Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Peasants Are Revolting

What are governments to do when an economic crisis hits, causing an already disproportionate number of poverty-stricken people to massively enlarge their ranks – to the point where they take to the streets to protest over their lack of basic necessities? Well, they repress and kill them of course.

For a brief period yesterday, this article appeared on the main page of the BBC. It’s gone today, replaced with more important articles like ‘What the way you hold a glass says about your personality‘. After you’ve figured out who you are by the way you hold your cocktail, perhaps take a little time to read the former link – where you can read a BBC summary of the latest of Amnesty International’s annual reports (the 424 page document you can download below) on human rights abuses worldwide. It makes for sobering reading. The situation is being described as a ‘powder keg’ and ‘time bomb’ that threatens security worldwide.

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Posted in Food Shortages, Geopolitics & Economics, Society

The Story of Stuff

  • Did you know that the average house size in the United States is double what it was in the 1970s? I wonder if it isn’t partly because we need space for all of our stuff?
  • Did you know that in the U.S. national happiness peaked sometime in the1950s, even though we consume twice as much as we did fifty years ago? All of our stuff doesn’t seem to have helped here.
  • Did you know that in the past three decades, one-third of the planet’s natural resources base have been consumed to make all of our stuff?
  • Did you know that we each see more advertisements in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime?
  • Did you know that for every garbage can of waste you put out on the curb, 70 garbage cans of waste were made upstream to make the junk in that one garbage can you put out on the curb?
  • Did you know that 40% of U.S. waterways are now undrinkable, and that to make all of our stuff we now have over 100,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today — only a handful of which have even been tested for human health impacts and NONE have been tested for synergistic health impacts? (source)

Today I’d like to introduce you to the story of stuff….

Posted in Consumerism, Global Warming

Why ‘Increased Energy Efficiency’ Won’t Save Us

There’s a lot of talk in political circles on how technology and ‘increased efficiency’ will save us from our socioeconomic and ecological woes. The U.S., for example, is finally getting a little more serious about vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and we’re sharpening our pencils in many other areas as well.

Saving energy is course a good thing – indeed, it should be seen as an imperative moral duty. I mean, on a cold, windy winter’s day, would you wander around the house in your underwear with the heaters wound to max and curtains flailing wildly through wide open windows? Most would consider this obscene. In the same way, producing vehicles that unashamedly consume vast amounts of ancient forest just for a race between the lights is the ultimate in stupidity.

But, having said all that, too few understand that just making something more efficient doesn’t necessarily translate into an energy saving. On the contrary, it has been repeatedly shown that greater efficiency translates easily into greater consumption.

Yes, read that last sentence again.

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Posted in Consumerism, Energy, Geopolitics & Economics

Permaculture Miracles in the Austrian Mountains

Photo credit: Keith Johnson

I’d like to introduce you to Sepp Holzer, a man who not only produces food in a very unlikely location, at a high and frigid altitude in Austria, but is also growing very unlikely crops there as well — and all without the use of chemicals, and with minimal input of human labour.

I guess you could call him a European counterpart of people like Bill Mollison and Masanobu Fukuoka — as all three independently discovered ways of working with nature that save money and labour and that don’t degrade the environment, but actually improve it. In Holzer’s case, he was effectively running a permaculture farm for more than two decades before he even realised his unconventional approach could be termed ‘permaculture’.

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Posted in Design, Permaculture

Monsanto Invents the Pig

Duration: 43 minutes

It’s amazing what humankind can do with a little effort and ingenuity. Who’da thought we could create an intelligent, four legged creature with a curly tail, that actually walks and makes cute grunting noises?

Stand by to be horrified at the lengths Big Biotech will go to take over the world’s food supplies. You’ll also be shocked to learn that pig and cattle farmers are seeing their livestock go sterile due to giving them genetically modified feed.

Without further ado, I introduce Monsanto – inventors of the pig….

Posted in GMOs, Health

The Corporation

“If corporations are legally human – what kind of people are they?”

No green website should go without making a mention of the ‘The Corporation’ movie. We’ll go a step further, and make it easy for you to watch it. Many of you will have seen it – but if you haven’t, take some time to do so. Below you’ll find the complete, highly acclaimed and appropriately disturbing documentary.

If this topic is very new to you, read a little background info in the passages below, as I’ll share some text that may help demonstrate why we need to soberly consider The Corporation presentation. Large corporations, particularly trans-national corporations, have become a law unto themselves – the consequences being that this global corporate system is controlling world governments and labour, damaging the environment, destabilising society, escalating global warming, and more!

The Corporation – Duration: 3 hours

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Posted in Geopolitics & Economics, Society

The Bionic Burger

Long before Supersize Me or Fast Food Nation, Matt Malmgren was making interesting discoveries about fast food. In 1989, the trailing edge of the mullet era, he bought two burgers — he ate one and put the other in his pocket, intending to eat it later, but subsequently forgot about it. A full year passed before he pulled his old jacket out of the closet again, rediscovering the burger — and to his surprise found it still looked and smelled the same as a new one. It hadn’t decomposed.

When he told his friends about it, they didn’t believe him, so he repeated the experiment, several times over…. Today he has the world’s largest burger museum. All perfectly preserved with a chemical cocktail that discourages (much smarter) animals and insects from eating them.

Posted in Consumerism, Health, Pollution

Nuclear Fusion – a Long Shot?

Nuclear Fusion in the sun
already powers our lives

If you could compare all the different applications of clean technology (solar, wind, etc.) to horses in a race, I guess you could say that Nuclear Fusion is the ‘long shot’. It’s the old nag that everyone expects to come in last, if it comes in at all. But, as long shots do, if it does come in the pay-off would be huge.

Often slated to be a fifty year project, the time-frame has recently been chiselled down to a ‘modest’ thirty years – maybe.

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Posted in Energy, Nuclear