The Earth Charter

http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/9218
http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/9218

The Earth Charter is a well-developed shared vision of basic values to improve world ethics to achieve world-wide sustainability. Forming a global partnership to care for nature and for ourselves will help prevent the destruction of everything. Human development should be about BEING more, not about having more, which has taken over our values throughout with our technological advances. We have gotten cocky and have forgotten where we come from. We need to regain our sense of universal responsibility, not just focusing on the individual anymore. This vision should be adopted by individuals, families, businesses, government, and world-wide. The Earth Charter is based on four main principles:

Principle I of the Earth Charter is about caring for the community of life. It states that to own or use any part of nature comes with the responsibility to protect it and prevent harm to it, and as our knowledge grows, so does our responsibility. We have to recognize that all living things are valuable, regardless of its use to us, and we are also valuable. Future generations have to be considered in our decisions now, by building healthy and sustainable societies. These values were reflected in many of our readings. David Orr says in his excerpt about biophilia that “We should worry a good bit less about whether our progeny will be able to compete as a ‘world-class workforce’ and a great deal more about whether they will know how to live sustainably on the earth.” Work is the main part of life that most people worry about the most because for as long as we can remember, money has been required to have any sort of quality of life. We have forgotten that we come from nature, and to nature is where we all inevitably return. Children should be taught from a young age about nature, to learn to respect nature and the existence of all of the animals, and that every part is important to the whole. Unsustainable practice have gotten the earth to the point it is now and the destruction will continue until we put more emphasis on preserving and repairing the damage, because as Jane Goodall has pointed out, it is never too late to repair. The environment is resilient and will endure long past us, but if we want to continue to persist, we have to alter our habits. Principle I relies on Principles II through IV.

http://www.slideshare.net/AMANAKEY/slides-earth-charterpilar1en
http://www.slideshare.net/AMANAKEY/slides-earth-charterpilar1en

Principle II is about ecological integrity, which is upheld by protecting ecological systems and biodiversity, preventing harm whenever possible, keeping healthy practices of production and consumption, and advancing the effort by sharing knowledge that is gained through the processes. Shiva points out in “What is Biodiversity and Why is it so Important” that “Biodiversity, from genes to species to ecosystems, works in harmony and in concert to create and maintain life….. Just as our bodies maintain their temperature, the earth’s equilibrium is maintained through ecological processes in which biodiversity plays a central role.” Biodiversity is a concept that is repeated throughout our readings from the biodiversity of the Everglades in “The Nature of the Everglades” to the erosion of biodiversity described by Shiva. Biodiversity and the preservation of it is the key to keeping the earth happy. Everything does work together and when one organism is lost, its niche is never fully occupied again in the same capacity.

http://teapartyorg.ning.com/profiles/blogs/global-warming-is-increasing-biodiversity-around-the-world
http://teapartyorg.ning.com/profiles/blogs/global-warming-is-increasing-biodiversity-around-the-world

Principle III is based on social and economic trust. Eradicating poverty and promoting human development by improving education and promoting distribution of wealth. The rights of all should be upheld regardless of race, religion, or creed to a social and natural environment supportive of human dignity, health, and spiritual well-being. Jane Goodall spoke about the importance of women and the fact that the better their education, the family sizes drop in the area and allows a woman to realistically plan her family and how she will feed her family. This is especially important in countries where women have historically been oppressed and not allowed to have an education, or only to be able to complete up to a certain point. All people should be respected by their peers and government regardless of sex and should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

http://efareport.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/how-to-reduce-poverty%E2%80%99s-impact-on-education/
http://efareport.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/how-to-reduce-poverty%E2%80%99s-impact-on-education/

Principle IV is about all living things having peace, nonviolence, and democracy by treating all life-forms with respect and being considerate of others. Teaching the values, skills, and knowledge to live sustainably and promoting a tolerant and peaceful culture is a big route to take in accomplishing this. Aldo Leopold describes what he called “the ecological conscience” in which he says that “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” His view was that no important change in ethics is observed without an internal change in our intellectual importance, loyalties, principles, and cares. To make conservation more important, we have to stop doing it for appearances or as penance for the damage we have done. In “Endgame,” conservation efforts were used as a political basis, which to me is wrong. Attention to the cause is one thing, but as a political platform and use as a political face is entirely another. Our consciences need to be shifted from one of personal gain and ethics in the personal regard, to one that takes into account everything in the environment, because really if we don’t learn to love it a lot more, we will end up losing everything with time.

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/sustainvu/who-we-are/what-is-sustainability/
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/sustainvu/who-we-are/what-is-sustainability/

Life involves difficult choices and this is the point in time where humanity as a whole needs to come together to make a positive, deliberate choice for all of Earth because, really, who else is responsible for it if not us?

Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life”  ~The Earth Charter

http://atwisdomstable.blogspot.com/2010/09/awakening-new-reverence-for-life.html
http://atwisdomstable.blogspot.com/2010/09/awakening-new-reverence-for-life.html
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On “Healing Earth’s Scars: It’s Never Too Late” and “Why Save Endangered Species”

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Chimpanzee-picture.jpg
http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Chimpanzee-picture.jpg

Before reading these excerpts, I thought that Jane Goodall was only the lady who was obsessed with the chimpanzees.  I had no idea she traveled so much and knew so much about conservations and its failures and triumphs around the world.  She describes her four reasons for hope for saving endangered species as “our quite extraordinary intellect, the resilience of nature, the energy and commitment of informed young people who are empowered to act, and the indomitable human spirit.” She thinks that the abilities of people combined with the resilience of nature and dedicated individuals can turn back the damage we have caused to the earth’s species.  She tells brief stories of restoration that gives evidence that it is really possible to repair what scars we have caused.  A story from Kenya that took a barren waste to a self-sustaining habitat for thirty endangered species; a six year old’s dream of putting the trees back on a mountain; logging damage restoration; and the massive clean ups of various rivers and lakes that were so drastic that they were lifeless, but were full of life after restoration practices.  She goes on to tell about China and how the people lost hope in the conservation of the environment that is made even worse by the fact that the country contains a fifth of the Earth’s population.  People have made a big move from farming villages to the city in search of jobs and money. The cities have spread and the environment suffered.  There has been efforts to repair the damage and conservation has begun to progress and land has been set aside just to be nature and not for some kind of monetary use.  Her point is to tell us that it is never too late to repair damage done to the earth.

http://neilyoirl.tumblr.com/post/60519307255/life-is-sacred-shed-your-hardened-skin-and-open-your
http://neilyoirl.tumblr.com/post/60519307255/life-is-sacred-shed-your-hardened-skin-and-open-your

Goodall also believes that if more people got out into nature, and found a species or place to fall in love with, more help and conservation would be seen.  People who love a wild animal feel obligated to help them live where they belong.  Those that don’t care about animals or nature see endangered species as “just a bug” or “just a bird.”  I think she is so right.  I am not a big animal person and up until this point in my life, I have thought the same thing about saving endangered species. What difference would it make if the manatee were to go extinct? They’re just big, dumb, slow animals.  Until you’re able to get up close to one.  Every creature has a value, even if that value is just to exist.  Wild animals are beautiful and interesting, and once you get close to one, you never forget it.  A whole ecosystem relies on every piece of the puzzle to work properly, and the extinction of one, creates a niche that may or may not be filled by something else.

http://misspegasus.wordpress.com/2011/06/
http://misspegasus.wordpress.com/2011/06/

She says that “It is indeed true that the expense of saving an endangered species can be exorbitant, so it is fortunate that in many countries there are laws protecting life-forms threatened with extinction.  Else the damage inflicted on the natural world would be even greater.”  We are fortunate to live in a country where people even care at all about conservation. There are places in the world that are too busy and some too stricken with hardship to bother.  The last sentence of the excerpts is my favorite.  “If we are without hope we fall into apathy.  Without hope nothing will change.  That is why we feel it is so desperately important to share our own, irrepressible hope for the animals and their world.”  This is so true. Hope keeps everything alive, and that’s true for everything, not just conservation.

http://tammytutterow.com/2014/07/quotes-for-art-july-13/
http://tammytutterow.com/2014/07/quotes-for-art-july-13/

On “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson

http://birdnote.org/show/50th-anniversary-silent-spring
http://birdnote.org/show/50th-anniversary-silent-spring

In “A Fable for Tomorrow,” Carson describes a beautiful, healthy town in which all of trees, streams, and fields were full of vibrancy and life, and had been since the town was settled. Then an illness settled in the area, killing countless birds and livestock, and sickening and causing death for a lot of the people. The birds died out, and the few that were left were so sick that they couldn’t fly, shook violently, and didn’t really eat. There were no birdsongs heard. The chickens laid eggs, but they didn’t hatch. Piglets were dying within a few days of birth, and bees weren’t pollinating. All the fish died along with all of the trees. It was like everything stopped as a result of some kind of curse out of a fairytale. The culprit was a white powder that the people had sprinkled on everything weeks before. This was not an actual town, but a rendering of a town that had felt all of these issues that she had seen in many towns, all combined into one very unfortunate town.

http://en.paperblog.com/silent-spring-50-years-on-262215/
http://en.paperblog.com/silent-spring-50-years-on-262215/

Since the earth began, and life emerged, the interactions between abiotic and biotic factors has been one in which the living is shaped by the non-living factors of nature. That is, until the evolution of man. We have shaped the environment on such a large scale, we would be incredibly amazed if we were able to look back in time to see what it once was at the time of our beginning as a species. Carson says that, “Considering the whole span of earthly time, the opposite effect, in which life actually modifies its surroundings, has been relatively slight. Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species- man- acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” This change didn’t happen immediately with our evolution, but within the past century with our industrial awakening and complete exploitation of the natural habitats that we at one point in time called home. At this point in time, we pollute the environment so much with chemicals that it can never be unpolluted again. Strontium 90 fallout is still raining down from the atmosphere from nuclear explosions, gets into the soil and the food chain, and is in our bones. Every chemical that we use as fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, etc. end up in the food chain and/or in the water table. It took hundreds of millions of years for the environment to shape the earth and its inhabitants to what they were at our emergence and only a few decades for us to almost ruin it with our own sort of environmental shaping. These chemicals that we often uselessly release into nature without abandon is mainly responsible for so much detrimental change in the environment. We have declared wars on insect species that we describe as bad, although there were other ways of dealing with them if people took the time to understand the insect and the alternative methods. A lot of the problem with massive crop and other plant die-outs is due to monoculture in which only one type of plant is grown over a large area. More diversity is better for environmental health, but our culture often causes this kind of monotonous environment. We seem to want an insect-free environment, but this isn’t really possible and it is definitely not a good thing to want to happen, as it would cause unforeseen issues farther down the food chain. Treating large areas indiscriminately for insects is not only bad for the food chain, but reduces plant pollination, and as before mentioned, puts these same harmful chemicals into our water and soil, and eventually bioaccumulates into what we eat. We don’t know fully what these chemicals will do, or how long it will take for them to degrade.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v421/n6920/full/421200b.html
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v421/n6920/full/421200b.html

Carson states that the public should be involved and be told the complete truth about these pesticides, instead of half-truths. False assurances on these issues can be true killers of us all in the wrong hands. “The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts. In the words of Jean Rostand, ‘The obligation to endure gives us the right to know.’” This means to me that in order for us to continue to live on as a species, we need to be aware of all of the things we are doing to the environment, including all of the things that we are releasing into it for something we deem beneficial. It’s not okay anymore to not be informed in order to either have someone to blame when something goes wrong, or just to be able to not take any responsibility for the mistakes we make as a society. The general public isn’t full of scientists. The general public doesn’t even know the chemical name for water, much less where it comes from, what affects it, and the microbial and chemical aspects of it. It would be difficult to explain all the factors to the general public, and most probably wouldn’t even care. We are in the technological age now where everyone’s’ faces are directed to a screen even while walking and driving, laughing at memes or taking countless selfies. Someone come up with a way to make everyone just in this country care and be active about our environmental influence and I say give him/her a Nobel Prize and a cookie because that would be an amazing task. Maybe there should be an app for that.

http://www.ironbodystudios.com/index.cfm/news-updates/silent-spring-by-coach-pam/
http://www.ironbodystudios.com/index.cfm/news-updates/silent-spring-by-coach-pam/

On “What is Biodiversity and Why is it so Important?” by Vandana Shiva

“Biodiversity means the diversity of life- the rich diversity of life forms on our beautiful planet. Biodiversity is the very fabric of life- it provides the conditions for life’s emergence and maintenance, and the many different ways in which that life is expressed.” This excerpt starts itself with one of the best quotes in the reading. It seems like the farther we progress in science and technology, the farther we pull away from nature. This seems to be a common theme in the readings for this class, but from what I can tell, it is true. The more we think we know, the less we see.

http://www.justforests.org/just-carbon/2014-international-day-for-biodiversity-celebrations-around-the-world/what-on-earth-is-biodiversity
http://www.justforests.org/just-carbon/2014-international-day-for-biodiversity-celebrations-around-the-world/what-on-earth-is-biodiversity

Shiva states that species are now becoming extinct at the rate of 27,000 a year and that is 1000x the natural rate of extinction. People have thrown off the biological balance of the earth so much because of the desire for a profit, but one day it will be difficult for anyone to make a profit of any sort. “Seeing other life forms as biological and genetic raw material is fraught with ecological risks. The smallest microbe plays a critical role in maintaining the ecological processes that create the conditions of life for all species, including, of course, our own.” We might now know a lot about these creatures different from us, even considering they are invisible to the naked eye. So much so to be able to use them to make products that we need, such as insulin, and in bioremediation, including in oceanic oil spill clean-up processes. We fail to take into consideration that although we may know a lot, we don’t know everything, and we typically don’t know the variety of niches these organisms fulfill in their environments. They definitely play a big role in carbon and nitrogen fixation, and many are photosynthetic and make oxygen for us to breathe. But the roles they play in interaction with each other are too much for us to really know. They were here billions of years before we were, and were very important in creating a livable environment for other organisms to evolve and live in.

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/biodiversity/biodiversity.html
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/biodiversity/biodiversity.html

In our superiority, we don’t see the tons of other species on this planet as our family, and in fact are very ignorant of where we come from and ignore the path on which we are going. We aren’t on top of some delusional pyramid as we seem to believe, but we are a part of a very complex web. We seem to think that just because we can walk upright and we have the ability to speak thanks to a series of mutations giving us complex vocal cords and a hyoid bone that we are superior. We aren’t anything more than animals that have climbed up on our high horse and taken over the planet that raised us and fed us since our beginning. It’s kind of like an ungrateful child that has grown up to resent the parent that struggled to raise it.

http://www.anonymousartofrevolution.com/2013/01/there-are-more-dangerous-humans-on.html
http://www.anonymousartofrevolution.com/2013/01/there-are-more-dangerous-humans-on.html

It would be incorrect to say that we have caused all extinctions, because as we all know, extinctions have taken place, including on a mass scale since the earth began, “but the erosion of biodiversity has become a systemic product of industrialization.” Since industrialization occurred many years ago, countless animals have lost habitats and died due to expansion, deforestation resulting in habitat loss, dams being built, highways, and a number of other very real threats. Even birds, which have the ability to fly away and find refuge in other places have undergone massive kills due to pesticide use and bioaccumulation of metals in the fish they eat. Our industrialization practices has caused a uniformity in our food production as well causing monocultures and destroying biodiversity, having a devastating effect on countries impacted the most by poverty because they can’t compete with richer countries for the goods that they need. Incredibly, Shiva states that on a global scale, domestic livestock breeds are disappearing at a rate of 6 breeds A MONTH. This is an alarming statistic. Out of 4-5 thousand breeds, extinction threatens 1,500.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/humans-could-go-extinct-within-100-years-says-renowned-scienti
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/humans-could-go-extinct-within-100-years-says-renowned-scienti

Finally, Shiva talks about “The Empty Earth Syndrome.” She speaks about how there is a great biological wealth in tropical Third World countries, but it is quickly being destroyed due to two causes. One is the “empty earth” model of colonization, which says that where the earth is not occupied by Western civilization it is “empty” and has no limits to be respected. If we inhabit it, we are entitled to any resources that are available. The second cause is what Shiva calls the “monoculture of the mind.” This is the idea that the world should be uniform and has to be for maximum food production and economic benefits. Shutting out alternative ways of knowing and producing leads to the assumption that the dominant way is the only way.   These views threaten all other species and cultures because it makes us blind to their existence and rights to live unaltered.

http://www.makingitmagazine.net/?p=2510
http://www.makingitmagazine.net/?p=2510

On “A Tale of Two Farms”

http://foodstarter.com/2011/05/organic-farm-food-business-stories/
http://foodstarter.com/2011/05/organic-farm-food-business-stories/

This excerpt is called “A Tale of Two Farms”, but it is more about the fall of societies and why it has happened in the past, and is it coming for us. We first look at a modern farm, with state-of-the-art technologies and a farm from Greenland that was state-of-the-art at the time of its existence, before the Norse society’s eventual fall 500 years ago. Diamond wasn’t trying to say specifically that our society will fail, but from visiting these farms, but he concluded that even the richest, technologically advanced societies today face growing environmental and economic problems that can potentially pose a problem in later years, and maybe not too far ahead. Many of our problems are similar to this and other failed societies, such as population growth, environmental pressures, unsustainable living, wars, and disease.

http://cironline.org/projects/food-9-billion?page=3
http://cironline.org/projects/food-9-billion?page=3

He asks a series of huge questions that our society really needs to think about, “Does it stand to reason that today’s human population of almost seven billion, with our potent modern technology, is causing our environment to crumble globally at a much more rapid rate than a mere few million people with stone and wooden tools already made it crumble in the past? Will modern technology solve our problems, or is it creating new problems faster than it solves old ones? When we deplete one resource (e.g., wood, oil, or ocean fish), can we count on being able to substitute some new resources (e.g., plastics, wind and solar energy, or farmed fish)? Isn’t the rate of human population growth declining, such as we’re already on course for the world’s population to level off at some manageable number of people?” I think these are some very important questions to think about because what we are doing now will affect our future children one way or another. Either they will have clean food, water, and air or they won’t. Either they will have land and resources to live on, or they won’t. The answers to these questions must be thought out now while there may be still time to.

http://navanna.deviantart.com/art/Old-Mountain-Farm-139580332
http://navanna.deviantart.com/art/Old-Mountain-Farm-139580332

This is a time where we can actually use something from the past as an example to help us today. If the questions he asked have answers that we can determine, since we know what societies fell and which ones didn’t, so why did they not see what they were headed for? Is it our modern technology and sciences that allow us to see what so many people were blind to in the past? These people weren’t stupid people, and in fact made many contributions to our modern society, but there must have been something lacking. Maybe it is simply our much greater numbers now that has a contribution to our issues and insights? Or is it maybe our tendency to blame others for all of the problems rather than take some of that blame on ourselves? Environmental problems from the past had to have been more difficult to deal with than in the present. With all of our technology, we can see ozone depletions, by-catch numbers, future projections of so many issues, but none of this is fully being utilized in planning for the future.

http://www.climate-change-toolkit.com/what-is-climate-change.html
http://www.climate-change-toolkit.com/what-is-climate-change.html
http://www.climate-change-toolkit.com/what-is-climate-change.html
http://www.climate-change-toolkit.com/what-is-climate-change.html

Not all of the contributing factors are brought on by us directly either. Climate change has occurred since the Earth was born. The sun’s heat emissions change, volcanoes erupt, axis changes occur, and tectonic plates move in the ocean releasing gases into the atmosphere. The way a society responds to man-made and natural issues that threaten our existence is what will make or break us. Diamond says that “A society’s responses depend on its political, economic, and social institutions and on its cultural values. Those institutions and values affect whether the society solves (or even tries to solve) its problems”. I totally agree with this statement. The example he uses is the way New Guinea, Japan, Tikopia, and Tonga developed better habits when threatened with deforestation while Easter Island, Mangareva, and Norse Greenland didn’t, and collapsed as a result. These societies were obvious very different in location, economy, and values so there is little wonder why some failed while others survived. Mostly, it’s all conjecture, because we weren’t there to directly observe these collapses, but by comparing what we know with other societies, some conclusions can be drawn. Regardless, we need to really think about what is happening in our country and around the world or one day there will be little left to survive on in all respects. If resources continue to be used up the way they are, our society could likely collapse as many have in the past. It’s a bleak future if we don’t begin to really fix our problems now.

http://www.procas.com/blog/index.php/headlines-cashing-in-on-green-gov/
http://www.procas.com/blog/index.php/headlines-cashing-in-on-green-gov/

On Plan B 4.0 by Lester R. Brown

http://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2014/July/viva-la-livestock-revolution.html
http://www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2014/July/viva-la-livestock-revolution.html

This book is very eye opening and informative. Most people wouldn’t put a lot of thought to our food production abilities in this country because for most of the country, food isn’t a crisis, or so we think. It’s everywhere. You can’t drive anywhere in a lot of the country without driving past fast food, gas stations, and grocery stores. Most people don’t see that our plantable land is decreasing as our population increases, but in other countries, especially where the population is higher and/or the people are poorer, there is even less land available for crops, grains being the most important. Some countries such as Saudi-Arabia, South Korea, India, and largest investment of all, China have been buying up land from other countries to plant their grains and oil-bearing plants because they’re out of land in their own country or the conditions have been so unfavorable that they can’t plant. The countries that they buy from are typically those that are so poor as to depend on World Food Programme (WFP) for part or most of their food supply. This was eye-opening because it sounds just crazy to sell your plantable land to another far-away country and you can’t even feed your own people and have to rely on aid. I read that the US may think that it’s safe from the effects of a diminishing world food supply, but if China were to turn to us for large quantities of grains, Brown says that “In such a situation, it would be tempting for the United States to restrict exports- as it did, for example, with grain and soybeans in the 1970s when domestic food prices soared. But this is not an option with China, which now holds well over $1 trillion is U.S. debt. It is often the leading international buyer at the monthly auctions of U.S. Treasury securities that finance the growing U.S. deficit”.

http://beforeitsnews.com/economics-and-politics/2013/07/china-to-foreclose-on-our-property-when-the-us-dollar-dies-2455178.html
http://beforeitsnews.com/economics-and-politics/2013/07/china-to-foreclose-on-our-property-when-the-us-dollar-dies-2455178.html

Just to visualize that number, that is $1,000,000,000,000 owed to China, and they BUY MORE MONTHLY which is something I never heard of. Auctions for U.S. deficit. Crazy.

http://printage.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/image-food-sustainability-cycle/
http://printage.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/image-food-sustainability-cycle/

Not only is crop plots decreasing, but land for foraging livestock is also decreasing due to overforaging. Three-fourths of oceanic fisheries are overfished. All of the things wrong with the world food supply is due to OVERgrazing, OVERplowing, OVERfishing, and OVERloading the air with CO2. We can’t continue on the way we have been going or societies are going to start collapsing like the Mayans, Sumerians, and others. It’s not just food that is the issue with food. It is also the processes to get it to the market, including gasoline and packaging that people don’t think about. If we paid the prices reflecting not only the fuel costs, but also the cost to preserve the resources for the future, we would pay an incredible amount more to where a lot of people would starve, or nearly so. As stated in the book, “Today we need a realistic view about the relationship between the economy and the environment. We also need, more than ever before, political leaders who can see the big picture”. This is true, but how to have these kind of leaders all over the world, even in the countries that are so poor and corrupt, and those that hate us. If we tried to implement some kind of system to improve world food issues, who would cooperate? Some would deny us just to deny us, and some would undoubtedly expect us to either do it for them or to give them a bunch of resources. Food isn’t the only problem either in swelling populations, there’s also the fact that with more people, more various buildings are needed to dwell, treat for illness, educate, shop, etc. which causes an additional reduction in resources.

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/o/oceanic.asp
http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/o/oceanic.asp
http://woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/global-environment-issues/world-hunger/
http://woodstocksanctuary.org/learn-3/global-environment-issues/world-hunger/
http://co2scorecard.org/home/researchitem/24
http://co2scorecard.org/home/researchitem/24
http://chelseycolloquiumblog.blogspot.com/
http://chelseycolloquiumblog.blogspot.com/

What Plan B is, is an alternative to what we as a planet are doing now. The goal of Plan B is to move the world from the developing crisis to a new path to food security and sustained civilization. It has four proposed components: 1. Cutting CO­­2 emissions by 80% by 2020, 2. Stabilizing the population at 8 billion or less, 3. Eradicating poverty, and 4. Restoring the Earth’s natural ecosystems to a good health again. As soon as I read this I thought yeah, that’s never going to happen, ever, but Brown’s next statement is that “The ambitiousness of this plan is not driven by perceived political feasibility but by scientific reality”. He proposes a large scale switch to clean energy, which would be great, but not everyone can afford it, and the resources to make at least solar panels is not a renewable source. Once that material is gone, it’s gone. Giving women all over the world access to education and reproductive health care would help keep women from having too many children to support, keeping the population at a more manageable level and eradicating poverty simultaneously. Lastly, stopping the deterioration of natural systems can be done by conservation practices, reforestation, and restoring fisheries. It is a huge challenge, but is necessary to leave a livable planet for our children, and our children’s’ children to grow on. Some countries like Brazil and South Korea have areas that they have implemented some of these practices and it has paid off. If this is to happen, it needs to happen now globally before it is too late. Brown says that “The challenge is not only to build a new economy but to do it at a wartime speed before we miss so many of nature’s deadlines that the economic system begins to unravel. Participating in the construction of this enduring new economy is exhilarating. So is the quality of life it will bring. A world where population has stabilized, forests are expanding, and carbon emissions are falling is within our grasp”. I think it is a very optimistic thought, but like I said previously, doesn’t sound plausible on a global scale. There are too many greedy people in positions of power all over the world that are too busy trying to climb a ladder and make money and a name for themselves to stop exploiting what and who they are currently profiting from to do something that will benefit everyone and not just themselves. These proposals Brown makes are also not free if implemented. Reforestation costs money, stocking fisheries and maintaining them cost money, green energy and electric cars cost money. If people are having a hard time affording food, what makes him think that they can afford whatever insane tax increases it would take in order to do something like this? And for the countries that have already sold extensive land to other countries, what are they going to do? Say never mind, we take our land back so we can fix it and not need your money anymore? Nobody will tell that to China, I can guarantee that. Implementing education and birth control practices is a great idea, but even this would require 1. Approval from leaders in countries that want to keep their women oppressed and if that even works, then 2. It would have to be accepted by the people, who are used to having things that way, 3. Huge scale production of birth control products (creating a ton of plastic, using fuel, etc), then finally 4. There would probably have to be places built in order to house these opportunities and people to work and maintain them and the practices therein. The plan sounds like a great endeavor that would be a wonderful revitalization of the Earth and her resources, but it sounds too far-fetched once you start thinking about all of the baggage that comes along with it. Some countries surely would be all for it, but without everyone on board with such a large-scale project such as this, there would be an eventual, inevitable failure.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/03/18/how-to-build-a-sustainable-agriculture-strategy/?graph=full&id=1
http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/03/18/how-to-build-a-sustainable-agriculture-strategy/?graph=full&id=1

On “Endgame” by Michael Grunwald

http://fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rst/Sect3/Sect3_9.html
http://fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rst/Sect3/Sect3_9.html

This was about the almost imminent demise of the Everglades that was a hot political debate in the early 2000’s.  It is sad when there is a real environmental issue, or whatever kind of issue and politicians use it as a way to make themselves seem more appealing and caring than they really are.  Everything is about money and self-propulsion up the ladder by whatever means necessary.  It seemed like the Everglades were dying regardless what conservationists did to try to stop it.  The Everglades is over such an extensive area that once it gets off balance to the point that it has, it is hard to save one aspect or species without further damaging another.  Since people have inhabited and changed Florida so much, the terrain is different, the Everglades aren’t allowed to be the way it is supposed to. Water isn’t allowed to flow and settle where it will, and water being the biggest impacting factor in the biological system, this has drastically thrown off the delicate balance.  There was so much back-and-forth fighting about Everglades restoration that “…South Florida’s interest groups were like drunks at the end of a bar fight. Their arms felt heavy, and they wanted an excuse to stop slugging.”  A meeting over stone crabs accomplished an agreement to support funding for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

http://www.evergladesplan.org/pm/program_docs/cerp_report_public_2010_p6_water.aspx
http://www.evergladesplan.org/pm/program_docs/cerp_report_public_2010_p6_water.aspx

In the early 2000’s, there was a big fight over a proposed airport in Homestead that was so clearly divided that the decision had to be made in the White House.  The main target of the campaign was Vice President Al Gore who had the power to approve of disprove the airport, but he refused to make a stand in order to avoid appearing to give support to one group over another to keep his political standing.  He walked a line politically between Democratic environmentalists in favor of saving the Everglades and Republican Cuban-Americans in favor of the airport to connect the US with Cuba.  He later recalled that he “didn’t think the airport threatened the survival of the Everglades”.  I’m not highly politically charged, but just based on the reading and what is known about the Everglades, this to me sounds like a really stupid, uneducated response to a big issue, especially for someone who took such a large and public stance on global warming.  It seemed more as a potential threat to his career goals.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ddb_1404057823&comments=1
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ddb_1404057823&comments=1

A strange thing on this issue was the fact that CERP wasn’t favored by those Floridians that worked directly with and made money from nature.  They wanted to make sure that it didn’t favor nature over people.  Even the Native American tribes in the area, the Miccosukee and Seminole, agreed with this stance which to me seems ludicrous.  I realize that they profit greatly from their own economic interests, but isn’t the environment still their mother?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miccosukee
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miccosukee

The resolution came January 16, 2001, which was four days before Clinton left office.  The airport was rejected, and the Everglades dodged a huge bullet. “It was a reminder that money doesn’t always talk. People talk too”.  One activist said that “This is a victory for common sense and public input over special interests”.  Water quality was improving, America was committed to save the Everglades from the people, and this meant that there was a chance, not a promise that it would happen.  I would be curious to know if there has been a positive change since the rejection of the airport or if the efforts were decreased after the political win of the fight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miccosukee Effort to Save Everglades Falters as Funds Drop in NY Times Oct 31, 2007
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miccosukee
Effort to Save Everglades Falters as Funds Drop in NY Times Oct 31, 2007