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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

James Hansen's Generation IV nuclear advocacy: a deconstruction of nuclear fallacies and fantasies

By: 
Jim Green

Dr James Hansen is rightly admired for his scientific and political work drawing attention to climate change. His advocacy of nuclear power and in particular novel Generation IV nuclear concepts deserves serious scrutiny.

In a nutshell, Dr Hansen (among others) claims that some Generation IV reactors are a triple threat: they can convert weapons-usable (fissile) material and long-lived nuclear waste into low-carbon electricity. Let's take the weapons and waste issues in turn.

How Monsanto Captured the EPA (And Twisted Science) To Keep Glyphosate on the Market

By: 
Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

The EPA was only four years old when glyphosate entered the market in 1974, and the agency was faced with a large collection of chemicals to review. At the time, protocols for toxicology testing were relatively fluid, and it took the EPA until 1986 to finalize its guidelines. Yet the EPA’s analysis of glyphosate still relies heavily on the initial data.

In age of forest fires, Israel’s law against Palestinian goats proves self-inflicted wound for Zionism

By: 
Jonathan Cook

The Climate Catastrophe We’re All Ignoring

By: 
Jeremy Lent

Imagine you’re driving your shiny new car too fast along a wet, curvy road. You turn a corner and realize you’re heading straight for a crowd of pedestrians. If you slam on your brakes, you’d probably skid and damage your car. So you keep your foot on the accelerator, heading straight for the crowd, knowing they’ll be killed and maimed, but if you keep driving fast enough no-one will be able to catch you and you might just get away scot-free.

What Nicaragua Teaches Us about Climate Disasters

By: 
Douglas Haynes

From increasingly frequent storms to food insecurity, Nicaragua has been hard-hit by the impacts of climate change. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and facing Hurricane Irma, we can learn from their response.

Logging won’t stop wildfires

By: 
Chad Hanson and Mike Garrity

A number of politicians have promised to weaken environmental laws and increase logging, supposedly to stop forest fires. Here’s what they aren’t telling you.

Fires, including large fires, are a natural and ecologically necessary part of forests in the Northern Rockies. Dozens of plant and animal species, such as the black-backed Woodpecker, depend upon post-fire habitat—including patches of forest where fire burns hotter and kills most trees—due to the abundance of standing dead trees, downed logs, flowering plants, and natural regeneration of trees, which provide both food and homes for fire-dependent insects and wildlife.

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World

By: 
Elizabeth Kolbert

Carbon Engineering, a company owned in part by Bill Gates, has its headquarters on a spit of land that juts into Howe Sound, an hour north of Vancouver. Until recently, the land was a toxic-waste site, and the company’s equipment occupies a long, barnlike building that, for many years, was used to process contaminated water. The offices, inherited from the business that poisoned the site, provide a spectacular view of Mt. Garibaldi, which rises to a snow-covered point, and of the Chief, a granite monolith that’s British Columbia’s answer to El Capitan. To protect the spit against rising sea levels, the local government is planning to cover it with a layer of fill six feet deep. When that’s done, it’s hoping to sell the site for luxury condos.

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World hunger increasing for first time since turn of the century

By: 
Shelley Connor

The number of people suffering from malnutrition worldwide rose to 815 million in 2016, rising by 38 million from the year before. According to a new report co-signed by five United Nations agencies and charities, and made public by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAOUN) on Friday, this was the first such year-to-year increase since the beginning of the 21st century.

The development of science and technology, and their spread around the world in the form of gigantic increases in food production, have made possible a century-long reduction in the number suffering from hunger and malnutrition. In 2016, the world produced more than enough food to provide an adequate and nutritious diet to every human being on the planet.

The Long Ecological Revolution

By: 
John Bellamy Foster

The prevailing liberal approach to ecological problems, including climate change, has long put capital accumulation before people and the planet. It is maintained that through new technologies, demographic shifts (such as population control), and the mechanisms of the global “free market,” the existing system can successfully address the immense ecological challenges before us. In short, the solution to the ecological crises produced by capitalist accumulation is still more capitalist accumulation.  In these dire circumstances, it is dispiriting but not altogether surprising that some self-styled socialists have jumped on the ecomodernist bandwagon, arguing against most ecologists and ecosocialists that what is required to address climate change and environmental problems as a whole is simply technological change, coupled with progressive redistribution of resources.

The Green Revolution: Effects in Asia and implications for Africa

By: 
Alan Broughton

The term Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of staple food crops, particularly wheat and rice, into Third World countries, starting in the 1960s. Initially Mexico, India and the Philippines were targeted. The stated aim was to increase food production to end hunger and prevent uprisings.

The Green Revolution did increase agricultural production, and no more successful revolutionary uprisings occurred, but it failed to reduce hunger and poverty, improve nutrition, or protect the environment. While some of these failures are now acknowledged by the proponents, the answer is that “there was no alternative”, and that for untouched areas of the world, particularly Africa, there is still no alternative. However, that alternative does exist: it is called agroecology. Science takes credit for successes but takes no responsibility for failures (Shiva 2001).

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