Monday, May 21, 2012

A look at the political maneuvering during the Copenhagen climate change meetings in 2009

This documentary 'The Climate Game and the World's Poor' looks at climate change from the perspective of the poor and the developing countries. The ones who have most at stake and already suffer from the impacts of climate change, which are mainly caused by developed countries. Yet, the views and voices of the poor are often sidelined at global summits dominated by the big and the rich players.

The film provides a revealing insight into the way international diplomacy can become an intricate game played by competing nations, a game that for millions of the world's poorest people is really a question of life and death.

These documentaries are produced by Anders Dencker Christensen with financial support from Danida's Information Grant, Danish Foreign Ministry, Danish Ministry of Education, Hermod Lannungs Fond and UNESCO.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What does “Eco” have to do with “Justice?”

Poverty is a very significant cause of environmental destruction, and environmental destruction is a major cause of poverty. Many people in developing countries live in rural settings, relying directly on nature— fishing, hunting and small-scale farming—particularly vulnerable to the effects of pollution and climate change. Because of climate change (even aside from water shortages) crop yields are expected to decline as temperature patterns change in most tropical regions, and the frequency of severe natural disasters inevitably play a role in the mass destruction of poorly-constructed homes. Climate change refugees are joining other migrants as some of the poorest people on earth, and with them contribute to the desperate exploitation of scarce resources. And -- is the owner of a dirty mine likely to live next to it?  Who gets the profits from a logged rain forest? Who produces the most greenhouse gases?...not the poor.
"My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world."
                                                       -- Adrienne Rich

Rio+20 is only the first step in a process. People all over the world are being invited to make Voluntary Commitments.  Schools, businesses, NGOs, public and private groups are getting their pledges ready. One of the first was given by 10,000 Japanese schoolchildren, who pledged to save 100 Watt hours of electricity a week, saving 1500 tons of coal / day. To help us be involved, the United Nations has launched a Volunteer Action Counts campaign. Visit and think how you might make a personal or group commitment: support of a sustainable development project, a change in personal or community practice, policy advocacy, or public education / awareness-raising?  Or pray for the ones making this effort!
                     (Material taken from Unanima International Update edited by Sister Michele Morek)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sustainable Development Means Put Your Water in a Reuseable Bottle

Plastic in 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' Has Increased 100-Fold

"Alarming amount" of plastic having ecosystem-wide effects

- Common Dreams staff
Plastic garbage in the ocean has increased 100-fold in the past 40 years and could have ecosystem-wide impacts, according to a study released Tuesday.
Seaplex researchers Matt Durham and Miriam Goldstein encounter netting and plastic in the Pacific. (Photograph: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography looked at the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ and found an "alarming amount" of plastic trash, much in small bits.

The plastic trash was leading to an increase in "sea skaters," a marine insect, eggs because the insects were using the increased plastic floating matter as to lay their eggs on. This increase may have widespread impacts across the marine food web.

"This paper shows a dramatic increase in plastic over a relatively short time period and the effect it's having on a common North Pacific Gyre invertebrate," said Scripps graduate student Miriam Goldstein, lead author of the study and chief scientist of SEAPLEX, a UC Ship Funds-supported voyage. "We're seeing changes in this marine insect that can be directly attributed to the plastic."

"Plastic only became widespread in late '40s and early '50s, but now everyone uses it and over a 40-year range we've seen a dramatic increase in ocean plastic," added Goldstein. "Historically we have not been very good at stopping plastic from getting into the ocean so hopefully in the future we can do better."
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