Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place.
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Less of What We Don't Need
Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were backpacking on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail along Rock Creek in McCreary County when we came across a fellow hiker who’d traveled from Indiana to hike Kentucky’s long trail.
After some talk of footwear choices and blisters, she remarked on the astounding beauty of the place. “We don’t have anything like this,” she said.
Stuart Scott of Climate Matters.TV recently interviewed Dr. Peter Wadhams, emeritus professor, Polar Ocean Physics, Cambridge University and author of the acclaimed highly recommended: A Farewell To Ice (Oxford University Press, 2017).
In response to the question “what’s your assessment of the state of the climate,” Dr. Wadhams replied: “Well, first of all, what I see is an acceleration of global warming because, for instance, the rate of rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is unprecedented. Not only are we not reducing emissions to the point where CO2 is stabilized, but the CO2 level is rising exponentially; it’s going faster than its ever gone before… and then there’s [sic] the extreme weather events, which certainly have hit people in Europe….”
As discontent increases with overly expensive and totally inadequate US health care, it is time to look closely at the beginnings of the modern Cuban medical system. Like the US, Cuba had unintegrated, overlapping medical institutions that failed the poor, especially black, population of the island. Though several European countries have developed health care systems about 40% cheaper than the US, Cuba was able to craft health care which became more than 80% less costly than the US with a roughly equivalent life expectancy.
During the 1960s, Cuban medicine experienced changes as tumultuous as the civil rights and anti-war protests in the US. While those in western Europe and the US confronted the institutions of capitalism, Cuba faced the challenge of building a new society.
The nation’s entrenched fossil-nuclear corporate elites are more focused on propping up the industries of the past than embracing the technologies of the future.
If you hadn’t heard, despair is old hat. Rather than retreat into the woods, now is the time to think big, to propose visionary policies and platforms. So enter grand proposals like basic income, universal healthcare, and the end of work. Slap big polluters with carbon tax, eradicate tax havens for the rich, and switch to a 100% renewable energy system.
But will these proposals be enough? Humanity is careening toward certain mayhem. In a panic, many progressive commentators and climate scientists, from James Hansen and George Monbiot to, more recently, Eric Holthaus, have argued that these big policy platforms will need to add nuclear power to the list.
With the escalating doom of climate change hovering over us, it is tempting to push nuclear horror to the back of our minds. To those of us who grew up in the 1950s, it was omnipresent. Nuclear war could not exist without nuclear power and on April 26, 1986 the world experienced a form of nuclear horror it will never forget.
Why did Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant explode on that day? Did operator error cause it? Was design flaw the reason? Should we look deeper into the Soviet system for the cause? Or should we look deeper still into the very existence of nuclear power?
Indian cities are in crisis. Spend any length of time in a large city there and you will notice the overcrowding, the power and water shortages and, during monsoon, the streets that transform into stinking, litter-strewn rivers. At times, these cities can be almost unbearable to live in. Little wonder then that the concept of ‘smart cities’ is taking hold among policy makers, however fundamentally flawed or cynical the strategy to implement the notion seems to be.
On the 26th March 2017, citizens from the mountainous municipality of Cajamarca, Colombia, voted, with a 98% majority, to ban South African miner AngloGold Ashanti’s vast La Colosa gold mining project, in a ‘popular consultation’ led by grassroots youth activists and small-scale farmers.
One year on, and Cajamarca’s victory has helped inspire a much wider movement of citizens and municipalities exercising their democratic right to participation. 9 other municipalities have held consultations, each rejecting planned mining, gas and oil projects with majorities above 90%. More than 70 others have indicated their intention to do the same.