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Via Earth Policy Institute: Adapted from World on the Edge by Lester R. Brown. Full book available online at www.earth-policy.org/books/wote.
“The archeological record indicates that civilizational collapse does not come suddenly out of the blue. Archeologists analyzing earlier civilizations talk about a decline-and-collapse scenario. Economic and social collapse was almost always preceded by a period of environmental decline….
“No previous civilization has survived the ongoing destruction of its natural supports. Nor will ours. Yet economists look at the future through a different lens. Relying heavily on economic data to measure progress, they see the near 10-fold growth in the world economy since 1950 and the associated gains in living standards as the crowning achievement of our modern civilization….More….Two Views of Our Future: Science Versus Mainstream Economics : TreeHugger.
Get Ready for the Ride of Your Life
Given that it takes hundreds of thousands to millions of years for evolution to build diversity back up to pre-crash levels after major extinction episodes, increased rates of extinction are of particular concern, especially because global and regional diversity today is generally lower than it was 20,000 years ago as a result of the last planetary state shift. … Possible too are substantial losses of ecosystem services required to sustain the human population. … Although the ultimate effects of changing biodiversity and species compositions are still unknown, if critical thresholds of diminishing returns in ecosystem services were reached over large areas and at the same time global demands increased … widespread social unrest, economic instability and loss of human life could result
How close are we to such a global state shift? One way to conceptualize it is to visualize the percentage of the Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems that have seen local state shifts:
…READ COMPLETE ARTICLE…
“Our society needs a new story to belong to. The old story of empire and dominion over the earth has to be looked at in the full light of day – all of our ambient cultural stories and values that we take for granted and which remain invisible must become visible.”
Film offers us a powerful tool to shift awareness and inspire action. It offers a method to break our dependence on the mainstream media and become the media ourselves. We don’t need to wait for anyone or anything.
Just imagine what could become possible if an entire city had seen just one of the documentaries below. Just imagine what would be possible if everyone in the country was aware of how unhealthy the mainstream media was for our future and started turning to independent sources in droves.
Creating a better world really does start with an informed citizenry, and there’s lots of subject matter to cover. Our country has to come to terms with the true history of the United States. It has to learn about basic ecology. It needs to understand some basic truths about peak oil and the monetary system, the truth about capitalism and governments.
Free markets were supposed to lead to free societies. Instead, today’s supercharged global economy is eroding the power of the people in democracies around the globe. Welcome to a world where the bottom line trumps the common good and government takes a back seat to big business.
It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Capitalism and democracy, we’ve long been told, are the twin ideological pillars capable of bringing unprecedented prosperity and freedom to the world. In recent decades, the duo has shared a common ascent. By almost any measure, global capitalism is triumphant. Most nations around the world are today part of a single, integrated, and turbocharged global market. Democracy has enjoyed a similar renaissance. Three decades ago, a third of the world’s nations held free elections; today, nearly two thirds do.
Conventional wisdom holds that where either capitalism or democracy flourishes, the other must soon follow. Yet today, their fortunes are beginning to diverge. Capitalism, long sold as the yin to democracy’s yang, is thriving, while democracy is struggling to keep up. China, poised to become the world’s third largest capitalist nation this year after the United States and Japan, has embraced market freedom, but not political freedom. Many economically successful nations — from Russia to Mexico — are democracies in name only. They are encumbered by the same problems that have hobbled American democracy in recent years, allowing corporations and elites buoyed by runaway economic success to undermine the government’s capacity to respond to citizens’ concerns… more.. Read Rest of Article: How Capitalism Is Killing Democracy – Robert B. Reich
CAN LIFE BE OWNED?
Rachael Carson was Right in her classic novel “Silent Spring”. This Canadian documentary is one of THE Best explanations of what is happening to the state of our planet with the biotech juggernaut racing across our environment, leaving an irreversible destruction in its wake. Our ecosystems, environment and human health and the future of our planet is at stake and I strongly urge you to take the time to listen and watch the entire Canadian expose. It is both educational and global in its reach.
The citizens of Mt. Shasta have developed an extraordinary ordinance, set to be voted on in the next special or general election, that would prohibit corporations such as Nestle and Coca-Cola from extracting water from the local aquifer. But this is only the beginning. The ordinance would also ban energy giant PG&E, and any other corporation, from regional cloud seeding, a process that disrupts weather patterns through the use of toxic chemicals such as silver iodide. More generally, it would refuse to recognize corporate personhood, explicitly place the rights of community and local government above the economic interests of multinational corporations, and recognize the rights of nature to exist, flourish, and evolve.
Mt. Shasta is not alone. Rather, it is part of a (so far) quiet municipal movement making its way across the United States in which communities are directly defying corporate rule and affirming the sovereignty of local government.
Read Rest of Article: Corporate Control? Not in These Communities by Allen D. Kanner http://www.yesmagazine.org/
Water is Now seen as a Commodity rather than a Basic Right
While some may assume that technologies often make women’s lives easier, it is rare they there are panacea for poverty, especially since water is increasingly scarce and expensive..
6.7 billion people along with wildlife, ecosystems, agriculture and industries share the less than 1% of the world’s freshwater that is potable and accessible for use. And this small amount is rapidly depleting due to climate change; increased contamination; and escalating need by people, farms and industries for daily use.
The increasing scarcity and privatization of water means a number of things for women. First, as private companies gain ownership rights to freshwater sources, women who could previously walk to them to obtain water are now being restricted from or even charged money for doing so.  Second, companies who purchase sources bottle the water to be sold rather than allowing local access to it, as it’s more profitable to do so. Even when companies build and make available taps to local municipalities, they sell it at costs that are prohibitively expensive, especially for poor women.  And since there is no substitute for water and water is absolutely necessary, without regulations, corporations can charge what they want for it, and people have no choice but to pay, if they can. (more)
Rich Foreign Countries are Buying up Big Ahead of Anticipated Coming Food Crisis
In the last few years richer countries like China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia have been buying up huge tracts of productive farmland and oil rich acres in poor countries like Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. These deals are usually in the millions of acres and often come with 99 year lease terms.It’s modern colonialism.
A DIFFERENT QUESTION
If I had one thing to impart to our leaders and opinion-makers, it would be this: Start worrying instead about the fate of human civilization. The Earth will survive the assault of the modern era. The urgent question is whether the Earth will remain a place that can support a complex, interconnected global civilization like our own. We could lose far more than coastal cities and cultural treasures to extreme weather and rising seas; the ultimate stakes in this planetary gamble is the stable climate that has made civilization possible.Rising emissions could destabilize the climate to a degree that would prove devastating to agriculture.
NEW UNITED NATIONS REPORT: The economic turmoil sweeping the globe has lead to a sharp spike in hunger affecting the world’s poorest, uncovering a fragile global food system requiring urgent reform, according to a report issued today by two United Nations agencies.The combination of the food and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger, with the number of hungry expected to top 1 billion this year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The drought which has hit East Africa is wreaking havoc among the region’s pastoralists. Their herds of livestock have been decimated. Even the hardy camels are dying.
They were sitting in the sand and lying among them were dozens of emaciated goats – concave with protruding ribs.
“I had a herd of 100 goats but just in the last month 40 have died,” said Esther Ekouam, who had walked about 15km (10 miles) and had to carry her goat as it was too weak to make the journey.
“Now the children are very weak because, as the animals are dying, they are not getting enough food. This is the worst drought we have had here since 1969.”