Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies – socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor – and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.
The Plague Species grows by nearly 1/4 million daily. Extinctions (excluding micro organisms) and toxification will only worsen.
This was not a good year for journalists. 80 members of the press have been killed in 2018, at least 60 are currently being held hostage, and nearly 350 are being detained. Of those who were killed over 40 were targeted murders. Julian Assange still held hostage.
Reporters Without Borders
Who will rebuild after a climate disaster as workers retire and weather worsens? We simply don’t have enough tradespeople to rebuild after an event. Presently we are three months out from the next tornados hitting Ottawa and there are whole apartment units that haven’t been touched and are filled with snow because there hasn’t been anybody available to work on them.
‘Conservation never ends’: 40 years in the kingdom of gorillas
While studying Rwanda’s critically endangered mountain gorillas in the 1970s, newlywed graduate students Amy Vedder and Bill Weber learned that the government was considering converting gorilla habitat into a cattle ranch. At the time, conventional wisdom held that the mountain gorillas would inevitably go extinct. But Vedder and Weber believed the species could be saved, and proposed a then-revolutionary ecotourism scheme to the Rwandan government. Forty years later, that scheme has proved its worth. Mountain gorilla populations have rebounded, and tourism generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Vedder and Weber now work to inspire the next generation of conservationists both in Rwanda and abroad.
PICA year of hard-fought wins in conservation
There were other things happening out there too: conservation successes, huge wins for global health, more peace and tolerance, less war and violence, rising living standards, some big clean energy milestones, and a quiet turning of the tide in the fight against plastic. Stories of human progress, that didn’t make it into the evening broadcasts, or onto your social media feeds.
And for more happy news click here.
Lets hope we may be in time
In 2017, Darebin Council in Victoria, Australia, became the first council in the world to declare a climate emergency. They wrote a Climate Emergency Plan and in 2018 held a Climate Emergency Conference. https://www.yoursaydarebin.com.au/climateaction
Recently, London became the third city in the UK to declare a Climate Emergency, after Bristol and Manchester, with Totnes and Stroud following soon after. The London emergency transition program will include retrofitting buildings, creating a national electricity system that runs without creating greenhouse gas emissions, and electrifying the transportation system.
There are now 21 councils and cities that have declared a climate emergency and eight of these declarations were in the last two weeks!
In the US, The Climate Mobilization succeeded in having emergency climate action and a World War two-scale mobilisation written into the platform of the Democratic Party. Newly elected Democrats are pushing hard for a Green New Deal.
So, now we have the story. Stage wars in small S**hole countries to strike terror, and against the bigger more determined like Russia and China only threaten and rattle the sabres, but under no circumstances risk a real war. That might hurt. The expensive might of America may be used only to destroy the weak but merely to bully the strong.
The Pentagon Wants You to Go Shopping While the Experts Go to War
People are calling the US wars failures – Afghanistan, Syria, etc. But suppose this was not their purpose? Suppose the most powerful military on earth was not created to conquer but to destabilise and overawe? Suppose that institutional instability was the real aim? The benefits are many. People in these countries are then too busy surviving to prevent the theft of their assets; leadership too fragmented to construct a defence against the Empire; nations too deeply in shock to realise what is being done to them. In this scenario every country should be made into willing allies – like the UK and Australia – or shambles. Then there is nobody to oppose the Imperial will.
Americans are in the dark about the near-global warfare being waged in their name. Societal degradation and democratic implosion, caused in part by endless phoney war and the lies associated with it, are this country’s real existential enemies, even if you can’t find them listed in any National Defence Strategy. Indeed, the price tag for America’s wars may in the end prove not just heavy but catastrophic.Iceland elects 41-year-old environmentalist as prime minister
One of the most well-liked politicians in Iceland, Katrín, a former education minister and avowed environmentalist, has pledged to set Iceland on the path to carbon neutrality by 2040. As Iceland’s fourth prime minister in only two years, Katrín will take office at a time when national politics have been tainted by public distrust and scandal. A democratic socialist, Katrín is viewed as a bridge-building leader that may lead the country towards positive, incremental change. “She is the party leader who can best unite voters from the left and right,”
Democratic Party Platform
The US cannot wait for another nation to lead the world in combating the global climate emergency. We must move first in launching a green industrial revolution, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because it is in our own national interest to do so. Our generation now must lead a World War II-type national mobilisation to save civilisation from catastrophic consequences. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, climate experts, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities to chart a course toward the healthy future we all want for our families and communities.40 years ago we had the chance to save the planet.
In the 1970s it was clear we needed to act on fossil fuels, and even the big producers supported action. By 183 the voices of caution and uncertainty were dampening any sense of urgency. Within ten years the sense of urgency was gone and the US government and the press moved to counter action. Attention was concentrated on diversions, such as the hole in the ozone layer which took the pressure off the fossil fuel industry. Inaction has just solidified since then, with hints of progress to still the opposition.
Rise of carbon dioxide–absorbing mountains in tropics may set thermostat for global climate
Many mountains in Indonesia and neighbouring Papua New Guinea consist of ancient volcanic rocks from the ocean floor that were caught in a colossal tectonic collision between a chain of island volcanoes and a continent, and thrust high. Lashed by tropical rains, these rocks hungrily react with CO2 and sequester it in minerals. That is why, with only 2% of the world’s land area, Indonesia accounts for 10% of its long-term CO2 absorption. Its mountains could explain why ice sheets have persisted, waxing and waning, for several million years (although they are now threatened by global warming). Now, researchers have extended that theory, finding that such tropical mountain-building collisions coincide with nearly all of the half-dozen significant glacial periods in the past 500 million years.
If anyone thinks that mass protests and marching on the streets is going to achieve anything, then watch these two. If the streets can be cleared how do our greater numbers have any impact. With this system, now well-developed in China, you wont want to march any more – not if the pollies feel threatened. A new strategy is needed. Its urgent to consider this, for the media is owned by the fossil fuel industry and the internet and social media can be switched off at the first hint of real trouble. Do we have any other role than to be consumers? ?????
And to this add swarms of miniature killer drones, and we the people may be forced to stay home and be mindlessly entertained.
Is this an answer?
620 KM Long Women’s Wall of Kerala Challenges Brahmanical Patriarchy
About 3-5 million women formed a wall across Kerala to protect to protect Kerala’s renaissance values and for women empowerment. About three million women stood shoulder to shoulder across Kerala and formed 620 KM “wall” from Thiruvananthapuram to the northern district of Kasaragod. They also pledged to protect the renaissance values of Kerala. The wall was organised against the backdrop of the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala temple entry of menstruating women. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the wall was to save Kerala being ‘dragged back into the era of darkness’. The wall saw massive participation cutting across class/caste/religious barriers. Expressing solidarity, thousands of men also lined up parallel forming a second human ‘wall’.
The Gathering Climate Storm and the Media Cover-up
With the exception of the few who comprehend the nature of a Faustian Bargain, some billionaires, captains of industry and their political and media mouthpieces are driving humanity toward self-destruction through the two biggest enterprises on Earth, the fossil fuel industry, which is devastating the Earth atmosphere, and the industrial-military machine leading toward nuclear war. The rest of the world is dragged subconsciously, induced by bread and circuses.
The Emissions Gap Report 2018 from the UN lays out the past failure with brutal clarity.
This year will most likely be the fourth warmest year on record since 1880, with the past five years the warmest ever recorded. Worse, in 2017 emissions increased once again, after three years of stagnation. We are still to turn this corner.
Furthermore, the “determined commitments” made in Paris in 2015, would be insufficient, even if implemented, to keep the temperature below 1.5C. Instead, current commitments imply global warming of about 3C, with warming continuing afterwards. Moreover, the shift has to start now.
The commitments announced so far are inadequate. The climate talks in Katowice, Poland, have not changed this, particularly now that the US is an egregious free-rider. Yet, even without US backsliding, the commitments are inadequate.
What makes this so depressing is that a zero-carbon economy is now both feasible and affordable. The tragedy is that while the scientists and technologists have won the argument, the climate sceptics and deniers have effectively won the policy debate: we are doing far too little, far too late.Here’s what may be driving a US troop withdrawal from Syria
Turkish forces want to push their troops into Syria. The U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds want to keep the Turkish forces out. And the U.S. has struggled for months to keep both players happy.mA confrontation between the U.S and Turkey, officially NATO allies, would create a geopolitical crisis at the heart of the world’s most powerful military alliance.
National debt interest will soon exceed national defence spending
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the interest payments will surpass Medicaid costs within 18 months and that they will exceed all national defence spending by 2023. By 2025, the interest will surge past the combined totals of all non-defence discretionary programs together, including funding for national parks, scientific research, health care, education, the court system and infrastructure. Between now and 2023 nearly three-quarters of the federal debt will mature and must be refinanced at whatever the presumably higher interest rates are in effect then.
$800M in Taxpayer Money Went to Funding For-Profit Immigrant Prisons in 2018
While President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda has been disastrous—and deadly—for asylum-seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, a Daily Beast investigation published on Thursday found that the White House’s xenophobic policies have been a major boon for the private prison industry at the expense of American taxpayers.The beginning of the water wars
There is no doubt, Egypt will be in serious problems if the level of the Nile actually sinks. And it is not only Ethiopia with its new Renaissance Dam threatening the water flow of the Nile. The African countries around Lake Victoria also make their claims. East Africa seeks more Nile water from Egypt. Egypt considers such claims as a declaration of war. The countries recognise that, without co-operation, if you add climate change and growing populations the future is a very risky. Egypt and Ethiopia have tried their best to defuse the potential armed conflict, and with some success so far. The negotiations are based on the Nile water treaty of 1929, in which Egypt and Sudan were given rights to a stipulated amount of water and safeguard Egypt’s historic rights by giving Egypt full reservations on any agreement concerning the flow of the water. The East African countries no longer accept old agreements made by the colonial rulers in the Nile countries.
Whatever you might think of Trump’s record in office, the last two years were something of a honeymoon for Donald Trump. The president will never again have so many levers of power at his disposal. After the mid-term elections, the Democrats control the House of Representatives by a significant margin of more than 30 seats, and able to block Trump’s legislative agenda. They will also use their control of committees to launch multiple investigations into Trump personally (such as his tax returns), into his 2016 campaign (including campaign financing), and into the actions of his administration (for instance, the use of his office to increase his family’s wealth). In 2019, Trump will face greater pressure from the investigation by Robert Mueller. So far, this investigation under the auspices of the FBI has resulted in five guilty verdicts for Trump associates.
Growth of CO₂ in the atmosphere to be accelerating.
And it’s not just carbon dioxide emissions that are rising. Methane emissions are rising as well. Sadly, politicians typically ignore this elephant in the room, i.e. seafloor methane emissions that threaten to trigger a huge temperature rise within years. In December sea surface temperature anomalies were as high as 8.9°C in the Pacific and as high as 10.1°C in the Atlantic. Albedo change is one of the feedbacks that the IPCC has yet to come to grips with, and merely hoped it would somehow compensated for by albedo gain in the Antarctic.