January 28, 2005

The Green Holocaust Files #17: Let's Not Put Our Heads in the Sand

Hello everyone

Going through old files — by sheer coincidence of course ;-) — I stumbled upon the following text entitled "The Awakening of Inner Consciousness" which I wrote just about 5 years ago and which I never networked. Reviewing it after putting together the material in this compilation, it seems quite an appropriate introduction as you'll see, so I've decided to simply include it here as it is...

"At the cusp a new millennium, humanity is going through a crucial phase in its collective evolution. From the outcome of the planetary crisis we are facing depends not only the future of our civilization but, above all else, the future of the Life continuum, resulting from billions of years of evolution, that has transformed this planet into such a marvelous oasis of fertility and harmony, vibrant with vitality and truly unique in the entire universe.

The only conceivable chance we have to achieve the quantum evolutionary leap of consciousness necessary to get us out of the current impasse lies within the heart of every human being. The fate of the world rests entirely upon the seemingly benign struggle engaged within us between, on the one hand, the tendency to withdraw into oneself and to have nothing but oneself in mind and, on the other hand, the natural desire to give, to serve and to love.

Should we fail, individually and collectively, to attain to a greater psychological and spiritual maturity, nothing shall spare us from the eventual complete collapse of our sole planetary life support system whose precursory signs of failure are abundantly clear all over the world.

Nothing but an awakening of our planetary ecoconsciousness, a profound realization of the indissociable unity of all that is, will suffice to stop and reverse the mad dash towards oblivion we are in.

Such are the premises of a reflection, admittedly difficult but nevertheless vital and inescapable, to which are invited all the people concerned with leaving a viable, healthy environment to their children and grandchildren, and anxious to contribute through their choices and conscious deeds to a better future for everyone. To better understand the larger context of this proposed reflection, let us first consider an aspect of the human experience that we seldom scrutinize, that is, the very nature of consciousness and the means through which it can blossom out.

Humans have always tried to understand the universe around them. In ancient times, the priests and shamans of the primitive religions have attempted, each in their own way, to provide an answer to this eternal quest for a meaning to our existence and an explanation to the mysteries and phenomenons of nature. Today, science and a number of visionary seekers are also providing, but in quite different ways, some answers to the great enigmas that, to this day, fascinate those wondering about the meaning of their existence and the future of our common evolution.

I’d like to share with you the guiding vision that has been for me a source of inspiration in this lifetime so that, through this sharing of ideas and inner realizations, we may broaden together the circle of what is known and understood. Just like so many other people today, I’m searching for a brighter Light that may better guide my thoughts and actions and therefore improve my contribution to the existence and forward movement of the human race.

So what do we see around us and within us that may shed some light in our quest for understanding? First of all, we realize that life is a marvelous adventure; that the universe around us, from the simplest flower to the most magnificent scenery, including the unique beings and unforgettable experiences that Life puts on our path, presents each of us with countless opportunities to open our heart to the beauty surrounding us and, in so doing, to give thanks to this wondrous Force expressing and manifesting Itself through us and throughout the entire universe. But we also discover that Life demands a great deal from us; that we must continuously surpass ourselves and never let any cosy, materialistic situation entrap us into any kind of complacent attitude; that we sometimes have to accept to question certain routines in our thinking and everyday life so as to open our mind to new horizons and thus find true inner peace, a state of being that only harmony with the laws of Life and the requirements of our destiny can bring to the soul.

This is what I wish to facilitate with these words: an opening to new ideas, an encouragement to go beyond the usual routines in our thinking patterns; a refusal to buy into the illusory sense of security created by a certain laziness of mind that makes us look away from the immense challenges we face; and finally, a whole new and deeply stimulating vision of our purpose in the universal order of things."

So now that I'm finally sharing these inspired words with other souls in the context of this "Green Holocaust" compilation, there is an interesting coincidence that is hard to miss. On this very day (January 27, 2005) in which much of the world has been remembering the unspeakable horrors forced upon an entire people by evil men and a system bent on denying the sacredness of human lives, one would hope that humanity has finally learned the most important lesson that this monstrous human tragedy should have taught to us all by now. When faced with evidence that crimes on an imaginable scale are being perpetrated in the name of some twisted, inhumane ideology, our collective reaction ought to be not to turn a blind eye and let the warnings about any such tragedy fall on deaf ears, but to rally as one, keenly aware that harm done to others is harm done to all, and mobilize our forces to put a permanent end to the insidious machinations responsible for the destruction of other fellow human beings, brothers and sisters like all of us in the global human family. One would also hope that such a determination to tackle the problems blind fanaticism and utter greed can breed also applies to our sole "life support system" as some see our living, breathing and excruciatingly suffering planet, enduring countless torments at the hands of countless human beings hacking away at her roots, branches and leaves in an effort to "make a living" according to current economic dogmas.

Some hope our world's ascension into a higher dimension will magically bring her agony to an end and fully restored her natural health. Others, caught in a collective religious trance, believe that their own rapturous salvation will only come through a global Armageddon of some sort, as their old fetish book says, based on a literal interpretation of ancient allegoric lore meant for another time and far less evolved cultures. As for me, the vision I cherish is one of a global awakening to the innate magnificence, unique preciousness and absolute sacredness of all life forms, a spiritual ascension that will open the doors of heaven right here, each in our own heart, where is hidden the most vital treasure of the entire Universe: our inalienable Oneness as extant participants in the glorious Manifestation of Who We Are.

May the current wholesale holocaust of all Life on Earth be soon transformed into a Holy Cause of common, global redemption from the choking claws of illusory darkness, which is simply our own ignorance as to Who We REALLY Are...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

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Worthy of Your Attention

Mark Elsis' new website on Global Warming

Save our National Forests
If influential leaders like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stand by silently, President Bush will eliminate the Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protects unspoiled national forest lands from coast to coast. Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to stand up for California's and all of America's national forests. (Bush's plan strip our last wild national forests - 4.4 million acres of them in California - of their protection from roadbuilding, logging and drilling. From California's Sierra Nevada to the Appalachian Trail, from Alaska's Tongass to the Rocky Mountains, this historic measure protects some of America's greatest sanctuaries for wildlife and people so that their timeless beauty will remain untouched forever. The Bush administration is trying to open the floodgates to massive timber and energy sales that would send an armada of bulldozers, chainsaws and gas rigs into these last untrammeled forests.) Recommended by Phyllis>

In case you have not seen this yet - Meatrix

Action alert on GM trees

Claim: The Brazilian Congress is about to vote on a bill that would reduce the size of the Amazon rain forest by 50%. Status: False.
NOTE from Jean: I keep receiving copies of this petition over 4 years after it was initially issued by a (perhaps well intentioned) prankster. People should be aware that virtually ALL such Internet circulated petitions are hoaxes and thus stop forwarding them...)

Sharon Sees Chance for 'Historic Breakthrough (Jan 27)
Israeli leader Ariel Sharon said on Thursday conditions were right for a "historic breakthrough" on Middle East peace after measures taken by new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to bring calm. (...) Palestinians said that in order to help Abbas who faces a strong challenge from militants, the Israelis had agreed in principle to pull back troops from West Bank cities reoccupied during a 4-year-old uprising and to free hundreds of prisoners.


1. Countdown to global catastrophe
3. The Three Technologies That Will Blow Oil Away
4. Horrors and Hopes about Water
5. Horrors and Hopes about Transport
6. Horrors and Hopes about Energy
7. Horrors and Hopes about Economics
8. World Social Forum: Moving forward to a new possible world
9. The New Amazon
10. Air Pollution Now circling the Globe
11. Global Dimming
12. Volcanic Warming Eyed in 'Great Dying'
13. Chirac Demands Measures to Save Animals, Plants
14. UFO Sighting and Strange Signals reported again in Indian Ocean - sub tectonic experiment?


"It is fantastic that there is that degree of commitment to making a difference in Africa. But the worry is that promises have been made before and it was interesting that Prime Minister Blair mentioned the need to ensure that commitments are delivered."

- Barbara Stocking, Director, Oxfam -- Taken from


Global poverty targeted as 100,000 gather in Brazil

Activists join presidents as annual World Social Forum gets under way in Porto Alegre

John Vidal in Porto Alegre

January 26, 2005

Elvis, Betu and Renatu live in a rubbish dump. Every day the teenagers take out their wire pushcarts, collect the waste of the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre and bring it back to the illegal slum of Chocolatado to sort and then sell on.

It's a grim place, made of reclaimed tarpaulins, waste timber, old plastic and metal. None of the shacks have running water or toilets, and most of them are deep in litter.

This, then, is the ideal backdrop for the launch today of the World Social Forum, which meets annually to discuss issues affecting developing countries.

Begun five years ago specifically to counter the annual meeting of world business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, it has unexpectedly become a global political and social phenomenon.

More than 100,000 activists will be in Porto Alegre this year. They will be joined by two presidents, several Nobel peace and literature prizewinners, the world's leading international non-government groups, healthworkers, MPs, educators, unions, students, the landless, indigenous peoples, intellectuals, environmentalists and dissident economists.

"It's not perfect, but it is the most tangible global rejection of the neo-liberal globalisation policies of the US and G8 countries," said Ricardo Jimenez, a Uruguyan doctor.

"But it needs to be seen in context. More than 1 billion people in developing countries live in slums; 800 million go hungry every day; 27 million adults are slaves; 245 million children have to work. The poor are everywhere still getting poorer, the cities are disintegrating and bankrupt. It is a response to a global scandal."

In other years there has been a video linkup between Davos and Porto Alegre, but this year the two worlds will stand further apart than ever, with no formal contact beyond accusations and petitions sent from Brazil.

"Developing countries now owe $1.6 trillion. In 2004 they transferred $300bn to rich countries," said Eric Toussaint, chair of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt. "Yet we can say that the people of the third world are creditors. They have already paid their debts many times over."

The highlights of the forum will be the flying visit of the populist Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Both will address 30,000 people in Porto Alegre's main stadium, but the reception given to the two most charismatic South American leaders could be very different.

Mr Da Silva is still popular but there is growing impatience at the slow speed of the radical reforms expected.

According to many at the forum, Mr Chávez is increasingly the person to whom the continent looks for significant change. Significantly, Mr Da Silva will fly on to Davos for talks with world leaders after his Porto Alegre appearance, while Mr Chavez is expected to spend time in an encampment of the Brazilian landless.

But people are still upbeat. "Analysts are talking of a new South America. There is a sense that this is the only continent now challenging the US," said Martin Fernandes, a Brazilian doctor.

"There are now leftist presidents in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, as well as in Uruguay and Ecuador ... We have a sense that change is possible."

The forum has been criticised in the past for not including marginalised peoples. But this year it has invited some of the poorest in the world, including dalits (untouchables) from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, former slave communities from Brazil, and more than 100 tribes of Brazilian Indians.

It may also be the last forum for several years in Porto Alegre. "There has been a very strong proposal that, instead of one single event, the forum next year will take place simultaneously in six cities on six continents, with smaller events in many towns," said an international committee member, Mukul Sharma.

"It would signal that the WSF is expanding and becoming a global force. It is also highly probable that in 2007 it will go to Africa for the first time."


Special reports


May Day,7368,475106,00.html

Debt relief,2759,178197,00.html


Other related articles:

Blair urges 'quantum leap' in aid to Africa (January 27, 2005),,1399907,00.html
Tony Blair shares a stage with Bono of U2 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Tony Blair today said the G8 needed to back him in a "quantum leap" in aid and trade to relieve poverty in Africa, as he shared a stage with Bono and Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos.Switching his attention from climate change, the subject of his opening address last night, to Africa, the prime minister said that if the disease and death that ravaged that continent happened anywhere else in the world, it would be seen as a major scandal, rather than ignored.And he announced that Britain would be contributing a further £45m towards provision of mosquito nets - seen by the World Health Organisation as one of the most important ways of reducing malaria. Nelson Mandela, who is also attending the summit of global business leaders, said he would be backing the Make Poverty History campaign at a visit to London next month, where he will address a rally in Trafalgar Square. Mr Blair, before leaving Switzerland and handing the UK delegation's leadership back to chancellor Gordon Brown, told a press conference that he would be pushing for action when his Commission for Africa reports back in March.He said: "A few years ago I described Africa as a scar on the conscience of the world."The facts as we see them and as they are happening in the daily lives of the people in Africa are so shocking it almost defies our imagination. CLIP

Free trade leaves world food in grip of global giants (January 27 2005),,1399354,00.html
Global food companies are aggravating poverty in developing countries by dominating markets, buying up seed firms and forcing down prices for staple goods including tea, coffee, milk, bananas and wheat, according to a report to be launched today. As 50,000 people marched through Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, to mark the opening of the annual World Social Forum on developing country issues, the report from ActionAid was set to highlight how power in the world food industry has become concentrated in a few hands. The report will say that 30 companies now account for a third of the world's processed food; five companies control 75% of the international grain trade; and six companies manage 75% of the global pesticide market. It finds that two companies dominate sales of half the world's bananas, three trade 85% of the world's tea, and one, Wal-mart, now controls 40% of Mexico's retail food sector. It also found that Monsanto controls 91% of the global GM seed market. Household names including Nestlé, Monsanto, Unilever, Tesco, Wal-mart, Bayer and Cargill are all said to have expanded hugely in size, power and influence in the past decade directly because of the trade liberalisation policies being advanced by the US, Britain and other G8 countries whose leaders are meeting this week in Davos. "A wave of mergers and business alliances has concentrated market power in very few hands," the report says. It accuses the companies of shutting local companies out of the market,driving down prices, setting international and domestic trade rules to suit themselves, imposing tough standards that poor farmers cannot meet, and charging consumers more. The report says the 85% of all the recent fines imposed on global cartels were paid by agrifood companies, with three of them forced to pay out $500m to settle price-fixing lawsuits. "It is a dangerous situation when so few companies control so many lives," said John Samuel of Action Aid yesterday. The Action Aid report argues that many food behemoths are wealthier than the countries in which they do their business. CLIP

Monsanto has GM crop plans for seed firm with GM in mind (January 25, 2005),3604,1397765,00.html
Monsanto yesterday paid $1.4bn (£745m) to buy a fruit and vegetable seed company and said it would look at the possibility of genetically modifying the produce. The company is known for its controversial innovations in genetic modifications for crops such as soya beans and corn. Genetically modified crops are flourishing in the US but have caused an outcry elsewhere.The deal will speed up Monsanto's move into the seed market and extend its reach further into Europe and Asia, where the company, Seminis, does a large part of its business. CLIP

The Ultimate War Crime: Breaking the Agricultural Cycle (25 January 2005)
For the record: "U.S. declares Iraqis can not save their own seeds" - "As part of sweeping "economic restructuring" implemented by the Bush Administration in Iraq, Iraqi farmers will no longer be permitted to save their seeds, which include seeds the Iraqis themselves have developed over hundreds of years. Instead, they will be forced to buy seeds from US corporations. That is because in recent years, transnational corporations have patented and now own many seed varieties originated or developed by indigenous peoples. In a short time, Iraq will be living under the new American credo. CLIP

Rich must keep aid promises, says UN Ashley Seager (January 18, 2005),9061,1392850,00.html
More than 500 million people can escape poverty and tens of millions can avoid otherwise certain death if the United States, Japan and other rich nations keep their promises to vastly increase development aid over the next decade, a report said yesterday. A redoubling of effort by poor countries is also required if the world is to meet the internationally agreed goals of halving world poverty, hunger and illness by 2015. The report, from the UN Millennium Project and compiled by Harvard professor Jeffrey Sachs with United Nations development chief Mark Malloch Brown, was officially presented to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan yesterday. The 3,000-page report, Investing in Development, says that the goals, set five years ago, were still achievable, but only if all parties fulfilled their promises. "The costs of undertaking this on a global scale are well within the bounds of what has long been promised by the rich world but not yet delivered," said Mr Sachs. He praised the energy of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, who are pushing for a Marshall plan for Africa, but the report notes that Britain's overseas aid budget is still only at half the 0.7% of gross domestic product agreed internationally years ago. Charity and development groups welcomed the call for an increase in aid from rich countries but criticised the study for not being bold enough in its ambitions. "Unfortunately it is still trumpeting the development model of 25 years ago even though it has not worked," said Steve Tibbett, ActionAid UK head of policy and campaigns. (...) The report lists 10 key recommendations for action, one of which is that rich countries increase their overseas development aid to 0.7% of GDP by 2015 from an average of 0.25% today. Only a handful of countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands have achieved the 0.7% target although Britain, Belgium, France, Finland and Ireland have pledged to do so. The United States and Japan - the world's two largest economies - only spend 0.15% and 0.2% respectively on aid. CLIP

UN Unveils 10-Year Plan to Lift 500 Million Out of Misery (Jan 18)
(...) In Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the head of the UN anti-poverty effort, calls for a massive increase in aid to poor countries - from the $20bn (£12bn) a year at present to at least $135bn a year. Only investment on that scale will help prevent 700 million people slipping further into preventable disease and extreme poverty.

Half of all workers on $2 a day or less (December 8, 2004),7369,1368818,00.html
A record number people are working in the global economy but half of them make $2 a day or less, according to a report published yesterday. CLIP

World Social Forum Activists Reorganize to Face Critics (25 January 2005)
The World Social Forum, which opens Wednesday in Porto Alegre, has changed. The organizers want to respond to charges leveled the last few months concerning lack of democracy, sterile repetition of debates with no outlet, and political battles. The organizers of the World Social Forum (WSF) have not remained deaf to these criticisms. The fifth edition of the signature meeting of World Social Forum Activists - organized from January 26 to 31 in Porto Alegre (Brazil) - inaugurates a new formula. In principle at least, it aspires to respond to the charges leveled with growing insistence over the years, i.e. the lack of democracy and risks of sterile repetition. To answer the first grievance, the Forum's International Council, which comprises more than a hundred organizations drawn from NGOs, labor unions, and social movements, decided to abandon its powers of "grand organizer" to leave the Forum to manage itself. CLIP

Nations Ranked As Protectors of the Environment (24 January 2005)
WASHINGTON - Countries from Northern and Central Europe and South America dominated the top spots in the 2005 index of environmental sustainability, which ranks nations on their success at such tasks as maintaining or improving air and water quality, maximizing biodiversity and cooperating with other countries on environmental problems. Finland, Norway and Uruguay held the top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities. The United States ranked 45th of the 146 countries studied, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and most of Western Europe. The lowest-ranking country was North Korea. Among those near the bottom were Haiti, Taiwan, Iraq and Kuwait. The index is the second produced in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, which meets in Davos, Switzerland, this week. The first complete index, in 2002, produced outrage and soul-searching in lower-ranking countries like Belgium and South Korea, said Daniel C. Esty, the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and an author of the report. The report is based on 75 measures, including the rate at which children die from respiratory diseases, fertility rates, water quality, overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases and the export of sodium dioxide, a crucial component of acid rain. CLIP


See also:

Global Warming Is 'Twice As Bad As Previously Thought' (27 January 2005)
Global warming might be twice as catastrophic as previously thought, flooding settlements on the British coast and turning the interior into an unrecognisable tropical landscape, the world's biggest study of climate change shows. Researchers from some of Britain's leading universities used computer modelling to predict that under the "worst-case" scenario, London would be under water and winters banished to history as average temperatures in the UK soar up to 20C higher than at present. Globally, average temperatures could reach 11C greater than today, double the rise predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body set up to investigate global warming. Such high temperatures would melt most of the polar icecaps and mountain glaciers, raising sea levels by more than 20ft. A report this week in The Independent predicted a 2C temperature rise would lead to irreversible changes in the climate. CLIP

"In the Wake of the Tsunami" - From Rory Spowers of Web of Hope
(...) The Web of Hope (http://, a UK registered charity and on-line database of role models for positive change which I founded three years ago, is also launching a UK appeal to direct funds to all three of these projects. The Web of Hope highlights any initiative, project, mechanism or technology which is a proven success, from a grass-roots community level through to corporate and global governance, offering them as inspiration for others struggling with similar challenges. For example, in Sri Lanka, we already list the simple rainwater harvesting technologies introduced to the dry zone by the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and which could be so effective in the wake of this tragedy; the grass-roots rural development model so successfully run by Dr Ariyatne and the Sarvodaya movement over the last forty years and some of the micro-credit schemes which could help revitalise the local economy. The most pressing and immediate work however is the desalinisation of wells, the constant monitoring of sanitation in the camps and ensuring that latrines do not contaminate water sources. Clean and safe distribution centres for food will need to be established, along with easy access to medical supplies and expertise. In the longer term, we are devoting much of our time and energy to developing the Web of Hope's eco-village and learning centre about twenty kilometres inland, where we are rehabilitating a 60 acres tea estate, planting organic paddy fields and starting some agro-forestry schemes to intercrop a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and medicinal herbs. Although I hate to sound alarmist, we have to make provision for the fact that this may not be an isolated incident, but merely sets the precedent for what might be in store for us, not only here in Sri Lanka but in other parts of the globe as well, as we move deeper into what many see as the defining decade of human history. On a more positive note, there is a widespread belief that the enormity of this tragedy could overcome the inherent jealousies and divisions within Sri Lankan society, bonding previously conflicting groups and ultimately moving the country to a new level of unity. Let's hope so.

The Post-Tsunami World-Solidarity Declaration: "Learning From The Catastrophe" From Ervin Laszlo, The Club Of Budapest
The tsunami catastrophe in Southern Asia touched the entire human community at a level and in a way never before experienced. The community's first response was the provision of emergency relief that was likewise of historically unprecedented magnitude, promptness, and spread. This is a sign of great hope for our common future. In the long term, however, something more is required: a worldwide dialogue must begin on concrete steps that could lead beyond the present unsustainable condition of the world toward a more stable, peaceful, and sustainable civilization. The tsunami catastrophe, with its enormous human cost, must wake us up and impel us to learn. This opportunity is historic and not to be missed. The question we face is this: Will we continue to accept that the world is so unequally and unjustly divided that in some countries, regions, and continents there are no early warning systems to avert major catastrophes whether they are of natural or of human origin; that there are no adequate infrastructures for assuring an existence of human dignity for all the people; and that only the actual occurrence of a catastrophe that involves millions of people reaches the mind and touches the heart of the rest of the human community? Or will we seize the opportunity to learn from the experience of a major tragedy to develop the vision and the solidarity to see all of humanity as one family and reorder our priorities and restructure our relations accordingly? We need to launch a process of worldwide discussion and dialogue on practicable ways to pull ourselves up to the level where our technologies of production and communication have already precipitated us: to the level of the biosphere as a whole, where all people now live in interaction and interdependence, and must also learn to live with mutual respect and solidarity. We invite all thinking people and humanistically oriented organizations to join the call for a global dialogue on ways and means to create an inclusive and peaceful Sustainable Civilization.

Adopt a Village
As the world organizes a massive relief mission in the wake of the worst natural disaster in modern times, a whole new movement which could radically affect the way we respond to disasters is proposed by author, Guy Dauncey. It's called 'Adopt a Village'. Already, people in different parts of the world are showing the way. (...) Back in Canada, the community of Squamish, British Columbia also wants to adopt a village. Councillor Jeff Dawson, who is spearheading the project, remembers that Squamish received a lot of help when it was hit by floods just over a year ago, and he wants to return the generosity, hoping that Squamish will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. So let’s pause, and look at this globally. There are five million people who need help, as they struggle to rebuild their lives and their villages. Can we respond to the cruelty of the tsunami with a tsunami of kindness? There are millions of people who live in the world’s wealthy nations, however, and many people in India, Thailand and elsewhere who also want to help. Using the Internet, it is possible to visualize someone creating a website which would list every village that needed help, from the beach resorts of Thailand to the fishing villages of India and Sri Lanka. Cities, villages, Rotary Clubs, churches, businesses, and community groups could then step forward and say "we’ll sponsor that village". The tsunami is the biggest natural disaster that has hit us in modern times, aside from wars and famines. If the agencies can help the fledgling ‘adopt a village’ movement to find its legs, using the Internet to its fullest capacity, they may be surprised how fast it can run.

Darfur humanitarian crisis seems to have eased-WHO (25 Jan 2005)
GENEVA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - A humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, once called the world's worst, appears to have eased with the death toll from disease dropping, a senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Tuesday. Although confirmation was needed, there were clear signs the numbers dying from hunger and infectious diseases amongst the western Sudan region's more than 1.5 million refugees had fallen significantly, WHO crisis chief David Nabarro said. "The kinds of information that I am receiving on water supply, sanitation, food access and health services ... would mean that the death rates are likely to have reduced," he told reporters. "We have almost certainly gone down to within the threshold limit for a humanitarian crisis," Nabarro added. CLIP

Apocalypse Soon: Has Environmental Abuse Finally Gone too Far? (January 19, 2005)
In light of recent environmental disasters, it's time to pose a question. How many of these recent events are attributed to human involvement and how many can be written off as the earth's fury that we couldn't possibly have had any control over? After the death of environmentalist David Brower in 2000, former Congressman and Executive Director of Voice of the Environment, Dan Hamburg wrote, "David Brower challenged us to comprehend both the awesome beauty of creation and the awesome responsibility we have to preserve it. Whether we meet that challenge will determine nothing less than our survival." In the wake of recent events, these words couldn't be more important. CLIP

America's Finite Future? (January 12)
(...) Since our founding, the American ethos has been forward-looking, geared to a bountiful future, with each generation of parents working as hard as they can to ensure a better life for their children. Those days are clearly gone.And it has put our entire civilization at grave risk - a point echoed with great clarity by Jared Diamond, whose new book, "Collapse," looks at the reasons why so many great civilizations of the past have failed.Although Diamond offers a range of reasons why these societies collapsed, one message comes through loud and clear: We've got to stop living like there is no tomorrow - or "f- - - the future" will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Increasing US Media Concern About Global Weather Chaos - Earthquakes and Meteor Explosions in Atmosphere, By Sorcha Faal...and as reported to her Russian Subscribers (1-13-5)

Drilling Plan OK'd for Rare Desert Land

The crisis of forests and forest use on the Earth is obvious. We are losing the forest cover in terms of biodiversity, biomass and hectars. We are losing possibilities for the future and future generations. It seems quite obvious that this crisis has not been registered by the political leaders in different countries. A good example of the severity of the problem is the UN Forum on Forests which should be the global board to meet and solve these problems. This UNFF has its fourth session in May in Geneva and all countries have been asked to produce a national report to present the situation in their countries. However, most of the countries did not produce any material and those who did were not always so seriously trying to seek the truth.
For more information, see:
This UNFF process is again a sad example that multinational forest corporations clearly have too dominating a role in shaping global forest policy. It is clear that by that way there is little chance of facing and solving the great problems related to forests in different countries. The People's Forest Forum is an initiative to make a real difference, to seek the true picture about the true situation and available sustainable solutions. CLIP

Oil Supply Shortages Likely After 2007, New Report Shows
Global oil supplies could start to have difficulty meeting growing demand after 2007, according to a recent analysis (PDF) of existing and planned major oil-recovery projects published this month in Petroleum Review.

Oil Running Out (18/01/05)
Industrialised countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, especially oil and gas. Gas and oil together provide 70% of the energy used in both the US and UK. But the world's reserves are rapidly diminishing, and they don't have to actually run out before precipitating a crisis. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho explains.

Bush's Inaugural Address: "The Most Un-American Speech I've Ever Heard!" (January 25)
We take a look at President Bush's inaugural address with Gore Vidal, one of America's most respected writers and thinkers and the author of more than 20 novels and 5 plays. Vidal says, "If the United States does go abroad to slay dragons in the name of freedom, liberty and so on, she could become dictatress of the world, but in the process she would lose her soul."

Disaster Looms for Megacities, U.N. Official Says (19 January 2005)
Kobe, Japan - Earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters could kill millions in the world's teeming megacities and time is running out to prevent such a catastrophe, the United Nations point man on emergency relief said on Tuesday. Jan Egeland, the UN Director of Disaster Relief, said many of the world's megacities, including Tokyo, are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and the poor were most at risk from a lack of investment and planning. "Perhaps the most frightening prospect would be to have a truly megadisaster in a megacity," he said on the first day of a disaster prevention conference in the Japanese city of Kobe, where an earthquake killed nearly 6,500 people a decade ago. "Then we could have not only a tsunami-style casualty rate as we have seen late last year, but we could see one hundred times that in a worst case." (...) According to U.N figures, the top five megacities now are the greater Tokyo area with 35.3 million people, Mexico City with 19 million, New York-Newark 18.5 million, Bombay 18.3 million and Sao Paulo 18.3 million. But by 2015, the United Nations estimates the populations of the top five will be: the greater Tokyo area at 36.2 million, Bombay 22.6 million, Delhi 21 million, Mexico City 20.6 million and Sao Paulo 20 million. Tokyo remains a great concern because of its high population, history of earthquakes and impact on the world economy if a major quake devastates the capital of the world's number 2 economy. Experts say a major quake is long overdue for Tokyo, which was flattened in 1923 by a quake and subsequent fires. CLIP

The Rocky Flats Horror Picture Show (21 Jan 2005)
Ex-FBI agent charges feds with radioactive coverup at Rocky Flats - The plotline sounds as absurd as a made-for-TV movie: An FBI agent exposes deadly contamination at an old nuclear-weapons plant, but the federal government conceals the findings. Years later, Congress votes to convert the tract into a wildlife refuge and open it to school field trips and public recreation. The site becomes a poster child for eco-friendly nuclear-waste disposal -- with a dangerous radioactive secret lurking below the surface. An aerial view of Rocky Flats. Fact, of course, can be stranger than fiction -- even bad Sunday-night-on-CBS fiction -- and former FBI agent Jon Lipsky is one of several insiders who say the above scenario is unfolding right beneath Uncle Sam's nose.In 1989, Lipsky led an FBI raid on the Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant in Colorado after receiving reports that the plant posed a huge public-health threat. His raid, which took place over 18 days and involved more than 100 FBI and EPA officials, gave way to a nearly three-year criminal investigation into widespread radioactive contamination of the air, water, and soil at the 6,240-acre site and the surrounding suburbs of nearby Denver. CLIP

Blair tried to ditch green policy (January 16, 2005),6903,1391593,00.html
Tony Blair's international credibility on climate change was seriously damaged last night as it emerged that the government tried secretly to ditch key global warming targets. Leaked documents seen by The Observer reveal that the UK sought to remove targets that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions during high-level meetings to formulate Europe's climate policy. At the same time the Prime Minister, who has made tackling climate change a central tenet of his presidency of the G8 nations, was publicly stressing the need for a world commitment to reduce global warming. Blair has described climate change as the greatest problem facing mankind. The revelations, which have stunned climatologists, are contained in a leaked draft council text on Europe's long-term strategy. They show that senior government officials attempted to remove a commitment for massive cuts in greenhouse gases by 2050 from a European Union agreement. The findings will prove damaging to Blair's worldwide standing on the issue as he attempts to coerce countries to take the issue more seriously. Environmentalists last night accused Blair of 'betrayal.' They claim the UK's attempt to drop ambitious emission targets may have been an attempt to persuade the US to join a climate agreement while Blair holds the EU and G8 presidencies. But rather than trying to strengthen the US commitment to higher targets, it has emerged that the government covertly tried to weaken the European position. CLIP

Compilation of articles on Green politics in the UK,9054,442883,00.html

Recycling hits 17% national target (January 19, 2005),9061,1393334,00.html
Rates of recycling and composting of household waste rose 3 percentage points to a record level across England last year.

Deleting Hazardous Waste (21 January 2005) THE WAY TO GO!
Environmental rules and the proliferation of discarded devices push firms to design gadgets that are easier to recycle and safer to dispose of. Before the Panasonic SD Video Camera was born, designers planned for its death. When the $400 camera wears out and can no longer record video, play music or take photos, Panasonic engineers want it to do one final thing: be easy to get rid of. So it has no lead, no mercury and no brominated flame retardants - all hazardous substances that make consumer electronics such as personal computers, digital cameras and televisions dangerous to bury in landfills and difficult to recycle. The camera's aluminum casing can be smelted and made into other products. When its lithium ion battery runs out, it can be dropped off at one of 30,000 retail stores nationwide. (...) Americans annually toss out more than 100 million cellphones, according to Collective Good International, a group that collects and resells used cellphones. Each day, 10,000 TVs and PC monitors go dark, according to the National Safety Council. And an estimated three-quarters of all home PCs, working or not, are stuffed in closets, attics and basements - in large part because getting rid of them can be such a hassle. (...) Germany requires electronics manufacturers to take back their products when customers are finished with them. Next year, the rest of the European Union will have similar rules. And by 2006, the European countries will ban sales of equipment containing lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and brominated flame retardants. At the heart of these regulations is an economic notion that the best way to deal with pollution is to build its cost into the product. If companies must pay to dispose of their own products, they would have an incentive to design their products to be easier to recycle or more environmentally friendly and, thus, less costly to clean up. CLIP

Action For Nature Takes Great Pleasure In Announcing Its 2004 International Young Eco-Hero Awards

California Beach Inundated With Big, Dead Squid (Jan 21)

Prions discovered in unexpected organs (Jan 20)
Immune system helps BSE proteins spread through the body. Industry may have to take a new look at how prions spread in animals, such as cattle. One assumption lies at the root of efforts to keep the meat we eat safe from mad cow disease: that tissues beyond an animal's brain, spinal cord and immune system are free of the prions that cause the disease. A disturbing study now shows that assumption to be false. Researchers have found that if an animal falls ill with another infection, its immune response can carry large numbers of prions to organs throughout its body. "The rules no longer apply," warns pathologist Adriano Aguzzi at Zurich University Hospital, Switzerland, who led the research.

Songs of the Universe: Resonant Frequencies Comparisons between Cosmic Rays, Earthquakes and World Weather By: Sorcha Faal
As bears know when to hibernate, birds know when and where to fly and trees know when to shed their leaves and awake again in the springtime; new research is showing that human beings have also been endowed with many seemingly like magical abilities. Current and historical research into the lives of Feral Children have shown scientists the world over, and over many centuries, that human beings are indeed born with abilities that connect us to our earth, other life and even the Universe. This knowledge combined with current Russian research into human DNA is beginning to show an astounding array of human abilities that there is no other word that can be used to describe them other than magical and miraculous. Further examined are historical occurrences where a very few individuals in power have designed a truly world-world wide system to suppress these inherent gifts in children, of all societies and countries, and the apparent collapsing of these same barriers by a ‘force’ (God?) becoming ever more apparent and from without the sphere of our planet.

Rare Leopard 'Faces Extinction'
The world's rarest cat, the Amur leopard, is facing extinction in the wild, conservationists have warned.

How did we become so dependent upon using toilet paper?
Found through Betsy>'s recommendation of "Voicing Clarity Forum" at and who wrote: "There is so much suffering out there and much of it is unnecessary. Much of it could turn into a creative process with some information, giving sense to happenings which are not yet understood. So this space should also be available for people who need help..."

Kleenex wipes away ancient Canadian forests
Kleenex, one of the most popular brands of tissue products in the world, contributes to the destruction of ancient forests in Canada.In response to this wasteful destruction, Greenpeace has launched a public campaign in Canada and the US against Kimberly-Clark with other environmental organisations.

Antarctic Demolition is Underway
Scientists witness hundreds of cracks in the sea ice



Countdown to global catastrophe

Climate change: report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages.

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

24 January 2005

The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already.

The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached.

The report, Meeting The Climate Challenge, is aimed at policymakers in every country, from national leaders down. It has been timed to coincide with Tony Blair's promised efforts to advance climate change policy in 2005 as chairman of both the G8 group of rich countries and the European Union.

And it breaks new ground by putting a figure - for the first time in such a high-level document - on the danger point of global warming, that is, the temperature rise beyond which the world would be irretrievably committed to disastrous changes. These could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.

The report says this point will be two degrees centigrade above the average world temperature prevailing in 1750 before the industrial revolution, when human activities - mainly the production of waste gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which retain the sun's heat in the atmosphere - first started to affect the climate. But it points out that global average temperature has already risen by 0.8 degrees since then, with more rises already in the pipeline - so the world has little more than a single degree of temperature latitude before the crucial point is reached.

More ominously still, it assesses the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere after which the two-degree rise will become inevitable, and says it will be 400 parts per million by volume (ppm) of CO2.

The current level is 379ppm, and rising by more than 2ppm annually - so it is likely that the vital 400ppm threshold will be crossed in just 10 years' time, or even less (although the two-degree temperature rise might take longer to come into effect).

"There is an ecological timebomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers, the former transport secretary, who co-chaired the task force that produced the report with the US Republican senator Olympia Snowe. It was assembled by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Centre for American Progress in the US, and The Australia Institute.The group's chief scientific adviser is Dr Rakendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report urges all the G8 countries to agree to generate a quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and to double their research spending on low-carbon energy technologies by 2010. It also calls on the G8 to form a climate group with leading developing nations such as India and China, which have big and growing CO2 emissions.

"What this underscores is that it's what we invest in now and in the next 20 years that will deliver a stable climate, not what we do in the middle of the century or later," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on green issues who now advises business.

The report starkly spells out the likely consequences of exceeding the threshold. "Beyond the 2 degrees C level, the risks to human societies and ecosystems grow significantly," it says.

"It is likely, for example, that average-temperature increases larger than this will entail substantial agricultural losses, greatly increased numbers of people at risk of water shortages, and widespread adverse health impacts. [They] could also imperil a very high proportion of the world's coral reefs and cause irreversible damage to important terrestrial ecosystems, including the Amazon rainforest."

It goes on: "Above the 2 degrees level, the risks of abrupt, accelerated, or runaway climate change also increase. The possibilities include reaching climatic tipping points leading, for example, to the loss of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets (which, between them, could raise sea level more than 10 metres over the space of a few centuries), the shutdown of the thermohaline ocean circulation (and, with it, the Gulf Stream), and the transformation of the planet's forests and soils from a net sink of carbon to a net source of carbon."


See also:

The following list of articles has been compiled by "Mark R. Elsis">

Global Warming Approaching Point Of No Return, Warns Leading Climate Expert
Global warning has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are designed to avoid, according to the world's top climate watchdog.

Global Warming (Audio) Interview with Ross Gelbspan Conducted by Scott Harris

US Tries To Remove Climate Change References In UN Disaster Talks

On Thinning Ice: Impacts Of A Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

Hopi Prophecy Pointed To Climate Change

Climate Change Will Push Wildlife Northward And Upward

Disruption Of Wildlife Populations Forecast In Wildlife Society Report On Global Warming

Ignoring Global Warming Doesn't Change The Science; It Just Leaves Us Dangerously Unprepared For The Far-Reaching And Potentially Devastating Consequences

Thaw Sees Grass Take Hold In Antarctica

21 EU Nations Ready To Make Kyoto Emissions Cuts

Extinction Tied To Global Warming - Greenhouse Effect Cited in Mass Decline 250 Million Years Ago

Paying To Ease Greenhouse Gases -- And Consciences

The Cost Of U.S. Forest-Based Carbon Sequestration

Low Score For US In Environmental Sustainability Rating

Collapse by Jared Diamond
Angkor Wat, Easter Island, Norse Greenland--these are all great societies that have collapsed or vanished. They left behind only monumental ruins of spectacular and haunting beauty--a testament to their former wealth and power. They boast, in Shelley's words, "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Yet the builders vanished, abandoning the great structures that they had created at such effort. (...) Are the parallels between the past and present sufficiently close that the collapses of the Easter Island, Mayan, and Greenland Norse civilizations could offer any lessons for the modern world? At first, a critic, noting the obvious differences, might be tempted to object: "It's ridiculous to suppose that the collapses of all those ancient peoples could have broad relevance today, especially to the modern United States. Those ancients didn't enjoy the wonders of modern technology, which benefits us and which lets us solve problems by inventing new environment-friendly technologies. Those ancients had the misfortune to suffer from effects of climate change. They behaved stupidly and ruined their own environments by doing obviously dumb things, like cutting down their forests, overharvesting wild-animal sources of protein, watching their topsoil erode away, and building cities in dry areas likely to run short of water. They had foolish leaders who didn't have books and so couldn't learn from history, and who embroiled them in expensive and destabilizing wars, cared only about staying in power, and didn't pay attention to problems at home. They got overwhelmed by desperate, starving immigrants as one society after another collapsed, sending floods of economic refugees to tax the resources of the societies that weren't collapsing. In all those respects, we moderns are fundamentally different from those primitive ancients, and there is nothing that we could learn from them. Especially in the U.S., the richest and most powerful country in the world today, with the most productive environment and wise leaders and strong, loyal allies and only weak, insignificant enemies--none of those bad things could possibly apply." ...

Pollution: A Life And Death Issue
One of the main themes of Planet Under Pressure is the way many of the Earth's environmental crises reinforce one another. Pollution is an obvious example - we do not have the option of growing food, or finding enough water, on a squeaky-clean planet, but on one increasingly tarnished and trashed by the way we have used it so far. Cutting waste and clearing up pollution costs money. Yet time and again it is the quest for wealth that generates much of the mess in the first place. Living in a way that is less damaging to the Earth is not easy, but it is vital, because pollution is pervasive and often life-threatening. Air: The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel. Most are in poor countries. Water: Diseases carried in water are responsible for 80% of illnesses and deaths in developing countries, killing a child every eight seconds. Each year 2.1 million people die from diarrhoeal diseases associated with poor water. Soil: Contaminated land is a problem in industrialised countries, where former factories and power stations can leave waste like heavy metals in the soil. It can also occur in developing countries, sometimes used for dumping pesticides. Agriculture can pollute land with pesticides, nitrate-rich fertilisers and slurry from livestock. And when the contamination reaches rivers it damages life there, and can even create dead zones off the coast, as in the Gulf of Mexico. CLIP

Attack On Nuclear Plant 'Could Kill 3,500,000'
More than three and a half million people could be killed by a terrorist attack on a British nuclear plant,concludes a series of three reports so alarming that even Greenpeace - which commissioned them - is unwilling to publish them.

Urge The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission To Protect Americans From A Nuclear Disaster

US Government Proposal Puts Food Supply At Risk
Welcome To The Year 2021. Genetically Engineered Wonder Seeds Lead To Exploding Crop Yields. . . . But There's A Problem. When The Wheat Seed Was Modified, A Long-Dormant Gene Was Activated Causing Severe Allergic Reactions In Nearly 3 Billion People. Years Pass Before The Connection Is Made. By Then, The World's Wheat Supplies Must Be Destroyed, And A Global Food Shortage Sets In.


Date: 24 Jan 2005
From: Michael Dean>


In recent months we have received several warnings about the state of the world from various levels. As might be expected, those from Spirit tend to view this crucial planetary moment from a dispassionate/compassionate cosmic perspective. Here is a rather more blunt warning - straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. You might wish to share it with your readers. . . 

Love and thoughts and thanks, as ever, from London and

Michael. :-D

[Michael Joseph]



Geoffrey Lean Environment Editor The Independent on Sunday

Global warming has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are are designed to avoid, according to the world's top climate watchdog.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], told an international conference attended by 114 governments in Mauritius this month that he personally believes that the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution "if humanity is to survive".

His comments rocked the Bush administration, which immediately tried to slap him down, not least because it put him in his post after Exxon, the major oil company most opposed to international action on global warming, complained that his predecessor was too "aggressive" on the issue.

A memorandum from Exxon to the White House in early 2001 specific- ally asked it to get the previous chairman, Dr Robert Watson, the chief scientist of the World Bank, "replaced at the request of the U.S." The Bush Administration then lobbied other countries in favour of Dr Pachauri - whom the former vice-president Al Gore called the "let's drag our feet" candidate, and got him elected to replace Dr Watson, a British-born naturalised American, who had repeatedly called for urgent action.

But this month, at a conference of Small Island Developing States on the Indian Ocean, the new chairman, a former head of India's Energy

Research Institute, himself issued what top United Nations officials describe as a "very courageous" challenge.

Dr Pachauri told delegates, "Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity, and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose."

Afterwards he told The Independent on Sunday that widespread dying of coral reefs, and rapid melting of ice in the Arctic, had driven him to the conclusion that the danger point the IPCC had been set up to avoid has already been reached.

Reefs throughout the world are perishing as the seas warm up: as water temperatures rise, they lose their colours and turn a ghostly white. Partly as a result, up to a quarter of the world's corals have been destroyed. And in November, a multi-year study by 300 scientists concluded that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and that its ice-cap has shrunk by up to 20 per cent in the past three decades.

The ice is also 40 per cent thinner than it was in the 1970s and is expected to disappear altogether by 2070. And while Dr Pachauri was speaking, parts of the Arctic were having a January "heatwave", with temperatures 8 to 9 degrees centigrade higher than normal.

He also cited alarming measurements showing that levels of carbon dioxide [the main cause of global warming] have leapt abruptly over the past two years, suggesting that climate change may be accelerating out of control.

He added that, because of inertia built into the Earth's natural systems, the world was now only experiencing the result of pollution emitted in the 1960s, and much greater effects would occur as the increased pollution of later decades worked its way through. He concluded: "We are risking the ability of the human race to survive."



Date: 24 Jan 2005
From: Dan Stafford>
Subject: The Three Technologies That Will Blow Oil Away

The Three Technologies That Will Blow Oil Away

© By Daniel A. Stafford


There are currently three relatively new technologies poised to put oil to rest in the United States. Each has been years in development, each is reaching a production price range that is directly competitive with traditional power sources. Together, they overcome seasonal limitations on renewables generation and vastly reduce atmospheric pollutants, virtually eliminating carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere in their use. There is enough energy potential in the United States that the U.S. could in effect become an energy exporter.

Biofuels for the heating and transportation sectors:

The first is biofuels - especially biodiesel. ( ) Biodiesel is wonderful, because it can be run in conventional diesel engines without modification. Additionally, (unlike even petroleum diesel) just above three units of energy are gained for every unit of energy put in to produce biodiesel. The added energy comes from sunlight stored by plants while they are growing. Biodiesel is derived from vegetable oils. It greatly reduces PAH emissions, nearly eliminates Nitrous PAH emissions, and has no sulfur content. Sulfurous gasses produced by burning petroleum diesel are a major component of acid rain. Ozone production from burning biodiesel is roughly half that of petrodiesel. Carbon dioxide emitted from burning biodiesel is the same carbon dioxide the plants the fuel came from took out of the air while growing. In contrast, the carbon dioxide put into the air from burning petrodiesel had been buried underground for millions of years.

Biodiesel is so clean, burning it will clean out sediments deposited in your fuel system from burning petroleum diesel. Be prepared to replace fuel filters for awhile if you switch from dirty petrodiesel to clean biodiesel. This also greatly extends the life of a diesel engine burning biodiesel. (Diesel engines already are long-lived compared to their gasoline counterparts.)

Biodiesel can also be burned in place of petroleum heating oil. Oil furnace technology could see a significant boost as people become more aware of the benefits of biodiesel over petroleum oil.

There are two other wonderful benefits to using biodiesel. They generate more demand for agricultural products, which will help improve the economics of American farmers. They also require no modifications to existing diesel engines or oil furnaces to use. In fact, using biodiesel that meets ASTM standard D 6751 will not not void the warranty on American-made diesel engines.

Biodiesel is able to be blended with petroleum diesel in any percentage. It is sold in various blends in every state of the nation, with more stations being added all the time. There are currently about twenty producers of biodiesel and twenty proposed production companies within the United States.

Willie Nelson recently started a biodiesel distribution company as a companion to his Farm Aid efforts. You can find his company's site at .

Additionally, ethanol and methanol are useful fuels for transportation purposes, and can supplement biodiesel use.

Wind-generated electricity:

The second technology is wind energy. Wind energy generation systems are going online at an accelerated rate around the world, including here in the U.S. (See ) Wind energy is also cost-competitive with fossil fuels and cheaper than nuclear power when generated with utility-scale turbines in the 1.5 MW to 3 MW size range. There is enough wind energy potential in three states to produce as much electricity as the entire U.S. currently consumes. The U.S. has more potential for wind energy production than any nation on Earth. 

Additionally, land-based wind energy production often is owned by cooperatives of farmers, or produced on farmland leased from farmers. The farmers can still grow crops right up to the base of the wind mills. This generates much-needed additional revenue for our farmers.

Wind mills kill less birds by far than stationary communications towers and high-rise buildings, as they make a gentle whooshing sound that scares the birds off, in addition to the slow and usually visible rotation of their huge blades. Yet despite this, their noise levels are so quiet that you almost need to be standing under them to hear them.

Wind is generally more available in winter months than in summer months, although it is available year-round at significant levels. This means that wind power income will tend to go up for farmers precisely when they are growing the least crops.

In time, the U.S. could export great quantities of wind-produced energy to other nations, most likely in the form of burnable hydrogen, whose only exhaust is water and a small amount of nitrous oxide.

Stirling cycle solar power dishes:

The third major technology development is Stirling cycle solar energy dishes. ( ) These systems have been in development by DOE and others for nearly twenty years. Unlike all other solar energy systems, Stirling cycle systems routinely achieve 30% or better efficiency. Once mass production of these systems is begun, they should be producing electricity at prices about in the middle of the production cost range for electricity in the U.S.

It is estimated that an area of the Mojave Desert 100 miles by 100 miles filled with solar Stirling dishes could produce as much electricity as the U.S. currently consumes. Additionally, this power is most available on clear, sunny summer days - at precisely the opposite times as when wind energy is most available.

Used in conjunction with wind energy, Stirling solar dishes could power direct electricity consumption, production of truly clean hydrogen, and increase energy available for export by the U.S.

Major transformation potential for the U.S. economy:

These technologies will all require large amounts of manufacturing capacity, and installation and maintenance crews. There is the potential to create literally millions of U.S. jobs in the energy sector. Additionally, all the U.S. dollars currently spent importing oil and protecting oil resource access would become unnecessary. Large amounts of U.S. dollars would be spent in the U.S. economy instead of elsewhere, and energy exports could add large amounts of income for U.S. energy producers, including our farmers. All of this would drive up U.S. GNP instead of being a drain on GNP as oil has become.


The time has come for the U.S. government to move it's energy subsidies into these areas of energy technology and away from oil, coal, and nuclear power. The time has come to retrofit existing U.S. vehicle fleets to run on biodiesel or ethanol and methanol.

Our economy desperately needs this. Our farmers desperately need this. Our workers desperately need this. In the light of global warming, our PLANET desperately needs this.

These technologies will become more and more commonplace with or without government subsidies. Requirements for government funds to subsidize our existing fossil fuel energy infrastructure will only increase, as will the disastrous costs in environmental damage and global conflicts over ever-scarcer fossil fuels.

These technologies are the leaders to an energy revolution in our nation and our world, but combined with new technologies for energy conservation and energy efficient building techniques, our energy future could be incredibly brilliant and a wonderful example and benefactor of our entire world.

The time is now for We The People to stand up and demand that our government put their efforts fully behind these technologies.

Daniel A. Stafford publishes the weblog "The Great Lakes Zephyr - Wind Energy & Hydrogen Journal" ( )
Dan is also a highly experienced telecommunications technician, and advocate of progressive political policies, and an accomplished poet.


See also:

Wind Power Industry Poised For Record Growth In 2005, Study Shows


NOTE: The following several items come from the Web of Hope website at where there is much more to discover...



Less than 0.5% of the Earth's water is available for human consumption and there is no 'new' water on Earth. Thirty one countries with a collective population of half a billion are experiencing chronic water shortages. Within 25 years this could reach 3 billion people, 30% of the projected world population in 50 different countries, mainly in Africa and South Asia.

Average global water consumption ranges from 5.4 litres per day in low rainfall countries like the Western Sahara, up to 500 litres per person per day in the US. One flush of a standard US toilet uses more water than most individuals and many families in the world consume in a day. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 15,000 cubic metres of water can sustain 100 families in a developing country for three years, or 100 guests in a luxury hotel for 55 days.

One in three people in the developing world do not have access to a safe and reliable water supply - some 1.2 billion. Lack of safe drinking water means that waterborne diseases account for 80% of all illnesses in developing countries and the WHO estimates that 10 million people are dying every year from polluted drinking water.

Nearly half the world's major rivers are going dry, or are badly polluted. Some rivers in Taiwan are polluted to the point of being combustible and 80% of the rivers in China no longer support fish life. The huge Ogallala aquifer, which supplies water for American farms from West Texas to South Dakota, is being depleted fourteen times faster than nature re-charges it. The underground water table has dropped by more than 30 metres in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas - three key grain-producing states - and wells have gone dry on thousands of farms in the southern Great Plains. The World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington estimates that 160 million cubic metres more water is pumped from aquifers each year than is flowing into them - enough to grow the grain which currently feeds 480 million people.



Numerous solutions to water problems worldwide

Here is one example:



Topic: Water

One of the most innovative cyclical sewage systems to have appeared, and which might help reverse the depletion caused by linear systems, are Dr John Todd's Living Machines, the inspiration for which came from a farm in central Java, where soil fertility had been steadily increasing for hundreds of years.

Upon entering the farm, water was intentionally polluted by the livestock barns and then the household latrines. The solids were first 'digested' by a few fish, whose sole function was to provide primary waste treatment. The nutrient-laden sewage was aerated and exposed to light by passing over a low waterfall, then used to irrigate and fertilize vegetables before flowing into a system that requires pure water - a small hatchery for baby fish.

Here the young fish began the enrichment cycle again, slightly fertilizing the water with their wastes. This triggered the growth of algae and microscopic animals that helped feed the young fish. These highly enriched grow-out ponds then fertilized the rice paddies that were just downstream. The rapidly growing rice used up the nutrients and purified the water before releasing it again to a community pond in the basin below.

Similarly, by passing contaminated effluent through a series of tanks, populated with a variety of bacteria, algae, plants and fish, Living Machines not only provide clean drinking water, but also generate fertilizers and maintain a miniature eco-system in perpetuity. No chemicals are required and some of the systems even double up as miniature fish farms. With a higher degree of biodiversity than the conventional filtration achieved by a reed bed, the Living Machine treats a much wider range of toxic effluents, transforming toxic pollution into a beneficial resource.

The machines are capable of treating sewage from anything between one and ten thousand households, with one in Vermont handling 80,000 gallons per day. Over 80 ecological waste treatment project have been completed worldwide, including municipalities, community developments, agricultural industries, food processors, breweries and cosmetic manufacturers.

More details at


See also:

The Water Stewards Network
Uniting people to restore and preserve the water of the world - By building a global network of innovative ecological thinkers and water practitioners, the Water Stewards Network aims to formulate and implement sustainable alternatives to current patterns of water use in global food production, sanitation and industry, enabling communities to heal damaged water systems through 'their own intelligent and responsible plans of water stewardship'.




Cars are responsible for combusting eight million barrels of oil every day, contributing to nearly a quarter of total global greenhouse emissions.

In America, cars have killed six times as many people as have died in combat during the last hundred years and injured a further 250 million.

The manufacturing process itself generates more pollution per car than ten years of average driving, with 29 tons of waste generated for every ton of car.

Each unit involves the assembly of some 15,000 parts by an industry which uses more resources than any other - 20% of the world's steel, 50% of the lead and 60% of the rubber.

40,000 new cars roll off the production line when we go to sleep every night and, in America, there are more registered car owners than registered voters.

It is now estimated that there are well over half a billion vehicles on the planet which, at current rates, could rise to one billion by 2020.

Aviation is the worst polluting form of transport per passenger mile, generating nearly as much carbon dioxide each year as the total population of Africa.

Aircraft produce large amounts of toxic emissions which threaten human health, including nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), linked to increased cancer rates under airport flight paths.

Aviation is projected to become the largest single source of greenhouse emissions and already accounts for around 10% of climatic change. Short-haul flights produce triple the CO2 emissions per passenger mile as rail travel.

Airlines pay no duty or VAT on aviation fuel and there is no VAT on either air tickets or new aircraft.

The city of Los Angeles generates nearly 1% of total global greenhouse emissions, over 30% of the land mass is devoted to the car and some 40% of the population suffer from respiratory diseases due to vehicle emissions.

The number of cars in the US - 1.9 per household - now exceeds the number of drivers - 1.75.

It is now cheaper to fly from London to south-west France than take a train to the UK city of Bath.

The carbon emissions of US vehicles are roughly equivalent to those of the entire Japanese economy, the fourth largest carbon emitter.

Over 1.5 billion gallons of petrol are used every year by US truckers leaving their engines on idle overnight so that they can keep the heating or AC on.



Numerous solutions to transportation problems worldwide

Here are 2 examples:

Cutting edge eco-technology developments are about to transform not only the basic propulsion systems of the vehicles we drive, but the entire manufacturing process as well. A combination of ultra-light composite materials, low-drag design, integrated micro-electronics and hybrid-electric propulsion, incorporating the hydrogen fuel-cell, is giving birth to a new concept in clean, zero-emissions transport, which minimizes the 'ecological footprint' it leaves on the planet.At the forefront of this revolution is Amory Lovins, whose Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has pioneered much of the research on his Hypercar concept. Lovins and his team realised the intrinsic inefficiency of modern car design, in which the vehicle ends up being twenty times heavier than the driver and needing an engine about ten times larger than average driving requires. From the potential energy within the fuel of a modern car, 80% is wasted through heat in the engine and the exhaust. 95% of the remaining 20% moves the car, while only 5% moves the driver. Perhaps the most revolutionary part of the Hypercar concept is the actual drive system, using electricity generated within the car from a separate fuel source, ideally hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cell was an accidental discovery back in 1839. William Grove, an amateur English scientist and early student of electrolysis, noticed that the process continued to happen in reverse when he disconnected his apparatus. Using a thin platinum-dusted plastic membrane, the fuel cell combines oxygen and hydrogen to create pure hot water and electricity. The mayors of Vancouver and Chicago have been photographed drinking water from the exhaust pipes of fuel-cell buses being tested in their cities. Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken (1999), Natural Capitalism - The Next Industrial Revolution, London: Earthscan

More details at and




Topic: Transport

Country: Brazil

The city of Curitiba in Brazil has a population of over 2 million people and 500,000 cars. A highly efficient, reliable and well integrated transport system however, insures that 75% of commuters, some 1.3 million people, choose to travel by the 'surface metro' bus system, giving Curitiba the cleanest urban air of any Brazilian city.

Jaime Lerner, an architect, engineer and urban planner, became mayor of the city in 1971. Rather than treating urban problems in isolation, Lerner realised the need for a multidisciplinary and systemic approach, seeking synergistic solutions for social, environmental and economic factors issues. For example, the Green Exchange programme placed large recycling bins on the edge of the shanty town favelas, where bags of collected rubbish were swapped for food tickets, bus tokens, school notebooks and textbooks. The programme now has a 70% participation rate and the recycling alone saves the equivalent of some 1,200 trees per day.

When Lerner arrived the city was moving towards gridlock. Scrapping plans for an overpass, he pedestrianized the central boulevard and surrounding blocks, where fruit trees and flowers have replaced the cars. Five interlinked axes then formed the structure of the transport system, where double and now triple-length articulated buses collect and drop passengers in seconds from tube-shaped bus stations parallel to express bus lanes.

The whole system is entirely self-financing with a flat rate fare covering the whole city. Fares are distributed to private bus companies proportionate to the number of miles travelled, encouraging wide coverage rather than competition for passengers. The investment required for the system was about 1% of the projected cost for an underground, allowing huge amounts of money to be directed into further social improvements.

More details at




We now consume as much oil in a year as it takes Nature one million years to create. In 2000, the world consumed 28 billion barrels of oil, some 76 million per day at $27 each a total of $756 billion over the year.

By burning fossil fuels, human interference in the natural carbon cycle has increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 285 parts per million (ppmv) to 365 since 1850. The current total of 6 billion metric tons of carbon must be reduced by two thirds if concentrations are to be stabilised below 500 ppmv.

Various studies suggest that 550 ppmv, a doubling of pre-industrial levels, is an upper limit which cannot be exceeded without triggering a series of 'positive feedback loops', like releasing methane stored as hydrates in the tundra and ocean floors, thereby leading to 'runaway climate change'. This would require a country like the UK to reduce greenhouse emissions by a factor of 7 times.

Americans spend $500 billion on energy each year; their per capita consumption is 5 times that of any other nation.

During the course of one year, BP spent more on developing their eco-friendly logo than on renewable energy.

Air conditioning accounts for 16% of electricity use in the US, costing more than the combined GDP of 42 African countries.

The average annual bill for powering America's Jacuzzis is $200 million.

Two billion people rely on wood and charcoal for their cooking needs and population growth combined with the inefficient conversion of wood to charcoal means that annual consumption is outstripping forest regeneration.

Appliances on standby use 10% of UK household electricity.

2001 and 2002 were the hottest years on record, according to the UK's Hadley Centre. Nine of the top ten warmest years have occurred since 1990 and we are living through what is now the hottest time on earth in 100,000 years.

The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, the largest remaining ice shelf in the northern hemisphere, has broken into pieces over the last two years. This was once part of a more extensive shelf which has shrunk by 90% in the last century.

If just one sixth of the West Antarctic ice sheet melts, the resulting one-metre sea level rise would swamp 30% of the world's total crop land.

A typical UK family of four generates 4.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide from their house, 4.4 tonnes from their car and 8 tonnes from the production, processing and packaging of the food they eat.



Numerous solutions to energy problems worldwide

Here are 2 examples:

WIND ENERGY - Topic: Energy
Country: Denmark - Over 100,000 families in Denmark are members of wind energy co-operatives which have installed over 80% of all Danish wind farms. The country now receives 15% of its electricity from wind power and the turbine industry employs over 15,000 people.

More details at and

SOLAR ENERGY - Topic: Energy
As much solar energy falls on the planet in one hour as the total human population uses in one year. Since photo-voltaic cells rely on light rather than heat, studies show that even cloudy climates like southern England could generate some 80% of household electricity from solar power. In Norway, photo-voltaic cells power 50,000 homes and more houses in Kenya receive their electricity from solar panels than the national grid. Photo-voltaic solar technology is now fifty times cheaper than it was in the 1970s and is now available in a variety of forms: for example, four hundred square metres of solar roof shingles exposed to six hours of sunlight can power an average home.

More details at and


See also:

Unlimited New Energy from Sun and Water
A revolutionary new way of harnessing the power of the sun to extract almost unlimited energy from water will be a reality within seven years.

Running on Sunshine
For most of the year Simon Roberts runs his car on sunshine! The photovoltaic panels on the roof of his house in Lambeth, London, supply 80 per cent of the fuel. Five years ago he became the first person to install his own kerbside electric car charger to power his Peugeot 106 and has been enjoying emission free, silent motoring ever since.




In 1960, the poorest 20% of the global population received 2.3% of global income. Today that has dropped to little over 1%.

The combined wealth of the 350 richest people exceeds the net worth of nearly half the human population.

The 7,000 trans-national corporations (TNCs) recognised by the UN in 1970 has grown to 44,000.

Over half of the largest economies in the world are now corporations not nation states.

The tobacco giant Philip Morris has annual sales greater than the combined GDP of 148 countries.

500 corporations control 70% of world trade.

Economic losses from climate change are predicted to eclipse total global GDP by 2065. Studies by the insurance company Munich Re suggest that there were 20 natural catastrophes between 1950 and 1959, costing the world $38 billion. Between 1990 and 1999 there were 82 catastrophes, costing $535 billion.

The average European cow receives $2.20 (£1.40) a day from the taxpayer in subsidies and other aid. Meanwhile 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 per day, 1.3 billion on less than $1.

The US exports 60% of its food, yet 26 million Americans need food handouts. India has a record grain surplus of 59 million metric tons, yet tens of millions of Indian children remain undernourished.

Producers of coffee, the most heavily traded global commodity apart from petroleum, receive just over 1% of what we pay for it.

UK retailers make 25 times as much from each banana sold as a plantation worker, many of whom work up to 14 hours a day in poor conditions unprotected from toxic chemicals.

The US is subsidising its cotton farms to the tune of $4 billion - more than the GDP of Burkina Faso. Oxfam estimates that if the US withdrew the subsidy, the price of their cotton would rise by 26%.

The average growth rate of a dozen random African economies after a decade of World Bank/IMF 'aid' programmes: zero.


Numerous solutions to economic problems worldwide

Here is an example:



Topic: Economics

One of 2,000 or so local currencies now in operation across the globe, SEL, the French for salt but also the acronym for Societe d'Echanges Local, is a French equivalent to the LETS scheme, hundreds of which began in the UK in the early 1990s. Over 350 SEL groups now exist across France, involving 45,000 people.

By trading in Sels in the Pyrenees, or Beacons in Wales, Bobbins in Manchester, Bricks in London's Brixton or Bunyas in the Queensland town of Maleny in Australia, local people keep goods and services circulating within the community without depending on external inputs. This bolsters local trade, local communities and local economies, rather than supporting the corporate global economy.

Wirtschaftsring (WIR) was started in 1934 and is Europe's oldest barter currency, aiming specifically at micro-business. By 1993 it had a turnover equivalent to £12 billion and 65,000 corporate members, making it so widespread that it amounts to a virtual parallel with the Swiss franc.

Richard Douthwaite (1996), Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economies for Security in an Unstable World, Totnes, Devon: Green Books

More details at


Explore also the horrors and hopes for the following issues:











Date: 22 Jan 2005
From: Teresa Perez>
Subject: WRM Bulletin 90


International Secretariat
Maldonado 1858;
Montevideo, Uruguay
Web page:
Editor: Ricardo Carrere

January 2005 - English edition

This bulletin is also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish.


- World Social Forum: Moving forward to a new possible world

Thousands of people around the world are preparing to travel this month to Porto Alegre, Brazil, to attend the Fifth World Social Forum (WSF). Although many may have very specific agendas, all share the common aim of working together on the task of building another possible world.

The fact is that another world is not only possible: it is urgently necessary. The very basis of life on Earth is being threatened by a "development" model based on the unsustainable exploitation of nature. The climate is being destroyed, water is being depleted and polluted, biodiversity is being wiped out while simultaneously subjecting part of it to genetic manipulation, soils are being poisoned and eroded.

At the same time, the prevailing economic model is mercilessly exploiting human societies -described as mere "human resources"- while increasing poverty, unemployment and loss of livelihoods.

It is thus clear that change is necessary, both from a social and an environmental perspective. In that respect, it is interesting to note that there is a growing perception among many of the social and environmental activists that will be attending the WSF about the need of bringing together struggles and issues that have until now been isolated from each other, as a means of strengthening the movement for change. This implies re-analizing the thematic areas from a different perspective, first trying to visualize the "hidden" issues within and then acting to establish links with the relevant organizations already working on them.

For instance, at a first glance, forests may appear to many as a typical environmental issue. However, forests are also a typical human rights issue, particularly where their destruction -or even their conservation- implies the eviction of indigenous peoples or local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods. Forests are in many cases an issue related specifically to women, or youth or forest workers, wherever their exploitation results in differentiated impacts to those social groupings.

Clear links can also be identified with apparently more removed issues and actors. For example, international trade agreements may result in further forest destruction through decreased regulation; international financial institutions will provide funding for logging, dam building, mining, oil exploitation or shrimp farming, which usually result in environmental and social disasters in forest areas; another international financial institution -the International Monetary Fund- may impose structural adjustment programmes which will result in further forest destruction.

The above are only a few examples of a much longer list of issues and actors related to forests and it is clear to us that it is necessary to establish as many links as possible with people working on them. Bringing the issues and struggles together is a step in the right direction and the World Social Forum will certainly provide a good opportunity for moving further forward on that path.


Other topics in this bulletin:



- Cameroon: Restriction policies in national park have major impacts on women
- Congo (DRC): Alliance against World Bank's support to industrial logging
- Swaziland: The impact of 50 years of industrial forestry


- Asia: The ecological, social and political dimension of December 26th tsunamis
- Cambodia: Report on institutionalized corruption and illegal logging


- Argentina: A respite in the commercial assault against forests
- Brazil: Open letter of social organisations rejecting the certification of Aracruz Celulose


- Papua New Guinea: Rainforest Alliance undermining forest conservation efforts


- Climate change negotiations: Time for a change
- Large dams, climate change and forced eviction
- Presenting GMO Trees to the United Nations COP 10
- Climate Change Convention: First time impressions of a suspecting hopeful


Read the rest at



The New Amazon

In the face of petroleros, briberies and soldiers, Ecuardor’s Sarayacu defned a wrold and a way of life.

January-February 2005

WHEN THE OIL WORKERS and soldiers arrived at their borders in December of 2002, the people of Sarayacu were ready. They had built twenty-five "Peace and Life" camps spaced evenly along the boundaries of their territory deep within Ecuador's southern Amazon. Each camp held ten to fifteen people. When a work crew tried to enter Sarayacu land, members of the nearest camp formed a wall, holding the workers back by brandishing traditional chonta (palmwood) lances. Elsewhere, scouts detected four armed soldiers and radioed their location. The soldiers were met at the Bobonaza River by a cluster of enraged Sarayacu women. Their faces coated with traditional black wituk dye, their lances held upright, the women folded about the men as with one body. The outnumbered soldiers chose to surrender.

The women led their captives back to a village, where they requested the soldiers' arms, sat them down, and spoke to them about the sanctity of the Amazon. They explained that the Sarayacu people are connected to the land, that it has held and supported them and their ancestors, that it is alive, that it must be treated with respect, and that oil drilling is an unacceptable violation. Then the women returned the soldiers' guns, each one making an individual statement, a message of hope, as she handed back a weapon. Thus schooled, the soldiers were released.

This incident, memorialized in a video made by Heriberto Gualinga, has become a talisman for the Sarayacu and their allies, a shard of proof of what one determined community can accomplish in the face of some of the most powerful transnational corporations in the world -- companies aided by the armed forces of a national government.

Sarayacu member Rebecca Gualinga talks about proposed oil exploration in 2002.
Photograph | Sacramento Bee/Jose M. Osorio
The oil workers were attempting to enter Sarayacu land at the behest of Compania General de Combustibles (CGC), an Argentine-based corporation that had won a government-auctioned concession in 1996 to explore the territory for oil. The concession, known as Block 23, covered a 494,200-acre quadrangle of dense tropical rainforest abutting the Peruvian border in south-central Ecuador. About half of the concession falls within the boundaries of Sarayacu.

The Sarayacu (the territory and its people have the same name) number about two thousand strong. They are among the tribes of the Quichua, one of five indigenous groups occupying Ecuador's remote southern Amazon. Other indigenous communities within two of the groups, the Achuar and Shuar, have employed tactics such as civil disobedience to prevent oil exploration companies from entering their territory. So have the Huarani in northern Ecuador. But no indigenous community in Ecuador has succeeded like the Sarayacu at protecting their land from petroleum development. After years of attempts, oil companies have managed not even one unharassed visit on Sarayacu land. The resistance has combined the raw territorial vigilance captured in the video; sophisticated work with supportive nonprofit groups; and savvy intertribal organizing, making the region a critical battleground for the Ecuadorean government.

Both south and east of Sarayacu -- all the way to Ecuador's borders -- indigenous territory has been blocked out for oil exploration in the southern Amazon. "The Sarayacu are the tipping point to the future of1 Ecuador's forest and indigenous people," says Kevin Koenig, Amazon Oil Campaign Coordinator at the California-based nonprofit Amazon Watch, which has worked with the Sarayacu for the past two years. "They are the gateway to the rest of the Amazon."

The Ecuadorean government has developed a severe dependence on oil exports. Dominated by sales to American consumers -- in 2001, 40 percent of the oil exported from Ecuador went to the U.S. -- petroleum accounts for nearly half of Ecuador's national budget income. Yet 70 to 80 percent of oil revenue goes directly to servicing the interest on Ecuador's fourteen-billion-dollar debt. In thirty-five years of oil development, the debt has only increased, as has the nation's poverty rate: from 47 percent of the population in 1967 to 70 percent in 2000.

International creditors, viewing the country's oil reserves as assets to be liquidated, refuse to forgive Ecuador's debt. The International Monetary Fund in particular is pressing Ecuador to open the southern Amazon to development so that the country may continue making interest payments and receiving loans. "Petroleum is at the heart of all the social and environmental crises here," says Esperanza Martinez, founder of the Ecuadorean NGO Acción Ecológica. Government officials insist that oil exploration will bring "development" to people of the forest, but the Sarayacu aren't buying it. They've seen the future the oil industry brings, and they don't want it.

THE SARAYACU could characterize the common threat in one name: ChevronTexaco. Under predecessor Texaco's control from 1971 until 1991, and then under Ecuador's state oil company, petroleum operations in Block 1 have devastated indigenous peoples to the north of Sarayacu. Eighteen thousand miles of seismic trails (cut to set explosives every hundred yards to sound for oil), 300 miles of roads, 339 wells, and 600 toxic waste pits have left a terrible legacy. Indigenous communities are suffering from disappearing game, damaged soil, spontaneous abortion, neurological disorders, and exceptionally high rates of cancer, along with prostitution, alcoholism, and displacement. "People in Block 1 are sick," says Luis Yanza, of Ecuadorean nonprofit Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia, which is coordinating a historic $1.5 billion class-action lawsuit against ChevronTexaco. "They are still drinking contaminated water. Their animals are dying. They cannot cultivate the land."

The Ecuadorean NGOs Acción Ecológica and the Centro de Derechos Economicos y Sociales have arranged for leaders from the affected regions to visit communities like Sarayacu to discuss the impacts of oil exploitation -- and how oil companies have hidden them. They have also organized cultural exchanges. "The Sarayacu can get on a bus, head eight hours to the north, and see one of the worst oil disasters in the hemisphere," Koenig says about Block 1. "And it happened to their indigenous brothers and sisters in territory exactly like theirs."

CLIP - Read the rest at

Much more on this at

See also:

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 40 percent between August 2001 and August 2002 compared to the previous 12 months, largely due to the rapid expansion of soy plantations by multinational giants such as Cargill. (December 18, 2003)
Soy plantation carved out of the Amazon forest. (Click for larger image.)The paved highway peters out more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) back, but roadside billboards still sprout across a landscape of seemingly endless green fields - proclaiming the presence of multinational agribusiness giants like Cargill and Bunge. In town, cowboy-hatted ranchers rub shoulders with Amazon Indians as streams of tractor-trailers kick up dust hauling fertilizer in and huge tree trunks out.Nowhere is the thrust of soybeans more apparent than in the dusty boom town of Querencia, Brazil, according to ENN. "The farmers are cutting down everything to make way for soy and that's good business for me," said Ivo de Lima, a lumber man who moved here recently. A new variety of soybean developed by Brazilian scientists to flourish in this punishing equatorial climate is good for farmers, too, putting South America's biggest country on the verge of supplanting the U.S. as the world's leading soy exporter. As a result, soybeans are claiming increasingly bigger swaths of rainforest to make way for plantations, with over 750,000 hectares of soya planted within the Amazon deforestation belt by the end of 2001. The Amazon lost some 10,000 square miles (25,476 square kilometers) of forest cover between August 2001 and August 2002 - 40 percent more than the year before. According to Greenpeace, analysis of satellite images by the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) show that the destruction dramatically expanded beyond what is known as the "Arc of Deforestation" - which runs from the east and south of Para state towards Acre state - and is cutting deeper and deeper into the heart of the untouched forest. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, this deforestation is a direct result of the invasion of soya producers, including multinational giants such as Cargill."After cattle ranching, soybeans are the main driver of Amazon destruction," said Roberto Smeraldi of Friends of the Earth Brazil. "Today, we have lots of areas being cut down by small holders with the idea of selling them to soybean farmers and in other areas pasture is being converted to soy." CLIP

Study finds rampant logging will completely wipe out Indonesian Borneo rainforests in three years at the current rate, driving sun bears, orangutans and other wildlife extinct and causing drastic impacts on native people and regional weather patterns. (02/13/04)



Air Pollution Now circling the Globe

February 24, 2004

Scientist: Vast, three kilometer-deep cloud of air pollution that now circles around the northern hemisphere could be making the planet drier because it blocks up to 15% of the sunlight that causes water to evaporate from the oceans.

See an astounding picture of smog almost reaching the top of the Himalayas at

A thick blanket of air pollution almost reaches the top of the Himalayas. (Click for larger image.)Reuters reports that a leading scientist says the dense brown cloud of air pollution that circles around the northern hemisphere could be reducing global rainfall levels. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California who led a research team of 200 scientists in 1999 that studied the massive cloud of brown haze, said, "Pollution in the eastern United States can go in four or five days to Europe and in a week it goes from Europe to South Asia. This is fast transport which converts a local problem into a regional and global problem."

Most scientists studying global warming are predicting a warmer but wetter world. But Ramanathan said he suspects the effect of the shroud of pollution across the globe will be to dry the planet. "We're interested to see if the planet will be warmer and wetter or warmer and drier. My research suggests a large drying effect, especially in the tropics," Ramanathan said, referring to the area stretching from South Asia to Africa.

"The haze is reducing sunlight to the oceans and one of the things sunlight does is evaporate water from the ocean which gives us rain in the water cycle," Ramanathan said. He said recent research by his team in an agricultural plain running across north India near the Himalayas found that 10 to 17 percent of sunlight is not reaching the ground.

Backed by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), in 1999 a research team of 200 scientists led by Ramanathan and including Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen of the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany conducted the first study of the blanket of chemicals and dust from cars, aerosols and agricultural and industrial waste across most of South Asia. According to an earlier BBC article, the study found that the vast cloud of pollution is disrupting weather systems including rainfall and wind patterns and triggering droughts in the western parts of the Asian continent. The concern is that the regional and global impacts of the pollution are set to intensify over the next 30 years as the population of the Asian region rises to an estimated five billion people.

"More research is needed, but these initial findings clearly indicate that this growing cocktail of soot, particles, aerosols and other pollutants is becoming a major environmental hazard for Asia. There are also global implications, not least because a pollution parcel like this, which stretches three kilometres high, can travel half way round the globe in a week," says Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP.

Ramanathan said there is also evidence the Persian Gulf region is being sucked into the global pollution circuit moving several miles above ground. "The Middle East has to be part of our program because here the problem is that the dust and pollution can interact," Ramanathan said at a conference on atmospheric pollution in the Gulf city of Dubai.

"I presumed this region was clean, but the dust haze in the desert is a lot less than here in the city. Then I saw this picture," he said, pointing to aerial shots of a cloud of smog hanging over Dubai, a modern city of skyscrapers on the edge of desert.

"This haze is about 300 meters (yards) above the ground, I would say. It could be coming locally or from several hundred kilometers away," he said, adding that no research has been done into the air pollution impacts of the many oil refineries along the Gulf coastline.



Global Dimming

December 18, 2003

Scientists say the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface has declined by up to 20% in recent years due to air pollution.

The U.K. Guardian (,12374,1109374,00.html) reports that in 1985, geography researcher Atsumu Ohmura at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology got the shock of his life. As part of his studies into climate and atmospheric radiation, Ohmura was checking levels of sunlight recorded around Europe when he made an astonishing discovery. It was too dark. Compared to similar measurements recorded by his predecessors in the 1960s, Ohmura's results suggested that levels of solar radiation striking the Earth's surface had declined by more than 10% in three decades.

The finding went against all scientific thinking. By the mid-1980s there was undeniable evidence that our planet was getting hotter, so the idea of reduced solar radiation - the Earth's only external source of heat - just didn't fit. And a massive 10% shift in only 30 years? Ohmura himself had a hard time accepting it. "I was shocked. The difference was so big that I just could not believe it," he says.

Neither could anyone else. When Ohmura eventually published his discovery in 1989, the science world was distinctly unimpressed. "It was ignored," he says.

It turns out that Ohmura was the first to document a dramatic effect that scientists are now calling "global dimming". Records show that over the past 50 years the average amount of sunlight reaching the ground has gone down by almost 3% a decade. It's too small an effect to see with the naked eye, but it has implications for everything from climate change to solar power and even the future sustainability of plant photosynthesis. In fact, global dimming seems to be so important that you're probably wondering why you've never heard of it before. Well don't worry, you're in good company. Many climate experts haven't heard of it either, the media has not picked up on it, and it doesn't even appear in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"It's an extraordinary thing that for some reason this hasn't penetrated even into the thinking of the people looking at global climate change," says Graham Farquhar, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra. "It's actually quite a big deal and I think you'll see a lot more people referring to it."

That's not to say that the effect has gone unnoticed. Although Ohmura was the first to report global dimming, he wasn't alone. In fact, the scientific record now shows several other research papers published during the 1990s on the subject, all finding that light levels were falling significantly. Among them they reported that sunshine in Ireland was on the wane, that both the Arctic and the Antarctic were getting darker and that light in Japan, the supposed land of the rising sun, was actually falling. Most startling of all was the discovery that levels of solar radiation reaching parts of the former Soviet Union had gone down almost 20% between 1960 and 1987.

The problem is that most of the climate scientists who saw the reports simply didn't believe them. "It's an uncomfortable one," says Gerald Stanhill, who published many of these early papers and coined the phrase global dimming. "The first reaction has always been that the effect is much too big, I don't believe it and if it's true then why has nobody reported it before."

That began to change in 2001, when Stanhill and his colleague Shabtai Cohen at the Volcani Centre in Israel collected all the available evidence together and proved that, on average, records showed that the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface had gone down by between 0.23 and 0.32% each year from 1958 to 1992. This forced more scientists to sit up and take notice, though some still refused to accept the change was real and instead blamed it on inaccurate recording equipment.

Solar radiation is measured by seeing how much the side of a black plate warms up when exposed to the sun, compared with its flip side, which is shaded. It's a relatively crude device, and we have no way of proving how accurate measurements made 30 years ago really are. "To detect temporal changes you must have very good data, otherwise you're just analysing the difference between data retrieval systems," says Ohmura.

Stanhill says the dimming effect is much greater than the possible errors (which anyway would make the light levels go up as well as down), but what was really needed was an independent way to prove global dimming was real. Last year Farquhar and his group in Australia provided it.

The 2001 article written by Stanhill and Cohen sparked Farquhar's interest and he made some inquiries. The reaction was not always positive and when he mentioned the idea to one high-ranking climate scientist (whose name he is reluctant to reveal) he was told: "That's bullshit, Graham. If that was the case then we'd all be freezing to death."

But Farquhar had realised that the idea of global dimming could explain one of the most puzzling mysteries of climate science. As the Earth warms, you would expect the rate at which water evaporates to increase. But in fact, study after study using metal pans filled with water has shown that the rate of evaporation has gone down in recent years. When Farquhar compared evaporation data with the global dimming records he got a perfect match. The reduced evaporation was being caused by less sunlight shining on the water surface.

While Stanhill and Cohen's 2001 report appeared in a relatively obscure agricultural journal, Farquhar and his colleague Michael Roderick published their solution to the evaporation paradox in the high-profile U.S. magazine Science. Almost 20 years after it was first noticed, global dimming was finally in the mainstream. "I think over the past couple of years it's become clear that the solar irradiance at the Earth's surface has decreased," says Jim Hansen, a leading climate modeller with Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

The missing radiation is in the region of visible light and infrared - radiation like the ultraviolet light increasingly penetrating the leaky ozone layer is not affected. Stanhill says there is now sufficient interest in the subject for a special session to be held at the joint meeting of the U.S. and Canadian geophysical societies in Montreal next May.

So what causes global dimming? The first thing to say is that it's nothing to do with changes in the amount of radiation arriving from the sun. Although that varies as the sun's activity rises and falls and the Earth moves closer or further away, the global dimming effect is much, much larger and the opposite of what would be expected given there has been a general increase in overall solar radiation over the past 150 years.

That means something must have happened to the Earth's atmosphere to stop the arriving sunlight penetrating. The few experts who have studied the effect believe it's caused by air pollution. "Data from 100 stations around the world show that the amount of black carbon in the atmosphere is twice as big as we assumed," says Hansen, according to another U.K. Guardian article on global dimming.

Tiny particles of soot or chemical compounds like sulfates reflect sunlight and they also promote the formation of bigger, longer lasting clouds. "The cloudy times are getting darker," says Cohen, at the Volcani Centre. "If it's cloudy then it's darker, but when it's sunny things haven't changed much."

More importantly, what impact could global dimming have? If the effect continues then it's certainly bad news for solar power, as darker, cloudier skies will reduce its meagre efficiency still further. The effect on photosynthesis, and so on plant and tree growth, is more complicated and will probably be different in various parts of the world. In equatorial regions and parts of the southern hemisphere regularly flooded with light, photosynthesis is likely to be limited by carbon dioxide or water, not sunshine, and light levels would have to fall much further to force a change. In fact, in some cases photosynthesis could paradoxically increase slightly with global dimming as the broken, diffuse light that emerges from clouds can penetrate deep into forest canopies more easily than direct beams of sunlight from a clear blue sky.

But in the cloudy parts of the northern hemisphere, like Britain, it's a different story and if you grow tomatoes in a greenhouse you could be seeing the effects of global dimming already. "In the northern climate everything becomes light limiting and a reduction in solar radiation becomes a reduction in productivity," Cohen says. "In greenhouses in Holland, the rule of thumb is that a 1% decrease in solar radiation equals a 1% drop in productivity. Because they're light limited they're always very busy cleaning the tops of their greenhouses."

The other major impact global dimming will have is on the complex computer simulations climate scientists use to understand what is happening now and to predict what will happen in the future. For them, global dimming is a real sticking point. "All of their models, all the physics and mathematics of solar radiation in the Earth's atmosphere can't explain what we're measuring at the Earth's surface," Stanhill says.

Farquhar agrees: "This will drive what the modellers have to do now. They're going to have to account for this."

David Roberts, a climate modeller with the British Met Office's Hadley Centre, says that although the issue of global dimming raises some awkward questions, some of the computer simulations do at least address the mechanisms believed to be driving it. "Most of the processes involving aerosols and formation of clouds are already in there, though I accept it's a bit of a work in progress and more work needs to be done," Roberts says.

Another big question yet to be answered is whether the phenomenon will continue. "There's been so little done that nobody really understands what's going on," Cohen says.

There are some clues though. Ohmura says that satellite images of clouds seem to suggest that the skies have become slightly clearer since the start of the 1990s, and this has been accompanied by a sharp upturn in temperature. Both of these facts could indicate that global dimming has waned and this would seem to tie in with the general reduction in air pollution caused by the scaling down of heavy industry across parts of the world in recent years. Just last month, Helen Power, a climate scientist at the University of South Carolina published one of the few analyses of up-to-date data for the 1990s and found that global dimming over Germany seemed to be easing. "But that's just one study and it's impossible to say anything about long-term trends from one study," she cautions.

It's also possible that global dimming is not entirely caused by air pollution. "I don't think that aerosols by themselves would be able to produce this amount of global dimming," says Farquhar.

Global warming itself might also be playing a role, Farquhar suggests, perhaps by forcing more water to be evaporated from the oceans and then blown onshore (although the evidence on land suggests otherwise). "If the greenhouse effect causes global dimming then that really changes the perspective," he says. In other words, while it keeps getting warmer it might keep getting darker. "I'm not saying it definitely is that, I'm just raising the question."

Ultimately, that and other questions will have to be considered by the scientists around the world who are beginning to think about how to prepare the next IPCC assessment report, due out in 2007. "The IPCC is the group that should investigate this and work out if people should be scared of it," says Cohen.



Volcanic Warming Eyed in 'Great Dying'

Jan 20, 2005

WASHINGTON - An ancient version of global warming may have been to blame for the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history.

In an event known as the "Great Dying," some 250 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine life and nearly three-quarters of land-based plants and animals went extinct.

Scientists have long debated the cause of this calamity — which occurred before the era of dinosaurs — with possibilities including such disasters as meteor impacts.

Researchers led by Peter Ward of the University of Washington now think the answer is global warming caused by volcanic activity. Their findings are reported in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.

They studied the Karoo Basin of South Africa, using chemical, biological and other evidence to relate layers of sediment there to similar layers in China that previous research has tied to the marine extinction at the same period.

Studying a 1,000-foot thick section of exposed sediment, Ward's team found evidence of a gradual extinction over about 10 million years followed by a sharp increase in extinction rate that lasted another 5 million years.

Ward's team believes the extinctions were caused by global warming and oxygen deprivation over long periods of time.

Massive volcanic flows in what is now Siberia brought on the warming while, at the same time, geologic action caused global sea levels to drop, Ward explained in a telephone interview.

"Once you expose a huge amount of underwater sediment to the atmosphere, two very bad things happen — a huge amount of carbon in the sediments is released and also methane. Once (methane) hits the atmosphere it's the most efficient greenhouse gas on the planet," he said.

That provided a one-two punch of warming and a decline in oxygen levels, he said.

"Some of us have been toying with the idea that dinosaurs evolved to be a low-oxygen adaptation," resulting from this era, Ward said. "We know birds can live at much lower oxygen concentrations than we do, and we and think there were similar lung adaptations in dinosaurs."

Currently the atmosphere consists of about 21 percent oxygen, but the addition of gases at that time could have lowered levels to 16 percent or less, Ward said.

"If you didn't live on the sea level you didn't live," he commented, reflecting the fact that oxygen concentrations decline with altitude. The result would have been to eliminate half the living space on the planet, said Ward.

The more recent mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs — 65 million years ago — has been linked to an impact by a large asteroid or comet that struck in an area off the coast of what is now Mexico and left a distinctive layer of dust worldwide. CLIP


Forwarded by "Meria Heller">


Chirac Demands Measures to Save Animals, Plants


PARIS - French President Jacques Chirac proposed on Monday creating a global network of experts to help save tens of thousands of endangered animals and plants from extinction.

Launching a five-day conference sponsored by the United Nations on protecting the diversity of Earth's plant and animal life, Chirac called for a change in world attitudes to ensure more was done to protect species close to extinction.

"I appeal to all scientists to gather to create a world network of expertise, and France will propose to its partners ... the creation of an inter-governmental group on the evolution of biodiversity," Chirac said.

He gave few details but said France would push for adoption of such measures by the signatories to the 1992 Convention onf Biological Diversity, which is designed to sustain biodiversity.

"With the fight against world climate change, the protection of biodiversity demands a deep change in how we think and live," he said.

The conference of 1,200 participants, organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), is looking at ways to prevent the loss of biodiversity due to disappearing natural habitats and world climate change.

UNESCO cited figures suggesting almost 16,000 species of living creatures were near extinction and said the dangers of extinction were increasing with global warming.

One in four known mammal species and one in 10 bird species is in danger of extinction, it said. Of the 350,000 known plant species, 60,000 are threatened with extinction, it said.

Chirac has been a vocal supporter of global biodiversity, but France stands accused of not meeting its own standards for promoting conservation.

The European Union's executive Commission said last week Paris had failed to heed rulings from European's top court on nature conservation, public access to environmental information, water protection, and genetically modified micro-organisms.

France has said it is aware of of its delay in implementing the European directives and has made it a priority since 2002 to catch up on the delay.

"We fear that once again speeches will just give rise to more speeches," Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth said in a statement as they and other environmental groups held a parallel meeting to the UNESCO gathering.

"Every six hours, an area of forest the same size of Paris is disappearing, meaning the extinction of numerous species of plant and animal life sometimes not even known about."

Story by Elizabeth Pineau and Gerard Bon


Forwarded by "Carolyn Fumia">


UFO Sighting and Strange Signals reported again in Indian Ocean - sub tectonic experiment?

24th January, 2005

People are again reporting heavy UFO sighting in Nicobar Island, Andaman, India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka coastal areas. The animals in these areas are again showing strange behavior. The fishermen and their families this time are taking these signs seriously and are refusing to move near the ocean. The tribal people of Andaman Nicobar Island have again moved to the high grounds. The sea birds are also showing strange signals.

The UFO sightings happen at night with strange lights.  The continuation of tremors of 6 or less Richter scale seems never ending. The ships traveling between India‚s mainland and the Andaman-Nicobar Island as well commercial fishermen in Indian Ocean are reporting strange signals as well as jamming of their radio channels.

According to some experts, these are signs of possible experimentation with tectonic plates by some entity. People in Nicobar island complain something is going on under the ocean ˆ deep underground ˆ a few miles below the water surface.

The pattern of aftershocks is also strange. Normally on plotting the same they show a gradual decrease in the moving average of Richter scale reported. This time no pattern can be found. After one large aftershock, a considerable time lapses before the next one. It seems someone is controlling the after shocks and making sure plates are not over-stressed. Andaman and Nicobar islands have experienced 121 aftershocks between 5.2 and 6.2 Richter scale. The Geologists in India are closely tracking these aftershocks and cannot find a pattern. The only pattern that can be found is a large lapse after a considerable aftershock.

A sailor in the Shipping Authority of India Limited who also sailed in transatlantic shipping routes says, this part of Indian ocean resembles now Bermuda triangle region.

In Bermuda triangle ocean manifest strange behavior and ships as well as aircrafts vanish.

But there is a difference. Here the disturbance seems to be coming from the tectonic plate levels.

One explanation can be some entity doing underground research with moving plates. It is known that some countries have research projects on creating artificial earthquakes. The other possibility is bizarre. Many in Indian coastal areas now believe that the UFO sighting before the Tsunami had something to do with the Tsunami.

This time they believe the extra-terrestrials are doing something out there deep under the ocean. There are UFO researchers all around the world that believe in UFO underground bases. These bases are mostly suspected in areas where one tectonic plate goes on top of another plate. This provides a thicker crust of earth to build bases that needs miles of deep crust of earth.

What is really strange is that during low tide or any time when recedes leaving a wider beach area, the sea birds have a feast on the fishes left in the beach. But these days the sea birds actually fly inland when this is happening. The number of wild animals in the coastal areas also has diminished. Why are animals not coming back to the ocean coastal areas? Are they sensing possibility of another Tsunami?

Experimentation or construction deep under the tectonic plates can cause mega earthquakes. Some have blamed deep drilling in the Indian ocean in the same are for oil and Gas exploration by India, Bangladesh and Mayanmar. But these drillings are not that deep that can cause mega earthquakes.


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