UK Govt. Declares Chagos Marine Reserve

I have to give full props to the BBC for this short but inclusive bulletin, it talks about the islanders far more than any of the petitions (see here or here) or the co-opted environmental shills for the marine reserve ever did-

The UK government has designated an area around the Chagos Islands as the world’s largest marine reserve. The reserve would cover a 544,000 sq km area around the Indian Ocean archipelago, regarded as one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems. This will include a “no-take” marine reserve where commercial fishing will be banned.

But islanders, who live in exile, have expressed concern that a reserve may in effect ban them from returning. The islands are known for their clean waters and unspoilt corals. Conservationists say the islands possess up to half the healthy reefs in the Indian Ocean. However, Chagossians have said the protected zone could prevent them from fishing – their main livelihood.

The former residents, who were evicted from the British overseas territory between 1967 and 1971 to make way for a US Air Force base on the largest island, Diego Garcia, have fought a long-running battle in the UK courts for the right to return.

Reprieve Take Up The Case Of Chagos Ignored By Corporate Environmentalists

Also worth seeing is Johann Hari’s exposé of co-opted environmental shills. While this focusses on the rendered clients of Reprieve it does also talk about the dispossessed Chagossians and makes the good point that human rights are being abused while other lifeforms gain some protection.

Reprieve:- The British Government is this week expected to announce that 210,000 sq km around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean will become the world’s largest marine reserve.

Sadly, the proposed legislation fails to protect members of the controversial species homo sapiens.

Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands, has been used for illegal rendition and detention of Reprieve clients Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni and Mustafa Setmarian Naser. The strange omission of the homo sapiens species in the new legislation raises serious questions as to why they should not be afforded the same legal protections as marine life.

On the 1st March Clive Stafford Smith raised Reprieve’s concerns with the Foreign Secretary in a letter (full version may be downloaded Here):

More than 30 years ago, the entire population of the Chagos Islands was removed to Mauritius against their will, to make way for an American military base. It seems unlikely that conservation law would have allowed for the wholesale destruction of the natural habitat of, say, Dendrodoris tuberculosa (the warty sea slug), in order to build such a base – but this was perhaps the first example of the warty sea slug having greater rights than the lowly homo sapiens in the region.

The current legal position in BIOT is bizarre. Almost uniquely amongst states, the territorial waters of the BIOT only extend out to 3 nautical miles, rather than the 12 miles allowed by international law. Inside the 3 mile limit, in theory, the species Homo sapiens has reasonable legal protection. BIOT’s laws roughly mirror those of England and Wales. There should be no detention without trial, no kidnapping and no rendition. Torture is a crime. The Geneva Conventions have the force of law. A court system exists to enforce the basic rights of members of this life form..

However, beyond 3 miles, these legal protections for Homo sapiens have no application. The BIOT courts and BIOT police have no jurisdiction to prevent the capture, torture or even the killing of members of the species if, for example, they are dragged onto a prison ship against their will by some people in American uniforms.

Indeed, we are currently representing a member of our species, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, in his claim against the FCO. As you know, Mr Madni was subjected to ‘extraordinary’ rendition (i.e. kidnapping for torture) via Diego Garcia.

Tthe effect of your proposals would be peculiar. All other animal and fish life will enjoy protection up to 200 miles out from Diego Garcia. In addition to the worthy warty sea slug, every polyp of Gardineroseris planulata (honeycomb coral), and every Chaetodon trifascialis (chevron butterflyfish) will enjoy strict protection from being captured, killed or mistreated many miles from land. It seems that the only exception will be for our own taxonomic group, who will not be included in this wide-ranging and sensible proposal.

Reprieve Director, Clive Stafford Smith said :

“On Diego Garcia you may be arrested for violating the rights of a Warty Sea Slug, but no-one will object if you land a plane with a kidnapped, shackled, hooded man trapped in a coffin-shaped box. This happened to our client, Mr Madni, and it cannot be right. We fully support the Government’s plan to protect sea slugs on the island – but only if Homo Sapiens are to be given the same protection.” (ht2 Earwicga)

A Warm Passage

The Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that in a major first, a commercial ship travelled through the Northwest Passage this fall to deliver supplies to communities in western Nunavut.

For a ship to be able to travel through the Northwest Passage, which has historically been impassable with thick ice, had some wondering if the MV Camilla Desgagnés is heralding a new era in Arctic shipping.

Louie Kamookak, the director of hamlet housing and public works in Gjoa Haven, said tugboats and barges usually deliver supplies from the west. Residents were surprised to see the MV Camilla Desgagnés come in from the east, he said.

“Looks like it’s going to be more shipping or ships travelling, with the ice clearing up north of this area,” Kamookak said.

Rayes, who was on the vessel during its trip through the Northwest Passage, said the company informed the coast guard, which put an icebreaker on standby.

“They were ready to be there for us if we called them, but I didn’t see one cube of ice,” he said.

“They were informed about our presence [and] they were ready to give us the support needed. However, since there was no ice whatsoever, the service was not needed, we didn’t call for it.”

And down South it’s a tad toastier too-

Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf that could lead to it breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula, the European Space Agency said. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a large sheet of floating ice south of South America, is connected to two Antarctic islands by a strip of ice. That ice “bridge” has lost about 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles) this year, the ESA said.

If the ice shelf breaks away from the peninsula, it will not cause a rise in sea level, because it is already floating, scientists say. Scambos said the ice shelf is not on the path of the increasingly popular tourist ships that travel from South America to Antarctica. But some plants and animals may have to adapt to the collapse. The ice shelf had been stable for most of the past century before it began retreating in the 1990s.

Freighters, tourist ships, hell, business is good. What could possibly go wrong?

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The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study. It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion. The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide. The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

Haiti Toll 793

Four major storms that pounded Haiti in August and September killed 793 people and left more than 300 others missing, authorities said Friday.

Haitian Civil Protection announced the new figures in a dramatic surge upward from their previous estimate of 326 dead on September 11 after the passing of Tropical Storm Fay and hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike.

According to the new data, “793 people were killed 466 of them in the city of Gonaives alone, the hardest hit by the storms, while there are 310 people unaccounted for and 548 injured,” said civil protection spokeswoman Alta Jean-Baptiste

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Warming Helps Ease Passage

And in shipping news…(why what did you think I meant?)-

For the first time ever, both the Northwest and the Northeast Passages are free of ice. Shipping companies have been waiting for this moment for years, but they will have to wait a little while longer before they can make use of the Arctic shortcut.

Shippers in Bremen are getting impatient. The Beluga Group, a shipping company based in the northern German city, had planned to send a ship through the Northeast Passage — or the Northern Sea Route, as Russians call it — this summer, according to spokeswoman Verena Beckhausen. The route leads from the Russian island Novaya Zemlya, off the northern coast of Siberia, through the Bering Strait between far eastern Russia and Alaska.

This route is radically shorter than the normal trip through the Suez Canal. From Hamburg to the Japanese port city of Yokohama, for example, the trip using the northern route is just 7,400 nautical miles — just 40 percent of the 11,500 nautical mile haul through the Suez. Dangerous ice floes normally block the shorter route, but as of a few days ago the Northeast Passage is ice-free according to Christian Melsheimer of the University of Bremen. Scientists at the university use data from the NASA satellite “Aqua” to cobble together up-to-date maps of sea ice. Still, it will likely be a while until the first ships sail through the passage. Russian authorities have still not issued the necessary permits allowing shipping companies like Beluga to take advantage of the Arctic shortcut this year.

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Dead Water, Selfish Species

As you may know I have a bit of a thing for submarines, this is part of my liking for water, both as drink and all its other fabulous myriad uses, (but I’ll leave the water sports joke for now). So… industrial farming has downsides and here, it is killing parts of the ocean-

Coastal oceans are being starved of oxygen at an alarming rate, researchers are reporting, with vast stretches of water along the seafloor depleted of oxygen to the point that they can barely sustain marine life.

The main culprit, scientists say, is nitrogen-rich nutrients from crop fertilizers that spill into coastal waters by way of rivers and streams.

In a study to be published Friday in the journal Science, researchers say the number of marine “dead zones” around the world has doubled about every 10 years since the 1960s. At the same time, the zones along many coastlines have been growing in size and intensity. About 400 coastal areas now have periodically or permanently oxygen-starved bottom waters. Combined, they constitute an area larger than the state of Oregon.

“What’s happened in the last 40, 50 years is that human activity has made the water quality conditions worse,” Robert Diaz, the study’s lead author and a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, said in an interview. “Dead zones tend to occur in areas that are historically prime fishing grounds.”

While the size of dead zones is small relative to the total surface of the earth covered by oceans, scientists say they represent a significant portion of the ocean waters that support commercial fish and shellfish species.

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Reading about aggressive policing at this year’s climate camp in Kingsnorth, one learns about The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) (their site). In their own words-

The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) forms part of the national policing response to domestic extremism, together with the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE), the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) and the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET).

Our focus is to promote a coordinated, consistent and effective approach to dealing with domestic extremism.

NETCU provides the police service of England and Wales and other enforcement agencies with tactical advice and guidance on policing domestic extremism and associated criminality.

We support the business and academic sectors, providing a centralised source of information, advice, guidance and liaison on strategies to withstand domestic extremist attacks.

We also provide Government and our partners in the police service, Crown Prosecution Service and industry with information about trends and types of domestic extremist incidents and crimes.

Getting the idea? Here’s more-

The term ‘domestic extremism’ applies to unlawful action that is part of a protest or campaign. It is most often associated with ‘single-issue’ protests, such as animal rights, anti-war, anti-globalisation and anti-GM (genetically modified) crops.

The majority of people involved in single-issue protest campaign lawfully. However, there is a small minority of campaigners who seek to further their cause by committing criminal offences.

Domestic extremism has become a concern to many organisations because it targets people and their homes, as well as business premises. Domestic extremism moves beyond the bounds of legitimate protest to intimidate individuals engaged in lawful activity and to impose economic costs on legal businesses. As such, it presents a criminal threat that is national in its scope to the UK and its citizens.

In the context of the climate camp Caroline Lucas writes

So, as climate campers hold workshops and debate some of the key issues of our time – peak oil, economic downturn, food shortages – scores of police sweat in their riot gear on the other side of the fence. They all clutch a copy of a pocket booklet entitled Policing Protests produced by the ominously titled National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, which appears designed to provide endless ways of shutting down legitimate protests. One such tactic has been to smash the windows of vehicles parked outside the camp and to try to tow away cars under the Abandoned Vehicles Act.

The police – primarily from the local Medway force but Metropolitan officers are also in evidence – have raided the camp twice now, confiscating items that included crayons, disabled access ramps, marker pens, banners, radios for relaying fire and medical emergency information, the nuts and bolts holding toilet cubicles together and blackboard paint. They have found it necessary to use pepper spray without provocation, and several campers have been arrested and bailed off the site for “obstructing” increasingly aggressive police officers.

Everyone who enters the site is being searched. Police officers are taking anything away that “could be used for illegal activity”, with efforts being made to strip protesters of such hardcore weapons of choice as bits of carpet, biodegradable soap and toilet paper. In the absence of any serious threat, the police clearly found it necessary to justify their presence with an unprovoked attack on personal hygiene. 

When I met with Medway police ahead of climate camp, I asked if officers could be given specific information about the ethos behind climate camp and guidelines on proportional responses. I had hoped that the guidelines would be based on sensible use of discretion and grounds of precedent. I am therefore horrified that police here have used pepper spray, riot gear, physical intimidation, and indulged in bizarre confiscations. It almost feels like an attempt to inflame tensions and provoke protesters into less peaceful behaviour.

So that’s what all that technocrat-ese means in its real world application. The Association of Chief Police Officers (who failed to properly investigate torture rendition flights before giving the government a free pass timed to distract from the damning EU report) help deal with the media for NETCU. There is a NETCU Watch blog (focussed on animal rights mostly) but best of all a copy of the NETCU booklet was dropped by a careless copper (part 1, part 2) or available here (pdf). Which is a crib sheet of the numerous ways that the security forces can demand information or find a way to say you have broken a law and then have power over you, together with how to word things legally so the CPS have an easier job. It’s like an anti-civil rights leaflet for those fuzz who weren’t paying attention at police college. Not unknown, but its presence shows the drive by government, the security forces and corporations with their academic arms to push the law to its limits to control protest. Which is why you should never believe it when a bill is being discussed and seemingly draconian measures are explained away as only to be used in specific or extreme circumstances by cheerful politicians & pundits. The law is now like a menu of opportunities for the security forces to control us, this booklet being the fast food version.

Meanwhile…in Beach News

I’d like to thank the industrial chemists of the world and the cosmetics corporations for having no clue whatsoever of their environmental context. Or perhaps more accurately they ignore it to make money, yep that sounds pretty plasuible too.

(AFP) — Sun screen lotions used by beach-going tourists worldwide are a major cause of coral bleaching, according to a new study commissioned by the European Commission. In experiments, the cream-based ultra-violet (UV) filters — used to protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure — caused bleaching of coral reefs even in small quantities, the study found. Coral reefs are among the most biologically productive and diverse of ecosystems, and directly sustain half a billion people. But some 60 percent of these reef systems are threatened by a deadly combination of climate change, industrial pollution and excess UV radiation.

The new study, published in US journal Environmental Health Perspectives, has now added sun screens to the list of damaging agents, and estimates that up to 10 per cent of the world’s reefs are at risk of sunscreen-induced coral bleaching. Chemical compounds in sunscreen and other personal skin care products have been detected near both sea and freshwater tourist areas. Previous research has shown that these chemicals can accumulate in aquatic animals, and biodegrade into toxic by-products.

Researchers led by Roberto Danovaro at the University of Pisa in Italy added controlled amounts of three brands of sunscreen to seawater surrounding coral reefs in Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt. Even small doses provoked large discharges of coral mucous — a clear sign of environmental stress — within 18 to 48 hours. Within 96 hours complete bleaching of corals had occurred. Virus levels in seawater surrounding coral branches increased to 15 times the level found in control samples, suggesting that sunscreens might stimulate latent viral infections, the study found.

Pesticides, hydrocarbons and other contaminants have also been found to induce algae or coral to release viruses, hastening the bleaching process. According to the World Trade Organisation, around 10 per cent of tourism takes place in tropical areas, with 78 million tourists visiting coral reefs each year. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of sunscreen are released annually in reef areas, with 25 per cent of the sunscreen ingredients on skin released into water over the course of a 20 minute submersion. Sunscreens are made of around 20 compounds acting as UV filters and preservatives. Seven were tested for the study, including parabens, cinnamates, benzophenones and camphor derivatives.

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Easter Feast- The Business Of War

Saddam Hussein banned unions for public workers in 1987 because he feared a progressive movement would topple his dictatorship. When the U.S occupation of Iraq began, the U.S authorities refused to repeal that law. Instead in September of 2003, Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official overseeing the Iraqi occupation, issued an order to privatize the country’s state owned industries, which include its oil industry.

The GUOWT issued a statement on the 2 August and again on the 7 August deploring the approach taken by the Oil Minister and called on him to withdraw the memo sent and signed by his legal adviser Mr Laith abd al Hussein, on 18 July 2007 under his personal instruction to the Iraqi oil companies in Baghdad, Bejy, Kirkuk and Basra ordering them not to deal with oil unions members, and instructed them not to allow oil unions members to be part of any committee formed at the work place. The Oil Minister refused to meet the leadership of the GUOWT and sent the General Director of Information Bureau of the Oil Ministry to inform the oil workers delegation that the Oil Minister will not meet with people that represent unions in the oil sector for he said that there are no workers here but state employees. In this he is wittingly or unwittingly relying on Saddam’s decree of 150 that banned workers from organizing in the public sector. 

Hassan Juma’a Awad Southern Oil Company Union– The next government should not only ensure the security of the Iraqi people, but also oppose the privatization of industry. We oppose privatization very strongly, especially in the oil industry. It is our industry. We don’t want a new colonization under the guise of privatization, with international companies taking control of the oil. The day will come when the occupation forces leave. The US timetable foresees the formation of an Iraqi government after the elections. The US should then leave, but I don’t have faith that they will leave so easily. We should all come together to resist the occupation.

FALEH ABOOD UMARA: [translated] According to Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution, which states that the oil and gas of Iraq are owned by the Iraqi people and they have the right to control it. But when you look into the details of the law, many of the articles of the law actually conflict with this preamble of the law, the most important point of which is the issue of the production-sharing agreements, which allows the international oil companies, especially the American ones, to exploit the oil fields without our knowledge of what they are actually doing with it. And they take about 50% of the production as their share, which we think it’s an obvious robbery of the Iraqi oil. 

This week-

The Iraqi government is expected to pay up to $2.5 billion to five top oil companies to increase the country’s oil output by nearly a quarter, a government adviser has admitted. In what would be the biggest foreign involvement for decades, Baghdad is close to signing technical support contracts with BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total.

Shell is negotiating for the northern Kirkuk oilfield and is also in talks, along with BHP Billiton, for the development of the Maysan fields. BP also has its eyes on Iraq’s southern Rumaila field, while Exxon wants the contract for the Zubair oilfield in Basra. Finally, Chevron and Total are looking to work together to develop the West Qurna oilfield.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry said Sunday that it has invited local and international oil companies to bid for contracts including one to develop a natural gas field in a Sunni area in the west of the country…Early this year, the ministry said it was negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell PLC to conduct output tests for the field which has five wells that are ready to be interconnected…In a separate tender, the ministry has also invited companies to submit detailed engineering study and procurement of equipment and materials of two oil pipelines linking the Basra oil fields in southern Iraq with Iran’s Abadan refinery. 

Today at least 54 Iraqis were killed and the green zone is under attack, but we are not invited by the corporate coverage to include the context of the oil & gas resources being sold off, the anti union policies of Saddam being reinforced by the occupiers or the wholesale privatisation of Iraq. Nor in the simpleton greenwash media landscape is Iraq perceived for the environmental disaster, no, buy a cotton shopping bag & an eco bulb (of course all the solutions they offer always depend on you buying something), nevermind about the war-

Projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends.

The war is responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) since March 2003. To put this in perspective, CO2 released by the war to date equals the emissions from putting 25 million more cars on the road in the US this year.

In 2006, the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy.

…if the war was ranked as a country in terms of annual emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do. Falling between New Zealand and Cuba, the war each year emits more than 60% of all countries on the planet. 

Military emissions abroad are not captured in the national greenhouse gas inventories that all industrialized nations, including the United States, report under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest oil consuming government body in the US and in the world… in Fiscal Year 2004, the US military fuel consumption increased to 144 million barrels. This is about 40 million barrels more than the average peacetime military usage. By the way, 144 million barrels makes 395 000 barrels per day, almost as much as daily energy consumption of Greece.
The US military is the biggest purchaser of oil in the world.

May ’05 “The Third Army (of General Patton) had about 400,000 men and used about 400,000 gallons of gasoline a day. Today the Pentagon has about a third that number of troops in Iraq yet they use more than four times as much fuel.”

Some figures show that the U.S. military uses enough oil in one year to run all of the U.S. transit systems for the next 14-22 years. In less than one hour a U.S. F-16 fighter jet uses twice as much fuel as the average U.S. auto driver. One-quarter of the world’s jet fuel is consumed by the world’s military. And worldwide the military consumption of copper, nickel, aluminum and platinum exceeds that of the Free World. 

– 90 percent more than Ireland’s annual consumption
– 38 percent more than Israel’s annual consumption
– 20 times Iceland’s annual consumption
– 1.7 percent of U.S. annual consumption

My Sweet Lord.



(AFP) – The world could solve many of the major environmental problems it faces at an “affordable” price, the OECD said Wednesday, warning that the cost of doing nothing would be far higher.

“It has a positive cost-benefit result. Regardless of the ethical, of the moral, of the social, of the political consequences, simply looking at it from the business and the economic point of view, it is a better idea to start right away focusing on the environment,” Gurria insisted.

Well it’s good they came to that conclusion, presumably there is the possibility of the case being- well it doesn’t pan out economically so we’ll just have become extinct- at which point proving the necessity of our demise. Ok, so you have to talk to capitalists in the childish language they can understand- here’s a shiny penny, you can have more if you don’t kill the life support system, okay then?- but…

Anyway idly doodling once and making silly equations brought about the above which seemed relevant, where-

  • e= earth, our planet with finite resources and capacities for regeneration.
  • ∞= the infinite growth and irrational greed upon which capitalism is predicated and causes.
  • 0= anything finite divided by infinity equals zero, thus in this case extinction, ecocide etc. bad things.

Beside The Seaside, Beside The Sea

Well it’s pretty stormy on my bit of seaside, this weather has caused some problems elsewhere, not least Biscuits Galore!-

Thousands of packets of chocolate biscuits have washed up on the Lancashire shore from a stricken ferry. The McVitie’s biscuits were being carried on lorries aboard the Riverdance, which ran aground off north shore near Blackpool on Thursday night.

Now these crumbly treats look to be pretty well intact, if the packets are waterproof and unbroken it would be a terrible thing to throw them away, we are so very wasteful. I mean ok sell them as seconds but the automatic way in which so much food is junked in our plentiful consumer culture is rather awful when put into a global context. Also that time of abundance looks to be coming to a close, so we might need those biscuits. Meanwhile Rats Ahoy!-

Fears have been voiced that the trawler which ran aground on St Kilda on Friday could threaten rare sea birds on the World Heritage Site. Force 11 gales have dispersed fuel from the vessel’s tanks but the National Trust for Scotland fears it is any rats on board that could cause most damage.

Because…I know some facts about rats (and that rhymes) this has happened in the past, rats making landfall on islands that previously were free of them and they cause immense small furry chaos. Last year a big drive was made to ensure ships used proper rat guards on their ropes because rats can scurry along the ropes either onto the harbour or into the water from a ship. In the water they can be a threat even some distance from shore, so even weighing anchor near some islands could risk a rat invasion. Once on land a sexy rat couple in the absence of predators with food (birds, eggs, babies eyes etc) will overrun the place, a female can produce 5 litters a year, a litter is typically 7 but can be up to 14. And each one of those gets busy so in a year…hundreds, then thousands. They do make fun pets though. And lastly this study finds-

sitting on the wet sand or swimming in the sea for too long may increase the risk of catching an unpleasant stomach bug, a new study found…Beach sand often has some degree of contamination from seabird waste, or other fecal waste. Microbes concentrate naturally around the waterline, in the water and also are tracked around on bathers’ feet, researchers found.

They looked at three beaches north of Miami: Hobie Beach, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. “There is an increase risk of acquiring gastroenteritis the longer a bather either sits in the wet sand or stays in the water,” said Jay Fleisher professor College of Osteopathic Medicine-Nova Southeastern University.

But what the article fails to delve into is the role of pollution, what risk is there where sewage is not pumped into the sea by dodgy private utilities or where environmental degradation has lowered people’s immune systems. However is does call to mind this alleged fact- if stuck on a desert island with no fresh water you can absorb water by taking in sea water through your anus, you will absorb the water but not the salt as much (or at all maybe). I have no idea if this is true, however it would make the next version of Robinson Crusoe a lot funnier (did Tom Hanks try it in Cast Away? The only thing I remember about that was the director Zemeckis liked to ‘quip’ afterwards that the content of that unopened package was a waterproof solar powered satellite phone, that would have made a better ending- The character kicks himself to death for being a sentimental cretin and not opening it. Nic Roeg’s Castaway is tons more fun).

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Step On

Luckily poor foreigners are bearing the brunt of climate change, capitalism does work!


The costs of environmental degradation caused by rich countries are disproportionately falling on the world’s poorest countries, reports an analysis published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tallying the environmental costs of climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, agricultural intensification and expansion, deforestation, overfishing, and mangrove conversion from human activities over 1961-2000, University of California Berkeley researchers led by Pacific Ecoinformatics lab scientist Dr. Thara Srinivasan found total damages ranged up to $47 trillion in net present value. More importantly, Srinivasan and colleagues show that environmental damages like climate change and ozone depletion have been “overwhelmingly driven” by emissions from middle- and high-income groups, but the impacts are disproportionately borne by low-income nations.

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to really examine where nations’ ecological footprints are falling, and it is an interesting contrast to the wealth of nations. We find that the footprint of rich nations treads heavily on poor countries. For climate change and ozone depletion, damages for low-income countries have been overwhelmingly driven by emissions by middle- and high-income groups. We also see a stark pattern for overfishing — seafood derived from depleted fish stocks in low-income country waters ultimately ends up on the plates of consumers in middle-income and rich countries. A similar situation exists for the conversion of mangroves to shrimp farms, with high-income countries consuming the shrimp and low- and middle-income countries losing valuable storm protection.”

Noting that the ‘ecological debt’ of low-income countries often amounts to a greater financial burden than their foreign debt, the authors argue that ecological costs should be given more consideration when evaluating economic growth.

“In a world increasingly connected ecologically and economically, our analysis is thus an early step toward reframing issues of environmental responsibility, development, and globalization in accordance with ecological costs,” the authors write. “With pressure on ecosystem services expected to intensify in the next half-century, the framework and results described here may contribute to an emerging discussion of the distribution of ecological drivers and impacts, and the relationship of these issues with the responsibilities and debts between nations.” 

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Thunderdome! One Party State

Well shock horror the tories use the usual whipping boy of welfare, Lenin writes about it nicely. And what does NuLabour say-

Some disability groups have criticised the plans, saying that levels of fraud are low. The Labour Party says the Tories have copied its ideas. 

So um, democracy? No, two parties being as vicious as each other in driving down the living conditions of the poorest and increasing the ‘flexibilty’ of the labour market. Already private corporations are contracted to deny benefit to claimants via spurious tests and routinely denying benefits that are only awarded after appeals (which invariably find the original test was fraudulently applied by the assessment corporation). I know from personal experience and subsequent research, I could bore you intensely with the details of this widespread scam, if you need help the best site to start at is Benefits & Work.
So where is the alternative? Where is the party representing people not business elites? As many say it is time the unions stopped automatic backing of Labour, either as part of a campaign to retake the party from the conservatives or to back a new party that represents people. One cost of this momentum to push people into simply being cogs of the economy is reported today in The Independent-

Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, the medical director of the London Sleep Centre, is not at all surprised. “Insomnia is on the rise in all developed countries and fast-developing countries, because we’re changing to a 24/7, urbanised lifestyle that promotes sleep deprivation,” he says. 

Before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in the late-19th century, it is estimated that the average person slept for 10 hours a night. Nowadays, we’re lucky to get six or seven – but many young professionals survive on much less.

The signs of sleep-deprivation propaganda are everywhere. There is the Rimmel advert on TV, in which Kate Moss goes straight from nightclub to work, aided by just a smear of foundation. There are the gossip columns, which report the late-night revels of a host of glamorous celebrities. Margaret Thatcher famously got by on just four hours a night – and it was a badge of honour, not a failure. The message is clear: sleeping is boring, ” winners” don’t need it.

Beyond the party politics this is an anthropological crisis, we are fashioning a future of great inhumanity, quite apart from the mental and spiritual deprivation we are denying basic physiological requirements. The ironic thing is what might alter this course is the damage it causes to the environment, if worse case scenarios play out humans are going to experience a die off and radical alterations to lifestyles and cultures. Where wiser minds & compassionate politics have failed the planet will produce a smackdown on the irrational greed of the system where we will all suffer. However in that chaos let’s remember who lead us to this and act accordingly and the viciousness they have shown to the most vulnerable, should not be forgotten.

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Shocked I tells Ya, Shocked

The art market is corrupt, full of shady accounting practices and manipulates demand to inflate prices in a celebrity obsessed clientèle? Whatever next? Will the sun rise tomorrow? Best send a reporter to the horizon to report back in case it does.

Also tories raise money in dodgy ways!!!

And the nuclear industry concentrates on issues of carbon emissions to back a huge subsidy and increase in Britain’s nuclear infrastructure.

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