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Nov 10, 2013

Have partially neglected this blog, but also been a bit unlucky as on the occassions I wanted to add something, there seemed to be something on as it wouldn't publish... so now just a shortie to check whether it works today...

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Posted: Nov 10, 2013 9:36am
Oct 15, 2011

The following news from Nr 10 reminds me of Ecocide..."The UK Government today granted BP and its partners — Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron — approval to proceed with the £4.5 billion Clair Ridge project, the second phase of development of the giant Clair field, west of the Shetland Islands."


So we're in severe financially straightened times but we still have £4.5 BILLION to give away to ruin our planet?! How about trying more win-win solution for economy and planet by investing this in green energy/ jobs? (oh sorry, I forgot about oil lobbying who would lose...) .... the press release says "Clair Ridge project will create hundreds of jobs over the next five years and produce a vital source of domestic oil until around 2050" ... investing £4.5bn in renewable energy will create *more* than hundreds of jobs and provide energy security forever...        


Check out this mock trial on ecocide (geocide of the environment/ crimes against the planet)... food for thought! 

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Posted: Oct 15, 2011 5:20am
Aug 14, 2011
I recently wrote three articles for a most interesting project by the Open University (OU) in collaboration with the British Council called 'Belief in Dialogue'. To give some idea what they're on (they're due to be published next month, God willing):

Sustainability: what's faith got to do with it?

The challenge of climate change often grabs the headlines, but is only part of sustainability matters. Other issues such as loss of biodiversity, mass extinction, pollution, depletion of carbon-based energy sources (e.g. oil, gas; sometimes referred to as 'peak oil'), pressure on potable water supplies and mounting food insecurity are also important. Some say faith has nothing to do with sustainability; some say they can sometimes be competing forces; some say that if sustainability is to be achieved, faith should stay away; some say faiths are at the heart of sustainability. Who's right? Can the different opinions all be somewhat true? This article discusses sustainability and what role faith would have in it.

Faith and community responses to global poverty

Some say global poverty is decreasing. The UN's Millennium Development Goals 2011 report expects that by 2015, the global poverty rate will fall below 15%. Others say overemphasis on daily income (e.g. number of people living on less than one dollar a day) is quite a narrow means of measurement of poverty and thus poverty is not really decreasing. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the richest 5% of people receive one-third of total global income, as much as the poorest 80%. This seems most unjust.

Climate change, faith and the global common good

Some say the best way to achieve the global common good is a free market; some say a free market in practice rarely gives a level playing field. Climate scientists agree climate change is happening and increasingly certain the human factor is exacerbating matters. What might be a response from faiths? What impacts does this have on the global common good? At heart climate change is a global problem. However, the directly and worst affected people are mainly those who contributed least to the problem. Through no fault of their own, entire civilisations in low lying areas of the world could soon be lost to the ocean due to rising sea levels. This makes it a moral question for us all, where the moral duty to resolve these issues falls squarely on the world’s largest emitters.

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Posted: Aug 14, 2011 9:30am
Aug 14, 2011

Some random but serious food for thought thoughts that have been running around my head (unfortunately not all environment related although they are indirectly... if we're busy with arms we have less attention for our duty of guardian of Creation; living in cities with limited greenery can make us go a bit funny, outside our natural [fitra] situation)

The UK Prime Minister, Mr Cameron says some youngsters grow up in "a culture that glorifies violence." ... while London hosts DSEi, the world's biggest arms fair in five weeks time (it "will be even bigger [than 2009]").

 

Highest estimated cost of riots in UK in past week: £100m
Tax avoidance by Vodafone: £6 billion
Tax spent on Libyan intervention: £1 billion
Tax avoidance in 2010 by richest people in the UK: £7 bllion
Tax payers bill for banking crisis: £131 billion
Tax money spent in Iraqi conflict: £4.5 billion
Tax money spent on Afghan conflict (up until 2007): £7 billion

Tax money to be spent on replacement of UK nuclear weapons £over 100bn

Total MP expenses bill (2007) £87.6m

UN emergency response requirements for Horn of Africa £2.5 billion (only half committed so far)

 

Norwegian killing 78 got so much more attention than news that collectively we're responsible for deaths of 30,000 kids who've died in Horn of Africa just in last 90 days (in a world of plenty there's nothing natural about starvation; global governance leads to unjust distribution and access to food)

 

Birmingham (UK) City Council leaders awarding themselves 37% payrise (from 37 to 51 MILLION GBP) while local services and community safety get a 78% budget CUT (from 55 to 13 million GBP)

 

Shell admits Nigeria oil spills and Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform, but also Oil giant Shell profits jump 77%

 

What have we done to the world? What are we doing to the world?

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Posted: Aug 14, 2011 7:24am
May 1, 2011

Having just been appointed Associate Lecturer to a new and exciting module 'Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility', several articles caught my attention in the last few days. I admire the 'shareholder nun' who uses her Christian inspiration to stand up for social justice, "While executive compensation spirals out of control, so does the number of people who suffer from food insecurity throughout the world. Companies have a moral obligation to be accountable, to...consider equity and justice for the worker." The campaign is supported by the ethical investment group FairPensions.

And while it seems generous of Total (one of the world's largest oil companies) to invest 800mn USD in solar, it's peanuts compared with the 40bn USD BP is suing the owner of the Deepwater Horizon Rig for and Shell's Q1 2011 profits (yes, profits, not turnover) are 6.9bn USD.

A positive initiative (brought on by the endless pushing of climate change science denying... oil co's have lots to lose and as we've seen above, more than a bit of pocket money to confuse us - to our detriment!) is the Skeptical Science website.

Talking of oil, and contemplating the serious turmoil in the Middle East and wider, is the difference in approach to the situations related to oil? We now finally know oil was a relevant issue in Iraq (if denied at the time). Libya exports 1.5mn/ day, Syria 0.15mn barrels/ day (> 400 civilians dead), and the Ivory Coast (with many hundreds of dead since election last November)... exports cocoa.

Food for thought...

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Posted: May 1, 2011 7:03am
Mar 3, 2011

Double checking some facts for a colleague (sharing with him something I'd learned from preliminary PhD research), realise it's even worse than I thought/ remembered:

Climate change cost calculations are *so* unequitable: the value of a statistical life is set at $250,000 plus 175 times per capita income then discounted to relevant year. This means an American death in '05 is valued at $1,525,928 while that of a Sub-Saharan African is valued at $4,380!

OMG!

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Posted: Mar 3, 2011 3:15pm
Feb 26, 2011

Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). These words of Jesus do not release us from our responsibilities to future generations. We know that if we eat sour grapes (radiation, ultraviolet rays, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, etc.), not only our teeth but also "the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Jeremiah 31:30). Therefore, we should have as much awareness as possible of our responsibilities. We are no longer allowed to postpone performing our responsibilities to “tomorrow.”

For a copy of the full talk, go to the Muslim World League speech by Encounter between Ecology and Eschatology, a consideration of Ecological Eschatology, submitted by Katsuhiro KOHARA, Professor of the School of Theology, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions (CISMOR), to Conference On 'Dialogue, A Common Human Bond', sponsored by Muslim World League, Taipei - Taiwan, Rabi'I 18 and 19, 1432H/ February 21 and 22, 2011G.

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Posted: Feb 26, 2011 2:34am
Feb 24, 2011

Sometimes 'non-greenies' think that 'us greenies' want to 'deprive' people of the 'good things' and live in a cave... but that's *not* what it's about as this new report by the UN international Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

Green Economy Report
Green Economy Synthesis Report

Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradicationremind us that "investing in a green economy can produce growth, create jobs and contribute to development and poverty reduction." - good news all around!
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 12:40pm
Feb 24, 2011

Sometimes dicussions about climate change can sound so abstract, or distant. A powerful reminder that it's actually (already) affecting real people in very real ways, it's good (well, it's bad, but good to know IYKWIM) to visit this site from time to time:

Worldview of Climate Change

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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 10:24am
Jan 23, 2011
Hadn't expected this (I mean, not surprised at Beddington, as he's said it before), but the Guardian dedicating a whole article to cheerleading GM: I am referring to 'Genetically modified crops are the key to human survival, says UK's chief scientist'

The whole article focuses on Sir John Beddington's opinion - cheerleading GM - with only one (inaccurate/ incomplete) sentence to 'balance' it ("Such remarks will enrage many environmental groups, who believe it is wrong for the west to impose a technology it has developed on the third world."); this *endless* pushing of GM does not only enrage "environmental groups", but farmers, anti-debt groups, religious groups, poverty alleviation agencies and many, many more. Also, the objection is not that the "third world" shouldn't benefit from a 'western technology' (how silly would that be - technology transfer - under just conditions! - is actually something that these groups actively advocate for!), but because (amongst others):

- The potential abuse of power that this technology and gene patent laws give the breeding companies (the crops are purposefully made sterile), thus making farmers subservient/ at the mercy of GM companies
- It has been proven that it does *not* systematically increase yields (as promised by GM)
- The 'benefit' of being able to use more pesticides mainly serves to increase profit of GM-linked pesticide sellers and pollute fields and rivers plus poison farmers, *not* benefit food output
- It is *not* a solution for the emotive 'world hunger' (as a humanitarian aid worker I know that many die of hunger surrounded by food... because they can't afford to buy it, because 'globalisation/ free trade' make it difficult for farmers to compete with cheap imports; because people lack access to simple solutions to store excess food; because farmers and local traders face trade barriers to export; because land is leased to rich foreigners...)
- Funding for biotechnology reduces the money that is available for researching other technologies that would probably be more beneficial, cheaper and more sustainable (if probably less profitable for shareholders).
- GM is not safe (several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system)
- If Beddington doesn't want 'environmentalists' from stopping GM, then Beddington should also listen to his intended 'beneficiaries' of the technology: e.g. the 'global south' do *not* want it

I could go on forever, but will leave it at this. I could provide several reputable sources for all (and more) arguments above if you wish. I'll mention just one: The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a major World Bank and UN funded study that has been endorsed by 58 governments, including the UK. Its findings are that small-scale sustainable agriculture (using local variaties) is the way forward if we are going to provide food for the Earth's growing population in a time of climate chaos and is dismissive of GM for some of the above mentioned reasons.

I hope in the future The Guardian (and all) will provide more balanced reporting!

I wrote a variety on the above in an e-mail to the Guardian Environment Editor.

Lots of other relevant research and info on Political CleanUp.
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Posted: Jan 23, 2011 6:33am

 

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