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Sustainability: Carrying Capacity & Ecological Footprints
August 25, 2010


US California: Slumburbia.   February 10, 2010   New York Times*
By TIMOTHY EGAN

In Lathrop, Manteca and Tracy, California, among some of the world's most productive farmland, you can find streets of foreclosed home, looking like a 21st century ghost town, with rock-bottom discounts on empty starter mansions.

Here population nearly doubled in 10 years, and home prices tripled and urban planning circles hailed the boom as the new America at the far exurban fringe. But others saw it as the residential embodiment of the Edward Abbey line that "growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Now median home prices have fallen from $500,000 to $150,000, one in eight houses are in some stage of foreclosure and the crime rate has spiked well above the national average, and unemployment hovers around 1%.

Nationwide, foreclosure increase 119% from two years ago. Owners of 1 in 10 mortgages owe more than their houses are worth, and many just walk away. Without vested owners, vandalism runs rampant and the place becomes a slum. Only 11% of the people in this valley could afford the median home price.

Through immigration and high birth rates, the United States is expected to add another 100 million people by 2050. We've already added 105 million people since 1970; we have a net gain of one person every 13 seconds.

This housing boom was spurred by the state's broken tax system where cities were hampered by by property tax limitations and increased revenue by the easiest route: expanding urban boundaries. Developers plowed up walnut groves and vineyards to pay for services demanded by new school parents and park users.

A lesson can be learned from cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and San Diego, which have stable and recovering home markets, have fairly strict development codes, trying to hem in their excess sprawl. Developers said these cities would eventually price the middle class out, and start to empty, but this hasn't happened. Instead, the free-for-all cities like Las Vegas, the Phoenix metro area, South Florida, this valley - are the most troubled, the suburban slums.   Karen Gaia says: Population growth feeds these 'booms'. Build it and they will come, say the developers, confident that growth is always the answer. They have no idea about carrying capacity. And most people still do not realize that economic hard times are related to carrying capacity. 024308

U.S.: Hold Steady.   June 09, 2009   Earth Island Journal
If we don't stabilize population growth, life as we know it is unlikely to continue. With so many of us burning fossil fuels, gobbling up renewable resources, and generating toxic trash, our life support ecosystems are threatened.

In the central North Pacific Ocean gyre, swirling plastic fragments now outweigh plankton 46 to one. CO2 in the atmosphere is higher today than anytime in the past 650,000 years. Nearly one in four mammals is threatened with extinction, and worse - one in three amphibians and a quarter of all conifers. In many parts of the world, including the High Plains of North America, human water use exceeds annual average water replenishment; by 2025 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity, according to the UN. Unsustainable farming practices cause the destruction and abandonment of almost 30 million acres of arable land each year.

The number of humans is still increasing by 1.18% per year, or 80 million annually, the equivalent of nearly two Sudans, or three and a half Taiwans. Even though China is only growing by 0.5% annually, it is still growing by eight million people each year. The US, with a 1% population grow rate, increases by more than 2.9 million people annually,

the equivalent of almost four new San Franciscos.

Many argue that a decrease in human numbers would lead to a fiscal catastrophe, seeing that, in the last 200 years,

unprecedented economic growth has been accompanied by an equally unprecedented increase in world population. During the 1800s and 1900s, up to half of world economic growth was likely due to population growth; Georgetown University environmental historian John McNeill explains: "A big part of economic growth to date consists of population growth.

More hands, more work, more things produced."

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measure of economic success or failure, is the number of people multiplied by per capita income. Slow population growth, and economic growth will likely slow as well unless advances in productivity and spending increase at rates high enough to make up the difference. This perhaps explains why population policy is not a popular issue.

Instead We should be looking at per capita GDP, which corrects for population growth. While Japan's economy has been touted as 'bad', based on its national GDP it has actually enjoyed the biggest gain in average income among the big three rich economies. GDP is 'bad' only because its population is shrinking. Population decline may slow economic growth on a nationwide basis, "but it would not necessarily reduce per capita wealth or, indeed, per capita growth."

Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist at the American Enterprise Institute, suggests "an orderly and relatively slow reduction in population, and not a chaotic plunge in our numbers as a result of war, disease, a breakdown in healthcare systems, or natural catastrophe." What is necessary is to match low death rates with low birthrates.

Daniel O'Neill of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy says: "t this point in history, having too many people, or too high a level of consumption, is much more likely to result in the end of economic progress, via ecological collapse, than having too few." The costs of economic growth in the U.S. began to exceed the benefits sometime in the late 1970s.

An economic "slowdown" that results from slowing and eliminating population growth is distinctly different from that caused by a credit crunch or the messy bursting of a speculative bubble. While it's true there will be fewer mouths to feed, there will also be fewer pairs of hands needing employment. In many poorer nations, having more children means increasing the supply of labor, and lowering wages.

Unfortunately,'GDP' does not differentiate between costs and benefits and we end up spending more money to fix the problems caused by population growth. The costs of mitigating the stress imposed by a ballooning population on roads, schools, parks, agricultural land, air and water quality, government services, and ecosystems add to the total pool of a country's economic transactions.

“Sure, population decline will slow down aggregate demand. On the other hand, it's going to increase the amount of resources per capita," Daly says.

While reducing population growth in an orderly fashion promises more economic good than ill, it will bring about social and economic challenges that even proponents of shrinking the population do not dismiss lightly. Of particular concern are the challenges associated with reducing the number of working age people relative to retirees.

If we have fewer people, we will be spared the problems caused by overpopulation, save on natural resources, and in the long run be more able to provide for the social security of our aging population. 023987

New York Times Population Debate.   March 17, 2009   Bill Ryerson
The New York Times is publishing a series of articles on the impact immigrants are having on American institutions, with the first article focusing on educating new immigrants.

It appears The New York Times is attempting to separate the population issue from US immigration and make them into two unrelated issues.

Any discussion of immigration into the US already the world's third most populous nation, is incomplete without addressing its impact on domestic population growth and sustainability.

On average, over 1 million foreign born people are granted permanent residence status each year. By adding 133 million people, the US is set to add into its borders the equivalent of all the current citizens of Mexico and Canada combined by 2050. This will result in:

US population sky-rocketing by over 130 million people.

Demand for the ground-water, open-space and farm-land dramatically surging.

Wages for lower-skilled, less-educated Americans plummeting as excess service labor swamps the market.

Roads, schools, subways and grocery stores becoming even more crowded.

Representative democracy weakening as each elected official serves a drastically inflated constituency.

If Congress were to set immigration policy to allow for 300,000 people to be invited into the nation per year US population would be 80 million less than is it currently projected to be at mid-century.  rw   Karen Gaia says: just as every family should be able to set its size according to its social and economic limitations, so should a nation be able to limit its size by governing its borders. Up to now the US has been a rich nation, but the strain on its resources (and that on other countries it takes from) is beginning to show. Its footprint is far larger than the country's size itself. 023748

Australia: A Climate of Change at Lake Macquarie.   December 26, 2008   Newcastle Herald
Lake Macquarie residents are becoming aware of climate change issues and the underlying causes. The council was "taking a lead role in planning for sea-level rise due to climate change" and had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There were signs of people changing their behaviour to help the environment.

People were buying smaller cars. 161,535 vehicles were registered in Lake Macquarie, a 2.25% increase on the previous year.

The rate of native vegetation clearing had been "substantially reduced" to 58 hectares.

But Lake Macquarie's population is expected to grow by 60,000 to 70,000 people in the next 25 years and will create demand for 36,500 new dwellings.

An expanding population means an increase in the consumption of resources. Residential electricity use in the city had decreased by 3.9% in 2007-08 compared with the previous year, but business electricity use had increased by 1.8%.  rw 023462

Peak Population.   August 12, 2008   Utne Reader
Liberals are less-than-fond of Big Oil's profit margins, so we point out the need for alternative energy. Then we frame it as an environmental problem. But it is also an economic, a social, and a foreign policy problem. Our energy crisis is being talked about by both presidential candidates. Which is a lot more time than they're giving to the population crisis.

Global population could increase to 12 billion by 2050. Most growth is in developing countries. The closest thing to population reform coming from the right is, "If the world's brown people would stop having so many babies, there'd be no crisis." On the left, if we ease poverty and increase education in developing countries, the global population will even itself out.

The growing number of people inhabiting the Earth is everybody's problem. Based on solid evidence, there is a direct relationship between lower standards of living and larger family size. Yet there is no guarantee that addressing quality-of-living issues will solve the population problem.

We are faced with a crisis because we are using up more resources than the planet can produce. The most basic resources are growing scarce, food, potable water, wood. A population that keeps growing will eventually overwhelm the planet. As impoverished nations achieve prosperity, their consumption grows. A two-pronged solution is needed: reduced consumption and staved population growth.

Once again, the birth-to-death ratio in this country has reached replacement level. A child born in a first-world country uses more resources and emits more carbon than a child born in a developing country.

One of the obstacles to enacting international policies to curtail the population explosion is that, until recently, there is no consensus that the present global population is a problem. Many countries encourage family growth through tax incentives and other policies. Population control is met with vehement opposition. They are the human desire to live the way we wish, consequences be damned. The only way to counteract this desire is to make it less profitable to have children.

If food, healthcare, and education are provided, subsidizing procreation won't be necessary. This will increase the quality of life for families without punishing parents or promoting family growth.

We need to make birth control more widely available worldwide.

The association between the tyrannical and the humanitarian motivations of limiting population bolsters the need for transparent and public worldwide policies. We may still be allowed a weaning period. Energy costs will rise. The poor will bear the burden, But innovation will balloon, and the dividends of increased innovation will grow.

A lack of forethought in energy policy almost destroyed the planet, and still might. How much more difficult will it be, to make the argument that the choice to have a child is no longer a decision that can be made freely?  rw   Karen Gaia says: the author does not seem to understand the value of voluntary family planning. U.S. women voluntarily limited their family size to replacement level, from 4 to 2 children in 20 years. With reproductive health care, women's education and self esteem, and available contraception, it can easily be done. 023241

Did You Know?.   June 14, 2008   Earth Policy Institute, Plan B 3.0
*The 8 warmest years have occurred in the last decade.

*For seven of the last eight years, the world has consumed more grain than it produced. One fifth of the U.S. grain is being turned into fuel ethanol.

*One third of reptile, amphibian, and fish species are threatened with extinction.

*Grain yields increased half as fast in the 1990s as in the 1960s.

*Life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa today is lower than in the late 1980s.

*Today's reserves of lead, tin, and copper could be depleted within the next 25 years if their extraction expands at current rates.

*Nearly half of the global military budget of $1.2 trillion is spent by the US.

*South Korea recycles 77% of its paper products.

*Conservation agriculture is practiced on more than 100 million hectares around the world

*Four years after London introduced a fee on motor vehicles entering the city center, car traffic had fallen by 36% while bicycle trips increased by 49%.

*The world produces 110 million bicycles a year, but an annual production of 49 million cars.

*Fish farming is the fastest growing source of animal protein worldwide, increasing 7% each year since 1995.

*World soybean production has quadrupled since 1977.

*Coal use in Germany has dropped 37% since 1990; in the UK it has fallen by 43%.

*Solar cell production is doubling every two years.

*Electricity used for lighting can be cut by 65% through switching to compact fluorescents.

Follow the link to more fascinating data and charts on global trends.  rw 023084

US Wisconsin: A Shift to a New Ethics?.   June 08, 2008   Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin legislators embraced an ethics built on preserving and sustaining the earth's system of living things.

We thought we had the right to use all the resources of the earth to serve our human growth. We possessed the right to equality, free speech, to work for pay and so on. We believed we had the right to expand our material possessions, our property and the number of children we brought into the world.

Our ethics held that the earth's resources were infinite and our ability to grow and increase was also infinite. But now we see a shift. Environmental ethics moves us away from the human-centered ethics of limitlessness and realizes that, in fact, our planet is finite. This scarcity of the earth's resources limits the rights and privileges of its human inhabitants. Protecting the environment must come before the limitless rights and needs of the human population. When humans act to protect and renew the resources of the Earth, they act in the most morally and ethically responsible way possible. When they act for their own growth and expansion, they tend to deplete and destroy the environment. The victims of planetary degradation will be our species - or at least the major civilizations, which will collapse from the loss of clean water, air and fertile land.

The environment has veto power over a human-centered ethics of expansion, growth and consumption. Making the environmental principle the centerpiece of our cultural ethics will face resistance from the human rights-and-freedom ethics we have embraced for so long. We cannot expand and grow forever. And a scarce Earth will place limits on our freedom, rights and needs.

Our civic leaders must assess the benefits and costs to humans and to the environment when they consider expanding freeways, public transportation systems, building coal-burning power plants, putting wind turbines on farm land. The environmental principle must be considered first.  rw 023054

Sustainability of the World’s Outputs of Food, Wood and Freshwater for Human Consumption.   May 08, 2008   Bruce Sundquist's webpage
This article discusses in great detail the sustainabilities of the world's outputs of food, wood and freshwater. It also considers that sustainability is mainly culture-dependent. The article divides the world into 3 sections, the developing world, the older portions of the developed world, and the newer portions of the developed world. These three regions view sustainability issues in far different ways and for far different reasons. It also ddiscusses in great detail the developments that are responsible for the rapid increase in global food production over the past 4-5 decades. It reviews the need for and the actual reductions in population growth and some of the modern contraceptive methods.

Anyone interested in any of these subjects should click on the headline link and read the full article.  rw 022984

Return of the Population Timebomb.   May 05, 2008   Guardian - comment by John Feeney
Only since 1800 has the human population shot into the billions. Now at nearly 6.7 billion, with 9 billion looming 40 years away, few environmentalists seem to care.

Our environmental impact is the product of population size and the average person's consumption.

Today's climate change, mass extinction, deforestation, collapsing fisheries and more is evidence our total consumption has gone too far. We are destroying our life-support system. To avert catastrophe, we need to reduce our numbers and per person consumption.

An common assertion: If everyone on Earth consumed less, we wouldn't have exceeded carrying capacity. It's a simple notion: reduce per person consumption and end our environmental problems. And it sidesteps population size and growth, a subject of much concern in the 1960s and 1970s but taboo today.

Why taboo? Pressure from social justice activists who insist in recent decades that any focus on numbers violates the right of women to manage their fertility.

Humane, successful population programmes in countries as varied as Thailand, Iran, and Mexico contradict that assumption.

Nevertheless, the criticism has cowed environmentalists and NGOs which once championed the population cause, influencing policy, pushing the subject off the agenda, or shifting the emphasis solely to "reproductive health" without the numbers.

Most environmentalists now suggest a reduction in individual consumption is all we need to solve our ecological problems.

Measuring consumption as the use of biologically productive land and sea, data shows a global maximum sustainable footprint, at today's population, of just under 1.8 global hectares per person. Currently, we're a bit over 2.2gha, overshooting Earth's limits by about 25%.

What if we converged on Mexico's level of per capita consumption? Resource use would plummet in developed countries while rising in many of the poorest. But it wouldn't get us to 1.8gha. At 2.6gha, Mexico's footprint is 32% too high. A drop to the level of Botswana or Uzbekistan would put us in the right range.

But that's not low enough. We'd next have to compensate for UN projections of 40% more humans by the middle of the century. That would mean shrinking the global footprint to under 1.3gha, roughly the level of Guatemala or Nigeria.

The GFN authors point out their data is conservative, underestimating problems such as aquifer depletion and our impacts on other species. In response, the Redefining Progress group publishes an alternative footprint measure which has humanity not at 25%, but at 39% overshoot. But that too, the authors concede, is an underestimate.

While in overshoot, moreover, we erode carrying capacity. There are limits to how much we can reduce per-person use of land, water, and other resources. A purposeful drop on the part of industrialised countries to consumption levels comparable to those of the poorest areas in the world is not only wholly unrealistic but, at today's population size, would not end our environmental woes. Our sheer numbers prevent it.

We have no alternative but to return our attention to population, the other factor in the equation. We must aim for population stabilisation followed by a decline in human numbers worldwide.

We have to provide easy access to family planning options while educating parents in the benefits of smaller families and family planning. We should educate and empower girls and women to give them options and help free them to make decisions concerning family size. And we should end government incentives for larger families. We must do these things internationally and vigorously, with a keen eye toward numbers, monitoring results and making adjustments accordingly.

The stakes are too high to waste time evading the issue. Doing so is intellectually dishonest and a setup for global tragedy. It's time environmentalists ended the silence on population.  rw   Ralph says: At last someone has the courage to say what should be on every politician's blotter tomorrow morning. 023011

US California: More Mouths to Feed Means Less Land to Feed Them On.   April 2008   Leon Kolankiewicz - CAPS
Agricultural experts have warned that California's farmland is threatened by population growth. Farmers and ranchers have expressed the concern for decades.

Unfortunately, warnings have not slowed the pace at which croplands and soils are being eaten up by development. The state's farmlands are shrinking because the millions added to our population are competing with farmers for water and for the land that is best at producing food. California has long been America's leading agricultural state, generating over $30 billion a year in revenues. California cultivates more than 350 crops. The cash value of crops grown in the great Central Valley is probably unrivalled by any other comparably-sized area on earth. Unfortunately, the urbanization is accelerating. In California, productive farmlands are succumbing and are being split up into unproductive rural ranchettes or hobby farms.

Between 1990 and 2004, rapid population growth has been driving this trend.

More than 60% of the 538,000 acres developed in California was agricultural land. In the most important agricultural areas like the Central Valley, a higher portion, nearly three-quarters of the area, developed was farmland. By 2050, if the state's population projections come to pass, and if current trends continue, an additional 2.1 million acres would be urbanized. These are the lands that with the proper stewardship could produce food virtually in perpetuity. Like the non-renewable energy resources we have squandered in recent decades, this loss will come back to haunt us in a future.

Food prices are mounting globally with the addition of 70-80 million more mouths to feed every year, diversion of food crops into biofuels production, increasing consumption of meat (which uses far more land to grow the crops fed to livestock), and rising energy prices.

If California is to be part of the solution, unsustainable population growth must be checked. Since virtually all present and projected growth is from immigration and higher average immigrant fertility, these must be reduced.

If we don't, then one day California will struggle just to feed its own citizens, no less the nation and the world.  rw 023013

Could Resources Become a Limit to Global Growth?.   March 24, 2008   Wall Street Journal
Surging food and energy prices are new reasons to re-think the relationship between resources and growth. There is a real wolf nearby, in the form of resource degradation and rapidly growing population.

When oil prices rose in the 1970s, this created incentives to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles, for most of the 1980s and 1990s, energy and food became more abundant. Technological progress stayed ahead of population growth and resource depletion. However, economic incentives cannot keep the wolf at bay indefinitely.

Resource prices have surpassed record levels and per-capita food availability has started to decline. Despite demographic transition to low fertility in East Asia, Europe, and North America, current population growth rates would still triple world population to over 20 billion in about 90 years. The question is whether population growth will fall due to declines in fertility or whether epidemics, malnutrition, and violent conflict will carry out the adjustment, aided by global warming.

Residents of China and India are unlikely to buy many SUVs, and economic incentives will push them in more environmentally friendly directions. If China were the model, I would be optimistic about the future. Fertility there has declined to about replacement level. China is poised to move where people demand better environmental quality as incomes rise.

The dismal picture is in Africa. Per capita income in sub-Saharan Africa fell between 1980 and 2005, despite improvements in technology made available in that period. Population growth remains very high and infectious disease, malnutrition, and violent conflict have become more entrenched and could spill over into other regions. Water provides an important example of resource scarcity. If the people of Los Angeles faced higher water prices, we would see households switch away from green grass.

A second set of issues concerns population growth in poor nations. Population growth helps to create new markets. Unfortunately, population growth in the developing world is unlikely to trigger such an innovation.

Market-based prices cannot do everything, largely because of non-priced third party effects. An electric utility using coal to produce electricity contributes to global warming and other pollution problems. This effect is not priced.

Decisions to have large numbers of children may also impose negative externalities on others. Some would like to limit growth in order to mitigate the production of greenhouse gases. But they are vague about the details. Which people should not be born? Whose income should decline in order to achieve their noble goal?

California is likely to implement a cap and trade program which will effectively create a new market in the "right to pollute." Effective regulation has helped to offset the quantity of economic activity. But in general, I wonder whether government is up to the task of limiting the costs of growth on a global scale.

Major resources such as forests and agricultural land are under threat, as are the air and water. Possibly the biggest threat is a catastrophic rise in sea level caused by global warming.

Fertility reduction is the biggest challenge. Chinese-style state-imposed fertility control will not be acceptable elsewhere, but female education and female control over reproductive decisions are very positive forces.

If natural resources grow scarce, we will adjust and in the long run, new substitutes will be introduced.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Instead of a population of 20 billion in 90 years, the U.N. predicts a leveling-off of 9-11 billion in 50 years. As for sufficient, timely substitutes for natural resources, that takes a lot of faith. Take water or soil for example. 022870

Australia: The S Word is Sustainability.   March 12, 2008   Sunshine Coast Daily
Rapid population growth means, the future of our society, our economy and our environment; the structure of our cities, their energy and water sources the imminent peaking of world oil supplies; our use of finite resources like gas and coal; and the way we dispose of those resources.

Today, global demands on natural systems exceed their sustainable yield by an estimated 25%. We are setting the stage for decline and collapse.

With some exceptions, policy makers have been guilty of allowing sustainability to be cast as a peculiarly environmental issue. Sustainability is the ultimate whole of government - indeed, whole of society - issue.

Sustainability must be the foundation upon which we build economic strength and natural resilience.

It must be central to our planning, thinking and acting as we seek to live in harmony with the planet.

Global warming is a symptom of the problem of living unsustainably. Consuming fossil fuels without considering the waste is a sustainability issue.

The rate of increase in greenhouse concentrations is unprecedented in the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age. Human induced global catastrophe as it should be known, might be the clarion call that heralds another threat caused by our careless consumption of fossil fuels.

A growing group of voices predict that between 2006 and 2020 the world will pass a point after which we will never have as much oil at our disposal as we did the day before.

November 2006 is the possible peak of production, with the world's daily average in that month of 85.5 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil and condensates not having been exceeded in the 14 months since.

Crude has been consistently trading between US$100 and US$102 a barrel and we now stand on the threshold of an upswing in global oil prices that will have a significant impact on the economy of the world and for which we are seriously unprepared.

What both peak oil and climate change will impose upon us is a requirement to use less energy. We will need to live closer to work, schools and shops and public transport.

We have the capacity with existing technology and intellect to adopt more sustainable policies and practices to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control through greater use of renewable energy sources and to reduce our reliance on oil.

The challenge is to build a new economy, one that is powered largely by renewable sources of energy, that has a highly diversified transport system, and that reuses and recycles everything. And to do it with unprecedented speed.

In an energy-constrained world dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it's time we spoke of population.

The rampaging monster is over-population. In its presence, sustainability is a fragile theoretical thing.

People are ready to grasp the argument that the unsustainable growth in population numbers is degrading our planet. Population maldistribution increases the stress on available resources and heightens the need for more stringent sustainable living practices, such as water restrictions.

Developed countries have the double whammy of increasing populations and rampant consumerism.

It's one thing to provide the necessities of life… quite another to provide the trimmings demanded by affluence.

In the 21st century, the human race must confront the reality that in the closed system that is planet earth, there are limits to growth.

No matter how clever we are, there is no escaping the physical limits of the world's resources.

What we need above all is smart growth. .. Growth that is low carbon. .. Growth that is low pollution. .. Growth that is resource neutral.

We need growth that adds to the natural capital, instead of destroying it.  rw 022832

Global Inaction: We’d better get motivated now to confront climate change; our leaders are not going to do it for us.   March 09, 2008   The Register-Guard
The global response to global warming has been inaction. And while a poll shows that 71% of Americans think warming is a problem, most of us continue with our lives as usual.

Why are we so passive in the face of such profound changes for the worse in our environment?

By the year 2100, those changes will include a sea level rise of 5 to 10 feet; a 30% drop in crop yields; hundreds of millions of climate refugees; erratic and more severe weather; frequent forest fires; potable water shortages; a roughly 30% rate of global species extinction, and a hostile world.

With a better understanding of our reluctance to act, we'll be motivated to undertake the changes required for sustainability.

Global warming's harm is in the future, and we tend to ignore future harm. Warming is in evidence today, but so far only amounts to one degree C. Now we must insure ourselves against the very high likelihood that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will be massively disruptive.

We have to stop polluting. Dilution is not the solution, because it fails when the volume or toxicity of pollutants increase.

The huge volume of carbon dioxide is a pollutant, but it's ignored because it's invisible and odorless. Now, it is our single most serious problem.

Rising carbon dioxide correlates with rising temperature, and rising temperatures will cause a multitude of problems. The science has some uncertainty, but so does all science.

By the time we have precise knowledge of the rate and consequences of warming, it will be too late. If we wait, significant warming will be inevitable and irreversible.

So far, if drought reduces some food we want, we simply pay more to bring some in from elsewhere. But more than 1 billion people in the world live on $2 a day or less, and have no cushion against the ill effects of warming. Soon, even our wealth will prove inadequate. A 2003 Pentagon study predicted widespread chaos based on just one of the global warming consequences.

Our wealth temporarily insulates us from an urgent and chaotic reality.

We have to save ourselves — we have no effective leaders.

We have no assurance that alternative, non-polluting energy sources can replace our current energy use, or even large parts of it. It seems unlikely that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions as much as needed.

No one knows how much non-emitting energy we can develop, because that depends mostly on new or improved technologies. But the reduction will change our lives, because we are highly dependent on cheap and plentiful fossil fuel energy.

At some point quite a while ago, growth became unsustainable. But our cultural worship of growth irrationally persisted.  rw 022823

Humanity is Consuming Over 20 Per Cent More Natural Resources Each Year Than the Earth Can Produce.   March 08, 2008   The News
The report in the WWF's (World Wide Fund for Nature) periodic update on the state of the world's ecosystems said humanity is now consuming over 20% more natural resources each year than the earth can produce. This leads to the destruction of ecological assets, on which the world's economy depends. The report shows that humanity's Ecological Footprint grew by 150% between 1961 and 2000.

During the same period, the report shows a 40% decline in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species population. Ten years after the UN Rio conference in 1992, the Footprint in the 27 wealthiest countries increased by 8% per person, while in the middle and low income countries, it shrank by 8% per person.

Consumption of fossil fuels increased by almost 700% between 1961 and 2001. But the planet is unable to absorb the resulting carbon-dioxide emissions that degrade the earth's ozone layer.

We are spending nature's capital faster than it can regenerate.

The biggest culprit is the US. Although it has only 4.5% of the world's population, it consumes more than 29% of the world's annual output of renewable resources. The US has been urging developing countries to adopt sustainable development, but there is no sign of the US adopting such policies.

With more than 120 million vehicles on its roads the US is also the biggest culprit when it comes to generating carbon-dioxide emissions.

The global community has set targets for sustainability and biodiversity conservation. At the 2004 meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, governments agreed to set targets for creating networks of protected areas.

All 191 member states of the UN have signed up to support the MDGs, which not only address the root causes of environmental degradation but include a specific goal on environmental sustainability.

Some might argue that governments are wasting their time talking. The fact is that governments today are no further to achieving the MDGs than they were seven years ago.

Populations of terrestrial, freshwater and marine species fell on an average by 40% between 1970 and 2000. Destruction of natural habitats, pollution, overfishing and the introduction of non-native animals, often drive out indigenous species.

Trawlers and dredgers wreak destruction across the seabed, crushing entire ecosystems of corals, algae and crustaceans as they go. But will governments take heed? Or will they continue to look the other way? The forest species declined by about 15%, the marine species 35%, while the freshwater species dropped 55% over the 30-year period.

The earth has about 11.4 billion hectares of productive land and sea space, after all unproductive areas are discounted. Divided between the current estimated global population of 6.4 billion, this total equates to 1.78 hectares per person.

When the world's population was slightly less than 6 billion, the Ecological Footprint of the world's average consumer was 2.3 hectares, or 20% above the earth's capacity of 1.90 hectares per person versus 1.78 hectares per person today. In other words, humanity now exceeds the planet's capacity to sustain its consumption of renewable resources.  rw 022818

U.K.: The Elephant in the Room.   March 06, 2008   CounterCurrents.org
We must change our basic way of living; it will either be made on our own initiative in a planned way, or forced on us with chaos and suffering by the laws of nature.

First, we must accept the idea that sustainable means for a long time.

The Government of the UK defines it as: ‘Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services for all.'

This means that the resources have to be renewable through natural processes and entirely recycled if they are not renewable. If the population exceeds the carrying capacity, the death rate will increase until the population numbers are stable. Using these criteria it is obvious that the current human population is not sustainable.

In the discussions taking place, population is a word we dare not speak. Population is the elephant in the room.

It is obvious that something has increased the world's carrying capacity in the last 150 years. That something is oil.

Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource and not sustainable. If oil is not sustainable, then the added carrying capacity the oil has provided is unsustainable. Carrying capacity has been added to the world in direct proportion to the use of oil, and if our oil supply declines, the carrying capacity of the world will automatically fall with it.

Our population today is at least five times what it was before oil came on the scene. Each of the global problems we face today is the result of too many people using too much of our planet's finite, non-renewable resources and filling its waste repositories of land, water and air to overflowing. We are in fantasy land if we think that we can continue to support the number of people that we do now without the full input of oil and its related products.

We have become so dependent on those fuels, that there is no way we can sustain ourselves at this population density and level of technology without them. Population redistribution provides no long-term solution to environmental sustainability, total population numbers need to decrease worldwide.

Extremes of temperature and climate, combined with weather-related disruptions, would severely reduce the size of the country's population carrying capacity.

With population continuing to grow, urbanisation eating up farmland, and more of our remaining agricultural land likely to be used for energy crops, food production will be squeezed.

The systems that produce the world's food supply are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In addition, fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry. Almost every human endeavour from transportation, to manufacturing, to electricity to plastics, and especially food production is intertwined with oil and natural gas supplies. As each individual recycles more of his or her own waste, success is undermined by the constantly increasing numbers of people who create waste.

But how much land would be needed to provide all our electricity. It depends how much wind power can be constructed offshore. For wind power to supply all-electric homes at today's rates of consumption, for today's 60 million people, several counties would need to be covered with wind turbines.

The total amount of water used in UK is modest because agriculture can be carried on mostly without irrigation.

The UK Government attaches importance to lowering water use because of increasing water constraints: rivers reduced to a trickle for several months, reservoir levels dropping, water tables continuing to drop. The large increases in the UK population experienced during the last five years makes it even more important to try to push per person consumption downwards.

Half a million new homes are planned in the South East alone.

The UK is one of the most densely populated and built up countries in the EU and some English regions are already close to reaching the limits of their capacity to take further development without serious damage to the environment or quality of life.

Along with every measure for reducing per person use of water, we should address the problem of population.

All these problems are symptoms of the growth in the human population, currently surging through 6.6 billion people worldwide. The consequences are already clear without policies to reduce world population, efforts to save our environment cannot succeed.

The uncomfortable truth is that the impact on Earth's biosphere of a projected 9 billion people living at a desired higher standard of living in 2050 would be fatal for the planet in terms of greenhouse gas emissions alone.

Given the fact that our world's carrying capacity is supported by oil, and that the oil is about to start going away, it seems that a population decline is inevitable. Populations in serious overshoot always decline, though actually, it's a bit worse than that. The population may actually fall to a lower level than was sustainable before the overshoot.

We are getting obvious signals from our environment that all is not well. Because we are now a global species with a global civilization, continuing growth of our numbers depends on the continuing growth of our civilization. There must be a sufficient level of food, shelter, energy and medical care available. All these factors will be put at risk globally within the next two decades due to the loss of oil. Food production and distribution will be hampered or impossible, and local agriculture will prove very difficult in some places. Other countries like those at the bottom of the list of developing nations will simply be too poor to compete against the developed world for the resources needed for survival. Populations will fall as a result.

The facts remain: there aren't enough resources to bring the whole world up to the industrial level of the developed world and the developed world is unlikely to consent to their own voluntary impoverishment in favour of industrializing the less developed world, and attempting such an approach would increase rather than reduce global ecological devastation.

The human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution can divert our attention. If the present growth in world population continues, the limits to growth will be reached within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.

As for man, there is little reason to think that he can, in the long run, escape the fate of other creatures.  rw 022812

UK Unable to Sustain Population, Says Study.   February 18, 2008   Telegraph
The UK is over-populated and could support only 17 million people if it had to provide for the current 60 million from its own resources. If global population growth continues the world could be at war over resources in less than 50 years and calls on governments to advocate smaller families and increased use of contraception.

Government targets to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 will have little impact on the UK's sustainability because of the rate of population growth.

The number of people living in the UK is expected to hit 65 million within 10 years, and top 70 million by 2031.

Even if Britain was carbon neutral, it could only sustainably support 40 million people. To live sustainably, British people would have to lead simpler lives, similar to people in China, Paraguay, Algeria and Botswana.

The world was living within its ecological means until the 1980s when populations began to grow rapidly.

By 2050, it will be using up the equivalent of nearly two Earths each year and the UK's overpopulation threatens the environment and people's quality of life.

We need a national population policy.  rw 022749

U.S.: Envisioning a Sustainable Chesapeake.   February 17, 2008   Annapolis Capital
It's been most inspiring to see discussions begin to address the future of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.

They prompt us to ask: "What does a sustainable Chesapeake really mean?"

My vision is built upon a balanced, vibrant ecosystem teeming with fish, shellfish, underwater grasses and clear, healthy waters. But to be truly sustainable, the Chesapeake ecosystem needs to exist while also supporting the region's human population.

Creating a sustainable Chesapeake will not be easy. But as we look around the state, we're seeing more and more positive steps being taken.

Recently, the Maryland Commission on Climate Change made recommendations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving energy throughout the state. These actions will require that we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25% within the next 12 years.

An initiative was introduced that will seek to instill a sense of environmental stewardship among the 28,000 students graduating each year. It will also foster research and prepare the new "green" workforce.

By changing our own actions, each of us has the ability to reduce our impact on the bay and the planet.

As long as the region's population continues to grow, and we develop lands faster than needed to accommodate that growth, we make it more difficult to maintain the sustainability equation.

We have struggled more than 20 years to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the bay and we are still far from where we need to be. Another 10, 20 or 30 years of pollution-fighting efforts will still not be enough. Bay restoration efforts will be needed in perpetuity.

We need to manage for sustainability by remaining aware of what will cross our path in the future.  rw   Karen Gaia says: The way things are going, we will be forced to reduce our greenhouse gases because we have passed peak oil, meaning our consumption of oil will be reduced. 022746

The Hidden Holocaust -- Our Civilizational Crisis, Part 3.   January 06, 2008   Online Journal
This global system is driven purely by profit, efficiency, growth, and monopoly. It is destructive of all life, nature, and even itself.

It is now generating multiple crises across the world that threaten to converge unless we take drastic action now.

These crises have four key themes: Climate catastrophe, peak oil, food scarcity, and economic instability.

The C02 emissions from the industries are the main engine of global warming. Scientists have found no evidence that solar energy is correlated with rising temperatures. According to the IPCC's first report, by 2100 the average global temperature could rise by 6.4C, leading to ecological alterations that would make life throughout most of the Earth impossible.

Another crisis emerging is the energy crisis, primarily oil. The basic rules for the discovery, estimation and production of petroleum reserves were laid down by Dr. M. King Hubbert who pointed out that as petroleum is a finite resource, its production must inevitably pass through three key stages. Production reaches a peak which cannot be surpassed which occurs at the point when 50% of total reserves are depleted.

Production declines at an increasing rate, until the resource is completely depleted.

Rising oil prices and reports of declining oil production corroborate the conclusion that the peak has occurred, or will do, within the start of the 21st century. The convergence of climate change and peak oil threaten to undermine global food security over the next few years. The effects of this are already being felt.

A study predicted that if global warming continues, drought that already threatens the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth before 2100, and extreme drought will affect a third of the planet. The world-scale drought would undermine the ability to grow food, have a safe sanitation system, and the availability of water, pushing millions of people over the precipice.

We are already pushing the limits on world food production. The Earth is running out of fertile land, and food production will soon be unable to keep up with population growth.

Every year in the US, more than 2 million acres of cropland are lost to erosion, salinization and water logging.

Without oil, modern agriculture dies, and so then will our ability to mass-produce food.

Economic meltdown, the gap between rich and poor nations doubled between 1960 and 1989.

Of the 4 billion people who live in developing countries, about 1.3 billion have no access to clean drinking water. A fifth of all children receive an insufficient intake of calories and proteins. Around 2 billion people suffer from anaemia, 2.4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. The CEPR conducted a study of economic growth for 1980 to 2005. The results are shocking. The majority of the world's economies have been retarded. These 25 years have exhibited a decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades in growth, life expectancy, infant mortality and education.

The global economic system is inherently unstable, and tends toward the generation of periodic crises. It is vulnerable to collapse.

In mid-2006, Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley, warned that the world "has done little to prepare itself for what could well be the next crisis." A key trigger could be the housing market, the use of home loans to squeeze cash out of equity, permitting consumers to spend beyond their means.

This spending spree has to come to an end. If it comes to an end suddenly, then we have our recession. The US economy is close to the edge. We need a civilizational paradigm shift. A whole new vision of life itself to replace the dead, broken materialistic vision associated with the concurrent global imperial system. The good news is that the civilizational paradigm shift is not only happening its seeds have already been planted.

This system is now generating multiple crises across the world that over the next 20 years threaten to converge in an unprecedented and unimaginable way, unless we take drastic action now.

These crises can be categorized broadly into four key themes:

1. Climate Catastrophe

Industrial civilization derives all its energy from the burning of fossil fuels, pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The C02 emissions from the industries that drive our economies, our societies, that sustain our infrastructures, are the main engine of global warming in the last few decades. This doesn't mean that all climate change ever is due to human-induced C02. Scientists know that there are many other factors involved in climate change, such as solar activity, as well as periodic changes in the Earth's orbit. But they have overwhelmingly confirmed that these are not the primary factors currently driving global warming. The primary factor is C02 emissions induced by human activities.

The origins of climate change are no longer a matter of serious scientific debate. Early in 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported the findings of a three-year study projecting the rise in temperatures due to global warming, by 600 scientists from 40 countries, peer-reviewed by 600 more meteorologists. The report confirmed that human-induced global warming is "unequivocally" happening, and that the probability that climate change was due to human C02 emissions is over 90%.

The London Times reported on a study from Nature as follows:

"Scientists have examined various proxies of solar energy output over the past 1,000 years and have found no evidence that they are correlated with today's rising temperatures. Satellite observations over the past 30 years have also turned up nothing. ‘The solar contribution to warming . . . is negligible,' the researchers wrote in the journal Nature."

At 6c : "Life on Earth ends with apocalyptic storms, flash floods, hydrogen sulphide gas and methane fireballs racing across the globe with the power of atomic bombs; only fungi survive."

Growing evidence suggests that the IPCC projections are extremely conservative, and that the climate crisis is rapidly growing out of control. According to Dr David Wasdell, a climate expert and an accredited reviewer of the IPCC report, the final report was watered down by Western government officials before release to make its findings appear less catastrophic. Dr Wasdell told the New Scientist (8 March 2007) that early drafts of the report prepared by scientists in April 2006 contained "many references to the potential for climate to change faster than expected because of ‘positive feedbacks' in the climate system. Most of these references were absent from the final version."

The following IPCC report, however, distilling the research of 2,500 climate scientists, released in November 2007 only confirms that the original projection was too optimistic. To avoid heating the globe by the minimum possible, an average of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the world's spiraling growth in greenhouse gas emissions must end no later than 2015, and must start to drop quickly after that peak. By 2050, carbon dioxide and other atmospheric polluting gases must be reduced by 50 to 85%, according to the estimates. But even this is already too late. "We may have already overshot that target," said David Karoly, one member of the core team that wrote the report. Current emissions already are nearing the limit required in 2015 to limit the warming to 2 degrees Celsius, he added in a media interview from Valencia.

But Western governments have known about this danger for years. At the June 2005 UK government conference on "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" at the Met Office in Exeter, scientists reported an emerging consensus that global warming must remain "below an average increase of two degrees centigrade if catastrophe is to be avoided," which means ensuring that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stays below 400 parts per million. Beyond this level, dangerous and runaway climate change is likely to be irreversible.

About two weeks after the government conference warned of this minimum threshold, the Independent commissioned an investigation by Keith Shine, head of the meteorology department at the University of Reading. Using the latest available figures (for 2004), Professor Shine calculated that "the C02 equivalent concentration, largely unnoticed by the scientific and political communities, has now risen beyond this threshold." Accounting for the effects of methane and nitrous oxide, he found that the equivalent concentration of C02 is now 425ppm and fast rising, guaranteeing that the global mean temperature will rise by 2 degrees. Consequently, some of the worst predicted effects of global warming, such as the destruction of ecosystems and increased hunger and water shortages for billions of people in the South, may well be unavoidable.

When asked about the implications, Tom Burke, a former government environment adviser, told the Independent: "The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance. It means we have actually entered a new era -- the era of dangerous climate change. We have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2 degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate."

According to the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) the percentage of Earth's land area stricken by serious drought more than doubled from the 1970s to the early 2000s, from about 10-15% to 30%, largely due to rising temperatures. Widespread drying occurred over much of Europe and Asia, Canada, western and southern Africa, and eastern Australia. Global warming is not only melting the Arctic, it is melting the glaciers that feed Asia's largest rivers -- the Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow. Because glaciers are a natural storage system, releasing water during hot arid periods, the shrinking ice sheets could aggravate water imbalances, causing flooding as the melting accelerates, followed by a reduction in river flows. This problem is only decades, possibly even years away, resulting in hundreds of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who have water, being short of it, most likely in less than 20 years. By 2050, more than 1 billion people in Asia could face water shortages, and by 2080, water shortages could threaten 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people. Some climate models show sub-saharan Africa drying out by 2050.

2. Peak oil

There is yet another crisis emerging, which is also linked to our addiction to burning fossil fuels. That is the energy crisis. Today, the most prominent energy source is, of course, conventional oil. Here in the UK, from where I'm now writing, 90% of our energy comes from conventional oil, gas and coal, but primarily oil. Without these energy supplies, civilized life in the UK would simply collapse. Transportation, agriculture, modern medicine, national defence, water distribution, and the production of even basic technologies would be impossible. This formula applies across the board, throughout western industrial civilization.

One of the most authoritative studies so far on peak oil and its timing was conducted by Dr. Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere, leading oil industry experts concluded in a report for the government that "the mid-point of ultimate conventional oil production would be reached by year 2000 and that decline would soon begin." They also projected that "production post-peak would halve about every 25 years, an exponential decline of 2.5 to 2.9% per annum."

This conclusion is based as it is on performance data from thousands of oil fields in 65 countries, including data on "virtually all discoveries, on production history by country, field, and company as well as key details of geology and geophysical surveys." A review of the research by senior industry geologists in Petroleum Review indicated, apart from minor disagreement over the scope of remaining reserves, "general acceptance of the substance of their arguments; that the bulk of remaining discovery will be in ever smaller fields within established provinces."

Rapidly rising oil prices and growing reports of declining oil production corroborate the conclusion that the peak has already occurred, or will do, well within the dawn of the 21st century. London's Petroleum Review published a study toward the end of 2004 concluding that in Indonesia, Gabon, and fifteen other oil-rich nations supplying about 30% of the world's daily crude, oil production is declining by 5% a year -- double the rate of decline a year prior to the report. Chris Skrebowski reported in early 2005 that production in conventional oil reserves are already declining at about 4-6% a year worldwide, including 18 large oil-producing countries, and 32 smaller ones. Denmark, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Mexico and India are due to peak in the next few years.

According to an official report published by British Petroleum late last year, we have about 30 years before we peak. This is supposed to be an ‘optimistic' assessment. Apart from the fact that this is hardly good news, it is a clearly politicized claim from an oil industry fighting to sustain its credibility as the Oil Age nears its demise. Colin Campbell, himself a former senior BP geologist, argues that the data shows we have less than 4 years; and in the meantime, former US government energy adviser Matt Simmons argues that we have most likely peaked years ago, but won't know for sure until we start feeling the crunch within a few years.

3. Food scarcity

The convergence of these two global crises, climate change and peak oil, threaten to undermine global food security over the next few years. The effects of this are already being felt.

At the British Association's Festival of Science in Dublin in September 2005, US and UK scientists working at the Hadley Centre described how shifts in rain patterns and temperatures due to global warming could lead to a further 50 million people going hungry by conservative estimates. "If we accept that broadly 500 million people are at risk today, we expect that to increase by about 10 percent by the middle part of this century."

Then toward the end of 2006, a study by Met Office's Hadley Centre funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, predicted that if global warming continues, drought that already threatens the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth before 2100, and extreme drought making agriculture impossible will affect a third of the planet. The world-scale drought would undermine the ability to grow food, the ability to have a safe sanitation system, and the availability of water, pushing millions of people already struggling in conditions of dire deprivation over the precipice.

The grim truth is that we are already pushing the limits on world food production within the existing structure of modern corporate agriculture. According to new maps released in December 2005 by scientists at the Centre for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Navin Ramankutty, "Except for Latin America and Africa, all the places in the world where we could grow crops are already being cultivated. The remaining places are either too cold or too dry to grow crops." The maps thus show that the Earth is "rapidly running out of fertile land" and that "food production will soon be unable to keep up with global population growth."

World food prediction probably peaked shortly before the new millennium. Lester Brown, a former international agricultural policy advisor for the US government who went on to found the World Watch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, reports that since world grain consumption has exceeded production since 2000, such that 2003 saw a deficit of 105 million tones. On that basis, Brown predicts a global grain deficit within the next few years. In 2003 he noted that "World grain harvests have fallen for four consecutive years and world grain stocks are at the lowest level in 30 years." This is partly why world grain prices are steadily rising.

This is not centrally about population, but about modern intensive agricultural methods as practiced by the globalized corporate food industry, which are simply unsustainable. US structural geologist Dave Allen Pfeiffer points out that while it takes 500 years to replace 1 inch of topsoil, in soil made susceptible by modern agriculture, erosion is reducing productivity up to 65% each year. Former prairie lands, which constitute the bread basket of the United States, have lost one half of their topsoil after farming for about 100 years. This soil is eroding 30 times faster than the natural formation rate. Soil erosion and mineral depletion removes about $20 billion worth of plant nutrients from US agricultural soils every year. Every year in the US, more than 2 million acres of cropland are lost to erosion, salinization and water logging.

Already, populations in the South are suffering from the grim reality of these crises. Near the end of last year, The Guardian reported:

"Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico. Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products. Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive, says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high for years."

Peak food will be exacerbated beyond all proportion in the context of peak oil. Modern intensive agriculture that produces most of our food, is industrialized, mechanized. It needs oil. Without oil, modern agriculture dies, and so then will our ability to mass-produce food.

4. Economic meltdown

According to the United Nations Development Programme, the gap between rich and poor nations doubled between 1960 and 1989. The rewards of globalization are increasingly "spread unequally and inequitably -- concentrating power and wealth in a select group of people, nations and corporations, marginalizing the others."

Successive UN Human Development reports give us the broad contours of the manner in which this system inflicts protracted death-by-deprivation on the majority of the world's population. Of the 4 billion people who live in developing countries, almost a third -- about 1.3 billion people -- have no access to clean drinking water. A fifth of all children in the world receive an insufficient intake of calories and proteins. Around 2 billion people -- a third of the human race -- suffer from anaemia. 2.4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Thirty million people die of hunger every year, half of whom, UNICEF estimates, are children. Over 840 million suffer from chronic malnutrition, almost a sixth of the population. Three billion people -- that is half the world population -- are forced to survive on less than two dollars a day. Of the 6 billion people in the world, only 500 million live in comfort -- that is approximately one-twelfth of the world population. This leaves a massive 5.5 billion people living in need -- over five-sixth of the population.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC found, in a comprehensive study of economic growth and other indicators for the period between 1980 and 2005, that the vast majority of the world's economies have been systematically retarded, exhibiting an empirically incontrovertible decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades in growth, life expectancy, infant mortality and education.

But the global economic system is not merely inherently unjust and unequal but also inherently unstable, and tends toward the generation of periodic crises, and as events of the last few months have shown, it is increasingly vulnerable to collapse. Financial institutions, corporate investors and even mainstream economists have been aware of the dangers for several years before the recent crisis that erupted from the depths of fault lines in the housing market. In March 2006, an unprecedented IMF report Safeguarding Financial Stability criticized the twin strategies of deregulation and liberalization, the staple policies of the global economy, as "the potential for fragility, instability, systemic risk, and adverse economic consequences." Deregulation has caused "national financial systems become increasingly vulnerable to increased systemic risk and to a growing number of financial crises."

In mid-2006, Stephen Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley, warned that the world "has done little to prepare itself for what could well be the next crisis." UC Berkeley economist professor Brad DeLong in March 2007 argued that a global economic recession was in motion, principally due to three factors:

"1) A Federal Reserve that finds itself with less inflation-fighting credibility than it thought it had; 2) upward pressure on inflation from rising energy and, perhaps, import prices; and 3) millions of middle-class homeowners who for too long have treated their houses as gigantic ATMs, using home equity loans and refinancing to generate extra spending money."

A key trigger could be the housing market -- the unprecedented use of home loans to squeeze cash out of equity, permitting middle-class consumers to spend well beyond their means. "Someday this spending spree has to come to an end. If it comes to an end suddenly, at a time when the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates a little too much, then we have our recession . . . Make no mistake about it: The US economy is close to the edge . . . What can be done to head off the danger? Unfortunately, very little. The bag of macroeconomic tricks is empty." [

In July 2006 Dr. David Martin, in a speech at the Arlington Institute, warned his listeners that a collapse of the global banking system could be imminent as of January 2008, and that it would start with the housing crisis.

The war forward . . . ?

What we need now is a civilizational paradigm shift. Not just a new economics, or new politics, or new social vision. We need a whole new vision of life itself to replace the dead, broken materialistic vision associated with the concurrent global imperial system. The good news is that the civilizational paradigm shift is not only happening now as I write -- its seeds have already been planted.  rw 022483

Niger: Population Explosion Threatens Development Gains.   December 11, 2007   UN Integrated Regional Information Network
If Nigeriens remain uninformed about family planning and keep reproducing at the current rate the population will more than quadruple by 2050, imposing unmanageable demands on the economy, social services and the environment. The current rate of population growth is 3.3% every year. If that growth continues, there will be 56 million people in Niger by 2050, compared to 13.5 million today. In 1960, it was just 1.7 million.

The average number of children per mother is 7.1. Women said they would like nine and men said 12, but some families said 40 or 50 children. It a society that encourages procreation.

Just 5% of Nigeriens use family planning and contraception. People aren't informed about the negative consequences of having so many children.

The 85% of Nigeriens who rely on rain-fed, subsistence agriculture to feed themselves are going to be hardest hit as millions more people compete for the same amount of farmland to grow food.

The Sahel has recently been identified as one of the regions most likely to be adversely affected by climate change.

The increase in the population will continue to accentuate the cereal production and wood-for-fuel deficits which started in the 1980s. Niger's population will quickly overtake the government's ability to provide health, education, jobs and even water points, tasks that it is already failing at today.

94% of Nigeriens live on 35% of the land. The most populated areas are along the southern border with Burkina Faso and Mali.

The Maradi region holds 20% of the population, 2,235,748 people, living on 3.3% of the country's land.

Niger's desert and mountain north accounts for 53% of Niger's territory but only 3 percent of the population, 321,639 people.

Niger plans this year to curb population growth which the INS says would reduce the population in 2050 to 33.3 million, still almost three times its current level.

The government wants the number practising family planning to increase from to 15% or 20% by 2015. The INS says 20% of women claim to want it.

The plan calls for information campaigns to educate religious leaders and women about the availability and importance of family planning.

Currently, every second girl is married and likely to be procreating before the age of 15. Raising the marriage age to 18 would take up to four years off a woman's reproductive life.

By 2015 population growth should have slowed to 2.5% and the average number of children per woman should be five.

Diadi Boureima, deputy representative of the UN Fund for Population Affairs (UNFPA) in Niger, said the task was a critical one.

If the demographics continue, Niger cannot develop. All the resources the country has will be going into social services and nothing will be left for investing in the economy. The government is acting accordingly.  rw 022551

Sustainable Development is Need of the Time.   December 08, 2007   The Daily Star
The idea of sustainable development grew from environmental movements in earlier decades and was defined in 1987 as: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

When you think of the world as a system, you understand that air pollution from North America affects air quality in Asia, and that pesticides sprayed in Argentina could harm fish stocks off the coast of Australia.

You start to realise that the decisions our grandparents made about how to farm the land continue to affect agricultural practice today.

We understand that quality of life is a system, too. What if you are poor and don't have access to education? It's good to have a secure income, but what if the air in your part of the world is unclean? And it's good to have freedom of religious expression, but what if you can't feed your family?

The concept of sustainable development helps us understand ourselves and our world. The problems we face are complex and serious, and we can't address them in the same way we created them.

Sustainable development highlights sustainability as the idea of environmental, economic and social progress and equity, all within the limits of the world's natural resources.

Sustainable development calls for improving the quality of life for all of the world's people without increasing the use of our natural resources beyond the Earth's carrying capacity. The efforts to build a truly sustainable way of life require the integration of action in three key areas:

Interlinked, global economic systems demand an integrated approach to foster responsible long-term growth while ensuring that no nation or community is left behind.

To conserve our environment and natural resources for future generations, economically viable solutions must be developed to reduce resource consumption, stop pollution and conserve natural habitats.

Throughout the world, people require jobs, food, education, energy, health care, water, and sanitation. The world community must ensure that the cultural and social diversity, and the rights of workers, are respected, and that all members of society are empowered to play a role in determining their futures.

The record on sustainability so far appears to have been quite poor. Sustainable development is an urgent issue, though political will has been slow-paced. There are 1.3 billion without access to clean water. About half of humanity lack access to adequate sanitation and living on less than 2 dollars a day.

In practicing sustainable development over the long-term one will:

-- Not diminish the quality of the present environment.

-- Not reduce the availability of renewable resources.

-- Take into consideration the value of non-renewable resources to future generations.

-- Not compromise the ability of other species or future generations to meet their needs.  rw 022382

World Atlas of Sustainable Development- Feed Your Head.   December 06, 2007   Gather.com
So far, we have only one usable planet. The "science dudes" are trying to discover if there are any planets out there that are suitable for humans to live on. This has not produced results. In our solar system everything appears to be too hot, too cold, or have no atmosphere. This leaves us to face the fact that the 6.5 billion humans on this rocky sphere are dependent on the natural resources that exist on our planet. Unfortunately, we are using those resources in an unsustainable way right now. Within 100 years, we will have to feed, clothe, and provide electricity and transportation and water to, around 10 billion humans.

* The worldwide catch of fish is now 6 times what it was 50 years ago. Catches are beginning to decline as fish populations sink.

* 850 million humans go hungry; 220 million are children.

* 1 in 5 humans have no access to clean drinking water.

* By 2050, 85% of all humans will live in developing countries.

* One third of the world's visible land is affected by desertification, the degradation of productive but fragile lands which have insufficient rainfall and has been damaged by unsustainable development.

* During the next 100 years that global temperature averages will rise from 2 to 6 degrees C, resulting in coastal flooding and an increase in droughts. We are using resources 30% faster than the ability of those resources to renew themselves. Many people whose knowledge of the environmental challenges seems to date from 1960.  rw 022377

Is the Planet Full Yet?.   November 26, 2007   The Argus website
Of the top 50 things to save the planet, to have fewer people is only Number 18. The current population of 6.6 billion people is predicted to rocket to 9.7 billion in the next 40 years. Yet there is a conspicuous silence about the topic of sustainable family planning.

Population growth is one of the factors which determines our impact on the Earth's ecosystem and therefore we should talk frankly about it. Population growth could wipe out any gains we make reducing the amount we consume. It has to be a part of the discussion and not ignored as some form of sacred taboo.

Friends of the Earth do not campaign on the matter of population, claiming the big issue is resource use. But Green Party Caroline Lucas MEP disagrees. "There's a direct relation between the emissions we produce and how many of us there are."

The idea of controlling the population may be distasteful but on a planet with finite resources and an exponentially growing number of people something, has to give. At present we are not able to feed the world's population adequately, yet we produce enough food to do so. That is a failure of our current structures. With the world's population set to rise significantly over the next century, if we can't cope now, how are we going to cope then?

By encouraging high levels of immigration we are fuelling the problem because when people come here they are, going to start living our unsustainable lifestyle, too."

The South East Plan proposes a further 11,000 homes should be built in Brighton and Hove by 2026, the result is likely to be severe pressure on our natural resources, such as water. Can a city hemmed in by the sea and South Downs accommodate any more without compromising quality of life and the future of the South Downs National Park?

According to the UN, there are 78 million people added to the world every year, yet there are 200 million women who want to control their fertility but have no safe and effective access to contraceptive services.

We need a major investment in family planning so women can choose their family size.

In the Sixties and Seventies, population was a key issue for all the major campaign groups. Oxfam published a paper entitled World Population: The Biggest Problem Of All. But in 2007, to call for such frank discussion runs too great a risk of upsetting the other values environmentalists identify with: human rights, gender equality, race, immigration and, above all, individual choice.

We've got to stop being paralysed by the sensitivities the population question naturally taps into and recognise there are actually valid ways to address it which could bring great benefits.

The decisions we make relating to family issues, must be left up to individuals, but devoting resources to reproductive health and family planning services brings genuine win-wins in terms of community development and women's rights, as well as smaller populations.

Scratch the surface of any environmental problem and it reveals population growth, and the way we live our lives, as the root cause. The need for a population policy has never been more urgent. While governments see big populations as an indicator of economic strength, the population problem will lead to environmental catastrophe.  rw 022330

Wake Up About Overpopulation.   November 13, 2007   College of New Jersey Signal
Any individual will encounter terms such as carrying capacity, limiting factors and exponential growth. Yet few implement the concept of sustainability.

Until people question the existence, of the global environmental crisis, the population stabilization and reduction initiative will remain little more than a lobby largely ignored by politicians.

The US has been unable to serve as an example. Any way of life that is unlike our own, is a threat and must promptly be democratized, modernized and westernized.

The symptoms of a society that is straining under its own weight are all there, yet we've successfully managed to evade the issue by misdiagnosing, and offering temporary solutions to the problem. While the United States birth rate has decreased, our lenient immigration policies continue to increase our population. Experts predict that the United States population, if left unchecked, is expected to double in 70 years to a total of 540 million people.

We must begin our public discourse when consensus is met; sacrifices will have to be made, for democracy can only deal with the ever-changing present while relegating responsibility for the future to the few who care to take it upon themselves.

An average U.S. citizen consumes 50 times more goods and services than a Chinese citizen and approximately twice as many as a Western European.

Only recently, during spikes in gas prices, has the engineers' task turned to designing automobiles and engines which reduce consumption and emissions.

Our challenge is to stir the minds and hearts of our fellow Americans so that they may awaken to this reality, directing this change for the better before it is snatched from us.  rw 022260

City Planning Will Determine Pace of Global Warming: UN-Habitat Chief.   October 31, 2007   Media Newswire
The way in which the world's growing cities were planned and managed would largely determine the pace of global warming. The urbanization of poverty was now the biggest development challenge. With half the world's population residing in cities, and one billion slum dwellers living in life-threatening conditions, 2007 marked a turning point in history. Cities were responsible for 75% of energy consumption and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The opportunity to reduce the vulnerability of cities to the effects of climate change should be a priority alongside improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations. Policymakers, planners, must place cities and urban issues at the forefront of sustainable development.

Several speakers indicated that climate change had devastated the lives of millions and natural disasters had set back development efforts. There was need for the international community to support developing countries by providing them with the tools to cope with global warming effects and also to bolster their economies to build a sustainable future.

The Kyoto Protocol must be carried out to the needs of developing countries. Just as important was disaster preparedness and response. The 2004 Asian tsunami had proved that early warning systems were vital and in order to boost those efforts, Thailand had contributed $10 million to the Fund for Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements in the Indian Ocean and South-east Asia.

Thailand had taken steps towards sustainability, and the philosophy of a “sufficiency economy” had been integrated into its policies. That had already promoted sustainable agricultural practices to ensure food security for farmers, persuade locals to conserve forests, and promote sustainable energy development.

Ethiopia's delegate said a more concerted effort was needed in Africa to push developing countries towards sustainable development and to avert climate-change crises. Too many obstacles stood in the way of sustainability, including conflict, insufficient investment, limited market access opportunities, supply- side constraints and unsustainable debt burdens. Ecuador's representative pointed to the Hyogo Framework for Action and the work of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction as tools that could translate words into action.

Japan's representative stressed the importance of concerted action in support of vulnerable countries, particularly small island developing States and least developed countries.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Thailand has a good chance at sustainability because it did something about it's population growth many years ago. Africa has a long way to go before catching up with Thailand. 022176

U.S.;: Honey, We Shrunk the Planet.   October 19, 2007   Huffington Post
The physical Earth is increasingly becoming what the human species makes of it.

Environmental disasters are almost always human disasters. Satellite pictures of Burma over the past three years have recorded the extermination of over 3,000 villages displacing half a million people. The main culprit is the hunger for oil and gas, backed by the murderous local military junta.

The bottom line, is we're living beyond our means. Nearly two thirds of the services provided by nature are in decline worldwide. We can't count on the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations.

Change is not linear, and sudden shifts sometimes remake the world in the blink of an eye. We know we're approaching mysterious thresholds that mark the tipping points of ecological regime change, and we may have already crossed some. The closer we get to each threshold, the less it takes to push the system over the edge. Resilience does not mean just bouncing back to business-as-usual. It means assuring the very ability to get back.

Taking care of nature means taking care of people, and taking care of people means taking care of nature.

Think decentralized power grids, more localized food systems, and the Internet.

The heart of resilience is diversity. Damaged ecosystems rebound to health when they have sufficient diversity.

Resilience resides in enduring relationships and networks that hold cultural memory the same way seeds regenerate a forest after a fire. Empower local communities to solve their own problems.

The Dutch mobilized around total environmental quality recovery in 25 years. But the process kicked in only after business took the lead. They had a surprising proposal: Have government set the standards, and let business figure out how to achieve them. Together they developed a twenty-five-year plan, as well as annual plans that report on progress and challenges. If business fails to meet the specific voluntary goals, government will intervene with mandatory controls. To guarantee transparency and accountability, the government funded environmental NGOs as watchdogs to transmit their findings to the media and the public.

We have a golden opportunity to regenerate our waning economy and correct environmental degradation and rampant social injustices. Our declining public health and educational systems rank among the lowest in developed countries. The reinvention of a green economy can begin to solve our economic and social ills simultaneously. We can create abundant jobs, prosperity, equity and hope. Our new declaration of independence is from fossil fuels and imperial entanglements. In the absence of federal leadership, large numbers of cities and states are banding together to lead these kinds of changes. Political boundaries are also morphing. A historic convergence of the environmental and social justice movements is crystallizing in the shared recognition that taking care of nature means taking care of people, and taking care of people means taking care of nature.

Meanwhile, there are mounting numbers of conservatives, stepping up under the banner of conserving the Earth for their grandchildren.

We need to reclaim our government from the corporate shadow government. It will keep trying to hijack systemic changes that threaten its short-term profits, vested interests and power. We need the separation of corporations and the state.

A successful U.S. Green Plan depends on our doing all this--together, with respect, justice and dignity for all people and the circle of life.  rw 022165

The Nature of the New World.   October 02, 2007   Earth Policy Institute
We are entering a new world where the collisions between our demands and the earth's capacity to satisfy them are becoming daily events. If we do not act quickly to reverse the trends, the seemingly isolated events will determine our future.

Resources that accumulated over eons of geological time are being consumed in a single human lifespan. We are violating deadlines that we do not recognize. These deadlines are not politically negotiable.

Nature has many thresholds that we discover only when it is too late. In our fast-forward world we learn that we have crossed them only after the fact, leaving little time to adjust. We know from earlier civilizations that the lead indicators of economic decline were environmental, not economic.

Our situation today is more challenging because we must deal with falling water tables, more frequent crop-withering heat waves, collapsing fisheries, expanding deserts, deteriorating rangelands, dying coral reefs, melting glaciers, rising seas, more-powerful storms, disappearing species, and, shrinking oil supplies. Although these destructive trends have been evident for some time, not one has been reversed at the global level.

The world is in what ecologists call an "overshoot-and-collapse" mode. Demand has exceeded the sustainable yield of natural systems at the local level countless times in the past. Now, for the first time, it is doing so at the global level. Humanity's collective demands first surpassed the earth's regenerative capacity around 1980. Demands in 1999 exceeded that capacity by 20%. The gap, growing by 1% or so a year, is now much wider. We are setting the stage for decline and collapse.

When agriculture began, humans, their livestock, and pets together accounted for less than 0.1% of the total. Today, this group accounts for 98% of the earth's total vertebrate biomass, leaving only 2% for the wild portion, including all the deer, wild beasts, elephants, birds, and so forth.

For example, as the environmental resources of Easter Island in the South Pacific deteriorated, its population declined from a peak of 20,000 several centuries ago to today's population of fewer than 4,000.

Even as the global population is climbing and the economy's environmental support systems are deteriorating, farmers will want to clear more and more of the remaining tropical forests to produce high-yielding biofuel crops. Countries heavily dependent on imported grain for food are beginning to worry that buyers for fuel distilleries may outbid them for supplies. As oil security deteriorates, so, too, will food security.

Now as the world turns to wind, solar cells, and geothermal energy, we are witnessing the localization of the world energy economy.

If recent environmental trends continue, the global economy eventually will come crashing down. At issue is whether national governments can stabilize population and restructure the economy before time runs out.  rw 022501

Green Family Values: Sex and the Environment-World Population Day.   July 11, 2007   Green Options blog
World Population Day was established by the UN in 1989 when the Earth's population reached five billion. Almost 20 years later, we have reached over 6.6 billion with approximately 77 million people added each year. When will we not be able to support our population or have we reached this point?

As the century begins, natural resources are under increasing pressure, water shortages, soil exhaustion, loss of forests, air and water pollution, and degradation of coastlines afflict many areas. Developed economies consume resources faster than they can regenerate. Developing countries with rapid population growth face the need to improve living standards. As we exploit nature to meet present needs, are we destroying resources for the future?

There are so many issues involving global population growth. We may not feel the effects in the US yet, but if we look to developing countries and the natural resources available, it is easy to become alarmed. If we want a livable future, we must increase our sustainabilty, as well as stabilize the human population. We must slow this growth to enable us to address sustainability and preserve a high standard of living for all people. Voluntary family planning should be supported, including eliminating the Global Gag Rule. Even though the US population grows mostly due to immigration, there are families in this country with eight or nine children. However, 99% of population growth does occurs in developing countries. Family planning education that targets both men and women, as well as aid should be a priority as we look to stabilize population growth.  rw   Karen Gaia says: with the human population at 6.6 billion, it will be impossible to attain a high standard of living for all people. Let us settle for a standard of living more like that of Cuba, which is the most sustainable counry in the world. Cuba has free health care, free education, adequately feeds its people, and even sends doctors and nurses to help people in developing countries. 021551

New Sustainability Measure Shows Utahns Have a Big Eco-footprint.   June 28, 2007   The Salt Lake Tribune
The Utah Population and Environment Coalition calculated that it takes about 9.9 global hectares to support each Utahn, while Utah lands provide 8.9 global hectares.

"It's important to start this discussion about choices for our future," said one of the researchers.

"We hope this will be a community discussion and that Utah will take a leadership role. The average Utahn's share of that consumption has grown along with the state's population. In 1990, the population was 1.7 million and the state's overall footprint was 15.2 million global hectares, compared with 23.8 in 2003, when the population had reached 2.4 million.

The population growth put such a great demand on resources that now we consume more than the land can supply on a sustainable basis. The state now has a deficit of about 2.4 million hectares.

Americans are resource hogs compared to the rest of the world. It would take five earths to sustain everyone if people worldwide had the same eco-footprint as Utahns.  rw 021467

When is Hawaii's 'Carrying Capacity' Maxed Out?.   June 25, 2007   Hawaii Reporter
It would seem logical to determine what is the carrying capacity of our Hawaiian islands. There are water conservation advisories on a regular basis. Our sewer system is in need of constant repair. Flooding is common. Road rage is rampant. All boats have a finite carrying capacity. I submit so do islands and what is the carrying capacity of Hawaii?

The criterion for determining whether a region is overpopulated is not land area, but carrying capacity.

That refers to the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural social, cultural and economic environment for present and future generations.

The carrying capacity is not fixed. It can be altered by improved technology, but mostly it is changed for the worse by population increase.

As the environment is degraded, carrying capacity shrinks, leaving the environment unable to support even the number of people who could formerly have lived in the area.

The average "ecological footprint" on the mainland is about 12 acres, an area far greater than that taken up by one's residence and place of school or work and the Hawaiian footprint is larger.  rw 021430

Natural Resource Depletion Costs Ghana $520 Million Annually.   June 20, 2007   Statesman
Research reveals that the degradation of agricultural soils, forests and Savannah woodlands, coastal fisheries, wildlife resources, and Lake Volta's environment are estimated to cost Ghana at least $520 million annually.

The majority of the estimated costs of environmental degradation comes from forests, to represent 5% of GDP.

Ghana's natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. More than 50% of the original forest has been converted to agricultural land by slash- and-burn. Despite cocoa land expansion, productivity has declined because of soil erosion.

Fish, timber, and non- timber forest product stocks are decreasing. As a result, coastal towns have begun to experience severe water shortages. Hydropower is dropping, and bilharzia has spread around the Volta Lake region.

Wildlife populations and biodiversity are in serous decline and many species face extinction. These depletions might lower Ghana's GDP growth in the near future.

Poor forest management and soil degradation result in huge economic losses. The degradation of Lake Volta increases the costs and reduces the quality of both water and power.

The prospects for economic development and poverty reduction in Ghana are dependent on natural resources.

Rural households rely on natural resources for their livelihoods, fisheries, and wildlife provide protein in Ghanaian diets. Urban economic activities depend on reliable hydroelectric power.

About half of Ghana's GDP derived from agriculture and livestock, forestry and wood processing and were related to the natural resources.

Ghana's natural resources are over exploited and continue to decline. Inappropriate crop production, mining and the wood industry are adversely affecting forests and savannah. Ongoing soil erosion and a decline in fertility undermine food and agricultural production.

A stronger policy dialogue must etablish a framework to provide sustainable management practices for Ghana's natural resources.

The government must improve local community involvement in natural resource and environmental management.

Also stimulate investments in wildlife, farming, ecotourism, tree plantations, and sustainable land management.  rw   Karen Gaia says: Another article that misses the link to overpopulation. Again, here is the unwritten assumption that women want to have a lot of children and risk dying in childbirth. Ralph says: Why not reduce the population? Oh!! Sorry, must not talk about that. 021410

US Arizona;: Technology Can Help Sustain Desert Living.   June 09, 2007   Arizona Republic
The decade long drought in Arizona may turn into a 1930s-style Dust Bowl. Night-time temperatures may keep on rising. Freeway construction may never relieve the traffic.

More frequent hurricanes traumatize the Gulf Coast. Climbing gas prices threaten our nation's mobility. Conversion of corn into ethanol causes the cost of foodstuffs to skyrocket. New diseases like bird flu spread across the globe.

The sustainability of our lifestyle suddenly seems at risk. Societies are confronted by limits that they did not worry about before.

In the spirit of optimism, Arizona organizations are working together to understand the challenges of sustainability and possible remedies.

The Global Institute of Sustainability, or GIOS, researches rapid urbanization, which uses Greater Phoenix as its main laboratory.

ASU receives millions of federal, state and industry dollars to study how cities grow. Among the major questions being addressed are:

How does the expansion of metro Phoenix affect the Sonoran Desert ecosystem?

How do commercial and government managers make decisions about water allocation?

How can changes in construction materials reduce the urban heat island effect?

How might information-sharing technology allow the police departments to more quickly identify criminals?

How can "green" energy technologies reduce a city's reliance on vulnerable, distant fuel sources?

Where does the Valley's air pollution come from?

These questions may seem diverse, but can be solved only through an interdisciplinary approach. Their solutions offer new business opportunities by creating "sustainable technologies."  rw 021341

Toward a Green Economy.   May 31, 2007   IPS News
The 2005 Millennium Assessment (MA) found that 83% of the planet's natural systems are in serious decline. Adding to this are the pressures of population growth and increasing consumption.

Global population is expected to soar 9 billion by 2050. Even though we crossed the point of sustainable use of natural resources in the mid-1980s, many of the 2.4 billion people living in China and India are striving to approach the materialistic lifestyle of the average North American.

Humanity needs a new approach to managing the assets upon which we all depend. Farming and forestry is about maximizing production, but has to start maximizing the ecological goods and service those ecosystems offer. Funds to pay for such services should come from taxes on polluters, including a carbon tax, cap and trade. In Ecuador, a Water Conservation Fund (FONAG) collects user fees from those who benefit from the water in the Condor Bioreserves and uses these funds to support watershed management projects. In Brazil, states allocate some revenues help support protected areas for forests and other resources. With deforestation threatening the Panama Canal, insurance and shipping companies are helping finance a major reforestation effort.

There is a vital need to create new institutions to protect natural capital at the local level.

On a larger scale Biomes are ecosystems with similar climate, soils, plants, and animals. The MA identifies 15 biomes and a stewardship council for each would maximize ecosystem protection and human welfare within a biome.

There is also a need to create a Commission that would communicate the fact that healthy ecosystem services are fundamental to reducing poverty and achieving economic development. A new forum has been recommended by the U.N. that would include heads of state from countries at different levels of economic development and cultures and deal with environmental and social as well as economic issues.

There are likely one to two million grassroots organizations around the world working toward ecological sustainability. It's unknown if people will rise to this enormous challenge. Voting and choosing environmentally-friendly products is not nearly enough. Only collective action will produce the substantial changes that are needed.  rw 021265

Plan B Budget for Restoring the Earth - Part Three.   April 17, 2007   Earth Policy Institute
To save civilization means restructuring the economy, restoring natural support systems, eradicating poverty, and stabilizing population. We have the resources to do this and the US has the resources to lead this effort. Rich countries are so rich - and the poor so poor - that a few tenths of 1% of GNP from the rich ones over the coming decades could ensure that the basic needs of health and education are met for all impoverished children. It is not possible to put a price tag on the changes needed to move our civilization onto a path that will sustain economic progress. We need to restructure the energy economy to renewable sources of energy. The funding to achieve universal primary education in the developing countries is estimated at $12 billion per year. Funding an adult literacy program based on volunteers will take $4 billion annually. Providing for basic health care in developing countries is estimated at $33 billion. The funding to provide reproductive health care and family planning services to all women in developing countries is less than $7 billion a year.

Providing the 9.5 billion condoms needed to control the spread of HIV in the developing world and Eastern Europe requires $2 billion for condoms and $1.7 billion for AIDS prevention education and condom distribution. School lunch programs to the 44 poorest countries is $6 billion. $4 billion per year would cover the cost of assistance to preschool children and pregnant women. The cost of reaching basic goals comes to $68 billion a year.

A poverty eradication effort that is not accompanied by an earth restoration effort is doomed to fail. Reforesting the earth will cost $6 billion annually. Protecting and restoring rangeland will require $9 billion, restoring fisheries will cost $13 billion, and stabilizing water tables will require $10 billion annually. Protecting biological diversity and conserving soil on cropland, account for over half of the earth restoration annual outlay, $93 billion of additional expenditures per year.

We can decide to stay with business as usual and watch our modern economy collapse, or we can move onto a path, that will sustain economic progress.

It is hard to find the words to convey the gravity of our situation and the momentous nature of the decision we are about to make. No one can argue that we do not have the resources to eradicate poverty, stabilize population, and protect the earth's natural resource base. Shifting one sixth of the world military budget to the budget would be more than adequate to move the world onto a path that would sustain progress.

This economic restructuring depends on tax restructuring, on getting the market to be ecologically honest. The benchmark of political leadership will be whether or not leaders succeed in restructuring the tax system. This is the key to stabilize climate and to make the transition to the post-petroleum world.

The challenge is to build a global society that is environmentally sustainable.  rw   Karen Gaia says: I respect the Earth Policy institute, but do not share their confidence that there will be enough food to go around after all the restoration and stabilization of water tables. What is to prevent the continuous draw upon the world's resources from again depleting them? And how can this restoration be accomplished while we still rely on fossil fuels which are depleting? 021126

The Next Added 100 Million Americans, Part 28.   April 06, 2007   NewsByUs.com
In the days of sailing ships, sailors used to leave goats on islands to ensure fresh meat on return trips. But the animals bred faster than the sailors could eat them, and goats ate the vegetation and starved. They also screwed up the environment so that native species couldn't survive. A report blames humans for increased temperatures, melting glaciers and rising seas, they burn fossil fuels at 82 million barrels daily which does no include millions of tons of coal, natural gas and wood being burned every day by 6.6 billion humans.

We've had virtually free energy in the form of fossil fuels. Climate change is a sign that we are exceeding the number of people Earth can sustain. Some, however, point to increased agricultural production and medical advances that fend off disease.

Earth's carrying capacity is thought to be four to five billion people. We have 6.6 billion today and grow by 240,000 every 24 hours. Half of the world's population has little access to medicine, electricity, safe water and reliable food supplies.

You might have 50 billion, but the quality of life might not be pleasing. The US possesses resources to sustain less than half of its current population of 300 million. Americans who make up 5% of the world's population, use 25% of its resources and cast a large footprint.

If all 6 billion people were to share the world's resources equally, Americans would have to reduce consumption by 80% for each of us. Carrying capacity and footprint are tied to the global economy, which has quadrupled since the world's population doubled.

That leads to a fear that slowing population growth might not ultimately curb greenhouse gas production if more people achieve Western lifestyles. China is opening an average of one coal-fired power plant a week to meet electricity demand. Everyone in China wants their own apartment and their own car. People ask how many people the Earth can sustain. That depends on whether you want to live like an Indian or an American.

Farmers worldwide grow about two billion tons of grain a year. Each American consumes 1,760 pounds annually, mainly because of the grains used to feed farm animals. If everyone on the planet consumed that much grain, earth would support about 2.5 billion people. But in India, people consume about 440 pounds each. If everyone else in the world did likewise, the world's grain would support about 10 billion people.

Growing one ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water which is short in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As water flows from agriculture to support growing urban populations, more grain must be imported.

Soybeans are increasingly in demand for biodiesel. And ethanol production now vies with food for corn. By 2008, half of the U.S. corn crop will go to ethanol.

70% of all corn comes from the U.S. If we grow fuel plants that would require setting aside lots of land to produce ethanol. We don't have enough land worldwide to meet those demands. Humans are drawing on capital rather than interest, and once that is exhausted, they will find Mother Nature reluctant to make a loan.

We must take action and prevent a horrible overpopulation future for our children by taking action today. We can bring about population stabilization gracefully or nature will do it brutally.  rw 020824

Capitalism and the Consequences of Biofuels.   March 30, 2007   Revolution Newspaper - East Bay
Biofuel refers to fuels derived from recently living organisms, today mostly in the form of ethanol from plants such as sugar cane, soybeans, and oil palm. Biofuels often use more energy to produce than they contribute. Scientists hope that biofuels can replace much gasoline used today. Because the carbon in biofuels comes from CO2 that is taken out of the atmosphere by the living plants, some scientists argue that biofuels could contribute less to global warming than fossil fuels. And, biofuels could be grown year after year.

Others are saying that they require the use of fertilizers, which increase CO2, replace other plant life, deplete the soil, and are water intensive.

The use of biofuels has led to horrific consequences for the people of the world and the environment.

89% of the world's resources are absorbed by the advanced countries. Imperialism has produced a wasteful and destructive pattern of economic activity and industrial development.

This will continue to mean that the growing of crops for fuel, mostly for export to Europe, Japan and the US, is being done on large-scale plantations in the third world. Ancient forests are being cut down, threatening extinction for many species. Reduction of greenhouse gases is lost when carbon-capturing forests are cut down. In Malaysia, the production of palm oil for biodiesel is a major industry. The development of oil-palm plantations was responsible for an estimated 87% of deforestation. In Sumatra and Borneo, 4 million hectares of forest have been converted to palm farms. Now a further 6 million hectares are scheduled for clearance in Malaysia, and 16.5 million in Indonesia.

Thousands of indigenous people have been evicted from their lands, and some 500 Indonesians have been tortured when they tried to resist. The forest fires which every so often smother the region in smog are mostly started by the palm growers.

Hundreds of thousands of small-scale peasant farmers are being displaced by soybeans expansion. Many more stand to lose their land under the biofuels stampede. The expanding cropland planted to yellow corn for ethanol has reduced the supply of white corn for tortillas in Mexico, sending prices up 400%.

For investors in alternatives to oil and gas, the driving force has been the belief that whoever develops the next great energy sources will enjoy the spoils that will make the gains from creating the next Amazon.com or Google seem puny.

In the development of biofuels this means that they do not pay attention to long-term effects. The economy is broken up into competing units of capitalist control and ownership over the means of production. And each unit is fundamentally concerned with itself and its expansion and its profit. The economy, the constructed and natural environment, and society cannot be dealt with as a social whole under capitalism.  rw   Ralph says: From practical experience in several countries including the old Soviet Union, I can assure our readers that socialism does not work either. Perhaps a benevolent universal dictatorsip is the only solution. In WW2 when food became scarce, rationing was willingly accepted. But will the citizens of the more advanced countries accept ethanol rationing so that more food can be sent to the poorer countries with continuing population growth?? 020752

Massive Diversion of U.S. Grain to Fuel Cars.   March 21, 2007   Earth Policy News
Corn prices have doubled over the last year, wheat futures are at their highest level in 10 years, and rice prices are rising. The use of corn as the feedstock for fuel ethanol is creating consequences throughout the global food chain.

In Mexico, the price of tortillas is up by 60% percent. Angry Mexicans have forced the government to institute price controls on tortillas.

Food prices are also rising in China, India, and the US, 40% of the world's people. Vast quantities of corn are consumed indirectly in meat, milk, and eggs in both China and the US.

In China, pork prices were up 20% above a year earlier, eggs were up 16%. In India, the food price index in 2007 was 10% higher than a year earlier. The price of wheat has jumped 11%.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the wholesale price of chicken in 2007 will be 10% higher than in 2006, the price of eggs will be up 21%, and milk 14%, and this is only the beginning.

As more and more fuel ethanol distilleries are built, world grain prices are starting to move up toward their oil-equivalent value. In this new economy, if the fuel value of grain exceeds its food value, the market will move it into the energy economy. Some 16 of the 2006 U.S. harvest was used to produce ethanol. With 80 or so ethanol distilleries under construction, nearly a third of the 2008 grain harvest will be going to ethanol.

Since the United States is the leading exporter of grain, what happens to the U.S. grain crop affects the entire world. The world's breadbasket is fast becoming the U.S. fuel tank.

The UN lists 34 countries as needing emergency food assistance. Food aid programs have fixed budgets.

Protests in response to rising food prices could lead to political instability that would add to the list of failed and failing states. President Bush set a production goal for 2017 of 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels. Given the difficulties in producing cellulosic ethanol at a competitive cost and the mounting public opposition to liquefied coal, most of the fuel to meet this goal might have to come from grain. This could leave little grain to meet U.S. needs, much less those of the countries that import grain.

The risk is that millions of those on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder will start falling off as higher food prices drop their consumption below the survival level.

In 2007, 18,000 children are dying every day from hunger and malnutrition. There are alternatives. A rise in fuel efficiency standards of 20% over the next decade would save as much oil as converting the entire U.S. grain harvest into ethanol.

One option is plug-in hybrids. Adding a second storage battery to a gas-electric hybrid car along with a plug-in capacity allows most short-distance driving to be done with electricity. If this was accompanied by thousands of wind farms that could feed cheap electricity into the grid, then cars could run largely on electricity for the equivalent cost of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Toyota, Nissan, and GM, have announced plans to bring plug-in hybrid cars to market. It is time to decide whether to continue with subsidizing more grain-based distilleries or to encourage a shift to more fuel-efficient cars. The choice is between a future of rising world food prices, spreading hunger, and growing political instability, or one of stable food prices, sharply reduced dependence on oil, and much lower carbon emissions.  rw   Karen Gaia says: No mention of there being too many people and too many people with large appetites for energy. Time to conserve energy. Move closer to your work and shopping. Move where you can walk or bicycle to whereever you need to go. Go from a multi-car family to a one car family and save money on gas, car insurance, and the car itself. And let's get away from globalization and back to bioregionlism. Take the farms away from the corporations and let the local people go back to farming. And give women access to ways to keep their family size small. 020801

Are Politicians Avoiding the Real Reasons for Climate Change?.   March 14, 2007   World Land Trust
According to the World Land Trust, politicians and environmentalists are not confronting the real reasons for climate change. "It is only when we confront the real issue that is driving the whole energy issue that we can hope to prevent the total chaos that is likely to result over the next few decades. And that is far too many people exist on this planet."

The population, with its ever increasing demands on the world's resources, is totally unsustainable. The developed world is only able to sustain its own use of resources by exploiting the less developed parts of the world, such as China, India and other parts of Asia. As they catch up, more and more resources will be consumed, particularly energy and water. Intensification of farming in the developed world has temporarily alleviated food shortages, but devastated wildlife, with millions of acres now barren of wild animals and plants, even migrant birds suffer.

Since the World Land Trust was created in 1989, more organizations are seeing the importance of preserving what little is left. It's not a huge amount, but by targeting key areas, perhaps something will survive for future generation when human populations are brought under control."

Meanwhile politicians try to convince us that a bit of recycling, and a more energy efficient light bulb will save the planet. They ignore the fact that every extra million human beings means huge amounts of oil, food and other resources are needed. Every Briton consumes more than a peasant farmer in Central Africa. In addition to wrecking the British countryside, Britons are also responsible for depleting the resources of many other parts of the world. In the past the problem has been resolved by war, famine and disease. All three loom close, and we are, still re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, with the iceberg in full view.  rw 020701

Too Many People, Not Enough Earth; Scientists Debate How Much Population the World Can Sustain .   February 13, 2007   Columbus Dispatch
In the days of sailing ships, sailors left goats on islands to ensure fresh meat on return trips. It worked. The animals bred fast and ate all the vegetation and began to starve. The goats also screwed up the environment so that native species couldn't survive. The lesson of the goats applies to humans and this is how how our "island" has suffered.

There is air and water pollution, falling water tables, climate change and rampant extinction of wild plants and animals. Climate change is a sign that we are exceeding the number of people Earth can sustain.

Every year, 91 million humans are born in excess of those who die. That's 1 billion people every 11 years.

Right now, Earth's carrying capacity is in the range of 4 to 5 billion people. There are 6.5 billion of us.

Half of the world's population has little access to medicine, electricity, safe water and reliable food supplies.

If the 1.3 million residents of Franklin County had to live on the resources the county could provide, only about 100,000 would live here.

We're oblivious to that because we import the vast majority of our needs.

The US has the resources to sustain less than half of its current population of 300 million. Americans, who make up 5% of the world's population and use 25% of its resources. If all 6 billion people were to share the world's resources equally, Americans would have to reduce consumption by 80%.

There is a fear that slowing population growth might not curb greenhouse gas production if more people achieve Western lifestyles. China is opening one coal-fired power plant a week to meet electricity demand. Everyone in China wants their own apartment and their own car. People ask how many people the Earth can sustain. It depends on whether you want to live like an Indian or an American.

Each American consumes an average of 1,760 pounds annually, mainly because of the grains used to feed farm animals. If everyone on the planet consumed that much grain, Earth would support about 2.5 billion people.

In India, people consume about 440 pounds each. If everyone else in the world did likewise, the world's grain would support about 10 billion people.

Growing 1 ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water.

There already are water shortages and, as water is diverted from agriculture to support growing urban populations, more grain must be imported.

Soybeans are increasingly in demand for biodiesel and ethanol now vies with food for corn. By 2008, half of the U.S. corn crop will go to ethanol. What happens to U.S. corn crops affects a lot of countries. This competition for energy and food will change the landscape.

If we replace our reliance on fossil fuels and instead grow fuel plants, that would require setting aside lots of land to produce ethanol and we don't have enough land worldwide to meet those demands.

Demand for food, fuel and materials already consumes more trees and crops than are being grown worldwide.  rw 020268

Too Many People, Not Enough Earth.   February 13, 2007   The Columbus Dispatch
In the days of sailing ships, sailors used to leave goats on islands for fresh meat on return trips. The animals bred fast, ate all the vegetation and began to starve. They also screwed up the environment so that native species couldn't survive. The lesson of the goats applies to humans and point out how our "island" has suffered.

There is pollution, falling water tables, climate change and extinction of wild plants and animals. We've created this problem because we've had virtually free energy in the form of fossil fuels.

Climate change is a sign that we are exceeding the number of people Earth can sustain.

Every year, at least 91 million humans are born in excess of those who die.

Earth's carrying capacity is thought to be somewhere in the range of 4 billion to 5 billion people.

There are 6.5 billion of us. No one is sure what the magic number is. You might have 50 billion, but the quality of life might not be pleasing.

If the 1.3 million residents of Franklin County had to live on the resources the county could provide, only about 100,000 would live here.

We happily import the vast majority of our needs.

The US has the resources to sustain less than half of its current population of 300 million. Americans, who make up 5% of the world's population, use 25% of its resources.

If all 6 billion people were to share the world's resources equally, Americans would have to reduce consumption by 80% for each of us. Carrying capacity is tied to the global economy, which has quadrupled since the world's population doubled.

That leads to a fear that slowing population growth might not curb greenhouse gas production if more people achieve Western lifestyles. People ask how many people the Earth can sustain. It depends on whether you want to live like an Indian or an American.

For example, farmers worldwide grow about 2 billion tons of grain every year. Each American consumes an average of 1,760 pounds annually, mainly because of the grains used to feed farm animals. If everyone on the planet consumed that much grain, Brown said, Earth would support about 2.5 billion people.

In India, people consume about 440 pounds each. If everyone else in the world did likewise, the world's grain would support about 10 billion people.

Growing 1 ton of grain requires 1,000 tons of water.

There are water shortages in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As water is diverted from agriculture to support growing urban populations.

Soybeans are in demand for biodiesel and ethanol production vies with food for corn. By 2008, half of the U.S. corn crop may go to ethanol.

70% of all corn imports in the world come from the U.S. This competition for energy and food will change the landscape.

We don't have enough land worldwide to meet those demands for food, fuel and materials that already consumes more trees and crops than are being grown worldwide.

Humans are drawing on capital rather than interest, and once that is exhausted, they will find Mother Nature reluctant to make a loan.  rw 020807

Human Ecological Footprint to Grow 34% by 2015, Finds Study.   February 09, 2007   Mongabay.com
A modeling program known as STIRPAT empirically assessed factors that drive adverse environmental impacts and projected the 'ecological footprint' for 2015 for all countries with at least one million people. This a measurement of the stress placed on the environment by demands for resources to meet the need for food, housing, transportation, consumer goods and services. Ecological intensity is an impact multiplier, with a value of 1 indicating average intensity, less than one below average and greater than one greater than average.

Increases in population and affluence will expand human impact on the environment by over one-third. To mitigate this impact, countries would need to increase their efficiency of use of about 2% per year. Most of the impact will result from growth of consumption in China and India.

China would need to improve its efficiency by about 2.9% per year, and India by about 2.2% to offset the projected growth. The projected increases for China and India are 37% of the total global increase in footprint. In contrast, Russia is expected to see a 25% drop by 2015. "The impact of the US alone constitutes 17.5% of global environmental impact in 2015, as opposed to just over 20% at present.

The US has an ecological footprint 1.4 times as large as would be expected, based on its population size, level of affluence, land area, and latitude alone.

It is estimated that Earth has some 11.4 billion productive hectares, the human footprint of 2015 will increase to 1.6 planets. It is unlikely that technological advancements will be able to offset this growth rate, though the authors concede that concerted international effort could make it possible; "energy efficiencies of national economies have improved by as much as 5% per year in some cases."  rw 020296

India Aims to End Poverty by 2040.   February 06, 2007   BBC News
India's Finance Minister said poverty could be wiped out by 2040, due to India's economic growth.

But he said that 25% of all Indians, or more than 250 million people, were living in poverty, on less than $1 a day.

The rapid economic growth in India could have widened the gap between the richest and the poorest.

But those at the bottom of the pyramid have seen improvement in their lives. More should be done to combat low life expectancy and high mortality rates.

India has become a world economic power, with growth over the past three years averaging 8%. Based on purchasing power, it is now the world's fourth largest economy.

However, income per head in India is $720 a year.  rw   Karen Gaia says: oil-based economies are not sustainable. Over-pumping of water from aquifers to grow crops for an ever-growing population is not sustainable. 020222

UA Researcher Argues Sustainability is Sound, Smart Business Practice..   January 30, 2007   NewsWise.com
When corporations serve the world's 4 billion poor with affordable products that have low environmental impact, those businesses achieve sustainability. Sustainability is about reducing costs and developing new markets.

Many people think sustainability means only environmental regulation, but some leaders understand that sustainability increases efficiency and reduces waste and costs. It includes attention to product and package development, material sourcing, product formulation, material reuse, and efficient transportation networks. Multinational corporations must adopt sustainable practices to serve the 4 billion people worldwide who have per capita annual incomes of less than $1,500. This population has great needs and demand for products and services, but cannot afford expensive products. By participating in sustainability, corporations will be able to tap into this market with simple and affordable products. By using old methods, there are not enough materials in the world to serve everyone. This demand will be captured by companies that create innovative and efficient products. The green slogan 'reduce, reuse, recycle' is one method to stretch resources and reduce costs."

Sustainability includes financial, environmental and cultural components. The cultural component to sustainability is often overlooked. Technologically superior products may be rejected because they are too expensive or not packaged in a manner that is culturally sensitive.

The Indian subsidiary of Unilever developed an affordable detergent packaged in individual sachets that were less expensive and easier to use based on how Indian villagers wash clothes, resulting in a dramatic increase in revenues and profits. The villagers found value in the new packages.

A critical part of the sustainability means changing or improving products to reduce costs, increase safety or limit their effect on the environment. S.C. Johnson removed more than 1.8 million pounds of volatile compounds from Windex glass cleaner. The change gave the product 30%t more cleaning power and lowered its environmental impact.  rw   Karen Gaia says: consumers can help by exercising purchasing power: stay informed and make wise, sustainable choices when buying. 020171

Scotland;: North-east Global Footprint Project Leads to Action on Environmental Impact.   January 29, 2007   Aberdeen City Council website (Scotland)
The North-east Scotland Global Footprint Reduction Report will be unveiled to mark the completion of research into the region's effect on the environment.

Data on energy use, transport, buildings, food habits, waste management and water use have been sent to the Stockholm Environment Institute's centre in York, which has provided a detailed picture of the North-east's environmental “footprint”.

Scientists have calculated that if everyone in the world were to live the North-east lifestyle, we would need three Planet Earths. People in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are consuming more resources than the Scottish average.

The average Scot would need 5.37 hectares of land and sea but the average shire resident would need 5.64 hectares and the average Aberdonian 5.8 hectares.

If the Earth's resources were spread evenly each person would have just 1.8 hectares.

Ecological footprinting is an important tool that will allow us to measure our policies and plans against their potential environmental impact. Aberdeenshire Council made a commitment last year and a variety of work is being done which supports its aims. The results of the Global Footprint Project allow us to assess the region's effect.

The research data is now being developed into a computer software programme, which will be used to influence the decision-making of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils. Items include: energy efficiency for existing homes and buildings; new construction to be the highest environmental standards; alternative, sustainable energy sources; provide affordable, accessible public transport; create communities where workplaces and shopping are nearby.

Aberdeen will ensure that building refurbishment and new development will be energy efficient and sustainable communities will be created.

Aberdeenshire is working on a carbon management programme to cut carbon emissions. Pupils and teachers at nine schools in the region have also been calculating how their activities affect the environment. This is a precursor to an overall Scotland Global Footprint Project, which will be launched by the rest of the country's 32 local authorities.  rw 020145

Book Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail Or Succeed.   January 24, 2007   Robson Valley Times
A book "How Societies choose to fail or succeed" by

Jared Diamond scrutinizes a large number of societies--past and present--to assess their sustainability. Examples of societies that have failed include Easter Island, the Anasazi, Societies facing environmental, population, and political problems are Rwanda, Australia, and China. Diamond makes controlled comparisons: contrasting two or more societies while holding constant as many variables as possible.

For example, the island of Hispaniola is composed of two societies: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, while the Dominican Republic has a booming economy. Only 1% of Haiti is forested, in contrast to 28% of the Dominican Republic. Because its trees are gone, Haiti lacks building materials and has suffered extensive soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, sediment loads in rivers, loss of watershed protection, and decreased rainfall.

Factors contributing to societal collapse include deforestation and habitat destruction, soil erosion, salinization, soil fertility loss, poor water management, overhunting, overfishing, introduction of non-indigenous animal species, and human population growth. In addition we face world-wide pollution and global warming. Even though the US is successful, we are engaged in the same destructive processes that have contributed to the collapse of numerous societies in the past.

Diamond believes that these problems must be reversed in the next 50 years if our civilization is to survive. It will depend on governments moving beyond short-term political gains to successful long-term planning. It will also depend on people and businesses to to force responsible political action.  rw 020123

Cuba Leads in Sustainable Development.   January 07, 2007   Canadian Dimension
Cuba is the only country in the world with sustainable development, and registered a 12.5% increase in its GDP during the last 12 months. In 2007, Cuba will assign 22.6% of its GDP for public health and education. Spending for health, education, culture, sports, security and social assistance represent 69% of the 2007 budget.

The progress of countries toward sustainable development can be assessed using the UN Human Development Index (HDI) as an indicator of well-being, and the ecological footprint as a measure of demand on the biosphere. As world population grows, less biocapacity is available per person. In 2003, Asia-Pacific and Africa regions were using less than world average per person, while the European Union countries and North America had crossed the threshold for high human development. Only Cuba qualified for sustainable development.

The Havana government has organized a socialist society with a high level of literacy, education, long life expectancy, low infant mortality and low energy consumption.

It is the world's leader in organic agriculture, and is making contributions to medical research, not to mention that Cuban doctors are serving the people in poor developing countries. Cuba has developed a considerable research capability.

Castro declared: Humanity is going through difficult times, plus a non-stop consumption process typical of the globalized imperialist system.  rw 019987

Asia-Pacific Environment At Boiling Point.   December 23, 2006   Scoop Independent News
Asian and Pacific societies are living beyond their ecological means, and if they are to continue expansion, will have to shift towards 'green growth' patterns. Problems include a population density 1.5 times the global average, the lowest freshwater per capita, a biologically productive area per capita that is less than 60% of the global average, and arable and crop land per capita less than 80% the global average.

Meanwhile polluting industries are growing more rapidly in developing countries, agro-industry is chemical, energy, and water-intensive and lifestyles are becoming increasingly waste and energy intensive.

Natural forests are retreating, water extraction rates are unsustainable in 16 countries and irrigation systems are inefficient and poorly maintained. The long term sustainability of the water supply is threatened by climate change, which may cause long-term reductions in water flows from glacier melt.

More economic growth is inevitable, and countries must meet the development challenges.

Countries in South Asia will face the toughest issues in coming decades as population growth, changing water regimes and climates, and rising demand for energy, water and other necessities all come to a head.

Pollution control is becoming more effective and market forces are pushing firms towards greater resource efficiency. As incomes increase consumption patterns become less environmentally sustainable.  rw 019831

Switzerland;: Natural Resources Still Being Wasted.   December 16, 2006   Swissinfo/Swiss Radio International
A report shows that Switzerland's ecological footprint is equivalent to 4.7 hectares per person.

Worldwide there are only 1.8 hectares available per person, meaning the Swiss are using other people's resources. The current global average is 2.2 hectares.

Industrialised nations use on average three times more resources than they should be allowed to.

If you look at figures, there is no way you can say the Swiss are contributing to sustainable development.

The Swiss public and the authorities are slowly accepting the idea of sustainable development.

The problem is that they do not worry about the global environment and problems like CO2 levels or global warming.

While environmental conditions are no longer worsening in Switzerland, the Swiss are contributing to problems abroad when they travel or through investments in the global economy.

Energy efficiency has improved in the production of goods and services, but failed to slow increased consumption as workers become more mobile.

One of the biggest concerns is land use and the current construction boom.

We should freeze building zones at current levels and increase construction density to halt urban sprawl and reduce energy consumption for transport.

The state may have to intervene, balancing individual rights with the need to ensure the long-term viability of resources.  rw 019760

China is Reaching Its Environmental Limits.   November 15, 2006   New York Times*
For the first time,it seems that China is reaching its environmental limits. If it doesn't radically change to greener, more sustainable modes, the Chinese miracle is going to turn into an eco-nightmare.

For three decades China's economy has grown at 10% per year, based on low-cost labor and little regard for waste. China may be approaching a sudden stop: When you stress a system to a certain point, it just stops working.

China's leaders understand the crisis, but their response is complicated by so many Chinese flooding from the countryside to cities. Political stability depends on finding those people jobs, and jobs depend on growth.

But China can't grow now and clean up later. The China Daily reported that at least 24 million acres of cultivated land - one-tenth of the country's total arable land - is polluted, posing a "grave threat" to China's food safety. More than half its rivers are polluted, which is why less than 9% of "drinkable water" meets government standards. Many wells have excessive nitrates that can cause diabetes or kidney damage.

Chinese officials fear that if they move to environmental cleanup, "China will not be such a low-cost producer and that will affect jobs." But green companies are always more efficient, and China has a chance to become a major innovator of low-cost green solutions. Shanghai is trying to expand by building the first eco-metropolis in China, based on eco-tourism, farming, wind and solar power. But you see this massive bridge that is about to connect Chongming to central Shanghai, and one wonders what will happen to all the green plans when all the trucks and consumers start rushing in.  rw 019631

Canadians No. 4 in Using Up Earth.   October 25, 2006   The Star
Canada ranks fourth when it comes to gobbling up resources, according to the Living Planet Report, released in Beijing by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The United Arab Emirates, the United States and Finland are ahead of Canada. People are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources.

Humans are consuming resources far beyond Earth's capacity to support them. If this continues, humanity will be using two planets' worth of natural resources by 2050. One impact is evident: Total global populations of mammals, reptiles, fish and birds have dropped by nearly a third since 1970.

The footprint of a country includes cropland, grazing land, forest and fishing grounds to produce food, fibre and timber this consumes, to absorb the wastes emitted in generating the energy it uses, and to provide space for its infrastructure. On average, every person on Earth needs 2.2 hectares, but the planet has only 1.8 hectares of capacity per person. The American lifestyle requires 9.6 hectares and combined with its 294 million population it is the biggest drain on Earth's resources.

China's 1.3 billion people give it a massive total impact, and rapid economic development is swelling its footprint.

The average Canadian's lifestyle requires 7.6 hectares. Afghanistan, just 0.1 of a hectare. Blessed with a small population, and a wealth of resources, Canadians still consume less than their environment offers.

Canada has been headed in the wrong direction for quite a while. For example, over-fishing has decimated Atlantic cod. In southern Alberta, development is fueling demand for water while climate change shrinks the supply. The mountain pine beetle is destroying much of treed B.C. and threatens to invade central Canada's boreal forest.

Nearly half the human footprint globally, and even more in Canada, comes from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

Most wildlife population losses have been in the tropical and subtropical forests, grasslands and oceans.

The Earth has enough resources to sustain all species only if humans reduce their average footprint to one hectare.

Sustainability depends on action now, when even strong measures to curb emissions and slow population growth would take decades.  rw 019215

Ecological Footprints: Enormous Challenges.   June 26, 2006   Gorkhapatra (Nepal)
An individual, a community, or a nation needs a precise area of land to provide resources and absorb the wastes generated. The available productive area is 1.9 hectares per person but the average requirement has crossed 2.3 hectares and we would need 1.5 Earths to live sustainably.

All human activity has an impact on the planet. Ecological Footprint (EF) is one of the effective tools for measuring our impact on the resources of the Earth. It is the amount of productive land area required to sustain the human being. It is the bio-productive area required to produce the resources we consume and assimilate the wastes we generate. So, EF is a measure of the 'load' imposed by a given population. The value for this measure for London City is 120 times more than the area of the city. The largest EF belongs to the citizens of the US, at approximately 10 hectares. This means that 5 Earths are required if the consumption rate globally is that of the Americans. Currently, humanity's EF is more than the Earth's capacity. We are using about a third more than nature can regenerate. The challenge of sustainability is to find ways to create fulfilling lives while reducing our impact on the Earth. Dramatically more efficient use of resources and cyclical systems are necessary. EF is is useful for evaluating and comparing the total environmental impact of activities and can be calculated for countries, businesses, households, individuals, and most recently, educational institutions. The indicators for calculating EF include nature of food consumption and diet, expenses for transport, household goods, household energy, household services, and some other general issues. There are different equations and models developed to calculate the EF. Contributing to lessening the EF is the need of today's time. It is established that a person who walks or takes public transportation has a smaller EF than someone who commutes fifty miles in a sport utility vehicle that gets 15 miles to the gallon. A vegetarian has a smaller EF than someone who has steak every night. A family of 4 living in a 3000 square foot energy efficient house has a smaller EF than a family of two living in a 4000 square foot, poorly insulated house. Locally-grown food has a much smaller EF. EF can be reduced if someone becomes vegetarian, uses public transportation or cycles and walks, reduces air travel, lessens the consumptions of clothes and footwear, stationeries, computers, reduces the electricity and cooking gas expenses, reduces firewood use at home and replaces it with alternative and renewable energy sources.  rw 017867

U.S.: Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants Over the Next Twenty Years.   May 15, 2006   Heritage Foundation
If enacted, the Comprehensive Immigration Act would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years, allowing an estimated 103 million to legally immigrate to the U.S. over the next 20 years. The bill grants amnesty to some 10 million illegal immigrants but no attention has been given to the fact that the bill would quintuple the rate of legal immigration into the US, raising the inflow of legal immigrants from around one million per year to over five million per year. The law would add an extra 84 million legal immigrants to the population.

The maximum number that could legally enter would be almost 200 million over twenty years, over 180 million more than current law permits.

The three legal statuses that a legal immigrant might hold:

1. Temporary Status: Persons enter the U.S. temporarily and are required to leave after a period of time.

2. Near-Permanent, Convertible Status: Persons enter the U.S. are given the opportunity to convert to legal permanent residence after a few years.

3. Legal Permanent Residence (LPR): Persons have the right to remain in the United States for their entire lives. After five years, they have the right to become citizens. Immigrants in convertible or LPR status have the right to bring spouses and minor children into the country. They will be granted permanent residence with the primary immigrant and may become citizens. After naturalizing, an immigrant has the right to bring his parents into the U.S. as permanent residents. There are no limits on the number of spouses, dependent children, and parents of naturalized citizens that may be brought into the country. The siblings and adult children with their families of legal permanent residents are given preference in future admission. Four provisions would result in an explosive increase in legal immigration:

1) Amnesty and citizenship to 85% of the current 11.9 million illegal immigrants, 2) The New 'Temporary Guest Worker' Program, 3)Additional Permanent Visas for Siblings, Adult Children, and their Families, and 4) Additional Permanent Employment Visas.

Those in the U.S. for five years or more would be granted immediate amnesty. Those in the country between two and five years could travel to one of 16 ports of entry, where they would receive amnesty and lawful work permits. In total, the bill would grant amnesty to 85% of the illegal immigrant population, 10 million individuals.

After amnesty, illegal immigrants would spend six years before attaining LPR status. After five years in LPR status, they would have the opportunity to become naturalized citizens. There would be no numeric limit on the number of illegal immigrants, spouses, and dependents receiving LPR status. Under the New Temporary Guest Worker Program: nearly all guest workers would have the right to become permanent residents and citizens.

Foreign workers could enter the U.S. as guest workers if they have a job offer from a U.S. employer. Guest workers would be allowed to remain in the U.S. for six years. However, in the fourth year, the guest worker could ask for LPR status and would receive it if he or she has learned English or is enrolled in an English class. There are no numeric limits on the number of guest workers who could receive LPR status. Then the guest worker could remain in the country permanently and could become a U.S. citizen and vote in U.S. elections after just five years.

The spouses and minor children of guest workers would also be permitted to immigrate to the U.S. Five years after obtaining LPR status, these spouses could become naturalized citizens with no limit on the number of spouses and children who could immigrate under the guest worker program. In the first year, 325,000 visas would be given out, but if employer demand for guest workers is high, that number could be boosted by an extra 65,000 in the next year. If employer demand continues to be high, the number of visas could be raised by up to 20% in each year.

This allows the number of immigrants to climb steeply. If the H-2C cap were increased by 20% each year, within twenty years the annual inflow of workers would reach 12 million and 70 million guest workers would enter the U.S. over the next two decades and none would be required to leave. The guest worker program is an open door based on the demands of U.S. business. It is an open border provision.

The permanent entry of non-immediate relatives such as brothers, sisters, and adult children is currently subject to a cap of 480,000 per year minus the number of immediate relatives admitted in the prior year. This bill eliminates the deduction for immediate relatives from the cap and increases the number of non-immediate relatives who could attain LPR status by 254,000 per year.

The U.S. currently issues around 140,000 employment-based visas each year. Now the U.S. would issue 450,000 employment-based green cards per year between 2007 and 2016. After 2016, the number would fall to 290,000 per year. This means that some 990,000 persons per year would be granted LPR status until 2016 and, after that, 638,000 per year.

Assumptions made for the estimates in this paper include: *In the current employment-based visa program, 1.2 dependents enter for each incoming worker. The ratio of incoming spouses and children to amnesty recipients is assumed to be only 0.6.

* Parents of naturalized citizens make up 8% of all new legal immigrants. This paper assumes that half of all adult immigrants will naturalize after five years and 30% of the parents of these naturalized citizens will immigrate in the three years after their childrens naturalization.

* This paper assumes that the number of immigrants in the guest worker program would increase at a more moderate rate of 10% per year. Alternative estimates for 20% and 0% growth are also presented.

Today roughly 950,000 persons receive permanent residence visas each year. Over 20 years, the inflow of immigrants through this channel would be 19 million under existing law. The bill would grant amnesty to roughly 10 million illegal immigrants. The number of family-sponsored visas for secondary family members, such as adult brothers and sisters, is currently limited to 480,000 per year minus the number of visas given to immediate family members (spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens). The bill allows the total quota on secondary family members to be 480,000 without deductions for immediate family members. The net increase would be around 254,000 per year, or 5.1 million over 20 years. Total annual immigration under this provision is likely to be 450,000 workers plus 540,000 family members annually. The net increase above current law over 20 years would be around 13.5 million persons. The guest worker would allow 325,000 persons to participate in the first year. This number could rise by 65,000 in the next year and then by 20% per year. The total inflow of workers under this program would be 20 million over 20 years. Guest workers could bring their spouses and children to the U.S. as permanent residents; the added number would be 24 million over 20 years. Illegal immigrants who received amnesty could bring their spouses and children into the U.S. with the opportunity for full citizenship. The number would be at least six million. Naturalized citizens would have an unlimited right to bring their parents into the U.S. as legal permanent residents. Over twenty years, the number of parents would be around five million. Overall, the bill would allow some 103 million persons to legally immigrate over the next twenty years. The net inflow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. population is around 700,000 per year. Legal immigration would exceed five million per year, seven times the rate of the current illegal immigration flow.

The figure of 103 million new legal immigrants is based on the assumption that immigration under the guest worker program would grow at 10% per year. If guest-worker immigration grows at the maximum rate, 20% per year, the total number of new immigrants coming to the U.S. over the next twenty years would be 193 million. If immigration under the program did not increase at all for two decades but remained fixed at the initial level of 325,000 per year, total legal immigration under CIRA would be 72 million over twenty years, or more than three times the level that would occur under current law.

Between 1870 and 1920, the U.S. experienced a massive flow of immigration. During this period, foreign born persons hovered between 13% and 15% of the population. In 1924, Congress reduced future immigration. By 1970, foreign born persons had fallen to 5%.

The foreign born now comprise around 12% of the population. However, if this bill was enacted, and 100 million new immigrants entered the country over the next twenty years, foreign born persons would rise to over one quarter of the U.S. population. If enacted, this would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years. The bill would give amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants and quintuple the rate of legal immigration into the U.S. Under the bill, the annual inflow of immigrants with the option of becoming legal permanent residents would rise from the current level of one million per year to more than five million per year. Within a few years, the annual inflow of new immigrants would exceed one percent of the current U.S. population. This would be the highest immigration rate in U.S. history.

Within 20 years, some 103 million new immigrants would enter the U.S. This number is about one-third of the current U.S. population. All of these immigrants would be permanent residents with the right to become citizens and vote in U.S. elections. CIRA would transform the United States socially, economically, and politically. Within two decades, the character of the nation would differ dramatically from what exists today.  rw   Karen Gaia says: The article does not even mention the impacts to the environment and what about the impact of a doubling of the U.S. population upon the carrying capacity of this planet? Ralph says: It is time that we arrived at a sensible limit to the number of people our country can support. Then limit the population to that figure. 017450

Africa: Battle to Save Earth Will Be Fought in the Cities.   February 28, 2006   Cape Times
The battle to save the environment will be won or lost in its cities, calims Klaus Töpfer, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, who sketched a picture of a world population living way beyond the ability of the planet to sustain its consumption of resources and generation of waste. We are overusing our natural capital and the solutions must be linked to our cities. "Energy use has increased 16 times, water use has increased nine times, fish catches have increased 40 times, all in the space of one lifetime," Töpfer said. It is in cities that there is a high consumption of resources and generation of pollution. The presence of slums were indicative of cities that were dysfunctional. It had been shown that the world's people were consuming natural resources at a faster rate than the planet could sustain. Cities have to accept that biodiversity must be conserved alongside urban expansion.  rw    016635
A Hit Man Repents.   January 28, 2006   Guardian (London)
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Is it Ethical to Have Children?.   January 22, 2006   The Observer
Increasingly, having kids throws up sustainability angst in the developed world. While 'mother earth' moniker might give the impression that she is waiting with open arms to welcome our offspring, we know we're pushing it. Europeans use three times their fair share of land and resources to sustain their lifestyles, while Americans push this up to five times. We are duty bound to weigh up the biological clocks against increasing environmental degradation and over-population. The global population is predicted to expand to 9bn by 2050 yet the answer to combating global poverty lies in having fewer children. Eminent scientists have called for urgent discussion on population management. The world cannot sustain a burgeoning global population, even with lifestyle alterations which mitigate pressure on shelter, food and water. However, you can take heart from new calculations from the University of Bucharest, which suggest that the earth could sustain 200,000 times the amount of people housed already. However, it would be very unpleasant, due to an almighty fight over essential life-sustaining resources. New parents would seem to have a vested interest in supporting renewable energy, local food and water and energy conservation.  rw    016049
Flunks Traffic Test.   January 22, 2006   California Association of Governments
Southern California residents are experiencing increased delays in traffic and a decline in their quality of life. For the first time, traffic mobility in Southern California earned a flunking grade. Travelers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are spending about 55 hours a year stuck in traffic. Commuters in Los Angeles and Orange counties topped the nation's urban areas with an average delay of 93 hours during peak periods. Congestion on the region's roads and highways costs about $12 billion annually. Traffic mobility earned a failing grade because of planning inadequately for population growth and new-home construction. Regional leaders took advantage of the failing grade to pitch support for Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed multibillion-dollar state infrastructure bond. The regional planning council is made up of six counties that collectively have 187 cities and a population of 18 million. Southern California has the highest housing-cost burdens for owners and renters and the highest poverty rates in the country.  rw    016137
China Pays Huge Price for Its Peaceful Rising.   January 15, 2006   China Post
China's peaceful rise is phenomenal and the envy of many in the world. The country's economy in 2005 could become the fourth largest in the world. But the achievement is costly, in social and environmental terms. The gap between rich and poor is widening and the deterioration of the environment is threatening the country's economic development. China's measurement of a country's income inequality has doubled in the past 20 years. Mainland China's increased GDP in 2005 will make the inequality worse. The mainland's city vs countryside income ratio could be as high as 6:1. Mainland China ranks 90th in the UNDP's 131-nation human-development index and leads the world in creating one of the most unequal societies in history. The cost to the environment is even greater. Public accidents have caused more than one million casualties each year, and economic losses of 650 billion yuan (US$80 billion). In 2004, these accidents killed 210,000 people and injured another 1.75 million. In the mining sector, mainland China has the world's worst record. In the past month, accidents claimed more than 300 lives. From 2001 to 2004, accidents in China's coal mines claimed 6,282 lives a year. Chemical spills and toxic emissions keep contaminating the water and air. Last month a metal factory near Hong Kong leaked cancer-causing cadmium into the Bei River. This month, a fertilizer plant in Sichuan dumped 600 tons of sulfuric acid into the Qijiang River. These problems, plus income inequalities, could trigger social unrest.  rw    016176
Can Our Planet Support the Rise of China and India?.   January 14, 2006   Taipei Times
Two of Washington's environmental think tanks warn that the economic boom in China and India could present one of the world's gravest threats to the environment. The two countries have 2.5 billion people, or nearly 40% of the world's population. China eats up one-third of the world's rice, over one-quarter of the world's steel and nearly half of its cement. The Earth cannot supply these countries' rising demands for energy, food, and raw materials. The use of oil has doubled in India since 1992, while China has becoming the world's second largest importer in 2004. Prices worldwide have soared as India and China scooped up shares in oil companies. The US is still the greatest burner of oil, using 25% of global annual supplies and producing 25% of carbon. The average US citizen requires about 9.7 hectares to provide resources and space for waste, 205% of what the country can provide. That figure is only 1.6 hectares for the average Chinese, or 201% of the country's capacity, and 0.8 hectares for the average Indian, or 210% of the country's capacity. Both India and China have programs to use renewable energies. India now aims to raise its share of renewable energies to 20% to 25%. China and India are signatories of the Kyoto Protocol, but as developing nations they are exempted from cutting their emissions. China has taken voluntary measures which have had a very positive impact.  rw    016175
They Want to Make Children Extinct.   December 06, 2005   Herald, The (UK)
Les Knight is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, a network of people dedicated to phasing out the human race in the interest of the planet. Whereever humans live, not much else lives and human activities are damaging the biosphere. More people means more damage. So no people at all be best for the planet, Knight claims. The UN estimates that the human population, currently at 6.5 billion, is well on its way to 9.1 billion in 2050. Estimates place a sustainable population in which most people are able to enjoy their lives at between one billion and two billion. The growing population is wreaking havoc on the Earth's systems and setting up civilisation for a hard fall. Regardless of the merits of reducing the population to nil - as Knight advocates - it's pretty clear that the world could do without any additional people. A single new American born in the 1990s will be responsible, over his or her life, for 22m lbs of liquid waste and 2.2m lbs each of solid waste and atmospheric waste. He or she will have a lifetime consumption of 4000 barrels of oil, 1.5m lbs of minerals and 62,000 lbs of animal products that will entail the slaughter of 2000 animals. In many ways, the idea of reducing the world's population is as much about human quality of life as it is about the health of the planet. Childbearing is irresponsible, is selfish, when so many aren't getting the love and attention they deserve. Knight says there's a taboo against talking about population control that has resulted in many environmental groups either not addressing population or doing so inadequately. In light of the number of species becoming extinct because of our increase, and the tens of thousands of children dying every day from preventable causes, there's just no good reason to have a child. Having a child is an endorsement of the idea that it's possible to have a sustainable ecosystem that includes humans - that it's possible to find a way out of the mess we've created. The reasons not to breed can only illuminate the gulf between reason and emotion. However, even Knight, in his oddly cheery brand of pessimism, thinks that the drive to breed may be insurmountable. Statistics for global warming, population growth, food production and pollution add up to a pretty gloomy picture for the future.  rw    015853
NGO Stresses Eco-friendly Lifestyle.   December 2005   Korea Times
A survey indicates that the area of land and water required to support a population at its current standard of living for an average Korean, stood at 3.56 hectares this year. This is nearly double the globally available 1.8 hectares per person to supply all human resource consumption and waste production in the earth’s productive areas, meaning mankind would need at least one more planet to live on should everyone follow the lifestyle of Koreans. The concept of ecological footprints is a measurement of environmental stress, that estimates the area of the Earth’s productive land and water required to support a defined economy or human population at a specified standard of living. Industrialized economies require far more land than they have, which impacts the resources in other countries. The ecological footprint of the average Korean is at a lower level than most, but more than double the average of the rest of the world. However, the lifestyle of Koreans has become more environmentally sustainable as compared to 2003. An increased number of people are putting more effort into reducing waste and using more energy-efficient products. The increasing number of Koreans living in apartments and multi-household residences has reduced their environmental impact. To improve the sustainability Green Korean United recommended using public transport to work or carpooling, buying locally grown foods and goods to reduce transportation, reducing water consumption, reducing and recycling trash, and reducing packaging.  rw    015998
Opinion: a Growing Threat We Can't Ignore.   November 08, 2005   Star Tribune (US)
by Ray Warner .. On Hwy. 169, the northbound lanes turn into parking lots that pollute the air and waste thousands of hours and gasoline. The problem is increasing population density. The carrying capacity of any region is the population it can sustain over the long haul without environmental degradation. Experts have agreed that Earth's carrying capacity is about 2.5 billion people, a point passed some 65 years ago. And we're rapidly closing in on a global-population three times that large. Some renewable resources have ceased to renew themselves, for example, most of the ocean's species have been overfished, to the point of collapsed breeding stocks. Growing population is the most dire threat to civilization. But it's too easy to ignore if one chooses to be in denial. In view of the devastating cost of exceeding carrying capacity, why do so many public figures advocate further population increases? Probably they believe that "economic growth follows population growth." The clich' "smart growth" is an oxymoron when the growth is beyond carrying capacity. Religious leaders are population boosters when they fight against the availability and use of contraception. We have politicians who declare that abortion is the most pernicious practice in the world today, and then by arbitrary decision guarantee a surge in abortions. For four years Congress has approved $34 million needed to pay UNFPA, and each year the administration has withdrawn the appropriation. The U.N. estimates that the result has been 800,000 additional abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, 77,000 infant deaths, and some 2 million unwanted pregnancies. Contraception must be provided worldwide at low or no cost with comprehensive sex education. We must put an end to illegal immigration and stop importing large groups of people. We can stabilize population by methods that are straightforward and humane. Or we can let nature take over and use famine, pestilence and war, all already in vigorous action. The choice is ours.  rw    015587
Livability Isn't Sustainability.   November 02, 2005   George Straight website
Rrural-urban migration has swelled the population of the world’s cities 50% to three billion and is expected to add another 2.2 billion by 2030. Most of this growth will take place in the poorest cities. How sustainable are the world’s cities, both rich and poor? Some argue that people come to cities to better themselves and slums are a transitional phase that will be eliminated by economic growth. Once people get rich enough to care about air and water quality, they’ll deal with it. Can economic growth and technological fill all the potholes on the road to sustainability? On the simplest level, something is sustainable if it can safely remain in its present state indefinitely. But how can we determine whether or not a society is overusing its critical ecosystems? By using ecological-footprint analysis (EFA) that estimates the area of average land and water ecosystems required, to supply the resources consumed, and assimilate the wastes produced, by any specified population. The residents of the world’s rich cities require five to 10 hectares of productive ecosystem per capita compared to half-hectare needed by the poorest. EFA shows that although modern urbanites may reside in cities, the ecosystems that support their lifestyles may be in other countries half a world away. Most of the pollution generated by China’s factory cities is attributable to consumption by people living in high-income cities. This is no small problem. The average human eco-footprint is 2.2 hectares, but there are only 1.8 hectares of productive land and water ecosystems remaining per person on Earth. North American standards would require four additional Earthlike planets! No lifestyle is sustainable if it could not safely be shared by all members of the human family. Until we have made progress toward reducing our average eco-footprint from almost 7 to 1.8 hectares, our “most livable” city will remain one of the least sustainable on Earth.  rw    015446
New Measure of Wealth Accounts for Resource Depletion, Environmental Damage.   September 28, 2005   Mongabay.com
Accounting for resource depletion and population growth, shows that net savings per person are negative in the world's most impoverished countries. Current indicators used to guide development decisions such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ignore depletion of resources and damage to the environment. The World Bank offers new estimates including capital, natural resources, and the value of human skills, which show that many of the poorest countries are not on a sustainable path. Including the value of natural resources and our social capital in accounting is a vital step to achieve economic growth that is equitable and sustainable. The publication ranks countries according to total wealth, highlighting the 10 wealthiest and the 10 poorest countries. Switzerland heads the list of the top-ten performers, the other nine being European countries, the US and Japan. Sub-Saharan Africa dominates the bottom-10, with Ethiopia the lowest in total wealth. If their net saving rate is negative then this is a signal that the development path is not sustainable. There are exceptions, a new The World Bank has a new publication, Where is the Wealth of Nations? It says that, accounting for the actual value of natural resources, including resource depletion and population growth, net savings per person are negative in the world's most impoverished countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mauritania has improved its prospects through better management of fisheries, while Botswana has used diamond resources to finance schooling, health care, and infrastructure. In Botswana, the government makes provision to ensure that mineral revenues are invested rather than consumed through government expenditures. It maintains a mineral revenue fund which can finance future investments and buffer the government budget from swings in diamond prices. This has permitted Botswana to avoid the 'resource curse' that has afflicted many oil producers. Decision makers in developing countries are faced with difficult choices regarding the exploitation of natural resources and the environmental impacts of development, but they are leaving out the natural resources and intangible capital such as knowledge and skills. This publication challenges common assumptions about how nations generate their wealth. This snapshot of wealth for 120 countries aims to understand the links between the ability of a country to develop and the level and composition of wealth. The value of minerals, energy, forests, cropland, pastureland, and protected areas is a higher share of total wealth in low-income countries than produced capital, 26% to 16%. If we can't control the deconstruction of natural systems, then we will jeopardize our efforts to make lasting, progress on improving the standard of living of the world's poorest people. The indicators can guide countries toward a sustainable path.  rw    015230

US Louisina: With Fishing Industry Wiped Out at Midseason, Forecast Is Bleak.   September 11, 2005   Los Angeles Times
Hurricane Katrina crashed onto Louisiana's only populated barrier island. What the wind failed to destroy, the storm surge washed away. The extent of the damage on Louisiana's $2.7-billion fishing industry is becoming clearer. Officials say the long-term outlook is bleak. It is estimated that it will take 18 months to get commercial fishing running. But it may not be worth it for some fishermen who must invest as much as $1 million for a shrimp boat. "Before the storm, I'd barely make it," said Rene Vegas, who owns the Bridgeside Marina. "Now it will be so much worse." Normally shrimpers find other work after the season ends in December. This region supplies about 30% of this nation's seafood. Commercial fishing employs 27,000 people in Louisiana and supports a robust shipping and boat-making industry, which also has been destroyed. With many boats wrecked, fishermen won't be able to make their way to the Gulf Coast. Shrimpers lack ice and buyers to sell to. The freshwater and seawater areas are tainted with raw sewage, spilled chemicals and toxic substances. State law dictates that water quality standards be met before oysters are harvested. Because the industry relies on clean water and wetlands to maintain habitat, efforts to restore Louisiana's fisheries are likely to be problematic. Even offshore fish and crustaceans use coastal marshes as nurseries. Louisiana's coastal wetlands are the fastest-disappearing land mass on Earth and officials estimate entire barrier islands and much of the land in the marsh areas were lost. Grand Isle is accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles, firetrucks are providing with water via hoses strung across the causeway. Boats are under homes, across roads, and upside-down on top of cars.  rw    015125
33 Years Later: the Limits to Growth .   August 14, 2005   Business Standard (India)
Dennis Meadows, the co-author of “The Limits to Growth”, which the Club of Rome issued in 1972 to spark the sustainability debate, says the Club of Rome was right in saying what it did. And since we have done nothing to address the concerns raised in the 1972 report, we have less time than before to take corrective action.

The global population has grown from around 3.5 billion in 1972, to more than 6 billion today. Industrial production has gone from an index of about 180 in 1963 to more than 400. The index of world metals use has gone up more than 50%. The concentration of carbon dioxide has gone up increasing in 30 years by as much as in the previous 220. Mankind’s "global ecological footprint" has gone from a sustainability level of about 90% of the earth’s capacity, to 120%. We are beyond the sustainability point. We have not realised that we have crossed the sustainability limit because we are drawing down on nature’s bank balance and that cannot go on indefinitely. We have already used up half that grace period. The challenge now is the population must stop growing, and we must change our consumption, because we cannot continue to make today’s claims on the environment. India wants to get our income levels up from $600 per capita to at least $2,000, at which level there is no absolute poverty left. If you factor in what that will mean for energy and other non-renewable resources, it seems pretty obvious that what we have already seen in the markets for oil and iron ore are a foretaste of what is to come. Oil may already have reached the level of peak production, and what that means for the global economy is frightening. Does that mean that India and China should not aspire to what the developed economies have delivered by way of standards of living? It seems an unfair question when the west is unwilling to change its consumption habits. If neither happens, and even if some technological fixes can buy us some time, the message is straightforward. Things cannot go on as before.  rw    014840

U.K.: Fears of Overdevelopment Explosion .   July 27, 2005   Muswell Hill Journal
Haringey Council's high-density housing policy is unsustainable according to the secretary of the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations (HFRA). Documents reveal the Greater London Authority (GLA) has been pressuring the council to adopt a target of 19,370 new homes by 2016, an increase of 40,000. However, it has been revealed the GLA had concluded there was a "potential capacity" of only 8,640 homes. Haringey Council's executive member for housing, said they were concerned about overdevelopment, but must comply with the London Plan. The figure of 8,600 dwellings relates to a period of 10 years and the figure of 19,370 relates to the 20-year target. The executive decided to amend the draft to propose tripling Haringey's current maximum densities, set in 1998, to 1,100 habitable rooms per hectare. Islington has a maximum of 450 hrh and Camden of 617 hrh. Residents' organisations have been challenging many of the proposed policies and call on the council to abandon unsustainable policies which have been rejected by the surrounding boroughs.  rw    014767
Europe is Losing the Fight for Sustainability .   June 21, 2005   EDIE
In a report from WWF, Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint, the EU is using resources at twice the rate the world can renew them. Tony Long, director of policy for WWF Europe, said: "Over 30 years ago the report Limits to Growth created an international controversy suggesting that the human economy would soon exceed the Earth's carrying capacity, leading to a decrease in industrial output and a decline in well-being in the mid 21st century. In 2005 overshoot is no longer a hypothesis but a reality." While the continent's population makes up 7% of the world's total, Europeans use 17% of its capacity. Human demands on the Earth's resources began to outstrip the ability to meet them some time around 1986 and the situation has got gradually worse as populations and economies grow. Humanity's annual demand for resources is now exceeding Earth's capacity by more than 20%. The report measures the land area needed to produce food, fibre and energy, absorb waste and provide space for infrastructure. There is a trend for more affluent nations to make a larger footprint and consume more per head. Globally the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Kuwait top the chart, while Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Namibia make the smallest recorded footprints. The Scandinavians do not come out well, with Swedes having the largest footprint in Europe - followed by the Finnish, Danish and Norwegians. The Eastern European member states all perform well, with the exception of Estonia and the Czech Republic. Germany has the largest European footprint as a nation, followed by France and the UK - not with a big per capita footprint; their large populations hike up their impact. The report concludes by looking at ways of living more sustainably. It suggests protecting soils from erosion and researching more efficient agriculture, improving the efficiency of manufacturing, reducing the goods and services consumed per person and reducing the global population. All over Europe there was a need for political commitment, vision and leadership. Also the need for more coordination between different levels of government and more needed to be done to bring environmental policy into the mainstream.  rw    014121
Human Consumption Straining Earth's Resources.   June 21, 2005   Jamaca Observer
The Director general of the International Centre for Environment at the University of the West Indies, says human demands are straining the earth's resources. Agriculture is a main driver of environmental damage and accounts for 70% of our fresh water use and nearly 40% of land uses are food demands. The worldwide cattle population generated 94 million tons of methane gas annually, 20% more damaging than carbon dioxide. The scientist said that while the world's poor sought the lifestyle of the US citizen, it is unknown if the earth could sustain the demands. If every resident of China were to acquire the average standard of living of the US, we would need another four earths. Jamaica contributes little to global degradation, but, there is much to do to correct environmental damage, the resuscitation of the dying corals, preservation of the biodiversity, reduction of smog, rehabilitation of mined out lands, halting the depletion of the soil's fertility and eliminating the threats to children exposed to lead batteries. A fundamental element of the sustainability of the environment is energy generation. It is unlikely that these alternative energies can be produced on a global scale. The supply situation with oil is fraught with problems, and fossil fuel combustion seems pretty certain to lead to global warming. Worldwide there will be increased usage of renewables, which generally, are more environmentally benign than the combustibles, but are unlikely to fill the global demand for energy. Such considerations are partly the reason for the resurgence of interest in nuclear power and several countries in Europe and Asia supplement energy needs with nuclear power. France generates 7% of its electricity with nuclear power; Belgium 60%; Sweden 42%; Switzerland 39%; Spain 37%, the United Kingston 21%; and the US 20%. Nuclear energy is the only global alternative to oil when you consider the increasing cost of oil.  rw   It takes energy to get the uranium out of the ground. 014293
  June 20, 2005   BBC Monitoring International Reports
Ethiopia's food security challenges are multi-faceted and require a multi-sectoral approach, but the root cause is the runaway population growth. Demographic pressure, aggravating environmental degradation and economic malaise, creates a dangerous situation to the country's citizens. Ethiopia's population is growing at 3% annually and expected to reach 100 million within 15 years. 44% is living under the poverty line while 44 million under the age of 24 are entering their reproductive ages. Population growth adds two million new mouths to feed every year. The agricultural sector is unable to carry the population growth, suffering from erosion, deforestation and loss of nutrients. At the current rate of deforestation of over 75,000 hectares per year, the country will be completely deforested in less than 20 years. Failure to implement the country's population policy is among the major problems. Had the policy been implemented, Ethiopia would have made progress in reducing the rate of population growth, increasing its chance to attain food self-sufficiency.  rw    014147
Europe Living Beyond Eocological Means.   June 2005   Press Esc
Conservationists warn that the European Union and its Member States urgently need to put more emphasis on the planet's finite resources. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has published a report showing that the twenty-five EU members have run up an environmental deficit of 220% of their biological capacity and now rely on the resources of the rest of the world. Reducing European pressure on nature is essential for Europe's prosperity and as a leader for sustainable development. The report compares people's use of nature with nature's ability to regenerate. With 7% of the world population, the EU uses 17% of the world resources. EU countries with the highest demand are Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland, and France, using three to four times the worldwide average per person. Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland have the lowest but use about twice the average amount. If the EU wants to be competitive it is time to build an economy that decouples economic growth from resource consumption. This could be done by giving higher priority to investments in ecosystems, developing systems to ensure the sustainability of product and resource use. The group recommends moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Other measures include eliminating subsidies that have adverse social, economic and environmental effects. The longer European leaders ignore the environmental deficit, the more expensive the investment required to correct it and the greater the risk that critical ecosystems will be eroded beyond the point at which they can easily recover.  rw    014062
California Looks Ahead, and Doesn't Like What It Sees.   May 29, 2005   New York Times*
California gained 539,000 residents last year and is on track to reach 46 million residents by 2030, an increase of 13 million from 2000. Within the next 25 years, a quarter of all Americans will be residing in California, Texas and Florida. With the Department of Finance estimating that the state's population has reached 36.8 million, California is home to one of every eight Americans. Today, many politicians and scholars wonder whether California's population has become so huge and complex that it is beyond human manipulation. A statewide survey found that only 12% of respondents had confidence that the state government could plan effectively for the expected influx of newcomers. Complicating the planning for the new growth, is where it is occurring. The statistics show that the fastest-growing counties are away from the coast, as residents settle in places that are cheaper but also removed from many services. Leading is Riverside County, which reaches to the Arizona border, followed by Placer County, northeast of Sacramento, and Imperial County, along the Mexican and Arizona borders. The Central Valley agricultural counties of Madera, Tuolumne and Kern rank next. If the trends continue, studies suggest a quarter of the region's farmland could be lost to housing by the middle of this century. In his weekly radio address Mr. Schwarzenegger said that our cities are bursting at the seams, too many roads are congested and projects that should be in construction are still on the shelf and it's time for California to build again in the cities and the counties and everywhere across our state. Republicans want the state to grow and are often pro-development but oppose new taxes and government spending. Democrats support new taxes and government spending, but oppose bigger highways, for example, on the grounds that they encourage urban sprawl. Proposition 13 restricted property taxes, the state budget is in deficit, and Mr. Schwarzenegger has pledged not to raise income and other taxes. Planners say growth will occur no matter how hard some Democrats try to control it or some Republicans wait for market forces to accommodate it. Planning needs to take place recognizing that we're not going to see large projects, or large sums of money, from the federal government. An association of local governments recently completed a plan for the metropolitan region including situations for traffic, housing density and open space in 2050, when the region is projected to have added 1.7 million people. The plan emphasizes compact developments near mass transit and is projected to save $8 billion in costs for freeways, utilities and other infrastructure. This is entirely voluntary and some communities have already opted out. People just want better services.  rw   When is a public dialogue on "carrying capacity" going to begin? 013908
China Overtakes US as Top Consumer.   February 17, 2005   China Daily
Growing at a rapid rate, China has taken the lion's share in the consumption of grain, meat, coal and steel, and loses out to the U.S. only in oil. China's use of fertilizer is double that of the U.S. while with television sets, refrigerators and cellular phones - it is way ahead. China trails the U.S. in automobiles and will soon overtake the U.S. in the use of personal computers. China is an emerging economic superpower. China leads in the consumption of wheat and rice, and trails the U.S. only in corn use. China's 2004 intake of 64 million tonnes of meat is above the 38 million tonnes consumed in the United States. China's steel usage is now more than twice that of the U.S. 258 million tonnes to 104 million tonnes in 2003. U.S. oil consumption is triple that of China's but use in China has more than doubled. China's appetite for raw materials is driving up prices and shipping rates. The U.S. has a massive trade deficit with the China and is dependent on Chinese capital to underwrite its debt. If China decided to divert this capital elsewhere, the US economy will be in trouble. As Chinese incomes rise, use of foodstuffs, energy, raw materials, and sales of consumer goods are continuing to climb. China's per capita annual income of 5,300 dollars is one seventh the 38,000 dollars in the United States. One of the bigger concerns is that China's growth takes a toll on the environment. China's grain production has stagnated, due to expansion of deserts and the loss of irrigation water. China was putting enormous pressure on its own natural resource base.  rw    012887
Population and Sustainability.   2005   Population Council
Population change bears on sustainability and the possibilities of resource exhaustion are often exaggerated, but so too are the levels of substitutability between natural and other forms of capital. The degradation of environmental services is often exacerbated by population growth. The critical issue in is effective governing to restrain demand and safeguard supply. Uncertainties in environmental systems should give pause to expectations that a decline in human numbers will usher in ecological restoration. A series of population expansions since the industrial era is attributable to lowered mortality from nutritional improvements, the spread of medical and public health services, and advances in education and income. Population growth slows and eventually halts completing the pattern known as the demographic transition. Worldwide, UN projections foresee world population increasing from its 2005 level of 6.5 billion to a peak of about 9 billion. Very low fertility will lead to declines in population size. The lagged onset and uneven pace of the transitions across regions generate regional differences in population characteristics at any given time. Gains in well-being would come from halting of population growth, and lower population/resource ratios, and a continuing increase in productivity. With a focus on capital, labour, and technology, models yield steady-state growth paths in which output expands indefinitely along with capital and labour. Renewable resources would simply add another factor of production. Non-renewable resources would be inconsistent with any steady-state outcome that entailed positive population growth. While the actual role of population and resources in economic development is an empirical issue, a lot of the debate on the matter has been based on exercises little more complicated than these. Positive feedbacks from a larger population stimulate inventiveness, production, and investment and favor indefinite continuation of at least moderate population growth, leading both to economic prosperity and to expanded numbers of people. Past worries about population growth have been linked to the idea that the world is running out of some critical natural resource. Mostly, such claims have turned out to be overstated as they they neglect the scope for societal adaptation through technological and social change. As put in a 1986 report "even if slower population growth does delay the time at which a particular stage of resource depletion is reached,…it has no necessary or even probable effect on the number of people who will live under a particular stage of resource depletion. But that judgment is too dismissive of the supply problem. Depleting a resource such as a fishery or an aquifer, or degrading land through erosion or salination may be a population-related effect. Environmental services encompass climate regulation, pollination, soil formation and retention, nutrient cycling, and direct environmental effects on well-being through recreation and aesthetic enjoyment. People's numbers, but also their proclivities to consume and their exploitative abilities, can all be factors in degrading environmental services.

The full article defines these and other relevant factors in great detail.  rw    015821

Yemen: First Census in 10 Years Under Way.   December 22, 2004   IRIN News (UN)
More than 23,000 data-collectors have set out with data books to every household in the country to count the population, in Yemen's first census in 10 years. The results will be used as the basis for social policy, new schools, hospitals and other facilities. The country has been preparing for the last two and a half years, updating the 1994 census and developing an electronic network. A sample of households will partake in a detailed survey, providing economic status, car-ownership, literacy and other matters but religion or ethnicity cannot be solicited. The census should catch illegal immigrants and nomadic people. While the government is largely funding the census, there have been grants from foreign donors. The importance of the census is being promoted through a radio and TV campaign. Over half the population is illiterate, so the data-collectors are interviewing every household. The data will be processed using the latest technology. The population in 1994 was found to be 15,831,757, but is now thought to be more than 20 million. The census is expected to show an even higher population growth. Yemen's president stressed the urgency of bringing the population growth under control. He called to task conservatives calling them extremists who insist on labelling family planning as a taboo, and warned that the growing population is exhausting the country's meagre natural resources, especially water.  rw    012508
Pakistan: Population Growth Rate Still High at 1.9%.   November 06, 2004   Daily Times (Pakistan)
Pakistan has a high population growth rate of 1.9% per annum and Pakistanis make up 2.5% of the world’s population. The total fertility rate has declined from 4.8 children per woman in 2000 to 4.1 in 2003-2004. This rate is well above 2.1, the long-term target of the population. Pakistan has to reduce its population growth to a sustainable level, while benefiting from its growing labour force by investing in capital development. The adverse impact of high population growth is compounded by the neglect of health and education, keeping the productivity low. While it appears to have made a breakthrough in declining fertility and population growth, these changes are modest and sustained efforts are required to further reduce population growth. The overall population policy is to achieve stabilization by 2020. This would be possible by creating awareness of the consequence of rapid population growth and reducing the fertility rate. It will take several decades stabilize the country’s population and Pakistan’s population will increase significantly in the coming decades  rw    012004
China Mulls Overhaul of Family Planning Policy; Anxious to Avoid Future Problems Arising From Its Strict One-child Policy, it is Studying Proposals to Scrap the Rule .   October 05, 2004   Straits Times
China is worried that the limits on family size could generate social unrest and undermine economic development. One proposal recommends scrapping the rule restricting families to one child and instead implement a two-child policy. The proposal envisions launching the policy in the country's eastern provinces which have the lowest birth rates. The government appointed a task force that is tapping 250 experts to study the impact on economic development. Experts say that relaxing birth limits will not reignite a population explosion. Lower fertility rates are credited with raising living standards and economic overhauls. A Chinese woman today will have fewer than two children, compared with six in 1970. The UN estimates that by 2040, people 60 and over will make up 28% of the population, up from 11% now. Males are likely to face difficulties finding partners. China had 117 boys born for every 100 girls, above the normal worldwide ratio of about 105 to 100.  rw   China may be living on borrowed time. Both water and oil are becoming scarcer - per capita, and soil and deforestation may never be recoverable. 011788
Jobs and People on the Move.   September 27, 2004   Economist
Economists argue that migration and offshoring benefit economies, as efficiency is increased. Manufacturing industries in the rich countries have for decades been whittled away by low-cost foreign competition. More recently the offshoring of work has raised the possibility that new swathes of the economy will become internationally tradeable. This seems likely to supplant migration, taking work to the workers. There are jobs that cannot be done overseas, and many foreign-born workers in cities with large amounts of immigration, work in services where proximity to the customer is required. The information technology and business services sector have functions that can be performed miles away. Offshoring and migration soared during the technology boom and the US trebled its visa programme for skilled workers, while countries that lagged behind in attracting foreign IT workers, scrambled to catch up. Immigrants tend to be younger and have higher birth rates: the faster growth of the US population, which is a significant cause of its higher economic growth, is caused by higher immigration. For continental Europe, struggling with state pension and benefit systems, the attraction of youth into the workforce paying taxes is hard to overestimate. But expecting immigration to solve the pension systems problems is wishful thinking. In the US, migration would have to increase by 30% a year to stabilise the ratio of working-age to general population. In Japan, immigration would have to increase by 700% a year. The political backlash against large-scale immigration suggests that the trend of confining immigration to skilled workers will continue, supplanted by illegal immigrants for low-paid service jobs. The advantage of offshoring is that wages abroad can be lower and the division between offshoring and migration will depend on the technology of the jobs and the political constraints on governments. The US has seen a stronger backlash against offshoring than immigration, while European nations experienced the opposite. Restrictions on study and work visas since the attacks of September 11 have constricted skilled immigration in the US which may shift the balance. The onward march of integrated global economy and the shrinking cost of transport and communications will probably ensure that migration and offshoring continue apace. In the meantime, disgruntled workers and nativists complain that "foreigners are taking our jobs", facing competition from those who are prepared to accept lower wages and worse working conditions.  rw   Again, growing the economy is only a solution until limited resources run out. Creating more goods for more consumers is like a giant Ponzi scheme. In addition, many of the workers who are being displaced are the very Baby Boomers who will demand a pension when they retire. 011656
A Voracious Earth - Some Regions - Especially in Asia - Are Overusing Their Renewable Resources .   September 02, 2004   Christian Science Monitor
A swath of Asia from India to China leaves the biggest human footprint as it gobbles up 80% of the plant resources it produces, says Taylor Ricketts, director of the Conservation Science Program at the World Wildlife Fund. A recent study on ecological imbalances has drawn a map which shows mankind's ecological footprint for each square mile of Earth's inhabited zones, which defies conventional wisdom about consumption, and illustrates the effect of population density. The study adds up all the sun energy converted to organic carbon by plants each year and calls it "net primary production" or NPP - about 56 billion tons worth. Subtract the portion that human beings use in materials from cotton in clothes to wood in homes to in a bowl of cereal. The world's 6.3 billion people appropriate up to a third of the world's NPP. This sounds sustainable, but disguises geographical imbalances. For example, most of Siberia uses 0% of its local NPP. North America uses 23%, less than the world average. North Americans eat 5.4 tons of carbon per year compared with 1.2 tons for residents of south central Asia. But that part of Asia is more populous and more densely packed and consumes 1.6 billion tons of NPP per year or 80% of the carbon of that area. If developing nations boost consumption to match industrialized countries, overall appropriation of NPP would rise 75% and is already happening. More than 1 billion people in developing and transitional nations have become wealthy enough to consume like Americans. They own one-fifth of the world's automobiles and by 2010, could own a third and the environmental costs of automobiles are huge. Worldwide, the average human footprint is 2.28 hectares (5.4 acres), but Earth only has a biocapacity of 1.9 hectare per person that leaves a 0.38 hectare deficit per person. In China, it is 0.5 hectares. China's population is a major part of 1.1 billion new consumers with purchasing power of more than $6 trillion. They will buy 800 million cars by 2010 and use a quarter of all electricity. More efficient technologies could be adopted, electric-car technology for instance. A scholar acknowledges models of human consumption are useful, but they are often wrong in the long run. When you run a snapshot in a straight line way, it will present an unsustainable conclusion. A century ago New England had been denuded of trees, which were burned for heat. Today, New England has been reforested. By cutting its use of natural gas and diesel and increased recycling, Santa Monica in California US shrank its ecological footprint by 5.7% to 20.9 acres per person over 10 years but unless that happens more broadly, humanity's footfall will get heavier. In 2000, the US used about 23% of the world's energy. The US has one quarter of all the cars in the world. And much of its consumption affects other regions through imports cutting Indonesian forests, for instance. Humanity has a chance to save itself, because population growth has moderated. Economists and ecologists are working to gauge the costs of consumption accurately. A $2 gallon of gasoline is really $6 because it carries $4 of environmental costs.  rw    011406
N. Korea Killing Forests, Waterways, U.N. Finds.   August 27, 2004   MSNBC.com
North Korea's forests are depleted, rivers and streams filled with runoff and coal energy has created urban air pollution. The evaluation by the U.N. last year was delayed until a delegation from the North signed an agreement to protect the environment. The UN acknowledged a paucity of data on which to base reliable assessments. The forests have fallen victim to its fast-growing population of more than 24 million and natural disasters and efforts to convert forests to farmland. A dozen factories discharge 39,200 cubic yards of waste each day into the Taedong River. Investment is needed in the country's water purification systems. The reliance on coal to general power and heat homes has created urban air pollution. The North has depended on outside help to feed its people since 1995 and is struggling to become self-sufficient with continuing poor crop yields due to natural disasters, the overuse of chemicals and shortages of fertilizer, farm machinery and oil. The collapse of North Korea's economy has caused food prices to skyrocket so that people can't afford what they need to survive. Farmers should expand restorative practices, including tree planting and use of organic fertilizers.  rw    011380
Ecological Footprint   August 08, 2004   New Scientist
Click to this website to subscribe; then you can find out how much land is needed to support your lifestyle. Try the quick set of questions from New Scientist magazine to add up your points. For environmentally sound actions such as recycling, you get to subtract some points. Then because all the support systems such as roads, schools, and shops support your lifestyle, you are asked to double your points. Each point equals one-hundredth of a hectare so a score of 350 is equal to an ecological footprint of 3.5 hectares. 011171
Look on Green GDP Objectively.   June 30, 2004   China Economic Net
China's economy has been developing and problems of resources and environment have become obvious. China's per capita area of cultivated land is equal to about 40% of the world's average level. China's per capita water resources accounts for only 25% of the world's average. The per capita area and volume of forest amount to 20% and 12.5% respectively of the world's average. The per capita possession of mineral resources is lower than the world's average. China's economic growth is too extensive, manifested by high consumption and low efficiency. In 2003, China's GDP accounted for only 3.8% of the world's GDP, while its consumption of steel, coal, and cement amounted to 36%, 30%, and 55% of the world's output of 2001. Overgrazing causes desertification and the decrease of grassland. Deforestation results in soil erosion, and damage of the habitats of wild species. The overexploitation of water brings on the cut-off of rivers and ground settlement. The emission of pollutants reflects on the pollution of rivers, lakes and seas and the decreasing quality of the air. If no attention is paid, China will confront severe problems regarding its sustainable development. China has a large population, few resources, high environmental pressures. Conducting green GDP accounting provides references for economic development with sustainability. There is no country in the that has figured out the whole green GDP, in terms of resource depletion cost and environmental losses as these are difficult to estimate. For example, forest resources are renewable, but deforestation leads to the decrease of the area and volume of the forest. Besides cultivating trees, the forest functions in soil conservation, preservation of water resources, air purification, wind prevention, sand-fixation, and people's traveling and relaxation. Atmosphere and water have the capability to digest waste. Therefore, if the waste is within the range of the assimilation by atmosphere and water, the quality of the air and water will not decline. However, the waste in many areas has gone beyond the capability of the assimilation, which leads to the deterioration of the air and water and environmental losses. Green GDP reflects the interaction between economy and environment to a certain extent. GDP is a crucial index of macro-economy and plays an important role in establishing macro-economic policies. GDP is related with national disposable personal income, national savings, national wealth and other indexes. The accounting of green GDP reflects the economic development and mutual influences between economic development and the environment from different angles.  rw    010914
Report Urges Governance Reforms to Stop Environmental Decline.   June 04, 2004   World Resources Institute
Statistics indicate rapidly deteriorating ecosystems. One of every six humans depends on fish for protein, yet 75% of the world's fisheries are over-fished. forty-one of every 100 people live in water-stressed river basins; 350 million are dependent on forests, with forest cover declining by 46% since pre-agricultural times. Half the population lives on less than $2 a day. The best way to force government action is to empower citizens through public access to information and participation in decision-making. Public access to information is necessary to improve the environment. Greater accountability can lead to more effective management of natural resources.  rw    010670
Booming China Devouring Raw Materials; Producers and Suppliers Struggle to Feed a Voracious Appetite.   May 21, 2004   Washington Post
China's demand has driven the price of shipping freight through the roof, and because ports haven't expanded to keep pace with China's demands, one-fifth of the world's freighters are tied up waiting to load and unload cargo. China's demand for raw materials is straining the systems that move goods. The construction in China's cities has transformed it from a minor consumer into a country that absorbed half the world's cement production last year, one-third of its steel, one-fifth of its aluminum and nearly one-fourth of its copper. China has become the second-largest importer of oil. Shipyards in Japan and Korea have orders through 2007. China is building new shipyards, including the world's largest in Shanghai. Last year, global ship orders more than doubled. For the coal producers, each motionless day means paying ship owners as high as $20,000 per vessel. Once a major coal exporter, China is now consuming its production, putting pressure on the global supply. Around the world, stockpiles of everything from copper to coal have disappeared. The commodity and shipping trades are convinced that China's impact is here to stay, 1.3 billion people require a lot of electricity. Exacerbating the queue is the fact that coal is increasingly carried by smaller vessels as the bulk freighters that can carry 200,000 tons, have long-term contracts with steel mills and are going as far as Brazil for raw material. Between 1999 and 2003, China's annual exports of coal to produce electricity doubled to 80 million tons, pushing down global prices. But last year, energy shortages in China forced authorities to ration power and Beijing halted exports. Worldwide shortages resulted, and the price of coal roughly tripled. China's cravings have encouraged the mining giant Rio Tinto Group to pour $1.25 billion improvements to head off similar problems in its iron ore business. In 2003, China doubled its investment in new steel mills. Rio Tinto's wholly owned Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd last year sent more than a third of its product to China. At the center of Rio Tinto's expansion is the Eastern Range mine a joint venture with Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp., which will take all of its output. A Japanese yard takes eight or nine months to complete a large new ship but with the Ariake shipyard works at capacity, of the 10 vessels that will be completed this year, six are oil tankers, because of China's fuel demands and European rules mandating double-hulled vessels. Even the four Capesize vessels may be delayed, because shipbuilders are finding it difficult to get sufficient quantities of steel. The world needs more freighters because China's growth is tying up much of the fleet. The shipyards can't get the steel, because there aren't enough ships.  rw   What will drive all the ships when the oil supply becomes depleted? 010586
Ecological Footprint.   April 21, 2004  
The ecological footprint is the acreage needed on earth to support our lifestyle. The average person in the U.S. uses about 24 acres, one of the largest Footprints in the world. Germans use 13 acres, inhabitants of countries like India use 2 acres. If you want to calculate what yours is, go to this website - www.myfootprint.org.

Biologist E.O. Wilson, "one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers," considers the Footprint to be one of the most significant recent ecological inventions because of its ability to communicate complex scientific information in relatively simple terms to explain the relationship between human consumption and the natural environment. The late sustainability futurist Donella Meadows listed the Ecological Footprint at her top indicator for measuring sustainability. In a similar vein, Dr.Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint considers Sustainable Sonoma County to be one of the most advanced groups in the nation for using the Ecological Footprint to create social change at the community level.

More at: http://www.sustainablesonoma.org/projects/scefootprint.html  rw    010367

Ecologist Says Humans Overdrawing Nature's Account.   April 19, 2004   Chico Enterprise Record
Mathis Wackernagel, executive director of the Global Footprint Network of Oakland explained the "footprint' that is used to define how much impact people are having on nature. By 1980, the human population went past the point where consumption equaled the capacity of the planet. Now humans are consuming, 20% more than the world can sustain. The footprint is a picture of where the world is at present. The total population, rate of consumption of resources, and the efficiency of producing and using them establishes the footprint. There are 30 billion acres of productive land on planet with 6.3 billion people, that is about 4.5 acres for each human. The earth also houses 1 million other species, and what portion of the world is going to be reserved for them. Planning requires nature be more productive to meet the increasing demand or to slow population growth. Changes in technology could have a major impact, for example, nuclear fusion could change the world overnight.  rw    010382
Namibia: WFP and UNICEF Launch Emergency Appeals to Help Over 600,000 Women and Children.   March 10, 2004   Associated Press
The U.N. has appealed for US $5.8 million to help 600,000 women and children in Namibia. The country suffers poverty and food deficits, compounded by three years of erratic weather in the north of the country and the AIDS pandemic. A U.N. mission found malnutrition in children under 5 is 15%. Local authorities plan to assist 530,000 from their meager resources. WFP will provide 8,000 tons of food to 111,000 rural children and their families in the worst-affected districts and is appealing for US $5.2 million to fund the operation for the next six months. The U.N. will help provide insecticide- treated bed nets to prevent malaria, expand immunization campaigns, undertake Vitamin A distribution and improve nutritional surveillance. UNICEF is appealing for US $616,000 to fund its operation over the same period. The Namibian government is usually able to assist communities but this crisis exceeds the government's capacity. HIV has soared from 4% in 1992 to 22%. At least 120,000 children have lost one or both parents from AIDS. Half the population lives below the poverty line, and an international drought appeal has not been fully funded.  rw    010036
Ethiopia: Spiraling Population Growth Contributing to Food Insecurity.   September 08, 2003   IRIN News (UN)
Polygamy is fuelling a population explosion in southern Ethiopia, which compounds the food crisis and is one of the causes of a lack of food in Ethiopia. Five million people need food aid in the drought-prone country. Women and children in polygamous households are disfavored by the bread-winner husbands and are confined to their farms and disadvantaged in terms of health care, education and employment. Female headed households are more likely to be food insecure. Traditionally this has been a breadbasket region, but recently aid agencies have been confounded with malnutrition and large numbers of child deaths. The crisis in Ethiopia is not simply a lack of food but the population explosion, a decline in rainfall, a slump in coffee prices and reduced employment. Ethiopia will soon have the 10th largest population in the world, estimated at 71 million by 200. By 2050 173 million people will live in the impoverished nation.  rw    007819
David Attenborough on Population and Immigration.   August 03, 2003   Sunday Times (South Africa)
Sir David Attenborough, the eminent naturalist, called for control of population growth and warned of global disaster. He is quoted as saying that "The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrolled way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us and it is the poor people of the world who will suffer most." An academic group Optimum Population Trust (OPT) wants to put population reduction at the heart of government policy.

believes that Britain should reduce its population from 59m to about 30m by 2130, the same as in 1870. It wants economic incentives for women to stay childless, free contraception, a balanced approach to immigration and a government population reduction policy. The campaign is supported by academics and environmentalists including the chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission. The National Statistics Office predicted the population would peak at 64m in 2040 and then fall. However the figures underestimated net immigration and the new figures mean Britain could have a population of 73m by 2050. British governments have reacted to growth by providing more homes, roads, schools and facilities but is commissioning studies to decide if it needs a population policy. Sir Crispin Tickell, who chairs the government panel on sustainable development said that population increase is one of the biggest global problems. Tickell and others believe countries such as Britain will make it tough for immigrants but this may not be enough and incentives for smaller families may be necessary. Native birth rates have fallen but immigration and the fact we are living longer means numbers will keep going up. Attenborough believes solving Britain's problems is trivial compared with reversing the global population boom. He said: "Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.  rw    007612

What Limits Carrying Capacity - Oil orTopsoil?.  

Bruce Sundquist, Carrying Capacity Committee,

Allegheny Group, Sierra Club

I once believed that energy was the key issue, but now I am totally

convinced that soil resources are the crucial issue. The reasoning behind

that conclusion is given below.

Those concerned about energy resources invariably point to the

exponential growth in energy consumption, but they rarely ponder the

reason why the growth is exponential, and therefore never foresee an end to

exponential growth until energy supplies are totally depleted. The reason

why energy consumption grows exponentially is because both

population and technological advances are growing exponentially. In

recent years, the rate of discovery of energy resources has outpaced

energy consumption, due largely to major technological advances in the

science of finding new energy resources. Both the quality of new

reserves and the amount of total reserves have thus not been falling.

Thus energy prices have fluctuated but have shown no clear trend. In an

environment such as this, energy consumption is bound to grow

exponentially. Such a process cannot continue, and eventually reserves and

reserve-quality must decline. Then prices must rise. People with large

cars will then buy small cars. People with small cars will ride the bus,

bus riders will walk or bicycle, and countless other conservation measures

will occur quite naturally--without any help from Audubon Society. Growth

will stop being exponential and later turn

negative. Rising prices will make thin seams of coal profitable to mine

and to convert to gas and liquid. Supply and demand will always remain

in balance; the total system will probably always show a high degree of

stability, though inequities in distribution will always be with us.

Exponential growth of energy consumption will be relegated to the history

books where it will join countless other phenomena that have defined the

course of human history, and that have shown exponential growth in their

early stages. New processes such as information generation and flow will

have their turn at exponential growth before they plateau and seek a

steady state.

There is one exception to the picture outlined above--soil-based systems.

If one examines the global data on various soil related issues

(croplands, forest lands, grazing lands, irrigated lands, fisheries) one

is struck by the huge number of positive feedback phenomena

(instabilities) that have historically never allowed a steady state to be

reached, but instead have produced an endless series of collapses of

soil-based systems. A few examples:

When irrigation production falls short of desire, people attempt to get

along with less water per unit of output. The result is salination and

less--not more--crop production. When timber production falls short of

desire, people harvest trees at younger ages. The result is less

productivity--not more. When livestock production falls short of desire,

more grazing animals are put on the same pasture. The result is

overgrazing, soil erosion, less grass and less--not more--cattle. When

cropland production falls below demand, fallow periods are decreased, the

result is massive wind erosion, chemical degradation of the soil, and

less--not more--crop production. All of this idiocy has always been

defended by the economists of the day using a process called discount

economics. Take the extra profits from not conserving soil and soil

quality and put these profits in a bank. Then, by the time the earth is

converted to a barren wasteland, you simply live off the interest-income

from your bank account. Is this imbecilic? Before you decide, ask any

forester whether he uses present-net-value analyses, and ask any

agricultural expert whether soil-conservation makes economic sense.

Soil-based systems are clearly not stable, equilibrium-seeking systems.

They have always been subject to massive positive-feedback processes.

The worse things get, the faster they get worse. This is why all those

ancient civilizations (all agriculture-based) have collapsed rather than

seeking a more soil-conservative mode of operation. I have seen nothing

that would make me believe that discount economics will ever fall out of

favor. Take a look at all the economic analyses of soil conservation

that have appeared in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation over the

past few decades. Virtually every such analysis will assure us that soil

conservation is simply not worth the effort, and anyone expressing doubts

about the discount economics involved is seen as a dunce, or worse. 003245

Homo Rap/ens and Mass Extinction: An Era of Solitude?.   July 22, 2002   John Gray - Professor London School of Economics.
We are on the brink of a great extinction, species are vanishing faster than they did before the arrival of humans. As humans exploit the last vestiges of wilderness, they destroy the habitat of tens of thousands of species of plants, insects and animals. The lush natural world is being rapidly transformed into a prosthetic environment. Given the magnitude of this change, one would expect it Yet there is evidence that human activity is altering the balance of the global climate. The long-term effects of global warming cannot be known with any certainty. But the greenhouse effect could wipe out densely populated coastal countries within the present century, while dislocating food production in the world. The result could be a disaster for billions of people. The world's rainforests are part of the earth's self-regulatory system.

Humankind cannot destroy its planetary host. The earth is stronger than humans will ever be. The advance of Homo rapiens has always gone with the destruction of other species and ecological devastation. Of the remaining outcomes, the second, in which over-numerous humans colonise the earth at the cost of weak-ening the biosphere, corresponds most closely to this bleak vision.

The increase in human population is unprecedented and unsustainable. More than likely, it will be cut short by the classical Malthusian forces, this may be a discomforting prospect; but it dispels the nightmare of an age of solitude.  rw 022380

Arable Land.   2000   ZPG
"In 1830, there were 32 acres of land per living human being. Today there

are fewer than 5 acres, including uninhabitable land." 005645

Resources per person ...

  1999   Paul Story
In India and China, there are a total of 2 billion people living on an area of only 31 meters by 31 meters 005646
How Many People Can the Earth Support?.   August 21, 1998   Ross McCluney


2 billion... Everyone at the current U.S. standard of living and with
all the health, nutrition, personal dignity and
freedom that most Americans currently enjoy


1/2 billion ... Everyone at the same affluence level as in 1, but
with few restrictions on commerce, pollution, land
use, personal behavior (within current law), etc.
Basically a libertarian, laissez faire economy, with
few or no environmental restrictions. This points out
that there is a population price to pay for the current
American way of Commerce.


4 billion ... Everyone at the same affluence as indicated in 1, but
with many and onerous restrictions on freedoms
relative to behaviors leading to environmental
degradation. Including: Massive recycling. Driving restrictions.
Restrictions on the transport of food Prohibitions against cutting of trees
on one's property. Limitations on the burning of fossil fuels.


6 billion ... Only people in the U.S. and Europe at current U.S.,
France, Great Britain, German, and Scandinavian
levels of affluence. Everyone else at the current
prosperity level of Mexico


20? billion ... Everyone in the world at Mexico's current
prosperity level


40? billion ... Everyone in the world at the current prosperity level
of Northwest Africa


...Increasing population density is inextricably linked to loss of freedom
and losses of choice. In the worst of the above scenarios,
we can forget the Bill of Rights.

003241

Grain Production Dropping; Fuel Thefts Rising.   July 5, 2006  
The world’s grain harvest is expected to be 61 million tons short of consumption. Production has failed to meet demand in six of the last seven years. The world’s grain stocks will be enough for about 57 days. The amount in the bins when the next harvest begins are the measurement of food security. If stocks plunge lower than 60 days’ supply, prices begin to climb. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that wheat prices this year will be up 14%, and corn prices 22%.

If the weather is good this year, prices might not be as high as expected, but if the harvest is cut by heat or drought, increases could be above the projections.

With carryover stocks at the lowest level in 34 years, the world could soon be facing high grain and high oil prices at the same time. The USDA estimates this year’s global grain harvest at 1,984 million tons, down 24 million tons from last year. It is 3% below the high of 2,044 million tons in 2004.

World grain consumption has risen every year in the last 45 years, except for 1974, 1988 and 1995, when sharp price hikes and tight supplies pushed consumption down. Demand for grain is driven by population growth and rising income. Now it is being pushed by the growing demand for grain-based ethanol for cars and trucks. Food versus Fuel.

About 60% of grain is used as food, 36% as feed, and 3% as fuel. The latter, however, is growing by more than 20% each year.

While population growth is expected to slow, the annual amount of increase is projected to be above 70 million individuals until 2020. The world’s farmers must try to feed another 70 million people each year, regardless of weather. Population growth is centered on Indian and sub-Saharan Africa.

In low-income countries, the population mostly eats starchy food. In more affluent countries, people eat more grain-intensive foods such as meat, milk and eggs. Improving incomes are allowing 3 to 4 billion consumers to eat more poultry, pork, beef, milk, eggs and farmed fish. Global meat production leaped from 44 million tons in 1950 to 265 million tons in 2005 and keeps climbing.

The U.S. is expected to use 20% of the projected harvest to produce corn ethanol. That consumption will match our export and exceed Canada’s total harvest.

Farmers are facing record growth in demand when technology to boost grain yields is lagging, aquifers are being depleted and rising temperatures threaten to reduce future harvests. Water tables are falling, and wells are going dry in countries where half the world’s people live. While farmers battle water shortages and global warming, it has not been widely reported, but globally farms are being affected by skyrocketing diesel fuel prices.

Diesel and gasoline thefts are increasing. Bulk fuel often is stored in unsecured buildings. Fuel theft is on the increase everywhere.

Rising diesel prices are hard on farmers but a nightmare for truckers. They must buy at the pump and pay the price, which is much above bulk rate.

The rising cost of pesticides and fertilizers is causing farmers to make some adjustments. "From the Wilderness" reported that farmers are putting more reliance on jobs away from the land just to survive. The economics of modern agriculture necessitates taxpayer subsidies to offset the losses farmers suffer as their incomes continue to drop. Net farm income is expected to be down 22.3% from last year.

Ralph says: Many years ago while working in India, on one of our later trips, I was asked to meet with a senior government official in New Delhi. I had no idea what he wanted, in fact I had only briefly met him once before. "You have been coming to India for several years" He said, "I would like to hear your comments, as an impartial observer, on the changes you see in our country". I told him that when we first came to India we were horrified at the conditions we saw. With the years things had dramatically changed, and we no longer saw the signs of starvation that had concerned us in the past. It appeared that the standard of living for the whole country had improved dramatically. I told him that in my opinion they should be congratulated for all that had been done for the people.

I will never forget his response. He smiled and thanked me, but then he shook his head and said, "We have worked very hard to improve our agriculture and now we can feed all our people, and even export a small amount of food. But next year we will have a million more mouths to feed, and the year following a further million and the next year it will be five millions more. We cannot keep up with the population growth and if it continues we face the worst famine the world has ever seen".  rw    017995

Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment Method.  
This site allows you to estimate the overall environmental impacts from
producing a certain dollar amount of any of 500 commodities or services in
the United States. It will provide rough guidance on the relative impacts of
different types of products, materials, services, or industries with respect
to resource use and emissions throughout the U.S.
003242


Overconsumption
Unsustainable Consumption

Mahatma Gandhi argued that "the world has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed." In his lifetime, however, the world had less than half its current population, and population could double again as we struggle to turn around our wasteful and destructive consumption patterns.
Population Action International Vice Pres for Research 003249
Grain vs. Meat.   October 1999   Population Action International
Meat consumption is going up worldwide, and that demands correspondingly

higher per capita production of grain. It takes about 7 pounds of grain to

yield 1 pound of beef. Poultry takes 2.7 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound

of meat, while swine eat 6 pounds of grain for every pound of pork. In the

U.S. and Canada, each person eats about a ton of grain annually, mostly as

meat. People in Developing countries consume about 200 pounds of grain per

capita each year. Between now and 2030, grain consumption, primarily as

animal feed, is expected to grow by about 2.5% annually in the developing

countries. Those millions of tons of grain represent, in turn, great

quantities of expended natural resources -- from water for irrigation to the

natural gas used to produce fertilizers.

Then there is the associated environmental impact: rivers polluted with

pesticides and nitrates, exhausted aquifers, and eroded soil. Unfortunately,

the quantity of arable land is all too finite 003262

The Most Harmful Consumer Activities

Cars and Light Trucks
The manufacture and, more important, the use of consumers' vehicles cause more environmental damage--especially air pollution and global warming --than any other single consumer spending category.

Meat and Poultry
Meat and poulter production requires large amounts of water and causes 20 percent of the common (as opposed to toxic) water pollution related to consumer expenditure. It also uses a significant share of the nation's land--800 million acres for grazing livestock and an additional 60 million acres to grow animal feed. Red meat causes especially hight amounts of environmental damage for the nutrition it delivers.

Fruit, Vegetables, and Grains
Irrigated crops grown to meet consumer demand use an enormous quantity of water (30 percent of consumer-related water use). pesticides and fertilizers cause 5 percent of consumer-related toxic water pollution. Food crops also use substantial amounts of land.

Household Appliances and Lighting
Electricity seems clean and nonpolluting when it's used in the home, but most of it is generated by burning polluting fossil fuels, especially coal. Appliances and lighting are responsible for 15 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions related to consumer expenditures and 13 percent of consumer-related common air pollution.

Home Heating, Hot water, and Air Conditioning
Cooling and heating homes and water has an impact on global warming and air pollution similar to that of appliances and lighting. Systems that rely on electricity or oil contribute heavily to both problems. Most fireplaces and wood stoves are especially high air polluters.

Home Construction
The land and wood used for new home s are responsible for about a quarter of consumers' impact on wildlife and natural ecosystems. Six percent of consumer-related water pollution comes from manufacturing the materials for new homes and disturbing the soil during construction.

Household Water and Sewage
Despite advances in sewage treatment, municipal sewage remains a major source (around 11 percent) of water pollution, especially affecting coastal areas and estuaries. Interestingly, households' home water use is only 5 percent of the total compared with nearly 74 percent for food production and distribution.

from the Union of Concerned Scientists003273 Sustainability_Overconsumption`C

'Greed Culture' Killing Planet.   January 14, 2010   Guardian (London)
The average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, fuelling a global culture that is emerging as the biggest threat to the planet. In its annual report, Worldwatch Institute says the cult of consumption and greed could wipe out any gains from government action on climate change or a shift to a clean energy economy.

"Until we recognise that our environmental problems, from climate change to species loss, are driven by unsustainable habits, we will not be able to solve the ecological crises."

Humanity is burning through the planet's resources at a reckless rate. The world now digs up the equivalent of 112 Empire State buildings of material every day to meet surging global demand.

The consumer culture has spread from America across the globe, with excess now accepted as a symbol of success in developing countries.

China this week overtook the US as the world's top car market.

Such trend are the result of efforts by businesses to win over consumers.

The average Western family spends more on their pet than is spent by a human in Bangladesh.

Encouraging signs are that schools are trying to encourage healthier eating habits among children; a younger generation is also more aware of their environmental impact; and US corporations such as Wal-Mart were stocking organic produce and sustainably raised fish.

It said a wholesale transformation of values and attitudes was needed to end the world's obsession with conspicuous consumption.  rw   Karen Gaia says: of course the deep economic recession will force us to curtail our overconsumption. This may help, unless population growth overtakes our efforts. 024446

Sustainability in China.   January 23, 2009   Guardian (London)
Dr. Lin said that China has made positive efforts to tackle Global Warming. Two years ago, the Energy Saving and Emission Reduction Leading Group and the Global Warming Countermeasures Leading Group were organized in the central government. These two groups set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of sales by 20% by 2010 and reducing major environmental indicators. There was an understanding that pursuing economic growth alone has led to "growth without development" in terms of social welfare. A new idea has emerged, with the focus shifting from "growth" to "development." It asks what is really necessary to make people happy.

The new concept sees the importance of public welfare, leading to happiness and well-being. It aims to enhance the quality of life by improving social security, housing, medical services, and pensions.

Market reform has gone too far. In the process toward a market economy, the government gave up its role, thus causing various problems in medical services,

housing, and education.

China has recognized the need to review the government's role and this has resulted in new policies focused on medical services, social welfare,

and housing.

In contrast, Beijing has progressed so much that China contains an advanced country as large as Japan. More people waste so many things, and a certain class is especially wasteful.

To change consumption behavior, we are considering a graduated system of utility rates for things such as electricity and water. We have not yet introduced inheritance and property taxes but are considering them. There are two challenges, create a transition in the public's awareness and promote environment and challenge how we can make innovations in the resource price mechanism. It is important to change the pricing mechanism to reduce resource consumption.

European countries and the US took 150 years to be industrialized, Japan half of that. China is expected to achieve the goal within half the years that Japan took. China is facing intensive and interrelated environmental problems, because of its unprecedented speed of industrialization.  rw 023588

'One Planet' Pledge for Wales.   November 19, 2008   BBC News
A plan to reduce the impact Wales has on the environment has been announced. Environment Minister committed Wales to use only its "fair share" of the world's resources. This includes an 80%-90% cut in carbon-based energy and a move to recycling waste.

The timescale envisaged is around "30 to 40 years".

The assembly government report said there was a need to "travel less by car, and live and work in ways which have a stronger connection with our local economies and communities".

The Environment Minister said ministers would use their powers to lessen Wales' environmental impact.

"Wales' ecological footprint is currently 5.16 global hectares per person, compared to a global availability of 1.88 global hectares.

Unchecked, this could rise by 20% by 2020. Environment spokesman said: "The minister has yet to fulfill her pledges on the devolution of building regulations and new powers over large energy developments, environmental protection, and waste management.  rw   Karen Gaia says: why wait on technology, which will only go so far, and work on personal life styles, which has the capability to conserve so much more of the world's natural resources. 023509

Changing the Object of Capitalism.   June 30, 2008   Barron's
Capitalism has been successful as a growth machine. The world economy is on a path to quadruple in size by midcentury. But capitalism must be retooled or the world will be physically unfit to live in. The new capitalism should protect the environment and raise the quality of human life.

For those of us in the affluent societies, economic growth has now entered a period of diminishing returns.

This shift is most apparent on the environmental front. All we have to do to destroy the planet's climate and leave a ruined world to our children is to keep doing what we are doing today with no growth in the human population or the world economy. Just continue to impoverish ecosystems and release toxic chemicals at current rates, and the world in the latter part of this century won't be fit to live in.

But human activities are accelerating dramatically and constitute a severe indictment of the capitalism we have today.

The main features of today's capitalism include: an unquestioning commitment to economic growth at any cost; enormous investment in technologies with little or no regard for the environment; corporate interests whose objective is to grow by generating profit. Rampant consumerism spurred by sophisticated advertising and marketing on so large in scale that its impact alters the fundamental biophysical operations of the planet.

Capitalism as it operates today will grow in size and complexity and will generate ever-larger environmental consequences.

Market failure can be corrected by government, perverse subsidies can be eliminated, and environmentally honest prices can be forged. The affluent countries can shift to where jobs and economic security, the natural environment, our communities and the public sector are no longer sacrificed in order to sustain high rates of growth that is consuming natural and social capital.

There are many steps that can be taken, and include measures such as a shorter work week and longer vacations; greater labor protections, job security and benefits; restrictions on advertising; strong social and environmental provisions; rigorous environmental and consumer protection; greater economic and social equality, progressive taxation for the rich and greater income support for the poor; major spending on public-sector services and environmental amenities; a huge investment in education, skills and new technology; and programs to address population growth at home and abroad.

The economy might evolve to a steady state, where a declining labor force and shorter work hours are offset by rising productivity.

There would still be scope for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress; as much room for improving the art of living, and more likelihood of it being improved.  rw   Karen Gaia says: there are not enough resources to make everyone comfortable, we must start by redefining 'comfortable' and redistributing resources between rich and poor. We also must continue to practice voluntary family planning. 023132

Healthy Body, Healthy Earth: More Canadians Expected to Prove ....   May 27, 2008   Canada NewsWire
Thousands of Canadians will leave their cars at home for a week this June as the 18th annual National Commuter Challenge kicks off with more Canadians and companies expected to participate It is a workplace competition to promote environmentally sustainable transportation such as walking, jogging, biking, in line skating, transit, carpooling and telecommuting.

This year's competition is set to be its strongest in 18 years.

Corporations across the country will vie for the distinction of having the most sustainable commuter population while supporting their employees' healthier choices. Communities and companies with the highest participation rates in the

National Commuter Challenge win recognition. Individuals can win prizes donated by many sponsors.  rw 023030

Can the World Afford a Middle Class?.   April 2008   Foreign Policy
The middle class in poor countries is the fastest-growing segment of the world's population. Of these new members of the middle class, 600 million will be in China. By 2020 the world's middle class will grow to 52% percent of the global population, up from 30%.

Humanity will have to adjust to unprecedented pressures. In 2007, higher pasta prices sparked street protests in Milan. Mexicans marched against the price of tortillas. Senegalese protested the price of rice, and Indians took up banners against the price of onions. We are all paying more for bread, milk, and chocolate, to name just a few items. The new consumers of the emerging global middle class are driving up food prices everywhere.

Prices are soaring because some grains are now being used as fuel and more people can afford to eat more. The average consumption of meat in China, has more than doubled since the mid-1980s.

Members of the middle class not only consume more meat and grains, but they also buy more clothes, refrigerators, toys, medicines, and, eventually, cars and homes. China and India, with 40% of the world's population, consume more than half of the global supply of coal, iron ore, and steel. In the past two years, the world price of tin, nickel, and zinc have roughly doubled, while aluminum is up 39% and plywood 27%. A middle-class lifestyle in these developing countries is more energy intensive. China accounts for one third of the growth in the world's oil consumption. The lifestyle of the existing middle class will probably have to change as the new middle class emerges.

Changes in migration, urbanization, and income distribution will be widespread. And growing demands for better housing, healthcare, education, and, inevitably, political participation.

Higher prices and new technologies always came to the rescue, boosting supplies and allowing the world to continue to grow. But the adjustment to a middle class greater than what the world has ever known is just beginning. As the Indonesian and Mexican protesters can attest, it won't be cheap. And it won't be quiet.  rw 023160

UAE Development - Skyscrapers Built on Sand.   March 11, 2008   Ethical Corporation Magazine
Gulf leaders should wake up to the environmental costs of their rush to attract wealthy visitors. News about urban developments in the UAE has been greeted with a mixture of awe and uncertainty across the world. Growth rates of 16% in the resource-poor emirate of Dubai reinforce optimism, the question remains: who is taking ownership of the sustainability agenda in the UAE?

Demand for new developments is ever increasing. In Dubai, hotel occupancy levels are at over 80% and rates are at record highs. Dubai's population is a measly 1.4 million people. And the entire UAE is home to 4.1 million, 80% of whom are foreigners.

Are Dubai's plans for 15 million visitors to contribute 20% of GDP are realistic? The strategy of Dubai authorities is "build it and they will come". But with neighbouring emirates also planning expansion, what happens if demand wanes?

What is most troubling is the damage they are causing the environment. Palm Islands has clouded Gulf waters with silt. Construction has buried coral reefs, oyster beds and subterranean sea grass, while the disruption of natural currents is leading to the erosion of beaches.  rw 022830

Scotland: Eat Local ... a Sunday Herald Campaign to Help Feed a Hungry World.   March 09, 2008   Sunday Herald
As a relatively rich, developed country, Scotland is hardly likely to experience mass starvation, but the average price of all foods has increased by 6.6% over the past year. The biggest increases were for butter, eggs, milk, bread and potatoes.

The cost of a supermarket trolley containing 100 basic food items has risen by Ł13.63 to Ł183.28 over the past two years. The prices of chicken, fish, cheese, vegetables and fruit have also increased, along with sugar, coffee and wine. And the prices are forecast to keep on rising. The era of cheap food is coming to an end, and that has huge implications for those on fixed incomes. Global food production could be centred on the belt of fertile land that lies between Bordeaux and Caithness.

Land is going to have to be brought back into production to feed an ever-expanding world population. Scotland is well placed to play its part. Others point out that Scotland has its own problems. Meat is an inefficient way of delivering calories, with eight kilos of grain required for one kilo of beef. Much of the meat consumed in Scotland has been imported.

Eating more fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables, and less processed and packaged food as well as less meat and dairy produce, will be as good for us as it is for the planet.  rw 022822

Asia Faces Growing Rice Crisis - Real One.   February 25, 2008   Asia Times Online
Leading rice-exporting nations are reducing sales overseas to check domestic price rises. Previously healthy buffer stocks in Thailand are shrinking.

The ban by India intensifies a worldwide rice shortage that drove up prices by nearly 40% last year. An additional 50 million tonnes of rice is needed each year up to 2015 to plug the demand-supply gap. Additional agricultural land for growing rice is extremely limited, while rice consumption is growing worldwide and wheat stocks are hitting record lows. Unregulated private cross-border trading makes exact figures hard to come by. India's rice export ban comes at a sensitive time ahead of the final annual budget. India's ban on rice exports follows a gradual limiting of exports over the past few months. The ban extends to all exports of rice except government-to-government trading, but excludes exports of basmati rice, a more fragrant, long-grained and expensive variety. Bangladesh, needs food grains after Cyclone Sidr in December destroyed $600 million worth of the country's rice crop. To cope with the crisis, the Bangladesh government floated global tender notices for 300,000 tonnes of various varieties of rice.

India's export ban caused 300 rice trucks to be stranded in India-Bangladesh border zones. A famine threatens remote areas of southeast Bangladesh after millions of rats devastated food crops. The animals turn to ravaging rice stalks and vegetables in the affected region. Higher incomes across Asia are leading to increased consumption of grains and vegetables and of meat, which leads to more grain being diverted for use as cattle fodder.

In the short term, prices can spike as natural disasters ranging from severe drought and floods cause havoc on agriculture. Vietnam suspended exports to protect domestic needs, while Thailand plans to auction an additional 500,000 tonnes of rice to cater to increasing international demand. Food scientists are developing sturdier varieties of rice that can withstand climate challenges as well as higher yielding seeds.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in January announced a grant of $19.9 million to help 400,000 small farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa access to improved rice varieties and better growing technology.  rw 022781

China: Saying Farewell to the GDP Growth Cult.   February 04, 2008   China Daily
Two years after the western province Qinghai dropped GDP growth for evaluating the performance of government officials in two of its prefectures, the ecological deterioration of the source of China's three major rivers has begun to ebb.

Wetlands have reappeared, while water has returned to some of the dried-up lakes in the Sanjiangyuan, China's largest nature reserve that covers 318,000 sq km.

While desertification throughout Qinghai is still a problem, the annual rate at which the desert is spreading has dropped to 2,000 hectares from 13,000 hectares in the late 1990s.

It may take a while before the ecosystem is fully rehabilitated. The initial efforts in the two Tibetan autonomous prefectures, Yushu and Golok, is promising.

Qinghai's move signals a departure from the "GDP cult", which sees economic growth as the only yardstick for development. For years, this cult has dominated China's development. In the fervor to pursue GDP growth, we have seen mountains denuded, cropland devastated and air and water polluted.

We have double-digit growth in our GDP, which is envied by many. Yet the cost is dear.

Among the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 14 are in China. The worsening air quality has given rise to lung cancer, which has become a top killer in the country. Also on the rise are TB and other diseases.

Pollution has aggravated the country's water supply and caused the occasional drought. At 500 sections of China's nine major river systems that are monitored for water quality, only 28% have water suitable for drinking, 31% have water with no functional use. A sample survey of 118 cities revealed that 97% of their groundwater was polluted. Many polluters escape punishment because they are "local economic pillars". That is why Qinghai's decision to delete GDP growth when evaluating government accomplishments is admirable. The move compels local government to shift its outlook from a focus on GDP growth to one that is environmentally friendly and socially conscious.

Some might say it was not a big deal for Yushu and Golok to be exempted from GDP evaluations, since the secondary and tertiary industries are relatively small there. The two prefectures, are known as "China's water tower" and have traditionally been pastures for nomadic Tibetans.

The habits of the GDP cult have led to overgrazing and gold mining, which have damaged vegetation on the highlands, which sit at 4,000 m above sea level. If the livestock population and mining spree are not checked, ecological deterioration will choke further development.

GDP growth must be based on environmental sustainability and benefit people's welfare.

To sustain the vitality of China we need to continue to expand our GDP to meet the growing needs of the people. But if our rivers and lakes all run dry, the air and soil made toxic, then we will not be far from doom.

There have been warning signs. The water stopped flowing at the source area of the Yellow River, the sudden explosion that blanketed Taihu Lake in Jiangsu and cut the drinking water supply to more than 2 million people in Wuxi city.

Jiangsu has shut down more than 2,000 small chemical plants and built a 1 km wide green buffer zone around Taihu Lake. For the green belt, some 660 hectares of cropland will be returned to nature to reduce discharges of agricultural waste to the lake.

The move reflects Jiangsu's determination to repay its debt to nature.

We now have the Scientific Outlook on Development, which emphasizes putting people first and the pursuit of sustainable development. There is hope that old mindset will change.  rw 022653

Report Calls for Everyone to Take Action.   January 31, 2008   Scoop.co.nz
Achieving a sustainable New Zealand "is the responsibility of all New Zealanders," President Basil Morrison said today. Councils already have strategies to improve environmental indicators. However, reversing the downward trends cannot be solved by local government alone. Councils have to establish ongoing partnerships with central government, industry and community groups and take the lead in deciding how to balance community well-being with economic realities. The rate of consumption of goods and services by New Zealand households continues to grow as our population increases and our economy grows.

Households make a bigger impact than people realise but we can turn this around by making wise choices about what we consume, and in the case of waste, how we dispose of it.

Local Governments in New Zealand have been working to address household waste and consumption through recycling and the Packaging Accord, which aims to reduce the proportion of packaging in our total waste.  rw   Karen Gaia says: no mention in the article of the need to slow down population growth. 022634

US Colorado: Down-Sizing County's Dream Homes.   January 27, 2008   Daily Camera
The largest home in Boulder County is 24,953 square feet, the median house was 6,290 square feet in 2006, up from 2,881 square feet in 1990.

County commissioners denied a request to raze the 962-square-foot house and replace it with a home 20 times the size. The technical reason was complex: The parcel of land is part of a wildlife migration corridor; the house would teeter on important riparian habitat; the land is designated of "statewide agricultural importance"; and the house would not exist "harmoniously" with its neighborhood, among other arguments.

But Commissioner Will Toor much summed it up: "I think it's just too big," he said.  rw 022598

Are Americans the Pigs of the World - Or the Sheep?.   January 03, 2008   OpEdNews
A NY Times article spotlights the imbalance in consumption between the developed and undeveloped world. There are one billion people in the developed world, with 5.5 billion still living within far less environmentally taxing means. Those of us in the advanced societies are using up the world's resources at 32 times the rate of a person living in a undeveloped area.

If we cannot contain our demand, we will face economic, political and environmental crises.

The Chinese see the high-tech lifestyle and want it for themselves. India, with a population of about 1 billion, is also expecting a place at the table.

Experts believe terrorism is a product of frustration with those that consume 32 times as much as they do.

With China's per capita consumption rates their rise to our rates of consumption would mean the world would double it's current consumption of oil and metal. If India followed as well, consumption rates would triple.

Recent efforts to unite the world's pollution standards failed when US leaders refused to cut greenhouse gas emissions. China backed out after Bush's filibuster. Australia threw their Bush-friendly President out and signed on to Kyoto, leaving the US as the biggest emitter, (although over 225 US cities including NY, LA and Chicago have voluntarily signed on anyway).

But present rates are unsustainable. China knows this, producing greener cars than us and forging alliances that acknowledge their consumption.

Much American consumption is the product of corporate consumerism. Office buildings burn their lights all night long because of their "architectural majesty".

Most SUV buyers prioritize their image, their safety, their comfort, their cargo room. This has proven fatal for the US auto industry. GM's workers union considered suing GM executives for making too many SUVs, resulting in years of losses, while Asian carmakers' profits soared.

SUVs are a metaphor for needless N. American waste, the least practical car design for the 21st Century. Low-mileage vehicles also helped replace the former glory of GM as the largest US employer.

The average American travels over 40 minutes one way to their place of work. Europeans have paid $7 per gallon gas for more then 12 years to diminish reliance on motor vehicles. Be green, work for solar and wind realities - there is enough wind and sun in just three states to power the whole country if only we build the collection apparatus.

Many fisheries have closed down and projections for over-fishing tuna may haunt us. During the McMansion boom, we built houses much larger then our practical needs.

We are swayed by TV ads more then any other form of information, and is proven true every time Super Bowl ad rates increase, and every time spending on political TV ads increases. China and India will be competing for our resources in a major way, with the rest of the world right behind them.  rw 022470

U.S.;: Divorce Isn't Resource Efficient, Study Finds.   December 04, 2007   Seattle Times
Divorce can be bad for the environment. Each time a family dissolves, the result is two new households.

Researchers concluded that in 2005, in the US alone, divorced households could have saved 38 million rooms, 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water compared to that of married households.

11 other countries were examined, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Mexico and South Africa between 1998 and 2002. In these countries, if divorced households had combined to have the same average household size as married households, there could have been a million fewer households using energy and water. With the number of divorces rising, so is the number of households, outpacing population growth itself.  rw 022371

New Zealand Battles Climate Change Threat to Trade, Tourism.   November 07, 2007   AFP: Google
New Zealand ,with a population of only 4.1 million and few industrial smokestacks, is facing accusations that its food and tourism industries are helping destroy the environment.

Dragging our feet on climate change would pose an economic risk to New Zealand, devastating to our reputation.

The impact of greenhouse gases from transport, especially aviation, means New Zealand's environmental credentials are coming under new scrutiny.

Environmentally-conscious tourists are being asked if they can justify flying 20,000 kilometres for a holiday on the opposite side of the world.

They are also being asked why they are eating lamb, beef and butter from New Zealand when they could be buying from local farmers.

Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export, providing one in 10 jobs and 8.9% of GDP.

Of New Zealand's 2.42 million visitors last year, 54% were from Europe, the Americas and Asia. Aircraft emissions account for around 3% of global emissions, but have increased 87% since 1990.

Tourism New Zealand said there has been no impact on long haul visitor arrivals that we can attribute to concerns over sustainability. But it is a situation we are watching closely.

A former British cabinet minister claimed that a kilogram of kiwi fruit airfreighted from New Zealand to Europe caused five kilograms of carbon to be released. The New Zealand government said that kiwifruit is always transported by ship. Of New Zealand's exports in the year to June totalling 33.4 billion dollars, the US accounted for 4.5 billion and the EU 5.2 billion. Dairy products account for 21% of New Zealand's exports and meat 13.2%. Critics in Britain and Germany in particular have been saying it is irresponsible to import food and drinks from the other side of the world.

Trade minister Phil Goff said foreign consumers would realise the flaws of the argument and focus instead on the total carbon footprint of foods.

British dairy farmers produce 31% more greenhouse gases than their counterparts in New Zealand, including the impact of transport.

New Zealand's climate means cattle eat grass all year round. Those running the food miles campaigns often represent producers which have a far greater greenhouse gas footprint than do the products they are complaining about from New Zealand. New Zealand will gradually introduce an emissions trading scheme.

The tourism industry has a new strategy focussed on environmental sustainability. Air New Zealand announced it would trial bio-fuel in association with engine maker Rolls Royce and Boeing.  rw   Karen Gaia says: One of the things that we must do to compensate from overpopulation is to produce nearly all of our food locally. 022229

U.K.;: The Advantages of Having No Babies.   November 07, 2007   New Scientist
Consider the example of a woman who has adopted an extremely frugal lifestyle, reducing her emissions by 60%, and who, at the age of 25, decides to have a baby. The reduction in her emissions during her life will be exactly offset by the increase in emissions caused by the child over its lifetime, and that is assuming that the child can be persuaded to adopt the same frugal lifestyle.

When one considers the difficulty of persuading children to accept one's own goals in life, and especially when it is borne in mind that even if successful the net gain to the planet is nil, the advantages of not having babies becomes readily apparent.  rw   Karen Gaia says: I publish this example only to illustrate the relationship of population growth to consumption. Reducing consumption is NOT enough. We must address population! 022748

Europeans More Likely to Buy Environmentally-friendly Products .   October 29, 2007   European Research
A survey revealed that Europeans are 50% more likely to buy environmentally-friendly products than Americans. They are 25% more likely to recycle and to try to influence family and friends to buy green goods and be environmentally conscious.

The study divided the adult population of Europe according to people's buying patterns, product use and attitudes to sustainability, corporate responsibility and the use of environmentally friendly products and services.

The results showed that Europeans are 32% more likely to buy products that have organic or environmental stamps of authenticity on them, but 25% less likely than Americans to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

Environmental initiatives carried out by the European Union have played a large role in developing a "green consciousness" among European consumers. The rise in popularity of organic food and natural medicines and therapies, which are publicised frequently in the media, are also contributing to the growing green consciousness.  rw 022263

U.K.;: Calls for 'Three Planets' Action.   October 13, 2007   icWales
The report, says that if everyone on Earth consumed resources at the rate Wales does, the world's population would need three planets. It sets out a vision for a Wales, with a 75% cut in the nation's ecological footprint by 2050.

It identifies seven key areas.

Food: At present 75% of all food eaten in Wales comes through supermarkets. The agenda sees an agricultural-environmental agenda on the producer side, and a healthy diet on the consumer side;

Buildings: Many towns in Wales are composed of buildings which are inefficient. Policies for new buildings are needed, with a future of low carbon sustainable buildings responsive to the sun and the elements, surrounded by townscapes which are green, clean and human scale.

The vision sees a future of low-impact, high-quality, IT-enabled, responsive public transport; a car fleet which has raised its efficiency by several times; and on the demand side, a coordination of activities and locations to reduce travel needs.

In a new economy, the average product will last longer and be designed for re-use and reconditioning, built from lower-impact materials with higher efficiency, sourced locally or with low-impact distribution. Services the agenda needs to focus on public sector procurement and corporate social responsibility. Wales' energy demand is tapered down and local renewable energy sources are accelerated.

Resource economy is based on re-circulation: recycled, re-manufactured and re-used materials and products. Our very future depends on our ability to live within the limits of the Earth's natural resources, yet since the 1980s human demand has been exceeding the Earth's ability to replenish and absorb.  rw   Ralph says: Easy to make words. now let us wee how easy it is to turn them into action. Karen Gaia says: no mention of stablizing population. 022061

U.S.;: Why Working Less is Better for the Globe.   May 22, 2007   AlterNet
Americans are working harder than ever before. We seem more determined to work harder and produce more. Choosing to work less is the biggest environmental issue no one's talking about.

The Work Less Party is a growing initiative aimed at cutting work hours while tackling unemployment, environment, and boosting leisure time. Working less would produce less, consume less, pollute less and live more.

We work 250 hours, or five weeks, more than the Brits, and a whopping 500 hours, or 12 and a half weeks, more than the Germans. Longer hours plus labor-saving technology equals ever-increasing productivity. Without high annual growth to match productivity, there's unemployment. Maintaining growth means using more energy and resources, which results in increased waste and pollution.

The US is the world's largest polluter. When people work longer hours, they rely increasingly on fast food, disposable diapers, or bottled water. Earning more means spending money in ways that are environmentally detrimental. When people are time-starved they don't have enough time to be conscious consumers. If Europe moved towards a U.S. based economic model, it would consume 15-30% more energy by 2050.

The problem is, France has already begun following America's lead by increasing the workload. France's increased productivity would create even larger problems. In both the US and Europe, work hours declined from the beginning of the industrial revolution until World War II. After the war, the 40-hour workweek was legally in place. Since the 1970s, most European governments have continued shortening work hours whereas the United States has opted instead to let wages fall. The USA has declined relative to all other industrial countries in health, equality, savings, sustainability. What's happened in Europe is people have discovered it's nice to have some time in their lives, and they've wanted more. Here, business has kept that door completely shut.

Take Back Your Time has launched a campaign in the US calling for legislation guaranteeing a minimum of three weeks of paid vacation.

The average vacation in the United States is now only a long weekend, and 25% percent of American workers have no paid vacation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But we continue to suffer from overload, debt, and anxiety, and are stuck in a fatalistic rat race generated by heightened consumerism. Our society is focused on work that makes stuff that goes directly into landfills. Essential work such as art, music, creativity, community, the kind necessary to create a healthy society and planet, is being negated in favor of that.

If you want to protect the environment, you have to consume less, which means you have to produce less, and you have to work less. Our standard of living will improve hugely.  rw 021220

UK Consumers Place a Premium on Sustainability.   May 16, 2007   The Global Network of Environment and Technology
Concern for the environment has prompted one of the most complete and speedy revolutions in consumer attitudes. A survey of more than 1,500 British adults found that 80% believe it's important for companies to be environmentally friendly.

A reversal from a year ago, when "the green agenda was out on the lunatic fringe for most people."

British consumers are concerned and pessimistic about the state of the environment but not quite sure what to do about it. Climate change is seen as the most important environmental issue and more than 70% rate society's performance in addressing the issue as neutral or worse.

But consumers focus primarily on reducing their waste rather than reducing consumption. Rounding out the list of common green behaviors is recycling plastic bags, followed by the use of products that do not deplete the ozone layer.

There is widespread belief that we are all part of the problem. But most are still thinking in terms of throwing away less, rather than consuming less.

More than 20% of the population could not identify steps a company should take to make itself green.

The research shows that companies seeking rewards in the marketplace can do so by marketing themselves as environmentally concerned. Green brands are perceived as having higher quality and consumers are prepared to pay a premium. Six in ten, for instance, said they will spend more on energy saving household appliances.

Consumers want to do the right thing but need help from companies to lead them into action. Brands which align themselves with environmental concerns can expect to secure a competitive advantage.  rw 021192

It's Not the Number of Automobiles but the Number of People.   May 2007   Paul Watson
by Capt. Paul Watson, co-founder of The Greenpeace Foundation, and president and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society .. The NO. 1 cause of global greenhouse gas emissions is over-population.

In 1950, the world population was 3 billion, now 6.5 billion people who produce an enormous output of waste and utilize an unbelievable amount of resources and energy. Most people having children have no idea why they are even having children other than that's what you do. Most don't really love their children because if they did they would be very much involved in trying to ensure that their children have a world to survive in.

Unless over-population is addressed, there is no way of slowing down greenhouse gas emissions. But corporations need workers, governments need taxpayers, bureaucrats and soldiers. More people means more money.

The solution to all of our problems is simple. We just need to live in accordance with the three basic laws of ecology.

Weaken diversity and the entire system will be weakened and will ultimately collapse. All of the species within an eco-system are interdependent. There is a limit to growth because there is a limit to carrying capacity.

Human populations are exceeding carrying capacity and diminishing resources and diversity of species.

Albert Einstein wrote that "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

And the honey bee is disappearing. Why? We don't know why. All around the world bees are disappearing and bees pollinate our plants. If the bees disappear, we will have only four years. We are cutting down the forest and plundering the oceans. We are polluting the soil, the air and the water and rapidly running out of fresh water to drink. Water is now being sold for more than the equivalent amount of gasoline.

Now for Al Gore's really inconvenient truth. In his film he does not mention once that the meat and dairy industry that produces the bacon, the steaks, the chicken wings and the milk is a larger contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the automobile industry. Al may drive a Prius but he likes his burgers.

This is why the big organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club will not say a thing about the meat industry. Last year I saw Greenpeacers sitting down for a fish meal while engaged in a campaign to oppose over-fishing.

When we pointed out that our Sea Shepherd ships serve only vegan meals, the Greenpeace cook replied, "that's just silly."

The oceans have been plundered to the point that 90% of the fish have been removed. This is ecological insanity.

The largest marine predator is the cow. More than half the fish is rendered into fish meal and fed to domestic livestock. We are extracting some 50 to 60 fish from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.  rw 021165

Saving Planet Earth -- One Store at a Time.   March 26, 2007   ABC News
While Washington debates how to tackle climate change, Wal-Mart, DuPont and Honda are among a small but growing cadre that is taking action on its own.

Their size could lead to change in an area where Congress and the president, have mostly balked.

If these corporations use their power to go "green," the hope is that there will be a significant reduction in global warming.

If they can cut a deal now, they can get a better deal than they would get later. When Wal-Mart says 'Don't use excess packaging,' packing is reduced on products across the board. Such efforts were "both genuine and will make a difference."

Whether it is the world's growing population or global warming, we see the need for sustainable business practices" Wal-Mart chief executive said.

With 176 million weekly shoppers in 14 countries , Wal-Mart can have a major impact. If a supplier changes its packaging to comply with Wal-Mart's demand, other retailers will also see the effects.

Going green has expanded. Chairlifts at Vail, Heavenly and other Vail Resorts mountains are now powered by wind energy by purchasing 100% wind power offsets for all of its electric needs.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of companies and environmental groups is pushing a cap-and-trade system where limits are set on greenhouse-gas emissions. These people want a seat while policy is being shaped. They'd rather be there and help and make sure their concerns and sector issues are considered.

A lot of the companies are going to be making capital investments and have an interest in what the regulations will be. .

"There are a certain number of CEOs who feel it's time to give something back, and they're looking at the world they're going to leave behind."  rw   Karen Gaia says: I see two things wrong with this picture: 1) the major impact of big box stores is the large number of miles driven to get to the store, compared to the local neighborhood store. 2) Stores promote consumerism; much of it is stuff we don't need. 020712

Another Way to Fight Global Warming.   March 25, 2007   Fred Brown
Next to the burning of hydrocarbons, the principal source of greenhouse gases is that emitted by the digestive tracts of the cattle required to meet the demands of a horribly over-populated world. Can we justify the continued use of flesh foods and dairy products?

Vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.

The transition to a vegan diet can even be made without a change in daily menu since there are now so many vegetarian meat substitutes and soy milk products available.

The planet you save may be your own.  rw 020696

Living with Water Scarcity -- World Must Act Now.   March 21, 2007   Eureka Alert
A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture - the first of its kind, brings together the work of over 700 specialists, examining policies and practices of water use and development in the agricultural sector over the last 50 years.

One-third of the world's population live in areas where water scarcity must be reckoned with. Much of this cannot be avoided, but can be averted through better water management. As a rule of thumb, about one litre of liquid water gets converted to water vapor to produce one calorie of food. A heavy meat diet requires much more water than a vegetarian diet.

The relation between water and food is a struggle for over two thirds of world's 850 million under-nourished people. There is water scarcity in India and China, because of rapid economic growth in both countries. Diets are more dependent on animal products. In China, meat demand has quadrupled over the last 30 years, and in India milk and egg products are increasingly popular. Growing cities take more water, and environmental concerns are rising.

Water use in agriculture is one of the major drivers of ecosystem degradation. Flows of rivers in important food producing areas dry up because of the water needed for irrigated agriculture. More people require more water for more food; more water is essential in the fight against poverty; yet we should limit the amount of water taken from ecosystems.

In the worst case scenario where practices don't change, water use will double. Agricultural practices are changing, but not fast enough.

With wise policies and investments it is possible over the next 50 years to limit future growth in water withdrawals to 13% and cultivated land expansion to 9%. But complicating the situation are climate change and the increased use of biofuels. Water scarcity is with us to stay, and we have to learn to live with it.

Consider agriculture as an ecosystem producing multiple services for people and sustain biodiversity. We need to place the means of getting out of poverty into the hands of poor people by focusing on water as a means to raise their own food and gain more income.

Growing more food with less water can reduce future demand for water, thus easing competition for water and environmental degradation. A 35% increase in water productivity could reduce additional crop water needs from 80% to 20% by 2050.

Improving access to water, and using it better are essential in the fight against poverty.

Poverty, hunger, gender inequality, and environmental degradation continue to afflict developing countries because of political and institutional failings. While water scarcity is here to stay, many of the problems associated with water scarcity can be avoided. This will require that we deal with difficult choices and tradeoffs.  rw   Ralph says: Not a single suggestion that if we reduce the world population we cut the demand for water. I can remember only 70 or so years ago as a young boy walking through the British countryside and drinking from any stream Ii found. Water was universally available. It is the growth in population that is causing most of the problems we discuss in this web site, but no one wants to talk about it!!!! Karen Gaia says: the article ignores the problems of biofuels which will take over most of the water and the land used by poor people to grow food - just to keep the rich people of the planet in their cars and SUVs. 020677

Australia;: Facing Up to the Challenges of Urban Sustainability.   February 14, 2007   The Canberra Times
Australia's cities are at the centre of its economic, life and are crucial to the country's future. Yet our cities are struggling with problems. The demand for new infrastructure, the transport and traffic congestion, managing a sustainable water supply, creeping inequity and social division and global warming are just some of the many issues.

These issues have been repeatedly highlighted as major concerns with the state of our cities, and the need for action.

The common theme is the urgent need for a national approach. We can no longer consider our major population centres as isolated entities which do not impact on each other or the nation. Competing demands for natural and human resources, the impacts of growth and our reliance on the supply of goods and services between cities highlight this fact.

The Howard Government has remained mute on the issue. It has refused to discuss repeated calls for a coordinated approach to the challenges our cities face.

The Government has committed to a national agenda in other areas, water for example, yet does not see that sustainable growth of our major urban areas should compel as much attention.

All state and territory planning ministers are now proposing a way forward, currently being considered to establish a National Action Plan for Urban Australia.

The Plan would be established through an Australia-wide intergovernmental agreement, that would involve outlining measures to tackle the environmental, social or economic issues being faced.

States and territories would receive payments in accordance with their commitment to implement the plans and could be penalised for failure to implement the measures within agreed timeframes or outcomes by the cancellation of these payments.

An independent body would be created to recommend to the Commonwealth whether payments to the states and territories should be made. The Commonwealth would establish a fund to be used to leverage commitment to action plans. States and territories would be required to contribute.

An April 2005 report identified a $25 billion backlog in infrastructure investment. Failure to deal with traffic congestion in Sydney has a cost of $11 billion.

A report concluded that a "a substantial dividend" would result from improving sustainability in major urban areas".

It is time for consideration of a national agenda for our urban areas, with the Commonwealth taking a significant role.  rw 020308

Turning Point in US as More Women Choose Not to Marry: Majority Live Without a Spouse, Census Shows Marriage No Longer the Norm.   January 17, 2007   Guardian (London)
Some 51% (59.9 million) women were living without a spouse in 2005, a rise from 35% in 1950. Of the more than 117 million American women above the age of 15, 63 million are married, 3.1 million are legally separated and 2.4 million are married to husbands who are not living at home.

Some of the women have outlived their husbands. In 1960s and 1970s, the family was a focus of baby boomers' rebellion.

Forty years later, the growing independence of women has produced a generation of women who see choices other than marriage.

Men and women are waiting until they are well into their 30s to marry, or live together. In 1950, some 42% of women below the age of 24 were married; by 2000, the figure had fallen to 16%, the census data found.

The proportion of married women between 25 and 34 fell to 58% in 2000 from 82% in 1950.

Those women who do marry and go on to divorce take longer to remarry than men, or may choose to live with a partner without being legally married.

The declining incidence of marriage was pronounced among African-Americans, with only 30% of women living with a spouse.

About 60% of Asian woman are living in married households.

Social forces have created a society where women no longer need to rely on husbands for financial support. This has created a society where people spend half of their adult life alone. We will never go back to the 1950s. That dominant social norm is gone forever.  rw 020058

U.S. Motorists Driving a Little Less.   November 30, 2006   MarketWatch
A study by finds that the average American drove 13,657 miles in 2005, down from 13,711 in 2004. Last year also saw SUVs comprise a smaller part of new-vehicle sales. While gas consumption continues to rise, demand grew only 0.3% last year and 1% for the first 11 months of 2006. Gas costs about 3.8% of average household spending. The graying of the population has contributed, as older drivers tend to drive less.  rw 019640
Has the Earth Got a Prayer? Status Quo Really is Planet's Dead End.   November 21, 2006   The Japan Times
It should be obvious that we are setting ourselves up for a crisis of global proportions.

We have been "fruitful and multiplied" to such an extent that Earth's human population, which was a mere 3 billion in 1959, will, by most estimates, top 9 billion by around 2042.

Our forests are being replaced with agriculture, our oceans are deserted, and deserts worldwide are spreading.

If you're among the majority of humans who care about the planet, then you probably sense that the status quo is a dead end. We cannot allow population to rise apace.

Increasingly the faithful are stepping into the arena of environmental activism. Only a fundamental change in how we view our planetary resources can prevent a global crisis.

Economics in the 20th century produced productive but also polluting and resource-intensive economies. That model is being pursued by developing economies seeking their shot at prosperity. But key elements of the approach cannot be sustained.

Adherents to the status quo still reassure us that new technologies, new resources, and human ingenuity will see us through. But scientists are not so optimistic. As long as you have exponential growth in population and industry, it doesn't make any difference what you assume about technology, resources, or productivity. Eventually you overshoot and collapse. We've got one planet, finite resources and more people consuming more resources, something has to give.

Ideally, development must meet the needs of the present without compromising the future generations.

This will require governments worldwide to recognize that all economic activity is dependent on the natural environment. Presently governments pursue rapid economic growth, then clean up the mess they've made.

Today's developed nations have used this approach, none has achieved sustainability. Other countries will have to get development right the first time. That's the case for China and India, with over a billion mouths to feed each and those people demanding clean water and shelter, as well as dishwashers, computers and cars. Over the next decades we have to move our environment from political and social concerns and restructure our economic system to reflect this priority.

We will have to adopt a new understanding of what "wealth" and "quality of life" mean. This is where faith-based communities can offer us guiding values.

A Buddhist movement in Sri Lanka embraces a vision of well-being based on 10 basic needs: A clean and beautiful environment; a clean and adequate supply of water; basic clothing; a balanced diet; a simple house to live in; basic health care; simple communications facilities; basic energy requirements; well-rounded education; and cultural and spiritual sustenance.

For the majority of our fellow human beings such a community would be a godsend.

It is critical, for the developed world to consume less so that the rest of the world can have a fairer share of the planet. No new doctrine is needed, every religion condemns the taking of life and stealing from future generations.

There is only one Earth, we are its custodians. Whatever our religion we share the same place of worship. Our neighbor's plight is our own, and their well-being is intertwined with ours.  rw 019524

Unholy Trinity Set to Drag Us Into the Abyss.   October 15, 2006   Sydney Morning Herald
Climate change, peaking of oil supply and water shortage will profoundly alter our way of life. In the 60 years since World War II, the world population has grown from 2.5 billion to 6.5 billion with 9 billion forecast by 2050. That growth has triggered insatiable demand for natural resources. Today, global limits emerge that are real and imminent. Evidence points to the fact the globe cannot support its present population, let alone an additional 2.5 billion, unless we embrace change.

Solutions require that we take a global view and place our society and economy on a genuinely sustainable footing. It requires moving away from the individualism which has created so many of the problems, to a co-operative individualism, where managing the global and local is paramount.

We have a unique opportunity to set humanity on a new course, built around an ethical renaissance and sustainable societies. The tools and technologies to solve these problems are available, the cost is less than we have been led to believe, and the benefits greater. The missing ingredients are acceptance of the problem, the collective will for action and genuine long-term vision and leadership. The pressure for change must come from the community at large. Our choice is either to seize the opportunity to build a sustainable future, or try to muddle through in the time-honoured manner and increasingly lose the ability to control our own affairs.

For Australia, along with many other countries, water is the priority. Resolving the water crisis will be the first test of whether we can combine long-term vision and principled leadership with the need to take the hard decisions quickly enough to stave off impending disaster.  rw 019017

Earth's Ecological Debt Crisis; Today Mankind's 'Borrowing' From Nature Hits New Record.   October 09, 2006   The Independent (London)
Evidence is mounting that rapid population growth and rising living standards are putting an intolerable strain on nature.

Just like a company bound for bankruptcy plunging into the red, the world starts falling into ecological debt on 9 October. Problems range from carbon dioxide emissions to the destruction of rainforests.

Catching too many fish has left once-common fish struggling to survive. And eventually only small and juvenile fish are left, and stocks become unviable.

Climate change threatens to plunge the world into conflict. British military planners are preparing for conflicts arising from the scramble for resources in 20 to 30 years' time.

Flooding, melting permafrost and desertification could lead to loss of agricultural land, poisoning of water supplies and destruction of economic infrastructure.

Each individual's share is the equivalent of 1.8 hectares of the Earth's surface, the area equivalent we use is 2.2 hectares per person. Humanity is living off its ecological credit card and is liquidating the planet's natural resources.

Globally we deny millions of people who lack access to land, food and clean water, and we put the planet's life support mechanisms in peril."

Humanity started living beyond its means in 1987. Consumption is profligate in the West, where individuals consume air-freighted food, buy hard-wood furniture, enjoy foreign holidays and own cars.

The world would need five planet Earth's to sustain a materialistic society such as the US. By contrast, developing countries use a fraction of the resources.

We are using resources faster than they can be replaced, we are drawing natural capital, we know that collapse is a real possibility.

Degradation of the marine ecosystem is one of the world's biggest problems after climate change.

Oil reserves are fast running out; some 13 million hectares of forest are lost every year. Population growth, pollution and climate change are making water a scarce resource. Overfarming drains the soil of nutrients, while the chemicals used in the process pollute waterways.  rw 018925

Grass Created in Lab Is Found in the Wild.   August 16, 2006   Washington Post
An unapproved type of genetically engineered grass has been found growing in the wild. Ecologists found a small number of the grass plants growing in central Oregon near the site of field tests but would probably not pose an ecological threat. We have to think about the possibility of plants escaping into populations where there are wild relatives present.

The genetically engineered grass is being developed by the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Monsanto for use on golf courses. It contains a gene that makes the grass resistant to the herbicide Roundup. The goal is to allow groundskeepers to spray the herbicide to kill weeds without hurting the grass.

The Department of Agriculture is evaluating whether to approve the grass.

One concern is that genes that make crops resistant to herbicides or pests may escape to wild relatives, that would be harder to eradicate.

That is hardly a risk for the main types of genetically engineered crops, soybeans, corn and cotton, because they do not have wild, weedy relatives.

Some scientists have expressed concern that if the gene escapes, weedy grasses could be harder to control with the widely used herbicide.

In a new study, scientists sampled 20,400 plants up to three miles from the edge of an 11,000-acre zone surrounding the test plots. They found 9, or 0.04%, that were genetically engineered, the farthest being 2.4 miles from the control zone border.

Some of the plants had been created by seeds that had blown off the test plot and others by hybridization of wild grass with pollen from the genetically engineered grass.

Scientists in Canada have reported an instance in which herbicide resistance appears to have spread by pollination from genetically engineered canola.

In Japan, transgenic canola was found growing near ports and roadsides. Scientists hypothesized that imported seeds had escaped during transportation to oil-processing facilities.  rw   Karen Gaia says: As the population grows, so does the need to provide groomed outdoor recreation areas. People used to be able to go out into the woods or mountains or oceans to have a good time. 018460

U.S.;: Study: Singles Need Treehugger Most.   August 06, 2006   Treehugger
A new study suggests that singles could minimize environmental footprints if their awareness could be raised and sustainable lifestyle products targeted to their needs. One-person households are now wealthier than ever and may be willing to put money into more environmentally-friendly homes and products.

It was found that singles throw out 1600 kg of waste per head, compared with an average of 1000 kg waste per capita in a four-person household. They consume 38% more products, generate 42% more packaging waste, use 55% more electricity and guzzle 61% more gas than each member in the traditional family. In Germany single households hit 38% in 2005- up 4% from 1991.

Many living alone do so out of circumstances rather than choice. The study proposes expansion of living spaces designed for the single. The study encourages a little government sponsored education, because the single will dedicate extra money to the choice of sustainable products.  rw 018375

U.K.;: Single Living 'Harming the Environment'.   August 01, 2006   InTheNews.co.uk
The trend for Britons to spend long periods living by themselves is having a detrimental effect upon the environment. A study suggests that one-person households are not only the most wasteful users of land in England and Wales, but also proportionately use far more energy and household appliances compared to the rest of the country.

Unless current patterns are disrupted by collective housing schemes or single occupancy taxes, the UK could face a "consumption crisis".

Males between 35 and 44 were the worst offenders, using 55% more electricity per capita compared to a traditional four-person household.

In 1971 only 18% of the population lived by themselves, most aged over 60, but now 30% are single occupants, predicted to rise to 38% by 2001.

Suggestions include shared housing initiatives as part of their planned housing development programmes, housing this group in ecological new builds that are prestigious, well-designed, state-of-the-art and environmentally sound.  rw 018299

U.S.: 9 Ways You Can Achieve Energy Independence!.   July 09, 2006   The Independent Weekly
Utilities project a 50% increase in electricity generation from polluting sources, but we can dramatically reduce the amount of energy we use in our homes, workplaces and congregations. Nine small steps at home to reduce the demand for energy - some don't cost anything, some cost a little and some are expensive, but will save money in the long run. 1. Sign up for GreenPower to increase the production of energy from renewable sources. A residential N.C. GreenPower contribution of $4 per month adds one block of 100 kilowatt-hours of cleaner energy to the power supply, by means that vary from families with solar photovoltaic panels on to animal farms that generate power from methane. Energy conservation through simple, measures such as replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents. 2. Get a home energy audit to find where energy loses occur. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Seal places where outside air was blowing into the house with insulation. Get a solar hot water heater and insulated hot water lines. These things may drop your energy bill by about 20%.

3. Design sustainable new homes. A growing number of architects and builders are taking steps to make our homes part of the energy solution.

4. Build smarter schools.

The debate over new schools has focused largely on how much to raise property taxes. Missing has been any consideration of the energy costs involved in powering conventional school buildings. A closer look reveals a roof-mounted solar hot water system supplying the cafeteria, photovoltaic panels that reduce the demand for outside power, and extensive classroom daylight.

5. Help transform energy policy.

We won't be free to choose clean energy if state rules drive the utilities to meet all future demand through more expensive and polluting coal and nuclear plants.

6. Drive cleaner.

Buy less processed food, shopping at local farmers' markets. Grow more food at home.

7. Get the fuel out of our food.

It takes about 10 fossil-fuel calories to produce and transport each food calorie in the average American diet. So if our daily food intake is 2,000 calories, it took 20,000 calories to grow that food and get it to us. About 15 percent of U.S. energy use goes toward supplying food, divided about evenly between producing crops and livestock, and food processing and packaging. If the whole world ate the way Americans eat, we would exhaust all known fossil fuel reserves in seven years, estimates David Pimentel, a professor of ecology at Cornell University. We should buy less processed food and more local products, shop at local farmers' markets, or join a community-supported agriculture farm.

8. Connect energy and spirit

Many of our religious institutions engage in wasteful and environmentally harmful energy-use practices.

9. Educate yourself  rw   A big step would be to buy your home where driving will be less. 017982

We Need Regulation to Reduce This Waste of Energy.   July 03, 2006   The Independent
If low-energy lighting were installed around the world, global energy could be cut by nearly a tenth. The technology is available, would curb light pollution, and could keep up to 16 billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere over the next quarter century. Artificial lighting accounts for nearly 20 %of the world's electricity consumption, and will be 80% higher in 2030. The average American home uses 10 times the artificial light of the average Chinese home, and 30 times that of the average Indian home. Greenpeace U.K. is urging governments to mandate efficient lighting in building codes.  rw 017993
U.S.;: Made to Break Reveals the Roots of Our Throwaway Culture.   July 02, 2006   Grist Magazine
The U.S. is a nation founded on the rejection of tradition and a profound belief in invention. This has given us more than two centuries of technology, but has also made Americans the world's most voracious consumers. We invented the concept of disposability.

In the late 1800s, manufacturers began to realize the commercial potential of short-lived products. In the 1920s, as society became more urban and more women entered the workforce, manufacturers understood the potential of selling products that could be promoted as both hygienic and convenient. Marketing campaigns encouraged rapid automobile replacement and resulted in products designed not to last. Then, in the 1950s and '60s, the media began touting products whose novelty outweighed their necessity.

In recent years, our embrace of technology and appetite for the new converged with planned obsolescence. Americans own more than 2 billion digital devices with short life spans dictated by rapidly evolving semiconductors. Some have simply been cast aside in favor of a new model.

The result is a growing stream of hazardous waste. Millions of tons of e-waste end up in U.S. landfills each year, and millions more are exported to developing countries. Some are simply dumped there, while others are recycled. How do we undo this cycle of consumption?

In the US we equate progress and prosperity with the ability to jettison things, the notions of reuse and recycle have been slow to take hold. During the next few years, the problem of waste will compel American manufacturers to modify industrial practices. The age of obsolescence will go the way of the buffalo.  rw 017925

U.K.: Multicultural London Provides Food for Thought.   June 17, 2006   Environmental Data Interactive
The fourth annual London Multicultural Environment Fair was held in Hackney. Speakers considered the dietary requirements and culinary preferences of the capital's population. The Young Indian Vegetarians described how the meat-free diet has now become an environmental issue.

They claimed the land used to raise and feed the world's 55 billion head of livestock could be put to better use supporting four billion humans. The waste of land and water used to raise animals was unacceptable.

The issues of food miles and the energy used to transport exotic crops to British markets were also touched upon.

The London Food Link encouraged people to buy locally-sourced food where possible. We should ask how is it grown, who is growing it and how is it transported."

Many crops for foreign cuisines could be grown in the UK and, as demand grows, agriculture will adapt. We must be aware that the everyday choices we make in the UK have an impact elsewhere in the world.

Those living in Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the developing world, are paying the cost of the industrialised world's excesses, as climate change begins to hit them.

In London, and other urban centres, children don't understand agriculture and have little idea of where their food comes from.

We need to educate children about the environment, said and furnish them with practical skills such as farming.

The Muslim community also had its own particular concerns when it came to diet and the environment. The planet has always been important in Islam. But halal has its own environmental issues - you cannot get organic meat that is halal because the certification bodies do not approve of the way the animals are killed. it is difficult making inroads into the Muslim community and persuade people to make environmental concerns a priority.

Unfortunately there's a lot more to worry about as statistics show that London Muslims are disadvantaged in terms of education, unemployment, poor housing and poverty.  rw 017785

Novy Knows When to Water: Fairfax Landscaper to Talk at Water-Wise.   May 21, 2006   Marin Independant Journal
Linda Novy started into Marin's landscaping business with big lawns, lush ornamentals, native plants, and then the 1976 drought hit. Everything died; the lawns went brown. By the time the next drought hit in the '80s the county was more prepared.

When another drought visits the California water system will be stretched ever thinner by an unstoppable population swell.

The area is also infested with "non-natives, exotics, weeds.

Novy says it's very different now. Native plants have built a defense against invasive exotics. She's planting willows and California natives on the creek banks behind the house. The plants in the fenced nursery are either edible or native and she gathers many of the seeds on hikes in the hills. By the '90s, people were making the link between the environment at large and in their back yard. Novy now works as a consultant, focused on sustainability.

In the wilds, the landscape works as a "cradle to cradle" system, taking in only sunlight and water. The plants and insects process the waste, fertilize the ground and renew the cycle. No maintenance is required. Novy has worked with clients toward that end. She helped a Sonoma County company build a landscape plan that took the leaf blowers and herbicides out of the system. They reduced their waste, water and energy costs.  rw 017430

Gas Prices Spur Americans to Change Behavior.   May 20, 2006   Marion Daily Republican
A survey found that over a third of American drivers are pondering getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle; half are considering a hybrid, fewer than 5% want a luxury sedan or large SUV. Motorcycle sales jumped 16% compared to the same period in 2004, and scooter sales leaped 65%. Bike sales rose 7% and many more bikers are commuting instead of cycling just for recreation. Boat owners are taking shorter trips, going slower, and reducing their number of outings. People are talking about doing a lot more buddy boating.  rw 017566
India: Growth Should Not Lead to Ecosystem Degradation.   April 27, 2006   Confederation of Indian Industry
There is continuous degradation of the ecosystem in India and other countries which is evident from the spread of diseases as well as storms like Katrina and Tsunami. This is expected to intensify with countries focussing only on economic growth and needs to be corrected, according to Prof Jeffrey Sachs who was speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He said that there are number of challenges that need to be met.

He said that while we attempt to remove poverty, we should pay attention to the sustainability of environment. Growth of population and per capita income has tendency to lead to degradation of every ecosystem.

Though the growth rate of population has declined, increasing population still poses major challenge to the environment. There is a need to encourage family planning, girls' education, empowering women etc.

Economic growth leads to concentration of carbon and nitrogen, extinction of various birds and trees, stress on water etc. He noted that by 2050 India's GDP could be at par with China and by the end of this century could well surpass both US and China. However this poses challenges to the ecosystem and India is required to play a central role in the world for this cause. Eco degradation lead to increasing temperature, which affects food supply, health condition, habitats, sea level, ocean chemistry extreme weather conditions and water stress.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the sustainability of ecosystem in India as well as abroad. Some of the warning signals are reflected in terms of increasing diseases like AIDS and avian flu, more frequent happenings of Katrina-like storms, transformation of diseases from animals to human beings etc. With GDP growth, the problem is going to intensify.

He predicted that while population by 2050 will increase by one and half, the use of energy will increase by three times. In view of pressure on existing oil, there is increasing pressure on the use of coal. There is a need for controlling the increase of carbon emission by developing an appropriate technology.

Prof Sach said that growth and devolvement are necessary to help the poorest of the poor but even if we spend less than 1% of GDP on maintaining the eco system, this should be sufficient. He said that India is required to play a leadership role in: (a) scientific and technical development (b) developing a sustainable energy system (c) helping the poorest of the poor, and (d) raising its voice.  rw 017162

Jeanette Fitzsimons State of the Planet Speech.   January 23, 2006   Scoop.co.nz
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Suzuki Waxes About Earth Issues.   January 23, 2006   The Gateway
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U.S.: Earth-Friendly Materials Go Mainstream.   January 22, 2006   New York Times*
Growing consumer interest is encouraging green homebuilding retailers. These stores sell such items as eco-timber and insulation made of recycled jeans. Just a few years ago, green-minded homeowners had to buy supplies in small stores with a limited selection. But at Green Fusion, environmentally friendly wares like plant-based paints, organic bedding (an all-wool king-size mattress costs $2,000) and cork flooring from Portugal allow customers to experience healthy materials. The chief executive of the Environmental Home Center, a large green building supplier in Seattle, says his company has national ambitions. His company has grown to a multimillion dollar business and across the country, there are several established green retailers. Home Depot is testing a green theme in all of its Canadian stores and promotes environmentally friendly products. There is a growing sensitivity about taking care of ourselves, our homes, and our earth. Unfortunately for consumers, there is no regulatory system that oversees or establishes green standards for the industry. So green retailers select products based on their own criteria, often with the help of consultants. It is unclear how many are willing to pay extra for it. Green products generally command a higher price than their conventional counterparts.  rw   Maybe it would be more environmentally friendly to purchase a double bed instead of a king size one. Think of all those sheep and the water and soil it takes. 016083
State of the Environment - North Carolina's Most Urgent Environmental Challenge.   December 16, 2005   Charlotte Observer
If projections from scientific experts are remotely accurate, North Carolina is in for significant change within our lifetimes related to global climate change. One estimate says 770 square miles of the coast could submerge. Air quality may worsen as temperatures rise, and the health of citizens could decline. Some will die of heat stroke. Environmental Defense, among others, has suggested a series of strategies to limit the harmful impact and prepare its residents to make some money off the changes. This year, air quality drops out of the top 10 problems because there were fewer bad air days, because controls on smokestack pollution have begun to take effect. Each of these assessments is subjective, not scientific. Summers have been getting drier, while falls have been getting wetter. As a consequence, North Carolinians have less water available than they did 100 years ago and a future with insufficient water in some areas as the state continues its dramatic urbanization. Raleigh has problems with one of its key reservoirs. Falls Lake which has been below normal level, forcing Raleigh to think about asking for a transfer from Kerr Lake. Concord and Kannapolis have sought to drain 38 million gallons a day from the Catawba River. Storm runoff, nutrients and sediment remain a top concern. Development is overwhelming the ability to keep pollution out of water supplies but the state is losing the war to protect water quality and the environment in North Carolina and America. Rapid growth and inappropriate development has been near the top of the list for 10 years. Residential growth consumes farmland, green space and forests, putting new strains on air quality and water quality. But sprawling low-density development and quality-of-life concerns could interfere with future prosperity. Growth and development has threatened places where no one ever imagined. A growth surge in coastal counties has caused problems and the land use planning program for the coast is totally broken. The very people who depend on waterfront availability for their economic survival can no longer afford that access. How North Carolina will meet its energy needs at an affordable cost will dominate debate affecting the environment. Utilities are interested in building more nuclear plants and pressure grows for the state to rescind its opposition to offshore natural gas exploration. While some fish stocks have made recoveries in N.C. waters, others have declined in alarming ways. River herring have become so depleted that catches failed to reach a quota limit. Oysters, bay scallops and blue crabs are species of "concern" because of low catches. Population growth has increased the amount of garbage going into landfills while the state might begin importing garbage in landfills proposed for sparsely populated areas an environmental threat. The state continues to search for solutions to large-scale hog farm waste. Thousands bought up the shoreline and built out-of-scale mansions to replace the fish camps and clapboard cottages. The loss of natural areas to upscale residential developments has changed what North Carolinians see from our windows. Litter accumulates along our highways, costing the state millions in collection costs and providing volunteers with more work than they can keep up with. Utility poles and wires mar the viewscape. Environmental concerns fail to consider long-term implications and doesn't recognize the interdependence of conservation and development. North Carolina has more than 17 million acres of forests and large stands of trees in national and state forests, parks and wildlife reserves. But the huge stands of hardwoods and regal longleaf pines are now a small fraction of what they once were. In a state where development has gobbled up 100,000 acres of forested lands and natural areas per year, recent legislation may make it harder for local governments to preserve land at a time the state's population continues to grow and consume more natural areas.  rw   Sounds just like most of the states along the east coast. Most of these problems are population and consumption. Where it is a consumption problem, any population growth magnifies it. The problem with people being rich is that they are able to distract and insulate themselves from the problems, which puts them in a state of denial. 015889
U.S.: SUV Sales Down Sharply.   December 04, 2005   Washington Post
U.S. consumers are avoiding sport-utility vehicles in favor of passenger cars. Sales of new vehicles in the US were off 2.8% in November from a year ago. Sales of some SUVs were off more than 50%. At GM sales were down 7.6% and have lagged since it ended "employee pricing" discounts in September. Ford said sales fell 15%. GM and Ford announced that they will make fewer trucks while boosting car output. Ford said it will increase first-quarter car production by 21%. U.S. sales of DaimlerChrysler were down 2.7%. Toyota's U.S. sales rose 13% and Honda 8%. Nissan trailed as it's sales fell 4%. Analysts have blamed slumping SUV demand for the automakers' deteriorating financial condition. The automakers blame high labor costs, including health care costs and payments for pensions, and inflexible union rules. U.S. consumers remain skittish about buying sport-utility vehicles after the rising fuel-price during the hurricane season. The average price for unleaded gasoline is $2.14 a gallon, up from $1.94 a year ago. Sales executives at GM and Ford downplayed the impact of higher gas prices on the sales declines. GM expects sales in the large SUV category to remain stable.  rw    015810
India: Population Can Be An Asset Too.   November 18, 2005   Business Line (India)
Mr Kalam sees India's population as an asset as its population creates demand for goods and is the basis of economic growth. He said that 20 million are rich fellows and can buy anything. The 250 million middle-class also have buying power. Our growing population is our strength provided we give dignity to everyone. Lack of education is the problem, not large population. On one hand, higher population negates the strides made. On the other higher population creates a large market, which is an asset if people are educated. The difficulties created by a large population include the use of oil and coal by an ever-increasing population is leading to global warming. But a large population may not consume much energy. Carbon emissions can be reduced if more people used fans instead of air-conditioners. It is not necessary to increase consumption of energy-intensive goods, instead, we should increase consumption of non-polluting goods such as music and books. It is said that people in poor countries are cutting down forests because of increasing pressure on land. But this pressure is due to the transfer of resources to richer countries. There are two claimants for the scarce resources of the developing countries the large population of the poor countries and the small population of the rich countries. Developing countries have attained high growth rates in periods when their population was declining. but they could not sustain the growth. High growth during a period of population decline is a short-term affair. The large numbers from earlier generations need to support few young ones in this short period which ends as soon as the next generation takes command. Then few persons have to support few children and, once again, the growth rate declines. The richness of the countries of the West arises from technological innovations; income transfers from the poor countries and a large labour force in the developing countries, which produces cheap goods. Their high incomes reflect the poor incomes elsewhere. The burden of health provision is upon the government. For learning also one has to knock at the door of the government. We need to adopt simple lifestyles rather than assume that a smaller population per se will solve our problems.  rw   The author must be blind, totally politically biased or has never walked the streets of India. Even simple lifestyles consume resources: the poor have to eat and use fuel (firewood). Their very numbers are a strain on the environment. And people with simple lifestyles buy very little consumer goods, meaning they contribute very little to economic growth. The growing of people to grow the economy is one of the most significant fallacies in the world. 015668
U.S.: EPA Plans to Revamp Mileage Testing.   September 28, 2005   Boston Globe
The EPA will propose changes to the way it estimates automobile fuel ratings now that consumers are paying more attention to fuel consumption. The EPA will alter testing to reflect today's driving habits, address congestion in cities and suburbs, account for vehicles in cold climates, and calculate the impact of accessories. The changes would put the EPA in line with testing by Consumers Union. A survey of 303 vehicles found that, in 90% of the cases, EPA estimates were inflated. The auto industry has opposed updating the mileage tests as they have benefited from fuel ratings often higher than those in real-world driving. The mileage estimates are used by the auto companies as they attempt to meet federal regulations and today's rules, require a company's fleet of cars to average 27.5 mpg and light trucks and SUVs, 21.0 mpg. Companies are having difficulty meeting efficiency goals even as they benefit from inflated numbers, and any change in EPA testing methods could have an adverse affect on compliance. But many executives acknowledge the flaws saying The EPA numbers mean nothing in the real world. Consumer Reports tests showed vehicles falling 40% and 50% below EPA estimates. The EPA test is based on 30-year-old standards: the city test requires a vehicle to run for 11 simulated miles with 23 stops, 5 minutes of idle time, an average speed of 21 mph; on the highway, a 10-mile drive, average speed of 48 mph on a smooth road. The tests do not account for temperature, the use of air conditioners, bad road conditions, or increased urban and suburban traffic jams. Eleven miles of city driving will mean more than five minutes idling at lights or in stalled traffic. No one averages 48 mph on highways where the speed limit has crept up from 55 to 65 as that would account for a 10% hike in fuel. The 2007 model year could be the first under the new rules. There is no perfect test, because driving habits differ, as does owners' care of their vehicles.  rw    015261
U.S.: Bush Calling for Private Fisheries.   September 28, 2005   Portland Press Herald
The Bush administration proposed legislation to overhaul management of the nation's fisheries, by giving regulators greater flexibility and encouraging them to privatize fisheries. Some environmental groups applauded privatization, others said the bill would weaken conservation rules. Bush's legislation would amend the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which was last updated in 1996. The Senate's Commerce Committee has been working on a draft of its own bill. The administration's plan would double by 2010 the fisheries that are privatized where access is limited to those who own allocated shares, that can be bought and sold, of the annual catch. Some environmental groups, support privatization because it gives fishermen a financial incentive to conserve fidh stocks. In fisheries where such programs have been implemented, fishermen have enjoyed higher profits, lower costs, longer fishing seasons and a more stable industry. The program has been popular in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but controversial in New England because of fears that it would allow corporations to take over the fisheries. The goal is to encourage eight new fisheries to use privatization programs. In New England, one could be on Cape Cod, where fishermen use hooks and gill nets to catch cod and haddock in near-shore waters. The Bush plan would revoke the requirement that all fisheries be restored to healthy levels in 10 years and limits the number of fishing days given to New England groundfish boats. The Bush plan would allow regional councils to address the needs of fishing communities when rebuilding stocks. The change would allow fishermen to catch more fish while stocks are rebuilding, and conservation groups worry that this would increase the chance that a species could collapse. Some species, such as Georges Bank cod, have not recovered since the mid-1990s.  rw    015267
States Sue US Over Energy Efficiency of Appliances.   September 11, 2005   Reuters Alert Net
A coalition of 15 states led by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the U.S. Energy Department of failing to set efficiency standards for household appliances that would save energy claiming the DOE violated mandates to adopt stronger standards within deadlines stated by law. The suit was filed after the DOE declined to respond to a letter asking it to take action. DOE declined immediate comment. Spitzer said that updating efficiency standards could reduce U.S. electricity use by 3% to 12% over 25 years. Eighteen years ago, Congress passed laws requiring higher efficiency for household appliances and charged the DOE with setting standards and, raising them. In July, the coalition told U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman that DOE must agree to meet a timetable for setting efficiency standards, and warned that it would sue the agency if it refused to make such a commitment. The suit seeks an injunction that would force the agency to enact these standards.  rw    015126
Americans Make More Than 14,000 Roundtrips to the Sun a Year.   September 2005   World Watch Vital Signs
In 1950, Americans drove 588 billion kilometers (365 billion miles) in 40 million cars, almost 14,600 kilometers per car. By 2003, the average had grown to more than 19,000 kilometers. With more cars and more drivers, there has been a seven-fold increase over 1950; the total miles driven is the equivalent of 14,308 roundtrips to the sun.  rw    015113
Fuel Rule Change for Big S.U.V.'s Seen as Unlikely.   August 16, 2005   New York Times*
The Bush administration is expected to abandon fuel economy regulations to to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummer H2's and other huge sport utility vehicles. The impact would have been borne by the troubled domestic auto industry. Its plan to overhaul the light-truck mileage rules would change the system from using averaged mileage for an automaker's entire annual light-truck output to one that sets up five or six classes, determined by a vehicle's size. The rules will be released late this month and are sure to renew debate about the dependence on foreign oil. Revisions could extend the system to cover larger vehicles. The volatility of oil prices could push consumers toward buying more efficient vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said. "We look forward to fuel savings without sacrificing safety or doing harm to the American economy." The Bush plan is certain to meet objections from environmentalists. But domestic automakers are likely to see it as a victory, since the new plan will decrease advantages that some foreign automakers, have in the current system because they do not make the heaviest trucks and S.U.V.'s. Corporate average fuel economy regulations C.A.F.E. standards- divide each automaker's annual new vehicle production into two categories: passenger cars and light-duty trucks. New cars must average 27.5 miles a gallon and light trucks 21.2 miles a gallon in 2005 models and 22.2 miles by 2007. Rules for cars are not being changed. Not only is the number of vehicles on the road increasing, but the average new vehicle is getting lower mileage than it did two decades ago because so many more new vehicles are trucks. Larger sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks weighing more than 8,500 pounds when loaded, have been exempt from the regulations as vehicles of that weight were generally used for commercial purposes. Such vehicles are exempt from fuel regulations, have rich profit margins, and many consumers can claim tax breaks. The plan's release will be followed by a public comment period and then a revised final rule. Gasoline prices have become a powerful counterweight. Many automakers, have recovered only after heavy discounting and are re-emphasizing plans for smaller, lighter S.U.V.'s. Under the Bush plan, size classes will be determined by the vehicle's length and width. Instead of overall mileage requirement for the total fleet of light trucks a manufacturer sells in a model year, makers will have to meet some kind of target or average within each size class. The administration has taken steps to increase fuel regulations for light trucks, raising the mileage standard for trucks to 22.2 miles a gallon for 2007 models, from 20.7 miles a gallon in 2004 models. Environmentalists argued that gains were offset by credits given to automakers for making vehicles that can use ethanol. Under the administration's plan, automakers will have a choice of complying with the new size-based system or the current system, though a further increase beyond 22.2 miles a gallon is expected in the current system. After 2010, the current system will be eliminated.  rw   Hello! Wake up! We are running out of recoverable oil. 014944
U.S.: As TVs Grow, So Do Electric Bills.   June 16, 2005   Christian Science Monitor
If current design standards hold, TVs and related accoutrements will account for about 10% of home electricity use by 2009, the NRDC estimates. Those 61-inch, flat-screen, hi-def, televisions are gonna cost you -- right in the utility bill. TVs will suck up about 50% more juice for a total of 70 billion kilowatt-hours per year in the U.S. and a lot more carbon will be pumped into the atmosphere. The EPA, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Energy Commission, and NRDC will be deciding how best to measure a TV's energy use and get manufacturers to create more energy-efficient models.  rw    014104
U.S.: All for Want of a Few Veggies.   June 09, 2005   Portland Tribune
A Bay Area-based group called SustainLane was set to rank Portland the No. 1 city in sustainability practices. But new information emerged, and San Francisco is 1st, and Portland is 2nd. Portland, San Francisco and other cities are achieving things that are incredible in environmental protection and renewable energy. Saltzman said that whether Portland is No. 1 or No. 2, he’s glad to see other cities follow Portland’s sustainability with economic development. SustainLane, a for-profit group that specializes in gathering information on sustainable practices, collected data from 20 public and private organizations for the survey. It ranked 25 cities in 12 of transportation, air quality, drinking water quality, food and agriculture, land use, zoning, planning, green building, energy, solid waste, city innovation and knowledge base. Berkeley took third place and Seattle fourth. Portland and San Francisco are in a class by themselves. SustainLane launched a Web site that targets Portland and other West Coast cities with resources and community discussions on things such as how to build a greenhouse and thoughts on owning a hybrid Toyota Prius.  rw    013970
Living Beyond Our Means: Natural Assets and Human Well-being.   May 22, 2005  
Everyone in the world depends on nature and ecosystem services to provide the conditions for a decent, healthy, and secure life. Humans have made changes in recent decades to meet growing demands for food, fresh water, fiber, and energy. They have helped improve the lives of billions, but weakened nature's ability to deliver other services such as purification of air and water, protection from disasters, and the provision of medicines. Among the problems are the dire state of the world's fish stocks; the vulnerability of the 2 billion people living in dry regions to the loss of water supply; and the growing threat from climate change and nutrient pollution. Human activities have taken the planet to the edge of species extinctions. The pressures on ecosystems will increase unless human attitudes and actions change. Measures to conserve resources are more likely to succeed if local communities are given ownership of them, share the benefits, and are involved in decisions. Better protection of natural assets require coordinated efforts of governments, businesses, and international institutions. The productivity of ecosystems depends on investment, trade, subsidy, taxation, and regulation, among others.  rw    013674
Wearing Eco-Politics on Your Sleeve.   March 20, 2005   New York Times*
Models sauntered down a catwalk showing off the latest work of designers. Every garment was made with fibers spun from bamboo, corn, organic cotton and materials that promoters said were eco-friendly. The show, called FutureFashion and sponsored by Earth Pledge, challenged designers to create fashion using only fabrics that were renewable, reusable or generated less pollution. Eco-advocates and some apparel executives say they believe that goods made with environmentally friendly fabrics could follow the path of organic food and beauty products, which have become a $15 billion business. Organic cotton, accounted for $85 million of retail sales in the US in 2003, about 0.05% of the American apparel market. But new fabrics, designer interest, and a developing supply network make it easier for companies like to take the plunge. The designer Rogan Gregory, will introduce organic cotton denim clothing this month. Sam's Club will start selling 100% organic cotton wear with prices starting at $10. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, a third of a pound of pesticides and other chemicals are used to produce the cotton for one simple T-shirt. Then ammonia, formaldehyde and other chemicals are used to process and finish it. The ecologically friendly fabrics are made with materials like cotton and wool produced without chemicals or pesticides, or plants like bamboo and hemp that are produced with little pesticides or fertilizers. Other new materials include biopolymers from corn and soy, including a corn-based fiber. Clothing makers are focusing first on cotton because it is the most widely used fiber and it accounts for 22% of all insecticides used worldwide. It assumed that oil-based synthetics like polyester and nylon would cause the most harm but it was found that cotton was worse.  rw    013266
Culture of 'More' Brings Less.   December 30, 2004   San Francisco Chronicle
Americans are more hooked on shopping than ever before. The average credit card debt has risen from an average $2966 in 1990 to $9205 today. And the country's total unsecured debt now tops $2 trillion.

Researchers have found that spending on luxury goods- items that we do not need- is rising four times faster than overall spending. Those of us who watch a lot of TV, are overworked and isolated from our neighbors, tend to take our social cues from the TV programs we watch. Whereas we used to emulate the people in our own backyard, our friends and neighbors, we now tend to copy the people we see on TV and we base our ideal on the clothing, furniture and way of life of sitcom characters rather than real people. Watching an average of 15 hours of TV a week results in approximately $3000 in extra spending every year.

While we sink ever deeper in debt, buying the SUV, big screen TV, leather sofa and iPod we do not need, the poor around the world are doing without AIDS medication, school books, running water and other basics of daily life.    012537

American Homes Are Growing and Consuming More Electricity .   October 28, 2004   Monitor, The(Uganda)
In 1970, the average new home was 1,500 square feet; in 2003, it was 2,230, but for rich and upper-middle class, huge suburban mansions are the norm and these homes are using vast amounts of energy. Natural gas prices are up 11% from last year and are expected to keep rising; home heating oil is up 60%; propane is up 30%. This year's energy woes are hitting the American middle and upper class as well as the poor. In 2000, the average home budget for energy, including gasoline for the car, was about $6,000, now, that number is estimated to be between $8,000 and $9,000. Energy expenses are rising even though many houses have better insulation and efficient windows. Appliances are more efficient and that lowers the cost of heating on a per-square-foot basis. But homes are getting larger and more complicated. More people are seeing them as their sanctuary, and want every possible amenity and that often involves water. For example, multiple-head shower systems that could drain a 40-gallon tank in less than 3-1/2 minutes and boosting the hot-water supply means using more energy. Americans are adding more refrigerators and natural-gas fireplaces that are big energy consumers. So far we haven't seen any leadership on the state and national level saying we have to do something.  rw    011943
Group Warns on Consumption of Resources.   October 22, 2004   Associated Press
Humanity's reliance on fossil fuels, the spread of cities, the destruction of natural habitats for farmland and over-exploitation of the oceans are destroying Earth's ability to sustain life. The biggest consumers of nonrenewable natural resources are the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait, Australia and Sweden, who leave the biggest "ecological footprint," the World Wildlife Fund said in its regular Living Planet Report.  rw    011913
The Earth Hates Your Lawn.   August 10, 2004   The Knoxville News Sentinel
There are 30 million acres of lawn in the US and 54 million people mow their lawns each week, using 800 million gallons of gas a year. More than 5% of urban air pollution comes from gas-powered lawn widgets. Seventy million pounds of pesticide is put on home lawns, trees, and shrubs a year, polluting groundwater and sending phosphates and nitrates into lakes and streams, where they generate algae blooms that choke other plant life. Freshwater is being used by the millions of gallons, native plant species are being displaced, birds are being poisoned.  rw    011218
The European Dream.   August 2004   NPR
Jeremy Rifkin's newest book is "The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream." The American dream is that everyone can get an education and get ahead. Compared to Europeans, Americans seem to have more freedom and mobility, but with it comes the sink or swim mentality. In Europe, relationships, quality of life, sustainable development and sustainable communities are important. The American dream needs to be traded for a bigger European model. Rifkin argues that the American mentality doesn't compare with European universal health care and month-long vacations. And while America is determined to protect its national interests through military force, Europeans put cooperation ahead of conflict. Rifkin thinks the European life style has more quality, because Europeans have more days off and liveable communities. Europeans have 26% of their GDP devoted to social programs, while in the U.S. it is 11%. The European Union has 450 million people, and the world's largest economy. Americans tend to compare the U.S. to Germany or the U.S. to France, whereas they should compare Germany to California or France to Texas.  rw   Strange that with so many problems people still flock to live in the USA. 011306
Growing Demand for Meat .   June 25, 2004   World Watch magazine
Growing demand for meat is the driving force behind every major category of environmental damage. Meat consumption has increased five-fold in the past half century, putting pressure on water, land, feed, and fuel.  rw    010819
Bhutan's Gross National Happiness.   June 24, 2004   Gallon newsletter
Bhutan, one of the world's least developed countries, is seeking to protect its cultural assets by using Gross National Happiness (GNH). Bhutan, population 800,000, has opened up to television and Internet and is considering an application to the World Trade Organization. GNH is a reflection of its culture to find the Buddhist Middle Path. Some have suggested that the GNH may be a Bhutanese approach but has application elsewhere. GNH measures human well-being beyond material wealth and emphasizes that development should be for the benefit of the people and allow for cultural differences. It also discusses management as related to human happiness.  rw   An important concept - the only way to go for the sustainability of the world! A better way to measure the quality of life 010821
Darwinian Shift: Survival of the Smallest.   May 20, 2004   Christian Science Monitor
Evidence suggests that harvesting the biggest fish or mammals is forcing species to evolve rapidly within a few decades. These changes can reduce a species' economic value or drive it to extinction. Contemporary evolution is an important factor in conservation biology. It is seen as widespread, affecting organisms ranging from bacteria to sheep. For example: The plunge in Atlantic cod populations around southern Labrador and Newfoundland's Grand Banks plummeted by 99.9% - one of the worst collapses of extant marine or land animals. The remaining cod were smaller, matured at a younger age, spawned much earlier and yielded weaker offspring. The Canadian government closed the fisheries expecting the stocks to rebound. Yet the populations remain at historic lows. After analyzing three decades' of data, scientists concluded that evolution was at work. This shift toward early maturation could slow the recovery of the population because the fish can't produce offspring as robustly as the older fish. The change showed up in the cod's statistics before the collapse and this approach could be used as an early warning system for evolutionary trouble. Such a finding implies big changes for the way fisheries managers operate. Managers will have to cut fishing of endangered populations when genetic changes are beginning to appear rather than when populations begin to collapse. A more rigorous process for preserving genetic diversity that would involve screening to identify individuals to reintroduce and more monitoring to find out how they're faring; and a focus on the genetic adaptability of distinct populations of a species, rather than on organisms thought to be most representative of a particular species. Researchers in Alberta tracked family histories within a group of mountain sheep and reported that over 30-years the rams matured to smaller sizes and sported ever-smaller horns. Trophy hunters had focused on taking rams with the largest horns that were shot before they reached their peak reproductive years. So the gene pool narrowed to favor the smaller rams. Several factors have led to an appreciation of contemporary evolution in the wild. An increasing number of researchers were finding examples of contemporary evolution - ranging from Darwin's finches in the Galapagos Islands and guppies in Trinidad to bacteria that quickly developed resistance to antibiotics. Wildlife people interested in ecology came from different schools from those who worked in evolutionary biology and an increased emphasis on interdisciplinary science has brought these groups together. In Europe, the size of the animals that hunters are allowed to bag depends on the experience level of the hunter. The biggest game are reserved for those who have been hunting the longest and human predation is spread more randomly throughout the game population, and hunters are allowed to take females. This more nearly mimics predation found in the wild, and doesn't put evolutionary pressure on the animals that can provide the most robust breeding stock. Historically, management regimes have protected smaller fish while allowing the largest to be caught. Fishing techniques such as trawling make it difficult to toss back the biggest. Yet gill-net and long-line fishing could be regulated to reduce their evolutionary effect on fisheries. Another approach is to establish areas where fishing is banned and stocks allowed to rebuild with as much of their natural genetic variation as possible. Selection pressures on a species can vary greatly along the length of a river and its tributaries. Each population adapts to its local conditions, so that when it comes to reintroducing species to portions of a river one can't always pluck salmon from one tributary and use them to populate another.  rw    010562
Sales of Fuel-Stingy Models in High Gear.   May 14, 2004   Union-Tribune
Gas-guzzling cars are being overtaken by hybrids, the Toyota Prius leading. Sales of the Prius are up 80% percent from last year and April sales are 150% higher than a year ago. Many would-be owners are waiting a year. High gas prices have increased the hybrids' popularity. The Prius gets as up to 60 mpg, although the average is 45 mpg. Sales of low-mileage SUV's have dipped with sales of the Hummer down 21% from a year ago, Cadillac Escalade 17% and Ford Expedition 33%. General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are planning hybrid cars and trucks. Fuel efficiency is only part of story, car industry analysts say. The Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Honda Insight are popular because they appeal to affluent, educated, technology enthusiasts whose politics are left of center. Gas mileage is a small part of it. It's partly because its low emissions create no pollution. New Priuses sell for $20,000 to $25,000. California had 11,425 registered hybrid-car owners, the next closest state was Virginia, with 3,376. Local dealers get only a few Priuses a month and it'll be a while before they catch up. Large SUVs appeal to different audiences and even with rising gas prices, SUVs are going to be the car of choice because consumers have become accustomed to their convenience. Ford is planning a hybrid version of its smaller SUV, later this year. A Lexus SUV hybrid is one of Toyota's SUV models.  rw    010678
Fish Farming.   October 2003   World Watch
The number of different algicides, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemical additives fed to farm-raised salmon in 1989 was 3. Today it is 26. In 1 year a catfish pond that produces 5,000 kilograms of fish drops 10 tons of waste into the water. Average period of before draining and refilling with fresh water 6 years. In wild salmon PCB concentrations are at 5,302 pg/g. In farmed salmon it is 51,216. Percentage of fish and seafood from aquaculture in 1970 3.9%, in 2002 the percentage was 27.3 In 2002 49,700,000 metric tons of beef was produced, compared to 52,700,000 metric tons of farmed fish.  rw    011486
Contrasts: Fat of the Land.   March 2003   World Watch Mar/Apr
Fat in one foil-packaged serving of butter is 6 grams, in one Burger King "Whopper" it is 40 grams. The amount of carbon dioxide from a typical American car in one day is 3 kilograms, while the amount from burning enough Costa Rican rainforest to produce beef for one hamburger is 75 kilograms. The annual cost of McDonald's advertising is $800 million, compared to the National Cancer Institute promoting fruits and vegetables at $1 million. The average cholesterol level in the US is 210, but only 161 for US vegetarians. Oil spilled by the Exxon-Valdez was 12 million gallons, but hog urine and feces dumped into the New River in North Carolina is 25 million. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chickens in Denmark, prior to a banning the use, was 82%. After the ban the percentage dropped to 12%.  rw    011400
Psyching Up the Green Consumer: Everyone Wants Their Own Bit of Earth.   February 04, 2003   BBC News
The UN Environment Programme (Unep) is working to understand what makes consumers tick. It wants to make sustainable living something consumers will desire. But only 5% of people in developed countries have chosen to live sustainably. Making people feel guilty about their lifestyles is achieving only limited success. We should try to prevent trouble, not just remedy it. Traditionally we've looked at the impact on the environment and tried to work from there to sustainability. Now we want to look at human needs and see how to meet those needs more sustainably. Examples of the positive ways to influence consumers include a car manufacturer which provides a bike with every car urging buyers to use the bike for short journeys. Or European detergent makers who tell consumers to switch to low-temperature washing liquids and powders, because it is good for their clothes.  rw    005373
Human Pressure on Earth's Carrying Capacity Rises.   November 28, 2002   Environmental News Service
Consumption is exceeding the Earth's biological capacity by 20%, says Redefining Progress, a public policy organization. The biosphere needs fifteen months to renew what humanity consumes in a year. The U.S. deficit of 10.9 global acres (4.4 hectares) per capita is only exceeded by Belgium and Luxembourg. New Zealand has the largest surplus at 35 global acres (14 hectares) per capita, with Australia second at 17 global acres (7 hectares)per capita.  rw    005179

Sorry, Folks - We Can't Resolve the Problem by Simpler Living. Overpopulation is the Problem

So I didn't know I would grow up to be a curmudgeon, but there it is. I guess I have a simplistic view of the population/sustainability problem, but I see considerable flawed logic in some of the arguments in this conversation. I have found that the data seem clear, but the reactions seem to be uncomprehending or denying of the true import, or perhaps are simply so gentle as to fail to address the catastrophic magnitude of the message.

First of all, Tim Keating's plea for a return to nature, ignores the fact that humans have never had a conscience or much discrimination with regard to potential food items. No need to chastise the dodo eaters, ask the wooly mammoth, giant sloth, moa, or any of hundreds of game and plant (and possibly human), species wiped out by our hunter gatherer ancestors. Though many hunter gatherers had a much more inclusive spiritual attitude toward other species, when it came down to nut cutting, it was them or us.

So it is today, when investors say "we will hunt whales as long as we can get a 30% profit, when they are all gone, we'll find something else on which to make a 30% profit". Human restraint is a faint hope, at best. But take away our freedom? Our right to profit? Our god given right for each couple to decide how many children to have? Well, does each couple consider the cost to the environment of each child, the fact that the other species, are being asked to provide the supreme sacrifice for their right? Like the atmosphere and the oceans, the human population is a global commons. No one has the right to overgraze.

Carrying capacity isn't a matter of opinion, there are real limits. Pollution is bearing down on us now, one of the lightest touches limits will show us. Donella Meadows, in Beyond the Limits, suggested that the entire world (5 billion at the time), might live equitably with a standard of living similar to that of western Europe. Various carrying capacity and ecological footprint studies have indicated that the American lifestyle cannot be spread to all 6 billion unless we can obtain the resources of two more planets. Can the earth support 12 billion in 25 more years, 24 billion in 40 years? Nah!

My sustainability colleagues say "sustainability is inevitable". No doubt about it. So what are the scenarios for establishing equilibrium with the environment? Well, there are the four horsemen, they should be riding through here any time now, unless we can detour them to the south. But those who argue against "population control" are deluding themselves that, by evading hard choices, they aren't responsible for the more severe mechanisms that will inevitably step in to do the job.

If the population were to increase to 12 billion, perhaps there would be enough food, if distributed equitably, for a meager existence for all. But the toll on other species would be severe - omnivorous locusts come to mind. Beyond the Limits explores many ways that an overshoot and collapse scenario could play out. But there are worse scenarios. One is a state of global dynamic equilibrium, where a balance exists between the large number of poor and the few rich. Such a bipolar equilibrium system would see war, famine, disease only affecting the large pool of poor that supports the aristocracy, who would live as far from the rabble as they could get. In this sense we Americans are all rich, my dog's daily food would keep a third world child alive for weeks. Third world nations may hope for economic success and eventual triumph of capitalism, but the underlying dynamics are solidly against it. We have set up the world economy and the multinational consumer system so that the poor will be the first to starve, but in a real sense we are eating their children even now.

What this implies is that the whole world won't starve, but that the third world will take the brunt of the limits, sort of like the sequential collapse of the front of a Volvo in a crash. They will be the ones to suffer famine, disease, and war, in order to maintain the balance which allows the rich to stay comfortable. Theirs will be the sacrifice, and the less powerful, including other species, will be the first to go.

Dave Denber's contention that "the problem isn't overpopulation in the developing countries but overconsumption by the developed countries" is preposterous, not because we aren't overconsuming, but because it suggests that if we only reduced our consumption to that of the third world, we could go on increasing population indefinitely. But many poor countries cannot even maintain their meager standard of living, and this is only partially due to the extraction of means by the multinational consumer system. They have overreached their local carrying capacity, and must make adjustments or beg to receive a greater share of global wealth.

The hope that we can act locally as Julie Hudson suggests, to achieve regional sustainability, is a noble idea, but can only help assuage our guilt so long as our resource use exceeds our local carrying capacity. And even if we could achieve local equilibrium, it would require a significant reduction in population in most areas. Sub-Saharan Africa is doing its share to establish local equilibrium or perhaps maintain global equilibrium, our pity should be informed by our guilt. The densities achieved in China and India are certainly approaching the maximum, and balance is being imposed by resource shortages and mandates. Following that path leads to a world of wall to wall people and little else, an equilibrium where the limits are imposed more equitably, in your face, every day. A drab world vision, indeed. And to what purpose?

What possible value could filling the world with more people have? Is it the right of our species to wipe out all others? Are we to measure ourselves by the mass of souls or the soul of the masses?

I know I've been brutally frank in the discussion above, and perhaps just the teeniest bit pessimistic, but the time has come to discard the rationalizations that allow us to hide from the realities and stark limits. This is the big problem. The one we can't face. Social or economic equity won't solve it, reduced consumption won't solve it, sustainable living won't solve it, only population reduction will solve it. That solution is inevitable, but perhaps we can work to ease the pain of the transition.

Perhaps we humans can seek the path that maximizes kindness to all beings. If we can't bring ourselves to personally forsake our comfort, perhaps we can chose and promote, from the security of our place and time, the path that minimizes the pain to others.

Mark E. Kelley III, PE
dragon@world.std.com
003277 Sustainability_Overconsumption`M

Energy Efficiency.   2001   Sierra magazine

It is far faster, cheaper, and more cost effective to solve our energy needs
by working to increase our energy efficiency as quickly as possible. We gain
far greater energy independence, faster, cheaper and more cost effectively.

  • California could save enough electricity for one million homes -- 1000
    megawatts of electricity -- just by replacing outmoded air conditioners with
    modern, efficient ones.


  • Replacing old refrigerators would save another 1000 megawatts, and make
    power available for another million homes.


  • The truth is that if auto companies were required to install the best
    technology and increase the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to 40
    miles per gallon, Americans would save three million barrels of oil every
    day -- more than the Arctic, Persian Gulf imports, and off-shore California
    combined.


  • If tire companies were required to sell replacement tires as fuel efficient
    as the tires installed on new cars America would save 5.4 billion barrels of
    oil -- more than geologists expect to find in the Arctic.

  • 003276
    International Buy Nothing Day is November 24, 2000.   November 17, 2000   Adbusters/ZPG
    North American overconsumption grossly magnifies human impact on the Earth,
    with 5% of the world's population consuming about 30% of its natural resources.
    And a mere 20% of the earth's population uses 80% of its natural resources. Our
    overconsumption is killing the planet. Buy Nothing Day, falling on the
    biggest shopping day of the year, is sponsored by Adbusters Media Foundation, is an excellent opportunity to formally recognize and reduce the impact of our
    consumer culture. Can you refrain from buying anything for one whole day?
    Organize a Buy Nothing Day in your area. Publicize American consumption
    patterns and urge friends and co-workers to purchase nothing for one day. For more help and information, visit www.adbusters.org., http://www.newdream.org or
    http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/1624/umvei.htm#Institute.
    003253

    Couldn't we fix things if only Americans would stop overconsuming?
    The Ecological footprint concept sheds some light on this question (www.rprogress.org). In Walkernagel et. al's conception, the ecological footprint is how much land would be required to support the lifestyle of each country. Converting consumption of food, oil, environment, etc. as burdens on the earth, allows us to see how we are doing relative to the carrying capacity, ie, the actual available land on earth. In their words:"The Ecological Footprint measures what we consume of nature. It shows how much productive land and water we occupy to produce all the resources we consume and to take in all the waste we make". Generously, the creators of the Footprint concept have allocated 12% of the available land for "biodiversity", or other creatures. However, on global average, we are now using about 120% of the available resources.

    The average Ecological Footprint of those living in the United States is 27 acres per person. Looking at the ecological footprint of each country on a per capita basis, it appears that if the population of the US could simply reduce its consumption so as to attain an Ecological Footprint of one acre per person (equal to that of the lowest impact country, Bangladesh), we would almost exactly match the earth's carrying capacity today.

    So in answer to the question: "Can we solve the global ecological crisis by reducing consumption?", the answer is yes! But only if all Americans agree to make catastrophic sacrifices, and only for about a week before population eats up the savings.

    Equitable distribution of resources would allow us to attain a balance with available resources today if everyone could limit their impact to 5 acres per person.

    The above are two ways that a balance could be achieved with the current population of earth. We can, of course add more people if we reduce the average footprint or eliminate the 12% set aside for other species. We have defaulted to the latter position, while avoiding either the path toward equity or the sacrifice for Americans of their consuming ways.

    We're comfortable, and, despite many contributors concerns that it will all come to a catastrophic end, the bimodal equilibrium that we have instituted is probably very stable. This means that, barring any deliberate attempts at population control, the underdeveloped nations will be required to sacrifice their numbers, their quality of life, their children, for ours. This is already happening, as we all can see. Disease, food, and water shortages are showing up in many countries, and it is clear that rising death rates will be a significant part of the population solution. Sustainability is inevitable, but this cruel version of unsustainability could go on for a long time.

    But, yikes! There is some hope that population can be brought under control. Yes, we know that affluence, education and equity, not to mention autonomy for women, can lead to dramatic reduction in birth rates. In 61 nations, the birth rate has dropped to sustainable levels (2.1 children per couple). And a concerted effort has been shown to make a real difference. Witness China, which reduced its birth rate from over 3 to 2.3 through laws and propaganda, and Kerela, which did even more (now at 1.8!) through equity, rational thinking and education. This took place over about 10 years. What it took was the realization that population control was the only solution. We haven't quite got it, yet.

    There's a great deal of action along this front. The UN conference in Cairo, in 1994 came up with a workable plan of action, and many organizations are helping. Two that are very worthwhile are: www.populationaction.org and www.worldwatch.org . Worth seeing their perspective on the issue, since they are the experts. It only frustrates me that so little thought has been given to this issue in the US that our Congress could be allowed to deny funds for these vital programs. We are not at a sustainable level now, there is no possibility of stabilization without rising mortality and environmental destruction, the only eventual kind solution is population reduction. For the US to take a position that mandates global environmental destruction and increased mortality is unconscionable.

    Mark E. Kelley III003087 Sustainability_Overconsumption`M

    Population and Consumption: History and Scope of the Consumption Issue.   2000   President's Council on Sustainable Development
    Approximately 20% of the world's population in the late
    1980s lived in industrialized countries. These countries consumed 85% of the
    aluminum and synthetic chemicals used in the world; 80% of paper, iron, and
    steel; 75% of timber and energy; 60% of meat, fertilizer, and cement; half
    the world's fish and grain; and 40% of the fresh water. Varying by
    commodity, this scale of consumption ranges from three to 19 times the
    consumption levels of developing countries. Industrialized countries also
    generate most of the world's hazardous chemical wastes, 96% of radioactive
    wastes, and nearly 90% of all ozone- depleting chlorofluorocarbons.
    003254
    The Post-Petroleum Paradigm -- and Population.   March 1999   Population and Environment by Walter Youngquist
    Global oil production is expected to "peak" in about five years, and
    nothing can replace it. For example, domestic coal is expected to
    become a "sink" -- not worth digging out of the ground -- in about 40
    years.[p. 67, Gever, et al.]
    003274
    Worldwatch Briefing "Raw Materials Use and the Environment".   1999  

    This press release has some important facts and figures

    about consumption and solutions.

    003271

    The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices:.   1999  

    Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. For example:

    reducing electricity use would have roughly 100 times greater impact on

    common air pollution and global warming than reducing spending on telephone

    bills

    by an equal amount, as well as 55 times greater impact on common water

    pollution and 5 times greater impact on toxic air pollution. 003272

    Fresh Water Consumption .   1998   United Nations Development Program
    Consumption of fresh water has doubled since 1960, (but
    so has population, so per-person usage has not changed)
    and wood
    consumption (for household and industry us) is 40% higher than 25 years ago.
    003256
    Pet food.   1998  
    Americans and Europeans together spend $17 billion a year on

    pet food, $4 billion more than the estimated yearly additional amount needed

    to provide everyone in the world with basic health and nutrition. The

    richest 20% of humanity consume 45% of all meat and fish, use 58% of all

    energy produced and own 87% of the vehicles. Consumption of fossil fuels has

    almost doubled since 1950 (and so has population)

    . 003260

    There's no away to throw to.
    ...Garret Harden 003248

    Impact=Population X Affluence X Technology .... Nina Paley
    Impact = Population X Affluence X Technology
    Nina Paley ... www.ninapaley.com
    003250 Sustainability_Overconsumption`M

    The Future of Consumption for a U.S. Baby .  
    "A child born today in the United
    States for instance, will by the age of 75 years produce 52 tons of garbage,
    consume 10 million gallons of water and use 5 times the energy of a child
    born in the developing world."
    "The United States uses approximately quarter of the world's fossil fuels
    and is the largest contributor of carbon dioxide, undesirable combustion
    products, and chlorofluorocarbons, chemicals that contribute to greenhouse
    warming and attack the Earth's ozone shield."
    "The world looks to the United States as a role model. It is hard to ask
    developing nations to implement environment saving techniques and stabilize
    their population growth when the U.S. is unwilling to do so."
    003252
    The Environmental Impact of US Babies.  
    An American born in the 1990s will produce in a lifetime
    approximately one million kilograms (2.2 million lbs.) of atmospheric
    wastes, 10 million kgs (22 million lbs.) of liquid wastes, and one million
    kgs (2.2 million lbs.) of solid wastes. An American will consume 700,000 kgs
    (1.54 million lbs.) of minerals, and 24 billion BTUs of energy -- equivalent
    to 4000 barrels of oil. In a lifetime, an average
    American will eat 25,000 kgs (55,000 lbs.) of animal products, provided in
    part by slaughtering 2000 animals.
    003255

    The US Needs to Raise Fewer
    Domestic Animals
    .. Pimental003257 Sustainability_Overconsumption`M

    A Chicken in Every Pot.   Dr. Norman Myers
    If every person in China ate an extra chicken, the grain needed to rear the
    birds would be equivalent to the entire grain exports of Canada. America's
    annual consumption is 800 kgs per person, much of it in the form of feed for
    cattle in a meat-based diet.
    003259
    Hamburger.   United Nations Population Fund
    Producing a quarter pound of hamburger requires 100 gallons
    of water, 1.2 lbs. of feed grain and energy equal to a cup of gasoline,
    causes the loss of 1.25 lbs. of topsoil and causes greenhouse gas emissions
    equivalent to a 6-mile drive in a typical U.S. car.
    The average person in the United States consumes 260 lbs. of meat per year,
    most of it hamburgers. In Bangladesh, the average is 6.5 lbs.
    003261
    The Environmental Impast of U.S. Babies.   Robert Engleman of Population Action International
    An American born in the 1990s will produce in a lifetime approximately
    one million kilograms (2.2 million lbs.) of atmospheric wastes, 10 million
    kgs (22 million lbs.) of liquid wastes, and one million kgs (2.2 million
    lbs.) of solid wastes. An American will consume 700,000 kgs (1.54 million
    lbs.) of minerals, and 24 billion BTUs of energy -- equivalent to 4000
    barrels of oil. In a lifetime, an average American will eat 25,000 kgs
    (55,000 lbs.) of animal products, provided in part by slaughtering 2000
    animals. The US per-capita consumption rate is ten to 100 times that of most
    of the world's countries. Compared to Indians, Americans (on a per capita
    basis) produce 27 times as much carbon dioxide, ... and consume 35 times as
    much energy.

    by Charles A. S. Hall, Ph.D., R. Gil Pontius Jr., Lisa Coleman and Jae-Young
    Ko
    003263
    The Seeds of Simplicity.  
    003265
    Escape From Affluenza.   PBS
    PBS TV's voluntary simplicity 003267
    The Affluenza Project.   affluenza.com
    therapy and treatment of affluenza, a dysfunctional or harmful relationship
    with money/wealth, or its pursuit.
    003268
    US Per Capita Consumption the Highest by Far.  
    The United States, with only 4.7% of the world's population, consumes 25% of the world's resources and generates 25% to 30% of the world's waste. Compared to an average citizen of the country of India, a typical person in the United States uses:
    50 times more steel
    56 times more energy
    170 times more synthetic rubber and newsprint
    250 times more motor fuel
    300 times more plastic 003278
    Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change.   New York Times*
    The biggest animal rights groups have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. The UN reported that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport.

    Environmentalists are pointing fingers at Hummers and S.U.V.'s when they should be pointing at the dinner plate. PETA is outfitting a Hummer with a driver in a chicken suit and a vinyl banner proclaiming meat as the top cause of global warming. PETA had written to more than 700 environmental groups, asking them to promote vegetarianism. The Humane Society has also highlighted that “switching to a plant-based diet does more to curb global warming than switching from an S.U.V. to a Camry. Vegan Outreach, a 14-year-old group in Tucson with just three full-time workers and a $500,000 annual budget, is spending about $800 this month to run ads to give more prominence to the global warming aspect of vegetarianism. Al Gore calls global warming a risk to humanity, yet hasn't changed or mentioned vegetarianism. Using global warming as a tactic for advancing the cause of vegetarianism feels a bit opportunistic. Environmental groups, concede that mobilizing against meat eaters is not their highest priority.

    Lecturing people about personal consumption choices is not effective.  rw 021858



    Shortsightedness
    Nigeria: Resource Utilisation and the 7-Point Agenda (3).   July 09, 2008   Nigerian Tribune
    In Nigeria there is a lack of understanding of the rights, responsibilities and limits of communities, companies, State and Federal Government.

    In the 1960s, mining drove the infrastructure. The current administration has recognised the need to focus on coal, barytes, bitumen, gold, iron ore, lead/ zinc and limestone, as they are available in sufficient quantities and will contribute 5% to the GDP by 2015.

    Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the natural environment, it is in the most common form of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the future. Enviromental sustainability is the ability of the environment to continue to function properly indefinitely. The goal of environmental sustainability is to halt environmental degradation.

    It is possible to consume less and have economic growth as is found in European economies. Between 2005 and 2006, the quantity of natural resources used by the UK economy, fell by 6 million tonnes 0.9%. Over the last decade, resource use remained unchanged, despite rising economic activity.

    Th Malthus doctrine of resource scarcity and economic growth says that humanity is endowed with finite amount of material resources. If uncontrolled, the tendency of human population is to grow exponentially.

    Technology should not be perceived as the ultimate escape from the problem of resource scarcity.

    Economic activity cannot be expected to grow indefinitely unless the rates of population growth and resource utilisation are effectively controlled. Population + Resources = Scarcity.

    In 1968, Paul R Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb (1968) that predicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the "population explosion".

    Population growth will outpace agricultural growth unless controlled. The failure on a global scale has not happened because of the flow of ideas, knowledge and capital, but there are failures where inequalities have accelerated the breaching of the limits of growth. The dependence on natural resources has to be understood within the conditions arising when the actions of some individuals have direct effects on the welfare of others who have direct control over that actions.  rw 023171

    In Search of Common Sense.   October 13, 2007   Yale Global Online
    During the past century, globalization grew exponentially, paced by population, technological and economic hyper-growth. However, we find ourselves without mechanisms to create solutions for the whole. New problems do not recognize national boundaries, every nation has sovereign power over its own territory.

    The Tällberg Foundation proposes new frameworks for international negotiations, and changed institutions for global governance.

    The initial objective is to develop recommendations for humanity's relationship with nature. We will use well-tested methods to develop global operations. Planning is missing in the international negotiations that should guarantee welfare and security for all. Responses today are based upon the spontaneous crises that erupt from changes in the balance of power.

    Environmental issues are systems problems. No one nation can solve the climate problem or control water problem.

    The world now relies on economic growth. To question the idea of growth is taboo. That growth should have limits is not politically or economically acceptable, but environmental crises say otherwise. Current trends of growth destabilize our future.

    The political rhetoric is that continued high global economic growth is compatible with avoiding the effects of climate change. All serious research demonstrates that our planet does not meet the growth ambitions of everyone in the current technological infrastructure.

    The American invasion of Iraq demonstrated that the institution does not have the authority to limit a superpower's ambition to maximize its own interests.

    But all parties must be part of the process toward political agreement. Yet today we lack political debate about how to organize our global society.

    Distrust among nations has grown for many years within multilateral organizations, with conflicts between poor and rich nations, between various religions, ethnic and cultural spheres.

    There is mistrust over the ever-increasing gap between promises, agreements and results delivered. In the meantime, the sustainability of Earth's ecosystems continues to be undermined.

    The technological infrastructure is not compatible with the growth that 6.6 billion people see as their vision of the future. Too many in too short a time strive after too high a material standard of living. We are caught between our ambitions and the Earth's capacity.

    Within 30 years the world's population will grow to 9 billion and will place the ecosystem under an enormous stress.

    Water is one example of a resource with imbalances throughout the world. In large areas of Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, China and western and southwestern US, water is approaching critical levels.

    The shortages are greatest in the most densely populated areas. In many regions of the world groundwater levels are sinking and global warming will hasten this process.

    The struggle for natural resources will harden geopolitical tensions, with resulting military conflicts and terror. There are no longer new worlds to which millions could emigrate. A fight for survival awaits us, as the international systems of economy, finances and logistics erode.

    Management of global issues needs new principles and models to meet the fast-growing mutual dependencies.

    The Tällberg Foundation will organize a series of workshops in seven national capitals in cooperation with diverse partners with a goal to develop global public opinion that does not stem from individual political, national or economic interests.

    One Swedish tradition is a centuries-old practice protected by the Swedish Constitution: Everyone shall have the right of access to nature. You may go anywhere as long as you heed the common sense of freedom and responsibility concisely expressed in the phrase, "Do not disturb, do not destroy.”  rw 022060

    If We Want to Save the Planet, We Need a Five-year Freeze on Biofuels.   March 27, 2007   BiofuelWatch.org.uk
    The governments using biofuel to tackle global warming know that it causes more harm than good. From next year, all suppliers in the UK will have to ensure that 2.5% of the fuel they sell is made from plants. By 2050, the government hopes that 33% of our fuel will come from crops. By 2017 the USA should be supplying 24% of the nation's transport fuel.

    Biofuels are a formula for environmental and humanitarian disaster. Those who can afford to drive are richer than those who are in danger of starvation and it will lead to the destruction of important habitats.

    The price of maize has doubled. The price of wheat has reached a 10-year high, while global stockpiles of both grains have reached 25-year lows. There have been food riots in Mexico and the poor are feeling the strain all over the world. According to the UN the main reason is the demand for ethanol. Farmers will plant more, but it is not clear that they can overtake the booming demand. Biofuel is worse for the planet than petroleum. A UN report suggests that 98% of the natural rainforest in Indonesia will be gone by 2022 with the planting of palm oil to turn into biodiesel.

    Biodiesel from palm oil eventually causes 10 times as much climate change as ordinary diesel.

    Indigenous people in South America, Asia and Africa are starting to complain about incursions onto their land by fuel planters. The environment secretary noted that palm oil plantations "are destroying 0.7% of the Malaysian rainforest each year, reducing a vital natural resource (and in the process, destroying the natural habitat of the orang-utan). It is all connected."

    The European commission was faced with a choice between fuel efficiency and biofuels. After heavy lobbying on behalf of car manufacturers, it caved in and raised the limit to 130 grams. It announced that it would make up the shortfall by increasing the contribution from biofuel.

    The British government says it "will require transport fuel suppliers to report on the carbon saving and sustainability of the biofuels they supply". But it will not require them to do anything. Biofuels occupy the space that other crops now fill, displacing them into new habitats. It promises that one day there will be biofuels made from straw or grass or wood. But there are still major technical obstacles. The author suggests a five-year freeze.

    Encouraged by government policy, vast investments are now being made by farmers and chemical companies.  rw 020821

    U.S.: Remake a Living: Sustainable Development in Today's Job Market.   March 13, 2007   Grist Magazine
    "Sustainable development" has the most commonly used definition : "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

    Suggesting the possibility of a "sustainable" economy has changed the primary goal of environmentalism away from "protecting the environment" and toward the creation of a society that will simultaneously provide economic and social well-being for over 6 billion human beings and guarantee healthy habitats for millions of species that share the Earth with us.

    Transportation, agriculture, energy, forestry, architecture, construction, mining, urban planning, financial institutions, and manufacturing are a few industries that are toying with new approaches aimed at "sustainability."

    Environmental professionals have taken to heart the idea that it is our responsibility to take the lead in defining what a sustainable society and economy might look like.

    Before the idea of sustainability caught hold, it seemed fair for environmental professionals to protect Nature against the destructiveness of the human economy.

    The idea that we could be seen as a privileged elite who "care more about birds and bears than about people" was hard to grasp.

    And yet, years of environmental and conservation work had taught us that most of the exclusively "environmental" approaches were pushing the boundaries of political support. Putting environmental regulatory, technical, and managerial fingers in the dike would not ultimately hold back the rising waters of population growth, economic desires, and social injustice.

    The ideal of a "sustainable economy," then, was a new statement of goals, a political strategy for winning over economic development champions and social justice advocates, and a practical recognition that the existing tools for improving the planet's ecological health were ultimately no match for the forces arrayed against it.

    We must all be honestly engaged in the work of inventing a truly new synthesis that seeks to accommodate the economic and social justice desires of people with the habitat requirements of the widest possible spectrum of species on the planet.

    It's not outlandish to ask if we are all willing to "care about birds and bears as well as about people." As we struggle to become environmental professionals who understand the legitimate human requirement for economic security and social justice, we are within our rights to require other professions to take on the quest for global ecological health and habitat protection.

    If we do, then the vision of a sustainable economy suggested may become Our Common Future. If we don't, we may be engaging in unilateral disarmament,

    brilliantly disguised as an attempt at social innovation.  rw   Karen Gaia says: we should care about the birds and the bears - after they go, we are next. Those who attach little significance to the drowning of polar bears are extremely short-sighted. 020436

    One Last Thing - Would a Drop in Population Be a Positive Or a Negative?.   November 26, 2006   Philadelphia Inquirer (US)
    Fertility rates are dropping while population continues to increase. By 2080, world population will peak at approximately nine billion. There is a school of thought that argues that smaller populations are good. Decreased population will lead to higher wages and a better quality of life as supplies exceed demands.

    These arguments do not withstand scrutiny.

    Ehrlich wrote that, in the face of expanding populations, "the world will undergo famines - hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."

    Instead, the availability of food has increased, even with growing population. Famine, has become a matter of fair distribution, not of inadequate supply.

    Population increase fosters agricultural innovation, which, spurs leaps in production. Everywhere you go today, you find traffic jams and sprawl, but this is a problem of density, not population. There's plenty of land available out there.

    Markets and human innovation stepped in to provide greater efficiency.

    For instance, in 1850, you needed an average of 4.6 tons of petroleum equivalent to produce $1,000 of goods and services. By 1950, you needed only 1.8 tons, and, by 1978, 1.5 tons. More population means more creators and producers, both of goods along established production patterns and of new knowledge and inventions."

    All things being equal, population increase leads to increased per capita production.

    Between A.D. 200 and 600, population shrank from 257 million to 208 million. It took 400 more years for the population to recover. There is no precedent in human history for economic growth on declining human capital.

    There is good reason to believe population decline will be bad for us. Innovation will suffer and economies contract.

    The supposed benefits of population decline are a mirage. The real question is whether falling populations will lead Western civilization to something like the fall of Rome.  rw   Ralph says: The author should open his eyes to the millions who are already dying for want of food. Karen Gaia says: The author seems totally unaware of the limits of the supply of resources, particularly water, soil, and oil. 019571

    US California;: Organic Farmers Hit by Worker Shortage .   August 14, 2006   Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Increased patrolling along the border with Mexico, and easier, higher-paying jobs in the city have made farmworkers scarce. Farms are feeling the pinch, but organic farms that grow labor-intensive, hand-picked crops are especially suffering.

    More than half the 1.8 million farmworkers are here illegally, though in California the percentage is probably much higher.

    One farmer has been forced to tear out nearly 30 acres of vegetables, and estimated his loss so far to be about $200,000. Growers check documents of prospective workers, knowing that fakes are easy to find and the industry couldn't make it without the labor of undocumented workers.

    This has turned farmers into strong advocates of immigration reform. They're pushing hard for a program for guest worker. One farmer hired 320 workers for the harvest at his raspberry and blackberry farm. He could have used an extra 30 to 50 workers, but made do by paying workers to put in 12- or 14-hour days and postponing trellising, weeding and covering the plants.

    The labor shortage is a serious problem, and getting worse as the government adds more law enforcement to the border. Some growers are moving parts of their operations to Mexico; others, are having to tough it out, he said.

    "We need the workers; they need the work," one farmer said. "We just need to figure out some way to make this happen".  rw   Karen Gaia says: Hiring illegal aliens to keep food prices down is a false economy. The growing population of the U.S. puts a strain upon its resources, including water and soil; and a strain on the world's environment and resources, including oil and global warming. The whole world pays for this false economy. If we want to help poor foreigners, it is better to send our money to poor countries to improve health and education there and stop spending money on cars and big houses and airplane trips. 018267

    Lessons of the Ancients - Ephesians Provide a Cautionary Tale About Sustainability.   June 17, 2006   Tallahassee Democrat
    The residents of the ancient metropolis of Ephesus never considered the impermanence of their home.

    They were part of the Roman Empire, the most powerful empire on earth, one of the most desirable cities in the civilized world, with a population of at least 250,000.

    Ephesus today is an amazing testament to the engineering and of its Greek and Roman former residents.

    And yet, for the past 1,500 years, after river silt destroyed its harbor, Ephesus has remained a dead city. The lessons of the Ephesians, are very practical.

    Two thousand years ago, its residents assumed that Ephesus would be teeming with children, merchants and politicians as long as there was a sunrise.

    We have to wonder whether in 2,000 years, Venice, Italy, or New Orleans will be like Ephesus today.

    Just as the colonists of Ephesus never imagined that their access to the Aegean would go the way of the Hittites, New Orleans' founders never conceived that their descendants would permit the destruction of thousands of acres of wetlands that provided a buffer against nature's wrath.

    In many cases, we allow things to happen because of our reluctance to alter course. We could be doing a lot of things to save us from ourselves.

    We can't assume, that we can continue to do things as we've always done and still go on forever. That nature won't eventually have her way.

    We must consider not only how a product is made but how it is to be used. If we don't start to think more sustainably future generations will see us the way we moderns see Ephesus.  rw   Karen Gaia says - Ephesus was well-situated because it was both a port, close to the water, and had hills to protect it, but the city lost its vital access to the sea due to erosion from nearby farming that silted in the waterways. A growing population meant more food was needed, and therefore more farms, and thus the more the water channel was clogged. 017800

    Japanese Women Wage Fertility Strike.   May 20, 2006   San Francisco Chronicle
    A Japanese government survey rates that nation as a difficult place for childrearing. Japan has one of the lowest birth rates. On average, a Japanese woman is expected to have only 1.29 kids, in contrast, the fertility rate is 2.04 in the US. Korea has a birth rate of 1.08, the lowest worldwide.

    Japanese cited the high cost of raising children and paying for their education as reasons not to have more kids. Japan and Korea have a cultural characteristic in common, they rely on the mother as the main caretaker, instead of viewing childrearing as a responsibility shared by both parents. About 68% of Japanese and Korean moms were the parent caring for a pre-K child, versus 36% of American moms.

    In Japan, the practice of keeping workers late into the night is rampant. If you have a job that has limited responsibilities, you might get off at a reasonable hour. But if your career is going anywhere, you're stuck at the office.

    Moms with careers keep their kids in day care for 12 hours at a stretch. Others let their careers take a back seat once they have kids. There's roughly 50% of mothers in Japan who are stay-at-home moms.

    Japan expects its population to decline in the coming years. In turn, the high ratio of the elderly population is expected to rise.

    If Japanese women stay on fertility strike, Japan won't have the workers to remain an economic powerhouse. Japanese companies need to wean themselves off their workaholic habits and create an atmosphere where it's not just acceptable but even macho for fathers to go home to their families at a reasonable hour.  rw   Ralph says: Has anyone thought that eventually it might be better for all if the population declined and society prepared for that eventuality? Karen says: But also better to prepare for the time when a population has declined sufficiently and people need to learn to live a quality life without having to always grow the economy and without having to be workaholics - by getting away from the super consumer pattern. 017517

    EU's Population Grows by Half a Percent to 459.5 Million People.   October 25, 2005   Associated Press
    The EU's population grew last year by 0.5% to 459.5 million people, driven mainly by immigration. The 25-member bloc's population rose from 457.2 million people in 2003, legal immigration into the EU last year accounted for nearly 2 million. By comparison, the 2004 population growth rate stood at 0.9% in the United States, 0.1% in Japan, 0.6% in China and 1.4% in India. The European numbers add evidence to warnings by EU officials that the bloc needs to take in more migrants to keep its economies going and help pay for welfare systems. The issue of reforming EU social welfare systems and economies tops the agenda at an EU summit in Britain. Births within the EU counted for 400,000 of the total EU population increase. The statistics showed that almost one third of babies born in the EU last year were outside of marriage. The highest percentages of babies born out of wedlock were found in the Nordic countries, while the lowest rates were in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Poland. Germany, the EU's largest country with 82.5 million people, saw a slight population decrease while the second-largest, France, slightly increased to an estimated 60.6 million. The smallest EU member, Malta, had an estimated 400,000 people.  rw   Those who claim it takes more people to improve the economic situation need to realize that the economy cannot continue to grow when the world's limited resources are strained. Population growth cannot continue for ever and now is the time to plan for the reduction that is esential human civilazation to continue. 015528
    Manchester United Boss in US Clash with Greenpeace.   July 24, 2005   Richmond Times-Dispatch(US)
    At risk is the future of the menhaden fish, which breeds in Chesapeake Bay and lives along America's eastern seaboard. Vast shoals are being vacuumed up at a time, threatening the ecosystem, and this has set Greenpeace against the American billionaire Malcolm Glazer whose family owns Omega Protein Corp, which fishes the bay. Mr Glazer's son is also a director of Manchester United. Greenpeace staged a protest demanding a moratorium for the fishery, and an end to the company taking menhaden out of the bay, claiming its 66 vessels and 30 spotter planes are threatening the entire stock. Sports fishermen claim that striped bass are starving because its principal food, menhaden, is disappearing. The menhaden also filters sea water for its food, cleaning up the pollution. The demonstration was the latest in a struggle to convince US Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to control catches until the true position of this valuable fish can be assessed by scientists. 12 hearings are being held to gauge public opinion after which a decision will be taken. The commission rejected a proposal by Omega to cap its take at 135,000 tonnes annually for the next four years. Critics say the proposed cap was larger than the current catch. Against the company is a cooperative of conservation and recreation organisations. The commission is suggesting a cap of 110,400 tonnes until more research can be done. Scientists do not have a clear picture on what is happening. A former fishery biologist said a robust menhaden population would remove nutrients which avoids having to pay a tax to treat sewage going into the bay. Support for Omega came from the National Association for Colored People (NAACP). The Reedville plant employs about 250 people in the fishing season, making it the third largest fishing port in the US. Greenpeace said that at the rate Omega is going, these jobs won't be there in a couple of generations. The best type of omega-3 is found in fish, high in two fatty acids crucial to health and Western diets contain very little omega-3. Hydrogenation removes it. Omega-3 is said to benefit depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), heart disease and period pain.  rw    014739
    Japan: Role Model.   June 06, 2005  
    The U.S. uses three times the energy as Japan to produce $1 in economic output. The Japanese government has made energy conservation a priority. It sets standards for a broad range of consumer products, and energy use in commercial and residential construction and factory operations. It equates energy conservation with patriotism. A recent initiative persuades people to trade old appliances for more efficient ones and replace current cars with hybris. Another persuades men to shed their jackets in summer to reduce air conditioner use. At the same time as Japan is pursuing energy security as well as reductions in greenhouse gas. Japan seems to be exploring every option. Despite stagnation during the 90s, the Japanese economy does not seem to have been harmed by its energy conservation measures. Japan has become a leader in cleaner technologies and stands to gain as the global economy shifts in that direction.  rw    013954
    The Looming Disaster - Red Sky at Morning.   September 08, 2004   American Scientist
    In the book Red Sky at Morning, by James Gustave Speth, an environmental revolution would link local environmental issues with global ones and embed them into public policy. Our economic system should support social goals and human values, also reestablish the US as an environmental leader. The ultimate goal would be a world society that is environmentally sustainable, economically equitable and peaceful. We need citizens and scientists capable of advancing the actions needed. The 1980 Report of the Brandt Commission warned that mass hunger, economic disaster, environmental catastrophes, and terrorism could be as much of a threat as war. Fundamental changes are needed - we must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is about being more, not having more. So far treaties, agreements and protocols are not preventing environmental deterioration. The failure is a tendency to address symptoms rather than causes; economic opposition and protection of sovereignty; weak multilateral institutions; the use of consensus based negotiating; and lack of strong leadership from wealthy countries. Increasing pollution and biological impoverishment have been triggered by expansion in human populations and their consumption. Global population increased fourfold during the 20th century, and the productivity of individuals grew fivefold; resulting in a 20 fold growth in the global economy, which is expected by 2050 to quadruple to $140 trillion. In the 1980s human demands began to exceed the regenerative capacity of the air, water, land, sunlight, and plant and animal life. 23 affluent nations today produce and consume more than 20 times the quantity of goods and services used by the 40 least developed countries. Annual gains in economic productivity powered by fossil fuels are 50% higher in affluent countries. By 2050 production and consumption will be more than 40 times greater in affluent countries than in less developed countries. In about a third of the countries surveyed (including Japan, the Nordic countries, and Eastern European countries), the richest 10% of the population enjoys 5 to 10 times as much income as the poorest 10%. The annual rate of population increase is six times greater in the least developed countries. Most of the growth in world population will take place among the five billion people in the developing world where three billion live on less than two dollars a day. Population growth in developing countries and production and consumption in industrialized countries are threatening environmental sustainability, and jeopardizing stability and peace in a world blessed with new technologies and cursed with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Transitions to progress require a stable or smaller world population, freedom from mass poverty, environmentally benign technologies, environmentally honest prices, sustainable consumption, an emphasis on knowledge and learning, good governance, and a culture that respects nature, human rights economic justice, and peace. These demand reduction of population growth in developing countries; restraint on economic production and consumption in the industrialized world; development of environmentally benign sources of energy; and education that will equip individuals to become creators of the human future.  rw    011566
    Oxygen Depletion.   June 2003   Patrick Burns
    Are any studies showing projected O2 depletion as a result of fossil fuel burning coupled with diminished vegetation? It's hard to quantify as O2 levels fluctuate in the atmosphere, and records are not clear. There not much data to suggest it is occurring, but it may not matter if it does. The capacity of an animal to sieve oxygen out of the air is higher than you would imagine. We could probably have a decline in oxygen levels and we would not even notice. The body adapts to oxygen levels, the lung capacity of a sherpa is a fantastic thing, and it's acquired, not genetic.  rw    006793
    U.S.: Parks at Risk.   May 19, 2003   Arizona Republic
    U.S national parks are underfunded, over-crowded, and in disrepair. Their budget has declined 20% in the last 25 years, while the park system has grown in size in the number of parks, and the number of visitors has climbed to 290 million a year. Yellowstone has had to turn away 60% percent of school tours because of lack of staff; the roof fell in at the visitor center at Death Valley and the roads in Glacier National Park need money for road repairs. Arizona's Grand Canyon has no geologist, no way to solve traffic problem, and not enough employees to protect the ecosystem. The Park Service's budget in 1977 was $2.7 billion, last year it was $2.2 billion. The adjusted construction budget in 1977 was $390 million. In fiscal 2003, Congress funded $325 million. The estimate for system-wide maintenance was $4.9 billion. Three years into the program only $363 million of maintenance and construction money has been released.  rw    006688
    Only a Quarter of Americans Know That Oil, Coal, and Wood Generate 70% Of our Energy
      May 1999   Sierra magazine/World Resources Institute
    Since 1961, world wood consumption has increased by 64%, while demand
    for industrial wood has risen by 50%. World demand for industrial wood fiber
    is expected to increase by 20 to 40% by 2010. And though industrial wood
    plantations account for about one-quarter of supply, additional consumption
    needs are met by commercial logging of old-growth and secondary-growth
    forests throughout the world. Logging is responsible for about one-third of
    the 450 million hectares of tropical forest loss that occurred between 1960
    and 1990, destroying one-fifth of the world's forest cover. The article
    suggests that increasing consumption may threaten additional old-growth
    forests, destroying ecosystems, depleting biodiversity, and failing to
    provide sources of future production.  
    World Resources Institute "Critical Consumption Trends and Implications: Degrading Earth's Ecosystems"
    003270
    Critical Consumption Trends and Implications: Degrading Earth's Ecosystems.   1998   World Resources Institute
    Since 1960, global demand for fish and fish products has increased by
    240 percent, with fish harvests rising from 21 million tons in 1950 to 121
    million in 1996. fisheries will not be able to meet the increasing demand
    for fish products in the future. By the year 2010, demand for fish products
    is expected to increase by between 34 and 50 percent. Over-fishing,
    pollution, and habitat destruction have reduced the productivity of many
    fishing areas and it is unlikely that development
    of fish farming activities will be able to make up for this declining
    productivity.
    003208
    Dodging Numbers: Reporters Avoid the Population Crunch.   March 1997  
    In a study published Population and Environment, March 1997, an
    analysis was made of how newspaper journalists depicted causality in urban
    sprawl, water shortage, and endangered species stories. Only about 10% of
    the stories show population growth as the source. Only 1% suggested
    population stability as a solution. An urban sprawl story or a story
    describing impacts on wildlife habitat mentions only the land developer as
    the cause of the problem, and ignores increased demand that population
    growth provides to land development possible. A typical water shortage story
    mentions drought or the inadequate water delivery as a cause, and doesn't
    mention that many more people now want access to a water supply that is
    limited. In an interview with 25 journalists from newspapers with
    circulations ranging from less than 250,000 to more than 500,000, most felt
    that population was a problem, but that the issue was too controversial, or
    that because there was a limited space for the story, that population growth
    was too broad and distant to figure in their stories. A May 1992 Gallup poll
    showed that less than half of Americans polled felt that population would be
    a problem by the year 2000. A second poll, done in 1993 for the Pew Global
    Stewardship Initiative, showed similar results: less than half of a sample
    of Americans agreed that lowering the U.S. birthrate was important for the environment.
    003207


    Exploitation
    Activists Detail Allegations of Illegal Indonesia Logging; Groups Track Shipments to China Over Recent Years.   February 17, 2005   MSNBC.com
    Environmental activists said they had uncovered the biggest smuggling racket with huge shipments of logs shipped from Papua New Guinea to China. They said the illegal trade was threatening the last intact tropical forests in the Asia-Pacific region. International criminal syndicates were behind looting merbau trees - a hardwood used mainly for flooring, that was being taken from Papua at a rate of 300,000 cubic meters of logs each month to feed China’s timber industry. This trade is controlled by a few people, so it’s the biggest smuggling racket. More than 70% of Indonesia’s forests have been lost. The government banned the export of logs in 2001, but that has not stopped the trade. Collusion with Indonesia’s military was apparent, activists said. The armed forces has denied the institution was engaged in the trade, but conceded rogue elements could take part. Indonesia’s new president has pledged to crack down on illegal logging. Local communities receive around $10 for each cubic meter felled on their land, they fetch $270 per cubic meter in China and up to $2,700 in North America. With forest cover at around 70% , New Guinea contains the last tracts of undisturbed forest in the Asia-Pacific region. A network of middlemen and Aokers arrange shipment of the logs to China. The syndicates paid $200,000 per shipment in bribes to ensure the logs were not intercepted. The majority of logs were destined for the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang. Indonesia and China signed an agreement over two years ago to cooperate in tackling the trade in illegal timber, but the words have not been matched by actions.  rw    012901
    Nigerian Govt Moves to Settle Oil Delta Protest.   December 09, 2004   Reuters
    In Nigeria, Kula residents seized three oil platforms operated by Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Texaco, cutting off oil flows and trapping more than 100 workers. They left the installations after assurances that they would not be restarted until their grievances were addressed. The protesters threatened to extend the closures to another 100,000 barrels unless the government and oil companies responded to their demands for talks on jobs and development. Disputes are common in the region that pumps all of Nigeria's 2.3 million barrels a day and have caused armed conflict, occupations, hostage-taking, extortion and sabotage. Kula people feel they have little to show for the wealth being pumped from their tribal lands. State and local governments receive a larger share of oil revenues than other regions in recognition of their large contribution to the nation's economy, but civil society groups accuse the region's leaders of looting the money instead of channelling it into services and infrastructure. In September an ethnic militia threatened to blow up oil facilities in Rivers state, helping drive prices above $50 per barrel, but the leader of that group, said he was not involved in the Kula occupation.  rw    012375
    Afghan Poppy Farmers Say Mystery Spraying Killed Crops.   December 05, 2004   New York Times*
    Recently, planes have been spraying Afghan poppy fields orchards, and perhaps even families -- with toxic chemicals intended to kill poppy crops. Afghan President said his government has vowed never to support this, and called on U.S. and U.K. ambassadors to explain the abrogation of Afghan sovereignty. The U.S. announced that it will provide $780 million to battle illegal drug production in Afghanistan, and has control over Afghan airspace. Both the U.S. and the U.K. denied involvement and didn't know who was responsible.  rw    012308
    473,500 Gallons of Oil Missing in River Spill; If it All Leaked, the Amount Could Be a Record for the Delaware.   December 01, 2004   Philadelphia Inquirer
    An estimated 473,500 gallons of crude is missing from a damaged oil tanker in the Delaware River; the spill could be worse than thought and 15 times greater than the 30,000 gallons that ship's engineers said had spewed from the Greek tanker. It is unclear whether all of the missing oil had spilled into the Delaware River. Some may have collected in an empty ballast tank. A leak of 473,500 gallons would be a worst-case scenario. The spill had spread, affecting patches of shoreline in a 44-mile stretch from the Salem nuclear power station to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The hardest-hit sections remained along the 10 miles between the southern end of Little Tinicum Island and the Schuylkill. The oil reached within three miles of drinking-water intakes for South Jersey and Philadelphia and precautions are being taken. Investigators had yet to determine what ripped the hull open, but some speculated that the hull struck a propeller that fell off a dredge owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The spill was discovered about 90 minutes after low tide in that section of the river. The number of cleanup workers has swelled from 557 to 730 who have recovered about 6,300 gallons of oil. Between 500 and 1,000 birds are have been "oiled," most are common birds, but two pairs of bald eagles are partly covered with oil. Rescue workers were trying to capture and clean them. Environmentalists feared that heavy rain could slow the cleanup, and strong wind from the north push the spill farther south. The company that manages the ship has agreed to pay for the multimillion-dollar cleanup, which is expected to take months. Nearly 100 claims have been filed including 75 owners of pleasure boats, four private owners with dock damage, and 10 commercial vessels that were delayed when the Coast Guard shut down marine traffic. A report said the tanker was detained in Korea in March after black oil that had filled the bottom of its engine room was pumped overboard. On this trip, the Athos I was loaded with 14 million gallons of heavy crude from Venezuela. Tugboat operators spotted the leak as they guided the 750-foot ship toward the Citgo dock. Divers found a six-foot-long gash and a nearly two-foot-wide puncture in the hull and the two holes jut inward, indicating the damage was caused by an object in the water. Citgo is responsible for keeping the waterway clear and deep enough for ships. Citgo said it had dredged the terminal area in 1992. But the Army Corps of Engineers said records indicate Citgo had not dredged the port since 1982.  rw    012284
    When Ecotourism Kills; Watching Whales, Bears, and Turtles Can Harm Them, Sometimes Fatally.   November 04, 2004   Monitor, The(Uganda)
    Well-meaning tourists are putting increasing pressure on animals worldwide. In some cases, ecotourism appears to be killing the wildlife it seeks to protect. So far ecotourism has done more good than harm, but there are signs that this can become more about profit than penguins. With more than 60 "green certification" programs, the World Tourism Organization and the International Ecotourism Society announced a new program to harmonize standards. Tourism generates so much cash that is needed by preservation groups, even good companies face a dilemma in trying to balance to help a community without destroying the goose that laid the golden egg. Tourism, profit-driven, and ecotourism geared to helping nature, make up 20% of international tourist travel and has worked well in many cases. Each year, the Galápagos Islands receive tens of thousands of human visitors yet have managed to preserve animals and habitat with little damage. Indirectly, money may help marine tourism. A 2001 study found that whale-watching took place in 87 countries, generating $1 billion. But human visits to whales can be a serious threat. Nineteen of 292 reported whale-ship strikes between 1975 and 2002 involved whale-watching vessels. Some operators try to maximize revenue by taking as many people as possible and that means zooming in at maximum speed. In Puget Sound, the industry organization of about 30 US and Canadian whale-watch operators has set up guidelines, including reducing speeds to limit underwater sound pollution that might interfere with orca feeding. Researchers report that meerkats and mongoose have caught tourist-borne diseases in Africa. On the south shore of Hudson Bay entrepreneurs in the 1980s built school-bus-size vehicles on top of monster-truck tires to take people to view 12-foot-tall polar bears but the bears go "on alert" every time a tundra vehicle goes by, when they should be sleeping which diminishes the fat they will carry into the winter and need for hunting or defending themselves. Bottlenose dolphins in northeastern New Zealand are getting less rest because of tourists, who arrive in droves to try to swim with them. New Zealand announced restrictions that limit dolphin visits to certain areas and times of day.  rw    012086
    Ghana: New study links low fish supply to increased bushmeat hunting.   November 2004   The Daily
    The declining fish supply in Ghana has led to increased illegal hunting of wild game. Dwindling marine resources have led to the extinction of almost half the species in some reserves. If people aren't able to get their protein from fish, they'll turn elsewhere for food and economic survival.

    African leaders have blamed subsidized foreign fleets for helping to accelerate the downturn in the fish supply. EU subsidies artificially increase the profitability for EU ships to fish in African waters. Data was recorded by park rangers from 1970 to 1998 for 41 species of larger mammals at six savanna nature reserves in Ghana. The information was compared with the supply of fish in the region during the same time period. There was a 76% drop in the 41 species studied. At the same time, the supply of fish ranged from 230,000 to 480,000 tons in a year. Years with a lower-than-average supply of fish had higher-than-average declines in land-based wildlife.

    Over the next four years they found that the monthly supply of fish was negatively linked to the price of fish and the volume of bushmeat sold. Estimates put the bushmeat trade at 400,000 tons per year but that the figure is almost certainly an underestimate.

    Some of Ghana's problems date back to 1982, when the UN established Exclusion Zones that entitled countries to exclusive use of all marine resources 200 miles off their shorelines and Ghanaian fishing boats would have to pay other countries for access to fishing grounds while it is difficult to assess the level of illegal fishing by foreign fleets. Agreements are unusually generous to the foreign fleets. Ghana's fishing sector employs about 20% of the country's labor force, but is rapidly declining.

    Ghanaian fishers are generally poorly educated and with few other options for income. Many unemployed fishers have been unable to improve their economic conditions.

    Part of the decline could be attributed to overfishing to feed a growing population from 6 million in 1957 to nearly 18 million in 1996. Reforming EU policy will not resolve the problems of diminishing resources in West African nations, but is a solution that can be enacted quickly.

    Without intervention, the collapse of resources would result in widespread human poverty and food insecurity.  rw   Ralph says: No mention of action to slow or stop the population growth. 022835

    Yunnan Women Flock to Thai Sex Industry; Poverty Drives Members of Ethnic Minority Groups to Head Across the Border .   August 09, 2004   South China Morning Post
    Women from half the households in Yunnan counties on the west side of the Mekong River have worked in the sex industry in Thailand, according to Liu Meng , from the Chinese Women's University in Beijing, and a UN Inter -Agency Project consultant. These counties are home to more than a dozen different ethnic communities and have an annual per-capita income of 580 yuan, half the national average. More than half the families had a member who had worked as a prostitute in Thailand. Families with women who have been or are in Thailand live in cement houses, others live in crude shacks. The women became sex workers because they were poor and had limited economic opportunities at home. The public admires the women who have been to Thailand - they think it's a very good way to earn money. The women belonged to the Dai and Wa minorities and their physical appearance and language made the trip easier for them. In many communities there was a tradition of women supporting the family. When the women return, they are not used to the local conditions and some of the unmarried women cannot find a husband because they are wealthier and have a broader perspective. Officials cite the economic benefits of the migrant sex workers, not aware that the prosperity is at the cost of women's health, lives and youth.  rw    011193
    Another Tiger Species Headed for Extinction? Poaching in Indonesia's Sumatra Widespread.   March 17, 2004   MSNBC.com
    Unless poaching is stopped, Indonesia's Sumatran tiger could be the first large predator to become extinct this century. Three of the world's eight tiger subspecies have already gone extinct and the remaining five are endangered. Despite an international ban, at least 50 Sumatran tigers were hunted each year between 1998 and 2002 while the total population is 4 to 500. Lack of political will and widespread corruption hinders enforcement. The tigers are hunted for skins and body parts such as bones, which are ground up and used as traditional medicine. Indonesia has lost two tiger subspecies: the Bali and Javan tigers that became extinct in the 1940s and 1980s. Undercover work found tiger products for sale in 17 of 24 Sumatran towns. A fifth of 453 shops offered teeth and claws as charms and trophies. Tigers are killed with simple wire cable snares and hunted deep within national parks. Action should be taken against the markets, trade hubs and retail outlets highlighted. Sumatran tigers have also faced widespread logging of their habitat by multinational paper companies which have eliminated more than 1.2 million acres of tiger habitat.  rw    010084
    State of Denial: World's Other Forests Feed State's Appetite for Timber.   October 06, 2003   Sacramento Bee
    By consuming wood products and protecting their forests, Californians increase cutting elsewhere. The state's Fire and Resource Assessment Program will address this imbalance between consumption and conservation. Forest protection in California has focused on what happens in California, but the United States consumes more timber than it produces. In the next 50 years, imports will supply a third to half of our total softwood lumber. A conservation report on the 80 million acres of California's forests and rangelands includes soil erosion, water quality, forest fires, fish and wildlife and urban sprawl. The most striking figures show how California's lifestyle conflicts with conservation. California is the nation's largest user of wood and paper, 15% of the national total but is protecting the flow of logs from its own forests. Lumber production since 1988 has fallen 60%. As less timber is cut, more flows to California from Oregon, S.E. United States, Canada and even Europe. California imports about 75% of its wood and paper products. As fewer trees fall in California, jobs and sawmills disappear; in Siskiyou and Del Norte counties, a quarter of residents' income is public assistance. In Canada, 90% of timber is logged through clear-cutting; and that is expanding into the northern boreal forest which plays an important role in controlling global warming.  rw    008209
    Coke Adds Life? In India, Impoverished Farmers are Fighting to Stop Drinks Giant 'Destroying Livelihoods'.   July 27, 2003   London Independent
    Before the Coca-Cola bottling company built a 40-acre bottling plant in Palakkad, Kerala, a farmers plot of land yielded 50 sacks of rice and 1,500 coconuts a year, providing work for dozens of labourers. After the plant was operation, only five sacks of rice could be extracted from the land, and only 200 coconuts. The Coca-Cola factory extracts up to 1.5 million litres of water (enough to meet the minimum requirements of about 20,000 people). Those worst
    a day from the deep wells it has drilled into the aquifer to produce Coke, Fanta, Sprite and a drink called Thumbs-Up. The plant produces mineral water that the locals cannot afford - they have to walk up to six miles twice a day for water. Their wells now hold only turbid, brackish water too high in dissolved salts to be healthy to drink, cook with or even wash in. Most of the locals are classed by the Indian government as "primitive tribals". In addition to the farmers, 10,000 landless labourers are also affected, having lost their jobs. For over a year the factory has been picketed daily and there have been street demonstrations and rallies. The local council has revoked the factory's licence to operate, losing nearly half of its annual income from the decision, but the next level of government suspended the revocation. Coke denies the allegation, saying the local villages receive tankers of free water supplies each day from the plant and that the real culprit is a reduction in rainfall. A local human rights and development organisation says meteorological reports show rainfall rose between 2000 and 2001. Additionally, protesters say, chemical effluents produced by bottle-washing contaminate the groundwater; and the slurry from the effluents, when dried and marketed it as fertiliser, resulted in farmers developing sores on their skin the death of their coconut palms.
    007475
    West's Love of Talc Threatens India's Tigers.   June 23, 2003   London Observer
    A wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve in Rajasthan provides habitat for the endangered cats and are off-limits to development, but miners chop down trees, blast holes with dynamite, use mining techniques that lower water tables, and leave behind piles of waste. This mining poses the gravest threat to tigers, once about 20,000 but dwindled to 3,000. A supreme court ruling has temporarily stopped some, though not all, of the mining, but the mining industry is fighting that decision.  rw    007097
    Belize: Dam Project in Macal River Valley.   June 12, 2003   Animal Planet channel
    The Canadian energy company Fortis Inc. broke ground on the Belize, Chalillo dam project that would destroy irreplaceable wildlife habitat. It is unlikely that Fortis will make much progress this year and public opposition to the dam is growing in Belize and around the world, and continuing to challenge the dam in court.  rw    006940
    Indonesia: Legislators Ask Conoco To Stop Oil Exploration.   June 12, 2000   Asia Pulse 
    The legislative council of Indonesia's Irian Jaya province asked the
    US-based Conoco to stop its oil exploration in a world heritage site, the
    Lorentz
    National Park.
    It is feared that Conoco's activities would harm flora
    and fauna and melt the ice covering Mt. Cartenz. The national park is
    located on nearly 1.5 million hectares of land owned by six districts in
    Indonesia.
    003215
    Shell Oil Company in Nigeria.   November 1999   ZPG Campus Activist Newsletter
    Nigeria's land and people have been devastated by the ruthless drilling
    practices of the Shell Oil Company, a Dutch company. After nearly 4 decades
    of oil extraction, the Niger river delta, a coastal rainforest and mangrove
    habitat, is the most endangered river delta in the world. Most Nigerians
    lack running water, electricity, adequate schools and healthcare, but Shell
    has extracted $30 billion in oil from Nigeria since 1958.
    003211
    Home Depot Decision Cheered.   August 30, 1999   Rainforest Action Network
    Home Depot plans to phase out
    the sale of old-growth forest products by 2002. This includes lauan,
    redwood and cedar products which are from environmentally sensitive areas.
    Home Depot plans to use only wood that has been deemed okay by the Certified
    Forest Products Council. Some of the giant trees are 2,000 years old. Less
    than 20% of old growth forests remain on Earth and less than 4% in the U.S.
    The old growth wood The Home Depot sells comes from the ancient temperate
    rain forests of British Columbia, Southeast Asia and the Amazon.
    003213
    U.S. Transnational Corporation Dumps Toxic Load of Chemically-Treated Seeds.   1999   Associated Press
    660 tons of expired cotton seeds treated with five agrochemicals
    and a genetically modified bacteria were dumped by the employees of a
    company which dominates 50% of the seed market in the United States. One
    local resident has died due to poisoning.
    003214
    Environmentalists Blast World Trade OrganizationTimber Trade Plans.   May 16, 1998   Inter Press Service
    Liberalizing trade in timber products
    would increase global devastation of forests. U.S. government
    wants agreement to reduce global tariffs on wood products. The
    agreement says nothing about forest protection or sustainable logging
    practices. Proposed bans of the use of endangered tropical wood or on
    wood products that are likely to carry destructive pests
    could be found to be barriers to trade and in violation of WTO rules.
    003217
    Average US Home Owner Guilty of Endangering Forests.   March 16, 1998  
    Wooden doors, paneling, or wooden tool handles may be from endangered forests. Home Depot sells doors from endangered Amazon rainforest Mahogany, or plywood from Lauan wood from Southeast Asia forests where old growth forests (not including parks) are predicted to be gone by 2010. 003216
    Genetic Crop Engineering.   1998  
    Companies like Monsanto are producing genetically-engineered organisms that
    can reproduce and cross breed, with the danger of uncontrolled proliferation
    and health hazards to human beings. Insufficient testing can result in a
    serious threat to the environment.
    003218
    Report on Forests Suppressed.   June 1, 2000   The Guardian (UK)  
    A report from the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for
    Nature (WWF) warns of the destruction of tropical forests by multinational
    companies, but has been suppressed for three years by the European
    Commission and WWF. The report originally named companies who would bribe or
    bully their way to lucrative logging concessions, but it has been watered
    down because WWF feared that some of the governments concerned, particularly
    Malaysia, would close down WWF offices. Many of the companies named were
    Asian. Iinvestments are concentrated in countries with generally weak or
    outdated environmental and social laws and little enforcement capacity.
    Many of the countries suffer severe economic difficulties with large foreign
    debts, high inflation and unemployment. Decisions are often made by a small
    group of powerful people or clans within the government that look at the
    forests as a source of personal revenue. The logging causes careless damage
    to the surrounding forest. The roads built allow entry of commercial hunts,
    farmers, miners and others who cause further environmental damage. The
    companies frequently end up in violent clashes with local people and native
    tribes. The main donors to these countries - the World Bank, the
    International Monetary Fund, Japan, the EU, France, Germany, Britain and the
    US, fail to enforce their own rules to promote forest conservation and
    responsible management, then induce countries to sell their forests for a
    quick cash return to pay off debts to Western countries.. Much of the
    remaining virgin primary forests in the Caribbean rim, Central Africa and
    Pacific will be lost within five to 10 years, due to the expansion of
    unsustainable logging operations. . The authors of the report recommended an
    an end to EU aid and a moratorium on all further logging in 11 countries -
    Cameroon, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, Equatorial
    Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa; Belize,
    Surinam and Guyana in the Caribbean rim; and Papua New Guinea and the
    Solomon Islands in the South Pacific rim. The moratorium would last until
    bribery scandals are investigated and proper environmental standards
    enforced.
    003212
    "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable...because foregone earnings from increased morbidity" are low. He adds that "the underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles.... " unknown executive.   February 8, 1992   The Economist
    003210

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