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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

Nuclear Radiation, Kierkegaard, and the Philosophy of Denial

By: 
Chris Busby

It used to be, and indeed children are still taught in schools, that the advances that have been made in the last five hundred years (antibiotics, electricity, computers etc) resulted from the application of Science and its overthrow of dogmatic belief.

All ideas are put to the question in the auto da fe of experiment: Galileo’s observations versus the Inquistion’s biblical earth-centric world view and so forth. But over the same period, the power of belief (in Jesus, Marxism, Allah, perhaps ‘Economics’) has continued to flourish alongside the supposedly observation- based, empirical philosophy that we call Science.

Belief is strictly about what we cannot know but I am not going down the Dawkins black hole on this one since there are certainly some very odd things that science cannot explain. But I want to apply the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s approach to something that Science can explain and has: the health effects of ionising radiation.

Canadian Capitalism and the Fort McMurray Wildfire

By: 
Roger Jordan

Millions of people across Canada and around the world have been moved by the images of destruction and harrowing tales of escape that have emerged from Fort McMurray, Alberta, over the past week. On short notice and with next to no forewarning, some 90,000 residents were evacuated May 3, as a huge wildfire began to consume large parts of the city that is the hub for Canada’s massive oil tar-sands industry.

As with other environmental disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the extensive damage wrought by the wildfire is the direct product of the capitalist system’s rapacious pursuit of profit. The lives of tens of thousands of workers and their families have been turned upside down by a calamity that at the very least could have been mitigated, if not entirely prevented.

Lakota Lead the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

By: 
Jason Coppola

The Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota has symbolically acted as a forward operating base for the latest industrial invasion of Indian Treaty Lands, bringing with it corruption, pollution and violence, not unlike the time when gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota during the 1800s.

Biomass Industry Reveals Plans to Turn US into European Resource Colony

By: 
Josh Schlossberg

Think the days of Europe exploiting the U.S. as a resource colony are behind us? Welcome back to the 18th century.

A July Biomass Magazine and Pellet Mill Magazine webinar series, “Satisfying Europe’s Growing Appetite for American Wood Pellets,” lays out the biomass industry’s disturbing plans to convert North American forests into wood pellets to fuel European biomass incinerators—further depleting U.S. forests, soils, and watersheds, while hastening runaway climate change.

Tim Portz of BBI International hosted the industry webinar, joined by guest speakers Seth Ginther of the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, and Dave Tenny of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, a U.S.-based timber industry front group.

In 2012, the European Union (E.U.) burned 4.36 million metric tons of wood pellets for electricity, according to U.S. Industrial Pellet’s Seth Ginther. The U.K.’s portion was 30%, the Netherlands at 24%, Belgium at 16%, Denmark at 9%, and the rest shared by Sweden, Italy, Poland and a few other nations.

A Rising Tide

By: 
Stan Cox and Paul Cox

“When I started this job, people kept asking me, ‘Why do we have so much flooding now?’ and I said, ‘Well, there’s just one problem: The whole city’s four feet too low—that’s all!’” But as Miami Beach city engineer Bruce Mowry, the person responsible for maintaining and improving the island’s public infrastructure, steered his car through the Flamingo Park neighborhood this past January, his typically cheery mood dimmed. “You know, I drive around a lot, looking at all these streets and trees and homes and thinking about what’s coming,” Mowry said. “If we get the four feet of rise that’s predicted, all of this area will be two-and-a-half feet underwater.”

“This whole beautiful landscape’s going to change,” he said.

Wildlife advocates must address wildfire misinformation

By: 
George Wuerthner

Conservationists, if they wish to succeed in legislating more wilderness and parks in the West, must actively counter the misinformation and flawed logic surrounding forest health, thinning and wildfires. It may seem counter-intuitive, but fighting the fear of fire is, often, the best way to promote new wilderness/park designation.

There is an on-going effort by some in Congress to attach riders to exempt thinning proposals from environmental analysis which will threaten existing proposed wilderness with new logging. Again these efforts are based on faulty understanding of forest ecology and wildfire behavior.

James Hansen's Nuclear Fantasies

By: 
Jim Green

Climate scientist James Hansen will be heading to Paris to promote nuclear power − and attack environmental groups − in the lead-up to the U.N. COP21 climate conference in Paris in December.

The press release announcing his visit to Paris berates environmentalists for failing to support “safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power” … which rather misses the point that environmentalists would gladly support nuclear power if it was safe and environmentally-friendly. It notes that the Climate Action Network, representing all the major environmental groups, opposes nuclear power − in other words, efforts to split the environment movement have failed.

Global Warming's Unacknowledged Threat - the Pentagon

By: 
Gar Smith

During the November 15 Democratic Presidential Debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sounded an alarm that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Citing a CIA study, Sanders warned that countries around the world are “going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”

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