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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us

By: 
Richard Heinberg

Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue. Over the past century-and-a-half, enormous amounts of cheap energy from fossil fuels enabled the rapid growth of resource extraction, manufacturing, and consumption; and these in turn led to population increase, pollution, and loss of natural habitat and hence biodiversity. The human system expanded dramatically, overshooting Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for humans while upsetting the ecological systems we depend on for our survival. Until we understand and address this systemic imbalance, symptomatic treatment (doing what we can to reverse pollution dilemmas like climate change, trying to save threatened species, and hoping to feed a burgeoning population with genetically modified crops) will constitute an endlessly frustrating round of stopgap measures that are ultimately destined to fail.

An Overview Of Nuclear Power In The Context Of Additional Capacity To Kaiga NPP

By: 
Shankar Sharma

The decision by the govt. of India in May 2017 to commission ten nuclear power reactors of the type PHWR of 700 MW capacity each in different parts of the country, and the proposal to add four more reactors of the type VVER of 1,000 MW capacity each at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (NPP), has given rise to many serious concerns to the communities around these projects, and to the concerned civil society groups in the country.  Whereas the massive opposition to the Kudankulam NPP in Tamil Nadu few years ago, the consequent social unrest in that area, and the opposition to the same by the civil society groups (CSO) from around the country are still fresh in memory, the decision by the govt. to commission more nuclear reactors may have initiated another wave of anti-nuclear movement across the country.    Whereas it has been made public that two of the ten PHWR type reactors are proposed at Kaiga NPP, in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka state, the proposed location of the other eight PHWR reactors is not known at this stage.

Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse

By: 
William E. Rees

‘Overshoot’ is when a species uses resources faster than can be replenished. We’re already there. And show no signs of changing.

Humans have a virtually unlimited capacity for self-delusion, even when self-preservation is at stake.

The scariest example is the simplistic, growth-oriented, market-based economic thinking that is all but running the world today. Prevailing neoliberal economic models make no useful reference to the dynamics of the ecosystems or social systems with which the economy interacts in the real world.

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Toward Social Collapse?

By: 
Sally Dugman

Several years ago, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE), announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau.” However, his statement was not made known through a major US mainstream media outlet. Instead, it was covered in France’s Le Monde.

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

By: 
Marshall Allen

Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.

The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless.

But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

From Growth to Degrowth: A Brief History

By: 
Genevieve Azam

With economic and financial globalization, the integration of the world markets is said to be what will achieve development, which often involves countries assuming massive debts and making huge payments to service them. These, in turn, drive forced growth to guarantee repayment. It is thus no longer about balancing the three pillars of sustainable development – growth, social justice and the sustainability of the planet – but rather entrusting the task of caring for society and the Earth to the economy and the market.

How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban

By: 
Yevgeniya Yatsenko and Sebastian Rosemont

Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.

On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.

Planting the Seeds of Degrowth in Times of Crisis

By: 
Marula Tsagkari

We must look for man wherever we can find him. When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man’. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.

These words are from the Greek Poet Giorgos Seferis’ speech at the Nobel Banquet. Today they are more relevant than ever, as humanity fights against a ‘contemporary Sphinx’: the utopian ideal of an infinite growth defined by economic indicators and theories. This Promethean way of living has sustained the idea that increased wealth was the ‘one pill to cure them all.’

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