For years, normality has been stretched nearly to breaking-point, a rope pulled tighter and tighter, waiting for a nip of the black swan’s beak to snap it in two. Now that it’s snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids, to see what we might weave from them?
At least 13 people have been killed and nearly 1000 others hospitalised following a massive leak of styrene gas from the LG Polymers plant in the city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Here is a preliminary modelling study of one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times by Sagar Dhara and K Babu Rao.
Ratheesh Pisharody writes: A classic method of avoiding personal sacrifice is to explore “alternatives”. The individual thought behind this is simple. “Can I keep sitting on my privileges by pretending to make a dramatic change with sufficient optics and industry backing, but with no personal cost/effort?”. And the pop-icon of “alternatives” is the electric car.
“We have now reached a new tipping point where enmities are more expensive in all respects than friendly collaboration; where planetary limits of exploiting nature have been reached. It is high time for us to cross this new tipping point into our global communal maturity — to evolve an ecosophy.” says evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris.
From Fanack.com: From Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the unique Southern marshlands to the burning of croplands in Iraq’s greenbelt in 2019, the country’s valuable natural and cultural resources are being degraded rapidly. At the same time, growing awareness of environmental issues has spurred the rise of groups that want to change the course of the country.
From Climate and Capitalism: Evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace explains the tight links between new viruses, the epidemiologically dangerous methods of industrial food production, and corporate profits. “To understand why viruses are becoming more dangerous, we must investigate industrial models of agriculture and livestock production. But, few governments, and few scientists, are prepared to do so.”
From CBC Radio: Wind, rain, wildlife, and how they interact with the different sizes and shapes of leaves and branches all make up what David George Haskell calls the “distinct voices” of trees. His new book closely examines a dozen trees to show how they’re joined to the natural world, and to humanity as well.
The science is telling us that the global economy will experience a depression as the reality of the coronavirus pandemic sinks in. Authorities pushing complacency as a short term financial panacea are doing an enormous disservice to the people. Instead, they should prepare to deal with a global depression while limiting the spread of the virus.
From Live Mint: Dodgy numbers, a ‘flexible’ approach to the facts and self-serving definitions beginning with how “forest cover” itself is actually defined. This is what accounts for the unanimous skepticism among ecologists and other experts of the “growth” in India’s forest cover, claimed by the recently released India State of the Forest Report 2019.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has presented a pioneering national budget where spending is dictated by the “well-being” of citizens, rather than productivity and economic growth. But as long as other major economies continue to prioritise growth, New Zealand may become a lone wolf trapped in an increasingly hungry bear pit, writes Jack Peat.
Stephen Corry writes: The latest idea to be heavily promoted by big conservation NGOs is doubling the world’s “Protected-Areas” so that they cover 30% of the globe’s lands and oceans. What better answer to climate change and biodiversity loss? But it’s actually dangerous nonsense which would have exactly the reverse effect to what we’re told.
From The Conversation: People around the world and throughout history have used birds to think about and predict the future. This new research project that compared reports from six continents found that people from diverse communities pay attention to particular birds and what they reveal about the world around us, from approaching weather to illness.
Mikhail Gorbachev, founder of Green Cross International, on the need for urgent economic and social change to promote true sustainable development that does not over-consume and waste natural resources, while at the same time ensures opportunities and peace for humanity. This 2012 interview with the former USSR President and Nobel-winner remains just as relevant today.
Aseem Shrivastava writes: There are several lessons for India in the Australian catastrophe. For starters, it must restrain its own fossil barons: both within our shores, and beyond. Adani’s mammoth Queensland coal venture, for example, will significantly boost carbon emissions (both within Australia and to countries like India to which the coal will be exported).
As resources dry up on land, mining companies are heading underwater. Today, many of the world’s largest mineral corporations have launched underwater mining programs. But the biggest prize for them will be access to international waters, which cover more than half of the global seafloor and contain more valuable minerals than all the continents combined.
Álvaro de Regil Castilla writes: Over the years, as I watched CSR evolve, it gradually became evident that it was really a hoax, for the simple reason that short-term maximization of profit is baked into the corporate DNA. Businesses thus cannot be socially responsible as long as the institutions of democracy remain captured by marketocracy.
From Great Game India: A global contest with at least 9 geoeconomic projects is underway in and around Asia. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, and other hard infrastructure across the region. A preview of a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself; whose long-term ecological cost will be incalculable.
From Wired: It’s the worst locust outbreak to strike Africa in decades, and Pakistan and India’s border states too have been badly affected. And the problem is about to get a lot worse—the insect population could boom by a factor of 500 by June. Unlike other species, a rapidly-warming planet present an advantage to locusts.
Murdoch has said: “We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish. Climate change has been going on as long as the planet’s here.” Since 2007, the largely Murdoch-controlled Australian press has helped topple four Australian PMs who dared to try to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions.
From ABC News: Delhi is one of 21 Indian cities that could run out of groundwater, according to a 2018 government thinktank report. Disputes over water often lead to violence, especially in the city’s unauthorised settlements. The state government and the local “water mafia” are drilling bores, further depleting groundwater and exacerbating the larger problem.
From The Conversation: The pharmaceutical industry rarely conjure up images of pollution and environmental damage. Yet, this recent study found that the global pharmaceutical industry is not only contributes significantly to global warming, but is also dirtier than the global automotive production sector. Also watch a video on extreme pharmaceutical waste pollution in Patancheru, Telangana.
Alyssa Hull writes: We desperately need narratives that move past apocalypse as an endpoint, not only because there are people and societies already living through the Western world’s vision of climate apocalypse, but also because it can only inspire a helpless waiting for the post-apocalypse to arrive, suddenly, to cleave the past from the future.
I live in a concrete maze that boasts a few yards of curbed open space and calibrated greenery. High-rises clutter the view of sky; pigeons and mynahs rule the roofs. Urban wildlife often feels incongruous, surreal. A praying mantis sheltering from lashing rain makes the windowsill suddenly more meaningful, though that is not its purpose.
From Emerge: Gail Bradbrook, one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion, writes about her experiences with psychedelic plants, which she says altered her worldview so radically as to set her on her current path to initiate social change. Bradbrook helped found, and continues to play a key role in this global movement for systemic change.
The West has come to rely on “an expert discourse” from scientists. The result is that science is giving fearful westerners hope in a business-friendly “sustainable development,”, which they think will save the system before it collapses. The alternative, a massive scale economic adaptation to a new distribution of resources, is too scary to consider.
We come from a remote handful of living planets and moons scattered across this galaxy. We are a network of galactic gardeners who nurture life by sharing our stories, experiences, knowledge, and ideas. We’ve decided to contact you because we cherish life everywhere we find it — and life on your planet is in grave danger.
PM Narendra Modi wants India to be a “$5 trillion economy” by 2024. The consequences of such high GDP growth –even setting aside questions regarding its distribution or true worth– will result in depriving the dispossessed sections of society of access even to natural resources, while driving fragile ecologies to a point of no return.
From Vice.com: Just like an animal species, our languages evolved in the context of the environments that surrounded them. When we change those environments, we threaten much more than just the physical living things that thrive there. In the parts of the world where biodiversity is most at risk, words and phrases also face extinction.
From Al Jazeera: Scandinavian countries have some of the highest levels of happiness on the planet, and top virtually every ranking of human development. They re worth celebrating for all they get right. But there’s a problem. They’re an ecological disaster, with some of the highest levels of resource-use and CO2 emissions in the world.
The legend of Savitri and Satyavan in the Mahabharata, is a love story. Savitri, a beautiful princess, marries Satyavan, a penniless woodcutter, despite the Sage Narada warning her that Satyavan, a dead man walking, would die in one year. Now, the story of Savitri and Satyavan is being played out in real life in the ongoing climate change saga.
Humanity is facing the terminal crisis of an outdated worldview. From a long-term perspective, as a relatively young species on this planet we are collectively undergoing a maturation process which requires us to redefine how we understand our relationship to the rest of life on Earth— facing the choices of either collapse or profound transformation.
From CounterPunch: He whipped out a check for a thousand dollars and said, “I bet you US$1000 that in the year 2020, we’re not even close to the kind of disaster you describe.” He had obviously planned to maneuver me into this kind of challenge. “We won’t even be close. I’ll bet on my optimism.”
Researching public perceptions of the future, I’m not aware of any progress indicators that reflect the real depth of people’s concern. The current wave of global political unrest and protest is commonly attributed to growing inequality, corruption, austerity, thwarted expectations and climate change. But the real reasons also go deeper, challenging the entire narrative of modernisation itself.
From BuzzFeed: The 2010s will likely lock down the record for the hottest decade so far. The 10-year stretch boasted many of the most expensive and destructive catastrophes ever. Here’s a review of six of the most devastating climate-records we broke this decade. Also, a short video featuring expert views on looming climate tipping points.
Ted Trainer writes: The prize has gone to three people studying how the poor can derive more benefit from existing “development” practices. It sees no reason to question the existing market and growth-driven economy and its derivative, development theory. It doesn’t threaten the massively unjust and environmentally destructive global systems that keep billions in poverty.
“This plan has multiple win-wins: Improvement in soil and water quality, higher incomes for farmers, reduced malnutrition and obesity, and a simple solution to India’s water problem by drastically reducing use of water in agriculture.” Also watch: ‘Bringing the Science Back Into Water: A New Paradigm for 21st Century India,’ a talk by Mihir Shah.
In his new book ‘Blip’, Christopher Clugston synthesizes the evidence produced by hundreds of research studies to quantify the causes, implications, and consequences associated with industrial humanity’s predicament. He presents compelling evidence to show how industrial civilisation’s enormous and ever-increasing utilisation of nonrenewable natural resources will lead to global societal collapse in the near future.