Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘planet’

The Peaceful Warrior

The Peaceful Warrior

Until now, the world was unaware of the day peace almost broke out among the planet’s nations. One day, someone tapped into the computers at the CIA, NSA, and DHS and put the entire world on alert by entering this smoothie recipe. Before anyone knew what was happening, China, Pakistan, India, China, Russia and North Korea were threatening one another with new and exciting smoothies. ALL weapons of destruction were converted into giant blenders, with a race to see which country could outdo the others in peacetime alternatives and smoothie diversions.

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Yield: 4 servings

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and sliced
4 ice cubes
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 plum (European or Japanese), pitted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons applesauce

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Pour into tall glasses, serve and enjoy peace (for a change).

Great-Am-SmoothiesExcerpt from Great American Smoothies: The Ultimate Blending Guide for Shakes, Slushes, Desserts, & Thirst Quenchers by Gabriel Constans

World’s Waste Potential

Beyond Recycling: On the Road to Zero Waste
by Beverly Bell
From Nation of Change
3 November 2012

Zero waste is both a goal and a plan of action. The goal is to protect and recover scarce natural resources by ending waste disposal in incinerators, dumps, and landfills. The plan encompasses waste reduction, composting, recycling and reuse, changes in consumption habits, and industrial redesign. The premise is that if a product cannot be reused, composted, or recycled, it just should not be produced in the first place.

Just as importantly, zero waste is a revolution in the relationship between waste and people. It is a new way of thinking about safeguarding the health and improving the lives of everyone who produces, handles, works with, or is affected by waste — in other words, all of us.

Zero waste strategies help societies to produce and consume goods while respecting ecological limits and the rights of communities. The strategies ensure that all discarded materials are safely and sustainably returned to nature or to manufacturing in place of raw materials. In a zero waste approach, waste management is not left only to politicians and technical experts; rather, everyone impacted — from residents of wealthy neighborhoods to the public, private, and informal sector workers who handle waste — has a voice.

Practicing zero waste means moving toward a world in which all materials are used to their utmost potential, in a system that simultaneously prioritizes the needs of workers, communities, and the environment. It is much like establishing zero defect goals for manufacturing, or zero injury goals in the workplace.

Zero waste is ambitious, but it is not impossible. Nor is it part of some far-off future. Today, in small towns and big cities, in areas rich and poor, in the global North and South, innovative communities are making real progress toward the goal of zero waste. Every community is different, so no two zero waste programs are identical, but the various approaches are together creating something bigger than the sum of their parts: protection of the earth and the natural riches which lie under, on, and over it. Here are a few examples of what is working:

* Through incentives and extensive public outreach, San Francisco has reduced its waste to landfill by 77 percent — the highest diversion rate in the United States — and is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020;

* A door-to-door collection service operated by a cooperative of almost 2,000 grassroots recyclers in Pune, India — now part of the city’s waste management system — diverts enough waste to avoid 640,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually;

* Aggressive standards and incentives for both individuals and businesses in the Flanders region of Belgium have achieved 73 percent diversion of residential waste, the highest regional rate in Europe;

* In Taiwan, community opposition to incineration pushed the government to adopt goals and programs for waste prevention and recycling. The programs were so successful that the quantity of waste decreased significantly, even as the population increased and the economy grew;

* An anti-incinerator movement in the Spanish province of Gipuzkoa led to the adoption of door-to-door waste collection services in several small cities, which have since reduced the amount of waste going to landfills by 80 percent;

* In the Philippines, a participatory, bottom-up approach has proven that communities have the ability to solve their own waste management problems;

* A focus on organics in Mumbai, India and La Pintana, Chile has produced real value from the cities’ largest and most problematic portion of municipal waste;

* In Buenos Aires, Argentina, grassroots recyclers focused on cooperatives and took collective political action. As a result, the city began separating waste at the source, an essential step toward its goal of 75 percent diversion by 2017.

While few locations are bringing together all the elements of a comprehensive zero waste plan, many have in common a philosophy driven by four core strategies:

1. Moving away from waste disposal: Zero waste moves societies away from waste disposal by setting goals and target dates to reduce waste going to landfills, abolishing waste incineration, establishing or raising landfill fees, shifting subsidies away from waste disposal, banning disposable products, and other actions. Government policies that promote these interventions are strongest when they incentivize community participation and incorporate the interests of waste workers.

2. Supporting comprehensive reuse, recycling, and organics treatment programs: Zero waste is about creating a closed cycle for all the materials we use — paper, glass, metals, plastic, and food among them. Such a system operates through separating waste at its source in order to reuse, repair, and recycle inorganic materials, and compost or digest organic materials. Separate organics collection ensures a stream of clean, high-quality material which in turn enables the creation of useful products (compost and biogas) from the largest portion of municipal waste.

3. Engaging communities: Zero waste relies on democracy and strong community action in shaping waste management. A lengthy initial consultation process can pay off with better design and higher participation rates. Residents must actively participate in the programs by consuming sustainably, minimizing waste, separating discards, and composting at home.

A successful zero waste program must also be an inclusive one. Inclusive zero waste systems make sure that resource recovery programs include and respect all those involved in resource conservation, especially informal recyclers whose livelihoods depend on discarded materials. The workers who handle waste should be fully integrated into the design, implementation, and monitoring processes, as they ultimately make the system function. In some communities, where waste workers come from historically excluded populations, this may require ending long-standing discriminatory practices.

4. Designing for the future: Zero waste emphasizes efficient use of resources; safe manufacturing and recycling processes to protect workers; product durability; and design for disassembly, repair, and recycling. Once communities begin to put zero waste practices in place, the residual fraction — that which is left over because it is either too toxic to be safely recycled or is made out of non-recyclable materials — becomes evident, and industrial design mistakes and inefficiencies can be studied and corrected.

Read entire Op-Ed at Nation of Change.

All Around The World

Dear friends,

It’s not often you get to feel the world shift a little bit — but three years ago, that’s exactly what happened.

On October 24, 2009, 350.org’s first ever day of action took the world by storm, with over 5,000 events in 181 countries. The International Day of Climate Action helped put the 350 movement on the map in every corner of the globe.

It’s hard to describe it in words, so take two minutes to watch this video — and consider chipping in to support the work ahead of us:

WATCH THE VIDEO

CNN called the event “the most widespread day of political action in our planet’s history.” Foreign Policy magazine called it “the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind.” For 24 hours, the global climate movement was the top story on Google News.

But it isn’t the media attention that inspires me most — it’s everything that has happened since.

In the last three years, a truly global movement has risen up to fight the climate crisis. Millions of people have been touched by 350 campaigns, trainings, and mass mobilizations. We’ve launched and won critical climate battles all over the world — and we’re just getting started.

Our most important work is ahead of us — we’re planning a landmark global convergence, embarking upon an educational road-tour, and launching hard-hitting campaigns in countries all around the world.

We’re working with local groups and partners in India, the Philippines, and Australia to scale up campaigns to move beyond coal and shift to renewable energy. Our friends in France and Indonesia are carrying on the fight to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies and cut off corporate polluters from public handouts. And so it goes around the world — everywhere we’re able, we’re working with incredible grassroots activists to push for the solutions that the planet and its people so desperately need.

Whether you joined us three years ago, or just found out about 350.org yesterday, thank you for all that you do to build this movement.

Let’s keep shifting the world. Together.

Onwards,

Will Bates for the 350.org team

Climate Change Science

From Nation of Change and IPS News
by Stephen Leahy
5 May 2012

Standing Up for the Planet and the Future

There’s been a general perception that climate change is a future problem but with all the extreme weather disasters and weather records the public is being to realise that climate change is here, says Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, a U.S.-based environmental group.

“Recent opinion surveys show the more than 60 percent of the U.S. public are connecting extreme weather to climate change,” Henn told IPS.

The U.S. public is not wrong, say scientists.

“All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, told IPS previously.

Last year the U.S. endured 14 separate billion-dollar-plus weather disasters including flooding, hurricanes and tornados.

This year, most of the U.S. and Canada experienced summer in winter with record-shattering heat waves in March. More than 15,000 temperature records were broken in the U.S. which had its first billion-dollar weather disaster of the year. In most places, the spring month of April was colder than March.

“What kind of future are we leaving for our children if we keep putting more carbon into the atmosphere?” asks Nix.

As a former scientist who used to work for the oil industry in Canada’s tar sands, he has a pretty good idea of what’s coming unless fossil fuels are phased out. Catastrophic consequences including everything from droughts, floods, forest fires, food shortages, to increases in tropical diseases and political chaos.

“Politicians are not leading. Corporations are only interested in quick profits. They are the real radicals in our society,” says Nix. This is a reference to a high-level Canadian official who accused environmentalists of having a “radical ideological agenda” in an open letter.

“There is no one left to protect the future for our children but the public,” says Nix.

Every day, six long trains each carrying up to 10,000 tonnes of coal from the U.S. and British Columbia (BC) travel the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line to the Westshore Coal Terminal at Delta, BC just north of the U.S. border. It is the busiest coal export port in North America.

The climate-heating carbon in the coal exported every year is equivalent to the annual emissions for the entire province of BC of 4.5 million people and many energy-intense industries like aluminium smelting and mining, says Nix.

“We have to stop burning coal. Leading scientists like James Hansen have made that clear,” he said.

Nix and other members of British Columbians for Climate Action have asked to meet with government officials to work out a plan to phase out coal exports. Their requests have been ignored. Now they have asked U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet to take action. His company Berkshire Hathaway Inc owns BNSF, one of the largest freight networks in North America.

Buffet has previously cancelled plans to build new coal-fired plants in the U.S. In a letter to Buffet, British Columbians for Climate Action write, “…when it comes to climate change it appears that other people are doing all the suffering while you profit from the very causes of the problem.”

On Saturday, 23-year-old Brandon Cormier wants to inform her local residents in the small Canadian town of Orangeville, Ontario about one of the sources of the climate change problem, Canada’s huge tar sands operation that boils oil out sands under its northern forests.

Cormier is organizing a demo-fest event as part of International Stop the Tar Sands Day*, which is also May 5.

“I am hoping to make local people more aware of climate change, and that the tar sands are a big contributor,” says Cormier, who has never done anything like this.

International Stop the Tar Sands Day has been held annually since 2010 with events in 50 cities around the world last year. It involves playful demonstration-festivals involving music, dancing, costumes, handing out flowers and postcards as part of an awareness-raising effort.

The tar sands operations in the province of Alberta supply the US with more than 2.4 million barrels of heavy oil a day. Considered “dirty oil” because requires large amounts of natural gas and clean water to extract it from the ground, it is under growing international pressure as a major source of carbon emissions and over destruction of thousands of kilometers of forests and wetlands.

“Not many people I know want to help me with this. They think that it is silly being so far away (from Alberta)….But I won’t let that discourage me. It’s everyone’s planet.”

Read entire report at Nation of Change.

Climate Coughing To Death

From Avaaz

Dear Friends,

Our oceans are dying, our air changing, and our forests and grasslands turning to deserts. From fish and plants to wildlife to human beings, we are killing the planet that sustains us, and fast. There is one single greatest cause of this destruction of the natural world — climate change, and in the next 48 hours, we have a chance to stop it.

The UN treaty on climate change — our best hope for action — expires next year, but a dirty and greedy US-led coalition of oil-captured countries is trying to kill it forever. It’s staggeringly difficult to believe, but they are trading short term profits for the survival of our natural world.

The EU, Brazil and China are all on the fence — they are not slaves to oil companies the way the US is, but they need to hear a massive call to action from people before they really lead financially and politically to save the UN treaty. The world is gathered at the climate summit for the next 48 hours to make the big decision. Let’s send our leaders a massive call to stand up to big oil and save the planet — an Avaaz team at the summit will deliver our call directly:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/the_planet_is_dying_us_2/?vl

Things are becoming desperate — all over our planet extreme weather continues to smash records, leaving millions homeless and without food or shelter. We’re rapidly reaching our point of no return to stop runaway climate change — we only have until 2015 to start making drastic reductions to our carbon pollution.

Yet despite this very real urgency, the world has failed to mobilise against the fossil fuel captured democracy of the US. Not only content with wrecking the Copenhagen talks and the Kyoto protocol, they are now building a coalition of climate treaty killers to put the final nail in the coffin of international negotiations in Africa.

Our only hope to turn things around lies with Europe, Brazil and China — they can make a deal happen, but they need to do it together, and that’s where we come in. Europe is tired, it’s fought long and hard on climate and needs a public boost. China has already agreed to binding commitments, is sensitive to its international reputation, and could lead further if we give it an encouraging push. And Brazil is hosting next year’s earth summit — making them eager to set the world up for climate success. Let’s build a giant global call to bring our champions together and build a green dream team. Sign the petition now and forward this email:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/the_planet_is_dying_us_2/?vl

The crazy focus on short term profits that motivates countries to stall and scuttle action on a climate crisis that literally threatens the survival of all of us cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, our movement has the power to intervene in this process and demand change. Let’s stand together and inspire others to stand with us for a safer, more humane world.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Emma, Ricken, Iain, Antonia, Morgan, Dalia, Pascal and the rest of the Avaaz team

2 Suns 1 Planet

Not Just Science Fiction: Planet orbits 2 suns
From Associated Press.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California (AP) — Astronomers say a bit of science fiction is now reality. They’ve spotted a planet orbiting two suns.

The discovery was made by NASA’s planet-hunting telescope Kepler. Scientists describe the find in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

They are calling the new planet Tatooine after the fictional body in the “Star Wars” films that boasts a double sunset.

The alien world, about the size of Saturn, is frigid and inhospitable. It orbits two stars 200 light-years from Earth.

Though there have been past hints of the existence of other planets that circled double stars, scientists said this is the first confirmation.

Kepler was launched in 2009 to find out how common other planets — especially Earth-like planets — are in the universe.

Read more at Yahoo News.

Grateful Interdependence Day

Yes, in 1776 we declared independence from the English, but are we really independent? The prosperity the majority of Americans now enjoy, on this day of independence, has come about because of our dependence on millions of people throughout the world. Without the continuing supply of cheap labor from a stream of immigrants and the importation of sixty percent of the worlds’ resources, much of our perceived strength and image of self-reliance would collapse into a pile of deluded dust.

The food we stuff ourselves with daily; comes from a long line of inter-related, inter-dependent actions. Most Americans buy their food at a grocery store, but before it is placed on the counter, in the freezer or on the shelf, countless hands have touched, processed and grown the product we so easily consume. There are the truckers, the farmers, the packagers, landowners, farm workers, equipment, supplies and natural resources, to name but a few.

Our families depend on one another for safety, for health, for education, entertainment, recreation and personal enrichment. Our communities use the assistance of county, state and federal support for finances and security, which come from our neighbors’ taxes, time and contributions.

In spite of these realities, we cling to our separateness, our individuality, our belief that we must all “stand on our own two feet”, “pull up our bootstraps”; be different from “all the rest”.

Sickness, loss and death tend to shatter these illusions. When you’ve had a loved one die, taken care of an ill family member or needed care from others, it’s nearly impossible to remain independent, yet many, including myself, try to “go it alone” and find it difficult to accept help from others. We’ve been so ingrained with the idea of self-reliance that it feels like pulling teeth to ask for or accept help from another.

I often hear from clients that one of the most painful transitions and the most surprising, is how difficult it was for they or their loved one, to ask for or receive assistance and care. To accept someone’s help implied weakness, debt, dependency and shame. It’s OK to give to and care for others (and the sense of control that provides), but it’s not OK to receive or accept the same care from another?

I don’t wish to imply that independence, self-reliance and self-determination are not valuable or important qualities for personal and societal survival . . . they are . . . but at what cost? Must we wait until we’re so sick we can hardly move, so overwhelmed we don’t know what to do next, or in great emotional and/or physical pain, before we remember how close and inter-dependent we all are? Can we use the 4th of July as a reminder not only to celebrate our independence and sovereignty, but also our connection with and gratitude for the lands’, nations’ and peoples’ with whom’ we share this planet?

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