Category Archives: Geopolitics & Economics

Update on Shell Lawsuit

I know many of you will be wondering what happened in the Wiwa vs. Shell case I wrote about recently, as they were scheduled for a June 3 pre-trial conference, and that date has now long passed.

Well, Shell kept delaying and there were no reasons given. Now, however, we see what was going on behind the scenes – Shell was deliberating over an out of court settlement of 15.5 million dollars, which the plaintiffs ultimately accepted.

I’m torn over the outcome – jubilant in one respect, and feeling wholly dissatisfied in another. The good news is that Shell is being taken to task over its activities in the Niger Delta, and is having to cough up some cash to compensate. And, it’s great to see the power of democracy through the internet, as months ago Shell dismissed the plaintiffs as if they didn’t expect the case to go to trial or to gather any steam. With many bloggers picking up the scent, and bringing this issue to the greater public, pressure grew and grew until they realised this situation was not going to be easily swept under the mat. It’s great to see a revolution of typing bringing succour to the underdog.

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Also posted in Energy, Pollution

The Video Shell Doesn’t Want You to See

Photo credit: Ed Kashi

The video below was originally displayed on – the website for the plaintiffs filing a law suit against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell – but was removed by court order after legal motions were filed by the multinational. Thanks to YouTube, however, the video has a new lease of life and has at time of typing been viewed over 65,000 times since being uploaded two weeks ago. It’s a decent introduction to the atrocities committed by the corporation in collusion with the Nigerian government and its military, spotlighting their determined efforts to put down a peaceful and popular movement by the citizens of Nigeria against the violent, corporate control and destruction of their lives, land and resources.

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Also posted in Energy, Global Warming, Pollution

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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Also posted in Food Shortages, Society

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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Also posted in Consumerism, Energy

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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Also posted in Society

Will Obama Allow Organic Farming and Farmers’ Markets to Effectively Get Banned?

A potential new legally enforced system of regulating how food is produced and processed currently before the U.S. Congress has profound and worrying implications for everyone who eats – and all those seeking to work towards sustainability. Significantly, the Bills before Congress may give a new ‘Food Safety Authority’ enormous powers of control – despite not specifically detailing exactly what this new authority intends to do with this power…. This post needs to be read, considered and acted upon by all.

Note: Feel free to skip my intro, and the background, and jump to the meat if you so desire.

I have a dream.

I dream of an age where governments stop pandering to big business lobbyists, and start incentivising a sensible, transitional shift to small-scale, localised food systems. This dream has our current dependence on (rapidly diminishing) supplies of oil – with its extreme cost in human life and economic and environmental destruction – effectively short-circuited. With current industrialised agriculture consuming ten calories of fossil fuels to create a single calorie of food, I see that this dream, if it doesn’t crystalise into reality, and soon, could quickly become a nightmare.

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Also posted in Health, Pollution, Society

Food Miles, or ‘Fair Miles’

When you make your purchases, are you struggling over the decision to ‘shop local’ or ‘support the poor in distant lands’? If so, read this.

I had been meaning to make a post on the subject of ‘Food Miles, or Fair Miles’, and finding this article from Reuters provided an ideal vehicle to do so. Please consider the following:

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Also posted in Consumerism, Food Shortages

Money as Debt

Many of us are watching the current economic crisis with great interest (albeit with a lot of concern). A lot of us could also see it coming. Our modern economic systems are ultimately inviable, based on ever increasing debt and ever enlarging boom and bust cycles. Systemic economic collapse is inevitable, and painful (indeed, disastrous) though it may be, in many ways the sooner it happens the better it will be for the world. Our ecologies are running out of time, the rate of species loss is becoming exponential, the depletion of critical resources is moving ahead apace, and our human population continues to balloon year by year. We have formerly democratic nations heading towards fascism, and a massive consolidation of power giving money-motivated corporations the controlling influence over governments and media. Creating a whole new society will be excruciatingly difficult – but it will be impossible if we’re trying to do so without decent resources left to work with.

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Also posted in Society

Staring at the Future from the Top of the Slippery Slide

The IEA World Energy Outlook reports get more accurate every year – by 2030 it’ll be spot on.

Disclaimer: As the title should indicate, don’t read this post if you’re of a delicate disposition.

The International Energy Agency has just released the latest incarnation of its annual ‘World Energy Outlook‘ report – the 2008 edition. Please stand for a moment of mock-reverence.

Thank you. Please be seated.

For those not familiar, the IEA releases an annual report, making reasonably detailed projections of expected energy supplies and demands for the nations of the world. It breaks these total energy forecasts down into its various sources (oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, etc.), and looks at expected economic growth trends for different countries and sectors and their impacts on energy consumption. The last several editions have covered the period from publication to the year 2030, and they have also factored in a few different scenarios to roughly cover policy changes that could occur throughout the period to give policymakers an idea of potential outcomes.

It is certainly a worthwhile endeavour – you could say critical, actually. If only they did it well.

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Also posted in Energy, Global Warming

The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide

A recently released study, the largest of its kind, examines the root causes of, and solutions for, a food crisis that will likely get much worse before it gets better — and that will never get better if we continue with business as usual

I’m hungry.

No, not because I don’t have enough food to eat, but because I’m too busy typing and too lazy to walk to the refrigerator. How I wish it were this simple for the people I keep reading about.

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Also posted in Food Shortages