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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

Want to avert the apocalypse? Take lessons from Costa Rica

By: 
Jason Hickel

If we want to have any hope of averting catastrophe, we’re going to have to do something about our addiction to growth. This is tricky, because GDP growth is the main policy objective of virtually every government on the planet. It lies at the heart of everything we’ve been told to believe about how the economy should work: that GDP growth is good, that it’s essential to progress, and that if we want to improve human wellbeing and eradicate poverty around the world, we need more of it. It’s a powerful narrative. But is it true?

Maybe not. Take Costa Rica. A beautiful Central American country known for its lush rainforests and stunning beaches, Costa Rica proves that achieving high levels of human wellbeing has very little to do with GDP and almost everything to do with something very different.

Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico

By: 
Oliver Milman

The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

Kaboom Town

By: 
by Abrahm Lustgarten

COLFAX, Louisiana — Two years ago, the U.S. military had an embarrassment on its hands: A stockpile of aging explosives blew up at a former Army ammunition plant in Minden, Louisiana, sending a cloud of debris 7,000 feet into the sky.

Local residents, alarmed by toxic contaminants from the accident, were nothing short of furious when they learned what the military intended to do with the 18 million of pounds of old explosives still remaining at the depot. The Army was set to dispose of the explosives through what are known as “open burns,” processes that would result in still more releases of pollutants.

The Final Conquest

By: 
Andreas Malm

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Dominica was the last island to be colonized. Flat like the side of a coin, Barbados could be shaved clean of all natural vegetation and transformed into one great plantation for whipping profits out of black bodies and red-brown soil. The same fate was bestowed on island after island, but this one held out for long. As Lennox Honychurch, one of the country’s pre-eminent historians and intellectuals, writes, “[It] continued to stand green and defiant in the center of the chain of the Lesser Antilles,” until the British finally conquered it in 1761. Having exhausted much of the soil on Barbados and other old sugar islands, planters were by now clamoring for fresh land and immediately set about surveying, enclosing, auctioning, and buying plots.

Learning to Live in the Dark: Reading Arendt in the TIme of Climate Change

By: 
Wen Stephenson

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Writing in 1954, between the first and the significantly revised 1958 edition of Origins, she observed: “Insofar as [totalitarian] ideological thinking is independent of existing reality, it looks upon all factuality as fabricated, and therefore no longer knows any reliable criterion for distinguishing truth from falsehood.”

This is crucial, and not only as a premonition of the way today’s far right seems to adopt (and distort) postmodern theory to construct a world of “alternative facts.” For Arendt, it’s the key that unlocks the totalitarian mindset. Noting that “it would be quite possible for totalitarian rulers or the men immediately surrounding them not to believe in the actual content of their preaching,” she sees through the delusions of a new generation of leaders, which has somehow, it seems to her, “lost even the ability to distinguish between such believing and non-believing.” At which point, she draws the all-important line from belief in nothing to belief in anything:

As the rich move away from disaster zones, the poor are left behind

By: 
Leah Platt Boustan, Maria Lucia Yanguas, Matthew Kahn, and Paul W. Rhode

Every year, major earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes occur. These natural disasters disrupt daily life and, in the worst cases, cause devastation. Events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy killed thousands of people and generated billions of dollars in losses.

There is also concern that global climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of weather–related disasters.

Lithium-Ion Battery Production is Surging, but at What Cost?

By: 
Emma Foehringer-Merchant

In his first Tesla Motors master plan, Elon Musk wrote, “The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”

But as clean energy flourishes, the solutions from electric-vehicle companies and battery-makers have had a lot more to do with mining than Musk’s manifesto would suggest. Though an explosion in EVs and energy storage will allow countries to rely on less carbon-intensive energy, the extraction of essential ingredients to make cost-effective lithium-ion batteries generally leaves environmental and human devastation in its wake.

The Great Flood

By: 
Chris Hedges

How many times will we rebuild Florida’s cities, Houston, coastal New Jersey, New Orleans and other population centers ravaged by storms lethally intensified by global warming? At what point, surveying the devastation and knowing more is inevitable, will we walk away, leaving behind vast coastal dead zones? Will we retreat even further into magical thinking to cope with the fury we have unleashed from the natural world? Or will we respond rationally and radically alter our relationship to this earth that gives us life?

When Will Co-opted Figures and Board Members of Companies Like Monsanto and Bayer Be Hauled into Court?

By: 
Colin Todhunter

The public is being poisoned, disease rates are spiralling, waterways are contaminated, soil is being degraded, insects, birds, invertebrates and plant diversity are in dramatic decline. Humanity and the planet are being poisoned for profit.

We are experiencing an assault on life by the agrotoxins industry, which is in fact contributing to a sixth mass extinction. Armed with a harmful chemical cocktail of highly profitable agrotoxins, ranging from disease-causing glyphosate to bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, biocide manufactures are waging biological and chemical warfare on us all under the guise that they are serving humanity by helping to feed the world.

Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?

By: 
George Monbiot

Hurricane Harvey is a manmade climate-related disaster. To ignore this ensures our greatest challenge goes unanswered and helps push the world towards catastrophe

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