23
Mai
2004

Earth Crisis: Ocean Dead Zones and Soaring Climate Change

FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY

Forest Networking a Project of Forests.org, Inc.

//forests.org/ -- Forest Conservation Portal
//www.EnvironmentalSustainability.info/ -- Eco-Portal
//www.ClimateArk.org/ -- Climate Change Portal
//www.WaterConserve.info/ -- Water Conservation Portal

March 30, 2004
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Glen Barry, Forests.org

New reports indicate large portions of the ocean have become "dead zones" that are devoid of life; and that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have abruptly surged. This comes fast upon findings that the Amazon's composition is changing due to climate change, that the Australian Great Barrier Reef is dying, that the World Bank is funding industrial logging of the Congolese rainforest
( //forests.org/action/africa/ ) and numerous other indicators that unconstrained industry, individual over-consumption, and government intransigence are pushing the Earth towards ecological and social collapse.

It remains an unanswered question whether democratic capitalism can address spiraling collapse of key global ecosystems, or feed the world's one billion chronically hungry. Global leaders are failing dramatically to provide the leadership necessary to address the myriad of interconnected issues that threaten the Earth and all its inhabitants. Survival of the Earth may well depend upon a peaceful Earth Revolution that overthrows the whole stinking, inequitable, unjust and unsustainable political and social order.

The sky is falling! What could threaten global security and prosperity more than dead oceans and forests, soaring and unpredictable temperatures, lack of potable water and billions of desperately poor people encircling a few bastions of ethically depauperate and militarized over-consumers? g.b.


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ITEM #1
Title: 'Dead zones' in world's oceans are growing, say alarmed UN scientists
Source: Copyright 2004, Independent (UK)
Date: March 30, 2004
Byline: Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

It is as sinister a development as any in the list of things going wrong with the planet. Marine "dead zones" - oxygen-starved areas of the oceans that are devoid of fish - are one of the greatest environmental problems facing the world, UN scientists warned yesterday.

There are nearly 150 dead zones across the globe, they are increasing, and they pose as big a threat to fish stocks as over-fishing, the United Nations Environment Program (Unep) said in its Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003, released at a meeting of environment ministers in Korea.

These lifeless areas of the sea are caused by an excess of nutrients, mainly nitrogen, that originate from heavy use of agricultural fertilizers, from vehicle and factory emissions and from human wastes.

They have doubled in number over the last decade, with some extending over 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), about the size of Ireland, Unep said.

Dead zones have long afflicted the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay off the East Coast of America but they are now spreading to other bodies of water, such as the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Adriatic, the Gulf of Thailand and the Yellow Sea as other regions develop, Unep said. They are also appearing off South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The nutrient run-off from farm fertilisers, sewage and industrial pollutants triggers blooms of microscopic algae known as phytoplankton. As the algae die and rot, they consume oxygen, suffocating all marine life.

"Humankind is engaged in a gigantic, global experiment as a result of inefficient and often overuse of fertilisers, the discharge of untreated sewage and the ever-rising emissions from vehicles and factories," said Klaus Toepfer, Unep's executive director.

"The nitrogen and phosphorous from these sources are being discharged into rivers and the coastal environment or being deposited from the atmosphere, triggering these alarming and sometimes irreversible effects. Unless urgent action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem, it is likely to escalate rapidly." Dead zones are especially dangerous to fisheries because they afflict coastal waters where many fish spawn and spend most of their lives before moving to deeper water, said Marion Cheatle, Unep's senior environmental affairs officer. "It hasn't been something well known by policy-makers," Ms Cheatle said. "But it's been getting noticeably worse."

The economic costs associated with dead zones is unknown, but predicted to be significant on a global scale. Unep is urging nations to co-operate in reducing the amount of nitrogen discharged into their coastal waters, by cutting back on fertiliser use or by planting more forests and grasslands along feeder rivers to soak up the excess nitrogen.


ITEM #2
Title: Carbon dioxide levels blow sky high
Published on Sunday, March 28, 2004 by the lndependent/UK
Global Warming Spirals Upwards
by Geoffrey Lean

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have jumped abruptly, raising fears that global warming may be accelerating out of control.

Measurements by US government scientists show that concentrations of the gas, the main cause of the climate exchange, rose by a record amount over the past 12 months. It is the third successive year in which they have increased sharply, marking an unprecedented triennial surge.

Scientists are at a loss to explain why the rapid rise has taken place, but fear that it could show the first signs that global warming is feeding on itself, with rising temperatures causing increases in carbon dioxide, which then go on to drive the thermometer even higher. That would be a deeply alarming development, suggesting that this self-reinforcing heating could spiral upwards beyond the reach of any attempts to combat it.

The development comes as official figures show that Britain's emissions of the gas soared by three per cent last year, twice as fast as the year before. The increase - caused by rising energy use and by burning less gas and more coal in power stations - jeopardizes the Government's target of reducing emissions by 19 per cent by 2010.

It also coincides with a new bid to break the log jam over the Kyoto treaty headed by Stephen Byers, the former transport secretary, who remains close to Tony Blair.

Mr Byers is co-chairing with US Republican Senator Olympia Snowe a new taskforce, run by the Institute of Public Policy Research and US and Australian think tanks, which is charged with devising proposals that could resolve the stalemate caused by President Bush's hostility to the treaty.

The carbon dioxide measurements have been taken from the 11,400ft summit of Hawaii's Mauna Loa, whose enormous dome makes it the most substantial mountain on earth, by scientists working for the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

They have been taking the readings from the peak - effectively breathalyzing the planet - for the past 46 years. It is an ideal site for the exercise, 2,000 miles from the nearest land and protected by freak climatic conditions from pollution from Hawaii, more than two miles below.

The latest measurements, taken a week ago, showed that carbon dioxide had reached about 379 parts per million (ppm), up from about 376ppm the year before, from 373ppm in 2002 and about 371ppm in 2001. These represent three of the four biggest increases on record (the other was in 1998), creating an unprecedented sequence. They add up to a 64 per cent rise over the average rate of growth over the past decade, of 1.8ppm a year.

The US scientists have yet to analyze the figures and stress that they could be just a remarkable blip. Professor Ralph Keeling - whose father Charles Keeling first set up the measurements from Mauna Loa - said:"We are moving into a warmer world".

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
Source: Copyright 2004, Independent (UK)
Date: March 30, 2004


ITEM #3
Title: Rich Nations Gobbling Resources at an Unsustainable Rate
Source: Copyright&nbsp2004, Environment News Service
Date: March&nbsp30,&nbsp2004

OAKLAND, California, March 30, 2004 (ENS) – Excessive consumption by the world’s richest nations is making life even more difficult for the world’s least fortunate, according to a new report by Redefining Progress. The U.S. based research group says the wealthiest nations are depleting global resources at an unprecedented rate – with the United States leading the way – and are mortgaging the future at the expense of today’s children, the poor and the long term health of the planet.

The 2004 Footprint of Nations analyzes the ecological impact of more than 130 countries, demonstrating to what extent a nation can support its resource consumption with its available ecological capacity.

Redefining Progress's prior reports have focused on the dangers of overusing our natural resources and the effect on future generations. For the first time, this year's report documents the current impact of overconsumption on the world's most vulnerable populations.

"This measure speaks for those with the least power in today's world: children, the poor, the environment, and future generations," said Michel Gelobter, executive director of Redefining Progress. "These are groups with little or no voice in the political system or the economy, but whose resources are being compromised. When we ignore their plight, we undermine our collective future."

The report uses ecological footprint accounts to provide a measurable estimate of humanity’s pressure on global ecosystems – to determine an ecological footprint, the organization measures the biologically productive area required to produce the food and wood people consume, to supply space for infrastructure, and to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels.

The accounts are composed of six factors: energy use, grazing land, pastureland, fisheries, built land and forests.

Redefining Progress expresses ecological footprint in terms of global acres, with each global acre corresponding to one acre of biologically productive space with world average productivity.

Previous reports found that consumption exceeds the Earth’s biological capacity by some 15 to 20 percent – the 2004 update “indicates that the situation has remained fundamentally unchanged except for one notable exception in the case of the United States.”

“In 2000, the United States became the country with the largest per capita ecological footprint on the planet,” according to the report.
The U.S. footprint is 23.7 acres per capita – a sustainable footprint would be 4.6 acres.

The organization measures the global ecological footprint at 5.6 global acres per capita.

The United Arab Emirates ranks second with 22.2 acres per capita and Canada third with 21.1 acres.

Developing countries such as Bangladesh and Mozambique represent the other end of the scale – these nations have footprints of 1.3 acres per capita.

On a per capita basis the average footprint has declined by 1.2 acres over the past 20 years – largely because many areas of production have become more efficient - but this decrease is offset by population growth.

Even a developing nation with a small per capita footprint can have a very large overall footprint when its population grows rapidly.

These problems are compounded as wealthy nations continue to grow their economies by exploiting the resources and economic potential of their impoverished neighbors, the report finds.

Unsustainable consumption and population play a big part in the size of a nation's footprint - much of an industrialized nation's ecological impact is due to the use of fossil fuels. The report details that shifting to renewable energy can dramatically lessen a country's footprint.

Sustainable modes of production and consumption and attention to social equity can help decrease national footprints and improve quality of life around the world, according to the public policy organization.

For Additional Information:
(may become dated as article ages)

Redefining Progress has calculated ecological footprints for more than 130 countries and numerous regions as well as an increasing number of municipalities and businesses. Individuals can calculate their own footprint in seven languages at: //www.myfootprint.org

Originally posted at: //www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2004/2004-03-30-10.asp

Bush Pledges to Leave No Wild Forests Behind

FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY

Forest Networking a Project of Forests.org, Inc.

//forests.org/ -- Forest Conservation Portal
//www.EnvironmentalSustainability.info/ -- Eco-Portal
//www.ClimateArk.org/ -- Climate Change Portal
//www.WaterConserve.info/ -- Water Conservation Portal

May 5, 2004

OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Glen Barry, Ph.D., Forests.org

President Bush continues to lead as if there is no tomorrow, and if he is not stopped, there may not be. Despite pledges to uphold protections for roadless forests, his administration continues its stealthy dismantling of protections for America's last large wild forest landscapes. The Heritage Forests Campaign has issued a report which details the effects upon regional forests if federal protections were to be reversed at
//www.ourforests.org/localreports/index.html . And the comment period has commenced regarding the Bush administration's proposal to drill for natural gas in the Rocky Mountain Front – one of the most important wilderness areas in the continental United States. Comments regarding this ill-conceived project can be emailed to mt_blackleaf_eis@blm.gov during the government's scoping process which ends on June 1st. These are dangerous times – imperial war, inequity and injustice, combined with failing ecosystems make for a potent mix. It is up to progressive dark greens to enunciate a vision, and organize the movement, that will allow all humanity to emerge from the darkness. g.b.


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ITEM #1
Title: Reversal of Roadless Rule Could Devastate National Forests Source: Copyright 2004, Environment News Service
Date: May 4, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC, May 4, 2004 (ENS) - Potential changes by the Bush administration to the roadless rule threaten to destroy the pristine and wild character of more than 32 million acres of public land, according to a series of reports released by a forest advocacy group. The administration has already rolled back roadless protections for Alaska's Tongass National Forests and intends to further revise the rule, which conservationists say is one of the most popular and important conservation initiatives in the nation's history.

"Despite overwhelming public support and their own promises to uphold the Roadless Rule, the Bush administration has been chipping away at the rule for three years, and it is becoming apparent they would like to shred it altogether," said Robert Vandermark, co-director of the Heritage Forests Campaign, which is an alliance of conservation groups.

The alliance released the new reports today to mark the three year anniversary of U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Ann Veneman's pledge to uphold the provision of the rule, which was put into effect in January 2001 during the last days of the Clinton administration.

Critics contend Veneman has already run afoul of that pledge.

The rule bans road building for commercial activities within some 58
million acres - or one third - of the national forests, but it does allow
new roads if needed to fight fires or to protect public health and safety.

Supporters say it provides vital protection for some of the nation's last remaining wild places and wildlife.

They contend road building in these roadless areas only further subsidizes the timber industry and note that the Forest Service already faces a maintenance backlog of $8.4 billion for its 380,000 mile network of forest roads.

More than two million Americans submitted comments on the rule during the federal rulemaking process, with more than 90 percent in favor of the rule.

But the Bush administration sees the rule as too broad and restrictive. In addition to lifting the rule from the Tongass - the nation's largest national forest - it has proposed amending the regulation to allow individual exemptions for states.

That decision could come as early as this month. In March, Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey told Congress that the Forest Service would soon propose its replacement for the Roadless Rule.

Rey noted the legal battles surrounding the rule as good cause for the new policy - nine lawsuits involving seven states have been filed concerning the rule over the past two years.

But critics say the Bush administration ignored a clear opportunity to have the Supreme Court settle the dispute over the rule's legality.

In July a Wyoming federal judge enjoined the rule in Wyoming after ruling it illegally created wilderness areas in violation of the process set up by Congress through the Wilderness Act.

This ruling conflicted with a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that reversed a similar injunction placed on the rule by an Idaho District Court.

The Bush administration decided not to appeal the Wyoming decision to the Supreme Court and has asked the appeals court not to accept an appeal of the decision by conservation group.

The best way to sort out the rule, administration officials say, is to proceed with its own revisions. The repercussions of those revisions will aid the timber industry at the expense of many of the nation's last remaining wild places, according to the new reports by the Heritage Forests Campaign.

The reports profile roadless areas in national forests across 12 states, documenting acreage that has been lost due to logging and road building prior to the creation of the roadless rule.

They identify examples of roadless areas in national forests that could meet a similar fate if the roadless rule is reversed.

The campaign's analysis of government statistics finds that a reversal of the rule could result in the complete loss of roadless forests in 11 states.

There are nearly 16 million acres of roadless areas in Idaho and Montana's national forests that are protected by the rule.

If it is reversed by the Bush administration, 9.5 million acres, or 60.5 percent of those areas would be immediately made available for logging and road building, according to the campaign.

The reports find 60 percent - 9.5 million acres - of roadless areas in Idaho and Montana's national forests would be made immediately available for logging and road building if the rule is reversed.

The 147,000 acres of roadless areas in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin would be vulnerable, as would 1.2 million of the 1.9 million acres of Oregon's national forests that are currently protected by the rule.

In addition, the national forests of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia would immediately face the potential for road building and logging in 76 percent of their remaining roadless areas.

ITEM #2
Title: New Energy Drilling Proposals Target Montana's Front
BLM Starts Process to Evaluate Drilling Permits Located on Public Lands in the Heart of the Rocky Mountain Front
Source: Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front
Date: April 16, 2004

Choteau, MT -- One of America's most stunning landscapes, Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, faces a new round of natural gas drilling proposals.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced late yesterday that it had initiated the review process [Environmental Impact Statement] required for new drilling permits on several existing leases located on public lands in the Blackleaf area, right in the heart of Montana's Front.

"Montanans understand that the Front is a special place, and we've worked together for generations to protect it," said Karl Rappold, a rancher from Dupuyer, Montana. Rappold is a member of the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, an organization of ranchers, hunters, anglers, local business owners, public officials, conservationists, and other Montanans who are working to protect the Front.

"The Front contains some of the best wildlife habitat in the United States," continued Rappold. "It would be a shame to ruin that for, at best, a few days worth of natural gas. The Front is where we work, hunt, and live. It represents the tradition and heritage of Montana – a heritage that many of us would like to see protected for our grandchildren."

Montana's Rocky Mountain Front stretches for over a hundred miles, from Glacier National Park to near Helena, Montana. It is a place of unparalleled natural beauty with massive limestone cliffs that gaze out onto a Great Plains virtually unchanged since the days of Lewis and Clark. With the exception of wild bison, the full complement of native wildlife still inhabits the Front.

The Front's long north-south strip of wildlife habitat is so rich that Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department consider the Front to be in the top one percent of wildlife habitat in the United States.

The BLM estimates that the analysis alone for the new drilling permits will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $1 million. The only company that is actively considering whether to drill along the Front is Startech Energy Inc., which is based in Calgary, Alberta, and wants to drill three gas wells at one site within the Blindhorse Outstanding Natural Area of the Blackleaf area.

The BLM agrees that very little natural gas rests beneath the Blackleaf area. On January 28, 2002, the BLM's Montana state office released a "Statement of Adverse Energy Impact" for the Blackleaf unit of the Front. The BLM estimated there to be .014-.106 TCF of gas there, the equivalent of two days of natural gas for the country. Furthermore, Startech has estimated only a one-in-four chance of finding economically recoverable gas in the Blackleaf.

"It is sad that the BLM will spend more than one million dollars to do a study that goes against public opinion and common sense," said Chuck Blixrud, an outfitter and owner of the 7 Lazy P Guest Ranch in Choteau, Montana. "That money could be used for other things like protecting the Front, which would be better in the long run for local people and the economy. The Front is where many of us live and work."

Senator Max Baucus also has challenged the validity of the leases. In a March letter to the BLM, Baucus wrote: "I believe it is not appropriate for the BLM to move forward with spending taxpayer dollars on a controversial EIS, addressing development on federal oil and gas leases in the Blackleaf area unless and until your agency can verify that the leases themselves were validly issued."

Montanans have a long history of protecting the Front, dating to the 1913 creation of the state's first game preserve (Sun River) to the 1972 creation of the nation's first citizen initiated Wilderness Area, the Scapegoat Wilderness.

In 1997, the Forest Service placed the Front off limits for any new leasing for 10-15 years. During public consideration of that proposal, more than 80% of the comments received by the Forest Service supported the no new leases decision. This decision, however, did not apply to pre-existing leases such as those in the Blackleaf region where the drilling applications now being considered by the BLM.

The Bureau of Land Management will hold public meetings, all in an open-house format, at five locations across Montana. The meetings will be May 3 in Choteau; May 4 in Great Falls; May 5 in Missoula; May 17 in Helena; and May 20 in Browning. All will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exact locations of the meetings have yet to be announced.

ITEM #3
Title: Front drilling proposal sparks 12,000 e-mails
Source: Copyright 2004, Great Falls Tribune
Date: May 4, 2004
Byline: SONJA LEE, Tribune Staff Writer

CHOTEAU -- During the first week of a public comment period on a proposal to drill for natural gas in the Rocky Mountain Front, the Bureau of Land Management received more than 12,000 e-mails -- so many electronic comments that the government account is overloaded for now.

But those 12,000 e-mails are just the beginning. About 150 people packed into Choteau High School on Monday to learn more about an environmental review that the BLM must complete before the proposal moves forward. The Choteau meeting was the first in a series of five that will be held this month.

Nearly everyone who wandered the school reviewing information about the project was quick to offer up an opinion.

And as one person would speak against the proposal, another would walk by singing its praises.

Ora Knowlton of Bynum said he wants to see drilling. It will bring jobs and improve Teton County's tax base.

When production was going strong in the Blackleaf Canyon in 1983 and 1984, Teton County received tax revenues between $410,000 and $470,000 each year, according to county records.

"It's about time we take this nation back from the non-productive enviro-freaks," echoed Darell Stott, who was standing with Knowlton.

"Every one of us will gain if we go out there and produce." George and Patti Widener own about 1,800 acres of land adjacent to where the wells would be drilled.

"Does it concern us?" Patti Widener asked as she examined a map about potential impacts to groundwater resources. "It stops our heart."

Widener said in a 12-hour stretch, the couple observed seven grizzly bears in the area where the wells are proposed. When the rigs go up, more than 100 trucks a day could be using the roads, Widener said.

And she is gravely concerned about impacts to wildlife.

Startech Energy, Inc. of Calgary is asking to drill three wells in the BLM's Blind Horse Outstanding Natural Area, about 75 miles northwest of Great Falls.

A well pad to accommodate the rig and additional equipment would be built on four acres at the site. Eight miles of new pipeline, and 200 feet of new road would be needed at the site.

If those three wells produce, Startech also would resume production at other wells in the area. While additional environmental reviews would be needed, the Startech wells also could lead to other "reasonable" development in the future, according to BLM.

Dave Mari, district manager of the BLM office in Lewistown, said the BLM is keenly aware of the controversy surrounding the proposal.

"We know many people are passionate about this area," he said. In 1997, former Lewis and Clark Forest Supervisor Gloria Flora declared the Forest Service land on the Rocky Mountain Front off limits to new oil and gas exploration. The Startech leases also predate the BLM's outstanding natural area designation.

The BLM is holding the public meetings to gather as much information as possible, he said. The e-mail also should be operational again in a day or so.

The BLM will collect public opinion and use it to draft an Environmental Impact Statement. That statement will include "alternatives" for drilling and minimizing impacts to the environment. The draft EIS should be complete in February 2005.

At the Monday meeting, people could view colorful posters about potential impacts to wildlife, vegetation, water and scenery. BLM specialists also were available to discuss additional details about the area and the project.

The BLM also offered a short presentation about the project. Jeff Littlepage of Fairfield said he came to the meeting to learn more about the project. He was surprised to learn that the Startech proposal could spur so much additional drilling.

"A little development is good, but that's a fragile area," he said. Others attended the meeting to make it clear they oppose any development on the Front.

"We're here to tell them, 'No means no,'" said Ric Valois, a member of the militant conservation group Environmental Rangers. "As long as I am breathing, they will not drill."

Dusty Crary, who leases land in the area, said he doesn't believe new and improved "technology" will reduce the potential impacts. He said he would be impressed by technology if it brought a sizeable wind energy operation.

"They also talk about new jobs, but what about the jobs that are already here?" he said.

Crary, a rancher, said a large part of his marketing strategy is the wildness of the area. Local outfitters and tourists also need to be considered.

Ray Anderson worked on a rig in the 60s.

"The engines would be revving up, and the deer would just walk by," he said.

Anderson said he doesn't believe drilling will have a negative impact on wildlife.

Anderson and Dan Lindseth both also said Teton County must capitalize on its resources to help the tax base.

ITEM #4

FOREST CONSERVATION ACTION ALERT

Protect Montana's Rocky Mountain Front

By Forests.org, Inc. - //forests.org/

May 10, 2004

TAKE ACTION:

Protest Bush's "Leave No Wilderness Behind" Energy Policy
//forests.org/action/america/

Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is one of America's most important wilderness areas. But its continued existence as a large and operational ecosystem is threatened by the Bush Administration's rapacious "leave no wilderness behind" energy policy. The Front is where the east slope of the Montana Rockies - stretching for more than a hundred miles - suddenly merges with the prairies. The area is inhabited by a range of wildlife including grizzly bears, elk and bighorn sheep. Despite its environmental importance and fragility, President Bush is aggressively seeking to open this treasured natural landscape to oil and gas drilling. Last month the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated the review process required for new drilling permits on several existing leases located in the region's Blackleaf area. According to the government's own data, the Blackleaf leases contain less than a day's worth of natural gas and 15 minutes of oil for the nation. Let the Bureau of Land Management know that you do not support gas and oil exploration in Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. Further, make it known that the U.S. needs an energy policy that does not destroy large, operational ecosystems at home or abroad; and which is forward looking, emphasizing conservation and renewable energy.

Take Action and Forward Widely until the end of May, 2004
//forests.org/action/america/

Notes: Because the alert is part of an official government feedback process, some original comments are required. The alert forwards to an updated appeal to Russia to ratify the Kyoto Treaty - a decision widely expected in coming weeks.

ALERT : Demand the "Filthy Three" Act Against Climate Change

Encourage the U.S., Russia and Australia to Lead

By Forests.org, April 3, 2004

TAKE ACTION @ //forests.org/action/climate/

Over past months there have been several studies that further irrefutably show that the Earth's climate is undergoing rapid and chaotic change as a result of human activities. CO2 levels are rising to such dangerous heights that a quarter of land species are expected to go extinct, the Great Barrier Reef and other important ecosystems are dying, changing ocean currents may trigger a mini ice age in Europe, and the U.S. military expects greater armed conflict caused by climate change. As the Earth burns, leaders of major industrialized countries dither. In particular, the United States, Russia and Australia have shamefully refused to support the Kyoto Treaty - the only international effort to address the issue.

Further, these countries have refused to take other measures such as introducing a carbon tax. Taxing carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions would provide substantial sums to undo the damage, compensate those most impacted, and allow for greater investments in renewable energy and ending deforestation. The Lincoln Plan at //www.climateark.org/lincoln_plan/ is an example of such an approach. Please take a moment to encourage the "Filthy Three" - Bush, Putin and Howard - to live up to their responsibility to protect the Earth's climate.

TAKE ACTION @ //forests.org/action/climate/

Please forward widely!

Networked by Forests.org, Inc., gbarry@forests.org

Why you are responsible for Climate Change and the Western drought, and what you can do about it

By Dr. Glen Barry

//www.environmentalsustainability.info/blog/

May 14, 2004

Think environmentalists are a bunch of whacked out hippie communists? Perhaps some. However, if you eat, drink, breathe or crap - what they know and espouse has importance to you and your children's lives, indeed, your very existence.

Dark Greens realize that the Earth's processes and life diversity are required to maintain ecosystems and all aspects of human life. Forests, water, the atmosphere and oceans remain in a delicate balance that provides the conditions for life.

Perhaps nowhere are failing ecosystems more readily evident and acute than the western United States. The region, including California, is in the grips of a severe drought and annual large forest fires - the result of climate change, poor land use, faulty water management and over-population.

The response thus far from the Oil Presidency is to heavily log the forests so they don't burn - his "Healthy Forests" initiative, and to propose massive rollbacks of air pollution rules - the likewise Orwellian "Clear Skies" program. And he has turned his back on climate change by rejecting the Kyoto Treaty while offering no alternatives.

President Bush has no grasp of ecological fundamentals, and rules as if the Earth has no value. These programs are a fraud being waged upon the American people and environment for the benefit of industry. How could fragmented, over-managed, dry forests that are fire adapted do anything but burn?

The not so Wild West's ecosystems have been severely degraded and are nearing collapse. It is wrong to spend millions of dollars to fight fires every year. When possible, let them burn. Fires are an integral part of the region's natural history and are responsible for ecosystem regeneration including making healthy, natural baby forests.

A more effective approach to Western drought and forest fires would emphasize land use planning, reduced logging, restoration of old-growth forests, and an aggressive national climate change policy. Residential sprawl into forested areas must be restricted, fragmented landscapes reconnected through targeted restoration activities, and degraded forests allowed to regenerate - thinning and burning naturally as they mature and acquire late successional old-growth characteristics.

Solutions exist. All Americans and other affluent nations are going to have to change the way they live. Sprawling automobile dependent suburbs will give way to compact walking communities - with smaller houses and cars, but a larger sense of community and well-being.

There are a myriad of personal actions all persons - particularly the affluent - must take to achieve personal ecological sustainability. Choose quality over quantity of consumption. There are many ways to consume wisely including buying compact fluorescent lightbulbs and using 100% recycled paper. Have fewer children, no more than two. Buy and love a piece of land, and help it to rest and restore itself.

Our cumulative actions have caused climate change and fragmented forests, leading to the present crisis in the West and elsewhere. Only immediate remedial action on all of our parts will repair failing ecosystems. These and other measures can be taken now while affluence is relatively high and sustainable options to achieve a comfortable and meaningful life abound, or they can be made under duress as ecosystems fail in times of great scarcity, limited options, and civil strife.

It is not simply whether our civilization survives. How will we do so?

Will it be through imperial militarism and pillaging of other countries, or by reforming our excessive consumption and becoming more efficient?

Will we restrict freedoms, or enlarge them? Will there be prosperity for the few, or the many?

Global ecological sustainability depends upon diffusion of a new code of conduct. Respecting and caring for the Earth must become the highest judge of an individual and the merit of their actions. Living for and of the Earth must become the foundation of an honorable new way of life.

The Earth is truth and beauty and sacred. The Earth is God.

As the West and Earth burns, the Emperor fiddles and bombs.

Failure to recognize, acknowledge and reform your life's impacts upon the Earth makes you the petro-bomber's second fiddle, and implicates you in the burning and demise of Gaia.

Living as if the Earth matters, indeed, is worthy of reverence, must be your code of conduct and become the fundamental organizing principle of society.

ENDS

Stop Climate Change, Insist Russia Ratify Kyoto
//forests.org/action/climate/

Der Krieg gleicht immer mehr einem Dauerkino

Wir sind visuelle Analphabeten für die politischen Bilder, mit
Blindheit geschlagen aber ist die gesamte Politiwissenschaft...

Weiter unter:
//www.telepolis.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/co/17450/1.html

Die intellektuellen Wegbereiter von Folter und Willkürjustiz

Nicht nur die Soldaten an der vordersten Quälfront oder Politiker und
hohe Militärs sind für die Misshandlungen der Gefangenen im Irak und
anderswo verantwortlich...

Weiter unter:
//www.telepolis.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/co/17488/1.html

'Spray and slay': are American troops out of control in Iraq?

Fresh allegations of American abuse of prisoners continue to appal the world. But now 'The Independent on Sunday' has uncovered proof of US troops deliberately and indiscriminately shooting civilians. Here we examine new evidence that suggests the lawlessness in the American military was never confined to the prison camps and torture rooms but extended to the streets and homes of Iraq
By Raymond Whitaker in London and Justin Huggler in Baghdad

23 May 2004

Read further under:

//news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=523993


Informant: Duane Roberts
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