Changing the way we eat

This summary of ways to change the way we eat was posted on http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/change-the-way-you-eat/  This site is a terrific resource and is highly recommended.

Change the Way You Eat

Based on The Glynwood Institute’s
Guide to Good Food
www.guidetogoodfood.wordpress.com

1. Educate yourself – Unfortunately, there is no all-encompassing guide that answers all sustainable food questions, so you need to learn what you can about the food industry and decide for yourself who deserves your support. The following books are a great place to start: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Hope’s Edge by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel. For more recommendations, check out Grist’s Favorite Food Books of 2010: www.grist.org/article/2010-12-20-favorite-food-books-of-2010.

2. Shop sustainable – Where do you get your food? If you answered farmer’s market, CSA or food co-op, you are already concerned with sustainability. Wherever you shop, choose local, organic and/or sustainable items over their industrial, non-local counterparts. When buying meat and dairy, look for free-range, pasture-raised, and antibiotic free. Seek out items with less packaging or skip the packaging altogether by buying bulk items with your own bags. To find sustainable farms, restaurants and markets near you, visit Eat Well Guide or Local Harvest.

3. Ask questions – One of the greatest benefits of buying your food straight from the farmer is talking directly with the person who grew the food. We ask our farmers all sorts of questions, from ‘what’s the most delicious way to cook this lamb chop’ to ‘what’s integrated pest management’ and ‘do you use any synthetic fertilizers’? If your local grocery doesn’t carry local or organic foods, ask the manager about it! You’d be surprised at the buying power you plus a few friends possess. Check out Huffington Post’s Seven Great Questions to Ask Your Farmer or visit Sustainable Table’s Question Guide.

4. Eat Less Meat – Eating lots of meat is not only bad for you, it’s bad for the environment. Eating less meat can reduce your chances of developing chronic conditions like some types of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Meat, especially from industrial feedlots, is hugely energy intensive, requiring thousands of gallons of water and approximately 40 fossil-fuel calories for every edible calorie. When you do want to eat meat, make sure you support farms that raise and slaughter their animals in a humane and sustainable way. For recipes and resources for going meatless, visit Meatless Monday.

5. Eat seasonal – No matter the season, our supermarkets are filled with a vast array of produce from all around the world. But just because you can find a stalk of asparagus in January doesn’t mean you should eat it! Eating seasonally means buying produce that’s grown locally and eating it right away. Local food has a lesser environmental impact, is fresher, and is produced by your community. That means eating seasonally is healthier for you, your community and the environment! To find a Farmer’s Market near you, visit Local Harvest. To find a CSA in NYC, visit Just Food’s CSA finder.

6. Grow your own – There’s no better way to know your farmer than to be your farmer! Growing your own food guarantees the most healthful, freshest, and satisfying produce you can get your hands on. From a few herbs or sprouts in your kitchen window, to a full veggie patch at your local community garden, growing your own food is the coolest way to go green. For NYC dwellers, find a garden through Green Thumb. If you have high hopes and a tiny apartment, check out Windowfarms!

7. Cook – Eating out poses many challenges to the sustainable eater. How and where does the restaurant get its ingredients? How much food do they throw away? What’s their water consumption? The only guaranteed way to know your food is prepared sustainable is to see the meal start to finish; from buying (or growing?!) the ingredients, through the peeling, chopping, roasting, sautéing, and plating, clear to the last delicious bite. For culinary inspiration, visit Chef Michel Nischan’s recipe page.

8. Drink Local – Approximately 33% of the 2.4 million tons of PET plastic discarded every year is from water bottles—that means 800,000 tons of plastic water bottles will sit in a landfill for thousands of years before decomposing. Bottled water is no safer than tap water; in fact most bottled water is tap water! Trash the bottle and drink your local tap instead. To uncover more facts, watch the story of bottled water at Food & Water Watch. If you need a water refill, visit TapItwater.com to locate a spout, or download their app!

9. Get Involved – Change happens because dedicated people like you support it. Decide on the issues that matter most to you and start or join the campaigns that protect them. Visit non-profits that are fighting for good, clean food like the Environmental Working Group and Slow Food USA to get started.

10. Enjoy! Eating can and should be the simplest joy we all have. Sharing a meal brings people together in a way that little else does. Knowing that the food you eat is grown with care for the environment, farmers, animals, and your own health will only add to your joyful food experience. For tips on creating a loving food environment, check out Laurie David’s new book “The Family Dinner.”

ORGANIZATIONS
A simple way to help change the way you eat is to support local and nonprofit sustainable groups around the country. Below are affiliated with, and recommended by, our speakers and sponsors.

Regional Food Solutions
Regional Food Solutions LLC provides organizations and businesses with expert project development, writing, research, and facilitation. They focus on the community economic development power that comes from supporting family-scale, place-based farms in their work to produce food that is healthy for people and the planet.

Recirculating Farms Coalition
The Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group of farmers, educators, non-profit organizations and many others committed to building local sources of healthy, accessible food. They promote growing plants, fish, or a combination of both, without chemicals and antibiotics, while efficiently using water and energy.

James Beard Foundation
Food matters. You are what you eat not only because food is nutrition, but also because food is an integral part of our everyday lives. The James Beard Foundation is at the center of America’s culinary community, dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives.

Food and Water Watch
Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water.

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University
The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources.

Bright Farms
Bright Farms designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic greenhouse farms at supermarkets, eliminating time, distance and cost from the food supply chain.

AmpleHarvest.org
AmpleHarvest.org diminishes hunger in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden.

Humane Society of United States
The Humane Society is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization, backed by 11 million Americans. They work to reduce suffering and improve the lives of all animals

Center for a Livable Future
Within CLF’s program areas — farming, eating and living for our future — They are engaged in three principal activities: research, educational outreach, and community action.

Consumers Union
Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.

Real Time Farms
Real Time Farms is a crowd-sourced online food guide. They provide one location where you can learn about where your food comes from, whether staying in or eating out, so you can trust the food you eat.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

Center for Veterans Issues
CVI offers programs and services to veterans, including transitional housing; day services; education, training and employment services; drug and alcohol counseling; mental health services; food and nutritional programs; outreach to the community; motivational and self-esteem groups; money management and budgeting; helping veterans break the cycle of homelessness and move on to jobs and permanent housing.

GrowNYC
Over the past 40 years we’ve worked to become more engaged with New York City and its citizens. Whether it’s operating the world famous Union Square Greenmarket, building a new community garden, training the next generation of immigrant farmers, teaching young people about the environment, or improving recycling awareness, if you’re a New Yorker, GrowNYC is working near you!

WHEDco
The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) has worked for nearly twenty years to build a more beautiful, equitable and economically vibrant Bronx. We reach over 30,000 people annually through energy-efficient, healthy and affordable homes, early childhood education and youth development, family support, home-based childcare microenterprise and food business incubation.

Fenugreen
Fenugreen FreshPaper keeps produce fresh for up to 2-4 times longer, and it’s all natural and biodegradable. They aim to address the massive and often overlooked global challenge of food spoilage (25% of the food supply is lost to spoilage each year)

2011 SPEAKERS ORGANIZATIONS

Angiogenesis Foundation
Not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to conquering disease by controlling the blood vessels that feed them.

Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
Works vigorously to end hunger in underserved neighborhoods of Brooklyn by providing emergency food access, food stamp screenings, and other initiatives.

Bees Without Borders
A New England organization that educates and trains impoverished individuals and communities in beekeeping skills for poverty alleviation.

Dairy Education Alliance
The Dairy Education Alliance (DEA) is a national coalition working collaboratively to tackle the environmental, social and economic problems associated with large dairy operations.

Edible Manhattan
This magazine and information service creates community based, local foods publications in the distinct culinary region of Manhattan.

Environmental Working Group
A non-profit organization that uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

The Family Dinner
An inspirational green guide to unplugging and connecting with your family over healthy, fresh food.

Finance For Food
This group educates food system entrepreneurs about financing opportunities available to support their work.

Food Corps
A new national service program working to reverse childhood obesity while training a new generation of farmers and public health leaders.

Glynwood Center
Working to save farming through innovative programs including Keep Farming® regional slaughterhouse initiative, national Harvest Awards, and reports including The State of Agriculture in the Hudson Valley.  Also home to TEDxManhattan lead sponsor The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming.

Grow NYC
This is the New York City nonprofit that runs the city’s Greenmarkets, community gardens, composting and recycling, school food literacy and other essential environmental education programs.

Healthy Bodegas
A Grow NYC & Red Jacket Orchard initiative to get fresh, healthy produce in bodegas that are located in underserved neighborhoods

Know Your Farmer Know Your Food
This is a USDA-wide effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers.

Rogowski Farm
A second-generation family farm utilizing ecologically friendly and environmentally sound practices known also for their expertise in low-income and ethnic markets.

School Food Focus
This national initiative helps school districts procure more healthful, more sustainably produced and regionally sourced food.

Slow Food USA
This is a global movement that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Truck Farm
This is a Wicked Delicate film and food project: a mobile community farm and a documentary about urban agriculture.

Urban Design Lab
A joint laboratory of the Earth Institute and Columbia University’s GSAPP to create a designed-based approach to shaping sustainable urbanism.

Wholesome Wave
An organization that nourishes urban food deserts by supporting increased production and access to fresh, healthy food.

Window farms Project
Seeks to empower urban dwellers to grow some of their food year-round and to include them in a process they call R&D-I-Y

125th St. Business Improvement District
This group seeks to develop a community-based vision to maintain the heritage of 125th St. in Harlem through business development and job development.

ETHEL’s Truckstop
A program that examines, unites and honors indigenous communities, cultures and music.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top environment stories of 2011

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/12/22/3396578.htm

As chosen by Sara Phillips, ABC environment journalist and editor

1) Fukushima

First there was an earthquake, then there was a tsunami. Then the nuclear power plant at Fukushima melted down after it was swamped by the sea. Thousands of people died in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, but the focus remained for months on the power plant: watching, waiting, wondering whether more radiation, more silent cancer would be released, of whether it would be wrestled under control.

It was only last week that the Japanese government announced they had achieved “cold shutdown” of the plant, ushering in a new period of rehabilitation for the area.

2) A price on carbon

Australians started the year with a new Climate Commission to tell us that climate change was indeed ¬¬- still, in fact – happening and a Multiparty Climate Change Committee to come up with a policy solution. By mid-year the government announced we would have a tax on the big emitters of carbon, morphing into an emissions trading scheme after three or so years. By the year’s end, both houses of parliament passed the relevant legislation meaning after more than a decade of debate and discussion, the government finally put a cost and therefore a disincentive on releasing carbon dioxide.

3) Durban

Also on the climate change front, the 17th meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17 of the UNFCCC) surprised everyone when they agreed to agree. After years of fraught negotiations and hopes dashed, 194 countries agreed to sign up to an agreement that would be drawn up four years hence. The result was simultaneously lauded and lamented by environmentalists who couldn’t seem to work out whether it was a good thing that agreement had been achieved, or a bad thing that it was all so vague and far-off.

4) Water, water everywhere

Australia spent a lot of the year mopping up. Queensland copped it bad when immediately after massive, dramatic floods swallowed its most populous areas, it was knocked again by Cyclone Yasi, one of the biggest cyclones the nation has ever seen. And while attention tended to focus on Queensland, down in Victoria and Tasmania they got out the gumboots and the kayaks and cleaned up their own widespread, slow-moving floods.

5) Coal seam gas

Farmers this year discovered they only own the top couple of metres of their land when gas companies exercised their right to dig around under the surface looking for resources. Encouraged by a similar backlash in the USA, farmers “locked the gate” against the miners. The resource in question is gas, created by seams of coal running underground. Proponents of the exploration say gas burns cleaner than coal and therefore exploiting the riches is a climate friendlier way of creating wealth and jobs than simply mining the coal. Opponents say it poisons and depletes the underground water that nurtures a lucrative agricultural industry. One thing is for sure, this argument has a long way yet to run.

Another story that will beef up in 2012 is the Murray-Darling Basin. With the proposed Basin Plan released only recently for comments, next year is sure to see a lot more debate over this peculiarly Australian issue.

My favourites from ABC Environment

We’ve published hundreds of stories on ABC Environment this year. We’ve had some of the world’s best writers on environment, such as Gro Harlem Brundtland, Yvo de Boer, Peter Singer, Achim Steiner, John Cook, Paul Gilding and even Malcolm Fraser. Here’s my favourites of the many, many great ones.

It’s not just about bike lanes
by Jan Garrard
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/09/08/3312420.htm

Flying foxes may not be endangered
by Eugenia Lee
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/07/18/3270559.htm

What if trees could sue?
by Peter Burdon
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/05/17/3216161.htm

A carbon tax is not the solution
by Bjorn Lomborg
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/03/09/3158295.htm

Wired to share
by Sue White
http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/01/18/3115522.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Western watersheds polluted by mining

@mongabay (http://mongabay.com/) claims 40 percent of Western watersheds are polluted by mining:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/opinion/a-mining-law-whose-time-has-passed.html   recently published this important oped

A Mining Law Whose Time Has Passed

By ROBERT M. HUGHES and CAROL ANN WOODY
Published: January 11, 2012

IN 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a mining law to spur the development of the West by giving hard-rock mining precedence over other uses of federal land. But the law has long since outlived its purpose, and its environmental consequences have been severe.

Related in Opinion

Mining claims for copper, gold, uranium and other minerals cover millions of those acres, and the law, now 140 years old, makes it nearly impossible to block extraction, no matter how serious the potential consequences. Soaring metal prices are now driving new mine proposals across the West.

Oregon’s Chetco River is one example. The river’s gin-clear waters teem with wild trout and salmon, including giant Chinook salmon tipping scales at more than 60 pounds. In 1988, Congress designated the Chetco a national wild and scenic river “to be protected for the benefit of present and future generations.”

But the river is now threatened by proposals to mine gold along almost half of its approximately 55-mile length. Suction dredges would vacuum up the river bottom searching for gold, muddying water and disrupting clean gravel that salmon need to spawn. Despite the Chetco’s rich fishery and status as a wild and scenic river, the United States Forest Service is virtually powerless to stop the mining because of the 1872 law.

As Michael P. Dombeck, a former chief of the Forest Service, explained to a Senate committee in 2008, “it is nearly impossible to prohibit mining under the current framework of the 1872 mining law, no matter how serious the impacts might be.”

Under the law, mining companies — not the government — decide whether and where to file their claims on public land. (National parks, monuments and wilderness areas are excluded.) Federal agencies review the plans, but they are approved as a matter of course. Mining companies pledge to protect rivers threatened by their operations. But the industry’s track record hardly inspires confidence.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that headwater streams in 40 percent of Western watersheds are polluted by mining. A scientific review in 2006 of 25 modern Western mines by the environmental group Earthworks found that more than three-fourths resulted in water contamination. Over all, the E.P.A. has estimated that it will cost $20 billion to $54 billion to clean up abandoned mine sites.

As fisheries scientists, we are deeply concerned about the impact mining has had on our nation’s dwindling fisheries and the inadequacy of the 1872 law to regulate modern mining. In contrast to the pick-and-shovel operations of a century ago, most modern mines are large-scale operations that use toxic chemicals to extract metals from the ore, and they generate vast amounts of mine waste. After these mines close, treating the polluted water in perpetuity is often necessary.

At Oregon’s Formosa mine, for instance, toxic metal-laden drainage from mines is contaminating 18 miles of prime salmon habitat. In Montana, the Zortman Landusky Mine has polluted a dozen streams with arsenic, selenium and other harmful metals. The acidic runoff will continue for centuries.

Last year, the Kensington mine in Alaska was permitted to dispose of toxic mine waste directly into a freshwater lake, decimating its native fish population. The Rock Creek and Montanore mines are proposing to tunnel under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Montana. Scientists predict that these mines will deplete flows in wilderness streams, including essential habitat for the region’s threatened bull trout.

At the request of members of the Oregon Congressional delegation, the Forest Service proposed to withdraw a portion of the Chetco River temporarily from the jurisdiction of the 1872 mining law while seeking additional protection. This type of stopgap effort highlights the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the archaic law.

In a 2010 paper published in the journal Fisheries, we recommended important mining policy changes. Federal land managers must have discretion to balance mining with other land uses, and say “no” to mine proposals when necessary. No mines should be approved that can result in perpetual water pollution. There should be clear environmental standards, requirements to restore fish and wildlife habitat to pre-mining conditions and sufficient reclamation bonds to cover the full cost of cleanup. A dedicated source of funding should be established to pay for cleanup of the thousands of abandoned mines that continue to pollute our streams.

The mining industry has powerful friends in Washington, however, and nothing has come of our proposals or of other reform efforts. Now Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, is pushing a measure that would require mining companies to pay a royalty equal to what other industries have been paying for decades, provide safeguards for clean water and give communities and agencies a say about where mining is permitted.

The bill merits broad bipartisan support. It is unwise to let this 140-year-old law continue to operate at the expense of clean water, healthy fisheries, public lands and taxpayer dollars. America’s mining law must be brought into the 21st century.

Robert M. Hughes and Carol Ann Woody are fisheries scientists based in Corvallis, Ore., and Anchorage, respectively.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany and Renewable Energy

Over Half of Germany’s Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies

http://summify.com/story/TwpQ8C7Xr1KNWu8N/www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/over-half-germany-renewable-energy-owned-citizens-not-utility-companies.html

Written by: Matthew McDermot          January 6, 2012

Germany’s promotion of renewable energy rightly gets singled out for its effectiveness, most often by me as an example of how to do things well versus the fits and starts method of promotion common in the US. Over at Wind-Works, Paul Gipe points out another interesting facet of the German renewable energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy.

Breaking that down into solar power and wind power, 50% of Germany’s solar PV is owned by individuals and farms, while 54% of its wind power is held by the same groups.

In total there’s roughly 17 GW of solar PV installed in Germany—versus roughly 3.6 GW in the US (based on SEIA’s figures for new installations though the third quarter of 2011 plus the 2.6 GW installed going into the year).

Remember, Germany now produces slightly over 20% of all its electricity from renewable sources.

The thing that got me though, other than the huge lead in solar PV installations Germany has over the US, thanks to good policy, and the fact that so much wind power isn’t owned by utilities, is what slightly over half of renewable energy being owned not by corporations but by actual biological people means—obviously a democratic shift in control of resources and a break from the way electricity and energy has been produced over the past century.

A good thing: Decentralized power generation, more relocalization and reregionalization of economic activity, the world getting smaller while more connected and therefore in a way bigger at the same time… taking a step backwards, and perhaps sideways, while moving forwards.

Tags: Germany | Renewable Energy | Solar Power | Wind Power

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bolivia, Pachamama and Climate Change

A beautiful piece by the brilliant young Chloe Maxim on how the issue of climate change is viewed in Bolivia. With young people who understand as deeply as this, one would like to think the planet is in good hands.

—————————————————————————————————————–

A New Approach to Solving Climate Change, Part 3: Bolivia

http://nextgenjournal.com/2012/01/a-new-approach-to-solving-climate-change-part-3-bolivia-3/

Chloe Maxmin, a freshman at Harvard College, is the founder and president of the Climate Action Club (CAC) (http://laclimateaction.webs.com) and First Here, Then Everywhere (www.firstheretheneverywhere.org). She views her life’s mission as making the climate crisis the defining issue of her generation.

more by this author

by Chloe Maxmin Harvard University

January 8, 2012

Bolivia has 10 million people, and 2.8 million live in the city of La Paz. Yet the country is the size of California. The Andes mountain range looms overhead, and the geography includes everything from glaciers to jungle. Bolivians have a close relationship to their natural surroundings. The land sustains them. The Andean religion arises from this relationship. It is centered on Pachamama, which is the Quechua word for Mother Earth. The people believe that nature is a living entity and that humans should live in a symbiotic relationship with Pachamama. For example, we harvest potatoes and, in turn, sacrifice a guinea pig: we take something, and then we give something. There is reciprocity, equality, and respect.

The awareness of the balance between humans and nature extends to global environmental problems. When it comes to climate change, Bolivians believe that melting glaciers and warming temperatures are Pachamama’s punishment for humans cutting down too many trees and mining the mountains. How has humanity compensated for taking these natural gifts? We haven’t, and Pachamama is angry.

For a country that wants to coexist with Pachamama, Bolivia still has many environmental dangers. Melting glaciers threaten water sources, unsafe mining practices pollute the land, and destructive agricultural practices are rampant. These human-made disasters arrive not because Bolivians have lost their connection to nature but because they must have some way to make money and sustain the economy. Bolivia is a resource-rich nation, and uninformed governments have created an economy based on exploiting natural resources. Yet these are people that are connected to nature; thus solutions have been crafted around this cultural outlook

I spent three months in Bolivia in 2010, during which time I interviewed Shamans, teenagers, and farmers. I wanted to understand how they thought about nature and current environmental problems. One 17-year-old said that the environment “is the air. If we contaminate it, we are hurting ourselves. We need to orient ourselves more with Pachamama.” Calixto, a Shaman, said “climate change is humanity’s fault. We angered our earth. We didn’t ask permission to take…We have to coexist with Pachamama and restore equality.”  David, a local farmer, had practical and spiritual insights. “I grew up in the countryside, and now we can’t grow lettuce because the soil is dry. Some plants are disappearing, and new plants and insects are appearing….If mountain snow goes, then water sources…dry up. I am an animal, too. The environment needs to be good for me to be good. My life depends on nature. Nature connects generations.”

These perspectives are drastically different from anything that I’ve heard in the United States. I have not heard many American youth talk about the environment in such a spiritual way. The 17-year-old was simply talking about what is important in his life. Calixto is not an intellectual or a politician, yet his theory about climate change is somewhat true. Humans have treated Mother Nature unfairly, and now we are paying the price. David can feel the effect of climate change on his livelihood, and he understands his connection with nature. Many Americans have not put these two pieces together.

Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change in 2010, a meeting of NGOs, international governments, scientists, and activists to discuss solutions to climate change. The goal was to include the voices of poor and developing countries in international climate change agreements. One of the main outcomes of the conference was a People’s Agreement that proposed alternative solutions to mitigating global warming and illustrated a different cultural perspective.

The focus of the text emphasizes the need to restore equilibrium with Mother Nature. Humans have dominated the planet, taking too much and not giving back. The earth is imbalanced, and our current path will only lead to destruction. We must recognize Mother Earth as the source of all life and ensure a healthy planet for ourselves and future generations. We must change the way we interact with nature and find ways to develop society and maintain Pachamama’s health. It is an essential human right.

This language is in stark contrast to a speech that President Obama gave at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference. Obama talked about how climate change posed a risk to national security and the economy. He stressed the need to change the way that we produce energy–to make it more sustainable for our economy and human life. The solution to climate change is “mitigation, transparency, financing.” Obama did not mention anthropogenic environmental degradation, nor did he mention the inextricable relationship between humans and their environment.

Bolivians need national policies that impose stringent environmental regulations. This is especially urgent in the mining and forestry sectors, where damage threatens the country’s ability to adapt to climate change. Solutions are also needed to maintain water supplies as glacial waters diminish. Green technologies will be needed to improve irrigation, harvest rain water, and purify glacial runoff.

The differences between the Cochabamba text and Obama’s speech and different mitigation strategies highlight how each country must approach climate change policy in their own way. Obama’s approach would not resonate with Bolivians, just as the spiritual perspective of Bolivians would not affect most Americans. This point further suggests the difficulties of bridging distinct cultural worldviews that international conferences face. Individualized and coordinated responses are needed from each government.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explaining the Occupy Phenomenon

In this clip from a U.S. talk show, Grayson encapsulates the Occupy Wall Street movement in a bit more than 30 seconds. It’s enough to earn the back-handed respect of fellow panelist P.J. O’Rourke

Grayson is a former member of Congress, hailing from central Florida. He’s a Harvard graduate who worked briefly as an economist before returning to Harvard to earn his law degree. He’s also a Democrat who was swept out of office this year after only one term in Capitol Hill, caught in the Republican riptide that regained control of the House.

And as you can see from this clip from “Real Time with Bill Maher,” his liberal mindset clicks with the stated grievances of the Occupy movement … .

Perhaps, as O’Rourke says, Grayson could be a rallying voice for the 99% movement.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Milne separates skepticism from denial

Dr Richard Milne from the University of Edinburgh has published an entertaining and educational lecture ‘Critical Thinking on Climate Change’. He explores the nature of science and genuine scientific skepticism while managing to pack in more cartoons, animations and jokes than ever seen in a climate lecture. He also debunks a number of climate myths, using some great metaphors. Definitely worth watching for any interested in climate science.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment