October 1, 2019
Last week the world witnessed the rage of nature speaking through our children as they cursed and derided the intransigence of the leaders of the world’s super-powers, the corporations and financiers who have determined that the love of wealth and devotion to its accumulation was too great to forego for the sake of life. Mammon at last has nothing to say to the outrage of nature. We explore the details….
But first the news.

In Memoriam

April Pierson-Keating
April 27, 1967 – September 28, 2019

 

April Pierson-Keating: An environment that promotes more cancer not what WV needs (Gazette)

An environment that promotes more cancer is not what WV needs

Recently, I wrote to my West Virginia senators and delegates and told them my story of growing up in Chemical Valley and ending up with metastatic breast cancer.

The tumors are not the kind you can just remove — the cancer is in my bones. My doctors think it has to do with my growing up in Charleston where I drank the water, breathed the air, walked to and from school each day, and played outside as much as possible.

April Keating speaking to the Upshur County Commission about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

We do know that the environment is a bigger factor in who gets cancer than genetics. Eighty percent of people who get breast cancer did not have a family history. No one in my family had any form of cancer, and I have one of the most life-threatening types.

Putting more cancer-causing chemicals into the streams does not make sense. There is no evidence it will create jobs, but it does have the potential to keep people from coming here to start businesses and families.

We have to ask ourselves why people are leaving the state. Lack of opportunity is one of the biggest reasons. I believe toxic water and air is another. Developing sustainable industries — solar, medical marijuana, agriculture, tourism — would give us an economic boost and improve life for our people here.

But there is another reason not to toxify our water. Gas and coal extraction releases cancer-causing chemicals and makes people sick. That costs the state money. Remediating toxic streams also costs money.

Property damage from storms due to the warming planet will cost money — indeed, it already has. The change in weather and temperature will also affect our ability to grow food. You certainly can’t grow organic or claim chemical-free food in a place with toxic water. And no one wants to swim, fish, or kayak in toxic water. Tourism, anyone?…—April Pierson-Keating,”An environment that promotes more cancer not what WV needs,” West Virginia Gazette, 4/1/17

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New Yorkers and Elected Officials
Focus on Corporate Utilities
During Climate Strike Week Outside,
National Grid Brooklyn Headquarters

New Yorkers and Elected Officials Focus on Corporate Utilities During Climate Strike Week Outside National Grid Brooklyn Headquarters – Erik McGregor Photography

Photo: Erik McGregor Photography

New York, NY — Members of the Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition along with elected officials held a rally press conference on September 24, 2019 outside National Grid Corporate Headquarters in Brooklyn calling out corporate utilities National Grid and ConEdison for their role in perpetuating climate change by expanding fracked gas pipelines and other infrastructure in New York City and Long Island, unethically raising rates, and holding small businesses and local residents hostage in order to manufacture a demand for the twice-denied Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline. Just four days after 300,000 New Yorkers and 4 million people around the world participated in the Global Climate Strikes, Governor Cuomo joined WNYC reiterating his opposition. “We’re against gas pipelines…We’ve taken a position.” regarding the Williams NESE pipeline.

“I urge National Grid, Con Edison, and the Public Service Commission to take their responsibilities seriously by acting immediately to transition away from the use of natural gas,” said State Senator Julia Salazar. “The days of building new pipelines and charging customers ever-increasing rates to serve must end. If the utilities are unwilling to make transformative changes, then we owe it to New Yorkers to turn to public ownership and control instead as we initiate the full transition to renewable energy.”

“Con Edison’s rate hike will marry us into fossil fuel infrastructure for generations to come, off the backs of hard-working New Yorkers who can ill afford another increase,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “We saw this summer how Con Ed poorly communicated updates as outages left swaths of the five boroughs in the dark for hours – if not days. That they showed hardly any remorse afterward begs the question of how prepared they are to continue serving New Yorkers, especially with this new infrastructure the utility hopes to lay.”…—Lee Ziesche, “New Yorkers and Elected Officials Focus on Corporate Utilities During Climate Strike Week Outside National Grid Brooklyn Headquarters,” Sane Energy Project, 9/24/19

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Mothers Out Front Receives 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award

Mothers Out Front Receives 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award – Press Release

Mothers Out Front is the recipient of the 2019 United Nations Global Climate Action Award: Women for Results. These awards help to shine a light on some of the most practical examples of what people across the globe are doing to combat climate change. Mothers Out Front was the only recipient in the United States.

“We are profoundly grateful to receive this recognition from the United Nations,” said Kelsey Wirth, Mothers Out Front co-founder and chair. “Each day our mothers wake up determined to protect their children from the growing threat of the climate crisis. We know that we have until 2030 to cut carbon emissions by half. We will only accomplish this if decision-makers begin to take bold action on climate. This is a question of justice — for our children, and for those communities currently suffering the impacts of climate injustices.”

The announcement of the award winners comes shortly after the UN Climate Summit in New York,  convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and in parallel with Climate Week NYC.

“The recipients of the UN Global Climate Action Awards are leaders from communities, governments, businesses, and organizations, and they are from all corners of the globe and all levels of society,” said Niclas Svenningsen, Manager of the UN Climate Change Global Climate Action Programme. “It is crucial we celebrate all actors who are leading the way. Their award-winning initiatives send a strong political signal to all nations — and through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change.”

Mothers Out Front uses a deep community organizing approach to empower mothers to step into active leadership roles within community-based teams, providing the structure, training, support, and tools they need to develop and win community and statewide campaigns of their own choosing. Founded in the Boston area in 2013, it has grown to have 47 community-based teams in nine states. Teams of mothers work towards getting clean energy legislation passed, stopping the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, and addressing current health and safety issues linked to climate change and fossil fuel activity.…—Anne Roach, “Mothers Out Front Receives 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award,” Mothers Out Front, 9/26/19

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Please Make a Donation to Stop The Pipeline

The Jerome Park Conservancy is the fiscal sponsor for Stop The Pipeline (STP). To make a donation to STP, you can:

Pay by credit card
using PayPal

Or donate by check: Make the check out to “Jerome Park Conservancy,” with “STP” in the memo line. Mail it to:
Stop the Pipeline
PO Box 48
East Meredith, NY 13757

The Jerome Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Your donations will help advance the purpose of STP.

STP’s mission is to preserve and enhance the rural heritage and pristine environment of central New York State, and north central Pennsylvania, by ensuring the purity of its air, water, and soil, the health of its inhabitants, the resilience of its ecosystems, and the capacity of the area to be self-sustaining.

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Seneca Lake-Area Water Systems
Promise New Data on PFAS Chemicals,
While State DOH Keeps Tight Lid on What It Knows

Seneca Lake-Area Water Systems Promise New Data on PFAS Chemicals, While State DOH Keeps Tight Lid on What It KnowsWATERLOO, Sept. 30, 2019 — Blindsided a month ago by intense public alarm over reports that their public drinking water showed traces of PFAS-class chemicals, officials in Watkins Glen and Montour …

WATERLOO, Sept. 30, 2019 — Blindsided a month ago by intense public alarm over reports that their public drinking water showed traces of PFAS-class chemicals, officials in Watkins Glen and Montour Falls and Waterloo confirmed last week that they are in the process of checking it out.

No new tests results are in yet, but they’re said to be in the pipeline.

In early September, social media erupted briefly over a report from a non-profit citizens group, Seneca Lake Guardian, on results from lab tests for the chemicals found in Teflon, ScotchGuard and other household products.

Seneca Lake Guardian (SLG) had paid a Michigan laboratory to screen for 14 PFAS chemicals in water samples from three local water systems and three private water wells near Romulus.

The results showed traces of PFAS at all six test sites, but at levels below proposed state limits in each case. Still, results for several sites were higher than contamination limits proposed by several environmental groups.

An Aug. 30 posting on WaterFront touched off the social media outburst, which many local officials saw as an overreaction.

Just to be on the safe side, Jim Bromka has ordered screenings for all 14 of the SLG-tested chemicals in tap water supplied to much of Seneca County by the Village of Waterloo Water Supply Plant, which he runs.…—Peter Mantius, “Seneca Lake-Area Water Systems Promise New Data on PFAS Chemicals, While State DOH Keeps Tight Lid on What It Knows,” Water Front, 9/30/19

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Pennsylvania is Discharging Radioactive Fracking Waste
Into Rivers As Landfill Leachate,
Impacting The Chesapeake Bay & Ohio River Watersheds

Pennsylvania is Discharging Radioactive Fracking Waste Into Rivers As Landfill Leachate, Impacting The Chesapeake Bay & Ohio River Watersheds

Joey Bacon, 13, stands ready under the Lance Corporal Abram Howard Memorial bridge in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with his fishing pole cast into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Joey spends a lot of time around the Rivers swimming, fishing, and cannon-balling from the bridges that crisscross the waters. He hasn’t caught anything in the hour he’s been out today, but one time he caught a catfish as long as his arm, and he’s hoping that will happen again.

DEP is allowing 14 Sewage Waste Treatment Plants to discharge radioactive fracking waste as landfill leachate into 13 Pennsylvania Waterways. The process DEP created to “treat” and discharge the leachate through sewage plants appears to date as far back as the fracking boom (2009 or longer).

Water that travels ninety-one miles downstream from Joey ends up at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence on the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. On any given day, Governor Tom Wolf could look out from his window to wildlife on the River and people recreating in the waters rushing by.

But what Wolf can’t see, is that his own Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has allowed radioactive material from fracking waste to be discharged into that River through sewage facilities upstream.…—Joshua B. Pribanic, Talia Wiener, “Pennsylvania is Discharging Radioactive Fracking Waste Into Rivers As Landfill Leachate, Impacting The Chesapeake Bay & Ohio River Watersheds,” NewsCOUP|Public Herald, 8/7/19

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Nature’s Anger, Mammon’s Silence

‘Nature is angry,’ warns UN chief
And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature.

‘Nature is angry,’ warns UN chief

 

Opening the UN Climate Action Summit, António Guterres says the biggest cost is doing nothing on climate change.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday denounced governments and the fossil fuel industry for fueling climate change, and called for taxing “pollution, not people.”

Opening the U.N. Climate Action Summit, meant to spur international climate efforts, Guterres had stark words about the state of the planet. “Nature is angry and we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature because nature always strikes back and around the world nature is striking back with fury.”

The summit comes after millions took to the streets Friday to press for faster action on tackling climate change, and scientists issued yet more dire warnings about the state of the planet.

“There is a cost to everything,” Guterres said. “But the biggest cost is doing nothing. The biggest cost is subsidizing a dying fossil fuel industry, building more and more coal power plants, and denying what is plain as day, that we are in a deep climate hole and to get out, we must first stop digging.”

He criticized governments for giving “trillions in hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the fossil fuel industry to boost hurricanes, spread tropical diseases, and heighten conflict,” as well as plans for building “ever more coal plants that are choking our future.”…—Kalina Oroschakoff, “‘Nature is angry,’ warns UN chief,” Politico, 9/23/19

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UN Climate Summit: Small Countries Step Up
While Major Emitters Are Silent,
and a Teen Takes World Leaders to Task

UN Climate Summit: Small Countries Step Up While Major Emitters Are Silent, and a Teen Takes World Leaders to Task

More countries vowed to drop coal, and Greta Thunberg and 15 other young activists filed a UN complaint arguing big emitter countries violate children’s rights.

Dozens of small nations ramped up their commitments to cut carbon emissions Monday, September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. But the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluters offered only silence, met by a stinging rebuke from 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg that echoed throughout the day-long session.

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said, addressing the delegates with her voice shaking. “How dare you?”

The surprise arrival of President Donald Trump was emblematic of her words. The president sat behind the United States placard for no more than 10 minutes, then departed, with Vice President Mike Pence at his shoulder. The nation that has contributed the most to global greenhouse emissions over time pointedly played no part in the session aimed at raising ambition for the next round of international commitments under the Paris climate accord. One four-second video clip, shared repeatedly on Twitter, showed Trump striding briskly past cameras, oblivious to the withering stare of Thunberg behind him.

A total of 66 countries—together accounting for just 6.9 percent of global carbon emissions—announced that they would increase their climate efforts in the next round of commitments due under the Paris climate accord next year, according to tracking by the environmental group World Resources Institute. 

 Environmentalists expressed disappointment that, so far, no new goals have been announced by the largest emitters. The top five alone account for more than 60 percent of emissions.…—Marianne Lavelle, “UN Climate Summit: Small Countries Step Up While Major Emitters Are Silent, and a Teen Takes World Leaders to Task,” InsideClimate News, 9/23/19

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Students hold climate protests around the world for second week

Students hold climate protests around the world for second week

BERLIN (AP) — Tens of thousands of mostly young people marched to New Zealand’s Parliament on Friday, September 27, 2019 kicking off a second wave of worldwide protests demanding swift action on climate change.

The protests were inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who spoke to world leaders this week at a United Nations summit in New York.

A march to the Parliament in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, was one of the largest protests ever held there and organizers needed to change their security plans to accommodate the swelling crowd. Thousands more marched in Auckland and in other parts of the country.

On the other side of the planet, tens of thousands rallied in the Italian capital, Rome, where protesters held up signs with slogans such as “Change the system, not the climate” or just the word “Future.”

Fears about the impact of global warming on the younger generation were expressed by schoolchildren in Dharmsala, India. South Asia depends heavily on water from the Himalayan glaciers that are under threat from climate change.

In Germany, activists from the Fridays for Future group planned to protest a package the government recently agreed for cutting the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Experts say the proposal falls far short of what’s needed if the world’s sixth biggest emitter is to meet the goal of the Paris climate accord.

The protests are part of the so-called [sic] global climate strike that saw what organizers have said were several million people march in cities across the world last Friday ahead of the U.N. climate meeting. New Zealand, Italy, Canada and a number of other countries focused their protest efforts on the second wave, bookending a week in which climate change was at the forefront of the global conversation.…—Nick Perry, Frank Jordans, “Students hold climate protests around the world for second week,” PBS NewsHour, 9/27/19

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UN Climate Report on Oceans, Frozen Regions
Warns ‘Unprecedented Transitionsin All Aspects of Society’
Needed to Sustain Life on Earth

UN Climate Report on Oceans, Frozen Regions Warns ‘Unprecedented Transitions in All Aspects of Society’ Needed to Sustain Life on Earth

Describing scientists’ latest warnings as “chilling and compelling,” environmentalists called for “enacting radical policies” that protect marine ecosystems and fully phase out fossil fuels.

A landmark United Nations climate report published Wednesday details the observed and anticipated future impacts of planet-heating emissions from human activity on the world’s oceans and frozen zones—and warns of the emerging consequences for humanity, marine ecosystems, and the global environment.

The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) is a product of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a U.N. body that assesses the latest science related to the human-caused climate crisis. It follows recent IPCC reports on the consequences of 1.5°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels and the necessity of reforming land use practices worldwide.

Further reading: This Is Not the Sixth Extinction. It’s the First Extermination Event.

Although a draft of the SROCC leaked to the press last month, the final version was released Wednesday, September 25, 2019 after the world governments approved its Summary for Policymakers (pdf) at a meeting in Monaco Tuesday. For the new report, more than 100 experts from 36 countries examined research on the ocean and cryosphere, which includes Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, and areas of snow and permafrost as well as frozen lakes, rivers, and parts of the ocean.

The report presents projections for the future based on both low- and high-emissions scenarios, underscoring the urgent need for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by overhauling human practices, particularly the use of fossil fuels, on a global scale.

We will only be able to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry,” Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II, said Wednesday. “The ambitious climate policies and emissions reductions required to deliver the Paris agreement will also protect the ocean and cryosphere—and ultimately sustain all life on Earth.”…—Jessica Corbett, “UN Climate Report on Oceans, Frozen Regions Warns ‘Unprecedented Transitions in All Aspects of Society’ Needed to Sustain Life on Earth,” Common Dreams News, 9/25/19

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Mother of assassinated activist Berta Cáceres speaks out
against US-backed Honduran dictatorship

Mother of assassinated activist Berta Cáceres speaks out against US-backed Honduran dictatorship

Intro

ANYA PARAMPIL: This is La Esperanza, a town in Honduras whose name translates directly to mean “hope.”

This is the community where world-renowned environmentalist and anti-capitalist activist Berta Cáceres was born, raised, and eventually murdered.

Behind me you see just a small picture of the beautiful land she fought for, and died defending.…

DOÑA BERTA CÁCERES: First of all, welcome to my house. Thank you very much for this visit.

I want to tell you that little Berta was my youngest daughter. She always lived with me. She got married, had her kids, and continued living with me. It’s because of that in the moment that they told me she had been killed, for me it was something so frightening that I still can’t absorb.

And four years have already passed and there still is not justice. Because only the people who shot her are prisoners, those who executed her. But on the other hand, those who paid them and gave them orders, they enjoy all the privileges of this incompetent government of [President] Juan Orlando [Hernández].

ANYA PARAMPIL: But it wasn’t really possible to kill someone like Berta?

BERTA CÁCERES: Yes. They had planned it for many years. She was threatened; she was persecuted. Harassed in a terrifying way.

We must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet. We have only this one, and we have to take action.—Berta Cáceres, Emma Goldman Prize, 2015

The government, the state failed, because the human rights commission on an international level ordered that she be given protection. But this was not carried out. Because she was assassinated.

If she had been protected by the authorities here, it would not have been possible. But there was a very big conspiracy.

Only the seven gunmen are prisoners, but not the ones who ordered it, those who coordinated the assassination of Berta.

It was a murder by the state, an assassination where the government is complicit.

And to this moment there is a great impunity in this country, where many young people have been murdered, and especially many women and men. And here, every day, you hear protests against killings that remain unpunished.…—Anya Parampil, “Mother of assassinated activist Berta Cáceres speaks out against US-backed Honduran dictatorship,” The Grayzone, 9/21/19

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Climate activists return to shut down DC traffic
in march to EPA, Trump hotel

Climate activists return to shut down DC traffic in march to EPA, Trump hotel

Climate activists are planning to take to the streets of Washington, D.C., again on Friday morning, September 27, 2019, days after roughly 30 people were arrested for shutting down key intersections in a push to bring awareness to renewable energy.

Organizers with the coalition called Shut Down D.C. announced on Thursday that they were planning to host another protest that marched to “institutions most responsible for the climate crisis.”

 Their route will begin at McPherson Square at 7 a.m. and travel in a loop from financial institution Black Rock, Wells Fargo bank, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump International Hotel.

Kaela Bamberger, a spokesperson for the coalition, told The Washington Post that Trump hotel and the EPA were chosen because of the Trump administration’s “rampant climate skepticism.”

The financial institutions were reportedly targeted because of their investments in fossil fuels.

The route includes streets in the area between 15th and 12th streets NW, and I street and Constitution Avenue NW. 

The Metropolitan Police Department issued an alert on Friday morning about possibly city-wide traffic delays and encouraged people to take public transportation.

Bamberger told the outlet that organizers are not sure how many protesters are expected to participate.

Organizers for Monday’s protest said that nearly 2,000 people protested at various key intersections as part of the global climate strike, where more than 1 million were estimated to have protested in cities around the world to demand government action on climate change.…—Morgan Gstalter, “Climate activists return to shut down DC traffic in march to EPA, Trump hotel,TheHill, 9/27/19

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Global Situation Space | The Big Picture on Hothouse Earth

An urgent call to action for all the people of the planet and their various relations & their local and global groups – corporations, governments…

A short 4 minute film about the on-coming and escalating climate disasters that requires much more than what is being done today and what is planned for to reduce –

the chances of “pushing the ON button of irreversible potentially catastrophic hothouse earth developments”.—Johan Rockström, “Global Situation Space | The Big Picture on Hothouse Earth,”  World Economic Forum|YouTube, 4/30/19

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Tanzania hunter-gatherers win UN environment prize

Tanzania hunter-gatherers win UN environment prize

A pioneering carbon offset project run by Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania has been awarded the UN’s Equator Prize for conservation and sustainability at a ceremony in New York, along with 21 other indigenous groups that are using natural solutions to combat climate change.

For the past 40,000 years, the Hadza community has been living in the Yaeda valley just south of the equator, sandwiched between the salt planes of Lake Esayi and Mount Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania.

The Hadza are among the last surviving hunter-gather groups on the planet. Around 300 out of 1,200 Hadza people still live a traditional lifestyle.

Further reading Equator Prize 2019 winners announced for local innovative climate solutions
A Guatemalan indigenous land rights activist wins the Goldman Environmental Prize, 2017
Tanzanian land rights victory earns Masaai leader Goldman prize, 2016
Brazilian Indigenous Resistance Movement Wins Prominent UN Environmental Prize, 2015

For decades migrant farmers and cattle herders encroached on and eventually decimated the wildlife-rich savannah and woodlands where the Hadza roamed.

“Just few years ago we had no concept of owning land,” explains Ezekiel Phillipo, a representative of the Hadza group, who travelled to New York to pick up the Equator Prize at the United Nations’ headquarters.

The Hadza received help from the social enterprise, Carbon Tanzania, to obtain legal deeds to 24,000 hectares (57,000 acres). This meant they could then enter commercial agreements to earn money from their land.

“We launched the Yaeda Valley Project in 2013 to trade carbon offsets from woods and forests that cover our territory,” explains Phillipo and adds, “We Hadza, we always protect our environment because that is how we survive, so really if this carbon offset programme was not here, we would still be doing that.”…— Rosie Collyer, “Tanzania hunter-gatherers win UN environment prize,” Africa|RFI, 9/25/19

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Research on Degrowth. Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Research on Degrowth. Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Keywords

[Editor’s Note: the absence of reference to indigenous cultures, the majority of which have been sustainable, except for cataclysmic environmental changes, for as long as we have any record of them. Although this is a study the possibilities of sustainable economies, this paper limits itself to the typical rationales that anything worthwhile is somehow ‘erected’ and then examines the prospect of constructing such economies. What is totally missing is any evaluation of the success of indigenous sustainable economies the world over. These economies were only wrecked when they encountered just this sort of “purposeful reasoning” and the money-market economy erected by it premised on humanity’s alienation from and domination of nature, rather than evolving from a lived relationship within nature.]

Abstract

Scholars and activists mobilize increasingly the term degrowth when producing knowledge critical of the ideology and costs of growth-based development. Degrowth signals a radical political and economic reorganization leading to reduced resource and energy use. The degrowth hypothesis posits that such a trajectory of social transformation is necessary, desirable, and possible; the conditions of its realization require additional study. Research on degrowth has reinvigorated the limits to growth debate with critical examination of the historical, cultural, social, and political forces that have made economic growth a dominant objective. Here we review studies of economic stability in the absence of growth and of societies that have managed well without growth. We reflect on forms of technology and democracy compatible with degrowth and discuss plausible openings for a degrowth transition. This dynamic and productive research agenda asks inconvenient questions that sustainability sciences can no longer afford to ignore.…

Further reading: Research on Degrowth, PDF download

CONCLUSION: A DEGROWTH TRANSITION?

Abandoning economic growth seems politically impossible. As a result, many scientists prefer to study policy and technological fixes that promise to make growth sustainable rather than think about managing without growth. This review summarized evidence from ecological economics suggesting that proposed green growth paths are unlikely to be sustainable and highlighted literatures that suggest that although degrowth may seem politically impossible, under certain conditions it could become real and have desirable effects.

In future degrowth societies envisioned in the literature examined here, the economic is no longer at the center of everything; democracy is direct; surplus is expended for reproduction or fun; income and wealth are distributed according to egalitarian principles; vital resources, infrastructures, and spaces are shared and held in common; technology is convivial and serves social purposes; resource throughput is minimized; and working hours are reduced by cutting consumption, production, and wasteful expenditures (1, 9, 34).

Degrowth proposals are to a certain extent utopian—there is no “topos” (place) where they fully exist. But are there viable transition pathways toward this vision? Thinking of open and plural utopias helps to free the imagination to conceive worlds that motivate changes in our actions today, producing something different tomorrow, although not necessarily the utopia initially imagined (148). Although some degrowth proposals (76) can be criticized as wishful thinking, sound points for studying and starting transitions are found in real existing societies living without growth (see Section 5) and radical social experiments that embody and anticipate degrowth utopias. What Muraca (133) calls concrete utopias illuminate potential openings for paths forward that are already emerging.…—Susan Paulson, Giorgos Kallis, Vasilis Kostakis, Steffen Lange, Barbara Muraca, Matthias Schmelzer, “Research on Degrowth,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 2019

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10 Ways That the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined

10 Ways That the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined

Today the US military support for Saudi Arabia is connected to the US fossil fuel industry’s determination to control access to the world’s oil. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

The environmental justice movement that is surging globally is intentionally intersectional, showing how global warming is connected to issues such as race, poverty, migration and public health. One area intimately linked to the climate crisis that gets little attention, however, is militarism. Here are some of the ways these issues—and their solutions—are intertwined.

1. The US military protects Big Oil and other extractive industries. The US military has often been used to ensure that US companies have access to extractive industry materials, particularly oil, around the world.The 1991 Gulf War against Iraq was a blatant example of war for oil; today the US military support for Saudi Arabia is connected to the US fossil fuel industry’s determination to control access to the world’s oil. Hundreds of the  US military bases spread around the world are in resource-rich regions and near strategic shipping lanes. We can’t get off the fossil fuel treadmill until we stop our military from acting as the world’s protector of Big Oil. 

2.  The Pentagon is the single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. If the Pentagon were a country, its fuel use alone would make it the 47th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, greater than entire nations such as Sweden, Norway or Finland. US military emissions come mainly from fueling weapons and equipment, as well as lighting, heating and cooling more than 560,000 buildings around the world.

3. The Pentagon monopolizes the funding we need to seriously address the climate crisis. We are now spending over half of the federal government’s annual discretionary budget on the military when the biggest threat to US national security is not Iran or China, but the climate crisis. We could cut the Pentagon’s current budget in half and still be left with a bigger military budget than China, Russia, Iran and North Korea combined. The $350 billion savings could then be funnelled into the Green New Deal. Just one percent of the 2019 military budget of $716 billion would be enough to fund 128,879 green infrastructure jobs instead. …—Medea Benjamin, “10 Ways That the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined,” Common Dreams Views, 9/26/19

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McDonalds is Turning Dozens of Roadside Billboards in Sweden
into Bee Hotels

McDonalds is Turning Dozens of Roadside Billboards into ’Bee Hotels’ in Sweden

McDonalds has started transforming dozens of unused roadside billboards and signs into housing structures for honeybees in Sweden.

As a means of helping dwindling pollinator populations in Sweden, the restaurant chain has started drilling holes into their own billboards so the structures can provide shelter for honeybees.

Furthermore, the Swedish branch of the company has partnered with outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux in order to attach small honeybee houses to the backs of other unused roadside billboards as well.

Further reading: 316 Dutch Bus Stops Are Getting Green Roofs Covered in Plants as a Gift For Honeybees

This is not the first time that McDonalds has used tiny structures to help struggling pollinators. In addition to several of the Swedish branches building beehives on the rooftops of their restaurants, the company auctioned off a fully-functioning beehive that was built inside of “the world’s smallest McDonalds” back in May.

The “McHive”, which was built by award-winning set designer Nicklas Nilsson, sold at auction for more than $10,000, all of which was donated to charity.…—McKinley Corbley, “McDonalds is Turning Dozens of Roadside Billboards into ‘Honeybee Hotels’ in Sweden,” Good News Network, 9/25/19

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Only 2 countries are meeting their climate pledges.
Here’s how the 10 worst could improve

Only 2 countries are meeting their climate pledges. Here’s how the 10 worst could improve

In front of a gathering of arguably the most powerful leaders in the world, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg opened with a warning: “We’ll be watching you.” Thunberg made her speech to the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on Monday, serving as an ostensible reminder to most nations of their Paris accord pledges to reduce carbon emissions.

The summit kicked off a day after the UN released a report outlining the current status of the Earth’s carbon emissions and atmospheric tumult. Aside from the revelation that 2015 to 2019 appears to be the warmest five-year period in history, the report cited how far nations will need to go to waylay the worst outcomes of global warming. In order to limit warming to just 2 degrees Celsius, the effectiveness of global climate policies need to triple in scale, the report said.

That’s especially true for the top-10 global emitters of carbon dioxide, as measured by the European Commission in 2017:

  1. China: 10.8 million metric tons
  2. United States: 5.1 million metric tons
  3. 3. European Union: 3.5 million metric tons
  4. India: 2.5 million metric tons
  5. Russia: 1.8 million metric tons
  6. Japan: 1.3 million metric tons
  7. South Korea: 0.67 metric tons
  8. Iran: 0.67 million metric tons
  9. Saudi Arabia: 0.64 million metric tons
  10. Canada: 0.61 million metric tons.

Those 10 countries account for approximately 70 percent of the world’s emissions, and all except one — India — are not on pace to meet the climate goals needed to prevent 2 degrees Celsius of warming. (Reminder: Two degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels would be catastrophic, but even 1.5 degrees could make Earth inhospitable to human life and the planet is already halfway there.)

If the goal is to stabilize temperatures, then emissions must fall to zero or carbon may even need be extracted from the atmosphere — either through planting trees, caring for soil or through technological advancement. In order to be effective, those activities must happen in every country, across the income spectrum.…—Nsikan Akpan, “Only 2 countries are meeting their climate pledges. Here’s how the 10 worst could improve,” PBS NewsHour, 9/26/19

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At U.N. Climate Summit, Few Commitments and U.S. Silence

At U.N. Climate Summit, Few Commitments and U.S. Silence

China made no new commitments at United Nations climate talks to take stronger action. The United States said nothing at all, and a host of other countries made incremental promises at best.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday was meant to highlight concrete promises by presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives to wean the global economy from fossil fuels to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

But despite the protests in the streets, China on Monday made no new promises to take stronger climate action. The United States, having vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the pact among nations to jointly fight climate change, said nothing at all. A host of countries made only incremental promises.

The contrast between the slow pace of action and the urgency of the problem was underscored by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, who excoriated world leaders for their “business as usual” approach. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, her voice quavering with rage. “If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”

The summit comes at a time when the latest science shows that the world is getting hotter faster and the dangers of global warming are increasingly clear, with more intense hurricanes, longer droughts and heat records being broken. It was an opportunity to show that the world’s most powerful countries could step up.

Advocates and diplomats who have been following climate talks for years said they were disappointed.

Andrew Steer, head of the World Resources Institute and a former World Bank official, said most of the major economies fell “woefully short” of expectations. “Their lack of ambition stands in sharp contrast with the growing demand for action around the world,” he said.…

The United States did not request a speaking slot at the summit, but President Trump unexpectedly dropped into the General Assembly hall with Vice President Mike Pence in the late morning. Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is now a United Nations special envoy for climate, welcomed Mr. Trump’s presence and addressed the president directly by saying, “Hopefully our discussions here will be useful for you when you formulate climate policy.”

That was followed by laughter and applause. It signaled a sharp contrast from just a few years ago, when the United States was credited with pushing other countries, including China, to take climate change seriously.…—Somini Sengupta, Lisa Friedman, “At U.N. Climate Summit, Few Commitments and U.S. Silence,” The New York Times, 9/23/19

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