to inspire the local people to adopt more sustainable consumption practices, and from there encourage the manufacturing corporations to invest and expand their production of green products for the local market.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The UN Climate Negotiations Kick Off — Sort Of

Bolivia Criticizes Market Mechanisms in the Cancún Agreement and REDD 


By Tina Gerhardt – June 8, 2011

Earth Island Journal


Photo courtesy: Robert vanWaarden/Oxfam  Oxfam campaigners spelling out their message to UN delegates during the 2010 United Nations climate talks in Bonn Germany

Bonn, Germany – On Monday, a two-week long round of UN climate negotiations, lasting from June 6 to June 17, 2011, kicked off in Bonn, Germany. The talks will prepare for the way for the COP 17, which takes place November 28, 2011 to December 9, 2011 in Durban, South Africa.

Over 3000 participants from 183 countries, doing their best to avoid the E. Coli scare currently sweeping Germany, are in attendance.

The work before the group is clear. Last week, the International Energy Agency announced that emissions continue to increase unabated. Emissions released in 2010 were the highest in history, despite the economic recession. The report stated that the “prospect of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius is getting bleaker.”

New free trade deals threaten the environment

By Maude Barlow
June 9, 2011

The world is running out of a lot of raw resources.

From fish in the sea and old-growth forests to minerals, conventional energy and freshwater, ours is a planet needing great care.

While scientists and environmentalists warn us that we have to preserve and protect the natural world with more local, sustainable food and industrial production and more local, alternative energy sources, most of our governments are pursuing free trade agreements that promote faster and bigger transportation grids, carve up more wilderness for exploitation, increase the volume of sheer "stuff" coming from ever-farther away places, and tear through declining energy and water supplies.

Why we need to make peace with nature

By Jim Harding
No Nukes
June 3, 2011

If you believed all the ads flaunting “green products” you’d think we were almost on a sustainable path. You might even think that consuming more “green products” is good for the environment, which some of the ads imply. Of course it’s better to buy a car that gets better mileage. But a vehicle that produces one-half the carbon of an older model still produces carbon. Twice the car sales globally and we’d back on the same track.

The green products ethic can be a start, especially if it pushes us towards low-carbon technology, like renewable-energy powered planes, trains, buses and cars. But this shouldn’t be confused with a sustainability ethic, which involves much more. Our collective mind-set has to change for us to want to get on a sustainable track; in particular we need to alter how we see ourselves in nature. Sustainability ultimately requires that we make peace with nature.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New report shows total oil sands emissions close to double widely used figures

OTTAWA - A new comprehensive report by an independent researcher, Michelle Mech, is garnering attention as it shows that total production-related greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oil sands are close to double the National Inventory Report figure for 2008, which is often loosely misinterpreted as representing the total emissions from oil sands production.  The oils sands category was eliminated in the newly released 2011 National Inventory Report, which contains emissions accounting for 2009.  

“Mech’s report is extremely well-researched and merits serious attention,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “It is completely unacceptable that the Harper government is trying to hide oil sands emissions data from the UN.  Now we have a new report that is even more damning, as it takes into account all well-to-pump emissions.  It is even more apparent that any increase in production must be halted.”

There's no room for a climate of denial

By Dr Haydn Washington
8 June 2011 
This opinion piece was published in The Canberra Times by Dr Haydn Washington, co-author of Climate Change Denial, published by Earthscan.
Denial is as old as humanity but is not the same as scepticism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a sceptic as ''A seeker after truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions''. We should thus all seek the truth. Genuine scepticism in science is one of the ways science progresses.

Denial is very different; it is a refusal to believe something, no matter what the evidence. Climate change deniers often call themselves ''sceptics''. However, refusing to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence is not scepticism but denial.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Statement by Plurinational State of Bolivia

Statement by Plurinational State of Bolivia in ocassion the Informal Thematic Debate in the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the Green Economy: A Pathway Toward Sustainable Development

New York, June 2nd, 2011

Ms. President,

Let me begin by thanking the President of the General Assembly for having made possible this debate, which takes up issues that are crucial for humanity. The Plurinational State of Bolivia considers this opportunity to put forth issues of vital importance to the international community.

First off, we adhere to the assertions of the Group of 77 and China, put forth today by the delegation of Argentina. We coincide fully with what was said and would like to emphasize the fact that, under the concept of the green economy, there are attempts to introduce mechanisms that endanger the stability of ecosystems. We refer specifically to the so-called market mechanisms for environmental services.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NYC's Used Books

Next Year Country

NYC is in the process of transferring his large number of  left-wing books and pamphlets to a locally owned bookseller for sale.

A few hundred are already listed and all should be done by early summer.

Check out Laird Books HERE to see if there is something you need.

These are simutaneously listed at ABE Books Canada and  at

There is a link at the side bar as well.


Ecology and Socialism: Introduction


“The American way of life is non-negotiable.”
—George H.W. Bush, Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, 1992

“America is addicted to oil.”
—George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, 2008

“The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable— environmentally, economically, socially.”
—International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, Executive Summary, 2008

There is a giant death sentence hanging over much of our world. The once majestic polar bear, reduced to starvation due to dwindling sea ice in the Arctic, is only the latest forlorn poster child for the coming global ecocide that human civilization is visiting upon the earth. With rates of extinction running at a hundred to a thousand times the geological statistical norm, it is a species sadly far from alone. Thousands of species sit on Extinction Death Row awaiting the coup de grace, to be administered by a mutually reinforcing set of human-induced conditions.

At the forefront of these conditions rank habitat destruction and rapid, human- induced climate change. The human species seems well on the way to creating the Sixth Great Extinction as we exterminate other species faster than they can be classified; scientists estimate that we have classified less than 10 percent of all the species on earth. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s largest coalition of environmental organizations, of the nearly 50,000 on its red list of endangered species up to 17,000 face the prospect of immediate extinction. If nothing is done, the IUCN predicts the demise over the course of the twenty-first century of 50 percent of amphibians, 70 percent of botanic life, 37 percent of freshwater fish, 28 percent of reptilians, 21 percent of mammals, and 12 percent of all birds.

Species extinction is natural and nothing new; 99.999 percent of all species that have ever existed have become extinct. Sentient life, as represented by humans, is one outcome of this turnover. Over a period spanning millions of years, from our immediate bipedal forebears, Homo sapiens have evolved on a planet of stunning biodiversity, breathtaking vistas, and awe-inspiring feats of evolutionary development as biotic and abiotic factors have intertwined in a spectacular and everchanging dance of mesmerizing beauty.2 However, we live within a social system intent on hacking, burning, and destroying the biosphere in a time period measured in mere hundreds. It is a social system predicated on endless expansion; one that sickeningly combines historic and gargantuan amounts of wealth alongside oceans of poverty and mountains of waste.

Continue at Scribd: Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nova Scotia’s Tar Sands

“Shale gas is the fossil fuel industry’s latest suicide mission”

By Hillary Bain Lindsay
The Dominion
June 2, 2011

Protesters gather outside the Nova Scotia legislature in Halifax
HALIFAX—After years of learning about climate change and oil and gas development in other parts of the world, Michael Jensen was upset, but not surprised, to learn that natural gas exploration may be coming to his backyard.

"It's indicative of a much larger pattern of environmental destruction," says Jensen. "I'm deeply worried about the climate."

In December, the Nova Scotia Department of Energy issued a call for exploration proposals for three blocks of land along the province's North Shore, from the New Brunswick border to Merigomish. Jensen's house and small market garden fall within the "Scotsburn Block." He and hundreds of others from across Nova Scotia don't trust the government’s assurance that they will “recognize the importance of the environment when considering shale gas operations,” and many have decided to fight back.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Transition to Ecosocialism

The Transition to Ecosocialism: The Ecological Crisis and the Future of Capitalism 

By Joel Kovel (Part 1)
Parts 2-4 HERE.

On May 7, 2011, three members from the Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS) Journal held this seminiar on Ecosocialism at the Historical Materialism Conference at The New School in New York City.

This is the first of a four-part video from the seminar, featuring Joel Kovel, author of "The Enemy of Nature," co-founder of the Ecosocialist International Network, & Editor of the Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS) Journal ( For more information, write to:

Future Shock

Science fiction writers ask if climate change is transforming Earth into the ultimate alien planet

Welcome to the Greenhouse
Edited by Gordon Van Gelder
OR Books, 348 pp., $17

If you run your hand down the shelves of a bookstore, you'll find a wide range of contemporary fiction, categorized by reader fetish and with genres kept carefully separate. This one is "mystery," that one a "romance," another is a "thriller," and that one over there? Well, it's "literary." But whether we're talking about dragon tattoos or Da Vinci's codes or fraught Thanksgiving reunions, contemporary novels all seem to share a certain binding principle. Even as they try mightily to distance themselves from one another, in fact, they're all the same genre. They're historicals.

This View of Life Is Dialectical

In using a dialectical approach to scientific problems, Gould restores a sense of history to natural history, reflecting a movement from subjective to objective that parallels change in human social history.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kapitaal: a bad trip through consumer society

By Jérôme E. Roos 
June 1, 2011 

This award-winning typo-animation gives a clear impression of the immense visual bombardment we are confronted with in our lives every single day.

Commissioned by Museum De Beyerd (now the Graphic Design Museum) in Breda, the Netherlands, this short video animation takes you on a trip through consumer society, where, on a day-to-day basis, we are confronted by an overwhelming amount of visual stimuli.

What’s particularly striking about this video is how it strips down the content of our world to its bare essentials. Under today’s conditions of ‘cultural capitalism‘, brands have become fetishized, social relations reified and human beings almost entirely depersonalized. Life in such a world can be profoundly alienating.

This visualization very powerfully conveys the nightmarish loss of meaning and purpose that this ‘commodification‘ of society brings about. When all that presents itself to consciousness is brands and marketing slogans, what’s left of the real world is just a gaping void, derived of any meaning or substance.

As the makers of the animation point out, “due to the immense scale of the visual bombardment, the commercial effectiveness has become utterly dubious.” Yet we appear to be stuck in limbo, aimlessly bombarding each other (and ourselves) with information in a futile attempt to accumulate even more meaninglessness.

Watch it and see for yourself!