Category Archives: Pollution

Home (Video)

‘Home’ trailer (watch the full documentary here)
Also available in Arabic, French, German, Russian and Spanish.

This documentary, ‘Home‘, is almost perfect.

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Also posted in Deforestation, Energy, Food Shortages, Global Warming, Water

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, Geopolitics & Economics

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, Geopolitics & Economics, Global Warming

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.

Also posted in Consumerism, Health

Pandemic Ahoy?

Factory farming is back in the spotlight….

The 1975-77 TV Series ‘Survivors’

I’m showing my age here, but I was today reminded of an old British TV series called ‘Survivors‘ that was very popular in the late 1970s (nothing to do with modern reality shows!). It was a bit like Mad Max, but set in Britain, and after a pandemic rather than a nuclear war. The pandemic was, incidentally, a man-made affair. A lab experiment went horribly wrong when a test-tube crashed to the floor releasing a deadly virus. The scientist subsequently spread the contagion around the globe as he flew from convention to convention. Very few individuals survived.

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Also posted in Consumerism, Health

The Food Crisis Spurs Gene Patenting Race

Big Biotech is gearing up to substantially increase their market share in the face of a global food and climate crisis — in hopes of cashing in on desperation. The patenting office has never been so busy.

Do you remember the pulitzer prize-winning photo that shocked the world back in 1994? You know, that macabre shot of an emaciated child struggling hopelessly towards a feeding station a kilometre away, with a vulture waiting patiently, and wistfully, behind. With that single image, the photographer, Kevin Carter, brought the Sudan famine into stark relief for an astonished public.

Well-framed images can evoke sympathy and outrage, so I am thus left almost desperately wondering how to frame what I see happening with the current international food crisis — as sympathy and outrage are needed now like never before.

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Also posted in Diversity, Food Shortages, GMOs

India Suicides: I Want My Father Back

I’ve made mention of the social and environmental costs of monocultures and genetically modified crops often. Amongst these has been many mentions of a humanitarian disaster occuring on a daily basis in India, where thousands of farmers have been committing suicide as a result of failed harvests — the failed harvests being the result of failed promises from the likes of Monsanto. The following documentary, produced in India, by Indians, paints the clearest picture of this situation that I’ve yet seen. In addition, the documentary compares the failure of those sucked into input-intensive industrialised agriculture with the success of those who have reverted to organic methods.

Also posted in Food Shortages, GMOs, Health, 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 Geopolitics & Economics, Health, Society

Supermarket Secrets

Here’s a great behind the scenes look at modern supermarket and supply chain practices that have significant implications on the health of our environment, our animals, our food – and ultimately our own health. If you don’t have more than a few minutes up your sleeve, bookmark this page to watch when you do — as these are two full (and very interesting!) 49 minute documentary episodes.

Supermarket Secrets and Deceptions, Part I

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Also posted in Consumerism, Health, Society

Colony Collapse Disorder – a Moment for Reflection

Preamble: The issue of massive bee die-offs was hot in the mainstream media news last year, but now it seems they’ve moved on to more ‘interesting’ things…. Despite the lack of recent coverage, this extremely serious issue is not going away. About a year and a half ago I posted the article below to another website, and since the content of the post is still very relevant, and as it attracted a lot of attention at the time (before the administrators lost them all through website adjustments, it had attracted more than 200 comments – from beekeepers, scientists, gardeners and other interested people), I thought I’d post it again here to bring some attention back to this subject. The beautiful thing about Permaculture is it is completely holistic in nature. Industry and reductionist science tend to look at things in isolation, thus never seeing the bigger picture. The article below is an attempt to join the dots. Unless we take a broad view of the impacts of our industrial systems, we will never find solutions to such potentially cataclysmic problems as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Our previous posts on the mysterious bee disappearances have been a very interesting exercise. We’ve had great feedback from farmers, amateur and professional beekeepers, scientists, and dozens of other interested/concerned observers. In the meantime, accumulating reports tell us that the problem is not constrained to the U.S. alone – but that, to one degree or another, empty hives are becoming common in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, and now the UK.

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Also posted in Diversity, Food Shortages, Global Warming, GMOs